Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Get Yer Tokens Here!

“Jesus loves the little Children,
“All the Children of the World.
“Red and Yellow, Black and White;
“They are Precious in His sight.
“Jesus loves the little Children of the World.

This was a regular song cycled through our repertoire as Sunday School attendees. The tune was catchy; the words simple; the memory firmly ingrained. It could even be illustrated by a flannel graph of Jesus looking passively down on one (1) “red” children in full Native American garb, one (1) “yellow” oriental child in straw hat and kimono, one (1) “black” child in full African dress, and one (1) Midwestern child in non-descript Midwestern clothes. (In case you were too thick to get the point of the song.)

[For those of you heathens who never went to Sunday School, if you wonder why Flannel Graph Jesus wasn’t smiling at the kiddies, it was because Flannel Graph Jesus NEVER smiled. He had three looks—Disapproval (vs. the Pharisees), Disappointment (vs. the Disciples) and Tolerance (vs. Women or Children or General Audience.)]

Which is kinda funny, considering it was a large group comprised solely of extremely Caucasian, Middle America Children. The closest thing we came to “red” was playing Cowboys & Indians; to “yellow” was slideshows from missionaries; and our entire township had one (1) token African-American family. Since they weren’t Baptist (apparently)--not represented in our Sunday School either.

Growing up in a Conservative Church environment, we learned what “token” meant. Our churches had one, maybe two African-American families. The token representation. Maybe one oriental family. Another group represented. Native Americans? Rarer than hen’s teeth, but you could still find a few. Not a large minority—oh my no!

Yet what always cracked me up was when any racial discussion came about, we would hear people within my social group exclaim the old adage, “Some of my best friends are black!” (Evidently that one family had a LOT of best friends!) As if this exclamation gave the person a pardon against the possibility of being prejudice.

One of my friends made a keen observation. “You want to know if you have African-American friends? Ask yourself this simple question—when is the last time you ate dinner at an African-American home? How many times in the past five (ten?) years have you done so?” That will answer the question post-haste!

The reason I bring this up is that I am observing a new phenomena of this old trend. “Some of my best friends are homosexuals.” Or “Some of the best relationships I see are among homosexuals.” But I am seeing this from people who then go on (and on and on) about how homosexual acts are SIN, and homosexuals should NOT be allowed to marry, and how homosexuality is tearing apart the very fabric of our society to the point we will no longer be able to function. (O.K., that last is a bit hyperbolic. Sorta.)

And I have to wonder where they are getting all these homosexual friends? Are they the same black friends my social group claimed to have? Because I have no homosexual friends. None. Nada. Zip.

But that shouldn’t be a surprise—look at my social upbringing. My friends were conservative Christians. We socialized with people who would make homosexuals extremely uncomfortable. “Gay” was a derogatory term in my social group. We socialized at events in which homosexuality would be ostracized.

I grew up in a social environment that deliberately and consciously excluded homosexuals. Oh, some of my classmates and associates may have been homosexuals; I am not referring to people who were forced to hide their same sex attraction, or considered such an attraction a sin and something to be avoided.

I am talking about a person who recognized themselves as homosexual, and accepted it. No—no such persons would be welcome within my group. At the very end of my gamily holding on to Christianity, the topic of homosexuality came up in our Sunday School. The teacher was trotting out the tired line of “Love the sinner; hate the sin” and expounding upon how our church would be welcoming to homosexuals.

I (being me) challenged that observation. I pointed out how uncomfortable the members would make them feel, and how the attitude against homosexuality oozed from almost every pore of almost every person. The teacher argued with me that the church folk could disguise their disgust (not exactly his words, mind you) and welcome them with open arms.

At this point the pastor quietly spoke up and said, “Let’s be honest. If two guys came to church holding hands, do you really think they would ever want to come back here?” The room grew silent.

I don’t have gay friends. My former friends (‘cause we hung around the same people) do not have gay friends. I have never eaten dinner in a home of two homosexual people living together. Never.

