Friday, 14 November 2008

Sodomy

I'm bussy with exams and too lazzy to do a proper blog post so i thought i'd just post this instead....

An interesting email sent to me by my Girl Friend today... (Note while she tallks of the 'Torah' as she is Jewish, Christians have also included this in their holly scriptures (The Bible) I'm not as familiar with the holly scriptures of Islam but it would not suprise me if the Koran had the same or a simmilar story)

The English word Sodomy is derived from the destruction of Sodom in this week's Torah Portion, Vayeira. A common misconception is that Sodom was destroyed for engaging in homosexual acts (thus the term Sodomy). However, these homosexual acts were merely manifestations of Sodom's real sin: hostility to strangers. Sodomites would rape visitors due to a hatred for outsiders.

In light of this realization, perhaps we should revisit the definition of the word sodomy. A word that for so long has been used to induce shame and self-loathing in homosexuals could instead be used to discourage homophobia and other forms of intolerance against "outsiders" in our society.

The message of the destruction of Sodom is thus to welcome and embrace all people in our community -- not in spite of their difference -- but precisely because of it.

It just goes to show, the meaning of holly scriptures, like most text, is all in the niterpretation.

40 comments:

Jess said...

Well, the thing is that biblical hebrew is often misstranslated

RVB said...

instead be used to discourage homophobia and other forms of intolerance against "outsiders" in our society.

For starters, I'd suggest the single-handed shunning of all religious dogma.

But...I thought that we were going to avoid bringing religion into this.
Biblical meanings - their contemporary 'Zeitgeist' (to paraphrase Richard Dawkins) - would be foolish to apply to modern-day society at best, and at worst, a grave threat to democracy.

Incidentally, Jess, is there any possible way that the all religious books have been mistranslated? Maybe the editors inserted some gruelling tales of heathens having their bollocks lopped off and the sort to keep the reader awake.
I distinctly remember a Mr. Tennenbaum (a Lubavitcher) saying that death is better than praying to idols. Perhaps I misinterpreted him too.

N. F. Robinson said...

The Koran shares many of the same stories as the Torah; I believe the same story is there, in essence, but without specific references to Sodom.

Very interesting piece of information, nevertheless...

Jess said...

reuben, learn about religion and then criticise, otherwise your as bad as you ignorently make others appear.

all religious text that appear in english, may have been slightly miss-translated, possibly. I give you that much, because like i said biblical hebrew, and other such biblical languages like babolnian and aramaic do not exist in said form currently.

nat's right, there are so many similarities between the relgions, including such events as the flood! (aka Noah's Arc)

RVB said...

Reuben, learn about religion and then criticise, otherwise your as bad as you ignorantly make others appear.

A feeble argument, Jess. I know a fair bit about religion - particularly yours seeing as I have some family members on my mothers side who consider themselves Jewish.

But because you actually haven't actually offered a cogent argument about religion - and how it relates to queer activism - and its potential to stop progressiveness in its tracks, I don't think you're in any position to dismiss this crucial point. We can all blame Kath for doing this post (and knowing full well how fervent I am on this), but the elephant in the room seems to have gone largely unnoticed.

Kath said...

Reuben, i will not sensor my blog for you. I am a catholic queer, my gf is a jewish queer and there are many religous queers who read this blog. I found the content of this post interesting, as i hope did others. You can jump up and down and tell us that we're being bas queers, or bad lefties all you like but what can I say? "we're GAY and we PRAY!" We do not have to justify our faith or our sexulaity, or our ability to reconcile the two, to you. Your comment was unesecerily inflamatory.

RVB said...

In my view, Kath, if you cannot justify a particular belief system - or that belief system clearly contradicts another element of your identity - it is not worth clinging onto. Religion typifies this immaculately.

The fact is, you have not explained why your 'religiousness' (I know you're not religious, but I couldn't think of a better term) is as important as your innate sexuality.

Further to this, you have a big problem with capitalists and the 'ruling class'. But this is a belief perfectly analogous to religion - yet if that 'class system' got in the way of queer rights, you'd be the first to speak up against it.

Finally, your views about how tolerant religion is towards Queers bares only one - rather unpopular - interpretation. I think you'll find that God and its associated rituals are barbaric to say the least...and it strikes me as inherently hypocritical to justify believing in such utter nonsense (let's be sensible here...some of the stuff proposed by the Bible/Torah/Koran are mindless and dangerous). The religious homophobes (who, not so ironically, outnumber non-religious homophobes) are doing whatever hateful things they do because of their precious book; not, as you say, because they're capitalist etc.

To be honest, I don't think you've addressed the reconciliation between faith and sexuality - a pity really...considering that one is innate and the other is dogma. Why not do a post about that very idea?

Jayne said...

