Some Things to Consider When Discussing the So-Called Sin of Homosexuality

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The other day, my friend and colleague Keith Giles engaged in a lively debate with the folks from G220 Radio on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible. The three hosts took the stance that the Bible condemns all non-heterosexual romantic relationships, while Giles argued for full affirmation of the LGBTQ+ community. After listening to the show in its entirety, I wanted to offer some initial thoughts on the topic by providing 10 things for us to remember when confronting the issue of homosexuality and the Bible.

  1. The Bible is Not Simply a Set of Dos and Don’ts

Many folks approach the Bible as if it is univocal, written by a guy named “God,” and meant to be used as a rule book for life. This is not a good idea. In fact, it’s rather immature. But more than that, it is a dangerous notion. Why? Because the Bible, in all its ambiguity and obscurity, can pretty much be used to say whatever one wants it to say. For instance, if one wants to justify racism and slavery, I’m sure the Bible can be used in their favor (see Exodus 21:2–6; Leviticus 25:44–46). If one wants to justify patriarchy, again, it can, and has been, used for that. The same thing goes for justifying the ostracization and demonization of the LGBTQ+ community. The Bible has been wielded like a two-edged sword to do all these things, especially by those who use it as God’s rule book for life.

  1. The Bible Doesn’t ‘Clearly Say…’

The Bible is clear about some things. I’ll concede that. For the most part, however, it is not. How could it be? There are an unknown number of writers, editors, and redactors, and they are all spread out over a span of multiple centuries, millennia even. They have dissimilar cultural contexts and rarely share the same theologies. Hence, even if one writer makes something clear, another may just come along and muddy up the waters for us. Case in point, take a look at how two prophets, Elijah and Hosea, view Jehu’s slaughtering of the entire house of Ahab:

  • 2 Kings 9: The wicked house of Ahab, who was a member of the northern kingdom of Israel, is slaughtered by Jehu after Elijah anoints him for such a task.
  • Hosea 1: A handful of generations later, Hosea says that the house of Jehu will be punished for what they did to the house of Ahab.

To that end, the only thing that is clear about large portions of the Bible is that things aren’t so clear. We must remember that.

  1. Context, Context, Context

With everything, context is crucial. If we fail to acknowledge the cultural, political, and theological context with which the many writers of the Bible are speaking from, then we’ll always miss the point. Well, maybe not always: a broken clock is right twice a day, after all. But, you get the point: we simply should not be using our English Bibles to prooftext our way through an argument or debate without first addressing what is going on behind the scenes. This will be important come points 5 through 9.

  1. Everyone Cherry-Picks

A common charge against those who affirm the LGBTQ+ community is that we cherry-pick the Scriptures. But guess what? Everyone I’ve ever met cherry-picks the Bible. Even Conservatives. That’s okay, though, because even Jesus and Paul did it. The question, then, is how are we going to cherry-pick the Bible? Are we going to pick the cherries that command us to take up arms against our enemies or the ones that tell us how we should love and bless them? Are we going to pick the cherries that excludes others or includes them? The ones that drive a stake between people or the ones that bring unification and reconciliation?

My point, then, is simply that we need to admit this prior to having discussions on such important matters.

  1. Genesis 19? Let’s Not Even Go There

Now we are getting into the heart of the matter. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah, found in Genesis 19, is a favorite cherry some folks go to condemn homosexuality. It’s bizarre, but true. Why is it bizarre? Because it has nothing to do with homosexuality. Not only does the prophet Ezekiel not mention homosexuality in his list of the “sins of Sodom,” but if you actually read the story, you’ll notice the context has nothing to do with what we would call “homosexuality.” Plain and simple, what is going on here is an attempted gang rape by all the people of Sodom, down to the last man. And sure, that’s a no-no. But, again, it has nothing to do with homosexuality.

  1. Levitical Law and Its Application

Another favorite cherry some folks pick in order to condemn homosexuality is Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Respectively, they read:

  • Lev 18:22: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination
  • Lev 20:13: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

Simple, right? It can’t get much clearer than that. Well, hold on now. In order to address this, I’ll quote something my good friend and Hebrew scholar, Mark Stone, wrote on my Facebook wall a while back:

“Even if one were to grant that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were referencing ‘homosexuality’ in a sense comparable to our modern understanding (and that is a big ‘if’), the book’s own self-reported scope mitigates universal application. These purity laws only apply to nations inhabiting the ‘holy land,’ and are only applicable if you are physically present in the land. Otherwise they are not applicable.”

He continues:

“In both 18:22 and 20:13, the Hebrew idiom mishkeve ‘isha (‘lie with a woman’) is possibly a technical phrase used only for illicit heterosexual relations, not regular, healthy, non-incestuous and non-adulterous sex. Scholars have also argued that the strange Hebrew phrasing likely refers specifically to male-male anal intercourse, not any other male-male sexual contact. The concern would have been the mixing of two ‘unclean’ substances—viz., semen and excrement—and therefore represented more a ‘cleanliness’ taboo than a moral judgment. This is not unlike other cleanliness taboos, like mixing semen and menstrual blood. All that to say, the Hebrew syntax and vocabulary is bizarre and complicated and most clearly refers to something much more specific than generic, male-male sexual intimacy.”

And finally, regarding the specific sort of relationships actually being prohibited in Leviticus, Stone concludes:

“Leviticus 20:13 specifically forbids that a ‘male’ (‘ish) have sex with a ‘male’ (zachar). This is curious, as the two words both mean a generic male. Why use the different vocabulary? The best way to understand the curious shift in vocabulary is to read it in the broader context (this also applies to 18:22). Essentially, the use of zachar is to clarify that all the ‘male versions’ of sexual abominations enumerated in the previous (and likely forthcoming) verses are also proscribed. Ergo, the homosexual prohibition applies to sex with father, son, and brother and to grandfather-grandson, uncle-nephew, and stepfather-stepson, but—and this is the crucial bit—not to male-male sexual intercourse in general. To make such a claim is blatant eisegesis, not to mention grossly anachronistic. This applies mutatis mutandis to female-female as well.”

See what I mean? As I said, we need to always dig deeper into the broader context of what was going on at the time of these writings.

  1. WWJD

What would Jesus do? Well, I’m not 100% sure, but I do know he never talked about homosexuality. That said, he did talk about marriage, namely in Matthew 19. And the type of marriage he talked about was between a “male and female.” Guess what, though? There is a context. And that context is divorce, not a grand expose on proper sexual orientation.

What’s going on is that the Pharisees, like they were wont to do, are trying to trap Jesus by using their Scriptures against him. So, what does he do? He uses the Scriptures back against the Pharisees. Typical Jesus, am I right? However, to take Jesus’ response and then apply it to our post-Enlightenment understanding of “homosexuality” would be completely out of context, not to mention grossly anachronistic.

‘Nuff said.

  1. Maybe Romans Doesn’t Say What You Think It Says

Here’s where anti-LGBTQ+ folks think they’ve won the argument—with Romans. The passage du jour, of course, comes from 1:26–27, and reads:

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse with unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”

Uh oh! It’s clear, Paul is not down with homosexuality. The wrath of God is coming down against the gays.

Well, again, not so fast.

First off, if Pauline scholar Douglas Campbell is correct, then the passage that runs from Romans 1:18–32 is not even Paul; rather, it is Paul writing as the false teacher he is rebuking. In other words, Paul is being rhetorical. If that is the case, then, we can’t even use the list of vices mentioned in the text as proof for any sort of moral or immoral behavior.

However, even if we don’t go so far as Campbell does (I do, though), then what we must realize is that Paul isn’t even talking about what we would call “homosexuality.” Again, context. What’s really going on here has nothing to do with gay men or women joining together in a loving, non-coercive union. Instead, the context, as Steve Chalke points out, is “idolatry, promiscuity and shrine prostitution.”

  1. Corinthians Is More Complex Than You May Think

Now we get to what is probably the most difficult passage in all the New Testament—1 Corinthians 6:9–11. The NIV translation reads:

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.”

The problem with this translation is this: “men who have sex with men” is a poor and incomplete understanding of the Greek terms malakoi and arsenokoitai.

Malakos, on the one hand, can be translated as “soft” or “effeminate.” As New Testament scholar David Bentley-Hart points out in his recent New Testament translation:

“A man who is malakos is either ‘soft’—in any number of senses: self-indulgent, dainty, cowardly . . . physically weak—or ‘gentle’—in various largely benign senses: delicate, mild, etc. Some translators of the New Testament take it here to mean the passive partner in male homoerotic acts, but that is an unwarranted supposition.”

Arsenokoitai, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to translate, given that Paul sort-of made up the word. Again, here’s Bentley-Hart on what the word may possibly mean:

“Precisely what an arsenokoites is has long been a matter of speculation and argument. Literally, it means a man who ‘beds’—that is, ‘couples with’—‘males.’ But, there is no evidence of its use before Paul’s text . . . It would not mean ‘homosexual’ in the modern sense of a person of a specific erotic disposition, for the simple reason that the ancient world possessed no comparable concept of a specifically homoerotic sexual identity; it would refer to a particular sexual behavior, but we cannot say exactly which one.

My guess at the proper connotation of the word is based simply upon the reality that in the first century the most common and readily available form of male homoerotic sexual activity was a master’s or patrons’ exploitation of young male slaves.”

Again, with that context in mind, it’s no wonder Paul denounced such coercive acts. But that’s just it; this is about coercion, not necessarily what we would today call “homosexual.”

  1. Without Love, We Are A Clanging Gong

All of this brings me to my last point. We as Christians should, above all else, love others. I know many will claim that denouncing homosexuality is the loving thing to do, but it isn’t. End. Of. Story. How can I so boldly say this? Well, simple: I know and love tons of LGBTQ+ folks who can pass the 1 Corinthians 13 love test:

They are patient, they are kind. They aren’t envious, they do not boast, and are not proud. They don’t dishonor others, are not self-seeking, are not easily angered, and keep no records of wrong. They do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. They always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

That’s how I see it, anyway. Perhaps you disagree. My former self would disagree with the current me, so I understand that it’s all a process.

Peace, and may we better learn how to love others as we want others to love us.

*To reach me, you can find me on Facebook. If you are digging what you are reading, please support me on Patreon so I can continue the work I’ve been called to do. Thanks!

About
Matthew J. Distefano is the author of 4 books and co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour podcast. You can read more about the author here.
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  • A J MacDonald Jr

    The standard reference work, which I have on my bookshelf, is: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Second Edition (Univ. of Chicago Press); also known as the Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich (or BAGD).

    According to the BAGD, the word ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai) means: “a male who practices homosexuality, pederast, sodomite.” (p. 109)

    According to the BAGD, the word μαλακοὶ (malakoi) means: “men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.” (p. 488)

    Worth watching: My Train Wreck Conversion https://youtu.be/jVTTsD9o1IM

  • I’m going with Bentley Hart, thanks.

  • The problem with calling arsenokoitai “homosexual/pederasty” is that those 2 terms are vastly dissimilar.

  • The Mouse Avenger

    Thank you so much for explaining all these things! ^_^ May everyone learn from them, & take their lessons to heart, if they haven’t done so already!

  • Those who have ears…

  • Etranger

    Excellent article. It baffles me that anyone would continue, in this day and age, and with a modicum of reasonable, independent thinking, to rely on the Bible for any sort of meaningful guidance. At the end of the day, public discussions should not include any reference to or reliance on the Bible. The moment it is mentioned in public debate, the interlocutor should be ignore.d

  • ashpenaz

    What I like about Catholic moral theology is that something can be a sin, but the person might not be culpable. For instance, stealing is a sin, but if you’re stealing bread for your starving child, you are likely not culpable of a sin–there are mitigating factors. So, the Catholic Church can teach that homosexual acts are sinful, but that a person with an unchosen homosexual orientation might not be culpable of a sin. This is what Pope Francis meant when he said, “Who am I to judge?” He meant that although people were committing acts which were technically sinful, he was not able to judge the whole situation or what God was telling them through their conscience. I tend to think that God did not create homosexuality. I also think, along with progressive Catholic theologians, that gay people have to sort out the best possible choice they can make given their circumstances. Sometimes, as the German bishops argue, this can be a same-sex marriage which includes sexual acts. Not all Catholics would make this argument. However, I think the process that Catholic moral theology uses–determining culpability, listening to one’s conscience, etc.–makes more sense than simply trying to find the right verse in the Bible.

    A Protestant would say, “You went against Romans!” A Catholic would say, “I know that you are doing what the Church teaches is sinful, but why are you doing it? Are there mitigating factors which make that your best choice? In that case, I support you.”

  • Ron McPherson

    Terrific article!

  • Rudy Schellekens

    The above article is a fine example of cherry picking, but I will stick to the weakest of all: “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality…”
    How many more topics do you want to list Jesus never said anything about?
    Within the context of marriage…
    He never said anything about not beating your spouse…
    He never said anything about withholding sexual contact from your spouse
    He never said anything about providing for your spouse

    He DID say, however, about marriage – between one woman and one man (They shall become one flesh…)

    Within the context of parenting
    Within the context of treating your employees
    Within the context of drug/alcohol abuse
    Within the context of safe driving
    Within the context of the church
    Within the context of modern gadgets
    Within the context of pornography
    Within the context of pedophila
    Within the context of necrophilia
    Within the context of cannibalism
    Within the context of… And I can keep on going for a while

    And I am sure there are those who look at this, and will think I am crazy. That might be, but that does not solve the problem of the FACT that Jesus never spoke about any of these subjects.

    I would not know of my wife’s entitlement to her “due benevolence if it was not for Paul
    I would not of treating my children right if it was not for Paul
    I would not know to treat my employees right if it was not for Paul
    I would not know to provide for my spouse/children if it was not for Paul
    I would not know about the sin of homosexual behavior if it was not for Paul

    In short, just because Jesus did not say anything about a topic, is not an argument that carries a lot of weight.

    Now, we can infer a lot of the above from what jesus HAS said. And the idea that marriage, for example, is between a man and a woman is something Jesus clearly stated. He never said , “Someone will leave their parents’ house, and join with someone else, and they shall be one flesh…” It was not a generic statement. That either has value, or it does not.

