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Episcopalians Booted from Anglican Bodies Over Gay Bishops

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The Episcopal Church has been removed from Anglican committees that engage in dialogue with other Christians and consider doctrinal issues, the latest fallout from the church’s consecration of a lesbian bishop last month.
The Rev. Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the worldwide fellowship that includes the Episcopal Church as its U.S. branch, outlined the demotions in a letter published on Monday (June 7).
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the communion, proposed the removals last month after Episcopalians in Los Angeles consecrated an open lesbian as an assistant bishop. Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool is the second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, after Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was consecrated in 2003.
After Robinson’s consecration, all 44 member churches in the Anglican Communion were asked to abide by three moratoria: no more gay bishops, no official blessings for same-sex unions, no interfering in each other’s provinces.
While most Episcopalians support ordaining gays and lesbians as bishops, many Anglicans in the 77-million-member communion view homosexuality as a sin, and have angrily confronted the Episcopal Church. Williams had warned Episcopalians that consecrating Glasspool would have “consequences” for their role in the communion.
Kearon said he wrote to Episcopalians on the affected committees last Thursday to inform them of the changes. The one Episcopalian on the “faith and order” committee, the Rev. Katherine Grieb of Virginia, can serve as a consultant, but not a member, Kearon said.
Kearon said he has written the head of the Anglican Church of Canada, asking whether his church has formally adopted liturgical rites for same-sex blessings.
Kearon also said he has written to a South American archbishop who has welcomed conservative American bishops and dioceses into his province, about whether he has broken the third moratoria. The breakaway dioceses of San Joaquin, Calif., Pittsburgh, Quincy, Ill., and Fort Worth, Texas, have been accepted into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which is based in Argentina.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori assertively pushed back last week against efforts to sideline her church in the Anglican Communion, arguing that Anglicans have always been led by local churches, not a centralized body of powerful clerics.
By Daniel Burke
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



  • cknuck

    It’s about time, I would have did this action a long time ago and hurray for San Joaquin, Calif., Pittsburgh, Quincy, Ill., and Fort Worth, Texas, who have been accepted into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone,

  • pagansister

    cknuck, if they are in the Southern Cone do they now have to learn Spanish?

  • nnmns

    It’s time for the Episcopalians to take their money and keep it home.
    And if this is all because “many Anglicans in the 77-million-member communion view homosexuality as a sin” while the usual phrase is “we are all sinners” then what’s the excuse for all the hoohaw?

  • DadAtLarge

    As an Episcopalian, I’m quite proud of my denomination’s actions here. Just as in the past we’ve grown in faith beyond justifying with the Bible such inequities as slavery, sexism, and other injustices, today we’re growing beyond prejudice against our homosexual friends and family. Though I understand why in an attempt to remain in communion we have adhered to the moratoria these seven years, fair treatment cannot be put off forever. If the rest of the Anglican Communion finds this unacceptable, then I wish them well and goodbye for now. I think though that just as minds have changed for the better here in America, so too will the minds in parts of the world where our gay and lesbian friends still fear to live as they are.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Yawn. So, yet another example of churches breaking apart and churches uniting in new coalitions. It has been going on for 2000 years. At least this break-up did not involve warfare.
    I wonder… churches back then were one thing, churches now are something different… could this be (dare we say it?) EVOLUTION???

  • cknuck

    pagan question. ”
    cknuck, if they are in the Southern Cone do they now have to learn Spanish?”
    No more than TEC has to learn homosexuality. They must either completely ignore the bible or dismantle it, either way they are out of step with Christ and more in step with sin.

