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Post  Delight on 2/27/2012, 10:46 am

I apologize if what I'm about to bring up seems to have come out of the blue and is probably too heavy a topic to be discussed here (if that's the case, let me know and I'll move it to a different thread).

I wish to discuss Christianity and homosexuality.

There have been a few circumstances that prompted me to bring this up for discussion. As you know, we all love Chris here, and he is gay (though being gay is probably the least of who he is, because he is so, so much more as a person). We had Glee trying to explore the Christian view on homosexuality with the formation of the God Squad (though the way they've dealt with this issue was too superficial, in my opinion). We had Chris answering that question at the ITAS event whereby he answered the question of 'If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?' with 'Don't listen to them. You get to come in too.' (Which in some way implies that he knows of the harsh views that many Christians have on the issue of homosexuality and that he is still hoping for a fair and just God that would be more loving and less judgmental than these homophobic Christians). We have Chris participating in the Prop8 play, which highlights the prejudice that still goes on today when it comes to gay rights.

Someone at porcelain_fans had posted a link that looked more closely about the Bible verses and which I found quite informative: http://www.soulforce.org/resources/what-the-bible-says-and-doesnt-say-about-homosexuality/

Now what led me to bring this up is that I love Chris, and I can't imagine someone like him would ever be considered 'wicked' or 'depraved' in the eyes of God (the way that some of the harsher Bible verses had labelled the act of homosexuality). I can't imagine someone like Chris being denied access to heaven. Maybe my position as a fan/stan is clouding my judgment, because I'm making assumptions about Chris's underlying character based on the bits of himself that he had chosen to reveal to the public. However, the more I learn about Chris, the more I'm convinced that he is a genuine and honest person, with a pure soul and good heart, who gives so much of himself to other people, if given the chance. It's my view that if Chris doesn't deserve a place in heaven, then neither do the rest of us.

I'm rambling a bit here, but basically, I'm hoping that there are people here who may have enough knowledge of Christianity or the Bible, who can reassure me that Chris is going to be all right. That there isn't a harsh judgment waiting for him in the afterlife, just because he is not sexually attracted to the opposite sex.
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Post  Jellyrolls on 2/27/2012, 12:08 pm

I thought this topic would be more appropriate as a stand alone topic on the community board than part of the appreciation thread, so I have split it from the appreciation thread and moved it here.

I think it will be an interesting topic for our community to discuss, and I trust that everyone will post respectfully, even if we don't all agree on all the points Smile

I'll be adding my 2 and a half cents later when I have more time.

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Post  Guest on 2/27/2012, 3:02 pm

Jesus came to earth and changed the diet restrictions of old (do not eat the meat of an animal with cloven feet). He said it is not what you put in your mouth, but what comes out of it that is important.

Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you." If you do this everything falls into place. He did not say, love these and not those.

If I believe he is the son of God, then I must believe what he believed, and that is love conquers all and to not judge others lest ye be judged. It's as simple as that for me. Who am I to judge anyone else?

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Post  fantastica on 2/27/2012, 5:28 pm

the other day I had a discussion w/ my college-aged son about religion, as he is now taking a course in theology. both of us are atheists, so we look at religion from a neutral perspective. He talked about reading a book by someone (I forgot) who claims that religion is the root of many evils. we both disagree. We think it's human nature to form distinctive groups and the tendency to divide people into YOU and US are universal, regardless of religion. Instead of people following the bibles for guidance, too many times they use the scripture as evidence to support their own views. Even though pretty much all major religion teach people to good, nice, generous and forgiving, almost all of them have militant branches w/in the religion that finds scriptural support for their violent causes. Then you look at countries w/o organized religion, and there's just as much suffering, discrimination, and violence against each other. When I look back at history, I do not see this religion good or that religion bad. I see humans, in their struggle to survive and dominate, display all the good, evil and various shades of gray in between. Reglion is merely an institution that codifies certain norm, behaviors and ideology. It's none than the reflection of our own specie's struggle for existence, in a meaningful way.

