Comment roundup 1/18.

In response to my elation at anti-gay pastor Louie Giglio backing out of the inauguration, Patrick swung by with the following comment.

“He’s a dishonest fool who has spread the poison of bigotry to countless other minds.”

Really, JT? This entire post just made you look like a dishonest fool spreading the poison of bigotry. If you had done just slightly more research on this topic you would have realized that:
1. Perceiving a divine mark on something and pointing it out does not make somebody a bigot.
2. The “anti-gay” comments that he was apparently pressured over look like pretty standard (and actually rather polite) Christian repentance language. He didn’t make any political statements. Nor did he say “all gays go to hell.” He simply said that unrepentant homosexuals – like all other unrepentant sinners – will not inherit the kingdom of God. He even presented himself as a sinner in need of repentance. You’ve gotta admit – that is pretty tame stuff.
3. Preferring to step out of a public arena rather than cause a ruckus is exactly the opposite thing that someone “who has spread the poison of bigotry to countless other minds” would be likely to do.
4. He actually does show a picture of what laminin actually looks like during his talks – http://www.gospelinfinity.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/AAA123LamininPhoto1.jpg
so half of this post is bunk right off the bat.
5. He does not offer the image of laminin as a reason for non-Christians to accept Christianity as true. Rather, he shows the picture to encourage those that already believe – using the image to demonstrate God’s control even over the minutia of life. Basically he suggests that if God is holding proteins together at this basic level then he is more than capable of holding a person’s life together as well.

Well I certainly don’t want to look like a dishonest fool in the eyes of Patrick.

Perceiving a divine mark on something and pointing it out does not make somebody a bigot.

Strangest thing, I can’t find anywhere in that post where I said it did.  His anti-gay sentiments certainly make him a bigot.

The “anti-gay” comments that he was apparently pressured over look like pretty standard (and actually rather polite) Christian repentance language. He didn’t make any political statements. Nor did he say “all gays go to hell.” He simply said that unrepentant homosexuals – like all other unrepentant sinners – will not inherit the kingdom of God. He even presented himself as a sinner in need of repentance. You’ve gotta admit – that is pretty tame stuff.

Look what I found: it’s the sermon you were talking about.  He suggests that gay people should try to stop being gay through conversion therapy, which has been panned as psychologically damaging by every credible battery of psychological experts on, well, earth.  He said we need to prevent the “homosexual lifestyle in society”.  Why would we need that unless the “homosexual lifestyle” is somehow malicious to society?  If saying that we need homosexuality out of society is “rather polite Christian repentance language” then Christians need to learn that saying hateful things under the veneer of politeness doesn’t make them any less hateful.

Preferring to step out of a public arena rather than cause a ruckus is exactly the opposite thing that someone “who has spread the poison of bigotry to countless other minds” would be likely to do.

Listen to the above clip.  Stepping away rather than facing criticism for the things Giglio actually said is precisely what someone would do who has said those things.  And do you really think that stepping away from this event suggests that he hasn’t previously said bigoted things?  We have him recorded on fucking audio doing it.

And even if his bigotry wasn’t a good enough reason to deny him a podium in front of all of America, including the gay people, the fact that his laminin argument reveals him to be a mind-boggingly stupid person does.  We should put the best of Americans up on that stage, and Giglio is as close to that standard as Snookie.

He actually does show a picture of what laminin actually looks like during his talks – http://www.gospelinfinity.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/AAA123LamininPhoto1.jpg
so half of this post is bunk right off the bat.

Yeah…

He showed it at a point where it kinda sorta looks like a cross.  This should suggest that kinda sorta is the best he could do to show that laminin is “in the perfect shape of the cross of our lord Jesus Christ.”  I mean, if you take out the wobbliness and the little hook at the bottom that makes it look more like a snow skier in profile.  Personally, I think it looks like Mr. Game and Watch, but that’s because I’m a gamer.  Christians are more likely to see a cross, etc.  If, for some odd reason, there was a religion that worshiped the X-Men, that’s what they’d see.  Humans do this all the time with naturally occurring things: we find similarities to things that are meaningful to us.  It doesn’t mean god put it there, it means there’s a lot of noise in existence and some of it will be similar to others.

What he doesn’t say is that most of the time it looks like this…

Which looks more like a convoluted electric chair (which, had Jesus been told to have died via modern execution, Giglio would have used that image to show god’s control over life’s minutia rather then the former, likely citing that laminin is “in the perfect shape of the chair of our lord Jesus Christ”).  Giglio is the one implying that laminin always looks like a cross and that, even if it did, that it’s distinguishable from a gajillion other religious symbols.  None of that is the case, and wouldn’t mean shit even if it were.