Reuben, I think the issue here is the ongoing misinterpretation of the original intent of the authors of the varying religious books and their attitudes towards people, customs, beliefs, etc.
The concept of any religion is acceptance and brotherly love for all but in practice, over time, exceptions to the rule have been thrown into the mix, carving away at almost every foundation upon which any faith is based.
I have a problem, not so much with religion itself, but those who perpetrate the continual discrimination and persecution against those who don't score enough points (in their opinion) to be accepted as an equal.
The basic belief system (anywhere) is all-encompassing ...until you start getting those who re-write the system to reflect their own agendas and crippling hatreds.

RVB said...

I'm not sure if it is misinterpretation. I certainly hope the homophobes are misinterpreting it, but I merely believe that this is just another example of why ancient dogma from an ancient book to lead your way of life is debilitating.
People can do what they like, but by the lights of some people's religion, being homophobic is "carrying out gods will". It takes religion for someone who would be perfectly rational otherwise to believe in such tripe.

Jayne said...

It takes religion for someone who would be perfectly rational otherwise to believe in such tripe.
Not necessarily. Everyone has their own opinion on anything but some chose to use their religion to bolster their arguments; IE they had to already be homophobic/racist/sexist before they scoured religious writings, not the other way around.
You'll find many have either walked away from their church or found another way to celebrate it when they've been made uncomfortable by blatant discrimination against people of other beliefs,cultures and/or sexual identity.
Many faiths have one very simple message - In God's eyes everyone is equal.
It's when you get the "Animal Farm" type of re-writes into scriptures and books that things tend to be bent out of shape -All animals are equal...but some animals are more equal than others.

RVB said...

That is true, Jayne; however I think the nature of religion fosters extremism, homophobia and the rest of it on account of its dogma.
Some people hate queers because they're told to by their religion - not because they actually have a 'reason' to (I know there's no reason anyway...but you get my drift).
To quote Steven Weinberg: ‘With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.’

Jess said...

thank you jayne! (and kath for that matter!)

I love the rhyme we're gay and we pray!!! I'm so stealing that! :P

I agree, it's a lot to do with how people approach religion. Personally when I do charity work, treat people with dignity and respect, love and be loved I personally feel i'm doing how you put "g-ds will". The fundementals of Judiasm, (and most other religions) is the following, "ve-lehavta lerecha camocha" which means; treat others as you want to be treated. It is clear that this is the fundenmental belief as when hillel was asked to teach the torah to a man as he stood on one foot, that was what he said. The rules between people, the rules about treating others fairly, not cheating others, being respectful and not causing embarasement, all rate more highly than any rule "against g-d" such as the sabbath etc. Which is clear, because they are harder to get forgiveness for, as one has to get forgiveness from the person they have sinned not "g-d".

(i don't know how to highlight, but this is an extract of what ruben wrote)
if you cannot justify a particular belief system - or that belief system clearly contradicts another element of your identity - it is not worth clinging onto.

Reuben, thats just the thing! It's called FAITH for a reason, and people stay "spritual/religious" for different reasons. Even if you did let me explain to you why i love being Jewish, and what Judiasm means to me, I doubt it would make sense to you! You need to grow up and learn to respect peoples beliefs for what they are, import and undeniable parts of peoples exiestence! And sure you are entitled to your own views, but if you expect us to respect you, you must in turn respect us, and our beliefs and our decissions.

Religion may not be right for you, i respect that,but I have been able to beautiful intertwine it with my life, and it is a massive part of who I am, and who I will always be.

Despite what you may think; Religion doesn't cause war, man causes war and blames religion!

RVB said...

The rules between people, the rules about treating others fairly, not cheating others, being respectful and not causing embarrassment, all rate more highly than any rule "against g-d" such as the sabbath etc.

So...umm...without religion, people would commit all hell of sins? Religion equates to morality, therefore without religion, people would flaunt rules?

Reuben, thats just the thing! It's called FAITH for a reason, and people stay "spritual/religious" for different reasons.

Reason? There's no reason for faith - and that is what makes it so damn dangerous: it makes people satisfied with not knowing the 'why' behind the 'what'. It gives them an excuse to do unjustifiable crimes (such as genital mutilation) for no apparent reason. It is undemocratic and baseless.

Even if you did let me explain to you why i love being Jewish, and what Judiasm means to me, I doubt it would make sense to you!

Probably not...seeing as religion makes no sense anyway, that would be an accurate prediction. However, I would speculate that you love Judaism so much because you think it to be secure - a safe haven.

I don't love being an atheist - I am an atheist because I find all other 'paths' unsafe, dangerous and tumultuous. It is the only thing that makes sense in my mind. I challenge you to make sense of a god.


And sure you are entitled to your own views, but if you expect us to respect you, you must in turn respect us, and our beliefs and our decissions.

Sure - only if you stop bringing it up all the time. This time, we can lay blame to Kath (but not really) for doing this post relating to religion. But other times, I feel frankly annoyed by your constant murmurings about your religion. And I think I speak for many irreligious people when I say that people's religions, like their porn collections, are best kept in their private domain (unless the discussion is on religion).

Despite what you may think; Religion doesn't cause war, man causes war and blames religion!

Ummm...no, actually. That's a very naive shunning of responsibility. Religion, by its very nature, is belief without reason - and in doing so, people genuinely believe they're doing the right thing; by their own lights, it's perfectly rational. For instance, an Israeli psychologist asked a group of schoolchildren between 8 and 14 a sample of the bible ( or 'torah' if you prefer) that talked of destruction against races that may have posed a threat to Judaism. 66% of the kids thought it was acceptable to have a fully-fledge all-out war. But when posed with the same question, with different terms (ie the 'control group') for the same scenario (e.g. 'Israelites' replaced with 'Chinese';), only 7% of children approved.

I know I'm treading a fine line when I say this, but the many kids I know who go to religious schools (including Jewish ones) know bugger-all about anything beyond their own community. Some have never met a queer (at least a non-closeted one), an atheist, a Marxist or whatever - and it is this insularity that is a breeding ground for prejudice. I think it'd be a reasonable assumption to presume that if the Shia and Sunni militia groups in Iraq were of the one 'religious group', they'd probably stop fighting. Their conflict is driven by their religious identity, and the term 'holy war' leaps to mind in this context.

Jayne said...

Men start wars in the name of religion, Reuben, not because a book or teachings instructed him to go forth and murder people in someone's name.
Every single religion on this planet is guilty by association as being used as an excuse for national sanctioned murder - yet it defies the foundations of those faiths.
Yes, I will agree that there sometimes appears to be a gulf of knowledge between those who attend religious schools and those who don't, with some staying within their cliques.
Water finds it's own level = people will stick to what they know while the minority will venture forth to broaden their mind.
Those children were no doubt influenced by their parents - as are all kids - as shown when they didn't think another nationality should be crushed.

Jess, to highlight type immediately in front of what you want darker and close with
For italics, it's and .

Jayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RVB said...

I agree with you, Jayne (in fact I've already said so), but my point still stands.

Kath said...

The argument that supposedly "religion based" prejudice comes largely from miss interpretation has been well put by Jess and Jayne.

I do however have another example about twisted biblical interpretations, to serve the state: Nowhere in the Holy Bible does it condone killing, for ANY reason (well it does actually, but in latter parts of the bible it renders the previous parts invalid.., just to make things difficult), in fact it is one of the commandments not too. In the Fremantle prison chapel the 10 commandments are inscribed on the walls. One commandment reads “Thou shall not commit murder” well actually that’s not what the bible says, the bible says “thou shall not kill.” The prison, like all prisons in Australia (and probably around the world) changed it because of the state sanctioned killings-the death penalty. This was not “Accidental” misinterpretation. This was deliberate skewing of the text to serve the desire of the state authority.

Religion just like political or philosophical theory consists of many elements each person applies their own interpretation and choses to focus on some bits rather than others. The same homophobes that quote the bible to back up homophobic arguments, neglect the bits about not allowing poverty to occur, not judging others, treating others as you would like to be treated. Equally we can choose to focus on the positive elements in our holly scriptures. There are whole Christian churches in the US that are known as “Gay Churches” they take a much more liberal interpretation of the bible and their interpretation.

The fact is, you have not explained why your 'religiousness' (I know you're not religious, but I couldn't think of a better term) is as important as your innate sexuality
My innate sexuality, my religion and what impact these two things have on my identity involves a personal rather than a political discussion. One I’m quite happy to have, but would go on for ages, with limited political gain so I wont waste the time and space on here.

Further to this, you have a big problem with capitalists and the 'ruling class'. But this is a belief perfectly analogous to religion - yet if that 'class system' got in the way of queer rights, you'd be the first to speak up against it"-Reuben

First of all, there is not "if' about it! The class System DOES get in the way of queer rights, it is part of the fundemental capitliast system which causes opression! And yes I bloody well do argue and fight againts it.
Secondly:
When religion gets in the way, I mean seriously get in the way of things like wom*ns and queer rights then I have a big problem with it, and I will argue against it as much as I do in terms of capitalism. I whole heartedly supported the Catholic demonstration in which queer Catholics protested against certain rules of the church; I am disgusted by papal interference regrading contraception in Africa. When I have encountered political conflict in my religious community I have argued my point and where necessary I have removed myself.

"Despite what you may think; Religion doesn't cause war, man causes war and blames religion!”-Jess

Ummm...no, actually. That's a very naive shunning of responsibility.”-Reuben.

There was nothing Naïve, about Jess’s claim.

God does not fight nor cause our human wars. Greed (in accordance with the capitalist doctrine of “competition”) is the ONLY cause of war; all other causes are variations on this. However the deliberate misinterpretation of holly scriptures by those in power has allowed religion to be used as a tool to manipulate and control people-to lead them into war, to support oppressive policy etcetera, etcetera.

My biggest argument, against religion as a queer, as a wom*n and as a Catholic (ironically), is the almost unquestionable power that has been afforded the “authorities” of religion. My criticism therefore lies with the human interpretation of scriptures, and the hierarchy created by men (and it was invariably wealthy men) in order to gain power over the people. My problem is not with God, but with man.
I am a non-papist Catholic, for those less accounted with Catholic/Papal doctrine; this is paramount to being a non-kosher Jew.

