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Thousands leave Finnish Lutheran church over anti-gay campaign

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  1. Jock S. Trap 28 Mar 2011, 2:51pm

    Now more stories like this and I feel there is room to move. However as a result from such bigotry. I’m glad people saw fit to leave and not support this typical religion hatred.

    More of this visibly and maybe, just maybe I’ll start listening.

    More!

    1. @Jock

      Just the sort of actions I have been trying to talk about online …

      Glad to see you supporting it!

      1. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:29am

        Thing is we need it more visibly to counter the hateful ones. Sadly it doesn’t show. So you can’t blame people for feeling bitter about religion.

        1. @Jock S Trap

          I dont blame people for feeling bitter – often there are plenty of good reasons why people could/should feel that way

          I do think there is a lack of perspective sometimes though and a lack of understanding that leads to comments (whilst perhaps not intentioned) are stereotyping and ignore Christians such as these Lutherans and many others (and those of other faiths) as being strong in identifying the equal status of LGBT people

          1. Those “many others”, if they actually exist, are way too complacent and way too silent in allowing the rabidly anti-gay factions of their faiths to be the face and voice of Christianity.

            I actually find silent “many others” to be much more shameful and offensive than the ranting bigots.

            Martin Luther King Jr. said it brilliantly when he said, “In the end it won’t be the hurtful words and hateful actions of those who hate us that we will remember, but rather the silence of our friends.”

          2. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 1:13pm

            Good comment Hayden.

          3. @Hayden

            I have posted examples elsewhere in this thread of others who have publically made a stance against denial of equality to the LGBT communities by others in the church. There are many others. Sometimes their vocal stance both within and outside of the church is either not a good story for the media or is squashed by others who favour the other argument (ie the bigoted one) within the church and/or media.

            I do agree that silence and inaction is tacit agreement in many ways. I also agree that Martin Luther King Jr was very astute in his words on discrimination.

            I don’t accept that because this is the only recent story of significant public display within a Christian church in favour of LGBT rights means that it is the only one. I personally know of many of my friends who have faith have made stands themselves/ Please, do not belittle their activity in support of gay people merely because you dont know them.

            Continued/…

          4. continued /…

            Luther King Jr also said (a quote that can equally be applied to those in the church who are ignorant and bigoted as to those who condemn the church by stereotyping)

            “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

          5. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:41pm

            @Hayden If you’ve ever wondered why christians don’t speak out, try reading through the comments on this and other similar posts. The amount of hatred we get from members of the gay community is hardly an incentive to stick our necks out.

            There are a huge number of tolerant faith groups, like the Quakers, who are actively campaigning to be allowed to perform gay marriage ceremonies. But to believe that would be to accept that people of faith aren’t inherantly stupid, bigoted and evil, and too many people seem to be unwilling to challenge their prejudices.

          6. Absolutely

            There are stupid, ignorant, and offensive people of faith – and of no faith.

            There are stupid, ignorant and offensive people who are LGBT and who are heterosexual

            There are also rational people who are LGBT and rational people of faith.

            Neither side does themselves favours if they irrationally and act in a vitriolic manner towards the other (or for any other factor).

            I agree with Galadriel1010 that some Christians will be put off supporting gay rights because of the nasty comments of some in the LGBT community against those of faith. I also see the same in reverse that some comments from those of faith make gay people unwilling to be understanding of faith people.

            The issue of ignorance and stupidity isn’t about belief its about attitude and there is plenty on both sides of this issue.

          7. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:01pm

            Stu/Galadriel1010

            Yeah coz most of the Church of England, Catholics & Muslims are so tolerate of the LGBT community. Yes there may be a few who disagree but even most of those it’s ‘love the sinner, not the sin’. Yes there are the Quakers, Reform Jews, Liberal Jews etc but when the Archbishop of Canterbury says he will do all he can to Stop equal marriage, when the Pope says homosexuals are an abomination, when Imans say homosexuals should be killed and thats what shouts loudest how do you expect us to be. When we have Nutjobs like David Skinner and the rest of his loony tunes where are you lot demonstrating against it.

            I’m very greatful for those who speak out but sadly they are few and far between. Plus if your taking your thought because of a News Debate website for Debate then to aren’t you doing what you accuse some of us of, labelling all the same? That would make you a hypocrite.

          8. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:09pm

            I have spent most of my life around religion and learnt a long time ago that apparently we should stop being who we are and instead should pay attention to religion and give in to religion and what They want. No.

            Religion hates the fact we stand up for ourselves and that we have a strong positive voice. When religion has spent centuries creating wars, famines, divided societies etc you can hardly blame it if some are mistrustful and skeptical of you. Don’t forget it’s not that long ago when people were being thrown in jail for being themselves all thanks to Christianity and it’s moral.

            Maybe before demanding respect you should look at yourself and what shocking things you religion has done and the damage from that then maybe start earning that trust and respect.

            44 years of being legal against 1967 years of torture and murder and suddenly you want forgiveness and respect.

          9. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 3:29pm

            @Jock
            Yes there may be a few who disagree but even most of those it’s ‘love the sinner, not the sin’.
            Not in my experience.

            When we have Nutjobs like David Skinner and the rest of his loony tunes where are you lot demonstrating against it.
            When the pope came to the UK, I was in Australia, otherwise I would have been on the march. When Melbourne marched for gay marriage, I was there. When the WBC made plans to come to the UK, I was making plans with my friends to go down and counter-protest. When the Archbishop of Canterbury said that he opposes my right to marriage, I left my church and let people know about it. You know that I was going to go down to EEGP, and if there were more events like that I’d go to them as well.

            Have I earned my gay cred yet?

          10. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 3:34pm

            Cont.
            Maybe before demanding respect you should look at yourself and what shocking things you religion has done and the damage from that then maybe start earning that trust and respect.

            I’m not demnading respect, or I’m not trying to. I’m just trying to point out the prejudice and intolerance towards religion which, think of this what you like, has reduced me to tears yet again.

            44 years of being legal against 1967 years of torture and murder and suddenly you want forgiveness and respect.
            I don’t want your forgiveness, because I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m on longer a member of any church whose sins I should be atoning for, and it’s not like I decided to believe in God. Belief doesn’t work like that ‘Oh, I know, today I’ll believe in Santa’… nuh uh, I know I’m lying to myself. Same if I ‘decided’ not to believe in God.
            Respect, though, maybe. If you want me to stand up for your rights, maybe not pissing over mine would be a good start?

          11. @Jock S Trap

            Wholeheartedly agree the number of Christians of all denominations who vocally are supportive of LGBT rights without a “love the sinner, hate the sin” isn’t obviously significant. I think there should be more, I think they should be more vocal (my opinion). You mention some faith organisations that are clearly LGBT friendly – you do miss out some others such as MCC and the 103 churches listed on the gaychurches internet site that have signed a declaration supporting equality. However, the fact is it is true that most churches are either hostile or ignorant to homophobia – of the more obvious leaders in the church, one is blatantly hostile and whilst the other was gay friendly prior to becoming Archbishop has fudged things in recent years.

            There is a lot not to like about how churches have dealt with the gay communities – but none of that justifies intolerance towards for example gay Christians. Intolerance breeds intolerance.

            The “nutjobs” on here (not my …

          12. … choice of word but seems quite apt in many cases!) certainly inflame the situation – and are rightly castigated by many. They are, as I think I said on another thread, some of those people with whom condemnation and exposing the bigotry of their comments is all that can be done because reasoned debate doesnt wash with them.

            I just want to take this opportunity to remind you that I am agnostic – not a person who holds a faith, but I do believe people who hold faith are entitled to respect and rights too.

            I currently am on this site debating due to ill health – its a public forum that attracts some Christians (and I suspect some Muslims – although I have no evidence for that). Some of the Christians are gay, some seem here out of a sense of duty to try and persuade us of the “errors of our ways” – some are misguided, others are outrageously bigoted – all see responses – some of which are more level headed and balanced than others. Whilst I feel that those who display ignorant..

          13. … or bigoted views about LGBT issues deserve confrontation and exposure; it does concern me that some of the less balanced retorts (and at times insults) are seen by gay Christians, and others in this forum and give an impression that the LGBT community (or certainly some of its vocal members) are bigoted in other directions (whether that is genuinely the case or not).

            As for how I operate in terms of enhancing rights etc when I am not unwell and not on here – I did attend the Popes visit in the UK and protested, I work voluntarily with a LGBT group that campaigns for equality in a variety of areas – particularly with regards issues of domestic violence and access to services. We also work with other agencies to try and ensure there is greater cohesivity in ensuring rights of LGBT people. I have links to a couple of gay friendly churches partly through my vol work. Not that any of that is relevant to be fair, but since you posed the question its only fair to answer….

          14. …. I certainly don’t intentionally label “you” as all the same .. although I’m not quite sure what you mean by “us” so I can’t be sure. I think those LGBT people who I perceive as being overly zealous towards people of faith have a wide range of reasons for doing so. Much of it is personal experience. All the experiences will be different and some of us will be more temperant of some issues than others.

            I also have spent a lot of time around religion. I have learned that the least sophisticated (unfortunately often the majority) of those with faith do often behave as you say – demanding acceptance and acquiescence to particular streams of thought. Some of the more sophisticated do encourage debate and tend to be the areas of faith that are either supportive of LGBT rights and equality or have some level of acceptance (Yes, I would prefer more).

            Some people in religion hate LGBT people. Not all. For example, the actions of some in the Finnish Lutheran church evidenced ….

          15. …that there was bigotry towards gay people. The walk out of a significant number of people show there are others who support. My experience of the churches I have worked with on domestic violence are that most of those are LGBT supportive.

            Those that hate LGBT people standing up for ourselves will be exposed for the bigots we are when we are consistent in our message – that we respect equality for all – not just those for whom we have respect. By standing up to the bigots but without resorting to insult and rancour we encourage those who are within to stand up for LGBT rights more.

            I dont expect anyone to excuse the murders and other vile actions pre 1967 (or since). I do think its better to have eyes on a healthier and bigger prize – real equality and full rights – rather than being (understandably) bitter and then appearing to be not to give others the equality we ourselves strive for.

            I know we go round and round in circles on this. I honestly think that you both seek ….

          16. Galadriel – another point: just which rights are being denied to you? In your hysterical message to Jock, you asked for ‘respect': as mentioned before, I have too much respect for you as a person to respect your ridiculous beliefs.

            And who is ‘p*ssing over your rights’? No-one is stopping you believing whatever you like. You really must understand, that your religious beliefs are as open to ridicule or questionning as any other belief. Please stop acting in such an infantile way. You are making yourself look like a laughing stock on a global basis. Especially when you excuse extremists who ‘want to save us from Hell’. B doing so, you excuse just about any evil imaginable.

          17. Jock S. Trap 30 Mar 2011, 7:49am

            Excellent point AdrianT

          18. Galadriel1010 30 Mar 2011, 12:38pm

            How about the right to hold a religious belief without receiving prejudiced treatment. It’s not like I’m a stranger here – I’ve been around these boards for a while and had conversations with Jock, at least. But at the moment you seem to be judging me based on my beliefs and the actuions of my ancestors, rather than my actions.

            And if we’re really going down the ‘I’m a christian and therefore guilty of all the crimes of the church ever’, am I guilty of the Viking pillaging that gave me my fair colouring, the Norman suppression after my ancestors came over in 1066, and every crime committed by the British Empire? And there’s probably some Roman in me as well, we could take that into consideration.

            You have ignored every point that Stu and I have made about gay ally christians rather than address your prejudice. This does nothing to further your arguments, but just tells us that your anecdata is skewed by your reluctance to accept any evidence that doesn’t fit into your world view.

          19. Galadriel – you have every right to hold any belief you like – I will treat your beliefs to the same scrutiny as I treat anyone else’s beliefs, whether it be a peer-reviewed paper, communism, the tory party manifesto, or an opinion about which football team is the greatest.

            However, you are actually asking for special treatment because you you want us to bypass checks like how you know a god exists and how you know god’s mind etc. As before, that won’t do.

        2. … real equality and believe there are some decent people of faith who support gay rights. I also believe that you have good reason not to respect religion and some of the people in it. As I have said before I do not think you intolerant or bigoted.

          My motivation in these comments is to try and create better equality for all and put consistent pressure on real bigots and those who are influenced by them to change.

          1. Well, why not pop along to the East London Mosque and ask them to make a donation to Oliver Helmsley’s charity? It’s the institution that has hosted and promoted numerous hate preachers calling for the death of homosexuals and jews over the years, and now washes its hands and appears on joint statements with self-appointed East End equality groups, as if nothing has happened. Go to where the real intimidation is coming from.

          2. @AdrianT

            You see you ask why not, because they beliefs deserves to be questioned (the veracity of you evidence to support that also deserves to be checked – it shouldnt just be accepted as fact just because some says it is) but if it is as you say, and I have no reason to doubt you – then no, those individuals who have been involved in recent action like that need to demonstrate that they have changed completely (unlikely to be able to in this short a period of time) before any reasoned person would want to associate with them

          3. Typo their beliefs

          4. Jock S. Trap 30 Mar 2011, 7:54am

            I guess we’ll just have to accept that when a large number of religious people hate the LGBT community and will turn on it at every occasion, there will be a large number from the LGBT community who don’t trust Religion. (Please note I don’t say we hate just don;t trust!)

            Either way their is one massive difference. I actually grow up in a religious enviroment. I actually know because I have been witness and victim of religious hatred against me and others.

            Now, do most of these religious haters and Nutjob actually know anything about the LGBT that hasn’t been made up or assumed?

            Answer – – – No, of course they don’t.

            At least my base is on experience. There’s is just based on hatred and discrimination.

          5. Jock S. Trap 30 Mar 2011, 7:56am

            The like of David Skinner and Stephen Green know nothing about the LGBT community. Whats more they have no interest in knowing they just assume and condemn.

            I think too many people are making excuses for their hatred. It doesn’t help us one bit.

          6. Well said Jock S. Trap, I agree some individuals on this thread confuse reason and science with atheism, and confuse the right to belief with the right to believe in discrimination. When it comes to killing of others, denying rights, I rarely (if never) see LGBT groups with the “Gays Hate Religion” banner, but I cannot say the same for religions. Gay people have been killed in the name of “god’s law”. I know of no religious person killed reciprocally by any gay person. I agree anyone can hold any belief they want, but to defend those who would seek to literally wipe us out is disturbed and flawed. Not all religions are bigoted, but anecdotally, most are – a read through the Daly Mail will show that.

          7. Jock S. Trap 30 Mar 2011, 12:10pm

            Excellent point Will.

            I think we are just expected to roll over and have out tummies tickled while put up with their excuses.

          8. @Jock S Trap

            Thank You! Some of the language used about religion by people on these threads has seemed as though there is a real hatred of both the faith and those who hold that faith. That may not be the case but it is useful to have that clarified within a debate and return some perspective when there have been disagreements.

            I understand there are reasons to have misgivings or lack of trust from those connected with a faith but there are those who can be trusted.

            I also grew up in a religious background so do have things to call upon and neither of our experiences are wrong.

            There are of course some people in faith groups who do have experience of LGBT issues – Gay Christians for example.

            But I think you are right we need to agree to disagree with some of these issues.

          9. Of course people like Skinner and Stephen Green fail to understand or even try to understand LGBT issues and their ignorance needs exposing

  2. What is these people’s problem?
    Can’t they think of something worthwhile to do?

    1. @col

      What do you mean?

