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Messages - Armadius

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Brandon Sanderson / Skaa Rebellion (possible spoilers?)
« on: April 25, 2008, 02:13:05 AM »
Hey folks,

1) Some of you might remember me... maybe? Either way, I know I dropped off the face of the planet sometime last year. Awfully sorry about that. Anywho, I'm about halfway through The Well of Ascension (I stupidly didn't re-read Book 1 before starting Book 2) and I was just wondering about the history of skaa rebellions prior to the Lord Ruler's overthrow. If memory serves, there were some vague references to a rebellion on the Southern islands or somesuch... Does anybody have any other knowledge on the issue? (My apologies - I have a nasty habit of having too many questions about the obscure, undeveloped plot points in most books I read.)

2) I know how intensely thread resurrection is frowned upon here, but as I said earlier, life got just a touch too busy and conequently, I sort of disappeared a little while ago in the midst of an interesting thread (to me, anyway) about religion. I think I left some questions unanswered. If anybody endorses/encourages/permits it, I'd be happy to pick it up again. If not, I'll just let it rest.


Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 26, 2007, 04:04:02 AM »
Ookla - Fine, I did bring up overpopulation and energy, but they were in a direct response to one of The Lost 24's comments. I'd rather not discuss them further in this thread because it derails the conversation; the topic is not about overpopulation nor the energy crisis. I'd rather keep it brief than allow the conversation to completely change topic.

Thank you, Archon. You're entirely correct. Ookla, responding to so many comments from people who all disagree with me is very far from easy. I'm giving the best responses I can with my limited timeframe; as you say, I've been otherwise occupied. My schedule is exceedingly busy, and this is hardly a top priority for me. And frankly, if you don't like the quality of my posts anymore, then stop reading them. Your complaints aren't going to affect the way I'm handling this, and they just clutter a conversation which, as you've so rudely pointed out, is already becoming too convoluted.

Jade Knight - I'm still working on it. You'll have to wait until tomorrow; I have an important geometry project to complete tonight, on top of a handful of other random assignments. Again, I apologize.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 25, 2007, 11:56:14 PM »
The Jade Knight - Sorry this is taking so long, but it may have to wait until tomorrow. I've got oodles of homework tonight, and I just have time for a quick post right now.

SaintEhlers - You ask a very, very, very complicated question. It's not really something I can put into words, and my guess is that my view of the whole matter is entirely different than yours. I consider love to be an entirely different feeling than any other; romantic love is a sort of emotional closeness that isn't achievable with any relationship other than that between romantic partners. It's possible to love friends, but I consider this to be a different connection as well; as I said earlier, I love some of my friends, but I'm not in love with them. Being in love is having found this connection; falling in love is the process of discovering it. Again, it's hard to explain because love is such a wholly subjective concept. I hope that helps.

Ookla - You're mistaken. The Lost 24 raised these issues; I just responded to them. Regardless, I'd still rather not debate them.

Sigyn - That's actually exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot. If there's more you feel like adding, I'd be happy to hear it.

Skar - I can respect this view, even if I don't necessarily agree with it. I still don't think there is much logic behind it. After all, what I've gained so far from my experiences has been gleaned by accepting the orientation with which I was born, not by denying it. I think that denying something that is so central to who I am would only lead to an unhealthy lack of self-understanding and a discomfort with myself. There is certainly something to be gained from homosexuality, but it's something entirely different than you're suggesting. And thanks again for the compliment.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 25, 2007, 06:34:21 AM »
(Please forgive me if this is poorly phrased; I'm both sick and exhausted, a combination which never lends itself to lucidity.)

Okay, I know I said I wouldn't be responding anymore, but it seems some people really want to hear more. I'm not going to address the points about overpopulation, energy usage, or AIDS; I absolutely laothe discussions that get down to facts and figures. On top of that, both are topics which I find to be even more controversial in many ways than homosexuality is. My feelings on the way all three are handled are very strong, and I don't think the discussion would remain civil for much longer, were we to continue debating them. I have much more to say, but I'd rather not say it. I think there's a mutual understanding that I believe most (if not all) of you are wrong, and you probably feel the same way about me; let's just leave it at that.  This thread started as a question about morality, and I'd rather have it steered back that way.

That said, I'll address the on-topic points that have been made.  Also, please keep in mind that I'm using "homosexuality" with the blanket meaning it has adopted; I do not mean to limit my statement exclusively to either sexuality or emotions, unless otherwise noted.

