An Update to the Christian Church’s Billboard in North Carolina

Earlier today, I posted about this billboard up in North Carolina:

While I appreciated the sentiment, I wanted to know if it was an attempt to look good without actually pushing for real change. I wanted to know if the church supported same-sex marriage. And, though less important, what did they they think of gay people? Was a person acting on his/her homosexuality condemned to hell for doing so?

Despite my inquiry, I never received an answer from the pastors. But Justin Vacula sent them a similar email and they responded to him. Here’s their email response:

Hi Justin.

Thanks do much for contacting us regarding the billboard & our church’s stance/beliefs on this topic.

The short answers are that no, we do not believe homosexuality is a sin, and yes we support same-sex marriage.

I have posted a basic theological breakdown of our position below. It can also be found in the “notes” section at Facebook.com/ourheartsarewithyou

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Sincerely,
Alex Roller
Spiritual Formation Pastor
Missiongathering Christian Church

That’s fantastic. Even if you don’t believe they’re interpreting the Bible the “right” way, this is something that ought to be happening a lot more often. That church has earned my appreciation (not that they were looking for it) and I hope other churches follow in their footsteps when it comes to LGBT equality.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Onamission5

    I get to be happy about this now!

    Thanks for the quick update. I love it when positive news doesn’t come tinged with yeah, but… all over it.

  • Jim

    Alex Roller – as in Holy Roller?   lol   
    Kudos to a church who has an idea what their Jesus would have done.

  • Ndonnan

    The classic misconception perpetuated on this site is that you dont go to heaven because your gay,abort your children,have a perverted mind, believe in evolution,tell lies,steal or murder.Its because you dont know God,and dont want to,end of story!

    • http://twitter.com/nikwarner Nick Warner

      You mean perpetuated by the bible, (try reading it) and just about every mainstream church in America?

    • Edmond

      Maybe this “classic misconception” exists because of all the religious people running around yelling “You’re going to hell for being gay!” and “You’re going to hell for having an abortion!” and “You’re going to hell for promoting evolution” and “You’re going to hell for that and that and that and the other thing!”

      Having all these religious people spouting DIFFERENT claims from the one you just made does not really help the credibility of ANY of you.  Maybe all the Christians in the country (world?) should get together and get your stories straight?

      I’ve been an atheist all my adult life, but only became part of the “atheist community” over the past 2 or 3 years.  I’ve NEVER met a bunch of people who are more interested in knowledge and truth.  They hold great respect for the processes which allow us to GAIN that knowledge.  The skeptic’s thirst for inquiry and discovery has few equals.

      How can you claim that atheists don’t know god, and don’t WANT to, when we’re such an inquisitive bunch?  We definitely DO want to know the answers to the universe’s most pressing and mysterious questions, but we won’t be satisfied with answers that are propped up by stories instead of evidence.  We can’t accept mythologies over logic.

      If there’s knowledge to be had about gods, or any supernatural concepts, then that knowledge must first be VETTED through a proper process that weeds out false information.  We value CONFIRMATION.  What confirmation process does religion offer?  Feel it in your heart?

      We want to know whatever CAN be known, but we recognize that there are limits to that.  We can’t just accept ANY story that comes along, simply because no other answers exist yet.  Before we call ANYTHING “knowledge”, it must meet very stringent conditions, so that we can be sure that we’re RIGHT about it.  What conditions does religion set, so that you can be sure its claims are true?

    • Coyotenose

       Gosh, stamping your foot and declaring it so will surely stop the flood of rational takedowns.

      Pretty arrogant and delusional of you to insist that you’re psychic and so just magically know what we “don’t want to do”.

    • http://twitter.com/SkeptimusPrime Dylan Walker

      I am an atheist, but am open to knowing god if there is one.  It’s not that I don’t want to know him it is that there is no compelling reason to believe there is one.

      • Ndonnan

        Open your eyes Dylan but more importantly open your heart.Hes right in front of you.When you do recognize Him you will wonder how you didnt see Him all these years.Start by calling out to Him to reveal Himself ,go to a church this sunday and see what happens,i will pray for you as well. 

        • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

           Wow, you have not idea who you are speaking to.

          I was a fundamentalist Christian for 7 years before I became an atheist.  I spent years in church and calling out to god.

          • Ndonnan

            Well why dont you try a completely different one  and see what happens

            • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

              Different what?  Religion?  Let me ask you this, how much of my life should I waste chasing chasing claims of the divine? 

              Show me a god that can be empirically verified to exist then we have something, otherwise why should I waste precious time out of the only life I know I have testing every little supernatural claim that comes down the road?   

              That would be very time intensive, perhaps you should just save me the time and tell me which religion you think is the correct one?

              • Glasofruix

                Don’t bother, this guy is beyond repair, the lights are on but nobody’s home…

              • Ndonnan

                Why not start by googleing”the girl who went to heaven[or hell for that matter]and listen to people with nothing to gain tell you the experience they had and make of it what you will.Just going to church doesnt do anything if the reason your there isnt right.Atheist pride themselves on being openminded andserchers for truth,keep searching,it will be worth it

                • Glasofruix

                  Personnal experience != evidence, how many times do we have to tell you that? I’ve seen pink elephants, does that mean that i can start a new religion?
                  Being religious is not being open minded, it’s exactly the opposite as you are told how to live and how to think, there’s no questioning in religion, no personnal growth. I fail to see the worth in organized ignorance.

                • Ndonnan

                  Going by your answer you havent got a clue,try going sometime.

                • Glasofruix

                  Going where? To church? No thank you, i have more useful occupations.

                • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

                  How exactly can you get from person had this unexplained experience to god exists? 

                  I am open minded to evidence, but that doesn’t seem like evidence in any way shape or form.

                • Ndonnan

                  If something happens to you and people tell you it never happened,its irrelevent,it happened to you.Thats what a testimony is. 

                • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

                  Wow… I didn’t say nothing happened  I said it was unexplained, the person asserting the cause of some experience they had was a God is not evidence that god actually did it.

                  I suggest you read some up on psychology, people can be very easily fooled by their own mind, individual people are notoriously bad observers.

                • Edmond

                  The girl who went to Heaven and Hell did so in a drug-induced coma.  I’m still curious as to what process religion offers to help separate dreams and hallucinations from actual events.  Or, are we just good to go on the testimony of a 15 year old child on drugs?

                  But “supernatural” experiences like hers happen to people in ALL religions.  What do you “make” of those experiences?  Does the process that you use for sorting fantasy from reality help you in assessing these non-Christian events?  DO you have a process of any kind?

                • Ndonnan

                  Theres thousands Ed, all different look a little further

                • Glasofruix

                  So what? Thousands of deluded people/liars don’t make something true…

    • Au_catboy

       God is nothing more than a delusion, the product of your diseased imagination, something that you made up so you can justify your own bigotry to yourself. 

    • Gunstargreen

      I’d like to meet God, when can I set up an appointment with him. I’m tired of having to deal with his secretaries. I’m beginning to doubt the guy even exists!

    • Paul D.

      No one goes to “Heaven”, because Heaven as the biblical authors imagined was a physical location just above the atmosphere, and we now know their cosmology was woefully incorrect. But even in the Bible, people don’t go to Heaven when they die. They just go to “sheol”, i.e. the grave.

    • Edward

      How dare you! How dare you presume to know my mind and what I do or do not want, without knowing a single detail about me, of my history, where I’ve been, what I have or have not tried to do. You know nothing about me, yet you presume to know my reasons for my lack of belief.

      You come here with that presumptuous sanctimonious attitude, and you are surprised we don’t listen to you? You come here and deliver judgment on us without having even met most of us, and you wonder why we fight you?

      Let me quote your holy book at you. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5, NIV)

      Perhaps if you and your fellow believers attempted to engage in a proper dialogue with us about why we hold the attitudes we do before delivering your judgment on all and sundry, we might feel more willing to consider a less antagonistic view.

      • Ndonnan

        No one was talking to you Edward so you will just have to cope and i dont need you to engage me at all if you dont want to.