      Surely it is a fantastic thing that people who ardently support a faith are leaving because of its homophobia – it speaks of acceptance for LGBT people – it demonstrates equality and acceptance …

      Anyone with any sort of compassion on whichever side of the argument should clearly see the passion and conviction of such action

      1. I was referring to the groups who set up the campaign not the ones who had the sense to leave

        1. Phew … Sorry I presumed wrongly …
          I just saw these people’s – and wrongly thought that the most individual actions in this had been from those who rightly left the church that has connections to the homophobia.
          Sorry shouldnt presume …

  3. It is worth noting that last November in Finland a televised debate on homosexuality caused a mass exodus from the church after antigay comments from a Christian democrat politician and a bishop. At its height, 7,000 people fled the church per day, and the whole affair lasted a month. The spectacle cost the church roughly almost ten million euros per year.

    This time the bishops had learned their lesson. When the first reports of this campaign were published, the archbishop and a sizeable majority of all bishops hit the airways with full force denoucing the campaign and emphasizing that it was harmful for LGBT youths and that the church welcomes everybody regardless of sexual orientation. It was their action alone that prevented another mass exodus and only 3,000 people or so left.

    1. I wish christians/muslims etc. in the uk, had the same moral principle and backbone as those in finland, and remove themselves from institutions actively promoting homophobia.

      1. Hi
        Do you, or me Know everything? Who made you? There is a higher intellagence! Are you a christian or muslim? Do you think that you know better than somebody else? or even God? As a christian I can say Jesus loves you! The further time passes from the point of creation the moral decline continues. Yes The bible does tell me that homosexulaty is wrong. The bible is the backbone of my life, I beleve it is the word of God. Gods mind is of a higher order than my thinking. Like you, I have a wish. That is why gays, seem to be able to know better that the true church, or be able to change how to run my christian faith.
        God Bless

        1. How do you know: that a mind is at work in the cosmos in the first place? how do you know which god, out of the thousands that have existed in the minds of believers over the last 15,000 years or so, is the real one? and on what authority do you claim to be on such intimate terms with the mind of god, you know who we should sleep with and in which position? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

          Funny to think that 12 billion muslims think you are going to hell for your non-belief, just as you assume we are going to hell for ours

          Precisely because of infantile beliefs such as yours, it pleases me to think there is no god.

          1. Hi Everyone,
            Lots of comments! May God bless you all! AdrianT, good rational comments, I’ll try to answer! Personally Ive always believed in God. Some people call out to God when in need and find him then. Creation it self shows of God. The Earth the right distance from the sun. the times of days, seasons, plants and animals. this did not happen by accident! I think You would need a big faith to think that there was no God. We know which God, because Jesus Rose from the Dead ! no one else ever has been a sacrifice like this. for me and for you. All of lifes questions can be answered in the bible. Its the guide book for life BIBLE ( Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). Its not my word but Gods. If your a member of, say a Golf club, one of the rules may be Jackets and tie in the club lounge, members follow that rule. Christians follow their bible. Im not perfect but its still work in progress. Gods not an old meany after all Jesus died for you. God loves you Adrian

          2. Charles Darwin had much better answers. Do you believe all this for a reason, or is it that you were brought up to believe this?

            The earth is far from perfect, and not so improbable. Out of all the failed galaxies, collapsed stars, black holes, here on the outer suburbs of an average galaxy, is our solar system, which is almost entirely inhospitable to life. And on the one planet that hosts life, most of it is too hot or cold or dry. And for 90% of the planet’s life, it has hosted only basic life; and of all the species that existed, 98% are extinct. In less than 900 million years, the oceans will boil away. And in 2 billion years, it will spin out of control as the moon shoots off into the sun.

            So your god sounds like some kind of apprentice designer. The universe was not made with us in mind.

          3. And you just shove the problem one stage back. For you need to explain at least two, if not an infinite number of, creation events. Your problem, not mine!

          4. PPS I didn’t ask anyone to die for me, and I don’t owe anyone any debt for making such an arrogant gesture. And a pointless one, as after all, there is no evidence for a Garden of Eden, and evolution tells us Adam and Eve are mythical characters, derived out of Babylonian mythology. (Evolution tells us, homo sapiens in fact originated around Ethiopia, 200,000 years ago. cf Clive Finlayson, ‘the humans who went extinct'; Jerry Coyne ‘why evolution is true’))

            So if they weren’t real, and there was no original sin, and no talking snake, why did Jesus die? The whole story collapses, like an over-egged pudding.

          5. “Creation it self shows of God.”

            It does nothing of the sort. That is a stupid argument. Because something exists, it is proof of a god? Rubbish.

            “The bible is the backbone of my life”

            I’d strongly suggest you grow a real backbone then.

            Even think of going to school, rather then spouting utter rubbish on a gay site for our amusement, Mr. Lister?

          6. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:38am

            Mr. Lister

            So maybe it is actually us in a Large Hadron Collider?

            After millions off years lets hope there’s still someone there. Oops sorry it’s only been a few hundred years hasn’t it…. damn fossils.

          7. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:41am

            Yeah a backbone and find a brain manual or something to find out what it’s used for.

        2. You need a front lobe labotomy, you are severely disturbed by the god myth. You need a therapist not a f666ing bible.

        3. The bible is the backbone of my life, I beleve it is the word of God.

          I take it you avoid eating shellfish and wearing mixed fibres as well?

        4. Too bad, hater. You will find the world is not going to end any time soon. And just because your hater book of fairy tales tells you the world is soon to end and that homosexuality is wrong doesn’t mean it is right on EITHER issue. Go read some exigesis on Revelation–it was a commentary on the Roman Empire.

          1. If the Seleucid Greeks had kept control of Judaea in about 140bc, there would have been no basket case state of Hasmonean jewish fanatics, no need for the Romans to invade, and no crackpot preachers in Palestine for people to invent a religion around, and thus no Christianity. And because of that, there would have been no Islam, which is plagiarised from the other 2 religions. We would have bypassed the whole lot, and 2,150 years of murders and wars and dark ages and violence associated with them.

            We’d have probably colonised Mars by now, had we avoided all that rubbish.

        5. @Mr Lister

          I think there is a lot of debate on the issue of creation.

          I think there is a lot of debate on the issue of higher intelligence – and whilst being something I find interesting, I do not see any irrefutable evidence that there is such a higher intelligence.

          You are entitled to your views and your faith – it is your right to have freedom to celebrate your religion.

          You are not entitled to vilify and demean other communities because of your faith. That is what has happened in the example and why many Christians stood up and were counted for their support of LGBT people. The right thing to do.

          You show me a verse in your Bible that you contend shows that homosexuality is wrong and I can probably find you dozens of scholars of theology who will tell you it shows something different.

          Congratulations that you have such faith – as I said you are entitled to exercise it.

          The LGBT communities do not wish to operate your church or faith just seek human rights.

          1. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:43am

            Actually Stu

            These people have every right to have their views but they have No right to force it on others.

            What they do behind closed door etc…

          2. @ Jock S Trap

            At what point have I *ever* said that people of faith have a right to thrust their views on us?

          3. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 11:59am

            Just making sure Stu. A lot of these religious people feel their right to Freedom mean they can, Esp when it comes to celebrating their religion.

          4. @Jock S Trap

            No they have every right to worship, believe, discuss their beliefs amongst themselves etc – they also have the right to discuss them with non believers if the non believers are happy to have such a conversation – but not to harass or pester those who don’t believe.

            I struggle with public evangelism – I feel very uncomfortable with it, feel it intrudes on my right to a peaceful life but recognise the freedom of speech issue in it …

            However, categorically there should be no harassment or pestering on the grounds of faith

          5. No Stu, there is no debate to be had about ‘creation’. Evolution is a fact – it is the best supported theory in science. the argument is over. Why congratulate people who switch their mind off?

          6. @AdrianT

            I agree that evolution is proven – even supported by eminent Christian scientists.

            I havent suggested we congratulate anyone who switches their mind off …

            Dont get the premise of your argument on that comment …

          7. Actually, I’m delighted you talk about ‘accepting’ rather than ‘believing in’ evolution and scientific method. May don’t. I take that comment back if I have misread – there is a lot of you on here to read through.

          8. @AdrianT

            There is a lot to read … hopefully it is reasonably consistent

            Acceptance is more reasonable to me than belief (which is quite ephemeral). Although we all choose to believe and to not believe certain things.

        6. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:34am

          Cor Blimey thats all we need Another Nutjob?…. Or is it?

        7. @Mr Lister

          Presumably as a “Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian, you would advocate the teaching of “Creationism” in science classes?

          1. Not in science for crying out loud … please that just cant be justified …

      2. @adriant, you are wasting your time trying to reason with these religious junkies . They are always desperate for a fix or to lure/corrupt more onto their delusion.

        1. …and that’s why it’s important for other impressionable teenaged minds who may lurk on here, to see the kind of questions that need to be asked of people who say ‘believe me based on no evidence’ and then want ‘respect’ for it too. I want people to suspect it, deeply.

          1. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:20pm

            I’m no longer an impressionable teenaged mind, but I’m less than a year over, and I can assure you that anyone questioning how their religion and sexuality fit together who happens to wander onto this website will be reassured to find out that their religion is outdated and ridiculous and that they should never admit to it in gay society.

            Do excuse my sarcasm

          2. @AdrianT

            I think “impressionable teenage minds” need protection from extremist religious viewpoints. However, equally they need protection from the damaging hatred that those within the LGBT communities spout that is full of bigotry and prejudice that stymy any development of equality on either side of the argument.

          3. Rachel and Stu – the pair of you need to grow a thicker skin realise that beliefs are there to be interrogated, challenged, ridiculed.

            Whether you like it or not, the questions are still there. You two are keen to let people get away with stupid, ignorant, arrogant statements based on no evidence. I will not.

            It is not bigotry to ask someone how they know something to be true.

          4. PS – there is no such thing as ‘equality’ for beliefs. Only for people.

          5. @AdrianT

            I have a thick skin

            I dont have a faith so whether you respect people of faith or not, really doesnt affect me directly

            I absolutely agree beliefs need to be challenged scrutinised etc

            Equally those interrogations deserve scrutiny too

            No, you presume I am prepared to let people off as you put it without having their views held to account. I would not want to see one single bigoted or ignorant view go unquestioned or unchallenged. I have consistently said this – so you misrepresent me to say otherwise.

            I agree it is not bigotry to ask someone to explain how something is true

            However, lumping all people of religion into one group and saying they all behave or act or think or reason etc in the same way is stereotyping. Stereotyping is a short distance from bigotry.

          6. I’m sorry to say, but if you believe something without evidence, you are in danger of being lumped in with fred phelps and others. Because of how, not what, you think.

            Look at Galadriel’s post: she’s practically in tears because she can’t cope with uncomfortable questions, and my perfectly reasonable call for people who make incredible claims based on no evidence to be suspected – or better still, bypassed.

            It’s really too bad.

          7. @AdrianT

            You may be right she may be crying – although that wasnt the impression I got from my reading. It is difficult to get tone in black and white however … I more saw the message as a frustrated saracastic comment, and you know – whilst I accept that some of the questions (maybe all, I dont recall which specific ones you asked) cant be answered – I dont blame her in being frustrated …

            Just to check something, in your last comment you used “you” – I didnt take that as personalizing it to me … although it was in response to my post … because, again, I have no belief to defend …

          8. I think it is a wonderful thing that Galadriel is feeling frustrated. By her shock at what are quite straightforward reality checks that stop any religious viewpoint from gaining undeserved privilege (how do you know the mind of god, etc), it sounds like she has never once asked why she believes what she believes.

            I don’t mean ‘you’ in the personal sense, obviously.

          9. Galadriel1010 30 Mar 2011, 1:08pm

            @AdrianT I don’t mind having my beliefs challenged at all. I’m quite happy to engage in theological debate. I’m not a creationist either, so you can get rid of that idea.

            But dismissing anyone’s beliefs as delusions, dismissing the object of their beliefs as myths, legends and the ever popular ‘sky pixie’ is not theological debate so much as infantile name calling. I’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime, thanks, and it was your casual dismissal of me as an individual capable of logic, thought and decency rather than your attacks on my beliefs that wounded.

            To be honest, I didn’t expect much better from you, but I thought that Jock knew me better.

          10. @AdrianT

            I appreciate this is out of context in terms of where in the debate this is being said but relevant and interesting nonetheless I hope.

            I am fairly sure that most people here would agree that the cliche “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a cruel missive for reasons well rehearsed elsewhere on this thread.

            You said words to the effect of you respect the believer but not the beliefs elsewhere on this thread … It just struck me the similarity of the two mindsets.

            It could be argued that your contention is equally cruel to the person who believes (not the belief) as the Christian sinner comment is to the gay person.

            I guess its not that straightforward – but would be interested to hear your opinion

          11. Galadriel – so it’s ‘infantile’ to ask for evidence? I don’t really care what you think. The fact is, you want special treatment because of your beliefs, which are based on no evidence.

            There isn’t an argument about homosexuality, science and ethics have answered that years ago.

            You even excuse fanatics on here whose opinions on this matter are stuck in the dark ages, simply because of their desire to save us from some fictitious place called ‘hel’ for which thre is also, no evidence..

            If you make such ludicrously arrogant and baseless claims – fine, but accept that you have no place in rational argument. Whatever your beliefs happen to be. Face it, you just can’t take the criticism.

          12. Galadriel1010 30 Mar 2011, 5:06pm

            @AdrianT
            At no point have you asked for the evidence on which I’m basing my faith.

            My faith is based on anecdotal evidence from two thousand years of history that God has moved in the lives of believers and non-believers alike. I may not believe every word (and some of it is patently rubbish), but there is sufficient evidence for me to accept that something has happened to a great number of people that they and I call God. Maybe it’s not God, maybe it’s something else, but that’s the name I give to it.

            It’s also partly based on the inexplicability of the Big Bang. Until science comes up with a way to prove me wrong, I will believe that there was a being at work in that moment. There are many things in nature that I just cannot believe happened by accident, and I see the evidence of intelligent design in these things.

            I don’t believe in an interventionist God or one who can control natural disasters or the actions of people. I do believe in a God who is a constant presence in my life

          13. Galadriel1010 30 Mar 2011, 5:09pm

            @AdrianT
            I appreciate that this will be insufficient evidence for you, and that’s fine.

            And whilst I think that people who want to save us from going to hell for our sexuality are completely missing the point of the christian faith and, to put it bluntly, wrong, I still prefer them to the people who want to condemn us to hell for it.

        2. I wonder if you know what you believe in. Look, if it floats your boat, then fine, although the fact that many people believe in god is not evidence for anything more than the existence of the belief, which has motivated people to do terrible acts, and make evil statements, too.

          Your initial interjection was, if I recall, because I urge people to take on religious fundamentalists by asking for evidence. if we let people off the hook, on how they know a god exists, which god, and what god thinks, then we let the theocrats take over. When people say they want respect for their beliefs – it means they want to get away with these incredible claims without any questionning.

          1. @AdrianT

            I would endorse and encourage you to question and challenge those who are extremists.

            I would join you where they are either ignorant or bigoted and behave in a manner that is damaging to LGBT (or other) rights

            I guess the only thing is the nuances of some of the comments we make. I know you have said repeatedly you accept that everyone can choose to believe in whatever they want. Some of these people are active supporters of gay people (the purpose of the story this forum is linked to) but hold faith. I think I am just asking us to be balanced in dealing with those who actually afford us rights with respect and those who do not – challenge them, but lets not lump them all into the same group.

          2. Galadriel1010 30 Mar 2011, 10:28pm

            @AdrianT
            I sometimes wonder what I believe in, but then I’m constantly questioning my faith as you demand.

