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Of Bible-bashers and frat-daddies

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Of Bible-bashers and frat-daddies


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To the contrary of negative stereotypes, many Greek students bury their heads in textbooks rather than the above beverage.

Plenty of the top students at this school are Greek. Not all of the Baptists believe in restricting gay rights. There are athletes who are better at organic chemistry than most. I suppose my point is cliché, but it remains valid. Don’t judge a book by its cover; otherwise you might be shocked when reading its pages.

People have an innate ability to see patterns where there are none. For example, non-Greek students who come into the school with a preconception that all Greeks are lazy boozers running off Daddy’s trust fund will have the tendency to only pick out those fitting the stereotype.

However, I personally know several Greeks who spend the majority of their time studying hard and earning some of the highest grades at this school.

Yes, people fitting the negative stereotype exist at Mercer. But at the same time there are non-Greeks handing their parents a $30,000 bill while coasting on a 2.0 GPA and a 24-pack of Natty Light. Before you start to judge someone based on their clothing label, try getting to know them first.

I also have strong words in regards to stereotyping students based on their religious affiliation. Several of the most religiously committed people on campus are also the most open-minded — they have traveled extensively to cultures with different beliefs. Some of the non-religious folk are also incredibly happy, intelligent and generous.

Yes, there are also negative examples of both — Baptists who are judgmental towards those who believe differently and atheists who are smug and self-involved. In the end, it all depends on the person, not the affiliation.

However, I do have one caveat. I don’t believe one should attend or support a religious organization if it preaches principles with which one disagrees. I’m not advocating that hundreds of sects be formed due to minor scriptural disagreements. But when pro gay-rights students attend RUF (which has specifically condemned gay marriage), they are committing themselves to a negative stereotype.

If they wish to break free of that unfavorable view, they should join a campus organization that not only worships God but also preaches equality. Yes, they exist. If one doesn’t suit the purpose, at the very least they should not attend the services of the previous group.

Leaving one’s comfort/friend zone for one hour per week is not much to ask, especially when the support of a persecuted minority is on the other end of the scale. Friendships will most likely survive such a shift — I continue to be friends with multiple RUFers even though I haven’t attended in years. Who knows? Perhaps other schoolmates will tag along.

Remember, clichés can still be useful regardless of their overuse. Avoid stereotyping others while making sure to avoid being a negative one yourself.

Comments on this opinion can be sent to this terrible, evil, ‘Merica-hating liberal at

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No Responses to “Of Bible-bashers and frat-daddies”

  1. Garret McDowell on February 23rd, 2011 1:41 pm

    I definitely have to agree with this column. Great job Sean.

  2. Andrew on February 23rd, 2011 3:04 pm

    You hit upon several good points Sean, but I have to disagree with a few statements that you made, specifically about RUF.

    Your statement, "But when pro gay-rights students attend RUF (which has specifically condemned gay marriage), they are committing themselves to a negative stereotype," is inaccurate and couldn't be further from the truth….which is okay, since you self-admittedly haven't attended in years.

    Anyway, the point is that RUF does not commit or throw a negative stereotype at all on students that are 'pro-gay marriage' or homosexual. While RUF, sticking to scripture, does not support homosexuality in any way, they do believe in the equality of people and that homosexuality, like any other sin, is a prevalent and dominant part of our human nature.

    As one who's spent many hours at RUF meetings, I think you've missed the mark on the organization (but that would be in line with your article, 'Not judging a book by its cover'). RUF does in fact worship God and believes in the equality of people.

  3. Sean Kennedy on February 23rd, 2011 3:50 pm

    Prohibition of a gay person's love for another does not seem like equality to me, nor does the use of scripture justify such discrimination in the United States of America.

  4. Matt on February 23rd, 2011 5:01 pm

    I disagree.

    "When someone says that I am in rare form it means that I am sober. TFM."

    I rest my case.

  5. Garret McDowell on February 23rd, 2011 6:11 pm

    hahahaha awesome.

  6. Liz Bibb on February 25th, 2011 6:12 am

    Thanks for your insight, matt. Haha.

  7. Andrew on February 23rd, 2011 5:01 pm

    Two different topics…equality as a matter of state (i.e. government – individual rights) and equality as a tenant of religion. I didn't write it. I don't have to justify what it says about homosexuality. It's just there in scripture.

    As a matter of equality, no where in the Bible does say that being gay = being unequal. False interpretation. I'd like to know exactly where you find that.

    What the Bible does talk a lot about is how we are all sinners (thus equal playing field) and thus the need for a Savior (Christ).