so back to the issue of homosexuality. societies have a tendency to marginalize the minorities, be them based on color, national or ethnic origins, sexuality, or whatever. In traditional societies in the past, where child mortality rate is high and life span is short, sexual behaviors that do not lead to reproduction is indeed very "wasteful", thus tend to be shunned. when ancient society shuns a certain group of people or a certain behaivor there's almost always some religious or moral reasons against it, just like the ban for pork and shellfish in a kosher diet originated from disease outbreaks due to undercooked pork or shellfish but now it's a religious tradition that have you follow regardless of proper cooking techniques. In countries or regions w/o organized religions, homosexuality is often equally discriminated against. the big difference is that they are often seen as "abnormal" and "unnatural", as some sort of disease or just freakish behavior. the result is the same - that homosexuality is often shunned by most socieities, religious or not. Religions however, do tend to codify such sentiments either in the form of scriptures or as mainstream interpretation of the scriptures.

I am not a religious scholar so I cannot argue in terms of what the scriptures do or do not say. From what I read the verses against homosexuality are rather ambigious (like many scripture verses - almost everything is up for intepretation). As our society becomes more open and tolerant toward homosexuality, and more christians are interpretating bibles based more on Jesus' teaching of love, tolerance and acceptance, and as more gays and lesbains are coming out to show us that they are just like ordinary people and demand equal rights, I am sure their social status will improve as time goes on. Already we have several blue states approving same sex marriage. by the time chris reaches my age, I hope half of the nation will recognized it too.

I cannot speak about afterlife. I have to see it first to make a comment about it.
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Post  Jellyrolls on 2/27/2012, 10:57 pm

I feel that I should start my comments off by saying that I was raised in a church-going Catholic, and educated in a Catholic school. I am by no means an expert on scripture, and haven't read the bible on my own in over 20 years (though I go to church regularly and hear the scripture read). Though I'm a Catholic by birth, and I still attend Catholic services, more and more, I find that my views on many issues differ than what I'm taught at my church. I consider myself a Christian more than a Catholic now, and go to church to fulfill my spiritual needs by listening to the readings and music.

That being said, I think that a lot of Christians don't read and understand the scripture on their own--they blindly accept the interpretation and teaching of their church as canon. I grew up in a home and church where I was told that marriage was meant to be for a man and a woman with the intent of having children that they would raise in the Catholic faith. I was taught that homosexuality is something that a person chooses, not something that someone is born with. I've also heard a parish priest say that homosexuality isn't a sin, but acting upon it is a sin. I've also sat in a pew at two different churches and had parish priests tell me that I am a sinner because I have friends who are gay.

Now, I don't agree with any of those teachings of my church, but I know people who believe that because the priest told them that is what it says in the bible. My mother grew up in the 1930's and 1940's when organized religion was more prominent in people's lives than it is now. My mom always took whatever the priest said to be truth. While she never discouraged my friendships with gay men, she would shake her head disapprovingly when I mentioned them by name (which was a bit odd, because a dear friend of hers late in life was a gay co-workerr) I think there are a lot of people out there like my mom who accept their church's interpretation of the bible as canon.

I also think that religions and people interpret the scripture to support their positions. For example, an extremist who will injure or kill a gay person and say it was God's will for them to do that, even though the bible clearly states that murder is a sin.

As for me, I believe in God, and I believe that God created all of us, and loves us, even when we sin. I believe the there is a heaven and a hell. I believe that we will be reunited with our loved ones in heaven (or hell) one day.

So, to answer your question, Delight, I believe that there is a spot for Chris in heaven because I agree that he seems like a good person with a good heart.

Just as an aside, I would love to hear Chris speak openly about his thoughts on religion someday. I know I have heard that his grandmother is a minister, so I would guess that he was raised in a church going family. He has made enough passing comments in interviews and tweets that make me think that he is a person of faith (maybe not extremely religious, but someone who believes in God and tries to live a Christian life). I think that God probably placed Chris in his family for a reason Wink

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Post  Delight on 2/28/2012, 1:34 am

Thanks everyone, for allowing me to continue this discussion here. I agree that this topic is probably more suited to be discussed outside of the appreciation thread.