Robert_Boyd - I agree entirely on the genetics/singing analogy. People are born with an inclination towards a certain sexuality, be it bi-, hetero-, or homo-. This can be denied or ignored, and thus not developed or further discovered. For example, had I not bothered considering my sexuality more closely, I may very well never have taken notice of the fact that I'm gay, or how this affects me. Similarly, because I did make that examination, I've developed to the point where I can make very confident statements about my orientation and how it affects me. But keep in mind, just as an innately talented singer cannot reasonably turn a good voice into a bad one, a gay man cannot simply erase the homosexual leanings he has. At best, a singer can allow his/her voice to fall into disrepair; in the same way, a gay man can at most ignore his sexuality to the point where it is neither practiced nor explored.

I disagree, though, with the insinuation that love can be forced. This is something that, again, is unable to be proved by science, due to the highly subjective nature of emotions, but it's my belief that love cannot be forced. Encouraged, perhaps, but it's not something that can be made to exist. I admit I'm relatively inexperienced in this area, having been in love only once before and that for a very brief period of time, but I don't think the extreme emotional connection I established with the boy I loved was forced, nor could it ever have been. It existed from the beginning, but was just undiscovered for a while. Performing acts of love can help reveal this connection. The story you reference is most likely a similar situation, in my opinion; the man did not love his wife because the connection he had with her had lain dormant for so long that he lost track of it. It existed from the beginning, but was somehow obscured. Far be it from me to second guess somebody's personal experience, but that's my interpretation. I don't think it's possible to fall in love with just anybody. That's not to say I endorse the "soul mate" theory, but I believe there are intrinsicly stronger connections between some people than between others.

And you've actually touched on one of the main things that perplexes me about this whole issue. Homosexual urges are there for a reason - yes, it's true that we can opt to act on them or opt not to, but they are present either way. If you believe homosexuality is not a choice, then I can't quite make sense of this - the God you've placed such faith in sees fit to instill homosexual urges in somebody, but these urges are less fit to act upon the heterosexual urges. Would anybody care to explain?

Sigyn - I shudder to think what kind of response this will provoke, but I'm a bit hazy on the history regarding one more issue I'd like to ask about. What, exactly, happened to so sharply reverse the pro-polygamy views your church once had?

Precious-jules - The story you've told about your brother could be another example of how experiences during developmental phases of life can heavily affect sexuality. If your brother admits that he never had any natural homosexual urges, it's probably true. The fact that he needed to perform homosexual acts to satisfy an addiction could very easily muddle the already complicated issue of sexuality. This is another situation where it's important to distinguish between sexuality and love, though - I'm willing to bet your brother has never nor would ever fall in love with another man.

The Jade Knight - Both of your posts will be addressed in another post in this thread. My mind isn't working clearly enough right now to give them the thought they deserve. Check back some time tomorrow.

SaintEhlers - I think the dicussion did stray very much from its original subject. I asked about Mormonism, and we wound up debating AIDS and overpopulation. The two are not the same.

Hauf - This is a big debate I've had many times before. We can have it somewhere else if you want (another thread or personal messages), but to sum up my views on it...

Peace and joy come from mastering the flesh. This is true, but I mean it in an entirely different sense. I believe sexuality exists within people not only for reproductive purposes. Sex is a pleasurable, joyous, and in many ways peaceful act which is practiced for more purpose than just to conceive a child. This strays dangerously close to justifying promiscuity (which I am not doing), but mastery of all aspects of humanity is what leads to ultimate peace, joy, and happiness. It involves celebrating both the fact that we have pleasurable physical urges and abilities, and also the fact that we have the capacity to control them (to a certain degree) if we so desire.

Ookla - I am still reading. You can thank Hauf for dragging me back.

Dawncawley - I'm glad this is pleasing to you. I hate uncivil discussions as much as all of you do; I appreciate the lack of conversion attempts and blatant "you're wrong" statements very profoundly. You're all making me dislike Mormonism much less than I did before I came here.

Also, Hauf, thanks very much for the book recommendation. That looks very interesting, and I'll try to find a copy at Barnes & Noble when I next stop by.

There we go. My head is spinning like a dreidel. I hope at least some of this made sense; I'll edit tomorrow if necessary.

