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Bible codes and gay genes

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William Crawley | 23:20 UK time, Saturday, 20 June 2009

Satinover.jpgThe American psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover is an intellectual iconoclast. He has challenged the status quo in various academic disciplines, not least in biblical and psychological studies. He argued, in two books, that the Hebrew text of the Old Testament contains hidden codes which reveal prophesies.

The claim is that "equidistant letter sequences", computer-generated sequences of letters taken from the Hebrew Bible, can be read to uncover descriptions of subsequent events in world history that cannot reasonably be attributed to chance. That's a theory that's been disputed by quite an array of mathematicians (if that is the correct collective noun for mathematicians), who've shown that you can take any similarly large text, say Moby Dick, and, by performing exactly the same computer analysis, come up with similarly "prophetic" statements. In other words, mathematical critics regard the Bible Code as a conspiracy theory.

I'm not sure if Jeffrey Satinover still believes in the existence of a secret prophetic code hidden away in the pages of the Bible. I was hoping to find out tomorrow morning when Dr Satinover was booked to be a guest on Sunday Sequence, but he told the programme today, on the eve of broadcast, that he would not now be joining us.

Dr Satinover is visiting Northern Ireland as the guest of two Christian ex-gay ministries, not because they are keen to hear about the Bible Code, but because Jeffrey Satinover has also written a book about homosexuality. One of the groups hosting this visit is run by Dr Paul Miller, a former health adviser to Iris Robinson, chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly's health committee.

Dr Satinover, a Jewish academic who is a part-time lecturer in a small Christian college in New York, has argued that there is no genetic basis for homosexuality. Instead, he says, homosexuality is the result of environmental causes. He comes to this conclusion by a review of a others' studies. He also argues that homosexuality is psychologically unhealthy, "a disorder as evidenced by the higher associated suicide rate", and "is best viewed as a spiritual and moral illness". He also believes homosexuality is reversible.

Dr Satinover was speaking this weekend at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, in an event also publicised, through email, by Stephen Cave, Northern Ireland director of Evangelical Alliance.

His critics challenge the science underlying his views on the psychobiology of homosexuality, just as others have questioned the mathematics underlying his belief in Bible codes. The American Psychological Association has publicly challenged the position Dr Satinover espouses as "not supported by the science".

Three years ago, the APA made this statement: "For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA's concern about the position's espoused by NARTH and so-called convers ion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish."

Clearly, there would have been much to talk about had we had the chance to question Dr Satinover on his views both on the existence or otherwise of secret Bible codes and on the APA's claim that his work is unscientific and merely aids discrimination and prejudice. Perhaps the next time he visits Northern Ireland, we might have that chance.

Update: Stephen Cave, NI director of Evangelical Alliance, has written to explain that the email he circulated, which gave details of the event featuring Dr Satinover, should not be read as an endorsement by Evangelical Alliance of the event itself. He writes: "Neither I personally nor Evangelical Alliance were involved in the organisation of this event. Our membership hold a diverse range of opinions on the issues and it may be the case that some of our membership were involved but that does not mean we were supporting it." In the email Stephen Cave's circulated, he attached an advertising flier, which was produced by the event's organisers, and told recipients of the email, "You are free to pass this info on to others but obviously, given the sensitive nature of the issue, the organisers ask that you would do so carefully." Some of those who received the email passed it on to Sunday Sequence.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    "a disorder as evidenced by the higher associated suicide rate"

    Has it never entered this "Doctor's" head, that the reason for a higher suicide rate is having to, on a daily basis,

    1) Read tripe like this spouted about your very existence, soul and being.
    2) Put up with discrimination and abuse.
    3) Get beat up
    4) Continually have to fight these nonsense spouters who provide excuses for all manner of homophobes and try and just get on with our lives.

    A man who spends his time trying to find "hidden codes" in a 2000 year old fable has the gall to say that gays have a disorder is seriously deranged.

  • Comment number 2.

    well said dtnorth_cocteau, you have got straight to the point.

  • Comment number 3.

    It would appear that Paul has not learnt his lesson. I suggest "abeo" should pay more heed to the Latin than the Nigerian...

  • Comment number 4.

    The so-called Christian people are doing the devil and the world a great service in their continuous criticism of the problems that have beset the Metropolitan Tabernacle. These people are, while advocating some truth, are also promoting a lot of lies, half truths [which are in reality lies]and in so doing are doing the devil's work for him. Most of the comments made are seemingly by people who have never belonged to this church. And, as for those who have belonged, and sat there for years simmering with their discontent, should have either voiced their concerns to the Pastor or got up andleft with dignity. Now they in anominity they stand on their soap box and give vent to their anger publicly. For the good of the Christian Hurch world wide, please stop nall this constant harping on about things which are not your concern.In the end of the day, the harm you are truly doing is to the cause of Christ.

  • Comment number 5.

    "please stop nall this constant harping on about things which are not your concern" - belovedanddelivered

    Well, excuse me, but when some oaf states that I and all other homosexuals are "psychology unhealthy with a spiritual and moral illness" then I think it is my concern.

    Not least to put up a defence against such statements.

  • Comment number 6.

    belovedanddelivered - I think your comment for meant for the other threat, on the Metropolitan business. This threat is about Jeffrey Satinover. Best to keep subjects separate, otherwise noneof us will be able to follow what's going on.

    It's a pity Satinover didn't show up for the programme. He's a lot to answer for.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why should this quack shrink be involved in several different nutty enterprises? The answer: Crank Magnetism. It's an interesting phenomenon - if you're a nutter in one area, you're likely to be a nutter in another. Conspiracy theorists rarely stick to one lunacy - Apollo Fake, 9-11 "Truth", Illuminati, Holocaust denial, Creationism - frequently these things come as a package.

    Crank magnetism. Great stuff.

  • Comment number 8.

    As a [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]"trader I don't have much time to get into this issue. I will just say that your claim sounds a little too much...

  • Comment number 9.

    Satinover sounds like a nut case. I think it's interesting that many Christians have no problem rationalizing killing people which is a direct violation of one of the ten commandments handed down directly from the hand of god to man while they are obsessed with stamping out the "sin" of homosexuality which is not in any of the commandments but only in one part of one book of the bible, Leviticus. Come to think of it, many Christians have no problem breaking all of the other nine commandments too whenever they feel like it. I don't know if Christians are born into sin but they certain can start working at it from an early age.

  • Comment number 10.

    Following on from the comment made by MarcusAureliusII, it is interesting that some of our religious (and political) leaders (Rev William McCrae) were willing to share a platform with a murderer, namely Billy Wright but won't allow Gay people their his party.

    Hypocrisy? Isn't that why Jesus Christ threw the traders out of the temple.

  • Comment number 11.

    Will you might have mentioned that the APA has fairly recently changed its own postion. They used to say "There is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality."

    What they now say is:

    "There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles..."

    That's a definite may away from the genetic/biological view - though there still sticking to the notion that all orientations are as likely and as valid. Clearly what occurs through nurturing can be changed through nurturing.

  • Comment number 12.

    Mccamley, "Clearly what occurs through nurturing can be changed through nurturing."

    Not clearly at all. Firstly, there is no impetus *to* change the situation of a person's perfectly legitimate sexuality (other than that coming from quacks like Satinover), so even if it could be changed, that is not a reason to say that it *should* be changed.

    Secondly, it is quite fallacious to say that if something starts at state A, and ends up in state B as opposed to state C because of "nurture", that "nurture" can change it from state C to state B. It's just trivially wrong.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ok. Just had to write because I'm pissed off reading comments like "quack", "doctor" and "nutcase" coming from people who, if in debate, would get mightily chewed up and spewed all over the floor by this guy.


    How does this sound?
    * Graduate of MIT, Yale and Harvard
    * Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry
    * Residency in Psychiatry at Yale
    * Fellow of The Yale Child Study Center
    * Diploma in Analytical Psychology from the C. G. Jung Institute of Zurich
    * Yale Symour L. Lustman Research award
    * William James lecturer in Psychology and Religion at Harvard
    * Teaching Fellow in Physics, Yale University
    * Member of Yale Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics Group
    * Author of the "Quantum Brain". (Expert on quantum mechanics)
    * Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Science and Mathematics at The King's College
    * Visiting Scientist (Financial Services) at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
    * Visiting Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties at Princeton University, Dept. of Politics
    * Ph.D. in physics (summa cum laude) at the University of Nice, France
    * Past-President of the C. G. Jung Foundation of New York
    * State flight surgeon, served in the 1/169th combat-support helicopter battalion of the Connecticut Army National Guard, and Army Reserve Psychiatrist (rank of major)

    Yes, distinguished in a whole variety of academic fields but yes, what a loser he must be. Some self-important bloggers in Belfast said so, after all.


  • Comment number 14.

    "How does this sound?
    .
    * Residency in Psychiatry at Yale
    .
    * Visiting Scientist (Financial Services) at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
    .
    * Past-President of the C. G. Jung Foundation of New York"
    etc


    It sounds like someone making an argument from authority. Not the best type of argument.

  • Comment number 15.

    padushka, it is not the quality of one's CV that maketh the man, but what he comes out with. As Peter says, the "argument from authority" is spectacularly weak, and there are plenty of people far more qualified than Satinover (and not many of those are really indicators of experience - the posters on this blog can trump him in quite a few - you don't seem to appreciate that) who regard him as a crank.

    The "bible code" nonsense has already been comprehensively debunked, and his crackpot notions on homosexuality have similarly been trashed.

    His CV does not rescue him from that.

  • Comment number 16.

    Presenting this guy's credentials is hardly an argument from authority; it's an argument from knowledge, experience, expertise and evidence. As I said in post 11, even the APA has changed it's position on the evidence. You're unlikely to reach scientific consensus on whether a homosexual orientation is a good thing or a bad thing.

    I don't know enough about the codes in the old testament to form an opinion. I do know hebrew writers were masters of complicated chiastic structure, so it is possible that there are hidden messages.

    That said, rejecting his views on homosexuality because of his views on bible codes, could, dare I say it, be a negative form of argument from authority, which, Helio assures us, is spectacularly weak.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm never impressed by people who think I should believe their argument because they have a PhD from some place. If we decided these issues on a head count of PhDs, I've no doubt that creationism would lose, and those arguing that gays are unnatural would be in the minority.

    So This guy has a medical degree and a PhD in physics too. What does that prove? Everyone with a PhD could go get a second one in another discipline if they had the time and interest. I'm more impressed by academics who sustain their influence in one field, rather than those who dash around getting extra degrees. I met someone with 17 A Levels once. Three was enough for most of us. The guy with 17 A levels hasn't much to show for them.

    Now take Dr Satinover. He's got a part time lecturing job (visiting) at a podunk New York Christian college with a total facult of about a dozen. What contribution has he made to modern physics research? None, but he's got a degree. What contribution has he made to modern psychiatry? He's had patients. That's true of all psychiatrists.

    He held down a residency in Yale? Hundreds do. He gave a lecture at harvard in 1975 on psychology and religion, endowed in the name of William James. Come on guys, that's a nice little gig for a day's work, but it's not a Nobel prize.

    The leader of the BNP has a degree form cambridge university. Big deal. It doesn't validate his racist politics.

    The guy listing Satinover's qualifications has a bigger problem. How do you explain how someone with these qualifications can believe such nonsense about Bible codes? from what I can see of his CV, there's no evidence that he has ever conducted ANY research into the genetics of homosexuality, and yet he writes like he's an expert, simply because he has written a few articles in newspapers and Christian magazines attacking research carried out by others.

    The truth is this: Satinover lost it, whatever it was, many years ago. he made a promising start to an academic career in psychiatry, but got bogged down in other issues, became a conspiracy theorist, and allowed his own right-wing politics and hyper-conservative religion to twist his science.

    He's not the first well-qualified conspiracy theorist out there. Check out the 9/11 Truth conspiracy theorist; they have even more impressive CVs than Satinover's. They're still wrong. They're still deluded. So is he.

    By the way- anyone know why Evangelical Alliance was supporting this visit by Satinover? Surely evangelical leaders should recognize that the bible code business is as nutty as a fruitcake?

  • Comment number 18.

    PTL, are you feeling OK? That was almost... *sane*!

  • Comment number 19.

    --} 16

    McCam .. you're right that we can't reject his views on gays because he's wrong on the Bible. But ... the two are connected. His views on gays come from his conservative reading of the Bible. And ... it's reasonable for people to be wary of someone who is so spectacularly off beam in another related area.

  • Comment number 20.

    Like I said, Crank Magnetism. Crackpots in one area are often crackpots in another.

    BTW, have a look at the host website: https://www.abeoonline.com - check out the "Manhood" page, and the notoriously homoerotic statue of Laocoon. There is a certain irony in all this; it is a very confusing website for a very confusing organisation. I hope Satinover's talk bombed.

  • Comment number 21.

    Oh, and Will, a minor criticism - will you please stop using the term "intellectual iconoclast" when you mean "out-and-out fruitcake"? ;-) Please use the accepted terminology so that people don't get confused!

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm not a great participant in blogging and I had hoped that the record might have been put straight by now, having emailed William, but given that the involvement of Evangelical Alliance was questioned by a previous blogger and there has been no comment from William I have felt the need to make a reply.

    I was surprised to see the original article associating both me and EA with Jeffrey Satinovers visit here, saying that we were publicising it. It strikes me that this was an effort to imply that in some way we were supporting either him or his views if not, Ive no idea why my name or the organisation warranted mention, and have to confess that it does seem a bit disingenuous.

    Neither I personally nor Evangelical Alliance were involved in the organisation of this event. Our membership hold a diverse range of opinions on the issues and it may be the case that some of our membership were involved but that does not mean we were supporting it.

    I certainly did email details of the event to some people who might have been interested in the issues he was raising but that by no means involves us endorsing or supporting. We pass on details of literally hundreds of events and programmes without us endorsing them - the only time we officially support events is when our logo is on the publicity materials. If every time we passed on information to people about events it was assumed we were supporting them wed be hauled over the coals on every issue under the sun.

    BBC radio Ulster programmes pass on details of all kinds of local events but none of us assume from that that they are supporting the event, which makes the fact that the original comment came in a BBC blog 'interesting'.

    I guess this in part explpains my discomfort with the unaccountability of blogging when careless insinuations are made and then assumed by others to be the truth just because they appear on a blog. Maybe a phone call or email to Evangelical Alliance in this case would have been a wise action.


  • Comment number 23.

    Augustine, I was just pointing out that you can't play it both ways. You can't condemn something as an argument from authority in one breath and then try to undermine the authority of the person. Saying he's a fruitcake and a crank and teaches at a small Christian college etc have precisely nothing to do with the issue, unless you are willing to accept that an argument from authority has some validity.

    In the main people are heterosexual - that's a simple fact which most people would accept. You might argue about the numbers but few would suggest that more than 10% are homosexual, most would agree that it's less than 5%. Whatever. It then becomes perfect reasonable to wonder why this percentage of people have a sexual orientation different from the norm, and given that it is not the norm, to ask if it is possible to change it.

  • Comment number 24.

    But mcc, WHY try to change it at all? It is not a problem for society; most gay people are perfectly happy to be gay. Why not accept people the way they are, and let them get on with their lives in a supportive environment of equality? It would be far better to change our society to a more tolerant one than to force people to conform to "norms" as specified by some committee of theocrats.

    Also, Mark's pointing out that this man's CV is not actually as impressive as you think is NOT Mark's argument against him, so your criticism falls flat. He's just saying that he's not the "intellectual iconoclast" you think he is. Spin is a marvellous thing.

    Stephen Cave makes some good points - Will, it sounds like an apology and a post-edit may be in order?

  • Comment number 25.

    I've joined in order to respond to Stephen Cave. If ever there was a bare-faced cheek, Stephen, it is your use of the world "disingenuous". You claim that Will has been disingenuous because he told people that you have sent out an email publicising this Satinover event, yet you come on the blog and admit that that is precisely what you did! Which part of the sentence in the original piece isn't true? I am an evangelical and I was also amazed to discover that you had circulated an email giving details of this event. This man Satinover's views are so outrageous that you bring evangelicalism into disrepute when you associate yourself and Evangelical Alliance as an organisation with the event.

    You say you did not support or endorse the event. In which case, why did you publicize it?
    You say you sent the email to only a few people because they might be interested in the event, but that doesn't acquit you of the claim that you were publicising the event in some manner.

