Comments

  1. CRISPY says

    I think they need to use the word “homosexuals” a dozen more times in that release. Sheesh!

  2. Jim says

    I really applaud the topic of this documentary. The schism between spirituality and sexuality has long been an unfortunate reality for much of our community. I can’t wait to see the film.

  3. Henry Holland says

    “wonders if religion is not a choice but an accident of birth”

    So, there’s a genetic component that decides whether you’re going to be Episcopalian instead of Seventh Day Adventist or an atheist? Jeebus. I never bought religion at all, told my parents I was an atheist when I was 12 and haven’t had anything in the subsequent 39 years change that.

    Imagine no religion
    It’s easy if you try

  4. AJ says

    While I applaud you and your incredibly accepting parents and family, Mr. Holland, its not quite that simple for a lot of people. I have seen way too many miracles in my life to believe that there is NOTHING out there. I’m not Christian by any means. I tried it, even went to a very progressive pro-gay church, but found that I could not reconcile my knowledge of history and science with the whole Zombie Jesus thing. Just too weird. My partner is Christian, though, and I don’t condemn or judge him for that. He was raised differently and his faith is very strong and very important to him. And the one positive thing that comes out of church is the sense of community; the sense of a bunch of positive people coming together once a week and uniting under a common good. And I get that part of it too. So atheism is just too cold and vacant for me. I believe in a common good.

  5. Chadd says

    Religions are like a business of sorts and they do whatever is necessary to support the business. If you can enslave people with fear of eternal punishment, then those people will do anything you ask – namely give money to the church. If you can convince them to have an unlimited number of children, they and the children will be too poor to become educated enough to think for themselves. Religion is a business and Christianity is just one franchise. (footnote, I was raised by a fundamentalist Baptist minister but am not a devout non-Christian)

    If God created everything, then he created me exactly as I am – a gay man. If he didn’t want us having sex, he wouldn’t have made it pleasurable. It is inconsistent to say that God is responsible for everything, and then blame man for stuff like homosexuality saying it is not God’s design (not to mention tons of other bad stuff like war, crime and natural disasters).

    Being Gay and being a part of the main stream religious community are truly incompatible and the “Gay Christian” will constantly be bucking the system. I ask, “why bother?”. It is so much more freeing and fulfilling and fantastic to live a life without the constraints of Religion.

    And has anyone ever met an anti-gay atheist?

  6. mstrozfckslv says

    religion an accident of birth?

    definitely in that one does not control to which parents and society one is born into that brainwashes you from your earliest moments

  7. Dan E says

    @AJ–

    If you believe that atheists are all cold, don’t believe in common good, and don’t come together in joyous celebration, you’ve either been hanging out with the wrong atheists, or you’ve never really gotten to know any of us at all.

  8. Pekemo says

    Half the reason why everyone ends up being so bitter about religion is because people let everyone else dictate what it is supposed to be for them personally.

    I was raised Catholic by a loving mother and a fantastic supportive family when I came out to that family, nothing changed. I was still loved and still welcomed.

    During my growing years I went to a Baptist private school, and was the biggest little flamer you can ever imagine, but my teachers never condemned me or put me down. They treated me and all their students with love and dignity and did their job.

    I understand that I am lucky in the fact that I never encountered any of the pitfalls that come with religion. So it’s still a part of my life and one that I accept gladly.

    My basic point is, don’t let other people dictate what your faith is. If your gay and church is a part of your life, go. It’s as simple as that.

    People keep saying how religion is basically just a bunch wishing and hoping for something to be true.

    Yes, yes it is, that’s the whole point. It’s called faith for a reason.

  9. woodroad34 says

    “…and wonders if religion is not a choice but an accident of birth”

    What I believe that means is that there have been studies where ‘spirituality’ has been hardwired into our brains. Religion is just a controlling construct — a dictatorship of spirit. Religion is just as uplifiting as a tornado in Joplin, MO — destructive and debilitating; a squasher.

  10. Codswallop says

    On a basic level I don’t have a problem with faith or belief, so long as it’s kept in perspective. But there’s the rub. It so rarely is. The moment someone points at their holy book and says, “well, according to the BIBLE… (or the Book of Mormon, Torah, Koran, etc.)” as their reasoning behind Civil Law, they’ve taken it too far. When someone want to teach in a public school science classroom that the Earth is 6,000-10,000 years old, based not on ANY scientific evidence but on Biblical literalism, they’ve gone too far.