Like you Reuben I am a big believer in, and supporter of free and secular public education. I have very real problems with and concerns about the private/ public education divide and it's efficiency at stratifying class systems and ensuring an underclass. My concerns are doubled by the prospect of schools which omit diversity, in race, religion, sexuality, political background and socio-economic background. Many Jewish schools in particular have been criticised for this, and my own limited interaction with people at Jewish schools has only served to support this claim. That said the students that I’ve met there have been quite the opposite of intolerant as far as race, sexuality and gender diversity are concerned.

**I attempted to bold but failed, I will be needing your computers 101 again Reuben **

Jayne said...

I was just chuckling to myself the other day at how the Fed Govt states that church and state are separate in Oz yet when Senator Nettle wore a t-shirt that read "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" in 2006 she had to apologise as poor Tony Abbott got his jocks in a twist over it.
I find rising rates of HIV/AIDS and other STD's in Oz and around the world far, far, FAR more offensive than someone making a joke about my religion.

*to highlight enclose < b > in front of the word/phrase and close with the same except with a / in front of the b.
Same for italics, except using an i.

RVB said...

My innate sexuality, my religion and what impact these two things have on my identity involves a personal rather than a political discussion.

If it's so personal, then why are you doing a post about this?
Do you deny the perfectly analogous relationship between politics and religion? If so, then the misunderstanding gives the onus to you.

There was nothing Naïve, about Jess’s claim.

Yes there was. Try using some evidence.

God does not fight nor cause our human wars. Greed (in accordance with the capitalist doctrine of “competition”) is the ONLY cause of war; all other causes are variations on this.

Firstly, stop assuming there's a god. Secondly, if someone is irrational enough to be convinced by a deity, they're irrational enough to go around killing people based on that. It would seem natural to their irrational minds.
Also, most of today's conflicts are necessarily based on greed, unless you count religious greed (for instance, the claims that Judaism has a 'god-given' right to that stretch of the Mediterranean). I know Jess will try to assassinate me for this, but the only reason why the Palestinian-Israeli conflict exists is because of "my rotten old book is better than yours" dogma. The case study I mentioned goes some way to evince this claim.

However the deliberate misinterpretation of holly scriptures by those in power has allowed religion to be used as a tool to manipulate and control people-to lead them into war.

True, to an extend. But I think, because the bible/torah/koran etc is so fundamentally hypocritical, unscientific and fatuous - it's too easy to point out 'good sides' of the book. But last time I checked, it was still permissible to rid the world of pagans and to commit genital mutilation without a second thought.

My problem is not with God, but with man.

Ironic, really...considering God is man-made fantasy.

this is paramount to being a non-kosher Jew.

Then what is a Jew if not to keep to religious traditions/dogma? Like Catholicism, Islam etc, Judaism is not a genetic identity - it is a set of beliefs and an associated culture. By not being kosher, those beliefs are invalidated (Jess, have you tried driving on Shabbat? Ever?).

That said the students that I’ve met there have been quite the opposite of intolerant as far as race, sexuality and gender diversity are concerned.

OK. I'll concede something here: I was 'born Jewish'...that is, I was told I was Jewish and circumcised (I'm frankly ashamed of this and still resent my parents for condoning this abuse). But now that I am atheist (not, as my illogical family from the maternal side claim, an 'atheist Jew'...I'll leave that one for the oxymoron society), I sternly shun all forms of religion from any religion.
From what I've experienced with the Jewish community in both Melbourne and Sydney, is that they are very tight-knit. Further to this, they disparage any diversity within their community; anyone who is non-zionist is looked down upon by such media as the Australian Jewish News which is immensely right-wing. Just ask Anthony Loweenstein - whose book about Israel and its avaricious lobby is on my 'to read list'.
For someone who's been a part of that 'scene', and now happily separated from it, I consider myself more qualified to pass judgement. I can clarify that most Jewish teenagers who go to non-secular schools no absolutely nothing about anything North of Dandenong Road. I know it sounds insulting and unfair, but that's the truth. It sickens me. Until all religions actively support the construction of another religion's place of worship in their 'region' (for instance, a mosque in North Caulfield), then they can count themselves down for a berating session by me.

On a personal note (if we're in such a mood), I consider myself 'free-er' now than I was when I thought myself Jewish. I also used to think Labor were a good political party; I clearly don't now. I consider non-secular education to be a threat as voluminous to society as Global Warming and the 'credit crisis'. It therefore scares me when Jess talks about her religion out of nowhere and brings it up in random conversation. If you did that on my blog, Jess, I would delete your comments without a second thought (unless they were relevant to the debate).

I have enormous respect for religious queers, but from where I'm at - it strikes me as very dangerous that one cannot let go of their belief system to give their sexuality some breathing space.

I hope I've cleared things up a bit. I hope that both Jayne, Jess and Kath all take a closer look at my points so far; none of you seem to have addressed the crux of my argument, let alone provide any evidence.

Jayne said...

