Weekly readers’ beefs

June 14, 2015 • 11:00 am

We’ve had a lot of crazies trying to post here lately, mostly with uninteresting dross, so I’ll single out just two comments from readers.

Reader Brianna tried to add this comment after the post “Are you against gay marriage based on the Bible?

Under the New Covenant we are no longer held to those rules of what we wear and eat. However, homosexuality is still wrong according to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Revelation 21:8. If you want to be gay, that is your decision, but you need to understand that the Bible does say that they will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.Be gay all you want, BUT DON’T TWIST SCRIPTURE!!!!

The first problem is that, like most religious homophobes, Brianna sees homosexuality as a “choice” or a “decision,” when it’s clearly not. Gay people’s sexuality feels to them like something inherent and inexorable, which it is. I don’t know the relative strength of genetic, developmental, or environmental contributions to gayness, but one thing’s for sure: determinism mandates that it’s not a free choice. And that is just one way that determinism puts paid to religious claims (the other invalidated claims are that we are free to choose whether to accept Jesus (or other prophets) as our savior, and that we have dualistic free will, vouchsafed by God, which explains the existence of evil in this world.)

FYI, here is the scripture that we’re not supposed to twist, both bits from the King James Bible:

1 Corinthians 6:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

and  Revelation 21:8

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

To those who tell me that nobody really bases their morality on literal scripture, Brianna is one of many counterexamples. But though I find her moral literalism odious, it’s at least more intellectually honest than that of the cherry-pickers who decide, based on a priori considerations (shades of Euthyphro!), what parts of Biblical morality can be discarded and which incorporated into our own ethics. Why don’t theologians ever explicitly discuss this cherry-picking? (If they have, and I’ve missed it, please enlighten me in the comments.)


And reader George, a fulminating creationist, tried to post this on a page showing an illustration of the vestigial hind legs of whales:

And that is a more rational explanation than GOD? Dog to alligator to whale… of course. Thank you for the ammunition to prove to our children why evolution is not only impossible but ignorant. Not only have we never been able to witness or prove macro evolution but adaptation has never moved a spinal column from one location to another like your cartoon clearly depicts. I will continue to pray for real science (you know the kind that can be proven forward and backwards) with honest men and women standing up for truth while explaining hypothesis and theories as one thing and fact as another. None of us were there and extrapolating theories and selling them as fact makes us all look like liars.

None of us were there during the American Revolution either, or when Julius Caesar was assassinated. Reader George probably never met his great-grandparents. How can he prove they existed? The same way we find evidence of any past event! If science relied only on things we could see happen in our lifetimes, we would be immensely less knowledgeable. Ignoramuses like George have bought into the Ray Comfort trope of “If you didn’t see evolution, it didn’t happen. Ergo God did it.”

As for “no evidence for macroevolution,” that’s pure bunk. We have the fossil record showing fish turning into amphibians, amphibians into reptiles, reptiles into mammals and birds, terrestrial mammals into whales, and so on. If that’s not macroevolution, I don’t know what is. We also have embryological and morphological evidence of past ancestry of animals from very different types of animals (vestigial legs of whales, the transitory embryonic hindlimbs of dolphins, etc.), as well as genetic evidence indicating common ancestry (chromosomal fusions between chimps and humans, ancient viruses located in the same place in the genomes of those species, and so on). Finally, we have phylogenies (“family trees”) of species that document a hierarchical pattern of ancestry using nonfunctional bits of DNA, which must reflect the passage of time rather than the involvement of adaptive change.

I’ve never understood how creationists can claim that macroevolution didn’t happen when the fossil record—and much other data—document it in such abundance.


95 thoughts on “Weekly readers’ beefs

    1. Would you really want to be in “heaven” anyway?

      Frankly, even if they were right about everything (which, of course, they’re not), I can’t think of a better definition of my personal hell than to have to be surrounded for eternity by a bunch of sanctimonious bigots. I don’t want to spend the next five minutes with those people; why would I want to spend eternity with them?

      I’d rather be in hell with Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, and Barbara McClintock. L

      1. I often find that is a good avenue to explore with the theist. “Alright, let’s just agree for a bit that your god is definitely true”. Then you can enjoy showing how God not only fails on empirical and logical grounds, but moral and aesthetic as well!

      1. I remember being warned about supernatural surveillance with the admonishment, “D*g knows the exact number of hairs on your head.” To which my (fortunately) unspoken opinion was, “What kind of asshole would want to know that?”

