sunday thoughts #15: kind beliefs lead to kind behaviors

Posted: March 17, 2013 in believing, doing good, sunday thoughts

If your understanding of the Divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, or self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology.

~Karen Armstrong


  1. Bruce Baker-Rooks says:

    I’ve always said, my time in the Assemblies of God taught me two things: 1) Salvation comes through having a personal relationship with God, not through religious rituals; and 2) How to pass judgement on everyone around you, especially those outside of the walls of the Assemblies of God. The first one is good theology, the second is HORRIBLE theology.

  2. Torger Helgeland says:

    if I say Homosexuality is inaccurately oversold as a morally neutral, never-trauma induced orientation, am I being cruel or simply willing to speak the truth? torg

    • Bruce Baker-Rooks says:

      Torg, If you say that, then yes, you are being cruel, but you are not speaking the truth. It is not homosexuality or being gay itself that is trauma inducing, it is people telling gay people that they are sinful, not whole, sick, and perverted that is trauma inducing. Homosexuality itself is morally neutral just as heterosexuality. It is how one conducts themselves that determines the morality. Being gay in and of itself, being in a committed, monogamous marriage or relationship is moral, straight or gay. Using sexuality as a weapon to manipulate, coerce, abuse, or exploit is always sinful, straight or gay. Using the Bible and misinterpreting scripture to oppress, abuse, and cause people to believe that God does not love them or accept them, or somehow make them believe they have to change what is unchangeable to appease the ignorance of those who are too lazy to study scripture, is the true sin. Those are the people that need to repent.

      My orientation has never been trauma inducing for me. The counselor who told me my childhood sexual abuse was my fault because I am gay was trauma inducing. The American ministers in Germany who locked me in a room for 35 days to cast the demons of homosexuality out of me were trauma inducing. The kids who beat me up in grade school and pushed me down a rocky embankment calling me “faggot” was trauma inducing. These were the experiences caused by the bullies who in the name of God decided it was ok for them to treat another human being this way, that was trauma inducing. If you want to speak truth, then it is long past time that people begin to realize that these are the reasons GLBTQ people suffer from depression. It is NOT being homosexual that is responsible, it is the church and those within the church that support such vicious, hateful behavior that is responsible. If you want to speak truth, then you have to be willing to accept the fact that in your words of condemnation and judgement towards GLBT, you are responsible for using God’s name to inflict spiritual and emotional abuse on God’s children. I don’t know you, Torg, perhaps you are playing “devils advocate” with your questions, but if you are one of those people whose faith tells you that it is ok to tell people that they have to change to appease your view of what God wants, and then blame them for being upset and depressed over the abuse you inflicted, then your faith and your religion is absolute shit. And that is the truth that needs to be spoken.

      (***Note: I am saying “you” here because you asked, “If I say…”, so I’m responding accordingly.***)

  3. nash says:

    Interesting thread here…good question, Torger, and thanks for your honest response, Bruce. Good stuff. Torger, here’s some questions for you: How would you feel about homosexuality if the Bible had a passage that said, “Whether straight or gay, God loves you just the same, and accepts you no matter what. Whether you’re attracted to men or women, be kind and loving and faithful, don’t abuse people, don’t use sex as a weapon…but apart from that, I don’t care WHO you’re attracted to…go with what feels right to you, but in the context of a faithful, loving relationship.” Seriously – how would you then feel about homosexuality? Here’s a follow up. What would you think/feel about black people if the Bible said, “Actually, black people were created inferior to white people. They are not as smart, not as moral, not as capable of human feelings and relationships.” Just curious….then I’ll send a follow up comment.

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