Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thinking for One's Self - Growing Self Expectations

Updated June 15, 2012

For the last sixteen or so years, I have spent a significant part of my time talking to men who are not heterosexuals. I state it in the negative for a reason. Almost always these men have been aware for many years that they are different from ordinary men, but sometimes they are not sure what the difference is.

I can both sympathize and empathize with these men because for many years, I was one of them. I knew I was different, but I wasn't sure exactly what the difference was.

Fortunately for me, I've never been one to shy away from the unknown. I've never been the type of person to sit back and not look at a problem in hopes that it would go away. That doesn't mean I have always faught every battle that could be faught. I definitely haven't. I've always believed that an intelligent man does not start a war he cannot win, so I've always chosen my battles carefully.

The companion philosophy to not fighting every battle, is not to fight even the battles one must fight until the time is right for the fight. Sometimes that is a harder thing to determine. Sometimes one has to learn how to make the determination over time. That is what happened to me. I always knew I was different, but I was not always sure it was something I would have to one day confront.

Growing up in my family, there were just things that were expected of me. Many of these things were so embedded in me from an early age that it simply never occurred to me to question them. Doing well in school was always one of these things. Respecting my teachers was another. There was no question at all that I would grow up, graduate from college, marry, work successfully and raise a family. These were not things I ever thought of as "my wants," they were simply expectations that had always been in place.

I don't even know how they came to be in place really. I don't remember them ever being conveyed to me in any memorable way. They just were. The only time I ever remember these expectations being directly discussed was when I told my parents I wanted to get married when I was 18 years old. They weren't happy with my decision though they were most happy with my choice for a wife. At that time, an 18 year old boy could not marry in Texas without parental permission. I don't think it ever occurred to my parents to deny their permission. I don't think they saw that as an option, but they did take the opportunity to remind me that getting married would make obtaining a college degree much more difficult, but not one bit less expected of me. I reassured them I understood this and that I was confident I could handle the challenge.

So, I was married and began working my way through the remaining three years of college that lay before me. My marriage was happy right from the start and it only got better with the passing months. But in spite of the happiness there was one great shock for me. I had come to see my male/male sexual partnerships as simply an effective substitution for heterosexual sex. The boys I had grown up with were always willing, ready and able. Girls had been another matter. Well at least the girls I wanted.

I assumed once I was married, with the woman I loved in bed with me each night, there would be no problem in turning all my sexual attention to her. The shock came when that did not happen. We had great sex, enthusiastic sex from the beginning and it got better, much better, with practice. And man did I enjoy the practice. But in spite of all that, I found my waking thoughts still turned to guys and at night my dreams would turn to them also. This disturbed me greatly. I had no idea what it meant. I did know I was not homosexual, but how else would one categorize it? I had no idea.

But it was not a battle that had to be fought at the time. My priorities were clear. I had not time for anything other than school, work and my wife. I might have to confront the battle with my sexuality at some point, but it would not be at this point in my life. It simply was not the time for it and there was no time for it in the foreseeable future.

The issue burdened me to some extent for almost the next 30 years before the right time came to confront it. I could not have imagined the way in which I was led to confront the issue. Mike came into my life. I had a big part in helping him to confront the issue of his homosexuality. Talking with him, learning with him led me to be convinced I was not a homosexual man. I was and am a bisexual man. It  was a simple matter of comparison and contrast between his situation and mine with a little study of the issue thrown into the mix.

Discovering "what" was the easy part. The hard part was reconciling it with my faith, but I had always been good about thinking out issues of faith. Though raised in a fundamental faith, I had made up my mind by age twelve I would not remain there. The fundamentalist claim that the Bible was without error did not make sense to me, even at age twelve. All one had to do was actually read it to see that it was filled with contradictions and errors. The best claim that could be supported for the Bible was that it was a guide to faith. The facts and the known history of the book simply did not support any claim to infallibility. It was easy to find books by other Christian scholars that supported my views on the matter,  and in a contest between well educated Christian scholars and Christian fundamentalists whose educations were, more often than not, inferior or only basic, the choice of whom to give the greatest weight was an easy one.

Unfortunately, such decisions are not all that easy for everyone. My parents not only gave me permission to think for myself, they demanded I do so. I am overwhelmed these days by the number of adults who still do not realize they have both the ability and the duty to think for themselves!

