Christian Student Responds to Criticism of Her Open Letter to the Anti-Gay Church

A few weeks ago, college student Dannika Nash wrote an “open letter to the church from my generation” that has since gone viral (the post has nearly 3,000 comments). The gist of it was that the Christian church is pushing young people away due to the way the institution treats gay people. She wrote:

I’m saying this: we cannot keep pitting the church against humanity, or progress… my generation, the generation that can smell bullshit, especially holy bullshit, from a mile away, will not stick around to see the church fight gay marriage against our better judgment. It’s my generation who is overwhelmingly supporting marriage equality, and Church, as a young person and as a theologian, it is not in your best interest to give them that ultimatum.

Powerful stuff. So powerful, in fact, that the Christian summer camp she was scheduled to work at fired her, presumably for letting the world know how the church was disappointing her.

Dannika Nash (Jay Pickthorn – Argus Leader)

Yesterday, Michael Brown, a Christian author and radio show host, responded to Dannika in an open letter of his own, published at Charisma. The whole thing was just dripping with condescension (“Dear College Kid”) and phrases that were very holier-than-thou (“You can call this ‘BS’ or even ‘holy BS,’ but I call it beautiful truth…”): (***Edit***: The phrase “Dear College Kid” was presumably in response to Dannika’s sign-off in her own post, so that part itself wasn’t condescending as I initially put it.)

I’m glad America is becoming a safer place for kids who identify as gay. No one should be bullied for being different. Period. But that doesn’t mean we make marriage genderless or celebrate homosexuality. That doesn’t mean we suddenly discover new ways to change the meaning of the Bible. And when Macklemore says, “It’s human rights for everybody,” just remember that gays are not the only ones who want to redefine marriage. Do you really stand for marriage equality for all?

To be totally candid with you, I always listen to young people and ask for their insights, and I’m sure that your generation cares a lot about fairness and justice and equality. But could it be that my generation is not totally ignorant about these things? Could there be a reason that one of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother” — or is that outmoded now too? Is there no wisdom we can impart to you about marriage and family and gender?

Yes, my generation has made a mess of marriage with all our no-fault divorces and all the scandals with our famous preachers and all the pornography in the church, but we messed things up because we didn’t hold on to God’s Word and to the foundations of marriage ourselves. Now you want to change those foundations? You will live to regret it, I’m sure.

I was so angry when I read Brown’s letter. What arrogance on his part to think that, because he was older, he was automatically wiser. What gall to write about a little girl who testified before a state legislature in opposition of gay rights by saying, in part, “Which parent do I not need, my mom or my dad?” (Apparently, no one thought to ask the little girl which dad or mom in a same-sex couple ought to be discarded.)

I was ready to respond to the entire letter myself when I realized there was someone who could do a much better job: Dannika.

I asked her what she would say to Brown and her response, much like her original posting, was much more kind and generous than anything I would have written. While I was ready to tear him down, her inclination was anything but that.

With Dannika’s permission, her response is posted below.

Keep in mind that she’s Christian, and she doesn’t shy away from using language and suggesting ideas that might be questionable to a lot of us. But I wouldn’t read it in that context. It’s a letter from one Christian (who’s on the right side of this issue) to another (who just doesn’t get it).

I would like to address what I think is a misunderstanding of what I am trying to say with my Open Letter. I first want to state that I appreciate Dr. Brown’s contribution to the respectful dialogue that is beginning to finally surround this issue.

Dr. Brown responded to my letter by first pointing out that I, in fact, do not speak for my entire generation. This is most definitely true — I absolutely do not, and I would never claim to. I am more than aware of the huge portion of my generation that is quite conservative on most things. I am speaking from my own part, those who want to see the country give equal rights to homosexuals. He said:

And the young people I know actually have a very different perspective than yours: They love Jesus, they love their churches, they love their gay friends, and they don’t feel any conflict over it. In fact, they believe that by loving Jesus and by being part of a loving church, they can be the best possible friends to other LGBT young people.

That is actually a beautiful few sentences to my aching heart. I wish more than anything to be one that does not feel exposed to this tension. I commend those young people who have looked past the hatred that I have seen and learned to love in earnest those whom the church has not always known how to include. He says:

And these young people don’t believe they need to reinterpret or rewrite the Bible in order to love other gay kids. Do you think that could be a possibility?

Yes, Dr. Brown, I do, and again I am happy to hear that there is not a conflict in the minds of young people between loving gay individuals and reading the Bible. I feel exactly the same way.

Are they entitled to have a different point of view? Will you be tolerant toward them when they don’t agree with your perspective, or is conformity to the new perspective the only thing that’s acceptable? And if some of them whom I know personally have found something better than being gay, will you reject them or mock them or cast them out?

If you will allow me to be personal for a moment, this one hurt a lot. I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My entire family and almost all of my friends are completely conservative on this issue and mostly disagree with me. If I “reject them,” “mock them,” and “cast them out,” I will be left with very little community. Since you do not know me personally, I will fill you in on my own personal mission (and give you the benefit of the doubt that it is yours as well, for I do not know you personally, either). I am absolutely campaigning for love. Love for gay people, love for Chick-fil-A people, love for liberals, and love for conservatives. REAL, understanding, I-want-to-hug-you-and-buy-you-good-Christmas-gifts love. Go-camping-together-and-canoe love. I am absolutely not making an attempt to overhaul the church so that everyone must believe what I believe. I simply want a little space at the table for my end of the spectrum, the end that has been pushed to the fringes and viewed as wild-eyed liberals that “reinterpret” and “rewrite” the Bible. I want dialogue and conversation that is open and questioning and biblical. You are contributing to this conversation with your blog post, and I am thankful for that.

By the way, I’d love a little clarification on what it means to “reinterpret” the Bible? To interpret it in a different way than our fathers and mothers? Which fathers and mothers? Luther? Calvin? Augustine? The Pope? Mark Driscoll? John Piper? Rob Bell? Respectfully, Dr. Brown, to read the Bible is to interpret it. And again, I am more than overjoyed that the young people in your life are interpreting in a way that includes homosexuals. This is exactly my goal.

