filiopietistic, adjective: Pertaining to reverence of forebears or tradition, especially if carried to excess.
So much for my 2012 pseudo-resolution of trying to disengage from the whole religion debate and foster more positive, constructive dialogues with Christians and other people of faith. (That lasted all of a couple of days.)
What this really more likely indicates is my growing need for serious psychological counseling to get over all of the various issues related to my religious upbringing.
And Seth, of course.
(Note to self: need to get over that…)
The other day I ended up embroiled in a rather tense verbal scuffle with a fundamentalist Christian on Facebook. A friend of mine posted that he felt it was odd that his Christian university “has portraits of Martin Luther King Jr. posted up on campus, celebrates black history month, considers itself a “Reconciliation” school [whatever the hell that means], and yet, still considers homosexuality a sin.”
One of his friends posted in reply:
I think the Bible is pretty clear that pursuing a homosexual lifestyle is a sin. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable for a Christian school to take that stance. “Why is God calling me to a life of celibacy?” is a very, very difficult question to answer. That’s probably why people don’t have good answers for things like that. But as God says, “My Grace is sufficient for you,” and Paul responds, “I will boast in my weaknesses, for in my weaknesses God is strong.”
Perhaps the reason why people “don’t have good answers for things like that” is because there aren’t any good reasons why a gay person should even have to choose a life of celibacy, or endure abuse for being gay in the first place.
The incredible thing is that these people don’t see themselves as hateful. In fact, they seem genuinely dismayed when accused of being such for saying things like this. Even when you attempt to explain how their speech may be perceived as disparaging, they still appear unable to grasp why gays might resent them for saying to a gay man or a lesbian that they can either turn straight or be alone for the rest of their lives. Yet millions of gay Christians have swallowed that toxic sludge and have obediently attempted just that.
“I’m not calling them sinners,” fundamentalists exclaim. “The bible calls them sinners!” My parents used a line like this when they found out I was gay. And I have to believe that they really believe that they think they’re loving gays by “proclaiming the Truth.”
However, the case for homosexuality being a “choice” is now rapidly falling to pieces—something even the other side is having to admit. Alan Chambers, the president of the floundering ex-gay group Exodus International (the group whose two founders left the organization, apologized for starting it in the first place, and got married to each other), said this at a meeting of Christian homosexuals:
“The majority of people I have met, and the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their sexual orientation or have gotten to a place where they can say they have never been tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.”
Now, I highly doubt that 99.9% is a scientifically based estimate, but his statement is staggering. Chambers just admitted that “conversion therapy” doesn’t work!
So, if it apparently isn’t possible to successfully “cure” homosexuality, we’re left with two logical possibilities:
- Jesus isn’t powerful enough to cure it.
- There’s nothing there to cure.
Later on in the message thread, the guy on Facebook actually had the nerve to say this:
Our own sin distorts our perceptions of right and wrong. Our hearts are full of selfishness, lies, anger, and lust. We twist and abuse all the good things God gives us. God didn’t create alcoholics. He created the ability for us to make alcohol and we distorted its purpose.
Yes, he pulled out the old “Homosexuality is an addiction—just like alcoholism!” argument. However, many of us grew up in predominately heterosexual environments, with nothing to become addicted to. Most of us weren’t abused by an older male relative who twisted our perceptions of ourselves and our sexuality. The evidence is mounting in the scientific community that homosexuality is a natural variant of human sexuality.
But let’s be honest: Even if you present him/her with the evidence, a die-hard Evangelical Christian is still going to cling to the party line and insist that homosexuality is a sin.
For those of you lucky to not have been brought up in the fundamentalist church, you’re taught right away that you live in world hostile to Christians and the Christian message. “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake,” says Mark 13:13. “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” You’re going to suffer for doing good (see 1 Peter 3—this is textbook paradoxical thinking).
And that’s why they don’t see their speech as hateful. They’re just doing their god-given duty in speaking the Truth as it’s been revealed to them. Our anger, therefore, is evidence of the testimony of the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sin, and that’s why we get so upset at them—because we know deep down that what they’re saying is true. And that’s why they say, “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!”
Here’s the other part of it: “Men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-20).
So evidence be damned—even though every reputable psychologist, neuroscientist, and even biologist is saying there’s nothing wrong with the GLBT community, gays are still living in sin. And need Jesus to “take away the gay.”
You cannot understand religious conservative rhetoric without understanding this. They know people are going to hate them for “speaking the Truth.”
Ahhh, but their reward lies in Heaven…