    The second problem with the arguments in the article, is the minority point of view – and that sufficiently covered with terms like, “it might be…” could be… if…” etc. I am no Greek scholar, I will immediately grant that. But I have learned 4 languages, have done my fair bit of translating through the years – and realize that yes, SOMETIMES there may be a problematic meaning with a specific word. A choice has to be made which might seem subjective by others. I have to be able to defend my specific choice of translation. But that is minimal.

    And in the above article we see way too many “translation” problems. Too many suppositions about circumstances and background – such as, “However, even if we don’t go so far as Campbell does (I do, though), then what we must realize is that Paul isn’t even talking about what we would call “homosexuality.” Again, context. What’s really going on here has nothing to do with gay men or women joining together in a loving, non-coercive union. Instead, the context, as Steve Chalke points out, is “idolatry, promiscuity and shrine prostitution.”

    And, “My guess at the proper connotation of the word is based simply upon the reality that in the first century the most common and readily available form of male homoerotic sexual activity was a master’s or patrons’ exploitation of young male slaves.”

    So, I will tell you my guess: The text means exactly what Paul stated – same gender sexual relations (whatever the basis, be it abuse or consensual) are not part of Christian lifestyle.

    We now have two guesses. Of course, mine does not have to be supported by a number of “ifs” so I guess that my guess is more solid than the other guess.

    Unlike others who participate in discussions on such topics as this, I do not single out homosexual behavior as “THE” sin of sins. Sin is, well, sin. Big or little is a human approach. Such as, “Stealing is bad, unless you have no other way to feed your children…” I understand the sentiment behind that thought.. But it is not for me to say that such circumstances make it acceptable to steal. I do believe in a merciful God. And should HE decide that it was okay, I’m not about to argue with Him. What it tells me, is that I should be concerned about those who are hungry – because I know for a fact that I will be held accountable for NOT doing THAT.

    In my immediate surrounding are two sisters who have a same sex relationship. I love them, they love me. We differ strongly, but they recognize, as I do, that since they do not claim to be Christians, we live under different “rules.” And yes, folks, the Bible HAS a lot of rules, both in old and new testament. Remember Jesus? This is how people know you love me, by keeping my commandments???

  • Ellen Hammond

    Well said! For decades, I have believed that those who judge others, for their orientation, should close their mouths and open their eyes, hearts, and minds. I say this, because many of the LGBTQ+ folks, that I have been blessed to know, display the values found in 1 Corinthians 13 far more than many who are judging them. And in so doing, they reflect the Christ, in ways many judgmental ‘Christians’ only wish they could.

  • otrotierra

    Ron,
    Off topic, but FYI: a fraudulent Disqus account has again been created to impersonate and harass me across multiple comment sections beginning with Sojourners. This is the fifth fraudulent account to impersonate me.

    My own Disqus account, opened in 2011, has 4,618 comments with 13,627 upvotes. The fraud’s account, opened yesterday, June 7, 2018, is set to private and has 20 comments. While Disqus allows him to steal my name and avatar, he doesn’t have the technology to lift my comment history or upvote count. I mention this because the abuser is targeting users I interact with. Just wanted to give you a heads up in case you are targeted.

  • And what were his commandments? Love God and your neighbor as yourself. This includes your gay neighbor.

  • Exactly!

  • Denis Tate

    Me too, Matthew . I loved your article but listened to/ watched the train wreck testimony of Dr Rosario that AJ Mac Donald Jr recommended . I listened to “every jot and tittle” to quote the “ex lesbian”. Dr Rosario who virtually claimed her PhD gained while she “was a lesbian” wasn’t worth the paper it was written on has done things the other way around , compared to my own experience. She was exposed to four years of “Christian indoctrination “ (quotes mine) coming from a biblically illiterate Catholic background. I came out as gay and turned into a progressive liberal Christian and ex missionary from a background of 60 years of evangelical right wing Christianity! I believe Dr Rosario’s testimony is no more authentic or laudable than mine. I now believe we are a colourful kaleidoscope of sexual beings on a scale of 1-10 (Hetero- Homosexual) with a vast range of orientations or sexual expressions in between. I don’t believe one expression is more sinful or righteous than another. It is disappointing that Dr Rosario and AJ believe that any gay expression is sinful and requires repentance. She is entitled to her own opinion but I believe she has succumbed to 4 years of gentle, sweet and loving manipulation to come to her present beliefs from a biblically illiterate background.( I had exactly the same thing when I was younger but it never took away my gayness) You can find vast numbers of a variety of testimonies on line to support your own case. And so the “cherry picking” continues. As for me and my house we are happy to be progressive and to support LGBTQ with all the love we can muster and are happy to put Satan, eternal damnation and hell very much in the past tense as far as our beliefs are concerned.

  • Amen to that

  • Etranger

    It is interesting that progressive Christians condemn fundamentalists who harp of homosexuality but then they themselves follow a sexual morality of sorts that is also based on Biblical “instructions”. Most progressive christian blogs, and even the gay christian network – which is comprised of gay christians! – can’t talk about sex without referring to it in the context of a “committed, monogamous, christ-centered relationship”. Even progressive christians condemn much of sexual behaviors. I bet most would not think my week of sexual fun in gay bar back rooms with my partner is acceptable.

  • The Bible says, “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.” My grandson died after drinking too much at a party. He also used drugs. Some Christians would say he won’t be saved. That is by the letter of the law. But he believed in God. He wanted to be a better person. He was praying to God.

    We are not saved by being good and we are not lost by doing bad. We are saved by the death of Jesus and the grace of God. If our hearts are turned towards God, seeking to know and love him, it is enough.

    Many times God overlooks sins. He told men to have one wife. In ancient times, Godly men disobeyed this command. David had many wives, but when he committed adultery, he was punished.

    I have a sister who is a lesbian. She does not think it is a sin to get married and be faithful to her partner. Many people think this is not sin. I don’t think it is either. It may have been many years ago, but the homosexual community has become large and accepted. We know it is genetic to be attracted to the same sex. They hurt no one by living together or getting married. We should just love everyone, mind our own business and leave judgement to Go.

  • The reason for this is that people can be hurt through promiscuity. I’ve had family members who have had “oprn” marriages and wet to swinger parties. They told me no one gets hurt. But it turned out people did get hurt. They fell in love with people who were married. There was anger, jealousy and even physical harm done.
    In the Bible, when men had multiple wives, it caused a lot of heartache.

  • Etranger

    Sounds like some weak people you know! No reason to turn to the Bible for sexual moral guidance just because one cannot be a reasonable adult.

  • Nice! I had a couple of thoughts.

    The Bible is clear about some things. I’ll concede that. For the most part, however, it is not. How could it be?

    Uh, because it was inspired by God?

    I agree with you that the Bible is contradictory, and we can explain that by seeing the Bible as yet another book of mythology and legend written by ordinary people. No god necessary.

    A common charge against those who affirm the LGBTQ+ community is that we cherry-pick the Scriptures.

    A supporter of the Bible must show that the Bible’s message is consistent. Sure, you can find a Bible quote to support just about anything, but that (as you seem to be saying) isn’t good enough. Is the Bible consistent? And if it’s not, what does that say about its reliability?

    An outsider can point to a single verse (in context, of course). You can point out another verse that contradicts it, but then you’re arguing that the Bible is contradictory.

    Plain and simple, what is going on here is an attempted gang rape by all the people of Sodom, down to the last man. And sure, that’s a no-no. But, again, it has nothing to do with homosexuality.

    Nicely stated! Thank you.

    Lev. 18 and 20 give purity laws. Homosexuality is an abomination, but then eating shrimp is an abomination. Christians can’t dismiss kosher laws because Christianity has moved on without dismissing anything the OT says about homosexuality as an abomination.

    In addition, the larger context is that other tribes used male prostitutes for fertility rites (the male priest was a stand-in for a god, and the farmer plants his seed). The cult of Yahweh (for lack of a better word) wanted to differentiate its people—circumcision, no pork, don’t eat a goat cooked in milk (commandment #10), and so on. This fertility rite was another way of differentiating.

  • Inspired by God does not mean “clear.” Isn’t humanity “inspired by God?” And we are far from clear. 😉

  • Ron McPherson

    Thanks so much for the heads up. Very sorry that happened

  • I’m having a hard time imagining how God would tolerate his message being unclear.

  • Sandra Urgo

    The author is certainly creatively dissecting these verses, but in my opinion the verses are very clear about homosexuality being unclean, along with eating certain foods, or mixing meat and dairy, even speaking with a menstruating woman! So yes, I can imagine how shocking homosexual behavior was to people who were heterosexual. Of course they had to denounce it! And they forbade all kinds of things, because they were primitive and unschooled. Nowadays we understand human behavior and sexuality, and most of us have evolved to be more accepting of it. Jesus didnt mention it but I have a feeling he would care for the person as he cared for all people, especially those not included in his society (as I’m sure gay people were stigmatized). So I look at the verses as part of the culture and not something God would have commanded. Of course, Im not a bible literalist, how could one be in these times?

  • I’m pretty sure you won’t agree, but I think all humans are unreasonable. I don’t go to the Bible for moral guidence. I read it to know God. I want to really know who I am worshipping.

  • Peter said Paul’s writings are hard to understand. Soooo….

  • thx for letting us know, otrotierra! You are one of my favorite folks on Disqus. If you are being harassed to such an extent, congratulations, you must be doing something right. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

  • Etranger

    I get what you are saying. What I meant was that there is nothing inherently morally wrong with open relationships. Some folks can’t make them work because they don’t communicate. There is not moral reason to condemn them (unless on believes there is a God who cares about how adults have sex).

  • otrotierra

    Thank you for your kind words. The abusive troll now claims he is not an evangelical, yet his primary targets all just happen to be users who frequent Patheos Progressive Christian blogs. No coincidence.

    Anyway, I’m asking everyone: before responding to any posts with my name and avatar, please first click on my profile to confirm my public Disqus account, opened in 2011, which currently has 4,623 comments with 13,652 upvotes. The abuser’s account is set to private with a join date of June 2018.

  • Sorry, but “Peter said it” doesn’t really clear up the matter.

  • My thought exactly.

  • There is one snippet of wisdom in the bible that could be helpful to the question, and that is the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is a useful ethic that can universally be found in numerous religious and philosophical traditions.

    Outside of that principle, I think humanity has improved morally the more we have moved away from cowtowing to biblically supported constructs such as slavery, sexual taboos, and patriarchal attitudes towards women.

  • What Peter said is in the Bible, hence what the Bible says is that it’s not always clear. That’s my point.

  • I don’t condemn people for their consensual sexual actions at all. When a person gives their life to God, he convicts their hearts on what is right or wrong for them. This is a life-long journey and what I think I have learned from God may be different than another person. This is why Christians disagree on many things.

    Example: I had a friend who sued the company he worked for. I thought at the time that suing people was wrong. I always asked myself if Jesus would do something, and decided he wouldn’t sue people. But it isn’t my business if someone does it.

    My daughters and granddaughters don’t think they need to get officially married. They all believe in God now and they don’t think he cares either. I pretty well agree, but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t say anything. However, when my daughters were younger, I thought they should get married to the guy they were sleeping with. It took me awhile to learn to let go and quit trying to make them do what I thought was right.

  • Hmmm, that’s still not an answer to Bob’s observation. The Bible stating that it is unclear is no explanation for why it should be unclear.

  • I guess simply because humans wrote it.

  • Humans are capable of clarity, though they don’t always make the effort, and sometimes hide behind obfuscation.

  • JR

    Paul also identifies “thieves, the greedy, …drunkards…and some of you are”. We don’t hear too much about that. Our society seems to venerate thieves and the greedy currently, especially in the corporate and political world. Interesting how people cherry-pick which sins are the worst, overlooking the ones that are the most harmful to our society.

  • jekylldoc

    Well, your pointing out of things the Bible does not give instructions about is a good example of why we should not treat the Bible as an instruction book. If you didn’t know to provide for your family and be just with your employees without Paul, you have a bigger problem than the interpretation of scripture. If it was meant as an instruction book, it is sorely lacking and to assert such is to insult God.

    I think it is a good idea to be humble before the views of the apostles and gospel writers. On the other hand, we also need to understand the context to do that right. Some people regard updating views of sexuality as a weaselly attempt to get away with something. As if all God cared about was that we follow a set of rules (and if you think that, then check out the ones we are told matter: did we feed the hungry, clothe the one in rags, and visit the sick and imprisoned?) Updating views of sexuality is really an effort to be as caring as possible – to help people better connect to doing the will of God, which is that we pour our lives out for others.

  • Nica

    Yes, it’s a laundry-list of wrongdoings, in which sexual behavior is on a par with gossip or other social sins.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    My pointing out the fact that there are things JESUS does not speak about deals with the false argument: Jesus does not speak for/against, so it’s okay… Jesus’ words are not the only words with authority. Paul speaks about homosexual behavior – but that does not negate the value and impact of what he has to say! You can argue about the meaning of the words he uses, but that is secondary in this context.
    “Anyone who loves me, will obey my teaching…” There is a lot more to the teaching of Jesus than the two commands…

  • jekylldoc

    Oh, don’t worry, your point got made. But do you really think the Bible should be regarded as a book of rules? And is there a big problem with being as caring as possible?

  • Rudy Schellekens

    The Bible is the story of God and His creation. And yes, it INCLUDES rules. It starts (Don’t eat from this tree) and ends (don’t add to this book) with one.
    Of course there is no problem with being as caring as possible. But being as caring as possible does not mean that all behavior is to be accepted – which is obvious from the beginning: all this is for you. Just don’t eat from THAT tree.

  • d_hochberg

    Loving someone does not mean pretending their sins are not sins.

  • d_hochberg

    Any demographic group has good people and bad people; comparing the good people in one group against the bad ones in another is not valid.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    I believe that is part of the “Have your cake and eat it Theology”

  • d_hochberg

    The fact that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality is not evidence that He supported it. It was assumed to be sin-if Jesus thought differently, you would think He would have said as much.

  • Of course it’s valid, it’s Ellen’s experience.