    And of course that includes all their opinions and rhetoric about homosexuality. “Being gay is a choice” isn’t a scientific statement based on any respected research, it’s a political/religious statement, which I don’t even think their own so-called experts really believe. It’s just a poltically convenient lie which allows them to keep using the rhetoric of “choice” and “change.” However, there’s no doubt that religion IS a choice. People may not remember making that choice because they were raised in a faith (like the Pentecostal kid in this clip), but people change religions EVERY day for various reasons or reject religion altogether. And if religion isn’t a choice, then please explain all those door-to-door proselytizers and missionaries asking that you CHOOSE their faith over many other options. You can’t. Yet challenging faith or the precepts of any religion is considered “going too far,” off limits and inviolate, while attacking someone’s sexuality is a religious prerogative. And that makes no sense.

    And personally I don’t think it MATTERS whether or not there is a God. It doesn’t necessarily follow the the Bible or any other religious book really tells us anything about that being. In the complete absence of reliable information about that alleged Creator, in the face of conflicting views and opposing religions, the only thing one can do is try to be a good person and behave in a way which promotes peace and understanding, WHICH IS REQUIRED ANYWAY IN ORDER FOR SECULAR SOCIETY TO FUNCTION. Ergo, it doesn’t matter if there is a god or not. For some reason that little bit of reasoning pisses off religious folk even more than atheism!

  11. says

    There is a difference between belonging to an organized religion and believing in God. In the first, you are obeying the tenets laid out by another person. In the second, you act according to how YOU think God would want us to act. The first is an exercise in masochism; the second can be life fulfilling.
    That ex-Mormon and the Pentecostal kid are obviously slow to understand this.

  12. Atheism is a prejudice says

    “And has anyone ever met an anti-gay atheist?”

    Many, actually. They use science, or co-opt religious principles and frame them as psychology, but they exist in the same percentage as religious homophobes.

    Which is not surprising, because atheism is simply another degrading prejudice.

    The parallel between atheism and homophobia is deep. Religion/spirituality and sexuality are both expressions of personal experience, yet both atheists and homophobes deny the validity of other people’s experiences, solely because the atheists and homophobes do not, themselves, experience the same thing.

    Both atheism and homophobia articulate a desire to rid the world of that which they disagree with. Both use the same nasty lies, like “a threat to society” or “a threat to children”, both falsify data, misrepresent the arguments of the people they oppose, rely on gross generalizations and oversimplifications, and judge entire classes of people based on the actions/beliefs of some.

    Atheism is not based on science, and it is not logical. Saying “there is no god “isn’t a scientific statement based on any respected research,” yet atheist make the claim anyways and pretend it is scientific, though they rape science in the process.

    Atheism is based on the absence of evidence, whereby people with no experience of something insist that their lack of experience defines reality for everyone and therefore, disproves the experiences of people of faith. Just as homophobes do to GLBTQ people about sexuality.

    Atheism teaches no virtue at all, and condemns no vice or harm. It does not ban rape or prejudice, it does not extoll grace, compassion, or mercy. It simply vilifies most of humanity. While homophobes vilify about 10% of humanity, atheism vilifies 99% of humanity.

    Like all prejudices, atheism is nothing more than, and nothing less than, a means for some people to exalt their own ego by tearing down other people. So we get Joe’s hate speech, and Codswallop’s prejudiced lie “In the complete absence of reliable information” that mirrors so well what homophobes say. After all, homophobes insist that there is a complete absence of reliable information proving that homosexuality is innate. In both cases, atheist and homophobes simply refuse, out of prejudice and malice, to accept the evidence of personal experience from a particular group of people. After all there is no evidence proving that God does not exist, and no evidence that homosexuality is chosen, and yet both groups of bigots insist that their non-evidence trumps the experiences of people of faith and GLBTQ people respectively.

    And then there’s Malcolm Burt’s use of a fantasy “faithful homosexuals continue to crave acceptance from a club that reviles them” – a simplistic, false and degrading representation of religion, as he completely ignores what GLBTQ people of faith tell him.

    Of course, homophobes do the same thing – assert a completely false, invented reasoning for the lives of GLBTQ people, rather than actually listen to us. But bigots cannot listen, whether they are homophobes or atheists, because they would learn things that do not fit their derogatory fantasy.

