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4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable addition to the growing number of books by Christians preachers who have woken up to reality, 2 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Writing God's Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist (Paperback)
There has always been an element of homoeroticism in the manner in which male Christians relate to Jesus. Nowhere is this more obvious than in religious art - kitschy Catholic art in particular. This subject is rarely, if ever, raised in fundamentalist Christian circles; one has to follow the example of Anthony B Pinn and bid the religion a not-so-fond farewell before one can even begin to broach this thorny (no pun intended) topic.

Pinn, who went from Methodist preacher to atheist when he was in his mid-20s and is now a member of the Board of Directors of the American Humanist Association - refers to this homoeroticism in his newly-published book, "Writing God's Obituary".

He writes: " ... and no one raised questions concerning the latent homoerotic nature of the male's relationship to the male savior. Nor was it mentioned that black men in my church (and churches like my church) prostrated themselves before images of a white Christ.

"Was there a hint of white supremacy in this move? This wasn't discussed. Loving and surrendering to this Christ emotionally and physically was okay - it was an act of manhood not to be duplicated elsewhere in life."

Pinn and his contemporaries were taught at an early age that dating always involved three individuals: the boy, the girl and Jesus - "the third wheel" who was always present "to hamper our desires because we shouldn't do anything we would be uncomfortable doing in front of Jesus."

To be avoided at all costs was any speculation about the sex life of Jesus.

Pinn, an African American who preached his first sermon at the age of 12, points out that "Jesus, the saviour of the world, had a penis (typically not depicted in the images) but his sexual ethics - what he did with that penis, who received pleasure by means of it, and how Jesus received pleasure as a result of it - was never spoken of.

"To even think about Jesus having sex with men or women was construed as sinful because it meant reducing the God/man to a human controlled by a sex organ."

Some may think I do Pinn a disservice by using his references to sex to introduce a book that is much, MUCH more than about human sexuality. But I would argue that one cannot avoid the issue because people's sexuality - homosexuality in particular - remains the principal driving force behind so much of the prejudice and hatred generated by Christian fundamentalists - indeed, religious zealots of all stripes.

Harsh anti-gay laws recently enacted in countries such as Nigeria and Uganda, for example, are the direct result of pressure put on politicians by evangelical Christians, many of whom have travelled from the West to spread their homophobic venom in Africa. Sadly, far too many Africans have fallen under the spell of the white man's voodoo - Christianity - and have become enthusiastic foot soldiers in the evangelicals' war on homosexuals.

Pinn, I am sure, recognised this and there can be no doubt that, in his case, Christianity's fixation on sex and sexuality - obsessive to the point of paranoia - played a part in his decision to walk away from the religion.

Towards the end of his book he writes: "I've come a long way - from evangelical Christian to proud humanist without God. The journey has had its twists and turns and its rough patches.

"Still, I've never doubted my departure from the church. I've never looked back because I have never had reason to look back."

This book is a valuable addition to the growing list of books that are proving helpful to those seeking to escape the emotionally and intellectually-deadening influences of the religions they are trapped in.

Among the many who have praised Pinn's latest book is Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, who described Writing God's Obituary as "a whirlwind of writing, leading the reader on the invigorating progression of Pinn's life and way of thinking.

"Over the course of this journey, he shows us the very natural way that a thoughtful person can transition from experiencing the awe of God through speaking in tongues to the very different position of experiencing the joy of intellectual exploration through presenting humanism as a new, godless approach to theological inquiry."
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5.0 out of 5 stars The disrobing of Christianity., 11 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Writing God's Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist (Paperback)
Wow! Wesley would turn in his grave if he read this - as would modern day Christians!
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Writing God's Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist
Writing God's Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist by Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities Anthony B Pinn (Paperback - 4 Feb. 2014)
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