Atheist High-Treason
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20-05-2013, 04:50 AM
Atheist High-Treason
For several months I've been following the blog of a friend-of-a-friend, a man who's gay & goes to an AOG church. He acknowledges that being gay isn't a choice, but still thinks it's a sin, so has been suppressing his romantic desires for quite some time. Because we have a friend in common (who's his former partner of 5 years, so it's painful for them both), I've been pretty much quiet as far as responding to his blog entries that I take issue with. I didn't want him to think that our friend put me up to anything, nor did I want to turn him off before we actually get to know each other.

Last weekend, however, he posted some things indicative of his torment at not being able to act on his love for men. I'm uber-sensitive & could almost physically feel the anguish he must have been feeling as he wrote. I couldn't *not* write, especially knowing that many of his friends are Christians, probably of the same AOG flavor, and might respond by telling him to keep fighting his homosexuality. There were few responses, but these two pissed me off to no end: one guy basically said he's fought it for 14 years so it *is* possible, and urged him to keep fighting. Another guy urged him to keep fighting because, "we need you."

He gave me his e-mail address when I asked & last week I spent quite awhile writing to him. He knows that I'm an atheist, and I didn't want that knowledge to discredit my words in his eyes. So I decided to put my atheism on a shelf & write to him as though I were still a Christian. When I was a Christian, there's no way in hell I'd take a literal approach to the bible, and I ascribed only positive, life-affirming attributes to God, so being gay & Christian was possible. It's from that standpoint I wrote to him, while also introducing the topic of gender--if I can help him see how fluid gender is, maybe he'll start to see how ridiculous it is to impose rigid standards about who people should love based on the shape of the skin between their legs.

He thanked me for my message, assured me he's OK (I was a bit concerned after seeing his newest posting), and wants to meet in a week or 2. I then remembered a book that a pastor gave me years ago while I was struggling--"What the Bible REALLY Says About Homosexuality" by Daniel A Helminiak. It explores the texts that allegedly condemn homosexuality from a historical-critical approach to show that they don't at all condemn homosexuality. And that, I do believe--I do believe that the bible we read today is nothing like what the original writers intended--it's still ridiculous, it's still made-up, the deity is still a farce--and I'm not convinced that its writers even wanted anyone to take it seriously anyhow. Anyway, I ordered a copy to give him when we meet.

I can almost hear the irritation of some of you as your minds react to this. But for me, it's more important that he feel comfortable being who he is than it is to convert him to reason and atheism at this point. This guy's hard-core indoctrinated, in a crisis, and needs to feel comfortable in his own skin--now. He'll be a Christian for a loooong time. It doesn't make the beliefs any less ludicrous; it doesn't make the deity any more real....I'm just helping the guy create a deity that won't fry his ass for loving men & tossing in some good 'ol secular logic in the mix. He may or may not come to reason at some point in his life, but I'm not even sure if I give a damn.

What's more, and I even surprise myself here, is that I've considered he still might distrust my efforts since I'm not religious..and so I even have a backup plan to refer him to an LGBT-affirming Pentecostal group if he continues to wrestle with his sexuality. Lead him right into the hands of the enemies of logic. Hope it won't come to that.

He's a precious thing & I just want him to be OK. So tar, feather, stone and burn me for high treason. Tongue

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20-05-2013, 05:20 AM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
Hug

I think we'll tar n feather ya for thinking we'd tar n feather ya. Tongue

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20-05-2013, 05:24 AM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
Not treason at all in my book. You took the Humanist route, IMO. You did good for the sake of doing good. You helped a fellow human who was hurting.

To help someone we must be able to reach them. You are helping him find peace in his own skin within his own belief system. That is exactly where his struggle was. I find what you did honorable.

well done. Thumbsup


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20-05-2013, 05:54 AM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
Hey, Percepticon.

Ain't nuthin' wrong with what you're doing.

From how you've characterised things, he had a cry for help. You answered. That's about the best thing someone can do for another human being.

In terms of not evangelising, well, that makes you a good person. Evangelising is selfish and would be, in this case, the worst kind of opportunism. You're helping HIM, not yourself. That's commendable.

You're not treating him like a Christian, you're treating him like a human. Doesn't get much better than that.

Good luck to you and to him.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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20-05-2013, 07:29 AM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
Steer him toward Buddhism if he needs some supernatural fix.

Or buy him the book "Nailed". If he can acknowledge that the bible was made and put together by humans, written by humans and edited by humans, then maybe he'll see the light.

It's a first step.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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20-05-2013, 10:00 AM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
Agreed, you're doing the right thing.

First, because it is a compassionate approach. You need to be a friend first and an atheist second. Be BOTH, of course, but it's really a question of what he needs right now.

And from a deconvert-them-all perspective, leveraging that friendship in a cynical, manipulative manner is an ultimately self-defeating strategy. On the other hand, demonstrating compassion as an atheist is good PR, and helping your friend through the way that the Bible is subject to a plethora of interpretations can be a pretty good step down the road of questioning.

So, really, is there a conflict at all?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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20-05-2013, 10:07 AM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
Thanks, you guys. I guess I've just been seeing more of the angry, unrelenting side of atheism more than the humanistic side these days.

Oh, and HoC, you can tar-and-feather me anytime.... Wink Or dip me in honey and--oh oops, wrong audience. LoL.... Missed ya' & glad ya' came back here...

~Valerie

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20-05-2013, 10:36 AM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
Your showing a lot of compassion. It doesn't matter how its packaged, I think it's wonderful you reached out to him.

Hug


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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20-05-2013, 02:38 PM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
It's difficult to commit treason against something that has no rules or beliefs to begin with.

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20-05-2013, 04:19 PM
RE: Atheist High-Treason
What everyone else said, doing the compassionate thing ruled here. Glad this guy has such a good friend in you.

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