I am uniquely UNqualified to make any statement such as “some of my best friends are homosexuals” or “some of the best relationships I know are among homosexuals.” Which causes me to continue to wonder about these people I read on-line, in books and in articles who are so vehemently opposed to homosexual sex, yet claim to have these relationships giving them insight.

Where are they finding all these gay friends?

Of course, I am in serious jeopardy of projecting. While my experience has resulted in no gay friends—this doesn’t mean every Conservative Christian has had the same experience.

Certainly someone who converted later in life could have already developed relationships with homosexuals. Which really causes me to wonder how that works:

“Hi. Hey—I’ve converted to Christianity. And I’ve learned this new thing. Turns out God HATES homosexual acts. It is a violation of His Moral Character, and the equivalent of spitting in his face. So I gotta tell ya—I can’t approve of what you and your partner do…er…late at night…uh…in your…well…you know. And I can’t support you all getting married. Nope—wouldn’t be right. And I don’t think you are entitled to equal protection under the law anymore.

“And if you converted to Christianity with me; you’d have to give up any homosexual sex. Oh, you can still be attracted to another person of your gender—you just can’t have sex with them. And the two of you…well…you can’t…you know. Because it is a sin. And God hates that.

“But don’t worry—God still loves YOU. Just because I find what you do is a sin, and will be petitioning against you having any of the same rights as us heterosexuals, we can still be friends, right?..........Right?”

I get how a liberal Christian could have gay friends. I get how liberal theists could have gay friends. I get how a Conservative Christian could have friends who are gay, but won’t tell anyone of their same sex attraction. I get how Conservative Christians could have friends who are gay, but the Christian won’t tell them of their belief homosexual acts are a sin.

What I don’t get is why a homosexual would continue to be friends with a person who informs them who they are results in a heinous sin, and the person will do everything in their power to keep the homosexual from being able to marry their partner, or be protected from discrimination, or be protected from hate speech.

Why would a homosexual want to be the “token” pardon for why the person is not prejudiced against gays? ‘Cause their best friend is gay…


  1. Excellent as usual, King Fr—I mean, DagoodS.

    and how homosexuality is tearing apart the very fabric of our society to the point we will no longer be able to function. (O.K., that last is a bit hyperbolic. Sorta.)

    Hm, not very. See But how does someone’s homosexual “marriage” threaten everyone else’s families? at Focus on the Family's Is Marriage in Jeapordy?.

  2. Sounds like homosexuality won't tear apart the fabric of society unless people resist same sex marriage. Thus the majority of Americans are "bigots" who need to be separated and chastised for failing to pander to the narcissistic sensibilities of gay people. Pretzel logic.

    You also seem to relate everything back to your boring boilerplate Christian upbringing. Being wrong then doesn't mean you're right now. Regards.

  3. So, Jim Jordan. Do you have homosexual friends? Have you been to a homosexual househould for dinner in the past year?

  4. Because I have no homosexual friends. None. Nada. Zip.

    You do; you just don't know it. You've probably even had dinner at his/her house.

  5. **The teacher was trotting out the tired line of “Love the sinner; hate the sin” and expounding upon how our church would be welcoming to homosexuals.**

    I've always found that statement interesting: "Love the sinner, hate the sin." For a homosexual who is comfortable with him/herself, freely acknowledges who s/he is ... isn't that an important part of his/her identity? Can you truly hate the sin and love the sinner in this instance? If you're hating homosexuality, and yet loving the person, who exactly are you loving? Who the person is? Or some sort of cariacture? I think the response here is usually that homosexuality is not in God's original design, or not how the person was originally created to be. But all we know is who the person is now ... and yet hate the "sin" aspect, which happens to be part of his/her identity?

  6. Yes and yes, Dagoods. It is possible. My brother-in-law is gay and I see him every day. He knows I don't believe in same sex marriage and he's fine with that. One of my favorite customers is a gay man who graduated from seminary. Larry has a great sense of humor and we have long talks every time he comes to my store. We exchange books fairly regularly. He doesn't seem to care much about SSM though.