Reuben, darls, I'm enjoying this debate!
I'm a practicing Witch (though many prefer to substitute a B for the W lol) and I follow the very basic creed of accepting a person for who they, respecting their beliefs and, usually, not discussing religion.
Judaism can be counted as a genetic identity with a large number of genetic disorders having been identified and screening processes advised.
Like your change of heart over the Labor party (haven't we all?!)many people have changing ideas regarding religion throughout their lives; it can likened to a kaleidoscope, forever changing and appearing different.

Jess said...

I'm sorry reuben, im too tired and pissed off to be diplomatic and try to reason with you, so i won't!

You're views on the middle eastern conflict are very narrow minded indeed!

There was a political decission made by the countaries (including Britian) who ruled israel at the time (yes prior to 1948 "Israel", or what you may call "palestine" or "caynan" was rulled by Britian).

As soon as this political decission was made, war has been pritty much a constant. There have been many attemps at compromises, including a two state solution in which more that half of "the are currently called Israel" was given to the palestinians, and a joint capital, namingly "Jerusalem" was to be set up. Let me remind you that this compromise was accepted by the Israeli Prime Minister at the time (and all his left winged supporters), but however was rejected by the palestinian rulling body of the time (it is unsure of whether or not the populace of the palestinans were given choice).

The middle eastern conflict goes far deeper than you say.

If you want more examples of failed peace projects i'd be happy to educate you on another matter you so easily ignorantly discuss!

I'm happy for you that your comfortable not believing in g-d, personally I believe in g-d, and nothing you will say can change that!

to give my sexuality breathing space??? reuben my sexuality is perfectly fine, actually you know what, i too rejected religion and I can tell you I suffered, and so did my "sexuality", nothing I did with my partners was of any meaning beyond physical, because I wasn't intouch with my inner self, and yes a part of that inner self is connected to my Judiasm! And i'm not ashamed to admit it! I'm a proud Jew and i am a proud Queer! Theres nothing dangerous about it, for me there is not alternative! It would be more dangerous for me to ignore my own desires, one of those includes my love for Judiasm, and g-d and my traditions.

"It therefore scares me when Jess talks about her religion out of nowhere and brings it up in random conversation." - Reuben

Reuben why are you threated by my "Jewishness"? If I scare you, then there is clearly some deeper issue you need to sort out. Sure i bring it up, i use words such as "oy" and "shumck" and "nebich" and "schlep" all the time! Religion is not something people should have to hide, in the same way that our "queerness" is not something we should have to hide. And when it becomes relevent to discussion of course i would talk about either one of them, because they are important aspects of my life, and me! They are both a part of me!!!! And i'm not going to make allowences for you because you're scared of my openess and willingness to bring up religion!!!

Reuben feel free to build a mosk in the middle of north caulfield, if you can find the land. Although they are only worth putting up where ppl will use them, which is why there are more synagogs in caulfeild, because ppl use them!

As far as the Jewish news goes, i read it every week, and if you had been this year (and in the past) you would know that they often public queer "friendly" articles, including Jews marching in pride march, "aleph" and "dayanu" functions, including photos (they are two queer jewish groupds aleph is in melbourne, dayanu is sydney), also they have continued to cover the battle for same-sex marriages in the Jewish religion, including the passing of the laws in the reformed movement, and a front page (and middle) article and photos of the first same-sex Jewish wedding, suppervised by a rabbi in sydney, they told the story of the couple, and wished them a mazel tov. Of course some people wrote negative responses, and they were published in the "letters to the editor" section, but so too they AJN (australian jewsih news) publish brilliant letters of support for the couple, and the changes! and this is just one example to prove you wrong about the jewish news, so get your facts write then come preeching ok?

and sorry reuben, "enourmous respect" my arse! you have just spent many post berrating us and our views, but you think thats all ok because you claim to be "respectful". Please open a dictonary and search for respect, because you obviously don't know its meaning!!!!

RVB said...

Judaism can be counted as a genetic identity with a large number of genetic disorders having been identified and screening processes advised.

Not so, Jayne. There is no genetic information regarding one's personal belief. And since the worldwide Jewish population is fairly diverse, ethnically, it's not true to say there is a Jewish ethnicity.

You're views on the middle eastern conflict are very narrow minded indeed!

Oh please...it's very easy to point a finger and accuse the other of being narrow-minded - particularly seeing as you actually think circumcision is a good idea.

There was a political decission made by the countaries (including Britian) who ruled israel at the time (yes prior to 1948 "Israel", or what you may call "palestine" or "caynan" was rulled by Britian).

Yes, but the location of the future Jewish state (as it were back then) was based on an ancient book of nonsense. That's spiritual arrogance.

Let me remind you that this compromise was accepted by the Israeli Prime Minister at the time (and all his left winged supporters), but however was rejected by the palestinian rulling body of the time (it is unsure of whether or not the populace of the palestinans were given choice).

It is also unsure if the term 'left wing' can be applied sensically to Israeli politics (though I'm aware there is a 'Green Party'). But I must admit, I'm very pleased by the construction of the Tel Aviv subway and the high speed rail links between Haifa and the central coast.

The middle eastern conflict goes far deeper than you say.

But...I'm so narrow minded and ignorant that I'm blind. Oh dear...I'd better inculcate myself again.

If you want more examples of failed peace projects i'd be happy to educate you on another matter you so easily ignorantly discuss!

If you want to discuss the definition of arrogance, I'm more than happy to as well. You can't profess ignorance any more than you can produce Elijah out of thin air to sit on that special chair during Passover.

I'm happy for you that your comfortable not believing in g-d, personally I believe in g-d, and nothing you will say can change that!

Further evidence that you're on dangerous territory. I reformed my previous Jewish misconceptions because I had a flexible mind; and I'm still open to believe in god (if only there was evidence) - but you? No. That's true fundamentalism.

And i'm not ashamed to admit it! I'm a proud Jew and i am a proud Queer!

Yes, but don't go showing it off. Ostentatiousness is an excusable behaviour that actively makes me feel pity for you.

There's nothing dangerous about it, for me there is not alternative! It would be more dangerous for me to ignore my own desires, one of those includes my love for Judiasm, and g-d and my traditions.

Really? Would god destroy you? Would the community send in the bearded voice of authority? You're held hostage, Jess, by a dogma that is insular and irreconcilable to the laws of physics. I'm perfectly happy to see you believe in whatever you want, but to suggest there is no alternative means you're either incredibly brainwashed or incredibly sheltered.


Reuben why are you threated by my "Jewishness"?

See previous comments. Think again.

If I scare you, then there is clearly some deeper issue you need to sort out. Sure i bring it up, i use words such as "oy" and "shumck" and "nebich" and "schlep" all the time!

You actually said "gosh..gotta love being Jewish" in a previous post of Kaths. You also talked about Yiddish when I was in the city with you and Kath. How is that not embarrassing? You might as well say..."gee I gotta love eating Apples" or "gee, I gotta love Marxism". Or discuss the demise of the 500+ Indonesian languages in such pride. The fact you that you deem bringing up your faith out of context as anything but ridiculous is an indictment on you.

Religion is not something people should have to hide, in the same way that our "queerness" is not something we should have to hide.

No. Queerness is innate. Religion is dogma. That's a profoundly simplistic and stupid argument to make - particularly seeing as Queerness is a necessary means to bring about political change and religion isn't.

They are both a part of me!!!! And i'm not going to make allowences for you because you're scared of my openess and willingness to bring up religion.

But to constantly bring it up? You must have a bloody big bee in your bonnet about religion to keep on mentioning it. Clinging on to the last vestiges of a dying ideology eh? I tried doing that and I got nowhere...but each to their own.

Reuben feel free to build a mosk in the middle of north caulfield, if you can find the land.

Nah...I like Caulfield how it is. Particularly the area near Ripponlea - it has a lovely Edwardian atmosphere. I was merely speculating how 'up in arms' the Jewish community would be over such a proposal (especially from Betar...of which the least said the better).

Although they are only worth putting up where ppl will use them, which is why there are more synagogs in caulfeild, because ppl use them!

Yes I know...but that's not even relevant to this debate.

As far as the Jewish news goes, i read it every week,

I rest my case.

nd if you had been this year (and in the past) you would know that they often public queer "friendly" articles, including Jews marching in pride march, "aleph" and "dayanu" functions,

It doesn't stop Mr. Tennenbaum's fatuous claims that queers are sinners. But even if the AJN are doing as you say they are, it doesn't make them left-wing or even centre; for starters, they (according to a Ms Devora Zilberman who I've had the acquaintance with...from the BUND) didn't even publish a letter that criticised the overwhelming pressure the Zionist lobby brings to bear. Anything non-Zionist is suffocated by the AJN. Undeniably.

and this is just one example to prove you wrong about the jewish news, so get your facts write then come preaching ok?

Ironic really...considering the only preaching I hear is from you. You can't prove that I'm wrong. Proof can't be proven. But I've actually broken away from Judaism. I've escaped. You have stayed there, and have not been given the opportunity to look at the community "from the outside".

and sorry reuben, "enourmous respect" my arse! you have just spent many post berrating us and our views, but you think thats all ok because you claim to be "respectful".

So you're happy with unquestioning allegiance to dogma? This is what the religious mind fails to understand. Religion is identically-analogous to politics, but a robust political debate is always welcome. Why does religion have this 'privilege' to be unaccountable to anything? Clearly you've been living the life of a fantasy whereby nobody dare criticise religion for fear of being labelled 'disrespectful'. More ironic still, considering you treating me as I have treated you.

Please open a dictonary and search for respect, because you obviously don't know its meaning!

Only if you open 'The God Delusion' and start reading that. Oh but surely the Torah is more important? Yes that's right...you arrogantly believe that because you know bugger-all about non-religion (considering you rarely travel north of the Yarra), you can claim that everybody else is ignorant.

Incidentally, don't attack Kath over this; I'm not her responsibility. I'm me. And I will continue to defend reason and make religion more accountable.

