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Old 25th May 2019, 07:15 PM   #1
Thor 2
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Disunity in The United Church.

The church that many saw as a beacon of light in Christendom, a church of fused denominations rather than a splinter of another, is showing signs of rupture.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-...tance/11082926

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The Uniting Church is facing growing unrest as conservative factions push for it to reverse its decision to allow ministers to perform same-sex marriages.
The gay thing is such a big, big, deal for so many Christians. Why is this so? Scripture is referred to with due reverence, whereas scripture on so many other issues is ignored.
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Old 25th May 2019, 08:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
The church that many saw as a beacon of light in Christendom, a church of fused denominations rather than a splinter of another, is showing signs of rupture.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-...tance/11082926



The gay thing is such a big, big, deal for so many Christians. Why is this so? Scripture is referred to with due reverence, whereas scripture on so many other issues is ignored.
Well, homosexuality is condemned in the bible in several places so a christian should condemn it. However, I cannot account, given that it wasn't such a standout in the bible anyway, for why it is such a trigger issue, or has grown to be such an important issue.

So what does the bible say about it.

In Genesis, you have the Sodom nonsense. The two angels appeared as men to Lot. A mob rocks up wanting to bounce wobbly bits with them. Lot throws his daughters under the bus (women don't count, the bible says nothing about lesbianism because it doesn't care what women do).

Leviticus goes on to condemn homosexuality as an abomination and worthy of death (no lesbians yet).

And that's it for the OT. It's a bit "Meh?". Just another random death sentence for a harmless offense. No different than death for unruly children. And if we don't kill unruly children, why homosexuals.

Scroll on to the NT, and Paul, on three occasions, endorses the prohibition.

This is problematic. Christians will tell you that Jesus established established a new covenant, thus obviating the levitical commandments except for the ten which jesus endorsed. The problem is that jesus only endorsed five, not ten and the homosexuality law is not one of them (still no lesbianism).

Watch them try to wriggle out of that one.

Anyway I have a tentative conjecture.

Given that we know that some of the most virulently anti-gay pastors/preachers/priests/whatever have turned out to be closet gays, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Paul was one of those. After all, he had a string of named "companions" all men. After all, why would Paul insist upon keeping this extra Levitical commandment and no other? He must have had some motivation for doing so even though jesus didn't.

Personally, I think Paul's general nuttiness is directly responsible for much of the incoherent beliefs in todays many varieties of christianity.
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Old 26th May 2019, 01:51 PM   #3
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Paul may have been a shirt lifter, (or perhaps loin cloth dropper), you think? Interesting theory and the evidence of modern day preachers persuasions, seems to add weight to the suggestion. Ted Haggard comes to mind.

Interesting when I discuss the phenomena of closet gays, being rabid ant-homosexual advocates with gay friends of mine, they find it hard to accept. Perhaps this is something unique to the religious, being racked by guilt and in denial. Must be quite agonising for them I suppose.
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Old 26th May 2019, 03:08 PM   #4
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Well I seem to have made a slight mistake here in referring to the United Church of Australia. It is the Uniting Church.

Mind you the United Church of Canada, although being in the front running to accept the sexually wayward, are having and have had problems also. From the ever reliable Wiki:

Quote:
In 1988, a task force released Gift, Dilemma, and Promise: A Report and Affirmations of Human Sexuality that stated that all human beings, regardless of sexual orientation, are persons made in the image of God, and recommended that the church welcome sexually active gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals into all aspects of the Church, including the ministry.[1]
A poll taken within the church revealed that only 28% of members supported this concept, and conservative factions vowed to defeat the proposal that would be tabled at the 32nd General Council later that year.[1] However, the General Council commissioners, by a 3-to-1 majority, endorsed a statement called Membership, Ministry and Human Sexuality that stated "all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to be or become members of The United Church of Canada" and that "all members of the United Church are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry."[2] Taken together, these two statements opened the door for openly gay men and women to join the ministry.[2]
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Old 26th May 2019, 03:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Paul may have been a shirt lifter, (or perhaps loin cloth dropper), you think? Interesting theory and the evidence of modern day preachers persuasions, seems to add weight to the suggestion. Ted Haggard comes to mind.

Interesting when I discuss the phenomena of closet gays, being rabid ant-homosexual advocates with gay friends of mine, they find it hard to accept. Perhaps this is something unique to the religious, being racked by guilt and in denial. Must be quite agonising for them I suppose.
I think unwarranted stigma has caused many among the LGBTQ+ community to experience guilt and denial. Being religious simply provides a route to vent those inner frustrations. The religion itself not only advocates it, it is an "acceptable" way of expressing ones inner demons.

Of course, I have first hand experience of that sort of paralysing terror of coming out as whatever it is one happens to be. My eldest is trans. After the initial public reveal had died down I did ask the question. "Surely you know me well enough by now to know that I would not care in the slightest, no?".

His answer? "It was such a huge thing that I was unsure how anyone might react."

And that is the problem we still have. An atmosphere that you must conform to some standard established by...the religious.

Having come out, the reception was generally positive and supportive. The relief he experienced was immeasurable.

With one exception.

The religious.

Now obviously, she became he in private before going public, but I did have that conversation. I warned him that no matter what, he would come up against religious wingnuts who wanted to fix him by bringing him to jebus, restoring his god ordained feminine nature. Sure enough....even one of the teachers who is a fundie. Counterbalance that with one of said teachers colleagues who is a gay man with a legal husband. That must make for some interesting staff meetings, LOL


ETA: Weirdly, he came out as atheist before he came out as trans. What the hell does that mean?
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Old 27th May 2019, 03:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your story abaddon. Your son is very lucky to have you as a father. If your son had clung to theism I imagine the internal conflict would have been severe. Good thing he discovered atheism first.