Respectfully, I am not using Macklemore as the “new gospel.” They are simply entertainment that I think sometimes reflects the love of Christ. All truth is God’s truth, right? I am using what I understand with my most honest and earnest theological and biblical efforts to be the actual gospel — a gospel of love, inclusion, and the big picture. I suspect that we read the Bible differently, and I think that’s absolutely okay. I think there should be room at the Church’s communion table for your interpretations and for mine. Please welcome my friends that feel that they are gay and cannot change, as we welcome yours who are gay and have changed. I am honestly pledging to do my best to see things from your perspective, to understand your biblical interpretations honestly, and to love in spite of our differences.

Maybe you’ve just bought into the latest social fad without thinking through the implications for the young people who will come after you?

Again, no. I can promise you that this is an honest theological process. Like I stated in my blog, I do not think the church should jump on the culture bandwagon for just anything that catches our eye. Let’s process this together as a church.

So Dr. Brown, as far as your deal to follow Jesus, I will absolutely agree to it. I think we may need to have a conversation about some Scriptural problems that are not black and white, but let’s decide together, and if we do not agree at the end, let’s sit back down at the communion table next to each other and let’s eat.

Michael Brown, the ball is back in your court.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • LotsOfTinyRobots

    To be fair, Dannika did sign the post “A College Kid Who Misses You” so I’m not sure if that specifically is condescending.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Fair point. Will fix this when I’m back home.

  • Guest

    I think that if most Christians were as compassionate, thoughtful and, more importantly, non-judgmental as Dannika Nash, we atheists, while still disagreeing with their conclusions about a deity, would not have to fight so hard to keep religion from encroaching on the constitutional separation of church and state that maintains the freedoms of all, religious and non-religious alike.

    • mike

      If most christians were that compassionate, I would still be a christian. It’s the zeal for hell and lack of empathy that struck me first.

      • Pseudonym

        Speaking from the other side, I agree with you 100%. If I’d grown up in a church like some that I see described here, I’d consider myself an atheist today. (And the Christian me wouldn’t have a problem with it, FWIW.)

        • SecularPatriot

          Meh. I grew up absent religion, and it is still pretty horrific how liberal Christians interpret the world.

          • Pseudonym

            You know how the most effective and most insightful critics of Catholicism are Catholics, because they actually know what the real underlying problems are?

            Well, it’s true of liberal forms of Christianity too.

            • Anna

              So what are the real underlying problems of liberal Christianity?

              From my perspective as an atheist, I find the problems to be that most liberal Christians believe in sin, many believe in hell (I was dismayed to see a UCC board where members were debating hell), and almost all believe in substitutionary atonement. IMO, those are some negative beliefs. They might not be quite as horrific as some others, but I still think it’s a pretty bad way to interpret the world.

              • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

                My primary problem with liberal Christians is that they turn a blind eye to Christian zealotry. They are fond of things like “let everyone find their own path”. They are apathetic towards the theists who seek to make the USA a theocracy.

                Some liberal Christians remind me of skeptics – they shift their worldview based on available evidence. But they still identify as Christians because they are more comfortable that way.

                Would *really* like to see religion go the way of the cuckoo.

                • Anna

                  True, and I think another problem is that many of them (though probably not all) tend to prop up religious privilege and the idea that faith is a virtue. I’d be impressed, for example, if a liberal Christian stood up and objected to the use of terms like “faithful,” “person of faith” or “faith based” to indicate that an individual or organization is good.

                • floydlee

                  Don’t worry, Mr. Ross. If professing Christians keep on evangelizing for homosexuality instead of evangelizing for Jesus, you may well see things go your way. Once Christians turn their back on God and God’s Word, you guys inevitably win without having to fire a shot.

                • Lagerbaer

                  “Evangelizing for homosexuality instead of evangelizing for Jesus”.

                  Yeah, because homosexuality was so abhorrent for Jesus that he spent so much time talking about it.

                  “[...]you atheist guys ultimately win without having to fire a shot”.

                  Damn, so I don’t get to shoot people to enforce the militant gay agenda?

            • DavidMHart

              Actually, I’d suggest that the most effective critics of Catholicism are much more likely to be ex-Catholics than (current) Catholics, because the ex-catholics know what the real problems are and they no longer have any psychological motivation to gloss over or explain away those problems. But it doesn’t take a Catholic, current or former, to see that the doctrine of the Trinity, or the Transubstantiation, is ludicrous – some things are so silly that no one needs decades of theology to see their silliness.

              And, of course, it doesn’t take a Catholic, current or former, to see that preventing condom use in the midst of an AIDS epidemic is a systematic insanity that is causing oceans of needless death and misery, or that shielding the church from scrutiny over its priestly paedophilia scandal by shuffling paedophile priests around, pressuring victims to remain silent, and blocking the efforts of civil authorities to investigate, is morally reprehensible whatever your theology.

              I know that wasn’t quite your point, but I still feel it needs to be said – the most valid criticism does not necessarily come from within; it’s just that the internal critic is a bit more likely to be informed of the mechanics of what’s going on.

  • Guest

    I think that if most Christians were as compassionate, thoughtful and, more importantly, non-judgmental as Dannika Nash, we atheists would not have to fight so hard to keep religion from encroaching on the constitutional separation of church and state that maintains the freedoms of all, religious and non-religious alike.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hugh-Kramer/1217598709 Hugh Kramer

    I think that if most Christians were as compassionate and thoughtful as Dannika Nash, we atheists would not have to fight so hard to keep religion from encroaching on the constitutional separation of church and state that maintains the freedoms of all, religious and non-religious alike.

  • Frank

    Thankfully a young persons inexperienced opinion doesn’t trump the Word of God.

    • Thegoodman

      You spoke to god? What are his opinions of King James’s cronies interpretations?

    • Houndentenor

      Keep it up. As young people actually study the Bible and the history of the church with a skeptical eye, the more they will join the ranks of the skeptics and nonbelievers.

      • Frank

        Young people have been studying the bible for as long as its been around and Christianity has done nothing but grow and grow and continue to grow exponentially in Africa and Asia. I am not worried about some privileged young Americans becoming “nones.” They will wise up eventually and rejoin the fold.

        • JA

          Thanks to globalization, the Internet and wider access to information that wasn’t easily available even 10 years ago, that’s not likely.

          • Frank

            We shall see won’t we? Christianity is growing exponentially!

            • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

              Another person who doesn’t understand the meaning of “exponentially.” Also, the growth of Christianity is almost entirely due to high fertility rates, not to conversions.

