Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Christian counselor comes out, opposes conversion therapy

Here. 

46 comments:

bmiller said...

At least he's an adult and making his own decisions.

Court has ordered this boy's mutilation

bmiller said...

Nevermind. I guess it's OK since now since it's religiously acceptable

Starhopper said...

Is it just possible that we have a "Saruman" situation here?

Saruman was corrupted by studying the dark arts of Sauron too much, until he was finally taken in by them, and became a practitioner of them himself.

You can work out the parallels for yourself.

Legion of Logic said...

Starhopper is claiming that the Christian therapist has an army of fighting Uruk-hai that he will soon unleash upon the churches of Rohan. At least I think that's his parallel.

Starhopper said...

I'll see your army of Uruk-hai, and raise you my mob of angry Ents.

bmiller said...

Are Merry and Pippin stirring up a fight?

Legion of Logic said...

No fair skipping the Entmoot.

bmiller said...

This could take a while.

Starhopper said...

Ya know, why didn't the Council of Elrond just summon the eagles and get them to fly Frodo to Mount Doom, so he could throw the danged Ring into the fire? Skip all that journeying, and cut to the chase.

bmiller said...

Hey, it's the journey, not the destination.

Legion of Logic said...

I'd like to think there would be a logical answer, like since the eagles weren't simply animals but rather "divine" beings then the ring would have some sort of toxic effect on them so that they won't come near it. Alas, oops.

Sometimes introduced plot elements wind up being very inconvenient later on.

Starhopper said...

That's not a bad idea, Legion, except (as I believe you are referring to with your "alas") that Bilbo was carried by an eagle while he was bearing the ring in The Hobbit.

But I do think you are close to the answer. The eagles may actually be sub moral, akin to plants or even rocks, and Elrond realized that the Ring was not just a physical object, but possessed a moral dimension. It wouldn't be enough to simply toss it into the fire. One would have to reject it spiritually.

Hmm... I'll have to ponder the meaning of the final struggle between Smeagol and Frodo at the lip of the Cracks of Doom, to see whether that explanation fits.

bmiller said...

LOTR geeks already have some opinions.

It seems that Giant eagles are easier to spot and attack than little hobbits.

Starhopper said...

"easier to spot and attack"

But you'd have so much less time to do so. Sauron would need something like NORAD to cope with an Intermediate Range Guided Eagle threat.

bmiller said...

Middle Earth Evil is way more efficient than NORAD.

This LOTR geek has it all figured out.
Eagles were the original plan, but things went south.

Legion of Logic said...

One could speculate that since Sauron is well aware of the eagles, he would have some sort of contingency in place against an aerial incursion, making such a plan untenable. Or it's also possible that since the eagles are associated with the Valar, whose only efforts at helping against Sauron was sending five Istari forbidden to make full use of their power, that the eagles were similarly constrained against doing the work of mortals for them.

Starhopper said...

Most fantasy works have logical holes in them large enough to sail an aircraft carrier through, and Tolkien is no exception. Take Lobelia Sackville-Baggins's umbrella, or Bilbo Baggins's mantlepiece clock. Now those are fairly sophisticated items for a pre-industrial civilization like the Shire. They require metallurgy and factories. Makes for a less than idyllic existence, at least for the poor Hobbits who have to work the mines or sweat in the umbrella/clock factories. Seems it's not all gardening and beer swilling. Perhaps there's a Shire Revolutionary Front (the SRF) we haven't been told about!

Legion of Logic said...

But they are so gay in the Shire! It is a very queer problem indeed.

bmiller said...

What's up with this Republican County Assessor? He's accused in 3 states including Arizona and Arkansas. Sounds like human trafficking.

Victor and Legion have some shady things going on in their respective states.

Legion of Logic said...

I mean, we did produce the Clintons.

bmiller said...

Yeah. Guess this is small potatoes compared to that.

Victor Reppert said...

I actually did, in a serious way, want to raise the question of conversion therapy. It seems, on the face of things, to do more harm than good, and this seems true to me regardless of whether or not homosexual conduct is morally acceptable. Focus on the Family, in particular, invested a lot of support into the ex-gay movement.

I Cor. 7 presumes the existence of two tracks, a marriage track and a single track, and singleness was God's will for Jesus and for the Apostle Paul. Is a gay orientation a reason to believe that God has you on the single track, and does not intend for you to marry? Is that the answer? It seems preferable to me, at least, than conversion therapy.