    And yes, atheists, your picture of religion is a derogatory fantasy. You judge the accumulated experiences of most of humanity by the actions of just some – the fundamentalist of any faith who, frankly, tend to be the farthest away from the actual spirit of their respective religions. Judging religion by fundamentalists is the equivalent of judging homosexuals by porn stars. And ironically, atheists opining about religion are like celibate priests opining about sexuality: both are making claims about something they (claim)to have no experience about, and in doing so, contradict the testimony of people who actually do have experience to drawn on.

    “If you believe that atheists are all cold, don’t believe in common good, and don’t come together in joyous celebration, you’ve either been hanging out with the wrong atheists, or you’ve never really gotten to know any of us at all.”

    Actually, I have come to that conclusion by getting to know many atheists. Every one I have ever interacted with has eventually articulated hatred and contempt for anyone who does not agree with them. And since atheism has nothing but it’s rejection of the testimony, experiences and humanity of people of faith, what else can its adherents ever really model?

    And because all prejudices, including homophobia and atheism, are the same psychological mechanism, asserting and promoting any one of them, such as atheism, nurtures and promotes them all, including homophobia. When someone here models abuse directed at people of faith, he or she is sending the message that it is also ok to abuse GLBTQ people, or people of color, or anyone based on any difference or deviation from someone else’s personal norm.

    It is impossible to heal society of one prejudice, such as homophobia, by exalting another one, like atheism.

  13. Zach says

    “People keep saying how religion is basically just a bunch wishing and hoping for something to be true.

    Yes, yes it is, that’s the whole point. It’s called faith for a reason. ”

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’ll ever grasp the appeal of lying to oneself or to others like this. It would be a much better world if we could approach and confront it for what is, rather than relying on the supernatural to explain and solve our problems for us.

    Granted, that won’t happen, since many of us seem not only hard-wired for faith, but completely oblivious to any other alternative. But all you’ve reiterated is that it is a flaw, as much as our propensity for tribal thinking in a global cultural system.

  14. says

    Religion is absolutely an accident of birth.

    What I mean is, 90% of theists believe what they believe because of where they were born or what their parents believed. The fact that they act so sanctimonious, like they are the only ones who know the way to eternal happiness is so absurd. Had they been born on the opposite side of the globe, they’d more than likely believe something totally different.

    And I’m not reading all that atheist babble. Show me how many people atheism has killed versus how many people religions have killed and then we can talk about morality.

  15. fedorajoe says

    So… atheism is prejudice now?

    Thanks. Once again, some religious person living his self-serving fantasy results in people like me being painted as second class citizens. Some things never change.

  16. Atheism is a prejudice says

    FedoraJoe

    “So… atheism is prejudice now?

    Thanks. Once again, some religious person living his self-serving fantasy results in people like me being painted as second class citizens. Some things never change.”

    Thanks for providing substantiating evidence, but there was more then enough available already.

    You characterized my experience as “self-serving fantasy” – though you have no evidence whatsoever for that claim. Your dismissal was evidence of prejudice on your part, and it was malicious and degrading. It also mirrors the way homophobes dismiss the testimony of GLBTQ people, about the emotional context of our sexuality, or about how our sexuality is innate, as ‘self-serving’ and ‘fantasy’.

    Nor did I paint you as a second-class citizen, but like homophobes and other bigots, the moment your prejudice is criticized, you interpret it as depriving you of some crucial civil right, that you are not truly free unless you can malign millions of people in public without challenge, rebuke or criticism. Of course, atheism does not condemn deception, so you may feel you are free to lie whenever you please. But then, atheism doesn’t condemn anything.

    In fact, many atheists argue, indirectly, that the entire notion of right and wrong is fraud, when they reject the notion of sin. See, the word sin comes from a term for missing the mark, and at its root, it expresses the idea that some things are good or desirable, and others are bad, wrong, undesirable. Whenever an atheist rejects the notion of sin, they are intrinsically rejecting the notion of right and wrong, good and bad.

    Of course, in practice, they use and apply the concept of sin, of right and wrong, good and bad: to apply to other people. Sin, bad, wrong, evil exists, for athiests, when they are judging and condemning religious people. But for their own lives . . .

    And it isn’t at all ironic, or convincing, that FedoraJoe, and atheists in general, rejected the notion that atheism is a prejudice. After all, homophobes insist that they are not bigots, that they are not prejudiced. They argue that they don’t hate GLBTQ people, even as they lie about us. Racists reject the term prejudice as well. Misogynists do too. Bigots tend, as a general rule, to deny that what they believe is prejudice, no matter what evidence is presented to them.