    You're right in the fact that 'using scripture to justify anything discriminatory' is wrong…that part is exactly correct.

  8. Sean Kennedy on February 23rd, 2011 5:56 pm

    Any statements I made about RUF are substantiated by the audio sermons posted online, which I listen to on a semi-regular basis.

    While it is commonly accepted that all people are sinners and therefore require forgiveness, grace, etc, inequality manifests when RUF denounces gay marriage as a sin while straight marriage is encouraged. It effectively labels love between gays as a sin; a problematic designation because Christians are supposed to avoid sin as much as humanly possible.

    I suppose that this issue on a lower level than original sin, but that does not discount the existing inequality in RUF's teachings.

    While I disagree and will continue to protest RUF's stance on gays, I cannot force people to align their beliefs with mine. However, the reason I protest RUF's stance is because it reinforces similar ones in the political and legal world, therefore supporting an intrusion on the human rights of gays.

  9. Andrew on February 23rd, 2011 6:22 pm

    I think you've got half the message. RUF denounces all sin…not just gay marriage. And to be honest, RUF only takes it cues from the Bible, so the root of the problem lies with scripture, not RUF.

    If the point of Christianity is to 'avoid sin as much as humanly possible,' I'm sorry that you've received the wrong message. RUF believes that sin is a part of the human nature and that we can only grow as Christians within the grace provided by Christ via the death/atonement for sins.

    It seems to me that while RUF preaches what the Bible says on this, the organization remains the target, not the Bible…which is a bit puzzling.

  10. Sean Kennedy on February 23rd, 2011 6:35 pm

    Avoidance of sin isn't the largest goal of Christianity, but it is certainly an important component.

    Other Christian sects and organizations have no problem with gay marriage, which is why the Bible is not the target of my protest.

    Perhaps an inter-sect debate with scriptural historians rather than discourse on the internet would be appropriate for sorting the scriptural issue out; I'd like to see Mercer sponsor something like that.

  11. J. Andrew Lockwood on February 23rd, 2011 6:50 pm

    Christian sects that do not have a problem with homosexuality are simply not following scripture. The Bible couldn't be clearer on that. Therefore, sects that say they are 'Christian' are mislabeled and thus their authority does not come from the Bible.

    I'm just saying, if you go by scripture (The Bible), you can't argue with that part of it. Picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to accept and follow is not Christianity.

  12. Sean Kennedy on February 23rd, 2011 7:08 pm

    I understand what you are saying, however I am challenging your underlying assumption that RUF's interpretation of the Bible is correct. Again, an issue for scholars in that field and one that I'd rather not delve into.

    However, if history is any indicator, past sects (including all of the major Christian ones) have claimed absolute truth, only to edit their teachings continuously throughout their lifespans.

  13. J. Andrew Lockwood on February 23rd, 2011 7:26 pm

    I certainly appreciate the challenge. You are correct in saying that in the past various groups have claimed absolute truth. That's a general statement, so I'll try to be a bit more specific in saying that the canonized Bible as we know it is still (~2000 years later) the truth as written from the early writers inspired by God.

    I know which direction you want to take this and to be honest, we're probably way in over our heads in a debate about hermeneutics from Hebrew and Greek scripture that range from 2000 years old to really stinkin' old, but I do know that RUF's interpretation of scripture is to 'let scripture interpret scripture.' Therefore, we can know absolute truths by comparing certain ideas (i.e. attributes of God) with various scripture dealing with these subjects. It will be consistently the same message.

    An intellectual pursuit in hermeneutics will be fruitless when approaching scripture that require spiritual discernment.

  14. Mary Kathryn on February 24th, 2011 12:40 pm

    Andrew: your opinions sounds so much like those of white religious slave owners prior to the civil war. Also, how many people have YOU stoned lately?

  15. Liz Bibb on February 25th, 2011 6:11 am

    Great job, Sean! You really manage to look at this from all sides of the issue.

  16. Trenton White on February 27th, 2011 4:50 pm

    I enjoyed reading this opinion, Sean! Excellent work! Hopefully, readers were challenged to consider Mercer's historical and contemporary identities as they relate to the article.

  17. Gene Mitchell on February 27th, 2011 5:41 pm

    "Christian sects that do not have a problem with homosexuality are simply not following scripture. The Bible couldn’t be clearer on that. Therefore, sects that say they are ‘Christian’ are mislabeled and thus their authority does not come from the Bible." I'm sorry but this logic couldn't be farther from the truth. By this assertion any disagreement about sin that started from Peter and Paul proves circular. The Christian church clearly separated from the Jewish Orthodoxy over several issues; table fellowship, swine, the interpretation of Gentiles, inclusion, etc. By this analysis all churches standing today should be abolish because they do not include all ascetic principles that the OT prescribes. Example: A baptist church that condemns talking in tongues that Paul clearly professed to. Churches who allow pastors to stay more than two weeks as Paul thought only a good church leader would stay temporarily. Churches who do not confess towards the clergy. I could give a million other examples and know of no church that ascribes all the principles that the Holy Bible lays out from the above mentioned quote.