        • Thalfon

          Frankly, it doesn’t really matter that it was Edward who posted that, except in that he is well worded enough to have phrased it so well. The truth is, any one of us could have said the exact same thing and had just as valid of a point. You came in and made blatant stereotypical and derisive assumptions about everyone here, and then expected us to treat your undefended opinion with some measure of respect; this is no way to convince someone of your stance.

          If your desire is to share your opinion on the matter in a way that others might be willing to engage with you on equal grounds, you would be well served to remember that it’s another human being on the other end of the connection, many in fact, and you likely don’t know any of us beyond user names and a couple posts. Blind assumptions, especially about people, are rarely welcome anywhere, and I would suggest less so here.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          If you post in a public forum, then you most certainly are ‘talking’ to everyone who reads it.  Nobody is required to engage anything, but at least be honest about the fact that you were making a claim about what we ‘want’.

          • Ndonnan

            No Rich the question in the post states,”does a person who  acts on their homosexuality go to hell”thats what he wanted to know.People here dont stop telling you that they dont believe in the spiritual realm,end of story.They arnt searching,its decided in their minds,they question what i believe not what they believe,they dont want to know. Hemunts posts nearly always assert what christians are and arnt,they arnt questions seeking answers,they are statements of fact so when all these overly sensitive people get oh so offended,bad luck.Im not trying to be a dick or contentious but i will state what most christians will say what ever denomination they come from. 

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              No one was talking to you Edward

              is an immature hurtful and hateful taunt that isn’t becoming of your character.  Whatever you think about what anyone says here about Christians, this isn’t your own private little party in which you get to dismiss people.  You don’t have to talk to anyone, but the rest of us do want to, and I take extreme exception to you saying “No one was talking to you”.  If you’re not comfortable with someone’s input, you always have the option of going to a different party. 

        • Edward

           As Rich Wilson and Thalfon have already alluded to, you were indeed talking to me, and many others of the same stripe. You may have had a case to say otherwise if you had chosen your words with more care, but you did not. Rather, you articulated a blanket statement without any qualifying remark that applied to all non-believers, and in doing so, have chosen to engage with all us who do not fit within the grouping that you have iterated, namely that of non-believers, who in the past did so, quite plausibly with a fervour and devotion that you are unaware of.

          You have chosen to speak for us, without even being one of us, and in doing so, have enraged a great many of us where we feel we compelled to respond and rebel against your casual categorisation. Frankly, an apology is in order. If you are unwilling to do so, or even appreciate why such would be demanded, then I am forced to wonder if you are perhaps unwilling, or even incapable of allowing yourself empathy towards those who are not of the same broad religious outlook as you.

          I suspect I am correct in this assumption, as your first utterance on this comment thread is of the criteria for entering heaven. As unbelievers, we think that heaven does not exist, and thus, we are not concerned with entering it. Rather, we are more concerned with the equality and conditions for all people upon this earth, in this lifetime, rather than the hypothetical next. However, it appears that you are unable to grasp this point of view, and we respond, and will continue to respond, not because we desire these arguments, but because until you, and others like you, are willing to engage in a civil and empathetic dialogue, those on the receiving end of your religious attitudes are in grave danger of being marginalised even more than they already are.

          • Ndonnan

            Edward,casual categorization is what this site is all about. Extreme examples of christian comment or petty complaints abound,yours being a prime example.I find your response fained and manipulative which really dosent cut it .For a group who is consciously trying to marginalize christianity  at every turn who dont seem to know the meaning of empathetic dialog, your offense is unfounded.Having said that,i wish you no personal insult and would value your input.
                

            • Edward

              Even if I accepted your argument that this site thrives on casual and unwilling compartmentalisation of people into groups without consultation, that does not give you leave to do the same. I refer to my first comment for some choice words on that behaviour.

              As for the implication that my outrage is unfounded, and that I perhaps merely wish to marginalise Christianity out of some kind of imagined slight, let me give you the relevant piece of my history. I was a Christian for more years than I wish to admit. During that time I gave my entire life to god. I lead a cell group, been involved in youth work. I had geared up to go on a missions trip for six months, giving up excellent job opportunities, believing it to be a call from God. I had prayed, read my bible, bought books, been to conferences, passed on someone I loved because she was not a believer. I had repented my sins over and over again. I had confessed embarrassing lies in front of my friends and family. I had got on my knees and begged God to let me understand. I had pulled myself up again and again, willing myself to go on.