Jess said...

Reuben we will never get anywhere, you believe what you believe, and i believe what i believe, and if you're asking me for proof that g-d exists I can't give you it. I can tell you experience i have had in my life to make me believe, I can tell you that there was a long period of time i didn't at all believe, and I would have been saying similar things as you are now (although not so fancy, as this was a few yrs back). I have questioned, and yes i continue to question what i believe in the sense of why things are the way they are, but my belief in a higher power is unwavering, my belief in treating others fairly is unwavering, my belief in fighting for equality and for making the world a better place is unwavering.

Reuben you don't know where I have been in terms of my beliefs, and I don't know where you have come from.

So please lets just drop it! Agree to disagree, i'm not trying to hurt you reuben, and i'm sorry if you feel im threating the world, but i'm just trying to be the best person i can be. for me that includes having faith, not only in g-d but in people and life itself.

this argument could go on forever, and i think it would be best not to have such an argument in small instalments on a comp screen.

RVB said...

this argument could go on forever, and i think it would be best not to have such an argument in small instalments on a comp screen.

I'll agree to drop it, but I must remind you that the option of dropping one's current belief (be that atheism or otherwise) is open. It always has been.

All I ask is that you don't express your religion so passionately in contexts where it is not relevant.

RVB said...

But if religion is brought up into a discussion, don't expect me to not express a view (I wouldn't expect it of anyone, really).

N. F. Robinson said...

Reuben: I've read the God Delusion, The Case Against God, God is Not Great, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Atheism, God: The Failed Hypothesis, and a handful of others.

I've read ALL of those books and I still come out a theistic occultist. I've read most of the common holy books - except, I regret, the Torah. I own copies of the Bible, the Gnostic Texts, the Book of Mormon, the Koran, etc.

I've read Prometheus Rising, the Book of the Law, Dogma and Ritual, the Principia Discordia, and all of the seminal occult texts.

I've read enough in all three fields to think myself educated in these matters, and I can say only two things to you:

a) Richard Dawkin's isn't the best writer in the world, and his arguments are far from great. R.A. Sharpe and Daniel Harbour are much, much better, though their works remain less popular than Dawkins. Dawkins is a hack - he reached his peak in his stunning 'The Selfish Gene', but past that, he just regurgitates past ideas.

b) Religion, magic, science, atheism - if their really is a distinction, it's pretty dodgy. The more you read, the more you understand, the easier it is to accept that these things cannot exist in a vacuum. One is never superior to the other. Atheism is faulty just like thinking outside the box is faulty - you're still allowing the box to define your thoughts.

c) You're being a complete dick. I don't know who taught you social skills, but your complete lack of disrespect towards the beliefs gives me a distinct sense that you have some catching up to do. The same goes for your arguments. Recently, someone who is not particularly a religion person - who is, in fact, a powerful atheist - referred to you as an easy target. Think on that. He was talking to the guy who believes in magic and faeries and aliens and divination, and called YOU the easy target.

RVB said...

a) I plan to read more, but Dawkins does make sense to me.
b) It's not pretty dodgy; in fact, I find it perfectly rational. Just because you don't find it rational and believable doesn't make it unbelievable and irrational.
c) I was challenging Jess...yes. And I think her belief system is ridiculous. But she thinks the same of my belief system. And Oskar (if that's who you're referring to) is not the bastion of wisdom he makes himself out to be. He's influencing some of my views, but I've had atheistic views since the age of 13.

I've read ALL of those books and I still come out a theistic occultist.

I could think of a very cruel analogy, but I won't say it. Instead, I will point out that what you said is not a reason to support or attack religion.

N. F. Robinson said...

1. Dawkins makes sense to everyone. That's part of his appeal, but he sacrifices depth for accessibility, and that damages his writing in the field as a whole. There are much better atheistic writers out there - in fact, all things considered, Dawkins is a little crap.

2. "Just because you don't find it rational and believable doesn't make it unbelievable and irrational."

There we go, now you're finally starting to understand where it is you're going wrong.

3. Sure, but in discussing atheism with Oskar, his arguments are much more concise and hard-hitting. I get the feeling he's thought extensively about what he's about to say, and I respect that. He's a deeply intelligent individual.

I'm pretty sure I had atheistic beliefs around the age of 13, too. They seemed fine to me, and I actually remember making a girl's life very difficult at school, just because she had pagan parents. It didn't exactly make me a better person.

4. "I could think of a very cruel analogy, but I won't say it. Instead, I will point out that what you said is not a reason to support or attack religion. "

No, but don't go around preaching your atheist manifestos as if they're definitive proof that we're wrong. You, sir, strike me as a atheist fundamentalist, who have much in common with their Bible-bashing Christian cousins.

I've kind of given up on giving you a reason for or against religion. As they say: you can't teach an old fundamentalist new tricks.

Jayne said...

Meanwhile, getting back to the original blog post....
The message of the destruction of Sodom is thus to welcome and embrace all people in our community -- not in spite of their difference -- but precisely because of it.
Exactly!

