Tuesday, 6 November 2007

questions for stop pure

Thought I'd gather up some posts I've done in various places into one place. This was at the height of the Stop Pure controversy coming out of Edinburgh Uni, opposing the Christian Union Pure course as homophobic. Within two posts this thread spun off into a discussion on biblical literalism as someone took exception my lazily phrased 'alleged author'. I'd love to know how things have been in Edinburgh.


Oct 10, 2006 at 9:45 AM

For the better informing of those not at Edinburgh to witness what is going on and also to try to establish the nature of this group’s objections levelled at biblical teaching on sexuality as promoted by Pure, can I ask some questions to the pros and the antis of the Edinburgh Pure course?

1. What exactly has Edinburgh University CU done beyond advocating a course for its own members about the bible's teaching on sexuality that warrants this international response? Are the Edinburgh advocates for the Pure course genuinely homophobic, that is to say, are they irrationally fearful of or hateful towards individuals who experience same-sex attraction? Neil Wilson bemoans that homophobic Christians ‘are allowed to demonstarte freely’ Are they and do they?

2. Are the statistics quoted on the relational and physical health of 10 randomly selected gay men in San Francisco wrong? They are put in an unneccessarily aggressive manner, but if they are wrong statistically then surely a member of your LGBT union should be easily able to refute this baseless speculation and give a more accurate statistical picture of the hypothetical state of health of these 10 individuals. If the statistics are correct, what does this mean?2.1 Does anyone know similar statistics for 10 randomly selected heterosexual married and unmarried, non-Christian and Christian? It is worth noting in the light of the quote from John Stott regarding promiscuity of gay relationships that currently 40% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce. Statistics to compare the relative fidelity of homosexuals and heterosexuals would clear some things up, although I’m not sure what it would prove.

3. The Christian world view disapproves of any sex outside of marriage, so why are not more heterosexuals objecting to intolerant restrictions to their sexual freedom being advised by the CU? Why has this been so quickly jumped on by the LGBT movement when in fact all satisfied sexual urges outside of the specific ‘Christian’ marriage are equally condemned? If the treatment is so ineffectual and the religion so apparently discredited and in decline, and Pure’s content is so offensive to all gays that they won’t attend the course anyways, what would a protest march be aimed at? Those CU members attending who interpret the Bible in this way and would believe this regardless of Pure or not..?

4. How is being intolerant of Christian views so much more reasonable than the Christian intolerance of homosexual practice? There is a danger of religio-phobia where some here are veritably militant in their defence of their sexuality which they feel the CU is persecuting, while others somehow derive one law for their own freedom of speech and another for Christians. If one is to object to the Pure course on grounds that it is intolerant, surely it is hypocritical to be taking so aggressively intolerant a stance towards an otherwise well-meaning internal CU course as Greg S. Harrow’s proposal to “…have the whole group block the doors to the Church in Bristo Square, in protest :D xx��?. His and others’ allusions to Nazism are needlessly offensive. Comments like Timothy Firth’s comparison, “Hitler probably didn't gas too many Jews himself...doesn't stop him being a cunt now...��? are unhelpful.

5. Does this objection to a Christian view of sexuality come from the notion that homosexuality is something not chosen where as a religious belief which is more consciously pursued? Do members of this group believe in a gay gene? I am unqualified to comment in depth on sexual orientation changes but your studies in ‘A wee bit of research’ show some not negligible level of success. Dr Robert Spitzer is an atheist Jew, he was responsible for getting homosexuality struck off the list of mental disorders in 1973, whilst we are free to reject his exact findings because poor data handling, surely if just one person can truly change their orientation then the door is open and we should not consider it impossible or indeed wildly offensive for a gay person to change and even to want to choose a spiritual means of going about it.

6. It is important that we should establish if we are contending the existence of God? Presumably if we are rejecting alleged healings and the biblical teaching on sexuality we are assuming the non-existence of the alleged author. Please let’s not be timid, fearing to appear intolerant by voicing the opinion that God is dead and Christians are deceived. In this pluralistic tolerance-ism the only way to be wrong is to claim to be right, so I apologise now if my attempts to clarify the argument appear bigoted.

7. Alternatively are we questioning the relevance/appropriateness or means of interpretation/translation or the historical accuracy of the Bible? If the Bible is against homosexual activity but could and should be interpreted otherwise, are we accusing the Pure course of being unbiblical? If so, is this simply to please liberal Christian members of the group?

8. How do Oliver Edwards, Sian Mycock, Sophia Furber and any liberal or gay Christians reconcile this liberalism with the teaching of Jesus Christ regarding sexual immorality in Matthew 15:19 and Mark 7:21, where he condemns 'porneia' meaning fornication, a term used for any sex outside of marriage, where biblically marriage is between a man and a woman?9. The Evangelical Alliance contends that the Christian disapproval of homosexual activity based on a moral conscience and the writings of a religious text cannot be considered of themselves homophobic, the Bible does not promote irrational, hateful or hostile behaviour towards individuals who experience same-sex attraction. Oliver Edwards ‘Sexuality is a deeply personal matter and I am very cautious about people condemning others when most of us are far from perfect’ I would cite Romans 3:23, in fact none of us are perfect, all are condemned. In the Christian world view is sexual sin worse than any other sin?

Mal Sutherland, “Can they really be that much out of touch with the modern world?��? and Ben Van Zwanenberg, “I disagree with the teaching of doctrine which is seemingly outdated in today's society��?The notion that the teaching on homosexuality is out of date comes from an idea that the bible was cooked up in Victorian England when virtually any sex was not allowed and that the Bible writers simply took up the prevailing view of the day and imported it into their text, this is simply not the case. Homosexual practice was widespread in the Roman and Greek civilisations, Jesus' teaching on sexual immorality and the bible's disapproval of homosexual activity were counter cultural when they were written and they are counter cultural now.

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