He does not offer the image of laminin as a reason for non-Christians to accept Christianity as true. Rather, he shows the picture to encourage those that already believe – using the image to demonstrate God’s control even over the minutia of life. Basically he suggests that if God is holding proteins together at this basic level then he is more than capable of holding a person’s life together as well.

Very first words of the video: “I’ll tell you tonight how you can know that god will always hold you together.”  Not how you can know that trimeric proteins can hold you together, mind you.  That is an argument for god.  You don’t hear biology teachers say “here’s how we can know how proteins work” as only encouraging those who already believe it.  It’s a statement of truth, and you’re trying to wiggle out of it.

What’s more, pointing to proteins as proof that god holds you together is like pointing to wisdom teeth to show that god wants you to have pain.  You don’t get to point to the natural occurrences that you like and claim supernatural causation, while ignoring all the others.

And even if I grant your position, that he’s showing this to encourage those who already believe, they should feel insulted that the best encouragement he can come up with isn’t something that makes any sense at all.  How can that possibly be encouraging?  It’s an insult to the intelligence of his audience (which ate it up, so it’s a well-placed insult).

I hope none of my friends ever try to encourage me that way.  “Hey JT, you should feel good about yourself because faeries living in your heart will make women like you.”

“But…won’t my compassionate personality, looks, or intellect achieve that?”

“JT, there’s a reason I’m sticking with the faeries.”

The way you’re talking Patrick, this is the gist I should get from Giglio’s sermon:  “Here guys, instead of giving you good, evidence-based reasons to keep believing this, I’m showing you a protein that occasionally looks like a Roman torture device, but also looks like a sword or a caduceus.  I do this because I suspect this will be more encouraging that actual evidence or relevant information.  I want to show you how god prefers to demonstrate his control over the minutia of life in a way that is ambiguous and invisible to almost every human being who ever lived, rather than by, say, removing malaria.  Isn’t god wonderful?”

That’s right.  When considering which minutia of life to modify, god considered the list…

  1. Remove malaria.
  2. Make all proteins in the shape of a cross, and give Bronze Age people microscopes so they can see it.
  3. Make it so that starving, but faithful children, feel no pain.
  4. Make is so that starving, but faithful children also don’t die.  Fuck everybody else who doesn’t buy the story of someone rising from the dead because everybody they’ve ever seen who dies stays that way (because I made them with a brain incapable of believing the seemingly impossible).
  5. Cancer cells, get rid of those.
  6. Change the shape of a single protein so that rarely it arranges itself into the a semblance of the shape of a Roman torture device.  That way people will look at the protein much later and conclude that such a simple shape couldn’t possibly occur in nature, and that I’m holding them together.

So even if Giglio’s intent was only to encourage with a stupid as hell reason rather than make the case with a stupid as hell reason (which I don’t buy for a minute), his reasoning still sucks.

So, let’s review.

1.  He posted a picture of the laminin molecule that only vaguely resembles the technical drawing, and looks nothing like the tightly wadded mass that the laminin protein usually resembles.  But he’s selling it as the shape of the cross.  That’s dishonest.  What’s more, a microbiologist would know this, so I’m also going to call him a liar for saying that a microbiologist turned him onto this.

2.  He’s a fool.  He’s an absolute fool doing what virtually every Christian is doing (including you, Patrick): looking for a better reason to believe something he adopted for other, shittier reasons.  Unfortunately, you tend to look like an idiot (see the laminin sermon) when your conclusion comes first, then you go digging for reasons.

  • IslandBrewer

    Under number 1:

    “Malaria”

  • Randomfactor

    Perceiving a divine mark on something and pointing it out does not make somebody a bigot.
    That’s the part that makes him a fool, though.

    • Artor

      He’s just a Giglio, and everywhere he goes, people know the part he plays…

  • eric

    Perceiving a divine mark on something and pointing it out does not make somebody a bigot.
    If some preacher perceived the mark of Ham on all black people, we’d call that person a religious bigot. I see no problem drawing the same conclusion about a preacher who perceives some sort of negative religious mark on all gay people.
    Patrick does not seem to undertand that a prejudice against some group of people is bigotry regardless of whether it’s religious in origin or not. Prejudice against lefties: bigotry. Prejudice against lefties because of what your holy book says: still bigotry.

    • eric

      Ack, the first sentence was a quote, not my opinion. Html fail.

    • Patrick

      Does that make prejudice against Christians bigotry as well?

      • ZenDruid

        Against all Christians? Yes.
        Against objectionable behavior by some Christians? No.

      • Brad1990

        If by “prejudice against Christians” you mean disliking all Christians simply because they are Christians, then yes, it does. If however you mean “not letting them persecute whoever they damn well please just because their 200 year old book says so and generally get away with metaphorical murder” then no, it doesn’t.

        • Brad1990

          Bah, typo! *2000+ year old book

  • Silent Service

    Actually, it still makes him a bigot. Thinking that my life is sin only because it doesn’t fit into your faith is still bigotry.

  • Rain

    “Perceiving a divine mark on something and pointing it out does not make somebody a bigot.”

    Nice non-sequitur. Worthy of Jesus himself. Jesus was good at non-sequiturs. Somebody asks him a question and then he pulls a big non-sequitur out of his hat. If they’re lucky, then it actually has some remote bearing to the question. Just read the Bible and you’ll see where these people come up with these oddball non-sequiturs seemingly appearing from clear out of left field.

  • Glodson

    I still don’t get this line of reasoning. I was always told that faith was so important, but then if that is so, why do many turn over stones to justify that which they already have blind faith in?

  • Patrick

    “a dishonest fool who has spread the poison of bigotry to countless other minds”

    For the record, this is the statement I primarily take issue with. I have already dealt with most of what you have to say in this post in my comments to your other readers from the previous article. In short, Giglio is not supplying listeners with “the argument from laminin” as a reason to accept the premise “Christianity is true”. He is simply using the picture as a memorable object lesson about a God that is in control of everything – reminding the Christians in the audience that, given Christianity as true, God has whatever situation you are struggling with under control. It is anecdotal, and that is how I see him resenting it. I could be wrong about his motivations, but since I am sure I have seen more of his stuff than you have I would venture a guess that I know a little better than you do. I think you are just itching for a fight where he is not trying to pick one.

    Now, as for what I really take issue with:
    Dishonest? You are assuming that he is intentionally manipulating his audience. This COULD be the case if he is aware/agrees that laminin rarely looks like a cross, but is selectively presenting it that way anyway. But, if as I have argued he is not presenting a 1st degree argument for the truth of Christianity and rather merely trying to encourage believers with an anecdotal picture – then I don’t think he could be accurately described as dishonest. At least not in this case.

    Fool? Again, if he is not pleading laminin as an argument for the truth of Christianity (as I have maintained) then I don’t know why you would count him foolish. Unless, of course, you are simply counting all Christians foolish, in which case Giglio must of necessity be foolish, since he is a Christian. But then, why not just say “Christian, therefore foolish” and move on? Moreover, I am not sure how you can hold that he is both dishonest and a fool. Isn’t it one or the other? If he is intentionally manipulative then he is aware of falsehoods and hence not foolish. If he is unaware of falsehoods then he could be labeled foolish, but hardly dishonest. At least both adjectives cannot be used in reference to the same statement. They are mutually exclusive.

    Bigot? I don’t think I can rebut the use of this word until I understand how you define it. I tend to define “bigot” as a person that devalues a person or group of people purely on the basis of a status or characteristic not under that person or group’s control. By “devalues” I simply mean that, in the mind of the critic, an individual is less valuable as a human being than another human being. Based on my hearing of his sermon as well as several others of his talks that I have listened to I do not think that Giglio devalues homosexuals any more than he devalues himself and any other sinner based on their chosen sins. This is where nuance is important, and I don’t believe Giglio offers any. To be clear, I do not believe that it is a sin for a person to be sexually attracted to someone else – same sex or otherwise. Attraction itself is generally not a choice, thus devaluing an individual based on who they are sexually attracted to would be bigoted. If by “homosexual” Giglio is referring to the entire class of individuals sexually attracted to members of their own sex, AND he devalues them based on this classification then I think the word “bigot” could be applied accurately. However, many Christians use the word “homosexual” in a different manner. These Christians (and I think Giglio is one) frequently apply the term “homosexual” to refer to anyone that has had intentional sexual contact with another member of their own sex – not simple attraction. A person is a liar if they have lied. A person is a thief if they have stolen. Therefore, a person is a homosexual if they have had intentional sexual contact with a member of the same sex. This intentional sexual contact is by CHOICE, so my definition of “bigot” would not apply.

    Alas, I have written far more than I actually had time to write, and I have managed to put off other responsibilities in the process, so I will stop here for now.

    • Joe

      Even given your definition of homosexuality (which is wrong, by the way. The APA defines sexual orientation as “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes” – so no sexual activity is needed) saying that we need to prevent “the homosexual lifestyle in society” is still bigotry. Would you say that arguing against inter-racial marriage isn’t bigotry because, sure, black people can’t make the choice not to be black, but they are making the choice to get married? In preventing “the homosexual lifestyle in society” one is removing someone’s ability to make certain choices based on a facet of themselves that they cannot change. So yeah, this is bigotry.

