The Point: What the Pulse Night Club Massacre Was

Let’s remember the Pulse Night Club attack for what it really was. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11: The Pulse nightclub massacre.

And lest we forget, the gunman self-identified as an “Islamic soldier” who had pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS.

But you’d have a hard time finding any reference to that in last week’s stories. Instead, we read about “the deadliest anti-gay violence in history,” a “mass-shooting,” and the need to protect LGBT people from gun violence.

Now these are all true statements—and all of us should mourn and support every effort to keep this from happening again.

But we have to remember what “this” is—Islamist terrorism, born of an evil, hate-filled ideology. One that, by the way, has a special loathing for homosexuals.

As I said on BreakPoint recently, we have to be able to name evil for what it is if we want to combat it. Especially when we mourn its victims.

 


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  • Phoenix1977

    Interesting. Most conservatives keep stating the Pulse Massacre was not a terrorist attack but the mental breakdown of an Arabic gay man who was stuck between his religion and his sexuality and ultimately succumbed to his self-loathing, killing as many LGBTs as he could before killing himself. A gay man who hid his sexuality and the true reason for his crime by claiming allegiance to ISIS and made sure his suicide was masked that way.

    For quite a few conservatives the shooting at Pulse night club is another example of how deranged LGBTs are. For LGBTs it only illustrates the evil of religion.

    • Steve

      I would be interested in where you draw your conclusions about what “most conservatives keep stating” and “for LGBTs it only illustrates the evil of religion”. These may be your conclusions but don’t try to impose them on what others are thinking. It is strange that LGBT people would want to downplay the ISIS influence on this person, and rather say that all religion is evil. Don’t you see the danger that Islam is to an LGBT person? Look at life in a Muslim country for someone who is LGBT. Your need to put down religion is preventing you from seeing the true danger here.

      • Scott

        I completely agree… the difference between Christianity and Islam is stark, but you would have to have a willingness to understand the two to recognize this.

        • Phoenix1977

          I understand them all too well, just as I know quite a few things about Judaism, Hinduism and Buddism. In order to understand people you need to understand their culture and a large part of culture is religion. Unfortunately, the things I read didn’t make me less afraid of religion in general, where Buddism was the best of the major religions, closely followed by Hinduism as long as you don’t take the worshipping of the Goddess Kali into account (Kali demands human sacrifices).

          • Scott

            So I’m curious to know what makes you fearful of Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament?

          • Phoenix1977

            Christianity isn’t all about the new testament. There is another part of the bible. And I thought you and me just had quite the discussion about the abuse Christians afflict on other with their bibles in hand.
            But the most important reason is that Christianity (as do all other religions) eliminates a person’s own responsibility. If you succeed at something, it’s because your god was with you and if you fail it was because he wasn’t. That’s a dangerous philosophy, in my opinion.

          • Scott

            You didn’t think our discussion concerning the Bible was finished did you. : )

            I think you’ve missed the point of the Bible entirely. If the people had gotten it right in the OT, then why would God need to send Jesus? What did Jesus say about the Pharisees and teachers of the law?..

            You can’t pour pure water into a rusty cup and blame the water for the contamination.

          • Phoenix1977

            Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
            After all, that is the most used quote whenever LGBTs state Jesus never talked about homosexuality. Religious conservatives (mis)use this quote regularly to affirm books like Leviticus.

          • Scott

            Now you are getting closer to it! When I asked you above “what makes you fearful of Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament?,” is this the verse you are referring to? Before I reply to you I want to make sure that I am replying correctly… thousands of pages have been written by many different scholars that would better address your three sentence reply above. I just want to narrow down my thoughts into an appropriate and helpful reply.

            As a teaser I might begin with something like: “That verse is no more dangerous to you than it is to me.” I would explain this position in more depth of course.

          • Phoenix1977

            Hmm, Jesus “teachings” mean very little to me (if they even exist) but they are not dangerous at all. If you keep seeing them in the correct context. However, not only do we not know their correct context but it is impossible for people today to ever find out. Let me explain.

            The bible, and especially the new testament, was compiled from stories told over and over again before they were written down. And even between the moment they were written down to the completion of the bible there were at least several decades. The content of the bible was decided during the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and only a portion of the stories written about Jesus made it’s way into the bible. Far more books were rejected and, thanks to the Catholic Church in the decades after, destroyed for containing blasphemy. So that’s one reason why we’ll never truly know the truth about anything in Christianity.

            Another reason is the constant manual copying of the bible.
            The oldest copy of the bible know today is the Codex Sinaiticus, rediscovered in Egypt in 1859 by Konstantin von Tischendorf but it is incomplete. The oldest complete book dates from the early 400s but is kept in the Vatican Archives and is therefor out of reach for all critical researchers. The oldest copy not in Vatican hands dates from the late 800s. So there is no way of knowing how much of the original texts are still preserved today.
            Add to the mix the various translations, more than once ordered by the Vatican (the one institution with a vast interest in making sure their power was confirmed by the “word of god”) and how easy it was to either make a mistake in copying the bible by hand or misreading a handwritten text when working by candlelight, not to mention the many words in Latin, Greek and Hebrew with more than one meaning and even the most devout Christian must agree the origin of the bible is questionable, historically speaking. The only way one can overlook all these historical problems with this book is faith and for more and more (former) Christians, that is simply not enough.

