Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lazy Time Reblog Sunday: Skeptical South

People who ask me what I believe often walk away confused. Tell someone you're an Atheist or one of the many forms of Theist and they know where they stand. If you're not particularly lucky, they're standing near a handy pile of stones just made for throwing. Tell them your Agnostic, however, and they end up staring at you in confusion, frozen mid throw, wondering just what the hell you're talking about.

"Hurry up and explain your belief system, bro. My bicep is getting a cramp!"

An Agnostic, according to Wikipedia, is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown or unknowable. An Agnostic doesn't believe or not believe. Simply put, we're the fence sitters of the theological world, waiting to see how it all turns out before we give a decisive opinion. There are many types Agnostics. Some believe that if a god or gods do exist, it would be impossible to know or understand them. Others believe that if gods do exist, we might know them one day. Maybe. Possibly. Who knows? That pretty much sums up what I believe.

And no, there is no such thing as an Agnostic angel. Probably. Who can say?


It's always a good time trying to explain this to a fundamentalist of any faith and even some hardcore Atheists. When they realize you're on the fence, I swear you can almost hear the wheels turning in their heads. "Do I tell her she's (a godless heathen bound for hellfire) (a damned idiot who can't make up her mind about the true nature of a godless reality) or do I try to bring her over to my side? Hmmmm...." I get this more from Christians than any other group. Most Atheists don't give a crap what you believe so long as you aren't preaching it to them, and when you think about it, it's easy to see why. What does an Atheist have to lose if he/she can't convince you their beliefs (or non beliefs) are the way to go? Nothing. Christians think they're saving you from an eternity of suffering. They believe it enough to come knocking at your door at odd hours of the day wielding pamphlets telling you just how fucked you are going to be if you don't listen to them like right now! I've often wondered where these people live so I could find them and visit them with some pamphlets of my own.

Have you heard the good news of "Stop Knocking on My Fucking Door When I'm Trying to Sleep, Jackass"?

In honor of all you wonderful southern Atheists and Agnostics out there who have thus far had the good grace not to wake me up at a godless hour(pardon the pun) to tell me the good news about there being no good news, this week's Lazy Time Reblog is a post by Matt Stokes from Skeptical South, a blog he and his wife Laci Roth created for all you southern skeptics out there. Yankees can read it too, I guess. Follow Matt and Laci through their blog and their twitter page.


Skeptical South. Skepticism for the discerning southern heathen...Y'all.


I notice how often Christians use the Bible’s prohibition against “sodomy” to stand in for “homosexuality.”

Let me be clear: The Bible absolutely prohibits homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13 makes it pretty clear), just as it prohibits so many things (like eating rabbits). I’m not contesting that. But I am objecting to the lazy equating of sodomy with homosexuality.

Sodomy does not just include homosexual sex. It basically refers to any and all kinds of sex that aren’t heterosexual missionary-position intercourse. Here’s Dictionary.com’s definition:

3

Hmm. So Dictionary.com at least thinks sodomy includes things like oral sex and heterosexual anal sex. But maybe that’s just a weird Dictionary.com thing. Let’s check good ole Merriam-Webster.

M-W



Wow. Same thing. Well, let’s try something different, like Wiktionary.


Wiktionary


Okay, so we at least know sodomy doesn’t just refer to homosexual sex. This is the legal definition of the word, and in fact there are still laws in the United States forbidding sodomy. In my dear state of Louisiana, sodomy is illegal. Now, this law was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, so it’s not actually enforceable, but still, the law is on the books. Efforts to get this obsolete law taken off the books are met with staunch opposition from dumb people. Hey, this law isn’t legal. We’re not allowed to enforce it. Shouldn’t we just delete it? HELL NO!

[Aside: Last year there was a horrendous story out of Baton Rouge in which police officers were going undercover to seduce gay men into sexual encounters, then arresting them for attempting to violate Louisiana's anti-sodomy law. Once the men were arrested and processed, the District Attorney would strike the charges, because, after all, no actual crime had been committed. But still, our tax dollars supported buffoonish, homophobic police operations like these—police operations that can yield no positive result. Even if you were the world's most zealous homophobe, the only thing you would get from this operation is gay people being inconvenienced for a few hours. This operation, nonetheless, was politically popular, because this is pious Louisiana, in the heart of the Bible Belt, and to hell with the gays. And keep in mind, this didn't happen in some small, safe town where police officers have nothing to do... this is Baton Rouge, with a violent crime rate that's more than twice the national average! It's one of the most dangerous cities in America, and cops were spending time and money on arresting gay people for seeking gay sex, then releasing them and never pressing charges. If you want a reason to get angry about how religiously-motivated bigotry pollutes our political system, look no further.]

So what’s up? Every definition of sodomy includes heterosexual sex as well as homosexual sex, but it somehow became shorthand for “gay sex.” Does the Bible intend for it to apply to heterosexual people as well?

I hereby ask any learned religious authority—a priest, pastor, minister, philosopher, etc.—does the Bible prohibit sodomy as defined by the legal system? Does God forbid oral sex between married couples? Can a wife give her husband a blowjob and avoid God’s wrath?

Actually, scratch those questions. I have a better one: Why exactly does the creator of the universe care so much about what people do in the bedroom?


About Matt Stokes

I'm a writer and editor here in New Orleans. I have a novel called 'Generation Why,' available from Amazon and BN.com.
  


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