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Queer Philosophers' Forum, pt. 2

By Mx. Stevie (or Stephen) ColePublished 5 months ago 8 min read

Welcome, again, to my little social experiment! Come with me and see LGBTQIA+ perspectives on famous philoso-phies & -phers, as I release my book-in-progress chapter by chapter, and invite you, queerly beloveds, to debate, discuss, question, contribute, and make your inputs into my edits, until the finished book gives our readers the chance to hear all our queer points of view. Welcome, gentles & lady-men, to Venus Valley, the Queer Philosophers' Forum.

To see a quick sketch of where I'm up to in my own philosophy study, and a quick idea of where I'll be coming from, there's a quick reading & watching intro list HERE.

Now, let me tell you why this book is going to be called VENUS VALLEY. Why I decided to hold this Queer Philosophers' Forum there.

Let me take you back to a magical place called the 1990's. "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" was a self help psychology book that made big generalisations about gender, and big profits for its author. Because apparently men and women are completely separate and completely opposite in all their beliefs and behaviours. Too bad the author didn't take even the quickest of peeks at the fact that the word Hermaphrodite comes from the joining of Hermes and Aphrodite, the Greek Hellenic deities of the planets Mercury and Venus, as from our point of view they occupy the space in the sky between the Moon - the feminine - and the Sun - the masculine. Meanwhile, back in the magical 1990's, Mars Hill was an ever-spreading mega-church network that eventually faced up to revelations of abuse, plagiarism and "financial irregularities", by firing their leader and getting cut off from the emerging church network Acts 29. Their name is a reference to the bible book Acts of the Apostles, in which Jesus' disciples carry on where he left off and spread out from their Jewish roots into the Greek world, creating what we now call Christianity - it only has 28 chapters, making "Acts 29" the next emerging chapter of the story in the world ("Emerging Church", in itself, by the way, was a kind of scattered movement of informal and independent churches trying different ways to create the postmodern church of the future - but that's a story for another day, or possibly another chapter!).

Why am I talking about church and the bible? Because my coming out of the closet, and my study of philosophy, came about by my process of Deconstruction. When those of us who grew up in, or in some other way got stuck with, a wrong religion, spiritual path or cult, leave it behind, it doesn't always just let us be. It still lives in our thoughts, emotions, words and actions in ways we don't predict or control, until we pick it apart and unravel the threads - it's not just a single moment of de-conversion, it's a process of deconstruction, until you can finally look at your old world from a completely outside point of view. We're often made the outsiders anyway, whether we're talking about religion or relationships; but it's done to us by a group of people we see as friends or family, so we have to figure out how we're part of the group but not part. Finding our way to a complete outsider's perspective of the group can help us see ourselves as ourselves, not defining ourselves by reaching out for, or being part of, something else. To do that we have to unravel the threads we're tied up in. Unpack the luggage we're carrying. Deconstruct.

There's a bit of the bible that weirdly helps me with my deconstruction - and it's the one that gave the Mars Hill church its name. In chapter 17 of Acts in the bible, the Apostle Paul goes to the Areopagus - a court, or council, in Athens - and introduces them to his new gospel; some of them love it, and some of them hate it. Areopagus is Ares' (Mars') Pagus (Hill, High Place, or fixed and firm place) - hence, according to the bible's translators, Mars Hill.

Here's the part of the passage that matters, without comment or commentary, so you can digest it as is:

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

This helps my brain deconstruct the threads woven into itself by my Christian upbringing (which, by the way, wasn't hurtful or hateful in any way to me - I was loved and privileged - it just led me to some very wrong thoughts, feelings, words and actions) three ways: One, it wraps the whole message up neatly into a single monologue by Paul, so my brain can absorb it one go, and look down at it from the outside, rather than being immersed in it on all sides like when I was inside it. Two, it shows how the bible message wasn't always that Jesus was God, as they say it today; look at the close of his speech: "...judge the world... by the MAN HE HAS APPOINTED;" (plus he even quotes the Pagan poets). And three, it shows the bible as just one single philosophy among philosophies, the bible's god at a single seat in a round table of gods; not front, not centre.

So, won't you come and join me on my outsider's seat, looking at Christian and non-Christian philosophies alike - as the passage puts it, "spend our time talking about and listening to the latest ideas" - from a place that's the opposite of Mars Hill? Stand next to New Queer Me thinking through things that Old Christian Me left floating in my head? I'm not always great at puns - despite being a professional playwright and sometime stand-up comic - but in my world of witty wordplay, the opposite point of Mars Hill... is Venus Valley.


The first thing we'll look at from here, in the next chapter, can be the philosophies that sat across the other side from Paul: the Epicureans and the Stoics. One, to be very quick and simple, is the philosophy of chasing and embracing pleasure; the other, of chancing and enduring pain. And we, in the brave & bold, bright & beautiful LGBTQIA+ community, surely know how it feels to be bound between both - join me in the next chapter to take a proper look at that together!


To read a quick and simple Hegelian Dialectic (we'll look longer at what that means later, too!) between Old Christian Me & New Queer Me, click HERE;

To join in the group on bookface where you can debate, discuss, question, contribute, to each chapter as it's posted, click HERE;

To donate & support developing this into a full physical book for sale (with your contribution fully acknowledged in its pages, of course!) click HERE.



About the Creator

Mx. Stevie (or Stephen) Cole




Tarot reader

Attracted to magic both practical & impractical

Writer of short stories and philosophical musings

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  • Dark Moon Empire5 months ago

    It's refreshing to get different prospectives on old ideologies. So well written! Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you for doing this. As a retired United Methodist clergy who has been looking forward to the repeal of the restrictive language concerning homosexuality from our Book of Discipline for over 40 years, this open forum & book forming is most welcome. Our son died all but 10 years ago, but I think his boyfriend at the time of his death might like to be a part of it.

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