Tempted In Every Way As We Are

Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was “tempted in every way as we are – yet without sin.” I had someone mention to me a book which suggested that this must have included same-sex attraction, since otherwise Jesus was not tempted in every way the author was.

This seems to take things too far – in what is itself at any rate a theological statement rather than something that can be considered historical fact. Could one really make the case that Jesus faced every temptation that any person does? Would we not have to envisage him in the wilderness with work to do and a computer with Facebook calling him to allow himself to be distracted? Would we not have to envisage Jesus tempted by Oreo cookies and every single other specific sort of food that isn’t healthy? Can anyone really take that idea to such an extreme?

  • go_4_tli

    Clearly, Jesus was tempted to ensure that governmental health officials looked the other way while he pursued unsafe storage practices with His industrial chemical waste, even though His facilities were located near a municipal drinking water supply.

    • histrogeek

      All needed to do that was to complain about Pilate’s new aqueduct project. Plus He’d get the double temptation of complaining about something useful and beneficial to public just because it uses government money.

  • beau_quilter

    He must have been married – otherwise, how could he have been tempted to commit adultery.

    • Tim

      Lol.

  • David_Evans

    Oreo cookies are not a possible temptation for 1st century Christians. As to same-sex attraction (and adultery) I think these can be regarded as special cases of sexual temptation in general. I don’t recall ever thinking/feeling “I want to commit adultery with that woman” but I do recall thinking/feeling “I want to make love to that woman” in cases where to do so would have been adultery.

  • jay

    Tempted as in, tempted to sin. So then is someone saying sexual desire sin? Any way of course we must believe Jesus had sexual desire, unless he wasn’t normal. But of course he was not tempted to rent a porno video.

    • Tim

      Yeah, I take this phrase to mean “tempted by the same mechanisms by which we are all tempted”, not in every single circumstance of temptation imaginable. That would just be silly.

      • Sean Garrigan

        Precisely so, and what I find fascinating is that liberals, who sometimes criticize fundies for their interpretative approach, seem to be stumbling over such a simple biblical statement for similar reasons.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          How is this particular liberal pointing out the ridiculousness of what he encountered a grand total of one other liberal (who is not a scholar) say, an example of “liberals stumbling” over the text?

          • Sean Garrigan

            The very fact that you decided to put this silliness on your blog and even offer a counter argument that began with a very gentle “seems to go to far” is fascinating in itself. Had Ken Ham said something comparably ridiculous but in favor of creationism you probably would have excoriated him sans gentle terms.

            What’s the name of the book in which the assertion is found, and who is the author?

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              I have read Ham, on more than one occasion. I have not read the book in question. The person who drew the point to my attention is not a native English speaker. Do you really consider it appropriate under those circumstances for me to pour out unfettered criticism upon the author, when I cannot tell whether the details reached me precisely accurately, nor whether they are typical or a single poor argument? Given your recent comments here, perhaps you do. But I do not.

              The book, for what it is worth, is called Holy Homosexuals and it is by Michael Piazza. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1887129049/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1887129049&linkCode=as2&tag=jamefmcgrshom-20

              • Sean Garrigan

                Sooooooo, let me get this straight. The person who related the “argument” to you wasn’t a native speaker, and his/her English was so bad that he/she may not actually have even correctly understood the argument he/she presented to you, which also possibly means that he/she may not have stated the argument clearly enough to even ensure that you accurately understood him/her, yet, despite this, you decided to post this “argument” anyway, without clarifying that it may not actually even be a real argument made by anyone? Do I have it now?

                Since the author’s testimony is ambiguous at best, yet you decided to post the “argument” anyway, I’d say that the author is secondary to the “argument”, even in the context of your own decision to post it, which means that, yes, since it is the “argument” and only the “argument” that is truly relevant, you should have visited it with the same scorn that you visit other arguments that are comparably ridiculous.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  You don’t know how well the person in question speaks English, and do not even know who the person is, and yet you seem happy to assume the worst and insult them, all because of a desire to be able to claim that I didn’t criticize someone else as intensely as I have criticized Ken Ham. I find it sad that your allegiance to that charlatan is such that you would prefer to insult people you do not know rather than take a closer look at his deceptive claims.

                  • Sean Garrigan

                    No, James, YOU indicated that you felt it was inappropriate to criticize the argument with the scorn you often show towards other ridiculous arguments because, as you put:

                    “The person who drew the point to my attention is not a native English
                    speaker…I cannot
                    tell whether the details reached me precisely accurately.”

                    I made no comment at all about the person’s skill in English until YOU used it as an excuse for offering such gentle criticism about such a ridiculous argument.

                    And I am the one who suggested that it isn’t the person but the argument that should be the point of focus, but you’d rather keep focusing on the person.

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      I left off the final part of the last sentence, which should read:

                      “And I am the one who suggested that it isn’t the person but the argument that should be the point of focus, but you’d rather keep focusing on the person, and we both know why.”

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I am not sure what you are trying to say, or what person I supposedly keep focusing on, or why you seem to think that, if I hear of one person making a really stupid argument on one occasion, I should treat them as though they were the same as someone who has been lying to people and deceiving them for years.

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      “I am not sure what you are trying to say,”

                      Maybe, maybe not.

                      “or what person I supposedly
                      keep focusing on,”

                      You the supposed lack of expertise in English of the person who related the argument to you as an excuse for your gentle treatment of the argument, which argument is quite ridiculous and deserving of the same scorn you’ve offered in relation to other arguments that come from other folks. Then, rather amazingly, you tried to imply that I was blaming you for not showing scorn towards that person, when that has nothing even remotely to do with it. I’m talking about the inconsistency in how you treat arguments (based on who offers them), and you keep trying to make my point about the person who related it to you. I guess you’re playing “catch me if you can” again, though why you would do so over something as inconsequential as this thread is beyond me.

                      …”or why you seem to think that, if I hear of one person
                      making a really stupid argument on one occasion, I should treat them as
                      though they were the same as someone who has been lying to people and
                      deceiving them for years.”

                      Pause, breath, clear your mind, set aside your obsession with dodging criticism, and read the next sentence, please:

                      I’m not talking about how you should or shouldn’t treat ***people***; I’m talking about the inconsistency in how you treat ***arguments***.

                      The inconsistency in question obviously exists because you treat bad arguments that come from friends, students, and others who probably share many of your own biases, differently than you treat arguments from fundies, who are your favorite object of scorn.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I am genuinely trying to understand why your animosity towards liberal Christianity has led you to write these recent comments, complaining that I did not offer sufficient ridicule of the weird ideas I poked fun at in this post, despite not having first-hand acquaintance with them. I understand your unwillingness to repent of giving support to false teachers, but I do not understand why you want to add to that sin the further one of encouraging someone to engage in mockery and criticism even without direct familiarity with what was written by the author whom you are insisting I ought to have attacked more harshly.

                    • Sean Garrigan

                      “…but I do not understand why you want to add to that sin the further one
                      of encouraging someone to engage in mockery and criticism even without
                      direct familiarity with what was written by the author whom you are
                      insisting I ought to have attacked more harshly.”

                      First, I don’t support Ken Ham; I object to your obnoxious (IMO), obsessive attacks on him. There’s a difference.

                      Second, I asked you to breathe, and read, but you still don’t get it? That’s rather remarkable.

                      I’ll repeat it for the third (?) time:

                      I’m not asking you to attack any author, or any person at all, harshly or otherwise; I’m asking you to show more consistently in how you address…drum roll… listen up….here it comes….ARGUMENTS.

                      It’s pretty clear what your problem is: You can’t seem to argue while NOT making things personal, and since that’s what I’m asking you to do, it’s going over your head.

                      Of course, there’s another point that I’m sure you’re missing: I’m not actually even asking you to address the silly argument that is the subject of this post scornfully. I’d much rather see you go the other way, i.e. show the same sensitivity to your points of disagreement with the fundies you like to ridicule that you show to the points of disagreement you have with friends, students, and people who otherwise hold views with which you are generally sympathetic. But, as the image of Luther, that’s probably incomprehensible to you, just as Erasmus’ admonition that Luther take a less in-your-face approach was probably incomprehensible to him (to paraphrase historical data offered by William Manchester in “A World Lit Only By Fire”).

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I think you will find, if you read the things I write without your frustrating determination to find fault rather than engage with content, that I try to deal with those I disagree with in substantive ways and not just through satire or other such means. There is a place for the latter, but it is obviously (again, if you take the time to read the things I write) not the only thing that should be offered, or is offered here. And that includes my engagement with notorious charlatans and deceivers.

  • Jr

    Is eating unhealthy food a sin? According to the author of Hebrew? Or James McGrath?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      The groups that treat smoking as a sin, for instance, usually justify the claim by pointing to the statement that one’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which then turns out to be relevant to more than just tobacco. Others would view gluttony as sin. In that case it might depend how many Oreos he was tempted to eat…

      • Matt Brown

        I personally would like to start eating more healthy foods. Oreos do sound good right now though


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