Reeling from Christian friend's bigotry

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This topic contains 88 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  jason 5 years ago.

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    With respect, you’re doing what a lot of apologists do: playing with words. What do you mean “my faith decided how it chooses to…” And “my faith compiled the whole thing…”

    It sounds like you’re casting this “Faith” as an entity. Yet, you use “faith” as if it bolsters your particular set of brliefs, too.

    Hello, @Mr.Tag. I’m sorry if this side discussion is hijacking your original thread about your friend. It used to be less worrisome on the TA site because of the message threading. Feel free to tell me to fob off if it’s getting away from what you wanted to discuss.

    Anyways, yes, you are right. When I say “my Faith” I mean “my religion”. That’s completely distinct from my faith, as in belief in God. It’s not that theists are playing with words so much as that theology is an academic discipline like any other, and the words have technical meanings or cultural meanings that are different from their common English meaning (much as what a physicist means by “energetic” is something very different from what a mom means when she describes her child as being “energetic”). Catholics in particular tend to refer to the community of believers as “The Church” or “Holy Mother Church”, or “Our Faith”, a sort of entity.

    So it was catholic institutional Christianity that compiled the bible from a whole mess of various sources, choosing to include some, leave out others, fiddle with the order, etc. We humans put the book together. Since we put the thing together and even wrote parts, we get to decide what we intended when we did that. We even get to change our minds. For example, we added a bunch of books to the bible in the 1500s.

    It’s just a book. A treasured text, a touchstone, the foundation for a common language and way of looking at the world, sure. The “Word of God”, as puzzled out and remembered and written by humans throughout the centuries leading up to our founding, sure. But just a book, and nowhere near the sum of the whole religion.

    Why not write a new one? We do all the time. Just go check out Amazon. 😉


    @simon: Atheism is a rejection of a god belief. That’s ALL it is. It isn’t a collection of dogmatic verses or authority figures or lists of do or don’ts.

    Sam Harris accurately captures this thought: “”Religion” is a nearly useless term. It’s a term like “sports”. Now there are sports like Badminton and sports like Thai Boxing, and they have almost nothing in common apart from breathing.”

    For my part, I don’t (usually) see anything “meaningful” in ancient scriptures. Instead, I marvel at those who infer or empower phrases or passages as if they were “wisdom” being imparted by a Timeless Creator Of All Things.



    Oh, I agree with you @Mr.Tag. “Religion” is such a broad word it’s not very useful. It doesn’t even require theism.

    For my part, I don’t (usually) see anything “meaningful” in ancient scriptures. Instead, I marvel at those who infer or empower phrases or passages as if they were “wisdom” being imparted by the Timeless Creator Of All Things.

    What do you think of the American Constitution? That’s an ancient scripture, or at least a centuries-old one. We infer or empower phrases or passages as “wisdom” of the Founders all the time, don’t we? We even have a selected priestly class called the federal judiciary that is given the power to interpret those phrases and passages, and even use that ancient scripture to strike down modern law. Even then, the ultimate authoritative interpretation of that scripture lies with the People.

    I’m not sure I see much of a difference. Ancient scriptures are useful because they provide a common language and foundation on which to build a shared cultural understanding.

    [Edited to add: Oops, sorry… it wasn’t clear that you were addressing that to @simon originally. I’ll leave it to him to pull on this thread or not ;)]

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  DrBob.


    As a guy marrying his guy tomorrow afternoon I think I ought to speak out on this.

    You really got pissed about a stupid comment about Pizza and marriage? Really?

    The OP’s numero uno mistake is having a facebook account and expecting crap like that not to happen.
    Facebook = infectious drama. You’ve contaminated a forum with it.

    His 2nd mistake was responding to a stupid comment with anger.

    His 3rd was bringing facebook drama into a forum expecting people to rally around his behavior.

    Great Job. Let’s evaluate your accomplishments.
    You publicly lambasted a guy for his callousness and degrading comment….
    You redundantly expressed your indignation…
    You called a few people “fuck faces”…

    It sounds to me that you could be a gold medalist in the next US Olympic Internet Drama Team… Oh wait.. That doesn’t exist… In fact no one gets a trophy for drama, do they? There’s probably a good reason for that if you think about it.

    Sorry for the sarcasm if it offends you. Now on to the other side of this.

    You accomplished nothing with your actions and words. All you did was alienate a guy who you say is sometimes unreasonable by acting unreasonable yourself. In fact what you did and said was counterproductive in the long run.

    Same sex marriage became legal across the US June 26th 2015. Do you know what’s really important about that date to me an my guy? The debate is over. There’s no reason to do anything to keep hostilities going. Nothing gained by rubbing our victory in the faces of the adversaries. Let the healing begin… In fact do everything we can to promote the healing.

