To quote from Sodom and Gomorrah: “So don’t be gay.”


As evidence that God thinks homosexuality is a sin, Christians often point toward the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I’m very pro-Bible. I want to do what the Bible says. So let’s look at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah:

Genesis 19:1-29

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

Hmm.

Well, as far as I can tell, the primary teaching of this riveting story is that if every man in your town is suddenly overcome by a desire to gang-rape the angels who are staying over at your house, offer to them your daughters to rape instead. But don’t worry, because then your guest angels will strike blind all the would-be rapists, who will then be unable to locate your front door, let alone your daughters.

Another obvious key lesson of this story is that if God later starts raining burning sulphur down upon your town, do not look back at that spectacle, no matter how far away from it you are at the time, because doing so will instantly transform you into a pillar of salt. And while everyone enjoys salt, being salt is no fun for anyone.

But perhaps there’s something wrong with the translation of my Bible. Perhaps, in other Bible translations, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah concludes in this way:

Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

So don’t be gay.

That must be it. I must have a bad Bible translation. What else could possibly explain how any rational person could ever conclude that the point of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is to show that God condemns homosexuality?

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/Nirakia Karin Kloppers via Facebook

    And they don’t really want to read about what God says their sin was:
    Ezekiel 16:49 – “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor suffered outside her door.”

    • Jeannie

      I was trying to find that verse. Thanks. Still, there are a lot of selfish, lazy, gluttonous people around today. I wonder why no fire is raining down.

      The book of Genesis is largely allegorical and metaphorical people. Don’t try to take it literally or you come off looking really, really dumb.

      • Diana A.

        Ya’ know?

      • Adam (Not THAT one)

        The general idea behind Christ’s sacrifice is that God WON’T punish us like He did in the Old Testament. Sure, this means no more having to sacrifice goats to make up for misdeeds, but it also means people who by all rights should be getting buried in brimstone won’t be. Not exactly a happy message for those of us who see the injustice in modern life, but it’s the way God planned it. Infinite love for all people, no matter who they are or what they do.

      • Donald Rappe

        I think there are some genuine legends in there too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kay-Frederick/1162162633 Kay Frederick via Facebook

    And don’t forget that Lot was considered a righteous man in the eyes of God, even though he offered up his daughters.

    • T. Arkenberg

      It’s possible he was offering the daugthers up as ‘hostages’ for his guests’ good behavior (proving they weren’t in Sodom to spy on the people or cause other mischief), and the entire sexual angle, gay or straight, has just been grafted onto the story unecessarily. I like to believe so, although what the Bible says no longer matters that much to me.

      • Matt R

        A fascinating point, one that is completely compatible with anthropological/historical research. Swapping hostages was a common tactic in ancient times of convincing someone that you weren’t meaning to bring them harm.

        But let’s also not forget that back in those days, men believed that women were property. Virtually every culture held to this idea in some shape or form. We can only examine the concept of “righteousness” when we consider historical context. Mohandas Ghandi would have been dismissed as feeble-minded had he been born 100 years prior, and Winston Churchill would be considered a ruthless killer by modern standards (his way of putting down Muslim uprisings was by surrounding troubled cities with the military and bombarding them with artillery until they capitulated).

        And what the Bible says doesn’t really matter that much to me, either. “Don’t hurt people”, I get it. It’s not like I haven’t heard all the good stories a million times. Sometimes I still reference it, especially when I see people using it to justify disgusting and appalling behavior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GrOoVyAnN Ayn Hinds via Facebook

    bravo, john! love this one!

  • http://ajourneytogod.weebly.com/blog.html Vanessa

    I know it was supposed to be tongue in cheek but, I loved it. I also love the fact that you poke holes into this very flimsy premise that it’s about homosexuality. I have heard theories that the story is more about hospitality.

  • http://supercrayons64.blogspot.com/ Blake

    The “Don’t be gay” line was taken out of liberal translations like the New Revised Standard Version. Check older, more accurate translations like The Message.

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com KenLeonard

      Blake, I just thought I’d let you know that I’m going to be stealing that comment for every translation dispute I get wrapped up in for the rest of my laugh.

      That was flipping hilarious!

      Of course, I had to wipe orange juice off the screen, but that’s life.

  • Chelsea Lynn Dill via Facebook

    Love this! Got into this exact conversation the other day with someone trying to use that story to back their homophobia. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing the things you do!

  • Alex

    Lost me at “… when it comes to proof that God wishes …”.

    Lolled anyway, but seriously.

    Debating the finer points of a 10-times-removed translation of a book about supernatural phenomena?

    • Matt R

      You are making the exact same mistake that fundamentalist Christians are making: You’re taking the Bible as literal truth, as if the original copy descended from heaven on a pearly cloud that Jerry Falwell found laying around one day.

      It’s not. It was codified in 311 A.D by the Nicene council under the “direction” of a Roman Emperor desperate to consolidate his power through religious unity. I have no illusions about what the Bible is and what people say it is.

      But it has this story about a guy who said “love your neighbor as yourself” and died to prove it. You don’t mind if I decided to follow that example, do you? It doesn’t matter who said it it’s a good idea, right?

      • DR

        Man, these comments are SO GREAT.

  • Wayne Johnson

    Thanks Karin! Isaiah chapter 1 says the same thing:

    10Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

    16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

    18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

    And on top of all that, it reveals that the word “judgment” means help, not revenge. Specifically it means Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and the call is for the people to act for collective and not individual salvation.

    Basically pretty much EVERYTHING the fundamentalists say is the opposite of the Bible.

  • Don M. Burrows via Facebook

    This is awesome. Reshared.

  • Robert Tobin

    What a load of crap and based on the worst book of fiction ever written: the “Holy” Bible a book of genocide, debauchery and child abuse (numbers 31:17-18) all done or ordered to be done by a”god” that was created in the mind of man for the control of humans by fear.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Whoa. Okay, let’s not get carried away ….

      • Robert Tobin

        I think it was the unknown writers of the bible who got “carried away” plus those who are stupid enough to believe it are “carried away”. They have been poisoned by the God Virus.

        I wonder about the future of the citizens of the United “CHRISTIAN” States of America when out of the 90% who are so delusioned that they think there is a “god”, and out of that number 46% believe the World was “created” by that non-existent “god” in 6 days beginning on the 3rd. October 4004 BCE at 9:00am. They also believe the Grand Canyon was “creaed’ by Noahs Flood, an event that never happened. The same number also believe that the Sermon on the Mount was preached not by Jesus but by Rev. Billy Graham.

        It seems that the next President will be a member of “God’s Own Party” probably from the Tea Party. If that happens the America will be in grave danger of becomming a poor 3rd. World Nation of brain dead bible thumping FundaMENTalist Zombies.

        One warning: the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) have a plan to take over your country. They are ruthless.

        • DR

          Always nice when the Fundamentalist Atheists drop by.

          Dear Robert,

          You are absolutely no different than the Fundamentalist Christians that are destroying lives and ruining this country. Your militant, close-minded, one-dimensional declarative position on Christianity while understandable? Is exactly the same type of fundamentalist DNA in Christianity that you share. Scary.

          • Christy

            Thanks, DR.

          • Robert Tobin

            Thanks for you compliment DR. You see the problem with Christians is that they can’t handle the Truth (sorry Jack).

            (Signed) Rev. Dr. Robert C. Tobin PhD. D.D., D.H.

          • Val P.

            Dr. Tobin seems to think having all those initials after his name actually means he knows everything. You wouldn’t know the Truth if it bit you in the ass – “doctor”.

          • Christy

            Robert, I see you are well traveled, and you are a professor. Guten abend. You are clearly well-read and have spent a great deal of time in contemplation. I hear that you are angry. (That’s meant to be genuine, not patronizing). I carry my own biases regarding certain sects of “Christianity.” In your study and experience is there room for any concept of the Divine? Perhaps from any of the other wisdom traditions? And 2) Any thoughts on the work of Carl Jung from a religious perspective?

          • Robert Tobin

            Christy,

            Thanks for an understanding reply. To question 1) NO

            To question 2) I confess I have not read Carl Jung. I follow Science. I have a good respect for psychiatry. I had to consult a psychiatrist for deep depression as a result of having to care for a mother with Alzheimers. The stress was terrible and resulted in my heart attack.

            I have nothing to do with Astrology and any of those quack pseudo-sciences like Metaphysics. My main interest is Astronomy and Astrophysics. That is what convinced me that there was/is no “Creator/God”.

            On thing abut me. I am a bedraggled refugee from the “Holy” Roman Catholic Church. I suffered 12 years of my youth at a Jesuit “concentration camp”, Xavier College, in Melbourne, Australia. I was a day boy, so never suffered sexual abuse, I was lucky. I detest the Roman Catholic Church. I loath Jesuits. Anyone enduring them would be angry of course.

            I am a paid up member of the Atheist Foundation of Australa and Atheist Ireland. Even from Ausralia I am supporting the victims of Roman Catholicism in Ireland. They are getting very militant. You might have heard of the “Magdalene Laundries”.

            So any concept of “Divine” to me is ridculous.

          • Christy

            We are the walking wounded. I did my 11 years in a Fundamentalist Baptist school. Greetings. Also survived without suffering sexual abuse first hand. Friends and relatives – not so lucky. I’m sorry for the pain I’m sure you endured and the anger and loathsomeness you carry still. I’m still getting over mine. Venting helps. So does reading Barbara Brown Taylor, Anne Lamott, Karen Armstrong, Gordon Livingston…..and this guy, John Shore.

            I bring up the other traditions because I don’t know them to be oppressive like the one I know. Buddhism, for instance. I’m sure evils can be found anywhere. They seem to have the “I’m not mad at anyone nor trying to control anyone” gene going for them.

            I bring up Jung because he seemed to think we are all mystics or at least capable of it; though psychology is one of the more ineffable sciences compared to astronomy and astrophysics, I understand. Though, on a certain level, aspects of each of them are theoretical and relative. I am virulently livid when I read of what happened to the Cathars under Pope Innocent III, women throughout history, and other marginalized groups. I have a strong sense that my people likely come from pagans of the lowly Scots-Irish variety who were undoubtedly tormented by the Romans come to save their souls. It has been helpful to me to see these folk as painfully lacking in self-awareness and consumed by their ego such that they had not one compassionate bone in their body – no matter how religiously they kept to their fasting and prayers and beliefs. For me, it has been helpful to frame “sin” as ego and “divine” as compassion. For me, this is how I see where Jung’s shadow self is analogous to the sin nature and the way of Jesus (and the other wisdom paths) is to dethrone one’s ego from the center of our circle of concern, releasing compassion and compelling us to put others there instead of ourselves. The Buddhist parable of the ox herder explains this nicely.

            I heard writer Louis Hyde speak at the Kenyon Review Literary Festival at Kenyon College over the weekend and he was asked whether he thought Thoreau was influenced by Buddhist thought based on this passage from The Cawing of the Crow 113: ‎”I hear faintly the cawing of the crow…..What a delicious sound……I am part of one great creature…” He said, “He was more likely influenced by hindu thought” and “Many people discovered the telephone at the same time.”

            Theologian Marcus Borg often refers to the Divine as “The More.” Whatever name one gives it, many since the dawn of time have been encountering it again and again and again – or it has been encountering us – such that this empirical evidence has been influential and convincing to me along my own path. I have had to give pause and consideration to what Anne Lamott discovered: “Sometimes heaven is just a new pair of glasses.”

          • Donald Rappe

            I’m quite sure I take your meaning about physics and math. They are also my most intense interests. And yet the awesome beauty they show me has become my own intense encounter with the divine. I suppose I was fortunate not to be tricked into “first cause” kind of thinking. I try to reject every superstitious interpretation of the faith that was once delivered to the saints. I tend to worship the creative power which shows itself within us and all things.

          • Donald Rappe

            I should also thank you for making me smile as I think of the atheist societies dividing along “paid up”, “not quite paid up” and “not payin much at all” lines. Talk about universals.

          • DR

            Wait – me not catering to your hostile, hateful rant and saying so means that I can’t “handle the truth”? Are you five years old?

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            This is why those letters by his name don’t impress me. If a person is smart, they should present themselves in a calm, rational manner – not proclaim that everyone who disagrees with them on a broad question is a lower life form. Also, people can lie on the Internet.

            Letters by names don’t impress me much becuase as far as I’m concerned, the people who have them are people from wealthy families or who otherwise got lucky enough to afford to *buy* those letters. I think there are tons of people waiting tables in resturants and working on farms who are as smart as any scholar or scientist. I know I’d go back to school and probably become a perpetual student if higher education were made to be free.

          • Diana A.

            “One warning: the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) have a plan to take over your country. They are ruthless.”

            This line was what cued me to take this gentleman’s rant with a grain of salt. Still, I like how Christy is showing empathy for him. He calmed down a lot when Christy treated him with respect. Sometimes, I forget how effective that is. Sometimes, I’m just too tired to try it.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            I’m afraid I don’t have much paitience for trolls. They can be fun to poke sometimes, but this guy is obvious. This line tipped me off:

            “I wonder about the future of the citizens of the United “CHRISTIAN” States of America when out of the 90% who are so delusioned that they think there is a “god”,

            Why come to a website full of “delusional” people if you hate delusion just to tell people how stupid they are and how smart you are unless you want to fight or are just trolling? Lots of people do this and I find it a special kind of pathetic.

            If this is how the person *really, truly* thinks of the world, I don’t see how they can have anything resembling a happy life. Would you if you were convinced that you were a part of an elite percentage of the only clear-minded true humans and pretty much 90 percent of the population was monkey-shit crazy and out to get you? I’m a person who makes being a “loner” a regular practice and yet I couldn’t live like that – convinced everyone was stupider and crazier than me. I wouldn’t be able to trust anybody.

            And would be chasing after conspiracy theroies.

        • Diana A.

          Well bless your heart!

    • Marcelo

      Wow. Thanks. I don’t have to go and read that entire book now (thereby avoiding all those “begat” verses…tedious). You sir, put Cliffnotes to shame. I now have more time for the latest novelization of [fill in name of latest action movie in theaters]. Better yet, sounds like Jerry Bruckheimer could do a whiz-bang job of bringing this to the silver-screen. (I want Angelina Jolie to play Bathsheba…but nobody ask me these things).

    • Matt R

      Hi Robert, I was reading your comments and I found that you are a specialist in astronomy/astrophysics. As an amateur enthusiast of these fields, I salute you.

      My question though is regarding another person in your field that I believe you are acquainted with: Albert Einstein. Now don’t get worried, because I respected that man enough to learn that he considered himself a “very religious non-believer” and that he believed that God was “the grand sum of the universe as far as our senses can reveal it”. If you believe that I have missed any context, please let me know, because if there’s one thing that I learned from studying astronomy/astrophysics, it’s that you should never believe that you have the universe figured out.

      But with regards to Einstein, I have two questions for you:

      1) What do you make of the fact that he considered himself religious but not spiritual (compared to the hordes of shallow new-age mystics who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious”)?

      2) Do you believe that Einstein’s view of the universe (based on wholly secular grounds) is a reconciliation of science and religion (even Richard Dawkins conceded that he didn’t have any issues with an Einsteinian interpretation of God in “The God Delusion”), or do you think that modern advances in the field have rendered his opinion obsolete?

      Thanks for your time. I noticed all those initials by your name, and just started aching to pick your brain :-)

  • Sox

    “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

    Ezekiel 16:48-50

    • http://benhusmann.com Ben

      arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned, not helping the poor and needy. I’m having a VERY hard time not getting political with this one.

      • LSS

        oh!!! i so just almost did that. especially with what the person above you said about them being “illegal aliens” … i difficultly restrained myself.

    • Scott

      I always stand amazed at how these master proof-texters manage to consistently miss that one.

      • http://kenreads.wordpress.com KenLeonard

        That’s what the “Conservative Bible Project” is for.

        I’m sure that they’ll manage to remove that verse for its obvious liberal bias.

        • Diana A.

          Sad but true.

  • Katy Gillette-Glover via Facebook

    Oh John, what a wonderful way to start my day, a chuckle and a smile…. The brevity and clarity that ensues… Well, I just wish everyone who read it would get the point you’ve amusingly made.

  • http://www.joanieh.wordpress.com Joanne Hook

    Just read the story – the entire story – and judge for yourself.

    Remember that this was a time before fly, rental car and hotel packages, and travelers would naturally head for the nearest city to spend the night, as spending the night in the open left one open to attacks by predators, be they two-legged or four legged. It was customary for people to go to the gates of the town, gain admittance, go to the town square, where the townspeople could talk to them and, hopefully, one of them would invite them under their roof for the night. However, Lot, an alien to the city, albeit a legal one married to a daughter of Sodom who had bought his position as a gatekeeper, walked out to these handsome strangers, bowed to them and invited them directly to his own house, bypassing the usual custom.

    According to the customs of the time, once someone was under your roof as a guest, they were also under your protection and a major part of hospitality was that they were to be protected until they left your door – regardless of the personal cost to yourself. This is why Lot offered his daughters to the crowd, as to do otherwise was to lose his integrity under the customs. The safety of his guests superseded all other concerns.

    To cite the story from the NIV; “6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

    9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.”

    The sin of Sodom was NOT homosexuality, any more than gang rape of new prisoners in a state or federal penitentiary is. It was an attempt to denigrate, what they considered to be “illegal aliens” as Lot had bypassed the usual course of events that were the common protocol’

    If one reads Ezekiel 16: 49 – 52, you will see the one definition of the “Sin of Sodom” that the Bible gives, besides what has already been cited. Sexual misdeeds are not specifically mentioned, but an excess and a refusal to raise a hand to help the poor and needy are, along with arrogance and an self-esteem are. For Sodomite to equal homosexuality is a stretch far enough to break the bands of a slingshot. If one is really up to thinking this is the case, then read the story of the Levite and his concubine in Judges 19 and ask yourself why it is that Benjamite does not also equal homosexual. The intent was exactly the same in both cases, although, without the benefit of angelic intervention, the concubine was taken, raped and abused until she died at the threshold of the house. OH! That has to be it! In the land of the Benjamites, they raped and killed the woman instead of continuing to pursue the Levite! Wow! What a difference! :-P

    • LSS

      i love how it basically says, not “don’t be gay”, but, basically, in the words of the rules of this blog, “don’t be a dick”.

    • vj

      Your reference to prison reminds me of the Shawshank Redemption – the new arrival [Timothy Hutton? sorry, been a while since I've seen the movie, and must confess to never having read the book...] sees that he is being eyed out by the dominant abusers, and asks Morgan Freeman’s character “I don’t suppose it would help if I told them I’m not a homosexual”, to which the reply is “neither are they – they’d have to be human first”

      • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        In a book I recently read, “Snow Crash” there is a scene where the Protagonist (capital for a reason, heh) is stranded out to sea on a raft with survivors of a Mafia boat that went down. They run across a pirate ship (not an old timey one, but modern pirates).

        The Mafia guys come up with a plan to make Hiro Protagonist and another member of their raft up as concubines for the pirates, promising that they’ll get them out if it before they’re actually raped. When someone asks if the pirates are gay, the response given is “No, they’ve been out to sea and they don’t care what they get, as long as it’s warm and concave.”

        Then one of the Mafia guys slaughters the crew of the pirate ship with an experimental nuclear-powered gatling gun he has.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Don’t forget the last best part regarding the Sodom & Gomorrah tale. If you’re righteous enough to survive the city’s onslaught without turning into salt, you get the prize of bedding your daughters.

    • Jeannie

      Okay, that literally made me laugh out loud.

    • Matt R

      actually, Lot was gang-raped by his daughters (they wanted kids so they got him too trashed to think). Maybe that was their way of getting back at him for trying to get them gang-raped?

      Hardly a prize, by any measure of the word

  • Lymis

    People who want to use the story of the attempted gang rape as proof that God hates homosexuality miss a couple of things. If Sodom was destroyed because of attempted homosexuality, what was with trashing Gomorrah? And the text clearly says “all the men of the city” showed up, so it’s crystal clear that whatever else was going on, it wasn’t something we consider to be modern gay life.

    I usually point out that the men showed up to gang rape Lot’s guests, not to invite them to a pleasant brunch or an evening of showtunes at their tastefully appointed townhouse.

    I certainly hope God disapproves of violent gang rape. But this story has absolutely nothing to do with consensual homosexuality.

    • LSS

      i had to laugh for your “invite them to a pleasant brunch or an evening of showtunes at their tastefully appointed townhouse” … again it’s like “cake? or death?”

  • Diamond Mary via Facebook

    This ain’t no chuckle Katie. This is the perfect reformation to compliment the revolution.

  • LSS

    i just want to know, did Lot *know* that they wouldn’t take his daughter? because that’s really awful if he didn’t know that and still offered her. I mean i guess it’s only slightly more awful than Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, and maybe not a lot different *if* he could tell those were supernatural people from God that were visiting him, and not just regular guys.

    • Diana A.

      I get the feeling that Lot didn’t know that his visitors were supernatural until after they blinded the men outside his house. Even then, he seems somewhat bewildered by what’s expected of him.

      The people who still want to insist that this passage is about how sinful homosexuality is have argued that Lot offered his daughters precisely because he “knew” that the men were only interested in males. But I doubt this too. No, it was the old sexism thing–better to protect one’s male guests than one’s own daughters–afterall, they’re only women. Yup, Lot was quite the charmer, eh?

