published Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Cook: The church that stole Jesus

I wish someone would stampede in, overturn your tables and drive the homophobic madness from your pulpit. Exorcise you.

Do you not see the damage you're doing?

Can you not hear the broken hearts falling to the floor all around you?

What you're doing is not Christian. It never will be. Packs of wolves are more compassionate than this.

"The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God," reads Corinthians, which then provides a list of the unrighteous: the immoral, idolaters, adulterers.

And homosexuals.

With that very verse, (while ignoring thousands of others that instruct you quite differently) you crushed the heart of a family that has been part of your church for generations.

For more than 60 years, Linda Cooper and her family have been attending Ridgedale Church of Christ. Linda's daughter, Detective Kat Cooper, is gay, and a pioneer and hero. Thanks to her, the city of Collegedale became the first city in Tennessee to offer same-sex benefits to employees.

But you knew that. She started going to your church when she was knee-high to her grandfather, who used to clean the church pews with little Kat nearby.

No longer.

What did Kat's mother do that was so criminal?

So sinful?

She loved her daughter. Her gay daughter.

Because of that, some of your church leaders (not the congregation, mind you, which I hear is big-hearted in many ways) handed down to Kat's family a spiritual Sophie's Choice: repent publicly or leave the church altogether.

"Last Sunday, they were told that because they supported me and they unconditionally loved me even though I was gay, that either they could stop and not support my lifestyle and ask for forgiveness in front of the entire congregation or they could leave," Kat told reporter Kevin Hardy.

Kat's family wasn't rainbow-flag marching through church property or cross-dressing in Sunday School. All her mother did was sit beside her, publicly, while the city leaders deliberated about same- sex benefits.

Some newspapers and TV stations published pictures of this, along with a brief interview.

That was all it took.

(Why not just stone her for it?)

God tells -- and tells and tells -- me to be slow to anger and quick to forgive, and I'm not doing a good job of that here.

Because I am so stinking tired of the love of God -- so large it makes the five oceans look like a teaspoon -- being turned into a monstrous distortion, suffocating like an iron maiden and punitive like a parole board.

You're not the only ones doing it. Kat's wife has also been spiritually blacklisted and shamed, all in the name of God.

One day, I wish you'd take the time to survey the landscape of wreckage. Search high and low for a bucket large enough to hold all the tears shed. Put your hands on all the wounds. Count and keep counting until you reach a number high enough to document the line of gay Americans (and those that love them) whose hearts and faith have been crushed by Christian homophobia.

One author said it like this: You've stolen Jesus.

"The real Jesus ... was not about asserting power, judging, or destroying. He was about love," writes Bruce Bawer in "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity".

Those verses? Plenty of Biblical scholars interpret them different from you. St. Paul, they say, was talking about lust, Roman sexual aggression and male rape.

But the Bible can be read in many ways, with scholars ready at each turn to support multiple interpretations. So what do we do?

Bawer reminds us of Huck Finn, the Twain protagonist who once sat wrestling with his demons. He'd just helped his friend Jim -- a slave -- find freedom, and was suddenly haunted by the voices of the preachers and lawmen who said he had done the wrong thing.

In his conscience, Huck was then terrified: Did he help save Jim at the cost of his eternal soul?

After all, preachers and lawmen used plenty of Bible verses to uphold and promote slavery. After all, Huck was breaking the law and violating church doctrine.

But Huck's rebellious heart won out. He stayed loyal to Jim, even if it cost him his soul in the process.

"All right, then, I'll go to hell," he famously said.

Like Huck, we have to walk away from the false idol of strict literalism, and instead trust-fall into a God that doesn't know how to do anything but love.

You want a good example of what that looks like?

Go find the Coopers, the ones you just kicked out of church.

Contact David Cook at or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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John_Proctor said...

Jesus, save me from your followers. They are so unlike you.

August 21, 2013 at 12:43 a.m.
nucanuck said...

unChristians are not unCommon and most can't see their unChristianness.

August 21, 2013 at 12:59 a.m.
conservative said...

What an answer to prayer, what a gift!

It is going to be an exciting day exposing Liberal efforts to "change" (this is what Liberals try to do, you can look it up in many dictionaries) the truth of Scripture, the word of God, into a lie.

August 21, 2013 at 7:13 a.m.
conservative said...

nucanuck said...

unChristians are not unCommon and most can't see their unChristianness.


You do not see your condition nucanuck. If you would start reading a Bible, I would suggest begin with the Gospels, you would at least see the fruitlessness of your earth worship.

August 21, 2013 at 7:52 a.m.
medrep63 said...

Bravo David...I love your writing, and I am a huge fan!! I am certain this story will be on the Daily Show or the Colbert Report, and once again show our area of Tennessee to be the bigoted, judgemental, racist area that it is. I feel badly for the Coopers, but this "minister" ( ha ha ) did you a huge favor. You are now free to join a loving, caring, kind, compassionate church that follows the Real Teachings of Jesus.....LOVE...keep it up David...