        1. I initially misread revilers and revellers. 🙂 you can’t really blame me since the Abrahmic religions really seem to frown on happiness.

      2. Most Christians would find themselves not in the “Book of Life” either. I agree with Nietzsche that the most interesting people would be in the Christian’s “Hell”.

    2. Somebody somewhere did some basic set theory to figure out who goes to Heaven, according to scripture. I seem to remember that it was all of a few hundred Jewish men converted to Christianity, all of whom died millennia ago — and even their cases were dubious.

      Indeed, it’s clearly the case that whoever is there is either purely asexual or else they blinded themselves shortly after reaching puberty:

      Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

      28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

      29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

      Besides, even if the Bible is to be taken literally as of divine origin, it’s clearly unabashed propaganda from the YHWH / Jesus camp. And that very same propaganda makes pretty clear that they’re a most unpleasant and deceitful lot. Their opposition might or might not be any better, but it’s guaranteed that they’re nothing like the caricature made of them in the text. We even saw that with the way the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court, was made to look like a bunch of poo-flinging monkeys at Jesus’s trial, something we can be damned certain never happened.

      Really, if you have to pick a god to swear fealty to, Jesus / YHWH is about the worst one you could go for…brutal motherfucking sons of bitches, utterly shamelessly deceitful, and the most pathetic lame-ass after-death accommodations imaginable.


      1. I wonder where the line is drawn – will feather boas be okay if you don’t wear guyliner?

        1. I’m almost afraid to ask – what is “guyliner”? something for keeping the fur on your hamster?

            1. I was wondering about my kilt too. Though of course not being Scottish, I’m not sure if that makes it gay or straight. Or ginger.

              1. All this speculation regarding kilts raises the question of whether Scottish transvestites wear pants.

      2. Effeminate is what men do in imitation of women. not consciously, it is just a set of mannerisms that men have decided or “female like”. Nothing more.

    3. “I guess no women then”

      Yeah, sorry, but no. You fall in love with them and they cry a lot: all VERY distracting for us heaven dwellers.

  1. Well of course not Diana. Don’t you realize that the Christian faith is a good ole boys club; primarily populated by self-absorbed misogynists that only appreciate women for satisfying their own prurient desires?

  2. I have never been clear about how people know which Old Testament rules the “New Covenant” supersedes. The rules seems to be “the ones we don’t like.” Similarly, in the Corinthians passage cited (even if one accepts that “the effeminate” means homosexuals), Christians seem OK with adulterers and idolaters. It only confirms my view that people use the Bible as a justification for their prejudices.

    1. While people today do move from one church, sect, religion, or form of spirituality to another because they decide that the one they’ve been in doesn’t properly reflect “what God is really like,” the people who stay are not necessarily staying because they’re bigots who were and would be bigoted without the religious justifications. I think the scripture does indeed create bigotry in people who are generally tolerant because it explains and indoctrinates a framework where it’s not bigotry any more, it’s just common sense morality. They work love into it and see themselves as being loving, but fair.

      Accept all the premises and the conclusion naturally follows. Grow up in a culture which not only values faith but a strong consistency within the faith and people aren’t “using the Bible as a justification for their prejudices.” The Bible is, in effect, using them to maintain whatever biblical system is in place. Religions are only as internally consistent as they HAVE to be to survive in their current niche of the environment. At the level of the individual, they’re not aware of all the variations and adaptations. It just looks like they’re choosing the right path.

    2. It’s ironic that the Old Testament deniers are usually the first to claim that our laws, morals, etc. are based on the 10 commandments.

    3. This is also my complaint about Christianity. It seems to me the various Christian sects have very different ideas on what the new covenant means. This is because the new covenant isn’t actually addressed in the New Testament. It is entirely assumed to be a prophecy come true.

      “Christian leaders generally, consider Jeremiah 31:31–34 to be a central Old Testament prophecy of the New Covenant.”

      Jeremiah 31:31-34New International Version (NIV)

      31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

      32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to[a] them,[b]” declares the Lord.

      33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds
      and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

      34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
      because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.
      “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

      The new covenant prophecy is little better than your average newspaper horoscope. It could be fulfilled by almost anything.

      Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, and that the Blood of Christ shed at his crucifixion is the required blood of the covenant. As with all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, the New Covenant is considered “a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God.”[3] It has been theorized that the New Covenant is the Law of Christ as spoken during his Sermon on the Mount.[4]

      “The original sermon was composed probably by the end of the third decade of the 1st century AD. Both Matthew’s and Luke’s version of it were written down some time between 65 and 95 AD.”

      Was Sermon on the Mount actually Jesus’s words, or were they written to move the religion along a new path by some follower? We will probably never know. Nor do we know who wrote it.
      “Most scholars believe the Gospel of Matthew was composed between 80 and 90 CE, with a range of possibility between 70 to 110 CE.[2] A pre-70 date remains a minority view.[3] The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time.”

      When we look at the Sermon On The Mount:

      17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. 19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

      Then Jesus addresses a few specific laws, I’ll mentions just a few:

      27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell.

      31 “It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

      Notice the part about a man divorcing the woman, not the other way around. How many Christian churches who rail against homosexuality and same sex marriages marry divorced people?

      Love for Enemies
      43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

      Pure-hearted Giving
      6 “Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 2 Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. 3 But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

      Private Prayer
      5 “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. 7 When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him…

      We see very plainly that many Christians are being rather hypocritical and pick and choose which sections of the New Testament, and in particular, which of Jesus’s commands to break. Christian Republican politicians seem especially hypocritical.

        1. My apologies.
          I suppose I should have provided just one example, adultery perhaps, and linked to the rest of Sermon on the Mount.

          I’ve gotten used to copy and pasting because so many Christians don’t know what their Bible says. Of course that’s not a problem here.

    4. But the “new Covenant” encompassed the old. it was never discarded officially. But some continue to think so…

  3. I tried to get my dog to become an alligator but he resisted. He wasn’t willing to give up his chew toy.

  4. Non-biologist here. Is there anyone that can tell me why creationists are so hung up on the difference between micro and macro evolution? I mean I did my due diligence (I went to UC Berkley’s evolution site), but it seems to me that to biologists, it’s a convenient categorization term that makes it easier for them to communicate between themselves. The mechanisms for both just don’t seem to be any different.

    1. Is there anyone that can tell me why creationists are so hung up on the difference between micro and macro evolution?

      In a single word?


      There’re far more species extant today than could even hypothetically have fit on the Ark. And even in the Bronze Age there would have been ample evidence of “microevolution” — of wolves bred to different variations of d*gs. So, the thinking is that Noah got a representative sample of species, and then those archetypes “microevolved” into the diversity we see today. (And never mind, of course, that such an astounding rate of evolution is both ludicrous to propose and couldn’t possibly have been missed by those living in the post-Flood world that, ostensibly, wrote the Bible.)

      Another big component is Platonic Idealism. In the ancient worldview in which Christianity is hopelessly stuck, there “exists” (for some fuzzy meaning of the term) an ideal rabbit, for example, and all actual rabbits are copies somehow made from that perfect template. Neoplatonists, especially mathematicians, still hew to this nonsense, insisting that there really does really exist such a thing as a perfect circle or other geometric abstraction or even numbers, only not in the physical world.

      Anyway…the Platonist would say that the rabbit “kind” can vary with some sort of a distribution around the ideal rabbit, but it’ll never get too terribly far away from it. This, we now know, of course, thanks in large part to Darwin, to be absolute bullshit…

      …but Christians in general and Creationists in particular never did get that memo….



    2. It’s a sign of success for the theory of evolution. They lost the “organismal forms are fixed in stone” debate so soundly that even many of them have had to admit to evolutionary change (though not all!). This is now their fall back position, “Sure, there is change, but not ENOUGH change.” It’s a lame position, of course. Once you admit that a generic wolf-like dog can be turned into a miniature poodle, well, the cat is out of the bag.

    3. Yep, as I understand it (also no biologist) they are essentially the same mechanisms. Macro- is, by and large, just micro given a bit more time.

      My impression is that at least some of them have realized that they have to concede that viruses evolve. That is all so obvious that even a few Creationists have decided to concede it (leading others to concede it without really knowing why). So they use the terms micro- and macro-evolution as if they are two distinct categories, because they think that will mean they win the argument.

      There are probably as many reasons why they accept micro and deny macro as there are Creationists who do it. One talks rubbish, the others hear that rubbish, misunderstand it, then get confused about their misunderstood version and repeat it wrongly to others who do the same thing again.