  • I don’t believe being gay is any more a sin than being straight. Nor do I believe that those who are romantically involved with others of the same gender are sinning. If you do, then that is your prerogative.

  • Yes, humans are capable of clarity. But getting hundreds, perhaps thousands, of humans together to write a book? We can’t expect clarity at that point. Hell, we can’t even agree on what books are supposed to be in that book. What makes us think the book (which we can’t all agree on) is then going to be clear?

  • Clarity from hundreds of writers over centuries? Why that would require, oh, I don’t know, some omnipotent deity inspiring the work.

  • ashpenaz

    Rather than a drive-by snarky comment, what’s your moral theology?

  • Inspiring writers to justify genocide, but then also inspiring them to “love their enemies.” Inspiring writers to justify slavery, but then also inspiring them out of slavery. Yeah, crystal clear. Oh, and God is a deity?

  • Rudy Schellekens

    “I killed my dad. Why? Do you have a good reason? Well, he did not want to let me use his car. And I had a hot date.”

    Who decides what the mitigating circumstance is? That is about as subjective a concept as you can get!

    Moral theology? Where there is sin, there is forgiveness based on a sincere repentance. God does not ask for mitigating circumstances… He forgives based on my heart. I do not have to argue my case before Him. It’s either sin or it is not. And sin results in either forgiveness or punishment.

    The difference between Catholic theology and Biblical theology? GOD knows my heart. The priest does not. GOD has the power to forgive my sin. The priest does not (unless my action was directed at the priest). But then, still, GOD is the more aggrieved party…

  • jekylldoc

    Well, the Bible is part of the story of God and God’s creation. And it includes lots of rules, including some that Jesus said should sometimes be broken. The Sabbath is made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath. Paul pretty much threw out the rule book of the time, at least for Gentiles. We have to humbly listen to the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, kindness and self-control. We have to look out for the beam in our own eye before we try to help our neighbor with that splinter.

  • jekylldoc

    So it leaves me baffled that some people want to pretend they know the hearts of others, as if they are God.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    The Old Law was tossed out for both Gentiles AND Jews. And yes, the fruit of the Spirit is all those things – and then some. And yes, we have to make sure we do not ignore the sin in our own life. But that does not negate the fact that we are called to “restore those who have sinned…” and that means recognizing sin for what it is.

    As far as humbly listening to the Spirit – you realize that what you are saying is that for centuries people have been ignoring the Spirit when they have condemned homosexual behavior, right? Or has the message of the Spirit changed???

  • jekylldoc

    I don’t think we are in any position to take the Bible as a single message from God. That view grew up around the Protestant pushback against church authority. They wanted a source of authority that individuals could turn to directly (thus translating the Bible into the vernacular) and a source of authority that had not suffered the corruption of worldly power. Scripture does pretty well on both counts. The problem is when we then turned it into some kind of absolute and obvious definition of spiritual truth. Sorry, but it just doesn’t work.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    “For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”

    Was Paul wrong?

  • ashpenaz

    What is a sin? Was it a sin for Jesus to heal on the Sabbath–or were there mitigating circumstances? Was it a sin for Jesus to allow His feet to be washed by a prostitute–or were there mitigating circumstances? If I steal bread to feed my starving child, have I broken one of the Commandments? When Jesus steals someone’s pigs in order to get rid of demons, has He broken one of the Commandments? When Rahab lied, did she break a commandment? When Hosea married and adultress, did he commit a sin? When God asks us to beat the heads of babies against rocks, is He asking us to murder? Do you have any divorced friends? Have they broken Jesus’ command? Do you eat lobster?

  • Rudy Schellekens

    The Pharisaic explanation of the Sabbath was the problem, not the healing. As Jesus refers to the animal in need…

    As far as Hosea goes, he would have sinned had he NOT married here (Go, and marry…)

    Yes I have divorced friends. More than that, I have divorced relatives. I even have divorced parents. The only one I am sure about that was definitely sin was my father’s departure.

    As far as “mitigating circumstances” go, that’s between you and God whether or not He will agree with you…

    But we are talking about acts that are a) listed as sin, b) condemned as sin – and clearly so. Jesus speaks of divorce and remarriage, and He mentions ONE exception. And, unlike you and I, He had the right to list exceptions…

  • ashpenaz

    You do a good job of expressing evangelical moral theology. I think Catholic moral theology is closer to the meaning of Scripture. I’m not an evangelical.

  • That’s really anachronistic.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    I am not evangelical either. I use Scripture as we have it, not as it is interpreted by the Pope from time to time…

  • Exactly! Along with inspiring soldiers to dash babies against rocks, inspiring Sheol, inspiring Hades, inspiring golden rules, inspiring lakes of fire, …

    I’ve heard that some folks think God is a deity, but I imagine there are as many versions of God as there are people who imagine him/her/it. God could be a bit of stomach acid for all I know.

  • jekylldoc

    What has changed is our understanding of the science, and people’s awareness of who is gay. Some people think the Spirit is a pipeline to mysterious insight into the way the world works, but I don’t. When people burned witches, they honestly thought the Holy Spirit was in that, but no. Nothing about love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness or self-control. Plenty about scapegoating their anxieties.

    So yeah, I do think that people condemning homosexuality in the past were ignoring the Spirit. I recognize that is not such a rare matter – Christians have also claimed to justify slavery, for example – but let’s face it, claiming to have a supernatural source of authority is not the same thing as making the effort to be kind.

    I think you are making a fundamental error when you conclude that sin is about obedience. (I know you didn’t say that, and I will apologize if I am wrong, but I am not wrong, am I?). Sin is about separation from God. I know some deeply spiritual gay people, leaders who have been vitally important to the spiritual walk of other people, and they worked out long ago that the opposition to homosexuality was about folks clinging to 1st century perspectives, not about their walk with God. I don’t know how to explain without introducing them to you, but I promise you that you can meet the same kind of people if you make any effort at all.

    So I say to you what Philip said to Nathanael – come and see.

  • jekylldoc

    Probably. I don’t really know, obviously. I seriously doubt that there is anyone who cannot be romantically fulfilled without getting involved with their father’s wife. But the chances that some kind of “destruction of the flesh” would result are tiny, and even less so that any salvation of the man’s spirit would result.

    There is a pretty good chance that the person involved was breaking taboos because of some psychological disorder. Therapy has a very good record with fetishes, sadism, masochism, exhibitionism, kleptomania and other “object” disorders. Its record on same sex attraction is close enough to zero to be taken as zero. Nobody gets “cured” by any method we know about. So Paul’s condemnation may have been a caring approach, and yet the same cannot be said about condemning same-sex involvement.

  • jekylldoc

    I don’t know about acceptable. I don’t think God wants me to be in the position of “accepting” or not other people based on whether they are, for example, sexually promiscuous. If someone asked me if I would recommend promiscuous sex, I have no trouble answering “no” but that’s a different question. Would I “accept” a proud porn performer, or a happy hooker? Well, only on the basis of thinking their sin is pretty much like my sin.

    I think committed monogamous relationships offer an opportunity to develop spiritually in a way that fooling around on a whim does not. I also agree with Belle Unruh that what seems to be harmless often ends up damaging people (or even starts out with consent that is less than real consent.) But a spiritual walk is just not about judging other people, and if a person has to be judgmental they should begin with hardness of heart and participation in violent systems of exploitation.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    In short: Paul did not have the right knowledge to make the decision he made, is what you are saying. It was a “mental disorder” (i.e. the man was not responsible for his behavior).

  • Etranger

    It is true that what appears harmless often hurts people. The first thing that comes to mind is traditional marriage. Most open relationships involve couples who discuss details about sexual desires that few committed couples could ever dream of. That is probably why half of committed couples cheat at some point. At that point, someone gets hurt.

    It is interesting that a happy hooker or proud porn performer is committing a sin in your book. It illustrates my point exactly.

  • jekylldoc

    Happy to illustrate your point. I am not, again, into accepting or not other sinners, but I do have my opinions.

    What you cite as “harm” from traditional marriage is resulting from people’s difficulties sorting out their own life, which is a spiritual problem. The cheating doesn’t result primarily from the expectations that go with traditional marriage, though if people in an open marriage find that it unkinks some of their difficulties, well, that’s their business not mine. The cheating so common in marriage results far more often from inability to work out differences and the anger and alienation and withdrawal that follows from it. I think if those couples would learn better communication skills and better life skills, most of them would be much happier without feeling sexually frustrated.

    The same thing applies to things parents do that create mental illness in their children. This is not a result of “being trapped” into parenthood. It’s a result of an inadequate skill set.

  • jekylldoc

    Well, what I thought I was saying was that Paul did not know what he was talking about with “destruction of the flesh” and some spiritual salvation from it. He may have been quite right about the man’s behavior and the strangeness of the Corinthians’ pride about it. I really am not informed on the case, and would not want to second guess him. But I did want to make the point that he is a lot more likely to be right about a curable disorder than about same-sex attraction, if he condemned that.

    Look, people then believed in demonic possession as an explanation of schizophrenia, epilepsy and a number of other problems. Why would anyone want to be invested in affirming these misconceptions? Next you’ll be proposing that witches be burned.

  • Well that’s just bad metaphysics

  • Most religion is bad metaphysics.

  • Agree.

  • Well put.

  • Kevin K

    Actually …. not so shocking back then. You’re imposing your modern filters on ancient culture.

    If you read histories of that era written by people of that era, pederasty was routine. In Greek culture, it was expected that a man would take a boy “under his wing”, so to speak, as a sort of a mentor. Sexual relations were part-and-parcel of this mentoring. Romans as well, except the exchange was much more one-sided and not necessarily mutually beneficial. Sex slaves were common. Every Roman emperor except one had a boy “lover”.

  • Tim

    A total side point, but most of the time, witches weren’t burned, but rather hanged.

    And I’m pretty sure it was never for turning anyone into a newt. 😉

  • Sandra Urgo

    Sorry, I meant shocking to Jewish people. I know all about the Greeks. It was the Romans who introduced sex to women, (ajoke)

  • jekylldoc

    I’m willing to take your word for it. Not sure Newt would.

  • Shocking to the Jews? I don’t think so. Ever heard of David and Jonathan?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    If you both make it up as you go along, why bother with the bible to begin with? Why bother with religion if it’s only an echo of your beliefs?

  • Who is “both?”

  • Mark Tyrrell

    People are overlooking the very simple fact that homosexuality is not a normal lifestyle. Indeed, it is a downright dangerous and unhealthy way of living.

    This, from the late Randy Shiltz, journalist, practicing homosexual, and author of the book, ‘And The Band Played On.’

    Published in the mid-to-late 1980’s, the book is a history of the AIDS plague in America. In it, author Shiltz does two things.

    1) He describes male homosexual practices, practices which boggle the mind, and which one normally would never think of in one’s wildest imagination. I invite people to explain exactly what the
    terms, ‘rimming,’ and, ‘fisting,’ mean.

    2) He describes the consequences of male homosexual practices from strictly a health-care point of view. In particular, he says that in the 1970’s, the medical profession spoke of the gay bowel
    syndrome, that is, those diseases, mostly of a gastrointestinal nature, which were directly related to said male homosexual practices.

    Author Shiltz says, too, that at that time, it was not uncommon for a male homosexual to have two doctors; his family doctor, and a doctor in the homosexual community to whom he turned for treatment of those conditions related to homosexual practices.

    From this, I conclude that if a man smokes cigarettes, he runs the risk, not only of lung cancer, but also of a whole range of other sicknesses. Likewise, if a man engages in homosexual activity, he runs the risk, not only of AIDS, but also of a wide variety of other ailments.

    In this regard, I have nothing but the deepest compassion for anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped in this lifestyle. It must be downright miserable.

    Finally, I must add that it is my strong conviction that those people with a truly visceral hatred of homosexuals, are themselves those who secretly struggle with homosexual feelings. Rather than confront the matter head on through counselling (and, dare I add, prayer) they find it much easier to cop out by blaming homosexuals for their problem.

  • Sorry, but this is idiotic.

  • Etranger

    Are you praying or getting counseling then?

  • I don’t think we are in any position to take the Bible as any sort of message from God.

  • jekylldoc

    Well, I generally think of God as the spirit of caring, these days. If that makes sense, then it also makes sense to think of the Hebrews’ thought about their covenant and laws as a message from the spirit of caring, and the New Testament theological revolution as a message from the spirit of caring. Neither is a carefully composed message, of course, with a guiding intelligence behind it, let alone a supernatural porthole to look through. But in a real sense, I do credit the Bible as a message.

  • If your first sentence is a metaphor in which the “spirit of caring” represents the concern that humans have for each other’s welfare, then I can see what you mean though I still wouldn’t agree given that biblical texts quite often portray the opposite: the destruction of humans for tribal or religious reasons.

    But then I’m not sure what you mean by “a real sense” in your last sentence. Sounds like a metaphorical sense to me.

    I’m assuming your first sentence is a not a reference to a spirit who is an actual intelligent entity, since you don’t see it as a “guiding intelligence.”

  • This is often a correction that has to be made for those who think that the Salem witches in America were burned – they were, indeed, hanged.

    However, huge numbers of Europeans were burned to death as witches during the Early Modern period, roughly dating from the enacting of the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina, in which burning was prescribed as the penalty for witchcraft throughout the Holy Roman Empire.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e1b02d17df4ae4ae39c1bf9b1ac0cb00b7275a4c462c50dae71fd59463d3459.jpg

  • jekylldoc

    Metaphor is not the right word. The beliefs in Yahweh which gave rise to modern Judaism and Christianity were typical theism of the ancient world, seeing unseen entities as the forces responsible for natural disasters and even the rise and fall of nations. But these beliefs also gave rise to a mutual reliance which has a lot of the spirit of caring in it. The covenant theology of the ancient Hebrews is, as far as I know, unique.

    Buddhism, which arose around the same time, also embodies the spirit of caring, although in a different manner.

    I don’t think there is an “intelligent entity” involved, but a spirit which draws in so many people and so many societies certainly has some capacity to process information and change direction, even if we don’t get “decisions” and “actions” like the ones a person makes, and like the ones portrayed in the Bible.