    Then there's Jorge whose family we've gotten to know well. They're Colombian and my wife is from Venezuela so they hit it off well. We've had some long conversations about religion and sexuality and just about everything. His ex is also a good friend who gave us some great advice on dealing with my other brother-in-law's condition a few months back (he's a nurse). I could go on and on (I must mention Billy the Irish flight attendant. He should be a stand-up comedian. I'm going to blog on one of his stories in the next few days).

    Now that I think about it I could write a book on my friendships with gay people. They're great people.

    So perhaps in Michigan gay people hibernate most of the year...or perhaps they all moved to South Florida and/or other points south. Or perhaps they're that ideal that you write about, Jesus loving the yellow child, the red child, but you'll never have to meet them face to face. How can you say that voting "No" on same sex marriage is equal to hating them when you yourself admit...you don't know them!

    Or could it be that you're just upset that people would recognize God in such a way that we might have to acknowledge him?

  7. JJ.........good for you that you know some Gay people. The fact that you think they are Sinners because they choose to love someone of the same sex should tell you something about your belief. Every species in nature has homosexuality in it. Do you honestly think its a mistake that GOD created every species with the same mistake? And by the way go back and read your bible and explore the context of the approximately 6 or 7 verses that condemn homosexuality. Seems to me that they are more concerned about Rape, Pedophilia, Prostitution and Idolatry. But then again, what do I know Im just a Lay person.

  8. The fact that you think they are Sinners

    John T., we're all sinners and why do you capitalize sinners as if they are being singled out? "Blogging for Christ" can be a sin. Had you thought of that? I recommend you read C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce". Take note of the theologian who took a bus-ride to Heaven but preferred to go back to Hell because he felt he was on the verge of a breakthrough in theology and would best work on it there.

    Sin is not simple, but very complex. It is everywhere. Are you choosing to ignore it?

  9. Good Morning JJ

    Maybe the point Im trying to make is not about all Sins. Maybe its about whether or not you or me or others are actually interpreting properly what the early writers of the Bible were writing. The fact is, its not so clear that they are writing about Homomsexual relationships as we understand them today. Now if you choose to see it that way, that is your choice, just dont tell me its the will of GOD, because there aint no way in my mind you can make that leap.

  10. Dagoods

    Just curious, do you Golf?

  11. Actually Dagoods,

    You do have a gay friend (and I would hazard to guess more than one). I liked barefoots take on it, that was great..., but I'm going a little different direction.

    For the benefit of Sandwichworld, Dagoods and I have known each other for some time. We met over at Debunking Christianity a hundred years ago. Dagoods was one of the first people I came out to as gay in the regular world. He has been a very good friend, one of my best friends actually. He immediately accepted and cared when I was pretty alone (seems so "Christian," no? This was when my "Christian friends and family were dropping left and right). He had the same Calvinist background as myself, so he was able to relate on many levels.

    People make a mistake thinking that because they cannot relate that they don't understand. Well, Dagoods does get it, he does understand and he has been an amazing friend. It's really good for gay people to have straight friends who understand.

    So Dagoods, you are qualified to speak as a friend of at least on gay person. And anytime you are in town, you are invited to dinner.


  12. Very nicely said, Dagoods.

    One of the leading voices for inclusion in my and Jim's church (the Presbyterian Church (USA)) is Dr. Jack Rogers, who in the past has been a Moderator of the General Assembly (as close as we get to a Pope, and then only for one year). He has personally made a 180° on his attitude toward gay people, and unusually NOT because he has a family member who is gay. He describes it as a process of discernment, study and getting to know gay people personally. He did in fact take your advice and began seeking out gay couples and having dinner at their houses. And his attitude changed.

    Jim, with this pantheon of gay people in your life, have you ever had a discussion about why you are working to prevent them from having the same protections you do in regards to employment, housing and immigration? Otherwise, it sounds like you're congratulating yourself for having superficial relationships with a handful of gay people. It's the old "some of my best friends are black" argument.