            In my view the bible is compiled by, edited by and safeguarded by a group of men who had power and who were willing to do whatever it took to keep their power. What better way than to have a “god” give you that authority in “his word”? Who would question that authority? Who would have the power to doubt your ruling? As Louis XVI of France once said: “Who are these people who demand I answer to them? I am King as as such I answer to god alone!” The same can be said about popes, cardinals, bishops, priests and any other type of preacher and they all have the bible to prove their power. Well, unless they are able and willing to prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt how that book came to be, they have no authority over me, nor does the god they created in their bible.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            If that last paragraph were true, Phoenix, then it would be truly strange that so many of the authors of the Bible were ostracized, tortured, and killed for their beliefs. That hardly seems like a kind of power worth keeping. It also would be strange how much of the Bible cuts down the wealthy and powerful and praises the lowly and humble. If your theory is true, how do you explain the following:

            “He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
            He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
            And exalted the lowly.
            He has filled the hungry with good things,
            And the rich He has sent away empty.” (Luke 1:51b-53)

            “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

            “Blessed are the meek,
            For they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

            ““You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21)

            “‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” (James 4:6)

            I could go on for days, but you get the idea. Why is the Bible saturated with ideas like this if it’s all about helping the wealthy and powerful shut down the poor and humble? Those who prefer to take it that way are completely ignoring what it says. Those who DO pay attention to what it says, who live and work and lead by what it says — people like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa — are the ones who live counterculturally, change the world, and are remembered and praised long after their deaths.

          • Phoenix1977

            Truthfully, I have no idea. Apparently the rich and powerful found quite a few loopholes. The French Kings, the Austrian and German Emporers, the British Royals, the Dutch king and queens, all ruled “By the grace of god”. And let’s not forget the power and influence the Roman popes had throughout history. Canon law still states the pope can sentence people to death for no other reason than violation of Catholic law.
            And before you start talking about use and misuse, I don’t care about that. Your bible gives power to people in power, both in the past and in the present, while we actually know there are more sides to the story which have been suppressed since 325 AD. So, agan, how can I trust a church or a religion based on a book we know is incomplete and, dare we say it, downright untrue. Doesn’t Genesis say the earth is the center of the universe and the sun, the moon and all the stars surround the earth? We know that is untrue.So what else in the bible is false? As long as no one can tell me that there is no reason for me to believe in Christianity or trust the Christian churches.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            You’re doing some extremely fancy footwork to avoid my point. 🙂

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            But to respond to your question: Doesn’t Dante give an equally inaccurate depiction of the structure of the universe? So what reason do we have to read Dante?

          • Phoenix1977

            Dante is a philosopher and a poet, not a scientist as we define a scientist nowadays. So Dante would be just as useless to me to find the truth as the bible is.
            I’m a doctor and a scientist. For me to accept something as true I need cold, hard evidence that will survive the tests of science. And the bible fails those tests, simply because we know, for example, there are more gospels than the 4 in the new testament. But those didn’t make the cut. Why not? What was told in those gospels the “editors” of the bible in 325 AD didn’t want us to know? And if those gospels told a different story, a story the church doesn’t want us to know, what else is the church hiding? What else are Christians not allowed to know?

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            You could always read Dan Brown instead. But I must say, I find him quite pedestrian. 🙂

          • Phoenix1977

            Hmm, I like the books way better than the movies, at least 🙂 But you do realize why “Angels and Demons” and “The DaVinci Code” are such successes, right? Far more successful than “The Lost Symbol”, “Inferno” or any of the stories without Robert Langdon?
            The main reason is because those stories are in line with people suspicions towards the church. People WANT to believe it because they KNOW the church is hiding stuff. And Dan Brown is able to use just enough credible historic evidence, combined with credible theories, to make the pure fiction parts believable. That also explains why “The Lost Symbol” missed every mark. Dan Brown tried to do the same thing with the Freemasons what he did with the Catholic Church without realizing the Masonry is far more open and less secretive than the Catholic Church, for one, and definitely far less hated than the Vatican.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            People also want to believe that the moon landing was fake, there are aliens in Area 51, the U.S. government was responsible for 9/11, and President Obama was born in Kenya. Show me an institution or an influential figure and I’ll show you five or ten different conspiracy theories. I think it says more about human nature than it does about the institutions and the influential figures.

          • Phoenix1977

            All true, except the number of people believing those conspiracy theories is negligable compared to the number of people ready to believe the Catholic Church is a very shady organisation with more secrets to hide than ever have been revealed.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            If that contention were true — and I have no idea on what you’re basing it — what difference would that make? If more people believe in aliens in Area 51 than the faked moon landing, does that mean it’s likely that there are aliens in Area 51?

          • Phoenix1977

            Credibility always comes from the number of people believing it. Christianity is a prime example of that. Most elements in Christianity can also be found in the DSM-V psychiatric classification system, as symptoms of severe psychiatric illnesses. But because a large number of people believe it you can talk about it on this website instead of in a padded room with a psychiatrist, drugged out of your skull. And claiming god speaks to you will most definately get you referred to a good shrink, even if you are a Christian.

          • Scott

            Leave for a few days and wow, I’ve got allot of catching up to do! ; – )

            First of all, no one knows where the universe begins or ends so we can’t answer the question of it’s center. We know the earth orbits the sun and the moon orbits the earth, but it is also true that the sun, moon and stars surround the earth. If it is evidence you want Phoenix, I will gladly give you suggestions of books to read regarding this subject. But I wonder if you would read them with an open mind? In the end I will tell you that the evidence for God outweighs the evidence against Him… however if the omnipotent creator of the universe wants to give us the choice of faith, then I would imagine He could remain hidden to us until He desires to reveal Himself.