    So the anthropomorphized deity “Yahweh” is also more than a metaphor for the spirit of caring. Yahweh represented that spirit to the Hebrews. And gradually over time, the emotionally chaotic actions of ancient deities gave way to an awareness of a sense of purpose and a nurturing presence.

    It is important not to lose track of the caring involved in the aggression by the ancient Hebrews against other peoples. It wasn’t innocent or just, from a universal perspective, but it was mutual and required them to help each other and to lean on each other. Out of that mutuality grew the prophetic calls for justice and the vision of Israel as a light to the nations.

    The process that is the spirit of caring inspires our actions to be more just, more empathetic, and more deliberate as well. To me it makes sense for that inspiration to leave a record, and to think of it as a message.

  • OK – so if metaphor is not the right word, what is? Literal?

    What do you mean by the word “spirit”? For that matter, what do you mean by a “sense of purpose” or a “nurturing presence”? To me, these seem like unnecessarily vague terms. Are you talking about something (an attitude, conviction, desire, whatever) that is shared by the writers and recipients of Hebrew scripture? Or are you talking about some sort of mystical “presence” or “spirit” that exists outside of humans but which influences them?

    “Covenant theology” is a disputed theological framework by which modern theologians view ancient Israel. Doubtless, there are covenants within Hebrew scripture, but they are not unique; scholars have noted that they are analogous to earlier Hittite treaties, and likely arose in cultures for which documentation is no longer extant.

  • jekylldoc

    “Symbol” is the term I am familiar with, but although it is better than metaphor, it still sounds artificial. Yahweh is more like a “manifestation” of the spirit of caring – something like the Hindu sense. Only instead of some otherworldly entity being manifested, it is a spirit.

    Spirit is possible because people care what other people care about. We don’t just “have” concern for each other’s welfare, as if it arises separately and individually. We learn concern, we foster concern, we celebrate concern, we feel it in the glances of others and hear it in the tones of voice of others. Spirit is a dynamic process, involving our understanding of how the world works and involving our subconscious perceptions and our emotional reactions and everything in between.

    I’m interested in learning more about why covenant theology is questioned. I do understand that the prophets who cited it often exaggerated the place of the covenant with God in society, but those kinds of narratives often give shape to our self-understanding as a group, and it was a pretty exceptional self-understanding, even if only a small part of the society cared about it.

    I am vaguely aware of the historical antecedents to the covenant format for Torah. To me that just makes it more remarkable, that the format was adopted for representing God’s communication of laws (blended with other presentation formats, but even so). My question is whether other cultures had a covenant with their god(s) as a foundational motif. I am not aware of any.

  • So spirit, to you, is a symbol (though you find the word “artificial’) of the fact that our individual care for each other is dynamically learned, fostered, and celebrated, involving both shared emotions, sensory feelings, subconscious perceptions, and worldview. To me, you’ve just described “humanism”, not “spirit”.

    That’s fine, but the problem, of course, is that when you use the word “spirit” in religious contexts, the majority of religious people interpret the word as an actual intelligent entity, which is responsible for creating the universe, creating humans in it’s own image, and actively guiding human affairs in an intelligent way.

    Since Bob began this thread by addressing the obvious religious presumption that God operates as an entity with intelligent agency, you’re simply confusing the issue by launching into an alternate view of the Bible without making it clear that you don’t share that common religious presumption. You confuse it even more by using language (“spirit”) that is most commonly used in religious contexts to denote an entity with intelligent agency.

    Just look of the phrase “covenant theology” on any theological website. It’s more than a simple acknowledgement that there are covenants in the bible. It is a theological framework for organizing biblical theology, and it comes in many forms. It’s not necessarily right or wrong; but it may be more or less useful depending on what text is being examined. There are other theological frameworks such as “dispensationalism”. Such frameworks can be useful for organizing theological ways of viewing biblical texts, but they are, of course, frameworks imposed by theologians after the fact, and can obscure the fact that biblical texts were composed for a variety of purposes, in a variety of contexts, and not every writer would necessarily have been concerned with “covenants”.

    Personally, in the history of human events, I don’t see how covenants with an imagined God would be more remarkable or in any way supersede covenants with people. I find it remarkable when people in a society learn to care for each other, not a “god”. Especially a jealous God who enforces violent tribalism, land-grabbing, and religious exclusivity.

  • jekylldoc

    No, I didn’t say “spirit” is a symbol. Yahweh, the biblical construct, is a symbol. Somewhere early on, he was probably a symbol of enforcement (don’t take the name of Yahweh in vain: if you swear by Yahweh that you will bring your troops to battle the Midianites, they had better show up) as many gods were. (The gods probably didn’t actually strike people with thunderbolts, but they would put an oath-breaker in bad odor that made others want to leave him alone.) Enforcing law is a bit of an advance over enforcing oaths, since in that case it is mutual restraint that is enforced, not just keeping promises to the deity.

    Eventually Yahweh became a symbol of the spirit of caring.

    Humanism is also a spirit, with an enormous overlap with the universal version of the spirit of caring. They are not quite the same thing: humanism is explicitly a reaction to the shortcomings of religion, and to this day humanists have trouble being community to each other. It’s as if only the universal version, in all its philosophical purity, “counts” among humanists. Difficult to bring a casserole to everyone on earth equally. If you think about it, a spirit of caring without genuine community is somewhat lame, even if it does have the dedication to refrain from bigotry.

    You say it’s a problem that when I use the term “spirit” in a religious context, the majority of people interpret it as an actual intelligent entity. I’m not convinced it’s a problem. Good theology is not about accuracy, it’s about being able to separate out the motivations that come from the spirit of caring from the motivations that come from the urge to see oneself as superior to others (among which is the need to be correct).

    I don’t mind explaining my views to fundamentalists, Buddhists, progressive Christians, academic philosophers or dedicated anti-theists. I don’t think being misinterpreted is a terrible thing – especially since the spirit that the traditionalists think I am talking about is a symbol for the spirit of caring.

  • Ah, I assumed you were answering my question of what you mean by “spirit” if not a metaphor. In that case, you still haven’t really answered the question of what you mean by the word “spirit”. Especially since you now vaguely refer to humanism as a “spirit”. Incidentally, I find it rather laughable that you think humanists have trouble being community to each other, given the abundant historical and often violent schisms between and within religious communities. What makes you think community is any more difficult for humanists than for the religious? Any evidence?

    Yahweh became a spirit of caring? Well, that’s a highly personal and unsupported assertion. You could far more easily make a case from biblical texts that Yahweh became a spirit of tribalism or war or religious exclusivity or violent land-grabbing.

  • jekylldoc

    Spirit was defined by Kierkegaard 200 years ago (at the time when Hegel with his “Zeitgeist” was the bee’s knees of philosophy):

    “Relationship related to itself.” If a process (a relationship between certain causes and certain effects) is related to itself (can change its goals or its mechanism, as part of being itself) then it is a spirit. Any self-conscious movement is likely to have a spirit at its core (pop quiz: what is the spirit of Monty Python?)

    Yes indeed, Christianity has had a lot of trouble being community across boundaries. “I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas” was going on in the second or third decade of the movement. On the other hand, it has brought a lot of casseroles.

    To be fair to humanism, Unitarian Universalism does a good job of being in community, and they are about as humanist as you get. As far as I can tell, its only (main?) weakness is a kind of intellectual elitism, but man is the music good.

  • Actually, “spirit” has been defined for thousands of years from a Latin etymological root meaning “breath”, but developing in religious traditions to mean a supernatural being with agency (including both gods, lesser beings, and the eternal essence within humans).

    You’re free to use Kierkegaard’s definition, of course:

    “A human being is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation that relates itself to itself or is the relation’s relating itself to itself in the relation.” (Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, p. 13)

    But I don’t think this definition fits very well with your uses of “spirit” so far. I’m not sure that it’s particularly Kierkegaardian to ascribe “self-consciousness” to any given “movement”. Individuals within a movement are self-conscious; but to describe the movement itself as self-conscious is meaningless.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    You and the Fundiegelicals.

  • jekylldoc

    Well, no, it isn’t meaningless at all to ascribe self-consciousness to, e.g. the Civil Rights movement, or humanism, or feminism, or, for that matter, existentialism. All of these movements, as movements, have shown consciousness of the nature of the relation they represent, and interest in shaping the evolution of the relationship.

    Note that Kierkegaard does not use “self-conscious” as part of his definition. It is not necessary that spirit work according to mechanisms or constraints that we see within an individual’s consciousness. I think he knew precisely what he was talking about, and I have been holding the definition up to examples for 40 years with quite satisfactory results.

    We are all used to “esprit de corps” and “remaining within the spirit of the law” and similar usages. This is not linguistic innovation, but it is a conscious step outside the orthodoxy of least-common-denominator understandings of theological terminology. You will find that most Christian clergy are familiar with it, like they are familiar with Buber’s “I/Thou” relationships.

  • Well, yes, despite your penchant for making baseless assertions, it is, in fact, meaningless to ascribe self-consciousness to movements as opposed to individuals within the movement, in any sense except, perhaps, a metaphorical one.

    No, Kierkegaard does not use “self-conscious” as part of his definition. Neither did he equate “spirit” with movements instead of individuals, as you have done.

    You are getting closer to your own use of spirit when you relate it to “esprit de corps” or “spirit of the law”, but those are hardly the uses Kierkegaard is talking about in the definition you quoted. But those are valid uses of the word “spirit”. I never said your usage of the word was invalid; I said it was vague and undefined given the fact that you were addressing someone who was clearly talking about the view of God as an entity with intellectual agency.

  • jekylldoc

    So you believe that the civil rights movement was not aware of itself? That it did not know there was a “civil rights movement”? Or do you believe that it did not care what became of the civil rights movement and was just fine if it wandered off into irrelevant venting or frivolous moral posturing?

    I am not sure what ax you are grinding, here, but if I was to respond point by point I would be repeating myself. Certainly Kierkegaard was aware of Hegel’s “Spirit of the Age” (we are talking about the age of the French Revolution.) Hegel had Napoleon as the World-Spirit on Horseback. If Kierkegaard had wanted to define spirit separately from such terminology in its dominance of the whole field of philosophy, he certainly would have done so. His definition nicely encompasses a human person (but not a rat) as well as the Spirit of the Age as well as the spirit of Revolution, with its new calendar, new measurement system, new political architecture and new way of fighting battles.

  • That’s right. People within the civil rights movement were aware of the movement. But the movement itself was not a self-aware entity. It was a collection of self-aware individuals.

    I don’t have an ax to grind beyond pointing out how lame your responses have been so far. Of course Kierkegaard would have been “aware” of alternate definitions for the word “spirit”. But in the definition you cite, he is clearing talking about individuals.

  • jekylldoc

    I think when we are done analyzing, for example with the work of Antonio Damasio, what “awareness” is, that it will become plain that a process of representing experience to the self is the basic mechanism. There is no reason to limit that process to the one that occurs within individuals

    When you say Kierkegaard is “clearing [sic] talking about individuals” you are misreading him. “Spirit is the self” is a statement about what kind of thing, entity or process constitutes spirit. For people to recognize it, particularly in the psychological context which he is interested in, directing them to look at themselves makes sense. But the actual definition of what is occurring, what defines a self, steps outside that instance to direct our attention to what is essential about the process in making it a self and a spirit.

    We have no reason to think that lower animals question their goals or create the kinds of representations one can manipulate to ask if it is worthwhile, if it is meaningful, if it is virtuous, etc. That is a process of relating the self to the self. But movements and -isms clearly engage in such a process. They create representations and examine them.

    Your objection seems to be to characterizing any process that occurs within people as having a larger existence (or “self”). But in doing so you have forcibly excluded parts of the process that occur between people, as though those were somehow not really part of the process. Yet they clearly are.

  • Who said I make it up as I go along?

  • It’s funny how you refer to Damasio and Kierkegaard as though they would somehow support your silly notion that a “movement” or “ism” has a sense of self. Damasio, whose research is uniquely focused on the brain, would find the idea laughable.

    No, jekylldoc. Especially as Damasio uses the term “self”, movements do not have a sense of self. Individuals with brains within the movement do.

  • jekylldoc

    Beau, I think it odd that you are quite confident of knowing what Damasio and Kierkegaard meant, or would find laughable. But that’s your business. I think the idea of the character God symbolizing the spirit of caring makes good sense with or without it having a sense of self. It works on a wider variety of phenomena than any other conceptualization I have heard, including the one that says “God is a silly fiction” or “God is a monstrous abuser.”

    Obviously you are welcome to come to a different conclusion.

  • No jekylldoc, you’ve provided nothing to indicate that Damasio or Kierkegaard were referring to anything but individuals in their study of the sense of “self”. You can espouse any silly pet theory of group or “movement” self you like, but you didn’t get it from either Damasio or Kierkegaard. Especially, Damasio whose focus on the physical interaction of the brain with the individual sense of self is so clear, it makes me wonder if you’ve actually read anything by the man.

    Now as far as God symbolizing something, that’s a subjective characterization you’re free to suppose (though it might make conversation easier if you actually say that’s what you mean by “God” in the first place). If you want to imagine “God” as a symbol of the spirit of caring, that’s perfectly fine. It strikes me that you could save a step by simply saying “God” is a symbol of caring.

    I’d prefer symbols of caring that do not (even in fiction) destroy the entire population of the world in a flood, kill every first born child in Egypt, kill thousands of their own people in the wilderness for disobedience, order the decimation of entire tribes (including men women and children), while limiting the decimation of other tribes to allow the Israelite soldiers to take away the virgins for themselves, etc.

  • jekylldoc

    You have substantially distorted the points I made in bringing in both Kierkegaard and Damasio. You object to ascribing self-awareness to a movement or any other interacting process among people. That’s your point, and while I disagree with it, I did not say that either Kierkegaard or Damasio disputed it.

    What I did say, in the case of Kierkegaard, is that his definition of what makes a spirit, and a self, is relationship to itself. There is no way that excludes a movement making decisions on whether it pursue different goals or strategies. The self-awareness may be entirely located within individuals (though on substantive grounds I would argue it is also located between people, that is, in their interactions) but the relation of the movement to itself is clear, and clearly satisfies the philosophical distinction laid out.