              And still, I heard nothing. So I left.

              And now you have the effrontery to tell me that I did not know God, and that I did not want to? How dare you.

              • Ndonnan

                So to you personally Edward i sincerely apologize.I dont know why to some God walks with side by side,to others get to see into the spiritual realm,yet to most we are taught and our response is personal, from being totally committed to total dismissal .Personally God is a father,i know that i am loved,i feel guided in my life,ifeel blessed,i want to please Him. I was brought up in a very conservative family and was taught a lot of things were absolute that arnt. Now i can say to my parents no your wrong and this is why.Now because i personally know why i believe in God and trust Him,other peoples beliefs or interpretation of the bible dont concern me. I now go to a pentecostal church that meets in a uniting church after they finish,whos church also is used by the 7th day adventists on Saturday,live in a catholic community,have gay,jewish,atheist friends,not just people i know .The point is Edward i see God from a lot of perspectives and realize my point of view isnt all there is but what i do know is that there is a difference between “knowing God” and knowing “about” God.One is from an intellectual perspective and one from a personal.If you did know God,even if He never spoke to you,you cannot now say He doesnt exist and heaven and hell dont either. Edward Jesus still stands with arms wide open,isnt offended at your questions or doubts.Instead of being angry and disappointed  at God try a completely different christian community from the one you believed to be right ,but was wrong for you.Take the chance after all these years,sit in the back row and watch,God will reveal Himself to you in a new way and i will be praying for you personally.Norm.   

    • Baby_Raptor

      You want to know why I’m not going to heaven? It’s because I don’t deem your god worthy of worship. 

      A god who calls his supposed creation his children, talks about how he made them…And then would condemn them to suffer horribly for all eternity for exactly how he made them. 

      A god who punishes an entire race for 2 peoples’ mistake.

      A god who sits by and does nothing as people use his name to hurt, murder and destroy others…And will not only not punish the people who do this, but will forgive them as if nothing ever happened. No justice for the wronged, no punishment for the crime.

      A god who does nothing about people that he supposedly loves hurting, starving dying…Nothing. But supposedly we’re his children. 

      A god who condones rape, misogyny, murder, slavery…

      There is nothing about this being that I see as good, praise-worthy or desirable. So, no. If he truly does exist, I don’t want to go to his heaven. 

      Besides, that would mean having to live with all the people who DO find that sort of thing good…People like you, apparently.

    • NickDB

       I want to know god, but he doesn’t return my calls.

      His facebook page is great though.

      • Ndonnan

        Sure He does Nick,He just talks quietly thats all,learning to listen is the hard part for all of us

        • matt

          Is the same guy who speaks softly to you the same one who speaks softly to Mormons, Jews, Muslims, etc.?  How can you be sure it’s the Christian god you’re hearing?  And if it’s the same guy, why all the deception? 

          • Ndonnan

            Yes,there is only one God,and why all the deception,whos the “great deceiver “?

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Well, if the little voice starts whispering to strangle cats (or little kids), get some help.

        • Glasofruix

          So if you wish for something really really hard it will come true? How old are you, 5?

        • Au_catboy

           So, Ndonnan, the only evidence you have that your god exists is the sworn testimony of the voices in your head? 

  • Druttaro

    Ndonnan – you don’t go to heaven because it doesn’t exist.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I’m of two minds about this.

    On the one hand, great, no visible persecution of gays! Blah blah blah!

    On the other hand, atheists routinely condemn Christians(and other religious groups) of cherry-picking what they like and don’t like from their own holy books. What this church says is clearly cherry-picking. Homosexuality is condemned in both the OT and the NT. Technically, these people are going against the word of their God.

    So what, are we atheists now the final arbiters of what is acceptable Christian cherry-picking and what isn’t? When did that memo come out?