            The Christians Gina speaks of received TRUE power from God. They did not wield it over others because God does not give us power in that way. Many of the greatest Christians (especially the disciples) were so empowered by God, that death by persecution was no deterrent. I believe they felt the eternal lives of all were more important than their own earthly lives. This is certainly true of Mother Theresa, Eric Liddell and many others like them.

            Also the Bible was written by eyewitnesses during the life span of many who witnessed Jesus in person. Those manuscripts were passed on through the centuries until they were gathered together to compile the BIble as we know it today. There are at least a couple of books that have been written in the last 50 years (by people that started out as atheists doing research to disprove the Bible) illustrating the evidence corroborating the gospels. Both authors ended up converting to Christianity and then writing their books telling about what they found. Compelling don’t you think?

            Now I can understand why you feel the way you do about Christians and the Bible… but I would like to offer you another view of what a Christian can be. Could it be that the rich and powerful were using their power and wealth to serve themselves while hiding behind scripture? What did I say about the pure water and the rusty cup? Jesus says: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25… I don’t see this verse adorning the door of may mansions. How does this serve the wealthy and powerful?

            Perhaps we see what bests serves ourselves and cannot see what is best for all?

          • Phoenix1977

            “We know the earth orbits the sun and the moon orbits the earth, but it is also true that the sun, moon and stars surround the earth.”
            I’m not going to debate semantics here. You know what I mean and you also know what happened with people who denied geocentrism as a science in the past.

            “Also the Bible was written by eyewitnesses during the life span of many who witnessed Jesus in person. Those manuscripts were passed on through the centuries until they were gathered together to compile the BIble as we know it today.”
            We don’t know that. We can only take the word of the Catholic Church for that since they have the only original copy of the bible in their archives. And we also know what the word of the Catholic Church is worth nowadays.

            “Could it be that the rich and powerful were using their power and wealth to serve themselves while hiding behind scripture?”
            Very well possible. And what of it? Use or misuse matters little to me. It only illustrates how religion can be corrupted to fit someone’s needs.

            “Jesus says: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25… I don’t see this verse adorning the door of may mansions. How does this serve the wealthy and powerful?”
            It can sooth the minds of the masses who have to pay large taxes for the rich and powerful. Because their god says in the end it doesn’t matter so why bother you have no food on the table or no roof above your head. After all, you can’t take it with you anyway.

            Going back to France, one of the Louis (I thought it was number 12 but not entirely sure) made a pact with the Catholic Church. The Church would strengthen the monarchy by stating the king was anointed by god and would only answer to him and in return the bishops and cardinals would live like kings while the law would state the Catholic Church was the one and only church in France. That pact stayed intact until the French Revolution and kept the people in check for centuries.

            Like I said, I don’t care whether the rich and powerful used or misused the bible and Christianity. It’s two sides of the same coin to me. Without a bible and without Christianity there would not be anything to use or misuse. Without the bible the Aztecs would still be alive today. Without the bible AIDS would not be spreading like wildfire in Africa. Without the bible my former classmate would not have been driven to suicide by his Christian mother for being “a worthless, no good, evil little faggot [Sorry, Gina] who would no longer defile god’s creation if he were dead” (according to the boy’s father she said that with her bible in hand, literally).
            And all that due to a book which is as flawed as the rest of the world. Thanks, but no, thanks.

          • Scott

            This is a good reply. I do love scripture! : – )

          • Scott

            King Louis XVI’s quote does not sound Biblical at all. I think we can discern the difference here.

            “Who are these people who demand I answer to them? I am King as such I answer to god alone!” This sounds more like a prideful man using his power to serve his own interest rather than the interests of God’s people don’t you think? Jesus in contrast might say something like: “…and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10: 44-45

          • Phoenix1977

            And yet he was backed by priests, Bishops, Cardinals and even the Pope …

          • Scott

            Well, priests have been convicted of raping young boys too… yet I just can’t find any scripture to support their actions?

            Rusty cups Phoenix… no where does it say in the Bible that Christians are immune to evil. Instead it says that we are ALL sinners… flawed… and that Jesus came to save us ALL. I’m sure if you dig deep enough you could find Christian voices that opposed King Louis XVI. Voices that were more inclined to the message behind Mark 10:44-45.

            People that serve themselves are everywhere, that is why the Christian message is so countercultural.

          • Phoenix1977

            Well, some of those priests said it wasn’t actually rape because the boys did not object. And when confronted with their vow of abstinence the same priests said it was not truly sex because it was with boys and than even boys before hitting puberty. I hope you don’t ask yourself why those men make me sick and I wish them all the worst.

            Than perhaps Christians should pipe it down a notch or two and take a good long look in the mirror before calling others a sinner (or worse). Perhaps Christians should spend more time adjusting their own behavior instead of meddling in other people’s lives; making other people’s lives more difficult.

            And I doubt there were Christians opposing Louis XVI (or any of the Louis’, that is) because if there were I don’t think they lived a long an happy life once they were found out.

          • Scott

            Yes… the priests I spoke of are examples of people serving themselves. Rust contaminating the pure water.

            As I said before. We are not warriors sent to beat Gods law into the world around us. We are messengers sent to show God’s love so that those around us have the chance to love Him back.

            In fact I am sure there were Christians who opposed all the King Louis.’ just like there were Christians who gave their lives saving Jewish lives in Nazi Germany. Jesus modeled that it is better to give your life serving than take a life oppressing. This is the Christian message. The world around us does not like this message for obvious reasons… we all want to be our own gods. Nobody wants to truly sacrifice, they would rather serve their own desires. How was Eve tempted by the serpent?