      • LSS

        that’s messed up. of course… the Bible is kinda realistic that way. there are a LOT of messed up people in there.

        • Diana A.

          True.

      • http://slugcrossings.blogspot.com/ Liutgard

        This is the same Lot who later slept with and impregnated both of those same daughters…

        • Diana A.

          Technically, at least according to the story, the daughters raped their father (got him drunk and had at him.) In a way, it’s sort of poetic justice since he offered them up to be raped.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Kind of like Tamar. The OT is full of stories where deception is used to fulfill a seemingly legitimate purpose.

    • Allie

      Considering that there’s a duplicate story in Judges 19 where a man offered his concubine to keep the locals from raping him (the host also offered his virgin daughter, but apparently the concubine was good enough), and the locals raped the concubine to death, yeah, I think Lot had every reason to assume the locals would rape his virgin daughters to death.

      Also the duplicate story proves that this wasn’t about being gay but was a sort of xenophobic mob behavior enacted on foreign men, and probably a common custom at the time.

      • LSS

        i guess at least it can make us thankful to live in the 21st century and a society with rule of law.

    • Donald Rappe

      My take on this is that Lot was duty bound to protect the strangers, but, at least his daughters were his to give. Kind of a Sophie’s choice. If I pretend that Lot loved his daughters less than I love mine, then I think I may miss some of the story. Remember that the man who bound Isaac is not only still alive, but, a part of this story.

      • vj

        Another key difference is that Abraham was willing to offer Isaac back to God because God specifically instructed him to do so, whereas Lot was acting on his own judgment – presumably a combination of cultural prejudice against women and the whole ‘protect your visitors’ ethic? Part of Christ’s radicalness was the restoration of women to equal status with men….

        • Diana A.

          True. The church was slow to get that part of it, but true.

          • Donald Rappe

            I would like, as tactfully as possible, to disagree with you on this, Diana. I think these ancient writings are not only to the church, but from the Church to the world. By Church, I mean the Thing the Kyrios was doing in the world at that time. I believe these writings are the primary Tradition of the Church. I can never forget that the things I may know of the sayings of Jesus come to me through, from and within the Church. I opine that many, likely most, of the members of the early Church were slave women. And today, I do not like to confuse any particular worldly power with the Church. I believe it is still what the Kyrios is doing in this world. My own particular brand of feminist opinion also considers that the great Jahwist may well have been an otherwise useless wife or concubine in Solomon’s court who had little better to do with her time than learn to read, write and transcribe the stories she heard as she understood them. I opine this because of the gentle feminine humor many of them seem to contain.

    • Matt R

      The easiest answer is probably that Lot was a simple man who didn’t think too heavily about things and had an attitude towards women that was typical of men in those days: they were his property.

      If you’re looking for perfection, a better place to be looking is up a cross

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robyn-Hannah/1361016322 Robyn Hannah via Facebook

    If we want to take OT stories and apply them today then we should at least read them as they are and not add our phobias to them. Good on you John, loved it

  • http://www.instead.net.au Robyn Hannah

    Was just doing my ironing and had a terrible thought. If the guys in the town were gay and attracted to the angels, the angels must have been gay! I have been doing penance ever since that thought struck.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      too late. you’re going to hell. bummer for you.

      • http://www.instead.net.au Robyn Hannah

        O well, off I go, hell sounds like normal church though, I presume the angels that left heaven did not like the gay ones?

    • LSS

      no, i’m pretty sure that gay guys can be attracted to straight guys. honorable gay guys won’t act on it, just as honorable straight guys wouldn’t try to “convert” a lesbian to be attracted to them.

    • Lymis

      No, all it means is that the angels were hot.

      You don’t have to be gay to be attractive. Hard to believe, but it’s true.

    • vj

      Also, if they were gay, why would Lot think they would be interested in his daughters?

      • http://kenreads.wordpress.com KenLeonard

        VJ, I mentioned that in a Bible study group once in college, and it was like I’d just committed some kind of horrible heresy.

        That was NOT a well-received question, to say the least.

        • Matt R

          Funny, I recall a very similar story about a guy doing that to -his- religious authorities about 2,000 years ago, give or take.

      • Donald Rappe

        As a mathematician, I love this question! Complete proof positive that the story has nothing to do with homosexuality and was not so intended by its author. And the more literal you read it, the better it works. I remember as a young man having a mathematical proof corrected by a world class mathematician because I said too much. Once something is proved mathematically, nothing more is required or even useful, although Q.E.D. is optional, if like me, one writes kind of sloppy and someone might miss the fact that you are finished. Once the fine meaning of your comment is soaked up, anything else that can be said on the subject is either false or irrelevant. (the two main forms of b.s.)

      • Lymis

        Butch daughters?

  • Mary W.

    I love this web site soooooooo much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marlene.lund1 Marlene Lund via Facebook

    Love the tag line!

  • Christy

    And since the people of the day proved to be rather obtuse, The Great One sent a messenger to tell the people in the Greatest Commandment, in no uncertain terms: In order to inherit the kingdom of heaven – Don’t be a dick.

    Thanks be to God.

    Thanks for this, John.

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com KenLeonard

      And they killed Him for it … thus proving that they were really, really big dicks.

      (But not in a good way … you know what I mean …)

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        Yes. There’s that.

    • Matt R

      I prefer the version that I was taught when I was 2

      “Don’t hurt other people”

      funny how few people learn the first lesson of their lives, isn’t it?

  • Kristy Chamberlain

    I have also read the Book of Genesis and fell into a trance of wonderment. In that I wonder how anyone can believe this bullshit!!??

    How can anyone take some parts of a “law” and apply them to their lives in the form of “morality”, yet choose to ignore others (I can cite sooooo many parts of the old testament that no christian on this earth would follow anymore!). Most christians will declare that the old testament (with all its racism, debauchery, polygamy, child killing, raping) is no longer valid nor applicable in today’s society, however when they choose, they will whip out their “favourite” quotes quite readily to support their homophobic and bigoted view points. HIPOCRITICAL IMBECILES!!

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com KenLeonard

      Or, while you’re at it, many people wax self-righteous about Mohammad and his questionable actions, while sugar-coating those of the OT patriarchs.

      The ability to read the Old Testament for meaning is more or less lost on a lot of people.

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        Yes, it’s so easy to skip over all those zany metaphors: put his hand under his thigh, uncovered his feet, turned into a pillar of salt, was blind to which son would be the better one to inherit his land, barley harvests…..and all that.

    • Matt R

      I am secure enough in my beliefs that I am willing to examine the Bible with a critical eye.

      The Old Testament is a patchwork of ancient documents: creation mythology, Pro-Israelite propaganda, Anti-Alien propaganda, mysticism, social criticism of (then contemporary) Jewish society, letters, songs, and many other types of documents.

      I am not so, err… let’s say educationally illiterate, enough to believe that the Bible is literal truth and that it needs to be followed on a subtext-less, word-for-word basis. You know what is important about the Bible?

      It has this one story about a guy who said “love thy neighbor as thyself”, and he kept on practicing this idea even as his own neighbors were nailing him to a cross because they refused to believe him. Beyond metaphysical debate, this is a nobility of character that an extremely tiny, vanishingly small number of humans have ever achieved, if any. Friedrich Nietzsche once said that the only true Christian died on a cross for this very reason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Randy-Pyles/1159190419 Randy Pyles via Facebook

    I heart John Shore. But not in a gay way.

  • Ken Leonard via Facebook

    Wouldn’t it be nice if people bothered to read the stories which they use to proof-text?

  • karen story

    Actually always thought the story was the (then)cultural sin of hospitality……which was a bigger deal then than homosexuality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Wiseman/1220502789 Matt Wiseman via Facebook

    I’ve always wondered: What did they do in Gomorrah that was so bad? You never hear of someone being gomorrahed in prison Were these ancient cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul or more like Newark and NYC?”I got soddomized in Gomorrah” would make a good tourism tagline. Like “What Happens in Vegas…”

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com KenLeonard

      Obviously, the PR people for Sodom were WAY more effective than those in Gomorah.

  • Different Ben

    Good article. Posts like Robert Tobin unfortunately show the struggle we all face in understanding God. To come face-to-face with our own limitations–the inability to come anywhere close to perfection–is a life-altering process so radical it scares most people off for their whole lives. Identifying the flaws of others trying to make that journey, even though they are expected by the very nature of being flawed and limited, as well as attaching oneself to historical revisionism (like ignoring that there is physical evidence of significant flooding in the middle east a few thousand years in the past) are just a couple of the things we use to squeeze out of a true self-reckoning. It’s much easier to identify homosexuals as scapegoats then to reflect on how we fall in step with society when it comes to rudeness, indulgence, greed, and ignorance of others’ needs.

  • Val P.

    So I saw this show where they found what they believed to be the ruins of S&D. They excavated it and found evidence of a massive earthquake – and also a very full cemetary.

    The premise of the show was the Hebrews came across this ruined city many years after whatever happened , with the broken homes and the evidence of fire – and that was the basis of the S&D story. And they built a story around the ruins – like ancient people did to explain what was unknown. It was not a history lesson. It was a moral lesson. Duh…

    • Diana A.

      Cool!

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      I remember watching some History or Discovery Channel special that speculated that S&D *were* victims of “fire from the sky” via a meteor-strike. Not a meteor-strike to the cities themselves, but one somewhere around the Mediterrian at the time that would have created a fire and ash-laden shockwave over a part of the Middle East.

      I may just be half-remembering this special, though. It was something about dangers from space and how the Earth is at the mercy of astroids and whatnot. All I know is that they said – if the area had been hit by the meteor itself, it wouldn’t have been *as bad* as being hit by the shockwave.

  • Elizabeth

    The prophet Ezekiel says of Sodom in 16:48-50: 48

    As I live, says the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.

    So it was their mean spirit, not their sexuality that rained the fire down in the story.

  • William

    As an academic exercise it can be fun and interesting to point out that fundies don’t even read nor understand their own book. I get that. I used to love to debate a coworker because his bible quote of the day conflicted with his bible quote of yesterday and last week. But, will somebody please explain why this particular book is more “holy” than The Wizard Of Oz or Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Star Trek? Is there anyone here who can admire and want to emulate a man named Jesus/Yeshua enough to call themself a Christian without deifying a human’s book of stories? Can a person acknowedge God as a living entity separate from ancient fables? I’m not trolling. I’m subscribing to have a conversation.

    • Lymis

      If this is a serious question, then the answer is that a very, very large number of Christians don’t view the Bible the way the caricatures of it would indicate.

      For me, the reality is that something greater than humans, beyond our comprehension, reveals Itself to humanity, and throughout history, people who have had a genuine experience of the Divine interacting in their lives and in their world have been drawn to a need to share that experience with others and pass it down for their descendants. The Bible is not the literal, inerrant word of God, but rather the documentation of one particular group’s attempt to put their experience of God into a form that they could share – first by word of mouth, and later, in writing.

      Today, we, as beings to whom that Divinity is just as real, and just as present, can pick up those words, and reading them, we can connect to their experience of the Divine, and share it, and be inspired by it, not because of the dry words on the paper, and not because of some belief that they are literally and factually true, but because we find ourselves in the same Presence that they were trying to convey.

      The Bible, even the New Testament, is not our path to God. It is a reminder to us that we have a path to God fully and uniquely available to each of us NOW, in this moment, and that That which was present on Earth 2,000 years ago in the visible human form of a carpenter from Nazareth is just as real and just as present to us today.

      The Bible isn’t God. It isn’t even a map to God. It is the travel memoirs of a group of specific people who went on a particular journey with God in a particular time and place, and saw that journey through their eyes and their culture. It is the inspiration to us to take that same journey ourselves, and we will see some familiar landmarks they wrote about, but we will also see things that have changed, and things that we recognize but interpret differently.

      We read the Bible and see things like slavery and brutality, and “the only righteous man in the whole plains” offering his virgin daughters to a mob, and shake our heads. But I sincerely hope and pray that people a thousand years from now will look back at our time and see megachurches and billionaires and multi-million dollar celebrity weddings while an entire continent is dying of a transmissible disease, and homeless and starving people exist in our own country, and be just as incapable of understanding those things about us.

      We don’t have to throw out the Bible to find a modern spiritual connection with God. We do have to stop worshipping it.

      • Diana A.

        Oh gosh! This is just perfect!

      • vj

        “The Bible, even the New Testament, is not our path to God.”

        Yup – I came to faith in Christ as a young child, with some Bible stories prevalent in the surrounding culture, but not a Bible in sight! My family never attended church, but we did ‘celebrate’ Christmas and Easter (i.e. gifts and chocolate eggs), and I had an old children’s prayer book that I like to read; went to a Jewish pre-school, and must have had some sort of Christian teaching in early years at a private (not exclusively Christian) school. God used these experiences to bring me to Christ. It was only several years later that I psyched myself up to buy my first Bible….

      • Marcelo

        “The Bible isn’t God. It isn’t even a map to God. It is the travel memoirs of a group of specific people who went on a particular journey with God in a particular time and place, and saw that journey through their eyes and their culture.”

        Oh my gosh, Lymis. This is just…beautiful. What a brilliant encapsulation of the idea. And just as stories through the ages can resonate to a large degree with us all, they can’t supplant the narrative that we write in our lives.

        Thank you for this. It’s a blessing.

      • Lauren

        I can’t love this response enough =D

        I would add, though, that at least for me, having this relationship with the Bible—that is, seeing it as the record of previous people’s developing relationship with Divinity—this doesn’t allow me to give the Bible privileged status. I read the Bhagavad Gita, for example, with the same eye as i do the Bible. It is a written record of one people’s search for God, and i treasure it as such.

      • Donald Rappe

        I fifth that!

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        Perfect. Thank you for saying it so beautifully and so well.

    • Matt R

      Jesus said “love your neighbors as yourself”, to the point where, when his own neighbors were nailing him to a cross, he looked up to heaven and prayed “forgive them, father, for they know not what they are doing”.

      “Love your neighbors as yourself” is an inherently good idea, wether you want to call it Freedom, liberty, Communism, equality, Karma, the No-Harm principle, or the Dao. All Jesus did was put it in words easy enough for even the simplest person to understand. “Love your neighbors as yourself” is a lesson that most people hear about when they’re about 2 years old (“don’t hurt people” is how its commonly put) but very, very few ever truly learn it.

    • Richard Lubbers

      William, I have come to believe that some Christians have an attitude about the bible that borders on idolatry. I see it as a book of collected stories, some of which were carried on in oral tradition for centuries before being written down. I also believe that Jesus was, and is, God in the flesh who was born, lived, was murdered and raised from the dead. As a Christian it does not bother me that the bible has difficulties (or as you say, contradictions).

      I sensed Jesus telling me one day that he never intended to start another religion. I also seriously doubt he had designs on being an author, other than for our salvation.

      Some Christians say that the bible is the logos in print in the same way that Jesus is the logos in the flesh. That is like saying that the bible is Jesus in printed form, which becomes a physical image of the divine, which is idolatry.

      I respect the bible for what it is, and what it teaches us. But I feel literal interpretation sometimes produces dangerous theology.

      • Matt R

        You sir, have one of the most enlightened attitudes towards the Bible that I have ever seen. Truly, you have my gratitude for sharing that

        • DR

          I agree, this was beautifully written.

      • Allie

        I had a conversation with someone on the Bible as Logos theory. He pointed out that Jesus was the word made flesh, but it didn’t protect him from being tortured, wounded and killed once he entered the world. In the same way, the Bible may be inspired by God, but once it has entered the world it’s subject to mistranslation, amendment, and misinterpretation.

        • DR

          Wow. That’s profound.

      • DR

        This is a hall of fame John Shore blog comment. Thank you.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        score, Richard Lubbers

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      People already replied more than I can say about the Bible itself to you, so Bible aside…

      What I’m wondering is about your “silly fiction” examples. I want to ask – what is wrong with taking truth from fiction? I take truths from *known fictions* ALL THE TIME.

      I glean *courage* from my favorite video game series. I glean the *importance of peace and truths about human nature* from a specific Japanese animated series and comic, I glean *lessons about the wonders of our world* from every story I read or watch about a person falling into another world… I learned things about *mortality, enjoying the now and the strength of love* from a book where the protagonist is a unicorn.

      None of these works I love may be “holy” but I do take almost a “holiness” from them.

      Please don’t use “fiction” as an insult.

      • William

        Shadsie, please forgive my faulty attempt at communication. I’m not even sure if you were replying to me since I can’t find where I wrote “silly fiction”.

        I feel I must not be using correct words to express my thoughts because what I think I’m getting as a response doesn’t correlate to whate I believe I wrote. I feel confusion because it appears I am offending people with things I haven’t said nor meant to say. I realize that I am no Dale Carnegie but I make an effort to choose the right words to express my thoughts.

        I love the stories The Wizard Of Oz and Star Trek. I also “take truths from *known fictions* ALL THE TIME.” Has anyone here recognized the similarity between The Wizard of Oz and the story of the Prodigal Son? Both stories illustrate that no matter how far you go astray or how lost you become you have a loving home with loved ones just waiting to embrace you with open arms.

        I don’t have a problem with the bible as long as it is recognized as fiction.

        Man-made, human-written, ink on paper. Just like every other book.

        I do have a huge problem when it or any book is regarded as “holy”

        Just as I do not believe that the Pope, Jerry Falwell, the Dalai Lama, Jesus or Muhammed are any “holier” than any other men.

        I sincerely hope that I have been able to express myself clearly without offending anyone.

        • William

          I forgot to say that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is my favorite story of all time. The message of redemption and moving from greed to loving sharing echoes the beautiful commandments of Jesus.

        • DR

          I don’t have a problem with the bible as long as it is recognized as fiction.>>>

          And I don’t have any issue with you *personally* regarding it as such. I really don’t. What I do take issue with is that you are extending your personal preferences to those of us who are not you.

          I believe the Bible is a lot of things. Some fiction, some not. I consider it holy. And again – I don’t care that you do, your opinion of the Bible has no bearing on my experience. You calling anyone’s sacred text “silly” is going to by definition, be offensive. I’d not do that to someone who revered the moon or nature or whatever else they hold sacred, even though I might hold that belief personally (I don’t by the way it’s just an example). And if you choose to do that in an environment where there are obviously people who do hold it as suc, it’s just common sense and basic self-respect to not express your contempt or only have a conversation with those who consider the Bible in the same way you do. Actions have impact and your decision to express your opinion is an action with a consequence.

        • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          My views on the Bible:

          Some legend and allegory, things meant to explain broad truths in a way the audiences of particular time periods could accept them, some history (of the Jewish people), and yes, I do believe some of it is actual, literal truth.

          Like Jesus – that he was a person who existed. I also believe in a literal, bodily resurrection at present. This is important to me. I really need to feel like, somewhere, some way, DEATH has been conquered. I won’t get into it – you’ll probably just laugh at my psychological issues. Just know that it’s important to me but I don’t foist it on anybody else. After all, I know it’s a wild story, and something that reverses all the known laws of science and nature.

          The key here is that I don’t foist it on anybody else. If you want to think the Bible’s all fiction? Go ahead. And I’ll stand with you and fight the people who want to create theocracies. – History has shown that they never go well. They also tend to hurt the people they’re supposedly set up to benefit. I hang out here – which should tell you that I’m a pro-equality kind of person. In other words, my personal belief in something much of the world finds ridiculous? IT’S NOT HURTING ANYBODY.

          Unless, of course, you think it’s hurting me by “making me stupid” or something. If so, I’ll tell you to suck a Twinkie. I won’t be something I’m not just to please some person I only know from a few paragraphs on the Internet who feel threatened by the concept that powerless strangers privately/personally believe something different than they do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/blessedandhighlyfavored1 Brian Wright via Facebook

    Actually, God had already made the decision to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah before the Angels had even arrived. The bible is clear of this. The sins of Sodom & Gomorrah were- inhospitality, spite, cruelty, pride, idolatry, sorcery, and indifference to the suffering of the poor. In the ancient world, hospitality was paramount to survival. It was customary to wash the feet of a traveller, give them something to eat, etc. People often had to travel great distances to get from one city to another. Also- in ancient times- the greatest insult to a man was to be treated as a woman. Womem were considered property- just above cattle. This form of sexual degradation had nothing to do with homosexuality. It was about dominance, humilliation, and power. Fundamentalism has been responsible for many of the darkest stains on the fabric of Human History. The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, Holy Wars, The Salem Witch Trials, the subjugation of women, and African Enslavement- just to name a few!

  • http://www.facebook.com/blessedandhighlyfavored1 Brian Wright via Facebook

    It also amazes me how little fundamentalists know about the bible they quote.

  • Richard Lubbers

    So then, God saved Lot from destruction because he was so righteous? Do the troglodytes bother to mention that Lot hides in a cave with his two daughters and has sex with them? But then, you know, his wife is a hard, bitter woman.

    Just sayin.

    • Lymis

      But he was drunk at the time! And they totally asked for it!