  • nnmns

    When it comes to homosexuality you really are a hater cknuck.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    “Out of step with Christ…” I must have missed those pages where Jesus denounced homosexuality.
    Wait! I already know the answer! Jesus did NOT specifically say anything about homosexuality (and we can ignore what he did say about divorce, because… because… well, that’s just something that happens, you know?) but he DID say that the entire law would have to be fulfilled, and the Mosaic law certainly did take a dim view of homosexuality.
    Well, the Mosaic law also took a dim view of a lot of other things, and made a lot of requirements–all in all, 613 laws or good principles–so the follower of Jesus, taking seriously his comment about the law having to be fulfilled in its entirety–would have to abide by all 613 rules, and would thus be, in effect, an orthodox Jew.
    No, wait! That’s wrong. The 613 rules DO apply to Jews, but non-Jews only have to abide by the seven “Noahide” laws, which do include a prohibition against sexual immorality (defined so as to include male homosexuality, along with adultery and incest). And yet the Noahide laws are sort of derived from scripture, whereas the 10 commandments are a distinct set of rules given directly by God to Moses; and while there is substantial overlap between the 10 commandments and the 7 Noahide laws (e.g., both sets prohibit theft, murder, and idolatry), the commandments do NOT mention homosexuality–just as, again, Jesus did not say anything on the subject.
    All of which boils down to this: making assured statements about who is and is not “with Jesus” on this topic reveals far more about the speaker’s own prejudices than about Jesus’ thoughts.

  • pagansister

    DadAtLarge:
    THANK you so much for your post. I continue to have admiration for what your church is doing.
    cknuck, no one is ignoring the Bible. They are doing the right thing, called “inclusion”.

  • cmaglaughlin

    I’m all for gay marriage. A gay man marrying a gay woman! So what if it’s a square peg in a round hole. What marriage isn’t?

  • interpreter

    It is a crying shame. The more liberal the Episcopalian Church becomes, the more it loses members. I haven’t yet decided what to do, but the Church that more than any other founded the USA may also lose me.
    And it is omenous. When the USA quits being a Christian nation (by legalizing gay marriage for example), God will quit letting the US rule the earth.

  • Mordred08

    interpreter: “When the USA quits being a Christian nation (by legalizing gay marriage for example), God will quit letting the US rule the earth.”
    Yeah, cause America’s been doing such a great job of running the planet lately.

  • pagansister

    interpreter, the rumor still presists that this nation is a Christian nation….since when? It is a nation of all faiths…fortunately. And by legalizing gay marriage, equality will continue will continue. There was a lot of protest when Blacks were given equal rights. Look what happened? We are still here and doing well.
    And who says God LETS us rule the earth? Since when do we need an invisible creation’s permission to do anything?

  • nnmns

    Actually we try to sort of rule the world and we’ve screwed it up badly (as probably any nation would) and we continue and the best thing we could do for ourselves is to find another sucker.

  • http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/sexandgender/2698/expelled_ugandan_bishop_ministers_to_lgbt/ Rob the Rev

    There are some decent Anglican African Clerics who are not homophobic bigots. See the article from
    Religion Dispatches
    Essay May 28, 2010
    Expelled Ugandan Bishop Ministers to LGBT
    “The real problem is ignorance,” says retired Bishop Senyonjo, who was stripped of his pension for standing up for the spiritual dignity of LGBT people. By Richard A. Lindsay
    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/sexandgender/2698/expelled_ugandan_bishop_ministers_to_lgbt/

  • Rob the Rev

    The self-righteous Pharasees also ejected Jesus from the synogogue and excommunicated him for ministering to the outcasts of his day.
    Pharaseeism exists today in the self-rightesous fundi conservatives of all denominations. That includes: cknuck; cmaglaughlin; and interpreter. All self-righteous Pharasees.

  • cknuck

    RtR you have to do more than name calling to justify your non-sense.

  • Rob the Rev

    cknuck
    My advice to you is to get outside your comfort zone and do some reading and study about homosexuality that does not agree with your narrow world-view. That is if you’re not so insecure in your beliefs that you too afraid too because they might be challanged. And if you don’t want to be called a Pharasee, stop acting like one.
    capticha: assured casanova – that’s me.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    In the interests of accuracy: The term “pharisee” is often used incorrectly. There were many different reasons–religious, cultural, social–for conflict among the Jews in ancient Israel, and the conflict broke down along the lines of pharisees and sadducees. As relates to the issue at hand here, the sadducees favored a literal approach to Tanakh, whereas the pharisees favored a more nuanced and analytic interpretation (which continued on in subsequent eras as the rabbinical tradition–Talmud is the collected interpretive writings on Tanakh). So today’s Christian fundamentalist literalists would, I think, be more akin to the ancient sadducees than to the pharisees.
    But this view is my own, based on relatively limited knowledge, as I am not a scholar. I welcome more informed views if what I have stated here is inaccurate.