    A better way of understanding how Christians should, and I say should, follow in the path of Jesus is two fold: 1) understand that they were never placed here to judge…That is God's responsibility…2) adhere to the parable of the Good Samaritan…Put God above all else and love your neighbor as your self. Nothing in those two prescriptions say anything about determining who is or isn't. So in response to the above quote that seems as nothing more than a simple way to dismiss everything that doesn't correlate with one's own beliefs…even when those beliefs were never "yours" to begin with…they belong to Christ…and I think the entire gospel of Luke proves that he came to Earth to bring equality of all in the house of the Lord.

    If you don't believe me then refer to the Dr. Gushee article I wrote sometime back and see what the expert feels about "human dignity" and "respect".

    one love…

  18. Andrew on February 28th, 2011 6:25 pm


    With all due respect, I believe you are on the right track with some of your statements, but others stray from Biblical truth.

    First, let's start with the issue of authority. If we believe that Christ, and He alone, is our authority, then to be 'Christians' is to be an imitator of Christ. The Bible is much more than the four gospels, but it does center itself around the life of Jesus…not Paul…or anyone else. They are merely characters (albeit good ones, Paul was an instrumental disciple in spreading the gospel to unreached places back in the early church days).

    I'm not really sure where you're lost in the logic (as well as the mention of Paul and Peter), but I can back up every statement with scripture. You touched on OT tradition, but remember, Jesus ushered in a 'new covenant' with his death. Therefore, many of those old traditions are not applicable. I'm not as familiar with your last few examples with Paul, confessions, etc., but let's keep this in mind – the purpose of Paul was to help the early church grow and to keep itself centered around the figure that is Christ. Those first few years were certainly quite different than what we see today.

    I do think you're a little off base though when it comes to 'how Christians should follow Jesus' –

    First and foremost: Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version, ©2010)

    36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    There is no 'second greatest commandment'. The passage you refer to is: Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

    However, if you take this verse out-of-context…as is usually the case, it can mean anything you want it to mean. Therefore, what does the rest of the Bible say about 'judging'? Let's try John 7:24 – "4(A) Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."

    Okay, so within the context of that verse, we are to judge with a 'righteous judgement,' not from our own opinions or own self righteousness. That's a huge distinction. Therefore, I could write an entire essay of how sinful and awful I am. I SUCK! I only have hope through Jesus (that's the Gospel!)

    You are right, Jesus came so that we could have 'equality' and eternal salvation if we accept and believe in him as our Savior. As Christians, we are instructed to 'judge' the fruit of fellow believers. Obviously, a Christians' world-view must be centered on scripture and homosexuality/gay rights simply don't match up with the Bible. It's not saying they're unequal…it's just saying that it's sinful, just like the 2,503 things that I did today that were sinful.

    With all due respect, I'm not 'throwing stones', not disrespecting experts (Dr. Gushee), nor trying to call anyone out at all. I just felt that Sean's column was slightly off-base when he says, "Don't judge a book by it's cover – except for RUF…of which I try to listen to podcasts occasionally and of which I have no first-hand experience."

    It's bad journalism and its not true. Perhaps RUF offers homosexuals (and let's be honest: porn-addicts, kids from messed up backgrounds, cheaters, jerks that get technicals in intramurals games…that would be me) something more than just a sermon. Perhaps they offer love, friendship, and fellowship with the constant reminder of how much we suck and how much we need a Savior.

    Perhaps Sean should do some first-person investigating by attending.

  19. Sean Kennedy on March 1st, 2011 12:21 pm

    Listen to the podcast Stewardship of the Opposite Sex at 34:00-35:00. A specific condemnation of homosexuality. This is a recording of a RUF meeting in 2009.

    I strive not to make statements in the paper without first researching. I've made mistakes in the past and learned from them.

  20. Andrew on March 1st, 2011 4:56 pm

    Just listened to the clip…to quote the clip, "Marriage is defined in the Bible as one man and one woman for life, this rules out polygamy, homosexuality, bisexuality, cohabitation, all these things it rules out because it does not fit [scripture – Matthew 19, a passage which Jesus goes back to quote a passage out of Genesis]."

