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Posts Tagged ‘Gay’

God is Gay

This is something I posted on Instagram during Pride Month, but I wanted to post it here, too, as long as I have this thing back up and running, and especially today in honor of National Coming Out Day.

So, Here is what I mean when I say that God is Gay:

First, I mean that Jesus was gay. Maybe not literally gay in the sense that he experienced exclusive same-sex attraction (although maybe; we don’t know), but in the sense that to understand who Jesus was through a 21st century lens we have to see him first and foremost in the faces of oppressed and reviled minorities. I just read a headline that says that 55% of people surveyed would be okay with having a gay or trans coworker. That means that more than 4 out of 10 would not. We live in a country where LGBTQ+ people can legally be discriminated against, where they are routinely made victims of violence, and where their right to exist is up for discussion. Jesus, as a member of an oppressed people under the heel of a brutal empire, had a lot more in common with 21st century queer people than with suburban well-off white cishet Evangelicals.

Second, God personally identifies with LGBTQ+ people. The Bible shows over and over again that God identified with the poor, the oppressed and the downtrodden. In Matthew 25, Jesus says “I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.” God identifies with queer people in the deepest, most personal way. God stands with them so completely that he becomes one of them.

Third, God is queer in the sense that God breaks down our binaries and disrupts our categories, turning everything upside down. God blurs life and death in the resurrection. Jesus breaks down the distinction between creator and created in the incarnation. The trinity dissolves the difference between one and many. The last will be first and the first will be last. The gospel turns the world upside down. God is not just queer, God is the queerest thing that exists because God rewrites existence itself.

Finally, when I say that God is Gay, I am saying, unequivocally and without reservation, that God made LGBTQ+ people in his image, including their sexuality. If you are queer, God doesn’t just love you for who you are, he made you who you are in his own image, including your queerness.

Postscript: I had that t-shirt custom made. You can get one if you want; I have them set up to sell for cost so I don’t make anything off of them (I think).

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I posted this awhile ago, fairly early in this blog’s history, but I feel like it’s more relevant right now than it was when I posted it last time. So here it goes again:

If I ever do become a Christian, I am resolved to still be friends with the queers and the pagans and all the rest. And not “still be friends” in an artificial way that means my only goal is really to fix them and to make converts out of them and if I didn’t think I could convert them I probably never would have talked to them. Not that. I mean really just still be friends. I am resolved to not get so wrapped up in a church that the only people I am confortable with are fellow-Christians.

I am resolved to be humble about my faith, to accept that people have a lot of well-founded concerns and misgivings about Jesus and about Christianity (shoot, I have a bunch myself right now, which is why I’m still nowhere near the point where I would call myself a Christian).

I am resolved to never, ever, ever be that smug guy who knows all the answers and has all these scripture verses to prove it and has God all figured out and claims that everyting is so simple if you would only see things my way (which is of course not my way, but God’s True Way of Truth).

If I decide to become a Christian it will because I can see the wonder and the overwhelming beauty and majesty of Jesus, and because I can feel a change that He has worked in me, and my reaction to that will be wide-eyed wonder and humility. But it will never be self-righteousness. Never.

That’s my resolution.

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Often when you say you don’t believe in God, but you believe in right and wrong, you get the “well, then how can you possibly have a basis for right and wrong without God?”

Let me translate: “an action’s moral rightness is determined solely by the whim of an authority figure.”  Or, more simply: “what makes something right or wrong is that the guy in charge said to not do it.”

What are you, six years old? Right and wrong determined solely because “I said so,” and because you get punished for doing what’s wrong? Give me a break. Child development time.

Lawrence Kohlberg posited a theory of moral development that I think is spot-on. It involves stages that a child progresses through while they develop morality. There are three stages that each have substages. The three stages are pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional.