    4. The only difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution is how we categorize the changes. There is no objective dividing line between small and large–challenge them on this. But evolution is a threat to their stories, so they latch on to anything that sounds credible according to their beliefs. Add in Intelligent Design and they think we’re cornered. Oh the danger of getting science from a preacher.

      On a side note, I like to remind creationists, “evolution runs in your family.”

    5. Speciation adds some mechanisms.

      But what I don’t get how _creationists_ think genes can tell whether a variation/selection is approved by creationist magic or not?

      Creationists do refer back to their tinfoil idea that everything from viruses to whales are ‘programmed’ with the same genes (and those ‘degenerate’, never evolve), but they don’t seem to connect the never ending visible changes with genes or with the 100 % determinism (4 billion years of foresight) that their magic has to have.

      It is baffling, because as an outsider one tests their ideas, and find them sorely incoherent. But for creationists they are just handwaving they learned in order to try to fend off science, they don’t care what it means.

    6. This micro vs macro evolution is a myth utilized by Creationists. It has no place in biology.

  5. @George “Not only have we never been able to witness or prove macro evolution but adaptation has never moved a spinal column…”

    Why, oh why, we ask, do actual scientists continue to believe these Satanic lies? If only there was some way to learn more about the subject. Perhaps someday a biologist will write a book aimed at the lay audience that explains these things…

  6. Brianna apparently doesn’t notice that she herself is “twisting” (interpreting) the scriptures she cites as being anti-gay. “Gayitude” is not explicitly mentioned in either of them. I wonder if she’s actually read the bible. If she has, it would seem to me she’d know that there are other NT scriptures that do explicitly address the “sinfulness” of homosexuality: Paul’s letter to the Romans.

  7. Brianna needs to read her new testament more closely, to wit Matthew 5:17 – 19:

    “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    So whoever gave her permission to ignore all the rules in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy had no authority to do so. Is it possible she is taking this from Saul of Tarsus (since she mentions Corinthians) who never met Yeshue bar Yussef and clearly had no preaching mission from him. One has only to compare the preachings of Yeshue to those of Saul to see they were talking two separate and quite distinct religions. As Yeshue said “you cannot serve two masters”.

      1. Kinda sorta.

        Paul’s Jesus is indistinguishable from Philo’s Logos. And Philo’s Logos was explicitly the ancient Jewish demigod whom the KJV calls “Joshua” in Zechariah 6. So, in one sense, Pauline Christianity is just one particular ancient sect of Judaism viewed through a particularly Hellenistic lens.

        The Jesus of the Gospels is an invented Euhemeric biography for Paul’s Jesus, almost certainly initially authored by “Mark.” It’s basically Midrash…many Jews are familiar with the story of young Moses smashing a bunch of idols, but it’s not to be found in the Torah; it’s an invented story of the sort of thing that an young Moses would have done, told to illustrate a point about his character. There’s no indication that it was even thinkable that Jesus could have come to Earth before Mark; Mark wrote what it would have been like had Jesus done so. And then, through whatever means, it became common knowledge that Mark wasn’t the allegory it actually unapologetically was but instead real history.

        There never was any “original” Christianity, any more than there was a first human, any more than you can draw a line on the rainbow separating green from blue. Lacking an actual Jesus in any form, corporeal or otherwise, and with the initial telling of the story already pretty clearly ancient in its first telling at least 2,500 years ago, how could there be?


      2. Why I call it “Paulian Christianity” because he took over and separated it from its birth from Judaism.

        1. Actually, Philo did that. Paul just took Philo’s Hellenistic reforms of Judaism and leaned heavily on the (already long extant) personification of the Logos in the form of the ancient Jewish demigod by the name of, “Yeshua” — a demigod whose oldest recorded appearance is in the Old Testament, in Zechariah (especially chapter 6), dating half a millennium earlier. But Philo had already made explicit that the Yeshua of Zechariah 6 was the personification of the Logos, and Paul’s Jesus is indistinguishable from Philo’s Logos in every aspect.