            Those of us who see our own rust, can begin to scrub it away… we turn God’s word introspectively so that His water may not be so contaminated when poured into our cup… ultimately we cannot get rid of all our rust, we can only scrub. I look at it this way, If I cannot get rid of all my own rust then how can I get rid of someone else’s? Back to the plank and the speck. I do not meddle in your life because I am still meddling in mine. : )

          • Phoenix1977

            “We are not warriors sent to beat Gods law into the world around us. We are messengers sent to show God’s love so that those around us have the chance to love Him back.”
            Carrots and sticks. Perhaps you should read the bible again. That book is filled with both.

            “Nobody wants to truly sacrifice”
            Define “sacrifice”. I don’t deny I take personal pleasure in helping others. My patients, for example. So I guess you can’t describe my work as sacrifice. And I do have my limits in other areas as well. But to state people are driven purely by their own desires …I don’t think so.

            “If I cannot get rid of all my own rust then how can I get rid of someone else’s?”
            I wish more Christians would look at the world like that. Would at least saved me a world of hurt.

          • Scott

            I actually read the Bible almost every day and stand by my statement. Remember that Christians are most concerned with Jesus’ words and what is said in the New Testament. Jesus came to die because humanity has some issues with obedience.

            Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

            I try to reorient to this daily. “All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

            Sacrifice: “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.” This is one definition. You can receive pleasure in sacrifice but I would say that a paycheck keeps work from being a sacrificial act. The sacrifice I refer to above is what Christians are called to do. To give up our desire for earthly pleasures, material wealth, political power, etc. to serve the world around us. This is rare don’t you think?.. Most people would rather accumulate wealth than give it to those in need (this is just one example). I agree with you when you say people are not purely (the word purely makes your statement true in my opinion) driven by their own desires… but they are mostly driven by their own desires and do not wish to risk personal harm or even uncertainty for the sake of others.

          • Phoenix1977

            “You can receive pleasure in sacrifice but I would say that a paycheck keeps work from being a sacrificial act.”
            Trust me, not when you see my paycheck. I think I make about twice the hours of I’m actually getting paid.

            “but they are mostly driven by their own desires and do not wish to risk personal harm or even uncertainty for the sake of others.”
            I think I can agree to that. Although there are people who are completely selfless but those are pretty rare.

          • Scott

            “Trust me, not when you see my paycheck. I think I make about twice the hours of I’m actually getting paid.”

            We might have this in common! : – )

            “Although there are people who are completely selfless but those are pretty rare.”

            I can agree to this as well.

      • Phoenix1977

        Check out the Daily Signal (www.dailysignal.com) and Lifesitenews (www.lifesitenews.com) as two examples of conservative organisations stating exactly what I just said. And they have references to other websites in organisations if you are not nauseous enough after that.
        Truth is, so far I have experienced more trouble from Christians than from Muslims. A Moroccan family living in my building invited me and my boyfriend for Eid ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) last year as well as several iftars during Ramadan and they joined us for Christmas dinner. My Christians neighbors tried to have me evicted from my apartment for being gay and keyed my car with quotes from Leviticus. So who would you fear more if you were me?

        • Scott

          I also think Steve is referring to all the acts of violence ISIS claims credit for in the news… and their general disposition towards those they deem infidels. Curiously such acts are often committed in the name of Allah. I have never heard the name of Jesus associated to this same type of violence.

          Your story illustrates a good point though. Perhaps your Christian neighbors need to direct more of their focus on the New Testament vs. the old?.. maybe they should read about this Jesus character model their actions after Him? I also commend your Moroccan neighbors and would say to the Christians you speak of that they could learn a lesson about hospitality from them.

          Just out of curiosity, where do you live (please don’t be specific)? I ask this because I wonder where on earth you have experienced so much hate (especially in the form of destructive violence) from Christians? I keep my eyes open and I have not seen anything like what you describe. Especially the frequency with which you say it happens. I do hear of it from time to time but it is pretty distant and nothing I have witnessed personally.

          Also I have never been to the websites you list above… I wonder what they might think of me? : )

          • Phoenix1977

            No offense, Scott, but I am sure you haven’t heard of or experienced things done by Christians to others. As I said in another discussion: try living in a Christian dominated area as an atheist or an LGBT atheist. You might discover things from your fellow Christians you never knew and wished you never found out.
            I live in Leiden, the Netherlands, a small city approximately 45 km from Amsterdam (our capitol). But, more importantly, less than 15 km from a small fishing village called Katwijk, home to maybe the most conservative group of Christians to be found in Western-Europe (although some other small villages in the Netherlands also qualify, like Urk and Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht). Although the Netherlands is one of the most progressive countries in the world some small enclaves of orthodoxy remain intact. And they have a lot of influence and very long arms.
            At the Daily Signal you will probably be called a RINO, if not some more colorful names. And lifesitenews will probably kick you off their forum within a few days since they don’t want discussion but only yay-sayers.

          • Scott

            RINO?.. I have no idea what that means. Perhaps I ought to go over there and see for my myself. : )

            It may just be that you represent the very obstacle that would force them to live more faithfully?

          • Phoenix1977

            It took me a while as well. RINO means Republican In Name Only. Most of the commenters there know 3 kind of people: conservatives / true Republicans, RINO’s and liberal trash. Guess in which category they placed me? 🙂

          • Scott

            I do not consider myself Republican or Democrat (or any other party for that matter). In my opinion, the Republican Party does not represent Christianity very well at all. Sounds like they would have a hard time with someone like me… Who knows, maybe they would place me in the same category as you. Wouldn’t that be funny! : )

          • Phoenix1977

            Would be funny indeed. They don’t do well with nuances at the Daily Signal. As far as the majority of commenters there is concerned you are Christian and therefor supposed to be Republican. If you are not you are at best as lost cause (in their view) or a traitor to the cause 🙂

          • Scott

            None taken… I’m certain I cannot relate to your experience, I can only offer empathy. Just saying that I haven’t witnessed it either… I also will say you might be surprised by some of the Christian (majority) communities in America. I live in one and we have a very peaceful community… I live in a particularly diverse neighborhood, and love it… and everyone knows who/what I am.