    Rafid demonstrated a variation of another homophobic argument – the ‘they are recruited’ meme that homophobes use. Rafid casts religion as the result of recruitment, and presents his opinion as our experience, in place of our experience. But, if you actually listen to people of faith, you learn that they are religious because of what they experience personally, or because of what they witness other people experiencing and wish to experience themselves.

    And like homophobes, Rafid won’t read a criticism of his prejudice, but simply dismisses it out of hand in a derogatory way. What this indicates is that he will not or cannot formulate or articulate a substantive rebuttal.

    “Show me how many people atheism has killed versus how many people religions have killed and then we can talk about morality.”

    Atheism has no morality of its own, to begin with, so in order to invoke morality, Rafid, you must first co-opt the principle of right vs wrong that only religions provide.

    Second, the idea that religions have killed people is a distortion and a lie. Religions have been used as an excuse, a cover-up, a veneer to excuse war and murder, but religion itself does not kill. Frankly, blaming religion for killing people is the equivalent of blaming gays for AIDS.

    Interestingly, atheists are silent when reminded that it was atheists who built the Berlin Wall, and Christians who tore it down. The meme of condemning religion because some religious people have used it as an excuse to harm others – also condemns atheism. The worst regimes of the 20th century were cases of systematic atheism, and if you want to know what the atheist dream of a world without religion looks like, the Stasi of East Germany paint a relevant picture. Mao and Stalin, leaders of overtly anti-religious governments, murdered millions upon millions of people in, by historical standards, amazingly short periods of time.

    And Zach mirrored the arguments of homophobes as well: create a false characterization of other people’s lives to articulate his prejudice. When he wrote: “I’ll ever grasp the appeal of lying to oneself” characterizing religion as a lie, he was doing the same thing that homophobes do.

    Be honest, because homophobes routinely say that we are lying to ourselves when we say that we did not chose to be gay, and that we are lying to ourselves when we say we experience love, and that we are lying to ourselves when we say we cannot change into heterosexuals.

    This is a real symptom of bigotry – when someone asserts that other people are lying about their own experiences, feelings, thought – things only they can know – rather than believe them, simply because of who they are or what they experience.

  17. nodnarb says

    “”And has anyone ever met an anti-gay atheist?”

    Many, actually. They use science, or co-opt religious principles and frame them as psychology, but they exist in the same percentage as religious homophobes.”

    *Citation needed

  18. Atheism is a prejudice says

    Much of the way atheists online describe religion and spirituality mirrors the way ex-gays and homophobes (and the occasional bitter GLBTQ person) describe the “gay lifestyle”.

    Someone has some bad experiences – in gay bars and clubs, in churchs, in same-sex relationships, in their spiritual relationship, and they decide that it couldn’t possibly be their fault, it must be anything else.

    And so, “the gay lifestyle” is sad, meaningless, loveless drunken debauchery, according to the poor ex-gay who drank and drugged his way through a petty selfish life before discovering he could make money testifying for Exodus International. And religion is lies, fantasy, meaningless, a con game to the poor ex-theist or anti-theist whose life is a mess he or she won’t take responsibility for.

    What both conveniently ignore is that neither religion, nor homosexuality, is some monolithic it that everyone experiences in the same way. And they don’t even consider Occam’s razor, that if they are miserable in circumstance that others find rewarding, they are the reason they are miserable, not the circumstance.

    Because that would require two things that are repugnant to them: acknowledging that other people are their equals and acknowledging that they make mistakes in their own lives.

    Homophobes are always blaming the world’s problems on ‘teh gays’, and we recognize this as silly at the very least. Atheists are always blaming the world’s problems on religion, which is equally silly at the very least. Because prejudices, like homophobia and atheism, are irrational, they rely on irrational simplification that invoke a knee-jerk response.

    And if folks haven’t learn to recognize prejudice by the tactics themselves used to promote it, and that those tactics are wrong when used in service of any other prejudice, then everything we’ve experienced and fought for as GLBTQ people has been largely wasted. We’re in the same position as people of color who promote homophobia and any other minority that turns around and bashes someone else.

  19. Codswallop says

    “Codswallop’s prejudiced lie “In the complete absence of reliable information” that mirrors so well what homophobes say.”