August 21, 2013 at 8:15 a.m.
medrep63 said...

PS: I can't wait to see Clay Bennett get hold of this one!!

August 21, 2013 at 8:17 a.m.
sagoyewatha said...

Cookie, you write with all the grace of a hysterical high school girl. You are so inebriated by the exuberance of your own verbosity that what you say makes as much sense as a mail order master's degree in peace and justice studies. The pope of the Roman Catholic church recently asked who was he to judge gay priests, yet you somehow set yourself up to judge the Ridgedale Church of Christ. Please! Their church, their rules. They apparently do not swing to the first book of Cookie. Please explain how Kat Cooper is a pioneer and hero because she is a lesbian. That seems pretty banal. Your jibber-jabber about those who do not buy the gay groups' party line being "homophobic," is hackneyed and incorrect. Perhaps you can do better for the paying customers?

August 21, 2013 at 8:41 a.m.
Carl said...

While we are at it perhaps we can follow Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT and acquire a few slaves too. Mathew 7: Judge not, that you be not judged. Some people need to read the entire book and not just passages they feel support their presumed superior position. What happened to love thy neighbor and acts of kindness?

Great column, keep up the good work. Thank You

August 21, 2013 at 8:47 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

While initially upsetting to the Cooper family, it's a great opportunity to leave Christian fundamentalism altogether and see the hypocrisy of fundamentalism for what it is.

It's not life affirming; it's life denying. It's dogmatic slavery. It's not about peace and love; it's about control. It's not about release to prosper; it's about authoritative structure.

Congratulations Coopers. You are now on the road to freedom and have left the mental aberrations of Christian fundamentalism. Your journey can now go forward leaving the baggage of bigotry and authoritative hate behind.

While I am an atheist, you should know that there are other Christian churches that will welcome you and love you as you are.

I applaud your decision to love your daughter first. That's greater than any fellowship with any church.

August 21, 2013 at 8:58 a.m.
bret said...

If they call themselves "Church of Christ" they should be sued for false advertising.

August 21, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.
TheCommander said...

Cook Said - "I wish someone would stampede in, overturn your tables and drive the homophobic madness from your pulpit. Exorcise you."

If someone takes Cook up on this and commits an act of violence at this church, will Cook be charged with hate crimes? We now think its OK to drop bombs on American citizens in foreign lands for "inspiring" terrorism. Can Cook not be considered as doing the same if one someone interprets his words in such a way and takes action?

August 21, 2013 at 10:42 a.m.
librul said...

I wish logic and reason would stampede into the minds of people who allow themselves to be mentally enslaved by the axis of evil known as the Abrahamic faiths.

August 21, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
benburke said...

The church cannot "steal" Jesus when it does not condone sin. Even in this flesh, the church must strive diligently to accurately profess what God’s Word teaches.

Many violators and that is precisely what all of us are, we are all violators, sinners in need of God’s grace, are ignorant. When we know something is sin, according to God’s Word, and only according to God’s Word, are we allowed to continue in that sin? No, of course not! When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)

Jesus did not condemn the harlot, but he told her, “Go and sin no more.” The Apostle Paul said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4)

What does Paul mean? Wait, before we answer that; what did Jesus mean? What did John the Baptist preach before Jesus started His ministry? The answer is REPENT! If we continue in any sin, willfully, without sorrow, are we truly repentant? If our heart has turned to stone, we are no longer able to feel the Holy Spirit’s convictions.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:26-32)

This is what all churches must do! If a church allows any sin to be practiced, that church will be guilty of guiding sinners into hell, rather than into the loving, saving arms of Jesus Christ.

David, you can twist the words all you want; Kat Cooper’s family should always love their daughter, but neither they nor any Christian can agree and condone the sin which she is living in.

August 21, 2013 at 11:09 a.m.
soakya said...

Does anyone find it ironic that a man that holds a Master's Degree in Peace and Justice Studies is advocating taking up violence because the church takes a position it has held for many centuries against homosexuality. Did you sleep thru class David.

August 21, 2013 at 11:15 a.m.
TheCommander said...

Somone please answer - What if some unstable, liberal loon who cannot control his anger like Cook says about himself "...I'm not doing a good job of that here." takes action? Should all of you in the "amen section" be considered accomplices?

August 21, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.
soakya said...

There are no unstable liberal loons commander just look how controlled the occupier's were compared to the violent tea party.

August 21, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.
HimJim37 said...

The Bible also clearly states that you may sell your daughter as a sex slave and buy her back if she doesn't work out. (Exodus: 21:7-11). And even though Jesus explicitly recommends cutting off your genitals (Matthew 19:12), the old testament is saying you can't make into heaven with even so much as a crushed testicle. (Deuteronomy 23:2). So, let's all follow that to the letter?