  • Wannabe Theo

    H4C wrote:
    “the sadducees favored a literal approach to Tanakh, whereas the pharisees favored a more nuanced and analytic interpretation”
    My understanding is that the primary differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees was the Pharisees followed a Law centered form of Judaism and believed in the resurrection, a belief they shared with Christians, while the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, or any after life. Theirs was a nationalistic temple centered form of Judaism. They were a smaller group but powerful since they tended to be the rich and elite.
    Once the temple was destroyed and the Jews dispersed, Sadduceeism faded away while Pharaseeism transformed itself into the Rabbinic Judaism we know today.

  • cknuck

    RtR I could care less what you call me that’s what you do best, and I do know plenty about homosexuality and its dangers, what to hear it?

  • cknuck

    Very accurate WT

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Wannabe,
    Thanks for the additional perspectives. No argument there. I was trying to focus on the distinguishing factor most relevant to trying to compare one group or the other, pharisee or sadducee (and we won’t even get into other sects from ancient Israel–Essenes and zealots) with Christian fundamentalists today. And that, to me, suggested a literalist versus interpretive approach to scripture.

  • cknuck

    “Christian fundamentalist literalists”
    Real mouthful of a categorization neatly tucking people in for a better
    judgment from our lord H4C.

  • Rob the REv

    Cknuck
    Name me one scholarly book you’ve read that is outside your comfort zone and would challenge your fundi-conservative view of homosexuality.

  • cknuck

    RtR I have to admit none lately, but tell me has homosexuality changed or something?

  • Rob the Rev

    cknuck
    Here’s a few you can start with, if you’re not too insecure in your belief system and are up to having it challenged.
    The New Testament and Homosexuality by Robin Scroggs
    What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A Helminiak, PhD
    Is the Homosexual My Neighbor: A Positive Christian Response by Letha Dawson Scanzoni & Virginia Ramey Molenkott
    It It a Choice? by Eric Marcus
    Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl, PhD
    Anything But Straight; Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth by Wayne R. Besen
    Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse by the Rev. Dr. Rembert S Truluck
    Homosexuality and the Christian Faith by Walter Wink, Ph.D

  • DadAtLarge

    Reading about homosexuality is a good idea. Scientific and social understanding of homosexuality has grown substantially in recent decades. However, though reading about homosexuality is worthwhile, talking with homosexuals is better. Especially when talking with well-adjusted homosexuals, though it’s unlikely they will be found in a church which condemns them. ;)

  • cknuck

    RtR thanks for the list but I cannot imagine why I would want to read what someone says the bible says about homosexuality when I can read the bible. Or why would I be interested in animal homosexuality?

  • Rob the Rev

    cknuck
    You are like all fundi-literalistic conservatives, very insecure in what you believe and afraid of being proven wrong.
    Your bible is not God’s inerrent, infallible word your belief that it is is only a faith statement, no better or worse than any other person’s faith statement. The bible is the thoughts of people about what they have believed about God over millennia and that is all that it is.
    God’s truth is found in ALL disciplines of science and the humanities.

  • cknuck

    RtR “fundi-literalistic conservatives” do you have to get a rolling start on that one?
    If the bible is not God’s inerrant, infalliable word then what is, the crap you spew? I’ll take my chances with the bible. You think a millenia should change who God is and that all of a sudden, what He changed His mind and decided that since homosexual is popular it isn’t a sin anymore? Is that what you preach, and if you have to call yourself rev then it must be more of a wish than fact. so maybe this is the only place you get to preach your non-sense.

  • DadAtLarge

    Cknuck : “If the bible is not God’s inerrant, infalliable word then what is…? I’ll take my chances with the bible….”
    Cknuck, forgive me, but this seems a curious thing to say. Why do you feel you have to take a chance at all? What would happen to you if you became convinced the Bible was not inerrant and infallible?

  • Chris

    DadAtLarge: “What would happen to you if you became convinced the Bible was not inerrant and infallible?”
    While I can’t speak for Cknuck, my faith in God would be substituted for what man says. I would make my subjective human opinions “inerrant” and “infallibale”. In other words, I would make myself as God. Which is exactly what these pagan heathens have done with their false doctrine.
    To be consistent, I would also welcome “bishops” who would be adulterers, pedophiles, necrophiles and rapists, since it’s all justification to do what feels good according to *me* — regardless of what God or anyone else thinks about it.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    I missed all these recent posts until now.
    Chris, cknuck,
    Speaking only for myself (though I suspect Rob the Rev and DadAtLarge would generally agree), the entire issue here is your ASSUMPTION that the Bible is the word of God. If that were an established fact, then the only debates would be over how it should be interpreted and how inconsistent passages could be reconciled. But it is NOT an established fact. If you take it ON FAITH that the Bible is the word of God, then the existence of God is proven.
    By analogy, if we accept that a handful of geometric axioms stated by Euclid are true, then hundreds of derived theorems he presents are PROVEN to be inescapably true; we take the axioms on faith, but then everything else is proven. But there is a huge difference here: NO ONE questions the validity of the Euclidian axioms as they apply to plane geometry, but there is no such consensus about the validity of the claim that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. The Euclidian axioms are self-evidently true; it is NOT self-evident that the Bible is the word of God.
    So for Christians whose faith is DEPENDENT on the Bible, the Bible is the PRIMARY OBJECT OF FAITH, and faith in God is almost irrelevant, because God is a proven reality. This is what I call bibliolatry; when you ask where faith begins, where one starts with a belief that is NOT backed by proof or compelling evidence, and the answer is “The Bible,” then that is the very testiment of primary faith in the Bible rather than in God.
    My faith is in God. The Bible is like other books in which people have tried to express their sense of God–their beliefs, their hopes, their fears. Like other books, we can learn from it. But to enshrine ANY book as infallible is to displace faith in God onto a tangible object. And that, I maintain, is bibliolatry.

  • Chris

    Heretic_for_Christ: “Speaking only for myself (though I suspect Rob the Rev and DadAtLarge would generally agree), the entire issue here is your ASSUMPTION that the Bible is the word of God.”
    You know, the same could be said about what you believe; that is; it “is your ASSUMPTION that the Bible is NOT the word of God.” I don’t see anything in the Bible that would cause me to believe it is inerrant.
    “But there is a huge difference here: NO ONE questions the validity of the Euclidian axioms as they apply to plane geometry.”
    Postmodernists would disagree with you on this point:
    “Humanism as a school in philosophy of mathematics was introduced by Reuben Hersh in about 1979 [HER1]. According to Hersh, a world of ideas so-called socialcultural-historical exists which is created by human beings as part of their sharedconsciousness, and that mathematical reality is neither mental nor physical [HER2].
    Once created, these objects have properties which are determined and we may however have difficulty in discovering their properties. The mathematical entities have no sense or existence beyond their cultural meanings. These objects are derived from the needs of science, experience, societal problems and especially technology, and in brief, everyday life. Mathematical theories are accepted for social reasons rather than because they are in any objective sense “true”.
    Mathematics is like law, like money, like religion and like all those other things which are very real, but only as part of collective human consciousness, so there’s no mathematics without human beings [BRO].”
    http://people.exeter.ac.uk/PErnest/pome18/pdf/moslehian.pdf
    “If that were an established fact, then the only debates would be over how it should be interpreted and how inconsistent passages could be reconciled.”
    This isn’t true. Many do not want to accept truth because they don’t want to adhere to what God says (I.e. — It’s too hard, I have some sin I don’t want to give up, etc.).
    Of course, the fundemental question that needs to be answered is, if the Bible is rejected as absolutely true, then what takes its place? The one making the accusation needs to answer this question in the absolute sense.
    Anyone who claims that the Bible is inerrant accuses God Himself of being unable to preserve what He said to mankind. If that were true (which it is not), it would prove the God of the Bible is not God.

  • Chris

    Addendum: In the response immediately above, I meant to say, “I don’t see anything in the Bible that would cause me to believe it is errant.”

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Well, Chris, I have debated on the B-net discussion board about the “reality” of mathematics. It is an intrinsically unresolvable question, because it all hinges on whether or not “real” is taken to mean “having physicality.” In any case, mathematical reality is NOT the issue at hand. I raised it as an example of showing that IF you accept certain things on faith, then other things follow inexorably. IF you accept the Euclidian axioms as true, the theorems follow. Note that I said that no one disputes that the Euclidian axioms are true; I said nothing about whether they are real. Even the most hard-line proponents of reality=physicality do not dispute that within the world of mathematics (which they consider unreal), the axioms are nontheless true.
    Fine with me if you read the Bible and conclude, “Yes, this is the inerrant word of God.” I read the Bible as an adult, without ever having had any religious or atheistic indoctrination as a child, and my conclusion was, “Nope, this is a collection of human writings.” That was the point I was making–there is no consensus that the Bible is the word of God.
    Now you ask what takes the place of the Bible if we decide that it is not, after all, the word of God? Well, some people need to have an infallible guide–or at least, a guide that they can agree should be treated as if it were infallible. I don’t accept that there is any such thing as an infallible guide-book. As an adult, I place my faith in the spiritual gifts that arise from God’s presence within us: the capacity for rationality, for creativity, for compassion, for courage, for love. These are my guides. I don’t always succeed in following them, because I am, after all, a fallible human being. Are you an infallible superhuman being because you consider a book to ne an infallible guide and you follow it infallibly? No? Well, of course not. And does it not bother you even a little that people who proclaim the Bible as the word of God have committed some unspeakable horrors in this world? Not all, certainly. Not even most. Most are decent people. But among those who consider the Bible an entirely human-authored compendium, the same applies–some have been monsters, but most are reasonably decent. Proclaiming the Bible as inerrant is clearly not a sure-fire path to decency, and rejecting its purported inerrancy is not a sure-fire path to degeneracy. Ultimately, we are responsible for our acts, not our beliefs, and it is by our acts that we are known.

  • Chris

    Heretic_for_Christ: “Note that I said that no one disputes that the Euclidian axioms are true; I said nothing about whether they are real.”
    If it is admitted the axioms are indeed true; it would then follow that the axioms are also real.
    Truth cannot be separated from reality. Yet this is what our postmodernist/relativist “friends” would have us put our faith into.
    “…there is no consensus that the Bible is the word of God.”
    What people think about the Bible proves nothing about whether it really is the word of God or not.
    “I don’t accept that there is any such thing as an infallible guide-book.”
    Then surely you do not expect others to accept the philosophy you are promoting as an infallible guide. Or, do you play God and exempt yourself from this, thus violating your own man-made rule?
    “Ultimately, we are responsible for our acts, not our beliefs, and it is by our acts that we are known.”
    This is not true. We are responsible for both our beliefs and our actions. In fact, what a person believes to be true or real is going to determine how he acts, and Jesus clearly said we will know a person “by their fruits” (Matt. 7).
    “As an adult, I place my faith in the spiritual gifts that arise from God’s presence within us: the capacity for rationality, for creativity, for compassion, for courage, for love.”
    So according to you, the capacity for “love” comes (is dictated) from within ourselves. The problem with this is, that the rapists’s “capacity” for “love” is going to be different from your “standard” of “love”. A KKK member “rationalizes” that he is “loving” the white race when he kills a black man based on the color of his skin. So how is a person to know which “love” is “real” with this subjective standard?
    The Bible says God is love in 1 John 5. But you say man determines what love is, not God. Thus, each man sets himself up as God under your philosophy (Judges 21:25). Sorry, I am not that arrogant and hard-hearted. I won’t take the bait (Prov. 16:25).

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Chris,
    Obviously, the presence of the Holy Spirit within you has not yet improved your ability to argue coherently.
    1. First, you rejected my statement about the truth of the Euclidian axioms by citing some “postmodernist” notions about mathematical reality vs unreality, and then dismiss those same notions with the serene proclamation that truth = reality… all beside the point, because my mention of them was only about their mathematical validity. But please, let’s not get bogged down in that unresolvable side issue, because there are more important matters at hand.
    2. As you say, the fact that there is no consensus that the Bible is the inerrant word of God does not disqualify it as the word of God. That is quite correct. To me, what disqualifies it is that it is self-contradictory and (in contrast to the Euclidian axioms as the basis of plane geometry) and it does NOT work as a guide to human behavior, given that some unspeakable atrocities have been committed by the Bible-besotted just as by the Koran-besotted. But people can believe anything they want to believe, so go ahead and believe it is the word of God if that works for you.
    3. Then you accuse me of promoting a philosophy as an infallible guide. Where exactly did I ever state or imply that ANY guide is infallible? Moreover, my beliefs do not constitute a philosophy; they represent my direct experience of God’s presence, and that is no more a philosophy than is feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.
    4. I said we are known by our acts, not our beliefs. That of course IS a reference to Matthew 7:16, which you cite but, incomprehensibly, interpret “fruits” to mean beliefs as well as acts. No, Chris. As long as we are in chapter 7, look at verse 21; crying “Lord! Lord!” doesn’t cut it. And look at verses 13-14; you are one of many millions who march along lockstep, with your noses buried in your Bibles, yet you think that vast army of bibliolaters equals the few who find the narrow path of truth? As for people being “responsible” for their beliefs, no, it doesn’t work that way. We can choose to act or refrain from acting, but we do not choose to believe or disbelieve. No matter how loudly you shout “I believe!” (in an attempt to convince God or to convince yourself?), you either do or don’t. Even Blaise Pascal, in his famous “wager” (belief makes sense because it costs nothing and may offer everything, whereas disbelief does not make sense because it offers nothing and may cost everything), was honest enough to acknowledge that one cannot simply choose to believe something; however, his only advice was to pray and pray until belief comes along… that is, until self-hypnosis occurs. Hard to imagine God being very impressed by that.
    5. You point out, correctly, that my sense of actions that reflect love (and rationality and compassion and courage and creativity) will not match someone else’s… and, then, in an astonishing insulting statement, you put me in the same category as a KKK member or a rapist, since we are all motivated by what comes from within. Are you SO blind that you have already forgotten Matthew 7:16? By our fruits…. remember? The fruits (acts) of a rapist or a KKK member are the very proof that they are NOT guided by the spirit of God within them, that they have buried the light of God within them under their own hate-filled attitudes. And indeed, your so-called infallible guide, the Bible, has been held aloft by some of those same KKK members whose crimes you rightly condemn.
    6. So you refuse to “take the bait.” Fine. I offered no bait. I offered thoughts. Stay away from thoughts, Chris. They are dangerous. Better to stick with the Bible, interpreted literally. No confusion there… Better to be a bibliolater than take any chances using the rationality that is the hallmark of God’s presence among us and within us. After all, who asked God for rationality? If he gave us the Bible, isn’t that enough? Doesn’t Solomon (in Ecclesiastes) even say that with much wisdom comes much sorrow, and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow? As for that unwanted rationality, it is an unwelcome gift. I think you should return it, unused, to the sender. As for me, I revel in it. I think it is the greatest gift in the universe, and I am ceaselessly thankful for it and eager to use it to the fullest. But then, I am a heretic, not a Christian, so who cares what I say or think?
    Peace.