  8. Brianna is correct: we should NOT twist scripture.

    Therefore, it is our duty as good atheists to point out whenever possible that the marriage rights of not just homosexuals must be revoked, but also those who are:

    * cowards

    * the vile

    * people who have sex outside of the bounds of Holy Matrimony

    * people who are not Christians (idolators)

    * Thieves and shoplifters

    * people who get drunk

    * Anyone who says bad things about another

    * anyone who is a liar

    * the abominable, which includes anyone who:

    * eats shellfish or catfish

    * takes the Lord’s name in vain

    * eats pork, or rabbits, or deer

    * conducts seances

    * has ever had a haircut or trimmed their beard

    * cheats another out of money, or causes trouble in the community

    * atheists

    * crossdresser, women who wear pants, or men who wear kilts

    * remarries a former spouse

    * oppresses the poor

    * lends money with interest

    * breaks a promise

    * does something to gain popularity

    All of these offenses are abominations. All deny entry into the Kingdom of God. All are just as bad to Jesus as homosexuality. And therefore, all guilty of these offenses must not be allowed to be married.

    Thanks, Brianna!

    1. Good comment.

      So, Brianna, shall w meet for drinks in hell? Or have you never lied? Oh, you can be forgiven for that? Why not gay people? Or maybe xianity is just a bunch of bs driven by a fear of death and an antipathy toward anyone who’s different from yourself?

    1. Yeah but you’re probably still an idolater so see you in Hell anyway. I’ll bring the SPF 5000

          1. It’s from Doom. It was the weapon you always wanted to get – the big fuckin’ gun. I preferred the shotgun myself. You lost time on the recoil, but it was effective.

          1. (I have a horrible feeling that I’m mixing cultural references. Shouldn’t I be standing on a LAPD-uniformed warthog, but with something other than a BFG-9000?)

    2. No, still a crime of “man lying with man like with a woman” is still verboten. If you even think about it it is a thought crime punishable as if you actually did it.

  9. Gay Christians have various workarounds for various Biblical passages some of them more convincing than others.

    Re 1 Corinthians 6- many scholars have argued this is a condemnation of gay prostitution. The Greek work is ambiguous. I don’t know Greek well enough to know if this is a good argument or not.

    The 2nd Bible passage cited above from Revelation does not mention gays, but there remains some controversy as to whether it condemns “unbelievers” or “promise breakers”. Evangelicals generally prefer the first translation.

    1. Not to mention a precious few who think the Book of Revelation pretty much invalidates the entire message of grace of the rest of the New Testament.

  10. The first problem is that, like most religious homophobes, Brianna sees homosexuality as a “choice” or a “decision,” when it’s clearly not. Gay people’s sexuality feels to them like something inherent and inexorable, which it is.

    Personally, I’ve never been impressed by this particular argument and can understand why the fundamentalists aren’t much moved by it either. In their world view, people are all born with Original Sin which inclines them to do things which are wicked. The wickedness ranges from a desire to tell your mommy you won’t pick up your toys to a desire to murder the people who get in your way. We ALL have an inherent, inexorable nature of sin and it makes us equally unworthy of God’s love (which is why it’s so hysterically astonishing that God loves us despite this and gives us a way we can cleanse ourselves of our icky human nature.)

    But we have a choice or decision to act on our bad impulses — or not. We are capable of recognizing error and calling it error and thinking of it as error and at the very least feeling bad about it. The real clash with secularism isn’t arguments about whether sexual inclination is genetic or debates on “free will.” It’s whether it’s harmful or wrong to have gay sex in the first place. Religion defines new categories of evil into existence.

    Most fundamentalist churches are okay with accepting homosexuals who hate the wicked inclinations they were born with. After all, weepy stories of fighting and winning against temptation are their bread and butter. And technically speaking a gay person who chooses lifelong celibacy (or mimics heterosexuality) is no different than a repentant murderer or adulterer…. or repentant fornicator or masturbator. Are they still practicing their own special temptation or condoning it as a right because it’s normal and what they were born to do — like a thief excusing stealing because they’re naturally greedy and insensitive?

    We are all equally inclined to sin according to the burden which has been given to us individually through the Original Sin. So forgiveness is always available if you say you’re sorry for what you DID. After all, God can forgive everything (except that weird codicil regarding “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” which usually interprets as talking crap against Jesus.) People who want to reflect the glory of God’s mercy ought to be willing to do the same in their worldly lives — under the “reasonable” conditions, of course. True repentance.

    And my guess is that Brianna would agree with this.

    1. That is…some seriously fucked-up shit.

      So Jesus gives us all our own personal tests, a custom-designed obstacle course to our lives. Some people want to rape and murder and pillage, and their test is to not rape and murder and pillage…unless the people they want to rape and murder and pillage are Canaanites. Some other people want to be with the people whom they love dearly, but those they love have an unsanctioned set of genitalia…and their test is to deny their love.

      …and we’re still somehow supposed to pretend that Jesus is some sort of a love god?