    • Matt R

      Yes, according to our modern cultural zeitgeist, that’s hideously detestable. But bear in mind that back in those days, royalty slept with their family members to “keep the blood pure”. And it’s pretty hard to imagine that Lot had a progressive, forward thinking education in a city that didn’t care at all about anything but base physical fulfillment, and if he was the only decent person in an entire city, there’s a good chance that he and his daughters were so sheltered as to be socially inept. And social ineptness is what causes inbreeding to this day.

      But at least he was a hospitable fellow, right?

      • LSS

        wait, seriously?! social ineptitude >>> incest?!

        that can’t be right. i can think of at least 2 or 3 other asperger women (in addition to myself) whose fathers are/were even more autistic than us, and we never even considered seducing them.

        you don’t get much more socially inept than people who are neurologically incapable of keeping up all the social rules.

        • Matt R

          Hi LSS, please allow me to rectify,

          I do not suggest that incestuous behavior is a symptom of social ineptitude, I said that it is a potential (and I do stress the word “potential”) byproduct of it, heavily dependent upon the environment in which the individual was raised. In this regard, what you have written reinforces my point. I assume that you, and others that you know who have Aspergers/Autism, were raised in a household that was conducive to your special needs. The fact that you and I are even having this discussion confirms this to me. I have nothing but the most sincere respect and admiration for families who commit to addressing the special needs of their children, autistic or otherwise, and it is for that reason why I refuse to consider either conditions a “disability”. There are no disabled people. There are only people, and every person has needs specific to their own individual self.

          I will apologize for the confusion caused by my use of the word ineptitude, for it was not the most accurate way of putting it. “Social illiteracy” is a better phrase. For example:

          The only time in my life where I ever personally met an individual who committed incest was from a fundamentalist Christian family that absolutely sheltered their children from anything and everything related to sexuality for their entire lives. The only thing that they could get out of their parents about the subject was “don’t even think about it until marriage” and their solution to every problem was “think about Jesus instead”.

          It was at a point where their parents went out of their way to censor every bit of media that was not explicitly Christian: TV , computers, even music and movies, and if one of their kids wanted to go over to a friends house, they first ran a criminal background check on the family and conducted an interview with the parents first (I am not making this up). It was 1984: the home version.

          This deleteriously poor attitude not only signified a gross failure of trust, it did not take any of their children’s needs whatsoever, in this case, surging teenage hormones and unrelenting questions about sex, into account. Thus the kids, desperate to explore their sexuality, went to the only source available to them: each other. That story is the reason that I spent over ten years as an outspoken atheist, so disgusted was I with the entire situation.

          I hope this clarifies things for you

          • LSS

            oh, ok then.

            my parents are even weirder than i am, socially/ neurologically… and/but they were always very attached to education. even when we were in some extreme forms of christianity, we would still read a lot of even materials whose morals we disagreed with, as long as they were good literature/etc.

            i remember being advised “don’t read the Song of Solomon until after you are married” and “you are too young to read James Joyce” (after graduate school i was deemed old enough) … but i was so docile and easily trained. these things weren’t really enforced, and in foreign languages NO censorship of content was enforced! so i read and listened to some pretty scandalous things in french and spanish, some of which have probably left influences in my mind to this day.

            i do think that it makes sense now that i know you meant basically “people who are living under a rock”.

            PS: i am having this conversation with you, partly because i was raised to value curiosity, but also partly because my brain is not wired with a lot of language difficulties. in terms of societal privilege, this is an advantage that i have over many other autistics (including, to some extent, my amazing husband). when a person is (or seems to be), nonverbal (either all the time or occasionally), that usually leads to them being perceived as low-functioning, even though they could be brilliant at some or many things.

          • Matt R

            Well, I’m glad that we could be good Christians about it and actually try to understand one another :-) Thank you for sharing your touching story with me, and I sincerely hope that my comments did not upset you.

            Maybe John was right in “10 Ways Christians fail to be Christians” when he was talking about cursing. This misunderstanding just wouldn’t have happened if I said something like: looks like there were “family-friendly” hillbillies even in Biblical times!

            Dear God, I apologize for that one… ;-)

            but getting back on topic, the reason I love hearing stories like yours is because of the beef that I have with calling it a “disability”. Everyone has needs, and everyone’s level of needs is different. Attaching labels is what people to to people who are “different”, where Christ himself preached worldwide brotherhood. Case in point: I saw an autistic mural artist who was able to recreate the entire New York City skyline in detail -from a single glance at it through his airplane window-. That doesn’t sound like a disability to me.

            I guess the word “handicapped” might work (God knows my golf game needs a handicap!) but I avoid using it because of the negative stereotypes associated with referring to someone as mentally handicapped (and its association with the severely handicapped).

          • LSS

            yes i like to read blogs of people who explain about social model of disability (i’m not good at sociology: need to fill in some gaps about that!) because really diversity is natural and we can take that as further, to body and brain configuration, not just aspects like race and sexuality.

            i totally wasn’t offended and actually i am glad to know that you weren’t trying to be a jerk or something, and had a valid point.

            unfortunately i may never see the word “family-friendly” the same way again (*_*)

          • LSS

            typo! “…we can take that further…”

          • Matt R

            Well if it makes you feel any better, Republicans have basically killed the phrase “family values” even though I actually have very strong family values (I can say without braggingt that my relationship with my Dad is the envy of pretty much everyone who knows about it)

            The social model of disability IS the future of medicine, not just in the context of special needs individuals, but with regards to the industry as a whole.

            People are generally burned out by the “pill fatigue” of modern medicine, where every “problem” is a disability and every disability has a “cure”.

            The social model will prevail when humans start becoming more emotionally connected with one another, which I think that modern information technology is doing (we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if it wasn’t for Al Gore;) )

            In this regards, the belief that people can exist without labels is not only consistent within medicine, it’s pretty much the point of every story and religious text worth remembering.

          • Val P.

            My youngest son is autistic, and of my three children he is the one that most people say has “common sense”. I prefer to say he has uncommon sense, because he never makes snap decisions, he thinks everything through at least once – maybe make a few lists to make sure he hasn’t forgotten any details – and then does whatever it is. And never looks back, second guess himself. His employer loves him, he is always on time at work. Never takes a sick day when he’s not sick – because that would require lying, and he doesn’t do that. I’m not sure he actually could tell a lie and pull it off. He is punctual and reliable. You could set your watch by him.

            I’m not saying all autistic people are like my son – I suspect this would have been his personality if he hadn’t been born autistic. But I think some of his tendencies are enhanced because he is autistic. He is remarkable.

          • Val P.

            I forgot to make my point! I agree with you that well all have disabilities, some big and some small. My son was born with what the world considers a disability, and in fact it is what makes him so remarkable.

          • DR

            Se of the most beautiful and brilliant technology has been bought to us by those with autism. I couldn’t agree with this comment more.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            This is beautiful, Val. Thank you for sharing this. It is a wonderful insight. Blessings to you.

          • LSS

            i’m a more random kind of autistic than him, darn it. i also have the hoarding kind of OCD and not the neat kind.

            BUT i find my autistic obsession (or perseveration) tendencies useful in my job because it helps me with finding patterns about languages so that i can explain them to my students better.

          • LSS

            dh and i found each other online (currently 6.5 yrs happily married) so i would agree with you about the emotional connections, even though many say the opposite.

            for now i embrace my labels in order to not have shame in them… but eventually it would be nice if we were all just people.

            i made a poster to put up in my office, that says “there are two kinds of people: people who think there are *kinds of people* and … oh, nevermind!”

    • William

      Most people don’t know this but the Biblical account wasn’t the end of the story for Lot’s wife. Later on she remarried and had a great idea for a new condiment. Today she’s known as …. Mrs. Dash! :D

      • LSS

        SWL (snorting with laughter)

        i love that stuff, btw! dh and i use a lot of it.

  • Matt R

    Any one who would cite the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah as proof that God hates homosexuality clearly has never read the book of Ezekiel

    “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16:49-50 (New Living Translation)

    No where in any of the text does Ezekiel cite homosexuality as being a reason that God punished these cities. In fact, the full context of these verses was that Ezekiel was comparing Jerusalem to being “an unfaithful wife” to God because they grew proud, lazy, and arrogant, and stopped caring about the poor and needy. Sound like any countries you ever heard of?

    • Diana A.

      Matt R., what could you possibly be implying? ;-D

      • Charlottte

        I totally agree! Look at the greed in our world now. Is God pleased with that? I don’t think so.

        • Donald Rappe

          Fire next time!

  • William

    Lymis, Thank you for your serious reply. I can apppreciate that you don’t hold the bible literally(Thank God)! But I still wonder why we hold it at all. It is said that there are words of wisdom in the bible yet the wisdom is in miniscule proportion to the vapid ugliness. Case in point, Sodom and Gomorrah story. If this story were not bound with the same leather cover as the wisdom of Jesus, wouldn’t we give it the same significance as the Three Little Pigs?

    The church that I attend has the most amazing minister who brings life to the people in the stories without giving credence to the baggage of magic tricks and superstitition. Its nice to here about other people’s search for belief in the divine without it being a stone tablet to hang over your head. I just don’t get why we have to hear only the stories from that one special book every Sunday.

    One big thing I haven’t heard any christian, fundie or liberal, admit to is, this is the same book of rules that was used to condemn Jesus to die on the cross. The religious authorities of that day used what we today call the Old Testament to torture and murder Jesus because he broke the rules from the Holy rule book. You can say the Bible killed Jesus. The same book that is being used as a weapon against gay people today was used to justify slavery only a little while ago in America. And only a couple hundred years ago this same book was used to justfy genocide of the natives of both northern and and southern continents of the Americas. Doesn’t that put it in the same category as Mein Kampf?

    For me, somewhere down the line, we have to confront the bullies and confidently assert that the bible has no divine authority and not even moral authority.

    As I stated in my first post, it can be fun for a while to tweak bible thumpers with their own book . But how long do we debate the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin? Truly the emperer has no clothes. There are no angels. The visitors in the Sodom and Gomorrah story were just men. Possibly historical characters or just fictional characters. But just men in a man-made story.

    How would you feel and what would you think if an adult said to you in all seriousness, “The Easter Bunny will punish you for (whatever)” or “The Easter Bunny says thats a sin.” It would be as creepy as a 16 yr old who still believed in Santa!

    Thats how I feel when somebody says, “The Bible says (whatever)” A mixture of pity and contempt but mostly creeped out by a mentally disturbed or emotionally retarded person. Moses receiving instruction from a burning bush is no different than David Berkowitz, better known as Son of Sam, receiving intruction from the neighbor’s dog.

    I’m not discounting the existence of a universal spirit or divine life creator. It just seems to me that the god of the bible has been already disproven just like Zeus and Thor and all those that came before.

    You say “We don’t have to throw out the Bible” but I’m asking, why wouldn’t we want to throw out the bible to find a modern spiritual connection with God?

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      I don’t want to get into heavy argument here because it’s late and I’m tired, but I wanted to bring up a few things:

      First, calling people “mentally disturbed” and “emotionally retarded” is a poor way to try to get them to listen to you. Please don’t start out a conversation like that. Please don’t insert it in the middle. Please don’t end the conversation like that if you want people to actually consider your argument and come away with a modicum of respect for you. Ditto when you appeal to Santa.

      Second, some people are prone to ascribing authority to ancient books just because they are ancient (have stood the test of time). Many a scholar will happily point out to you that the Shakesphere plays we so revere were basically the equivalent of Micheal Bay movies in their day. The Bible is pretty ancient, and for all the rack and ruin to be found in it, people still find core values that resonate today.

      Third, sometimes the interpretation of a source is as important or even more important than what’s actually in the source itself. You think the Bible is “Mein Kampf.” You’re entitled to that. Plenty of people have treated it that way. Just as many, if not more, have treated it as a guide and an excuse to do good to their fellow man. To dig wells, to create hospitals, to forgive their neighbor instead of being a dick like they might natually be inclined to.

      Here’s a Cracked.com article about some *MODERN* literature that people make wild, crazy interpretions of. http://www.cracked.com/article_18568_the-5-greatest-books-with-psychotic-fanbases.html

      Kind of interesting how anti-abortion people still used “Horton Hears a Who” as a manifesto even *after* they were told off by the author himself! I don’t know about you, but when I read the “Lord of the Rings” books, I was left with a sense of wonder and magic and thought it was pretty cool how all the races of Middle Earth cooperated to fight evil – there certainly wasn’t anything Neo Nazi in it for me. Yet these fanbases – are significantly numerous to warrant a mention.

      As for the psychotic stuff that happened in the Bible? See the discussion of Values Dissonance above.

      All I know is that I’m not going to give up my copies of the “Lord of the Rings” books just because some Nazis like it.

      • vj

        LOVE LOVE LOVE :-)

      • William

        Shadsie, I’m sorry you read my post when it was late and you were tired. It was certainly not my intention for you or anyone here to take it personally. My illustration was intended to remind the readers of a time when a person who could legitimately be described as mentally disturbed tried to force their views in an uncomfortable way. The wild-eyed lunatic street corner preacher who gets nose to nose and demands that you “repent, for the end of the world is at hand!”

        Perhaps you have had experience with a very large person with obvious brain damage or retardation (Lenny from “Of Mice and Men”) who insisted that you have a conversation with his invisible friend and was getting agitated because you were unable to pretend sufficiently. That kind of thing was what I was attempting to describe. Surely you will agree that Fred Phelps, Scott Roeder, and Dale and Shannon Hickman are scary people whose mentally disturbed religious beliefs have caused harm. Please reread my post with fresh eyes and see the points I am making. Thank you.

        • LSS

          also, equating people with “mentally retarded” or “mentally disturbed” to convince them of the error of their ways is extremely insulting to people with mental illness, people with intellectual disabilities, and other people with neurological differences. the dangerous, common, and FALSE implication that such people are often a danger to others is all over your argument; if you want to be rational, you should find a different set of analogies.

          Fred Phelps is an abuser who uses the Bible as an excuse and a means to an end, just as he has used the law and Civil Rights and whatever else he can twist through his unfortunately strong intellect and imagination, unfortunate because he has used his high intelligence to cause so much harm and get away with it.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Actually, I am mentally disturbed and have been a danger – but that’s in the past since I learned what I have and how to manage it. I have a disorder that seems to be common to artists.

            As for the “imaginary friend” insult. Ugh. Maybe it’s weird, but I am willing to admit to God being something of an “imaginary friend” – but not in the way that angry non-believers insist. What I mean is that I think it takes imagination to have a concept of spiritual things that one cannot immediately touch – and much like the concept of “art” or the concept of “the future,” the concepts of “God /gods” and “spirit” are among those things that make us human.

            I’m *not* saying that atheists aren’t human, either – for they actually have the *concept* but have chosen to reject it because it doesn’t fit with their hearts or their logic.

            But, yeah, God takes imagination. So do lots of things. Like paintings. Symphonies. Going to the Moon. Computers and Ipods. Having an imagination doesn’t make one a lesser person – it makes one a person.

            And if one is using their imagination in positive ways, why compare them to people who use their imagination in negative ways?

          • William

            Shadsie, even though it appears that our words conflict, you may or may not be surprised that I hold valuable those same things that you hold valuable. Music, art, stories. Imagination! Ideas! The concept of a universal connection between all things that exist! The truth that humans need others to survive. The willingness to do good even when no one else is looking. The feeling of loving kindness extended, received and accepted. The truth that living things have a worth beyond the inanimate.

            I grieve that you “have been a danger” and I rejoice that you have learned to manage it and its in the past. I myself have been to therapy for depression and other brain disabilities. But what I really wanted to know was; if there was anybody who could be labeled “sane”. The therapist said “not really”. It’s all on a scale. We all have varying degrees of function/disfunction. We all have behaviors that help us and harm us.

            “Imaginary friend” is not an automatic insult. Jimmy Stewart’s character Elwood P. Dowd is a mild-mannered, pleasant man, who just happens (he says) to have an invisible friend resembling a 6-foot rabbit named Harvey. Mr Dowd is by far the most loving, lovable, sanest person in the story. I would be proud to have him as a friend.

            But “imaginary friend” is an earned insult for people who use any religious deity to deprive others of basic human rights. The red flag is often a phrase like, “The Bible says thats a sin and you are a sinner.”

            I believe that kind of talk is wrong and those who say that are ugly and deserving of contempt.

            I have the absolute highest respect for people like Jesus, Gandhi, Einstein, the Dalai Lama, Da Vinci and others who exemplify the loving beauty of truth and also the beautiful truth of love.

            I respect those who practice yoga because it is good for body and mind. And I detest those who eat fish on friday, don’t eat pork, cover their heads or mutilate their childrens genitals because “God said they must.”

            Am I making sense?

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Yes, you are making sense, but you do need a bit more tact. You have to be careful of broad-brushing. Not everyone who believes in God, or that the Bible has some literal truth in it is out to restrict others’ rights or to do harmful things.

            Like I said above, I’m not going to stop believing in God just because some people who do fly planes into buildings. I don’t fly planes into buildings. My own belief in God inspires me to do the opposite of flying planes into buildings (flying buildings into planes)? So I really hate the generalizations that a lot of non-believers make. A lot of people whine “well, can’t you do all those good things without believing in a God?” Perhaps yes, perhaps no, but the bottom line is, you’re not me. You don’t get to live my life for me. You don’t live in my brain. Just as you don’t want people telling you that you’re a lesser human being for not believing in a God, I don’t want to deal with the implication that I’m a lesser human being for having that particular bent to my imagination. We aren’t all hijackers and Fundamentalists. We aren’t all out to get you.

            Recognize that some of us are fighting with you. If you wanted to go on an anti-religious rant to religious people to try to “wake them up” by shaming them with the social ills caused by religion, you picked the WRONG blog. We are VERY aware of religous damage here. Some here have survived the worst of it firsthand. We’re into equity here.

            If nothing else, people recommend posts and discussions here to online friends. I’ve got an agnostic friend who’s shown this site to a conservative-Christian friend. There’s another thing – that person… isn’t listening to my agnostic friend outright becuase she’s agnostic. She might listen to Mr. Shore and some of the responders here becuase they’re Christian – ie. “in the same club.”

            And when you talk about “God” like he’s “Santa Claus” to these people, they’re less tolerant of that jazz than I am. Trust me. They will not only not be shamed, they will see you as the darkness that is trying to steal their light and be even more inclined to remain in their intolerance. I know becuase I was like that for a good long time, myself.

            You might think it would be easier if everyone just ditched religion to become a brotherhood of man, but it’s not happening. Some change has to happen from within, by the talk and actions of people who happen to be the only “kind” of people those who need to change will listen to.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Also, what if you eat fish on Friday not for religious reasons, but because it tastes so darn good?

            There’s a fish place in a farm market near me that’s only open over the weekend and I very often get fish there on Friday because of the yummy.

          • William

            Fish is good any day. I’m eating barrels of salmon because I believe the people who are saying omega 3 is good for my health. And vegetables and salads. I’ve developed a taste for good stuff. Who’d ah thought!

          • LSS

            oh, i didn’t mean to minimize your experience and those whose mental problems cause them similar trouble. but i mean there is an idea in the news media, public perception, etc., that people with mental problems are more likely to be dangerous to others than “regular people” are… and i read that actually they (we, whatever) were actually *less* likely than people in general to be criminals, etc.

        • DR

          William one last thing, while you’re getting some personalized reactions to your comments? I think they’re still valuable and offer a lot of truth that’s challenging to hear. I don’t agree with some of the more definitive conclusions you’ve drawn here but your points have historical as well as present-day merit. Sometimes there’s a defensiveness but part of that defensiveness – I’ll say this for myself, not for others – can be attributed to the privilege christians have in this country and the expectation that we all be evaluated on our own individual terms. I’m glad you’re here and hope you continue to participate.

          • William

            Thank you DR. I appreciate that.

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      As for the title topic and differring intrepretations:

      Yes, some people interpet the story of Soddom and Gomorrah as “gays must die.”

      Some interpret it as “don’t be gay.”

      Other people (and I bet most of the people here) interpret it as “Horrible, inhospitible people want to rape angels. Ew. Nothing to do with gays. Also, that Lot is a real piece of work. Ew.”

      Sometimes, it’s not the story itself that’s significant, but the individual’s interpretation.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

        Why I so highly admire and respect you Shadsie. Spot on as usual.

        • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          Thanks.

          I have to think, really, most people aren’t into Fandom. Fandom – it’s when you fall so head over heels in love with one piece of fiction or another that you go on the Internet and discuss it with other geeks, maybe draw art based on it and write derivitive copyright-violating fiction about it. I’ve done and do this for several things, as I am a turbo-geek. And what do you find out when you’re a turbo-geek for the things you love? It seems like no two people have the exact same take on the original work and what some fans get out of the original work can be pretty wild.

          The thing that I’ve been into for the last few years is the “Legend of Zelda” videogame series. (I’m a bit put-out because I don’t actually have a Wii and probably will not get to play the shiny new game that’s coming out this month for a long, long time). People have interpreted that series as being everything from “Cute adventure series that’s darn fun to play” to “Interesting mix of Eastern and Western mythology” all the way to “The protagonist and his race represent Neo-Nazi Aryan superiority even though the games are made by Asians, GAH!!!” *

          Also, look up “Zelda Timeline” if you want to see tons of fans wanking about the “true chronology” of the series. Seriously – if the fans had guns, it would be war.

