All posts by Brandon Ross

Brandon grew up in a small town as part of a semi-conservative family. He was quick to enjoy spending most of his time alone from an early age; writing, pondering, and existing. Upon moving to Seattle five years ago, he discovered that his ideas and personality type were more common than he was led to believe. He has been in (mostly) inactive pursuit of an English degree for the past eight years, instead spending his time working, playing music, and evolving into quite a snarky dissident. He enjoys exchanging opinions and thoughts that are well formed and respects any person who questions the status quo.

Ex-Gay Christian Outed and The Bible’s Greatest Hits

gay bible picI’m sure you’ve seen it swirling around the blogosphere recently. An “ex-gay” Christian blogger, Matt Moore, outed for being on Grindr. After several months of silence, he stepped forward to admit that he had been on Grindr, but was simply looking to meet men in the area and wanted to go to gay bars. He states that he has since sold his computer and locked his phone in attempt to block out any temptation. He states that he is “trying” to not engage in homosexual activity, because it is sinful.

Many people would find this absolutely abhorrent, but I do not. I find it very sad. The irony of the whole situation is that Matt’s blog, which I was unable to access, is entitled “Standing On Truth.” I’m not sure if he is actually standing on truth, so much as Wallowing in Fear, Lies, and Self-Loathing, but in any event, it is very sad. It is a prime example of religious folklore torturing an otherwise promising young man. I’m sure many of us knows what this feels like. It’s not a situation to mock or criticize. It is one to empathize with.

In light of this poor young man’s plight, I wanted to take a moment to highlight what I consider to be some of the bible’s “Greatest Hits.” These are passages that come straight from the book this confused young man is investing his faith in. I’m unsure how a gay person, a woman, a minority, or any rational human being can read this text and feel “inspired” or “enlightened” by it. But I just want to remind Matt, as well as any other young, gay Christian who may be struggling with their faith in light of their sexual orientation… It is ok to ask questions. It is ok to beg to differ. It is ok to love yourself.

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 1: 1 Timothy 2:12
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 2: Psalm 137:9
“Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock.”

(Editors Note: This passage is frequently omitted from readings in church. What’s really fun though? Check out the 1970’s disco anthem “Rivers of Babylon” by Boney M, based on this passage. Let it play while you read the rest.)

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 3: Ephesians 5:22
“Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 4: 1 Peter 2:18
“Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse.”

(Editors Note: That one could actually be interpreted as kind of hot.)

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 5: Genesis 22:2
“Then God said: ‘Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you’.”

(Editors Note: CPS, anyone?)

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 6: 1 Samuel 15:3
“Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 7: Judges 19:25-28
This story describes a situation in which a man is trapped in his house, with an angry mob outside his front door, awaiting him. (This one is real classy)…

“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 8: Exodus 22:18
“Do not allow a sorceress to live.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 9: Leviticus 24:16
“Whoever utters the name of the Lord must be put to death. The whole community must stone him, whether alien or native. If he utters the name, he must be put to death.”

(Editors Note: Is this kind of like how you’re not supposed to make eye contact with Vanilla Ice?)

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 10: Romans 1:27
“And the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 11: Leviticus 20:13
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 12: Leviticus 11:10
“But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 13: Leviticus 11:11
“They (shellfish) shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination.”

(Editor’s Note: So, just to clarify, according to Leviticus, both shellfish and gay sex are abominations.)

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 14: Ezekiel 23:19-20
“Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”

GREATEST HIT NUMBER 15: Malachi 2:3 (King James Version)
“Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.”

(Editors Note: I beg your pardon?)

I’m unsure why so many seem hellbent on making this literature fit into their lives. Or even define their lives. Yes, the dung passage is awesome, but what about the rest of them? The ones that are promoting genocide, killing and raping women, advising “slaves” to be submissive and obedient to even the most perverse slaveowners? This type of literature is not inspiring. It is disgusting. So, Matt Moore, and any other gay Christian who is struggling… please ask questions and know that you always have a friend here.

By the way, please offer up any more awesome passages in the comments below. You can’t write this stuff, it’s so good!

The Blessings of Atheism

Just over two years ago, I suddenly lost my best friend to lymphoma. He was twenty-eight years old, in seemingly good health, and had just married six months prior. Over the course of two weeks, he fell ill with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes until he suddenly went into septic shock and died, only to be diagnosed with lymphoma after an autopsy.

It was the first time I had faced the emotional whirlwind that is losing someone you love. I was twenty-four years old and it was right around this time that my beliefs as an atheist truly started taking form. His wonderful family members comforted each other with the usual phrases of “He is with our lord,” “he is in a better place,” etc. I felt almost guilty having thoughts that my friend, once so vibrant and alive, was now mere dust. That he was not bouncing off clouds with a higher being in some sort of paradise, but instead that his greatest being, his most perfect self, was the individual that walked this Earth for twenty-eight years.

I connected with the understanding that he was alive within me. Not that he was among me in any physical or supernatural sense… but that his traits… the very essence of him that made myself and so many others love him will be instilled within us, until it is our time to pass. I am sad that my friend is no longer alive. But moreso, I am so grateful to have known him, to have been influenced by him, to have been graced with the good fortune of having known him for eight years.

Right around the two-year anniversary of his passing, I read a New York Times editorial that spoke of atheism and the blessings offered therein. I’d like to share that article with you and ask that you contribute your thoughts on death as an atheist. (Article: The Blessings of Atheism).

Homosexuality ultimately a result of gene regulation, researchers find

Initially, I planned to post this study from a conservative news source in attempt to add some levity to their foot-in-mouth reporting style. It seems, however, that most conservative publications have taken the liberty of adding their own thoughts to this, oftentimes spinning it into an ethical thesis regarding “gay conversion therapy” and how it “shouldn’t be forcibly thrown out.” Upon realizing this, I decided I would be personally remiss to repost such smut.

Instead, I give you an article from The Scientist. Epigenetics seem to be the new frontier in science, and it is fascinating what developments could come of this. Personally, my favorite part of the article is the final paragraph which surmises that we, essentially, should already understand that homosexuality is biologically based and not feel the need to pour money into proving this.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

By SABRINA RICHARDS | THE SCIENTIST

Researchers looking for a genetic signature of homosexuality have been barking up the wrong tree, according to a trio of researchers in the United States and Sweden. Instead, the scientists posit, epigenetic influences acting on androgen signaling in the brain may underlie sexual orientation. In a paper published last week (December 11) in The Quarterly Review of Biology, they propose a model describing how epigenetic markers that steer sexual development in males could promote homosexual orientation in females, and vice versa. The scientists offer their model to explain both the tendency of homosexuality to run in families, and the fact that so far no “homosexual gene” has been identified.

“It’s a very provocative, very interesting new twist that is plausible,” said Margaret McCarthy, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland who studies how hormones influence brain development and was not involved in producing the model. But, she cautioned, so far the theory “is not supported by any data.”

Indeed, Andrea Ciani, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Padova, thinks that a variety of factors, including genes and epigenetics, influence sexual orientation. “It’s a little bit vain to think we’ll find the answer to homosexuality as a whole.”

The model was developed by William Rice, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Sergey Gavrilets, a mathematician at the University of Tennessee; and Urban Friberg, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Uppsala. The notion that epigenetics, rather than genetics, is the primary force promoting homosexuality sprang from several observations, explained Rice.

Read more