Site News / Re: Introduce yourself - right on!
« on: January 24, 2007, 11:24:47 PM »
Hey everybody! I'm Andrew, and I'm paranoid about giving out a lot of personal (i.e. identifying) information online. I live in Massachusetts, I'm sixteen years old, and I'm a sophomore in high school. The town in which I reside is a boring, soul-crushingly mundane place, and it's caused me to reject the rest of the U.S. as a habitable country. I hope to move to Canada, Australia, or Holland.

I haven't paid nearly as much thought to higher education as I probably should have at this point.  All I know about where I want to attend school is that it better not be anywhere near where I live now. I've considered a lot of possible majors, though the most likely are psychology (because I enjoy understanding the way minds work), philosophy (because nothing's more interesting), political science (because I love politics), english (because it's my best subject), journalism (because I'm the editor of my school paper), or gay and lesbian studies (because I'm an out-and-proud gay).

I read and write with most of my spare time. I used to play Magic: The Gathering, but a lack of other players around me caused me to stop. I still have all of my cards, though. When I'm not reading and writing, I'm usually either working at a nursing home or shopping. I love clothes, and can be fairly materialistic and shallow at times. But hey, every man has his foibles. I also play tennis, though I'm horribly out of practice.

I found my way here because I looked on EUOL's website after reading Elantris, and there was a link. That's about it.

Brandon Sanderson / For Brandon - A few more questions
« on: January 21, 2007, 03:45:36 AM »
Sorry that last thread got so radically off-topic; hopefully this one won't. I have a couple more questions, if you don't mind.

1. Were any aspects of Elantris at all biographical? In my case, at least, my writing is often unintentionally reflective of my own experiences. Is this the case for you as well?

2. You might get this a lot, but why did you become a writer in the first place? Did you ever see yourself doing something else instead?

3. I'm overjoyed to hear that you're probably doing a sequel to Elantris. I was wondering, though, if you plan to discuss anything further about the religions you mention less in the book. I think both Jesker and the Jeskeri Mysteries receive too little attention for how interesting they could be. It would be interesting if we got to learn more about the origins/tenets of both. It's rankled ever since the first time I read the book that something which seems so significant as Jesker is left so undeveloped.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 21, 2007, 02:59:47 AM »
MsFish - I wish I had more to say, other than thanks, and I agree for the most part.

24 - Alright... there are so many things wrong with what you just said that I don't know where to start. How about the beginning?

Yes, there are people who want to change, and arguably people who can. But would you mind explaining to me how on Earth a broadening social acceptance of homosexuality keeps people who do want to change from doing so? Acceptance isn't the same as encouragement. People who want to change will still be free to do so. Homosexuality isn't some oppressive regime that's trying to spread malignant influence. Acceptance would make my life easier, not Brandon's cousin's life more difficult.

Also, do you deny that the world is headed for the greatest energy crisis humankind has ever known? We're running out of oil, which is used to produce and operate the technology you claim can improve how we use resources that it turns out we don't even have. Besides, citing Malthus' error does not simply wave away the fact that we have a serious overpopulation problem. You speak of maintaining a population, but doing so perpetuates a major problem. You think that a population drop will make us less competitive, economically speaking? Try having an economy founded entirely upon a fuel source that's no longer available. Also, how is China having difficulty maintaining its population? It's the most overpopulated country in the world. My point about fertility and sperm donation was that gays do, indeed, contribute to the population. Your claim that they do not is unfounded.

As for HIV/AIDS, how dare you belittle such a pandemic? Yes, it does predominantly affect homosexuals - IN THE UNITED STATES. What about those in Africa, where AIDS is most prolific, who are experiencing a pandemic the likes of which you've probably never even imagined? You can bet most of them are not gay. It's unconscionable that you would try to use something as serious as AIDS as an argument for why homosexuality is wrong. This is all irrelevant, anyway, because the spread of STD's is easily avoided when proper precautions are observed.

But as long as we're going the route of diseases, what about everything spread by straight people? You keep bringing up heart disease, which you blame on genetics. Where do you think most genetic diseases come from? Not gays, whom you maintain can't reproduce. What does that leave? Straight people. I could use your own argument to suggest quite strongly that heterosexuality is a harmful behavior to society.

Also, Dragonfly's comment does indeed say that there's an effect on families coping with homosexuality. Did I ever say there wasn't? My own family went through something similar when I first came out to them. I think I've made it very clear that these are trials that ultimately benefit a family.

