Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pope Francis: Christians should apologise to gay people. Me: those have harmed gays should apollogize to them.

Here’s a link to some comments made by Pope Francis about homosexuals:

Christians should apologise to gay people: Pope Francis

Well, the Pope got this part right:

The questions is: if a person who has that condition, who has good will, and who looks for God, who are we to judge?" the pope added, repeating his famous "Who am I to judge?" remark about homosexuality made early in his papacy.

This is an appropriate Christian remark. Even given that the Catholic Church and most religions consider homosexual sex to be a sin, it is not up to us to judge individuals.

Unfortunately, the Pope went on to say this:

We Christians have to apologize for so many things, not just for this (treatment of gay people), but we must ask for forgiveness. Not just apologize -- forgiveness.

Really? He wants all Christians to apologize for their treatment of gays? What about Christians who have not mistreated gays? Didn't any of his speech writers catch his ridiculous generalization?

The Pope can get away with this because it's safe to attack Christians. And it's safe to group us all together as if every Christian has the same beliefs as every other Christian.

So if you wish to follow the Pope's logic, say this to your Muslim friends, "You should apologize for the acts of Islamo-Terrorists, because you are Muslim and so are they". Let me know how that goes.

I'm sure the Pope has good intentions. But his comments have the terrible unintended consequence of teaching us to blame an entire group for the sins of a few.

Keep the blame exactly where it belongs: on the perpetrators, and those who encourage them.

Don’t make these broad generalization that try to get an entire group to feel responsible for the bad actions of those in the group. It just leads to divisiveness, and God knows we need less of that.

Each of us is responsible for our own actions, and no one else’s.
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Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. The views expressed herein are those of the author. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at tfarage@hotmail.com. Twitter account: www.twitter.com/TimFarage.
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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Should Christians accept homosexuals as ethical equals and not as sinners?

The question posed in the title of this post on Quora.com. I thought some of my blog followers would like to see my response.

Christ said that one of the greatest commandments was to love all others, even our enemies. And the only prayer that he is recorded as giving us to say is “The Lord’s Prayer”, which starts with the words, "Our Father". Thus, he taught that we are all children of God.

Furthermore, one of the most well-known stories in the New Testament is the story about a woman caught in adultery, a sin that Christ mentioned a number of times. A number of people were about to stone this woman because that was part of Jewish law. (And, of course Christ was Jewish). 

He famously told the people, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”

They all walked away. Christ said to the woman, “Is anyone left to condemn you?”. She said, “No, my Lord.” He responded, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

In this beautiful story, we are told 1) we are all sinners, and 2) we are not to judge others, even if they have sinned.

If you read the Gospels, Christ railed against hypocrisy more than any other sin. So anyone who considers themselves a Christian and calls out homosexuals as sinners are hypocrites, because they, and we, have all sinned in many ways.

We have no record of Christ mentioning homosexual sex. He did define marriage as between one man and one woman when he said:

“Have you not read that He (God) who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

Christ gave this spiritual definition of marriage, and so it’s understandable that some Christians believe a marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.

But instead of having laws against same-sex marriage, or polygamous marriage for that matter, it would be much better to remove any government involvement or licensing of any marriages. After all, it has only been since the 1800s or so that any governments licensed marriage. By doing this, people can make whatever private arrangements they wish, and that is their business. They can also file a will, or any other legal documents they wish. These legal documents are between individuals.

Even if a Christian were to consider homosexual sex to be a sin, it would be pretty low on the ladder. At the top would be murder, rape, child abuse, and then stealing, fraud and such. Hypocrisy is not far from the top.

Certainly adultery would be considered a ‘higher level’ sin than homosexual sex, because adultery is mentioned as a sin many times, while homosexual sex was not mentioned by Christ, and only mentioned a couple of times in the letters in the New Testament.

The bottom line is that Christians who rail against those who have homosexual sex are hypocrites, because it is certain that they sin every day, as do we all. We are all children of God and should treat each other as such.

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Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at the University of Texas at Dallas. One of his main interests is how to improve education using technology. He also writes and speaks about Intelligent Design, and how science and spirituality can be reconciled.