I am simply astonished by adults who continue to let others do their thinking for them. I am incredulous at the number of adults who cling to a view of the world they were taught as children. For all intents and purposes, these adults might as well still believe in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Children can make do with a child's view of the world and with childish interaction with the world. After all they are not yet ready to deal with the complexities and the realities of adult life. But it is an absolute disaster when adults cling to a childish view of the world and try to interact with the world using the philosophy and religious views of a child.

Today, we have Soccer Moms and Tennis Moms who are convinced they know more about what is good for their kids that do their Pediatricians. Based on all their years of "medical" education and experience these idiot Moms and even more idiot minded husbands make the choice to leave their children unvaccinated against measles, chickenpox and other dangerous and potentially deadly childhood diseases because they in all their knowledge and experience have concluded that autism is a bigger threat to their kids than very real and possibly deadly childhood diseases.

Today, the United States is full of people who are not only convinced of their right to an opinion, they have confused that right with knowing the facts. In their confusion they have come to think they have a right to personally define the facts of any issue. They have no idea whatsoever that facts remain the same, no matter what one's personal beliefs or desires may be. The fundamentalists among us have no idea whatsoever that facts cannot and should not be equated to faith. Indeed, they revel in putting their ignorance on display.

I feel that any mentally and physically healthy person has to have faith in something or someone. Just as importantly, a healthy person must know and understand the facts of life. They must understand that even in this fast changing world, the facts of life seldom change. Above all they must understand that the facts of life are not the same as what they may choose to place their faith in.

Most of the world's educated people, even those with only the most rudimentary educations agree that it is a fact that the earth is round and orbits around the sun. It is right for people to accept this as a fact. Scientists have long since proved it to be true. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of the people of earth are religious people. They believe in something higher than themselves, something holier than themselves. Yet, with the majority of the earth's people being believers, there is still no where near a consensus regarding what they should or what they must believe. Interestingly enough, it seems that Christians and Muslims, of all religions, are the most confused about their faith. Muslims range from truly good people who have great faith in something higher than themselves to Islamic terrorists who use their religion as a weapon against those they hate. Worse yet, the use their religion to prey on their own people convincing them that God wants them to strap a bomb onto their body and kill innocents. As for Christians, in spite of everything Christ taught, far too many fundamental Christians believe they can either be good enough to earn their way to Heaven or bad enough to be condemned to Hell. According to the Gospel of Christ neither belief is true.

The two great religions of the world are Christianity and Islam. Christianity itself has several divisions the largest of which are Catholic and Protestant. Protestant's themselves are divided into hundreds of denominations and dogmas. Over the last few years some of the denominations, because of their unyielding fundamental attitudes, have given their denominations a bad name in the public eye. They have tarnished their brand. Their response has often been to drop the denominational name and call themselves non-denominational churches. It is a slick approach to a self created problem, but it will not long be effective because the fundamental dogma's they preach is still very much in tact under the non-dnominational title. One would be hard pressed to name a single tenet of any religious order which is not disputed by other religious orders. Religious people argue about everything!

Islamic believers make the same mistakes as Christians too often with even more tragic results. They too often put their faith in rituals and accomplishing religious tasks as the way to gain admission to heaven. This emphasis on accomplishing religious tasks, gives rise to the opportunity for the manipulative members of the faith to dupe the ignorant into sacrificing their lives to take the lives of others in the false belief they will be rewarded in heaven as a martyr for God. Bring down the twin towers in New York City on 9/11was the result of such manipulation for a supposedly religious purpose.

Yet there is a difference that is becoming less and less subtle as the religious fundamental right wing Christians get more and more adamant and strident about their views on religion and practice. Fundamental religious people will tell you Hell is your destination if you do not agree with their personal view of God and redemption. Liberal Christians, on the other hand, see the issues as an interesting thing to talk about; but they see the only thing important to talk about is the Gospel of Christ and the Gospel of Christ is abundant Grace, alway obtainable without merit and without price or conditions. That is a huge difference in viewpoints and a very important one.

In effect, fundamentalists of any kind believe each of us has one chance out of thousands to pick the right team or we are bound for Hell. Christian liberals say God doesn't give a whit about what we believe, He just wants a relationship with each of us because He loves us no matter what we believe or don't believe.

Which view makes more sense? Is God the dealer at a cosmic craps table giving each of us a one in thousands of chance to get it right, or is God a being who loves us and cares for us no matter what our choices in life have been?

