Customer Reviews: Hate Thy Neighbor: How the Bible is Misused to Condemn Homosexuality
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on August 11, 2009
Ever so often a work is crafted with such insight and passion that it becomes the standard by which other works on the same subject are judged. In grappling with the subject of homosexuality / sexuality and the bible, Linda Patterson brings a refreshingly clear perspective about what many have left to the purview of theologians. Tackling the standard "baseball bat" passages...bringing to the table sacred texts that the church would just as soon forget...opening the door on the dichotomy between what the Judeo-Christian scriptures say verses what the proof-texting interpretations proffered by many major and minor religious groups proclaim: Ms. Patterson's method draws the reader into a dialogue with the Divine at a level, though unintended, that challenges the believer and agnostic alike to wrestle with God for the truth behind canonical inspiration.

I whole heartedly recommend this book, both for the religious and non-religious alike. Let its pages inspire you to question the majoritarian miss-use of the Divine for political purposes. And, allow its process to draw you out of complacency, challenging the propaganda of those loud bullies whose twisted measure of the Holy is exclusion, hate, objectification, and separation.

Rev. Houston Burnside, Jr.
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on August 18, 2009
I believe that the title of this book is at least a little 'tongue in cheek' But I love it. It illuminates the example many conservative Christians give by both what they say and how they live. Often one hears them quote the words of Jesus "love thy neighbor as thy self" but do they practice this? Sadly I think that the answer to that question is often, but not always, a resounding 'no'. As example I quote from the author: "Over the centuries...some of Jesus' followers have used the Bible to support such horrors as the Crusades, the Inquisition, oppression of women, burning of "witches", anti-Semitism and slavery." One wonders who do they think their neighbors are, other Conservative Christians? I digress. I have read many books on this subject and found this one to be informative. It also an enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
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on June 9, 2013
Linda Patterson has done a valuable service by debunking the prevalent misinterpretation of those passages in the Bible that are misused to support the false claim of divine endorsement of homophobia. She has done her homework, and presents the results clearly and lucidly.

What she doesn't mention, and perhaps should, is the mechanism which, generally during the eighth month of one's fetal existence, determines one's sexual orientation by the amount of estradiol present in the fetal brain. Strange as it may seem, the female hormone estradiol, if present in sufficient quantity, causes the development of a male brain pattern, which, at puberty, results in one being attracted to women; absence of estradiol in the brain at that time results in a female brain pattern, causing one to be attracted to men. The developing fetus produces a protein called alpha fetaprotein, which binds to estradiol and prevents it from crossing the blood-brain barrier, but the male hormone testosterone can cross, and the fetal brain produces an enzyme that causes testosterone to be converted to estradiol. So if the testes of a male fetus produce testosterone soon enough, which most do, or if he does not produce sufficient alpha fetaprotein, then when that male reaches puberty, he will be attracted to girls; if not, then he will be gay. Likewise, if a female fetus doesn't produce enough alpha fetaprotein, she will become a lesbian.

I know that I could not be sexually attracted to men even if I wanted to, nor could I choose not to be attracted to women. And I know that no one in his or her right mind would choose to become a second-class citizen by being attracted to the same sex if he or she could choose to be heterosexual. So no matter how many preachers spread the lie that homosexuality is a choice, or the lie that God said so, or how many believe it, they are still lies. (Ok, I can't present a constructive proof that God didn't lie, but I certainly don't believe that God promulgated or approved that lie or any other lie.)

Like most of the rest of us, the overwhelming majority of gays and lesbians are nice people who should be loved, not hated. And we should be thankful that more and more of us are coming to understand that fact, as evidenced by the recent victories for marriage equality at the polls.

Love works better.
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on December 2, 2009
Linda has written a very thoughtful book, which is great reading for anyone who has heard any religious rhetoric to condemn not only homosexuality. It is a pretty quick read because the actual scripture about homosexuality is quite sparse and usually part of a list of other abominations which are common accepted practice today by Christians, Jews and agnostics alike.
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on November 29, 2011
Linda Patterson brings to the table some very thorough research and quite a few insights that the average person has likely never considered. Here's an example from chapter five:

"As discussed in chapter 4, Paul had an aversion to sex in general, regardless of who was involved. Instead of viewing sex as a gift from God/nature, he viewed it as something that should be avoided. And while Paul should not necessarily be blamed for failing to understand that homosexuality is natural, his ignorance is not an excuse for modern Christians. Just as it was irresponsible for Christians to persecute Galileo for contradicting erroneous claims throughout Scripture that the earth is flat and stationary, it is also irresponsible for them to persecute homosexual people by relying on Paul's antiquated beliefs regarding sexuality in general, and upon homosexuality in particular."

A very solid argument and one I'd never heard anyone use before! She really nailed it! And she does it again on the very next page!

"Perhaps those who believe that HIV/AIDS is God's punishment against homosexuality can explain why some 270,000 children under the age of 15 died of AIDS in 2007-more than 90% of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Does God hate children? Especially impoverished children? Surely if God had intended to punish homosexual people with HIV/AIDS, he would have seen to it that its effects were so limited. Indeed, if the absurd argument of the homophobic fear-mongers is taken to its conclusion, then God must favor sex between women over all other types of sex, as sex between two women is the least likely to result in HIV/AIDS."

I've actually made the above argument before about lesbians having lower rates of contracting HIV/AIDS than heterosexual men, homosexual men or heterosexual women, however when Linda Patterson does it she sounds more articulate than I ever did.

Also, she got it published.

I've never gotten paid for my opinion. I've simply offered my opinion up for free on Internet discussion forums.

But I digress.

I highly recommend this book! This book is FILLED with thought provoking passages like the ones I quoted above! If you're debating rightwing Christians who insist that "God hates homosexuals" or "The Bible condemns homosexuality" or "AIDS is Gods punishment for gays" or similar ridiculous talking points, this book will be an invaluable resource for countering their propaganda.
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on October 8, 2014
Concise, easy to read, and the title catches the attention of Christians who have been taught wrong but think they must be right. This one is getting passed around a lot.
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on February 2, 2015
So true. People that are holier than thy and cannot love. Jesus taught love and he did not exclude anyone. Great writing and reading.
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on December 7, 2011
The reviewers here have more or less said everything I would have noted about Linda's very fine book. She's articulate (doesn't babble--an inside joke), reasons very well, and presents her arguments from the view of an agnostic, and that in and of itself gives this book a fresh sense of the issues of the Bible and homosexuality.
What I admire about Linda is her thorough-going research into whatever topic she undertakes. Although her views can be discussed by readers who may disagree with them, her reasoning of those views is spot on, and they never leave the reader wondering where she stands on any particular issue.
As the title of this review suggests, Linda is writing another book about the Bible, one that will explore its other aspects in terms of human morality and many other topics. It too, demonstrates her determination to write as closely to the topic as possible after having read widely to prepare her arguments. I strongly recommend Hate Thy Neighbor as a primer to her excellent thinking and unfailing devotion to the search for truth and enlightenment.
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on October 23, 2009
Patterson presents an easy read on a subject usually covered only by Christian apologists. By the time you are finished, you will be more informed and have a better understanding on a heated issue.
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on June 25, 2012
Upon reading some of the recent reviews, I am compelled to weigh in with my two cents. As a woman who struggled with coming out, not only to myself but also to a religious family, I can honestly say that I wish I had this book when I was 15. Christians are very quick to tell you what they believe their beloved Bible says about homosexuality. We are often provided with the same notorious passages as "proof" of God's disdain...(Genesis, Corinthians, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Matthew: I'm looking at you.) Many are ill-equipped to defend themselves against the onslaught of negativity and insensitivity toward this topic, just as many Christians are quick to end any such debate with a flippant and flustered, "That's what the Bible says." This begs the question of what the Good Book actually says about those who dare to love another of the same gender. In this book, Ms.Patterson has done the thorough research to brilliantly lay all of this information before you in an accessible and intelligent way. I recommend that everyone read this book with an open mind and heart, no matter what your personal beliefs may be.
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