    • E. Nuff o’reddy

      Don’t we give them a lot of crap about that “judge not” thing, as well? Is there nothing churchies can do to satisfy short of agreeing with us completely?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/SH5Y2EVWTCTIZM4HQSMC2Z4IWQ Nicholas V

         Fair question. If they’re going to be inconsistent, then I’d certainly prefer them being inconsistent in favor of equal rights and fair treatment. I do wonder though, how much can you disagree with Christianity before it no longer makes sense to call yourself Christian?

        • PantherOne

           One can disagree with Christianity as long as they continue to rearrange their apologetics based on their cases of special pleading.  Perhaps once the final verses are eradicated as nothing more than “metaphor,” the walls will come tumbling down and Christianity will be shelved with the rest of Mythology.  But I have a feeling that will take a few more decades, or perhaps centuries, of neurophysiological research into Free Will.  It will come riding on the back of shifting scientific paradigms.

          • E. nuff o’reddy

            I keep hearing this type of argument. “they” aren’t /really/ Christians, so why don’t they admit it? What does god think about these liberals corrupting ‘his’ words?

            Some people treat the bible as the literal word of god. Others see it as a series of stories that are not literal but which can provide insight into living a life that would be pleasing to god.

            Why do we atheists/agnostics feel so cock-sure we know what Christianity is? Why are some of us so willing to tell people that what they always knew as their religion is actually just them failing to understand their own holy scriptures? If believers can’t know which religion is the “real” one, then nonbelievers surely can’t, either.

            Buy when people meet together to teach each other what god is and what it wants, even if it seems to contradict what their magic book says, that looks like religion to me. As long as they don’t try to bring it to schools or similar public spaces, they can call themselves whatever they want. As nonbelievers, we seem singularly unqualified to decree what is ‘real’ Christianity and what is delusional misinterpretation.

            In short, religion is very personal, and everyone has a different concept in mind when they speak of it. Can we stop decreeing who is right and who is wrong and stick to keeping religion in churches and homes, where it belongs? I mean, we believe all of them are wrong, don’t we? Are we just choosing to impose the interpretation that gives us the most opportunity to mock it?

            • Ndonnan

              Ahh a lone voice of reason in a sea of wrath.This is why atheists are so quickly labeled arrogant because of your last verse is so true.Religion is a personal thing,and God is a just and creative God,thats why we have diversity and thats ok,we have to learn to live with that,but in the end we will all have to give an account of ourselves before that God and He will judge our hearts.All the intellect in the world will account for nothing then,there wont be any reasoning, bargaining or proving your position,then you will know who was right and who was wrong. 

              • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

                You start out saying that religion is personal but then end making some rather factual claims that god is going punish us for daring to doubt his existence.  

                If there is a god he made me an atheist…who are you to say he made me wrong?

                • Ndonnan

                  Um no God isnt going to punish any one for doubt.You have free will,you choose who you you become,dont blame God for your choices.

                • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

                   You speak in circles, why don’t you ever just plainly tell people what you believe? 

                  How do you think atheists will fare in the afterlife?

                • E. nuff o’reddy

                  Dare I suggest . . . He didn’t say you were made wrong, but merely made a statement about his faith? I like to think that, if there is a judgment, I will come out of it fine because I have lived a moral life. Others like to think I will burn because I did not abase myself to god while living it. None of us will know for sure until the end.

                  I will continue to speak against the imposition of religions on the rest of us through the public sphere, but I see no value in telling people they don’t really believe what they say they do, or that it isn’t really Christianity despite their saying it is. I really see no value in commenting on their religions at all. Faith is belief in the absence of proof. There is no way to convince someone their faith is wrong through scientific evidence. There is no way to convince skeptics that religion is real in the absence of evidence. So let’s just leave church to the churches and stick to reminding people that each of us is entitled to believe what we want and none of us is entitled to impose our beliefs on society as a whole.

                • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

                   Ok, first I generally like to disabuse people of the notion that religious people cannot ever be convinced they are wrong.  I am living proof that people can and do abandon their beliefs.

                  second, I never implied that anyone was not entitled to belief what ever they want.