If you believe God is a dealer at a cosmic craps table then you have to believe that God created millions of us for no other purpose that to feed the fires of an eternal Hell. Who would want to serve that kind of God or believe in that kind of God? He would be the worst of demons. On the other hand, who would not want to be free from games of chance and instead know that their sins and shortcomings are forgiven even before they are committed and that life and redemption are not a crap shoot. I simply can't, won't believe in a God who plays craps with our lives or our souls. I'd rather there was no God at all than that God, and I understand the lack of faith that has caused many to turn to atheism because they see all religions as corrupt and unworthy of belief.

Sin is that which separates us from God. In the last almost 2 decades I have never felt separated from God by my bisexuality. I have never seen God as distant because of my bisexuality. In fact when I opened myself to finally tackling the issue, I had never felt closer to God than I did in those first years when I was actively forming new paradigms and new understandings of my own humanity.

I'm a Christian by choice because for me, the view I have of Christ as the prophet of the love and grace of God is, to me, the best example of what God should be. Others see that example in the Buddha. Still others in the prophet Mohammad. Still others think there is something higher than themselves but have found no prophet, no organized religion which gives them a satisfactory glimpse of that higher being.

Sometimes I think this latter group of people are perhaps closer to the truth than the rest of us. Even the Bible teaches us that God transcends us in every way. That means we simply cannot understand him. Yet those who are so entrenched in their dogmas claim to not only  understand all, but to have a lock on that understanding.

Science is arriving at the understanding that there are almost certainly billions and billions of earthlike planets in the Universe. So plentiful are these benevolent planets that the likelihood we are alone in the Universe is mathematically and statically zero. If there are other worlds with other sentient beings, and if there is a God, then that God is their God too. Yet, their understanding of that God may have no similarity to ours. He or she will represent their culture and they will understand him only in the context of their culture.

Too many fundamental Christians understand God as a God of wrath and hate and not just hate but eternal hate. Perhaps that says more about these Christians than it does about God!

I see my bisexuality as a gift of God, not a curse. So do many other men. If you do not see your bisexuality or your homosexuality that way, it is time to step away from your childish views and begin to see the world around you as an adult who thinks for himself rather than one who continues to let himself be brain washed by the prophets of hate and fear.

For many of you, others have tried to keep your thinking inside a box all your life. It is a box that keeps you fearful, angry and unsatisfied with your life. It's time you begin to think out of the box. It's time you begin to think about new ways and study new ideas and outlooks. It's time to get out of the box. You'll be happy you did so.

Try it. You might just like it.

Jack Scott


  1. Thank you for this post Jack. I was thinking about faith & action this morning as I got some exercise. I always need something on my mind to divert my attention from the misery of running or cycling (ever see anyone smiling during such activities?).

    As I have studied both in the Bible & in seperate writings, the expansion of the Christian faith from Pentacost to the present, one major event seems to have changed the course of what has become the "Christian Religion". That event is the conversion of King Constantine. Up until that time, Christianity was spreading like a wild fire and Christians were persecuted. Constantine changed this.

    Believers came out of their caves (literally) & began to assemble & worship openly. Constantine gave financial support to the sect in return for consolidating his power as king. As all of this happened, the spread of Christian faith slowed except for where force was used (much like Muslims did later) to bring nations under someone's political power.

    Where once the wall of seperation between Jew & Gentile was eliminated by the Gospel of Christ. now new walls were being erected by those focused on money and power. Christians who had been the object of persecution for a few centuries were now persecuting others.

    When I became a Christian during my 5th year of college, it was through the work of a group of men & women who each took personal responsibility for their life & faith. There was no "leader", no "budget", no "building". We met in homes, coffee shops & even in the boiler room of my fraternity. The movement of faith & love spread across my campus as well as many others. Denominations mistrusted us & often condemned us. Eventually a few grew tired of the personal cost of ministry & decided we, this non-descript group, should become organized. Where once "freely giving" existed, now we were to have "tything". Leaders were put on salaries. The spread of the love of Christ ceased for all practical purposes. Instead of a message to guide toward reconciliation with God & others, the Bible became a powerful weapon to judge and control people.

    The day I resigned my affiliation as a pastor in this movement, my thinking and faith began to clear up & be restored to the joy I had known in those early years. I was outside that box once more.

    I will admit that there is a price for stepping out. People you thought were your brothers & sisters in Christ will pull back from you. It will hurt. But I promise you a joy in life that makes it all worth while!