The pre-conventional stage is broken up into first Obedience and Punishment Orientation, and then Self-interest Orientation. When babies start out, right and wrong are determined by what you get punished for. Then, right and wrong are determined by what reward you get for doing the right hing or refraining from the wrong thing.

Next come the conventional stages: Interpersonal Accord and Conformity (the good girl/good boy attitude), and then Authority and Social-order Maintaining Orientation (law and order morality).  In other words, as you develop, your sense of right and wring is determined by the way others perceive you: being seen as a “good boy” validates you personally and gives you personal satisfaction, so you act accordingly.  From there, you develop into a stage where morality is based on its functions- an authority figure dictates the rules, and everyone is happy if they obey them, because society works smoother and life is easier when we are obedient and follow the rules.

After that come the post-conventional stages, which are Social Contract Orientation and then finally the apex of Universal Ethical Principles.  At the social contract orientation, your morals are based on societally agreed-upon norms.  it’s like the law and order orientation, except it relies on a general consensus instead of the dictates of an authoirty figure.  You follow the rules we have all more or less agreed on because we have all agreed on the rules, and life/society/everything is better when we play together well, and we can expect and rely on reciprocal adherence to the social contract.

At the top is the idea of universal ethical principles, which mirrors Kant’s categorical imperative: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”  In other words, morality is defined by its universality.  It’s not morality-by-committee and it’s not democratic.  It’s acting morally based on principles that can be applied universally.  If it would be okay for anyone to do it, it would be okay for you to do it.

The other way to formulate it?  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Fear of hell and a wish for heaven are pre-conventional morality and I reject the idea that God, the highest of all beings, if he even exists, functions on the basest level.  “It’s wrong because God said it was wrong” is at best, conventional morality.  It’s mediocrity, nothing more.  If God exists, I likewise reject the idea that he is not the highest, most advanced of all beings.  He invites us up to his level, not the other way around.  In other words, he invites us up the the supernal realm of universal ethical principles.  The funny thing is, once you get to post-conventional morality, morality is no longer dependent on an authority figure, e.g., God.

But ditto for the Golden Rule.  If it’s true, it’s not dependent on the will of deity for force and effect.  It’s simply true because of its universality.

So, does post-conventional morality, not needing God for morality, mean we don’t need God?   I don’t think so.  That presumes that the only function of God is to dictate morality to us, and I think God is a lot bigger than just that one role, if there is a God at all.

A good argument can be made that God and morality are malleable enough so that no matter what our own moral development is, we can still no right and wrong.  In other words, heaven and hell are there for people who need to be scared into doing what’s right,  and lists of commandments are there for people who never quite make it to post-conventional morality.

There’s something to be said for that, since it’s avery inclusive view, and since Kohlberg’s theory assumes that not everyone develops all the way up to the post-conventional stages.  If not everyone can reach post-conventional morality, then it makes sense for God to fashion a system that still compels those people to act morally.

What doesn’t make sense, though, is the idea that God would invent commandments and punishments at those lower levels that actually conflict with post-conventional morality.  No universal ethical principle is violated by homosexuality.  Homosexuality does not implicate the Golden Rule at all.  So if God operates on Universal Principles, it would makes sense for his conventional commandments to be in line with those universal principles, not arbitrary ridiculous stuff.

If some people need commandments in order to act morally, then it would make sense for those commandments to be things like “don’t rape people,” i.e., things that are also universal principles.  Not things like “don’t drink coffee,” that don’t even come into the Golden Rule’s analysis.

And I have spoken my peace on it.

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I fail to see what’s immoral about homosexuality. Promiscuity? Okay, maybe. Infidelity? Definitely. But Why should the fact that the person you love is one gender instead of another be a question of morality? I just don’t see it.

Sure, homosexual couples can’t become pregnant and have children. But sterile couples having sex is not immoral, so it can’t be that.

The only reason I know of for calling homosexuality immoral is the “God says so, that’s why” trump card, and I utterly reject that card. I am absolutely fed up with arbitrary commandments from God- stuff that really smacks of the ideas of humanity, not divine edict.

I’m not looking for license to do whatever I want- I believe that some things are absolutely wrong. Hurting other people, betraying other people, cheapening and demeaning people. I think those things are wrong, and yes, even immoral. But I don’t need a deity to tell me that hurting people is wrong.

I reject the very idea that things are wrong just because someone- anyone- says so. To me, the idea is stupid. What makes it wrong? Some things may be potentially dangerous, like alcohol for example, but I don’t think that dangerous equals wrong, otherwise I would need to repent for driving a car. Or doing anything at all (I’ve taken Torts, buddy- everything you do is dangerous). Sure, some things are more dangerous than others, and for that it may make sense to warn or counsel about the danger of these things, but that doesn’t make them morally wrong.

What makes a homosexual couple different from a sterile heterosexual couple? What makes the one morally acceptable and the other immoral? Nothing. That is, nothing other than arbitrary edicts by people (not including Jesus, by the way).

I reject the idea that God gives arbitrary commandments. Thus, I reject the assertion that homosexuality is immoral.

Also, it’s the reason that I have an almost impossible time dealing with the world’s religions. It seems like most of them (not all) have so much good and truth in them, but it’s mixed up with so much arbitrary nonsense that I simply cannot imagine comes from God.

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The Mormon doctrine of eternal families is incoherent. It makes no sense at all, once you get past how good it sounds on the surface.

The doctrine of eternal families was one of the hardest things for me to let go of when leaving the Church. I grew up secure in the knowledge that I would be with my family forever. It was soothing and reassuring, especially since I had a basically decent family. Then, when I married my lovely, sexy wife in the temple, it was wonderful to be able to be confident that I would be with her for ever.

So leaving the Church meant leaving that behind- that certainty and confidence that I would be together with the ones I love For Time And All Eternity. It was a hard thing to leave, even once I figured out that it was, well, total bunk.

‘Cause here’s the thing- what does an “Eternal Family” even mean? Supposedly only family relationships sealed in the temple will be eternal, and all others will dissolve upon death, just like aall other earthly contracts and relationships. But what does it look like?

Many Mormons I know imagine their eternal family as an eternal nuclear family- husband, wife, kids, all together. That’s preposterous. Will we all live in one house in the Celestial Kingdom? What about the kids’ spouses? And the kids’s kids? what about the parents’ parents, and siblings? Will we all live otgether in one big house? If everyone lives together in one big house because we’re all one big eternal family, then what makes that different that just everyone living in the Celestial Kingdom? Certainly one big house would be impractical, and if everyone lived in it, it wouldn’t be fundamentally different than everyone living in small houses, scattered a little bit. The one big house would be like a huge city-arcology anyway.

So, what makes two people who go to the Celestial Kingdom as “family” (say my brother and me) any different from two people who go to the Celestial Kingdom as “not-family?” And if everyone is related in the celestial Kingdom, then being related is meaningless, because there’d be no difference between “everyone is related” and “nobody is related.” We’d all live together happy in the Celestial Kingdom either way.

I’ve always assumed that this meant that “eternal family” in the Church realy just had to mean “eternal marriage.” Yes, I will still have a relationship with other assorted members of my earthly family, but given that it’ll be a paradise anyway, what difference will the arbitrary “related” label make? None at all.

So eternal family has to mean eternal marriage. But eternal marriage is just as incoherent, and I’ll tell you why.

Supposedly, marriages sealed in the temple last beyond death, and other marriages are severed. Okay, let’s assume that persons A and B have an eternal temple marriage, and persons C and D got married at the courthouse. Then they all die in a horrible car accident.  Let’s assume that Mormonism is true: what happens to them then?

Argably, A and B go to the Celestial Kingdom (or its highest level at least), and C and D do not, but that’s irrelevant to the issue at hand, unless it isn’t- but wait until the end of this post for that.