To start off, I would also like to say that I am a Christian. I'm a Methodist but have been attending churches of various denominations-- Baptist, Evangelical, Anglican etc. To be honest, I'm not really sure what the differences between these denominations are, if there are any.

Yes, I agree with what Carousel had said here. It is not our place, as humans, to judge others; and God really should be the only one who has that right. I believe there is a Bible verse that reprimands those who are quick to judge other people whilst being blind to their own faults-- "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3).

I find it baffling that TV programs and networks are so quick to limit or shut down any depiction of homosexual relationships, when they have no problems showing stuff like premarital sex and promiscuity (as long as the relationships are heterosexual). People might argue that premarital sex and promiscuity are modern-day acts that are so common that it hardly warrants a blip on our moral radar. But it makes little sense that just because some 'wrong' behaviours are more common and widely practised means that they should be considered more acceptable by everyone.

I find that many Christians fall into the trap of practising a 'buffet religion', where you pick and choose what you wish to believe. Because no one likes to be told that what they've been doing all along is wrong, or inadequate, or that they should change their way of thinking and place God's wishes above their own. This would tie in with what fantastica had mentioned, about militant branches within the religion finding scriptural support for their own atrocious behaviours. Using the example that was brought up here, I suppose it's not surprising that homophobic people would wish to use very narrow and literal interpretations of Bible verses to justify their prejudice and ongoing persecution of those with a different sexual orientation from them. Wasn't Adolf Hitler a Christian?

Jellyrolls made another good point too, about Christians getting spoon-fed a certain interpretation of the Scripture by a priest (or some other church leader) and made to believe that their interpretation is the truth. I think it comes down to this, that we're all free-thinking individuals who are capable of determining for ourselves what is right or wrong without relying completely on someone else's opinions. And if you're a Christian, a true lover of Christ and the Word, you would read the Word and let the Holy Spirit reveal to you the truths in the verses.

Coming back to the topic of Chris... Yes, I would be interested in finding out what his views are on Christianity (or religion in general), and whether he may even consider himself to be a Christian as well (given that his grandmother is a minister in a church). I know that he used humour to deflect such questions in the past (Didn't he joke about yelling 'Jesus!' when he stubbed a toe, in an old interview?). Actually, I think Chris is wise not to let his religion be known to the public (if he has any). I could just imagine a group of self-righteous, self-proclaimed, judgmental Christians yelling at him 'You're can't be a Christian! You're gay! If you're a true Christian, you would stop such an abominable act!' if he ever hinted at being one. And yes, I am grateful that Chris had grown up in a very understanding and loving family. I may be biased here, but I believe that his family must have grown up with the Christian faith to be so accepting of Chris, to be so generous with their love and support of their gay son.

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Post  fantastica on 2/28/2012, 2:42 am

I don't think all Christians are biggotted. fundementalist Christians who believe the literal meanings of the scriptures are the most vocal force against homosexuality. They seem to believe that only they will go to heaven, and everyone else who view the world differently, will go to hell. It really doesn't matter what they think. If there's such a thing as heaven and hell, then it's not up to us to decide where to go, isn't it? I think we shoudl all strive to be a good person and do good deeds, regardless of religious belief or lack of it. That way when you are ready to go to the afterlife, you have no regrets and no fear.

Yes Hitler was a Christian, and moreover he was publically elected. To think that an evil person like Hitler can be overwelmingly elected in a democratic process in modern time is pretty scary. Hitler was not the only evil person. He didn't invent anti-semitism. He's the product of his time. He embodied the extreme anger Germans had when the economy collasped and they blamed everybody else - the jews, the foreigners, the homosexuals, all these lesser-people. It's stupid and dangerous, but it's also very human. When we suffer, we look for outlets. We find outlets in the groups of people the least capable of defending themselves - the minority groups who are different from us, whether it's race/religion, skin color or sexuality. We blame them for all devil's work. Thus religion loses its original purpose which was to promote peace and goodness in soceity, and being used as an excuse to persecute and oppress people we deem less than worthy, or even start wars against the "enemy". It's very sad but throughout history things like this happened again and again.