The Bible is a fascinating, contradictory historical document and not a how-to guide for injecting fascism into our society. Seeking followers by preaching a message of hate is intolerable behavior, and Mr. Cook is right to point that out.

August 21, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

The poor Christian fools! In their zeal to condemn they forget the story of Jeus overturning tables in the temple.

Sin is a religious construct.

Benburke wrote: "Many violators and that is precisely what all of us are, we are all violators, sinners in need of God’s grace, are ignorant. " Yes, Benburke, you are ignorant. Don't include me in your small-mindedness and religious excretions.

That's the problem with taking a book of myths and attempting to make it literal. You get fundamentalist idiots arguing over jots and tittles of imaginary characters. Like whether Bugs Bunny preferred his carrots long and thin or short and fat.

Fortunately religious fundamentalism is rapidly declining. The sooner it is replaced with reason, the better for the world.

August 21, 2013 at 11:31 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

As to the question what reception would Mary Magdalene, a prostitute, receive if she visited a fundamentalist church today?

A lot of her customers running out the back door.

August 21, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
una61 said...

Remember, this church is indoctrinating impressionable children with their views. Bigots making new bigots.

August 21, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.
masbury said...

OUTSTANDING article! My heart is racing just reading it, and I'll be using this statement in some form or fashion for years to come:

"Like Huck, we have to walk away from the false idol of strict literalism, and instead trust-fall into a God that doesn't know how to do anything but love."

August 21, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.
AVD said...

First of all as a Christian let me just say, you are right it is not our place to judge upon this earth. (Stop judging, that you may not be judged. 2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? 5 You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. (Mathew 7:1-5) It is not however; our place to accept the sin of this world either. This church is only standing on it moral beliefs that homosexuality is a sin. It is not our place to demand repentance for sins, but it is our place to stand our ground. The part that you have incorrect sir is the fact that you stated God is not an angry GOD. In fact the very story you started with when Jesus entered the temple and over turned tables he in fact was VERY angry. He was angry that the temple had become a shrine no more common than the market place. Also if you will remember (or have studied) During Noah’s time it rained for 40 days and 40 nights to flood the earth and rid it of all the sinner (unbelievers). And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5,) He again was angry at the state of the world at that time. Also if you will remember Sodom and Gomorrah how the city was destroyed because of GOD’s ANGER at their life styles. If you don’t think God gets angry lets just keep on keeping on the way we are and see what else can happen to earth! Maybe a little more fact and a little less of your own interpretation would do well.

August 21, 2013 at 1:35 p.m.
conservative said...

One way to spot Liberals when they talk/write about Christianity and church related issues is see what they write/talk about sin and the consequences of sin and what Jesus said about sin and judgment and so forth.

They DON'T!

If they talk/write about sin it is only to mention a Christian admonishing society about sin or others about the consequences of sin, the duty of all Christians.

Instead, Liberals criticize those who really show the love of Jesus when they do their Christian duty of warning others. It makes me want to gag sometimes.

Mr. Cook never opposes sin only those who warn others.

August 21, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

When the church casts out members of the congregation for eating pork or shellfish or having tattoos or working on the Sabbath or for parent's failure to kill their kids whenever they have disobeyed or dishonored them, then I will believe that it truly is concerned about living in accordance with what the Bible says. The God of your holy book considers those things sins too, so why is the church so unconcerned about those particular sins that it never even brings them up? The last time I checked, God considered breaking the Sabbath so important that he made it one of his Ten Commandments, but hardly any Christians today honor that commandment. Why is the church not turning them out for so defiantly living in sin, continuously breaking the Sabbath, when God has so specifically commanded against it?

Homosexuality is not even listed in the Ten Commandments (adultery, yes, but not homosexuality specifically). It gets only the briefest of mention in a couple of verses in the Old Testament. Yet you Bible thumpers magnify it and focus all of your attention on it as if it were akin to murder.

The truth is, you holy rolling pricks just have a bee in your undies about homosexuals and that particular sin is distasteful to YOU. Your cherry-picking is shameful and obvious. Effin' hypocrites, every one of you.

August 21, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Conservative ejaculated:"Instead, Liberals criticize those who really show the love of Jesus when they do their Christian duty of warning others."

History is replete with those who really loved Jesus: The Spanish Inquisition, Salem witch trials, murder of indiginous natives, massacre of Jews by Christians during the Crusades, concentration camps staffed and guarded by Catholics and Protestants, torture and murder by the Catholic Church throughout its long criminal career, the Mountain Meadow Massacre of settlers by Mormons, molestation of children by priests and preachers, Christian slavery of blacks, Klu Kluxers and other good Christians lynching blacks — all perpetrated by Christian voices singing, "Oh! How I Love Jesus."

Willing executioners for their brand of Jesus' love. This is Conservative's Jesus. Conservative is gleefully ready and willing to slaughter in God's name.

Conservative is the man your parents warned you about. A slack-jawed, bible-thumping creeper, peeping into windows under the guise of religion but ready with his paddles and whips to perform S&M for Jesus.

Don't stand close to him as his homophobic ecstasy erupts.

August 21, 2013 at 2:02 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook begins with outrage over "homophobic madness from your pulpit."

God will judge Homosexuals and the judgment will be everlasting hell!

Therefore, the inescapable conclusion is God is homophobic in the eyes of Mr. Cook.

Either Mr. Cook is right or God is right!

August 21, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Benburke, sagoyewatha, AVD et al, your version of the Son of God as an angry, vengeful, punishing God seems to describe some other religion than Christianity.

You would do well to read up on some scholarship about what Paul was saying in your favorite passage. I believe you will find Paul opposed every preoccupation that gets in the way of following Jesus because he said nothing is bad in itself. Things become evil when they damage or blind the love of the heart, for example, by holding onto an obsessive preoccupation with homosexual behavior that causes you to judge, condemn (rather than leaving it up to God) and oust parents from your Christian congregation because they love their daughter and were demonstrating one of the greater commandments. That certainly is a real sin, right?

Do you ostracize others of your members for sins such as cursing, sipping a beer, watching an R or X-rated movie, speaking ill of another person, verbally abusing their spouse, beating their children, hypocrisy, being stingy and not helping the poor,..?

I am not sure I see where you have received the warrant to judge and condemn someone to the "fires of Hell" and I encourage you to look for a little compassion in your heart as you pray to become a force that uplifts your Christian members rather than become stumbling blocks that keep them from your worship.

Peace be with you...

August 21, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
sagoyewatha said...

Inquiring mind...what are you sipping or huffing today? Can you not read, understand or remember? I said nothing about an angry god. I would not know which of the more that 300 million persons,places or things that have been touted as "god" to talk about. I have better ways of wasting time, like trying to keep cookie on the ball and now getting you to do some research on that 300 million figure.

August 21, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.
conservative said...

Then Mr. Cook mentions part of this passage, one which I have coincidentally (?) mentioned often lately:

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.NAS

And follows with this statement:

"With that very verse, (while ignoring thousands of others that instruct you quite differently)"

Well, there are not "thousands of others that instruct you quite differently," in fact there is NOT even one!

He didn't cite even one and he can't cite even one.

August 21, 2013 at 2:41 p.m.
joehl110345 said...

Mr Cooke,

"With that very verse, (while ignoring thousands of others that instruct you quite differently) you crushed the heart of a family that has been part of your church for generations."

I am sure that this is an intentional exaggeration on the part of the author. However I think that it would be helpful for the discussion if the author would provide some of these proof texts and maybe some commentaries on how they have been interpreted throughout history by various of the major Christian institutions so that we can get a fair assessment of what the minister in question is arguing for.

In the peace of Christ, J.

August 21, 2013 at 5:45 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook wrote:

"Because I am so stinking tired of the love of God... being turned into a monstrous distortion"

Yea, me too. I am sick and tired of Mr. Cook and other Liberals distorting God's love by refusing to connect it to why He first loved us when He gave up His son to die on the cross for our sins.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3:16

Look at the word "perish." That "perish" is everlasting hell for those who do not repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

But all Mr. Cook and other Liberals want to discuss is God's love apart from the reason why Jesus died for our sins.

No, don't tell Homosexuals that the love of God was to keep us from hell. No, don't tell the whole story just distort and pervert the story to sexual perverts.

August 21, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Nothing say love like roasting human flesh unless it's Conservative's continual Christian love of homosexuals.

August 21, 2013 at 6:48 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook tells us that that Kat and her family were asked to leave the church because they loved their daughter.

Oh really? Why did Mr. Cook omit these quotes from Free Press writer Kevin Hardy? -

"Hunt Cooper said his family rejects the notion that being gay is a lifestyle choice. And his wife, along with her brother and sister, believed repentance would be hypocritical. So the decision to leave, devastating as it was, was a simple one"

"There's no sin to repent for," he said. "And she's not going to turn her back on her daughter."

You can't expect membership in a Christian church when you reject Christian doctrine, and Christian teaching based on God's word.

But that doesn't seem to register with Liberals who always seek to "change" (key word in Liberal definitions, you can look it up) God's word to accept their sins.

August 21, 2013 at 8:07 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Ever notice how many fundamentalists are concerned with sex? Conservative in particular seems so preoccupied with gay sex, I bet he has tons of research material at his house. Conservative can't get enough gay sex. He thinks about, talks about, shouts about gay sex every waking hour.

Imagine - Conservative's a gay sex "research" machine. Want to know about gay sex? Conservative's your man.

August 21, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Who was on package patrol at tonight's services at the Church of Christ? Deuteronomy 23:1 states: "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD." I can only assume, having not been to church in years, that for the sake of purity all men are having their meat and two bits thoroughly inspected before being allowed to join the congregation. It's right there in the bible, now whip it out.

