Sunday thoughts #22: the earth isn’t flat, people are gay – let’s move on.

Posted: May 11, 2013 in bad science, believing, gay rights, human rights, science-ish, sunday thoughts
Tags: , ,

By Roger Ray, of The Emerging Church

images-133Michael Dowd, the author of “Thank God for Evolution” is one of the most internationally distinguished graduates of Evangel University. He and his wife, a science journalist, have made it their life’s work to travel, write and teach about the inevitable connection between spirituality and science. He sometimes makes me a bit uncomfortable in his dismissal of ancient religious texts in favor of “scientific evidence as our new scripture.” But my discomfort comes from feeling like a dinosaur with an awful lot of education in those ancient texts but I bow to the inevitable truth that rational evidence will take the place of all a priori truths.

Where religion sets itself up in opposition to science, religion is writing its own epitaph. As I have watched the debate between pastors on this page regarding matters of sexual orientation the words of Shakespeare’s Macbeth keep coming to mind because the debate seems to me to be, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Some people are gay. Some people are straight. Those are just the facts and religion cannot change thatimages-132 reality. I was asked several years ago to take a vote in the church I was serving to become officially “open and affirming.” My response was, “What would it mean if the board voted against that resolution? Would our gay members suddenly stop being gay because they didn’t have board approval?” A church can no more effectively vote on sexual orientation than they can vote on gravity. Churches that hope to have a future must deal with reality not superstition.

I am deeply sorry for the discrimination that same sex couples have suffered at the hands of conservativeChristians but, when conservative Christians have gone the way of the “Flat Earth Society” there will still be gay people and straight people. Still, as I have pointed out in conversation with Michael Dowd, a recent Gallop Poll ( showed that 51% of Southerners and 49% of us in the Midwest still believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. The percentages on the east and west coasts are somewhat less discouraging but the numbers across the United States call into doubt the efficacy of our science teachers. It may be a tribute to conservative churches that they can restrain the beneficial effects of a century of science education in half of the population but this denial of reality cannot last much longer.

images-131It doesn’t matter if you put ten thousand people in a giant “Six Flags Over Jesus” church, beat drums, shout, dance, speak in tongues, listen to impassioned and tearful sermons and come away absolutely convinced that the earth is flat because, dear readers, the earth is not flat. You can put a million people in a church and wave ancient texts over your heads that were written by people of faith who did not know where the sun goes at night but who told you that homosexuality is a sin and it still doesn’t change anything. Some folks are straight and some are gay. Now, many gay people have been manipulated by religious fear and guilt into trying to live in a straight relationship and that unnatural circumstance leads to miserable marriages, spouse abuse, alcoholism and suicide but it never changed one gay person into being straight anymore than the Flat Earth Society managed to change the shape of the planet. In my estimation, the best religion deals with what is true and not what is clearly false.

  1. Steve Morris says:

    Geocentrism, evolution, sexual orientation, birth control, … the church seems determined to find issues where it can needlessly set itself in conflict with mainstream thinking. As technology advances, more and more conflicts will come into focus in the coming decades. I fear that many in the church will conduct guerilla war against each and every issue, rather than seeing the big picture as you have done.

    As you say, “Where religion sets itself up in opposition to science, religion is writing its own epitaph.”

  2. Torger Helgeland says:

    Mike, why the determination to ignore science on homosexuality?? only 40% of identical twins are both gay if one is. Why? the study I looked at (Sweden and apparently the biggest population of IDtwins in such study) pointed out it must be environmental in some way. There may be something new they’re finding regarding dormant DNA bits and DNA triggers (my specualtion), but when the ratio is plainly not 1:1, why is there silence on such in the media? We can’t handle it, that’s why. It’s too disturbing, “an inconvenient truth.” And ignoring homosexuality/gender confusion (ooh, what’s that? Can’t exist in our confusion free society can it?) and hoping folk with same sex attraction will just marry opposite sex and go away is not the only option. The Christian homo therapy type book I read points out that such is clearly a way to cement the orientation by not dealing with it. Question: Are the crazy “you can change you’re gayness” Christian groups 100% ineffective? Are all the “graduates” miserable repressed fools in self denial? Not according the the book I read. OK, it’s biased, but is the guy a flaming liar? Don’t Christians get kicked out of church for lying? Mike Warnke did. I just don’t buy the one sided media spin on homosexuality.

    Sure the whole thing is disturbing, and sure the gays getting married and committing look good on paper. It can be quite convincing, but then the Bible talks about a “strong delusion” such that even the elect might be decieved. Point being, deceivability is a big deal, and there’s plenty out there to suggest things ain’t as the media portrays. The incentive isn’t there. Who wants to bear disturbing news and go against the liberal leaning media? (journalists tend to be liberal. They just do). Nobody’s going to win a Pulitzer reporing on the messines of homosexuality, and it’s not fun to live in a world where same sex attraction happens as it does and yet is a disorder. I’d like it to go away, but reality won’t listen to me. I think the “gayness is fine and happy” bandwagon is a crock and I hate it for what it’s likely doing to people, mostly young, by deceiving them. torg

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