Furthermore, do you realize that you've gone from saying our society isn't experiencing a shortage of resources to saying we're a society with limited resources in a matter of three paragraphs? As well, telling me I'm wrong does little in the way of convincing me. You say homosexual practice is a significant matter that does affect you. How?

Also, the title implies that I'm talking about the religious implications of homosexuality; I never intended for this thread to stray so far off-topic. I do find your remarks offensive; I'm biting my tongue to keep back so many sarcastic, unkind comments right now. I didn't start this in an effort to get validation; I don't want to debate whether or not my sexuality is moral. I was only asking about the church's stance on the issue. As such, unless someone can steer the conversation back to where it came from, I don't think it has any place on this forum, and I won't be saying anything more.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 20, 2007, 07:55:56 AM »
Dragonfly - I'm glad to get another perspective on it, especially that of a parent. I'm always interested to hear exactly what my parents may have gone through/may be going through; neither has religious objections to my orientation, but regardless, I imagine many of their reactions may have been similar to yours.

Speaking of parents with gay children, if any of you are interested, there's a fantastic memoir entitled The Family Heart that chronicles a mother's experience with her son coming out. The mother is not particularly pious, either, but if you're intrigued by this thread, I'd certainly suggest reading it. It ranks among my favorites.

The Lost 24 - The professor you mention is, as far as I know, mistaken. There is no evidence to suggest that social acceptance of homosexuality will cause an increase in the number of homosexuals. In fact, just to bring this back a little bit toward Brandon, I made the connection between homosexuality and the Shaod when I first read Elantris; both "strike" at random, regardless of one's station. Gay parents are no more likely to raise gay children than straight parents are; in fact, the first gay children must, quite obviously, have come from a straight couple.

Also, the observation that homosexuals do not contribute to replenishing the population is an incorrect one. Many gay males become sperm donors, and lesbians are no less fertile than heterosexual women. While the means may not be conventional, homosexuals do still contribute to the population. Though, to be honest, the world hardly needs more people in it right now; it sounds callous (and to some of you, probably anti-family) but the simple fact is that we live in an overpopulated country on an overpopulated planet that is rapidly being stripped of the resources necessary to continue supporting its inhabitants. Also, one cannot "restrict" an oritentation; activity, perhaps, but the same-sex attraction still remains, whether or not society recognizes it. I request that you not speak of it as you would an epidemic; I find that trivializing and insulting.

Furthermore, whoever it was that presented this information to you grossly overestimates the number of gay men with AIDS. It's true that the first cases of AIDS in the U.S. were found in the gay community, giving rise to nicknames such as "gay cancer", but shortly afterwards, several cases within heterosexual people were found.

In a 2004 study (I may have the year wrong), the CDC estimated that of all cases in the United States, 48% were due to male-to-male contact, and 7% were due to male-to-male contact and intravenous drug use. This leaves 45% of different causes, divided as follows: 27% male-to-female contact with intravenous drug use, 16% male-to-female contact, and 2% of other causes, including blood transfusion, birth with infection, and other unknown or unidentified causes. As for other STDs, could you find a study suggesting gay people are more susceptible? All sexual contact carries risks, which a) can be avoided using proper precautions, and b) should be assessed by interested couples, not outside parties; while I appreciate your concern that homosexuals not be infected with AIDS or other STDs, I'll thank you not to imply that I shouldn't be allowed to engage in whatever sexual activity I choose simply because of the largely avoidable health ramifications. In short, what I do behind closed doors is not likely to affect you or your well-being.

Also, I think I've explained already that I'm not referring only to the choice to engage in same-sex sexual activity when I say "homosexuality". I'm also referring to the (I believe genetically determined) predisposition to same-sex attraction. Yes, the choice to engage in sexual activity is just that - a choice. However, the inclination towards same-sex attraction is not, in my mind. Frankly, I get very annoyed by people who use genetics as an explanation for behavior, primarily because it's scientifically incorrect in most cases. However, please don't draw a parallel between homosexuality and avarice or criminal activity. I'm not saying the behavior is genetic; I'm saying the inclination is.

EDIT - If you want a better understanding of the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, I suggest viewing the 1993 HBO film, "And the Band Played On".