As long as I'm asking around, who keeps the women folk in their place at these churches. Like how they are to stay silent(I Timothy 2:12) and in accordance with I Timothy 2:9, make sure the women of the church maintain "shamefacedness" and are not adorned in any "costly array." That means no gold or pearls ladies, and most certainly none of that pearl necklace business that ZZ Top sang about.

August 21, 2013 at 9:39 p.m.
twinkie1cat said...

I hope that when this family left they took a big chunk of the church, especially the good tithers with them. They need to head to "The Rock Metropolitan Community Church" in Chattanooga. The pastor there said he was looking for them but did not know how to get in touch.

You notice that it was the church "leaders" not the congregation that kicked them out. Seems like there was an itinerant preacher a couple thousand years ago who was also kicked out of the church. In fact, the church leaders found him so dangerous that they asked the government to kill him.

August 22, 2013 at 2:50 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook writes:

"One author said it like this: You've stolen Jesus."

"The real Jesus ... was not about asserting power, judging, or destroying. He was about love," writes Bruce Bawer in "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity".

Now, more of what Mr. Cook does NOT say:

1.Mr. Cook does not tell you that Bruce Bawer IS a Liberal practicing Homosexual.

2.Mr. Cook does not tell you that Bruce Bawer has written a number of books advocating the Homosexual lifestyle and agenda. One was titled "A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society."

3.Mr. Cook does not tell you that Bruce Bawer left America to live in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands for it's “its tolerance, its secularism.”

Now, who would imagine a Liberal God rejecting practicing Homosexual writing a book entitled "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity?"

August 22, 2013 at 8:17 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

sagoyewatha, I think you might have stirred my comment on judging and obsession. In actuality, every Christian represents a part of God some just don't reflect that content very well, in fact all of us at one time or another don't reflect it very well. I imagine there are at least 300 million Christians so you may be right (at least about that part, but not in the way you intended)... peace brother,

August 22, 2013 at 9:05 a.m.
TheCommander said...

I will never understand why liberals need a "church" to attend to help them affirm their unbelief? How are liberals applying logic and reason better than fundamentalists when organizing around something they KNOW to be a fairy tale? Aren't fundamentalists more logical by organizing into congregations on the basis that they ACTUALLY BELIEVE there is a deity that they can appeal to and worship?

Atheism has not led us into an enlightened world of bliss and universal brotherhood anymore than religion. The Soviet Union was the very first nation to be founded on the doctrines of atheism and materialism and it only took 50 short years for them to murder 60 million of its own citizens. Read all 1800 pages of the Gulag Archipelago or at least the abridged version which is about 500 pages. I'm sorry; atheists just have to make a stronger case to me that we are an improving, evolving race. I think it is leading us into another dark age.

August 22, 2013 at 9:12 a.m.
conservative said...

"Those verses? Plenty of Biblical scholars interpret them different from you. St. Paul, they say, was talking about lust, Roman sexual aggression and male rape"

Well, here are those verses:

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.1Corinthians 6:9-10

First,The verses are very plain and clear in their meaning and easy to understand, even for a Liberal.

Second, Mr. Cook does not tell you (a habit of his) that those scholars he refers to are Liberal. They are Liberal. Liberals always seek to "change" the truth of God into a lie.

A point about the word scholar. Scholar does NOT mean expert although one could be, but someone who has spent a lot of time on a subject. Liberals like to throw that word around in hopes the uniformed will think a particular issue is settled. Liberal scholars are paid to find fault and errors in God's word, always without success.

August 22, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Penn & Teller destroy an inerrant Bible, imaginary gods, and religious fundamentalism in a few minutes. It's more fun than Conservative in a Gay Pride March.

(Not safe for fundies as their heads may explode!)

August 22, 2013 at 9:59 a.m.
TheCommander said...

Where are the great atheist Universities? Where are the great atheist hospitals? Where are the great atheist relief organizations? Where are the great atheist scientific discoveries since the "consensus" seems to be that atheism is a pre-requisite for being a scientist? Many like Isaac Newton claimed strong Christian beliefs, and I know of none who had such a low respect for the Bible as I hear on these posts. No one on here is going to claim that they have a better understanding of the physical universe than Newton, are they? All I am saying is that there is no way it can be said that Christian belief gets in the way of scientific advancement.

I assume most people who post here are angry old white men and that your ancient ancestors were very nasty, superstitious, uncivilized persons running around the forests of Germany and Scotland worshipping trees and animals. When the Bible came to Europe, did it help, hurt or have little effect? In our age, The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in general had way more scientifically trained people than we do and they are also solidly atheist. If they had all the pieces, then why are they so backwards?

August 22, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
soakya said...

Are you liberals searching Wikipedia for an answer to thecommander? thecommander ask some very good questions that need some answers.

August 22, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
EdieMcGee said...