              • Frank

                I’d say from 12 people to 2 billion and growing as exponential growth.

                Keep telling yourself that as Christianity continues to flourish and grow.

                • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

                  Hahahaha. Thanks for the laugh, but you need to consider your timescale there. If you look at the annual rate of 1.36%, you’ll see how ignorant it is to call the growth of Christianity “exponential.”

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

                  Well at least you are a Seahawks fan.

                • DavidMHart

                  It sounds like you may be confused about what ‘exponential growth’ means. It does not mean ‘rapid and sustained growth’. It means (in non-mathematical language’ that the rate of growth is going up as the absolute numbers go up, like what happens when you repeatedly raise 2 to the power of 2. I’m sure Christianity has had periods of growth like that in the past, but whether it does now is a lot less certain.

            • PegK

              Yes, isn’t it wonderful? All the new Christians in Africa living the buybull by killing the children accused of witchcraft. It is a wonderful thing.

            • WallofSleep

              It’s going the way of the dodo. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but soon. There will come a day when Jesus is discussed in the same context as Zeus, Thor, and all the other mythological figures of old that humankind has outgrown.

            • Carpinions

              No, actually Islam is growing. Mormonism is the only growing Christian sect.

          • Frank

            The bible has been widely available since it was translated into English, Still the best selling book of all time.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

              I think the best selling book of all time is The Hobbit but it might be a Dickens book that has sold more, The Bible on the other hand has been “printed” almost as much as the Communist Manifesto.

            • JA

              Your point?

            • Houndentenor

              LOL. I think it was widely available before being translated into English, but thanks for playing.

            • Carpinions

              Being sold in mass quantities to hotels where the Bible languishes in a night stand drawer is not what I’d call “best selling”. That’s called gaming the system. Many hotels also no longer have Gideon’s Bibles in their rooms, so the distribution is waning.

            • Thackerie

              Might be best-selling – no surprise since evangelizers buy in bulk quantities to redistribute to their target audiences. I highly doubt if it comes anywhere near other “best sellers” in terms of actually being read.

        • Carmelita Spats

          Dear Liar-for-Jesus:
          The history of Christianity is one of critical CENSORSHIP…The Bible was not “read” and authoritative teaching meant that people were PREVENTED from actually reading your silly book. When Protestantism popularized your cult’s pulp fiction, all hell broke loose. Result? Supernatural enthusiasms gave us the amusing Book of Mormon which is on par with the King James Bible. Even today, biblical literacy is pathetically low among CHRISTIANS. Your cult operates like a multi-tentacled corporation which requires a mass of illiterate people to bolster numbers…Ignorance, poverty, desperation, misogyny, superstition, malnutrition and inadequate schools…HUMAN MISERY….work in your cult’s favor.
          There is absolutely NOTHING to be proud about when you reference Christianity’s “growth” in the Third World. Along with Christianity, communicable diseases are rampant in the Third World. Both are SHAMEFUL reminders of human
          failure.

          • Frank

            Speaking of human failure….

            • Matt D

              Yes, speaking of which……

        • Sven2547

          It’s no coincidence that Christianity is growing fastest in areas with less religious freedom, less access to information, and less scientific progress. Christians worship the God of Ignorance. Original sin, after all, was eating from the tree of knowledge.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            It also helps when you show up with food, water, shelter, etc. and offer to help but if you accept the help you must listen to us preach from this book. If I’m poor and in need of the above I most likely will listen to you preach if that is what it takes to keep me from dying.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Thankfully a condescending person’s presumption of wisdom over someone younger does not function as an actual argument.

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      I am so sick of this dismissal of the young, just as I think it would be wrong to dismiss the ideas of previous generations out of hand. Here’s a novel idea: Evaluate ideas on their merits as opposed to whether they’re old or new ideas or the positions of older or younger individuals. (Then again, evaluating the Bible on its merits might not end in the conclusion you desire, which is probably why conservative Christians have to continue to appeal to authority and tradition. Fuck that.)

      • Frank

        She simply has an opinion not supported by Scripture. Which is fine but that’s all it is, an opinion. Everyone has one. You know the saying….

        • Thackerie

          Yeah, but that’s YOUR opinion … and it smells.

        • http://twitter.com/hpgross Harrison Gross

          Do you support all scripture? Including ones that say adulterers should be stoned to death? That raped women must marry their rapists? No, of course not. Scripture is interpreted with the times. This is the BACKBONE of Protestant Christianity, if you can’t interpret things differently, why are you not a Catholic? What makes your interpretation, saying that Leviticus matters but only in certain sections better than theirs, who discard the Old Testament for a message of love?

          • Frank

            Well there is too much here to explain theologically. Why not fully study it yourself to see?

            There is nothing loving about supporting, condoning, affirming celebrating, tolerating or remaining silent about sinful behavior.

            • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

              Well there is too much here to explain away theologically.

              FTFY.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

              Most of us have, studied it intensely, which is why many of us became Atheists.

            • Earl G.

              Like gathering sticks on a Sunday or wearing a cotton-poly blend? Who can stay silent about that kind of sinful behavior?

              • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

                Or eating ham sandwiches for lunch and lobster for dinner?

            • Artor

              Yes, most of us here have read it thoroughly, if not studied it formally. Have you? We’re not impressed by the ramblings of bronze-age goatherds.

            • Houndentenor

              I did study it myself. I read the whole thing twice cover to cover and many passages over and over for the first 20-something years of my life. I don’t reject it because I’m ignorant of what it says. I reject it because I know exactly what it says.

          • Ibis3

            Hmm. Funny. I’d say that it is Catholic doctrine that allows for change over time (i.e. non sola scriptura). On the other hand Protestants just keep forming new denominations because all the other ones got the One True Eternal interpretation wrong.

        • http://twitter.com/Eristae Eristae

          Oh, I do know the saying! “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

          . . . wait, that wasn’t the saying you were talking about, was it?

        • Brian

          Newsflash: Not everybody cares about Scripture. It is nothing but superstition!

        • Buckley

          Frank, I appreciate your…opinion…but I think you’re in the wrong blog…the door is to the left…have a nice day

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          “Supported by Scripture” is about the most worthless rubric you could follow. If slavery had been evaluated entirely on the merits rather than by its fealty to Scripture, I doubt it would have lasted as long as it did.