  13. Loved it!! Lived it!!

    One major difference, I was (and still am) the token gay one. Talk about confusion, I was even in a conservative high school all the way to graduation.

    It's a constant fear b\c I was told that the homosexual can pray for deliverance and if it is done sincerly, deliverance will be granted. That was tough espicially during adolescents. I do still have friends that like you were talking about disagree with many issues.

    I too use them as an example "Some of my best friends are Christians..." and yes, it is true. Even some slaves loved their masters.

  14. The Barefoot Bum,

    I am sure you are correct. And I have clients who are gay, people I associate with in society who are gay, and people I work with as gay. But I have never eaten in a house with Bob and Larry.


    Thank you for the very kind words. I did think of you when writing this, and of course you would be a gay friend. I’ve never eaten at your house either! *wink* (We live a distance apart.)

    What would you think of a person who was a friend yet was against gay marriage, and claimed homosexual sex was evil, a sin and an affront to their God? Wouldn’t that affect your relationship with that person?

    Jim Jordan,

    Do you think you could get one of your gay friends to guest blog an entry? They could e-mail it to you, and you post it. I would love to know their take on the friendship you have with them, knowing you are against gay marriage, consider homosexual sex “evil,” a “sin,” a “waste of a person’s time,” “perversion and wickedness,” a failure and that you consider it a possibility they are gay because they did not have a father figure in their life.

    I am not saying this in any cynical or sarcastic way. Truly I think such a blog entry would qualify for “Blog of the Year” as to providing a fascinating insight to how a homosexual could befriend a Conservative Christian. I even promise to not comment on it (even though it is my smashingly great idea), and since you have moderation up, you could block out all those other comments you do not desire. From people we will hide under the nomenclature of “F” for anonymity. *grin*

    Anyone else think this would be a great blog entry—or is it just me?

  15. I'll get right on it, Dagoods. I'll ask my brother-in-law to write down his impression of me.

    I recognized your IP address looking up all my writings on Homosexuality. I don't suppose all those words are in correct context. At least you didn't waste more of my time with links. *sigh*

    You do realize that you're saying that 61% of Californians (2000 vote turning down SSM) could not have friendships with a gay person. Sounds like war to me. Why don't activists like Flycandler just come out with it and say "Resistance is futile!"? :-)

    And btw, is a Conservative Christian anti-war, pro-immigration, for universal healthcare, critical of Big Business, for the death tax etc. etc.? You can't put me in that box. Sorry.

    I think you may still be upset for me challenging your "de-conversion".
    I'd like to see a Christian friend of yours, if you have any, post about what a happy camper you are. Surely you have been transmogrified into a delightfully enlightened person since your "de-conversion". *grin*

  16. "What would you think of a person who was a friend yet was against gay marriage, and claimed homosexual sex was evil, a sin and an affront to their God? Wouldn’t that affect your relationship with that person?"

    Oh... you mean my wife and kids?? Yes, it does have a bit of an affect. lol.

  17. Paul, if I understand you correctly, you have a wife and kids and you came out later as gay. How do you think that affected them?

  18. Jim, this is a LOT more common than you might think. A bunch of the gay folks in my church have kids from previous marriages.

  19. Jim Jordan,

    I was unaware (and puzzled) the term “Conservative Christian” was derogatory to you. I will refrain from calling you that, then. I found it strange you define “Conservative” along American Social Policy lines. I think of Christianity as cross-cultural; defined along theological/doctrinal positions when it comes to characterizations, such as “Conservative,” “Fundamental,” or “Liberal.” You, apparently, define your Christianity by Americanized Social Issues.

    What the Evangelicals attempted to separate themselves from (American politicizing defining Christian terms) in their “Evangelical Manifesto” you embrace and incorporate within defining your own Christianity! I find that odd.

    There is a fundamental difference between you and me I have observed. We approach a certain methodology very differently which has caused, I think, some of the misunderstandings.

    Due to my long-ingrained personality, further reinforced by my occupation—when I want to learn what someone says about a certain topic, I research their past writing. If I discover “Blogger Bob” and want to know what s/he says about some topic, say “feeding the poor”—I research as best I can what s/he has said previously on the topic, or extremely closely related topics.

    If they previously said something, I assume they meant to say what they said. They were not randomly spewing out words, but were conveying a belief on a point.

    Because of who I am and what I do, when someone new enters my internet world, and wants to know what I said on a topic—say “inerrancy”—I greatly appreciate and admire if they take the time to do some research on what I said previously. And quote me accurately. Do for me what I would do for them.

    For example, recently, another blogger quoted my previous blog entry as claiming I said, “Christians don’t like homosexuals.” But I didn’t say that. What I said was, “Christians don’t like what homosexuals do.” That little two-letter word—“do”—makes a huge difference.

    THAT is what I appreciate and admire. To review what I have written, and quote me accurately. It is what I strive to do for others; when I want to write on what Jim Jordan has previously said about homosexuality—I go through past blog entries and see what it is you actually said!

    Apparently you, on the other hand, find that offensive. That’s O.K.—it is simply a difference of personalities, I guess. You think my researching what you have said previously on homosexuals and quoting it verbatim is somehow demeaning to you, or disrespectful or something.

    We clash at a180 degree difference. What I admire and appreciate, you dislike and find offensive, it seems.

    When I did what I do (research)—you assumed I was doing it because I was mad or upset. We naturally project our own feelings, hopes, fears and desires on others. It is a natural human thing to do. You projected what you would have to be (upset) in order to do what I was doing. I was doing it to quote you accurately.

    Again, this is not a “bad” thing or a “wrong” thing—just a difference in personalities.

    I will take it a step further. If I question someone’s motives in quoting me, or wonder whether they are misquoting me or taking me out of context, I respect at the highest level if they provide a link from where they are quoting me from. This provides me (as well as any other reader), an opportunity to see the words in their original form. Again, this is partly from my occupation as we have a persistent obsession with quoting from sources and providing the citation for that source. Read any legal opinion and all the cases/statutes/court rules it cites and you will understand immediately what I mean.

    So I cannot emphasize how much I esteem a link for when I am being quoted. It would appear, due to your abject aversion to my linking to your quotes, that to the same degree I hold citations in a higher regard than just quoting, you hold it even lower esteem and outright repulsion of the practice. You HATE those links!

    Again, what I even more greatly admire and respect, you even more greatly disdain. Perhaps if you understand the difference between us, you can understand I am not quoting you, or linking you out of some hate, or anger or animosity. It is simply who I am and what I do.

    I had forgotten our discussion about my deconversion. (While I normally refrain from linking at your request, I provided this for other readers.) You have to understand—I have been told so many times in so many venues I wasn’t a Christian in the first place, I forgot our discussion as one in many of the cacophony. What I DO remember (and refreshed my memory by re-reading it) is that this was an excellent example of the difference I am pointing out.

    You used the term “deconversion.” I researched and found where you had used it in a manner totally contradictory. And linked it. You, apparently, found my trying to hold you to a consistency by quoting and linking as offensive in some manner.

    Jim Jordan: I'd like to see a Christian friend of yours, if you have any, post about what a happy camper you are.

    You think a friend posting whether I am happy is…interesting? I found the relationship between an individual who is against homosexual sex, against homosexual marriage, considers it a “success” when homosexuals no longer practice homosexual sex and their homosexual friends a fascinating topic. How well DO Christians do at “love the sinner; hate the sin”? Particularly from the homosexual side. (I’ve heard how well Christians think they do.) How does it affect the relationship?

    My friends demonstrated admirably how the relationship between a deconvert from Christianity to atheism affects the relationship—by running away at Mach speed!

    I have one (1) remaining Christian friend. I can ask him to write something if you tell me what you are looking for. Is that it? Whether I am happy now?

  20. Jim Jordan wrote:
    "Paul, if I understand you correctly, you have a wife and kids and you came out later as gay. How do you think that affected them?"