            When I say ‘I want respect for my beliefs’ I mean ‘if you think my beliefs are completely irrational, you don’t have to be nasty about telling me so’. One of your first comments on this article implied that you thought that throwing me to the lions was a good idea which, I’ll be honest, I thought was a little cruel considering that you barely know me. You have an extremely agressive attitude towards people of faith, and it does seem prejudiced and more than a little threatening.

          3. @galadriel

            I wholly endorse you have the right to believe what you like, as much as I have the right to disagree.

            I also endorse there has been some aggression shown towards you that wasnt necessary in terms of questioning the validity of your faith or holding your beliefs to account.

          4. I made no such comment about throwing you, or anyone else, to the lions, I can quite assure you. If I had done so, you would have every justification to be angry and hurt

      3. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:33am

        Yes rapture, my thoughts exactly. Too many try to get round the laws of the land to practise what they are best at… Bigotry.

        1. @Jock S Trap and rapture

          There are certainly aspects of faith groups (the extremists which some fundamental evangelicals fall into) that its pointless having debate with and confrontation, and exposure of the futility of their arguments is the only way forward. Particularly where they deny rights to the LGBT communities.

          That said, there are LGBT bigots too – we are not the nice equality driven group that lots of us make out – excuse the pun – but we need to get our own church in order too

        2. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:21pm

          Can I point, for a moment, to the atheist Prime Minister of Australia? She just thinks that not letting gay people get married is ‘traditional’.

          1. @Galadriel1010

            Doesnt make her any less ignorant or wrong whether or not she has faith – the denial of equal treatment of LGBT people is still a fundamental persecution of people

          2. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:48pm

            @Stu I know this, I’m merely pointing out that people of faith aren’t the only twazzocks in the world, and faith isn’t the only shield they use to hide behind. I feel the disgust should be spread more evenly between the different groups.

            Anecdata here: My dad’s atheist, my mum’s christian. My dad said that civil partnerships were going to bring about the end of traditional marriage and were morally wrong. My mum told him not to be stupid.

            We have many discussions about civil and religious marriage, as she believes that holy matrimony should be reserved for people of faith (which makes sense, as I’ve seen too many people make their vows to a God they don’t believe in for the look of the thing), and I want anyone to be able to make the vows they want to the people they want and in the presence of whichever God they want to be there.

          3. @Galadriel1010

            Absolutely – some people hide beyond many things (including faith and LGBT rights and gender and age etc) in order to justify their position – often without rationality.

            In terms of marriage I think things should be equal – full stop – regardless of gender, orientation etc. So if two men who are of faith want to marry in a church – why shouldnt they, if a man and woman want to marry on a boat down the Thames – that should be an option (and is).

          4. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:22pm

            Those attitudes are taught so regardless if she is atheist her bigotry will no doubt be taught from within religion.

          5. @Jock S Trap

            Oh please!

            Religion in many cases is bigoted

            It does not own the monopoly on bigotry however

          6. the PM of Australia bases her beliefs on tradition and christian heritage, not reason or evidence. Her attitude towards marriage is precisely why we do not respect beliefs over real human rights.

          7. @AdrianT

            You may be right about the influences on Gillard. Certainly there were both Baptist and Salvation Army influences in her early life.

            It is interesting that she has been strident to defend her atheism and has (rightly in my opinion) avoided language that doesnt apply to her own beliefs eg when the Greymouth tragedy occurred in New Zealand she didnt say that Australia prayed for the families etc. she talked of her condolences, sympathy and support and those of the people of Australia – she was criticized and told she could have used the language of prayer etc – why should she? why would she? If others in Australia wanted to pray, they would …

            I do think her answer to not believing is honest but it is interesting she clearly states she respects faiths.

    2. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:32am

      Finn

      Shows the UK up for the bunch of bigots it has in it’s Churches. Yes I know Stu not all are like it but too many are.

      Plus until we get Equal Marriage in this country I think everyones entitled to feel this way.

      1. @Jock S Trap

        So you anti-church missives (lumping everyone in the same boat who are Christians regardless of LGBT views) will be decreased when we have equal marriage?

        1. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 12:01pm

          It may go some way.

          1. Lol

            Be interesting to see how you define equal marriage …

          2. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 1:17pm

            I’m slightly disturbed you feel the need to say that. Equal means Equal, the same as.

          3. @Jock S Trap

            Maybe that comment was churlish … but no different from your comment testing me earlier …

            “Just checking” remember

          4. Jock S. Trap 30 Mar 2011, 8:03am

            Stu

            Tit for Tat eh? sorry fella but a bit too childish and arguement for me.

          5. Jock S. Trap 30 Mar 2011, 8:04am

            corection ‘an’ arguement.

          6. @Jock S Trap

            If you can challenge me in a particular childish way – which you did – then don’t be surprised if you dont get the same treatment

      2. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 10:41am

        I honestly don’t believe that the Church of England is full of bigots. There are a few, but no more than there are in any walk of life. The problem is that they’re too busy playing holier-than-thou and organising the flower rota to do anything this meaningful.

        And it’s hard to leave a church that doesn’t really notice you’re there.

        1. @Galadriel1010

          In some cases that is very very true lol

  4. The Romans had the right idea when it came to Christians.

    1. That sort of bigotry condemning all people who are Christian is an affront to the aims of ensuring equality for LGBT people. By condemning all people of faith you fail to respect the rights of people to hold certain beliefs. These are people who embrace diversity – welcome LGBT people as equals – your comments are a disgrace and deserve every condemnation.

      1. true – but the supposed jesus of nazareth, in Matthew 10:22, reportedly warned his followers they can expect mocjery, ridicule, hatred even, because others would find their beliefs to be stupid, or poisonous, unintelligible nonsense. And that those who hold on to the end, and endure the mockery, will be saved.

        So, it’s a win-win situation: if a christian is remotely serious about achieving the afterlife, there can be nothing more rewarding than being thrown to the lions. That’s not something I’m going to do, but it’s their belief.

        1. @AdrianT

          Not sure that is a sensible argument to defend minimizing the rights of those with faith – just because the faith predicted it …

          1. the text doesn’t just predict it, it demands it of the serious christian.

            Nobody is persecuting christians – but they must accept that their organisations deserve no more privilege than other voluntary groups, like a stamp collectors’ club, or a trades union;

            they also must realise that ridiculing beliefs is to be expected. It is stupid to believe in a garden of eden, and a virgin birth – on a par with fairies at the bottom of the garden. It is ignorant, 200 years after Darwin, to pretend we haven’t evolved. I’m not stopping anyone believing such incoherent rubbish. Just making sure it has zero influence in the public sphere.

          2. @AdrianT

            The text certainly does predict it – and it depends on interpretation as to whether it demands it – but I accept that could be a view that is seen within those words.

            I see you as being disingenuous when you say no one is persecuting Christians … there are clearly some who would support that within the comments on this site … there are also clear examples of Christian persecution that is current. Its not just the LGBT community that has been persecuted! Sometimes LGBT are persecutors.

            I also think comparing an organisation based on belief structures to a stamp collectors club is bizarre – although I do accept that a trade union may be a feasible comparator.

            AdrianT – you are as entitled to believe that they are wrong in their beliefs as they are entitled to believe them. Darwin and other more conventional science does cause reason to question (not ridicule) the belief structure in the manner it is presented by some (some are not literal creationists!) – however …

          3. … neither Darwin nor scientists have found the entire answer. For me, as an agnostic the interesting concept of creation is that however factual or likely evolution or big bang theory etc is – it still fails to answer the ultimate question – what created that – in terms of causing the big bang or the furthest depths of evolution … I don’t believe in creation per se and I don’t have a faith – but I do keep an open mind about it as I dont think we have sufficient answers that disprove an ultimate creative force.

          4. Science doesn’t offer certainty – of that we can be certain. Religion pretends to but fails at the first hurdle, and just pushes the problem a stage back. It’s our job to roll our sleeves up and find out – it’s what makes us unique.

            That said, if you’re happy with your beliefs, it’s fine by me, but so long as I have freedom from it, and I don’t have to pay for it.

          5. @AdrianT

            I agree science doesnt offer certainty and nor does religion.

            For the record, I do not have a faith!

            I think there are some proponents of both religion and science who purport that their arguments are watertight and offer full answers – and I, like you it appears, do not see that either side fulfill promises to provide full answers.

            I wholeheartedly would support your (and my) right to have freedom from religion (unless we changed our minds – which from my perspective is unlikely in the near future). I also think there should be no state funding of religion. Although, I do think the Finnish idea of funding of faith groups being channeled through the state actually has some merit.

        2. I would disagree with you on whether modern science compels us to ridicule some beliefs.

          Bronze age palestinians knew no science, no meteorology, no medicine, no astronomy, no natural history. What they did not know they ascribed to a god. They had an excuse.

          Serious believers, living centuries after Copernicus, Bacon, Avicenna, Darwin, Newton, Curie, Watson, Crick, Einstein et al. have no such excuse. Merely questionning people who have ‘orthodox opinions’ on homosexuality should just be kept out of the debate. Saying, by way of an answer, ‘god tells me…’ is not a satisfactory answer in a civilised society, because the reporter can not demonstrate how he knows this to be true.

          1. @AdrianT

            I have no dispute that as society has become more knowledgeable then the (previously reasonable) acceptance of God being at work in particular areas of life requires a more sophisticated response – and that many who have faith are unable to provide such an answer – although some do give more sophisticated answers that “God tells me”

    2. Which idea? They sporadically pushed them around from the late first century until the early fourth, when Constantine made them the state cult, a legacy we still live with. Neither extreme seems a good idea to me. And crucifying an Apocalyptic provincial rabbi only to turn him into a God a bit later seems entirely characteristic of Roman bad taste. Poor Pontius Pilate thought he was getting rid of a trouble-maker. The irony.

      1. @Riondo

        I think David may have been thinking of throwing Christians to the lions, but yours is a far more insightful comment lol

        1. Clarification looked at wrong post – I meant J Cartier not David – sorry

        2. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:50am

          And yet we have many in religions that still think non-believers should be executed. Christianity is know for what it did to ‘non-believers’ throughout history.

          The actions may or may not be a thing of the past but,

          1) Why should we forget that? We make it an important thing Never to forget what happened in Germany in WW2, so why not make it important to forget the horrirs of religion.

          &

          2) Times may have changed, We here believe it, many others believe it however many religious attitudes haven’t changed. This is why so many want a by-pass in this country of the Equality laws so they can be above it.

          I would like to see British Church goers doing the same as these. Then and only then will I start to think they have changed.

        3. @Jock S Trap

          I understand that we should never forget the evil of WWII – that should not just include the denegration and attempt at elimination of one faith group but also of brutal attacks of LGBT people.

          There are historical aspects of some faiths (and some of the more extremist aspects of some current faith groupings) that are heinous. We certainly should condemn what has happened and current actions amongst the extremists. By supporting the liberals in their rights we help them tackle extremism.

          We have to also accept that history is that – history. Its gone, its past, its happened. We need to learn from it but not be restricted by it – it can be a predictor of some people future actions but not all.

          Your second comment is that times have changed. Indeed they have. History shows that bad things can happen and some people including those of faith have moved on and are supportive of LGBT people. The fact times have changed show we need to be aware of history but move on.

  5. The people that left the church are the true Christians. They turned their back on religion and found God.

    Now we need Muslims to do the same, but I don’t have much hope there.

    1. @David D

      I agree these are Christians whose faith I can truly respect

      I also agree we need to see more Muslims engaging in more positive action in support of the LGBT communities

      An interesting article below which discusses some of the practical reasons why this is difficult

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/oct/05/gay-muslims-support

      I appreciate it is difficult but gay Muslims and the wider LGBT community need to see action.

      1. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:52am

        Yep, I’ll agree with that. We do need to see this in the UK. Then they might gain some credibilty.

  6. Churches in Finland experience an exodus of membership (BBC report by Robert Pigott)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12830598

  7. In Finland a person’s religion is registered and a yearly tax is paid to finance the church. This is administered by the government on behalf of the church.

    One must deregister from the church in order to avoid this tax.

    IN Finland there are financial consequences for a religion if they engage in homophobia as people will deregister en masse when the church engages in bigotr as has happened here.

    I think it is wonderful. The Finnish church is encouraging its members to leave and thereby damaging its own profits.

    1. Interesting contextualisation.

      Makes the actions speak louder

      Still very much congratulate the people of the Lutheran church in Finland who publically acted to support LGBT rights

    2. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 9:53am

      David

      Now that It would like to see here in the UK.

      Clearly a more civilized country as far as religion goes.

      1. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 10:49am

        The distinction between the countries is the reason it would be difficult here. In the UK we can stop going to church and mark ourselves differently on the census every ten years (as I did, actually), but there is no real meaningful and pointed way to leave the church.

        There’s also the fact that you know your actions will impact on other people’s right to their religion, as you give your money directly to the church you attend and help to support a community you’ve been a part of, and which has often been fully supportive in return. Should I really be punishing the people who watched me grow up for something they haven’t done and don’t support, when I know that the church is having enough problems maintaining the building and the community support projects it runs as it is?

      2. @Jock S Trap

        Probably a very good way of both protecting the rights of those who do have faith and reassuring those who have understandable grievances or distrust of faith groups that there is some accountability.

        However, if we cant sort out political funding we will never sort out religious based funding in the UK!

  8. another finn 28 Mar 2011, 4:59pm

    Unfortunately there are a few errors in the article.

    The campaign was run by a couple of Christian extremist homophobes and consisted of just one video. There are doubts about its authenticity, especially as the organisers have a history of making wildly exaggerated claims.

    The Lutheran Evangelical Association that was behind the campaign is NOT the national church. It is a small fundamentalist group that operates within the church. However, it doesn’t represent the Church of Finland any more than similar fringe groups operating within the Church of England represent the Anglicans.

    3,000 people had not signed an online petition, but had formally renounced their church membership — which may have been a bit of an own goal, as the church leadership had been very forthright in denouncing the campaign, the Archbishop threatening to stop any funding to to organisations behind it, and the Bishop of Kuopio saying the campaigners were doing untold damage to lesbian and gay teenagers.

    1. @another Finn

      The facts in the report are that a significant number of people left an established Finnish church as a result of homophobic campaigning by some extremist homophobes who are funded by the established church. Yes, the leaders of the established church have condemned the homophobia – but their condemnation is reinforced by the individual members who left the established church. It is one thing to threaten to stop funding and a completely different thing to actually stop it. There is a history in the Lutheran church in Finland failing to understand that homophobia is unacceptable – clearly they have condemned it this time – but words must be backed up by action – what the individual members have done.
      I don’t understand why you say it is an own goal – it is a clear demonstration that many of the individuals who are members of the church will not tolerate homophobia – that is a clear positive and ethical thing to do.

      1. Correction – which the individual members have done … sorry!

      2. another finn 28 Mar 2011, 5:42pm

        Of course there is a history of homophobia in the Finnish church, just like all churches and even today a sizeable part of especially laity fails to understand that this is totally unacceptable.

        My point was that leaving the church may not be the most effective way of changing the situation, as it means there will be fewer liberals and therefore proportionally more conservatives in the church. This makes it more difficult to change church doctrine in a more liberal and inclusive direction, as elected representatives will have a major say in this.

        Logically it makes more sense for liberal Christians to stay as members and work to change the church from inside, rather than leave the organisation to the conservatives.

        I myself left the church years ago because I don’t believe in gods, so I’m not arguing from a pro-church viewpoint.

        1. @another finn

          I suspect we argue from similar backgrounds, although I am an agnostic … I have also had no involvement in the church for some time …. But I do value those liberal church members who can advance LGBT equality in the church.