          Another fandom of mine was a Wild West/Science Fiction gunslinger comic (and animated series). Some fans interpreted it as some kind of mushy schmoopy hot-sexy romance that was going on *outside the actual drawn panels and dialogue* that those of us who saw it as an action gunslinger comic were too dumb to see…

          So, when I see people go on about how “The Bible this… The Bible that…. is to blame for that…” All I can think about is how fandom draws loads of wildly varying interpretations of *the same thing.* In other words, I’ve learned from being a geek “No wonder ancient books of heritage and faith inspire wars even when there’s a lot in their pages that speak of peace.” Fandom. Oy.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Forgot to had, to my asterisk:

            * The Hylians in “The Legend of Zelda” are less akin to white people and more akin to Tolkien-style elves, except that they are not immortal. When you play the protagonist (Link) in any given game, you’re pretty much *required* to get along with humans and Hylians of all colors in addition to a variety of other races including sientient rock beings, fish people, etc.

          • William

            “The protagonist and his race represent Neo-Nazi Aryan superiority even though the games are made by Asians, GAH!!!” *

            Shadsie, you made me spray my monitor. GAH!!!

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Are you familiar with the “Legend of Zelda?”

            I actually think I saw that on TV Tropes, along with another theory that “Ocarina of Time” represents Link as a Crusader fighting the Muslim hordes (represented by the Gerudo). The latter fan wank theory was actually explained rather well – Link as a European-styled person who worships a Trinity (the Goddesses), and fights against a villain from a dark-skinned desert people modeld after an Arabian asthetic who had as a national symbol a moon and star before Nintendo changed it to that funky blobs and circles symbol in subsquent game releases.

            Er, go to TV Tropes and look up the troke “Everyone is Jesus in Purgatory.” for these kind of theories in all kinds of fandoms. Personally, I think Nintendo just took inspiration from fantasy tales around the world (Middle Earth, Arabian Nights, world Mythology etc) and threw them together and stirred them up into their own otherworld mythology and that people would be wise not to read too much allegory into it.

          • LSS

            (cowboy bebop?) just guessing…

            dh is into animé in a pretty comprehensive way, cos he has more time … but he doesn’t do fandoms for some reason … too much of a free-thinker, i guess. … i was a little obsessed with samurai champlu for a while, but not that much. i only geek out strongly about DeathNote, although before i discovered fanfics and all that i did actually write some about Sancho from donQuijote, and the Hunchback from Notre Dame de Paris.

            sorry for the tangent… but yes, fandoms and their mainstream counterparts (obsessions with sports teams, for example!) are an indication of how illogical we humans are, sometimes.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Trigun, actually, but I’m a fan of Cowboy Bebop, too. I have “Tank!” as one of the current tracks on my MP3 player. Trigun was the thing I was more head over heels obsessed with for a while, though. Love and Peace!

          • Matt R

            Now this is just something that I don’t understand about Zelda fans: why do they try to attach a chronology to it? Why can’t they just take it like Mario and just accept that it’s a different way of telling the same story?

            I feel like trying to squeeze narrative into games is what killed Sonic: they focused on generating more melodramatic furry drama instead of creating games that’s just plain fun to play. Zelda is nothing like that: You know that Ganon kidnaps the princess, and Link finds the triforce and defeats him. I don’t get why people put more thought into a game’s story than the guys who actually made the story did. To them, the narrative is the vehicle, not the driver.

            Your analogy is a poignant one though. Think about how heated things get when discussing entertainment, and think about how just plain vicious people can get when real money and real lives are on the line. Think about how pointlessly people think about video games, and how pointlessly they navel-gaze because “helping the poor and needy” is too inconvenient for them.

            I’m an aspiring video-game producer/designer, by the way. I’ll be graduating from Art college in May and am already looking at entry level positions at the major gaming studios. It’s something of a field of interest of mine :-)

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Ah, I’m late! Yes, let’s derail this disscussion into fandom! Please?

            I’m not nearly so lofty in my ambtions. I’m a failed graphic designer who’s too bipolar to maintain any job working with people, so I work min. wage a horse farm, which has nothing to do with art and graphic design. I am trying to be a fantasy writer, though – so far my books have failed to catch agent-type attention. As far as my video game interests go – I play them and I write loads of fan fiction.

            I’m not the “typical fan fiction writer” – I’m not interested in porn or even very much in pairings. I’m that rarest of creatures, like the unicorn – a gen-fic writer. And, indeed, fans do tend to read more into a work than is actually there. I like the Legend of Zelda series precisely because it has such a basic, archetypical story game to game. Miyamoto seems to be more interested in creating interesting gameplay elements than in overdramatizing it. It does have enough drama, but has that nice open-sandbox quality that makes it attractive to me as a fill-in-the-blanks fan writer.

            As for the Timeline – there are reasons why fans wrankle over it. Some of the games reference each other. The Wind Waker is the best example of this. The references to the world of Ocarina of Time being a part of the past of that world are blatant – a key plot point, the entire underlying plot, actually. As for most of it, I use whatever works for a given fan fiction – different between my fanworks – and pretty much think Nintendo pulls it out of their collective butts every time they make a new game for the series.

            When I do fanworks, I try to make them true to canon without actually mirroring it too much. I show blood, for instance (Link never bleeds in his games), I have one fic that’s a co-write with a friend that’s a big alternate universe kind of thing that combines Hyrule with the Wild West. I have another fic that has Ganon as the protagonist of a game-style scenario. I do weird stuff like that, so fan-wrankling? Pah. Fun to watch, but not serious business.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Regarding how heated things can get when discussing mere entertainment…

            Before I got bit hard by the LoZ-bug, I was into Trigun, a funky little anime and manga series about gunslingers on another planet. Specifically, it’s about a pacifist trying to maintain his vow not to kill on such a planet while also trying to keep his evil twin from destroying all of humanity. It starts out in a tragicomic vein – mostly comic, then goes to mostly tragedy.

            The main message of the story – or, the main mantra of the protagonist was “LOVE AND PEACE!” Seriously, he’d shout it to people at random. It was funny and cute.

            The fandom, when I was in it? Anything BUT “Love and Peace.” I am sad to say that I was a part of a lot of the wank and that some of it was ship-warring and that I was mild church-style homophobic for my first years in the fandom. People who compared me to Fred Phelps for my distaste for yaoi didn’t change me, though. People like the good folks here changed my attitudes. I still shy away from the “typical yaoi fangirl,” whenever I meet one in fandom.

            But there was wank about everything – from “how is the creator going to end the manga?” to characters’ mental states and motivations, to character religions. I seriously saw someone sure that Trigun was “anti-Christian” *because* it promoted Love and Peace. To them, Christianity was evil and couldn’t have any relation to love and peace. They told me that I was wrong for having a subjective opinion that Love and Peace related to the religion I’d lived for years because they took ONE college class on world religions and becuase they were a mighty athiest and I was theist, so therefore they were smarter than me. This despite all the series’ angel-imagery, the “search for Eden” bent and, oh, yeah, the protagonist’s best friend who was a priest! Needless to say, I felt really vindicated when an interview came out in which the creator said he’d become a Roman Catholic when he was researching his story. Heehee. I didn’t actually stick around at the forum I was on to see my opponent’s reaction to this. Don’t need to.

            But, yeah, I’m glad that the fans didn’t have the weaponry that the characters did. We’d probably all be dead. Of stupid.

    • DR

      For me, somewhere down the line, we have to confront the bullies and confidently assert that the bible has no divine authority and not even moral authority.>>>

      William, if you spend any time in this blog at all you can see people who assert the Bible having divine and moral authority – including John – doing a pretty incredible job in confronting the bullies. Again, you just don’t have the last word on what Scripture is for others, nor is it accurate to state that those who believe the Bible is sacred are part of the bully club. I know you believe that but you don’t have the last word on it. What you can do and should do is hold those of us who do believe the Bible to be sacred to also handle the bullies who share our christian tent and shut them down so you don’t have to. So they don’t hurt anyone else who wants absolutely nothing to do with our faith in the first place. That you should do, Christians have hurt this nation in horrible ways. Evil ways. And it’s hard for non-Christians and atheists to feel like they have any voice at at all in saying so. And you shouldn’t have to, those who share a Christian tent with these people should be cleaning up their mess and preventing it so you don’t have to.

      • LSS

        this way of looking at it makes so much sense.

  • Soulmentor

    Will someone please explain how God could have considered Lot a good person, indeed, the ONLY good person in the city when he was a man who could so easily offer up his daughters for gang rape?

    How “christians” can, even remotely, use this event as any kind of moral argument at all, let alone against homosexuals, is incomprehensible.

    What is the REAL atrocity of this story?

    • LSS

      if you go back a while where i asked a similar thing, there were some really interesting answers. but i am still not satisfied either.

    • Matt R

      The real atrocity is your historical illiteracy

      1) The hebrew word used in the tale does not imply that Lot offered his daughters to be raped. Thus the text can be interpreted to mean that he was offering them as hostages. This was a very common tactic in ancient days of expressing your sincerity by demonstrating your willingness to trust the other party with a loved one. It’s very likely that if Lot refused the mob’s demands, they would have accused him of being a traitor to the city and slaughtered his family. The fact that they tried to break in anyway reinforces this interpretation. Keep in mind that the events in this tale took place (or at least were written) a few centuries before Caesar Augustus invented the concept of a “police force”.

      2) It was nearly universally common in those days that women were considered property of the men. This practice continued practiced well into the modern era, lingering even into the early years of the 20th century. It’s extremely unlikely that Lot had access to a progressive, forward thinking education (most likely case was that he was a simple man who knew nothing about anything but whatever trade his father taught him to know and whatever knowledge his priest wanted him to have.)

      3) Attaching concepts such as “righteousness” outside of historical context is illogical. Mohandas Ghandi would have been dismissed as a feeble-minded fool if he had been born 100 years prior, and by today’s standards, Winston Churchill would be considered a ruthless killer (his way of suppressing anti-colonial sentiment in the British-subjugated Muslim world was to surround the cities in question with the army and bombard them with artillery until they capitulated).

      4) If you’re looking for perfection in a man, you’re barking up the wrong cross.

      • Matt R

        Consider this: It makes absolutely no sense for Lot to offer his daughters to be raped. If the mob really wanted to gang-rape his daughters, do you think they would have waited for his permission?

    • Allie

      Well, Abraham didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about Isaac’s feelings, either. He’s all, “Oh poor me, I must give up my son,” not a bit of “Oh, my poor son, he has to die.” I sometimes wonder what God would have done if Abraham had said, “No, I won’t kill my son, if you want him to sacrifice his life you’ll have to talk to HIM about it.” For all we know God would have clapped his hands and said, “Got it right in one.” All we know is that disobeying for selfish reasons would have been wrong. We don’t know anything about disobeying for altruistic reasons.

      Children in the Bible are pretty much uniformly treated as property without personhood or feelings. The exception would be Dinah. When Dinah was raped and her pa decided to marry her to her rapist as part of a peace arrangement, her brothers tricked the rapist’s clan into getting circumcised and then slaughtered them when they were ouchie. Dad threw a fit and said the boys were making him look bad, to which they said, “Are we supposed to let him treat our sister like that?”

      Anyway I guess what I’m saying is if you want ethics, don’t look to the OT, because those people were all evil, even the ones who were supposed to be good. C.S. Lewis said, “How can we meet face to face until we have faces?” by which he meant that God is eternal, and Good is eternal, but mankind’s understand of both God and goodness has been evolving since the creation. Not too long ago everyone everywhere took it for granted that slavery was a natural part of society. Now almost all people believe that it’s unsupportable and wicked. Jesus said that a servant does what his master says without understanding, but a child is supposed to learn WHY his father says it, and grow to do it because he agrees and understands. We, all of us, are supposed to be children and not servants.

      • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        Very well put!

        You know, if you want to analyze this kind of thing in media, I have several links to TV Tropes for you:

        Values Dissonance:

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ValuesDissonance

        Deliberate Values Dissonance – (When a writer is aware of this and purposefully invokes it for worldbuilding purposes).

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeliberateValuesDissonance

        Fair For Its Day – Values Dissonance for time periods, dealing with things that were progressive and even radical for their time period that would be considered at least slightly backwards today:

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FairForItsDay

        (Check out the “Religion” sub-section on this – LOADS of Bible).

        The OPPOSITE of the above is Values Resonance – When the morals of an old piece of media actually travel well and speak to our time:

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ValuesResonance

        You can find this stuff in everyday life, too. I remember talking with my father on the phone the day of the Presidential Inaguration and both of us were excited about Obama taking the stage because this was an historic event – a man of a racial minority taking the office marked a significant social change. I told my father “When you were my age, this wouldn’t have happened,” and he agreed with me that the sad truth is that he wouldn’t have seen this at my age. His father is long dead – I have no idea what he would have thought about a Black President, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he thought it meant the world was ending! Back in the days of my grandfather’s youth, you see, it was a different world and attitudes that we’d consider racist and therefore evil today were very common.

        As linked, a stroll through some of our own media during the last century (let alone the Bible) will show you lots of “common attitudes of the day” that appall us now and strike is as horribly ignorant, stupid, or even evil – yet “fair for its day.”

  • Val P.

    Last year I had my maternal DNA analyzed – not back a few hundred years, few thousand years – but back 150,000 years. I had a second analysis that brought it up to about 30,000 years. I can’t even fathom 150,000 years ago! And yet there is a direct connection in my DNA to an ancient grandmother who lived then. It is there – she existed! To all those folks who say the Bible says the earth is 6,000 years old – stop that. The Bible is not a history book. It is a book of faith.

    “The Bible isn’t God. It isn’t even a map to God. It is the travel memoirs of a group of specific people who went on a particular journey with God in a particular time and place, and saw that journey through their eyes and their culture.” Lymis, that is awesome.

    • Diana A.

      Love this!

  • Jack

    How many people have read Judges 19, which gives a similar story–0nly actual HETEROSEXUAL gang rape accomplished is involved, and the city is likewise destroyed?

    Common thread of both stories: God hates gang-rape.

  • William

    DR, I have read and reread each item I have posted and, for the life of me, I cannot find the word “silly”. It was Shadsie who claimed I used the words “silly fictions” and I don’t believe I wrote that either. If you will do me the kindness to point out where I wrote “silly” I am prepared to prostrate myself before you and beg for your forgiveness. I am not ashamed to admit I make mistakes.

    I am becoming painfully aware that I am rubbing people the wrong way here. It may be because I have the tact and grace of a bull in a china shop. I wish I had more grace and tact. I’m working on it. Consider it my disability. But I really am trying to do better.

    The other possibility is, in my graceless, tactless way, the Emporer will be offended if the lack of clothing is pointed out.

    What do you call using an ancient text to justify letting a child die of an easily remedied medical complication because prayer is preferred? What do you call the actions of men who believed they were “called by God” to fly planes into buildings? What do you call the ravings of a Baptist Minister who condemns gays and dead soldiers and other Americans to the eternal agony of hell? What do you call a “good Catholic” woman who, due to religious convictions, threw her grandbaby five stories down to her death because the child was born out of wedlock? Not silly? If not silly then what? I’ve been chastised by LSS for calling those people mentally disturbed. What do you call it? Not faith? I hope you don’t call it faith.

    I’d like to know how belief in a Gorgon named Medusa turning a man to stone is not silly. I’d like you to explain how literal belief in Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt is not silly.

    I have the sneaking suspicion you find me so abrasive that you find yourself in a position where you couldn’t make yourself admit that lead is heavy if I had posted that as truth. Or, prove me wrong.

    How can I convince you that people spin yarns, tell tales, spread rumors and write books? You say, “Yes, thats true of every book but one. This book is special. It didn’t come to us the usual way. It’s Holy. God made one book and we have it. Not the Buddhists, not the Hindus, not the Muslims. We are the ones with the Holy Book.”

    I haven’t convinced you? You haven’t even bothered to address what I wrote. You commented on stuff I never said. No, you haven’t convinced me. Did you try?

    • DR

      What do you call using an ancient text to justify letting a child die of an easily remedied medical complication because prayer is preferred? What do you call the actions of men who believed they were “called by God” to fly planes into buildings? What do you call the ravings of a Baptist Minister who condemns gays and dead soldiers and other Americans to the eternal agony of hell? What do you call a “good Catholic” woman who, due to religious convictions, threw her grandbaby five stories down to her death because the child was born out of wedlock? Not silly? If not silly then what? I’ve been chastised by LSS for calling those people mentally disturbed. What do you call it? Not faith? I hope you don’t call it faith.>>>

      I call that weak-minded, lazy, fearful and foolish *people* and I actually agree with you I do believe there’s often a degree of mental illness that’s accompanied with such “bible-believing behaviors”. Absolutely. I also believe those people often grow up in horrifically abusive homes dominated by parents in the same fundamentalists patterns.

      Which is very different from the Scriptures themselves. You’re mixing the two up, consider not doing that on such absolute terms (though the actions above would lend one to anger and cynicism about the Bible which is completely valid). That being said, an educated mind acknowledges that several things can be very true about one thing at a time.

      Other than that, I have no need or interest in you “convincing” me of anything. I don’t need your perspective that the Bible is fiction, I’ve covered this with you in my initial comment. You choose what you believe about the Bible and you’re doing so because that serves you. I assume it’s an educated and informed point of view, convincing anyone otherwise is disrespectful and condescending. I’m not here to debate the merits I believe, I’m here to challenge those who use it to hurt the very people you’ve mentioned. But consider that your request for conversation is one you’ve asked to have on your own terms or nothing at all (that those here consider the Bible as “fiction”). Again – some of it is. Some many believe is not.

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      I don’t think that you actually used the word “silly” – I did to point out what you were implying. I’ve met your kind on the Internet before.

      As for the rest… um… I’ve said before that I wasn’t going to give up my Tolkien just because some Neo-Nazis happen to like it. Likewise, I’m not going to give up beliefs – such as God – which give me hope in life just because some other people who believe in God decided to fly planes into skyscrapers.

      An action, by the way, which killed a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ALSO BELIEVED IN GOD. Some even in the same general flavor (Allah) as the hijackers.

      (I SERIOUSLY have a bitch with people who use 9/11 for their religious/anti-religious or political rhetoric. There were so many people of so many persuasions who were killed it feels like SPITTING on their memory).

      If I am a random unnamed victim of a mass terrorist attack – don’t piss on my grave.

    • Diana A.

      “I am becoming painfully aware that I am rubbing people the wrong way here. It may be because I have the tact and grace of a bull in a china shop. I wish I had more grace and tact. I’m working on it. Consider it my disability. But I really am trying to do better.”

      William, we all have our flaws. You know that.

      Your willingness to explain your feelings and your opinions has gone a long way to change my view of you.

      I, too, am bothered by some of the things done in the name of that ancient book. I think it is wrong to let a child (or anyone else) die when there is medical care available just because a believer thinks that God owes him/her a miracle. To me, one should do all that one is capable of doing and then leave the rest to God (and if one does not believe in God, then leave the rest to whatever one does believe in.)

      I don’t believe in a God of hate, so that notion that God would command anyone to deliberately fly an airplane into a building sickens me. Moreover, regardless of one’s beliefs, if one commits a violent act against another, one should be fully prepared to pay the penalties required by secular law.

      That Baptist minister to whom you are referring is not the one who decides who does and does not go to Hell. God (if such a being exists) is the one who makes that decision. Moreover, I am a Christian Universalist (strong influenced by the writings of Thomas Talbott), so I don’t believe in eternal punishment–at least, not the way that it is typically taught.

      “What do you call a ‘good Catholic’ woman who, due to religious convictions, threw her grandbaby five stories down to her death because the child was born out of wedlock?” I call her a murderer. It wasn’t the child’s fault that she was born out of wedlock. Even if sex outside of marriage is a “sin,” it was not up to that woman to judge the baby or the baby’s parents–certainly not up to her to impose her own punishment for that “sin.” I am sorry the baby is dead.

      “How can I convince you that people spin yarns, tell tales, spread rumors and write books? You say, ‘Yes, thats true of every book but one. This book is special. It didn’t come to us the usual way. It’s Holy. God made one book and we have it. Not the Buddhists, not the Hindus, not the Muslims. We are the ones with the Holy Book.’”

      I think you’ll notice, if you continue to read both what John writes and the various comments he receives in response to his writings, that there is a wide range of attitudes toward the Bible and toward religion in general among us. We don’t necessarily hold the Bible as The One and Only Holy Book That Must Be Unquestionably Obeyed.

      • William

        Hi Diana! Thank you for your kind words.

        I have to tell you I am mortified that I have never heard of Thomas Talbott.

        I googled him and read his website and saw his book, The Inescapable Love of God, and I am enthralled. I’m going to find more about this!

        The Inescapable Love of God is an idea I can really get behind. Even though my idea of God is abstract and somewhat nebulous, the idea of agape or divine love is what I believe is the glue that connects everything that exists.

        If Thomas Talbott is saying what I think he’s saying I have a new hero.

        Am I correct that Talbott does not believe in a god who 99% of what he creates is fit to be burned? Does Talbott believe in a God that hasn’t made mistakes but it is we humans who are mistaken in our perception of the nature of things?

        I can’t wait to read more!

        • Diana A.

