"Hate the sin not the sinner".....

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    Sep 12, 2007 9:01 PM GMT
    Amen to that. To acknowledge sin, one must first admit to doing something wrong, and since when has being a 'mo ever been wrong? Oh well, society's to blame.

    Christianity is so completely old and busted. New hotness = antitheism... opposition to all religion!
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    Sep 12, 2007 9:07 PM GMT
    NN the list could go on Native American Indians, Aboriginees, Turkish, let us not forget the crusades.

    Dont get me wrong having a go at Christians for the sake of it is not clever or indeed big, but from what I see when cycling past a church on Sunday 70% at least show blatant disregard for the rest of the community yet alone the planet and pick and chose the aspects of religion they want to buy into anyway be it gluttony and obesity or vanity and self image as just two major aspects
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    Sep 12, 2007 9:58 PM GMT
    Awesome posts guys!!

    The thing I love most about RJ (besides the all the hot pics lol) is the diverse spectrum of opinions. You guys have some really intelligent and insightful remarks and shed a ton of light on the subject.

    Thanks

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    Sep 12, 2007 10:01 PM GMT
    In my opinion the only religion worth considering is one based solely on charity compassion and understanding

    I would become a Budhist but the baldhead and a veggie diet doesnt appeal to me!
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    Sep 12, 2007 10:04 PM GMT
    Thanks for that, Rugger. Yes, there is no monolithic institution called "christianity". Nor is it the case in many of the major denominations--there are always those who think outside the box and push back against many of the accepted ways of looking at things. I guess that's why I hate to see the ignorance that seems to see only the bad and negative. Sure it exists, and has existed through out history. But Christians of all persuasions have also done tremendous good. I think it's safe to say that most of us would probably not be here today if it were not for the "christian culture" of Western Europe (universities, hospitals, groups of men and women who dedicated their lives (imperfect, human lives, granted) to helping and serving others). To sweep that all away is to invite a "culture" which is capable of producing just as much evil as they would attribute to "christianity".
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    Sep 12, 2007 10:38 PM GMT
    NNJ--You're absolutely right. It's my belief that everyone will be held accountable for what they have and haven't done. Good and bad.

    Trying to quantify who has done more good or evil is impossible. Haven't yet met the person who is capable of doing it.

    But too often, people use the bad to "justify" condemning the whole, not acknowledging the good that they themselves may have experienced, not the good that others may have experienced from the institution they wish to condemn.

    All I am saying is, being judgmental about people who profess a certain faith gets us no where, except more deeply divided and driven further apart. Even at my advancing age, I still cling to the naive hope that humankind will find a way to live together in spite of our differences. That means acknowledging the evil we have each been responsible for, and also learning to accept the differences that define who we are. Celebrate Diversity??
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    Sep 12, 2007 11:28 PM GMT
    Cognitive dissonance is not necessarily a bad thing. Speaking strictly of the phrase and not the origin. Like Mr.Wish said:

    "it's a way to consciously practice cognitive dissonance. You get to be someone's moral superior without forgoing good Christian "love." It's a prescription for smugness."

    As smug as it is, without some level of compromise and acceptance we would tear each other to pieces.
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    Sep 12, 2007 11:32 PM GMT
    Twisterguy20, you stated:

    “Christian ideology, whether it is labeled as such, continues to be the basic fundamental principles that guide public policy. We in the Western world enjoy the freedoms we do today because Christians have built societies that foster respect, cooperation, dignity, and tolerance. Christians have devoted more time, energy, money, and love to their friends, neighbors (and enemies) than any other group of people in the history of human civilization.

    Christian teachings, slogans, and philosophy continue to be the building blocks from which all things in the West come. I support the slogan, the ideas behind it, and encourage others to do the same. It is for our own benefit.”

    Wow – that has just annoyed me so much I haven’t thought of much else this entire afternoon; which is ridiculous. I finally decided I should reply.

    “Christian ideology, whether it is labeled as such, continues to be the basic fundamental principles that guide public policy.”

    Unfortunately despite the supposed separation of Church and State, this is probably true. Probably more so today than when our country was founded. Then our forefathers were quite aware of the tyranny religion could impose and they strove desperately to attempt a system where a plurality of faiths would be able to practice in peace, without domination or interference from a state sponsored faith. In fact, many of the founding fathers – and mothers, were Deists, as was my ancestor who signed the Declaration of Independence and attended the Constitutional Conventions.

    “We in the Western world enjoy the freedoms we do today because Christians have built societies that foster respect, cooperation, dignity, and tolerance.”