    I think it is quite silly of you to extrapolate from Kierkegaard’s context, a discussion of the (individual) self, to conclude that he could not mean that the definition applied to the Hegelian notions he spends a good part of his writing refuting. But again, the substance of the argument does not depend on Kierkegaard’s use or intent. As with humanism, the goals, priorities, methods, and understandings of the spirit of caring in the world are open to modification by the process itself.

    A similar distortion appears in your discussion of Damasio. I quite agree that he is focused on the internal process that we call consciousness, and wants to understand it. But I was presenting the notion that understanding it is likely to lead us to a picture of process, and that the process is likely to be one that can be discerned in other contexts. You want to argue that nothing he finds can be relevant to any other process than the neurological one he is examining. I think you are wrong.

  • Bless your heart, Jekylldoc, you’re the one “extrapolating” from Kierkegaard and Damasio, not me. It’s a rather lame extrapolation, but you’re welcome to it.

  • jekylldoc

    I apologize for the use of “extrapolate.” “Infer” will do just fine.

  • “homosexuality is not a normal lifestyle. Indeed, it is a downright dangerous and unhealthy way of living.” Well, this is a half truth. STD’s are on the rise in America, not just in Gay communities, but across board, in all represented groups. The reason: unprotected sex. Medical advances in the cure of STD’s has made safe sex practices more lax and careless. BTW, there is no such thing as a “homosexual lifestyle” any more than a “heterosexual lifestyle.” Gays buy groceries, shop for clothes, go to plays and baseball games, fall in love, adopt children, go to work, do laundry, in other words, live life just like everyone else. Gay men in their 20s 30s are no more horney than 20 something heterosexual men who “play around.” There is a concerning rise in unsafe sexual practices coupled with the ease of finding new partners through dating apps, that make it easier to hook up with previously unknown partners. In times past couples found each other through school, church or other shared organizations. Couples knew something of each other before dating. Times have changed. So prevention is still the individuals repsonsibility. Know your partner and use condoms.

  • I guess if I was spiritual enough I too could assume what Jesus was thinking. BTW, this is the same fallacy Preston Sprinkle uses in “A People to be Loved,” assuming Jesus’ thoughts for him. Poor scholarship. If one is going to vilify an entire group of people and assign them to eternal torment, one should be a little more careful in their exegesis of scripture.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you, Kirk.

  • Otro Tiara

    Jesus never said that fisting a man while being fellated is a sin…

  • Otro Tiara

    Yeah, totally off-topic…

  • Otro Tiara

    I never judge a man who is sucking my cock!

  • countervail

    I read someone else’s statement to this thought. The idea was like, “think of the Bible as a litmus test, a Rorschach test. Good, ethical people will find the scriptures and the inspiration from the Bible to do good. Evil, unscrupulous people will find the scriptures and the inspiration to do harm.”

    So it’s up to you, Bible or no Bible, to be a good person and do good in the world. If you need the Bible to figure out if you’re doing bad or not, just assume you’re evil.

  • countervail

    Well, if we’re being honest, since the scriptures were written decades and sometimes centuries after the fact, how do we know what Jesus said (or that there was a Jesus at all since we have no historical records?)

    Or are you able to recount things you said in perfect detail in 1997?

  • wullaj

    Wow. You are impersonating TWO people at the same time. I’ve heard of this troll. Blocked.

  • Otro Tiara

    Just Otrotierra – my spelling riffs off his name and is suggestive of being a pansy.

  • PremiumOsmium

    So here’s the thing. As an atheist and a humanist, I don’t need to parse the Bible to make it back up what I believe. But two thousand years of Christian doctrine and tradition have universally held that homosexuality is an abomination. Christians today are fighting to the Supreme Court for their right to discriminate against homosexuals. American Christians are influencing legislation in countries like Uganda to persecute, jail, and even kill homosexuals.

    Your particular interpretation is brand new. The men who came before you had access to the exact same text and reached the opposite conclusion. And if you want to argue against them, then you’re also saying that the men who came before you and the men in charge of Christianity today are all wrong. You are in the minority, both today and historically.

    So, speaking as a nonbeliever, if you are saying that not only are your own religion’s teachings wrong, then why on Earth should I or anybody else believe any of it? Why should I or anybody else follow a religion that you are saying has got it wrong consistently for over two thousand years? There’s a lot else I know they’re wrong about, but I wouldn’t expect a Christian to outright say that Christianity is wrong.

  • StevenHaupt

    Why?

  • Ron McPherson

    Why not?

  • StevenHaupt

    So homosexuality is not sin in your opinion.

  • Ron McPherson

    Perhaps it might be more conducive to discussion if you were to specifically point out what you consider to be flaws (and why) in the points raised by the author.

  • StevenHaupt

    You obviously don’t want a discussion. You refused to tell me why you felt the article was terrific.

  • Ron McPherson

    No, you’re just wanting to argue

  • StevenHaupt

    Sorry to see you say that. If I said something was terrific and somebody ask me why, I would not be afraid to answer,

  • Ron McPherson

    Your original question was why I thought the article was terrific. To be blunt, I had concerns with respect to the integrity of your question (ie concerns you were just baiting) based on some of your previous comments. When I offered you the opportunity to discuss points about the article itself (after all, that’s what I commented on), you leapt straight to the subject matter of the article rather than the merits of the article itself. In other words, were you genuinely wanting to know why I thought it was a good article, or were you rather using your “question” as a springboard to rail against gays? What else am I to think when your second post was not about the merits of the article, but rather a question about my personal beliefs. What does that have to do with the merits of the article itself.

    For what it’s worth, I think the article raises very valid issues. For those interested in giving due diligence to this topic, it’s a very good article regardless of where they currently stand because, you know, it forces one to think. However, for those who have already made up their mind, as in “I’ve already made up my mind and I’m not going to change come hell or high water no matter what points anybody makes and that includes Jesus himself”, and acknowledge only those articles and views that merely confirm their pre-existing biases, and like only those articles that agree with them no matter how poorly the evidence is presented (but hey they just gotta be good cause they agree with me), then yeah they probably won’t like this article.

  • StevenHaupt

    2+2=4, and homosexuality = sin. My mind accepted God’s word on the mateer. Why couldn’t you say that you don’t accept that homosexuality =sin? Why the long response?

  • Ron McPherson

    The fact that you reduce your position down to you “accepting God’s word on the matter” reveals that a) you didn’t read the article, (b) you read it but are unable to comprehend it; (c) you’re in denial of anything in scripture that brings tension to your pre-existing beliefs; or (d) you both read it and comprehended it, but just being a troll.

    Troll = a person who starts quarrels on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting digressive or extraneous messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers for the troll’s own amusement.

    You give yourself away that something is amiss with your every post. You seem either incapable or not interested in actually articulating any flaws within the article. Instead, you apparently just want to use someone else’s blog to give you a free public platform to rail against what seems to be your favorite topic – homosexuality. Thou protesteth too much.

  • countervail

    The Bible said that’s what he said. The first chapter of the new testament was written over 50 years past his supposed passing. Do you know anyone who wrote a historical account of something 50 years after the fact, specifically the exact words of what was said or not said? And for such an important person, why is there so little official historical record, perhaps even none?

  • Rudy Schellekens

    What is the minimum number of sources you would accept? Apart from that, there is a number of historical references.
    And what basis do you use for the idea that the first book was not written until 50 years later?

  • StevenHaupt

    You are wrong!

    But you have shown me that in your opinion homosexuality is not sin and is acceptable behavior in God’s eyes. You could have told me that in the first place if you had simply answered my question. You said “terrific article” and I simply asked why. No need to show you that you are wrong because your mind is closed.

  • Ron McPherson

    “…because your mind is closed”

    LOL!!! You need to glance in the mirror

  • StevenHaupt

    God gives man free will. He does not force you to accept His word. I’m thankful that I have accepted God’s word on the sinfullness of homisexuality and my mind is closed on the matter. Your mind is closed in the other direction.

  • Ron McPherson

    “He does not force you to accept His word. I’m thankful that I have accepted God’s word on the sinfulness of homosexuality…”

    Translation: I’m thankful that my view is the only acceptable one to God. Anybody that believes the way I do accepts the scriptures. Anybody that doesn’t means, by extension, that they reject the scriptures.

    “…and my mind is closed on the matter.”

    Translation: I have a closed mind on this topic, for reasons known only to me. As such, I reject outright any viewpoint that differs from mine, regardless of how diligently one may have genuinely studied the scriptures on this particular topic and regardless of the validity of their conclusions.

    “Your mind is closed in the other direction.”

    For over three decades it was when I had the same viewpoint you do. Then I stepped away from my confirmation bias and educated myself.

  • StevenHaupt

    “For over three decades it was when I had the same viewpoint you do. Then I stepped away from my confirmation bias and educated myself.”

    The world is full of lost people who have educated themselves. I choose to let God educate me. Lean not unto your own understanding. I pray that you will let God educate you through His word.

  • Ron McPherson

    “I pray that you will let God educate you through His word.”

    Um… It WAS through the Bible. That’s what you don’t get. You have tunnel vision with respect to the scriptures and elevate YOUR OWN understanding to that of God’s. You are the epitome of one who DOES rely on their own understanding. Steven thinks… so therefore God is. Which makes it all the more ironic that you allude to Proverbs 3:5, which by the way does not mean that purposeful ignorance is somehow a virtue.

    You may find this shocking, but some people actually give due diligence to bible study and arrive at different conclusions than Steven. Thinking differently than Steven does not mean that one is “lost.” Your assumptions along that line reveals a lot.

    Believe it or not, there are people who research the original Hebrew and Greek words the biblical authors used, seek to understand the cultural backdrop of their times, study the context of the subject matter and the issues which gave rise to their writings in the first place, and earnestly seek guidance from the Spirit along the way – and now get this – actually arrive at different conclusions than Steven.
    I realize that, however, may be difficult for you to comprehend at this point.

  • countervail

    I think you want to split hairs here. We have verifiable evidence of the gospels being written about 40 CE, not earlier. The larger point is that we have a document that quotes “Jesus” in a documentary manner, that what is reported he said in the bible was transcribed at the time he said it. We have no evidence to that. We cannot conclusively say that a person – Jesus – of whom we have even less verifiable evidence for even existing specifically said what is noted in the bible. Further, we have various council meetings that voted on including or excluding various traditional text also attributed to godly inspiration. As a religious document of dogma, the bible is far inferior to other documents, like the quran which was written by a single author in his own lifetime. Using your criteria for believability, why are any of these other documents not as believable? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_text

    I understand you really want to believe all this, and you will do you darnedest to find threads from whole cloth to make that real for you. But don’t try to do the same for others. I mean honestly, do you think if you were born in India or Japan or Africa you would still come to the realization of some belief in Christianity despite your upbringing and non-Christian indoctrination?

  • StevenHaupt

    “I realize that, however, may be difficult for you to comprehend at this point.”

    Is this difficult for you to understand: Homosexuality is sin.

    Do you need some Bible verses to show you that?

  • Ron McPherson

    Next time you pick a site to troll, it would probably be a good idea to at least read the article first. I assume you haven’t because those bible references you want to point out (ya know, the ones that everybody has already pored over a thousand times) is addressed in the article. That’s, um, kinda the point of it LOL! With every post you do nothing more than reveal your purpose for coming on here in the first place. All anyone has to do is go back and review our convo from the beginning and it’s obvious. You gay obsessors are so transparent.

  • StevenHaupt

    Again, you are wrong, I did read the article. But it is you and I who are conversing. I wonder if I could get you did give me an honest and clear answer to a simple question, The question is, is there a Bible translation that you trust and use, and if there is, what is it? That question couldn’t possibly be intimidating or hard to answer, right?

  • Ron McPherson

    I own, and have extensively used, NASB, NIV, KJV, NRSV, NKJV. I also regularly consult ESV and NET

  • StevenHaupt

    “I own, and have extensively used, NASB, NIV, KJV, NRSV, NKJV. I also regularly consult ESV and NET”

    Everyone of those translations that you use and you say you trust, contradict you. For example 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the NASB reads:

    9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Hundreds of Bible scholars were involved in the NASB, NIV, KJV, NRSV, NKJV, ESV and NET. They all use the word homosexuals or it’s eqivelent. Homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God as well as fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilvers, and swindlers. Homosexuality is sin. You obviously are wrong.

  • Ron McPherson

    LOL!!! I knew what you were up to. You’re so transparent and predictable.

    Nah, you didn’t read the article , or if you did you didn’t comprehend it. If so, you would have known the futility of posting those verses in light of the culture and context behind them. Like, that’s what the article was about lol. Would someone please help Steven here?

    By the way, why are you so obsessed with gays anyway? And yeah, you just want to argue like I said from the beginning.

    Oh and also, taking those verses in woodenly literal fashion without context means the divorced and remarried won’t inherit the kingdom either. Neither will most American Christians because we live a life of materialism and idolatry borne from covetousness. That’s includes you since you use a computer and have internet and could have used those dollars to instead feed the poor. See, Jesus said, “So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭14:33‬ ‭NRSV‬‬. Something you clearly haven’t done. And I’m sure you take God at his word on this matter right? See how that works? So Since you don’t believe in using context for scriptural interpretation, that means you must take this verse literally as well, unless you’re ok with just being a blatant hypocrite. So when you give up all your possessions and thus, apply the same standard to yourself as you do the gays, then you can get back with me. Until then, go troll another site.

  • StevenHaupt

    You will not acknowledge that homosexuality is sin.

    “Oh and also, taking those verses in woodenly literal fashion without context means the divorced and remarried won’t inherit the kingdom either”

    No, you don’t know Scripture. I do take those verses literally. It;s plain language anyone can understand. You Ron can understand the words “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” and then a list of the unrighteous is given. The unrighteousness are those who practice sin continually. A fornicator is someone who lives a life of sexaul sin, a drunkard is someone who is continually drunk, a thief is someone who habitually steals, a homosexual is someone who habitually commits sodomy.