          The only reason I’ve heard of Thomas Talbott was because I read a book called “If Grace Is True” by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland. In my opinion, Thomas Talbott and his book “The Inescapable Love of God” have not gotten nearly the attention that they deserve.

          I’m not going to try to answer your question because I think it best for you to read Talbott’s book and judge for yourself. Still, when I read it, I found that it shifted my whole view of the Bible and reinforced the logic behind my intuitive belief that no one would be lost forever.

          • William

            “..shifted my whole view of the Bible and reinforced the logic behind my intuitive belief that no one would be lost forever.”

            Diana, You have hit upon what I believe is the only logical way to think about God. That is why I am so excited to find “The Inescapable Love of God”.

            When I was young I worked in a stereo store. Bose speakers were new and hot and they bragged that they had the lowest failure rate in the industry.

            Later I started thinking about God’s failure rate. Adam & Eve leaving the Garden in disgrace, Cain killing Abel, Sodom & Gommorah, Noah’s flood, all God’s failures. Sure blame it on the people but God created the people. When all the VCR’s are eating tape it’s Sony’s fault. If they were made well they worked. If they were made faulty they failed. If gay is a sin, its God’s sin for making them that way. Thats why I don’t believe those stories or that gay is a sin.

            Jesus said everybody is worthy of God’s love. That means God did a good job. If God is a creator of creations worthy of God then not one of His creations is beyond repair. We may all need to play with the fine tuning but God don’t make junk.

            Anyway, this is a way of thinking I’m still formulating. So it helps to try to put it “on paper” If you have a comment or question about what I just shared, I’d love to hear from you.

            Thanks again for your words of support.

          • Diana A.

            You’re welcome! I’m glad that what I’m saying has helped you.

  • William

    “The key here is that I don’t foist it on anybody else.”

    Shadsie, I agree!

    I am 100% in favor of freedom of thought and religion and freedom from religion.

    I believe that it is perfectly natural for you to find some of my beliefs as silly too, just as everyone believes something that someone else believes is silly. Its ok with me.

    The only way everyone could have the same beliefs is if we were all made of exactly the same genetic material, like twins or clones, and grew up in the same time, place and space and experienced the exact same experiences in exactly the same way. Not too likely.

    You wouldn’t believe how in favor of freedom I am. I believe in freedom far beyond any teabagger or libertarian ever dreamed of. My only limit to personal freedom is the famous caveat, “Your freedom ends where my nose begins.”

    In the movie “The Invention of Lying” I loved how he used the imagery of heaven to comfort his dying mother. That was a beautiful kindness. I just don’t want theocracy to come out of fables. It disturbs me that the people who are the loudest in proclaiming their belief in heaven are the same ones who are busy making this life on Earth a living hell for others.

    I fully agree that DEATH has been conquered and that LIFE is truly eternal. Just in a different way than current theology.

    So please don’t make me suck a Twinkie because I believe high fructose corn syrup and other additives diminished by brain capacity (made me stupid) and I’m eating differently and trying to improve my health and my life.

    I would never laugh at anybody’s psychological issues. But I will say that a good barometer of how healthy I am is when I can laugh at mine. :D

  • NikkiH

    The story of Sodom and Gommorah is about rape of strangers. Whether it involves heterosexual or homosexual rape is irrelevant. To try to turn this story into a condemnation of people who are born with a homosexual sexual orientation is beyond absurd. It clearly shows the cultural bias of the author.

    There are other scriptures that do more clearly condemn homosexual conduct but it is typically associated with idol worhipping fertility cults in the Old Testament or with promiscuity of the Greco-Roman times of New Testament writers. The only Biblical story that gives any clue as to a true loving same sex relationship is the story of Jonathon and David, which God clearly holds in esteem. Regardless of whether that relationship was sexual or not, it is about same sex love that is clearly far more than platonic. Think about it.

    For God to condemn someone for being born a certain way is a comlete contradiction to everything Jesus taught.

    The Bible is written by humans and as such is influenced by the limited scientific understanding and cultural biases of the time. Paul tells women not to speak in Church but to address their concerns to their husband. How many Christian Church follow that command literally? Why not? Because the status of women is no longer like owning a piece of property as it was in Biblical times. My point is that as our culture evolves with more scientic knowledge, our understanding of humanity and human behavior evolves also. We would never think of stoning a disbedient child or someone who works on the Sabbath as commanded in the O.T. We would never consider telling a woman not to speak in Church. It makes no sense in a modern world. We have no problem eating shrimp or lobster or wearing clothes made from mixed fabrics, which are all considered an abomination in the O.T. The same goes for fundamentalist views regarding gender and sexuality. It appears that many evangelical Christians are very selective about which scriptures that they choose to take as literal and which ones they want to ignore. That is clearly based on their own prejudices.

    • Dave

      //The story of Sodom and Gommorah is about rape of strangers. Whether it involves heterosexual or homosexual rape is irrelevant.//

      Actually it is very relevant. If it was about raping anyone they would have gladly taken the two daughters of Lot but due to the fact they didn’t want Lot’s daughter shows it wasn’t about rape at all but about the sexual desires men had for other men.

      Now Sodom and Gomorrah were not only destroyed for this reason there are many other reasons but this just happens to be the first and the last reason it was destroyed (Gen 19 – Jude 1:7)

      Now the other scripture you referring to condemnation of homosexuality? I would love to se what the scripture has to say on this idea you have how its for other reasons other than same sex partners?

      • Val P.

        “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16:49-50 (New Living Translation) – per Matt R.’s post, see below.

        No mention of same sex partners, Dave.

        • Val P.

          And re: ” committed detestable sins” – no rationally thinking person would read this and come to the conclusiong this had anything to do with consenting same sex partners in a mutually exclusive relationship. It’s rape, and that’s pretty detestable, same sex or otherwise.

          • DR

            Common sense for the win.

          • Dave

            DR, This is true, Thank God for his wisedom and knowledge!!!!

          • Dave

            there was no rape involved, it was men wanting to have sex with men (the angels)

            can you show one case written in the word of God for a “consenting same sex partners in a mutually exclusive relationship” I would be interested in knowing where God condoned it.

            one more thing, sexually active consenting opposite sex partners in a mutually exclusive relationship is also a sin!

          • LSS

            ok so Adam and Eve before the Fall ???

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Dave, so Ruth and Boaz sinned? Uncovering Boaz’s feet while laying next to him on a pile of wheat on the threshing room floor isn’t so innocent, my friend. And Tamar and Judah? And who did Adam and Eve’s children have sex with to continue the human population? And what was with all the concubines? Solomon. Abraham. And the two wives thing with Leah and Rachel and Jacob? Esau had three. David had many. What would be the proper biblical number of multiple wives? Slaves were required to submit sexually to their owners, as well as the slaves of women, who had to submit to their owner’s husbands. Rape victims were required to marry their offender, but only if she was a virgin. And Paul says ideally we should all be celibate. And Jesus is our ultimate example, and I’m pretty sure you feel he never married.

            Where is the upstanding heterosexual couple that we are to all emulate in the bible?

          • Dave

            Christy, by pointing out other peoples sins doesn’t make your sin any better. The reason you find sinners in the Bible is for you to know that nobody was or is perfect and there was only one who was.

            I guess you don’t know the Bible, Adam and Eves children married each other until the word was well populated and God gave Moses the laws, yes, it was incest your point is?

            Well you have made it clear that you are clueless when it comes to God, thank you for clarifying that. Maybe you should join a Bible believing Bible study group and learn all about everything you just posted about others sins.

            I wont waste my time answering any more of your silly posts, if you are interested in learning about God I would be glad to help you but its obvious you not.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Yes, incest was part of my point. Are you acknowledging that incest was part of God’s plan? If you take a literal reading of Genesis, one must assume this is what God intended. Two questions on that: 1) At what point did God change his mind and decide that incest was no longer ok. 2) From where did the people come whom Cain was afraid as a marked person he would be targeted by and killed?

            As a healthcare provider, I have treated such offspring, and I can assure you that incestuous relationships of closely related DNA members routinely results in gross physical deformity, limited mental capacity, infertile children, high infant mortality, non-viable pregnancies, miscarriage, and worsens with each subsequent pairing.

            I have been kindly to you here. I don’t feel I have received the same gentleness in return. You don’t know me. Just as I don’t know you. But your words show me that you are quite sure of yourself and confident in your position and assume a lot about people you do not know. You feel you know all the answers. Humility is a beautiful thing. The ability to admit, “I’m not sure, but I follow anyway. Here’s what I’ve learned, what in your experience do you know about God?” For truly, all experience is opportunity for learning and growth. There is grace in that.

            Rest assured that God already got to me, Dave, and God and I have a beautiful relationship. That you can’t see it is not a reflection of my relationship so much as it a function of your unwillingness to see and hear others through a lens of grace rather than judgement and false assumptions.

            As I said before, I hope one day you can be open to the overwhelming power of God’s great unconditional love for you that he showed us in the person of Jesus Christ, and you can lay down your sword of certainty and feel secure instead in knowing how deeply you are loved. It is our certainty that blocks this kind of knowing every time.

            Blessings on your journey.

          • Dave

            Christy, 1) when did God change his mind? God didn’t change his mind, he decided the world was populated enough then brought in the laws. When you are kneeling in front of him you are welcome to ask him why he allowed it then didn’t.

            2) they would have been his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews etc.

            What does having children have to do with two people who love each other? Homosexuals cant have children and if having children is your only reason a consenting brother and sister who love each other more than life cant be together then I guess you would be ok with it if they both were fixed not to be able to have children, they could always adopt.

            My words are sure because they are from the word of God, I don’t twist them, I quote them and if that offends you then its one more thing you can take up with God the day you kneel before him.

            I find that people who are for homosexuality believe the same thing about love, who ever said love means to allow people to do wrong, was wrong! Do you honestly believe that unconditional love means one is happy with what you do? No, it doesn’t, unconditional love means no matter what your child (for example) does you never stop loving them but it doesn’t mean you condone what they do like the mother of a murderer, she would never stop loving her child but is she happy that her son/daughter is out killing people? I highly doubt it. God is no different, no matter what his children do he never stops loving them BUT it doesn’t mean he likes it.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Dave: “1) when did God change his mind? God didn’t change his mind, he decided the world was populated enough then brought in the laws”

            Do you have a verse for that?

            So, God adjusts the rules in order to address the needs of the culture as culture changes. (?) Because that’s what you’ve said here. I though God was the same yesterday today and forever?

          • Dave

            Exodus 20, Leviticus, start with those, to answer your question, no! it has always been God’s plan the way he has done thing from the beginning (also something you need to bring up with God) just because people don’t know God’s plan doesn’t mean he changed anything, you just didn’t know until he told you. For example, has God given us any new instruction since the time of Jesus? No, He gave us his Revelation, an answer for things to come, nothing has changed but yet people are trying to change because he sits and watches (so to speak) and basically what he said is he has shown us his love, he has shown us a way out and said if you love me you will obey my commandments, because he is outside of time he knows the outcome and how long it takes for man to turn away, he knows the ones who truly love him in the end and those who profess it but do not truly love him. There is no gift one person (or the whole world for that matter) could ever give you that would even come close (not even a grain of sand to the universe comparison) to the gift he has given us but yet most people here reject it over sin.

            Seriously get over yourselves and know the truth, reject the nonsense you are pushing.

            I am done here, I truly pray that all of you take some time and read the scripture that condemns homosexuality, accept it and have enough faith in God to know you can change, I know for a fact it is possible.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Dave: ” I know for a fact it is possible.”

            How?

          • DR

            Of course you’re done, Dave. You couldn’t have the conversation on your exact terms which is the only way you know how to talk about homosexuality so you leave. We’ve seen it a thousand times and I’m sure we’ll see it again.

            But again, here’s the difference. Our beliefs don’t drive kids to commit suicide. They don’t give “Christian” parents permission to kick their gay teenagers out of their home where they’re raped on the street. Our beliefs don’t cause “Christians” to hold up signs – in PUBLIC – that claim “God hates fags”. If you think for a second that *your* approach is any different, you’re fooling yourself.

          • Christy

            Re: “he knows the ones who truly love him in the end and those who profess it but do not truly love him. ”

            Yes. Yes he does.

            Re: “There is no gift one person (or the whole world for that matter) could ever give you that would even come close (not even a grain of sand to the universe comparison) to the gift he has given us but yet most people here reject it over sin.”

            Dave, you’re right. The gift of grace is amazing and powerful and transformative, and when God’s grace comes into our lives it is undeniable, unmistakable, life-giving…. life-altering; and it fills us to overflowing. So much so that it compels us as vessels of God’s grace to take that love and grace out into the world and share it with others – not with what we tell other people about their behavior and how it is displeasing to God, but in how we treat our neighbor and our enemy. This is waht St. Francis meant when he said: “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” The love of God activated in our lives compels us to show this kind of grace and forgiveness and kindness and meekness and temperance and long suffering and peacemaking and compassion to others. These are the character traits Jesus exemplified and taught (in the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount). It is how we are to live. It is what his parables are all about: what God is like; what the people who love God are like; and what the relationship between God and those who love God is like. (Walking a second mile, forgiving 7×70, turning the other cheek, giving the man who asks for your cloak your coat also, suffering the little children, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, housing the stranger, healing the sick, visiting the prisoner, treating our neighbors and our enemies as we ourselves would like to be treated, laying down our life for our friends).

            I understand your unwavering certainty, Dave. I once stood where you are. And it was God who opened my eyes to what an asshole I’d been. Spouting off how wrong everyone is (except me, of course), how God would show them one day and prove just who was right. (How arrogant of me). How they just needed to change to my way of thinking and my understanding of God and believe what my church said they needed to believe in order for God to claim them; basically the same load you’ve dumped on us here these past few days. I see a lot of the old me in you.

            And then God opened my eyes to see what had been there all along, but what I, and people like the old me, could never see….. because I never knew what Divine love really looked like because I had never been shown Divine love before because I had been reared in the kind of environment that says God loves us if, and God loves us when. Rather than God loves you now; God loves you already. I was taught to be blind to unconditional love and to belittle it and challenge it and say it was pollyanna and all that “Bubblegum church, God is love stuff was total crap” and wrong because 1) that’s what I’d heard the minister say and 2) we fear what we don’t understand. How can we understand a love we’ve never known or felt or been shown? It was completely foreign to me. If we’ve never known it, what kind of reference point do we have? We only know the love we know…..and conditional love is an extremely poor substitute for Divine love.

            The unconditional love of a mother who grieves for her murderer son but does not condone what he did, does not say: I love you, but I hate what you did. It says: even though you did what you did, I love you still, and my heart is broken because of what you did. I feel for and grieve the pain you have caused and what another family has lost. She has compassion for the murdered and the murderer. Anger and hate for someone or their behavior cannot coexist at the same time as compassion. It is impossible.

            I realized how bright and shiny and ……blinding my moral certainty was. It is the largest spiritual stumbling block I ever tripped over. And God showed me there is far more grace and humility in recognizing the ineffable (indescribable, beyond words, can only be experienced, cannot be limited by our human understanding) mystery that God and God’s grace is…. and that Jesus taught us how to treat each other with compassion rather than going around high and mighty, holier than thou like the Pharisees telling others how they have “missed the mark” and were failing at keeping the law. When Jesus said we had to be even more righteous than the Pharisees he didn’t mean we had to be even better rule-followers than they were. He meant they had missed the heart of the matter. They were focussing on the outside of the bowl rather than on the inside. They were focussed on following the letter of the law while being oblivious to the spirit. They were focussed on throwing rocks at other peoples houses while theirs was a den of vipers.

            You have asserted falsehoods about everyone here, Dave, even though you don’t know us at all. And you have shown us that you are certain that you are right. There is no grace or humility in this.

            This brand of religion that you’ve shown us loves to use negative messaging: Don’t do this or else. You better change IF you want God’s blessing. Don’t do that or you’ll be punished. This is the Sunday School god I and most of us were taught. I understand that most of Evangelical America is familiar with this god. And God showed me how wrong about him I was. God in no uncertain terms opened my eyes. God in unmistakable ways led me to a new way of seeing and being in the world. God showed me I had been arrogant and unrepentant in how I had treated others, and God fed me a great big dose of humble pie.

            It’s very delicious pie. I invite you to try some.

            What a difference it is to carry this message to others: You are loved by the One in whom you live and breathe and move and have your being. God wants so much for you to know how loved you are so that you can take this love an show it to others, so you can live life more abundantly and make a difference in the world and in other people’s lives. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. He’s not waiting for you to be the perfect servant; God loves you now.

            Dave, as long as you use condemning angry words, make false assumptions about others, and paint yourself as the only one who knows anything – no one will listen to you. Whatever good you think might be in your message is lost. What you have shown us here is that your understanding of the Greatest Commandment is to go around telling everyone how wrong they are and how right you are. This doesn’t seem to match up with what Jesus taught us and how he lived. Looking at how our actions speak louder than our words and whether they match the example of Jesus is a spiritually fruitful undertaking, an ongoing process, throughout our lives and our spiritual walk.

          • Allie

            You’re right that love doesn’t mean allowing people to do wrong. But where is the wrong? Can you point to it? Can you say why it is wrong?

            Jesus spent his harshest words against Biblical literalists and those who follow the letter of the law but not the spirit. He compared them to rotting graves. On the other hand, he said nothing about gay people.

          • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

            Dave, where does it say that Cain and Abel married their sisters? And, if that was so, why did God feel obliged to place a mark of protection on Cain’s forehead? Wouldn’t his own family have recognized him? The Bible doesn’t explain how but there clearly were other people.

          • LSS

            also please let us know where God says it’s OK to be on the internet.

          • Dave

            LSS, where does God say it’s a sin?

            For your other statement the word of God is God breathed, I guess you don’t much either. Its apparent you don’t believe God is capable of making sure his word is translated correctly, he can make the universe but not able to do that, smart think on your part LSS!!!!!!!!!!!

          • LSS

            Have you worked as a translator? I have. (not of Aramaic or NT Greek, though)

            but i have enough translating experience to notice that it WOULD take a miracle to get a translation exactly right. there are many Bible versions out there, even if we just look at English. so which version got the miracle? i’m not saying God couldn’t do that. i’m saying it doesn’t seem that God chose to do that.

          • LSS

            PS: many people’s point is that where many translations led us to think that God was saying [homosexuality in general] was a sin, those Bible phrases are actually talking about other things. unless we are fluent in the original languages of the Bible and unless we have the exact original copies … there is so much doubt.

          • Dave

            In the “translations” the purpose is there, yes some words are not exact but as far as things like the sexual sins are concerned they are ALL sins and for homosexuals to sit there and say that homosexuality is not on that list is ludicrous I mean seriously? Do you really believe that for a minute? Here is the deal, some homosexuals didn’t have enough faith in God to believe God can do anything so they started their own way outside of God with the nonsense you people are trying to tell me and everyone else you talk to and if anyone disagrees with you, they are haters, bigots, hypocrites, fundies (like that’s suppose to be an insult) and you put it out there about love when all that shows me is you have no idea what it means to love someone.

            To be a homosexual is not a sin but the sexual acts or the lust is just as it is for anyone and any sex, when I look at a woman with lust I am sinning, if I had sex with a woman and not married I am sinning.

          • LSS

            it’s precisely (or not so precisely, in the case where an accurate modern translation is just simply not known) those words that are used to refer to homosexual people or acts… that’s where the doubt is. a lot of scholars theorize that the certainty has been artificially inserted over time by translators with an exclusionary agenda. i don’t know how you could be absolutely sure we are wrong on this without knowing fluently those languages that the Bible is written in AND what was meant by those exact words at those exact moments in history.

            also, i agree with what Christy says in a comment near here: “we’ve been where you’re standing, we think we can see how you’re bent” (L Cohen) … at least doctrinally -i won’t assume anything about your life experiences- but have YOU been where we’re at? you should try it. you might like it.

          • DR

            I pray to God you don’t have kids who are gay.

          • LSS

            i probably shouldn’t say this and i don’t mean it in a mean way, please believe me (i wouldn’t even say it at all except for a comment earlier about *knowing for sure* that homosexuality can be overcome) … but i hope he isn’t gay himself because the level of selfhate would be crippling. i have enough selfhate for just being a regular mediocre human being and then being raised with extreme kinds of ideas about sin and one’s own capacity for decency and reason. but imagine being part of a targeted “sinful” population and being raised feeling like that. well, some commenters on this page don’t have to imagine.

          • DR

            I don’t think that’s mean to say at all LSS. An aggressive position against homosexuality is often the result of someone who can’t face it. Your compassion acknowledges a very important reality.

          • Allie

            I believe God is capable of making sure his word is translated correctly. But it’s obvious he didn’t choose to. If God were enforcing perfect translation of the Bible, there would not be contradicting translations, yet there are.

            Instead of a perfect translation, God chose to give us the Holy Spirit, which guides each one of us to do right instead of wrong. I ask you, along with Jesus, is it lawful to do good, or to do evil?

            Doing evil in the name of God, as you do now by hating your fellow human beings for the way they were born, is always wrong. It’s doubly wrong because it’s blasphemy against God – you blacken the image of God in the eyes of unbelievers and prevent them from becoming believers.

          • LSS

            that’s what i was trying to say about translations, thank you for saying it clearer!

