Zingrone: What did you expect?

William Zingrone Associate professor of psychology

Once again over at Rachel Held Evans’ blog, our mostly 30-something semi-liberal evangelical Xian friends are struggling with the divisive actions of their more conservative Xian brethren. The folks at World Vision, a large and prominent Xian charity organization, succumbed to conservative pressure and caved in, reversing a decision to “allow” gay couples to work for them. Rachel and her many readers are incredibly dismayed and disappointed once again. In Rachel’s own words: “This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at the church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified.”

Admiring Rachel and her efforts to modify extreme Xiansanity from within for some time now, I’m moved by her and her readers’ empathy and understanding for gays and lesbians. But another part of me wants to shake them all by the shoulders. What the hell did you expect? IT’S IN YOUR BOOK!

The World Vision folks are just trying to be logical, consistent, dedicated, righteous Xians, too! They are trying to interpret their sacred book’s verses and “live their lives in Christ” just like Rachel and her sympathizers. Also from Rachel in a previous post: “And it puts into stark, unsettling relief just how out of control the evangelical obsession with homosexuality has become. The gospel is at stake only insofar as we make one’s position on same-sex marriage a part of it. The gospel is threatened, not by gay people getting married, but by Christians saying support or opposition to gay marriage is an essential part of the gospel when it’s not.”

But that’s not how the only slightly more conservative evangelicals read it. It IS in the gospel, it is in the book, both the Old and New Testament respectively: gays are an abomination and that abominable behavior deserves death. No interpretation necessary as that’s exactly what it says.

Being Christ-like to the more conservative folks cannot include jettisoning those verses: loving the sinner, hating the sin is. Being kind to gays and trying to dissuade them from their abominable lifestyle “choice” thereby saving their souls from eternal damnation, and not accepting that gays should marry is a righteous, noble cause; one which Christ himself would definitely approve. To those uber-conservatives, Rachel and her readers are the ones who are misguided; too much influenced by our modern, overly liberal, secular culture to see this obvious truth.

And while the two factions are both praying for the other one to receive correct guidance from Jesus to open their hearts and change their minds to the right decision, we secularists are off to one side trying desperately not to be too offensive and blurt out: THROW THE BOOK AWAY! It’s the Scripture that’s the problem.

It is the wholly unfounded, hopelessly destructive idea that there is anything that can be a scripture at all: a revelation from some god that says how ALL must behave. The minute you buy into that idea you’re asking for exactly what is happening.

From enabling angry men like Fred Phelps and Mark Driscoll, the laughable clowns like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, the clueless, sleazy Bachmann, Palin, Santorum and their many Republican colleagues, to enabling “love the sinner, hate the sin” and any and every possible interpretation of St. Paul and the OT “clobber passages” that condemn homosexuality: believing you have “the word of God” makes for all this misery, MOST of the misery left in the world.

As an outsider, I can see how each side arrives at their conclusion. Their reasoning is based on the same delusion and there is no way for them to ever know who is right. It is the whole idea of Scripture that’s the problem: that there is writing that is the revealed word of some god. That’s the problem. That’s the delusion we must outgrow. All this handwringing and gnashing of teeth is inevitable once you accept that unprovable and absurd premise. It doesn’t merely allow people to judge others and demand how they behave, it sanctions it, it demands it. The Muslim imams who keep millions of women in cultural chains all over the world feel every bit as justified in the righteousness of their behavior as Rachel and her blog followers do in accepting gays despite what their Scripture says, no less than the conservatives at World Vision who feel they got it right and are certain they are acting precisely according to God’s will by excluding gay couples. This insanity will never end until the delusion of Scripture, the claim of revelation, is dropped from the repertoire of human behavior. Just like slavery. It never was a good idea. Got a revelation for you: there’s no such thing.


Column by William Zingrone, Associate professor of psychology

13 Comments on "Zingrone: What did you expect?"

  1. How does someone as ignorant as you become a professor?

  2. It is true that the scripture is anti-gay but there's no way that a good faith attempt at following the teachings of the bible would result in the same obsession over homosexuality and abortion that American evangelicals have.

    Sins like greed, sloth, gluttony, fornication, etc are essentially swept under the table while homosexuality is treated as the single most serious sin. Where are the Christians trying to discriminate against fornicators? Fat people? The greedy?