    I'll try and give you the short version Jim. I was raised in a very conservative fundamentalist Christian home. John MacArthur baptized me, if that means anything to you. I became aware of my attraction to males for the first time when I was about 8. My orientation was obvious to me at 14. Because of how I was raised, I 'knew' that being gay was not an option...okay, unless I wanted to fry in hell for eternity, so, I decided to choose life.

    When I was 19, I got up in front of my church and "confessed" my attraction to men. I had been fighting myself alone and figured "God" wasn't helping me because I was being proud by keeping my sin secret. So, my first "coming out" was to my church when I was 19 (I wasn't married then, but my future wife was in attendance during that disclosure).

    How did that "affect" her? Well, she thought it was just an glich. You see, most fundamentalists (especially in those days) don't really think there is such a thing as "gay" ("gay is just a result of bad parenting). IOW, "God" can fix that. They all prayed over me, "rebuked" the "enemy" and it was never mentioned again by them. Well, gee, wouldn't God have to fix me since I have 'chosen' to resist being gay, since gay offends God? It seemed logical to me. Hey, it seemed 'logical' for about 35 years... which is about how long I worked on being "ex-gay" with the churches help.

    A year and a half ago, I came out to my sons (both adults). I hid that from them for most of their lives because I had to protect them from me, didn't want to make them gay. How did it "affect" them? Well, they both rejected me. They felt terribly "betrayed." That's understandable, they grew up not really knowing their dad. They were raised with the fundamental Christian party line, what else should be expected? I regret not telling them at a younger age, but then I still believed that "God" was going to change me, so it was generally believed by myself, my wife and the Christian counselors that I should protect them.

  21. paul: You see, most fundamentalists (especially in those days) don't really think there is such a thing as "gay" ("gay is just a result of bad parenting").

    Let's not forget "self-replication" through male-male child molestation. :p

  22. I do find "Conservative Christian" a derogatory term. It is an aberration, a cultural contamination of the gospel and it does not describe me. My stand on abortion and same-sex marriage stand on the words and work of Jesus Christ - I'm a Christian, not a Conservative.

    Your links were off the mark by the way. I have 900 articles to search through and I'm sure you'll find a few minor inconsistencies. But what you are doing is playing lawyer, not engaging in a debate.

    Paul, I'm glad you waited till your children grew up and I'm also glad you posted your response when you did. I assumed you left when they were young as my father did. My Dad was an adulterer and ran off with another woman and left us high and dry. That is far worse.

    Now I have my father's same strong attraction to women and after becoming a Christian (and also a husband and father) I prayed to have that excessive desire lifted and over time and lots of prayer it was. Luckily I was never tempted during those years.

    My father's sexual desires defined him and I refused to ever look in the mirror and see him looking back at me. Now you have raised your sons, but your wife will spend her later years most likely alone because of your decision. The question is, what is most important to you?

    As for your sons' reaction, I think some fundamentalists have a problem with dealing with a lot of things. The dynamic is that if they forgive you, the Joneses who've taught Sunday school for 40 years (and their ilk) might leave and go to a different church. This is not of course a Christian response but a narrow-minded social response. I highly recommend that one church building not be the sole expression of a person's faith. A bible study like BSF that is non-denominational helps break down the barriers that come in "my church"-only based religion.

    Another point is that God chose you to be their father. Do they understand what they are doing when they reject you? I love my father regardless of what he did. People take the outrage road and forget that what they are saying is that God made a mistake.

    I'm not making the debateable point that God made you gay, but the irrefutable point that God made you a father to two men. And your wife had everything to do with that. I'd hate to see her live out her later years alone because of this. But again, the question is, what is most important to you? My prayer for you is for reconciliation with your family regardless of how the marriage turns out. Take care.

  23. Are the aversion to taxes of any sort, the intense opposition to Senators Clinton and Obama, tepid support for Senator McCain, rabid enthusiasm for Reverend-Governor Huckabee, and the Islamophobia also "stand[ing] on the words and work of Jesus Christ"?