        • Tom

          You’re right there, Frank. But here’s the thing: most of us will take her compassionate, progressive opinion over a bunch of self-contradictory ancient scripture of dubious origin any day.

          Even if scripture *is* god’s word, then that just makes it god’s opinion. Which is fine but that’s all it is, an opinion. Everyone has one. You know the saying….

        • DavidMHart

          The thing is, ‘Scripture’ is such a vast and sprawling mass of contradictory text that is is hard to imagine any opinion at all that you couldn’t find something in it to contradict. Some people think that Jesus’s message of love and inclusiveness trumps the Old Testament (and Paul’s) homophobia. Others disagree. Until we can consult God directly, Dannika’s opinion is a) as likely to be true as yours, and b) better by any reasonable ethical standards, since hers does not necessitate condemning people as wrongdoers for private, consensual behaviour that is none of your business.

    • Rain

      That presumes that there is a Word of God. You would be far less dishonest if you would say it doesn’t trump the, IMO, Word of God, IMO. Throw in as many IMO’s as you like, because that’s all you got, other than presumptuousness.

      • Frank

        RIght back at you! By your logic everything said should be qualified.

        • Rain

          Yes, but only if they conspicuously resemble fairy tales, or if they are those dreadful movie soundtracks from the 80′s. You know, the soundtracks that totally ruined The Color of Money and The Terminator.

          • Frank

            Atheism is the biggest fairly tale told.

            • Rain

              Yes but of course.

            • DavidMHart

              As far as I can tell, atheism involves exactly zero fairies, gods, ghosts, leprechauns or other imaginary supernatural entities. What criteria do you use to calculate how big a fairy tale is?

              • Frank

                Truth.

                • DavidMHart

                  I thought you would have some comment like that. Okay, fair enough. You come up with good evidence; evidence that would stand up in a court of law, that a) your god actually exists and b) actually wants what you say it wants, and then we can talk about truth. Until you can do that, the reasonable position to take is that (everything else being equal) the worldview that is closest to the truth is the one that posits the actual existence of the fewest possible things that aren’t real.

                • John

                  And how do you determine what’s true?

                • Artor

                  Because Jeebus conveniently agrees with everything Frank already thinks. It’s great how that works out, huh?

                • Carpinions

                  And what is this “truth” you speak of? Here, I’ll leave the door open for you:

            • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

              No, it isn’t, but it’s good that you recognize that fairy tales, such as the Bible, do not deserve respect.

            • Houndentenor

              Atheism is the rejection of fairy tales except for entertainment purposes.

            • LL

              Well, everyone: Frank said it is so, therefore it must absolutely be so! I’m glad he could settle the matter once and for all. We can all go home now.

    • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

      God doesn’t exist, God has no Words, therefore anyone’s experience, young or not, trumps the Word of God.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      So you know what “the Word of God” says? Really? Can you demonstrate to me … using objective, verifiable evidence … the following:

      1. That your God exists in the first place;
      2. That he wrote any “Word” at all;
      3. That you’ve identified which “Words” are his and which aren’t;
      4. That your ideas about what “the Word of God” says, are more in line with your God’s intentions than those of your co-religionists;

      When you’ve provided all that, then we can discuss how any why it’s so horrifically insolent of “young persons” to dare disagree with you. As a matter of fact, even if you could provide all that, that still wouldn’t mean that “young people” have no right to disagree with you and to make their disagreement public.

      What it does mean is, you ought to act your age and accept that not all of your co-religionists agree with you on each and every point of doctrine. Yes, that means even insolent “young people.”

    • RobertoTheChi

      Wow! Aren’t you an arrogant ass.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      Thankfully the Word of Gawd was written in the Bronze Age.

      • Erp

        To be accurate it was written in the Iron Age; the Bronze Age ended about 1200BCE and the oldest parts of the Bible were written shortly after that point (Song of Deborah). Most of the Hebrew Bible was written well (as in many hundred years) into the Iron Age. The New Testament was written even later.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

          So how do the Canaanites fit into your dating scheme?

    • cipher

      Neither does your imbecility trump objective reality.

    • Bdole

      So, you’ve experienced being gay?

    • Matt D

      I’ve seen two messages from you on this subject and neither are related to this artcile. Are you incapable of discussing reality or do you not understand it in the first place?

    • Carpinions

      And what qualifications do you hold to make that judgement, other than having a degree in kneeling?

  • TiltedHorizon

    “Respectfully, Dr. Brown, to read the Bible is to interpret it.”

    Bingo.

    • Dave

      Amazing point.

    • Scott

      yet all interpretations are not equally valid

      • TiltedHorizon

        Validity is in the eye of the interpreter, ergo, the interpretation is a reflection of the interpreter, ergo, the interpretation is valid. This applies equally to all interpretations, ergo, all interpretations ARE equally valid and equally invalid.

        • Scott

          Wish I could have gotten away with that when studying Shakespeare or any other classic writers. But I guess because it is the Bible anything goes.

  • Rain

    That doesn’t mean we suddenly discover new ways to change the meaning of the Bible.

    So tehn presumably he will be turning the other cheek on this one?

    • Golfie98

      No he will just continue to use the old ways to change the meaning of the bible. He is a conservative after all.

  • Qp83

    The Christian God must either be the worst communicator or the best politician in the world.

    • Frank

      Its just that some people refuse to listen.

      • Brian

        You mean refuse to be brainwashed, right? Or were you referring to yourself refusing to listen?

        • Frank

          Case in point. Thanks!

          • Brian

            And since you refuse to listen to the Gospel of Roddenberry, you will NEVER make to Sto-vo-kor! You will be locked away with the Pah-Wraiths. May the Prophets forgive you.

            • Earl G.

              May Kahless have mercy on your soul.

              • Brian

                I like how Frank thinks it is a bad thing that people refuse to listen to his stories.

            • Pseudonym

              I’d like to point out for the record that Sto-vo-kor and Kahless were both inventions of Ronald B. Moore, not Gene Roddenberry.

              Yes, I’m a nerd.

      • Qp83

        How do you tell the difference?

      • indorri

        Wow, kafka-trapping. Get out of here.