          • Phoenix1977

            Your community is peaceful towards you. But how peaceful is your community towards others? You cannot know, Scott, because you are part of the community, not part of the others.

          • Scott

            I know your experiences with Christians cloud your vision (and rightly so), but your experiences limit you to you. There are several same-sex couples in our neighborhood and I have personally witnessed acts of grace and friendship by many different people (myself included). Simple gestures like a smile and hello, to stopping for friendly conversation. Do not assume all Christians (or any other type of person for that matter) will seek to harm you. That just simply isn’t the case. If I disagree with one aspect of how you live your life, it doesn’t mean I condemn can you (especially violently). It is also because of the Bible/God that I believe this.

            I also know my neighborhood does not represent the rest of America… it is after all fairly diverse. But if there are a few bigoted and angry people in my neighborhood community, they would not represent the entire community either… I am also sure they probably exist somewhere within, I just haven’t met them yet. : )

          • Phoenix1977

            You say my experiences cloud my judgement, I say they opened my eyes. Matter of interpretation. And I’m sure not all Christians mean to harm me but I met enough of them to know they are out there and by keeping all Christians at arms length I am sure those who do seek me harm cannot come near enough to me to do so.

          • Scott

            Based on what you have told me about your life experiences with Christians, I completely understand your caution. As I said before, trust is earned.

            Also note that I said “vision” not judgement. You may judge Christians, but that is not what I was inferring or talking about. I was talking about your ability to see a Christian for who they really are. Two entirely different things.

          • Phoenix1977

            I have another cliche: “Trust comes on foot but leaves by horse”. I might be able to see Christians for who they really are but only if I allow them to come close enough. And like I said, I’m not really inclined to do that.

          • Scott

            Thank you Phoenix! I do love learning new things… I’ve not heard that one?

            It begs the question: Can trust which has been lost be repaired? I know that it can because I have seen it with my own eyes and felt it with my own heart! It is not easy and requires true heart felt repentance (apology), empathy and time. This reconciliation can only happen if both parties are willing though… and it is a beautiful thing when it does.

            I can only ask; please do not let your oppressors speak for me… or other like minded Christians. There are many of us who would choose a different path than those who lashed out against you in violence.

          • Phoenix1977

            I always thought that saying was American in origin. I thought it originated in the Old West?

            Yes, trust can be restored but it becomes more and more difficult each time it is violated. So you can imagine trust between me and the average Christian is not that easily mended.
            Same goes for the LGBT community, by the way. Although there are more obstacles in the way there. For one, there is no true will to build any kind of trust from either side (After all, only 4 days ago a high ranking cardinal declared he would fight the evil that is homosexuality until his dying breath and we all know how LGBTs think about pretty much any religion). Besides that, Christians never once apologized about how they treated LGBTs throughout history (although I doubt a simple apology would suffice, to be honest).

            So, in the end, we are back to our original question: can Christians and LGBTs live together peacefully. And I still doubt it. Throughout this discussion more than once the epic scene from Independence Day pops into my mind, where President Whitmore discovers what the alien invaders are there for.
            President Whitmore: “Can there be peace between our races?”
            Alien: “Peace? …. No Peace!”

          • Scott

            Thankfully neither one of us are aliens! : )

            I do not think it is far fetched for Christians to apologize… It is ironic. As an atheist, I took part in discriminating against LGBTs (nothing like what you have described – but discrimination none the less). As a Christian, I feel remorse and would apologize for my behavior. I live a peaceful life now, and pose no threat to anyone different than myself and I know many other Christians like me. Without the love of Christ in my heart, I would be vengeful and unforgiving.

            If no Christian has apologized to you, then let me be the first! Not only do I condemn the acts of your oppressors, but I would implore them to take a closer look at what Jesus says about how we are supposed to treat others.

            It boils down to this. Christians are supposed to believe that all God’s people are valued the same. All of God’s people are flawed (sinners and we should remember that means ALL of us : ), and therefore need to recognize Jesus. If so, we are supposed to love Him because of His love (sacrifice) for us. Out of His love, we should be moved to love others as He loves us.

            While it is true the Bible is not neutral about sexuality, Jesus is also not neutral about agape love. Instead of oppression Jesus gives us this:

            “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22: 37-40

            We are messengers and we are NOT sent to beat God’s law into the world around us. We were meant to show God’s love so that all might have the opportunity to love Him back. For the eternal sake of those around us, not ourselves.

          • Phoenix1977

            We might not be aliens but sometimes it seems we live on different planets 🙂
            Perhaps if I had met more Christians like you I wouldn’t be this distrustful of them. I guess we’ll never know. I’m the first to admit I’m too damaged to change my thinking of Christians anymore. Too much has happened. But perhaps you and Christians like you can prevent other LGBTs to experience what I have and people like me. Only time will tell, I guess.

          • Scott

            Your answer is hopeful! I know other Christians that are not only like me, but better than me (forgive my flawed but at least humble theology : ).

            First and foremost I think Christians need to be remembered for their love. You may say that you are too damaged… but if you can change your mind about one Christian… who knows who or what else you can change your mind about. The message of the gospel changed my life completely.