          I agree that in many situations there will be a more productive result in the church if members seek to change things from within – although sometimes that reduces the ability of them to publically speak out against the church. I hope many do work within the church to change things. I do think sometimes the LGBT communities do urge people of faith to leave where there is homophobia – and this visible and dramatic statement is a potential significant step in developing LGBT equality – it speaks to other more conservative Christians of the passion with which the liberals feel about the issue.

  9. Third Finn 28 Mar 2011, 6:24pm

    Good article, but as another Finn I would say ‘submit’ is a much better translation for ‘alistu’ than ‘acquiesce’.

  10. Who needs Richard Dawkins to write even a sentence – all you have to do, is let the cranks do the talking. Give them all the rope they need to hang themselves any time they like.

    I encourage Christian Concern and their crackpot followers like Mr Lister above to do likewise, and accelerate the decline of our church. The sooner their buildings become clubs, supermarkets, flats and pubs the better, as they take up valuable space.

    1. @AdrianT

      I appreciate you do not follow a faith

      That does not mean others are not entitled to – it is a basic human right

      I do not personally follow a faith but strongly uphold the rights of others to do so, if that is their choice

      As a gay man I find the actions of the members of the Lutheran church honourable. I find it disappointing (but not surprising) that others use if as a tool to ridicule either Christians (from LGBT people) or LGBT people (from Christians) – that’s not what this case is about – this case is about Christians being honourable and standing up and saying clearly and vocally that LGBT people are equal.

      It is worrying that some LGBT people do not see that our fight for equality is undermined by vocally denying rights to other groups – or suggesting that they would welcome the removal of other groups.

      1. Stu Wrote

        “I appreciate you do not follow a faith
        That does not mean others are not entitled to – it is a basic human right”

        Stu, I see relgious faith as a “Life style choice”, not a basic human right.

        Stu, I am curious as to why you regard a persons choice to follow “Myths and Fairy stories”, a basic human right?

        1. @JohnK

          There is certainly choice regarding religion and whether you follow it or not.

          There certainly is choice on how you communicate that choice with others.

          That said, article 18 of the universal declaration of human rights declared that each individual or community was entitled to manifest a belief in teaching, practice (see applies to a religious context also) and worship in a particular religion or faith. It has been seen as including the right to leave or discontinue membership, to change faith or religion or not to follow any religion. It is the freedom to believe.

          We all believe in either something, or nothing or aren’t sure. This right applies to all of us.
          The right (in my view) carefully words the rights that we are entitled to and ensures both freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

          There are similar rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and many more

          1. And we all have the right to have our opinions challenged and to change our mind. You seem keen to deny that to religious people.

      2. Hysterical paranoid rubbish – I’m not stopping anyone believing fairy tales, or forming a church.

        It seems Stu wants to censor free speech. It’s high time religious believers realised their beliefs cannot be ringfenced or given special protection.

        Beliefs are a matter of choice, they are changeable. They are not inherent attributes of existence, like skin colour, sexual orientation.

        It goes without saying I don’t advocate ‘removing’ people – but I look forward to the day when people stop believing nonsense, which they believe through accident of birth and geography alone.

        1. @AdrianT

          Absolute nonsence that I want to stop freedom of speech – you clearly choose to interpret some on my rational argument in a manner that ridicules it that supports your premise – that is your choice, but it doesnt reflect accurately anything that I have said.

          If you read all my comments on this site (yes there are a lot of them!) you will see that I am passionate about all rights, LGBT, faith based or otherwise – including freedom of speech …

          What I am also passionate about is balance and perspective. A lot of the condemnation of the religious groups is based on stereotyping and ridicule that doesnt stand up to accurate examination of the evidence.

          If we want to have our rights as LGBT people, and our rights to freedom of speech then we must expect other people to have rights too – including freedom of religion (or none) and their freedom of speech.

          In order to progress equality then we need to respect the rights of others otherwise we are as bad as those who have tried

          1. Of course people have rights – I’m not denying them. And as for balance – I agree: religious people make 10 % of the population. Their voices are way over-amplified.

          2. By the way, on the subject of balance – where should the ‘balance’ be? I believe all beliefs should be treated with equal suspicion and scrutiny.
            So when someone says they know what god thinks – irrespective of what that might be – then the same questions apply: how you know there is a god, how you know which god it might be, and on what authority you claim to know its mind.

            When chellenged on these three points, religious people complain of hurt feelings instead of rising to the challenge. I find that babyish.

          3. Stu Wrote

            “@AdrianT
            Absolute nonsence that I want to stop freedom of speech – you clearly choose to interpret some on my rational argument in a manner that ridicules it that supports your premise – that is your choice, but it doesnt reflect accurately anything that I have said.”

            Stu, where were your rational arguments?

          4. @AdrianT

            I am not sure your opinion that religious voices are over amplified is accurate. If you look at the %of programming on terrestrial TV, the amount of coverage in newspapers etc I would suggest it falls well below 10%. I don’t have accurate figures – but I will research it, because you raise an interesting point.

            I also agree that all faiths (and none) should be subject to equal scrutiny. I welcome those people of faith prepared to engage in debate – and they will lose some arguments, and equally they may have points on others. I find those unwilling to engage in debate to appear as though they are fearful of being exposed.

            In terms of balance – that should not just be in terms of facts and rhetoric but also in terms of treatment and willingness to demonstrate respect.

            I concur that I have yet to see any convincing evidence regarding the existance of God.

            My lack of belief in God does not mean that I should belittle those who do believe. I have yet to see ….

          5. … any categorical evidence that disproves entirely the existence of God.

          6. @JohnK

            The fact you don’t agree with my arguments does not make them irrational

          7. Still waiting for a rational argument?

          8. and you can continue waiting if you are going to adopt such an arrogant attitude towards debate – you know fine well there is rationality to my argument – you just disagree with it for you own rational reasons, does not mean either argument is not based in rationality – of course, you view is superior – you arrogant comments show that

        2. … to deny LGBT people their equality and rights, currently and in the past.

        3. @AdrianT

          Again you stereotype – there are many people of faith who parents do not have faith. The conception that everyone who has a religion was brought up that way is incorrect.

          You are entitled to believe that people who have faith are believing nonsense – but whilst some do believe through accident of birth or geography – some believe for other reasons – and does not make it any less valid. In the same way, your lack of belief is equally valid.

          I wouldnt want to censor your debate on faith – in fact I would encourage it, but I would suggest it should be done responsibly, with perspective and without resorting to stereotyping and lumping all people of faith into groups which are at best inaccurate.

          I dont like stereotyping of gay people – and I suspect you probably dont either – its churlish to then adopt the same approach to others on the basis of belief.

          1. Surely in the 21st century we should be promoting “reason and logic” not myths and fairy stories”?

          2. @JohnK

            Surely in these enlightened times of the 21st century when we are passionate about equality – it should recognise the rights to believe (or not) just the way that have been seen for centuries rather than blatant antagonism and stereotyping that does little to ensure equality

          3. Beliefs should not be afforded respect or rights – end of story.

            If beliefs are not based on evidence – and you can lump all people of faith together on that point – they can be dismissed without evidence.

          4. @AdrianT

            Philosophically and legally I have to categorically disagree with you.

            Freedom of belief is one of the key beliefs in the universal declaration of human rights, ECHR and many other international and other formulations of legal consideration of the issues of rights.

            The right of belief and freedom of religion is what gives you rights as it equally covers the freedom to have no faith

            I view the source of the rights as different in context as issues such as race, gender and sexuality – as they are not choices. However, freedom of assembly (choice of politics), freedom of family life (choice of partner) etc etc are all freedoms based on choice …

          5. Well Stu (it’s not really Terry is it??)

            The right to hold a belief – freedom of conscience, the right of assembly, freedom of worship – these are all afforded to PEOPLE. We agree.
            But we do not protect people from having their beliefs challenged.

            You slip in words like ‘respect’ – why should I respect someone who says they are so intimate with the mind of god, they know ‘his’ opinion on whom we should sleep with, and his plan for me?

            I respect your right to utter such nonsense. So long as you respect other people’s right to express their opinions about it. Religious people want it all their own way, and that will not do.

            I respect you all too much as people to respect your ludicrous beliefs.

          6. I don’t stereotype by the way, and no fair-minded viewpoint of yours could say I suggested all christians thought homosexuality was a sin.

            I judge a religion – not its followers, a fact that is lost on you – by three benchmarks: what the canonical texts say; what the religious leaders say; and the historical record.

            there is no apology for the genocide of the mideanites and the amalekites; for the stupid teachings about working on sunday and murdering people who do, or loving enemies, or subjugating, owning women and raping girls; for mandating slavery and antisemitism.
            It has to be asked, why it took 18 centuries for the church to decide slavery was wrong. Historically, the church has followed, rather than led on moral issues – as we see today.

          7. @AdrianT

            First of all – I have no idea who Terry is … so no its not …

            We do agree that PEOPLE have a right to freedom or assembly, worship etc.

            We also agree that it is reasonable that people should have the basis of their beliefs questioned (or their non belief)

            I have never suggested respecting the concept of someone being intimate with God (who I don’t believe in), nor of any ignorance that they say. Consistently I have said that bigoted people (whatever the form of their bigotry) do not warrant respect.

            The problem is that you can look at canonical scripture but it will be interpreted differently by different theologians. You can look at the words of religious leaders – but many do not regard the Pope or Archbishop of Canterbury as being relevant to their grouping. You can look at historical record – but it doesnt necessarily act as a good predictor of future events.
            Thats why I prefer to see people of faith rather than religion. There will be many of these …

          8. I do respect peoples rights to express their opinions. I struggle to give it the same level of respect when they don’t engage in debate if they disagree with my or others views and don’t question them or seek clarification. Makes me respect you even more that you are willing to engage in debate. The use of the word nonsense to describe my views is purely inflammatory nonsense in itself, however.

            You seem to presume I have a faith despite me repeatedly telling you I dont and that I dont believe in God. Which reinforces my perception that you dont listen to all of the argument when you disagree.

            I perceive that you do stereotype – I shall in a moment (will take longer to reply) go through this thread and see if my perception still appears accurate – if I get the same impression I will put this to you, if I dont then I shall apologise.

            I agree with many of the issues you say that there is no apology for.

            I dont think members of the church today can be judged on the …

          9. …actions of Christians in the 1700s for example.

            There are many things that we agree on, as non believers, and I passionately agree with you that views (whether of faith or otherwise) should be open to question. As a clinician I act on evidence and I seek evidence.

            Where we seem to disagree (correct me if I am wrong), is (in part) that religion is built up of individuals with varying views – core streams of which will be similar – but will have differences in some areas. So, its not uncommon to find a church that is welcoming and accepting of gay people a short distance from one that is not. I look at the individual and their concepts and conduct in terms of rights – because they hold rights – although the UN declaration does give rights to groups.
            I also hold to account individuals – because individuals make choices to believe or act.
            I perceive you question the religion – which leads me to see that you fail to recognise the differences

          10. First Stu (my apoligies, I assumed you were another character, it’s a long story)

            It’s true you can read anything you like into the texts – as seen by the thousands of christian denominations all aroud the world. Which texts you choose is almost accidental to your birth, to the time and culture you are in. How do you decide that Numbers 31:18 is evil rubbish? there is no apology for those verses. why not remove Numbers and Leviticus from the canon, just to be safe and stop future bloodshed? See what reaction you get from the most liberal christian to that life saving suggestion. I rest my case about religion getting in the way of natural goodness.

            That religious ethics and morality should have evolved so much over 2000 years certainly tells us that the truths are not ‘eternal’.

            I am aware there are accepting christian communities – as mentoined, I don’t think they come to that conclusion because of their faith. More likely, the natural good within them.

          11. @AdrianT

            No apology necessary, I dont know who Terry is (although I think I spotted a comment of his earlier which I profoundly disagreed with)

            The fact that texts can be interpreted differently surely makes them a poor basis for consideration of the acceptance of people who hold a faith. To then say things which are open to being interpreted that they apply to all who hold a faith and describes them as ignorant, stupid etc makes no allowance for there being accepting, liberal and tolerant people in faith groups.

            Fair enough that you don’t think those more accepting Christian groups are so due to faith more due to an inate “goodness”. I suspect you may be right. I don’t know that it isn’t true that its to do with their faith – but even *if* it is it doesnt make me believe.

            A lot of what we have debated is to do with nuance and approach – the depth of fact we probably agree about the vast majority. I apologise I havent looked for the evidence of stereotyping I perceived yet

        4. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:33pm

          It would be good if people stopping questioning their lives in response to their religious texts and learnt just to get on with it. But then isn’t that why religion tends to argue against the LGBT community because thats exactly what we do.

          1. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:34pm

            sorry ie we just get on with it. Though its a fight.

            Should have been clearer there.

          2. I disagree.

            We should never stop questioning!

            Nothing should be immune from scruntiy!

          3. @JohnK

            I don’t disagree – we should never stop questioning, nothing should be immune from scrutiny – for me ensuring the protection of rights requires scrutiny.

            However, questioning and scrutiny for it to be effective shouldnt be coloured by stereotyping or prejudice.

          4. @Jock S Trap

            In many ways I agree with you …

            I dont agree that Biblical texts (when assessed fully) show in anyway anything that homosexuality is “wrong” – and I suspect most people on here would agree.

            I would say though that people are entitled to live according to texts if they so wish … We are entitled to question that and find it strange …

      3. Rectifying Stu’s untruths is like trying to rid a garden of japanese knotweed….

        To repeat, I do not deny anyone the right to believe what they want, or associate in a way of their choosing. That I would rather people found better things to do with themselves on a sunday morning, has no consequence for anyone else.

        I really do look forward to the day when religion is extinguished – only then can the human race even begin to achieve anything near its full potential. We’ve been around for over 100,000 years; civilisation, barely 10,000 years. By all accounts, we are in the infancy of civilisation.

        1. Untruths!

          What about the false interpretations of my views that you have been portraying?

          You do not deny them the right – but you want to … Your follow on comment evidences that to be the case … and it subjugates those of faith

          1. No, I want to deny nobody the right. I give you above my opinion about religion, that’s all. If you don’t like it – try harder to change my mind!

            I simply want to empower people to remove the chains of the mind that enslave them to belief without evidence. Mine is an invitation to believe something else, not an ultimatum, the latter being something religious people make.

            I have no wish to force people to believe something they don’t believe – that would be ridiculous.

          2. @AdrianT

            You may not want to deny anyone the right – but you belittle their faith which has a perverse sense of doing that. Anyway, I am not here to defend a faith – in my view that is indefensible – merely to say those individuals who have faith have rights and that includes not being ridiculed. Its not your opinion I want to change its the antagonism you have to the people who have faith. Disagree with the faith sure, challenge the reasons for the faith, but don’t ridicule them …

            I agree that allowing people (particularly those “born into” faith) to evaluate the reasons for their faith is a good thing.

            Whilst there are some Christians who would want to “force” you into believing what they do – and they are ignorant and bigoted to act that way. The vast majority I have met prefer people to make a choice – isn’t that what you suggest to those who already have a faith?

          3. I sure do belittle faith – it is not a satisfactory way to find out truth, as we can see anywhere in the world where it mixes with power.

            I am delighted to be ‘accused’ of this.

          4. And I’m afraid, ridicule is necessary when extraordinary claims are not met with extraordinary evidence. It is one of the few weapons we have.

            Look through history, and ridicule was a key driver of defeating totalitarianism (satire, irony, you name it). Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason is a classic example, as is the excellent Jerry Springer the Opera.

            Now of course, we are faced with murderous maniacs who will behead you for drawing a cartoon. We really do have a fight on our hands.