The experience of being unable to repair homosexuality through all attempted means is a common experience amongst many Christians. How can we respond to people facing that challenge? I have never faced it myself, and I agree with Lewis that there is no point in coming down hard on sins you have never faced in your own experience.

bmiller said...

There's certainly a lot of loud resistance to conversion therapy and to Focus on the Family.

Here's what they have to say about it:
Does Focus on the Family Promote “Gay Conversion Therapy”?

What falls under the umbrella of "conversion therapy"? Do electro-shock therapy and counseling someone to sincerely convert to a Christian life both qualify as "conversion therapy"? I think this blurring of distinctions is what a lot of critics are aiming at.

While I don't necessarily agree with Victor that we shouldn't loudly criticize sins that we are not tempted to commit (after all we should all loudly condemn murder even if we would never do it) this particular sin is not murder. That said, there are theological arguments why this sin is worse than some others.

But shouldn't we come down hard on all sins, while still loving the sinner?

bmiller said...

I mean how many organizations do we see criticizing those who warn against the other Deadly Sins:

Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride.

oozzielionel said...

What is coming down hard?
Gluttony: plenty of Christian ministries promoting healthy eating.
Greed: plenty of Christian ministries promoting generosity over greed
Sloth: plenty of Christian ministries promoting a responsible work ethic
Envy: virtually all Christian ministries oppose envy. Exceptions?
Pride: often spoken against, yet still a trap for many

Conversion is a "therapy" for all of these.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
There's certainly a lot of loud resistance to conversion therapy and to Focus on the Family.

Here's what they have to say about it:


Early in the link, they lie with:
That right of individuals to seek assistance in living within biblical guidelines is increasingly at risk, as various legislative bodies have or are attempting to criminalize such help.

There are no such attempts to criminalize individuals seeking help. That puts the trustworthiness of the rest of the post in question.

What falls under the umbrella of "conversion therapy"? Do electro-shock therapy and counseling someone to sincerely convert to a Christian life both qualify as "conversion therapy"? I think this blurring of distinctions is what a lot of critics are aiming at.

Counseling to convert to a celibate life is not conversion, obviously. Counseling to convert to a heterosexual life is, and seems to be doomed to failure.

As for the theological arguments, I suppose anyone foolish enough to buy into your religion deserves what they get.

Starhopper said...

"anyone foolish enough to buy into your religion"

And with a single line, you destroy whatever credibility you might ever have had. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Ignatius Loyola, Dante, C.S. Lewis, Maximilian Kolbe, Solzhenitsyn, Gerard Manley Hopkins... all of them foolish? So you think you're somehow smarter than even one of them?

You can disagree with Christianity all you want, but to dismiss it as "foolish" is willful ignorance.

Legion of Logic said...

As for the theological arguments, I suppose anyone foolish enough to buy into your religion deserves what they get.

The problem with statements like this is that since they can't be taken seriously, they can't be responded to seriously. So they really only serve to derail a conversation.

oozzielionel said...

"Counseling to convert to a celibate life is not conversion, obviously. Counseling to convert to a heterosexual life is, and seems to be doomed to failure."
Except when it succeeds.

One Brow said...

Starhopper said...
And with a single line, you destroy whatever credibility you might ever have had. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Ignatius Loyola, Dante, C.S. Lewis, Maximilian Kolbe, Solzhenitsyn, Gerard Manley Hopkins... all of them foolish? So you think you're somehow smarter than even one of them?

The wonderful part of being human is that we are all great fools. I don't have the ambition or drive of any of those men, but in terms of "smarter" I don't find any of them particularly noteworthy.

You can disagree with Christianity all you want, but to dismiss it as "foolish" is willful ignorance.

I'm not dismissing it when I call it foolish.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
The problem with statements like this is that since they can't be taken seriously, they can't be responded to seriously. So they really only serve to derail a conversation.

Had that been the entire substance of my post, rather than a throwaway line at the end, then I would agree that was the purpose.

One Brow said...

oozzielionel said...
Counseling to convert to a celibate life is not conversion, obviously. Counseling to convert to a heterosexual life is, and seems to be doomed to failure.

Except when it succeeds

I recall reading a study where they used a 100-point scale, based on responses to a series of questions, to measure orientation, and then participants underwent a long period of conversion therapy. The average change was about 10 points on the scale, and the largest about 20. Going from 80 to 60, or 60 to 40, is not conversion.