    This is NOT a specific condemnation of homosexuality. It's part of a larger list of all the things that are not defined as marriage. If your argument stems from that one minute clip alone, I still don't understand your point.

  21. Stephanie on February 28th, 2011 6:47 pm

    Well written article Sean! Keep up the good work!

  22. Gene Mitchell on March 1st, 2011 9:29 am

    I guess Andrew I'll give you two things to consider: 1) The same argument you are giving on our "authority" to judge, as Christ did, allows for a scary slippery slope. A great example of this would be the "Shining Path" of Peru. They took this same mindset of judging in their own hands, as you seem to endorse, and started assassinating people because they felt they had the right to judge. This is known as Liberation Theology. If you allow people (sinners) to starting making judgments about what is right and wrong that, in of itself, is sinful and dangerous.

    The life of Jesus Christ demonstrated on several occasions that we do not have that right to judge; only the Father. Again the parable of the Good Samaritan, The story of "casting the first stone", are both great examples. The Synoptic Gospels even go farther and say that the purpose of Christ was to teach (Matthew), relate (Mark), equalize (Luke), and eternalize (John).

    Jesus combats on several occasions those who wish to hold others for their sins. The new covenant with God, under Jesus, is the redefining of sin…instead of prescriptions (commandments) we now use self understanding. This is where, I think, we separate. The judgment is for ourselves and not for others.

    2) The OT lays out perfectly why we sin in Ecclesiastes. We are separated from God. Because of this we are impoverished of love and bliss. Therefore we choose one of two paths to fill this hole: We attempt to go towards Godly fulfillment or Earthly fulfillment. Why is this important? We get married, in holy matrimony, because we truly long for our marriage with God. We cannot, however, be married to God because we are sinful. What you have done, it seems, is to say that being with an opposite sexual partner is better than that of the same sex. Why? The Bible gives plenty of proof in both the OT and NT that God really wants us to focus on Him. Why did God punish the Israelites when they wanted a human King? Remember he was not happy about this and told them of what such a king will do.

    The implication you give that Churches who don't “have a problem” with homosexuality is one that gives them no legitimacy. I find this scary because 1) you seem to know more about what Jesus and God want than say Peter and Paul (by the way, it's hard to call Paul a "character" of the Bible when 2/3 of the NT is attributed to him; which makes him more than a mere player due to the size of his impact, so minimalizing him makes you seem as if you, yourself, want to exclude scripture). 2) As far as I know the way to be a Christian is to profess from word of mouth that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, Baptism, and repentance. Therefore congregations who have done this and try to better understand God is a Church. Now, there are fundamentals I agree. I just described a couple. Of course I don’t assume everyone has got it right. I do not, however, call them “unchristian”. It concerns me, however, that you have decided to take upon yourself who is and who isn't a Christian. Mainly because you are implying that a "Bad Christian" exists…and to me that sounds ludicrous in nature.

    I'm not saying you are wrong but I am saying that you end up on a Deutero-Petrine Doctrine more so than the Pauline doctrine. The former focuses on exclusiveness while the latter does not. Paul spoke on matters much more than Mission work. In fact, his whole basis for Mission work was inclusion. This is basic NT 101 knowledge. The more you exclude the more like Peter you are. The more you include the more you are like Paul. I feel like your argument doesn't recognize this mainly due to your personal convictions and less about basic understanding of scripture.

  23. Andrew on March 1st, 2011 9:54 am

    I appreciate the length of your thoughts and I believe you are correct in many ways.

    However, I feel you are misunderstanding me on a few key points (of which I base completely off of scripture):

    a) I do not try to minimize the importance of Paul and Peter. The Bible is clearly about one character/three characters (the trinity)…everyone and everything else is centered around these central characters.

    b) I do not advocate (nor does scripture) going around and judging everyone for everything. This is clearly not beneficial for spreading the Gospel, but scripture is clear that we are to use 'discerning and righteous' judgement in order that we grow as Christians. This means not our judgement, but God's righteous judgment.

    c) Churches don't have problems with homosexuality – scripture does. It's indisputable and you can't get around it. It's not a preference or opinion, but rather laid out in scripture. You either follow it or you don't.

    Finally, I'd further challenge you to see what scripture says about how we are to live as Christians (i.e. "2) As far as I know the way to be a Christian is to profess from word of mouth that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, Baptism, and repentance."). This is a very good start, but keep reading, there's much more.

    In the big picture, please don't misunderstand me, I'm not here to debate theology, Pauline doctrine, etc. I wrote on this post to correct an incorrect statement about RUF, an organization of which I've helped/attended the past four years. ("But when pro gay-rights students attend RUF (which has specifically condemned gay marriage), they are committing themselves to a negative stereotype.")

