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Book Reviewed:

Robert Minor When You’re Having a Religious Argument. Kansas City: The Fairness Project, 2005.

The book can be purchased from The Fairness Project .

Review by Gary Simpson. All copyrights are held by the author.

Book Review:

Robert Minor is a prolific, and insightful author. When you read his books, be prepared to be challenged. He authored the books Scared Straight, Gay and Healthy in a Sick Society, and When Religion is an Addiction.

Robert Minor makes applications for the queer community in When You’re Having a Religious Argument. Because religious discussions relating to the queer community tend to be very emotion-laden and irrational, and often lack civility, the booklet is a very important book for queer people of all religious backgrounds, even if they are no longer active members of a faith community. Sexual minorities are often targeted for spiritual attacks and abuse. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people need to have a good sense of the dynamics that are often at play during religious discussions, so they are less likely to feel freshly injured when religious discussions turn to topics regarding queer people.

What started as a peaceful exchange of ideas can quickly deteriorate into an angry argument, as the fear of having one’s belief system challenged becomes stronger than the desire to have a rationale discussion. This booklet helps address the serious problem of over-heated religious discussions.

Robert Minor reminds us that we bring our experiences - hurt, guilt, and anger - into religious debates. Baggage is very powerful and threatening in religious discussions of homosexuality. For gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, these arguments can bring up fears and emotions of rejection, and eternal condemnation. Straight people find themselves facing the fear of a different sexuality, combined with the fear that if they are wrong and God loves queer people, perhaps they were wrong about much more important theological issues. People may wonder, “Could I be wrong about something which might result in my going to hell?”

When You’re Having a Religious Argument encourages us to dig deep inside ourselves, so we understand what needs are met through religious debates, why it is difficult to drop the discussion, and why a person remains in a church with which they disagree. Showing real insight, Minor asks if we are staying in a church for the same reasons abused partners stay in a bad marriage.

The booklet helps people recognize many claims made by conservative religious people, which cannot be supported by history. Two common claims discussed are the claim that religion does not change, and that the position a person is taking is what the Bible says or what God says. Anybody who disagrees with somebody in the religious right may find themselves branded with insulting labels.

Robert Minor makes many very good points we need to remember when entering into religious discussions. In this review, only three of those very important points will be listed. Religion involves emotional and spiritual conviction, more than logical convictions. Beliefs are rarely formed or changed due to logic. Emotional issues may prevent a person from changing his or her opinions. Changing opinions is not easy, because it can require public humility and repentance. This review will conclude with one of the most important points Minor shares. There is no rule saying you must win the argument. You can feel free to walk away from the discussion at any time.

This could be one of the most important books about religion you will ever read. By understanding how people push our buttons in religious discussions, we can help prevent discussions from becoming overheated, and can help stop a cycle of tit-for-tat cycle of hurt and abuse.