The question is, what makes A and B different from C and D after death? A and B are married, and C and D are not. A and B get to continue in a marriage relationship for Time And All Eternity and C and D do not. That’s usually where the Church leaves things- happily ever after for A and B, and sadly ever after for C and D. But let’s folow C and D past “sadly ever after.”

C and D are resurrected with perfect bodies, and gender doesn’t go away because according to the Church, it is a part of one’s eternal identity that actually predates the creation of our spirit bodies.

C and D go to the Terrestrial Kingdom, and they are Not Married. What makes them different from A and B, who are married? C and D will not forget each other, so they will reember their relationship. What’s to stop them from continuing their relationship after death? What’s to stop them from buying or bulding a Terrrestrial Kingdom house and living in it happy as clams for just as much Time And All Eternity as A and B? Will it be against the rules, because cohabitation is wrong? Who cares? They’ve already gotten their meagre eternal reward anyway, and they have already lost the possibility of eternal increase, so why not live together? They have perfect bodies, so they can have sex and everything. No they won’t officially be married, but neither will anyone else in the Terrestrial Kingdom, so what’s the difference? What’s to stop them from saying “oh well, screw this, we’re married because we say we are?” What would the difference even be? It’s heaven, so there’s no death or injury so there’s no worry about inheritance, survivorship, or hospital visitation. There’s no immigration problem or anything, because i seriously doubt that there’s different countries in the Terrestrial Kingdom. In fact, all of the things that make “married” different from “not married” are earthly legal stuff, and the principle of the thing, and neither of those could possibly matter in paradise where nobody else is officially married either. The only difference is the arbitrary “married” label.

It’s possible that non-Celestial bodies get neutered or something, but that won’t stop them from living together or being together, just from having sex. and probably if you have no sex organs, then you won’t care about not getting any anyway. And if you do, then the problem is not that you can;t be Together Forever, just that you’re horny forever with no way to get off. That would arguably be really sucky, but the premise seems a bit far out, and it still wouldn’t stop you from eternal cohabitation.

Unless their separation is somehow forced, by mean angels or something. That would suck, too. You wouldn’t be able to ever even see your earthly sweetie, because the mean angels block you from going to her GTerrestrial Kingdom district or whatever. It would be really sad for a long time, but we’re talking about eternity here. Eventually, you’d move on and develop relationships with the people you were allowed to be with. Eventually you’d find a new sweetheart, and so would your earthly spouse, and then you’d just move in with your new sweetheart and be with her forever.

Unless the mena angels move in and separate the two of you. Every time you get close to someone, the mean angels come and put you in different corners. Oh well, you’d just get close to the next person, and the separating would continue for a really long time until everyone was separated by mean angels and everyone was alone. To keep people from developing intimate personal relationships that were basically the same as marriage, God would have to somehow enforce utter alone-ness. And He’d have to do it at every degree of glory except for the highest.

Then, either being al laone will bother us, or it won’t. If being eternally alone won’t bother us, then who cares? We certainly won’t; that’s the whole point. It’s hard to imagine now, but we’d have to be pretty different anyway. Alternately, if we do care, then every degree of glory becomes absolute hell, and really, every degree of glory but the highest one becomes the same thing as Outer Darkness (what’s more outer and dark than total loneliness? Total loneliness with the lights off?), and given that we’re not all Sons of Perdition, that makes no sense.

None of that makes sense. Unless we’re totally alone, we’re going to develop intimate personal relationships with whomever we’re allowed to be with, and ultimately it will be every bit as fulfilling as marriage. What is marriage but intimacy, and what’s to stop you from being intimate with the people you’re with? Nothing!

And if you’re going to have marriage-like intimacy with whomever you’re with anyway, why impose the arbitrary punishment of not being with the person you were married to in your earthly life? Especially since in all honesty you’d eventually get over it and move on, given all eternity.