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 20, 2007, 05:30:59 AM »
Oh, I didn't mean to insinuate that you wish displeasure upon anybody. I'm sorry if it came out that way. But for my life to be complete and happy, I feel all aspects of it should be... celebrated? That might not make much sense. I'm exhausted right now, so excuse me if any of this isn't lucid. Anyway, I believe that my life (not necessarily everybody's, but mine) can't be fulfilled unless I celebrate the sexual and romantic aspect of it. As such, ignoring this part of my life would lead to it being more miserable than I'd like it to be. I appreciate the fact that life is full of challenges that are designed to make us better people, but the challenges that face me aren't in overcoming what some consider to be perverse urges; rather, I look on it as a test of my patience and willpower - the former because I get a lot of flak for being gay, and I feel I'm obligated to do my best to ignore it; and the second because tremendous determination is needed sometimes to prosper and get along with my peers despite social stigmata.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 20, 2007, 02:38:23 AM »
Oh, boy. I'll handle this person-to-person.

Skar - I'd like to agree, because then it would be easier for people who want to change to do so. But sexuality has a physical, chemical basis; as such, if it's at all decided simply by perception, it cannot be entirely so. When I address Amyface's point, I'll add more to this thought.

SaintEhlers - I'll need to see if I can find that somewhere. If you could get me the author's name, I'd be grateful. Do you remember if it was very dense, dryly scientific writing, or was it something that I'd be able to read and comprehend the first time through?

Spriggan - That's completely fine and, frankly, I'm not asking you to defend them or to argue with me. This was started simply as a question about why you believe what you do, not to attack you for your beliefs. More people in the world should be so confident in what they believe; it would solve a lot of problems.

FMP - I appreciate you bringing that up. Always glad to have more assurance that, if I am wrong, I'm not going to hell because of it. Thanks for the addition!

Ladithien - Glad to know you're enjoying it! ^_^

MsFish - I think the nature/nurture debate tends not to get anywhere because there is no certain answer (yet); the success of a debate relies entirely on one party's willingness to change its stance. But, of course, due to the lack of convincing evidence in this case, I doubt anybody's viewpoint has been significantly altered.

I haven't honestly been thinking enough about other examples of the nature/nurture debate, actually. I've always sort of figured that depression has a chemical basis because there are medications that, purportedly, fix the chemical imbalance that's speculated as the cause. But then again, I'm in no position to judge it, being that I don't have it.

I don't really think homosexuality is the same way, though it very well could be. There's been no explanation of what factors or experiences lead to the development of latent homosexuality. All theories that have been put forward have a lack of evidence supporting them or a substantial amount of evidence against them, in my opinion.

I agree, we should all endeavor to live in harmony with each other, but the first step to attaining harmony between two disagreeing people or parties is understanding one another's views.

Also, I do plan to stick around. Thanks for the compliment and warm reception!

Amyface - I think I may know what you're talking about. There was an article published fairly recently in a newspaper's magazine (I can't remember if it's the New York Times Magazine or the Boston Globe, sorry) that's probably a watered-down version of what you're referencing. I may be misunderstanding it, but the general gist of the article was that there's a hormone that affect a baby's development while it's still in the womb. If this hormone isn't present or isn't in sufficient amounts, the "switch" for heterosexuality may not be flipped, and the baby may be homosexual. I'll see if I can find the article.

The reality is that there are a lot of studies to support each side. One of my friends, a student in Arizona, told me about a couple of studies (I believe unrelated) that suggest homosexuals process pheremones the same way the opposite sex does. So, according to this, I process pheremones like a woman, whereas my friend Julia processes them like a man. I've read dozens of other studies suggesting a variety of things, but I'm trying not to bring them up for fear of sounding... uhm... pompous? That's not the right word, but I hope you know what I mean. I like to rely on my own thoughts and opinions, not the largely inconclusive studies of other people.

Again, glad you're all enjoying this!

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 19, 2007, 05:04:06 PM »
You're right, Ookla. Sorry for the misunderstanding. This all has to do with the meaning-of-life debate, which I don't really care to get into now. But from the perspective of someone who doesn't necessarily believe in an afterlife (call it "Heaven", if you want), I've only been given one life, and it's my intent to make the best of it that I can. I'm not quite willing to risk having a miserable life on Earth for the (possibly very slim) chance of having a better life after I die.