            Expect more ridicule from me in the future – in bucketloads. As I said, I don’t respect your beliefs.

          5. @AdrianT

            Do you ridicule the members of the Lutheran Church in Finland who resigned their membership of the church in protest against homophobia?

            Do you ridicule them?

            Do you ridicule LGBT Christians, LGBT Jews, Quakers?

          6. Why not? It’s just a belief, after all. I do think the reasons for their beliefs to be ridiculous. Why did heaven watch for hundreds of thousands of years as humans barely survived disease, cold, famine, natural disasters, only to intervene in palestine, instead of to civilisations that could do philosophy and science and could read, and from where the message has spread so slowly, it has yet to reach 70 percent of the world’s population?

            I thought you said you had a ‘thick skin’? Seems you’re as squeamish as ever.

          7. Jock S. Trap 31 Mar 2011, 10:42am

            Excellent point AdrianT!

        2. “Rectifying Stu’s untruths is like trying to rid a garden of japanese knotweed….”

          Lol

          1. @JohnK

            As much as I dont accept the word untruth, I have to say I also found AdrianT’s metaphor amusing ….

        3. @AdrianT

          Not sure where you get me being squeamish at

          Every post I have made has been motivated by encouraging measured debate.

          I appreciate you find most (if not all) aspects of religion at best bizarre. I would agree with you on most of it and reserve judgement on some.

          Debate – challenge – hold to account – demonstrate how illogical certain claims are etc etc I will support you in doing that (not that you need my support)

          However take on the nuance and style and approach of a bigot by using ridicule and mockery (unless we are very sure it will not damage the individual who is involved) has the same impact as bullying – and we have seen some of those outcomes recently. I am not saying you are a bully just that it is a risk if me are intemperant in our approach.

          I support your non belief and share 99% of it. I support your right to challenge belief. I dont support your right to be rude, or bully.

  11. Disgraceful. Good that some decent people are swiftly making a stand against this boll*@ks.

  12. ”Intellagence”

    Says it all really. Illiterate AND stupid!

  13. I didn’t know Lutheran churches had Archbishops and Bishops. Fancy that. Popish nonsense.
    Hopefully this outflux of members will destabilise the whole shooting match financially and they can go to hell in a handcart. Oh does that breach the standards of this website? Sorry.

    1. Bishops are not ‘Popish nonsense’. They may be, as far as you are concerned, nonsense, but the office of Bishop existed right from the very start of Christianity and in all of its branches – Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Armenian, Indian Thomine, Ethiopian and so on.

      The office of Bishop was universal in the Christian faith right up until the so-called Reformation, but even after that dreadful event many of the new ‘protestant’ Churches retained the episcopal model of the early Church of the first century after Christ’s death.

      1. I have to say that whilst I dont personally (as an agnostic) like the entire bishops/archbishops thing and all the fancy dress …. I do think when we criticize we should try and do so factually rather than make generalisations (we do criticize others for making sweeping generalisations about the gay communities) …

        John MJ is correct that in very early Christianity it is documented that Bishops etc existed and predate the RC church as we know it – so the Papal influence in this is a fatuous argument.

        That said, My biggest concern with Dan’s comment is his desire to destabilize the religious groupings. By all means think that and (in my view) wish that on those religious groupings that do wish to deny rights to LGBT communities. But where the groups are supportive of other equality strands we undermine our fight for equality by seeking damage to another

  14. Gays are born gay, get over it. If you have been harmed by gay deprograming, gay to straight programs report it to the police and get a lawyer and sue them out of business. God bless those who left the church because of the hate against gays, our God is a god of love, fight for your human rights and stop the hate. God loves all gays and straights.

  15. douglas in canada 28 Mar 2011, 11:54pm

    @Mr Lister,
    Funny… I’m still waiting to see any christian who follows christ’s own command to “sell all you have and give it to the poor”

    1. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 10:54am

      They all live in monasteries. There are some, but not many.

      1. Its an interesting discussion point, but most who are so devout would not seek to publicise such actions

        1. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 11:05am

          Indeed. Most christians who do do good deeds don’t crow about it (outside church, that is. Inside it’s a whole different ball game). They don’t tend to see it as anything special, but something they should do because they’re in a position to do so.

          It’s also extremely difficult in the modern day to get by without posessions. The government especially don’t like it if you have no posessions because you gave them all away

          1. Although if you have given them all away they cant take any more …

          2. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:08pm

            @Stu I think that’s why they don’t like it ;)

          3. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:36pm

            You don’t have to be religion to ‘do good deeds’ just a decent human being.

          4. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:36pm

            corection meant religious.

          5. @Jock S Trap

            Absolutely you don’t need to be religious to be a decent human being … and nor does being religious mean you are bigoted

    2. A stupid preachment – an ultimate act of materialist selfishness: you just push the problem of getting into heaven and enjoying the associated riches to others.

      1. To be fair, AdrianT – are those who do give up what they have for faith reasons actually push any rhetoric on anyone – thats not my experience … My limited knowledge of such people is that they tend to quietly get on with what they see is their duty – not out of any desire to receive recognition or push their views on anyone … Maybe you have a different experience …

        Also, are they any different from those with no faith (including some billionaires recently) who have donated vast proportions of their wealth out of a sense of personal morality, other than these famous people have sought media attention in so doing …

        1. I would argue that if everyone gave up their wealth, it would destroy the economy, which increases poverty.

          I would say that a good person would know to do good without being told to, or presented with an ultimatum to do so. Religion just gets in the way of what comes naturally to us, believer or not. If you’re doing it because god says so, and because that is the route to paradise then you are doing it for your own self interest.

        2. @AdrianT

          I honestly agree that a lot of people do good because it is inate in them – regardless of faith or none.

          The recent media coverage of 38 billionaires who have agreed to give away 50% or more of each of their wealth is an example of how faith is not a pre-cursor of whether or not someone is generous or “good”. Some were religious and some very much not.

          I actually think their giving up of their money is unlikely to have significant impact on the economy – their businesses are still running as separate legal entities and the wealth donated is simply redistributed through the economy

  16. I note that some posters here have referred to the recension and interpretation of the Bible.

    For a mainstream Christian (R. Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican etc.) the Bible is the Word of God transmitted to man through the fallible minds of the Prophets and Apostles who were only, after all, human and may have allowed their own prejudices to creep into what they thought God was saying to them, or they may have interpreted what they thought they heard from God through the filters of their own prejudices and preconceptions. For Christians, therefore, the Bible is not the infallible Word of God as the koran is for muslims the infallible word of allah, but is a text which must be carefully interpreted in accordance with the final commandment that Christ gave – to love one another.

    What is more, mainstream Christians know and acknowledge that the Bible was put together by the early Church and that some Books in it are of dubious value and accuracy.

  17. Many Christian theologians all down the ages, including the protestant ones such as Calvin, Zwingli and Luther, have harboured deep misgivings about some of the books included in the Bible. Mainstream Christians have to remember this when using the Bible.

    Mainstream Christians also do not use the Old Testament to draw exemplars of behaviour from for Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament and they are now children of the New Testament with Christ’s commandment to love adding to and completing their other ten commandments. I am aware that some strange Churches do use the Old Testament as a guide to behaviour and do indeed believe that the Bible is the accurately transcribed, absolute Word of God – but that’s just a rather silly, and downright wrong, minority view of the Bible which can safely be discounted as the eccentricity of a small group of rather childlike Christians who need fundamental rules in their lives because thought is too difficult for them.

    1. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:37pm

      Exactly written by over inflated male egos.

  18. Mrs. Presbyterian Pastor 29 Mar 2011, 3:04am

    We need to know a little more before I will agree with just leaving. Let me give you an example of what I mean. The Presbyterian church has a policy right now that a person can be a minister of the word and sacrament if they are a nonpracticing homosexual. It has been this way for about 30 years. For 30 years there have been discussions to change this on both sides, and now after 30 years, all of the Presbyteries are voting on an attainment to our book of order that says all that is required of a person to be ordained is to be a Christian (that jumps through and passes all the hoops). If those who did not agree with the last 30 years would have walked away 30 years ago, we would not be having this break through. In the Presbyterian church the people of the church have more power than the ministers do and they are the ones, along with the ministers who make changes. Yes, if a church does not listen to or have any way of changing then leave, but if yo

    1. “that a person can be a minister of the word and sacrament if they are a nonpracticing homosexual”

      Oh, very understanding. “Non practising”? No gay person can “non-practice homosexual” any more than a he can change his eye colour.

    2. A breakthrough! LOL science answered the question about sexual orientation decades ago – your church’s infantile views on this show how irrelevant you are to society.

      No more discussion needed.

      1. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 10:56am

        Every time I see your name, it’s accompanied by intolerance and hatred. Why is this? Are you a troll, or are you really that full of hatred?

        1. I don’t tolerate intolerance.

          And it’s a moral obligation to show contempt for ignorant and stupid and cruel statements and actions.

          No doubt as a Christian, you clearly think it’s fine to let people get away with that kind of stuff. I don’t.

          1. @AdrianT

            Clearly the is a moral obligation to expose ignorance and cruelty.

            Stupidity is a matter of subjectivity – and some confrontation of cruelty and ignorance is marked by its own ignorance, cruelty, lack of balance and frankly stupidity.

            As a non- Christian I dont think its right that either Christians get away with cruel and ignorant comments against any group – but nor do I feel its right that those who are ignorant and cruel to Christians should get away with it.

          2. Correction – clearly there is ….

          3. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:04pm

            Actually, I don’t. That would be why I’m calling you out on it. You say that you don’t tolerate intolerance, but you’re spouting the same kind of intolerance you claim to hate, just with different nouns. In some ways you’re worse, because many christians air their homophobic beliefs out of a desire to help people and save them from Hell. You’re just spouting it because you want to hurt them.

            Intolerance of intolerance is fine, but your intolerance of an entire group of people based on your own prejudiced views of their beliefs is rank hypocrisy at best.

          4. “because many christians air their homophobic beliefs out of a desire to help people and save them from Hell.”

            Lame excuse for bigotry. Why should they care? Can they prove a god? Can the prove hell?

            No. They can’t.

            So they should mind their own bloody business and not demand others to share their ignorant views. Some of us bothered to get educated.

          5. @Will

            I agree they can’t prove the existance of a God

            That doesnt mean they arent entitled to their beliefs so long as they do not deny others their rights – including rights to freedom not to believe, freedom of a private life (ie free from harassment, pestering etc), freedom of speech, freedom to a family life (which many LGBT people have in various forms) etc etc

            However, when we stereotype people of faith it works to our detriment. It may make us feel better by spouting a load of vitriol but it doesn’t enhance our rights one iota – if anything it reduces our rights and standing in society.

          6. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:57pm

            @Will
            Allow me to explan something very simple.

            Some Christians believe in Hell. They believe that if you don’t believe in God or have sex with people fo the same gender as you, you’re going to Hell. They believe that Hell is a very not nice place.

            They may be wrong, and that’s up to you to decide, but if they believed that that bus was about to hit you and pulled you out of the way when you thought the bus would sail past safely, they still get credit for trying, right?

            They also believe that they have a moral obligation to save you, and that they’re going to go to Hell if they don’t.

            To note, I’m not defending the ones who are just blinded by their hate and think we deserve to go to Hell. They’re completely missing the point of their religion. But I’m prepared to give some leeway to the ones who genuinely think they’re helping me

          7. “They also believe that they have a moral obligation to save you”

            Well, thank you. This just proves me right, and Stu, proves what I am saying is true. They interfere with the rights of others.

            More time looking after themselves and their salvation, and less time worrying about interfering with the rights and privacy of others, and we’ll all do just fine.

            And Stu, as for my stereotyping religion, I am doing nothing of the sort, if you have a valid point of opposition to my argument, by all means do so, but to not patronise me with such puerile nonsense without basis in fact. Nothing I have said it untrue and I am entitled to say what I see, as I wish.

          8. @Will

            No it doesnt “prove” your point, it does evidence that you have a valid opinion. You have a right to have that opinion heard.

            Those of faith who do interfere with the rights of others ought to be condemned and be brought to account for such an intrusion without vitriol or rancour.

            You say that you are not stereotyping – and if you are not then I apologise – but I perceive your comment “So they should mind their own bloody business and not demand others to share their ignorant views. Some of us bothered to get educated” as prejudiced and stereotyping – suggesting that people of faith are not educated and that they are all intrusive and keen to act inappropriately in advancement of their faith. That is not my experience of all people of faith – some, but not all.

            You are indeed entitled to say things as you see them – as am I.

            I dont think supporting equality by ensuring all are treated fairly is puerile … perhaps you do … not sure how you justify that.

          9. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:40pm

            Wish they would just save themselves and let the rest of us get on with it.

          10. Jock S. Trap 29 Mar 2011, 3:42pm

            “Those of faith who do interfere with the rights of others ought to be condemned and be brought to account”

            Exactly but it seems we have to do it ourselves because very often I don’t see those in religion that oppose this showing it.

          11. “suggesting that people of faith are not educated”

            I am. I can provide ample scientific studies that show clearly the more religious one is, the less likely they are to be educated, and the higher the attainment in education, the less religious one becomes. If you are not aware of these studies, Stu, I suggest you make yourself familiar with them, as it is not stereotyping, if its true, alas, and not acceptable to tolerate those with intolerant beliefs.

        2. Galadriel – I make no ultimatum that others should believe me or go to hell; I make no attempt to stop people from believing what they want, irrespective of how infantile and backward those beliefs are. I make no attempt to dictate to people how or when to pray, or what to wear, or what to drink, or what to eat, or what to think. I merely invite people to ask themselves why they believe what they believe.

          To emphasise how juvenile your point is, don’t tell me, but tell a gay man hounded by thugs in hyper-christian Uganda about whose approach is ‘worse’.

          What I say is based on evidence from History – it seems you can’t take the heat. This is a debating thread not a prayer wall. Get used to it, make a grown-up case for your faith. Either stop squealing about hurt feelings, or run along and make us all a cup of tea.

          People were executed by the Inquisition so that they may be saved from Hell. Shall we respect that too?

          1. @AdrianT

            I think the premise of asking people to consider why they believe what they believe is an entirely honourable and reasonable approach to have. In reverse, you could argue that asking people why they don’t believe is equally honourable – and such have been the basis for many reasonable debates in the past.

            Regards the Uganda situation. Firstly, the way the gay community are treated there is unacceptable full stop. When I was in Entebbe last year I spoke to a gay man who told me of a friend that is gay and used to go to a church (I can’t recall which denomination at the moment) A few years ago the church were supportive of this man being gay – particularly unusual in an African church. Then about 2 years ago they received a new pastor who went to Bible school in Alabama, he brought with him a new interpretation of scriptures which is bigoted and he imposed his “style” on the church. The friend left Uganda and now is seeking asylum in an EU country as he feared for his…

          2. … life. The guy I spoke to is trying to persuade his brother who lives in another African country to let him go and live there. However, he did give me pause for thought – he said, that he blamed the new pastor for bringing bigotry to their community – he said other pastors had done similar things elsewhere in Entebbe and Kampala. He said they disguised it as a message full of good and truth. He also said he missed the support and love he got from the previous church leadership – even though he wasnt a believer. He said people in the community had tried speaking out but they had been beaten by others (religious and not) – he said even in Uganda there are a small number of Christians who believe in their faith but do not believe it inspires the bigotry some justify with their faith.

            I found this guy an inspiration. I detest what many in the church – and others in Uganda – are doing. He did inspire me though and he respects some in the church.

          3. Thank you for the very moving account of what is going on in Uganda, and no doubt a story that has been repeated thousands of times. I’d be at the front campaigning for his asylum I can assure you. And have been in the past.

            On reasons for non-belief – you are welcome to ask, by all means. I would say, why not ask the same about numerous other deities, like Thor, Vishna, Osiris, Jupiter…? I see no satisfactory reason to single out the Judaeo Christian god. It’s not what I would say to a Christian escaping Uganda, or for that matter, Pakistan though.

          4. @AdrianT

            I don’t personally feel any need to ask you why you don’t believe – because I don’t believe. Others may wish to do that ..

            I agree whichever God it is that people follow they are entitled to expect it to be questioned – thats reasonable.

            I agree I found the story moving whilst I chatted to this guy in Uganda and if I had been able to campaign for his friend I would have done, but it wasnt the UK he came to etc.

            Not clear on what you mean regarding “its not what I would say to a Christian escaping Uganda ….” …

          5. It matters not who posed the question, about non-belief, be it you or anyone else; the reasoning I give is going to be the same. You posed the question; I answered accordingly.

          6. Galadriel1010 30 Mar 2011, 1:24pm

            Oh joy, you’re a mysogynist as well. How did I guess that that would be the case?

            If you want to challenge my beliefs, try actually chellenging them rather than dismissing them outright. “You believe in a myth who doesn’t exist and therefore you’re stupid and intolerant” is not a theological discussion. There was the opportunity for debate when we raised the question of what we believe, you, as usual, you dismissed it in favour of name calling.

            And then you wonder why I’m aggravated and hurt.

          7. I would have sent you to the kitchen whatever sex you were because your arguments are based on nothing but emotions and hurt feelings. I can’t be bothered with that.

            And why have a ‘theological’ debate? Theology is a tiny strand within philosophy. And there are also arguments from archaeology, astronomy, natural history and genetics to consider too, if we are to have anything remotely approaching a balanced discussion.

            You haven’t presented any evidence for anything yet, so I can’t even dismiss them, let alone challenge them. UNtil you provide coherent evidence for a mind at work in the cosmos, then you are out of the argument. And just as well, when you see stupid beliefs about homosexuality ans women priests being presented as viable discussions among the faithful, in 2011.

          8. @AdrianT

            I agree a theological argument isn’t sufficient to provide evidence for the claims of faith (whichever faith) – there are other aspects to consider – such as some of those you mention (and probably more), but theology is a factor of philosophy deserving of an airing (even if only a portion of the debate).

            I agree there are ignorant beliefs on homosexuality – but surprised you have a view on women priests.

            Out of interest, do you have a particualr scientific background – I do have a sneaky suspicion about this …

        3. @Will

          You will be able to provide me with evidence that there are uneducated people in faith groups.

          Many of those pieces of carefully evaluated pieces of research, largely by unbiased researchers, usually in reports where propriety is not an issue – will show that a significant proportion of religious people (maybe a majority) are less educated than those who are not religious.

          I could show you scientific reports that show the opposite.

          However, its really irrelevant to my point – my point is you are stereotyping. You appear to be saying that because a significant proportion of people of faith are less well educated ergo people of faith are less well educated. Not so. Some people of faith are very well educated.
          Even though many are less well educated according to a number of reports – to then give a fixed, unvarying view that people of faith are less well educated is by definition stereotyping.

          1. Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_intelligence

            I’m aware its wikipedia, but the references are valid, and besides, I am unsure what you level of scientific attainment is.

            Then show me the scientific reports to the opposite, I will read them. I hold quite a few science and engineering degrees, I assure you, I can be the judge of if they are scientific or not.

            Let me be clear here: The findings of a scientific study are as they are. If you think that is stereotyping, that’s your opinion, but stop repeating that ad nauseam as it if repetition lends to fact. It does not.

            Secondly, all you do here is defend religion. You claim to be “faithless”, but your comments are anything but. You claim to want to read the papers, but then you dismiss these with “Some people of faith are very well educated” before you even read them! This is BIASED hearsay and conjecture on your part. You provide little by way of substance other then near religious defence of religion.

          2. @Will

            Where did I dismiss the papers? I said they will show what you say they show. Saying that this does not counter the issue I have raised does not mean I dismiss the content.

            I have explained why you are stereotyping using the definition in the OED – now I appreciate thats not scientific but it is how vocabulary works.

            I fully agree there are less educated people in faith groups – there are many sociological issues for this – some of which would fully support the basis of many of your comments. Some of which would condemn those comments.

            The fact that there are less educated people in faith groups does not give anyone then to make rash comments that because this if you belong to a faith you must be less educated – which some of your comments clearly suggested.

            Sweden has more blonde people – fact. It does not reason that if you are Swedish you therefore have blonde hair.

          3. @Will

            I have briefly read through the front page of the Wikipedia link you have given me – and will look at some of the studies linked to it later. I agree Wikipedia isnt usually the best source of info but if it can be verified it is fine – and there appears sufficient referencing that can be checked.

            As I thought, it does provide some evidence showing that religious people tend to (not are) be less intelligent than those of no faith. There was at least one study on there that I noticed disagreed with this (with an argument but no evidence to support it – which is worth a look).

            It still doesnt stop me seeing that you are making predictions on people on the basis of a fixed unvarying view – by definition stereotyping.

            I dont repeat it to give it credence – I repeat it because its what I see and you dont provide any information that refutes that. Plenty of information, but not refuting that contention.

          4. @Will

            My level of scientific attainment – I havent gone beyond Batchelors degrees (I have a BA and a BSc) but I do have professional qualifications as a health care practitioner.

            My comment about there being educated Christians is not hearsay – its based on meeting them. Please don’t dismiss my experience as though it doesnt matter.

            Read my comments again – tell me where I profess in my comments to have faith – no where. Show me where I defend religion – no where.

            What I do defend is the right of people who hold faith to be shown respect. That is not the same thing and it is facetious to present it as such.

    3. @Mrs Presbyterian Pastor

      I do think its late that the church came to the sort of realisations you are talking about. They are however, welcome.

      I think there is a lot to be said in support of those who have left the church in protest at the anti gay campaign and the it was directed by a group funded by the Lutheran church and whilst senior clergy were clear in their condemnation of the campaign and made clear actions they could take, they did not appear to take those actions. Actions speak louder than words – the action I see in this case is that from the members who have left in disgust both at the campaign and the limited response from the senior clergy.

      I do think the concept of non-practicing clergy is similar to the “love the sinner, hate the sin” concept which is cruel and condemns the individual to living a life which does not celebrate who they are and living (in part) in denial. I hope it changes for you.

    4. Mrs. Presbyterian Pastor Wrote

      “The Presbyterian church has a policy right now that a person can be a minister of the word and sacrament if they are a nonpracticing homosexual.”

      Would your refer to Heterosexuality is a practice, If not; why not?

      1. @JohnK

        Whilst I dislike the term practicing homosexuals and similar, how would you use your vocabulary to describe someone who is gay (possibly in a same sex relationship) but chooses not to engage in sexual activity – whatever the motivation be it faith based or not … I suppose you could call them a celibate homosexual in a relationship … but really? … I hate labels but they are a necessary evil in debate, I dont like the label non practicing but in some ways it describes what is happening …

        1. @Stu

          I practice my violin

          I do not practice my sexuality

          have you ever wondered why the term practice is rarely used to refer to heterosexuality, but is frequently used to describe homosexuality?

          1. Simples. Heterosexuals have relationships and make love, but homosexuals have practices. An effective way to make somebody seem less than human.

          2. @JohnK

            People practice their religion
            People practice their profession

            I don’t need to practice being gay I am very good at it

            In one sense the terminology is a minutiae of the bigger debate – it matters but not a great deal. It irritates and annoys but it doesnt change how I see my orientation or how others see it.

            The one perspective on it that I do have doesnt stop me from disliking it or disagreeing that the word is an incorrect use of vocabulary; however, when you consider that many who are religious regard themselves as practicing their faith – the use of the word (albeit probably unintentionally) gives a sense of parity and equality that is not always afforded to LGBT people by those who hold faith. Still don’t like it, would rather that a different way of describing what they are trying to say was found. But that parity, intentional or not, makes me smile.

          3. @Riondo

            Thats why I don’t like the phrase. But it does make me smile the choice of word and the probable unintentional parity they give LGBT people.

            Gay people do love have relationships and are as valuable as heterosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered and anyone I have missed.

            LGBT deserve rights – so do religious people, people of different races, disabled people, older people, children, etc

            After all the are LGBT people of all different religions (and none), all different races, some are disabled, some are older, some are children …

        2. The description, in one word,, is ‘sad’.

          1. The description in four words is

            Word Diarrhoea

            and

            Wordy Masturbation

    5. I agree with Riondo that the word practice is used to dehumanise homosexuality.

      The word practice refers largely to the “habitual performance of a skill”

      Human sexuality is a physical expression of love between two individuals, not a skills based performance.

      1. @JohnK

        I dislike the term practice as I have expressed ad infinitum but I can’t see that it dehumanises as if that were the case then they would be also dehumainsing their own practicing of faith …

        As for definition of practice you were selcective there are many:

        To perform habitually, make a habit of,
        To do something repeatedly
        To give lessons in
        To work at
        To carry out in action
        To plot
        To work at a profession
        A way of doing something
        Procedure in a court of law
        A scheme
        To be involved in any activity

        I agree a better form of words should be used (not sure what) but I don’t think it is intended as badly as many of us would usually interpret it when you investigate the use of the word further – doesnt justify the use – but does give a sense of perspective

        1. Stu.

          Your response is just

          “Sad”

          1. No its fair

  19. Great campaign! Another nail in the coffin of religion!

    1. Wow,
      Lots and lots of comments. on this subject. Can I ask the LBGT community. How many of you beleve God?
      God Bless you all.

      1. Who cares how many believe in god? What we do believe in is dogmatic idiots like you with the mental prowess of a turnip who can’t see past a silly book of contradictions, and then insult our intelligence by persecuting others as “wrong” simply becuase you think “god told you to”.

        What that is, in effect, is a stupid and lame excuse to prevent you seeing they truth: and that truth is you are a small minded fool who likes to persecute others for some self gratification or low self esteem issues, but conveniently cover it us as “the bible told me to”.

        People like you have no right to demand answers from people like us… as you wouldn’t know what to do with the answer.

        1. Apologise

          Ross wrote

          “Will, I’ve been reading your atheist ‘truth’ for 6 months, and I am still waiting to read something interesting. One day you will wake up and realise that truth does not exist.”

          It is curious how all of a sudden, with have a whole bunch of “Postmodern Nihists” getting stroppy, and we thought the Evangelical Fundamentalists were difficult.!!!

      2. Galadriel1010 29 Mar 2011, 1:06pm

        I believe in God. I don’t neccessarily like him all the time, but I believe in him.

        Can I ask in return, do you believe that love is the gift of God to his people?

        1. @Galadriel1010

          I don’t believe in God.

          I do believe in your right to believe in God

          I do believe love is a human emotion that is very valuable in many ways – I don’t see that it is limited to a link to any form of spiritual being or spirituality.

          @Will

          The vehemance of your comments is interesting!

          I agree those of us who do not have a faith are entitled not to be harassed or pestered or have our privacy invaded by those who do have faith.

          Equally, those who have faith deserve not to be abused or vilified – maybe others who possess faith have attacked us but it doesnt mean all of faith want to do that. What about LGBT Christians?

          1. “The vehemance of your comments is interesting!”

            The vehemence of my comments is vehemence to ignorance and prejudice. I’m sorry, but I do not accept your view that one’s faith is to be tolerated and immune to the ridicule it deserves, when it is nothing more then a convenient blanket cover for bigotry and ignorance. Religious people have been proven in many studies, with verifiability, to be less intelligent on average thin those who are not. Anecdotally, this is fairly obvious to me. I see no issue with pointing out what is blatant and provable, don’t you?

          2. @Will

            I agree there is some ignorance and prejudice from people within faith groups.

            I agree such ignorance and prejudice should be challenged.

            I think faith and belief systems are open to being challenged – I think ridicule is repugnant and offensive and does nothing to promote equality and therefore targeted vindictive attacks on the church based on stereotyped views is damaging to the LGBT communities.

            I do not deny that there are vitriolic attacks based on stereotyping or prejudice from within faith groups towards the LGBT communities and these also deserve condemnation – particularly when they are also vindictive, arrogant or stereotyping.

            Just because we conceive that our belief systems (ie non faith) are more rational, does not make us immune from being vindictive, ignorance, bigoted or prejudiced ourselves.

            I have absolutely no problem pointing out what is proveable – dependant on contextualisation. Sometimes the use of facts can be vitriolic and offensive.

          3. “Sometimes the use of facts can be vitriolic and offensive.”

            I disagree. The truth must always be exposed. You can disagree if you want, its irrelevant, but I am a scientist, so I make no apologies for seeking the truth and proof of what is. And to be honest, your apparent statement that a faith based belief seeking to impost its belief on others is somehow “equal” to my right to exist without undue interference is, quite frankly, ridiculous, sorry.

          4. Stu. Will is always the same when it comes to faith/god. He’s a fundamentalist atheist, as bad as a fundamentalist christian or muslim in my books. Like all fundamentalists, he’s angry, totalitarian, thinks everyone should think what he does and bigoted against anyone who doesn’t.

          5. Ross, that was an enlightening comment, thank you so much for taking the time to share such a load of tripe with us. As you have no idea about me or my beliefs, I would ask you keep your ridiculous and histrionic assessments to yourself, cheers.

            When you have an intelligent comment to make, by all means I will entertain it, but your last comment is the usual nonsense we get in here by way of a “valid argument”.

          6. Ross – why don’t you tell a relative of those murdered in the 7/7 bombings, that there is no difference between the suicide bombers who maimed and killed, and Will, whose interjections just bring people down to earth. It’s more insulting to the victims than to Will.
            It’s not as if Will is going to throw battery acid in the faces of female churchgoers in the name of his non-belief is it?

            As for fundamentalist – if Jesus came back to earth as predicted, e.g. at Old Trafford, in the middle of the Manchester derby, I’d have enough evidence to change my mind. So would Will. By definition, we aren’t fundamentalists, unlike idiots who still pretend evolution didn’t happen.

            Will – today’s been quite entertaining on here!

          7. Ross wrote

            “Stu. Will is always the same when it comes to faith/god. He’s a fundamentalist atheist, as bad as a fundamentalist christian or muslim in my books. Like all fundamentalists, he’s angry, totalitarian, thinks everyone should think what he does and bigoted against anyone who doesn’t”

            Ross. Why does a valuing logic and reason make Will a “Militant Atheist”?

            Ross. Why does valuing the rigour of Science make Will a Fundamentalist, and totalitarian bigot?

          8. @Will

            You said to Ross “As you have no idea about me or my beliefs, I would ask you keep your ridiculous and histrionic assessments to yourself” – the same applies to you … when you say “your apparent statement that a faith based belief seeking to impost its belief on others is somehow “equal” to my right to exist without undue interference is, quite frankly, ridiculous” – nowhere have I said that it is equal – I have said both require respect, both deserve human rights, both deserve compassion …
            You do appear in you comments to resemble the extremist that Ross refers to – and if you are – that is an damaging and entrenched as any religious extremist (in my opinion)

          9. Will, I’ve been reading your atheist ‘truth’ for 6 months, and I am still waiting to read something interesting. One day you will wake up and realise that truth does not exist. But you seem to think you know the truth. You should read some philosophy instead of scientific dogma, it may enlighten you; Foucault, Neitzsche, Baudrillard.