What if God separates everyone by gender? Equally meaningless. You’d just develop intimate relationships with the people you were around. If you have a sex drive, you’d eventually (given all eternity) turn to fulfilling yourselves with each other, and if you have no sex drive then you wouldn’t care anyway. Again, rules against homosexuality and/orunmarried sex wouldbe totally meaningless–you’ve already gotten your eternal reward! So why not do what makes you happy, damn the rules?

I’m not saying we’ll all go crazy and everything in the Terrestrial Kingdom will tur to chaos because nobody needs to follow the rules. That’s not it at all, but we will want to have relationships with each other in order to be happy, so what’s to stop us? Arbitrary rules? Ha! And if we won’t want relationships in order to make us happy, then who cares if we can’t have them? Not us! That’s the whole point.

To sum up: unless we are totally alone, which is unlikely since that would pretty much be the same as Outer Darkness with the lights on, we will form intimate relationships with the people around us. If we are allowed to be with the people who were our friends and family on earth, we will probably continue those relationships. Even if we are not officially “family” anymore, what would the difference even be? All family is is genetics, relationships developed over time, and legal considerations. Even if the genetics are somehow erased, the relationships we’ve built won’t just go away, and the legal considerations are arbitrary and meanigless anyway (they only make a difference by contrast, and if nobody has legal family connections to each other, then it’s the same as if everybody did). If we are not allowed to be with the people who were our friends and family on earth, then we will develop intimate relationships with whomever we are allowed to be around, and given all eternity, these new reltionships will ultimately be much more intimate and fulfilling anyway.

Given that, there’s no reason to not let us be with our friends and family in the afterlife other than as a totally arbitrary punishment that will ultimately lose its bite anyway.

And if we can be with each other, and perpetuate a relatonship, what the heck differenc does it even make if we get to officially call ourself family or not? And who’s to stop us from continuing to call each other family anyway, and to keep acting like family? And if we keep acting like family, what makes that any different from actually being family?

What will we have lost?

The only thing I can think of is the possibility that “Eternal Marriage” is something qualitatively more than just earthly marriage perpetuated for all time. Maybe “Eternal Marriage” just means “marriage with the ability to make spirit children and populate new worlds with them.” And that would be cool and all, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I couldn’t do it, as long as I got to spend eternity with my sweetheart (either the one I’ve got now or the new one I’ll meet in the afterlife) doing whatever it is we do get to do.

And that certainly isn’t what we talk about in the Church. I mean, we do talk about being like God and making new spirit children and everything, but nobody ever says “don’t you want an eternal marriage so you can make spirit children?” because that might not even be interesting to everybody. They always say “don’t you want to be Together Forever with your family?”

And to that I say “yes, of course,” but I don’t see why Mormonism, the temple, and the Celestial Kingdom are requirements for being together forever. Sorry; it’s poppycock.

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If I ever do become a Christian, I am resolved to still be friends with the queers and the pagans and all the rest. And not “still be friends” in an artificial way that means my only goal is really to fix them and to make converts out of them and if I didn’t think I could convert them I probably never would have talked to them. Not that. I mean really just still be friends. I am resolved to not get so wrapped up in a church that the only people I am confortable with are fellow-Christians.

I am resolved to be humble about my faith, to accept that people have a lot of well-founded concerns and misgivings about Jesus and about Christianity (shoot, I have a bunch myself right now, which is why I’m still nowhere near the point where I would call myself a Christian).

I am resolved to never, ever, ever be that smug guy who knows all the answers and has all these scripture verses to prove it and has God all figured out and claims that everyting is so simple if you would only see things my way (which is of course not my way, but God’s True Way of Truth).

If I decide to become a Christian it will because I can see the wonder and the overwhelming beauty and majesty of Jesus, and because I can feel a change that He has worked in me, and my reaction to that will be wide-eyed wonder and humility. But it will never be self-righteousness. Never.

That’s my resolution.

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