  3. Martin Severns | April 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm |

    Dr. Zingrone, I would think that a learned man such as you could understand boundaries. The human psyche is filled with them. To release all boundaries is not profitable, it is most destructive. I wish you would offer your definition of morality and give an example of a popular ethic that is not supported by the Bible and still aligns with the laws of nature. To drop the boundaries of the Bible towards human behavior is to offer the cyanide pill to all of society. I usually read your articles and roll my eyes. Yes I am probably several of the hits on your counter that you boast about since I frequent your blog like going to see the two headed calf at the circus. Mutations such as this intrigue me. But I just could not stand to read one more without this reply. There is no difference in World Vision, or any other Christian organization for that matter, standing on their convictions to operate under the guidelines of a Holy Writ, than you not regarding a student as equal when they openly profess Christianity. If you do not offer Christians their right to their belief, why should anyone regard yours? You are not defending a new enlightenment you are simply trying to bully away a beneficial way of life. Got a revelation for you: you can’t prove there is no such thing. Obviously something exists or you would not be working so hard to defend against it.
    For me and every other believer, the Word of God is real and living! Matthew 5:44

  4. Your hanging on to some few primitive verses in the Bible while jettisoning others is not conviction but the arbitrary bullshit we secularists have had it with. Get used to it. Laws of nature? Give it a rest. You can believe any nonsense you wish but you wont force it on anyone else any more. Muslims believe their Scripture as fervently as yours and they are equally deluded. Religion is not a beneficial way of life, but a roadblock to normal human empathy. Rachel Held Evans is courageous for standing up against Conservatives who wont have gays have "their blood be upon them" or "deserve death" thankfully no longer taking those verses seriously but then still hang onto abomination and such and the ludicrous idea that letting gays marry will somehow taint social order. Your belief in revealed scripture is utterly unfounded and we will continue to expose that. If that crosses your idea of boundaries, too bad. I have gay friends that had rocks thrown at their head by good god-fearing Ky boys in high school thats a boundary crossing you should be ashamed of and it all stems from that nasty little book.

  5. By learning real info, scientific info about the world instead of repressive primitive ideas from a two thousand year old collection of absurdities, atrocities and contradictions. I love it when Xians go ad hominem. WWJD, huh?

  6. Martin Severns | April 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm |

    Oh Dr. William Zingrone, I hope you do not allow your angry bluster to keep you from a worthy discussion! You have brought many topics to this table but have chosen to not address my request. I do not think it is unreasonable to ask you for an explanation for the previous request. Are you saying there are no natural laws? I feel you owe all of your followers the courtesy of giving them the resources they might need to address the most prevalent and, as you say, "deluded" people group in the history of the world. If the number of "hits" or "likes" constitutes authority then the Bible owns it. If you wish to continue, please respond to the question: and civility would be admirable. M5:44

  7. Martin Severns, natural laws are those discovered by science: knowledge we all can share regardless of race,religion, nationality,. Religion has discovered nothing. Some primitive and barbaric musings about homosexual behavior, female authority or the abomination of eating shrimp are not natural laws. Religious claims are bankrupt from the start. There is no proof of gods, nor proof of anyone's particular god, nor proof that some ones prophets actually talked to a god while all others of course only heard voices in their heads. The idea that your Bible or the Muslims Koran or any other old cultures books contained revealed "truths" or "natural laws" is a fantasy. If you had been born on the other side of town you'd be telling me just as fervently how the Pope must be infallible. Gravity, the gas laws, etc. Natural laws.

  8. Martin Severns and the Bible is wholly unnecessary to a moral life, it is full of immorality and justification for all sorts of bad behavior. 5 billion of us on the planet dont use it for anything, and we are mostly regular folks with normal human empathy (which is evolved by the way) that dont murder, rape, steal etc., and are reasonably accommodating and polite. The Bibles claim to providing some higher moral ground is a joke. Tolerance of all sexual behavior that is not coercive, treating females exactly the same rights as males, not condemning anyone to eternal torment, accepting new knowledge as we as species discovers it, realizing we are all one species regardless of religious differences, those are ethics of modern civilized people allover the world that conflict with Biblical ideas.

  9. Martin Severns | April 24, 2014 at 5:27 pm |

    Dr. William Zingrone, natural laws are in place before scientific discovery. Science does not create the laws only reveal what already exists. I agree that religion, as related to the Bible does not "discover" but the Bible reveals what already is, just like science; and long before. Biblical texts claim a spherical earth before science and the oldest book in the Scripture identifies the absence of gravity in certain stellar constellations and the presence of it in another millennia before gravity was "discovered!"

    What if science could pinpoint, to the day, a specific event, and for your benefit, billions of years in advance? If science could do that, just imagine what could be proven!

    As for morality, do you set the bar for immorality? Who does? Popular Opinion? According to your stand there can be no bad behavior because there is no standard for good or bad, moral or immoral. The Bible does not claim a higher moral ground, it is moral ground and sets the standard for morality. Without those standards, morality, (which is a Biblical concept, as well is marriage) is only defined in the moment according to personal preference. So if you would desire to go that direction, you must find another term than morality, (and/or marriage). Sexual behavior, women's roles and rights, are personal choices and should be respected, however when those positions are forced into the value systems of others, freedom ceases to exist. To force an employer, company, association, etc. to accept into their membership, staff, workforce when it is against a core spiritual belief is an attack on our freedom. To refuse to pay for birth control or an elective abortion is not denying of rights, a person has those rights according to our laws to indulge in such things, but the cost should be absorbed by the individual not the mass. As for homosexuality, it is against the natural laws just as incest, animals or whatever is against natural laws. The Bible supports and enforces those natural laws. I do not nor can I condemn anyone to eternal torment and do not understand how you can even enter into this argument, since it cannot exist under your code. Yes we are one species of various ideals regardless of our differences and I would expect you to accept new knowledge as readily as you expect others to accept it. Not all knowledge is truth, but all truth is knowledge. And the ethics of "modern civilized people" do conflict with Biblical ideas mostly because, not of man's evolution, but the digression of society. This digression will continue until the race decides to right itself, which will automatically bring it into a Biblical perspective, even though it may not even acknowledge God's presence.

  10. Martin Severns The Bible has revealed nothing but old myths borrowed from other cultures. The Biblical view of the earth was utterly wrong. It was flat "four corners of the earth" , the center of the universe instead of the sun, with the sun moon and stars fixed in the nonexistent firmament which had windows in it that opened to facilitate the Flood. All wrong. Those were plausible early, primitive explanations for what was known at the time but not prescient of later science at all. You've been hosed on that one. There is no mention of specific lack of gravity in interstellar constellations in any detail whatsoever. Where is the formula for gravity then in the Bible? It says none of the findings of modern science. That is a lie.
    Morality doesnt come from that horrible book unless you think saving virgins to be raped is moral…a commandment of your god. Marriage and morality existed outside and before the Bible, read your Greek, Egyptian, ancient history. They are not Biblical concepts. They are in other cultures as well. What bullshit do you read? Homosexuality is a natural occurrence in hundreds of species including our own. The ancient Hebrews were ugly primitive nomads and their cultural rules dont define natural law or should we kill people who pickup sticks on the Sabbath in violation of "natural law" as defined by them? Morality is inherent, evolved in us. We used to only extend not killing, not stealing, and being empathetic to only kin and clan, but as part of our modern social contract we now extend our morals to fellow citizens, strangers, even slaves despite the fact that the Ancient Hebrews thought that was moral too. There is morality without the Bible. Most of humans on the planet act morally without ever reading a Bible. You pick and choose which of the OT and NT is moral and which is not. Slavery and stoning adulterers are not moral to you, despite sanction by your Bible, but somehow an equally primitive conception of discriminating against claiming homosexuals is. People are pulling away from this crap and I am doing all I can to educate them on the absurdity of your claims.

  11. Martin Severns | April 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm |

    Dear Dr. William Zingrone, maybe you should start to cite your sources for you are terribly wrong about the Bible.

    Before we go into some astronomical realms, let's examine some historically documented events from non-Biblical sources.

    One of my favorites involves Cyrus The Great, King of Persia. After combining two great empires, Iranian empires, the Medes and the Persians, he now controlled one of the greatest empires ever seen till that time. He was responsible for the return of forty-thousand Jews returning to their homeland after years of Babylonian captivity in in 539 BCE. (1)

    BUT THE COOLEST PART, was when Daniel brought a scroll of the book of Isaiah from what is now in the canon of the Bible. The book had been written 150 years before Cyrus was born. Daniel showed him this passage:

    Isaiah 44:28-45:4 New King James Translation

    28 Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd,
    And he shall perform all My pleasure,
    Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,”
    And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ’
    Cyrus, God’s Instrument
    45 “Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
    To Cyrus, whose bright hand I have held—
    To subdue nations before him
    And loose the armor of kings,
    To open before him the double doors,
    So that the gates will not be shut:
    2 ‘I will go before you
    And make the crooked places straight;
    I will break in pieces the gates of bronze

    And cut the bars of iron.
    3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
    And hidden riches of secret places,
    That you may know that I, the Lord,
    Who call you by your name,
    Am the God of Israel.
    4 For Jacob My servant’s sake,
    And Israel My elect,
    I have even called you by your name;

    Sorry, not an old myth drawn from other culture. We could go on and on with these and back them up with science and historians.