            Adrian, you clearly have issues with religion, your anger is overwhelming. But, like a stuck record, you just go round and round, chasing your own tail. Trying to prove something that you don’t quite understand yourself yet.

            John, valuing logic does not make anyone a fundamentalist. Having opinions like this does – “Religious people have been proven in many studies, with verifiability, to be less intelligent on average thin those who are not.” Just look back over Will’s comments over the last six months and you will find Will is as bigoted against christians as fundamentalist christians are to him.

            btw, I’m not religious.

          10. @ Stu – Believe what you want, but I certainly will not ever accept your position of denying or suppressing fact or truth simply because you think it might “offend” someone who thinks their god is telling them to discriminate. Lets all live in the dark ages again, for fear we offend “god”.

            “One day you will wake up and realise that truth does not exist. But you seem to think you know the truth|”

            LOL! What a complete joke. Am I supposed to be impressed by this rhetorical nonsense? And I am supposed to take YOU seriously? Please. If you can challenge the studies I provide, by all means do so, but do so in an intelligent manner, not with puerile insults and ridiculous statements like this, they only lend to the assumption you are a complete buffoon with nothing to add other than meaningless tripe.

            Adrian, John, many thanks, nothing as disturbing as having to be dictated to by gay people with “compassion” for religion and endure their insults by way of a logical argument. Sad.

          11. @Will

            Believe what I want – I shall, and there is evidence to uphold my opinion that you stereotype and misrepresent what I say.

            I have never suggested any suppressing of the truth. I have suggested showing respect – that doesnt mean that truth cant be spoken and debates shouldnt be had (I wouldnt be on here if I thought that) but that ridicule is damaging, ignorant and intolerant. You can engage in debate and confrontation in a more measured and respectful way and still get your message across in a sophisticated way without diluting the message.

            You further misrepresent me – I do not have compassion for religion. I have compassion for those who choose to have a faith – please be accurate in what you say, you demand it from me – I can expect it from you.

            I don’t recognise the “One day you will wake up …” comment as one of mine …

          12. Stu wrote

            “Will, I’ve been reading your atheist ‘truth’ for 6 months, and I am still waiting to read something interesting. One day you will wake up and realise that truth does not exist.”

            It is curious how all of a sudden, with have a whole bunch of “Postmodern Nihists” getting stroppy, and we thought the Evangelical Fundamentalists were difficult.!!!

          13. . . . Apologise

            Ross wrote

            “Will, I’ve been reading your atheist ‘truth’ for 6 months, and I am still waiting to read something interesting. One day you will wake up and realise that truth does not exist.”

            It is curious how all of a sudden, with have a whole bunch of “Postmodern Nihists” getting stroppy, and we thought the Evangelical Fundamentalists were difficult.!!!

          14. @JohnK

            Thanks for clarifying where that comment came from – I didnt recognise it.

            I agree with a lot of what Ross says but am not quite sure what he means by that

          15. Hahaha – hey Will, John: well done folks. It’s always funny to get comments from people like Ross…. Mind you, no-one in their right mind would bother to trawl through all these comments threads, which have been completely spammed by Stu . The thread is almost as unreadable as Foucault.

          16. @AdrianT

            So I speak untruth – where?

            Spam? – no I challenge and seek scrutiny of your and others words – your clarification at times has been useful – other peoples have not

            I exercise my right to freedom of speech – and you have the grace to engage – but then you point score in name calling

            Disappointing

          17. Whatever floats your boat Stu x

          18. @AdrianT

            Thanks for the kiss … lol

          19. But there comes a point when we have to be honest with people. If it’s a bible basher, wailing in the street about jesus – fine, we bypass them, or laugh at them. However, institutions and personalities who push extremist nonsense like the stuff you hear from street preaching cranks, have enormous influence in the country: in politics, in the Lords, on the media (hundreds of hours of free broadcasting and a deferential BBC), in education, and privileges such as opt out clauses from the equality bill, protective legislation making it illegal to remotely offend a religion; and so on. So we really should not feel bad about calling people stupid and realise where the real intimidation is coming from, and who the real victims are: often, vulnerable bullied kids, terrorised by homophobic preachers and teachers becuase such backward views oin sexuality have such privilege and power in this country. It kills people.

          20. @AdrianT

            I tend to walk past people in the street who are preaching Jesus, sometimes quietly giggling away to myself – sometimes festering inside at the intrusion to my right to a quiet life (although recognising they have freedom of speech). People who engage in street preaching are rarely people (although there may be some) who are willing to engage publically in rational debate. Others may.
            I wholeheartedly agree that institutions and certain personalities should (in particular) face public scrutiny particularly with regard their actions or inactions. That said, there is a danger of mixing everyone into the same boat – clearly Fred Phelps is different to Desmond Tutu who is different to the Pope who is different to an gay Christian who is different to the active Christian who regards equality as crucial to their faith in all areas. By tarnishing beliefs on LGBT grounds we need to take care not to generalise – less so about theology, but in terms of equality not all are equal

        2. If you are going to claim that ‘love’ is the gift of god, then you’d also better claim that ebola, river blindness, nut allergies, appendicitis, brain tumours, asthma, hurricanes and tsunamis are too. In for a penny, in for a pound.

          1. Some of that I would go along with …

            I would also argue that some of the evil things that happen in the world are clearly the work of humans and have no connection to religion

            There are atheist terrorists too eg Tamil Tigers who follow an extremist atheist ideology

          2. There isn’t an atheist ideology or orthodoxy. Atheism simply means no reason to believe in a god.

            What you have to do, is give me an example of a society that has failed based on the philosophy of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, John Stuart Mill, Bacon’s scientific method, the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and then you have made your point.

            The whole battle for human rights has been in the face of fierce religious opposition, every step of the way, since Gutenberg.

          3. @AdrianT

            Certainly set a challenge …

            The Tamil Tigers are more Marxist than the philosophers you request … they follow what some describe as an atheist ideology, may not be a terminology that you find appropriate – but it is used. I accept that it seems almost a paradox to describe atheism as an ideology, however some people have become so strident in their non-belief it becomes a quasi ideology in effect.
            Absolutely, there has been tremendous opposition from those who hold religious views (and those who hold none) against the development of human rights. That does not mean those individuals who hold faith do not have rights – they do.

          4. The Tamil Tigers’ philosophy may be marxist or atheist. But so what? That’s not what matters. The standards – policies based on reason & evidence, that people have inalienable rights, fair representation, freedom from as well as of religion, and freedom of expression – these are interesting benchmarks. And look around the world, to any society where faith gets too much power, and you can be sure all these liberties are under threat or non-existent. (Marxism clearly doesn’t work, as evidence from history shows us).

            As for ‘strident’ atheists – nothing strident about being disrespectful towards those who make assertions based on no evidence. It’s a moral obligation, in fact.

          5. @AdrianT

            The reason for reference to the Tamil TIgers was to evidence that not all terrorism is related to faith – some is …
            I agree history does clearly show that Marxism is flawed.
            I also agree with your view that where religion has too much power in a nation (because too much is subjective I would argue for a complete separation of church and state or mosque and state etc) then there have been examples of threat to some liberties and denial of others (not in all in cases but a significant number). That is not acceptable.
            I struggle with your use of an oxymoron – that its a moral duty to be disrespectful. I would argue far more is achieved when confronting those who threaten liberties due to faith by not belittling the argument that you seek to portray with disrespect to those you challenge – disrespect their actions, disrespect their beliefs (to an extent) but not them as people

          6. It is out of respect for the person that I disrespect the belief. To do otherwise is to assume that the holder of that belief can come to no better conclusion, and is not capable of reason.

          7. @AdrianT

            Absolutely questioning and challenging faith is about respecting that person

            But there is a time when that challenge becomes poisonous and damaging. We need to take care to both effectively challenge and only offend the belief – not the person. If we use labels such as stupid then we oppress that person – which is exactly what religion often does.

          8. well, there’s a time and a place. if a friend or relative of mine were faced with life threatening illness, we wouldn’t be entertaining such a conversation unless that person really wanted it. I’d talk about the weather.

            though, generally, in most situations, I have more interesting things to talk about than the topics discussed in this thread….

          9. @AdrianT

            I agree there is a time and a place for many types of conversation and sometimes that will include more strident conversation.

            I also generally have many other topics of conversation. Although, this has been interesting (and I am sure frustrating on both sides of the discussion at times) – it seems we agree on the core of belief issues and our disagreement is on the subjective and stylistic issue of manner of challenge.

  20. Mr. Lister, I know who made me. Why of course it was MY PARENTS, you idiot, not some invisible sky pixie.

    1. Absolutely Robert

      As an agnostic, I would ask who put the first humans on the planet – and if we accept evolution (which I do) then who made the animals we evolved from, and what made the things they evolved from, and who created the big bang – something must have made it happen … and if that answer is God (of which I am not convinced) then who created Him/Her. I do accept science and theory of evolution does provide many answers – but not enough to totally refute faith

      1. Faith cannot be refuted, Stu, because negatives are impossible to prove. The point is that supernatural belief is unverifiable, therefore not rationally defensible and therefore, in my view, particularly scandalous as a rationale for prejudice and persecution. Regarding your post higher up, I think a certain amount of ridicule of religious belief is only healthy, especially in view of 1/ It invariably makes huge and often exclusive claims about the universe; and 2/It wraps itself in a aura of high seriousness and solemnity. David Starkey is right – the fundamentalists get into a rage because we don’t take them half so seriously as they take themselves.

        1. Riondo, I also think the issue of refutation is key component in this debate. If we look at Karl Poppers definition of science, perhaps you would also agree that the ability to set up and design a refutable hypothesis; is key to scientific rigour and logic.

          Since religion or faith cannot meet these criteria, they can only really be viewed as self-referential; irrefutable systems.

          Do we really want to allow irrefutable religious systems comprising “Myths and fairy tales”; to have a credible influence on life in the 21st century?

          1. @JohnK

            I have a great deal of sympathy in what you say. Thats why, in part, I don’t have a faith.

            I do think you miss the point though – which is that people are entitled to hold views which are different from our own whether we like that or not. In the same way that we are entitled not to believe.

            I remember talking to an astro-physicist who is a Christian. He believes clearly in the veracity of the theory of evolution. He passionately believes in science. He also has faith. He’s a highly intelligent guy who has lectured internationally. He’s engaging, amusing, self and faith depreciating. He didnt convince me of his faith – but neither did he set out to. He reminded me that everyones view of the world and their part in it is formulated from their own experience – much of that will be fact or science for some. For many, that will be based on experiences. For most it will be based on a combination. All of these are equally valid. All deserve questioning/scrutiny

          2. JohnK –
            I agree with almost everything you say, but ‘allowing’ or ‘forbidding’ influences is problematic in a liberal society. All we can do is challenge supernatural belief whenever it tries to assert itself as a valid way to organise the world for others. Keeping it out of laws and stopping it being an ‘assumed’ basis of public discourse are the important things.

          3. @Riondo

            Well said …

            Those who wish to have spiritual or supernatural beliefs are entitled to them in a liberal society

            Allowing or Permitting issues on belief could be seen as quasi thought police which has no place in a liberal sophisticated society

            However, spiritual people or those who believe in the supernatural have no right to assert how to lead the lives of others – they may have some valid ideas on occasion but they can no demand they are followed – and if they do they should be confronted.

            Debate and discourse are indeed important in this regard. Wherever we are on the spectrum of views – be they the complete atheist to the devout person with faith or somewhere in between we should respect those individuals who we debate with unless they themselves impinge on our rights.

        2. @Riondo

          I agree it is impossible to refute faith – someone could have a earnestly held belief in something we can categorically prove and would still have faith in some cases

          I agree faith is a scandalous basis for prejudice and persecution

          I think religious belief should be open to question and scrutiny but ridicule – really? – you think its appropriate to evoke laughter or feelings toward religious belief based on contempt? I disagree. Scrutiny and question … ridicule absolutely not – we lower ourselves to the standard of those who ridicule us as LGBT people when we do that. I don’t disagree with the notion of laughter and cynicism but contempt and provoking negative feelings I do.

          I do agree many religious people need to lighten up however.

          1. Correction could categorically prove they were wrong

          2. Stu –
            I did say ‘a certain amount’ of ridicule – and I will add that targetting is necessary. Mockery of the faith of someone vulnerable whose life is held together by it is not justified. People who demonise others or seek to undermine their rights on the basis of supernatural belief should be made to look absurd. It is not generally difficult and it is a fairly harmless way of dealing with them.

          3. @Riondo

            Thank You

            It does depend on the situation re the ridicule – there may be situations where it would be both acceptable and appropriate.

            Mocking someone vulnerable (although we dont always know the hidden vulnerability someone has) is wrong. Some LGBT people are guilty of mocking some who have faith – including some comments on here I perceive.

            I like your comment
            “People who demonise others or seek to undermine their rights on the basis of supernatural belief should be made to look absurd”

            The thing is they sometimes do a very good job of making themselves look absurd.

            Thank you for your reasoned comments.

            I dont get how people can have faith but they are entitled to without fear of mocking – particularly from people who demand not to be mocked themselves.

          4. People of faith indeed, should live without fear of ridicule and mockery. They should take it on the chin, and make a more plausible, rational case for their beliefs next time round. Or reinvestigate their beliefs.
            It strikes me that those who are concerned about not being mocked, are not bothered about seeking the truth.

            If there was enough evidence for jesus, like a second coming in a full football stadium, I’d change my mind for instance.

          5. @AdrianT

            There are circumstances where mocking is cruel and vindictive – and as in criminal law where you take you victim as you find them – so you do when you mock.

            That said there are times when scrutiny is performed in a variety of ways completely appropriately

          6. We’ve been through this before.

            There are traits that you cannot do anything about, such as sexual orientation, sex, skin colour, which are off limits.

            However, beliefs, opinions, are choices, as people can change their opinions and sometimes come to better informed conclusions, and are thus indeed fair game.

          7. @AdrianT

            I think we both totally accept that equality in terms of age, race, gender, orientation, disability are crucial and that we should strive to eliminate unfair treatment and attitude in relation to all of them and encourage acceptance.

            I think we would probably agree the people who have beliefs have rights too.
            We have agreed what some of those rights are.

            I suspect you would have a lower priority for the rights linked to lifestyle choices such as religion and politics compared to those where there is no choice such as gender and age. I would give them parity – because that is what international law does – it does not grade them in terms of this is more of a right than the other.

            It doesnt stop banter, belief, debate, challenge, scrutiny etc … but these principles of equality suggest all should be treated fairly and equally – you wouldnt mock on race – so don’t mock a person who believes.

          8. All beliefs are treated equally. That means they are put to the same stringent tests. We must also remember, that not all ideas are equal. Some ideas really are stupid. 2+2 does not equal 5.

            So, if you make a stupid comment, you have as much freedom to express those views as everyone else, and associate with anyone who also shares your views, but you must face the consequences, one of which is ridicule.

            And if you don’t like it, you can always argue back, or turn this thread off and look at something else.

          9. @AdrianT

            I have never disputed that you treated all beliefs with scrutiny

            Its lumping all people who believe a certain faith in one group that isn’t sophisticated. This leads to stereotyping and challenge that is inappropriate to some.

            For example, Man Utd are strident in the fervent in their (almost) hatred of LIverpool FC. If I was a Man Utd fan (which I am not) then it does not necessarily equal that I hate Liverpool FC. In the same way, if someone is a Baptist and their church teaches a “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach to homosexuality that does not mean that person believes that nor does it mean they do not passionately embrace equality for all and actively seek change in the Baptist church. Condemn the Baptist church – not the individual who supports LGBT people

          10. I never said that the Society of Friends is indistinguishable from Stephen Green; neither did I say that, the moment I speak to e.g. my friend Peterson in America, that I will go ‘hahaha silly quaker!’ It may come up in a discussion about the bible, why a liberal christian will not advocate removal of books promoting hatred, from the canon. I receive a wishy washy response about how important |Leviticus and Numbers (read 31:17-18 for yourself, can they ever be excusable?) are for the sake of ‘meaning’.