      As always, the real miracle is that anybody falls for this nonsense….


      1. That is…some seriously fucked-up shit.


        Remember the popular bromide, “God never gives us anything we can’t handle.” Whether they chirp it out with a bright and cheery smile or intone it sadly and with an air of gentle reassurance, I always think to myself “That is … some seriously fucked-up shit.”

        1. Remember the popular bromide, “God never gives us anything we can’t handle.”

          Of course She wouldn’t. what fun is there in just destroying someone. It is really important that there is the illusion of being able to do something to win. Otherwise, you’re in the old thermodynamic bind : you can’t win, you can’t break even, and you can’t stop playing.

      2. Not to mention the dubious notion that individual choice-making is somehow exempt from scrutiny in a way that “being born with a sinful nature” is not. It would be like programming a robot to screw itself over, and then torturing the robot out of “revenge” which is only useful as a deterrent anyway.

        That is… some seriously stupid shit.

    2. But, Sastra, there is a bit more to it than that. There are all sorts of sinners making bad choices, or not thinking at all about their choices.

      But gay people are the only sinners who are not allowed to be joined in Holy Matrimony. Brianna, and many others like her, also somehow feel justified in not allowing gay people to be joined in secular marriage either.

      Murderers, though, can marry. Same as child rapers. All others who commit abominations can marry. Even lobster eaters! But not gay people.

      *Something* about gay people makes them inherently different, makes them, evidently, inherently unforgivable.

      1. Not quite.

        Since the “sin” in homosexual behavior is the homosexual relationship itself, then it makes twisted sense to forbid them any status conferred on this particular relationship. They’re being singled out in this area for a reason which is directly connected to the sin. It’s like when an unrepentant child molester isn’t allowed to work with children or an unreformed thief ought to be refused the store security job.

        What really does single gay people out is that — unlike child molesters or thieves — gay people aren’t hurting anybody. There is no secular reason to forbid them from getting married. Being publicly anti-gay then is a sign that you’re more “moral” than other people. It sets the Christian apart as being different.

        Also, I think what’s at stake here isn’t just stigmatizing homosexuality: it’s an attempt to mark marriage as their territory. Christian privilege in action. They want the cultural narrative to grant that marriage is a sacred act of religion, a covenant with God which wouldn’t and couldn’t exist or make sense in a world where people didn’t want to love and follow God. Nonbelievers and infidels simply ‘steal’ it and mimic it and don’t realize that God is still there, watching and waiting for them to turn to Him.

        But they’ll only let that go so far. If the law allows gay marriage then this means that marriage is not like baptism, communion, or other religious rituals in which only GOD (ie the believers) have final say. Instead it’s officially an agreement and commitment made between individuals inside of a rational community. The curtain has been lowered on the little pretend play that marriage is inherently religious in nature — and they’re howling in frustration.


        1. Also, I think what’s at stake here isn’t just stigmatizing homosexuality: it’s an attempt to mark marriage as their territory. Christian privilege in action.

          “… it wasn’t until the 12th century that the wedding became a church ritual.” unreasonable faith – Christianity and the Tradition of Marriage.
          “Today many Christian denominations regard marriage as a sacrament, a sacred institution, or a covenant, but this wasn’t the case before marriage was officially recognized as a sacrament at the 1184 Council of Verona” (Wikipedia). So for more than half the time since Jebus, marriage had little to do with the church, it seems.

          In finding the above quote, I happened upon the flowchart of sexual decision making according to medieval penitential manuals.

  11. My favourite vestigial organ is the milk teeth of guinea pigs. These are replaced by the permanent teeth before the little gp is born; so, completely useless.

  12. real science (you know the kind that can be proven forward and backwards) with honest men and women standing up for truth while explaining hypothesis and theories as one thing and fact as another.

    I am sure Astro-Sam will be relieved that gravity is just a common sense theory and not a fact. It will lighten her burden.

    No, this will never happen – that scientists would stand up and say that well tested scientific theories are not fact among other facts – because George posts creationist fantasies as ‘truth’. A well tested scientific theory attests to the facts of the existence of a predictive theory and the process it predicts at the very least. I would say that, since it encapsulates all its observations, that it is a super fact.