Even if you believe homosexual and lesbian activity are sins, what's the point of punishing a loving parent (and aunt and uncle) for not rejecting their lesbian child? What this church did is such a perversion of the teachings of the Jesus I know. Proof-text all day long, but you'll never convince people like me that Jesus stood for hatred. One more reason to stay in Maryland and not move home to Chattanooga.

August 22, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.
soakya said...

I would bet you are correct. The Jesus of the Bible is probably different than the Jesus you know and for Mr. Cook also.

August 22, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

"Many like Isaac Newton claimed strong Christian beliefs," --TheCommander

Congratulations commandant, you just cleared up one of history's mysteries. Newton lived in a time when any hint of heresy could result in being burned at the stake. When the church and crown exerted a kind of authority that leaves only two options, agree with what we say or die a painful death, it had a way of swaying most of the great minds of the time to declare agreement with the church.

Newton was no doubt a theologian and a stated believer in God, but his views on the Trinity would indicate that his status as a true and pure Christian was shaky at best. Newton did outline why he believed altered bible verses placed the concept of Trinity on an unstable foundation. He resigned from Trinity College shortly after. They kill heretics don't they?

The issue of Newton's religious beliefs has been debated for many years now. Was he a heretic? Was he an Arian? A deist perhaps? Nope, just a good Christian like the folks over at Ridgedale Church of Christ. Well, that's settled...What's for supper?

August 22, 2013 at 6:41 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

"Where are the great atheist Universities?"

Most great centers of learning no longer subscribe to religious fundamentalism as valid science or history. While some were established by some type of religion, they have left strict fundamentalism behind. Just as the ancient civilizations of Persia, Greece, and Rome had their institutions of education and arts dedicated to their gods, you certainly don't find many people who believe in a real Zeus, Apollo, or Athena. Neither is fundamentalism necessary for education. Most centers of learning consider fundamentalism to be a throwback to a Dark Age. I certainly do.

"Where are the great atheist hospitals?"

Same as centers of learning. Hospitals do not teach that disease is born from devils, demons, and witches, or by angry gods. Nor do hospitals teach doctors to pray over broken bones, mangled bodies, breech births, and burn victims as the cure. Science, not merely prayers and shouting Jesus, heals.

"Where are the great atheist relief organizations?"

You are correct in that atheist organizations are behind the curve there, but most liberal religious organizations do not proselytize while rendering aid. Even many fundamentalists groups do not preach during disasters unless they are Southern Baptist or Pentecostals. The shame is many these proselytizing fundamentalists insist on singing religious songs and saying prayers before feeding, clothing, and helping people.

Then again, most atheists do not belong to organized groups. However, atheists do contribute time and money to their charitable causes that do render aid. They just do not feel the need to brag about it and claim it is for the glory of Charles Darwin or Carl Sagan.

"Where are the great atheist scientific discoveries since the "consensus" seems to be that atheism is a pre-requisite for being a scientist?"

You have to be kidding. Open-mindedness is required for science; not a pre-conceived finding that "God did it" and that is the solution. Agnostics, atheists, and liberal religious and non-traditionalists make up over 95% of scientists. Of course, there are Creationists and Intelligent Designers who ignore science to promote Christian fundamentalism. To call these persons scientists is a bit of stretch, as every scientist knows that what makes science is that science is falsifiable, not rigid dogma. Science moves forward, religious fundamentalism is static.

August 22, 2013 at 6:53 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

"Many like Isaac Newton claimed strong Christian beliefs, and I know of none who had such a low respect for the Bible as I hear on these posts. No one on here is going to claim that they have a better understanding of the physical universe than Newton, are they?"

There is no doubt that Newton was a great scientist in his day and many of his discoveries set the world anew. However, Newton was not a traditionalist in fundamentalism. He did not believe in the Trinity, predicted the world would not end until at least 2060, was an alchemist, and spent years looking for a Bible code. He also went slightly batty during his religious searches. However, to say that Newton was the greatest scientist and that his work proves that God exists is incorrect. Newton was great for the intellectual and religious climate of his times, but he also worked with limited knowledge. Many fundamentalists considered Newton, like Galileo, heretics.

Three hundred years have passed and greater knowledge has been discovered about the universe. I don't think you would let Galen, the great physician of Rome in the second century, operate on you today for cancer. That does not take away from Galen and his lessons; it merely means that much has been learned since Galen. Same for Isaac Newton. There are much better scientists today than Newton for that reason alone.

Being great in one field does not make you great in another field. Linus Pauling, twice Nobel Prize winner, is an excellent modern-day example. One Nobel prize was for chemistry and the other for his peace activism. However, Pauling completely flopped in his promotion of Vitamin C as a cure for nearly everything.

Will Rodgers said, “There is nothing so stupid as the educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in.” This is applicable to Newton, Pauling, and most people including religious types.

"All I am saying is that there is no way it can be said that Christian belief gets in the way of scientific advancement."

It depends on the Christian belief of which there are at least three thousand different sects. If the Christian belief is to "do unto others as you would have done to you" there's no problem. That phrase was around long before Christians - there is nothing original about that. That's a good moral teaching.