        • Dave

          Genesis 19 says men wanting to have sex with men, SIN!!!!!

          Jude verse 7 What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them is an example for us of the punishment of eternal fire. The people of these cities suffered the same fate that God’s people and the angels did, because they committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities.

          Try reading the whole Word of God before posting your ignorance. oh and for the recorn its not “same sex parteners” its the sins of………..

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Dave, check out John Burnett’s exposition just below. Thanks.

          • Dave

            Christy, I don’t need to read what someone wrote to twist what God has said, is John Burnett smarter and more knowledgeable than God? I think not!

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            “I think not!” Why do fundies always talk like dropouts from the School for Sonorous Shakespearean Profundity? It’s like a disease they have. Acute pretensionitis.

          • Matt R

            Dave,

            This is not a contest to see who’s “smarter than God”, it’s a comparison of scriptural interpretation to see who, in fact, has the more consistent interpretation of God’s message.

            For example, it may sound like Blasphemy to you that I do not observe the 10 commandments. But that’s because Jesus Christ revised them.

            One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~Matthew 22:35-40 (New International Version)

            So if I were to say something like “The 10 commandments have no place in public buildings” it’s not because I hate God, it’s because that’s simply not what God would want. And it’s not a consistent observation of Jesus’s commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself” when one condemns homosexuals for their lifestyle (provided that it is positive, life affirming, and in accordance with the teachings of Jesus)

          • Dave

            Matt, do you know what it means to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? God gave us the 10 commandments to follow and if you loved God these would no longer be commandments but a lifestyle engraved on your heart because you love God. To be a Christian is more than to be a Jew do you want to know why? Here it is, Jesus not only referred to the 10 commandments but he made them stronger, so rather than just committing adultery is a sin but looking at a woman is as well same with murder, if you are angry with your brother you commit murder in your heart, etc. if none of the laws applied this place would be lawless and if you were a keeper of the laws (like the Pharisees) you would not be doing what Jesus taught us. Love Jesus and by loving him you do as he asked not because you have to but because you love him. No different than a relationship with a loved one you do thing not because you want to but because you love them, you learn to love it to please that person. If you don’t do this then you don’t love!

          • Matt R

            Dave,

            “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” Matthew 5:17

            When one consistently applies the two commandments (Love God, love your neighbors), one simply does not need the original 10, because they are implied. Lusting after your neighbor’s wife or stealing from him is not loving him.

            To use an anecdote; Einsteinian relativity didn’t refute Newtonian mechanics, it expanded upon them. Jesus didn’t come to tear down those time-hallowed traditions, only make sure that their spirit was being followed. And the consistent spirit of the covenant is one of hospitality and kindness to ALL people, and Jesus was distressed that these principles were being forsaken or worse; used to justify prejudice or violence.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Dave, be well with God in your moral certainty and live your life as you see fit with your understanding of scripture and in all other encounters with your fellow man endeavor to treat them with dignity and respect as you would like to be treated with dignity and respect. And I pray that one day you will exchange your certainty for humility and compassion, for God cares far more about you being loving than he does about you being certain you are right.

          • DR

            Dave I hate to break it to you but the interpretation of these passages was also brought to you by “someone else”. The only thing any of us have is human interpretation of Scripture. Unless you take every single word in the Bie literally which makes for a very scary experience.

          • LSS

            God did not write the Bible in English.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Nor with a pen.

          • DR

            Dave, it’s clear you feel strongly but unfortunately the logic and subsequent fruits of your opinion (and it’s just an opinion) of what this text says causes extreme spiritual, emotional and spiritual damage to men and women who are gay. God would just never create a “sin” from which there is no escape. You need to start listening to peoples’ actual experiences, put down your defensiveness and your need to be right about this issue and start thinking more critically. Your opinion about what the Bible says here has caused such massive damage and there are Christians who have to share our Christian tent with you who are simply not allowing you to hurt others with your *expression* of your beliefs any longer. We’re stepping in and taking over and thank God it’s beginning to work. You are compelled to believe what you need to so now it’s our job to clean up your mess. God have mercy on you for the blood on your hands and your stubborn refusal to open your heart and mind to this issue but that’s between you and the Lord. Our job is to protect the GLBT community from you and actually, protect our own Christian kids from this kind of perverse interpretation of scripture that we’ve allowed to stand unchallenged for so long.

          • Dave

            DR, Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

            I know 50 people who could say the same thing about their sins but the fact is God didn’t create people to sin, we are in fact born innocent, try reading the word of God to know that valuable piece of information.

            You are not born gay stop trying to convince people of that lie. This is just your opinion and its obvious that you don’t think God is who he says he is. We all struggle with sin but here is some information you might find very valuable, ready? “With God anything is possible” what did Jesus says to his disciples about faith? “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

            If you believe you are gay and cannot ever change then you have no faith in God. A mustard seed of faith is all you need.

            I why would I need to listen to people complain how they don’t have even a mustard seed of faith in Jesus Christ to move a mountain? A man will never change what God said to us. It is not my thinking that makes what I believe it is God who said it first and I believe God over you any day of the week trust me on this.

            The only reason I am harsh here is because of your forcefulness against God and trying to tell me what God said is wrong, who are you to judge God and what he wants?

            You are sadly mistaken to think you have control because you have no idea what is in store for you on judgement day. I would rather be condemned by man then God!

            Let me ask you how this scripture is taken wrong

            1 Corinthians 6:9

            9Don’t you know that wicked people won’t inherit the kingdom of God? Stop deceiving yourselves! People who continue to commit sexual sins, who worship false gods, those who commit adultery, homosexuals,

            Here is what it says, all these people who do these things will not enter the kingdom of God, pretty hard to twist that for my benefit, this includes me. So then lets move to verse 11

            11That’s what some of you were! But you have been washed and made holy, and you have received God’s approval in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

            Its says that’s what some of you (key word here) “WERE” but what happened? Did the change? Apparently they did. They were washed, washed by what? The blood of Christ when he died on the cross! Which in turn make them holy, sanctified, they are now righteous through Jesus, thanks to Jesus and why because they had the faith of a mustard seed something none of you apparently don’t have.

            Romans chapter 1, read it especially from 18 on this applies to you, don’t add to it as most of you do that alone is a sin, (Proverbs 30:6) accept Jesus as your saviour and reject your sins. If you keep telling yourself the lies you have been telling yourself you will never be able to be released from these sins and end in judgment of your flesh.

            You think I am cruel and harsh because I wont tell you what you want to hear but be thankful because I am telling what I am telling you rather than Jesus because when he judges you there will be no turning back.

            You said “God would just never create a “sin” from which there is no escape.”

            First God is good, he is perfect, he does not create sin, man does and always has right from the beginning. From what you have written you worship a God who accepts the sins of homosexuality which means you worship a different god, you might want to read the very first commandment in the ten commandments.

            “Interpretation” is a word used by people who are trying very hard to find loopholes to justify their sins.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Re: “we are in fact born innocent”

            Um, Dave, how does this jive with the doctrine of original sin which says we inherited our sin from Adam? I thought all were sinners, all have fallen short of the glory of God, none were righteous, no not one. ?

          • Dave

            Where does it say that?

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Romans 3:10

            As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;”

            Romans 3: 23

            For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

            Romans 5:12

            Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

            In which denomination have you been educated ?

          • Dave

            Try reading what I said again then look again because we are talking about two different things.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Nope: the burden is on you, Dave to explain what you meant.

          • Dave

            “we are in fact born innocent” not righteous, not sin free!

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Innocent means sin free. Did you mean we are born guilty?

          • Dave

            Christy I told you before that you need to read the Bible know, you apparently don’t know the difference between the innocence of a child compared to innocent as in not guilty of the charges. What does Jesus say about children? Look it up.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Darling, I’m well versed with what scripture says. I’m having trouble understanding what you are saying.

            Saying “we are all born innocent” and referring to the doctrine of the age of accountability are not saying the same thing. Do you have a verse for the concept of the age of accountability?

          • DR

            Christy in Dave’s (very small) world, if you don’t agree with his interpretation of the Bible then it means you don’t read it much or it’s not as essential to your faith in Christ.

            People like Dave often use the Word of God to stay isolated from the fear of realizing that as beautiful as a gift Jesus gave us and despite our best intentions to serve Him, His Church – the Body- is corrupt, often wrong and has historically done massive damage in the name of Christ. Because sometimes for people like Dave, Christianity is a place to hide. To feel safe. It’s the parent who did t love is well enough. So to have “mom and dad” be challenged is terrifying. It means facing how he is using the Church to hide from pain and manage ego instead of being liberated from them within a beautiful deposit of faith that is flawed.

          • Dave

            •And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-3)

            •Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:13-14)

          • Dave

            DR, all I did was quote word for word from the word of God and all you can say is “Christy in Dave’s (very small) world, if you don’t agree with his interpretation of the Bible then it means you don’t read it much or it’s not as essential to your faith in Christ.”

            This is rather petty, if you are unable or refuse to acknowledge the word of God just say so, you don’t have to be ashamed to step back and say you don’t believe in the same god as the one in the Bible.

            You make me laugh, again you are unable to answer a couple simple little questions you have resorted to insults and trying ever so hard to belittle me. Hurrah!!!!

          • DR

            Dave, you are if anything, predictable. On another comment I imagined you reading all of this and starting to celebrate because you’re some kind of injured holy warrior facing the “fiery arrows” from the devil and you’re just some kind of victim. But here’s a news flash – lots of people have come onto this forum with your exact beliefs and there’s been fantastic, civil dialogue. You’ll dismiss that of course because it means you’ll have to take responsibility for your tone and attitude here but honestly, I doubt you even have the self-awareness or capacity to even do that. But you’ll never forget these conversations, that’s for sure.

          • DR

            Dave said this:

            :DR, all I did was quote word for word from the word of God and all you can say is “Christy in Dave’s (very small) world, if you don’t agree with his interpretation of the Bible then it means you don’t read it much or it’s not as essential to your faith in Christ.”

            And then Dave says this:

            This is rather petty, if you are unable or refuse to acknowledge the word of God just say so, you don’t have to be ashamed to step back and say you don’t believe in the same god as the one in the Bible.

            Dave? You just did *exactly* what I said to Christy in this comment. If someone doesn’t agree with how you’re interpreting a verse you indicate that I refuse to acknowledge the Word of God as a whole. Do you understand that? I’d find it kind of hilarious if I wasn’t kind of embarrassed for you.

          • DR

            There are a million ways of taking those verses, Dave. Christy asked you for the specific verses that spell out the age of accountability. Please provide that explicit text. Thanks.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            DR: ‘To feel safe. It’s the parent who didn’t love us well enough. So to have “mom and dad” be challenged is terrifying. It means facing how he is using the Church to hide from pain and manage ego instead of being liberated from them within a beautiful deposit of faith that is flawed.’

            Brilliant! So true. Thanks for spelling it out so well.

            Dave, do you see at all how you have been rude here? and have made assumptions about people and their beliefs that you can’t possible know are true?

          • Dave

            DR, not even close! You refused to answer a couple simple questions and you insulted instead. Here you go again getting off topic, why don’t you just answer the questions I ask? You cant even answer my questions then you ask me for “explicit text” on accountability, this is how you answer a question when asked. There is no “explicit text” on accountability! You are accountable when you know you are doing wrong, I have shown you that homosexuality is a sin, I have shown that teaching others that homosexuality is ok is also a sin now you are all accountable for your sins.

          • DR

            Dave, your beliefs are responsible for driving gay kids to suicide. I’ve noticed that you won’t touch that with a ten-foot pole (no one ever does). Their blood is on your hands, not mine. Even Focus on the Family and other conservative groups are finding a difficult time facing that reality now that it’s no longer buried (which they’ve admitted). Truly, God have mercy on you when you have to face His judgement.

            You are here to teach – not learn. And I don’t learn from someone who prioritizes being right before the salvation and well being of those who Jesus actually came to die for – this isn’t about you pleasing God as much as you want it to be, this is about you fighting aggressively to keep this christian perception of homosexuality so you can still be in control. It makes me feel sick and sad for you and your kids, if you have any – but mostly for the gay men and women who have to deal with you and your behavior in the “loving name of Jesus”. It’s time someone told you the truth so at least you got that here. You won’t listen but others reading this might.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Re: “With God anything is possible”

            Including living out the Greatest Commandment: loving our neighbor and our enemy as ourselves, being compassionate to everyone, even with those whom we disagree.

            We would like to see the Christian community who despise the LGBT community and who treat them badly live out the Golden Rule. You can choose not to change what you believe. But we ask that you change the way you act.

          • Dave

            Is love letting someone hurt themselves? Is love not about teaching right from wrong? Is love not discipline? doesn’t God teach us to be disciplined? To teach us to discipline our children? you would never let your child touch a hot stove no matter how mad they got at you?

            I try to love everyone but at times its difficult because people try and corrupt the word of God to twist it so they feel better about their sins BUT because God gave me this love to share with everyone I share it even with you but of course you are laying on the floor kicking and screaming while telling me if I don’t let you do what you want I don’t love you. Well what you are doing is going to hurt you in the end but you don’t see that right now because you are a child who doesn’t understand.

            I don’t despise anyone so please, don’t put words in my mouth that don’t belong. No matter how much you get mad at me for teaching you the truth I will still keep telling you the truth and to stop doing wrong before you get hurt.

            I have changed the way I deal with this topic but only because of God, I learned to love and that’s what you ned to do.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Dave: You and God are responsible for Dave.

            God and everybody else are responsible for everybody else.

            You weren’t put on this earth to fix or change anyone but you.

            Irony:

            Dave: “but of course you are laying on the floor kicking and screaming while telling me if I don’t let you do what you want I don’t love you. Well what you are doing is going to hurt you in the end but you don’t see that right now because you are a child who doesn’t understand.”

            3 seconds later

            “so please, don’t put words in my mouth that don’t belong.”

            Grace is knowing when to stop talking. Fair thee well, Dave.

          • Lauren

            The Vision of Christ that thou dost see

            Is my Vision’s Greatest Enemy.

            Thine has a great hook nose like thine;

            Mine has a snub nose like to mine.

            Thine is the friend of All Mankind

            Mine speaks in parables to the Blind.

            “Thine loves the same world that mine hates;

            Thy Heaven doors are my Hell Gates.

            Socrates taught what Melitus

            Loathd as a Nation’s bitterest Curse;

            And Caiphas was in his own Mind

            A benefactor to Mankind.

            Both read the Bible day & night,

            But thou readst black where I read white.”

            William Blake puts it better than i ever could.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Lovely, Lauren. Thank you.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Here’s what Scripture has to say about Love:

            I Corinthians 13: 4 – 13

            Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

            Love never fails.

            A modern version sys it this way:

            Love never gives up.

            Love cares more for others than for self.

            Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

            Love doesn’t strut,

            Doesn’t have a swelled head,

            Doesn’t force itself on others,

            Isn’t always “me first,”

            Doesn’t fly off the handle,

            Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

            Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

            Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

            Puts up with anything,

            Trusts God always,

            Always looks for the best,

            Never looks back,

            But keeps going to the end.

            Love never dies.

            Your children are yours to teach. You neighbor and your enemy are not your children. And teaching is often better done through our example than through our words.

          • DR

            Dave, all of this would be accurate (kind of) if the “sin” of homosexuality actually bore fruits in ones life that are destructive. List every sin outlined for us in the Ten Commandments – avoiding them means safety, intimacy and peace. The only tho g homosexuality leads to is people who fall in love with one another and devote themselves to a life of support and love forever. There is just o logic in homosexuality being a sin – it doesn’t damage anyone.

          • Diana A.

            1) What makes you think you have God’s approval?

            2) “The only reason I am harsh here is because of your forcefulness against God and trying to tell me what God said is wrong,…” No, we’re saying God was misquoted.

            3) The word that in recent translations has been translated as “homosexuals” is a word whose translation is still being argued over.

            4) I believe that God could make gay people straight if he wanted to. The fact that so many gay people have asked him to change them and that he has not done so, indicates to me that he actually likes them the way they are.

            5) When’s the last time you endured electric shock therapy or inflicted physical damage on yourself in order to stop yourself from sinning? A lot of gay people have gone to those kinds to extremes in (failed) attempts to change themselves. When you have done the same thing, then you can judge gay people. Until then, knock it off.

            6) I don’t think you’re cruel and harsh (necessarily.) I just think you’re wasting way too much time focusing on the sins of others and way too little time noticing all the ways in which you, too, fall short of the glory of God. Deal with the plank that’s sticking out of your own eye first, then you can notice the sawdust in someone else’s. Or do you think you’re perfect?

          • Dave

            Diana,

            1) God’s approval for what?

            2) ever read the book of James?

            And I quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9 right from the word of God how is that misquoted unless you are saying the word of God is wrong?

            3) so you are saying that God is not capable of making sure his word is translated correctly?

            4) I disagree!

            5) we never stop sinning! The difference between you and I is I accept my sin and ask for forgiveness everyday when I fall. I try and not sin again I know that I cant stop but I thank God everyday for his amazing grace oh one more thing, God doesn’t go by “sorry God it wont happen again” no he goes by your heart which is clear so if you think for a New York minute that you are fooling him think again. You don’t accept the fact that homosexuality is a sin therefore you do not ask for forgiveness for this sin therefore you will be judged and we all know the punishment for unforgiving sin?

            6) you don’t know me, you have no idea where I stand or what I tell people my point here was to the original post that I replied to, if you want to know my story I would be glad to share it with you.

            I am a filthy disgusting sinner from way back, I slept with more women that I can count, I partied all the time, I made sailors look like priests, I used to think what was wrong with what I was doing? I slept with consenting women who just wanted all the pleasure I could give them. I drank more than a fish, I was a thief, I killed many people in my heart and beat many people with in an inch of their lives. I hated my parents and disrespected them, lets see do I need to go on? And guess what? I still struggle with sin so don’t think I am trying to pull the sliver out of your eye, I am doing what God has told me to do and that’s teach you that your not on the right path and to look to God and in your heart and you will know that what you are doing is not good nor is it what God wants. So don’t go telling me I think I am perfect for teaching the word of God this is a page discussing homosexuality is it not?

          • DR

            All of what you just described is a life ruled by sin and rebellion. Please be specific as to how being gay causes destruction, hatred, pain, greed, lust, isolation, addiction or dependency on false idols. Thanks

          • DR

            No answer from Dave! What a surprise.

          • Dave

            DR, some of us have a life outside of this page, to answer your question. First, we are all slaves to sin as long as we are in the flesh, don’t ever think you are sin free. Two, all sin is some form of the things you listed but let me ask you a question, how does being gay not cause the things you listed? Lets not forget selfishness in there as well!

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            how does being gay not cause the things you listed?>>>

            I’m trying not to be as aggressive as I sometimes can be here on this lovely blog. But can I just take one, teensy tiny little break from that attempt at composure to say that this was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read in my life?

            That felt good. Thanks.

          • Diana A.

            1) “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?” Your quote from Galatians seems to imply that you are trying to win God’s approval over that of human beings. My question to you is: Does God approve of your behavior toward us or is God shaking his head in sorrow? Not to quote from something other than the Bible but a teacher once told Iyanla Vanzant “If one person says you are a horse, you don’t have to listen. If two people say you are a horse, you probably need to pay a bit more attention to what you are doing. If three people say you are a horse, more than likely you have hay hanging out of your mouth and a saddle on your back.” Maybe God doesn’t approve of your behavior anymore than we do. You might want to ask him about that.

            2a) Yes I have read the book of James. I’m certain that you’re thinking of a specific verse from James that is supposed to counter my view that God has been misquoted. I am also certain that you would love nothing more than to quote that verse at me. Go for it.

            2b) The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is revealed in the Bible but mere mortal human beings wrote the Bible. Inspired by God, yes, but not necessarily dictated.

            3) God is capable but given that the letter to the Corinthians was written in a specific time and place, for a specific reason, maybe God thinks we (should) have the good sense to consider the source when quoting it. Maybe God wants us considering the overall message of loving our neighbors as ourselves instead of “straining out gnats and swallowing camels.”

            4) Certainly it is your perogative to disagree. Not much I can do about that.

            5) “The difference between you and I is I accept my sin and ask for forgiveness everyday when I fall.” There you go making assumptions about other people. You don’t know a thing about my relationship with God. “God doesn’t go by ‘sorry God it wont happen again’ no he goes by your heart which is clear so if you think for a New York minute that you are fooling him think again. ” It’s been said that even a broken clock is right twice a day. It’s absolutely correct that God knows each of our hearts and that there is no point in trying to fool him. “You don’t accept the fact that homosexuality is a sin therefore you do not ask for forgiveness for this sin therefore you will be judged and we all know the punishment for unforgiving sin?” I’ve noticed that you seem to assume that all of us on this blog are homosexual. One does not have to be a homosexual to believe that homosexuality is not a sin. But you’re right. I don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin. Even if I did believe that homosexuality is a sin, I would not consider it my right to shove my opinion down the throats of gay people. I am not God. It is not my place to judge.