    A child of God does not continually practice sin! You need to read and understand the scriptures Ron. 1 John 3:9, Romans 6:21, 1 John 3:6, Romans 6:16, 1 John 3:10 are just a few verses that make this clear. Those who follow Jesus are not adulterers, nor fornicators, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor homosexuals Ron. You greatly err.

    1 Corinthians 6:11 is a verse that is obviously foreign to you – “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    Ron, those who are children of God are ex- thieves, ex-adulterers, ex-fornicators, ex-drunkards, ex-homosexuals etc. A child of God does not continually practice sin, Ron. Jesus changes lives. No change, no Jesus, Ron.

  • Ron McPherson

    “No, you don’t know Scripture.”

    Translation: I get to contextualize the verses that might apply to me so that I’m not guilty.

    “I do take those verses literally.”

    No you don’t, certainly not the ones which might condemn you. So why haven’t given up all your possessions yet? The Bible is clear in Luke 14:33. See how that works?

  • StevenHaupt

    Thank you for not even attempting to refute me. Instead you just run to something else to argue about.

    You wrote – “No you don’t, certainly not the ones which might condemn you.” I have committed several of the sins, listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 just as you have (and evidently you still do) in the past, but when God saved me, and I became a Christian, I became a new man and I no longer do those things. Many years ago I drank almost daily and was drunk often. But God changed me and have not had a drop of alcohol in over 35 years. Redeemed people are changed people. You refuse to accept that. Redeemed people do sin, but it’s not a habitual lifestyle.

    You are obviously in some cult which rejects the doctrines of Scripture.
    Now, if you want to continue, that is okay with me. Just be warned that I will continue to expose your lost condition and your refusal to accept Scripture.

  • Ron McPherson

    Of course God changes us for the better. That’s not the issue. The problem is how you apply scripture to others and not yourself. And no, I’m not in a cult. I do accept scripture, but I try to apply it in ways that do not force my experiences upon others and allow God himself to do a work in their life.

    “For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:2-3

  • Ivan T. Errible

    If everyone cherry picks, you’ve just admitted that it’s all made up.
    Why bother with something like that?

  • StevenHaupt

    You liberals are so predictable. When that your doctrines are shown to be false you just run to another topic.

    I don’t believe there is a liberal “religious” website in existence that doesn’t trot out Matthew 7 on judging. It’s always done in an effort to stop a Christian from pointing out a non believer’s false doctrine on sinning. I say that you are ignorant of the Scriptures dealing with a so called brother who continues to sin, and how to treat him.

    I want to see you write that a drunkard will inherit the Kingdom of God. You believe that, so why not be man enough to plainly state it?

  • Ron McPherson

    Steven,
    For one thing, you keep asking me to refute your conclusions on the scripture you cite. Had you comprehended the article, you would know the author addressed the type of cursory reading of the verse you cited that you’re demonstrating now. That was one of the very points of the article.

    Here’s the thing. Folks have different opinions on certain passages, often for very good reasons. There is something wrong though when you spit on other viewpoints merely because you are either closed-minded (which you actually admitted), or because you may be unfamiliar with certain hermeneutic schemes, or because you are purposely ignorant of why others may possess a different view than you. For whatever reason, you can’t seem to distinguish the difference between a woodenly literal reading of the texts you cite vs a more nuanced and considered one. I’m sure you do not believe that previously divorced married couples (those divorcing for reasons other than infidelity) will not inherit the kingdom (Jesus described that as adultery). And yes, a woodenly literal reading of the text would mean that, as adulterers, they would not inherit the kingdom because remaining in the marriage would mean that they are living in an unrepentant state. See, there would be no wiggle room here if you applied the same standard with them as you do gays (or drunks, now you’re onto that one). The bottom line is this: We all contextualize the scriptures, you included. The article dealt with that one too. Are you sure you really read it lol?

    Resorting to accusations against folks you don’t even know as being “lost” and “in a cult” (merely because they may have a different scriptural interpretation than you) reflects a self-centered myopic view of the Bible on your part. In fact, it’s YOUR remarks that actually seem reflective of a cultish mindset. Cults usually claim to be the sole guardians of truth and are typically intolerant of alternative views. Accusing me of being in a cult is just bearing false witness. You’re not getting your information on that from God, which tells me a lot!

    You are applying portions of scripture that align with your own circumstances and understanding, and that’s ok. What is NOT ok is you using a double-standard; one standard for the verses you believe condemn others and another standard for those verses in which you would seem to stand in guilt. That’s the reason I brought up Luke 14:33 (I could provide dozens more that would condemn you if read literally), not to change the subject as you claimed, but rather to demonstrate that Luke 14:33 applied literally, without benefit of context, shows that you yourself don’t accept that verse as literal. I know you don’t because you are using a computer. Or maybe you borrowed one. But I’m guessing you own a car and maybe a home. Maybe even a microwave and fridge. At any rate, you come off looking hypocritical by forcing on others a woodenly literal reading of the verses you believe condemn gay people, but not using a woodenly literal reading of certain verses that might condemn you. That’s the point of the Matthew 7 passage. In other words, the same biblical standard you apply to others has been turned on you. You don’t like it. I understand that. Perhaps that might cause some self examination on your part to not be so hasty in your whole scale condemnation of entire masses of people. Or maybe not. Time will tell.

    Anyway, You can get all pissed and claim I’m lost and claim I don’t accept the Bible and being a liberal and blah blah blah. But that doesn’t change what you’re doing here. At some point, maybe you’ll afford others the right to apply context to verses as they may be led, just as you do. Neither you, nor I, have the authority to tell others which verses should be viewed in woodenly literal fashion and which verses should not. It Doesn’t mean you must alter your convictions. It just means that you cannot claim authority on all things biblical based on your own understanding.

  • StevenHaupt

    Blah, blah, blah, back at you. LOL

    You couldn’t even man up and say that drunkards will inherit the Kingdom of God, because that is what you believe. How about fornicators, will you man up and say that fornicators will either inherit the Kingdom of God or not?

    “I’m sure you do not believe that previously divorced married couples (those divorcing for reasons other than infidelity) will not inherit the kingdom (Jesus described that as adultery).”

    You are surely wrong about what you are sure of. Again:

    1 Corinthians 6:11 is a verse that is obviously foreign to you – “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    Ron, those who are children of God are ex- thieves, ex-adulterers, ex-fornicators, ex-drunkards, ex-homosexuals etc. A child of God does not continually practice sin, Ron. Jesus changes lives. No change, no Jesus, Ron.

  • Ron McPherson

    Joe and Sally, both Christians, divorced their spouses for reasons other than infidelity. Several years later Joe and Sally marry. Jesus says this makes them guilty of adultery. How do Joe and Sally become “ex-adulterers” while staying in the adulterous marriage?

  • StevenHaupt

    That’s your concoction, your invention, you figure it out.

    (2)You couldn’t even man up and say that drunkards will inherit the Kingdom of God, because that is what you believe. How about fornicators, will you man up and say that fornicators will either inherit the Kingdom of God or not?

  • Ron McPherson

    “That’s your concoction, your invention, you figure it out.”

    Lol, not a concoction nor invention. Churches all over America are filled with such a scenario. By the way, I HAVE figured it out. There are two different sets of biblical standards in conservative evangelicalism. I should know. I taught it for three decades and finally could stand the hypocrisy no longer.

    There is one set of standards for straight married couples and another set for the gays. To get right with God, straight people can remain in their ‘sinful’ marriage relationship by ‘repenting’ and asking for forgiveness. Grace abounds of course with heteros. Gay people though must exit their relationships. Grace doesn’t abound so much for them.

    It has to be this way because the conservative culture demands it. Churches are full of divorced and remarried couples. However, they don’t want the gays there, unless of course they somehow stop being gay. Yeah, I figured it out alright.

    As to your continuous charge for me to ‘man up,’ if Paul is to be read devoid of culture and context (I realize that’s what you believe, well except for the divorced and remarried heteros), does drunkard mean drunk some of the time, or all of the time? Like, any of those folks who may have gotten drunk at the wedding in Cana, would those drunks be allowed into the kingdom since Jesus supplied the wine? I mean, Since you’re into black and white literalness , what does ‘habitually’ drunk mean. Like quantify.

  • StevenHaupt

    ” does drunkard mean drunk some of the time, or all of the time?”

    It’s so obvious that 1 Corinthians 6:9-19 is referring to a lifestyle so “all of the time” your words, would be close to the meaning of the verse. Verse 11, as I noted earlier immediately says “and such were some of you’ and then goes on to speak of salvation whereby the Christian is a new man and no longer lives a drunken lifestyle.

    I dare say as simple and clear as that is, that you still don’t believe it. You can’t agree with Scripture that a drunkard will not inherit the Kingdom of God. You are too much a coward to write that a drunkard will inherit the Kingdom of God. Man up Ron, say one or the other.

  • countervail

    I had same-sex intercourse with Steven Haupt yesterday, and you can trust him, he definitely doesn’t know what homosexuality is! #badsex #wantmymoneyback

  • Ron McPherson

    Based on my understanding of the scriptures, if one is in Christ, then I believe they are a part of his kingdom, regardless of whether they meet your definition of a “drunk” or not. As a Christian, I start from there, the words of Jesus, and then filter other biblical writings from his words. That includes Paul, Moses or whoever.

    The Bible can’t be reduced down in such a black and white simplistic way as you’re doing with the I Corinthians passage (unless that’s the core passage you personally build your theology on and just go from there with respect to the rest of the Bible). If so, then you need to refer to yourself as a Paulinian rather than a Christian.

  • StevenHaupt

    You just can’t accept the truth of Scripture. A lifestyle drunkard will either enter into the Kingdom of God or he won’t. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states that a drunkard won’t. Ron a drunkard is not in Christ! Neither is fornicator, neither is a ……. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

    You use and have several Bibles that all state that. Ron, you carry around Bibles that contain Scriptures that you don’t believe. Don’t you see the irony.

    You can’t agree with Scripture that a drunkard will not inherit the Kingdom of God. You are too much a coward to write that a drunkard will inherit the Kingdom of God. Man up Ron, say one or the other.

  • Ron McPherson

    How about cutting out all the macho “man-up” garbage lol. What are you? Bible Macho Man? Is that what the Bible is to you? A tool to be used for self-validation?

    What you can’t comprehend is that I don’t view the Bible in the dichotomous terms you do. Want to know why? Because it won’t hold up under scrutiny. You’re not liking my answer because I don’t answer according to your “yes or no” terms. It’s like asking, “ do you still beat your wife?”

    Tell me Steven, have you given up all your possessions as Jesus instructed in Luke 14:33? Since you read the Bible devoid of context (as you’re trying to do with I Corinthians), then how about “manning-up” and answering the question. According to the Bible, that’s what’s required to be a disciple of Jesus. After all, according to how you read the Bible, this should be a simple enough question right?

    Below are some snippets from the article you claim to have read, you know, the one that has points that already address the issues that you’ve been trying to make here. If I were you, I would stop saying you read it, because it makes it look as if reading comprehension isn’t your thing.

    From the article:
    “The Bible doesn’t ‘clearly say’…the Bible, in all its ambiguity and obscurity, can pretty much be used to say whatever one wants it to say. For instance, if one wants to justify racism and slavery…the Bible can be used in their favor…If one wants to justify patriarchy, again, it can, and has been, used for that. The same thing goes for justifying the ostracization and demonization of the LGBTQ+ community”

    From the article:
    “…even if one writer makes something clear, another may just come along and muddy up the waters for us.”

    From the article:
    “If we fail to acknowledge the cultural, political, and theological context with which the many writers of the Bible are speaking from, then we’ll always miss the point.”

    From the article:
    “…we simply should not be using our English Bibles to prooftext our way through an argument or debate without first addressing what is going on behind the scenes.”

    From the article:
    “A common charge against those who affirm the LGBTQ+ community is that we cherry-pick the Scriptures. But guess what? Everyone I’ve ever met cherry-picks the Bible. Even Conservatives.”

    By the way, that was my point in quoting Luke 14:33 but it must have flown right over your head. Either that, or you just don’t mind looking like a hypocrite. Same with the divorced and remarried issue; you just casually brushed that one aside though. It’s all about railing on gays and drunks with you.

    From the article:
    “What would Jesus do? Well, I’m not 100% sure, but I do know he never talked about homosexuality. That said, he did talk about marriage, namely in Matthew 19. And the type of marriage he talked about was between a “male and female.” Guess what, though? There is a context. And that context is divorce, not a grand expose on proper sexual orientation.”

    And regarding the I Corinthians passage you keep trotting out –
    From the article:
    “Arsenokoitai…is a bit more difficult to translate, given that Paul sort-of made up the word…the ancient world possessed no comparable concept of a specifically homoerotic sexual identity; it would refer to a particular sexual behavior, but we cannot say exactly which one.”

    From the article:
    “I know and love tons of LGBTQ+ folks who can pass the 1 Corinthians 13 love test..”

    I’m aware of some as well.

  • StevenHaupt

    Ron, get a grip, get over yourself. I’m not about to read your false teachings. I’m not about to spend additional hours chasing your rabbits.

    Again, man up Ron, either say that you don’t believe drunkards will inherit the Kingdom of God or they won’t. You believe they will, that is obvious, so why not just say it?

  • Ron McPherson

    “I’m not about to read your false teachings.”

    Translation: Anybody that brings tension to my way of reading the Bible is a false teacher. Convincing myself of that allows me to retain my own subjective reading of the text which allows me to craft the Bible into the tool I want it to be.

    “I’m not about to spend additional hours chasing your rabbits.”

    Translation: I’m not interested in discussion, which proves Ron had me pegged from the outset. I’m only interested in railing against gays (and now drunks too)
    by using the Bible in the way that I want to.

    “Again, man up Ron, either say that you don’t believe drunkards will inherit the Kingdom of God or they won’t. You believe they will, that is obvious, so why not just say it?”

    I have. I believe anyone in Christ will be a part of his kingdom. You just don’t like that answer.

  • StevenHaupt

    “I have. I believe anyone in Christ will be a part of his kingdom. You just don’t like that answer.”