    Not really. In the entire history of the Christian faith almost all Christian sects have attempted to define themselves as the one and only true way to reach god, while openly discriminating against and shun t those who did not accept their version of the ‘one true faith’.

    The long list of Christian’s discrimination toward others, and the atrocities committed by them is long and well documented.

    Why , you ask, doesn’t everyone know about the discrimination and atrocities? History is written by the Victors’.

    “Christians have devoted more time, energy, money, and love to their friends, neighbors (and enemies) than any other group of people in the history of human civilization.”

    Again not true. Most Christians do not practice those charities. For evidence of that you have to look no further than the attitudes of ‘Christians’ in Central and S America, and the huge shanty town slums outside all major cities there from Mexico City to Rio de Janeiro.

    I will tell you of another non Christian culture. A culture so advanced that they had a democratically elected government with universal suffrage 400+ years before the United States broke from England. A culture whose political structure was probably one of the inspiration’s for the US Constitution. A culture where the strongest and most powerful members of the community thought it was their responsibility and honor to ensure that the absolute poorest in their community had adequate food, clothing, and shelter before they would dare to eat themselves – not to do so was thought to be an inexcusable breach of their personal honor.. A culture where if you were a visitor your hosts would supply you with everything they owned as a matter of courtesy, and even give you all the food and medicine that was available – even if that meant they had to go hungry themselves. Where the death by starvation of a single individual shamed an entire family clan for more than 350 years. A culture where protecting the youngest, oldest, and weakest members was considered an honor. A culture BTW where same sex parings were both accepted and even highly valued in every aspect of the culture.

    What destroyed the culture? ‘Christian Guns, Germs, and Steel’

    Now go to any slum in any city in the modern western industrialized nations, and tell me that you can say the same of the ‘Christians’ of that city.

    “Christian teachings, slogans, and philosophy continue to be the building blocks from which all things in the West come.”

    Do they? I think if you study a bit will find that the original teachings of the early Christians have very little to do with modern society; Instead all most all modern ‘Christian’ teachings, slogans, and philosophy have been adapted, adopted, and plagiarized from other cultures in an effort by the mainstream sects to more easily integrate conquered peoples into western culture. Even our celebrations of Christ’s birth and death have had the dates changed in order to appease and co-opt other sects and religions. Even the too oft quoted modern christian aphorism “Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner” has been co-opted from an Hindu Indian nationalist.

    Western culture is not advanced because of Christianity, western culture is adva
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    Sep 13, 2007 12:30 AM GMT
    "...Not really. In the entire history of the Christian faith almost all Christian sects have attempted to define themselves as the one and only true way to reach god, while openly discriminating against and shun t those who did not accept their version of the ‘one true faith’..."

    Oh, really? So then I guess you're going to be moving to a non-Christian nation where you can finally be free from persecution! How silly. Virtually ALL of the world's most prosperous and "free" societies are Christian ones. Why do you think dirt-poor immigrants are fleeing Asia, Africa, and the Middle East for the United States and Europe? I bet they want to live in societies where they will be discrimated against!! :)

    "...The long list of Christian’s discrimination toward others, and the atrocities committed by them is long and well documented..."

    Of course any group as large as Christianity is will have those who pervert the faith for their own benefit, but they do not do it BECAUSE they are Christians. The basic teachings run DIRECTLY contrary to discrimination, killing and the like. That's a no-brainer...

    "...Why , you ask, doesn’t everyone know about the discrimination and atrocities? History is written by the Victors’..."

    So if no one knows about this "secret" history, how is it that YOU have uncovered this treasure trove of information?

    "...Again not true. Most Christians do not practice those charities. For evidence of that...in Central and S America..."

    The problems in Latin America do not take away from the charity undertaken by millions in other Christian lands (and in Latin America, as well). Merely because a region is in poverty does not mean it does not have charities operating in it, or have good people living in it. If we're "tallying up" the total number of favors that countries and cultures have done for one another, China should be engaged in 4X as much charity as the U.S. is. Africa about 3X. Do you think they are? Which societies give out the most international aid? Which travel thousands of miles to assist in disaster/rescue operations?

    You talk about an "advanced culture," but fail to mention what it is! ???

    "...all most all modern ‘Christian’ teachings, slogans, and philosophy have been adapted, adopted, and plagiarized from other cultures..."

    Many cultures have cliches, slogans, and words in common. Simply because they share common phrases, slogans, or messages does not mean that they were copied, or that somehow one is more important than another. It is the COLLECTION of those messages that make up a values system.

    I would argue that the Christian values system has enabled and supported the rise of the most prosperous and comfortable societies in the modern era.
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    Sep 13, 2007 12:33 AM GMT
    Are we free and democratic *because* of Christianity?