    Yet I know hogwash when I see it. Please share with everyone this “reliable information” about a Creator that I, in my prejudice, have overlooked. Will you, like former child-star and current Evangelical God-botherer Kirk Cameron, cite the banana as proof of God’s existence or will it be “the tide comes in, the tide goes out” like that well-known mental giant Bill O’Reilly? Enquiring minds want to know.

    In fact, I purposely avoided saying there was no God. I just said it didn’t matter. So far as I know there are no agreed upon theories on what preceded “The Big Bang” or what lit the fuse for it, so I suppose that leaves room for Divine Intervention if you’re compelled to go looking for it. But even the existence of a Creator does NOTHING to validate the writings of Bronze Age desert nomads who didn’t even know the basics of hygiene or, apparently, how to find their way out of a desert. Curiously, neither Yahweh nor Jesus imparted any useful scientific info like “Thou shalt wash thy hands before touching a wound” or “Thou shalt not dump thy sewage in the same place get thou drinking water.” Funny, that.

    And, even if you DO accept that the few contemporary writings gathered by the religious and political authorities (same thing) of the time are indeed Holy, which interpretation is the “right” one? The one that requires ear-locks and funny hats and forbids eating shrimp? Or how about the one that likes to handle snakes? Maybe the barefoot-and-pregnant in prairie-dresses religion practiced by Christian Dominionists? They ALL claim theirs is the *true* religion after all, all of them are using words from ancient texts, and none of them can offer up a scintilla of proof. They just cherry-pick their book for the parts that support their way of life and ignore the rest.

    So it’s exactly as I say, there are many religions and many interpretations within them but even assuming any of them is “the one true religion” there’s no way to know which one. (Personally I like the idea of Pat Robertson dying, only to discover that some obscure Amazonian tribal religion is true and he’s screwed.) So, in the absence of reliable information about WHICH faith is the “right” faith, which set of rule is the ticket to ‘heaven,’ one can only try to live in a way that promotes peace and rejects hate. No matter what you believe, no one gets their “report card” until the end (if at all) so getting too caught up in the minutia of old books only gets you crapola like the recent “rapture” prediction, crazy blather from paranoid, ingrown minds.

  20. Atheism is a prejudice says

    Nodnarm demonstrated another symptom of prejudice: the use of unequal standards of evidence.

    While apparently accepting all other testimony as accurate, he/she requires a citation for my testimony to my experience.

    This only indicates that nodnarb is so accustomed to deceiving others himself/herself, that he/she presumes others are dishonest as well.

    See, an honest person, invoking the requirement of “citation needed” in what is a casual conversation, would require it for every claim, argument, statement and testimony presented by anyone and everyone.

    Really, Nodnarb’s remark is just a rude dismissal, essentially saying “because a person of faith wrote it, it has to be verified by some other source”.

    Of course, homophobes pull this nasty game all time. A GLBTQ person will testify to their experience, and the homophobe will demand outside confirmation – i.e., from a heterosexual.

    Nodnarb, FedoraJoe, et all: don’t you even notice that you are using the very same arguments, tactics, tricks and fallacies that homophobes use all the time?

    That should at least trouble you. It should tell you something about your bias against people of faith.

  21. Bart says

    Who’s KRISTIN and why should any soul other than Kristin care about what Kristin says about homosexuality or Christian or homosexual Christians? The true oxymoron is that Kristin matters. The true moron is Kristin.

    This documentary looks well-meaning but clearly from Malcolm Burt’s own lips it seems he had an agenda and set out to prove it rather than discover all the way along.

    But none the less, it’s always nice to open a discussion amongst people. In another 50 years people will wonder why we even had this discussion.

  22. Atheism is a prejudice says

    Codswallop writes: “Yet I know hogwash when I see it.”

    If I had a dollar for every time a homophobe has said that, I could by a house in Bel Air, pay cash for the whole thing, and then remodel it inside and out.

    You don’t know, Codswallop. You simply dismiss the evidence – the testimony of most of humanity for as long as humans have been leaving records. Everything I experience, for example, you call hogwash, but, Codswallop, you were never there with me. You have no evidence, you simply dismiss mine out of hand because of your prejudice.

    Just like homophobes do. You wrote :’Please share with everyone this “reliable information” about a Creator that I, in my prejudice, have overlooked. ” and homophobes demand the “reliable information” that homosexuality is not chosen, for example. In both cases, though, the key word is reliable – for homophobes, any information from GLBTQ people is not reliable, and for you and atheists, any information from people of faith is not reliable.

