Friday, September 08, 2006

On religion

As I said in the intro to this blog, I am a rationalist who believes that the Enlightenment was one of the more noble human endeavors. So, I don't really have much patience for religion. I am, in fact, quite at peace with my rejection of that enterprise.

I can, however, understand how some people, including gay people, need to associate themselves with some sort of "higher power" (for want of a better term). While I do not share their need, I don't question their sanity.

I do, however, question the sanity of those of us gay men who insist upon identifying themselves with any one of the several monotheistic religions that have ruthlessly persecuted homosexuals for eons. Some conventionally religious gay men desperately search religious scripture or church history for some sort of legal or historical loophole that allows homosexuality; others try to ignore the religion's condemnation of homosexuality and seperate it out from the rest of religious doctrine. Frankly, these efforts strike me as rather useless and even counterproductive and their practitioners seem to be engaged in a rather bizarre and ultimately unrewarding form of masochism.

The problem is that transcendental theistic religions such as Christianity and Islam can't logically ever accept homosexuality, since they deny all persuits of purely physical pleasure or earthly attachments such as romantic love unrelated to procreation. They have a big problem with sex in general, let alone homosexual sex. Judaism, while less transcendental, simply can't get around the biblical injunction, although the rabbis are sometimes pretty good at explaining away inconvenient biblical passages. And, of course, we do have the example of David and Jonathan. But still, I really don't hold out much hope for Judaism either (since the rabbis haven't done much to explain away the biblical injunction against homosexuality, but continue to explain David and Jonathan as a "chaste friendship.")

So, guys, in terms of the major Western religions, it really isn't going to happen. They have persecuted us to the point of frequently denying our humanity not because they want to be mean, but rather because homosexual sex and love undermine the keystones of their dogma.

Although certain factions of individual churches may offer us a certain amount of tolerance and even accept gay clergy, these are essentially political concessions that deny or ignore the religion's own internal logic. Ultimately, asking them for substantial and lasting acceptance is like asking water to flow uphill.

So, guys, give it up, or as many of you have suggested, have faith in yourselves or, if you must, look into a non theistic or polytheistic religion.

As for those guys who insist upon staying with traditional western religions simply because they were born and educated in them, all I can do is ask them to remember that an unexamined life is not really much of a life at all.



5 Comments:

Blogger C.A. said...

good topic. i like your style. you remind me of my friend, actually he's more like a mom to me, he's gay. i respect people who's true to themselves no matter how others may think about them :)

3:50 PM  
Blogger Curtis said...

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Bruce....
got your comment on my Thursday post (my mindset) about placing my focus on school. I'm trying to do just that. I was just having an evening where everything hit me and I needed to vent. I have to admit, school does have me burned out. And frankly, I am a bit frustrated with the school administration on some issues/classes. I came from 18 years in management and I honestly don't think that some items are run properly from a curriculum vantage and also in the manner they inform students. I won't go into any further detail. But they did add to my mood last night before the post.

Now for this post...if you don't like Christianity then you won't like my thought process, 'cause I'm Catholic and I have my some of my own opinions that are different but still in line with the faith. So I am one of those gays on the religion side. I will add this one comment, I've experienced my faith on another level that most people have not, and therefore I can not diminish its value, even if I find some issues hard to understand. I won't go any further with comments on this topic because one thing I promised myself was not to get into debates on politics and religion.

Hope all is well!

9:36 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

It is the hardest thing for a gay man to do; balance his sexuality with his spirituality. Never easy but even harder (impossible?) with the western religions.
I was trained as a Jungian analyst, so I know how important spirituality is to the Psyche. The draw toward God/Divine is wired into our Psyches and central nervous systems.
Well, much ink has been spilled on the topic, far better minds than mine have tried to balance them.
When the letter of the Law and spirit of the Law move in conflict, and people are in the middle, only one thing can navigate; human compassion.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Mike, I have nothing against the need to relate oneself to a higher power or, if you will, the devine. I handle it through what I hope to be an effective social commitment, but I recognize that some people may need something more explicitly spiritual. But as you intimate, I really don't think a gay man can find that in a conventional Western religion.

But, as it is said, some of my best friends go to church/ synagogue. The idea that one would reject a friendship with someone who was conventionally religious is intolerant and absurd. On the other hand, there is the problem as to how close I could get to someone with an unquestioned (unquestioned is the key word here) world view determnined by a conventional western religion.

10:47 AM  

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