Saturday, December 30, 2006


I read a piece on in its On Belief forum. A panelist wrote why he believed in God, and basically why the rest of us were going to burn. Of course, his God was the Christian God, so I guess, even more of us are going to burn. Well, many, many people jumped on his case, including some Christians. A few, very few, came to his defense. Most of the comments remarked about the panelist's simplistic argument. Lots of smoke on the computer screen, here.

For me, it comes back to being able to distinguish factual phenomena from unverified (or unverifiable) belief statements. I think that the human brain is wired to conflate the two, because most people (including about 93% of Americans) don't make much of a distinction. The argument is something like this: I believe (with all my heart) that God is real; therefore, God is real.

For example, President Bush says he talks with God, and God talks with him. Nobody questions that conversation, its reality. On the other hand, if President Bush said that he had conversations with little green men from Jupiter (and said it with conviction), you can bet that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would be dusting off the 25th Amendment. Yet, factually, both statements are equivalent. President Bush is holding conversations with an unseen, unverifiable, unknown entity, and nobody seems to care.

Faith is a problem. It prevents a further search for factual truth. Often in public policy it trumps truth. For example, sex education is deemed immoral because it might cause teenagers to have pre-marital sex. That's all based on belief: our major religions condemn pre-marital sex (because God condemns fornication and adultery); therefore, sex education is wrong. Issues like abortion, gay rights, stem cell research are cast as moral problems, and the factual issues around them are not examined because people's minds are already closed.

What's a homo to do? I find that public policy is lurching to a theater of the absurd. And because I'm a homo, I'm part of the show. I'm really tired of playing my part. And I'm really tired of being accused of being incapable of having a moral and ethical sense because I'm not Christian or religious. I'm tired of being told I'm immoral because I am gay and certainly act on that. The world is crazy.