Sorry I tend to veer away from teh topic as i write...
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Post  Delight on 2/29/2012, 8:58 am

Yes, not all Christians are the same. There will always be a group that would be very vocal about their condemnation of certain behaviours which they deemed repugnant. However, there are also other groups that would choose to take to heart the message of love that Jesus brought to the world, and come to accept and love their fellow man regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation etc. After all, the first and greatest commandment is 'love the Lord your God'. And the second is 'love your neighbour as yourself' (Matthew 22:36-39).

My next question would be, is it possible for someone to be a Christian and still be gay?

There is a fair bit of discussion about sexual immorality/homosexuality in the first chapter of Romans in the Bible. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (Romans 1:24) My impression after reading this passage is that homosexuality seemed to be a consequence of people being foolish and choosing to worship idols/images instead of God. It's like the 'sinful nature' is the disease, with 'sexual impurity' being one of symptoms of the disease. There's almost an expectation that if you become a Christian (and subsequently stop allowing your sinful nature to take over), you would stop 'exchanging natural relations for unnatural ones' (i.e. being gay). Somehow, this kind of thinking doesn't sit quite right with me. If you twist the interpretation a bit, it would appear that 'being sinful'='being gay'. Twist that even further and you have 'being gay'='sin'.

We're led to believe now that sexual orientation is something people have no control over; that it is something people are born with. Now, I'm not sure how true this is, and people can quote sources to support this if they can. There was a time when homosexuality was considered a mental disorder that could potentially be 'cured' and it was only later that it was accepted as a normal variation of human sexual orientation.

I might have rambled and gotten off-topic a bit. Ultimately, the reason why I've brought this discussion up in the first place is that I care about... how do I say this... Chris's spiritual outcome. Because my belief is that there is a God, and there is a heaven and a hell. And in my mind, Chris should be with the sheep and not the goats (for explanation of these metaphors, check out Matthew 25:31-46). So, if anyone could shed light on the possibility that Chris's sexual orientation would in no way put him at a disadvantage come Judgement Day, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Post  Shinra17 on 2/29/2012, 5:13 pm

Delight wrote:Yes, not all Christians are the same. There will always be a group that would be very vocal about their condemnation of certain behaviours which they deemed repugnant. However, there are also other groups that would choose to take to heart the message of love that Jesus brought to the world, and come to accept and love their fellow man regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation etc. After all, the first and greatest commandment is 'love the Lord your God'. And the second is 'love your neighbour as yourself' (Matthew 22:36-39).

My next question would be, is it possible for someone to be a Christian and still be gay?

There is a fair bit of discussion about sexual immorality/homosexuality in the first chapter of Romans in the Bible. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (Romans 1:24) My impression after reading this passage is that homosexuality seemed to be a consequence of people being foolish and choosing to worship idols/images instead of God. It's like the 'sinful nature' is the disease, with 'sexual impurity' being one of symptoms of the disease. There's almost an expectation that if you become a Christian (and subsequently stop allowing your sinful nature to take over), you would stop 'exchanging natural relations for unnatural ones' (i.e. being gay). Somehow, this kind of thinking doesn't sit quite right with me. If you twist the interpretation a bit, it would appear that 'being sinful'='being gay'. Twist that even further and you have 'being gay'='sin'.

We're led to believe now that sexual orientation is something people have no control over; that it is something people are born with. Now, I'm not sure how true this is, and people can quote sources to support this if they can. There was a time when homosexuality was considered a mental disorder that could potentially be 'cured' and it was only later that it was accepted as a normal variation of human sexual orientation.

