As many of you know, I grew up in a staunchly Catholic home and was educated in the Catholic school system. I remember in Grade 1, we had a little primer with questions and answers about the faith. The very first q and a was:
Q - Who made you?
A - God made me.
I drifted away from the Church when I was about 15 but some indoctrination sticks forever - like that first question in my Grade 1 Religion book.
It’s popped into my head a few times lately because I’ve been involved in some online arguments with fundamentalist Christians. A topic that continuously burns their behinds* is homosexuality/gay marriage. They claim it’s an abomination because their bible says so. Doesn’t seem to matter it also says a bunch of other things are abominations, like eating shellfish, sharing a bed with a menstruating woman or offering an imperfect animal to sacrifice to God. I mean, what animal is perfect? They can overlook some abominable behaviour I guess - but not man-to-man or woman-to-woman loving.
(They are, by the way, absolutely incapable of noting the hypocrisy involved when it comes to biblical cherry-picking.)
But I shouldn’t tar them all with the same brush. The more enlightened among fundamentalists will allow that it’s okay to be gay - just as long as their naughty bits don’t press against, or into each other. They graciously allow gays to be who they are, as long as they don’t actually act on it.
So, I ask them - why did God make homosexuals if he’s really not that fond of what they do?
And the answer, of course, is that God did no such thing. He made everyone hetero but darned if some of the miscreants didn't choose to be gay - which of course, earns them a one-way ticket to Hellsville.
Now, I don’t give a flying fig newton whether a person believes in a god, gods, nothing, or a Cosmic Muffin - as long as their beliefs aren’t inflicted on others. And by far the majority of Christians I know are fine, decent people who believe in living and letting live.
But fundamentalists are another kettle of fish. They want to turn the clock back to the good old days, around 113 AD, and actively work to elect politicians who reflect their antediluvian views.
(Which reminds me: The big flood and Noah’s ark and saving all the animals? Never happened. Couldn’t have happened. Could. Not. Have. Happened.)
I really don’t care that many/most fundamentalists are Young Earth Creationists (YECs) who ignore Science and think the world is 6,000 years old and that Noah had baby dinosaurs on board and evolution is a myth but the Garden of Eden is not.
But I do care that they spread their ignorance, bigotry and mean-spiritedness whenever and wherever possible.
And I will continue to wage (verbal) war on them.
Had a couple of thoughts, actually definitions, of maturity lately. Wrote them down. The first was originally a definition of what I thought a “real” man was. And it went like this: A real man is one who does what needs doing - without complaint or expectation of reward.
I was pretty happy with that. I mean, it’s fridge magnet material.
Upon pondering further, I realized that it could certainly apply to either gender, so I revised it to: A mature person is one who...etc.
And then, even though I’d had the above thought only a few weeks before - I was beset by a second one! Two thoughts about maturity in a matter of months! If I’m not careful, I’ll become a pundit.
Anyway, here’s the second: True maturity arrives the day we realize we can no longer fool ourselves.
Uh-huh. No sucking in the gut in front of the mirror. No pretending your hair is turning platinum blond instead of gray. That admiring look from the cute cashier? It was really pity.
Gonna wrap this one up with a picture of a cute puppy. Everybody loves pictures of cute puppies.
My attitude is that maturity should be left to those too young to know better.
Two comments: First of all, I guess I'm not mature because for my son's wedding on Saturday, I dyed my hair so the grey wouldn't show.
Second, said wedding was a church wedding, complete with two ministers and a whole lot of other Christians (including my son, the theological student), between two men. I know you know this Frank ('cause you know me :D), but it seems that a lot of folks on line don't realize that fundamentalist Christians (or Muslims or Jews or Atheists for that matter) are in the minority.
And the church universal, both fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist sects, and all the folks who go there, will eventually reach maturity, and be unable to fool themselves any more. The truth will not stay hidden, even from those who close their eyes.
Heh, heh yourself.
As a Christian, my first duty is love. It's also my joy.
As an aspiring to be mature person, i like those definitions -- they give me a good measuring stick to see how i'm doing.
Thank you for the cute puppy.