      • LL

        What are we listening for, exactly? The voice that tells us to kill our children to save them from Satan? The voices that tell us to fly planes into buildings? The voices that tell us to use pressure cooker explosives during events? The ones that tell us to pour acid over our children because they are possessed by demons? The one that says my dear, loving wonderful aunt is bringing the fall of almighty America because she’s gay? The voice that Catholics hear that tells them it’s totes fine that priests are raping children the institution in charge of their eternal more bearings is covering it up with everything they have? What about the voices the Pearls hear every day advocating the beatings and severe abuse of children in order to make them “godly?” Every person who did these things were listening mighty hard to god. I mean, maybe we just need Frank to tell us EXACTLY which message we should keep an ear out for to finally “get” God. His version of what god says has to be the only one that is absolutely correct.

        • LL

          I apologize for the incoherence in the middle there ;.

          • floydlee

            That’s okay. After all, atheism is incoherent.

            • LL

              Explain Christianity to me 100% coherently, and then we’ll talk. Seriously. Try it.

      • WallofSleep

        Indeed. I quite consistently turn a deaf ear to superstitious nonsense.

      • Pattrsn

        The vast majority of people apparently.

      • Matt D

        Uh, if you’re hearing voices, you need some help that isn’t going to be found on an atheist website.

  • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

    I hope Michael Brown continues unabated. He and his ilk are a major source of the growth of the “no religion” segment of the population.

  • http://wisb.blogspot.com/ Shaun Duke

    Eh, no. Her response is, if anything, just pandering. Nothing about Dr. Brown’s open letter was respectful or civil. Her response was, if anything, neutered in comparison to her original open letter, despite the fact that all the things she identified in that original letter appear in explicit form in Dr. Brown’s response. All the same tired arguments about how calling for marriage equality is opening the dialogue for polygamy and marrying your horse, pseudo-mythic reflections on 2,000-year-old Bible verses without any acknowledgement that, yes, things really have changed (shocker), and so on and so forth.

    She challenges none of that. She lets it stand while legitimating it by calling his words “respectful” and contributions to a proper dialogue.

    Sorry, but not. He is just one more bolt in a Church machine that continues to drive young people away — not from God, per se, but from the institution of the Church.

    • Stev84

      And of course the usual “you have to tolerate my intolerance” BS. Which doesn’t mention of course that Christians aren’t content to just have a differing opinion. No, they are constantly trying to enshrine that opinion into law and force it onto everyone.

      • http://wisb.blogspot.com/ Shaun Duke

        Not all Christians. The Episcopalian Church is probably the most progressive, non-Unitarian church out there (exceptions aside). Fundamentalists, however, tend to want to enshrine their beliefs into law while saying that they deserve Constitutional rights just like everyone else. It’s a glaring contradiction…

        • Pseudonym

          More to the point, Dannika Nash seems to fall into the “not all Christians” camp. Kudos to her.

        • Erp

          Actually the United Church of Christ is more progressive (it is sometimes joked that the initials UCC stand for Unitarians considering Christ). The Episcopal Church has some very conservative parts and very liberal parts as does the ELCA, the church responsible for the camp Dannika was fired from.

          • http://wisb.blogspot.com/ Shaun Duke

            I stand corrected. Thank you :)

            You’re right about the EC, of course, but the conservative parts seem to be losing the battle, considering the church’s official stance on a number of social issues.

          • floydlee

            It’s no joke about that UCC stuff. It’s a shame.

          • Godlesspanther

            I was raised Unitarian. Both my parents are ordained UU ministers. People who were raised in heavily religious homes tell me that UU does not count as religious at all. Unitarians are said to be just “intellectuals playing church.”

  • Tobias2772

    I would like to pose a hypothetical question to Hemant and the rest of y’all . . .

    Which would you rather see happen first (or if you pprefer, which would you be more willing to dedicate some time and energy to): people overcoming their dependence on some mythological BS or the recognition of the rights and privileges of homosexuals ??

    I am supportive of all humans being treated equitably, but when Dannika Nash argues that God’s love should be extended to all human beings including homosexuals, she is making just as bogus an argument as Michael Brown is making to discriminate against homosexuals. Both positions seek their basic support from a primitive book and mythology that have no place in a rational discussion of this issue. Just because I happen to agree with Ms. Nash’s opinion does not make it sound.
    I hope and work for the day when we all will use our rational brains and out compassionate hearts in proper measure to discern the best path forward for all life on this planet.

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      It may not be more rational, but it certainly is more moral, which gives it a decided advantage to Brown’s point of view.

      • Tobias2772

        TCC,
        I would argue that the whole irrational mindset that is propogated by religion harms far more peole than there are homosexuals on the planet.

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          I think you’ve misunderstood me. Dannika Nash holds a moral position for irrational reasons; Michael Brown holds an immoral position for irrational reasons. The former is clearly better.

    • ~SoACTing

      I may add some further response on this hypothetial question later, but for now, I agree with your take on it.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      Her message is the lesser of the two evils. Anything that lessens the evil of religion is A-Okay in my book.

      • McAtheist

        I’m with you Bubba, I don’t much care how ‘the church’ gets to the point where they no longer discriminate against gays. I just want them to get there. I believe the bible has been ‘re interpreted’ at least once so that christians could stop burning astronomers at the stake for heresy. It’s not like re-interpretation is a new idea.

        • Houndentenor

          Sometimes progress comes in baby steps. Should African American people been kept as slaves until we granted them full civil rights? That would be absurd. Sorry, it’s a crummy analogy and no offense is meant to the brave people who fought both to end slavery and to make African Americans full citizens under the law, but my point is that sometimes progress has to happen incrementally (even though in hindsight it seems morally reprehensible that it took so damned long for our country to recognize the obvious).

    • Pseudonym

      As a piece of perspective, here in Australia trying to get our atheist prime minister to support marriage equality has turned out to be hard, and largely futile so far. So I really don’t see religion being as closely related to the discussion of rights for homosexual people as some others do.

      My closest friend is gay, so the issue of civil rights is in my face almost every day. If I had a choice, that’s what I would want fixed as a matter of priority.

    • Artor

      I would posit that homophobia, even in the atheist community, arises from the religious/superstitious atmosphere we live in. (They’re icky, and their cooties have supernatural powers to destroy straight relationships) I think that if we could eliminate myth-based reasoning, then things like homophobia and a host of other endemic problems would evaporate.

      • Pseudonym

        I’d love to think that’s true, but the whole of human history strongly indicates that it’s not going to happen.