    Your disparaging remarks “Bronze Age desert nomads” demonstrate two prejudices, neither based on reality. One is racial of course, and the other is the hubris of believing that earlier generations of people are inferior to your own self. It’s an indication of how your position is about building up your ego.

    And your use of the traditions and rituals found in some religions to refute religion itself demonstrates both the fundamental ignorance that atheism extols as virtue, and a lack of critical thinking. Science is well supplied with specific ways of doing specific things that are often completely incomprehensible to non-scientists.

    The cultural differences between religions, frankly, are evidence for the validity of spirituality. It is much like the way different scientists develop different approaches to gather data about something, except that people of faith are gathering data about something that is both infinite and intangible, and then trying to express that with a method that is based on the tangible.

    The differences between religions reflect the fact that people are trying to communicate about something intangible and employ culturally specific tangibles to do so. Just as when teaching children the word red, we invoke images of red things, people testifying about their experiences of the Divine invoke tangibles things to communicate about obedience, purity, imperfection, and so on.

    But, admit it, you weren’t really interested in what people of faith actually think, feel, do, mean, or believe.

    “one can only try to live in a way that promotes peace and rejects hate.”

    That rules out atheism then. If you are going to truly live in a way that promotes peace and rejects hate, then that includes believing people of faith when they testify to their experiencing even as you acknowledge that like most of life, your results may differ and that is fine.

    Oh, and actually, Judaism, and therefore Christianity, does have rules about cleanliness and purity, including where to locate privies. But then, you essentially argued a variation of a homophobe argument “show me where Jesus approves of homosexuality”.

  23. Zach says

    “The cultural differences between religions, frankly, are evidence for the validity of spirituality. It is much like the way different scientists develop different approaches to gather data about something, except that people of faith are gathering data about something that is both infinite and intangible, and then trying to express that with a method that is based on the tangible.”

    A biological predilection towards religiosity is no more celebratory than our biological predilection towards exclusionary forms of tribal identity. Unsurprisingly, religion is the most avowed in its tribalism, because it separates the faithful from the heathens. Far easier to slaughter the heathens when an unaccountable, ephemeral authority figure in the sky says “it’s alright, you’re not breaking my universal laws.”

    This also goes to show the manifest absurdity of deriving law from supernatural beings: you cannot have universal morality, let alone an objective morality derived from a particular – and temporary – historical construct, such as Christianity, or Islam, or Buddhism, or any one of a hundred faiths. Time will eventually crush them all, and their moral codes with them.

  24. Zach says

    By the way, something needs to be said about Mao and Stalin. Both men cultivated personality cults that mimicked religious worship. They wanted the same kind of blind faith that the religions they suppressed exhibited. Their existence merely reinforces the fact that a rational, progressive society is one that eschews all form of personality worship, either supernatural or real.

  25. ty says

    AIAP- Why are you trying to lump homophobia in with Atheism? The fact is that homophobia frequently relies on religion as it’s foundation for hate. Atheists merely fail to believe medieval dogma about the origin of heaven and earth that is devoid of intrinsic evidence. There just might be a god, but there also might be many gods. The ancient Greeks were convinced of polytheism, and to them, that was not mythology it was their religion. So what is right? more importantly why judge atheists? We have tried to believe but simply cannot make that leap, and frankly don’t want that particular association and it’s snob factor.

  26. Codswallop says

    It can’t be ignored that humans are pattern-seeking animals, even where no patterns exist. That pattern seeking IS biological and part of why we’ve been so successful as a species but it’s also the source of superstition. “I wore this hat both times I had a good day, so this is my lucky hat!” Extrapolate that into faith in invisible deities whose protection can be gained through ritual and you end up with religion, which helps us feel more in control of our environment.

    That’s why I don’t really argue against belief or faith. It’s every bit as much a part of the human condition as homosexuality and pretending that tendency doesn’t exist is as futile as pretending gay people don’t exist. What you CAN fight against is the toxic excesses of religion and belief, which are like Obsessive/Compulsive rituals that might give comfort to the practitioner but are ultimately harmful to the individual AND the larger group. Having faith in a benevolent or helpful deity probably benefits a community, while believing in a harsh and punishing one who’s looking for reasons to smite you or those who disagree with you is eventually harmful.

  27. Malcolm says

    Hi guys – I’m the filmmaker – the ‘religion an accident of birth’ comments was from one of the interviewees – she points out quite sharply that she asks muslim children if their parents were muslim, catholic children if their parents were catholic, etc etc – what it’s saying is you are usually born into your parents religion.