    To quote the late, great Douglas Adams (my favorite atheist; sorry, Dagoods), "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we may just have to come to terms with the possibility that we have a waterfowl of the family Anatidae before us."

    On a more serious note, that's very interesting about your family history. It certainly explains the interchangeability in your mind between sexual orientation and sexual intercourse.

  24. Dagoods, here's a link for you to my opinion of Conservative Christian. [I know you've seen it already :-]Agreement is not there. I also see my article on why my support of Rev-Gov. Mike Huckabee faded.

    By trying to be as dogmatically "Christian conservative" in the days before the [So. Carolina]primary, Huckabee missed the point.

    Did you merely just arrive at Atheism because you thought it impossible for any Christian to survive your cross-examinations?

    Fly, I was deeply troubled by Paul's sons' rejection of him. Are you?

  25. Jim jordan wrote:

    "Now you have raised your sons, but your wife will spend her later years most likely alone because of your decision. The question is, what is most important to you?"

    Well Jim, actually I am still married and living a monogamous life (which is better than I did as a Christian). As a non-theist I couldn't in good conscience just kick my wife to the curb after the damage caused by years of pandering to the narcissistic sensibilities of the fundamental Christian belief system.

  26. Jim Jordan, I hesitate to do this, because it will only enflame your feelings. But it is the easiest way to demonstrate what I mean.

    Yea, I did a search (being me) of your use of the term “conservative Christian.” I notice you called yourself a conservative Christian in February of 2006. However, by November of 2007, you indicated this was a”conservative Christian” phase.

    Looks to me as if you once called yourself a conservative Christian, and now you don’t. *shrug* I am and always have been a firm believer that a person can call themselves whatever they want. (I object to them limiting others out of doing so, of course.) If you don’t want to be called a conservative Christian—what skin is it off my nose to not?

    Heck, you stated you were an agnostic who never believed in natural abiogenesis, which is a real head-scratcher, but I let it be.

    Jim Jordan: Did you merely just arrive at Atheism because you thought it impossible for any Christian to survive your cross-examinations?

    Nope. Why…do you think Christians are not surviving my cross-examinations?

  27. Paul,
    The church dynamic I described is indeed narcissism (love of those like oneself which, of course to them, excludes "sinners" :-). I'd add it is also un-Christian. You sound like a good man btw.

    Natural abiogenesis is absurd. Complex organisms can evolve into complex organisms but they don't create themselves. It fails on its own de-merits.

    Theism is the only real explanation of why there is something rather than nothing. In reviewing the agnostic term, I concede I used it incorrectly. You are right to scratch your head. I was more like a lazy theist.

    Yes, I imagine many Christians failed your cross-examinations. Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. But a cross-examined life would eventually deconstruct itself into an atheistic worldview. At least that's my 2 cents.

  28. FWIW, and I hate to dwell on the personal pain of an innocent bystander like this, I think Paul's rejection by his own family is a terrific example of the way the church has failed its own ideals. It has gotten so fixated on sexual orientation (again, a concept not discussed in the Bible in general and certainly not by Jesus himself) that it is now exploding families in the name of "family values". Mind you, it is now setting Christian sons against Christian fathers in the name of... well, it's not Christ. I can therefore only presume it's an idol. The Cult of Homophobia? Of an imaginary Optimal Sexuality?

  29. Dagoods, your link to me saying I was a Conservative Christian was flawed. I was being painted by three atheists as a CC yet I scored well on the separation of church and state quiz at a liberal site. The CC claim was tongue in cheek, Dagoods. I hope you do understand that tripping me up with what I might have said in the past really means diddly in a debate today. It seems to be your only refuge lately. Arguments win debates, not cross-examinations.

    Btw, one of those three atheists converted. Regards.

  30. Jim Jordan,

    I was actually far more interested in a conversation regarding how you define your Christianity (in terms of “Conservative”) using American Social Issues, rather than theology or doctrine.

    What you called yourself when is less intriguing than the “why.”