          • Phoenix1977

            Now your are assuming too much. Don’t forget, I’m not someone who doesn’t know Christianity. I was born and raised a Christian. I left Christianity long before my experiences that damaged me beyond repair because I the world I saw was not the world Christianity preached about. My personal experiences came after that.
            And there is one other very important aspect why I will never return to being a Christian. I’m happy with who and what I am and I have no need for a god.

          • Scott

            I was referring to this portion of your statement: “Perhaps if I had met more Christians like you I wouldn’t be this distrustful of them.”

            I would not assume you might consider a Christian life… I hope and pray for it, but know that it is not up to me. : ) What encourages me is that perhaps if you met a different Christianity than what you’ve experienced so far, you may be inclined to trust Christians.

            That perhaps people like us can one day work together… towards eliminating the paradox we talked about in an earlier conversation (balance of oppressive power shifting from one side to the other creating violent tension – a cycle that humans can’t seem to stop repeating). A society where you are free to be you and I am free to be me. Where neither one of us is forced to do anything that goes against our conscience. One that allows the minority a place along side the majority… where cultural, religious and ideological differences are respected and allowed to exist peacefully. No such place exists today (nor has it ever), but it is up to all of us to try.

            I know you do not believe in God, but since you cannot prove that God does not exist (and there is more modern scientific evidence for him than against), What would you say to Him if you went before Him after your earthly life? Just curious… not believing in God would have a major impact on ones eternity.

          • Phoenix1977

            “What encourages me is that perhaps if you met a different Christianity than what you’ve experienced so far, you may be inclined to trust Christians.”
            I’m sorry, but you misread my statement. I said: “Perhaps if I had met more Christians like you I wouldn’t be this distrustful of them.” Had met. Past perfect. Sorry, but that ship has sailed.

            “One that allows the minority a place along side the majority… where cultural, religious and ideological differences are respected and allowed to exist peacefully.”
            That would only be possible if people would be inclined to consider other people’s views hold just as much merit as their own. And I don’t think that is possible. Doesn’t the bible say: “There is no way to Heaven than through me”? Pretty difficult to accept someone else’s views as equally valuable, correct? And the same can be found in socialism, in humanism and who knows what other ideology.

            “What would you say to Him if you went before Him after your earthly life?”
            Should I be proven wrong after my death I will probably ask him where he was all my life and why he allowed his followers to make my life so miserable. Knowing me I would probably be more than a little angry with him for allowing humanity to ruin this planet and each other. I don’t think that would be a conversation anyone would want to witness.

          • Scott

            “I don’t think that would be a conversation anyone would want to witness.” Least of all you. You can pick an intellectual fight with humans and perhaps you win more than you lose (in your mind anyway : – ). But picking an intellectual fight with the omnipotent creator of the universe might be a bad idea. Just saying. Humanity is flawed I’ll give you that… but ruined? I think you are being a bit melodramatic. People commit great acts of kindness everyday… There is still much love in the world. Also the planet isn’t ruined yet. There is still wilderness and I should know, I actively seek it.

            Everyone thinks their own ideology is the best one, this is especially true of atheists with conflicting views and remember I was one once. It is possible if we are allowed to live our convictions freely.

          • Phoenix1977

            What would I have to lose is such a conversation? I’d be already dead.

            I didn’t say humanity was ruined (although some humans would make fine examples of that statement) but that humanity ruins this planet. Big difference. And right now the only wilderness that is allowed to exist are the ones humanity makes money out of or the ones no one is economically interested in.

            “It is possible if we are allowed to live our convictions freely.”
            Like I said, that is impossible, unless we separate all the different ideologies completely. And that too is impossible in this day and age. Or do you think a atheist collaegue would take kindly in a Christian always being free on Sundays and during Christmas and the atheist never getting a day off besides the regular vacation days?

          • Scott

            “What would I have to lose in such a conversation? I’d be already dead.”

            I guess you are right… you would have already lost Eternity in Heaven. Why one might risk such a thing as their eternal salvation is beyond me? I would think it might be awful to receive the answers to your questions right before you were sent to eternal damnation but I’m not sure you would. I would not wish such a thing on anyone.

            All of what you said in your second paragraph is true… and so is my statement about the planet not being ruined yet.

            Why can’t the atheist have Sundays off? Why can’t they have Christmas off?.. Why can’t an employer allow all employees the same amount of Holidays to spend how and when they see fit?.. The same amount of vacation days to spend how and when they see fit? This does not seem so impossible?

    • Scott

      Not all religion is the same… I think you know this Phoenix. It seems John (a religious conservative) has called the massacre an act of “Islamist terrorism.” Perhaps your statement should be directed towards one of the other conservatives you speak of.

      I wonder what (if any) James Hodgkinson’s religious affiliation might be?

  • Joseph

    It is disheartening to see conservatives only acknowledge anti-LGBT violence when attempting to use the LGBT community as pawns against Muslims.

    • Scott

      I do not follow mainstream media so please name another incident that illustrates your point. Also I am a conservative and your statement does not at all reflect my point of view… perhaps you should not use stereotypes as often as you do.

      • Joseph

        Scott, you’re right. Not all conservatives think this way, and my apologies if I offended you. I often need to better distinguish between “rank and file” conservatives and leadership (politicians, writers, heads of influential organizations, etc.). For my point, best example is Ted Cruz, certainly no friend to gay people, who nevertheless used this attack to lecture liberals on how Muslims were the real enemy (paraphrasing, here), and if they really cared about gay people, they’d be more anti-Islam. But if you don’t follow mainstream media, you might have missed this rhetoric (and probably been better off for it!). There were also many religious right leaders (I don’t know how prominent you would consider them) who used this attack to further condemn gay people as somehow deserving this. Again, I need to work on not over-generalizing, but I also think that conservatives should be aware of what their representatives and faith leaders are saying, and if they disagree, it’s up to them to speak out more.