  28. Atheism is a prejudice says

    Nodnarb who wrote “There is nothing more pathetic than a wordy zealot.”: There’s always the person who thinks that an empty dismissal means anything other than “I think I’m funny”.

  29. Malcolm says

    One more word from me – I truly intended the film to address the question: ‘Can one be gay and formally religious’ – there was no agenda. It wasn’t an anti-religious film, just an exploration.

  30. Atheism is a prejudice says

    Ty

    Why are you relying on empty dismissals?

    “The fact is that homophobia frequently relies on religion as it’s foundation for hate.”

    Or science, or psychology, or common sense. Your fact doesn’t change the fact that atheism demonstrates all of the symptoms of prejudice, all of the defining characteristics.

    “Atheists merely fail to believe medieval dogma about the origin of heaven and earth that is devoid of intrinsic evidence. ”

    No, that is not acccurate. Atheism is very specifically the rejection of the existence of God. It is not limited to any particular creation story, any particular notion about heaven, or any particular notion about God. But, because religion is the product of people’s experiences – which are a form of evidence – atheism intrinsically devalues all people of faith, as you yourself just did.

    “more importantly why judge atheists?”

    Then why judge homophobes? If it is ok to malign the experiences and dismiss the testimony of people of faith, then it it also ok to malign the experiences and dismiss the testimony of GLBTQ people as well.

    And here’s the critical part: When talking to homophobes who use their religion as an excuse, one can get them to understand how abusive it is to dismiss what GLBTQ people have to say about their live, by reminding them how abusive it is when atheists dismiss what people of faith have to say about their lives.

    “We have tried to believe but simply cannot make that leap, and frankly don’t want that particular association and it’s snob factor.”

    And some homophobes say something very similar, they tried to be attracted to their own gender, couldn’t, so therefore, no one else really is. Your snob factor remark is just ad hominem.

    Just because you do not experience anything, including spirituality, and just because some homophobe does not experience same-sex love, means nothing about anyone else’s experiences. But, both homophobia and atheism declare that the experiences of one group of people are invalidated by the lack of experience of another group of people.

    If it is wrong when homophobes deny the validity of the experiences of GLBTQ people, then it is wrong when atheists do it to people of faith.

    But, if you find it acceptable when atheists reject and denigrate the testimony of people of faith, then you give your implicit approval to homophobes doing the exact same thing to GLBTQ people.

  31. Atheism is a prejudice says

    Zach

    “Unsurprisingly, religion is the most avowed in its tribalism, because it separates the faithful from the heathens.”

    Just as homophobes do, you build your case on a falsehood, and an ironic one at that. After all, what does atheism do but separate people into two camps. But while atheism declares that most of humanity is inferior, wrong about their own experiences, and as so many atheists declare “delusional” etc, religions tend to be inclusionary. True, some have accreted restrictive rules for inclusion, but generally as the result of people trying to use religion for worldly purposes.

    Nor is it accurate to say that religion is the ‘most avowed in its tribalism’ – when many teach the exact opposite ‘go and teach all nations’. Were you deliberately misleading people, or just uninformed?

    The other thing that strikes me is that homophobes often make a similar accusation – that gays are exclusionary, separatist, tribal, rejecting mainstream society in favor of “our own kind”.

    “Their existence merely reinforces the fact that a rational, progressive society is one that eschews all form of personality worship, either supernatural or real.”

    No, actually they reinforce the fact that people trying to create what they consider to be a rational, progressive society are just as quick to engage in personality worship, maybe even more quick.

    “This also goes to show the manifest absurdity of deriving law from supernatural beings:”

    As opposed to what? Deriving them from the laws of physics? From the natural world?

    Give it a shot, Zach. Start with the fundamental properties of the most elemental particle currently known to science, and derive even one law. Start at the Standard Model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Model) and prove that stealing is wrong.

    I’m truly interested. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    In the meantime, many theologians argue that because morality/ethics/the sense of right and wrong cannot be derived from the fundamental physical laws, it is proof of the existence of God – something experienced extremely broadly, perhaps even universally, that is not the product of the physical universe.

  32. Atheism is a prejudice says

    Here’s a little thought experiment for the atheists here:

    Imagine that you are watching the sun go down in the company of someone is who blind. The sky is awash in reds and purples, peaches and yellows, and you say to your blind friend “There is beautiful sunset right now”.