        Get rid of religion, and people will just find other reasons to be arseholes and bigots. Oh, they might be arseholes and bigots over different things, but arseholes and bigots nonetheless.

        • Artor

          Well, this was a hypothetical question. I don’t think there’s any way to eliminate superstitious thinking, but I was including religion with all sorts of irrationality. I think if we were all rational, we’d all be more accepting & peaceable, because that just works better for everyone.

          • Tobias2772

            Artor,
            I couldn’t agree more. Our greatest strength is our ability to think critically and rationally. The more we allow ourselves to play to our strengths they better off we should be. That being said, all humans have a significant capacity to rationalize our own prejudices and blind spots. I don’t think that will go away anytime soon, but promoting rational thinking is the best cure that I can see. I do think that we can greatly reduce superstition by continually holding it up to the light of reason.

        • Houndentenor

          Agreed. Simply removing religion wouldn’t create moral people. It would just eliminate one of many excuses people use to be bigots. I think most of them are bigots first and religious second. I have met quite a few people who liked to make it sound like their bigotry (of various kinds) was based on religion but it’s not as if they themselves went to church or obeyed the teachings of their particular brand of religion. (You know, like not drinking, waiting until marriage to have sex.) Yes, there are people who are genuinely religious and that causes them to be bigoted, but far more often people are bigoted and use some religion (that they don’t really know that much about) to rationalize being haters.

    • Houndentenor

      Your point is a good one. But what I would like doesn’t make much difference. Religion is not going to disappear in my lifetime. In the meantime as a gay person I’d like to have the same legal rights everyone else takes for granted. I also don’t care what others believe so long as they aren’t imposing their nonsense on the rest of us. Yes, their beliefs may be harmful to themselves but there’s a limit to what I can do to keep people from believing crazy shit. Well before I banned religion I’d like to convince these nutjob conspiracy nuts to have their children vaccinated. I fear that’s going to have serious consequences in the not too distant future. People going to church, singing some hymns and saying some prayers neither negatively nor positively impacts my life. Bad personal choices and public health policies based on junk science could seriously harm an entire generation.

      • Tobias2772

        Hound,

        I think that is my point. As a public school teacher, I see that there are far more dangerous aspects to religious superstition than just some people believing crazy shit. They indoctrinate their children to limit their rational potential. They set them up to make bad decisions based on junk science. Collectively, they relegate the progress of humankind to a crawl.
        You are probably right about us not seeing the end of religious superstition in our lifetimes, but I am still hesitant to embrace someone who makes a positive decision for crazy shit reasons. That being said, I do truly hope for the day when you and every other human being is treated rationally and equitably.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    When Dr Brown can demonstrate conclusively that someone being homosexual is any of his business, then he can stamp and fume and whine and complain about their existence. Until then, it’s not his concern.

    • floydlee

      Did you demand the same demonstration from Dannika Nash?

      • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

        No, why would I?

  • http://www.facebook.com/StrangeCandee Candee Bell

    She might get a better response if she were a young adult male. Women weren’t made to think.

  • http://billybobsbibleblog.blogspot.com/ billybobbibb

    I say give her a year or two of serious inquiry and I bet she’ll leave and join the freethought movement.

    • Pseudonym

      Just like John Shelby Spong or Rob Bell did.

      • floydlee

        I honestly tend to agree — but I pray that Dannika Nash fights back and doesn’t fall.

  • Castilliano

    A literal interpretation of the Bible will land you in jail (most likely for murder/assault), and earn you the scorn of modern society (Christian & non) because the Bible commands some very brutal actions.
    (Think Westboro, but kill your non-virgin daughters too. Oh, and leave your family and possessions behind.)

    So, not wanting to actually follow Jesus’ commands, conservative Christians ‘look at the whole Bible’ (but not really) so they can avoid the unmarketable aspects while they preach love (w/ hate) and inclusion (into a hive mind). They remove most of the rotten cherries when they go cherry pickin’, but keep what they can get away with. (Which is sadly much.)

    The liberal Christians ‘look at the whole Bible’, remove the ‘hate’ and ‘hive mind’ part from the above (or try to) and the conservatives pounce on them for picking fewer cherries (despite both sides having left much of the rotten Bible behind).

    So here, a liberal Christian turns the tables and calls the conservatives out on their degree of cherry-picking, saying “hey, you still kept some unmarketable cherries and we want a profitable market, don’t we?”
    The conservatives shout “It’s not about the market!”
    And I care why?

    Actually, I do care because the more Christians learn to filter out the non-humanist (a.k.a. inhumane) aspects of their beliefs, the more humanistic society can become.

    Maybe what we need is something like the Jefferson Bible, the “Cherrypicker’s Bible”, but geared towards humanistic values?

    Cheers, JMK

    e Christians pounce on them.
    “But that’s still marketable!!!…er…I mean, the Word of GOD!”

    • Ibis3

      There wouldn’t be much of a Bible left if you took out all the supernatural stuff *and* the evil unethical stuff. So why not start with a better starting point if you need something ancient to rely on? Aristotle or Plato or Marcus Aurelius or something.

      • Castilliano

        True enough about the Bible.
        Sadly, the other ancient sources would need cherry-picking too.
        I think a modern source like A.C. Grayling’s “The Good Book” or even the Dalai Lama’s “Beyond Religion” (which despite his position really is about moving beyond religion) would serve better. Heck, even “The Four Agreements” (minus mumbo jumbo) would be a good starting point.
        But without the “wisdom of ages” they lack the gravitas…
        Sigh.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    She says ” I am happy to hear that there is not a conflict in the minds of young people between loving gay individuals and reading the Bible.”

    How is there no conflict between loving gays and believing in a bible that says that males laying together must be “put to death”?

    Sounds like only willful ignorance could avoid there being some mental conflict.

    • ~SoACTing

      Allow me to put on a Christian hat for a second. I’m assuming they’d say something to the effect of: “There is no conflict, and of course gays should NO LONGER be put to death because we no longer live under Old Testament Law. Old Testament Law was divided into those that were ceremonial, civil and moral.

      Civil laws evaporated with the demise of the ancient governmental system in which God’s laws were supposed to be enforced by the government (aka – theocracy!). Purity laws aren’t necessary because the lines to bring forth the “promised Messiah” so that he could be born, live, and die on the cross, only to turn around and supposedly resurrect himself has already happened, and therefore the harshness of the Old Testament is no longer necessary.