I might have rambled and gotten off-topic a bit. Ultimately, the reason why I've brought this discussion up in the first place is that I care about... how do I say this... Chris's spiritual outcome. Because my belief is that there is a God, and there is a heaven and a hell. And in my mind, Chris should be with the sheep and not the goats (for explanation of these metaphors, check out Matthew 25:31-46). So, if anyone could shed light on the possibility that Chris's sexual orientation would in no way put him at a disadvantage come Judgement Day, it would be greatly appreciated.
No need of written support to confirm you about this, I can tell from my experience: it's not something we choose and as Kurt said, there's no way we would choose something that set us so apart from society and the biological "logic". btw, homosexuality also exists in the animal kingdom (that's for those who links it with psychological issues).

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Post  Guest on 2/29/2012, 7:09 pm

John Barrowman (captain Jack of the original Dr Who and Torchwood series) is gay and said he knew it at age 9. He attended some study in California where they pretty much concluded this happens in the womb during pregnancy . They are working on getting the concrete evidence to prove this and are part way there. If God created everything, how could you possibly think he wouldn't love what he created. Society pretty much makes the rules. The Bible was written by men and the old testament was written in a time when men didn't understand medicine or what was "different." They are so many sects of Protestantism itself (Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc., etc. etc) because people interpret the WORD in different ways. If you are looking for a concrete written word, you are not going to find it, but if you are Christian and believe Jesus is the son of God sent to redeem you, then he said, the only important thing is to love one another "as I have loved you" and he turned no one away.

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Post  Delight on 3/2/2012, 8:30 am

Oh yes, I know who John Barrowman is. His TV character as the bisexual Captain Jack Harkness was so impressive in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances in the original Doctor Who series that they've decided to make him a recurring character and later created a spin-off series (Torchwood) with him as the star. I was quite surprised to find out that the actor is gay in real life.

Getting back on topic, I have to agree that it does make sense-- human sense-- that we are born the way we are, and that God, the ultimate Creator, had determined beforehand what type of person we are or will become. Given that logic, it makes no sense that God would choose to grant certain traits that He doesn't approve of (such as homosexuality) to a group of people, only to use it as a reason to reject this group of people in the end.

However, this kind of argument is made using human logic and 'common sense', so to speak. I'm just afraid that in our zeal to picture a God who is all about love and acceptance, we may run the risk of practising 'buffet religion' to some degree. We want to believe that God would never deny any good person (who does good deeds and generally doesn't harm another soul) access to heaven, regardless of sexual orientation; or some people may even argue-- regardless of religion. But it doesn't mean that what we expect of God is what is truly the case in reality.
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Post  Guest on 3/2/2012, 12:36 pm

And a lot of people want to know DOES HE EVEN EXIST?

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Post  Delight on 3/3/2012, 3:00 am

Oh my, if we start debating whether God exists here, I don't think we'll ever see the end of it.

I suppose it comes down to whether people want to believe that all of creation magically came into being through a series of random processes, or whether there is a greater power or being who created the world in a very meticulous and organized manner, so that life is possible.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
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Post  fantastica on 3/3/2012, 3:04 am

what if Jesus was gay? He was never married. We are talking about jews in ancient time when marriage is pretty much an obligation for an adult.
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Post  Shinra17 on 3/3/2012, 7:44 pm

Delight wrote:Oh my, if we start debating whether God exists here, I don't think we'll ever see the end of it.

I suppose it comes down to whether people want to believe that all of creation magically came into being through a series of random processes, or whether there is a greater power or being who created the world in a very meticulous and organized manner, so that life is possible.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
You can also believe there is a greater power or being out there without joining any religion, because for instance, you may think that greater power wouldn't care more about humans than any other life form and he wouldn't bother to write something especially for us. What I want to say is that non-religious people are not all believers of the random process theory.