The preoccupation of the religious with the sexual orientation, and sexual identity issues is disturbing, distasteful, and disruptive. The pain caused must be immense.

My theory as to why it is such a big deal is the "God makes everything perfect" mindset of Christians. Somehow if someone turns out queer it must be their own fault. Can't blame God now can we?
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Old 27th May 2019, 09:08 PM   #7
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This is what happens. Churches split. For many reasons. The Uniting Church was somewhat unusual in the first place because it was a church that was formed by three churches joining together.

I have a very good friend who is a "worship leader" (ie, pastor) at the Uniting Church, who gives sermons every week and is a tireless advocate for same-sex and transgender rights. I may have mentioned Megan previously - if I haven't, she is foremost in my mind as an exemplar of what I consider to be an "ideal" Christian - one who works constantly to reform and bring progressive values into the church. But there are members of her church who disagree with her. Of course there are. It's inevitable.
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Old 27th May 2019, 09:21 PM   #8
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The thread heading had me worried for a moment. Before I was an atheist I was brought up in what in the US has become the "United Church of Christ," whose buildings tend to fly rainbow flags these days, and to put signs up saying things like "Everyone Welcome". I'd be sorry to see that trend reversed.

Of course the best option in my mind is to drop religion altogether anyway, but not everyone finds that easy or even possible, and for those who can't life is much saner and happier when churches take them as they come.
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Old 27th May 2019, 09:37 PM   #9
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The Uniting Church will not stop supporting equal marriage. What will happen is that half of the church will split off and form a new church, which will be progressive, but not that progressive. Both churches will probably adopt a new name at that time.
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Old 28th May 2019, 01:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
The Uniting Church will not stop supporting equal marriage. What will happen is that half of the church will split off and form a new church, which will be progressive, but not that progressive. Both churches will probably adopt a new name at that time.

That is the thing that sets the Uniting Church apart from others. The fact it was formed by joining denominations rather than splintering off, as is the case with most of the 40,000 or so versions.

I wonder why there are so many types of Christianity. I suspect one of the main reasons is entrepreneurial. I am displaying some cynicism here I suppose, but suspect many start new churches, so thy can be top dog and get the cash.
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Old 28th May 2019, 06:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
That is the thing that sets the Uniting Church apart from others. The fact it was formed by joining denominations rather than splintering off, as is the case with most of the 40,000 or so versions.

I wonder why there are so many types of Christianity. I suspect one of the main reasons is entrepreneurial. I am displaying some cynicism here I suppose, but suspect many start new churches, so thy can be top dog and get the cash.
You're seeing one of the reasons right here. One group within the church thinks they're doing something wrong. When their differences become irreconcilable, those with the new opinion form a new church. It happened in 1521 and it's happening today.
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Old 29th May 2019, 08:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Well, homosexuality is condemned in the bible in several places so a christian should condemn it. However, I cannot account, given that it wasn't such a standout in the bible anyway, for why it is such a trigger issue, or has grown to be such an important issue.

So what does the bible say about it.

In Genesis, you have the Sodom nonsense. The two angels appeared as men to Lot. A mob rocks up wanting to bounce wobbly bits with them. Lot throws his daughters under the bus (women don't count, the bible says nothing about lesbianism because it doesn't care what women do).

Leviticus goes on to condemn homosexuality as an abomination and worthy of death (no lesbians yet).

And that's it for the OT. It's a bit "Meh?". Just another random death sentence for a harmless offense. No different than death for unruly children. And if we don't kill unruly children, why homosexuals.

Scroll on to the NT, and Paul, on three occasions, endorses the prohibition.

This is problematic. Christians will tell you that Jesus established established a new covenant, thus obviating the levitical commandments except for the ten which jesus endorsed. The problem is that jesus only endorsed five, not ten and the homosexuality law is not one of them (still no lesbianism).

Watch them try to wriggle out of that one.

Anyway I have a tentative conjecture.

Given that we know that some of the most virulently anti-gay pastors/preachers/priests/whatever have turned out to be closet gays, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Paul was one of those. After all, he had a string of named "companions" all men. After all, why would Paul insist upon keeping this extra Levitical commandment and no other? He must have had some motivation for doing so even though jesus didn't.

Personally, I think Paul's general nuttiness is directly responsible for much of the incoherent beliefs in todays many varieties of christianity.
And yet so few of them take the issue of women speaking in public and having authority over men serious.
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Old 29th May 2019, 01:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
You're seeing one of the reasons right here. One group within the church thinks they're doing something wrong. When their differences become irreconcilable, those with the new opinion form a new church. It happened in 1521 and it's happening today.

No doubt there would be some, who genuinely believe they are being guided by their spirituality, in forming new churches. I suggest there are many looking to make a buck out of it though. The telly-evangelists come to mind.
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Old 29th May 2019, 06:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
No doubt there would be some, who genuinely believe they are being guided by their spirituality, in forming new churches. I suggest there are many looking to make a buck out of it though. The telly-evangelists come to mind.
Well yeah, it's hard to tell the difference between someone who genuinely believes in the Prosperity Gospel and someone who is a knowing scam artist. I'd say that they're practically indistinguishable.
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Old 1st June 2019, 04:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Well yeah, it's hard to tell the difference between someone who genuinely believes in the Prosperity Gospel and someone who is a knowing scam artist. I'd say that they're practically indistinguishable.

Not to someone with a deception detecting nose like mine.

Mind you the ability to deceive in a convincing way is something many of the prominent evangelists have in spades. Look at the crying performance of Jimmy Swaggart, "I have sinned", for example. Many of the flock are crying right along with him.
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