            6) “you don’t know me, you have no idea where I stand or what I tell people” Well, I’ve seen what you’ve been writing on this blog. “You think I am cruel and harsh because I wont tell you what you want to hear but be thankful because I am telling what I am telling you rather than Jesus because when he judges you there will be no turning back.” Jesus either loves us or he doesn’t. It is either safe to love him, or it is not. Jesus knows the truth about me and will do what he thinks is right. I can only come before him as I am and trust in his mercy. And Dave, Jesus is my Judge. Not you. And when you judge us, you are making yourself our Lord and King. You are not our Lord and King. Again, that role belongs to Jesus.

          • Dave

            Diana, no I don’t need to “win” God’s approval, but is it wrong to please him or would it be better to please man?

            To know if we are doing what please God we only have his word to go by, if we use and live by his word we know that he promises, if we don’t follow his word then we are not doing what he asked and he is not pleased so ask yourself if you are doing right by him?

            Your analogy is way off, a group of pro gay people are trying their hardest to force followers of God to believe what they are doing is ok and they use any means possible to get their own way, they insult and twist the word of God to get this and post silly analogies. Here is an example how your analogy doesn’t work, the word of God says the world is about 6000 years old but yet schools have been teaching children Darwinism long before I was in school. So because millions of teachers have been telling children they are horses does it make them horses?

            When I was referring to the book of James I meant the whole book, you all complain I am rude and straightforward, you think I don’t show love because I quote the word of God and pretty much demand answers, well sweetheart James was also blunt and straightforward but does it mean he didn’t love? That was my point so don’t you worry your little head about any particular verses I might quote.

            //2b) The Bible is not the Word of God//

            John 1:1-4, 14

            1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

            14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

            //but not necessarily dictated.//

            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

            2 Peter 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.

            2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

            Sorry to rebuke you but you said it I didn’t.

            3) well then ignore what I say, ignore what the word of God says, do as you please and take it up with God on your day you kneel before him!

            4) just stating facts from the word of God, you believe what you believe because you don’t put your faith in God and anyone who believes God cant change you doesn’t have the faith in him either, it is way to easy to give up and make excuses then it is to follow God. Do you honestly think it was easy for Jesus to suffer what he suffered for us? He might have been God but he suffered as humans do so the punishment for our sins were paid in full. Do you think it was easy for him? Do you really think that was easier then to stop having sex?

            5) it doesn’t matter to me whether or not anyone of you is gay or for homosexuality because sin is sin and the punishment is the same, do you think that because you are not gay its ok? (I am a Christian I am not gay but I don’t believe it’s a sin to be gay so I will tell them that because I love them) that is an example of someone who is “pro gay”

            Well here is a little info on another sin that you may want to think long and hard about when teaching falsely;

            http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/Bible_Says_FalseTeach.text.html

            6) no I am not your judge but Jesus is and when he asks you why? You wont have an excuse, my point is I am here showing the truth from him own word but yet you still reject it, I am here telling you to look again before its too late. Yes, Jesus is your judge but do you think he will let you come back to change what I am telling you today? Jesus could say to you “Diana, I sent Dave to talk to you and he told you to look and not to add to it but just read the word but you rejected him, you rejected him and you rejected the word of our father, you have left me with no other choice” he is a million time more advance then I am and I am sure this is not what he would say but it could be similar or under the same idea.

            The word says homosexuality is a sin why is that so hard just to simply accept, why do people have to add to it, change it or take away from it? I had to accept it why do you think you don’t? well I guess that’s the difference with someone loves God and knows how and someone who talks about love.

          • Matt R

            Dave,

            You are twisting vague terminology to suit your cultural bias and not examining any sense of the greater context of any of these quotes.

            I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Galatians 1 1-9

            Paul says that even if an angel came out of the sky and told you not to keep the commandment of Jesus (“Love thy neighbor as thyself”) then they deserve to be cursed by God. THAT’S the context of Galatians 1

            14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. Matthew 17: 14-18.

            The context of Matthew is that the population thought that the demon possessed boy was beyond redemption and simply ought to be killed. Jesus thought the idea to be reprehensible and proved it to them.

            1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! 1Corinthians 6: 1-6. The context is Christians who persecute each other for trivial matters in the face of far more egregious sins committed by a population which does not follow Jesus’s highest commandment (Love thy neighbor as thyself)

            29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1: 29-32. These are the sins of the immoral. Paul only mentions sexual immorality as a symptom of a much larger disease, which he goes on to list here later on in his letter to the Romans.

            And you want to talk about the harsh truth? Here’s a quote for you to think about:

            “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Ephesians 4:18

          • Dave

            Matt, please!(eyes rolling around)

            Are you trying to tell me 1 Corinthians 6:9 is not the gospel of Christ?

            I believe the people of this page is reading a different gospel because as I wrote it nobody has once said anything about 1 Corinthians 6:9 or maybe you can look at Romans 1:18-32 is this too a different gospel?

            Do you have any idea what it is to love someone? Let me ask you something, if your neighbour was outside drunk beating his wife to death would you go out and help him because he really wants to beat his wife and he is so happy doing that or would you stop him because what he is doing is wrong or would you be the coward and hide in your house? (and phoning the cops is not an answer because by the time they got there she would be dead)

            The fact that it is hurting his wife is irrelevant to my point.

            I like how you quoted Romans 1:29-32 but you left out 18-28, you really need to focus on those as well they apply to anyone who thinks its ok to be gay.

            Ephesians 4:18

            They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

            You might want to really let this verse soak in, seriously!!!!

          • DR

            Why would you be so hostile – with your “eyes rolling” , etc. – and expect people to listen to you? You present with such an entitled, angry tone. You’ve made absolutely no effort to ensure that you’ve understood peoples’ points to you. They’ve been very gracious and you respond with eye rolling. It’s shocking to watch Christians behave this way. Do you expect to be listened to without defending your opinion in a civil, polite manner? What’s wrong with you that you’d actually feel ok about writing in this kind of tone? That’s a serious question.

          • Dave

            DR, none of you are listening so what does it matter? Not one of you answered my question on 1 Corinthian 6:9 so why don’t you start there and then we continue or how about Romans 1:18-32. I can go on but none of you want to deal with those two passages.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy
          • Dave
          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Sorry. Wrong link. http://ht.ly/77qR9

          • DR

            Dave, how about this. You acknowledge that your decision to express and act upon your opinions about homosexuality drives gay kids to commit suicide and commits to a permissive atmosphere where gay men and women are ostracized from the church, then I’m happy to discuss the verses you’d like to talk about. Bit if you’re looking to have only one kind of conversation which is you demanding having a specific kind of conversation or none at all? This community doesnt typically indulge that kind of mentality.

          • DR

            Dave in the real world people earn the right to be heard. I find your reply petulant and entitled, perhaps you’re quite young and not experienced in dealing with others who hold different viewpoints.

            Consider as you imply to everyone here that we’re not quite Chritian enough that you’re acting like a spoiled, arrogsnt brat who believes he has all the answers. Adults who truly desire to be effective earn the respect of those with whom they’re speaking. You’re frankly acting like a pompous ass and as far as I’m concerned you’re officially dismissed.

            The truly creepy thing about people like you is your reading this and actually saying to yourself that this is just a “spiritual attack” because you’re “suffering for righteousness”. But somewhere in you if you’re not completely disconnected from reality knows that you’ve behaved in ways that are embarrassing and regretful here. There are thousands of gay men and women who read this site and you are the reason they run from Jesus. So I’m glad you showed up, it shows them that there are those of us who find your behavior repulsive and we’re standing up to your condemnation and your bullying of this population in the name of a loving God. I’m tired of them having to deal with you. Now you have to deal with me.

            And guess what, Dave? I’m everywhere.

          • Dave

            Well this doesn’t change my questions. The link you provided doesn’t answer the question and shows that the Jews were doing the same thing. This would be like if I were a homosexual and telling you that you are filthy, disgusting homosexual sinner and how dare you go against God. Like Paul, I stand on the outside showing you what is wrong and with the of God anything is possible.

            I came here because I seen the link and saw the first post which I replied to because she is wrong. All you people talk about is love but you all hammered down on me like a bunch of ravaged dogs. You all have insulted said all kinds of ignorant things to me and about me but not one of you have been able to explain how I have twisted the very scripture I quoted directly from the word of God.

            You are in fact the only one who did anything but the sins are still sins according to your link. Good effort though Christy, I will give you that much.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Dave there’s a wonderful simplistic cliche’ you might be familiar with: for everyone finger pointing at someone else there are four pointing back at you.

            If you saw another Christian relying on an uninformed, uneducated, mis-translated, misunderstood interpretation of the Scriptural text to malign, disparage, condemn, discriminate and say unkind, hateful things to another human being, to deny them civil and human and legal rights – which causes that person pain and suffering and self-hatred and depression and suicide….you would step in and say something, right Dave? You wouldn’t let someone use scripture and religion and God like a weapon like that, to cut people down, would you?

          • DR

            No Dave what LLS did was take the logic within your posture and apply it within a different context to show that it is in fact, not as logical as you believe it to be.

          • LSS

            “would you go out and help him because he really wants to beat his wife and he is so happy doing that or would you stop him because what he is doing is wrong or would you be the coward and hide in your house? [...]

            The fact that it is hurting his wife is irrelevant to my point.”

            this whole blog is about stopping our neighbors from hurting others. and why are christians hurting LGBTQ people, or atheists/agnostics, or people of other religions, or whomever? because they are “drunk” on a certain view or obsession of what they think the Bible says… and in some cases thoroughly enjoying the meanness, in other cases doing it unconsciously.

            and yeah, it DOES matter whether or not one’s actions hurt people. not sure if there are any circumstances when that wouldn’t matter.

          • Dave

            LSS, you missed the mark!!!!!!!!!!!

          • LSS

            no, i aimed your story at a different target. stories are like that. once you put a story out in the world, people can read it in many different ways.

          • Dave

            Because you “changed” what I said or directed it differently you missed the mark which is what homosexuals do to justify their sins.

          • William

            Dave wrote; “Are you trying to tell me 1 Corinthians 6:9 is not the gospel of Christ? ”

            Dave it is my understanding that the 1 Corinthians was written by Saul/Paul. Am I wrong?

            It is also my understanding that Saul/Paul never met the man Jesus of Nazareth. Am I mistaken about that?

            I’m sure you are going to relate a legend about Saul having a vision/dream/hallucination on the road to Damascus where he claimed he had a meeting with the already crucified Jesus and he was given instructions by Jesus from God.

            I don’t expect an answer from you, but I’d really love to hear you explain how Saul had a vision of Jesus giving instructions from God is somehow different than Osama having a vision of Mohammed giving instructions from Allah.

            Personally I don’t believe either story any more than I believe that God spoke to Oral Roberts who told a television audience that unless he raised $8 million by that March 1987, God would “call him home.”

            It was lucky for Oral Roberts that his followers believed his story and sent him the money. It was very bad for the citizens of America that Osama’s followers believed his story. And it is up for debate whether it was lucky or unlucky for humanity that Paul’s followers believed his story.

            What say you, Dave?

          • Matt R

            Dave,

            I appreciate theological discussion, and hope that we can continue to discuss this like gentlemen, with civility and grace. There’s no reason that we ought to get upset when quoting scripture, yes? I apologize if anything that I said came across as belligerent or mean-spirited

            My primary emphasis with the quotations of the scripture is to provide context. For example, say somebody makes a really bad movie and a critic says something like “This movie is abominable trash and anybody affiliated with it should be put in the gas chamber!” and the movie trailer condenses his quote to just “…a gas!” as if to pretend like the critic was applauding the movie. That would be dishonest and unfair to the critic yes?

            For the same reason, whenever examining these quotes, it is important to get the spirit of the letter to understand why Paul said what he said so that we understand what Paul was trying to tell the Christian faithful.

            In the case of 1 Corinthians, Paul was urging his disciples to remember the words of Jesus, and to not let anything, not even an angel of God, convince you otherwise. And Jesus was quite clear when he cited that the most important commandments were “Love God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbors as yourself”. To me, because these are the direct commandments of Jesus himself, nothing else, not even the Holy Bible itself, comes before them.

            And to answer your example: I happen to be a black belt in Goju Ryu Karate and am currently serving as an assistant instructor for a women’s self defense class. I hope that infers what my response to that situation would be. Now I ask you: If you saw a hate crime being committed against a homosexual, what would your response be? Would you condemn the homosexual to a grisly end, apathetically ignore the situation, or would you put yourself in harms way to protect them? In plainest terms, I am a militant pacifist: peace is Godly, and I am willing to fight for it.

            I do not intentionally omit anything. I am examining the full context of Paul’s letter to the Romans, and asking myself if Paul was attacking homosexuality qua homosexuality, or general sexual deviancy. For example: a loving, married couple that indulges in BDSM is not sinning, they are finding new ways to express their love for each other. This is a very different animal than a group of deviants participating in mass BDSM for the sake of slating physical lust. That’s the attitude that I take towards Paul’s letter to the Romans: he was citing homosexual behavior as a symptom of a larger problem: that Romans were simply nasty, cruel people who schemed against their neighbors and placed their need for sexual fulfillment above following God’s covenant to help the poor and needy and to love your neighbors as yourself.

            I may not like the idea of homosexual activity (Indeed, the idea of indulging in it makes me physically queasy), but that doesn’t mean that I should hate them or believe them to be bad people. I have several gay friends, and they are friendly, loving people who have never made their sexual orientation an issue. With some I went for years without realizing that they were openly gay. That’s because I treat people the way that they treat me, and if they treat me with kindness and hospitality, I am bound by my duty to Jesus to return the favor. That’s how I know that my heart is not hardened.

          • William

            Dave wrote; “Matt, do you know what it means to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?”

            No you don’t, Matt. Nobody on this page does. Only Dave loves God.

            Dave wrote; “I try to love everyone but at times its difficult because people try and corrupt the word of God to twist it so they feel better about their sins..”

            You people are corrupting that word of God and if Dave weren’t so almighty holy he’d not be able to love you.

            Dave wrote; “BUT because God gave me this love to share with everyone I share it even with you..”

            Dave The Prophet! Almighty Dave, come down from the heavens to chasten and discipline the wayward sheep!

            Dave wrote; “but of course you are laying on the floor kicking and screaming while telling me if I don’t let you do what you want I don’t love you. Well what you are doing is going to hurt you in the end but you don’t see that right now because you are a child who doesn’t understand.”

            Matt you child, Dave is not here to have a “theological discussion” ” like gentlemen”. Like equals.

            You are a child and Dave is the Prophet/Teacher here to instruct you on the only “true” interpretation of God’s word. The King Dave Version. And may God help you, if you disagree with Dave.

            Dave wrote; “Do you have any idea what it is to love someone?”

            No Dave, we don’t. Please instruct us dear Rabbi.

            Please Dave, teach us poor wayward heathen the ways of the Lord as only you know them. Oh mighty Dave. Oh Holy Dave.

            Oh dear. Did I, by quoting from the Book of Dave somehow misinterpret scripture? ;D

          • Dave

            Matt, 1 Corinthians is the first letter to the church of Corinth, when you read from chapter one you will see they are still learning, mere children in knowledge. He informs them of his knowledge of what is going on there even though he is not there. Up until chapter 6:10 he has been telling them of the wrong doings and then in verse 11 he says “And that is what some of you were. 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.”

            Homosexuality is not the one and only thing they were doing wrong, they had many sins and homosexuality happens to be one of the many, its not the first one mentioned nor was it the last. Most of you (not just this page either) say that the word “homosexual” was translated wrong, I ask why is “homosexual” the ONLY mistake why isn’t all sexual immoralities written wrong or mistranslated? Here is why because homosexuals think they are the only ones who struggle with such difficulties. They are not alone in this struggle.

            This is the second time you wrote the love of God and I ask you again, do you know what it is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? God loves you so much he made a promise to send the Messiah, his one and only son, to save you because you are not worthy of him. He made this promise out of love he demonstrated his love, so how do you love him? Do you think by saying “I love you God” means anything without action? The word of God says homosexuality is a sin so you demonstrate your love by telling him that’s not what he was talking about when he said homosexuality is a sin.

            You didn’t answer my question and not to be rude but I were the guy (not saying that I would be beating my wife while drunk) and telling me you happened to be a black belt in whatever karate you took doesn’t scare me one single bit and I would probable tell you to piss off and mind your own business before you get hurt.

            //Now I ask you: If you saw a hate crime being committed against a homosexual, what would your response be? Would you condemn the homosexual to a grisly end, apathetically ignore the situation, or would you put yourself in harms way to protect them?//

            First of all I would like to point out in most cases unless the attacker is voicing the fact that this person is gay I wouldn’t know he/she was gay, just want to clarify that. And unless the attacker had a gun it wouldn’t be putting myself in harms way to stop the beating (I prefer to call it as it is because all things like this are hate and not just directed to homosexuals) but I would stop it.

            Again Paul’s letter to the Romans is like that of the letter he wrote to the Corinthians, sexual immoralities were bad in those days they were lawless but he wanted them to know as well its not permitted by God, just because a lot of people did it doesn’t make it right, he even goes as far as to say even the Jews were judging them yet they were also guilty of the same sins (Chapter 2) and they were no better.

            I have one friend who is gay and we don’t hang for a couple reasons, one he lives 3 hours away, 2 well lets just say I used to hang with a well known biker club and my old man was affiliated with another one so for the most part unless there is a seriously bad ass gay biker I doubt I would ever hang with a gay guy but I have hung out with gay women (some are pretty manly, get your hands greasy biker types)

            I am going to assume you are not gay? So I will say this, I have some acquaintances who are gay we are not friends that hang together and they also know where I stand on homosexuality, they are not Christian and they respect me as I respect them. It is one thing to show love towards someone and be kind and all the good stuff but its another when you openly condone something God is against. What is better, to please God or man? Sometimes we have to make a choice but its all in how you make that choice that counts. Some people (like this page) get ignorant and put out the “you hate me” bull. I will never stand down when it comes to the word of God and a lot of the time people (like this page) do not like it, I would rather them not like me and find out the truth and have a chance to go to heaven then never say anything and let them burn in hell. What do you think is more loving? If people stopped adding to the word of God and just read it as it is written like Romans 1, 1corinthians 6, 1 timothy 1 etc. the fact there in not one single story of a loving homosexual relationship written anywhere in the word of God, this should be a hint that God doesn’t accept this just as he doesn’t accept sex outside a marriage.

          • Matt R

            William —

            If that’s your attitude, then I have nothing to say to you, except back away from me, Satan; you don’t know who I am, your accusations are baseless and infantile. Address me as an equal, or get out of my face.

            Dave —

            With regards to 1 Corinthians, I am in complete agreement. They were children, at least in terms of emotional development. Paul was urging them to consider the words of Jesus over anything else, because he didn’t want them to succumb to substituting their base superstitions for the words of Christ. “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” — John 1:1

            “Homosexuality is not the one and only thing they were doing wrong…”

            I have no doubt that Paul was explicitly referencing homosexual behavior and was critical of it. However, I ask again: is it a symptom of the larger malaise of uncaring physical gratification, or is there something about homosexual activity that is intrinsically anti-Christian? I don’t accept the argument that it’s unnatural because fellatio is unnatural, but hardly a sin when it involves a loving couple. My interpretation is that he was attacking the mindset of “get money, bang bitches” that is the hallmark of an infantile, underdeveloped mind, regardless of where he’s sticking his private parts.

            “This is the second time you wrote the love of God and I ask you again, do you know what it is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? …”

            My way of expressing my love for God is by following in his example. Jesus kept company with prostitutes, lepers, and tax-collectors (all shunned individuals), spoke kindly of Samaritans (a much reviled ethnic minority). He never turned down someone who came to him for help, and his miracles were universally acts of kindness and sharing. Satan offered him dominion over the entire world when tempting him in the desert, and Jesus rejected it. Why would he reject rulership of the world, where he could have simply installed himself as eternal dictator and forced everyone to bend to his divine will? That’s what makes Jesus special to me: he accepted ALL people as the children of God, as loving equals, not as a king or ruler (I sometimes wonder if we are misguided in glorifying Jesus as the son of God when Jesus seemed to think that all men are sons of God. I see him as the first among equals). And that’s why I am proud of my homosexual friends: they are good, wholesome people, not committed to sexual deviancy, but to finding a partner that they can love and cherish. They’re creating more love, and that, to me, is what Jesus was commanding us to do.

            That’s the distinction which is the source of our differences: I do not think that homosexual behavior is bad in the sense that BDSM or other forms of sexual adventurism are bad, unless they are committed for the wrong reasons. A loving couple exploring each other’s sexual needs is a very, very different thing from lust-based physical gratification.

            “You didn’t answer my question and not to be rude but I were the guy …”

            Fair enough, I’ll enunciate. If I saw something which I consider wrong. domestic violence in this case, this is what I would do: I would come over and politely but firmly explain to the man that what he is doing is not only illegal, but morally reprehensible, and he needs to stop. If he told me that it’s none of my business, my retort would be that I not only have a civic duty to stop illegal activity, but it’s against my religious beliefs, so it becomes my business when I see it.

            He would NEVER know that I was a black belt (why would I give that away? Sun Tzu says the first rule of warfare is deception) until I’ve got him in an armbar on the ground and I’m dialing the police. I realize that black belts don’t mean much these days, but I was trained by a police officer for pure self-defense, specifically focusing on take-down techniques against opponents assumed to be bigger and stronger than myself. I’m not going to come in with a spinning crescent kick or any of that other junk you learn at a McDojo black-belt mill, I’m coming in with the same take-down techniques that policemen use to defend themselves.