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Post  fantastica on 3/3/2012, 7:50 pm

^ I agree!

the thing is, religion is supposed to provide us w/ insights and guidance for our lives, and provide a moral compas for both individuals and societies as a whole. So we always use our own human standards of justice to question the events in our lives, asking "why me?", "why not me", because we assume that being "good" will get us rewarded and those who are "bad" will be punished accordingly. The reality is often not so, so we are puzzled. The problem is that god does not talk to us directly, so we have to resort to enigmatic ancient texts for answers, and the result is that nobody agrees w/ anything, and we are still struggling w/ what is right and wrong when it comes to some of hte modern issues facing our lives.
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Post  Guest on 3/4/2012, 6:56 pm

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html

I thought you might all like to see a scientific study done on gay brains.

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Post  Jellyrolls on 3/4/2012, 11:16 pm

I've stayed away from this discussion this week because I'm a bit mad at God because of what my friend is going through this week. But even as I've been mad at God, I have been trying to remain positive in my beliefs that God created all of us, and God doesn't give us things that we can't handle.

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Post  brisallie on 3/5/2012, 1:06 am

fantastica wrote:what if Jesus was gay? He was never married. We are talking about jews in ancient time when marriage is pretty much an obligation for an adult.

I was educated in a Catholic School and I don't remember that Jesus sexuality was ever questioned; actually I think has never been questioned by anyone because is more important how he was as a person and his religious figure. Personally, I think people understand the bible how they wanna understand it and I don't want to be extremely harsh with the Church but I believe they based everything they have done in the bible, saying that is written there; even the evil things.

I'm not sure if this totally related to this topic, but because of the play "8" I've realized there's an organization to "cure" the homosexuality called NARTH. I can't believe that sth like that exist. Sadly I believe there're parents who sent their children to these kind of places or psychologist because one of my high school classmate was sent to be cured from her illness :rolleyes:


Last edited by brisallie on 3/5/2012, 1:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  fantastica on 3/5/2012, 1:09 am

CNN had an interview of that guy Ryan Kendall (Chris' character) as well as the psychologist who "treated" him at NARTH. Kendall was choking up at the end when talking about his life being ruined by those assholes.
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Post  Delight on 3/5/2012, 4:24 am

Shinra17 wrote:
You can also believe there is a greater power or being out there without joining any religion, because for instance, you may think that greater power wouldn't care more about humans than any other life form and he wouldn't bother to write something especially for us. What I want to say is that non-religious people are not all believers of the random process theory.

I guess that's where atheists (who don't believe in any deity) and agnostics (who may choose to believe in a deity, but rejects religion) differ.

As Christians, we believe in a God who is interested in our lives and wishes to establish a close relationship with us. We believe in a God who loves us to the extent of sacrificing His only Son for us.

Jellyrolls wrote:I've stayed away from this discussion this week because I'm a bit mad at God because of what my friend is going through this week. But even as I've been mad at God, I have been trying to remain positive in my beliefs that God created all of us, and God doesn't give us things that we can't handle.

I really don't know what can be said to make your friend's loss more bearable or acceptable. When bad things happen to good people, for no discernible reason other than 'an act of God', it is hard to accept. It's very human of us to be angry at God, for not hearing our prayers for Him to grant healing. Because it is impossible for us to see why God would allow such a thing to happen.

I'm probably saying the wrong things by quoting Bible verses and such; and I'll be the first to admit that my understanding of the Bible and my Christian growth are both at their early stages... But I thought the following verse can give a different perspective of things-- that God doesn't let anything happen to us without a reason. We may not understand His reasons all the time, but He does have a plan for each of us.

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' (Jeremiah 29:11)

Another comforting way to view the situation is that Emily was called back early to her heavenly home by God, because she is too good for this world.

brisallie wrote:

I'm not sure if this totally related to this topic, but because of the play "8" I've realized there's an organization to "cure" the homosexuality called NARTH. I can't believe that sth like that exist. Sadly I believe there're parents who sent their children to these kind of places or psychologist because one of my high school classmate was sent to be cured from her illness :rolleyes:

I don't know much about NARTH. The misguided organisation probably has no affiliations with any church or religious group. But I suppose it is not inconceivable that a lot of the perception by the general public that being gay is a wrong that need to be corrected (a perception that resulted in the formation of an organization such as NARTH) may have stemmed from the biblical view on homosexuality.
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