        • Pseudonym

          I do wonder though, how much can you disagree with Christianity before it no longer makes sense to call yourself Christian?

          Surely this is the most common atheist version of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

      • Ndonnan

        Then we would argue about football instead,your right though

    • LizzyD

      There’s so many contradictory statements in the Bible, they have no other choice. I’m willing to give them a pass when they choose the non-discriminatory interpretation!

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      I think it is highly debatable the extent to which homosexuality is condemned in either the OT or the NT. In fact, it is at most a minor issue, and when discussed is mainly in the context of condemning lust or defining tribal custom. The idea of what we’d consider simple homosexuality, isn’t addressed directly at all, although it is addressed indirectly in the apparently homosexual relationships described for several biblical protagonists.

      Any interpretation of biblical scripture tends to be tortured. But I think it’s easier to find support for homosexuality in the Bible (NT) than condemnation. Any Christian church that chooses to support homosexuals can do so without having to worry much about conflicting scripture.

      • David McNerney

        Of all the things thou shalt or shalt not do – I would have thought that homosexuality is one of the clearest – it is an abomination in the eyes of the lord and they shall surely be put to death.

        It doesn’t get much clearer than that.  I think there’s very little interpretation there.

        The question is how serious are you going to take this – and when you look at all the other crap around Lev 18:22 that is mostly ignored by Christians, the answer obviously should be “not very”.

        But I think there is strong case of “hater’s gonna hate”.

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          It isn’t clear at all. The stuff in Leviticus is rationally interpreted as rules that were created to set the proto-Jews apart from all the other tribes- rules about tribal identity, not things that applied to all humans. Even the word “abomination” in its untranslated form means nothing like what it means in English. There are no references in the Bible to homosexuality at all, and only a few to homosexual acts- and those pretty clearly in the context of lust and orgy-like behavior.

      • Pseudonym

        But I think it’s easier to find support for homosexuality in the Bible (NT) than condemnation.

        I agree with the rest of your comment, but I disagree with that.

        There is nothing in the Bible which says anything complimentary about stable, loving same-sex relationships. Compare this with various bits which say nice things about the same for different-sex relationships. See the Song of Solomon as an example.

        You won’t necessarily find condemnation, but you won’t find support either.

        Almost.

        Now that I’ve said all that, I’m going to backtrack on one point, which Fred Clark made recently. If the biblical condemnation of homosexuality and homosexual people were so clear-cut, there would be no need for a homophobe to deny explicit biblical teachings, but they do.

        (That’s not just any homophobe, by the way. That’s Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and hence presumably the best theologian they have. Very sad.)

  • TheAnalogKid

    It’s not about whether they are 
    interpreting  the Bible correctly or not.  They’re ignoring parts of it. Old Testament and New. Why not ignore all of it? Be free.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Other churches will follow, or they will become increasingly obscure and fade away. This has always been the response of religion to changing culture: fight it as long as possible, but then quietly give in. Because what real choice do they have? Societies evolve. Always. Churches have no magic that protects them from change.

    This one is easy, since there’s nothing much in the Bible about homosexuality (arguably, there’s nothing at all), it makes dropping the issue pretty straightforward.

    • Pseudonym

      Historical nit: That’s almost true. When culture changes, there’s always some (many, even; perhaps most in some cases) religious groups fighting the change as much as possible. But there’s always some religious groups championing the change, too.

      Religion really is that pervasive in human culture. Hell, until recently in history, it was human culture.

      Christianity taken as a whole is a religion that’s especially partial to change. It started, you may recall, when a certain Paul of Tarsus took a weird Jewish sect and adapted it for the Greek world. Change is in its very genes. Depending on the change, some churches fear it and some churches embrace it early (or are even behind it). Christianity as a whole embraces it.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        I wouldn’t call Christianity partial to change at all. I think it’s very much on the conservative end of things. When conditions change, what it does is splinter. Has any religion ever produced as many sects as Christianity?

        • Ndonnan

          Thats because God is a creative God and christians question things all the time and we come to different conclusions,and its all ok

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            You mean that your god was too stupid to write anything down in a clear way, and therefore every Christian has a different understanding of what the Bible means? Yeah, that sounds about right.