Tera Rose said...

OK, I am at the bottom of these comments....but I have always read that story as a rape...of angels...

and what did Lot do?

He offered his daughters...Yeah hows that for good parenting?

He doesn't pray to God...he doesn't try to reason with the people...or hide the angels...he offers his daughters..
who will later get him drunk and have sex with him.

yeah right.

Like so many girls are blamed today for being molested....or that daddy was drunk.

ANYWAY,

HELLO THERE!

Read Luke 17:34- or visit my blog about this scripture...it's quite interesting actually.

RVB said...

he sacrifices depth for accessibility, and that damages his writing in the field as a whole.

I believe you there; and, as I said, I intend to expand my reading. Weren't you going to email me a list of books or something? Actually...do a blog post about "Books that Reuben should read".

There we go, now you're finally starting to understand where it is you're going wrong.

My mannerism might not be very seductive, but I earnestly think religion is just a bunch of bollocks; dangerous bollocks at that.

You, sir, strike me as a atheist fundamentalist, who have much in common with their Bible-bashing Christian cousins.

I share Dawkin's view on this that passion for passion does not mean we're equally matched. Rather, I would actually change my views to fit evidence which, sadly, is rather lacking in existence.

As they say: you can't teach an old fundamentalist new tricks.

Fortunately I'm a new fundamentalist (sic) in your eyes.

A link, for your efforts Nat...all about Dawkins and his critics: http://punditocracywatch.blogspot.com/

As for 'Tera Rose', I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about (though I have a sneaking suspicion it's about sneakers), but it sounds as though you're blog whoring if you're asking us to view your blog (which I won't, seeing as you asked).

Tera Rose said...

No, not blog whoring whatever that means...

one of your friends visited my blog...and left a comment for me to visit yours...

so whatever. I have enough reactive tempermental teenagers of my own.

buh bye.

Kath said...

REUBEN! for fucks sake stop being such a fucking asshole!
I respect your atheist views and have on occasion held them. Some of your arguments were well put, but your passion has led you to be an asshole. Also that comment you made towards TerraRose was uncalled for, inappropriate and nasty!
I checked out the blog and enjoyed what I read. Definitely worth a read for anyone interested in the interpretations of scripture. What were two men doing in the one bed in the bible?
I would like to call for an end to this argument, it isn’t getting anywhere.

RVB said...

Also that comment you made towards TerraRose was uncalled for, inappropriate and nasty!

I didn't said she was a blog whore, it sounded as though she was. She specifically asked us to look at her blog which is, in my view, blogging taboo.

I would like to call for an end to this argument, it isn’t getting anywhere.

Done. It's been done for a while I think.

Jayne said...

Have you checked out the Metropolitan Community Church in Melbourne Kath?
It's what you could call "a gay church" and the Rev. Heather Creighton is a really lovely person.

Kath said...

Wow no i hadn't heard of that Jayne, it looks beautifull. I'll deffinately have to pay it a visit.

Tera Rose said...

ok, here I am not so confused anymore...but it won't take long to get there.

I don't know social rules of blogging world...sorry rvb- social rules elude me as do modern technology.

Me? I am an over 40 year old mother who loves to write...and read about other's opinions.

I enjoyed reading the discourse here and wanted to join in; thus the invite.

Ok? No harm.

add to confusion, I thought that you (RVB) were the author of this blog...

but I get it. it takes me a while, but I can catch up.

I think this is a great discussion. We need to talk more about these things...all of us.. because that is how change occurs- in relationships; one person to one person.

we can make laws, interpret scritpture...but minds don't change unless hearts do.

just my opinion.

and you Kathy- are wise beyond years.

We have the MCC church here in our state.

To tell you the truth- it depends on which group that you visit as to how it is. One church bored me to tears as it seemed to be more of a forum for homosexuality. Great. I'll get that when I go to Gay pride day or other places...not much there about God, spirituality or stuff...it was like a 12 step program listening to the aches of homosexuality.
Then another one I visited...and it was doctrine, doctrine, doctrine.

I remember thinking- this would be a perfect church if they combined the two churches for one congregation :)

keep writing Kathy, you're amazing.

Kath said...

Thanks TerrRose. While I've never visited such a church I do hope to. I can see where you're coming from about being uninterested in continually hearing about the "aches of homosexuality" There are many aches and it is totally reasonable to voice them and safe spaces need to be provided for this to happen. However as someone who's motivated to change things, I'm more interested in political discussion followed by political action. I suppose in a church everyone looks for different qualities much like looking for a home, or engaging in a relationship.

N. F. Robinson said...

Crackles: Oh, well done. That is very scathing. I'm sure Reuben will have no other option but go home and cry his pathetic leftist-tears once he's read your post. You big, big man.

Terra Rose: Love the blog, incidentally.

Reuben: I may just write that list..

RVB said...

I'm sure Reuben will have no other option but go home and cry his pathetic leftist-tears once he's read your post.

I'm drinking champaign senselessly, Nat...and eating tofu like there's no tomorrow.