    I wonder how George “proves”, forward and backwards, compatibility between his creationist tin foil claim and this:

    “Evolution is a cornerstone of modern science, accepted as one of the most reliably established of all facts and theories of science, based on evidence not just from the biological sciences, but also from anthropology, psychology, astrophysics, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics, and other scientific disciplines, as well as behavioral and social sciences. Understanding of evolution has made significant contributions to humanity, including preventing and treating human disease, new agricultural products, industrial innovations, computer science and rapid advances in life sciences.[24] Discoveries in evolutionary biology have made a significant impact not just within the traditional branches of biology, but also in other academic disciplines (e.g., biological anthropology and evolutionary psychology) and on society at large.[25][26]”

    [ [24] is NAS, through https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution ]

  13. But Brianna does have somewhat of a point… The argument that both homosexual sex and pork, shellfish, etc were banned in Leviticus and yet people eat pork but still don’t accept homosexuality has a very simple explanation. Christians today also believe that Acts is scripture, and in that book certain foods were declared to be a-ok to eat*, but no such grace with homosexuals.

    So sure, there are plenty of problems with Biblical literalism, and believe me I’m not supporting her bigoted stance against homosexuals, nor her acceptance of anything in the Bible as divine or inspired. But if you’re looking for Christian hypocrisy there are much better examples. So it seems to me Jerry didn’t really address her objection.


    *In Acts 10 it states:
    And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

    1. The problem is that this is pretty close to a contradiction.

      If the bible is closed under logical consequence, I think we’re supposed to infer that eating baseball caps, mica sheets and solutions of tin (II) chloride is the way to go.

      1. I’m not saying that the Bible makes sense. I’m saying that it does make sense that Christians would both eat pork and hate homosexuality.

  14. We also have embryological and morphological evidence of past ancestry of animals from very different types of animals

    The “chicken-o-saurus” story from a few days ago (last week?) is a nice recent addition to the already replete list of such discoveries.
    Unlike the god-squaddies, I can be sure that “chicken-o-saurus” won’t be the last such good story illuminating the process of evolution this year. Probably not the last this month, as there are a good couple of weeks left in the month.
    There may even be a good one this week – Nature comes out on Wednesday and Science on Friday.
    It’s not a difficult prediction.

  15. “I don’t know the relative strength of genetic, developmental, or environmental contributions to gayness, but one thing’s for sure: determinism mandates that it’s not a free choice.”
    Apparently is a mixing of factors: “Homosexual Behavior Largely Shaped By Genetics And Random Environmental Factors”
    The author says: “Overall, genetics accounted for around 35 per cent of the differences between men in homosexual behaviour and other individual-specific environmental factors (that is, not societal attitudes, family or parenting which are shared by twins) accounted for around 64 per cent. In other words, men become gay or straight because of different developmental pathways, not just one pathway.”

    1. Such non-reproductive sex can be a governor on population growth. Unfortunately it is insufficient.

  16. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    I first completed the Corinthians quintuplet shortly after puberty, and I sure-as-shit ain’t gonna give it up now.

  17. Matthew 5: 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

    So now I’m confused. Do we follow old testament law or not? Apparently according to Jesus, the old testament law stands, except for maybe dietary stuff and things Jesus fulfilled.

    In reality, it was Paul who had more to do with the whole new covenant thing, or at least the epistles, most of the things attributed to Paul weren’t written by the one normally referred to as Paul. Early, even besides Paul, in Christianity there was a lot of issues with the old testament law followers and new non-Jewish Christians who didn’t all follow the old testament laws.

    In fairness to the first commenter, the KJV in the first verse Jerry quoted uses the word effeminate. Most Bible translations use the word homosexuals. I’m guessing she wasn’t using the KJV.

    Sorry, I used to research these kinds of things. Both just that particular Bible verse and early Christian history. I’m not a Christian anymore, but early Christian history can still be fascinating.

    Sorry this long. I think it adds to the discussion, if not and it is deleted, I understand.

  18. I know this post is a bit old (I fell behind in my reading) but I do want to complain about one thing.

    “The first problem is that, like most religious homophobes, Brianna sees homosexuality as a “choice” or a “decision,” when it’s clearly not.”

    I think this is a pointless thing to argue. Whether people choose to be gay or not is irrelevant to whether it is ethical or not. If we just imagine that some indisputable evidence was revealed that being gay was a choice would supporters of homosexuality say, “Whoops, they chose to be gay therefore it is wrong”? The important part of whether homosexuality is right or wrong is whether it is harming any non-consenting party. Whether it’s a choice or not, that is not the case.

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