    Twisterguy: You claim too much.
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    Sep 13, 2007 12:47 AM GMT
    All this broad-brush pouring of praise on Christianity to support what? Oh yeah, I remember. To support the following statement:

    "I support the slogan [hate the sin, not the sinner], the ideas behind it, and encourage others to do the same. It is for our own benefit."

    This just blows my mind, unless it's coming from someone who is either straight, or gay and celibate. And that blows my mind only slightly less.

    I love my (future) boyfriend. I'm intimate with my (future) boyfriend. To deny me this in the name of ridding the world of sin is to deny me the basic human need of love and intimacy.

    I'm beginning to better understand where war comes from. Deny one's basic human needs, and out come the guns. Again, survival.
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    Sep 13, 2007 12:50 AM GMT
    "...Are we free and democratic *because* of Christianity?..."

    Its not an A + B = C type equation. Freedom depends on a wide variety of systems and policies working together. What I do know is that virtually EVERY free society on the planet today is a Christian one, and that correlation cannot be minimized or ignored. This is not to say that societies cannot be free if they are not Christian, or that they cannot be Christian and un-free, but the likelihood of the two going hand-in-hand is stronger than any other I've seen.

    The Christian values system has a deeply-rooted tradition of justice, fairness, compassion, charity, and freedom. I would say that if societies live up to the teachings of the Christian faith, they will be better off than not, and they will be more free than not.
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    Sep 13, 2007 12:57 AM GMT
    NNJ--It is true that christians are among the most bloodthirsty people in the world. Along with just about any other group of people. More people were murdered in the century just ended by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler and their followers than by any other such collection throughout human history. None of these people acted in the name of their religion. In fact, they all pretty much turned their backs on any religious traditions and acted out of an ideology that let them think that they were benefitting humankind.

    Again, yes, people claiming the name of christian have a sordid past. But they can also number among them some of the most beautiful, selfless people who have forever changed the face of the world for the good.

    My fear is that if we simply dwell on the negative, we are no better than those we point our fingers at. If we spend out energy accusing others of their evil, do we really change the world for the better, any more than the Falwells, Robertsons, or Dobsons of our day? Acknowledge what was wrong, yes; but don't stop there--take the best in humankind and build on that. That will be a great contribution that we as gay people can make.

    In so-0called Native American cultures, gay people were recognized and celebrated as being bridges. Can we do any less? It doesn't let anybody off the hok for what they have done, but re-focuses the direction into a forward-looking one.
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    Sep 13, 2007 1:00 AM GMT
    ITJock: Yeah, Native Americans had a good, sustainable thing going on. Hey...if I remember correctly we'd all be shamans!

    But they were too trusting. No...scratch that. There should never have been such a thing as "too trusting". But power and greed changed all that.

    Throughout history the powers that be* in the "Christian West" have been obsessed with conquering brown people who talk funny. I'd like for someone to show me how Jesus would have approved.



    * The powers that be, as previously stated, do not represent all Christians.
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    Sep 13, 2007 1:07 AM GMT
    What is 'Christian Civilization'? And I'm not being rhetorical either. I would say that Christianity has been at least one aspect of the traditions, and 'civilization' or Western Europe and the ones it has spawned, but there are certainly other, and often older and sometimes competing, traditions as well that have mixed syncretistically and evolved over time. I mean how much does a 'Christian society' today have in common with one from the first century AD?

    I mean besides the religion changing how much initially changed? Yes, the old gods were packed away, or were sanitized into saints with often their same roles. But as far as other things, legal systems, the structuring of society -- family units etc -- did these really change? And if so how in a 'Christian' way? Yes, things changed but were these changes directly due to Christianity and it's influence or other things?

    Christianity started as an off-shoot of Judaism that quickly started converting non-Jews, but how many of our current cultural practices can be traced to that, or to the greco-roman tradition -- and Christianity like Judaism wasn't immune to Hellenizatino -- or later traditions of the 'barbarians' etc. Why do we affix ourselves with the name of one strand when there are really multiple strands and influences mixed and often vying with eachother?
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    Sep 13, 2007 1:09 AM GMT
    Do not confuse Christianity (or any religion for that matter) with all the inhumanity committed in the name of it. Such brutality is by its very nature a repudiation of the religion. God is invoked by both parties on the battlefield. He is credited for the victory by the victors and the defeated blame Him for forsaking them.

    We are command by Him (or Her) to love one another and to treat His creation justly. Thus, to be unjust, may be the absolute definition of sin. Religion is an instrument to lead us to a just existence and a relationship with our Creator. Yes, many sins or unjust acts have been committed in the name of religion. That does not mean that the religion itself is an evil.