      For further proof, just look at how jesus dealt with the adulterous woman in the New Testament!

      Todays christians are to pray for the salvation of the homosexuals who are lost in their sexual sin (sic!). And of course to never, ever, ever support legislation that (somehow) gives them “special rights” while simultaneously “redefining marriage.””

      Taking my christian hat off now. Please allow me to go throw up, because I can’t believe I actually ever sat through a church service where this crap was spewed! And, as a gay person, was convinced that gays really were after “special rights.”

      ~SoACTing

      Basically, it is categorized into three main sections:  Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral. 

      • mdoc

        Well done. Now if they stuck to that rationalization with divorce it would be illegal.

    • Houndentenor

      Because there’s not a single Christian I ever met who doesn’t ignore significant parts of the Bible to make their own theology work for them. The Bible cannot be interpreted literally because there are too many contradictions. Anyone who tells you they believe all of it to be literally true is lying to you and probably to themselves. Press them and you’ll find a lot of equivocation. (“Scribal errors” is my favorite.)

  • JoeBuddha

    I have never seen such a loving and respectful tearing of a new one in my life. Well played.

  • Phil

    Those of us who follow and monitor the anti-LGBT movement are all too familiar with Michael Brown. Here is a link to the fact sheet the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Commentator Accountability Project has posted on him . http://www.glaad.org/cap/michael-brown. He’s a real piece of work.

    • Anna

      Wow, he certainly is. I attempted to talk with him over on the other thread, and while he took a soft approach with me, there’s no doubt he’s well-acquainted with the anti-gay movement.

      • Anna

        Speaking of right-wing talking points, he decided to dive right into polyamory and polygamy and appears to be claiming that marriage equality activists say they “don’t believe in the other stuff.”

      • floydlee

        Some of us try to keep up with GLAAD too. THEY are a real piece of work.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Could there be a reason that one of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother” — or is that outmoded now too?

    Just because you are older or you gave birth to me does not mean that you automatically get respect from me. Maybe if we were living in a time where it was an accomplishment to live that long you would get respect.

    • TheG

      I would ask ol’ Mikey here if it was a violation of the Commandment if Casey Anthony’s child cried out against her in those last moments. Does he really believe all parents deserve respect?

      The Great Constatine?

      The Great Fellini?

      The Mediocre Snooki?

    • Artor

      When my dad disowned my sister because she came out as bisexual, I lost every last shred of respect for him. Should I have not? I reject anyone & anything that says I should respect behavior like that.
      Fortunately, he’s gotten over it, and they have a good relationship now. He’s not so much bigoted as just from an older generation.

    • Anna

      It’s not just that he seems to think that parents automatically deserve respect. He’s using that phrase to imply that “Honor your father and your mother” means that only straight families should exist because they’re the only ones mentioned in the Ten Commandments. [Face-Psalm]

    • Richard Zhang

      Tell that to your kids.

  • TK3

    All of these posts discuss church, people and doctrine yet very few mention Jesus. Dannika and Dr. Brown both alike use Jesus’ love which is the most important factor of them all.
    Does the core of the disagreement come down to whether or not homosexuality is a sin or not? I feel some Christian’s believe it is not, other believe it is and every argument stems from that.
    -Another College Kid

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Two men butt fucking is a sin according to the bible but I still want to know why God gave men a prostate gland that when stimulated can produce a mind blowing orgasam.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

        Or why gawd supports the use of mitosis, meiosis, autogamy and asexuality in many organisms.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Ssshhh. You’ll confuse people with the big words.

      • AxeGrrl

        The answer is obvious: because God made man to be pegged by his wife! ;)

  • TheG

    I would rather take the opinion of someone younger and with on average less experience than someone on average has an opinion that is lessened by the taint of dementia and bitterness from intermittent erectile dysfunction.

  • cipher

    Michael Brown is a Messianic Jew, the house “intellectual” of their movement. NYU was foolish enough to give him a doctorate, and they all tend to defer to him (it’s a movement that tends not to attract people who are particularly bright or particularly well-educated).

    He’s a big fish in a small pond, and it’s more than gone to his head.

  • WallofSleep

    No, I do not seek “new ways to change the meaning of the Bible.” I seek only to have it reside in the dustbin of history along side all the other myths humankind has rightfully rejected.

  • Drew M.

    Well written, Dannika.

  • Anna

    I tried commenting over there, and it’s pretty bad. I think all of those people are beyond hope. I question whether productive discussion is even possible. The author of the article seems fairly savvy and appears to think he’s quite clever, but his mind is obviously sealed shut.

  • Compuholic

    She is on the best way to become an atheist. She just doesn’t know it yet. She is already questioning church policies. Now she just needs to question the foundation of the church itself.

  • Godlesspanther

    I did get a response from that fuckface.

    I wrote: “This is one of the most vile, condescending, repugnant pieces of crap I have ever read”

    Fuckface replied: “Michael L Brown Godlesspanther • a day ago

    What kind, friendly words! Please be kind enough to explain what is vile, condescending, and repugnant in my response, OK? Thanks in advance!”

    I replied: “Godlesspanther Michael L Brown • an hour ago

    Certainly, for one, starting the letter “Dear college kid” is a bit condescending, I’m sure you would agree.

    You spewed: “In fact, they believe that by loving Jesus and by being part of a loving church, they can be the best possible friends to other LGBT young people.”

    GLBT people are victims of violence, murder, oppression, discrimination, and general hatred thanks to creeps like you. Not taking any accountability for this, passing the buck to your imaginary goo-goo, and pretending like worshiping a dead hippie on a stick will accomplish anything is rather vile, I’m sure that, if you were to be honest, you would agree.

    You spewed: “Are they entitled to have a different point of view? Will you be tolerant toward them when they don’t agree with your perspective, or is conformity to the new perspective the only thing that’s acceptable? And if some of them whom I know personally have found something better than being gay, will you reject them or mock them or cast them out?”

    When people like you, who are trying to control everyone else with your authoritarian, superstitious, dogmatic, ignorant, bigoted, hateful, and violent BS, and then have the audacity to, not only claim to have the moral high-ground, but then claim “persecution” and complain about being “mocked” (which you deserve) or “rejected” (which you deserve,) that is nothing short of utterly repugnant. Again, if it were not against your stupid cult’s dogma to be honest, I’ sure you would admit that too.