        • Scott

          “I also think that conservatives should be aware of what their representatives and faith leaders are saying, and if they disagree, it’s up to them to speak out more.”

          I can agree with this. I don’t know if you follow Timothy Keller at all but he is a faith leader that agree with on almost every point. I say this as often as I possibly can, I am a religious conservative that has no political representation in my country… at least no mainstream voice that I have heard comes very close to representing my views. Breakpoint is fairly close… I am a firm believer in Biblical truth and the voices representing this site do a very good job of honoring the Bible (in my opinion)… But I wouldn’t necessarily call Breakpoint main stream. J

          Just curious but I think you said in an earlier post that you do believe in God? Do you consider yourself a Christian?.. If so, do you believe same-sex attraction to be a sin?

          • Joseph

            Thanks for mentioning Timothy Keller. I have heard of him but am not very familiar. In a short time, I’ve come to “know” you on here as a thoughtful person, so I will check him out since you mentioned him.

          • Scott

            Your welcome… and thanks for the compliment! Us Christians are not all angry people. I love Jesus more than anything, and I do not want to do Him a disservice by ruining His reputation… I do this in spite of myself though. : )

        • Scott

          Joseph, thank you for the examples, I did miss that rhetoric. I agree with your last statement “I also think that conservatives should be aware of what their representatives and faith leaders are saying, and if they disagree, it’s up to them to speak out more.”

          Just curious here, I believe that you said in in an earlier reply to me that you believe in God. Just wondering (because I don’t want to assume) what your beliefs about God are?…

          • Joseph

            Hi Scott,
            Complicated question, but real quickly, always been Catholic and involved in important Catholic work, inside and outside the Church. I believe in most Catholic teachings, although I have my disagreements and dogma does not concern me much. I am guided first and foremost by Matthew 25:35-40. I go where I feel called to serve the poor, and try to do so unconditionally, with love and compassion. Not to sound self-important, but that’s what I aim to be.

          • Scott

            Thanks for sharing Joseph, I love the verses you mention and I would encourage you by saying that it is a great message to take to heart! “…The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

            The word “dogma” is an interesting word to me. “A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.” If that authority is God, then His dogma is my command! : ) Interestingly I have found the more I sacrifice for God, the more internal joy He blesses me with.

            My internal focus as a Christian is on Matthew 22: 37-40. I concentrate on putting no idols in front of Him. In my opinion, it is the most difficult of all the commands and I constantly need His help! One could write a 600 page thesis on how to follow this command in todays world and still barely scratch the surface. : )

        • Scott

          Sorry for the double post. I thought my first attempt got nuked. : )

  • Joseph

    Steve, 1) Just acknowledging the fact that the Pulse massacre was exploited by anti-LGBT politicians to further attack Muslims. 2) Your criticism would be better-received if the writers on this website (who, presumably you agree with) constantly lump people (liberals, gays, Muslims, etc.) into groups. 3) As far as identity politics goes, it’s all well and good when practiced by white Christians (and works out well for them I’d say), but I appreciate your concern-trolling! 🙂

  • Phoenix1977

    I don’t think people want or do not want god to exist. I think a lot of people have no use for a god anymore. Gods are useful to explain things people cannot explain but with the flight science has taken over the past 300 years there is less and less unexplainable today.
    Also, I think the existence of a god no longer fits today’s view on the world for most people. Even the ones who still onsider themselves religious simply ignore the parts of their religion that cannot be reconclied with today’s world or their lives. Others, like myself, came to the conclusion if god and reality were not compatible something’s gotta go. In my case that was your god.
    And yes, simply not believing in a god paves the way to reject all rules coming with a religion, whether that deals with one’s sexuality or diet or work hours. Life becomes infinitely easier when religion doesn’t dictate your every move.

    • Scott

      God and reality not compatible? It takes faith not to believe in God… same as it takes faith to believe in Him. If by reality you mean your desires, then that would make more sense. You (and others) have come to your conclusion about God because you WANT to be judge and jury… to be your own god. But do not kid yourself, it takes no small degree of faith to arrive there. As you have said before, you do not have all the answers.

      The Christian believes that God alone is judge and jury over our lives. This has never been more liberating for me personally… but I once believed as you do and can see why this point of view makes no sense. Christians don’t use God so much as He uses us.

      I mentioned Francis S Collins book “The Language of God” in a reply above. He points out scientific evidence in favor of a creator. Our faith is based on evidence as well…

      • Phoenix1977

        The funny thing is I once believed as you believe and now, looking back, that view no longer makes sense to me. It seems like we have come full circle.

        As a scientist I need proof. So far all the “proof” I have seen are theories and ideas. No evidence. Without evidence there is no fact. So coming to my view actually requires the opposite of faith.

        • Scott

          But that is just it. You have no proof that God does not exist. Your beliefs are the same as mine… beliefs.

          There is plenty of credible scientific evidence in favor of creation… Just read Francis’ book if you don’t believe me.

  • Phoenix1977

    “The most complete” is not complete. It still means bias. Even today some of the rejected gospels are available if you look hard enough so I’m pretty sure they were readily available in 325 AD. And historical evidence (for example, reports of the Council of Nicaea) proved they were.

