I Watched: Pray Away

Last night I sat down and watched the documentary Pray Away on Netflix. For those unfamiliar it’s a documentary related to gay conversion, interviewing mostly former leaders of Exodus International. I’ll try not to spoil anything about the movie itself, although this post will describe details from the movie. If you’re uncomfortable with that, watch the movie first and then read my post. Keep in mind that this really isn’t a movie review so much as a post pointing out some thing’s that caught my eye.

Christians Talk Like Idiots

“The Lord put this on my heart”, and “he is one of the first fruits” are two sentences that stood out for me, being spoken by some Christians, that reminds me how silly evangelicals sound when they talk. Why does an all powerful God communicate with you via your subjective feelings? That’s just absurd. “I feel like God wants me to do X” is functionally indistinguishable from what your subconscious wants you to do.

The absurdity of this kind of “Christianese” has been talked about by others. Seth Andrew’s did a conference talk entitled “Christianity Made Me Talk Like an Idiot.” If you have some time it’s a pretty entertaining video.

Gay Conversion Is About Hating Yourself

If there’s one thing that Christianity, in particular fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity, does very well it’s teach people to hate themselves for being human. Christianity focuses on some unobtainable image of what you’re supposed to be and makes you hate yourself for failing to achieve that standard. This inevitable failure leads to people becoming more committed to Christianity, like a fat person trying to lose weight by dieting (cutting off calories) and then finding that they rebound six months later. People are told that they need to work harder to “get with the Lord”, so that the Holy Spirit will regenerate them, but this will always lead to some failure down the road. The idea simply cannot be achieved. Most versions of Christianity can be summed up as: You are, at your very center, a sinner, created by God to need God to save you. Failure reinforces that you need God but somehow never a failure on God’s part.

Many Christian denominations believe that having same-sex attractions is fundamentally disordered. Those who are attracted to the same-sex have something wrong with them and this needs to be changed. This is where Christianity goes off the rails trying to alter reality.

The biggest problem is that all of the evidence tells us that you don’t get to choose who you’re attracted to! You cannot simply will yourself to be attracted to somebody that you do not find attractive. They are fundamentally trying to get you to change something that you cannot will to be different. It’s a bit like trying to will yourself to have red hair. Your hair color isn’t something that will mutate by your will – and by extension neither will who you find attractive.

Some Are Still Christian

From the “apparently apostasy is hard” department, I find mind boggling that their are still homosexual Christians, particularly ones that have moved on from their fundamentalist “we believe everything in the Bible” denomination to more liberal denominations. To me it’s a lot like looking at black Christians and seeing how they’re rationalized away the slavery that their religion allows for, all while worshiping that same God who couldn’t make it clear that slavery was harmful. Gay liberal Christians would seem to have rationalized away the fact that the holy book, which is generally the basis for their religion, and has nothing good to say about homosexuals. Apparently an all powerful God couldn’t get it right the first time.

As somebody who walked away from their religion decades ago, I have a hard time understand how somebody can make the huge step to walk away from their fundamentalist denomination, but not see the otherwise glaring problems with their religion as a whole. I understand that indoctrination, and social pressure, are powerful, but you would think that being told that you are broken would push more of them even further away. What makes it even harder for me to understand is that a big reason that I wanted nothing more to do with the Catholic Church was their antiquated positions on sex, sexuality, and other “moral” issues. Frankly, if there really is an all-powerful God who came to Earth to be one of us, why was Jesus so silent on these obvious problems? If Paul really did get revelation from Jesus then Jesus must have approved of Paul’s homophobic message, or Jesus would have told him to say otherwise. In other words, either homosexuality really is as detestable as the Bible makes it out to be, or there is no all powerful, all knowing, being that created us, cares about us, and wants the best for us. I don’t understand how there can be any middle ground here.

In the end it’s not something I can, or even would, make people do. I cannot force anyone to leave their religion. All I can do is show them what is wrong with their religion and hope that they choose wisely, without being ruled by fear and indoctrination. It’s certainly better that these people are liberal Christians, rather than bigoted and hateful ones, but I think the world would be even better for most of us if there were no Christians at all.

6 thoughts on “I Watched: Pray Away”

    1. Do you think science is going to change their mind? These people believe the Earth is 6000 years old and that some woman eating a magical piece of fruit corrupted the world. “This was not God’s design or intent.” How do they know this? Because they have their precious feelings about the matter. Evidence isn’t the problem.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dear Herald,

        Thank you for your reply. I hope that you have not misconstrued the contents and purposes of my three previous comments, which are not intended for indicating that science or empirical evidence can ultimately lead to the deconversion of even the staunchest of religious believers of any persuasion. Rather, my comments are meant to augment the discussions in your post, so that in enlarging the issues into the nonhuman world or domain, there are further patterns, connections, consilience, insights, universalities and generalizations to be made or retrieved.

        Yours sincerely,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dear Herald,

        For example, one of the most extensive and comprehensive ways in which I enlarge and extend human issues into the nonhuman world or domain to make or retrieve further patterns, connections, consilience, insights, universalities and generalizations can be seen in my multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary post entitled “SoundEagle in Debating Animal Artistry and Musicality” at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/soundeagle-in-debating-animal-artistry-and-musicality/

        Being simultaneously witty and serious about a number of outstanding issues, the said post actually ventures far beyond whatever its title may suggest or mean to any reader, especially in the very long “Conclusions” section.

        Happy August to you!

        Yours sincerely,


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