    Learn from this, please, Stephen. When you send out details of an event on official EA headed paper, or in an EA email, others can rightly interpret that action as an endorsement or some other encouragement to attend. If you wish to avoid that interpretation, don't send the email. Let the organisers do their own advertising.

    Your explanation on this blog is an insult to the intelligence of EA members, and I am one of them.

    Finally, your comment that the BBC publicises events. That takes the biscuit. Is this the kind of event you would expect to hear publicised by the BBC? The BBC mentions fun runs and charity cake sales. It doesn't advertise political events or controversial events about giving conversion therapy to gay people. But I'll take your comment seriously for a moment. If I were to receive an email or a letter from the BBC, with BBC letter heading, signed by the Controller of BBC Northern Ireland, giving me details of an event that might be of interest to me, I would conclude that the BBC was encouraging me to go along. If anyone concluded that the BBC was supporting or even "endorsing" that event, I would say their interpretation had some basis.

    Let's be honest Stephen, instead of attacking a blog for revealing that you were sending out emails publicing a now-embarrassing event. Just put your hands up and say, you know what, I made a mistake here. I never should have sent those emails. Say that and I will forget the disingenuous nonsense you've written here and no re-consider my membership of EA.

    Thanks.

  • Comment number 26.

    So let me see if I understand this. Person X sends me an e-mail with details of a BNP meeting I might like to attend and they say I should feel free to forward the information to others. But I am wrong if I think Person X is a racist? I shouldn't even think that Person X is a member of the BNP. In fact, it would be wrong to conclude that Person X even agrees with the BNP. For all I know, Person X could be an anti-racist campaigner, right? Right. I'm not buying it.

  • Comment number 27.

    A question for Stephen Cave: Is he now telling us that Evangelical Alliance has no official view on conversion therapies and those Christians who are working to draw gay people into heterosexuality? The Evangelical Alliance, just a few years ago, expelled Jeremy Marks' organisation COURAGE, because it changed its policy on homosexuality from an anti-gay to a pro-gay stance. Has EA now changed it's mind too?

  • Comment number 28.

    Read about Evangelical Alliance's expulsion of a Christian gay ministry at this link: https://www.courage.org.uk/articles/ea_courage.shtml

  • Comment number 29.

    I am grateful to William for adding the footnote to the article. In response to Orthoblogger, my problem is not that William said we publicised it but what would be inferred from his adding that to the blogpost, and subsequent comments showed that to be the case. This has nothing to do with 'embarassment' - I've been with EA long enough now to know that being caught between factions and opinions is often our lot. But I do think it strange that EA should be mentioned when the post didn't mention the groups who actually organised the conference, just throwing a loose link to EA in because I happened to email details of it to a small group of people. I don't claim to be clever enough to have all the answers in such a complicated and emotive debate, but just expect a bit of fair play, maybe naively. From a personal perspective that's why I use the term disingenuous - maybe I'm wrong, and am more than willing to be challenged on that.

    EA does pass on details of numerous events, by email and in our publications; I'm sure we will continue to do so where our members are involved, even when they have widely differing views. We do exercise a certain amount of trust in the diverse church, organisational and individual membership we have when it comes to passing on details of their events - with 3500 churches, 750 organisations and 25000+ individuals we can't police everything or be sure everyone will agree with everything that is said or done at an event.

    I know in our magazine we carry a disclaimer that the views in articles, adverts or events are not necessarily endorsed by EA and maybe I need to be more careful in stating that with our efforts to pass on info - for that I hold my hand up. That does not mean we should stop letting people know of stuff going on, even when it is potentially controversial. Surely we need to be much better at creating spaces where we can deal with those issues face to face, understand each other better, and be able to challenge?

    Take even this means of debate - the only two people identifiable from these posts are William and myself, and we have no problem talking to each other; the rest are anonymous, therefore there is no relationship involved in the debate, nor mutual accountability. I wasn't at the event in question but from the limited feedback I've had it seems that at least it did provide that kind of space.

  • Comment number 30.

    Stephen, what's your problem with the anonymity of posting on blogs? Think of it like secret ballots in electing a new Speaker for Parliament. Sometimes people are more able to speak (or vote) openly with the secrecy than with the openness. Sometimes institutions or political parties (or religious organisations) oppose secret ballots because they have more control over individuals when they are required to make their views known openly.

    Blogs are about the exchange of ideas. It's maybe a little too modern an idea for EA, but it seems to be changing the world. Look at how blogs and twitter are changing communication between dissident groups in Iran. There's an online revolution happening!

  • Comment number 31.

    I have to agree with jovial that when organisations and churches speak of "accountability" they sometimes mean "control". Stephen, you have been made openly accountable for the email you sent, and you don't like it.

    I'd appreciate a response to some of the points I raised. You might answer jovial's questions as well, if you can, about whether EA is officially now opposing or supporting the kind of conversion therapy Paul Millar and Jeffrey Satinover are engaged in.

  • Comment number 32.

    Augustine's question about the BNP email is worth a read, Stephen. I think he has a point. The update in the blog says you sent around an advertising flier with your email. How can you seriously argue here that you were not ADVERTISING this event? I am lost for words.

  • Comment number 33.

    I've been reading the outraged Evangelical Alliance spokesman, Mr Cave, and my efforts to understand why he is angry have given me a headache. Let's look at the evidence:

    1. Evangelical Alliance is an anti-gay organisation (it kicked out a formerly ex-gay group merely because the group had changed its position and become pro-gay).

    2. An anti-gay conference takes place and Evangelical Alliance's director Stephen Cave sends out an email with details of the event plus an advertising flier telling people how to get involved. He also tells people to feel free to circulate the information to others.

    3. The BBC covers the story of the anti-gay conference and mentions, accurately, that Stephen Cave of EA had publicised the event by an email.

    4. Stephen Cave of EA writes to attack the BBC for having the audacity to mention that he has sent an email to people publicising the event, even though he confirms that the BBC are right in their report that he sent an email publicising the event.

    5. Stephen Cave says he's worried that people might think this his anti-gay organisation (Evangelical Alliance) is endorsing or supporting and anti-gay event simply because he sent an email which publicised the event and circulated the event's advertisement in that email.

    That seems to be the height of it. If this is an example of evangelical reasoning, I am not surprised that many of them believe the world is only 20 minutes old.

    For the record, Mr Cave: sending out an advertisement for an event IS an example of giving support to that event, whether you like it or not. I remain utterly confused as to your sense of outrage at the media for reporting the facts in this case with complete accuracy.

    I can only assume that you are embarrassed to have been caught doing something in private: publicising an anti-gay event. I presume you are the spokesman for Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland, and one of the tasks of that job must surely be to represent your organisation's views clearly and widely.

    You have managed only to leave people confused and bemused about your organisation's views, and the rationality of those running it.

    I hope the BBC will follow up on all of this and invite Mr Cave to explain on air why he wishes NOT to be associated in public with an email he wrote to people. There's clearly a story lurking under all of this.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'll undoubtedly not manage to answer everything mentioned but here are a few simple and honest attempts:

    1. Accountability and control - the idea of EA or me trying to control is a new one. For me personally the idea that I've been made accountable and don't like it is no issue - I realised a long time ago that even working for EA means exposure to the firing line and I have to live with it. It's a regular occurrence for us to get it in the neck from one side or other in contentious debates, as evidenced by the Atonement issue. I'm more than happy to be engaged in debate - but would just prefer to do it face to face.
    2. The EA position on matters addressing the debate around homosexuality has been set out in our publication 'Faith, Hope, and Homosexuality.' We are not anti-gay and have consistently condemned homophobia in numerous articles and press releases in a range of contexts; unless homophobia is now defined as the holding of certain beliefs about sexuality as opposed to voicing those views in offensive ways or engaging in actions that are threatening or discriminatory.
    3. BNP illustration - there does seem to be some attempt here to equate racism with those who may have a different view from others on sexuality. I'm not sure I follow that line. If that's not the issue, and it's just about passing on details of events equating to support of those events then every church magazine or newspaper or any example of letting pople know what's happening which may interest them will fall into the same category of supporting or endorsing.
    4. As regards the views and ideas of Paul Millar and Jeffrey Satinover and EA's supprt or repudiation of them, I don't believe either of them or their organisations are EA members; I'm not sure if they even approach their work or ideas from a faith perspective. I say again, I was letting some people know of an event that might interest them with no endorsement - you can be sure that any further email I send about events will make that explicit.
    5. I don't think I ever said we didn't advertise it - that's not my issue. My issue was why EA was thrown into the blog on the issue in isolation without any mention of the organising groups, giving the impression we were supporting the event. I appreciate some people view that me informing a group of people that the event was on equates to us supporting it but I disgaree with that for the reasons mentioned in point 3 above. As I've said repeatedly, I inform others of literally hundreds of events without any suggestion of endorsement or support, as do many Chrstian publications and organisations.
    6. As to comments that I'm angry, outraged, embarrassed, and that there's something lurking, I'll have to disappoint on all counts; those kind of words seem to be regular attempts on blogs to add unneccessary conflict to debates. Any who know me will know that I'm not afraid to be challenged and pushed, always open to conversation, even ready to change my mind and admit to getting things wrong. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

    I'll leave it at that - satisfactory or not. And I know at least some of the participants know how to get in touch with me - I'm happy to continue the conversation in person!

  • Comment number 35.

    Much Ado About a Non-Interview Misses the Point

    I am amazed at the amount of heat that has been generated about an interview that never took place. Nobody has asked what Dr Satinover actually said when he was here Im tempted to say that he is being Ballynahinched without a fair trial.

    I was there, and his topic was science and homosexuality. My impression was of a man who went out of his way to allow people to freely express different points of view he emphasised this. His attitude to individuals was live-and-let-live; nobody would have felt uncomfortable or unwelcome. His argument is rather that the scientific community has not been straightforward about the evidence as to causes and possible prognoses for those who feel same-sex attraction. He said he didnt believe SSA was a chosen condition. But neither did he believe that it was necessarily fixed and immutable. His view is that a person experiencing SSA should have a free choice as to whether to live according to this orientation or to seek change. This view is not always allowed by his opponents.

    The most solid data we have of his views (apart from his book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, which I have read and recommend) is his paper The Trojan Couch How the Mental Health Associations Misrepresent Science, which was the main handout at the event and is accessible to us all. In order to earth this discussion I suggest that we should all read it see [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Satinover describes the unscientific way in which homosexuality was delisted as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 by threats and subterfuge on the part of politically motivated activists rather than by scientific evidence and debate. The leading psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, who sympathized with gay rights, went along with this not for scientific reasons but because of his sympathetic attitude. Four years later a survey in the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality showed that 69 percent of psychiatrists disagreed with the vote, and still considered homosexuality a disorder, yet the pressure has continued right up to the present. Any scientific study that goes against politically correct opinion is now subjected to fierce opposition often unprincipled.

    Spitzer himself changed his view on the immutability of homosexuality after doing a pilot study. But the President of the Human Rights Campaign warned him not to attempt to perform a full study. [Imagine science is now subordinate to perceived human rights!] Spitzer wrote to Satinover, the intimidation was in the form of telling me that if I did such a study I would be exposed as doing fraudulent research. He went ahead with the study and his results were politically unacceptable. Such was the pressure that the journal of the very organization of which he was the chief editor refused its publication (Trojan Couch, p17).

    Satinover describes how some landmark U.S. court cases have been decided on the basis of distorted scientific evidence. The conclusion is unavoidable that science has been taken over by political opinion. In my view, this is very serious. And its not anti-gay. The real anti-gay lobby is the anti-science lobby. Please lets discuss this vital matter in as constructive a way as possible.

  • Comment number 36.

    Stephen Cave, I think you missed the point about the BNP. As I read that analogy, it wasn;t claiming that EA is racist (that would be a ridiculous claim). It was making the point that by advertising an event, you can't later claim that you were not supporting the event. You were.

  • Comment number 37.

    I've just followed up on Stephen Cave's reference to the EA position on homosexuality. The article Faith, Hope and Homosexuality includes these conclusions and recommendations:

    "We oppose moves within certain churches to accept and/or endorse sexually active homosexual partnerships as a legitimate form of Christian relationship. We stand prayerfully with those in such churches who are seeking to resist these moves on biblical grounds."

    "We oppose moves within certain churches towards permitting the ordination of sexually active lesbians and gay men to ministry. We stand prayerfully with those in such denominations who are seeking to resist these moves on biblical grounds."

    "We call upon evangelical congregations to welcome and accept sexually active homosexual people, but to do so in the expectation that they will come in due course to see the need to change their lifestyle in accordance with biblical revelation and orthodox church teaching."

    "We commend the work of those organisations which seek to help homosexual Christians live a celibate life, and also commend those groups which responsibly assist homosexuals who wish to reorient to a heterosexual lifestyle."

    "We believe habitual homoerotic sexual activity without repentance to be inconsistent with faithful church membership. Where someone is publicly promoting homoerotic sexual practice within a congregation, there may be a case for more stringent disciplinary action."

    YEAH RIGHT, STEPHEN! Your organisation is certainly not anti-gay with views like those! You even promote "disciplinary action" against pro-gay Christians who argue their case in churches. That's REALLY open-minded.

    Notice that your report in fact supports the kind of gay conversion therapies that have been described as unethical, abusive and dangerous by the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Psychiatry.

    Yep, Evangelical Alliance is the very definition of an open-minded, responsible, scientifically-informed, loving, Christian ministry.

  • Comment number 38.

    It gets worse. Now Steven Cave says he publicised the Satinover event even though he wasn't sure if he or Paul Millar approach their work from a faith perspective. It makes you wonder why he bothered sending out the email. Do they advertise anything at all that pops into their inbox? Paul Millar has been in the news a great deal for his work as Iris Robinson's "Christian psychiatrist". I'm sure Steven might have heard of him before. Paul M founded a Christian ex-gay ministry. The other organisation who hosted Satinover is also a Christian ex-gay group. Just a co-incidence, I'm sure.

  • Comment number 39.

    p.s, Steven it's not true that Will's blog only mentioned your group. He also mentioned Paul Millar and has a link to his ex gay group. Another correction you need to make to you many take-backs.

  • Comment number 40.

    This is a re-send of #35. I had included a web address which is against house rules - sorry.

    Much Ado About a Non-Interview Misses the Point

    I am amazed at the amount of heat that has been generated about an interview that never took place. Nobody has asked what Dr Satinover actually said when he was here Im tempted to say that he is being Ballynahinched without a fair trial.

    I was there, and his topic was science and homosexuality. My impression was of a man who went out of his way to allow people to freely express different points of view he emphasised this. His attitude to individuals was live-and-let-live; nobody would have felt uncomfortable or unwelcome. His argument is rather that the scientific community has not been straightforward about the evidence as to causes and possible prognoses for those who feel same-sex attraction. He said he didnt believe SSA was a chosen condition. But neither did he believe that it was necessarily fixed and immutable. His view is that a person experiencing SSA should have a free choice as to whether to live according to this orientation or to seek change. This view is not always allowed by his opponents.

    The most solid data we have of his views (apart from his book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, which I have read and recommend) is his paper The Trojan Couch How the Mental Health Associations Misrepresent Science which was the main handout at the event and is accessible to us all. In order to earth this discussion I suggest that we should all read it Google it.

    Satinover describes the unscientific way in which homosexuality was delisted as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 by threats and subterfuge on the part of politically motivated activists rather than by scientific evidence and debate. The leading psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, who sympathized with gay rights, went along with this not for scientific reasons but because of his sympathetic attitude. Four years later a survey in the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality showed that 69 percent of psychiatrists disagreed with the vote, and still considered homosexuality a disorder, yet the pressure has continued right up to the present. Any scientific study that goes against politically correct opinion is now subjected to fierce opposition often unprincipled.

    Spitzer himself changed his view on the immutability of homosexuality after doing a pilot study. But the President of the Human Rights Campaign, warned him not to attempt to perform a full study. [Imagine science is now subordinate to perceived human rights!] Spitzer wrote to Satinover, the intimidation was in the form of telling me that if I did such a study I would be exposed as doing fraudulent research. He went ahead with the study and his results were politically unacceptable. Such was the pressure that the journal of the very organization of which he was the chief editor refused its publication (Trojan Couch, p17).

    Satinover describes how some landmark U.S. court cases have been decided on the basis of distorted scientific evidence. The conclusion is unavoidable that science has been taken over by political opinion. In my view, this is very serious. And its not anti-gay. The real anti-gay lobby is the anti-science lobby. Please lets discuss this vital matter in as constructive a way as possible.