    This statement is at its root incorrect in the mission and goals of RUF and couldn't be further from the truth. I found the rest of Sean's writing to be insightful, but it does seem like an oxymoron when he says, "don't judge a book by its cover – except for RUF – because they judge people and will give homosexuals a negative stereotype"

  24. Sean Kennedy on March 1st, 2011 12:19 pm

    Listen to the podcast Stewardship of the Opposite Sex at 34:00-35:00. A specific condemnation of homosexuality. This is a recording of a RUF meeting in 2009.

  25. Andrew on March 1st, 2011 4:58 pm

    Just listened to the clip again where Buck reads what is defined as marriage within the Bible. It rules out homosexuality among other things. What's your point?

  26. Sean Kennedy on March 1st, 2011 8:41 pm

    I fail to see the difference between this and sexual discrimination.

  27. Matt K. Williams on March 1st, 2011 10:34 am

    From what I have read in this debate, the issue seems to be whether or not the idea the practice of homosexuality is a sin against God. It seems that that Andrew, Gene, Sean, and I are all in agreement that a person should be treated equally from an individual standpoint, regardless of personal beliefs and standpoints. Therefore the issue is whether or not someone should be treated equally under the law.

    Let me digress, for a bit.

    If one looks into the canonized Bible (66 books, 39 in the OT, 27 in the NT), there are only examples of where "unnatural" sexual acts are condemned. Unnatural, not only meaning homosexuality, but bestiality, oral and anal sex, masturbation, and any other sexual act that can not result in a pregnancy. These are the acts that are condemned, not merely homosexuality.

    Therefore, as a Christian, am I in any closer communion with God because I have not practiced homosexuality or bestiality? To quote Paul, "By no means." I have masturbated before, which means I am just as in the wrong as anyone else. Likewise, all sins are equal, not just erotic ones, so even if I had remained sexual abstinent from every form of the act, I would still be just as wrong because I drank underage, I lied, I swore, I cheated, I've lusted, I've disrespected my parents, etc. Here is my supporting information:

    "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."- II Timothy 3:16-17

    "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." – I Corinthians 6:18

    "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them." – Leviticus 20:13

    "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." – Hebrews 13:4

    "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." – I Corinthians 6:9-10

    "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." – Jude 1:7


    I'm not saying that I follow Levitical law, as I have a fairly big tattoo on my back, however, there are numerous examples where unnatural sexual relations are condemned in the New Testament as well. I will say one thing: this is God's standard for His people. Therefore, I can not hold someone who is not part of God's kingdom to follow all of His statues, as it is written

    "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;" – I Thessalonians 4:3-5

    This letter, as will the other Pauline Epistles, were written to members of the church, who already professed Jesus Christ as their Savior, not the "Gentiles."

  28. Sean Kennedy on March 1st, 2011 11:55 am

    Romantic love between gays is specifically condemned as a sin while romantic love between straights is not.

    Again, I honestly don't care what people believe as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. However, the religious right has a history of sharing this personal, religious belief into the political and "scientific" fields.

  29. Laci on March 4th, 2011 1:12 pm


  30. Rob on March 1st, 2011 10:34 am

    I could not agree more with Lockwood on this.

    It's biblical to condemn homosexuality. Condemn the sin, not the sinner.

  31. Matt on March 1st, 2011 11:00 am

    Sean was not judging RUF by its cover. His statement, which could apply to Greek Life as well, is that some organizations do believe in values/morals/etc that are strictly against some of its members value systems. He goes on to say, in a nut shell, that as representatives of these organizations we should take the time to correct these misconceptions, or if these stereotypes are not misconceptions then we should leave and associate ourselves with the appropriate groups that reflect our interests. He simply used RUF as an example because it is, based off scripture, against homosexuality while some of its members are not.

    On a different note, I think what is great about the Bible is that it is the same text yet holds different meaning for two people, both of whom are strong in their faith, and both of whom may not be wrong (Gene and Andrew). Maybe there is no "correct" way to interpret the Bible, which is why Jesus spoke in Parables. This is also supported by the fact that we do not know what the writers meant over 2000 years ago, similar to the Constitution today. If we knew exactly what the framers meant, there would be no “interpretation” done by the Federal Courts. We can only make educated guesses and assume what it means. We will not know what exactly how the Bible was supposed to be interpreted until we are inside the Pearly Gates.

    But here is a verse we can all agree on”

    "So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad." Ecc. 8:15. TFM.