      • IslandBrewer

        And it’s this insistence on defining homosexuality as something that one does as opposed to something that one is that is so integral to the conservative’s justification for hatin’ the gay. They simply refuse to acknowledge that some people are just gay.

        If they do admit it, then they fall down this horrible slippery slope of loving the sinner/hating the sin. Or “it’s ok to be gay, just don’t ever have sex … ever”, as they said to the gay Anglican clergy.

        Sometimes, I wished they just be honest and say, “sex with guys squicks me out! It’s ooky!”, and forgo all their tortured logic … er … theology.

        • Steve

          It’s not just having sex that they forbid. They forbid attraction and love altogether. Even finding someone of the same gender sexually attractive and looking at them is a sin for them.

      • nakedanthropologist

        Joe is correct – being homosexual is an orientation, not a behavior. Furthermore, there is a substantial difference between prejudice and bigotry. Prejudice happens when one person judges another as inferior due to generalization. If I said that all Christians are cruel hypocrites, that would be prejudice. Okay – I don’t like prejudice, but (presumably in the United States) my opinions only matter to me so long as they remain opinions. I would be participating in bigotry if I pushed for actual legal and physical restrictions against Christians – like say, opposing marriages between two consenting Christian adults – that would be bigotry.

        Sure, prejudice sucks, but I understand that I nor anyone else can choose the way other people believe or think. If all Giglio was doing was saying “gee, as an evangelical Christian, I will not participate in a homosexual relationship, because I think that’s what God wants” then more power to him. But he (and others like him) do so much more than that in their bid as pastors/religious authorities. And I do not hold to that, because it’s unfair, wrong, and hypocritical.

    • Nox

      The fact that Giglio was expressing an accepted christian doctrine when he made his statements isn’t a reason that it is not bigotry. It is a reason that christianity is only a suitable religion for bigoted people.

    • Steve

      Go fuck yourself

      That’s the only appropriate thing to say to people like you

      • Artor

        Wouldn’t that be homosexual activity?

        • Steve

          Only if you’re Mark Driscoll

    • Jasper

      However, many Christians use the word “homosexual” in a different manner. These Christians (and I think Giglio is one) frequently apply the term “homosexual” to refer to anyone that has had intentional sexual contact with another member of their own sex

      Here’s a couple reasons why that makes no sense:

      1) A virgin can neither be homosexual nor heterosexual
      2) An “in the closet” person attracted tot he same sex, but in a marriage with the opposite sex to try to be normal is not homosexual

      Neither of these results are recognized by society.

  • cag

    Giglio preaches that there is a god, without an iota of evidence for such an assertion. This makes him and all others who profit from making such a claim charlatans and parasites. It matters not if he is considered a bigot or not, he is a liar.

  • http://gravatar.com/huckleberry549 please continue

    Well damn, that was some entertaining rhetoric up to when it stopped. I was waiting anxiously to watch the rhetoric flow for the malaria, cancer and starving kids which seemingly Patrick finds less intrusive to one’s well being than homosexuality. Who would have thunk it? Could you address the rationale of the list also Patrick?

  • http://gravatar.com/huckleberry549 please continue

    You know, the list JT made for you Patrick, I sure would like to hear your take on that also.

    • Glodson

      I am going to guess the answer will be “mysterious ways.”

      • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

        Or “Original Sin!”

        Which is Christian for “dem bitchez dun ruind it all”.

        • Glodson

          And a great way to blame the victim. Those starving kids struck cancer deserved it for being naughty in the eyes of the Lord! Take that, cancer having children!

          Why is Newt Gingrich so chunky?

    • sqlrob

      He’ll ignore anything inconvenient. I’m still waiting on that evidence for Jesus.

  • Robert B.

    “I mean, if you take out the wobbliness and the little hook at the bottom that makes it look more like a snow skier in profile. Personally, I think it looks like Mr. Game and Watch, but that’s because I’m a gamer. ”

    I was gonna go with Sudowoodo.

    • Glodson

      Does that mean that Jesus caught them all? He is the king of kings, verily!

  • IslandBrewer

    You know, cancer cells are basically just cells reverting to a totipotent, less differentiated state, like they were during embryogenesis. Embryos are basically just well organized cancer cells. Getting rid of all of them is like mandated abortions, which, of course, make Jesus cry.

    So “no,” says the good christian. Cancers are gifts from God.

    If you don’t agree, it’s just because you don’t understand sophisticated theology.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Metastasize me, Lord!


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