    Yes, I chose not to trust. That has less to do with my personal experience than with the shady history the Catholic Church has. No offense, but as an institution (and I’m not talking about the average people here) the Catholic Church has proven it cannot be trusted. Since the Catholic Church is the institution originally tasked with guarding, copying, distributing and explaining the bible, how can I trust that book than?

    • Scott

      In another post you told me that you do not trust Christians because of your experiences and how you’ve been treated… and did you not say “Perhaps if I had met more Christians like you I wouldn’t be this distrustful of them.”?

      I too have researched the Christian faith. Several books have been written by people who started their investigation into the legitimacy of the gospels as atheists and wound up finding overwhelming evidence in favor of their accuracy. Have you read these books?

      • Phoenix1977

        “Have you read these books?”
        I tried to think of different ways to answer this question but ultimately it comes down to: “What do you think?”
        I’m not a theologian nor a historian. At best I’m an amateur who connects the dots with the information I have. And that remains my main issue: I don’t have all the information and therefor will always remain distrustful. That is not only due to the subject and my personal experiences, by the way. It’s also part of my training as a scientist. In science we are trained not to believe anything even though the evidence is overwhelming and to never trust the source of the evidence unless it’s backed up by multiple sources. And, again, since all the original sources are controlled by the one organization I don’t trust to begin with …

        • Scott

          I have and would suggest a couple if you would wish to read them? Since you are a man of Science I might suggest reading “The Language of God” by Francis S. Collins. He is a physician (and a geneticist) who led the Human Genome Project. He is well respected.

          You don’t have all the information. This is true. But this also means you cannot prove that God does not exist and so your ideology is as faith based as mine. I would argue that I have more evidence for His existence than you have for the opposite.

          You can call us crazy:

          “Most elements in Christianity can also be found in the DSM-V psychiatric classification system, as symptoms of severe psychiatric illnesses. But because a large number of people believe it you can talk about it on this website instead of in a padded room with a psychiatrist, drugged out of your skull. And claiming god speaks to you will most definately get you referred to a good shrink, even if you are a Christian.”

          But we are no crazier than you. : – )

          You do not WANT to believe in God because that would mean you would have to sacrifice much of your beliefs (and desires). That would mean that He is the judge of your life not you. Most people don’t WANT to hear that (and I would have included myself in that category some years ago).

          • Phoenix1977

            “I might suggest reading “The Language of God” by Francis S. Collins. He is a physician (and a geneticist) who led the Human Genome Project.”
            Yeah, I know him. I think I even met him once.

            “I would argue that I have more evidence for His existence than you have for the opposite.”
            Again, frame of reference. I think pretty much everything you see as an argument in favor I see as a argument against.

            “But we are no crazier than you. : – )”
            Never said you were 🙂

            “You do not WANT to believe in God because that would mean you would have to sacrifice much of your beliefs (and desires). That would mean that He is the judge of your life not you.”
            That’s the second most heard argument against me being an atheist, only proceeded closely by “You don’t know what you’re missing”.
            It has nothing to do with wanting (or not wanting) anything. There is nothing in the world I see, hear, smell, touch or otherwise experience that makes it plausible for me there is a god. One look at the evening news is enough to convince me there is no god or, if there is a god, it’s a being of great malevolence. In either case the idea of a god is simply not worth my attention or devotion.

          • Scott

            We all choose our faith… You have chosen yours just as I have chosen mine. This is why I use the word WANT. When presented with evidence that points to Him you choose to ignore/discount/discredit/etc. it. When you say frame of reference, would you assume a person’s guilt before proven innocent? Is this how you would like your justice system to operate?

            Would you read Francis’ book? What would you say to the evidence he presents?

  • Scott

    You work in a hospital correct?

    That is very strange? My wife has worked in a Hospital for more than 20 years and has never had a problem?.. When she was younger her employer rotated weekend and holiday shifts evenly. If she really wanted a shift off, she would ask for someone to pick it up… sometimes that would happen other times she would be stuck working the shift. She was kind and picked up shifts for others, so usually there were people willing to pick up a shift or two for her.

    Illness, injury and health problems in general do not know a calendar or schedule… this is also true for parents who have children that inevitably get sick. Also the Lord’s day does not have to be Sunday. If the schedule is balanced fairly (like it was in my wife’s case) employees can adopt a rotating holiday schedule. I’m not sure of the details surrounding the woman you complain of, but in my experience (both as an employee and employer) it is not a difficult thing to work out provided everyone is willing to be fair.

  • Scott

    Yikes! I would say that perhaps she was being unreasonable. Some Christians consider working on Sunday a sin… some don’t. Almost all agree we need a Sabbath day. It sounds like she was unwilling to be fair.

    She is not representative of all though, and I have encountered very few Christians like the one you describe.

    • Phoenix1977

      “She is not representative of all though, and I have encountered very few Christians like the one you describe.”
      And I encountered more than I can count.

  • Scott

    I am very willing to do that.

    I would like you to acknowledge that your views are based on evidence the same as mine and that neither one can claim proof over the other. Conceding both our views are beliefs and not absolute. Is this fair?

    • Phoenix1977

      It seems pointless to keep revisiting our viewpoints over and over so I’d be willing to make that compromise 🙂

      • Scott

        That is fair. : – )

        I would also like to thank you for engaging civilly in our conversation… believe it or not I like you Phenix and enjoy hearing your perspective. I have a great interest in healing the relationship between all the non-beleiving world and Christianity. Just because we disagree, that doesn’t mean I consider you my enemy.

        • Phoenix1977

          You’re not so bad yourself, Scott. Although I still don’t see any reconciliation happening in our lifetimes.
          Call me Edward, ok?