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3380Re: Digest Number 384

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  • Norm
    Feb 3, 2005
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      Alex: >>>"However, what I don't hear in your post, or in most of the
      others that appeared this week, is an acknowledgment that there are
      also many innocent and sincere people who ascribe to anti-gay
      theology because they sincerely believe it to be the truth of
      scripture. ..."<<<

      I acknowledged that many people who uphold anti-gay theology are
      sincere in their beliefs and may be ignorant of many aspects of
      their beliefs. However, I would not be as generous and describe
      these people as "innocent". Granted, many who uphold anti-gay
      theology were probably indoctrinated by their clergy, communities,
      and parents. But ultimately we are all responsible for the beliefs
      we choose to accept -- especially when we apply these beliefs to
      others.

      I'm not sure what more we can do as a group or as part of the
      greater community to acknowledge the sincerity of those who support
      anti-gay theology. In light of the past election, reaching across
      political, religious, and cultural divisions is a major challenge.
      (I've just begun reading Jim Wallis' "God's Politics", BTW, so it's
      been on my mind lately.)

      Is our language too harsh? I will admit that the short-hand
      terminology I use ("anti-gay", "fundamentalist", "ex-gay lifestyle",
      etc.) may be considered crude. Are we too quick to group all "ex-
      gay" promoters with anti-gay hate groups? I always try to be careful
      about not doing that. In the larger context, are gay rights
      promoters going too far too fast? This would seem to be confirmed in
      the last election results.

      I'm sure we can always improve the way we communicate. But dialog is
      two-ways. In my experience, those who are committed to their view of
      scripture see little point in discussing their beliefs outside of
      strict, scripture doctrine.

      The reality is that personal interest is usually the primary
      motivation for questioning and exploring assumed beliefs. As you
      mentioned earlier, you and I formerly supported anti-gay theology.
      It wasn't until we personally experienced and applied this theology
      to our own lives that we seriously questioned it.

      Norm!

      --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...>
      wrote:
      >
      > <<I will also argue that their sincerity and well-intentions are
      > undermined by their interest to defend and promote religious
      > fundamentalism.>>
      >
      > I agree with much of what you said. And as you know all too well,
      I
      > would be the very first to admit that far too many hold to antigay
      > theology for all sorts of unethical reasons.
      >
      > Perhaps most significant of these is the fact that evangelicals
      have
      > been notoriously prone to withdrawing financial support from
      > organizations that demonstrate even the slightest open-mindedness
      to
      > this question. As a Jewish believer, I've witnessed this time and
      > again over the past 20+ years with rabbis and other Jewish leaders
      > I've spoken and met with who were unable to demonstrate even the
      > slightest open-mindedness to Christ as Messiah, knowing it would
      > almost certainly have meant their financial and social ruin,
      > destroying not only their careers but their standing in the Jewish
      > community as well. I dare say Christians and especially Christian
      > leaders are in a similar position and under similar pressure.
      >
      > For some, their Bible institute teachers may not have known
      better.
      > But there are other better educated evangelicals who should and
      some
      > cases do know better. Some deny, without any basis, the
      information
      > referenced in the much scholarly research that's been done on this
      > issue. And some are obviously not above intellectual dishonesty
      and
      > chauvinism, often exercised under political and economic pressures.
      >
      > As F.F. Bruce candidly observed in a `Christianity Today'
      > article: "A [biblical scholar or Christian leader] who always has
      to
      > be looking over his shoulder, lest someone who is in a position to
      > harm him [in terms of "personal comfort, income and the like"] may
      > be breathing down his neck, has to watch his step." Bruce says
      that
      > he was fortunate enough to always earn his living as a biblical
      > scholar employed by a non-religiously affiliated university. Very
      > few evangelical scholars and leaders are so fortunate.
      >
      > However, what I don't hear in your post, or in most of the others
      > that appeared this week, is an acknowledgment that there are also
      > many innocent and sincere people who ascribe to anti-gay theology
      > because they sincerely believe it to be the truth of scripture.
      I
      > think if we're going to be fair and balanced it's critical that we
      > acknowledge that these people exist too. When we do not, can not,
      > or will not acknowledge this, we stifle, if not completely being
      to
      > a halt, opportunity for open and respectful dialog among us. And
      > that hurts everyone.
      >
      > -Alex
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