    Only the righteous are in Christ, Ron. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 begins by stating that the unrighteous will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.and then gives a list of those who are unrighteous. Drunkards are on the list. Ron, you are blind, you don’t understand simple language. You actually believe that drunkards will inherit the Kingdom of God.

  • Ron McPherson

    A precious soul from the church I attended years ago was an alcoholic. He acquired the problem stemming from the trauma during his days dodging bullets and land mines in the jungles of Vietnam. And here’s the kicker. This man loved Jesus! I realize you don’t understand how that’s possible. This man knew he had a problem, and it got the better of him more times than not. To you, he’d be a ‘drunkard.’

    This man loved God and neighbor as much, if not more, than most anyone I’ve ever known. He regularly read his bible, prayed, genuinely desired to live for God, knew Christ as his risen savior and Lord. He provided timely encouragement to others at the very moment they needed it, left a wonderful legacy in bearing authentic fruit for Christ. But see, your woodenly literal reading of Paul, devoid of context, means that God rejected him because he had a serious drinking problem, excluded this precious soul from the kingdom because he was a ‘drunkard’.

    You allow a verse in a letter written by Paul in the Greek (translated over centuries) to a church situated within a Greco Roman pagan culture some two millennia ago to usurp anything else in the Bible, including what Jesus himself may have said about the kingdom and those genuinely in it.

    Your insistence for me to use Paul’s writings as a weapon against others, devoid of context as you do, would force me to agree with you that this precious soul would be locked out of the kingdom in spite of what Jesus said, in spite of the spirit bearing witness to this man that he was a child of God, in spite of the fruit exhibited in his life.

    Your myopic and exclusionary (and frankly, ignorant) way of reading the scriptures is profoundly frustrating to those of us who diligently study the scriptures rather than superficially reading just words on a page as you’re doing here. Discussion is impossible with you because you closed your mind to any view different than your own. No wonder Jesus told the religious leaders (that would be those who kept trying to trap him with questions, you know, like you’ve been trying to do with me), “…Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.” Matthew‬ ‭21:31‬.

  • Ron McPherson

    “Drunkards are on the list.”

    Adulterers are on the list too. Since you view this as a laundry list (devoid of context) of the types of sinners excluded, that means all divorced and remarried persons (for grounds other than infidelity) are excluded too. I’m sure you’ll break the news to those you attend church with. Let the rest of us know how that goes for ya. Oh by the way, you may also want to let the fat people who use food as an idol (the idolaters) know they won’t make it either. You may be the only righteous person left.

  • StevenHaupt

    “Adulterers are on the list too.”
    They sure are, but you don’t believe they will go to hell either. Yes, I know, you don’t believe in the Biblical hell. Homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God either. Now, those are not my judgements, but God’s, see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10/

  • StevenHaupt

    Why would I read that? There are probably a dozen errors in it. You won’t accept the word of God concerning the condemnation of drunkards, so I’m not about to spend time correcting your other false teachings.

    You don’t believe the word of God, Ron.

  • Ron McPherson

    Your defection is duly noted

  • Ron McPherson

    “Why would I read that?”

    I always find it amusing when people say they haven’t read a response. It often means, oh crap, I don’t know how to respond to those points so I’ll pretend I didn’t read it. Or maybe you really did quit reading after the first three words of my post about someone I care deeply about. Since it lead off with “A precious soul”, that probably turned you off. Real life experiences of others probably don’t count much with you if it shows your doctrine is wrong.

    By the way, it doesn’t really matter to me at this point whether you read my responses or not. You’ve made it clear that you won’t read anything that proves problematic for you. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. I’m posting now for the benefit of anyone who may be following this thread. At this point , it’s more about exposing the double-standards and myopic method of your biblical interpretation.

  • StevenHaupt

    You seem to have endless excuses for not believing Scripture. Why would I waste time refuting you? I have refuted you repeatedly on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and that’s what is important.

    I am convinced that you are a lost soul who rejects the major doctrines of Christianity. Just a few:

    1. You reject much of Scripture as being inspired of God.

    2. You reject an everlasting hell

    3. You reject the virgin birth.

    4. You reject the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    5. You deny that Jesus is God!

  • StevenHaupt

    LOL. You could write a book on deflection.

  • Ron McPherson

    You bear false witness. You must not care about that one. And I also know you’re not hearing from God. I personally believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, that the Bible is inspired, that Jesus is the risen savior and Lord, Son of the Living God. I don’t condemn those that believe otherwise. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Ron McPherson

    “You seem to have endless excuses for not believing Scripture.”

    Hey Steven, do you believe this one?
    “…Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.’”
    Matthew‬ ‭21:31‬

  • Ron McPherson

    Says the guy who refuses to talk about other scriptures pointing out the fallacy of his views

  • StevenHaupt

    Baloney! My “views” are in support of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. My “views” do not contradict 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

    Try this, you tell me your “view” of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Let’s keep it simple, let’s try a few words at a time.

    The passage begins: “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” The unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The opposite is true, the righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God.

    Your turn.

  • StevenHaupt

    Yes I do, wise guy. “…Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.’”

  • Ron McPherson

    How about this one since you just lied on me about what I believe:
    “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all LIARS, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Rev 21:28

  • StevenHaupt

    No, you bear false witness.

    Now, I have debated liberal people for years and I am acquainted with their deceits. Do you believe in the virgin birth that Jesus was God incarnate? If you believe that the Bible is inspired of God than you believe that all Scripture is true, with no errors, that it is all of God, that what the writers wrote was what God wanted them to write, and thus the end result was as if God dictated the words to them much like a boss to a secretary. That is not what you mean by inspiration, right? And then you don’t specifically state that Jesus is God. You could easily have other meanings apart from Christianity for the terms you use, a characteristic of cults.

  • Ron McPherson

    Hmm. I figured you would have thought prostitutes were fornicators since that was on Paul’s list.

  • StevenHaupt

    It was not a lie, liar, it was my opinion based on you previous comments. Your bullying will not work on me.

    “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all LIARS, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Rev 21:28

  • StevenHaupt

    What? More deflection?

  • Ron McPherson

    By inspiration I mean what the Bible means by it. Look up the Greek word Paul used. By the way, is this an orthodoxy quiz in the hopes you didn’t lie about everything? I believe that Jesus Christ is divine, God in the flesh, that he physically rose from the dead. Instead of feeling guilt over lying about me, you just double down. By the way, you don’t “debate” crap. You just close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, rant about what you believe, and lie against others who have different views. Um, that’s not debating.

  • Ron McPherson

    Yeah, from you

  • StevenHaupt

    I’m glad to see you being specific about the divinity of Jesus. But you have refused refused to do so concerning 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Care to get back on that subject?

    BTW, how can you believe that the writings of Paul are inspired of God and not believe 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? You believe that lifestyle drunkards will inherit the Kingdom of God, a direct contradiction of the passage. And we didn’t cover the other lifestyle sins of which you probably think those will also inherit the Kingdom of God.

  • Ron McPherson

    “…it was my opinion.”

    You just lied again. Here are a few of your direct comments.
    You said:

    “You reject much of Scripture as being inspired of God.” Lie

    “You reject the virgin birth.” Lie

    “You reject the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Lie

    “You deny that Jesus is God.” Lie

    I’ll let you work all that out with God

  • StevenHaupt

    From you.

  • StevenHaupt

    “I am convinced that you are a lost soul who rejects the major doctrines of Christianity. Just a few:”

    You missed my opinion.

  • Ron McPherson

    Instead of feeling shame and guilt for bearing false witness against me on a public forum, you just want to double down about the condemnation of others. Speck and log bro.

  • Ron McPherson

    You didn’t say it was your “opinion”

    Why do you keep lying?

  • StevenHaupt

    You can’t defend your unbelief and rejection of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 so you keep trying to rile me. Won’t work

  • StevenHaupt

    Yikes! “convinced” You are not going to rile me.

    Now, please give me your “view” of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

    BTW, I have no idea of where that picture of a guy with glasses came from.

  • Ron McPherson

    Ok, you were “convinced”. If to you it wasn’t lying, then I’ll take you at your word. I’ll concede that I was wrong about that characterization because you likely believed what you were actually saying. And that shows a very tribalistic mindset on your part if so. Like, Ron doesn’t agree with my approach to scripture so that must mean he doesn’t believe in Jesus or belongs to a cult. Seriously, that type of mentality from a professing Christian is just sad. You were just egregiously mistaken in what you posted about me. I’m big enough to take it. But for someone who takes very seriously his faith in Christ, it is sickening to think that others may read such a claim about me. At best, you were bearing false witness against me in a public forum, which is irrespective of lying anyway. Being “convinced” of such a serious misrepresentation of my belief in Christ was a grave and public misstep on your part and shows that you are most certainly NOT hearing from God. I’m moving on.

  • StevenHaupt

    I will try again.

    Try this, you tell me your “view” of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Let’s keep it simple, let’s try a few words at a time.

    The passage begins: “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” The unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The opposite is true, the righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God.
    Your turn.

  • Ron McPherson

    I could give you my take on what I feel Paul is trying to convey to the Corinthian church in light of their circumstances, but you’ve demonstrated repeatedly that you aren’t interested in discussing the passage in question. Your interest is in asserting your own view.

    Because I choose to approach the passage in light of the context of Paul’s entire letter, and especially in light of Jesus’ explanation of the kingdom (rather than using a dichotomous approach in lifting the passage out as a stand alone, singular soteriological concept as you do), that makes me (in your eyes as you bore false witness against me) as not believing in the inspiration of scripture, not believing in Christ as risen Lord, belonging to a cult, and calling me a coward. Obviously you did not repent in sackcloth and ashes when I publicly affirmed Christ and showed that you grossly misrepresented me.

    Along the way, you essentially spat on a very practical example I gave using a real life testimony. And multiple times indicated that you would not read my “false teachings.” And now you would have me believe that you are interested in what I think about the passage lol. You’ll pardon me for questioning your integrity in this discussion. If you’ll recall, that was my concern from the very beginning. Looks like the shoe fit.

  • Many interesting points here! However, this doesn’t even get to what I think is the central issue, personally=

    There’s the core issue here: suppose that, for the sake of argument, homosexuality is a sin. Why does that imply anything for social and government policy? As stated by Noahide laws, eating shellfish is a sin. There are no Jewish terrorists going to seafood restaurants with bombs trying to destroy those places. There are no Jewish extremists trying to lobby state governments to deny fisherman the ability to adopt children. No Jewish paramedic is going up to an injured fisherman in an ER and refusing to treat that poor man.

    Similarly, there ought to be no Christian efforts to promote discrimination and outright destruction of the lives of LGBT people. That’s simply logical. Non-Christians (and Christians who don’t agree with the assumption) ought to have the basic ability to go about their lives without Christian theocratic edicts shoved down their throats. Pure and simple.

  • StevenHaupt

    That’s so pathetic!

    I will try again.

    Try this, you tell me your “view” of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Let’s keep it simple, let’s try a few words at a time.

    The passage begins: “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” The unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The opposite is true, the righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God.

    Your turn

  • Ron McPherson

    You’re not much into reading comprehension are you?

  • StevenHaupt

    Hey Ron, school me, tell me that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit got 1 Corinthians 6;9-11 all wrong. Show me the error or errors, Ron.

    I will try again.

    Try this, you tell me your “view” of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Let’s keep it simple, let’s try a few words at a time.

    The passage begins: “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”

    That says the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The opposite is true, the righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God.

    Your turn.

  • Ron McPherson

    Wait, aren’t you the one who said earlier you didn’t read my posts, my “false teachings?” Plus, you already said that you think I’m “lost”, that I don’t believe “core Christian doctrine,” and that I belong to a “cult.” And yet in spite of all that, you’re overly obsessive about wanting to hear my views. Only thing I can figure is that you’re interested in joining this “cult.” I’ll have to first speak with the grand poopah to see if it’s ok to show you our secret handshake. We have our standards you know.

  • StevenHaupt

    Yes Ron, in short, you are a fraud. If you claim to be a Christian, I missed it, and if you did, you are a phony Christian.

    Yes Ron, I want you to explain 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 so that if anybody has any remaining doubts that you are a fraud they will see for themselves that I am right about you.

    Yes Ron, no “fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” NASB

    Plain simple language Ron, that even you can understand, and you do understand the passage of Scripture Ron, but you reject it. If you claim to be a Christian Ron, then you and I have shown over the course of our conversation that you are a fraud.

  • Ron McPherson

    You just can’t help yourself can you? No Steven, you aren’t the guardian of truth and you don’t get to claim that others are “frauds” or “cowards” or belong to a “cult” merely because others don’t misuse the scriptures as you. You’ve already shown you’re not speaking for God by being “convinced” of things about me that I know for an absolute fact were grossly untrue. But more importantly than that, God Almighty knows they were untrue!

    Show me the error or errors when Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote in Romans 2:13 (but the doers of the law shall be justified). Show me the error or errors when Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the opposite in Romans 3:20 (by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified). I could literally claim two opposing “truths” by cherry picking verses devoid of context as you insist upon doing.

    Show me the error or errors when Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9 (For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast). Show me the error or errors when James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the very opposite in James 2:24 (Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only).

    Once again, by approaching the Bible like you do, I could claim two diametrically opposing “truths” by lifting either verse off the page devoid of its context. I’ve demonstrated repeatedly throughout this exchange that context is vital to a proper reading of scripture but you’ll have none of it. I’m not going to play your little game, on your own fallacious terms, by using your own myopic approach to scripture devoid of context. The Bible is not black and white in proclaiming truth by lifting verses off the page as you’re doing. If you haven’t comprehended this by now, there’s nothing more I can do.

    I don’t know how much simpler I can make this for you. Good grief. That’s one of the very points the article focused on. I honestly don’t know how anyone could have actually read the article as you claim and yet remain so utterly oblivious to its content. You are the very caricature of what the article speaks against. Seriously, your every post literally validates the author’s points.

  • StevenHaupt

    “I don’t know how much simpler I can make this for you”

    I don’t know how much simpler I can make this for you:

    Again Ron, you refuse to admit that you reject the plain truths of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. You write about anything but that passage of Scripture.