    And your blind friend replies “There is no such thing as sunsets. It is all a fantasy, a delusion. You only think that you see such things.”

    Be honest. What would you really think?

  33. Zach says

    “True, some have accreted restrictive rules for inclusion, but generally as the result of people trying to use religion for worldly purposes.”

    No, most religions throughout most of human history have functioned on exclusivity. My ancestry, as well as the ancestry of billions – not millions – but billions – has been affected by religions struggling for supremacy. Exclusivity defines religion: many of the larger belief systems prescribe eternal rewards for the faithful and eternal punishment for the designated heathens. This Rapture nonsense was built around a chosen few anticipating their own ascension at the expense of the suffering of billions more.

    “Nor is it accurate to say that religion is the ‘most avowed in its tribalism’ – when many teach the exact opposite ‘go and teach all nations’. Were you deliberately misleading people, or just uninformed?”

    Yes, it’s completely accurate, as I’ve already alluded to. And to buttress – witness the unmitigated genocides ordered by mythical deities.

    And ‘teach all nations’? How exactly? By putting them to the sword if they did not convert? Ask the original peoples of North America how they felt about being ‘taught’ by Christian missionaries. Ask Europeans how they felt about being ‘taught’ by Muslims for centuries. Ask Arabs and Persians how they felt about being ‘taught’ by Christians for centuries.

    Your view of ‘teaching’ is based on a very brief and recent period in human history. Compared to the Abrahamic faiths long histories as chronicles of war, it’s nothing more than a flicker. Your historical myopia is telling.

    “The other thing that strikes me is that homophobes often make a similar accusation – that gays are exclusionary, separatist, tribal, rejecting mainstream society in favor of “our own kind”.”

    No they don’t. There may be the occasional statement to that effect, but that’s clearly what they would prefer. They loathe the fact that gays exist in all walks of life, in every area of the community. They would love nothing more for us to be exclusionary, and if we were really so shut off, we would not be challenged nearly as much.

    No, we’re challenged for being uppity. For not wanting to be detached from mainstream society.

    “No, actually they reinforce the fact that people trying to create what they consider to be a rational, progressive society are just as quick to engage in personality worship, maybe even more quick.”

    Um, no. There’s a considerable gulf between the intentions of rational humanists and the leader/mob that make up most of society. Neither Mao nor Stalin made any claims about being ‘progressive'; Mao explicitly advocated a repressive, traditional agrarian vision. Stalin mechanized massive parts of the Soviet Union, but most of his actions were driven by his overriding paranoia and megalomania.

    No, dictatorships are driven by the manipulation of the mob, the reinforcement of simplistic religious rituals through a physical form.

    “As opposed to what? Deriving them from the laws of physics? From the natural world?”

    Yes, actually the natural world is a wonderful place to start. Human beings functioned for millenia without religious belief. Our evolutionary predecessors functioned for millions of years without religious belief.

    In addition, we have millenia – millenia – of philosophers who have developed ethical systems without the invocation of deities. This has to be the most ridiculous thing you’ve asserted.

    “In the meantime, many theologians argue that because morality/ethics/the sense of right and wrong cannot be derived from the fundamental physical laws, it is proof of the existence of God – something experienced extremely broadly, perhaps even universally, that is not the product of the physical universe.”

    Again, read something by someone other than a theologian.

  34. Zach says

    “And your blind friend replies “There is no such thing as sunsets. It is all a fantasy, a delusion. You only think that you see such things.”

    My blind friend would be correct insomuch that the sun only disappears because of the Earth’s rotation.

    But then I would devise a way to communicate the vast amounts of actual data and evidence to demonstrate how the earth’s rotation gives the effect of the sun rising and falling.

    I suppose rationalists should be insulted by your comparison to us to the blind, but I’m going to be offended on behalf of blind people, because of your implication that they’re incapable of grasping the reality around them.

  35. Zach says

    Evidence. Evidence, evidence, evidence. That’s what drives science. The quest for answers is fun, but we’re guided by reality – not what we want reality to be.

  36. nodnarb says

    Sweet jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! This site needs character limits. If I wanted to read a bunch of made-up nonsense, I’d read the Bible.

  37. redball says

    OMG @ Ben the fundamentalist @ 5:45…speaking about Jesus as if the two of them met up yesterday at the corner cafe and shot the breeze for an hour like Carrie & her SATC girls.

    Is he gay? His scarf *is* placed JUST SO upon his shoulders….