    There’s nothing you or I or anyone can do to change how >>> a rapidly dwindling minority <<< use their religion to whitewash their ignorance and hate towards a nameless face group called “gays”…. But I can and do make it hard as hell for them to be able to hate me on a personal level. Before you know it they start quietly and slowly re-evaluating things and changing their own minds. I know it works because I’ve been doing it over 4 years now in a rural town of 1500 (472 registered voters. The rest are mostly kids) When I moved here and bought a house they tried to scare me into leaving… Now they won’t let me or my guy leave.

    I bet you made a long lasting impression of the “fuck face” you publically lambasted. He probably had some choice things to say about your behavior… You can’t plead “doing right” because you weren’t… You let your ego have the wheel to set off to “be right.”… Try to find anyone anywhere who’s ever won a trophy for that in an argument or misunderstanding.

    I’m done.



    I don’t have a position to defend, @bob.



    Hi Strega! Long time no see!

    Not having a position to defend is exactly the point. Now that same sex marriage has prevailed in the US there’s no need to defend it… The time is here to help people heal.


    Simon Paynton

    @Mr Tag – if Sam Harris said that then, on that score, he’s full of crap, and as one of the most prominent atheists he has a responsibility to do his home work better. There is a mystical side to atheism – known only to me, apparently, no matter how blue in the face I get trying to explain it – and it’s the same as that at the heart of each of the world religions. Christianity has its own special mythology regarding Jesus, but Jesus’ meat and drink was the same as this.



    I would take Virgil’s rant here with a pinch of salt. There is nothing wrong with bringing up racist-homophobic hate said by religious people you know…in an atheist forum…and ask other atheists for advice. Of course that is a totally appropriate topic here and that does not contaminate the site at all. Zheesh. Perhaps pummeling on a new user like this is what is toxic.

    I personally don’t get offended much any more by homophobic slight unless it is said by a friend, aquaintance or colleague who I’ve gotten to know…and if it was not clearly a joke…yeah…it hurts…and there is nothing wrong with admitting that. I call my friends and acquaintances out on their homophobia as well as sexism, racism…even in mild forms. The battle isn’t even close to over…just because some supreme court ruling. As if. Not even friggin close.

    “There is nothing we can do to change how people use religion to justify their homophobia”. WTF? Bullshit. Nonsense. There is a lot we can do.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  Davis.


    There’s a mystic side to atheism known only to me

    Oh dear, Simon, there’s no mystical side to Atheism, there’s a mystical set of stuff in your head, which you are applying to your own perceptions, but atheism, Simon, is the absence of belief in a god or gods.



    @Mr Tag. You are welcome to rant about things that dismay you. I think Davis said this and he is right. If another user doesn’t like your topic, he/she is free to ignore it in favour of other subjects he/she may prefer.



    Backing up @strega on both points.

    I don’t know why Simon persists in trying to create an Atheist “religion” or insert mysticism in it, when really, it’s a catch all word describing everyone who does *not* have a certain characteristic. It says nothing about the characteristics that they do have. Thus there are at least as many ways to “be an atheist” as there are ways to be “not a leopard.” That having been said, mysticism verges on belief in a deity and thus is unlikely to appear in any given atheist. Talking about an atheist religion is like asking about the tack and horse collars on a horseless carriage.

    And yes, bigotry from assholes, justifying their orificious (hmm, that’s not a word…but let it be) attitudes with religion is a large part of being an atheist as well as a large part of being gay, so it’s entirely appropriate to discuss this sort of thing here. (Whether Mr. Tag’s response was the best one he could have made is another issue.) It so happens we live in a place where the predominant religion condemns both non-belief (which one would expect from the definition of a religion) and non-heterosexuality (which isn’t a logically necessary feature of any religion, but is a “feature” of the local one). Thus as allies, we hetero- atheists end up commiserating with the non-hetero- atheists here a lot.


    Simon Paynton

    Backing up Strega and Davis regarding not flying at people’s necks for no good reason.

    Apart from that, regarding atheist mysticism: first of all I will say this:


    Simon Paynton

    Second, I will say this. Nature, evolution, predisposes us to thrive. The reason is that thriving makes reproduction more likely. We can help ourselves to thrive by taking certain actions, such as helping ourselves, being compassionate towards ourselves, making the most of things, etc. What we do for ourselves we can do for others, and this is the essence of religious morality. If you have 15 minutes to spend, it’s well spent reading this article about mentoring troubled children, which illustrates my point.



    EXPRESSION. Because you’re a genius

    Come on, Simon, if you’re going to post memes at least pick grammatically correct ones.



    Simon. I read your linked article. It describes a secular charity’s work with troubled children. It demonstrates what point of yours, exactly? That compassion is a good thing? Did you feel anyone was unaware of this? It’s a very nice story, but I don’t see any connection to “religious morality”.

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