            And I guess it’s “all ok” except for the majority of Christians, who think that everybody else’s “ok” means they’re going to hell.

          • Thalfon

            This isn’t about any god being creative though, it’s obviously the people being creative. Coming to different conclusions on things that are either factually true or false (regardless of whether we know for certain which is the case) isn’t something to be positive about. It’s possible to disagree on whether you like the taste of brick cheese over swiss, and still have both people be correct. In a disagreement over something like, “does the pope have the ultimate authority over religious matters on Earth” (the Catholic/Lutheran splintering in a nutshell) it is not possible for both parties to be correct (although they can certainly both be wrong, if the god they’re talking about doesn’t exist).

            Moreover these disagreements do tend to trickle in. Sure the church splinters and some are in favour and some not, but it’s almost always a majority in favour of the old ways regardless of morality, and a minority in favour of the change even if it’s a moral improvement. And when there is a massive split it’s very often something purely religious (the trinity, the pope, communion, sacraments, validity of old testament law, etc.), and often of no real-world substance whatsoever.

          • Edmond

            So, it’s all ok with god if one church says homosexuality is not a sin and that they support same-sex marriage?  God doesn’t mind this different conclusion?

            • Ndonnan

              No some are quite clear but they arnt an issue of salvation

              • Edmond

                So what you’re saying is, to get into Heaven, the only qualification is to believe in the Christian god and to love him.  The Christians who are kind and accepting to gay people will get into Heaven, and so will the Christians who want to lock gay people into electrified fences, as long as they’re motivated by belief and love in god.

                This begins to sound like anyone can justify nearly anything, as long as love and belief in god is their reason for doing it.  I wonder about the victim of such a self-righteous person, who may be an unrepentant homosexual, and possibly an unbelieving atheist, who will burn in eternity for their disbelief, while their haters and attackers are rewarded.

                This is why the concepts of Heaven and Hell are so illogical and unbelievable.  They’re unjust.  A reward/punishment system based on love and belief is cruel and immoral.  Our human-made justice system is far superior, because it’s based on actions and harms.  Who we love and what we believe should be our own to decide, WITHOUT punishment OR reward.

          • Staschakspainting

            Ah… yea okay :p

        • Pseudonym

          I wouldn’t call Christianity partial to change at all. I think it’s very much on the conservative end of things.

          I think you’re only looking at a subset of Christianity. It’s an understandable mistake if you live in certain parts of the US, where that subset happens to be a majority. But you can’t tell me that you’ve never heard of, say, Quakers.

          FWIW, I was brought up in a “religious left” church. That church is the third largest in Australia (Catholic and Anglican are the top two), as well as being that country’s largest non-government provider of social welfare.

          Has any religion ever produced as many sects as Christianity?

          Islam comes close, but no. There’s also never been a religion as large as Christianity.

  • Gunstargreen

    To me this just reads “there’s a whole untapped market of people who want to be gay and Christian so we’ll bring them to our church” but I’m kind of a horrible, cynical person.

    • Gradysghost

      Outside of a specific context, being cynical is quite healthy.

  • David

    As far as I understand, Mission Gathering was pretty much created for LGBT people, but to not try and present themselves as a “gay church”.  They do seem to be pretty subtle about on their website, but my friends who go there wouldn’t set foot inside if they weren’t completely and fully accepting.

    I do think there is some value in a place like this.  I at least had to spend some time of transition in a “gay church”.  I ended up figuring out it was all nonsense, but that doesn’t seem to be the most common place people end up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Kovach/1270634973 Matt Kovach

    tax the churches

  • Staschakspainting

    What about people who don’t agree with same sex marriage on NON-religious beliefs??

    • ruth

      What is their rationale?  Too much marriage out there already?  Slippery slope?  There are plenty of good arguments to address the slippery slope claim.  That the state shouldn’t be in the marriage business at all?  (I can see arguments pro and con on that issue). 

       

  • newavocation

    Come on! It’s just an opportunity for them to increase their membership and fill those collection plates!


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