As to your point about changing sexuality, yes, it is possible to change sexual practice, and this is where the difference between homophilia and homosexuality comes into play again. But think of it this way - me trying to deny my sexuality a few years ago didn't make me straight; it just made me delusional. And I do know some people who have undergone counseling to change their orientation - even some who think it worked - but I don't believe it's possible to change a sexuality so easily. People can be convinced that being homosexual is wrong, and as I said, their desire to change may override their natures, but wishing something doesn't make it come true, and trying to pretend otherwise does, in my view, qualify as a delusion.

And SE, I'd actually be quite interested to read this study you mention. Is there any chance I could see it?

In the end, it's all individual perception - nobody can know for certain someone else's orientation. As such, any study on the matter is relatively ineffectual; the participant could be one of the cases I've mentioned where a desire to be straight overrides the perception of reality.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 19, 2007, 03:35:51 AM »
Spriggan - I agree. It does all boil down to whether or not one believes God commanded it. However, I don't quite agree with your perspective on why it's wrong - you say same-sex couples can't complete "the equation", but that relies entirely on the belief that there is an equation to complete. I don't doubt there's a reason we're here, but I don't presume to know what it is. The view that we exist only to perpetuate life seems, to me, fairly narrow. For, as I see it, I'm probably never going to pass on my genes, but I still exist. If I were meant only to procreate, I wouldn't exist. Now, that said, the validity of this depends entirely on whether or not you believe homosexuality is a choice.

Also, please don't make the mistake of saying someone "becomes homosexual" and then shifts back. Displaying homosexual tendencies does not make someone gay; plenty of angsty teenagers pretend to be bisexual because it gets attention. This does not make them truly bisexual. People who use sexuality as a publicity stunt demean and belittle the importance of the issue.

Sigyn - That's something I hadn't even considered. I'm actually a little bit stuck trying to refute it, because you have a very good point. I don't want to get too heavily into Freudian psychology (being that I'm about as much a psychologist as I am a Bible scholar) but I've heard from many sources that psychosexual development can be stunted  and/or warped by traumatic experiences. I've seen this used as an explanation for the whole pedophilia scandal that plagued the Catholic church. But let's assume that I'm speaking of people who have had no traumatic sexual experiences; I certainly never have. It's my firm belief that sexual orientation, unless affected by traumatic experience, can't be changed. Those who claim otherwise seem, to me, to be delusional; sometimes desire can override perception of reality, and if someone wants badly enough to be straight, he/she can convince him/herself that he/she is.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 18, 2007, 10:14:15 PM »
Studies can indicate anything, SE. I can all but guarantee you that I could locate just as many studies suggesting a genetic basis for it as you could suggesting another view. My certainty that homosexuality is a genetic trait comes entirely from the fact that I see no other likely possibility; take it from one who would know best: it's not a choice. I never made the choice to be gay and, frankly, there's no logical reason why I would. I enjoy my life as a gay man, but that's due largely to the experiences I've had; I have no desire to change, but if I had been granted a choice, without knowledge of the experiences I'd have being gay, I doubt I would have opted for it.

And while you're perfectly entitled to think that it's a nurtured characteristic rather than an intrinsic one, I disagree. I ask you, what factors would lead to a homosexual child? An absent father figure, some claim, but my father's been anything but. He's hardly a paramount example of society's ideal "man's man", but my straight brother - also raised by him - seems to suggest there is no tie between a father's hand in rearing his son and his son's sexuality. Even if this isn't your argument, I'll be happy to refute whatever you claim nurture's homosexuality in a person.

And I'm perfectly aware that the Church doesn't take a stance on two people of the same sex loving each other. My point, though, was that homosexuality shouldn't be grouped with adultery, beastiality, etc. as "sexual immorality" because "homosexual" really is something of a misnomer in most cases. There is, in my mind, a very distinct difference between "best friend" love and romantic love; I can quite honestly say that the romantic love I've felt is NOT the same as the love I have for my best friends. And please, don't try to tell me the difference is the presence of carnal attraction, because I've been very attracted to some of my friends before, but they're still just that - friends.

Also, the church's stance doesn't confuse me. It just seems a tad contradictory, to me, to preach against gays raising families but preach in favor of families as a whole.