  • Chris

    Heretic_for_Christ said: “1. First, you rejected my statement about the truth of the Euclidian axioms by citing some “postmodernist” notions about mathematical reality vs unreality, and then dismiss those same notions with the serene proclamation that truth = reality… all beside the point, because my mention of them was only about their mathematical validity. But please, let’s not get bogged down in that unresolvable side issue, because there are more important matters at hand.”
    Truth does equal reality. If not, why not?
    “2. As you say, the fact that there is no consensus that the Bible is the inerrant word of God does not disqualify it as the word of God. That is quite correct. To me, what disqualifies it is that it is self-contradictory and (in contrast to the Euclidian axioms as the basis of plane geometry) and it does NOT work as a guide to human behavior, given that some unspeakable atrocities have been committed by the Bible-besotted just as by the Koran-besotted. But people can believe anything they want to believe, so go ahead and believe it is the word of God if that works for you.”
    You agree that what people say about the Bible does not discredit its validity. But the fact that people misuse the Bible to do the atrocities you speak of doesn’t disqualify it, either. Just because someone does something “in the name of Jesus” does not prove they really did.
    “3. Then you accuse me of promoting a philosophy as an infallible guide. Where exactly did I ever state or imply that ANY guide is infallible? Moreover, my beliefs do not constitute a philosophy; they represent my direct experience of God’s presence, and that is no more a philosophy than is feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.”
    Well, let’s see…you’ve been pretty dogmatic about the “fact” that you have God’s presence in you, and that this “feeling” is telling you to tell me that the absolute meaning of the Bible is “self-contradictory” — by nothing other than your own human opinion, I might add. Most people are not normally dogmatic about something they do not think is incorrect.
    “4. I said we are known by our acts, not our beliefs. That of course IS a reference to Matthew 7:16, which you cite but, incomprehensibly, interpret “fruits” to mean beliefs as well as acts. No, Chris. As long as we are in chapter 7, look at verse 21; crying “Lord! Lord!” doesn’t cut it. And look at verses 13-14; you are one of many millions who march along lockstep, with your noses buried in your Bibles, yet you think that vast army of bibliolaters equals the few who find the narrow path of truth? As for people being “responsible” for their beliefs, no, it doesn’t work that way. We can choose to act or refrain from acting, but we do not choose to believe or disbelieve. No matter how loudly you shout “I believe!” (in an attempt to convince God or to convince yourself?), you either do or don’t. ”
    Jesus said by their fruits (acts) ye shall know them (what they believe). Yet the very fact that Jesus told people to believe necessarily implies they may choose to believe (or not) that he is the Christ. So, yes we do choose what we will believe or not.
    “5. You point out, correctly, that my sense of actions that reflect love (and rationality and compassion and courage and creativity) will not match someone else’s… and, then, in an astonishing insulting statement, you put me in the same category as a KKK member or a rapist, since we are all motivated by what comes from within. Are you SO blind that you have already forgotten Matthew 7:16? By our fruits…. remember? The fruits (acts) of a rapist or a KKK member are the very proof that they are NOT guided by the spirit of God within them, that they have buried the light of God within them under their own hate-filled attitudes. And indeed, your so-called infallible guide, the Bible, has been held aloft by some of those same KKK members whose crimes you rightly condemn.”
    The statements were not meant to insult, and there is no necessary implication that you are in exactly the same category as they. Since you reject the Bible, I simply want to know what infallible guide to morality you appeal to that would absolutely indicate that those KKK members and rapists “are NOT guided by the spirit of God within them, that they have buried the light of God within them under their own hate-filled attitudes”. Why are these individuals wrong, and why is it wrong to be “hate-filled” — other than you own say-so?
    And I have not forgotten Matt. 7:16 — these “fruits” are measured by unchangable standards that are found in the Scriptures. I condemn the previous mentioned individuals as immoral, because the Bible says they are. You don’t use the same standard; thus, you can’t appeal to the Bible to condemn these actions. So what absolute, unchangable standard do you use to rightly condemn these actions if not by the Scriptures?
    “6. So you refuse to “take the bait.” Fine. I offered no bait. I offered thoughts. Stay away from thoughts, Chris. They are dangerous. Better to stick with the Bible, interpreted literally. No confusion there… Better to be a bibliolater than take any chances using the rationality that is the hallmark of God’s presence among us and within us. After all, who asked God for rationality? If he gave us the Bible, isn’t that enough? Doesn’t Solomon (in Ecclesiastes) even say that with much wisdom comes much sorrow, and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow? As for that unwanted rationality, it is an unwelcome gift. I think you should return it, unused, to the sender. As for me, I revel in it. I think it is the greatest gift in the universe, and I am ceaselessly thankful for it and eager to use it to the fullest. But then, I am a heretic, not a Christian, so who cares what I say or think?”
    I will stay away from thoughts that are illogical and unstable — and encourage others to do the same. And I do not worship the Bible or make it my idol — I worship the One who gave the Book (2 Tim 3:16-17).

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