  32. Ryan on March 1st, 2011 12:42 pm

    I didn't want to get involved in all of this, but aren't we all missing the point by needlessly quoting all this inane scripture that is only relevant to Christians? The point is that RUF can interpret silly biblical scripture any way it wants to at the end of the day, but that doesn't justify sexual discrimination. So long as RUF doesn't actively condemn gays and therefore violate Mercer's community of respect, then there's nothing wrong with them existing as a recognized student organization.

    In my opinion, Mercer needs to drop the whole "faith-based institution" part of its name anyway. It's 2011, folks. We've moved on from that tired church-minded ideology into a new community of religious, sexual and ethnic diversity––one which promotes gay rights openly and champions human tolerance. It only makes Mercer students look close-minded and self-centered to be spending all this time arguing about Christian scriptures.

    I'm an atheist by the way, and damn proud of it.

  33. Gene Mitchell on March 1st, 2011 7:10 pm

    Hey Ryan,

    The argument, or rather my point, is not about "Christian scriptures" but more about what is, and what isn't "indisputable". On the one hand you have Andrew's position which is, without trying to oversimplify, there are certain positions in the Bible are irrefutable. In this case we are talking about homosexuality. Stemming from this fact Andrew has asserted "if" a church does not recognize homosexual acts as sinful then they are not a Christian church, they are something else.

    I, on the other hand, tend to be dissuaded by this irrefutable, indisputable facts because by me, and many others, disputing it makes the situation disputable. My evidence for this is that many Christian sects can't even determine whether or not a Pope was meant to reign over Christianity, whether or not to eat pork, the most important of Paul's day was circumcision, and many others. According to the OT the way in which a Jew showed their covenant was by this ritual. Then the New Jews who believed in Jesus came along and stated the more important circumcision was that of the "heart". Not all of the New Jews…some. This means there became unverifiable understandings.

    The second point I'd like to make is that you have made a very big assumption that I think is worth addressing. When you say "We've moved on" I'd like to know who "we" are. Over 90% of America claims some religion, most of which is Christian, and as of 2010 only 3% of the world claims to be atheist. This assertion is a mighty big claim without any statistical data.

    To even further hurt your feelings you'll be happy to know that because you believe in "absolute" truth you have more in common with Christians, Jews, and Muslims than you think. If you wanted to be a real stand-out amongst everyone you would follow your biggest opponent's adherence, that of Frederick Nietzsche. True Nietzsche was did not believe in God. He also hated atheist and how they proclaimed what they thought was "true" mainly because he did not believe in any absolutes. He believed in Subjective truths, or perspectivism.

    So while I'm sure you are proud to be an atheist…know that you are no different than the rest of the mere backward-religious believing majority. You believe in something…even if it is nothing.

  34. Ryan on March 1st, 2011 7:39 pm

    A. Your discussion only matters to those of you who are Christians. A lot of us aren't, and I don't want to be stereotyped as part of a religion which I don't adhere to simply because I'm a student at this institution.

    B. "We" refers to the Mercer community, not the general population at large. I don't think a majority of students would identify themselves as Baptist, and even in the event they did, the mere labeling of Mercer as "historically Baptist" downplays the fact that many other religions––including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and, yes, atheism––make up fundamental parts of who we are as an institution.

    C. Atheism is a system of beliefs that can and does believe in absolutes, and I never claimed atheism was any different than any other religion in that respect. Read Richard Dawkins' God Delusion for a fuller discussion on what true atheism constitutes before you make broad assumptions about it. It is in many ways a religion itself. And I'm not all that interested in what Nietzsche says. He was a tad nihilistic and delusional anyway… 🙂

  35. Sean Kennedy on March 1st, 2011 7:45 pm

    I'd recommend a philosophy of religion textbook over any of Dawkins' writings as he is an evolutionary biologist rather than a philosopher, and he gives a rather shallow and flawed overview of atheism.

  36. Ryan on March 1st, 2011 8:22 pm

    Unless you're an atheist yourself, I don't think that's a very fair comment for you to make. Modern, "weak atheism," or as it's more commonly called, "negative atheism," is completely different from what you're lumping together under the generalized heading of "atheism." It promotes altruism and moral absolutes rather than offering a simplistic view of complete relativity.


  37. Sean Kennedy on March 1st, 2011 8:45 pm

    I think it is a perfectly fair comment to make, I’ve not only read all of Dawkins’ books, but I have read the writings that influenced them, various critiques of them, and then studied atheism for three years in an academic setting while covering thousands of pages on the topic. I have not stated whether atheism is wrong or not (I have no opinion on its correctness, nor do I assign any value to the word correct), I just noted that Dawkins gives a rather shallow overview of it. Every argument in philosophy is highly dependent on perspective. Every argument has flaws and merits. Quite honestly, I find Dawkins to be a demagogue whose writings are trite when compared to those of various Enlightenment (along with other) philosophers. He should stay in his field, where he is admittedly a brilliant biologist.