    Yes Ron, no “fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” NASB

    That is simple Ron, you understand that but you reject the passage. It’s just that simple. Furthermore, you refuse to school or correct me on the passage proving that you do understand that no “fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” NASB

  • Ron McPherson

    “That is simple Ron, you understand that but you reject the passage. It’s just that simple. “

    I don’t reject the passage. You just can’t comprehend what I’m saying. I can’t help that lol.

  • Widuran

    This is garbage

    God clearly condemns same sex sexual relations in the scriptures. Jesus Chris defined marriage in Mark 10 and Matthew 19. If anyone has an issue with this then argue with Christ Jesus. Good luck with that!

  • StevenHaupt

    You seem to have the comprehension problem.

    Try this, you tell me your “view” of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Let’s keep it simple, let’s try a few words at a time.

    The passage begins: “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”

    That says the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The opposite is true, the righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God.

    See how simple I made that for you?

  • Ron McPherson

    In the past 10 days you’ve charged me with “false teaching,” called me a “coward,” said I was “lost,” alleged that I belonged to a “cult,” ignored examples I gave as evidence of biblical inconsistencies when isolating passages from their context as you’re trying to do, said you were convinced I didn’t believe in the resurrection (I do) or the inspiration of scripture (I do), that I reject the virgin birth (I don’t), called me a “fraud”, claimed I “reject” scripture (I don’t), purposely ignored a very real testimony I offered regarding a friend that I care deeply about, and called me a “phony Christian.” Anyone with the stomach to read through the thread can see for themselves.

    So at the risk of enduring more slander, I’ll offer my take on the passage you falsely assert that I reject. There were rampant problems within the church at Corinth, with immorality among even the believers. That’s what gave rise to Paul’s letter, and I believe it should be understood in that light.

    Paul instructs this church to disassociate with the offenders. Otherwise the church looks no different from the world around them. The church is admonished to refrain from doing those things which would make them largely indistinguishable from the world (those not in the kingdom). Positionally, those in Christ are a new creation, and they should act like it. It’s not automatic they will.

    Since to Paul the unbelieving culture surrounding the Corinthian believers consisted of drunkards, temple sex, idol worship, and so on (ie those not spiritually abiding in the kingdom of God), I believe Paul is saying to those within the Corinthian church to cease living like those in the Greco-Roman pagan world around them. I don’t believe Paul is saying to every last person on the face of the planet who succumbs to a drinking problem (a “drunkard”) that God will automatically shut them out of the kingdom in spite of that person trusting in Christ. If you claim otherwise, then so be it. But viewing the scriptures in such dichotomous terms seems terribly short-sighted, especially for a professing Christian like yourself, primarily because I believe it minimizes the grace of God, and the very spirit of Christ’s teachings. Also, isolating verses to the exclusion of others seems horribly unbalanced unless you believe that all prostitutes (Matthew 21:31) are in the kingdom while no drunkards are. I’ve provided numerous other examples from the scriptures showing your problematic interpretational methods here. For some reason you’re not comprehending the points though, instead claiming that I’m trying to change the subject. Or it could be that you just don’t want to deal with it. Who knows.

    God’s people are to be a light to the nations. That is a prevailing theme throughout the Bible and I believe it is a principle that undergirds much of Corinthians. It was the charge for OT Israel and it was the charge for those who would be citizens of this NT kingdom, established by Christ. According to Jesus, citizens of the kingdom were to be characterized by radical love for God and neighbor, where compassion and mercy are elevated above superficial religion. This was a core message of Jesus in the Synoptics, and he showed that it was not entirely at odds with even the OT.

    The Corinthian church was falling short in its love of neighbor. It looked nothing like the first church in Jerusalem. It was not a light to other nations. Within the church, there was adultery, division, lawsuits, misuse of communion, etc. Those types of actions are characteristic of those outside the kingdom, not in it. So as citizens of the kingdom, the Corinthians should walk in a manner worthy of their calling.

    Paul did not write a series of one snippet doctrinal assertions here, but rather a LETTER. It is to be read as a letter and that’s precisely how the early church and the original hearers would have read it – as a LETTER (ie not cherry picking verses to be stand alone doctrine). I presume you don’t do it with the bits about women wearing head coverings, so why would you do it here?

  • StevenHaupt

    Once again, you have refused to directly comment on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The reason being is that it strongly refutes and contradicts your false doctrine. Your false doctrine being that all of those lifestyle sinners listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 will enter into the Kingdom of God.

    Regarding paragraph 1 – My views about you are not changed.

    Regarding paragraph 2 – I generally agree.

    Reharding paragraph 3 – I agree with you if you mean sinners when you say offenders.

    Regarding paragraph 4 – “Since to Paul the unbelieving culture surrounding the Corinthian believers consisted of drunkards, temple sex, idol worship, and so on (ie those not spiritually abiding in the kingdom of God), I believe Paul is saying to those within the Corinthian church to cease living like those in the Greco-Roman pagan world around them.”

    Wow! Yes, drunks, aduterers, fornications, homosexuals, idolators etc. are unbelievers! You don’t realize what you wrote. Christians are to be different from the lost world, not the same as the lost world. This is the point I have been making to you all along. This is what 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is saying. Verse 11 says “and such were some of you.” People in Christ, Christians, are ex- adulterers, ex-homosexuals, ex-drunkards etc. Now, do I think you finally got it? No!

    “I don’t believe Paul is saying to every last person on the face of the planet who succumbs to a drinking problem (a “drunkard”) that God will automatically shut them out of the kingdom in spite of that person trusting in Christ.” Yes, you don’t really get it, you contradict yourself. It’s a lie to say a lifestyle drunkard, homosexual, adulterer, fornicator, thief etc is in Christ. Scripture contradicts you, and you contradict yourself.

    Prostitutes are not in the Kingdom, but ex-prostitutes can be if they repent, turn away from their sins and make Jesus the Lord of their life. You greatly err thinking prostitutes are in the Kigdom of God. You have the problem, you have the problematice interpretations. In fact you contradict yourself.

    Regarding paragraph 5 – “God’s people are to be a light to the nations.” Yes, and drunks, liars, adulterers, fornicators, idolaters, homosexuals etc. are not light to anybody. You just don’t get it.

    Regarding paragraph 6 – you got that right, and you contradict yourself once again.

    Regarding paragraph 7- The letter is Scripture, just as the other letters Paul wrote. The church was in it’s infancy and Christian doctrine was being establish by God through Paul. You confused head covering with moral issues. God’s moral laws have never been rescinded.

  • Ron McPherson

    The more I’ve interacted with you, the more I’m starting to understand what Jesus meant when he said, “…do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet…”

  • StevenHaupt

    There you go contradicting yourself again. You have not been citing Scripture, but your false reasoning and doctrines instead. You have no pearls to cast Ron.

  • Ron McPherson

    It’s apparent you think in binary terms, but the Bible doesn’t work that way no matter how much you want it to. I would hate to think my interpretation of the Bible had been elevated to such godlike status in my own mind such that I believe anyone with a different view must not be of God. That’s what’s so telling here. You have to convince yourself that I don’t believe certain core Christian truths even though I’ve repeatedly affirmed that I do. You cant even see how profoundly absurd it looks when you persist in claiming I don’t believe certain things that I’ve publicly affirmed that I do.

    It’s like, Steven says Ron doesn’t believe in the resurrection, then Ron says yes I do. Then Steven goes I haven’t changed my mind about it lol. It’s beyond ridiculous. Like, Ron doesn’t know what Ron believes but Steven knows what Ron believes. It’s seriously one of the dumbest interactions I’ve ever had with anyone in my 54 years of existence.

    Are you worshipping God or the Bible (or better still, your INTERPRETATION of the Bible)? Elevating your own understanding to such heights where you cannot see the hypocrisy in allowing yourself the liberty to read certain verses in context while not allowing that freedom to others is telling as well. I don’t fault you for your view of a certain passage. However, I do fault you for being purposely closed-minded (a term you used about yourself) such that it causes you to utter false statements about my beliefs.

    When I point out your examples where your binary biblical view would run into problems, your way to deal with it is to claim I’m a fraud, a phony, belong to a cult, or whatever. Apparently, anyone that might bring tension to your existing scriptural bias means that they’re lost. That’s apparently the only way you can deal with it, because it seems you can’t handle paradox or gray areas within the Bible. That comes across not so much as about faith, but rather certainty. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be responding the way that you are.

    When someone points out when your binary, black and white, type thinking doesn’t work work so well when aligned with other scripture, rather than honestly grappling with the text, you react with ad hominem against me. I truly believe you can’t help it. It comes across as a defense mechanism, self-protective because you take it as an assault against your deeply held notions. So you just avoided dealing with it. Either that, or you didn’t comprehend the point of it.

    That’s precisely why I ask the question of whether God was your God, or whether your INTERPRETATION of the Bible was your God. I don’t need to know but you might. There’s nothing wrong with having convictions, unless those same convictions become indistinguishable from God himself in that person’s eyes.

    Your binary biblical view will never change if your mind remains purposely closed. To you, valid interpretations of the Bible are only those that confirm your pre-existing bias. Considering any others might mean you are wrong, and that might be a possibility that you are unable to bear. You come across as craving certainty. Is your faith a house of cards?

    I could be wrong, but I can only assume you surround yourself with like-minded individuals which would allow reinforcement of your tribal mindset (which is why I find it humorous that you would accuse ME of being in a cult). You’ve as much as admitted that the foundation of your beliefs is to question nothing that brings tension to your convictions. That’s why meaningful discussion with you is impossible, not because you stand on biblical truth, but rather because you stand on your own version of it, which can be wrong.

  • Ron McPherson

    “You have not been citing Scripture…”

    Um, yes I have. Truth just isn’t your thing, is it? The scripture I DID cite, you ignored. You probably missed the others because they were in my posts that you said you weren’t going to read. You’re shameless

  • StevenHaupt

    Desperation on your part Ron. I doubt that poor soul that follows you around will even read that one.

    Wow! Yes, drunks, aduterers, fornications, homosexuals, idolators etc. are unbelievers! You don’t realize what you wrote. Christians are to be different from the lost world, not the same as the lost world. This is the point I have been making to you all along. This is what 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is saying. Verse 11 says “and such were some of you.” People in Christ, Christians, are ex- adulterers, ex-homosexuals, ex-drunkards etc. Now, do I think you finally got it? No!

    I thought I would give you another chance to get the gist of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

  • StevenHaupt

    Try taking your blinders off and read the simple truthful words of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

  • Ron McPherson

    There ya go. Deflect away from your own untruthful claims. You’ve done that the whole time

  • Ron McPherson

    “Desperation on your part Ron. I doubt that poor soul that follows you around will even read that one.”

    Hmm, well….Let’s see, Steven has 1 upvote for every 21 of his Disqus comments while Ron has 57 upvotes for every 21 of his Disqus comments. Not that Ron has anything to boast of as there are plenty better participants on Disqus than Ron, it’s just to show that Steven probably ought to stay away from mentioning another’s followers at all, ya know, considering Steven’s own following (or lack thereof).

  • otrotierra

    Yeah, sorry I forgot to warn you about this particular Evangelical Troll with a fraudulent Disqus account, not to be confused with the FIVE other impersonation Disqus accounts, nor the several other fake Disqus accounts set to private that only surface to falsely accuse, name-call, derail, obfuscate, and bear false witness.

    Bullying Evangelicals sure are earning their reputations, for all to see.

  • otrotierra

    It is deeply offensive that Jesus remained silent on the matter of homosexual subjectivity.

  • Widuran

    I think you find the truth that Jesus is God and God ie Jesus condemns same sex sexual relations right through the scriptures.

    Proof?

    Bible verses proving this

    Leviticus 18:22 ESV
    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 ESV
    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV / 5,539 helpful votes
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    Romans 1:26-27
    For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    Jude 1:7 ESV
    Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

    1 Timothy 1:10 ESV
    The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

    Christ defined marriage as between one man and one woman

    Mark 10:6-9 ESV
    But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    Matthew 19:4-6 ESV / 1,870 helpful votes
    He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    Your deception fools only the sin affirming.

  • StevenHaupt

    Ron, those upvotes you got are nothing to be proud of.

  • StevenHaupt

    LOL!

  • Ron McPherson

    How would you even know?

  • StevenHaupt

    You continue to be oblivious to the obvious.

  • Ron McPherson

    LOL!!!

  • Widuran

    The Bible is black and white. You just need to believe it.

  • Widuran

    Are you a Christian? Is Jesus Christ God?

    What Church do you belong to?

  • Ron McPherson

    Oh no is this another orthodoxy quiz? I belong to an interdenominational church, and yes, I personally believe Jesus to be the risen Savior, Son of the living God.

  • Ron McPherson

    No it’s not and it’s silly of you to say that. Nor do you believe it either. I can demonstrate it if you like

  • Widuran

    The Bible is definitely black and white. There are no greys at all. One either believes it in the correct context or not. Simples

  • Widuran

    Is Jesus Christ God? Yes or no?

  • Ron McPherson

    What is this? A trick question? An interrogation? An inquisition? You said the trinity is a core doctrine. The trinity affirms God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I already answered the question. Like literally multiple times throughout the thread

  • Ron McPherson

    Aha, “in the correct context” lol. Glad you came aboard

  • Widuran

    Still black and white.

  • Widuran

    It is a very simple question. You have not answered it. This is a typical tactic of heretics and false Christians.

    Is Jesus Christ God? Yes or no?

  • Ron McPherson

    “…a typical tactic of heretics and false Christians” is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God? If you’re instead asking if I believe he is divine, then yes

  • Ron McPherson

    Yeah, it’s just that your black and white in context, and my black and white in context, and your neighbors black and white in context may all be different. That’s why neither you nor me gets to decide who the fake Christians are

  • Widuran

    The answer on whether is Jesus Christ is God? Is Yes. The reason is that the divine nature of him ie God is the overiding nature. He is God yes. Many heretics including those who believe the gnostic gospels do not really believe the Trinity and the divine nature of Jesus. They do not believe that he is God and do not believe Jesus Christs claims.

    I am glad your answer to the question is a resounding yes.

  • Widuran

    God decides and it is clear in scripture. I believe God

  • Ron McPherson

    Ok