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    Sep 13, 2007 1:19 AM GMT
    But, and to hog up space here, may I point out that 'just', and it related word 'justice' are decidedly Roman concepts, and based in the Roman legal system, and as such, applied to Christianity with a the Roman frame or reference, and quiet different from either Jewish or Greek.
    Yes, mixed and applied to Christianity, but translated into Latin and understood from the Roman legal perspective.
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    Sep 13, 2007 1:22 AM GMT
    But when atrocities are committed in the name of religion, they can be punished, or allowed to go on by the populus...even supported. Prior to the nuclear age, it took more than one man to destroy a culture, or thousands (sometimes millions) of lives.

    Religion is used so often to justify the allowance of such atrocities because for so many, it's the trump card. They buy into it, and let the BS go on. Therein lies the real tragedy.

    Bringing it all back to today, no religion trumps my need for love and intimacy. Sorry.
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    Sep 13, 2007 1:22 AM GMT
    last post was in response to gem01
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    Sep 13, 2007 1:38 AM GMT
    Inner peace is a lot easier to achieve if people would just trust themselves and stop believing in fictional characters like God, Santa, Toothfairy, Satan, etc. No religion has the answer, they didn't centuries ago, and centuries later, these teachings have morphed into something downright INAPPROPRIATE. Nobody knows everything, and that's just how the universe was designed. Why should one religion be trusted over the next? It is all hocus pocus.

    Why do we have such a need to idolize a fake God to the point that leads us down paths of illogical thought and insane hatred?

    It is 2007, we should be smarter than this already.
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    Sep 13, 2007 2:26 AM GMT
    Cheers to paradigm_shift for a lively topic. I've learned some new things, been reminded of other things, and gained even more confidence in my own spiritual makeup. I even got insulted! My day is complete. :-)

    I wish the gay community was more like nearly all the guys on this site, at least in terms of thought and reason. But sometimes they seem so entrenched and cornered. The thing I really like about this site is that us RJ's really challenge each other to be better, healthier people, often by considering new ideas.

    Man I posted way too much today. Night.

    P.S.: Haha...don't forget to say your prayers. Or do your chants. Or meditate. Or dance. Or wank. Or...

    ...zzzzzz.
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    Sep 13, 2007 3:58 AM GMT
    IT Jock had some really good points, its too bad his post got cut off. It also strikes me as funny that most of the people on here were able to identify the Native American culture that he described, and yet Twister appeared to be ingnorant of it, or at least did not admit to knowing it.
    There were many cultures, such as the european Celts who required, by law, the care of orphans and the elderly. These ideas of tolerance has nothing to do with Christianity. The founding fathers of this nation were Freemasons and not exactly the best 'christians', according to thier own churches.
    Twisted just seems to lump all of the good things of Western civilization under the 'Christian' umbrella, but I'm confident that we'd still have the society we have today (or better) even if the Romans had been able to wipe out that wierd cult way back when. Minus the witch trial and Joan of Arc wouldn't have been BBQ.
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    Sep 13, 2007 4:12 AM GMT
    I can't recall who said this or where it was said (probably the Daily Show), but during a recent TV interview, an author described the modern trend toward religious radicalism as a crisis of hyper-literalism. When societies make sacred texts available to the masses (which, btw, I support), they also open up a pandora's box of interpretation – often, very literal interpretation. How many among us are versed in the art of literary analysis? (Not me, that’s for sure.) When reading complex -- and especially ancient -- texts, how many take into consideration such things as cultural context, transitive word meanings, intended audiences and/or the subtleties of a particular genre? Was the Garden of Eden story allegory, poetry, epic or farce? Can a pious woman really mix fabrics and eat shellfish, or does that edict only apply to her Levitical priest of a husband for a particular time and purpose?

    So, in a way, you can blame democratic idealism. When we give people the freedom of choice and conscience, they often make bad decisions and believe incoherent things. It's one of the many price tags associated with living in free societies. If you really think about it, both extremes of the political continuum eventually dissolve into despotism. If you want to force everyone to think, behave and believe like you, then vote to dissolve your congress or parliament and work to prop up a demagogue in its place. Or, choose to value diversity while remaining secure in your own belief systems. Christianity has a place in the public square just as do the Log Cabin Republicans and the Stonewall Democrats. Live and let live, someone once said.
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    Sep 13, 2007 4:15 AM GMT
    Crikey, RJ chopped off my snarky < /end manifesto > closing tag.
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    Sep 13, 2007 4:17 AM GMT
    its unchristian to chop things off