  • Comment number 41.

    ThomasScarlet, why was homosexuality listed as a disorder in the first place? Why is removing an unscientific medicalisation of a specific personal trait "unscientific", when there is no scientific validation for keeping it on the list?

  • Comment number 42.

    Interestingly, Heliopolitan, Satinover said that the scientific basis for classifying homosexuality as a disorder was not what we today would regard as adequate (this is not the same as saying that the classification was wrong). But the imperfect science that put it on the list in the first place was inherently part of the scientific enterprise. It was open to continued challenge, research, debate etc. In that sense, although it was primitive by todays standards, it was good science.

    That has now been replaced by bad science, in which people are told that homosexuality has a genetic basis, and good scientists like Spitzer cant get their work published unless it is politically acceptable.

    Dr John Spiegel, in his inaugural address as president of the American Psychiatric Association, following the 1973 reclassification, said:

    Call it a sense of contempt toward the mental health enterprise, radiating vaguely from a variety of quartersa harsh questioning of the scientific basis of our professional expertiseis not the whole enterprise more of an illusion-a successful public relations effort, perhaps, but certainly not the practical and effective application of a body of scientifically certifiable findings or theories?

    As a lay person, my simple view is that if homosexuality had been the norm through history, the human race would have died out long ago. In that sense, it must be a disorder. Of course that is simply a pragmatic, not a moral judgement.

  • Comment number 43.

    I have taken the time to read and digest all that has been written on this blog. I enter the debate as a man who believed and proclaimed publicly for years that I, like others, was born gay. (When youve always been gay, how can you even begin to entertain that you have somehow been shaped into being gay?) My sexuality, I always believed, was something innate and unchangeable. I fully embraced and lived the gay lifestyle with lots of flair and had a blast doing so most of the time.
    Some years ago I underwent some therapy to help resolve some childhood issues. I had no idea that en route I would be challenged at the deepest core of my very being. In short, after some deep and often painful resolutions, I have come to wholeheartedly believe, and live out the truth, that WITHOUT ANY QUESTIONABLE DOUBT sexual orientation is not immutable and that with the right therapeutic/psychological care individuals with homosexual attractions should they wish to (and no one is forcing anyone to do this!) can change their sexual orientation. If it can happen to me and youd better believe it has! then it can happen to anyone. Even my gay mates recognize the beneficial and deep inner changes within me.
    Since the therapy, I have closely examined over 100 years of professional and scientific literature as well as literally hundreds of reports from clinicians and researchers mostly published in professional journals, and this includes the incredible (and well-worth reading) tome by the intellectual iconoclast, Jeffrey Satinover. They all come to the same conclusion change is, and always has been, possible for those who want it.
    I got married and now have a family. My wife knows what I say is true. Many other men I know are now on this journey of change, and they like me feel seriously shortchanged by the lies that other gay activists, lavender therapists and the Media in general keep spouting about people being born gay. We DO have choice!!
    Im grateful for the professionals who are dedicated to upholding the rights of those dealing with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective clinical care, and who rightly confirm that a change in sexual orientation is possible for some individuals and does not cause psychological harm on average. (NB: a therapist who does not understand how a homosexual identity is formed cannot help, and will therefore harm, an individual so choose your therapist wisely, guys!)
    Having met with hundreds of individuals who have benefitted from the help of therapists, we would be a poorer world if every person werent given the right to independently determine their own course in life and for many that involves seeking counselling options that affirm their personal beliefs.
    For all those of us who have screamed our core belief, namely that we were born gay, maybe, just maybe, we really have got it wrong

  • Comment number 44.

    ThomasScarlet, Helio has a strong point. Homosexuality was never classified in the first place as a "disorder" for scientific reasons. It was in the book of disorders because of long-held cultural prejudice. Even psychiatrists reflect some of the prejudices of their culture. In the 1970s, the APA took the decision to remove homosexuality from that category. Dr Satinover now accepts that there was never any good scientific reason for homosexuality being in there in the first place, so why did he oppose to de-medicalisation of homosexuality? Answer: because of his own moral and religious reasons. Google him and you'll find interviews in which he discusses those personal beliefs. he regards homosexuality as immoral and spiritually unhealthy BEFORE examining any evidence about homosexuality.

    I've no doubt there was a lot of politics involved in the APA's vote to change homosexuality in the classification, but there always is politics involved when we are talking about society's approval or disapproval of any particular sexual identity (or ethnicity, for that matter).

    I note that you cannot bring yourself to recognise that gay people exist (you insist on speaking only of people with SSA, same-sex attractions). That's NARTH-speak for being in denial about the existence of homosexuality as a sexuality analogous to heterosexuality. You start with the assumption that homosexuality is a bogus identification, then you find "evidence" to support that claim (such as the existence of people who have been at different times in their lives mostly gay or mostly straight).

    You guys are on a losing battle. With every year, every decade, the world is moving on, theologically and scientifically, and you are sounding more and more scientifically and theologically illiterate. You are also harming people, and you refuse to accept that. That's why I have particular contempt for the psychiatrists who are part of your movement. They boast about their medical qualifications, as if having a degree proved the rightness of their moral or religious beliefs about homosexuality. The fact is that some psychiatrists are also racist, some are sexist, some participated in Hitler's final solution, and some committed genocide in the Balkans. It should not surprise us that some psychiatrists are also inflicting serious harm on gay and lesbian people through programmes like NARTH and Abeo. One day they may realise the harm they have caused, the lives they have stunted, the dreams they have turned into nightmares, and on that day I would not envy their conscience.

  • Comment number 45.

    Comment 44 states that it should not surprise us that some psychiatrists are also inflicting serious harm on gay and lesbian people through programmes like NARTH and Abeo. One day they may realise the harm they have caused, the lives they have stunted, the dreams they have turned into nightmares, and on that day I would not envy their conscience.

    You do not speak for the many gay men and women like me who have only received only good, professional, and life changing care that have helped lives to mature and that have made dreams actually come true. Trained therapists who help others can only have consciences that are clear, good and healthy. You know a tree by its fruit and on the whole their fruit is good, good, good.

  • Comment number 46.

    Er, ThomasScarlet:
    As a lay person, my simple view is that if homosexuality had been the norm through history, the human race would have died out long ago. In that sense, it must be a disorder. Of course that is simply a pragmatic, not a moral judgement.

    No - it is what's technically known as a "fallacy". Look it up.

    Come to think of it, you could say the same thing about celibacy, yet that is actively championed for some people by some religious groups. Human behaviour and sexual orientation are exceedingly complex issues, and are not best dealt with by daft over-simplifications.

    Homosexuality has always been with us; in some cultures homosexual people have been valued; their contributions to society have been regarded as helpful. And throughout history, the discrimination that has been heaped on people has wrecked lives and made perfectly normal people think that there is something wrong with them. That is a shameful thing, and for that very reason alone, it is SOCIETY that needs to change, not gay people.

    Satinover and others would be better employed in contributing to sorting out THAT problem, and then we can perhaps have a more positive atmosphere in which to study the neurobiology of sexual orientation, gay OR straight (or in between!).

  • Comment number 47.

    Jims007 I think you might have misunderstood Gus's comments about psychiatrists. I don't think he was saying that psychiatrists are harming gay people, he said that psychiatrists who engage in conversion therapies trying to turn gay people into straight people are doing the harm.

  • Comment number 48.

    As far as I know, I am the only person on this thread who heard Satinover at Ballynahinch, so I am glad that at least we have got round to talking about the actual event and underlying issues. And Im humbled by Jamess contributions.

    Helio, your comparison of homosexuality with celibacy doesnt work. The former is a disposition, on which one may or may not act. The latter is a choice; indeed homosexuals may choose to be celibate. So celibacy cant be a disorder.

    Again, Gus, of course I recognise the existence of gay people. I use the term SSA to refer to the disposition. Those who act on it I term gay, those who dont probably shouldnt have that term used of them.

    You say that the world is moving on scientifically and that people like me are sounding illiterate. Ive just been reading on NARTH site that the APAs Q&A on sexuality is more conservative than its predecessor 10 years ago. That is because people like Satinover have taken a stand to argue for good science against bad.

  • Comment number 49.

    Thomas, that does not let you off the hook in any way, shape or form. This is a complex issue, and simplistic "analyses" like yours about what constitutes a "disorder" are hardly rigorous, and indeed are just bland rationalisations of your prejudice. My comparison with celibacy remains a valid mark against you.

    Since there was never any scientific evidence that homosexuality is a "disorder", why do you say that removing it from a list of disorders is unscientific? What if being black was listed as a disorder? Would the removal of that be scientific too?

    People are as they are; classifying them into neat little boxes based on silly prejudice is itself an injustice, and similarly listing homosexuality as a disorder is an injustice.

  • Comment number 50.


    Hi Jims007

    Welcome to the blog and thanks for your contribution.

    It certainly seems beyond dispute that there is almost 100 years of peer reviewed stuides showing that orientation can been changed.

    I applaud you for speaking out on this.

    May I ask you a few questions? if they are too personal I understand.

    1) What were the childhood issues that required to be resolved? I appreciate this is plunging straight in and deeply, but it seems like such a crucial issue in this discussion.

    2)In what way did this throw up the choice that you could choose to be heterosexual? Or, how were the two issues related?

    3) There seem to be a significant number of people who have tried such therapies and say they just dont work. Why are you so certain that they can work for everyone? Why do they appear not to?

    4) Have you been persecuted for your sexual identity, as a gay man and as a stright man? Which was worse?

    5) What advice would you give to gay people who wish to become straight? ie how should they select people who are qualified to help them?

    ///////////////////////

    Hi Helio

    ...smiled when you referred to me as "old buddy" recently!

    perhaps the Spirit is working once again in an old athiest....?

    Anyhow, can you give a few relfections on JimS007's story perhaps?


    Would be good to see some comments from Peter Morrow and Rome Jelly Bean too!


    Many thanks all

    OT






  • Comment number 51.

    Hello Orthodox-tradition,

    You are as disingenuous as ever in the service of your christian faith. You wrote

    "It certainly seems beyond dispute that there is almost 100 years of peer reviewed stuides showing that orientation can been changed."

    Oh come on OT, you tried that one before and got called out over it on the Jeremy Marks thread. See your attempt there in post 126 and how you got creamed in subsequent posts:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/02/jeremy_marks_and_the_exgay_mov.html

    Same old OT, same old lies in the service of his christian faith.

    You said

    "Would be good to see some comments from Peter Morrow and Rome Jelly Bean too!"

    Actually, RJB has made his (rather scathing, as a christian he considers you a Pharisee) opinion on your homophobia very clear on the 'Christianity vs. fundamentalism' thread:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/04/christianity_v_fundamentalism.html

    RJB and petermorrow are awaiting your reply there.

  • Comment number 52.

    I said (42)
    Interestingly, Heliopolitan, Satinover said that the scientific basis for classifying homosexuality as a disorder was not what we today would regard as adequate (this is not the same as saying that the classification was wrong). But the imperfect science that put it on the list in the first place was inherently part of the scientific enterprise. It was open to continued challenge, research, debate etc. In that sense, although it was primitive by todays standards, it was good science.

    You have morphed that into:
    Since there was never any scientific evidence that homosexuality is a "disorder", why do you say that removing it from a list of disorders is unscientific?

    I never said that there was never any evidence. You would have to prove that 100 years of science that resulted in the classification was based on no evidence. I would take some convincing that this was so. Laumanns authoritative study, The Social Organization of Sexuality (p345), lists some experiences of adults who were sexually touched in childhood, compared with those who were not. Not surprisingly, those who had been touched were about twice as likely to be Not Happy Last Year. But perhaps surprisingly, they were over three times as likely to identify as Homosexual/ Bisexual. Indeed, some 33 per cent of gay men and 44% of lesbians were touched as children.

    There seems to be a lot of association of SSA with various health problems, even suicide. And the problem seems to be deeper than homophobia in society. (And please believe that I am trying to be helpful and not judgemental in all this.)

    What if being black was listed as a disorder? Would the removal of that be [un]scientific too?

    Well, there really was never any evidence that being black was a disorder.

    But moving on from definitions, do you agree that the 1973 event led to an unscientific chill factor as regards research in the field of homosexuality, which continues to this day?

  • Comment number 53.

    Thank you, Orthodox-tradition, for daring to ask me the questions. Ive a lot on with my job today so I need to keep my answers brief. Ive a family to support and dont want to lose my job!

    YOUR QUESTION
    (1) What were the childhood issues that required to be resolved? I appreciate this is plunging straight in and deeply, but it seems like such a crucial issue in this discussion.

    MY ANSWER
    I must state that I entered counselling/therapy with NO INTENTION of being cured or changed of homosexuality. I was contented with being gay and everyone around me was contented with this too. Some even celebrated my gay identity and practice and saw me as a role model for others.

    In my early/mid-20s I had problems sleeping and friends recommended I might benefit from some counselling. I met regularly with an awesome therapist who took my life to pieces gently yet severely. I came to see that, although I got on great with my Dad and older brothers, I didnt have any strong, significant and deep emotional connection to them. The fragile relationship I had with the guys in the house meant that I compensated for this by connecting more deeply than was healthy for me as a male with my Mom and sisters. I lived in the male world (all boys school, etc) but I couldnt seem to gain access to my Dad or brothers hearts, and this meant that although I had lots of friends at school, I never felt deeply connected and known as the other guys seemed to. So, in short, relationships with the men and the women in my family needed to be seriously addressed (even though I had an incredible upbringing compared to most people).

    Another issue was the fact that I was introduced to porn at a very young age, when around 8 yrs old. The older boys off the street who kept showing this to me were teenagers and had hit puberty and so had the means to process (at least a little) what porn was all about. I was pre-pubescent and didnt have this means. My hunger for deep connection with other men became eroticised at a very early age (as is happening to MANY young people today through porn, so there WILL be a huge rise in gay and bi guys in the coming years, and we are beginning to see the first fruits of this already VERY worrying!). I was then sexually abused for a time by an older male which sewed deep into my psyche the fact that (i) I must be gay, (ii) my body is made for sex with men, (iii) which woman would want a man whose body has been with another mans lots of time? No wonder I was unyielding in believing I was born gay. The essence of all that is homosexual was sown into the inner fabric of ME and then into the outer fabric of ME over many years. I was directly sexually abused, and it took time for me to really admit this to myself and face the consequences. Many of my gay friends have been sexually abused in some shape or form, although they find this difficult to admit because they live in such an erotic world. They honestly cant see (as I couldnt) their childhood sexual experiences as a problem, and yet these can offer determine their present desires more than they realise.

    There is not space here to go into all I had to begin to face, but the therapist I saw was AMAZING at leading me through the maze of my past and helping me to put things back together. The thing is this: I was not looking to deal with homosexuality whatsoever, but as I slowly found resolution to all sorts of issues it is as though this repressed heterosexual, or the dormant man I was looking for in other men (and I slept with over 100 men trying to find that right man!) was actually living deep, deep within ME. As I very slowly came to the realisation that maybe, just maybe, I was not born gay I had a tough decision to make. I totally reject the gay ideal or I remain encamped in my old beliefs that state once gay always gay. I had nothing to lose. I left my (wonderful and faithful) long-term boyfriend and left the gay community and everything it stood for. Ive never looked back, although the road was ridden with potholes!

    YOUR QUESTION
    2) In what way did this throw up the choice that you could choose to be heterosexual? Or, how were the two issues related?

    MY ANSWER
    Nobody chooses to be homosexual. This is where I stand united with the homosexual community. Dont judge us for feelings we have always had at the depths of our beings. However, as I came to realise that my feelings WERE as a result predominantly of nurture and that I could find resolution of past issues, I felt I had a responsibility to ME to dare to walk this pathway and to look underneath every stone of the past to see if there were areas deep within me that needed resolution.

    I know many gay men and women and EVERY one of them has a similar story to mine in some shape or form. I also KNOW, having fully lived their lifestyle and outlook, that there is a PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE between being gay and being straight. It is not, and cannot, be the same and equal. EVERYBODY loses out, gay and straight alike, if we kid ourselves otherwise.

    In fact, I came to realise that there is one continuum of sexuality along which there are many places we can each make our home. Those of us who are/have been only homosexually inclined have, dare I say (and I know Ill be judged for this word!), been stunted in our developmental growth into true and healthy manhood or womanhood. Those who are/have been bisexual are generally (and this is all general speak because EVERY life is different and unique) a little less formed in their sexual identity. Yes, there are deeply broken heterosexuals, but their brokenness, i have come to learn, happened after they had made a sufficiently deep connection with their own gender thereby meaning they were interested not in sexual connection with their own sex, but with the mystery of the opposite sex.

    YOUR QUESTION
    3) There seem to be a significant number of people who have tried such therapies and say they just dont work. Why are you so certain that they can work for everyone? Why do they appear not to?

    MY ANSWER
    Huge question from you! Finding the RIGHT therapist is one thing. I also dont think anyone should enter therapy/counselling to be cured/healed/whatever of homosexuality. This issue is NOT homosexuality, but rather all the underlying stuff that, when added together, makes a man crave for an erotically overtoned connection with another man (or a woman an overtly emotional connection with another woman). You cant be healed of something that isnt a thing as such. Homosexuality, as I have come to learn over many years, is the name given to the OUTWARD MANIFESTATION of many other inner issues that need carefully, respectfully, and very tenderly, often over a number of years, to be faced, challenged and allowed to be healed (not the right word but it will have to do here due to constraints on time).

    You dont go to the gym on ten, or even thirty, occasions to deal with years of overeating. It takes a whole new way of seeing exercise, food, your body, your value, your relationships with others as well as yourself, and MUCH discipline and encouragement to deal with this. Therapy, again in my opinion, doesnt work for everyone because they approach the journey ahead from the wrong angle. They want to stop being so deeply (and powerfully) attracted to members of their same sex. Yet THIS IS NOT THE PROBLEM. I am probably more deeply attracted to members of my same sex now than ever before. HOWEVER, (and this is the MAJOR difference), there are no erotic undertones to my finding them, or them finding me, attractive. Men are no longer a mystery to me, hence the reason why I began to yearn for woman, who will always be mystery to man because we are always going to be different.

    The challenge to the gay man is to FACE HEAD ON THE WORLD OF OTHER MEN, and to face WHY he is so powerfully and erotically drawn to other guys. Of course, when you begin to look at these issues you discover that deep, deep down there is an innate fear (and profound grief) that as a boy you never bonded sufficiently deeply enough with the guys around you. Many men, and many therapists, wont, or dont know how, to go deep into this fear. Or if they do they cant bring the guy out the other end. This is why many men feel it doesnt work for them, or they feel harmed by the clinical care they expect to receive.

    I know this can work for everyone who is TRULY SERIOUS about the cost of taking this journey because I have met gay men of every age, shape, experience and desire who have entered this journey and have made significant progress.

    The hardest thing to do is to TOTALLY REJECT the message and agenda of the gay community which now runs much of our Media. This leads me on to your next question.

    YOUR QUESTION
    4) Have you been persecuted for your sexual identity, as a gay man and as a straight man? Which was worse?

    MY ANSWER
    I was NEVER EVER persecuted for my sexual identity as a gay man. I mentioned earlier that it was applauded and rejoiced over by anyone and everyone. EVERYONE!

    However, when I chose to eventually leave my boyfriend, burn my gay porn and eject everything from my life that was in any way linked with the gay world I started getting hell from my gay AND straight friends. Everyone told me I was mad. A vicar and a priest I knew both told me to go back to my boyfriend and to stop believing in any chance of change. My family became worried about me and I was told by many that I was born gay and should just accept it. I DID ACCEPT IT! I just found a secret doorway that intrigued me, thats all. Wow. How awesome was that secret door to my future!

    I have been persecuted much, much, much more as a straight man. Yet I meet with gay men all the time who tell me that they dont really want to be gay, and who want to believe in change but they keep getting drawn back into the web of (misleading) evidence pumped out by the gay-right and the Media that people are born gay.

    YOUR QUESTION
    5) What advice would you give to gay people who wish to become straight? ie how should they select people who are qualified to help them?

    MY ANSWER
    I would recommend they do A LOT (and I mean A LOT) of research around the issues of change. The evidence is out there if you want to find it, although it is constantly being swamped with the mountains of gay propaganda that now exist. I would remind people that THEY DO HAVE CHOICE, and if they have tried to walk the journey out and feels as though they are going nowhere, KEEP GETTING UP AND TRY AGAIN. I felt lost at many points on the journey, but at least kept trying, and the right person in the right place came forward every time.

    Re who to select to help them make this journey, I cant fully answer this question but know this. First, find out about the roots and issues around homosexuality. There are a growing number of books on this topic available from Amazon. Buy them! Read them and then approach a therapist and ask him or her if (s)he can help deal with these specific issues. It is also important to establish at the beginning if a therapist is open to someone changing their sexual leaning and what this may look like for them. No point in forking out well earned cash to someone who will try and convince you that you are born gay. This is bad, bad practice and VERY dangerous.

    Today, most, if not all, of my gay friends have different addictions. Some of the gay men I used to hang around with are now dead from
    Either having suicided from the appalling way they were treated WITHIN the gay community by different boyfriends
    Or from drug overdoses
    Or from the effects of HIV and AIDS

    I got out of the gay labyrinth while still young, and you have no idea how thankful I am. I hope those reading will make wise and FULLY INFORMED decisions too.

  • Comment number 54.

    No, I don't agree. There has been a lot of research into the neurobiology and genetics of homosexuality, but it is going to be an emotive topic anyway, and rigorous scrutiny of something this important is appropriate, rather than half-baked crankery. Research that starts with the presumption of it as a "disorder" is far more likely to engender a "chill factor" and result in unreliable findings. It's not rocket science. The research environment is better now.

    Why are you so keen to class it as a "disorder"? It is a *phenomenon*, and from the research point of view, that's what is important.

  • Comment number 55.


    JimS007

    Thank you for your post, in my opinion you are really rather courageous in being so personal and open about you life journey on the www dot

    OT has asked me to respond, I hope this is OK with you.

    In the past I have tried to say that on the issue of therapy and counselling I would really rather say little or nothing, primarily because having had limited experience of volunteer counselling I came to realise only how much I didn't know. I simply do not have the experience to comment with any depth of knowledge about the topic.

    However, having read your comments, it seems that you have had an entirely positive experience of therapy and are now living a fulfilled and contented life with your family. That seems like a good news story, thank you for communicating something about it.

    Peter


  • Comment number 56.


    Hi again Jim

    Many thanks for your detailed responses.

    Sorry to hear about the oppsition you have had, but I get the sense that you wouldnt trade the journey you have made and the person you have become.

    For what its worth, every single point you have made has made perfect sense to me in my understanding of this subject, though I have never had SSA myself.

    However I am VERY concerned for very vulnerable people constantly bombarded with propaganda who therefore cannot make informed choices.

    I have previously raised the issue here, as you did, that many distressed and vulnerable people with unwanted SSA want help and that there IS real help for them in becoming whole.

    I dont think I have had a single person affirm this on this blog. Rather the regulars here (Christians and non) raise all sorts of non-sequitors such as;-

    -Judgementalism
    -Unfairly picking out gay people for victimisation from other sinners
    -hypocrisy
    -being scientifically ignorant of the facts
    etc



    As you have said, my point was only ever that vulnerable hurting people should be free to be properly informed about this issue and free to make up their own minds and choices, without pressure.

    I dont think a single person on this blog has every affirmed this, but rather I have been widely challenged, as you can see. what a surprise.


    Anyway, what I would like to say is that you have had a very rich experience and there is a big audience of people interested in this who surf by here.

    Might I suggest that you drop in here for 30 mins a week to add a few comments?

    There are frequent threads every week on this subject.

    You have authentic knowledge and as you can see, the regular bloggers here are so blown away by you and your message that they are trying to pretend you are not here. But I can tell from experience that they are actually blown away. I know them.


    I have a family and busy job too; I am not suggesting you get bogged down in huge time sapping debates here. But perhaps you would consider dropping in for 30 mins once or twice a week?


    While I am on, may I pose a few more questions please?


    1) The media now suggests that many married men with families who come out as gay were always gay but that they were just hiding their feelings and used gay imagery to procreate with their wife, whom they were not sexually attracted to. How do you see this?

    2) You havent mentioned a faith position that I can see; what is yours if any? Can faith without formal counselling make people with unwanted SSA whole in your experience? Does counsellinfg require any spirital faith? it appears not.

    3) What is your view of the many gay people who go on to become straight with no apparent desire to have done so and no specific actions taken to make this happen?

    4) How do you account for the bible eg Romans1 making people so accountable for homosexual conduct when it clearly not a simple superficial choice for such people?

    5) How do you identify your sexuality now in light of your experience, eg post-gay? complete? whole? other?

    6) Is any one field of mental health best for helping with SSA eg psychoanalaysts, psychaiatrists? psychologists? other? subject to your earlier comments above of course..


    Please stick with us for a while at least here. I may not be able to comment for a few days at a time but I will come back and continue the conversation.

    Anyway, if you are just passing through, peace, and great to hear from you.

    Kinds regards
    OT

  • Comment number 57.

    Im signing off this thread now. It had been instructive and interesting, and has left me with a few thoughts.

    1. Last minute cancellation by guests must happen all the time, but for some reason William chose to make a big issue of this non-isssue. His parting shot has a we-will-get-you-next-time feel to it which leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

    2. To describe Satinover as a part-time lecturer in a small Christian College is like saying that Lewis Hamilton is a part-time car driver on one-way streets. It is a gratuitous comment, unworthy of Williams usual professionalism.

    3. Likewise, making such an issue of Evangelical Alliances incidental involvement suggests an attitude of protesting too much. Whats the fuss all about?

    4. I was unaware of Satinovers interest in the Bible Code issue. He is not of course to be confused with Michael Drosnin, who wrote two sensationalist books promoting the theory. If you read Wiki on Bible Code you will find that Satinover is very cautious, and has some very good company in terms of scholars on both sides of the discussion. Here is part of a Q&A:
    Q: Do you ever worry about being associated with a subject that could easily be tarred as "fringe"?
    A: Of course. But look. To take the skeptical position on this is pretty easy. Knowing nothing about the subject in detail, a betting man would be a fool to gamble that something this wild is real; he'd feel that he was risking almost nothing to insist that the codes can't possibly be real, don't deserve a minute of his time, and anyone who thinks they might be real is an idiot! But what happened is this: some pretty careful researchers took the long shot and invested a lot of time and intellectual capital in a long exploration of the crazy possibility that they might just be real. (Doron Witztum and Eliyahu Rips, in particular) Maybe, given the odds, and not yet knowing the outcome, they were foolish in doing so. But they did, and their efforts produced some tantalizinging results. Not that they came up with the absolute evidence, let's say, to convince everyone that the codes are genuine--but with more than enough evidence to make them worth looking into.
    Now "looking into them" doesn't have to mean even that you think it's more likely than not that the codes are real; it's worth taking the gamble even if the odds against them are a hundred to one. Why? Because if they do prove real, the benefit is so enormous! I'd guess that's why four top-flight mathematicians from Harvard, Yale and the Hebrew University went on public record as cautioning that the research should not be dismissed out of hand, as would surely seem reasonable to most people--the easy bet. They weren't saying the research had finally proved itself; they were saying that it was worth taking seriously, resisting the easy temptation to dismiss it without a hearing, beacuse the time spent just might end up being worth it. Theirs was really a pretty nuanced response, and courageous, too. So, yes, there's the risk that critics will take the easy road and try to make you look foolish even for taking the codes seriously. But that's human nature.

    5. As the only person who heard Satinover in Ballynahinch I hope that people will read The Trojan Couch and ponder its implications. It will also throw light on the controversy over the current Coroners and Justice Bill, which threatens our freedom of speech. Williams comment that the American Psychological Association has publicly challenged the position Dr Satinover espouses as "not supported by the science" needs to be understood in the light of Trojan Couch. But again, why so much detail on a guest who simply cancelled an interview?

    5. I was humbled by Jims contribution. A thread that started out so negatively took a really positive turn. Thank you Jim.

  • Comment number 58.

    I feel I really have to respond to Jim's comment about his departure from homosexuality through therapy. It would be wrong to comment on Jim's personal situation - that is for him alone to deal with. I just make a number of responses about his comments as they relate to people like me, that is, gay people who are happy with their sexuality and have integrated that with their faith.

    (1) The Gay People Are Broken People Argument. Jim says his homosexuality was sewn into him as a result of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is a terrible thing and it can leave many people with trauma and confusion about how to approach sex and sexuality, of that I have no doubt. But I would not wish Jim's comments to be be used by others to perpetuate the myth that gay people are gay because they were abused. Some gay people were abused as children, some straight people were abused. The vast majority of both gay and straight people were not abused as children. It's a false cause to link one to the other without further evidence and that scientific evidence is not there. It is also a great insult to gay people living their lives happily to constantly medicalize and pathologize their identity. Being gay is not a sign of brokenness in my life, and it is an insult to suggest that it is. Any more than being straight is a sign of brokenness. I don't know the issues Jim was facing in his life, but if forming a heterosexual relationship has helped him, I think that's wonderful and I wish him well. It's just not the case, Jim, that what works for you will work for others, or that your issues are the same as others.

    (2) The All Boys Schools Make Gay People Argument. Jim only hints at this, so perhaps he doesn't mean to press this argument. It's just not supported by empirical studies. Perhaps in all male boarding schools, gay children being to act on their developing sexuality, and straight children begin to experiment, and sometimes straight young people try same-sex behaviours for a short or even extended time (just as some straight men may try same-sex behaviour in prison life), but there's a difference between experimenting and "being gay". Being gay is a way of being in the world. Having gay parents doesn't make you gay, any more than having straight parents makes your straight. Going to a male only school doesn't make you gay, any more than going to prison does.

    (3) Gay People are Porn Addicts. Some are, some aren't. Same with straight people. The global straight porn industry is vastly bigger than the gay porn industry, and both target men. Perhaps there's something about men that makes us more likely to try porn than women. But I can assure you that I am not a porn addict, not even a porn user, and my sexuality was not produced by magazines or DVDs. Again, I just ask: consult the many sociological and psychological studies already conducted into these questions for large-scale answers rather than anecdotal stories like mine or Jim's.

    (4) Being Gay is a Choice. I agree with Jim that nobody chooses to be gay. His answer is that gay people are made this way by the way they were nurtured. This is the most common argument made today by the Christian gay conversion theorists. Gay people were badly nurtured and failed to bond properly with significant males in their lives. In order to overcome homosexuality, they need to be helped to bond with their maleness and with other males in a non-eroticized way. Just think about that argument. Imagine I said the same about straight people. If they only bonded properly with significant other-gender people in their lives, they wouldn't be straight, they would be gay. How would I know which kind of bonding was "proper"? In other words, how would I know whether it's healthier for people to be gay or straight? The answer, almost always unstated by the Christian therapists, is that they read the Bible in a certain way and that reading tells them that being gay is a form of sexual dysfunction. That's their choice to read the Bible that way. But there are other was to read the Bible, and a growing section of the Christian world read it in a different way. They have no scientific basis for claiming that bonding that leads to gay sexuality is illicit; their reasoning is entirely based on theology. Bad and dangerous theology, I would add. So, I conclude: even if the theorists are right that gay people have bonded in a different way (vis-a-vis straight people) in their upbringing - and it's by no means clear that this is so - even if this WERE the case, we cannot conclude that being gay is unhealthy, wrong or dysfunctional. All be can conclude is that gay and straight people seem to have different kinds of nurture patterns. So do Westerners and people from the Middle East. It's wrong to read an ethical judgment into an anthropological difference.

    (5) Gay Conversion Therapy Works. No, sorry, it really doesn't. There have been no serious studies into the success rates (whatever that means) of gay therapies, but even the evangelical studies published by NARTH indicate that less than one in five of those deeply conflicted and hurt people they studied were able to sustain any change in their same-sex attraction levels over a period of a few years. In some of those cases, the people later fell off the wagon and returned to same-sex relationships, and some have written about the abuse they felt at being treated as a medical problem by gay therapists in the ex-gay movement. Even Jim is honest enough to say here that "I am probably more deeply attracted to members of my same sex now than ever before."

    (6) Homosexuality Is Like An Eating Disorder. Jim uses this analogy. But it's both insulting and without any scientific basis. I might as well say that evangelicalism is like a mental illness. I don't believe that to be the case, but some make the analogy and others my be thoughtless enough to buy the analogy. Homosexuality is like a sexuality, not an eating disorder. It's no kind of disorder. Are some gay people in need of psychiatric help? You bet. But some straight people are too. Some gay people are experiencing mental illness because of the stigma they experience within society, the discrimination, abuse, and vilification. Much of that structure of homophobic abuse is held up by religious buttresses. We need to remove the religious support for the abuse of gay people. Simply saying, "I didn't encourage those thugs to attack that gay man, I merely stated my sincere belief that homosexuality is an abomination" - that's like a BNP politician denying that he provoked racist attacks simply because he said Asian people have no business living in this country. It is naive in the extreme, and dangerously naive, to ignore the link between the words and the actions.

    (7) Gay Men Are Confused. Jim may have been confused, but some of us are not. He says, "The challenge to the gay man is to FACE HEAD ON THE WORLD OF OTHER MEN, and to face WHY he is so powerfully and erotically drawn to other guys." I'll answer that for you, Jim. It's because I'm gay. Same reason why straight men are so powerfully and erotically drawn to women. Not all women, just the ones they find attractive. Why do they find some attractive rather than others? Maybe it was because of the way they were nurtured in their childhood? Maybe they see their mother in some women and turn away? Maybe they had a bad experience as a child and some types of women prompt memories of that experience, so they turn away? Maybe their genes are involved? I've no idea. It's a mystery. So is my sexuality. But neither is a disorder. It's just the way we are, us humans - we're complicated that way.

    (8) Gay Men Are Afraid. Jim thinks gay men have "aninnate fear (and profound grief) that as a boy you never bonded sufficiently deeply enough with the guys around you." He's generalizing his own experience again. Some gay men have a more pressing fear: that religious fundamentalists in government will criminalise them, that religious tyrants in Middle Eastern countries will execute them, that religious bigots in churches will demonize them. Deal with those fears, please.

    (9) The Gay Mafia Runs the Country Argument. Everytime a gay man or woman gets appointed to any public body these days, some religious fundamentalists rise up to claim that a gay mafia is now in power. The mafia will ruin your children's lives and distort the news media towards a pro-gay agenda. Jim says, "The hardest thing to do is to TOTALLY REJECT the message and agenda of the gay community which now runs much of our Media." I assume he means, here, that the media is mostly pro-gay these days. Just like the media is mostly pro-women, anti-discrimination, anti-racist, pro-democracy, and opposed to intolerance. Perhaps this is so, though I doubt it, if recent comments by Chris Moyles and Jonathan Ross are any guide. If he means that gay people dominate the top positions in newspapers, television, radio, advertising, the internet, and the rest of "the media", I'd like to see his evidence for that. One hears the same kind of comment in the United States from a certain type of right-wing politician who is angry that the blacks are now in so many high-profile positions, even before the US elected a black president. Racists get nervous when black people get elected. They get nervous when the media fails to understand the white supremacist arguments any more. Some homophobic straight people are similarly nervous when "society" fails to understand their anti-gay rhetoric, or, God forbid, calls that rhetoric "homophobic".

    (10) Gays and Persecution. Jim is lucky, he's never been "persecuted" for being gay. I could introduce him to many who have not been so lucky. I've friends who have been beaten up in the street and hospitalized. Jim says, "I was NEVER EVER persecuted for my sexual identity as a gay man. I mentioned earlier that it was applauded and rejoiced over by anyone and everyone. EVERYONE!" Jim only experienced pressure when he broke up with his "faithful" and apparently very loving boyfriend because he came to believe his homosexuality was a disorder. I feel very sorry for your boyfriend - sorry that he was caught up in what became a nightmare for him. You have every right to leave the relationship for your own reasons, and I don't judge you for that. But please don't live under the illusion that your experience in "the gay world" was typical. The official stats for homophobic abuse in Northern Ireland are frightening. The recent studies highlighted by the Equality Commission show that anti-gay attitudes are on the rise. Gay people in Northern Ireland are facing a barrage of abuse, and they are seeking counseling help - not to deal with their sexuality, but to deal with the sexuality of those straight people who abuse them.

    (11) The Born Gay Argument is a Myth. Jim is completely certain that people are not born gay and he's upset that the gay-right and the media are spinning a web of misleading evidence to pretend that homosexuality is genetically based. I have examined the evidence pretty closely, in a professional capacity as well as a personal one, and I think it's fair to say that the evidence for the innateness of homosexuality is growing but not yet conclusive. There have been many new studies and there will be many more. Perhaps those future studies will resolve this issue, perhaps they won't. I recommend the book, Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation by the psychiatrist Glenn Wilson and the psychobiologist Qazi Rahman, for those who wise to examine the evidence to date. This book gathers the evidence together and assesses its strengths and weaknesses. As a matter of fact, I really don't care whether homosexuality turns out to be innate or environmental, or a combination of both. One could say the same of genesis of heterosexuality. Big deal. Even if homosexuality is shown to be genetic, fundamentalists will simply say that gay people have fallen genes because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Biological studies will never resolve the theological and ethical question of whether homosexuality is approved by God and moral.

    (12) Gay People can Become Straight - If They Try Hard Enough. Jim says, "The evidence is out there if you want to find it, although it is constantly being swamped with the mountains of gay propaganda that now exist. I would remind people that THEY DO HAVE CHOICE, and if they have tried to walk the journey out and feels as though they are going nowhere, KEEP GETTING UP AND TRY AGAIN. I felt lost at many points on the journey, but at least kept trying, and the right person in the right place came forward every time." If you just find the right therapist, he thinks, you can have the success he's had. And what is his success? He admits that he's more attracted to other men than ever before in his life. That's not exactly a success story for gay conversion statistics. Jim's claim would exclude him from the tiny percentage of those men in evangelical studies who are claimed as gay-to-straight converts. And the methodology of the evangelical studies has been comprehensively debunked, so even that tiny percentage is extremely questionable. Jim's advice to a gay person who is deeply unhappy about their sexuality is to continue on a journey of unhappiness, surround yourself with people who dispute your psycho-sexual identity, join a church that regards your sexuality as disordered and broken, and, whatever you do, don't settle down in a happy relationship with another man or woman who loves you and cares for you. Jim's advice would condemn that gay person to a life of isolation and deep, deep loneliness. It is not an overstatement to say that his advice is abusive. I make a different recommendation. If you are gay and unhappy about your sexuality, ask, why are you unhappy. Is it because you feel you are doing something wrong, something God disapproves of? Ask now, were did you get the idea that you are sinning when you act on your feelings of affection for people of the same sex. The church and society condemned you, those who say they understand the Bible pointed to passages there which condemned you. Women faced the same mistreatment for centuries at the hands of the church and society: they were told the Bible silenced them in church, that they were less than men, less intelligent, less able to lead, restricted to homelife, unfit to take responsibilties. Many churches have repented of those mis-readings of the Bible, both in the case of women and in the case of gay people too. There are whole denominations now which ordain gay people who are in relationships. You can find a church were you are loved and accepted as a gay person, and you don't need to lie, or hide, or pretend any more. You can deal with the unhappiness by dealing with the cause of it, rather than by denying your true self in order to fit in. I will never fit in to a fundamentalist church any more - that's a price worth paying for accepting myself and living happily with the knowledge that fundamentalists don't speak for God.

    (13) Homosexuality kills people. This is probably the most appalling deception of all in Jim's comments. Gay people have certainly died from AIDS, but straight people die too; and AIDS is a disease, like cancer, that affects everyone regardless of their sexuality. Some gay people have died from drug addiction, but so have some straight people. One doesn't lead to the other. Some gay people have taken their own lives. That is a tragic truth. But ask why, Jim. You say, because of the "appalling way they were treated WITHIN the gay community by different boyfriends". It's a terrible thing when someone takes his or her own life, especially if mistreatment by others has played a role. I don't know the people you speak of, but I know gay people who have attempted suicide because of the way they were mistreated by the church and by society. I would not write off the church as a consequence of the behaviour of some homophobes within it; I want the church to be redeemed. I would like the gay community to be redeemed too, in the sense that I want that community to be healthy, safe, balanced, integrated, a community that is full of love, not hatred, and one that is reconciled to a world around it that has, for centuries, abused it.

    Jim, I wish you well in the life you have chosen for yourself. I wish your partner and family well too. I believe every one of us has the responsibility and the freedom, under God, to live the life that makes sense for them, whether they are gay or straight. The church throughout the world is on a journey on this issue, as it has been on the issue of women's equality. Unfortunately, most churches in the world still exclude women from leadership, which is an indication of how hard the journey will be for gay people too. We will get there, though. Together.

  • Comment number 59.

    ThomasScarlet says: "To describe Satinover as a part-time lecturer in a small Christian College is like saying that Lewis Hamilton is a part-time car driver on one-way streets."

    I've checked out the linked web-site. Satinover may have degrees from MIT and Yale, but it is actually the case that he's a part-time lecturer in a small Christian College in New York. The college in question (King's College), has a full time staff of less than 15. I'd call that small. It is constitutionally Christian. And it is a college. Whether Thomas likes it or not, the much-celebrated qualifications of "Professor" Satinover are these. That term "professor", as we all know, is used in the US for every university staff member, regardless of their status. A brand new lecturer is given the title, as is a part-time lecturer. When American academics are described, in a UK, context as "professors", it's always wise to ask if they are Full professors, Associate Professors (read; Senior Lecturer), or Assistant Professors (read: lecturers). In Satinover's case. he's none of these. He's a "distinguished" "adjunct professor". Adjunct, in the US, is equivalent to the UK term "part-time".

    Sorry Thomas, for this detail, but you did make a issue out of it.

    As for the other issue you take, that Will has written about an item that didn't actually run on his show, I note that he often writes about items that don't run on his show. That's what a blog is for! I have to say, I am now left wondering WHY the distinguished adjunct professor Satinover decided at the last minute to be a no-show. Hmmm. Any ideas there, Thomas?

  • Comment number 60.

    *57 ... Thomas, you are seriously defensive, aren't you? If you think writing a blog post is an over-reaction, you should see what Nolan does when a guest pulls out of a show! He'd announce it to the biggest audience in the country.

    I'm still not buying this Evangelical Alliance business either. I was interested to know that EA had sent round an email about this event. EA is a big organisation so it left me wondering why they'd want to associate themselves with this. Then when I read Stephen Cave on here, I couldn't believe it. Protest too much? Tell that to Stephen Cave!

    Amazingly, you are now trying to distance Satinover from the Bible Code nonsense. You say he isnt to be confused with the Michael Drosnin, who wrote two sensationalist books defending the theory. Nope, you're right. Satinover is, on the other hand, the author of two non-sensationalist books defending the theory! But Thomas, Thomas ... it's the theory that's the problem, not the tone of the books! The theory is so crazed that no one defending it can hope to be taken seriously. That's why I was astonished that EA were sending round their email. Unless, of course, EA had no idea that Satinover was a Bible Code Theorist. That would make sense, and would be more acceptable than if they DID know who he was. But you're still left with EA publicising a guy they've no idea about. Neither option's a good one.

    It's a shame you're signing off, Thomas. I like your exit strategy though - say you're signing off, THEN throw out a lot of complaints, attacks and insinuations, before disappearing. I don't think Steve Cave would regard that as "accountable". Hmmm.

  • Comment number 61.

    JimS007 - A huge thanks for sharing your story. Very,very powerful. If I could, I'd like to second OT's suggestion that you write again - although we understand if you don't have the time.

  • Comment number 62.

    Since some people are thanking Jim for sharing his story, can I also thank Gay_and_Christian for responding in such detail to what Jim has said. Conservative Christians would be mistaken in believing that Jim's story is the only story. I think those who really want to know what a living, breathing gay person thinks about all of this would be advised to read Gay_and_Christian.

  • Comment number 63.

    Apologies for the length of this post, but I remembered I have some quotations saved from a few years back by Camille Paglia and, having re-read them, found it hard to leave many out; they all seem relevant to issues brought up on this thread. Paglia is a pretty well-known professor and cultural critic in the US, a feminist, an atheist, a lesbian - by choice, and a proponent of man-boy love ("I fail to see what is wrong with erotic fondling with any age." Google her for more on that.) But it's interesting that if she had been a guest on Sunday Sequence along with Satinover on the topic of gay identity and whether gays can change, they would have had very little to disagree about! A pagan and a Jew, both telling it like it is.
    Here are a few of her 'best bits' (most from her book "Vamps and Tramps", 1994, and Salon magazine). [When she writes that gay is a choice, I think she means choice but not volition. A guy definitely doesn't choose in a conscious way to be gay - I certainly didn't - but as she says it's an adaptation, like a 'best/only possible choice to the circumstances I find myself in'.]

    ...

    "I think the only way true tolerance will come is for people to be convinced that bisexual responsiveness is a perfectly achievable ideal. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to convince people that, "So you had sex with another man, oh, big deal." You don't want a situation where [taunting voice], "Oh you had sex with another man? You're really gay! And the fact that you're with a woman now, oh, you're secretly homophobic. You're suppressing you're real instincts." That kind of talk coming from gay activism is shallow, stupid, and self-defeating.

    I've been very disappointed with the direction of gay thinking after Stonewall. I would have thought that gay writers would take a much more liberal posture, a kind of "let's try this, let's try that." To me what has happened is very symptomatic of a fanatical mind-set. There's the idea that [mocking tone] "Oh, you can't change homosexuality, it's innate, how dare you [suggest otherwise]! You're homophobic." Please! If there are gay men who want to develop their ability to respond to women, why not let them? What we should be arguing is the fluidity of sexual response, not its harnessing in these false, opposed categories."

    ...

    "I see lot of contemporary homosexuality as being a search for something that was simply part of a larger, more cohesive fabric of life earlier, up to about 100 years ago. To me it's not simply, "Oh, homosexuality was oppressed before and now it's free to express itself." I don't see that."

    "As a world culture, we have very little interest in groups of women competing with each other. I have often felt that the root of this pleasure is the contemplation of men fighting with each other, rolling over each other, showing off their bodies, pushing and shoving, putting their arms all around each other. There is something here that is very satisfying to us.

    I wouldn't take the queer theory attitude, "Oh it's all suppressed homosexuality." That's stupid. But rather, that homoerotic impulses are naturally part of heterosexuality. It's natural for men to have that kind of relationship with one another, the kind of intimacies that go on in the battlefield, among men at work, men in crews. The loss of that is another thing that contemporary homosexuality is trying to remedy. Boys used to spend the whole day with their fathers and brothers and so on. And now the father goes to work, and the boys are in school. There are these huge, huge gaps in the culture."


    ...

    "After the American Psychiatric Association, responding to activist pressure, removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, psychological inquiries into homosexuality slowly became verboten. To even ask about the origins of homosexuality was automatically dubbed homophobic by gay studies proponents in the 80s and 90s. Weirdly, despite the rigid social constructionist bias that permeated the entire left, gay activists in and out of academe now leapt on the slightest evidence that could suggest a biological cause of homosexuality.
    I myself believe (as I argued in No Law in the Arena in Vamps & Tramps) that everyone is born with a potential for bisexual responsiveness and that exclusive homosexuality is an adaptation to specific social conditions."

    ...

    "Which brings us to another subject, the furor this past month over a report by psychiatrist Robert Spitzer of Columbia University that, from his rather cursory interviews with 153 men and 47 women, the "reparative therapy" endorsed by conservative Protestant groups can in some cases change sexual orientation from gay to straight. That Spitzer had helped to persuade the American Psychiatric Association to drop the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 makes his current study harder to dismiss.

    Nevertheless, screeching gay activists immediately descended on the media to denounce and defame Spitzer as a tool of the far right. This was a good example of the fascist policing of public discourse in this country by nominal liberals who have become as unthinkingly wedded to dogma as any junior member of the Spanish Inquisition. Why should the fluidity of sexual orientation threaten any gay secure in his or her identity?
    What gay ideologues, inflated like pink balloons with poststructuralist hot air, can't admit, of course, is that heterosexuality is nature's norm, enforced by powerful hormonal cues at puberty. In the past decade, one shoddy book after another, rapturously applauded by p.c. reviewers, has exaggerated the incidence of homosexuality in the animal world and, without due regard for reproductive adaptations caused by environmental changes, toxins or population pressure, reductively interpreted bonding or hierarchical behavior as gay in the human sense.

    Because of the unblushing dishonesty of strident activists and campus "queer theorists," whose general knowledge of science would fit into Marie Antoinette's thimble, we are ironically further from understanding homosexuality than we were in 1970, when popular culture was moving into the seductive gender-bending era typified by the brilliant David Bowie. With the emphasis on external "politics," all respect for psychology has been lost. Did no one notice the grotesquely misogynous dialogue put into gay men's mouths on "Queer as Folk"? That kind of catty aversion to the female body is learned, not inborn, and it can be partly traced to early family relations, before personal memory has even gelled.
    My political philosophy as a libertarian says that government has no business intervening in any consensual private behavior. My professional ethic as a thinker and writer, however, says that self-knowledge is our ultimate responsibility. In vicious attacks like the one on Spitzer, gay activists, with all their good intentions, are aligning themselves with the forces of ignorance and repression. Too little reliable work is currently being done in homosexuality because free inquiry cannot be conducted in a politicized atmosphere of harassment and intimidation."

    ...

    "If a gay man wants to marry and sire children, why should he be harassed by gay activists accusing him of 'self-hatred'? He is more mature than they are, for he knows that woman's power cannot be ignored. If counseling can allow a gay man to respond sexually to women, it should be encouraged and applauded, not strafed by gay artillery fire of reverse moralism."

    ...

    "Homosexuality is not normal. On the contrary it is a challenge to the norm. Nature exists whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction. No one is born gay. The idea is ridiculoushomosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait.We should be honest enough to consider whether homosexuality may not indeed be a pausing at the prepubescent stage where children anxiously band together by gender.current gays cant insist that homosexuality is not a choice; that no one would choose to be gay in a homophobic society. But there is an element of choice in all behavior, sexual or otherwise. It takes an effort to deal with the opposite sex; it is safer with your own kind. The issue is one of challenge versus comfort"

    ...

    Serious problems arise when scientific inquiry is obstructed, as in the inflated myth of the "gay gene", by an excessive concern for gay sensitivities. The self-policing by the indulgent major media on these matters has come perilously close to censorship. True gay intellectuals should encourage open discussion of the genesis of homosexuality, a complex subject that has been in limbo, a political blackout, for 20 years. We must demand equality before the law, but that does not excuse us from the philosophic obligation of self-knowledge. Heterosexuality and homosexuality need to be objectively studied by psychologists and historians as interrelated dynamic systems that change from culture to culture."

    ...


    "For the past decade, the situation has been out of control: responsible scholarship is impossible when rational discourse is being policed by storm troopers, in this case gay activists, who have the absolutism of all fanatics in claiming sole access to the truth."

    "In the Eighties and early Nineties, displaced anxiety over the horror of AIDS turned gay activists into rampaging nihilists and monomaniacs, who dishonestly blamed the disease on the government...AIDS did not appear out of nowhere. It was a direct result of the sexual revolution, which my generation unleashed with the best of intentions, but whose worst effects were to be suffered primarily by gay men. In the West, despite much propaganda to the contrary. AIDS is a gay disease and will remain one for the foreseeable future."

    "I believe that the shocking toll of AIDS on gay men in the West was partly due to their Seventies delusions that a world without women was possible. All-male energies, unbalanced and ravenous, literally tore the body apart."

    "We should be aware of the potentially pernicious intermingling of gay activism with science, which produces more propaganda than truth. Gay scientists must be scientists first, gays second."

    "No eroticism can be complete that denies the power of the female principle..."


    "The gay activist establishment has been stupid and narrow in the way it has conducted its civil rights campaign... There is no gay leader remotely near the stature of Martin Luther King, because black activism has drawn on the profound spiritual traditions of the church, to which gay political rhetoric is childishly hostile. Shrilly self-interested and doctrinaire, gay activism is completely lacking in philosophical perspective. Its sorrow became the only sorrow, its disease the only disease."


    "Homosexuality is not 'normal.' On the contrary, it is a challenge to the norm; therein rests its eternally revolutionary character Queer theorists - that wizened crew of flimflamming free-loaders - have tried to take the post structuralist tack of claiming that there is no norm, since everything is relative and contingent. This is the kind of silly bind that word-obsessed people get into when they are deaf, dumb, and blind to the outside world. Nature exists, whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single, relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction. Penis fits vagina; no fancy linguistic game-playing can change that biologic fact."


    "Given the intense hormonal surge of puberty, the total absence of adult heterosexual desire is neither normal nor natural. "

    "I was the only openly gay person at the Yale Graduate School (1968-1972), a candor that was professionally costly. That anyone with my aggressive and scandalous history could be called 'homophobic,' as has repeatedly been done, shows just how insanely Stalinist gay activism has become."

    "The 10 percent figure, servilely repeated by the media, was pure propaganda, and it made me, as a scholar, despise gay activists for their unscrupulous disregard for the truth. Their fibs and fabrications continue, now about the still-fragmentary evidence for a genetic link to homosexuality and for homosexual behavior among animals."

    "I used to feel that the old psychoanalytic model was inadequate in describing the origins of homosexuality as, essentially, arrested development. But it was true that all my gay male friends had powerful, dominating mothers in the prototypical style."

    "ACT-UP won substantial practical victories in its mobilizations against the political and medical establishment, but its most crazed extremists also did enormous damage to the public image of gay men that will take a generation to undo. Flashed across the nation's television screens were contorted male faces, raging, ranting, bawling like infants - 'Me, me, me!'"

    Total attention and an instant cure were demanded, even though science had failed to find a cure for any virus, even the common cold.. .Meanwhile, more women were dying yearly from breast cancer than had succumbed to AIDS in America over a decade. In April 1991, a monsoon hit Bangladesh and killed 125,000 people over one weekend - exactly the number of American AIDS casualties to that point. I angrily asked a friend, 'Where is the quilt for those who died in Bangladesh?' ACT-UP was selfishly selective in what it got angry about..."

    "...ACT-UP's hysteria made me reconsider those vilified therapists and ministers who think change of homosexual orientation is possible and whose meetings are constantly disrupted by gay agitators. Is gay identity so fragile that it cannot bear the thought that some people may not wish to be gay? Sexuality is highly fluid, and reversals are theoretically possible. However, habit is refractory, a phenomenon obvious in the struggle with obesity, smoking, alcoholism, or drug addiction... Helping gays learn how to function heterosexually, if they so wish, is a perfectly worthy aim. We should be honest enough to consider whether homosexuality may not indeed be a pausing at the prepubescent stage when children anxiously band together by gender."

    "Heterosexual love, is in sync with cosmic forces. Not everyone has the stomach for daily war with nature."

    "Men who shrink from penetration of the female body are paralyzed by justifiable apprehension, since they are returning to our uncanny site of origin. It is not male hatred of women but male fear of women that is the great universal."

    "Today, when a freshman has an affair with another girl all the campus social-welfare machinery pushes her toward declaring herself gay and accepting and 'celebrating' it. This is a serious mistake... It is absurd to say that one, two, or more homosexual liaisons make you 'gay' - as if lavender ink ran in your veins. Young women are often attracted to each other during a transitional period when they are breaking away from their parents, expanding their world-views, and developing their personalities. To identify these fruitful Sapphic idylls with a permanent condition of homosexuality is madness, and the campus counselors who encourage such premature conclusions should be condemned and banished. They are preying, for their own ideological purposes, on young people at their most vulnerable."

    ...

    In a response to a letter re: Gay Youth Pride Day:

    "The psychological turmoil of adolescents at sexual awakening cannot be underestimated. Everything is in flux impulses, fears, dreams, with simultaneous longings for independence and for protection by adults. What I dislike about the push of organized gay activism into high schools is that it imposes a rigid political paradigm on a stage of life that is in rapid, painful transition for everyone, gay or straight.
    As an equity feminist, as well as an open lesbian, I oppose special protections for any group, including my own. Teachers and administrators should obviously not permit physical harassment of any kind on school property, but verbal epithets, however offensive or hurtful, have First Amendment protection. The PC thought police, having been defeated on college campuses after the court-ordered banning of the fascist speech codes, are now oozing their way into high schools. Hate cannot be stopped by authoritarian manipulation but by slow social change, which may take generations.
    The Internet has been a boon to lonely gay teens in geographically remote areas but, of course, computers still remain largely a white middle-class luxury. I find very suspicious the statistics about teen suicides with which gay activists badger the media. If gay teens are indeed attempting suicide at a higher rate than straight teens, perhaps more questions need to be asked about the genesis of homosexuality. The intolerable sense of isolation may precede the homosexuality, rather than vice versa.
    I have written repeatedly about my theory that homosexuality is an adaptation, rather than an innate trait, and that it is reinforced by habit. With its cant terms of oppression and bigotry, gay activism, encouraged by the scientific illiteracy of academic postmodernism, wants to deny that there is a heterosexual norm. This is madness. We need more art and history and less politics in primary education. Art gives the young the psychological and spiritual tools for authentic self-discovery. And art is where sexual dissenters have contributed the most to the human record.
    In short, I agree with your concern about the Trojan Horse of gay activism, which is being dragged into high schools under the false flag of compassion. Young people who oppose homosexuality for any reason have a constitutional right to express their views, in or out of the classroom. Whatever they may privately believe as individuals, educators have a professional obligation to remain ideologically neutral in their treatment of students."

    ...

    "After a period of optimism about the long-range potential of gay men's one-on-one relationships, gay magazines are starting to acknowledge the more relaxed standards operating here, with recent articles celebrating the bigger bang of sex with strangers or proposing "monogamy without fidelity" -- the latest Orwellian formulation to excuse having your cake and eating it too.

    Again, it is my libertarian position that everyone is free to have consensual sex with anybody else and in any style and quantity, as long as the rights of others to enjoy public space are not infringed upon. But it's grotesque for gay men to avoid asking themselves searching questions about their addiction to cruising. The strange is always a flight from the oppressively too-familiar. It's an escape from "HOME and MOTHER," as D.H. Lawrence said about Herman Melville's sea voyages."

    "Since psychotherapy is now ruled by the wishy-washy "I'm OK, You're OK" school and since academe is infested by supine apologists for queer theory (a bag of bombast by ignoramuses who got their jobs by kissing Michel Foucault's bony ass), only conservatives, alas, are providing any challenge whatever to the prevailing, simplistic, Pollyanna assumptions about homosexuality."

    "Gayness is certainly not innate, and those who trumpet that science has proved otherwise should be condemned. That gayness may be intricately related in childhood development to other personality traits, like shyness, aggression or artistic talent, is a more likely hypothesis.

    I have been struck, in my brief encounters over the years with a half-dozen prominent gay male activists, by the frightening coldness and deadness of their eyes. Behind their smooth, bland faces I saw the seething hatreds of Dostoevskian anarchists. Gay crusading, I concluded, was their way of handling their own bitter misanthropy, which came from other sources. I found these men more spiritually twisted than anyone I have encountered in my life. The gay movement should not be left in their hands.

    You call yourself "secular," as do I. Secular humanism is strong only when it can offer science and art as vibrant substitutes to conventional religion in the search for meaning. But militant gay academics and their jargon-spouting post-structuralist minions have trashed science and art. As a teacher, I am concerned about young people's cultural milieu. Until gay activism can expand the imagination and feed the soul as well as religion does, give me religion."

    "As a libertarian, I believe that government must stay out of our private lives. As an atheist, I believe that government has no business sanctifying the unions of some persons (heterosexuals) but not others (homosexuals), particularly when certain benefits (such as employer-sponsored spousal health-insurance) flow to one group only.

    As a scholar, however, I am troubled by the provincialism and amorality of the gay male world, when compared to the vastness of philosophical perspective provided by orthodox religion -- or even by ancient paganism, which honored nature. And as a lesbian, I'm sick and tired of the gay rights movement being damaged by the cowardly incapacity for self-examination of many gay men."

    "For gays to demand that sincere Christians cease lobbying Washington about the increasing liberal drift of government policy shows colossal historical amnesia. For pity's sake, it was the flamboyant, thunderous activism of evangelical Protestant ministers in the 19th century that powered the abolitionist movement and led to the end of slavery in the United States. (Of course, these massively documented facts were concealed in Steven Spielberg's Liberal Hollywood Lite version of "Amistad.")
    So gays should quit bitching about Southern Baptists exercising their constitutional right to free speech about homosexuality, which is indeed condemned by the Bible, despite the tortuous casuistry of so many self-interested parties, including clerics. I have been warning and warning for years that the insulting disrespect shown by gay activists to religion -- which has been going on for 20 years virtually unchecked on TV talk shows, with their biased liberal hosts -- would produce a backlash over time."

    ...

    "Backward in thinking" is how McCurry put it, with the arrogant elitism for which liberal Democrats have become notorious. Translation: Christians who revere traditional scriptural teaching are ignorant rubes. If you don't swing with the sodomites these days, you're nowheresville with the A-list crowd. The Clintons, who just returned from their party weekend in the glitterati Hamptons, know where the fat checkbooks are buried.

    I've warned throughout this decade that the gay activist tactics of derision and intimidation about orthodox Christianity arouse needless animosity without producing fundamental change: Viciously silencing opponents simply guarantees that when the backlash finally comes, it will take massively reactionary form. No authentic dialogue is possible with gay activists, as I know from experience. Their minds are closed: They think in starkly Manichaean terms of good vs. evil, with themselves cast as the angels. Hence they and Christian fundamentalists are made for each other, in a nonstop cyclic melodrama of hysterical mutual torment.

    Yes, as a scholar of sexual history and culture, I think the claims that homosexuality is innate are based on questionable and minuscule evidence (see my July 7 column on this subject). The PC parrots who are squawking that view all over the media don't seem to realize that their vaunted body of data simply suggests thus far that gay men are developmentally defective -- that is, that they were incompletely masculinized in the womb, perhaps because of emotional or environmental stresses on their pregnant mothers. Is this really where we want gay rights to be heading?

    Sexual fantasies, rooted in childhood, are always symbolic. They have a mysterious, magical relationship to family, friends and the greater worlds of nature and society -- which is why the famous, grisly fairy tales like "Snow White" or "Hansel and Gretel" have generated so much psychoanalytic commentary. Once overt sexual desire and practice begin to reinforce those mental pathways, it's very difficult to alter them. Habit makes deep neural imprints.

    If some or many gays can reexamine their personal and family histories and make a fundamental shift of sexual orientation, more power to them! I respect their will and courage. Neither gay activists nor queer theorists (binge queens for propaganda) show any appetite for self-examination at the moment, so their sweeping statements about psychology are useless.

    My philosophy of gay rights is very simple: As a libertarian, I think that government should stay out of people's private lives. I oppose sodomy laws, favor lowering the age of consent to 14 and advocate reexamining all benefits currently extended to married heterosexuals to ensure that gays, who cannot legally marry, are not discriminated against.

    Next, I loathe the outrageous way that gay activists routinely conflate the oppression of gays and blacks: There is no basis for comparison in U.S. history, where blacks were systematically and cruelly enslaved. And I am highly skeptical about the actual incidence of gays losing their jobs because they are gay (as opposed, let's say, to them simply being obnoxious, for which straights get fired too).

    To conclude, I appeal to the gay activist leadership to focus on practical legal matters and to back off from its doomed high-wire experiments with theology and psychoanalysis. Let religious conservatives say whatever they want and run whatever ads they want. Get real: Entertainment, media and the arts are nonstop advertisements for homosexuality these days. One man's propaganda is another man's poison."

  • Comment number 64.

    That last comment with the long quotes from Camila Paglia doesn't add much to this discussion. She's entitled to her views (though I know that she has already taken back some of what's included in this list of quotes). She's an iconoclast and that's partly why we find her interesting. I can't agree with her on some of this, including her desire to reduce the age of consent to 14. That strikes me as irresponsible. Perhaps we'd make more progress if we echange our own views on here rather than copy and paste long quotes from other writers, the Bible, etc. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 65.

    GayChristian: It seems Paglia gives an opposing view to nearly all the points that you mention. Thankfully, you can't write her off as a "fundamentalist" or as a "self-hating closeted gay" or as a "homophobe". Don't you feel uncomfortable that a lesbian atheist has to remind you that homosexuality "is indeed condemned by the Bible, despite the tortuous casuistry of so many self-interested parties, including clerics". I've never, ever, ever understood people who can read the Bible and then with a straight face proclaim man on man sex as aye-ok. Why try to have your cake and eat it? Why the need to say you are a Christian? Why not just be a humanist, or a 'nice person'? Here's a famous quotation from a guy who doesn't even believe in a Creator God, the Dalai Lama: "if you are a Buddhist, homosexuality is wrong. Full stop."* Yup. Can't get much clearer. So, when it comes to the Christian ("all things were made by Him"-John1) conception of God, how could anyone argue that it wouldn't matter to him what we do with our bits. Jesus constantly talked of "porniea" and that it would bar us from His kingdom. I, and quite a few of my friends, have done the whole sex with men merry go round for years. Sometimes fun, for sure. Unsatisfying eventually, as you can imagine. But not once did we try to justify our actions as "Christian". We all knew the truth.

    I think you misunderstood a few things Jim was saying. I didn't get that he thought the boys' school had any link to this, but rather not fully connecting to the males in his family, if I've read it right.
    There are so many other things I could argue, but you have the same Google as I do. To try to spin AIDS as less than predominantly a gay disease just goes against every piece of data so far. Think about it for a moment. 2-3% homosexuals in the population yet they average around 70% of cases. That is an absolutely astounding figure ! No way that can be spinned.

    Jovial asked why Satinover hadn't done any genetic research himself. Why the hell would he waste his time when gay scientists have been furiously trying for the past 20 years to come up with something and the net result - nada.

    One last atheist gay that would have made William's panel complete is Peter Tatchell. Look up his "Homosexuality: It isn't natural" article. Fascinating quotations -

    "Many studies suggest social factors are also important influences in the formation of sexual orientation. These include the relationship between a child and its parents, formative childhood experiences, family expectations, cultural mores and peer pressure.

    By about the age of five or six, a combination of biological and social influences seem to lay the basis of an individuals sexual orientation. Because our sexuality is fixed at such an early age, many lesbians and gay men feel they have been homosexual all their lives and therefore mistakenly conclude that it must be genetic and that they were born queer."

    What is, however, certain is that if gayness was primarily explainable in genetic terms we would expect it to appear in the same proportions, and in similar forms, in all cultures and all epochs. As the anthropologists Clellan Ford and Frank Beach demonstrated in Patterns Of Sexual Behaviour (1965), far from being cross-culturally uniform and stable, both the incidence and expressions of same-sex desire vary vastly between different societies."

    "The homophobes are thus, paradoxically, closer to the truth than many gay activists. Removing the social opprobrium and penalties from queer relationships, and celebrating gay love and lust, would allow more people to come to terms with presently inhibited homoerotic desires. In this sense, it is perfectly feasible to promote lesbian and gay sexuality and make someone queer. Individuals who have a homosexual component in their character, but are inhibited by repression or guilt, definitely can be encouraged to acknowledge their same-sex attraction and act upon it."


    I think I'll throw my lot in with the lesbian pagan and the gay activist. Fair play to them for having the guts to tell the truth and for being Satinover's fun bedfellows.

    * [In reality, Tibetan Buddhism is not a values-free system oriented around smiles and a warm heart. It is a religion with tough ethical underpinnings that sometimes get lost in translation. For example, the Dalai Lama explicitly condemns homosexuality, as well as all oral and anal sex. His stand is close to that of Pope John Paul II, something his Western followers find embarrassing and prefer to ignore. His American publisher even asked him to remove the injunctions against homosexuality from his book, "Ethics for the New Millennium," for fear they would offend American readers, and the Dalai Lama acquiesced. New York Times, 2003]

  • Comment number 66.

    Paduska, you've been trying to put the boot into Gay_and_Christian, while being oh so gentle and supportive of Jim, who's in denial about sexuality.

    You use quotes from Camile Paglia, as if her arguments are somehow holy writ. She's entitled to her views. She defends pornography and an age of consent of 14. Others will disagree with that. She also attacks religious believers of all kinds. So she's an atheist. Does that make her an expert on biblical interpretation? Of course not. Your use of her quotes is bizarre. Paglia speaks only for herself, as it should be.

    So what does she say about the Bible? That the Bible was anti-gay. I agree that the Bible includes homophobic texts, and that it includes racist, pro-slavery, and sexist texts too. What the church has done, over many hundreds of years, is deal with those texts, sometimes honestly, sometimes, dishonestly.

    But recognising that the Bible includes texts reflecting past prejudice doesn't lead necessarily to the conclusion that we should throw out the Bible. Another possible response is that we should read the Bible with care and challenge those claims that every word carries divine authority for all time. That's what Christians have done with texts supporting the killing of children, capital punishment, genocide, slavery and discrimination against people with disabilities. The question for those same christians is: Why don't you show the same openess to re-reading those texts that are homophobic. Incidentally, there are a lot fewer of those texts.

    Finally, just an observation: Gay people comes in different shapes and sizes. Some are Christians, some are atheists. It's a bit daft to haul in a quote attacking the Bible from a gay atheist and expect a gay Christian to say, yes, you're right, I need to throw out the Bible now, because that gay atheist says so.

  • Comment number 67.

    Comment on Paduska:

    I think you're missing the point about both Paglia and Tatchell. First, on Tatchell, that article your reference is out of date. Peter Tatchell gave the pride lecture in Belfast last summer and was asked in public about it. He said he'd changed his mind, and now belives the scientific evidence is clearer than before that homosexuality is innate. Whether that's genetics or hormones or brain shapes, or a combination of various factors is up for grabs, he said, but he objects to people claiming that his current position is that homosexuality is not innate. Anyone who wants to quote Tatchell on this subject should do him the justice of quoting his current position.

    On Paglia: She's a professor of literature. Not a scientist, not biologist, not even a psychologist. She is a social constructivist, which means she holds a consistent postmodern position on all aspects of human nature. Gender, she says, is also a construction, rather than something that is a "given". So is sexuality, and she's prepared to same the same about race distinctions too. She believes it's best to argue that people "choose" to identify as gay (or white/black, male/female). Many disagree with that position, though I find it an interesting one. Her general moral point is that EVEN IF we accept that people choose their sexuality or gender, we should celebrate the right of people to do so, and nobody has the right to abuse people for making those choices. I applaud that claim by Paglia, even though I regard the scientific evidence as increasingly indicative of a physical basis for sexuality differences.

    Paglia has no time for religion. Full stop. To use her as a Bible expert is a but desperate.

    Can I say something about the link Paduska is pushing between gay people and HIV. I don't know what point he's trying to make here, but it sounds like a re-run of the argument that Aids is a gay disease and God's judgment on the immoral. The stats aren't as simple as he suggests, but it is certainly the case that gay men are in high risk groups in the West. In fact, in the west, black gay men are in the highest risk category. Is God particularly trying to punish black males, Paduska? On the other hand, the safest category of all is lesbians. Does God wish to show his approval of lesbians by that statistic? Move out of the West to places like Africa and the spread of the disease is different. There, the highest risk groups are black heterosexual males. The way this virus has entered the human world is as yet unclear, but no one denies that HIV took hold in the West via gay communities, which is why HIV was originally called GRID (gay-related immune deficiency). In Africa and other places, early signs were not gay-focused. In the West, we can guess that the reason for the speedier spread of the virus was the higher average number of sexual partners evidences in the gay population. Gay men in the West have often faced prosecution and abuse for their sexuality, so over many generations they hid their sexuality, and instead of forming lasting relationships, they often had short-term sexual encounters surrounded by secrecy. Some also chose not to be in relationships, which is their right, and multiplied short-term encounters. If we link the early spread of HIV to higher average numbers of sexual partners, we need to ask if the climate of stigma and persecution sponsored by religion in the West contributed to that pattern. It's also the case, very often the case, that some HIV positive gay men today have become infected even though they have had few sexual partners.

    I would caution anyone against drawing any moral points out of HIV and AIDS. It's a disease, like cancer, and some diseases have affected some communities more than others. We know that some diseases are limited to the black population, some to Asian groups, etc., but it would be wring to read into those facts any moral condemnation.

  • Comment number 68.

    post-script o Paglia. On the quotes given here, note that Paglia says she believes that BISEXUALITY is innate. She believes that every human person is created with the potential to form sexual relationships with both men and women. She believes that social circumstances, nurturing, etc., explain why a particular individual becomes either exclusively lesbian or exclusively homosexual. That's her belief. She's an English Lit professor, so it's not a view she has arrived at by science. The science in this area is obviously very young. 20 years is not a long time to research such a complex question, but even in that time there has been great progress. I too recommend the book BORN GAY (details on Gay_and_Christian's comments). I'm not myself religious, but I was very moved by what Gay_and_Christian has written. The response to him here from other alleged Christians rather confirms my few that the church is a dangerous place for gay people, where they face cruelty and dehumanization. I applaud the work of gay Christians who struggle against those forces, as black Christians in the US had to struggle against a white religious system. I admire your courage and your willingness to put up with unscientific, irrational responses in your battle for inclusion.

  • Comment number 69.

    A small observation:

    'Gay and Christian' identifies as Gay, 'JimS007' does not. He chose to walk away from his lover and to identify in another way. Gay and Christian wishes him well, he tells us, expressing concern for Jim's lover. Augustine of Clippo (44,66) describes this choice or identity as 'denial' of Jim's sexuality, referring back to 'NARTH-speak' and he clearly doesn't respect this choice (of identity).

    So picture the young man in Northern Ireland. I'll call him Joe. He comes from a conservative background. Joe doesn't know who he is right now, but he feels Gay. He's not ready to be known as Gay however. He's picked up from church that it isn't safe to talk about it, and he knows what they'd say anyway. He doesn't buy everything they say, but some of it he does. He's thought about speaking to a teacher he trusts at school, but then he heard this teacher talk about homophobia. The talk made him feel angry, because he hates any kind of bullying. But at the same time, he's not sure where he fits. Its like there are only two choices - Gay or Straight (or Bi - he knows about that too).

    So I'd like to know where's the middle ground for Joe? Where does he go to find his way? In the church he's told "don't go that way". He's hearing another message on TV and around generally - "it's in the genes". Then, from his parents, he hears about Satinover, who says it isn't inherited, and it's not in the genes (but there are heritable traits). So now he's really confused.

    Then he reads about Sam. Sam is Gay. But Sam doesn't want to be Gay. He wants to marry, and he wants to have children - but this can't happen as far as he can see. Sam told his lover who was heart-broken, and then Sam tried to live differently. Sam is a Christian. He is Gay and Christian. He doesn't fit in any church, because they don't know what to say to help him - although they are very happy he's decided to live a different way. He went to a church where Gay was okay and he was told he was in denial. He went to a counsellor who told him to be himself. Sam thought the counsellor was crazy.

    Sam doesn't know where to go, and neither does Joe. They don't really fit anywhere - in the Gay world or in the other world.

    So can anyone tell me, where do Joe and Sam go? Is there anyone in the Gay world willing to say some people won't be happy there and have a right to choose another way - as Jim did? And where is the church that is big enough to stand with someone who is struggling to find their way, and who leans towards taking (recognising, affirming) a Gay identity?

    There's a vulnerable population who I don't think are being helped by anyone. I think its time for both sides to look for a new way of talking about and dealing with this reality that doesnt force people in directions that dont fit with themselves.

  • Comment number 70.


    Masaba

    Thanks for your comments.

    I do feel that there are two sides fighting their corners here and also that neither is really listening to the other, but rather seeking to win their argument.

    One side argues for the right to explore the possibility of change and also testifies of the actual experience of doing so.

    The other side is highly sceptical and perhaps fears/feels that such claims by definition may indirectly condemn them, or be used to directly condemn them.


    I believe that people should be granted the freedom to walk their own paths and the respect that goes with that. Both sides.

    I believe in full freedom of information to empower free choice.


    1 Cor 13 asks us to believe each other when we speak and not to be rude to each other, also stating that knowledge without love is empty.


    You say you have changed and are now married with a family and happy? I am happy that you have found such a fulfilling path; I do not question your honesty or sanity. That is respect.

    You say you are practising gay and believe it is fully compatible with your faith? I may respectfully disagre, but you have every right to do so without being dehumanised and condemned as a person. That is respect.

    Without doubt churches have scapegoated homosexual people while ignoring other sexual sins in their midst. John Sentamu argues that people with homosexuality should not be treated any different than those in adulerty and other forms of sex outside of marriage; and that gay people should not be condemned and dehumanised.

    Mental adultery is the one sexual sin that few people in churches wish to mention, for example.

    I have seen sincere reports from people with homosexual feelings who have not been able to transform their sexuality.

    Where can such people go?

    Undoubtedly churches are often not well equipped to deal with these situations but I guess that there maybe more help, solidarity and affirmation out there than might be thought. Though I fully accept that people will be cautious about searching out such support and trusting it.

    A parallel might be seen in help for those struggling with substance addictions of various kinds, ie these people have real life dominating struggles which may require years of intensive support, but the church does understand this and offer support in many formats around NI; i suggest the church is often open to learn and love and support struggling people.


    Real support in NI for people caught in the crossfire can be found in the two links below, which immediately offers online, safe and anonymous community where people can be honest and accepted.

    There is also real world support from both groups, which are both part of the church and run by people who have/do know SSA... and for people with SSA.

    Apologies for those who may find some of my illustrations or terms offensive, it was not the intention but my best attempt at communicating my thoughts respectfully.

    sincerely
    OT

  • Comment number 71.

  • Comment number 72.

    Well well well Orthodox-tradition,

    "You say you are practising gay and believe it is fully compatible with your faith? I may respectfully disagre, but you have every right to do so without being dehumanised and condemned as a person. That is respect."

    That is such hypocrisy from you after you called gay people 'a tidal wave of filth' on a thread some months ago. You may fool some new arrivals on the blog here OT, but people who have been on here for a while longer know that you are a really very nasty piece of homophobia. You mentioning respect on this subject means you are once again violating the 9th commandment.

  • Comment number 73.

    OT (70) - just to say

    "You say you are practising gay and believe it is fully compatible with your faith? I may respectfully disagre, but you have every right to do so without being dehumanised and condemned as a person. That is respect"

    Not sure if you are referring to my post in 70 - but I am married and I'm not gay-identified. Not sure where your comments come from. Thanks for your response.

  • Comment number 74.


    Hi PK

    Actually I never on my life called gay people a tidal wave of filth.

    I did call a wave of thinking that any and all sorts of sexual practise are acceptable to God a tidal wave of filth.

    This is certainly new testament language, in its context, so I dont apologise for a second. But neither do I think it is a workable foundation for an honest and open conversation, as on this particular thread.

    I am proposing that this conversation be about ideas rather than personal attacks.

    BTW PK, just like to say thank you for trailing me for so many years on this blog. As GV said recently, you get "psychotic" when I make a comment.

    Why would you do that if I have so little credibility, you a phd in physics, me a mere nothing?

    Could my arguments carry more weight in your mind than you admit, even to yourself?

    Either way, I suggest you will always carry more credibility if you attempt to refute my arguments rather than focus on dubious attacks on me personlly. If you arguments are so good, why bother with personal attacks at all???

    Several years of obsessive personal insults perhaps says more about you than me.

    Of all the things you will debate in details it seem you will never discuss the particularly severe religious upbringing you had.

    It always appears to me, perhaps Im wrong, that it is your parents you are attacking when you attack me. But I dont think I truly stand for anything that they might have. Its hard to know when you wont talk about it.

    Perhaps you should discuss it with someone you trust and respect???

    Peace

    ////////////////////////////


    Masaba

    Sorry for the misunderstanding - those were general phrases directed to everyone on this blog and certainly not directed at you personally.

    Thanks for getting back.

    OT

  • Comment number 75.

    Hello OT,

    "Actually I never on my life called gay people a tidal wave of filth. I did call a wave of thinking that any and all sorts of sexual practise are acceptable to God a tidal wave of filth."

    I don't think any people read what you said in the way you say it now, including some fellow christians who commented on your very unpleasant statements directed at gay people.

    "BTW PK, just like to say thank you for trailing me for so many years on this blog."

    "Why would you do that if I have so little credibility"

    You're welcome for trailing you and I hope you stay on the blog. You are the Flying Spaghetti Monsters gift to atheism. I don't think christianity and most other religions are doing the world more good than harm. Your posts on this blog, standing up for your flavour of christianity, are a most welcome gift, as they clearly show the very ugly side christianity can lead to. Even some of your fellow christians openly condemn you in very clear language. Keep up the good work promoting atheism. Just be yourself.

    "It always appears to me, perhaps Im wrong, that it is your parents you are attacking when you attack me."

    No peab, it's mostly your christianity-inspired deep dishonesty I'm posting against. While the religious views of my parents are riddled with faults, deep dishonesty isn't among them.

  • Comment number 76.


    Thanks Pete

    So in what way were the religious views of your parents riddled with faults, if you dont mind me asking?

    And perhaps more importantly, in what way did the outworking of these faults impinge on your upbringing?

    OT

  • Comment number 77.