    1. Mark, thanks for a great comment. Any Christian who has not studied the historical contributions of Constantine to Christianity does not know Christianity.

      Like our own contributions, Constantine's were not all positive. They were a mixed bag of good an bad. His work was important, but it was flawed. One of the biggest flaws was the canonization of the Bible. The struggles over the canonization the Emperor Constantine ordered give lie to all the Fundamentalist's claims to the Bible and the inerrant word of God. Instead the canonization is the flawed product of flawed men who worked at Constantine's political bidding.

      You introduction into Christianity through a free movement which attracted you but then got involved in raising money and slowly turned from loving to using the Bible as a weapon to judge others and control them is a microcosmic example of the flaws of religion itself.

      I'm glad you found the joy in life that makes life worthwhile even for a homosexual man. It's truly tragic that Fundamentalists cannot see that you were born as a homosexual. It's even worse that they have no understanding of the fact that they had to learn to hate.

      Jack Scott

  2. Thank you, Jack, for your interesting insights to your spirituality. Since discovering your blog, I find myself waiting for the next post.

    I agree that God is a entity of love, kindness and understanding. He is not someone who awaits to condemn us for our errors in life. I feel even if I wasn't Bi that I would enjoy reading your insights. You are inspiring in your thoughts to the people who follow your blog.

    I grew up in a Catholic family and was convenced that it was the only religion that would get me to heaven. I now believe that if I practice love and caring for each other, that this is my path to happiness.

    I don't read the Bible or many of the other books that others tend to use erroneously to try and control their followers. I will read parts that may help me understand what I am seeking in my life. I find talking to others or reading about other people's experiences has been more helpful to me than listening to those who interpret something to fit their need for control. We do need to get out of the box and start thinking for ourselves. I do falter once in a while and find myself in that box, but try not to remain there for long. The unfortunate part of human nature seems to be that too many people seek being controled.

    My best philosophy is "Live and let live". Also to do unto others as you would want them to do for you. Thanks

    1. DL, thanks for your kind comment. I'm so glad to hear you follow my blog regularly.

      Your letter expressing approvql of what you define as my insights into spirituality was particularly something I was glad to hear.

      Frankly, I worry I talk about spirituality too much and too often. I'm often frightened I will alienate the non-believers who read my blog, and that is the last thing I want to do. I actually feel atheism itself is a true part of spirituality. I have no problem whatsoever with atheism. I see it as nothing more than a particular point in the journey that is understanding the spiritual realm. I've been a spiritual person all my life, but even now I have my atheistic moments. My atheistic impulse recurs at both predictable and unpredictable points in my life. Last Saturday night one of those predictable points arose.

      You are, in my view, implicitly correct that you need not read the Bible or other books that other use in an attempt to control you. You are also correct in your implied thought that religion is a tool invented by men to control the masses. Unfortunately for me who worries about writing so much about spirituality and religion, you have convinced me that I must address the issue of religion as an mechanism for controlling others in an upcoming blog piece.

      Your comments gave me some additional thoughts and I updated "Thinking For One's Self - Growing Self Expectations" this morning after reading your comments.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have one thought I hope you'll consider. In my view all you have to know of the Bible is Romans 8: 38 - 39. If you do not know those two verses, I hope you'll look them up. Also if you want to read the best book I've ever read about not allowing religion to control your life, go to and purchase a paperback copy of Brennan Manning's "The Ragamuffin Gospel." I've read the book three times over the years and I always find new truths and new comforts in it. You have something in common with Mr. Manning. He, like you, is an ex Catholic, in fact, an ex Jesuit Priest.

      Like so many of us, Manning has faught his own demons much of his life. But in fighting his demons, he came to understand spirituality so thoroughly in a rich and rewarding way that he was able to put it in simple word that anyone can understand in his book. His story is a real life example of another Bible verse you should be aware of, Romans 8: 28 - 29.

      Thanks again DL.

      Jack Scott

  3. Sunday, June 17

    Came across this site yesterday...have been a viewer of your other site for some time, but failed to see the reference to this..Read a lot here yesterday, and must say I am favorably impressed! Your thought process, your ability to place into the written form these thoughts, and the questions they raise are all impresssive!

    Thanks, I am sure I will remain a reader of this site, and not just a viewer of your other. In fact, I recommended this to several members of a men's study/discussion group in whioh I participate.

    J Thomas


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott