AI: You believe *what* now?
A week on from my last AI I’ve found myself in another situation involving debating with someone who I barely know. Part of me hopes I won’t be making a habit of this for the sake of my already tenuous sanity; part of me just likes arguing with silly people.
So, I’m involved with running an Amnesty International group at university. This year the committee is all new and I’d never met any of the others before this Monday, since I’ve been away for two years. On Tuesday we had what’s called the Freshers’ Fair, where all of the university’s three hundred or so clubs have a stand and try to convince freshers to join up. It went pretty well overall, but I ended up finding out something about one of the other committee members that shocked me quite a bit.
Towards the end of the day someone from the Catholic Society came round with Bible verses trying to recruit people. Those of us on the Amnesty stand politely declined, then got into a discussion about how much evil the Catholic Church has perpetuated (spoiler alert: rather a lot). The topic of homosexuality came up, to which this guy responded along the lines of “I love everyone, because of Jesus, but being gay is a sin”.
I was completely shocked by this, and ended up getting into a big theological discussion with him. I asked him what would happen when we as a society campaigned for LGBTQ* rights, to which he responded that he loved everyone and Jesus loved everyone but sinning sinners who sin are sinful. Something like that. To me there’s a weird cognitive dissonance between telling someone you love them and then saying that a natural and completely harmless part of them is enough to condemn them for eternity, but he didn’t really get that. The other things I can remember him throwing at me were Pascal’s wager, “well you believe in science!” and, most tellingly, that the Bible is a legit historical document. (If we were on Tumblr I’d have all sorts of “no” gifs right about here.)
There are a lot of religious people at my university, despite it being a scientific and technological institution, perhaps in part because of our high international student population. A lot of these religious people (and, of course, the atheists too) will inevitably have horribly conservative views. I guess having the weirdly patronising “I love you but you’re going to hell!” opinion is better than out-and-out hatred, but it’s still concerning. Plus, of course, that “being gay is sinful” opinion is the root of centuries of homophobic discrimination (including the instances we’ll be protesting against as part of Amnesty). I’m just hoping that this guy will come round without me having to yell at him any more.
Has someone you’ve met ever surprised you by having an opinion at odds with other more prominent aspects of their personality? What’s the weirdest example of illogical thinking you’ve come across? Also, as an aside (and partly because I need some tips), what’s your favourite argument against the existence of God, in terms of effectiveness or whatever else?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.