    OT it's not that you have "little credibility", you have *no* credibility.

    You have been caught out being dishonest many many times on this blog, you have been very arrogant in not admitting when you have made a mistake.

    "few labs do radiometric dating", "few people are qualified to do radiometric dating", "QM undermining evolution" the use of the dishonest practice of quote-mining etc etc ad nauseum. Paradoxically and ironically it is precisely your fundamentalist faith which you try to defend which has made you be dishonest.

    OT you *are* dishonest, disingenuous, arrogant, hypocritical and downright creepy.

    This is *not* an attack on Christianity on general(something which you always turn this into), as I have told you from day 1 OT, you are not like Christians that I know-people who I am proud of calling my friends and family nor are you like the majority of Christian posters on these threads. Indeed OT they have worked you out, many Christian posters on here on many occasions have commented on the utter futility in attempting to have a debate with you, moreover they labelled you "the Pharisee".

    However OT your behaviour is atypical of those from the absolutist, Protestant fundamentalist community eg., obtuse, wilfully ignorant, hypocritical etc

    OT the other posters have worked you out and see you for what you are...an empty sepulchre full of dead men's bones.

    You are being super nice now OT(probably for the benefit of the new posters)however you do inevitably refer to type...as a dog returns to it's vomit.

    You have a nice one

    Regards

    DD


  • Comment number 78.

    PeterK

    I believe that OT is turning into Sigmund Freud! maybe OT cannot see that it's his own behaviour down the years that affects how you have posted to him?

    OT would make for an excellent research piece for a psychology student doing a paper on the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance.

    Regards

    DD

  • Comment number 79.

    OT

    I distinctly remember you arguing on these threads that gay people lead to the downfall of civilisation-it that ain't derogatory I don't know what is!

    ""Actually I never on my life called gay people a tidal wave of filth. I did call a wave of thinking that any and all sorts of sexual practise are acceptable to God a tidal wave of filth."

    And of course you have a one way connection to your god-only you OT! it is ironic since you gave us the empirical data to show us your god doesn't exist and to confirm our atheism eg., a literal genesis/Adam & Eve, literal flood etc when *no* evidence exists to support such conclusions and and the "evidence" as supplied by your 174 dentists in AIG is *THAT* stupid and useless that creationists don't even use it!

    Ah well! bored on a rainy Saturady afternoon!

    Regards

    DD

  • Comment number 80.

    Hello OT,

    "So in what way were the religious views of your parents riddled with faults, if you dont mind me asking?"

    Ah, the old diversion tactic. We hadn't seen that one from you for a while OT. Rather than avoiding answering questions by trying to switch subject, why don't you answer the points put to you the last time there was a thread about gay issues? You asked what had been your most insulting and dishonest comments here. After listing examples in both catergories, you made a faulty attempt at answering a few of them, most of them you didn't have a reply to at all at the time. Add to that the very critical rebuke you got from RJB. It must not be pleasant being you on this blog, having these points about your dishonesty being made over and over again, by both christians and atheists, and not having any answers at all.

    So rather than try a diversion to a different subject (ok, if I didn't have any good answers and were desperate, I might try that too at some stage, but it is definitely a sign of how bad your position on this blog has become), why not address the issues put to you on a previous thread on gay issues? I'll help you out by pointing out where your open questions from the previous time are.

    The christianity-inspired insulting language post ('tidal wave of filth') against gay people is here:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/04/christianity_v_fundamentalism.html

    After your rather lame attempts to dance around the issue for a long time, you got a stern rebuke from RJB about it here:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/04/christianity_v_fundamentalism.html

    And the list of your unanswered dishonesties is here:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/04/christianity_v_fundamentalism.html

    You have a lot on your plate OT.

  • Comment number 81.



    Well Pete

    I can understand if you dont want to discuss it with me, no problem at all.

    But that was not a non-reaction by any means!

    OT

  • Comment number 82.




    ps DD

    I dont know, but post 77 could possibly take the all time W&T record for the number of personal insults in a single post!

    I take my hat off to you!

    OT


  • Comment number 83.

    Thank you for the hat OT!

    However you got something wrong, Post 77 is not full of "insults" rather facts.

    OT your posts have long been an insult to the intelligence to the posters on this blog. As I have stated before the Christian posters here have worked you out and as PeterK states...you have a lot on your plate at the moment!

    As for insulting posts, this ones a corker!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2008/11/theological_navelgazing.html


    OT you really are a shiver looking for a back to crawl up.

    Regards

    DD

  • Comment number 84.

    Ps. post 77 in the link above.

  • Comment number 85.

    Nice to recall that thread too DD, OTs excahgnes with Graham. At some point, do I read it correctly that Graham is referring to OT when he says

    "I seemed to get stuck on idiot." ?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2008/11/theological_navelgazing.html72888596

  • Comment number 86.



    its like the Laurel and Hardy of religious persecution guys!!

    You should two should go on stage.

    Book the Empire and I'll buy you both a drink!

    Suggest you develop the irony a little more though.

    Its more subtle that the full frontal approach some time.

    OT

  • Comment number 87.



    ps just to keep things accuate, when I referred to a tidal wave of filth, just to confirm that the record show that I was including my very own sin in there and was referring to sin in general, as opposed to any particular group of people.

    If Peter K is the skinny one does that make you the rotund one DD?

    Heard any good jokes lately BTW?

    OT

  • Comment number 88.


    ref post 87 - that should have read that I was referring to sexual sin in general....

    phew. You guys seem to keep a revered archive of my writings, I have to keep accurate.


    I'll do the first joke - why do presbyterians wear shoes 2 sizes too big?

    So they can tap their feet to the music without anyone noticing!

    ( I come from a presbterian family fyi).

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Hi DD, Orthodox-Tradition,

    "Yes it is great to keep a record of what you say OT, then it becomes very easy to show that you are a hypocrite."

    Spot on DD. It's the internet age and Google ensures that what you say is on record. Get used to that reality, Orthodox-tradition/P(astor)B. You can't distort and twist your way out of what you are by lying about your previous posts, P(astor)B.

    And yes P(astor)B, your letter to the Derry Journal was your trademark usual. Claiming peer-reviewed scientific literature in support of your homophobic position again, duh. Pastor Orthodox-Tradition, I called you out over that before and you came up so blank that in desperation you tried to pass off wikipedia urls as being peer-reviewed literature. See

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/02/jeremy_marks_and_the_exgay_mov.html

    How much more dishonesty in service of christianity are you going to post here?

    And on a related note, why do you try to hide your homophobia on this blog OT? In real life you are very open about it. See e.g. the pictures of you, courtesy of your wifes blog, picture 6 and 7 from the top, where you are holding up an anti-gay banner:

    https://m-n-msblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/busy-month.html

    Your letter to the Derry Journal was only a few weeks ago. So the identity change you had on this blog doesn't mean you've changed anything. Still the same P(astor)B, still the same dishonesty and homophobia.

  • Comment number 91.



    OK DD so does that mean you would consider doing the rotund straight man thing at the Empire if Peter will do the funny man Stan laurel bit?

    I'll be there and support you if you name the date.

    ;-)

    Heres a few ideas for the opening act;-

    Q what do you call a dear with no eyes?
    A No i-deer.

    Q What do you call a fly with no wings?
    A A walk.

    Q What do you call a dinosaur with one eye?
    A Do-you-think-e-saurous?




    Actually guys, you openly admitted contacting this pastor before and that he said straight up that he does not post on this blog.

    I can also confirm that I am not Baptist, am not a pastor and dont live in Co Derry.

    It doesnt say much for the integirty of your ability to gather and weigh evidence.


    But if you keep an archive of my arguments, misquote them at will and even conference with other athiests on the FSM website how to debate me (Dec 2006), including affirmation of the old creating multiple identities trick, well, I think that says more than I can about the esteem and credibility that you attribute to me.

    /////////////

    Incidentally Pete, I know you had been asking how a God of love could send people to hell.

    Here are CS Lewis' thoughts;-

    I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.
    All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. And yourself, in a dark hour, may will [a grumbling] mood, embrace it. Ye can repent and come out of it again. But there may come a day when you can do that no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood...
    excerpted from The Problem of Pain and The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), included in The Quotable Lewis, 1989 Tyndale


    ////////////////

    I also noticed you pressing people for proof of God. Who says the onus is on anyone to prove God to you? What if the onus is on you to investigate and satisfy yourself?

    These are subjective philsophical questions, not scientific ones. Science assumed God until around 100-200 years ago, ie after all the foundations of modern science were created.

    /////////////////////////

    PK, DD how and why are we here in your views?

    Did the universe happen by chance out of nothing? Are your highest thoughts and pleasures of the sum of your life random chaos and of no ultimate meaning?

    Are love, music and art just the chance atomic arrangments of chaos?

    Are the cries of new born children pure chance in the history of the universe... or are they people made in the image of God?

    I believe you are both worth far more than that.

    Peace

    OT

    Notice how I dropped the PB username when you incorrectly associated me with a pastor of those intials?








  • Comment number 92.

    OT

    Still more prevarication and bluster-up to the same old sad tricks-yawn...

    We haven't misquoted you at all OT, we have only used *your* words and where you posted them.

    "It doesnt say much for the integirty of your ability to gather and weigh evidence."

    LOL!

    OH and OT *you* created multiple identities in order to get around being placed on pre-mod.

    Very hypocritical of you to start asking questions when there are a whole host of questions that you have refused to answer.

    OT unlike you I am not a self-confessed expert in everything(like Quantum mechanics, physics, science, history etc). There are many things I don't know but one thing I do know is that your god doesn't exist! You called it OT, with your claims on a literal Genesis, Adam and Eve, a great flood etc etc. All of these are empirical claims(meaning can be tested)and as such there is *no* evidence to back them up. Sorry OT! but it's not my problem!

    So whilst I am ultimately philosophically an agnostic I am also an atheist about your god(YHWH) and put them into the same category as Zeus and Amon Ra etc. As I said OT, you called it and I repeat it's not my problem!

    Further you are hardly what you would call a good example for your religion. Thankfully Christains that I know personally are nothing like you. Moreover the other posters/Christians on these threads have worked you out.

    Regards

    DD

  • Comment number 93.



    DD

    You are advancing every year in your creativity and imaginative ways to to make personal ie ad hominem attacks.

    But you are making no progress at all in your ability to think around the issues discussed here.

    You are winning on insults but losing badly on arguments.

    Is that really a productive use of time?

    OT

  • Comment number 94.



    Incidentally DD

    I notice that you fall into the same trap as W&T.

    ref post 77 you engage in pejorative labelling, discrimination and stereotyping a religious minority.

    W&T and others are very comfortable stereotyping people as fundamentalists in a pejorative way even after having been asked not to.

    Its a bit like using derogatory terms to describe people who are gay, black, female, or disabled.

    The only difference is it is the one form of religious discrimination and stereotyping allowable to W&T and other progessive thinkers today.

    In fact what such identify as fundamentalist is more often than not orthodox traditional Christianity.

    What such people normally identify as true Christianity is simply the prevailing and acceptable mainstream values of the secular society that they live in.

    Anyone else any views on this stereotyping?


    OT

  • Comment number 95.



    further quotes from CS Lewis about the terrible doctrine of hell.

    He says the doors of hell are locked ....ON THE INSIDE!

    ///////////

    There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice
    there could be no Hell.



    ////////////////

    The doctrine of hell, although barbarous to many, has the full support of Scripture, especially of our Lord's own words; and has always been held by Christendom. And it has the support of Reason: if a game is played it must be possible to lose it. If the happiness of a creature lies in voluntary self-surrender to God, it also has the right to voluntarily refuse.

    I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully 'All will be saved'. But my reason retorts, 'Without their will, or with it'? In fact, God has paid the price, and herein lies the real problem: so much mercy, yet still there is hell.

    God can't condone evil, forgiving the wilfully unrepentant. Lost souls have their wish - to live wholly in the Self, and to make the best of what they find there. And what they finds there is hell. Should God increase our chances to repent? I believe that if a million opportunities were likely to do good, they would be given. But finality has to come some time. Our Lord uses three symbols to describe hell - everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46), destruction (Matthew 10:28), and privation, exclusion, banishment (Matthew 22:13). The image of fire illustrates both torment and destruction (not annihilation - the destruction of one thing issues in the emergence of something else, in both worlds). It may be feasible that hell is hell not from its own point of view, but from that of heaven. And it is also possible that the eternal fixity of the lost soul need not imply endless duration. Our Lord emphasises rather the finality of hell. Does the ultimate loss of a soul mean the defeat of Omnipotence? In a sense, yes. The damned are successful rebels to the end, enslaved within the horrible freedom they have demanded. The doors of hell are locked on the inside.

    In the long run, objectors to the doctrine of hell must answer this question: What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins, and at all costs to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty, and offering every miraculous help? But he has done so - in the life and death of his Son. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, that is what he does. Hell, it must be remembered, is not only inhabited by Neros or Judas Iscariots or Hitlers. They were merely the principal actors in this rebellious drama.

  • Comment number 96.



    c/o

    https://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/1174.htm



    Im not trying to be funny DD, but doesnt the actual meaning of agnostic simply mean "without knowledge" ie that one does not know?



  • Comment number 97.

    And OT is caught telling another lie:

    "Notice how I dropped the PB username when you incorrectly associated me with a pastor of those intials?"

    Previously you said something very different:

    "I openly changed my username on this blog, the BBC apologised for problems with my account"

    So at least one of those statements is false, that everyone can see. But of course it is both. You changed identity because your behaviour on this blog had landed you on pre-moderation. You're the only poster here who has managed to fall foul of the moderators so badly, as far as I know. But I'm sure it's all down to BBC bias, right?

  • Comment number 98.



    Peter

    I did openly change my username. it was never hidden. the lady at the bbc said it was unusual in that they had no record of why my account had been placed on pre-mod at all and that I had never been notified why it had been placed on pre-mod.

    she had no explanation for it and endorsed me changing my username to OT.

    i did this because you associated me with a past of the same initials.

    any lie in that?

    fin.

  • Comment number 99.


    sorry, not very clear post - the bbc told me that I should have been notified why my account had been placed on pre-mod and that a reason should have been recorded on file.

    neither were ever done. BBC guidlines also say pre-mod is supposed to be short term temporary and this did not apply to my account either.

    hope that wraps it up for you.

    Are you really so sad that you have nothing better to do on your weekend than talk in depth about ME???

    Remember what William said recently, great minds discuss ideas, small minds discuss people!

    ;-)

  • Comment number 100.

    OT!

    Try and learn what Ad Hominem actually means. You haven't actually advanced any sort of argument.

    As you know there are a lot of questions that *you* have left unanswered, some are very old.

    I collated them at *your* request here

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2008/04/is_religion_a_social_evil.html

    m146 however as you (or anyone) can see you ran away(this is also when the Jihad against my posts started). Indeed I have asked you repeatedly to back them up, further examples can be observed here...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2008/04/expelled_or_flunked_redux.html

    Again you run away, you also on this thread made the false accusation against me that Francis Collins "undermines my argument". As I pointed out this was false but as ever you did not apologise nor even (at least) acknowledge your mistake.

    I also asked here...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2008/11/theological_navelgazing.html72888596

    Yet more prevarication/bluster and running away.

    This behaviour is very strange and hypocritical considering your comment on this thread

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/04/vermont_legalises_gay_marriage.html

    "Just for the record RJB , I try not to post about anything unless I have taken the trouble to inform myself about it somewhat.

    After that I am generally quite careful not to stray any further in my conclusions or observations than which I feel I can reasonably defend."

    When in fact the facts show the opposite!

    You are right it is a waste of my time in attempting to debate you- a fact noted by Christian posters. As I stated they have worked you out OT.

    I believe that we are a result of natural processes and that does not in any devalue me or you as human beings. Indeed Carl Sagan states it far better than I ever could...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuJ3Tjj40P8&feature=fvst

    And as I have stated the questions concerning your god are redundant when you gave us the evidence that your god does not exist-as I have said before-it's not my problem.

    It is funny when fundamentalists such as yourself yap and put yourself into the same category as persecuted minorities such as blacks and gays when it is in fact the same fundamentalists who do most of the persecuting. Indeed you confirm my prejudices against those from the fundamentalist orthodox traditional Christianity eg., dishonest and hypocritical. As Peter Morrow and Graham Veale (two posters I admire who happen to be Christians) the best argument against Christianity is Christians.

    Good day

    DD










 

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