If the Christian belief is that the Bible is scientifically correct, historically accurate, that the laws of nature are subject to superstitions and magic, then there's a problem. I know of no scientists that speak in tongues, writhe on the floor, accept transubstantiation as genuine and lay hands on patients and expect and actually get miracles attributable to deities. That's not science.

August 22, 2013 at 6:54 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

"I assume most people who post here are angry old white men and that your ancient ancestors were very nasty, superstitious, uncivilized persons running around the forests of Germany and Scotland worshipping trees and animals."

I am white, but not angry. Neil Degrasse Tyson is black and an atheist. My ancestors were from Ireland where they did go around worshipping trees (supposed bits from the cross), believed crackers and wine became flesh and blood, thought black cats became witches, and serpents and donkeys talked because the Catholic Church told them so.

"When the Bible came to Europe, did it help, hurt or have little effect?"

Martin Luther did help people see that the Catholic Church was corrupt, that men could read the Bible and decided for themselves, and that the Popes were just power-hungry, wealth-seeking men (sounds like Christian television). In that respect, Martin Luther did bring light. Nevertheless, the real hero of Europe was Gutenberg and movable type where discourse beside religious texts promoted a new age of Enlightenment, away from the Biblical myths into realms of science. We also must pay homage to the great Muslim thinkers who preserved much of the ancient texts, developed higher math, and many other accomplishments while Europe was wallowing in its own filth under the Catholic Church and feudalism. Christianity has rarely acknowledged Arab and Muslim contributions to civilization.

"In our age, The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in general had way more scientifically trained people than we do and they are also solidly atheist."

Wrong. The Communist system was dictated by the State, not freedom to explore. In addition, the Soviet Union, while outwardly promoting the State as god, allowed many citizens to practice the Russian Orthodox religion. No wonder the Bolsheviks overthrew the Czar. Between the suppression by the Czars and the rule of the Orthodox Church, which supported the Czars, the great masses of Russians were tyrannically exploited and their education suppressed except what the Church told them they could learn. It was rule by keeping people ignorant and impoverished. Considering that, it's little wonder that many rejected Orthodox slavery and looked elsewhere.

"If they had all the pieces, then why are they so backwards?"

Soviet Russia did not have all the pieces. A slave of the State is as much a slave as a slave of religious orthodoxy (fundamentalism). That is the reason for American separation of church and state that the Founding Fathers wanted.

This is the reason for decline in religious fundamentalism today - a stagnant dogma that favors ignorance, belief in magical thinking and superstitions, and attempts to keep people paying dues to a backwards, sectarian cult.

August 22, 2013 at 6:55 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Perhaps, Commander, you should ask about secular rather than atheist. The church in the western world is powerful, awash in money and concerned about the poor and the sick, which is why they build hospitals. But few impose their beliefs on their patients. Universities owned by churches pursue valid science that understands the definition of the scientific method is materialistic. Only a few religious universities oppose this, and they are fundamentalist. (Liberty University for example)

August 22, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook plays the drama queen over the "wreckage" and "tears" and "wounds" of sexual perverts "whose hearts and faith have been crushed by Christian homophobia."

Faith in what? Faith that you can be a practicing homosexual and inherit the kingdom of God? That faith is both foreign and contrary to Scripture.

A practicing Homosexual will not inherit the kingdom of God - 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

Notice that Mr. Cook blames "Christian homophobia" as the cause of their troubles.

Mr. Cook, the word "Christians" means followers of Jesus Christ, and so Christians are to be of the same mind of Jesus Christ about the gross sin of Homosexuality.

August 22, 2013 at 7:51 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Conservative, can't quit talking about homosexuals? Does Mrs. Conservative know about your predilication for gay talk?

August 22, 2013 at 8:39 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Conservative - a stagnant dogmatic that favors ignorance, belief in magical thinking and superstitions, and attempts to keep people paying dues to a backwards, sectarian cult.

Also, as perverted a Christian creep as Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggert, and Jim Bakker. Still in his sanctified closet. Does his gaydar go off when he looks in the mirror?

August 22, 2013 at 8:42 p.m.

The Book of Saint Jude (excerpt): The Holy Bible.

"I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

August 22, 2013 at 10:38 p.m.

"keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."

August 22, 2013 at 10:46 p.m.
TheCommander said...

Dayton, you gave me a lot but I will answer what I can.