Well as you know, I'm neither Christian or remarkably mature. But I can't disagree with anything you've said. Loving, consenting adults. I can't understand where anyone can find fault with that. And I'm also a sucker for that cute puppy face.
I agree with you that there is a tremendous amount of hatred displayed by the people who swear that God gave them the truth so they are absolutely right. It ties in well with maturity or lack of maturity.
Spreading hate is uncool. Jesus taught us to love each other despite our faults. I think that's a pretty good idea -- though be smart about it cuz you know there's always going to be someone ready to take advantage of a loving and forgiving heart. It takes all kinds. Thanks for the pic of the puppy.
Good words, Frank. I've found most hard-line Christians really aren't familiar enough with the contents of the Bible to have an opinion.
Excellent points about maturity.
Although I can't say I live in any of the boxes constructed in the post or comments, for the sake of argument, I would offer that without Evil, or the influence of Evil incarnate, there would be no God or Christ, such as we know them, in the modern world. Wihtout "wrongs" man has no need to know what is "right".
I, for (probably only) one would encourage more discourse and less dissing. Confrontational absolutism destroys any chance for compromise or positive community action.
That is not an invitation to a fight, but a mere argument, in the truest sense of that word, that people should struggle with their belief systems, not exclude, insult, assault and shun those do not agree with them on everything.
Frank, are you enjoying this curmudgeon thing as much as am I? ;-})
Thanks for the photos - one doesn't need to love animals to enjoy your photos.
Stephen Fry is usually credited with "Religion is people dying in wars over who has the best imaginary (or invisible) friend", but he apparently claims it originally came from Yasser Arafat?! Poor Frank, caught in a swirl of human nonsense, just like the rest of us. Puppies are more clear on what really matters. Dinner!
- Cay, in the immortal words of the great sage, Red Green: "I may not be able to stay young but I can darn sure stay immature."
- Ruth, congrats to your son and his spouse. (And I'm fairly sure there's an out clause in the maturity definition for women touching up their 'do a tad.) ;)
- Tabor, I admit I snickered. My sense of humour is occasionally naughty and I have to send myself to my room.
- Mimi, I like your priorities. Glad you like the pic and definitions. :)
- Hil, you're sommat mature. Ish. ;)
- Yes Red, I'm suspicious of anyone claiming to know God's mind.
- Dawn, Jesus is all right by me, as are most of his followers. :)
- Thanks, Leah.
- Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bruce. And to answer your question - you bet I am. Getting old can be liberating. :)
Thanks to all for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.
But maybe I don't want an "out" clause--sometimes it's a good thing to be a little (with emphasis on the word "little") immature. :D
I was raised as a fundamentalist. Without going into he whole story, I am now an atheist. There were some gradations in between the two extremes. Some fundamentalists, or at least evangelicals, are somewhat open-minded although it seems like a contradiction to say so.
I just have one comment. Okay, it's a question (stop being so picky!). What's wrong with platinum blonde? Or silver? I prefer to say I have silver hair. But I'm not mature. Heh.
First of all, I would like to say that I enjoyed your book very much. I found it witty and helpful. However, I was highly dissapointed by your recent blog post, on which I will now comment.
"As long as their beliefs aren’t inflicted on others."
I don't know what a belief is if you don't stand up for it, which you agree with because you yourself admit to "waging verbal war" on those you disagree with. (Fundamentalist Christians.)Aren't you inflicting your beliefs on them by writing this blog telling them they should allow gay marriage?
Christianity holds that Christ came to fulfill the Old Testament. For this reason it may seem as though modern Christians have been picking and choosing from what to keep and what to ditch. Let me try to address this illlusion. In answer to your astute observation that Christians no longer observe the law of not eating “unclean” food and offering sacrifice, we no longer need to offer “imperfect” sacrifice (no animal is perfect , as you stated) because Christ offered the perfect sacrifice of himself. He came to fulfill the old law. For example, when the pharisees objected that his apostles did not wash their hands, thus breaking with the old law, he replied “it is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out the mouth is what defiles one” (Mt. 15:11) What this means is that when Christ came he showed that some of the old observances were no longer necessary because he came to show that what is in the heart of a man is more important than exterior formalities. This is a brief explanation, there is much to be said on this topic, but hopefully this makes the point.
In the New Testament, this forbidding of homosexuality is clearly reinforced and not changed. Specifically, look at Romans 1:26-27, " For this reason [idolatry] God gave them up to passions of dishonor; for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error."
Obviously man is both male and female for the purpose of reproduction of the species. (This is not the only reason, but for purposes of this response this is most important) Therefore it is not natural for those of the same sex to be “married”, as their purpose can never be fulfilled. You may object that there will always be plenty of hetrosexuals to populate the earth and those with same sex tendecies may do as they please. However, you can see that even in the relationship of a same sex couple, there is still the desire for propogation of the species. Lesbian couples are praticing invetro, gay men, with suragate mothers. It can be seen throughout all of creation that male and female were created for a definite purpose. Survival is an inherent instinst for all plants, insects, animals, and not excluding, men. Therefore same sex relationships are not natural.
- Ruth, I hear ya'. And agree. Just because I can define the heck out of maturity doesn't mean I have to practice it. ;)
- Anvilcloud, I know others who have started from, and finished at, the same place. Thank you for your story.
- Anne, I've missed you. Happy to hear from you again. As I hinted to Ruth earlier, I suspect there's a special exemption for womenfolk of the female persuasion when it comes to...um...highlighting their natural colour! Yeah! That's the ticket!! Highlighting what nature intended! ;)
- shane, I'm very pleased you read, and enjoyed my book. Thank you.
Thank you also, for explaining your position regarding my post.
The Creator I believe in did not make mistakes. I believe gays are just as he intended them to be - part of the community of mankind.
So, we must agree to disagree. Thank you again for taking the time.
Dear Mr. Baron,
Thank you for taking the time to consider my side and respond. I am a 16 year old avid fisherman, and will continue to be a fan of your book and blog.
I hope this interaction has not confirmed your opinion that hard-core Christians spread "mean-spiritedness whenever and wherever possible." Thanks again for your time.
- Btw, I don't think God makes mistakes either. I think we all are weak and struggle with different temptations, and we need to help eachother overcome them; not encourage what is unnatural.
Great words Frank. Never can understand those who try to push their ways upon others. It would be a far better world if folks would embrace our differences as long as they harmed no one.
I was raised not to comment on politics or religion.
As always great writing. But please Frank, tell us what you really think.
I guess I better not give you any of my right wing view points but I will give you one. I just can't help myself. Last week fishing I told my brother of an epiphany I had in my twenties. It went something like this. Fishing is not about the catching but about the fishing. He had the nerve to tell me I was not the first to come up with my brilliant quote....I think I hate him. I know this has nothing to do with your post but I had to write something. Peace :-)
I think there is a confusion about standing up for something one believes in and inflicting one's belief down the throats of those who are not fond of those faiths.
I want to live in a planet where I'm able to think that the bible is just a book, and nothing more. A book with the same value as a math book. Or a fishing book*.
People should choose their values and live by them, not expecting everyone around should do the same.
- Shane, you're a fine young man. I'll wager your folks are very proud of you.(And not just because of your fine taste in books.) I hope we can go fishing together one day. :)
- Yes, missingmoments, the Golden Rule is pretty much all we need adhere to, IMO.
- Wise, Barbara. And yes he is!
- GQ, however and whenever you come to that opinion about fishing doesn't much matter. What's important is that you DO realize it. Glad you feel the same.
- Fabian, thanks much for offering your point of view. (Even if you are...a...South American.) Heh-heh. ;)
I inadvertently deleted a non-spam comment. A copy appears below:
Anonymous Progress Lighting said...
The culture of each country really contrasts on what is in the bible. Nobody knows exactly what happens before and the real will of the God when it comes to sexuality. He never said anything directly about it, but he we are, the people of the world, fighting on something that their mind created.
- Thanks for taking the time to comment. I apologize for the accidental deletion of the original.
Interesting that everybody agrees the puppy is cute but that what's written in a book (not the fishing one, the other one) can be interpreted in only one way - theirs. Once I left the Catholic Church I read it, (not the fishing book, the other one) and I can't say it was even a good book never mind THE good book. Now I'll have to read the fishing book. If it's half as good as your posts, I'll like it as much as the puppy pic.
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