  38. Sean Kennedy on March 1st, 2011 8:38 pm

    I think it is a perfectly fair comment to make, I've not only read all of Dawkins' books, but I have read the writings that influenced them, various critiques of them, and then studied atheism for three years in an academic setting while covering thousands of pages on the topic. I have not stated whether atheism is wrong or not (I have no opinion on its correctness, nor do I assign any value to the word correct), I just noted that Dawkins gives a rather shallow overview of it. Every argument in philosophy is highly dependent on perspective. Every argument has flaws and merits. Quite honestly, I find Dawkins to be a demagogue whose writings are trite when compared to various Enlightenment philosophers. He should stay in his field, where he is admittedly a brilliant biologist.

  39. Gene Mitchell on March 1st, 2011 8:51 pm

    I just find great humor in this: An article about "not judging a book by it's cover" followed by comments by an Atheist who wants us all to grow up, makes assumptions about a majority of sympathizers that do not exist, and wants to educate all of us because he obviously knows more than the rest of us.

    Secondary note your defamation of Mercer representing you as something that you are not. That is a fallacy. Mercer doesn't claim that all of its students are Baptist, but that does not mean that Mercer cannot claim itself as a certain type of institution, which it is because it has a baptist seminary and requires all of its LA majors to take 3 hours in either OT or NT. While I agree there are some fundamental principles that Mercer tries to instill that I don't agree with: dry campus, not a genuine department that provides contraception for sexual practice, etc, I do believe that Mercer has the freedom to say what it believes it is.

    I also don't believe that saying you believe in something means you are backwards just as you seem to suggest about Christians. My point was just as you put it. You can believe in Absolutes just as good as the rest of us. I agree! My jab at you is that you are not novel in this concept. In fact, absolutism is a modern era way of thinking…in other words its "old school". The new way of thinking, contemporary, is everything is subjective. Ever used the words "its just my perspective"? Of course you have, everyone today uses it. Why? Because the thought of Nietzsche still resonates today. So when you try to say who's wrong and who's right just realize you are not new in your thinking you are, in fact, going in opposition of "2011" thinking… 🙂

  40. Ashlee on March 1st, 2011 9:15 pm

    A well written article. I'm so glad that its being pointed out in Mercer's paper not to "judge a book by its cover".

    But, don't you think by calling out RUF and its attendees you are judging them by their cover? I know that you have attended and formed your opinion through "actually getting to know them" but don't you think discouraging something that may or may not keep students grounded, whether or not they completely agree with everything being said is a bit over the top?

    It does create a nice friendly debate. But I also think as an adult, and a person who follows God in a broken world full of broken people, we are all going to have to take everything with a grain of salt. If you can find me an organization, let alone a religious organization where I agree with everything being talked about or taught, I'll applaud you.

    So I don't thing judge peoples thoughts or decisions based on their "cover" of choosing to affiliate with RUF

  41. Ashlee on March 1st, 2011 9:16 pm


  42. Sean Kennedy on March 2nd, 2011 5:22 am

    Well, if I had stereotyped RUF students, I would have said they all were against gay rights and hated atheists. I noted that this wasn't true. Of course it can be impossible to find an organization that you agree with 100%, but minority rights are more important than a minor theological disagreement.

  43. Laci on March 4th, 2011 1:05 pm

    sean, i do not believe you judged RUF by its cover at all. (and why people are only arguing about the RUF point is interesting- im also outraged at your suggestion that people drink Natty Light! I prefer yuengling!) you were simply attempting to encourage people not to support organizations that disagree with their personal opinions/morals/beliefs/etc. The same can be said for christian's who "hate the sin" of homosexuality to not join common ground. it would not align with their personal standards and they should not be a part of the association simply because they like rainbows. (poor, crude example but then isnt the world poor and crude anyway?)

  44. Gay Mercerian on March 1st, 2011 9:40 pm

    Andrew (and assorted others),

    I really enjoyed reading this thread. After reading it, I have to say that I won't be joining you at RUF meetings anytime soon.

    The true interpretation of your religious book is debatable. Especially on the topic of committed homosexual relationships as a picture of sin. I suggest reading "What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?" by Daniel Helminiak.

    I personally believe that having a sex drive is part of your personage. Therefore, hating my 'sin' is the same as hating me.