In addition, I'm not trying to equate love with family, but I do think the two are very, very strongly related. I think even LDS members can agree with me on that. For a family to function the way it should, and to be considered "successful", I believe its members must love one another. The fact that two gay men cannot rear a child who is biologically related to them does not mean they cannot raise children; as I've said, some of my very good friends are raising two, even three kids, and they're shaping up to be ideal members of society. Genetics isn't all that makes a family. In fact, it's a very small part. If I weren't genetically related to my parents, I doubt it would seriously damage my family's cohesion. I love my mother and father far more for the effect they've had on my life to this point than I do for their having created that life in the first place.

Perhaps "debate" wasn't quite the right word.

Also, Suez and EUOL, thanks for the compliment. Call me arrogant, but I never tire of hearing that ;) (Is an emoticon considered adequate ending punctuation? It looks weird if I throw a period before/after it.)

And EUOL, I've actually considered being a writer before, but I don't currently have the patience to write a novel of any respectable length, and (pardon me if this is offensive or whatnot) I don't think writing can yield as much money as I'd need to support the kind of lifestyle I want. Now, that's not to say I really expect to be able to live the way I want to - but I'm only a kid. Allow me my hopes and dreams ;)

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 18, 2007, 06:16:50 AM »
Hehe, not to worry. Living in small-town Massachusetts amidst petty, catty high school students tends to make people fairly thick-skinned. I'm almost impossible to offend, to the point where I often wind up mistakenly assuming what doesn't offend me won't often others. You can't fathom how many sarcastic religious quips I'm holding in. And don't worry about sticking your nose in either; I value everyone's two cents.

Rants and Stuff / Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« on: January 18, 2007, 05:48:58 AM »
Pardon me. That was poorly worded. I was speaking only about religion; my point is that until very, very convincing evidence or proof is presented to me, I refuse to acknowledge the undeniable truth of any one dogma. I agree with some tenets of almost all religions, but I'm currently unable to have faith in any particular denomination.

As for the answer, I still very profoundly disagree, but you're actually doing a marvelous job of explaining all this in a non-offensive way. I don't think I'm ever actually going to agree with you, but like I said, nothing excites me more than good religious discussion. Anyway, a few things:

1. I make no claim to be a Bible scholar. That said, it's true, the Bible does say things against homosexuality, but keep in mind that Jesus never actually talked about homosexuality, as far as I know. Furthermore, it's really only stated in the New Testament; I'd be happy to explain why Sodom and Gomorrah and Leviticus aren't actually anti-gay. Call it a product of my very lightly Jewish-influenced upbringing, but I tend not place much stock in the New Testament. Also, could you explain what you mean when you say it's been confirmed as sin by modern revelation?

2. I don't think I've ever sincerely wanted to be heterosexual. I enjoy my life very much as a gay person. Certainly, it makes many aspects of life immeasurably more difficult, but I'm getting a great sense of fulfillment right now. As you say, part of life is about overcoming challenges and striving to change. While I don't think I need to change my sexuality, it certainly has been an experience in overcoming - it is very much a way of bettering myself, because I'm learning in the best possible way how to accept alternate views and respond to others' actions.

3. You may disagree, but I would be careful of deeming it "sexual immorality". Keep in mind that homosexuality might be more aptly labled "homophelia"; it's as much a matter of love as it is of lust. I understand it's probably about as difficult for you to imagine loving a man romantically as it is for me to imagine loving a woman the same way, but homosexuality really isn't a simple matter of being attracted to men. I'm only 16, but I've been in love before, and I can say quite honestly that it's the best feeling I've ever experienced. I still find it a bit odd that a church with such a strong focus on family and unity through love can protest a strong, loving connection between two beings, regardless of sex.

4. Resisting homosexuality is extremely difficult, and because it's a genetic matter, so-called "ex-gay" ministries are (in my opinion) quite deluded in thinking it can be changed. Again, I understand it's difficult, but try to imagine a world where heterosexuality is stigmatized rather than homosexuality. Picture people trying to tell you that your attraction to women is morally wrong, and that you must conform to the standard of being gay. Try to imagine what it would be like to completely ignore any sexual impulses you've ever had, and force something that is, to you, very unnatural upon yourself. It's much, much easier said than done.

And I'll see if I can find those books anywhere. I'm in desperate need of a good read. Also, sorry if I'm coming off as critical and/or preachy; I always have trouble avoiding that when I talk about theology.

(By the way, I don't think I've said how very surreal this is. I always dream of being able to talk to my favorite authors about something other than their books, but due to the masses of fans, I seldom actually think it's possible. And I should probably also insert something about how fond I am of your work. It's wonderfully creative!)

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