            I will repeat again – that belief without evidence unites all believers, liberal or extremist. It’s not a good thing.

            Infact, I don’t believe christians, even young earth creationists, are stupid. On the contrary, they are experts at media relations spin, deception, denial, lobbying. They are highly intelligent and all the more poisonous for this. We underestimate Christian Concern, The Alliance Defense Fund, the Vatican, etc at our peril, as they now worm into European law

          11. @AdrianT

            Its refreshing to hear you have a less confrontational approach by saying that you deal with different people of faith in a different manner. That certainly can’t be read from your dogma elsewhere in these threads.
            Certainly the historical evidence of the composition of canonical scripture and the reason for inclusion (or not) is lamentable. That is a great reason to question, hold to scrutiny and challenge. However, equally those who question must understand they too can have their integrity questioned – their motivation for challenege, their dogma, what influences have caused them to have unswerving views. The reality is that whilst challenge based on fact is just, the antagonism behind it is often fed by personal experiences. I am not suggesting that you personally have history that would feed your challenges or not – merely expressing that challenges are not always themselves balanced.
            Some people of faith are bigoted, strident and aggressive – some people …

          12. … who challenge them are biased, rude, aggressive and arrogant. In these circumstances, the challenge is rendered futile and impotent by the prejudiced attitude feeding the challenge.
            Belief without evidence is a unifier – absolutely. It does not necessarily unify in terms of bigotry – two apples are not necessarily two golden delicious in the same way that two Christians are not necessarily two Christians who condemn homosexuality.
            You say not all Christians are stupid (precisely the same word you were happy to endorse elsewhere in this thread to describe Christians).
            I agree entirely with your examination that faith is unproveable. I agree entirely that faith without evidence is questionable. I agree the religious have the right to be challenged. I suggest that means the challenging can also be examined for fairness and reasonableness.
            I disagree intently that your manner of quesitoning is always appropriate, helpful to advancing equality. Rudeness is intolerance.

          13. First, you should take care to look at the definition of ‘dogma’. You’re free to dispute or refute what I say if you provide good enough reasons. What I say to you about the history of religion is true; it is also true that the contents of the bible are dangerous, as a believer is hostage to the contents, and could easily take inspiration out of the massacres in the old testament as the sermon on the mount.

            I am fair in debate: however, if an opponent resorts to pleas of hurt feelings, because their religion is ridiculed, then I have no time and no respect. Such people really should run off and make the tea for those who want a serious debate.

            It you, wish to have a similar meta-argument, then you are also setting yourself up for what you will no doubt call, ‘rudeness’, which I would be delighted to offer you, in generous helpings.

          14. @AdrianT

            Well the definition for dogma that I was using is:
            “An statement of ideas or opinion considered by the holder to be absolutely true”.
            I perceive that to fit a lot of what you have said.
            I feel I have disputed your opinions and argument on style of scrutinising others beliefes and manner of challenging with good reasons (in a subjective area). You are entitled to dispute that they are good reasons (since I am disagreeing with you, I would expect you may well disagree) but this does not alter that we are both entitled to our views and both have reasons to consider our views are correct.
            I am more than able to stand up for myself and hold debate despite the thinly veiled undertone of your comments that I am not. I continue to debate with you. I do respect your use of facts, I do not respect a lack of sophistication in being happy to antagonise, anger and upset others based on belief.

          15. Some people are determined to be upset. I’m afraid it’s too bad Stu x

          16. @AdrianT

            Oh I dont doubt some people are overly sensitive

            I do think some people think that they have the right to upset and worse because they can challenge based on fact. But challenging requires listening – because most gain retorts, and failing to engage is arrogant, futile and lacks punch to the point that is made in challenge – I dont specifically suggest you fall into this trap.

            Sometimes we can pander too much to peoples needs – sometimes we care too little about other people – its about balance …

            That all said, there are some people who don’t deserve respect …

  21. I don’t know what is worse here, the religious freaks or that Stu gimp defending their hate and preaching to others why we should too. No thanks, Stu. What an arrogant tosser you sound like.

    1. I don’t think Stu sounds arrogant. Or a tosser. He sounds like he has an opinion, which is probably different to yours. It sounds to me, because you don’t like his opinion, you think you can call him an arrogant tosser – only an arrogant tosser would do that.

      1. Great response there. Really made me think there – two arrogant tossers on one page, what are the odds.

        1. David, I see Ross is backing up every comment Stu makes and attacking folks above that disagree with Stu. Makes you wonder if we’re dealing with another one of those split personality types again?

          1. I have noticed that as well

            Interesting!!!

          2. @John and David

            Paranoia! I have no idea who Ross is – he just happens to agree with at least some of what I say.

            As for me defending the prejudice and hate of the religious – go and read again what I have been saying – I have clearly said a number of times that any bigotry is inexcusable. That the actions of those in the church which marginalize and suppress the rights of LGBT people is wrong full stop.

            To suggest that I have said otherwise is disingenuous and false.

            Although clearly, you dont really want to debate when you use language on a discussion and debate thread such as “What an arrogant tosser you sound like”

            You dont like my views – fine – I dont really mind … I am entitled to them – as you are to yours.

          3. ???? Oh dear, John. How pathetic that you would bother to think that. I’ve been reading this site for about six months and today, for the first time, I’ve made three comments. I think you may be slightly paranoid. Or perhaps the one with a split personality. How sad.

          4. Well John, what gets me is this Stu chap all he does is defend religion. He claims to be “faithless”, but then comes out with a load of tripe like him keeping an open mind to creationism. Its all very, very biased. A closet case god believer in denial – who would have ever thought they existed? You lean something new every day.

            Ross just comes out with insults, nothing of real substance. The fact the back each other up repeatedly doesn’t say much for either of them to be honest, but I do not think they are the same person….. granted their insults are identical and they both do the “repeat same line ad nauseum until other person goes away or agrees”. If they are the same person they need a dictionary to show a little diversity in their rhetoric.

          5. Well, from what I’m reading all I can see is Stu and his pals insulting every atheist as “fundamentalist” while crying tolerance for the poor innocent religious. Since when is it intolerant to challenge beliefs that are unproven? Since when is belief in reason “fundamentalist”? Our entire technological and scientific age is built on reason. I agree with the previous comments that he/they defend religion way too much while purporting to be agnostic or whatever. I smell a troll, people, and if he’s not a troll, then he’s very misguided in where he puts his compassion for those who think belief in the unproven is comparable to acceptance of scientific fact.

          6. @John, Will & David.

            The question of whether Stu is a split personality. What is clear according to the “Top Users This Week”

            Stu is on 610, where as most of us are barely under a 100. Perhaps one might argue this marks Stu out as some what obessive!

          7. @Will

            Again you misrepresent me. I have categorically said that evolution is proved. I have never said I am a creationist or have an open mind to it.

            It does little to your case when you try to undermine my comments by misrepresentation – I thought you dealt in facts, sadly the evidence doesnt uphold this point

          8. Stu, my apologies if you think I am misrepresenting you, but your comment earlier strikes me as someone open to possibilities of creationism. To keep one’s mind open to possibilities is a good thing, but creationism is not an rational option to consider.

            Your comment:- “I don’t believe in creation per se and I don’t have a faith – but I do keep an open mind about it as I dont think we have sufficient answers that disprove an ultimate creative force”

            If this was not your intention, then it simply may be the difference in picking up nuances over a limited internet forum compared to more comprehensive mediums.

            However, science does not need to prove a god. In the absence of proof, the rational conclusion is there is none. Creationism is a dangerous idea for one reason only:- in order to survive as an idea, it needs to utterly suppress the vast body of scientific proof and overwhelming evidence of an observable fact, in lieu of a fairy story. To me this is akin to intellect suicide.

        2. @Will

          Thank you for your apology

          I do think that some of your comments did misrepresent me. It may be a mix of difficulty in both expressing and understand nuance in black and white, and frankly me recovering from being ill that has not made me communicate as effectively as I usually do.

          I will try and clear up the creationism issue. I do not believe in God. I fully endorse the theory of evolution. When I said I have an open mind, I meant in relation to faith not creationism. I do seek answers to the question “What was before that?” when we talk about big bang etc and to be fair neither science nor religion can or do answer me satisfactorily.

          I agree science only needs to answer questions relevant to hypotheses it either produces or are suggested to it. There is no need to try and prove a God – if there is/was one (which I dont see any reason to believe) then surely it is for either God or their believers to prove it.

          I hope you can see I don’t support faith or religion.

          1. As a human being, I seek to be supportive of other human beings – including those who I disagree with – its part of my personality and character to do that.

            I dont support peoples beliefs I dont believe in – I do believe they have a right to believe them even if I or anyone else think its rubbish.

            I also support peoples right to be treated fairly and, for me, that means without rancour or mocking.

            I am passionate about rights. The area I am most passionate about is equality for gay people – particularly access to services, employment and freedoms.

          2. Final comment – I do get it wrong – but I’m human. I try only to mock either when I know it will be accepted as humerous or if the person I am debating with is so stridently bigoted that I lose respect for them (not their predecessors or others they have connection to – but them).

            Hope it kind of makes sense what I have been trying to say.

          3. Stu: “When I said I have an open mind, I meant in relation to faith not creationism”

            Fair enough, I stand corrected. My apologies then. I misinterpreted your comment. Appreciate you taking the time to clarify.

  22. Dear PN Readers .We have now put an FB page for EndTheFear as a new LGBT rights movement.Please check it out and like,as well as share.Our videos are now there,thank you for your support so far.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=hpskip#!/pages/EndTheFear/192381290801644

  23. Dear Pink News Readers,We have now established for a facebook page for all our videos and projects for all new LGBT movement EndTheFear.WE appreciate all your support so far. Visit our page and spread the positive message. Thanks!!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/EndTheFear/192381290801644

  24. Bless you all. With reference to my previous comment. If there is a God? then we as humans would be accountable to him? at some point. If there no God yourselfs decide values morels etc! There is a God because you get a conscience as a standard issue.
    God bless

    1. Mr Lister Wrote

      “If there is a God? then we as humans would be accountable to him? at some point. If there no God yourselfs decide values morels etc! ”

      Mr Lister,

      What you appear to be saying is that you need some one to tell you what to think

      Mr Lister

      Why are you incapable of thinking for your self?

      1. God knows what Lister is talking about.(is that blasphemy, I wonder, when by ‘God’ we mean ‘nobody’)… but he is responsible for all the arguments on here, by his apologists!

        1. Postmodern Nihilistic Apologists

          It appears!

        2. So if someone disagrees with you they are an apologist … that seems to be what you’re saying

          As I cant think of anyone who has endorsed what Lister has said

          1. Stu, you seem to haved a short memory.
            Earlier you announced:

            (Your comment8220)
            “I don’t believe in creation per se and I don’t have a faith but I do keep an open mind about it as I dont think we have sufficient answers that disprove an ultimate creative force”

            This is in essence giving tacit support to the likes of Mr Lister.

          2. JohnK
            I don’t see how Stu is giving tacit support to the likes of Mr Lister. The latter is presumably a Biblical fundamentalist who would only consider assent to the literal truth of the Genesis account (or rather accounts) of creation as ‘support’, tacit or otherwise. Lots of religious believers accept scientific accounts of cosmology and biology while believing that these are in fact the means by which ‘a creative force’ brought the world into being. He seems merely to be saying that there is no evidential basis to support or reject this view, which is entirely reasonable. Even a superficial investigation of the world would suggest that such a ‘creative force’ must be incoherent in the extreme; but that per se is not evidence against it.

          3. @JohnK

            If you think that is tacit support, then I think our understanding of definitions of English words is somewhat different.

            Clearly there has been some misunderstanding on one or both of our parts as nowhere, at all, do I endorse even tacitly any version of creation

            I shall say again as I have many times on this thread – but people seem determined to misrepresent me – I accept in full the theory on evolution. I do not believe in God or creationism. I can see no sense in such belief constructs.

            I dont know how much clearer I can be …

    2. Mr Lister

      You are wrong

      I have a conscience because it is part of me. Its part of my rational being – able to evaluate the difference between right and wrong (and my perception of that whilst probably in tune with most on most things, will vary in some areas with other peoples views on morality). It has nothing to do with a creator force. Our morals whilst slightly different from each other are also a form of evolution (in a different format to physical evolution – but evolution nonetheless).

    3. “If there no God yourselfs decide values morels etc! There is a God because you get a conscience as a standard issue.”

      Silly circular argument with a conclusion that has no relevance to the proposition. So I “got” a conscience, did I? From where, conscience-4-less.com? I’d recommend you worry less about the conscience and more about doing an on-line science qualification and focus on evolution, it will explain a lot, I promise.

    4. @Roindo

      One might want to keep an open mind about creationism, assuming that there was sufficient evidence to disprove “evolutionary theory”. Since sufficient evidence to disprove evolutionary theory does not exist, in any reputable academic circles; why would one want to even entertain the idea that the world might be controlled by Sky Pixies.

      Surely doubt should be borne out lack of evidence, not a spurious call to equality of opportunities in all things; no matter how ridiculous or medieval.

      1. JohnK
        I agree that evidence for biological evolution is overwhelming; my point is simply that some kinds of religious belief accept this but do not see why it should constitute grounds for denying some kind of purposeful force behind everything. They are right; but it is difficult to see what kind of creative or purposeful force is evidenced by evolution, and I agree with you that citing such a force for explanatory purposes serves little purpose. I also agree that fanciful supernaturalist explanations need not detain us or be accorded public respectability, even though they are technically impossible to refute. The point is not so much that they are untrue, but that there is no evidence to justify belief in them. A different thing.

        1. Exactly, I can see that we have reached a confluence on this issue.

          1. I agree in full with the last two sentences of Riondos last posting.
            I’m not as dogmatic about some of the sentences before this but agree with the general thrust of the posting.
            I suppose where I come into dispute is less about scientific fact and more to do with human relationship. Professionally I have worked in criminal law and clinically, both areas bring me into contact with human frailty and needing to have evidence – and the need for respect to get resolution. Hard facts are useful in this but often achieve more by understanding the humans involved.
            There has been some level of sharing of ideas on this thread and I think we agree about more than we disagree. Given the differences are mainly stylistic perhaps we should agree to disagree.

  25. I left the Catholic church because they are anti-gay. Yet they don’t let their priest get married and a a result they become pedophiles. Then the Church tries to shift attention away from the pedophile priest by blaming the gays for their problems. Sorry Pope, it’s not working.

  26. southpaugh 9 Apr 2011, 7:08pm

    The homophobia in evidence exists only because of unsubstantiated opinion, the authority for which has no proof, which relies on logical fallacies such as appeals to popularity and conviction, falsely labeled as fact. The difficulty with any faithful claiming innocence is that any tolerance of others’ more fanatical vilification of gays and support of those views in the name of tolerance is complicit in even the least abject homophobia as enablers in their views. Demands to change others’ lives and curtailment of others’ civil rights, labelled as religious freedom, is false and outright abuse of religious rights, freedoms and behavior. Only those who left the church do not tacitly support the church subsidized “älä alistu” campaign. Members who continued with the church are as morally culpable as those who actually planed and executed the campaign. Dress it up any way you wish, but those who did condone the campaign are right up there with the leaders who approved and executed it.

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