    Again, thanks for ostracizing me and countless other homosexuals that read your various posts. Definitely solidified by decision to not join your fellowship! 😀

    Peace and blessings!

  45. Laci on March 4th, 2011 1:08 pm

    As a straight support of gay-rights, I say, "Bravo, Gay Mercerian!" Not only is narrow-minded, uninformed thinking ostracizing to homosexuals, but also to many other minority groups and I applaud YOU for choosing to not join such "fellowships"

  46. Gay Rights Supporter on March 2nd, 2011 8:28 am

    I continue to be impressed by thoughtful debate among members of the Mercer community. However, I think that debate on the meaning of scripture is out of place in this thread, if comments were meant to be based on what Mr. Kennedy attempted to convey here.

    What he is advocating, from my understanding, is for members of Mercer (or community) organizations to recognize the message the group sends on certain issues. For those who support gay rights and the right for every American to choose to marry as she pleases, members of religious organizations may wish to examine the organization's stance on permitting this liberty.

    If the organization's stance doesn't match yours, don't support the organization with your membership, funds, or talent. Simple as that. I know this article prompted me to take a closer look at the ideological characteristics of each organization to which I belong.

    Bravo, Mr. Kennedy!

  47. Love one another on March 4th, 2011 7:26 am

    I wasn't going to comment on this because I don't want to be a part of a debate that seems to be just going around in a circle without any resolve. However, I think that there are some who are getting the wrong picture of one of Mercer's Chrisitan organizations. RUF is not making up some religious doctrine and then going about putting down gay rights. As a Christian we are called to love one another and as an earlier post stated – "hate the sin, not the sinner". We Christians are called to love one another and there is nothing at RUF that promotes anything to the contrary. We are all sinners and the good news is that Christ has died for His children because we could never live the perfect life that He did. RUF is a religious organization at Mercer and, just like any other Christian organization, you will find that the focus is the Bible. In the Bible, marriage is recoginized as the union between a man and a woman as a picture of Christ and the Church. This isn't something that is up for interpretation. It's what the Bible says and if you are growing in Christ then the place to look is at scripture, nothing else. I completely agree with Andrew's posts here and I'm sorry to those who are misinterpreting the basis of RUF or any other Christian organization on campus or in the community. I don't think that Andrew or anyone else on here is trying to "judge" others but instead, pointing people to scripture and not to the idea that RUF is making up ideas that are not scriputre based. While this original article did contain a lot of great points about not judging a book by its cover, it seems as though there is a misjudgement about the focus of RUF at Mercer. The focus of RUF and any other Christian fellowship on this campus is Christ.

  48. Laci on March 4th, 2011 12:59 pm

    The term homosexuality wasn't put into the Bible until the 1950's, I believe. Prior to that is was not uncommon for many men to "enjoy the company" of other men. And while current TRANSLATIONS of the Bible have decided that "homosexuality" is the term for the actions of priests sleeping with young alter boys (which is one of the original reasons for condemning the practice), the original point and purpose of the text has been lost and long forgotten. It is crucial for anyone who is reading the Bible to not only look at what the Bible says simply because it is canonized.

    All people interested in learning about Christianity should read other sources and learn the CONTEXT in which the letters and books of the Bible were written before coming to assumptions and making judgments.

    Upon doing so, one will learn that the "virgin" Mary could have NOT been a virgin because through centuries of translation and transcribing (we have no way of knowing what monks, priests, and rulers added and omitted from the original text) the original adjective to describe mary has been changed to 'virgin'. i believe it was a hebrew term (not positive tho) that meant "young girl of birthing age" or something along those lines, that was originally used to describe her.

    So, whether you believe in God or not, whether you support gay-rights or not, its best to look at outside sources and views of subjects before making your own opinions. Otherwise, you are simply choosing to remain oblivious to the whole truth.

    Basically, my problem with RUF and most christian organizations is that they only preach the bible when the books of the bible were decided by a single ruler many many years ago. Who's to say that the rest of the writings from/about the time aren't important to us? People who only read the bible are simply getting half the truth.

  49. Trent White on March 4th, 2011 4:25 pm

    Mercer gays, you are supported. Remember our university's history and keep fighting the good fight.

  50. Gay Rights Supporter on March 5th, 2011 8:29 pm

    To all people saying that they don't hate or condemn gays,

    50 years ago, certain racists said that they didn't hate or condemn blacks, instead using the Bible as substantiation to refuse them rights. After all, "it was only biblical". They claimed they knew the "right" interpretation of the Bible.

    Guess how those whites look today? Yeah, that is what I thought.

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