    As for the "four corners", this is simply an idiom still in use today. That's pretty weak to claim quadrilateral concept from this. This is surely encompassing the whole earth!
    You dispute the claim of the Bible describing the earth as a sphere, and thankfully someone finally sailed to find out for sure and prove theories from 240 BCE, but in the book of Isaiah again:

    Isaiah 40:22
    "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,"

    Sounds round to me, and written prior to 701 BCE! No hosing here.
    As for gravity, here we go. The first five books of the Bible are believed to date to about 1400 BCE but many scholars believe the book of Job is much older. It is fascinating that God is quoted to say to Job:

    Job 38:31
    31 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?"

    The Pleiades and Orion are constellations yes? What is unique about them?

    The Pleiades cluster is gravitationally bound and travels through space as a unit (2) whereas Orion's stars remain in a pattern "loosed" from a gravitational pull. Both are discoveries of modern science. Funny how the Bible picks up on that.

    Be careful how you compare homosexuality to animal behavior. If humans have evolved from animals, then by your claim, humans either have not evolved or humans are digressing backwards in the evolutionary process, thus making homosexuality a regressive animal behavior. Either way, it's not a good argument.

    Check out the video I sent you! Very scientific and indisputable. Please watch it with a critical mind as well as an open mind. True knowledge can come no other way.


    (1) http://www.iranchamber.com/history/cyrus/cyrus.php#sthash.kiTDmFhg.dpuf

    (2) http://earthsky.org/clusters-nebulae-galaxies/pleiades-star-cluster-enjoys-worldwide-renown

  12. Martin Severns i will be reviewing the video. But you need to read Biblical scholar sources instead of Xian apologists. The OT dates are 3-8th century BC not as old as you claim. Start with Bart Ehrman or Dan Barker for easy introductions and then go to their scholarly sources. You are quoting Xian propaganda, sorry. Bind doesnt say gravity, and Orions belt looks like a belt, thats why it is called that. To turn that into gravitationally bound and unbound is fantasy. If they actually knew anything of the Plieades then why didnt it mention the 36 stars Galileo saw with his telescope. Your wishful thinking is pathetic. Circle is not a sphere, nowhere does it say sphere. You are stretching to fit what we know now. I notice you avoid explaining the firmament which never existed and the Genesis account of the unmoving earth with the sun moon and stars rotating around it which is completely wrong, and Joshua made the sun stand still…oops. As far as the video. The Bethlehem star is only mentioned in Matthew, no where else. And only Luke mentions the Xmas story which is contradictory to whoever wrote Matthew. Luke and Matthew are rewrites of Mark which was written first. All the gospels were written anonymously, and the Gospel of Matthew is notorious for embellishing Marks stories with fantastic elements only he concocts. Like when the sky darkened, earthquake and hundreds of saints rose form their graves and walked around Jerusalem when JC died. Didnt happen. No report of earthquake, no eclipse at that time, hundreds of zombies not reported by anyone or in any other gospel. Matthew's star and the slaughter by Herod rehash OT stories, which whoever wrote Matthew was wont to do. I will check out the video, but it may be more of the same retrofitting knowledge like your Orion/Plieades story.
    Anything you dont believe me about you can look up for yourself starting with the refs I gave you or go take some NT and OT courses at Vanderbilt seminary, not some Bible college that will rehash Xian propaganda. You dont know shit about evolution. Homosexuality is common at low frequencies of the population 5-8% in us and other species. Its a variation of sexual behavior that is not maladaptive in low numbers and has some altruistic benefits to kin. Not regressive at all. Thats your Biblical spin. You have a lot of learning to do. Great discussion. Ill look at the video after finals and get back to you.

  13. Martin Severns | April 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm |

    Dr. William Zingrone, OT dates are not 3-8th century BCE. Tel Dan carbon dated to 2000BCE! Check your propaganda. If one or two citations defines authority then all of science is up for grabs! You have weak arguments. Even in your latest critique you have cited a radical that has pulled quotations out of context. Why does the Bible anger you so much if it is fiction? Why not rant against the tooth fairy. I'm sure your mother put money under your pillow when that first tooth came out yet you had the right to believe it or not. Why not loose all the kids from Santa, the Tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny? You seem to have a lot of anger toward a "fictional" character that actually has documented historical proof, life-changing influence, and huge followings. You can't dispute the lunar eclipse at the time of Christ's death. Measurable in science! Watch the video. So 5% makes something right? Christianity covers a lot more ground than that! That's your Freudian spin! Looking forward to more discussion after finals. M5:44

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