Universities: How is Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown,etc... doing today cranking out the answers to the problems of our world now that they have turned secular and humanist? Not so good. Sure they produce an occasional Bush, Clinton, Obama or Kerry and a bunch of hedge fund managers but apart from those standouts, not much (some great doctors - I will give them that). I walked the campus of the oldest technical university in the western world. When I walked, it struck me; Do you know what those builders thought to put right in the middle of campus? You guessed it - a giant church. What do you think those men were trying to say that was most important? What was the center of that non-religious Technical university? That school has gone in the same direction now just like the others I listed above. I think those men who built it knew about what was to come in our day. No matter how our moderns try to cover the past by converting the use of that building, it will always be obvious that a church was put there to honor Christ. The placement and size of the building cannot be denied. Apart from tearing it down, there is nothing that can be done. And they were theistic period. They held the Bible in honor and a as a source of truth and authority. And that university was built for PHYSICAL SCIENCE by men who believed the Bible. Those universities are now dead dry bones of a once glorious past.

Hospitals: Thank one of the nun administrators who run Memorial if you ever need heart surgery. Remember: you must ask them for a stent instead just sprinkling you with holy water to be cured; They may not know to do that unless you tell them

August 22, 2013 at 11:07 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Where's the science credentials you promised to produce Orr? You said you had them eighteen months ago and would produce them. Still waiting.

I've never seen two guys as obsessed with homosexuals as you and Conservative. Fighting your urges again? Or is this your chance to fantasize? Are you suffering with the Ted Haggard Syndrome?

August 22, 2013 at 11:09 p.m.
TheCommander said...

On Issac Newton: I was taught in a university class on the history of mathematics that the "consensus" opinion was that Newton was one of the three most brilliant people to ever walk the earth; Archimedes, Newton and Gauss. Maybe you know more but that always stuck with me. But he was theistic PERIOD; I do not know his exact theology and neither do any of these other writers on the subject you cite. I do not know his exact views on the trinity and they are not important to my argument. The man who discovered gravity did not believe that a god or a spook hit him in the head with an apple out of punishment. His religion did not drive him to vain superstition. He put his incredible mind to the questions of nature and discovered the natural law of gravity and put it to a formula that holds today and will forever I believe. Newton searched the Bible because it had authority in his mind. Why else would he wrestle with it? That is undeniable. I know there are ignorant, anti-science fanatics out there and we largely agree on Lee University among others of the like. But it is not axiomatic that Fundamental Christianity curbs scientific progress. Just the opposite is true with the stated exceptions we agree on. However I do believe that atheism if embraced as a whole will ABSOLUTELY lead to a dark age that is anti-science, anti-reason and anti-intellectual. Awfulness in religion certainly has a track record of doing the same. Atheism is new on the stage of history with former communist nations as my only evidence to justify my fears.

Relief: The next time there is a tornado outbreak, make sure you turn away anyone who comes to help you from a church and say you are waiting for a liberal group or an atheist to rescue you. I bet when the rubber meets the road those receiving aid don't get bothered as much as you do about hearing a little preaching. I do not believe there are ANY liberal groups doing any substantive work with the poor or needy unless it is with public money. Please name them so I can apologize.

Church corruption: Largely right on Catholic and certainly Popes, Right on Orthodox (my evangelical friend in E. Europe suffers at their hands), right on Lee University, etc... People suck, don't they? Religious people can be the meanest and most arrogant there are BECAUSE their religion leads them to becoming pious and closed minded. I think we agree. When they get in power, they can certainly take down a whole nation. The late dynastic period in ancient Egypt is an example. But some of the very best of the best are among those in fundamentalist churches as well. They are genuine and they are loving. They minister powerfully in complete anonymity and you know it to be true; fanatics do not do the work that these people do. I bet some of them are members of the very church that everyone is attacking on this thread. It is possible.

August 22, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.
TheCommander said...

Soviet Union: Atheism is a big 0 for 1... wait, China 0 for 2, Cambodia 0 for 3. Vietnam 0 for 4, N Korea 0 for 5, Cuba? Michael Moore thinks it's great! A slave of the state? Didn't Marx and tell us the state would dissolve? So much for Dialectic materialism. About 100 million dead and counting. Solzhenitsyn tells us that those Russians of the 20's would have died to go back to the days of the Czars knowing what communism brought them. It was awful all the way around, but you are certainly not suggesting that Russians had it better in Stalin's Russia than under the reign of Nicolas II, are you? Atheism brought Russia far lower than Russian Orthodox tyranny ever dreamed of.

"...great Muslim thinkers who preserved much of the ancient texts, developed higher math...": The Ottoman Turks preserved knowledge, really? BTW, did you see what happened to that 4th century church in Sohag, Egypt TODAY? Is that one of your examples of preserving knowledge? It went the way of the ancient library of Alexandria. That statement of your says to me that your hatred is against Christ alone and not against religion in general as you claim. Please forgive me for being Euro-centric but name this great Muslim mathematician you speak of? You studying your Common Core math book again? Stay out of that stuff; it's bad for you. Again, name him/her and I will apologize.

And finally...your anger: You old, white and probably very drunk Irishman! You better be angry: that is when you are your funniest. I mean that. I told you that before. When you comment on the corruption and lunacy in Cleveland, I am like one of your biggest groupies. Let's not stop meeting around what we agree on!

August 22, 2013 at 11:14 p.m.
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