Now, you can be a homosexual who lives as a heterosexual, homosexuals have been doing this for millennia. That's not conversion, either.

bmiller said...

Does it really surprise anyone that those who've rejected Christ treat Christians badly?

Starhopper said...

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, [...] it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. [...] For the foolishness of God is wiser than men."
(1 Corinthians 1:18,21,25)

Now if one brow had said that Christianity was foolish, then (as you can see above) he'd be in Good Company, and no one would have any problem with what he posted. But that's not what he wrote, which was "anyone foolish enough to buy into your religion", quite a different kettle of fish. OB is saying that the people who believe Christianity to be true are fools, not the religion itself.

(And by the way, when St. Paul refers to his preaching as "foolishness", he does not mean that it is "stupid", but rather that it turns the wisdom of this world on its head.)

oozzielionel said...

"Going from 80 to 60, or 60 to 40, is not conversion."

It might be interesting to apply a similar numbering system to all the vices. What life events or choices might move the needle? If your theft factor dropped from 60 to 40, would you still consider yourself a thief?

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Does it really surprise anyone that those who've rejected Christ treat Christians badly?

Was this relevant to this thread, and if so, who is treating you badly?

One Brow said...

Starhopper said...
Now if one brow had said that Christianity was foolish, then (as you can see above) he'd be in Good Company, and no one would have any problem with what he posted. But that's not what he wrote, which was "anyone foolish enough to buy into your religion", quite a different kettle of fish. OB is saying that the people who believe Christianity to be true are fools, not the religion itself.

So, your position is that I should be saying that people who are definitely not foolish are buying into something foolish? That may be a hair I can't see myself splitting. Perhaps I'm too foolish to see why.

Just as you think sinfulness is the unavoidable state of affairs of humans, so calling someone "sinful" is at most a matter of degree, for me foolish and bad thinking are inescapable parts of being human, and foolishness is at most a matter of degree (and I have my doubts there are even overall degrees of difference, just different degrees on different topics).

One Brow said...

oozzielionel said...
"Going from 80 to 60, or 60 to 40, is not conversion."

It might be interesting to apply a similar numbering system to all the vices. What life events or choices might move the needle? If your theft factor dropped from 60 to 40, would you still consider yourself a thief?


This is orientation, not action.

If I go from wanting to steal, say a candy bar 60% of the time to wanting to steal it 40% of the time (as the very best case scenario), can you really say you've cured me of my inclination to steal?

bmiller said...

www.merriam-webster.com

Definition of foolish
1 : having or showing a lack of good sense, judgment, or discretion
//a foolish mistake
//She takes foolish risks.
2a : ABSURD, RIDICULOUS
//He looked foolish in that hat.
b : marked by a loss of composure : NONPLUSSED
//He felt foolish when he couldn't remember where he had parked the car.
3 : INSIGNIFICANT, TRIFLING

I wonder if some people even know what the words they use actually mean.

bmiller said...

Starhopper of course means that the Truth appears foolish to those who don't want to know it.

Or maybe they do know it and protest too much?

Starhopper said...

I think St. Paul was using the word foolishness in somewhat the same way that Trump supporters embrace the word deplorable, or how amateur astronomers who (like myself) enjoy observing the Moon call ourselves Lunatics.

One Brow said...

I think you are on to something there, Starhopper.

I'm not sure whom bmiller suspects of not knowing what "foolish" means, but I will say that, when I say behaving foolishly is a description of being human, I do indeed mean that every human acts much of the time without using good sense, discernment, or judgment, and I certainly don't except myself.

oozzielionel said...

"can you really say you've cured me of my inclination to steal"

Why would "cure" be the standard of success? Most therapy would likely fail that test.

One Brow said...

oozzielionel said...
Why would "cure" be the standard of success? Most therapy would likely fail that test.

Conversion would not be a "cure"? What would it mean, then?

oozzielionel said...

"Conversion would not be a "cure"? What would it mean, then?"

The same thing as other therapy: https://www.scottdmiller.com/the-failure-rate-of-psychotherapy-what-it-is-and-what-we-can-do/

One Brow said...

The brief therapy I had was about learning to live with who I am, and adapt. My wife's has been the same. Neither amounted to conversion on anything.