    So clearly, I have demonstrated that your pie of crap is vile, condescending, and repugnant by the fifth (literally) fifth paragraph.

    Stick that in your Bible and smoke it.”

    I thought that I would copy that before it was vanished.

    • Anna

      Looks like your comments were deleted! This guy can’t take criticism. I got accused of being bigoted and hateful because I said I found his views bigoted and hateful.

  • floydlee

    “I want dialogue and conversation that is open and questioning and biblical.”
    I’m glad to see that statement from Dannika Nash, because I’ve met plenty of pro-gay people (including atheists, of course), who clearly DON’T want that at all. So make no mistake, Mr. Mehta: the ball’s in YOUR court too.

  • http://twitter.com/ColdDimSum Dark Star

    Homosexuality is the least of their worries, in a few decades they will claim it was Christianity alone that was the beacon of hope in the fight against discrimination and all those problematic passages will be ignored or excused. History rewritten.

    I can even tell you how the ‘conversion’ will go.

    They will claim these passages only apply to pederasty and the ritualistic homosexuality of the Pagans. Because, as we knew all along, tadesh is a Pagan male prostitute that engages in ritual sex acts and to’ebah is simply a condemned Pagan practice, (mis)translated as “abomination”. And since the Bible really only condemns sex outside of marriage OF COURSE the Bible is all for committed, loving gay couples getting married. And no TRUE Christian has ever interpreted it otherwise.

    And if you doubt this go read some 18th and 19th century Christian texts on Slavery. Such as Reverend Richard Fuller on slavery in 1845: “What God sanctioned in the Old Testament, and permitted in the New, cannot be a sin”

    And then read further back to times such as Pope Nicholas V’s Bull “Dum Diversas” of 18 June 1452. **(see bottom)

    “We weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit — by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infante, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors”

    Reaffirmed by Pope Calixtus III in 1456 with Etsi cuncti, Pope Sixtus IV in 1481 and Pope Leo X in 1514 with Precelse denotionis.

    This Bull and the Romanus Pontifex that followed it (8 January 1454) fueled the slave trade and imperialism that gutted Africa and the entirety of the Americas. Uncountable numbers of people enslaved, murdered or left to die in the disease and famine that followed. Read about the ‘Requerimiento’. And the racism of Christians against the Jews, such as Martin Luther’s On The Jews And Their Lies.

    To say that slavery is a sin is to say that God is immoral. They knew it and any Christian who puts the question to serious study comes to know it.

    So these are the passages they should be more concerned about:

    1 Samuel 15 slaughter the infants and suckling babies

    Joshua 6 another slaughter that includes children

    2 Kings 2 bears sent to slaughter young men in response to ridicule

    1 Kings 18 850 priests slaughtered when they couldn’t prove their god was real

    Exodus 12 all first born killed

    Jeremiah 50 all Merathaim slaughtered, including children

    Exodus 22:17 kill witches

    Numbers 31:18 kill everyone but take the virgin girls for yourselves

    Deuteronomy 7 Genocide the 7 nations and take their land

    Leviticus 25:45-46 foreign slaves are your property for ever (but treat fellow Israelites as indentured servants & don’t be as hard on them)

    ** Paul III’s Sublimus Dei, 1435 is sometimes cited as evidence Catholics were fully against slavery at an earlier date but a careful reading shows this is merely a more nuanced position against ‘unjust’ enslavement. Indeed, Paul III goes on to sanction slavery in Rome in 1545, the enslavement of Henry VIII in 1547, and the purchase of Muslim slaves in 1548. So it becomes more clear that Slavery in the execution of a ‘just’ war against the ‘enemies of Christendom’ is not condemned.

  • edward

    This debate between Christians over homosexuality reminiscent of monks arguing over how many angels can dance on the head
    of a pin. Both Dannika and Dr. Brown are equally justified in their
    belief about homosexuality given their shared foundational assumption
    that the creator of the universe inspired the bible. Both can cherry pick verses to support their position. The anti-gay position within Catholic theology is slightly more nuanced, (i.e. that homosexuality is selfish given the Catholic conception of marriage and sexuality), but no more rational.

    Dannika,

    If you’re reading this, please challenge your foundational assumption about the bible. Was it inspired by God? Who wrote it? Were there errors? Who authored the gospels? Do we have any originals? Is there any reason to think that the Bible is any more than a collection of stories written by bronze-age human beings? (Read “Jesus Interrupted” by Bart Ehrman, a concise exposition of the contradictions and forgeries within the New Testament, known by most biblical scholars but almost never shared from the pulpit. Misquoting Jesus by Ehrman is another good one.)

    The point is this: The claim “the bible is the inspired (or inerrant) word of god” has to be demonstrated to justify belief in it. If faith is the justification for belief in the bible and not evidence, you’ve already lost the argument. For faith can be used to justify any other book, including the Qur’an or the Bhagavad Gita.

  • Robert Swain

    This is a good discussion to have. How one interprets the Bible is important and that was one of the issues with the Reformation. When you read an translation in English how did they choose their sources and analogs for the words they used? If you believe in God, do you accept everything in the name of inclusion and love or do you follow the reasoned interpretation of tradition? Lots of issues. Not to write off the old, but it would be interesting to see where Dannika is in 30 years in her journey. Oh, and by tradition, I am strictly Orthodox/Catholic in my choices and look to the early fathers and how they understood the good news.

  • ORAXX

    Given what this book is purported to be, the fact the Bible is subject to interpretation at all should give pause. I cannot help but think, a divine being, capable of willing the universe into existence, could create a message as unambiguous as mathematics, and then give that message to everyone. That same divine being would surely be able to foresee the horrific problems for humanity, associated with the Bible’s interpretability.

  • cipher

    I was so angry when I read Brown’s letter. What arrogance on his part to think that, because he was older, he was automatically wiser.

    Michael Brown is the house intellectual of the Messianic movement – a movement that attracts people who are, for the most part, not particularly bright. He’s spent his entire adult life being a medium-sized fish in a very tiny pond.

    Meanwhile, the comments below Dannika’s original post validate my ongoing assertion that communication with the vast majority of evangelicals is impossible and that the effort is pointless. They’re psychopaths. As Lee Strobel would say, “Case closed.”


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