            “First of all I would like to point out in most cases unless the attacker is voicing the fact that this person is gay…”

            “I have one friend who is gay…”

            I’m glad that we’re in agreement. It doesn’t matter if the victim is gay or not; he’s a human being, so when push comes to shove, the Godly thing to do is to defend their rights. I applaud you for recognizing this.

            “Again Paul’s letter to the Romans is like that of the letter he wrote to the Corinthians…”

            If someone that I know is indulging in sexual deviancy, and they come to me for spiritual advice (which won’t happen unless you treat an individual with kindness and hospitality), I’ll tell them straight up that they’re looking for love in all the wrong places. But for gay couples in a committed, life-affirming relationship, I can not in good faith tell them that they are in the wrong for introducing more love into this world, because, as I said above, that’s what Jesus wanted us to do.

            “I am going to assume you are not gay?”

            The idea of indulging in homosexual behavior makes me physically nauseous. I’m most certainly not gay. But then, so do most forms of sexual adventurism, so please don’t misconstruct that statement as a blanket condemnation.

            ” they also know where I stand on homosexuality, they are not Christian and they respect me as I respect them. ”

            I respect that the tone of this discussion has put you on the defensive, so I will state what I see: You a good Christian. The fact that you are willing to treat them with kindness and fairness means more to me (and Jesus) than anything else.

            Our differences are purely academic: I simply think that an act of love is an act of love, and an act of lust is an act of lust. One is right, one is wrong, the difference is in the execution, not the act itself (the vehicle is not the driver).

            My belief is that an absolute literal interpretation of the Bible is akin to idolatry (citing 1 Corinthians again), and that the spirit of the Bible is that God, through Jesus, is urging us to be kind, hospitable people who treat everybody with universal fairness and equality, regardless of race, creed, or lifestyle choice.

            I have another question for you (asking in pure sincerity): my father was a good man who always held me to accountability and was hard because he wanted me to become a better man. He didn’t inspire through rote obedience or fear of punishment, but through example. He was never my “lord”, he is my Dad. I also sometimes wonder if we are mistaken in referring to God as “The Lord” because the phrase itself is pagan Roman in origin: the latin word “Dominus” was the official title of the Roman Emperor, and he ruled through fear and tyranny, and the Bible was codified under the auspices of a Roman Emperor (Constantine) looking to cement his grasp on absolute power in the Roman state by unifying the Christian canon. Do you think I am misguided for preferring to think of God as “the good father to his children” instead of “the tyrannical leader”?

          • Matt R

            William — My sincere apologies, I may be confused. Sarcasm doesn’t seem to translate so well over the internet. Please forgive my harsh words if I mistook your words for being something which they weren’t. My only intention is in keeping this conversation civic and productive.

          • Matt R

            civil*

            These forums could really use an edit feature…

          • William

            Matt, I am truly sorry.

            I thought I laid the sarcasm on so thick it would be as obvious as if I were wearing a red bulb on my nose.

            That is the trouble with mocking fundamentalists.

            No matter how glassy-eyed, mouth-foaming, spittle spraying, hellfire and damnation raving, you try to make your caricature be, it is still indistinguishable to the real thing.

            You see it appeared to me from Dave’s posts that he was just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses that so arrogantly knock on your door to tell you all about God. Because, of course, you know nothing of God and everything they know about God came from their little pamphlets so it has got to be true.

            I studied the Bible intensely for two years with the Jehovah Witnesses because I knew that we would be like pitbulls forcing our interpretation onto each other. Let me tell you that there was lots of armwrestling and nose to nose heated debate. When we parted it was as gladiators, each respectful of the others determination.

            What is true about all fundies is their arrogance in knowledge of things that cannot be known. A fundie will confidently boast the number of golden steps to the pearly gates. He will argue fiercely that there are (x) number of steps. Not (y) not (z). How does he know this?

            Where did he receive this amazing other-worldly knowledge? From a pamphlet!!! Or from a Tony Alamo comic book!!! Or maybe from an ancient text that was written by the imagination of men, scribed by men, and mistranslated by men, each man adding a little here, editing a little there, shaping the story to serve his purpose.

            At some point I came to realize that trekkies arguing about the amount of dilithium crystal needed to power a class 4 starship is no more ridiculous than debating people like Dave.

            The reason that Roman Catholics, Irish Catholics, Baptists, Coptics, Methodists, Calvinists, Pentacostals, Apostolics, Anabaptists, Four-Squares, Presbyterians, and all of the thousand varying denominations and sects can use the same book and disagree with each other to the death must be that the Bible isn’t nearly so clear as many would have you believe.

            Can a person be a Christian with the maturity to realize that it is a flawed man-made document? Yes, if your definition of the word Christian is one who follows the words and instruction of the man we call Jesus of Nazareth. For those who live their life using the intent of those words as a guide and act accordingly are the only true Christians.

            What is a Christian, but a follower of Christ.

            28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

            29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

            Mark12.28-31

            The very opposite of a Christian is someone who sits in church absorbing hateful lies against people that are different than them. These are the Pharisees and Saducees of today.

            21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23

            Matt, please forgive my sarcasm. Your misunderstanding is already erased from my memory. No worries mate.

            Everyone please remember this LOL internet meme;

            It’s only funny till someone gets hurt. Then it’s hilarious!

            Peace and Blessings :D

          • Matt R

            No worries, William. I glanced at your post once, then again, and didn’t read into it as much as I should have. As soon as I posted I looked once again, and realized that there isn’t an edit feature, I smacked my forehead. I’m glad we can move forward without quarrel :)

          • William

            Matt, Now that we’re friends again I need ask you something. Did you really read what I wrote?

            Getting past all the sarcasm is good but the thing about sarcasm is the element of truth. As you glanced at the words your first reaction was to feel insulted. That was the correct emotion. I was bringing this to your attention because you were insulted. You were insulted by Dave.

            You and everyone on this page who didn’t bow down to his scriptural authority was insulted by Dave.

            I copied his words. Those were his words I cut and pasted and then amplified so you could hear their meaning.

            In your anger you wrote, “If that’s your attitude, then I have nothing to say to you, except back away from me, Satan; you don’t know who I am, your accusations are baseless and infantile. Address me as an equal, or get out of my face. ”

            You directed that anger at me because you mistakenly thought those were my words.

            Did you really believe that I was calling Dave a prophet as he insists of condemning gay people with his rudimentary Sunday School grasp of the Bible?

            I appreciate that you are a good guy. I like that you want a civil and productive conversation. But I see you engaging in conversation with a guy who has spat in your face more than once.

            DAVE WROTE (November 18, 2011 at 4:51 am), “This is the second time you wrote the love of God and I ask you again, do you know what it is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?”

            Once again Dave questions your ability to love God.

            Once again Dave affirms that, of all of us, only he loves God enough to condemn the sinners. Once again Dave insists that only he knows what the Bible says and what God requires.

            Matt, I’m just wondering if you believe having a civil theological discussion with someone who is dead certain in his biblical bigotry, and does not regard you as an equal, will somehow be shown the light if you can just find the right Bible passage to show him.

            I’m really really curious why you would feel angered if I said those words but are content to ignore them coming from Dave?

            Is it my cologne? :D

          • Dave

            Matt, you are splitting hairs here, but let me explain something and the word of God is clear, there is no fuss, no clouds its not blurry and the final part is “God is not the author of confusion”. the word of God says no sex outside of marriage, the word is full of examples of marriage and married people, it has always, from the beginning been one man one woman, this has been God’s plan from the beginning. We know all sex outside of marriage is a sin so how do you come up with the idea its not a sin in a “loving relationship”?

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            Dave, Corinthians is NOT the gospel of Christ. It is the gospel of Paul. Christ never wrote a gospel….none that have been found in any case.

          • Erica

            Dave,

            Your Corinthians verse is hotly contested by scholars. The Greek word commonly translated to ‘homosexual’ – arsenokoite – isn’t actually definable. The words best NT Greek scholars admit they don’t know what it actually means (read Scroggs). Most believe it relates to nonconsentual sex, I.e. rape, or prostitution.

            Likewise, when Paul is writing to the Corinithians and the Romans on these issues, he is directly addressing practices of prostitution in temples. We know this from studying the historical context.

            It is grossly inappropriate for any English translation of the Bible to use the word ‘homosexual’ because the concept of a homosexual identity didn’t exist until the 1700s. It is anachronistic to do so. My Oxford Annotated Bible (an academic edition used by seminary students, ministers &c) translates arsenokoite to ‘sexual perverts’ because the translators know anything more specific would be a dishonest and inaccurate translation.

            To truly understand the Bible, you need to understand the process by which it comes to you, and that is NOT direct revelation from God: your bible comes to you via an intricate and often highly political process of study, translation, publication &c. Whatever Gods original revelation was to the human authors of the bible, you don’t read that original revelation. You read a translation. A human translation. You simply take it on, well, *faith* that the translation is correct (often it isn’t) and that your pastors teachings are informed (from who you’ve said here, your received understanding of tr bible is not well-informed).

            Please don’t take this as an attack. You seem very dedicated to the Word of God. I think it would be a wonderful expression of that passion if you were to research further into the history of the Bible to even further deepen you commitment to finding the Truth in the pages of the bible.

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            Genesis 19 does NOT say men wanted to have sex with men. It says the men of the city demanded “to know” Lot’s guests. That is wide open to interpretation. See my response to Matthew Crockett above or John Burnett’s excellent explanation also above. Try reading without your deliberately uncritical mindset that is, after all, merely the result of past and equally ignorant human interpretation.

      • http://jbburnett.com John Burnett, M.A. (O.T.)

        No, even if what the townspeople wanted to do was homosexual rape, the story is certainly not about the ‘desires men had for other men’.

        In the context of the story— as often in history, even in Eastern Congo right now— rape (of either sex) is a way of dominating and humiliating the stranger, the other, the ‘enemy’, the outsider. It’s something people do in war or in racism or sexism or some other violent context; it’s not about love, and not really even about sex— which is why other orifices and other instruments are often used. The purpose is to hurt and to violate, not to fulfill desire.

        So even if the story of Sodom and Gomorrah involved an intent to commit (homosexual) rape, it was not at all about ‘homosexuality’ as such, but about an egregiously wicked, premeditated, and vicious breach of that covenant relationship which the ancients called ‘hospitality’— a much more serious matter in those days than just failing to put out an attractive spread for your guests when they drop by. Their extreme, wicked nastiness towards innocent strangers was what God damned and blasted, not ‘desires towards other men’, which is not a topic that gets much attention in scripture.

        The men of S&G didn’t want Lot’s daughters, not because they were all a ‘bunch a queers’ in Sodom, but because Lot and his daughters were not the ones they wanted to humiliate— and they weren’t going to be distracted from their evil intentions toward the strangers, even by a couple of nubile young virgins!

        Finally, it’s always a good idea to read and reflect on the context of verses that we quote to each other, rather than lifting them out of context. Jude 1.7 is not about homosexuality; it’s about ‘aselgeia’ (v. 4), which KJV translates as ‘lasciviousness’ but which means rather a creepy, self-interested habit of using everyone and everything for one’s own greedy benefit; and the examples given are all very interesting: Israel’s faithlessness, the fallen angels’ overweening pride, and of course S&G’s fornication. ‘Aselgeia’— of which Jude pointed to Sodom’s sin as an example— is not homosexuality, even when it involves homosexuality (or heterosexuality, for that matter); but it would certainly serve as a good general description of the list found in Ez 16:49-50— “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.” Perhaps Ezekiel’s description was even what prompted Jude to mention Sodom’s fornication in connection with ‘aselgeia’.

        KJV translates ‘ekporneuesthai’ (v. 7) as ‘giving themselves over to fornication’, which might suggest that the men of Sodom were involved in some kind of continuous, long-term ‘lifestyle’, as if their town were a biblical version of Castro Street— but that’s not what the word particularly implies. It simply means something like ‘going out to screw’; it’s what Judah’s daughter Tamar was accused of in Gen. 38:24, and is a metaphor for idolatry in Ex 34.15.) Idolatry, by the way— not sex— is the main issue in Paul’s tour-de-force in Romans 1.22-32.

        The sin of Sodom struck at the very heart of what God demands from men. But the sin is *nowhere* described as one of sexual vice as such; rather, it was a breach of what he requires in Exod 22.21 and other places too numerous to list: “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt”; or again, Exod 23.9: “Thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

        God, in the story, proves to be— not the wrathful avenger of same-sex acts, but the kinsman and avenger of Lot, himself a stranger in Sodom— and the constant protector of Lot’s kinsman Abraham. God avenges injustice to the stranger, *because God himself has taken the role of a stranger,* in fact in this very story, and ultimately in Christ.

        May the Lord God bless you.

        • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

          Brilliant! Thank you, John Burnett.

        • Diana A.

          Thank you, John. This explanation really was helpful.

        • Matt R

          Mr. Burnett,

          This post is brilliance, pure, rational, Godly brilliance. I commend you for rejecting the idolatry of the Holy Bible, and approaching it with a critical, consistent eye.

          You are following in Christ’s example, who was also not above criticizing scripture. Thank you for your illuminating post, and I hope it convinces Dave to pick up his cross and follow Jesus the way that you have.

  • jacob

    Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of homosexuality. It was destroyed because they were proud, (not the pride of feeling of good), did not succor the weak and poor, and were gluttonous, and also Sodom and Gomorrah did not practice homosexuality. They practiced sex with animals, they have had incest, pedophile, pederasty, adultery, harlots, orgies, homosexuals, lesbians: the mother with the daughter, the son with the father, the daughter with the father, and the son with the mother, the cousin with the nephew, and the old men with the children, and the adult young with teenagers, and harlots performing orgies with men and men performing orgies and also some other practice cult sex, and men who covet the brother of his wife, or husband, forced girls to marry with men, and they were also practicing rape, and attack people when they came as visitors, and worshiped false gods, and they have had sex on the streets in the morning, and also man having sex with harlots in the streets with uncontrollable appetites without shame and embarrassment with such abominations they have committed all the immorality before the Lord eyes when he visited them and disliked them and gave them a chance to repent and sent his angels just in case they repent, and if they repent not, then Sodom and Gomorrah will be destroyed with fire and brimstone and earthquakes and sulfur. Sodom and Gomorrah was the age of the abominations. A homosexual or the definition of sodomite is a man who has sex with an animal or a man who prostitute himself for money purposes with a woman, or with a man, or a man who copulates the anus of a man or woman, vagina or oral sex. A sodomite is the synonym of a prostitute male. Example, a prostitute male who fornicates with many woman. An adulterous man is an sodomite. A lady women is a sodomite. A prostitute male who whores after men.

  • jacob

    Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed not because of homosexuality. In Sodom were practicing incest, pederasty, pedophile, sexual abuse, adultery, harlots, and also orgies, and the mother with the son, the son with the mother, and the daughter with the mother, and the cousin with the nephew, and all of the abominations they have committed. The people ignore this, because homosexuality was not present, and was also present bisexuality, and the definition of sodomite is a male prostitute for sexual purposes with a woman or men, or an adulterous man is also a prostitute, and a sodomite is a male who has sex with animals. A sodomite is also a man who abuses sexual to children. A sodomite is someone who fornicates with women without money purposes with promiscuity. A sodomite can be straight or gay or bisexual or woman or any. The male or sodomite is a dog, and the harlot is a woman. The decent gay is the eunuch as the woman who is decent which is the antonym of the harlots and the dogs.

    • Nate

      But also, there was homosexuality at the temples, which represented a supplication to the foreign gods that were worshipped. God wasn’t condemning homosexuality outright, he was condemning sexual acts that were not in the person’s nature. So if you are a devouted Jewish husband and you go the neighboring foreign god’s temple and had sex with the young male priest for divine sexual favors than God didn’t like that. There is a difference. (I am saying this in a biblical and historic perspect, not in a religious perspective.)

  • jacob

    God promises and there is a prophecy that the state where Sodom and Gomorrah will be restored which is Samaria, and other, where all of the people who humilliated us will receive us and the people who hated us will be ashamed and be rebuked one day. It says on Ezequiel. The prophecies is on the future. Probably, when Jesus comes back and God rebukes the city which is the Jerusalem and Samaria who judged us, and said that Sodom and Gomorrah were much better than you and were higher than you and innocent than you that what you have committed all of the sins and I have seen what you have done and why do you yell? Oh, Jerusalem. It says somewhere in Ezequiel or another chapter of the book. God promises to accept us one day. Imagine? How the Jerusalem judged us so harshly and God will rebuke them and they will receive us and be obliged to receive us? Compare the sins of Jerusalem than the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? Jerusalem has committed greater than Sodom and Gomorrah. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were gluttony, laziness, did not succor the poor and the weak on the streets and were full of pride.

  • jacob

    The Father said, Love thy neighbors as thyself. Jesus said, Love your enemies. God is the God of the old covenant, and Jesus is the Son of God of the New Covenant. Jesus commanded to love our enemies.

  • Erica

    You should have been a carpenter, because you constantly hit the nail on the head.

    Wow, that was lame, Erica.

    • Diana A.

      Actually, it’s kinda cute!

  • Nate

    Exactly what I’m thinking. It’s not the rapist at the front door were going to ask the angels in Lot’s house out for dinner, or to go to the night club. They wanted to rape them! Get the difference here?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Y’know, the funny thing is, now I want a baked potato. A RAGING baked potato. With salt.

    I like how the accounts of Sodom and Gomorrah vary wildly in their explanations for why the cities were asploded. Some say gay; others rape. Some also say the cities were highly inhospitable to the visiting Christians, and earned their doom that way. I know we want to hold the Bible’s words to be absolute fact, but the different translations don’t even hold accord on the meaning of so many passages.

    So, how can we be perfectly crystal on the meaning of the falldowngoboom of Sodom and Gomorrah? We can’t, really.

    So, those of you potatoes (hee!) who would use this as reason to exclude me from your church? Really? How’s about just looking at whether I try to love in Christ’s name all day? Shouldn’t that be more important? The message?

    Thanks and Happy New Year!

    • roninbear

      I’m relatively sure it had nothing to di with visiting Christians. Just saying.

      • Melissa Brown

        Thank goodness the bible TELLS us what the lesson was : this is the sin of your sister sodom- she and her daughters were arrogant, over fed and unconcerned, they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:49

    • Jeff Preuss

      Oh, my snap. I didn’t remember commenting on this from 2 years ago. Yet, here I am! I guess this was on the old thingie John had which migrated over to this thingie, and then I rediscovered his bloggy stuff? I don’t know. Even though I know there ARE other Jeff Preusses out there, and most of them are doctors (sorry, Mom!) this one reads like me.

      And now I want a baked potato again.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/ Ric Booth

    I missed this gem back in January. Hysterically true.

    And scrolling through the Diatribes of Dave was also funny, in a sad kinda way. I imagined hearing them with Stephen Colbert’s voice. It helped a LOT! Oh, and !!!, !!.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/ Ric Booth

      …Novemeber…

  • http://www.facebook.com/nwbuckeye Pat Hux via Facebook

    you gotta keep those archives handy…. bc this stuff never goes away..

  • Laura Marie

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for writing this. Nothing pisses me off more than that TIRED EXCUSE for hating gay people.

  • Danielle Perata via Facebook

    Wow. Dave is very lost indeed. Fascinating thread, though!

  • http://www.billprickett.com/ Bill Prickett

    John: “I cannot think of any other reason for which any sane person would ever seriously suggest that the point of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is to prove that homosexuality is immoral.”
    Personally, I think the operative word there is “sane.”

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Me, too. That’s why I wrote it.

  • Matthew Crockett

    The Only linkage is based on what you think the text means when it says that the mob who showed up at Lot’s house wanted to “get to know” the angels. In a different part of the Bible it also says that sin of Sodom was pride so it makes as much sense to say that they wanted to know the angels in the same way as a mob from the KKK wanted to get to know freedom riders.

    • Bill Steffenhagen

      There is the possible context of that story that, in those perilous times of bandits and marauders, it behooved the people of (presumably walled) cities to offer hospitality to travelers and visitors, while the visitors had an obligation to state the nature of their business in the city. It is an entirely probable interpretation that that is what was meant when the men of the city demanded to “know” Lot’s visitors. There may have been NO sexual context at all. In which case, Lot’s offer of his daughters becomes even more immoral.
      The fact remains that the story, as written and open to interpretation, offers no sure knowledge of what really transpired. The “traditional” interpretation is just that, an interpretation and begs the question of WHY interpreters would choose a sexual context over the other, seemingly more plausible explanation. The text, by itself, does not support the traditional sexual context.

  • JenellYB

    It doesn’t matter. None of it matter. The trying to reason where such people and their ideas come from, how they justify or try to make them seem rational….none of it matters because it is insane to the core and trying to find reason within it from a rational pov will do nothing but drive you crazy as well. I grew up in and around that kind of mentality, it used to me mostly religion, but now the ‘wedding’ with Republican politics it is there, too. I spend much of my life trying to make sense of it, it was like trying to put together a puzzle I’d been told it was most important that I do so, but none of the pieces fit together right. At first, it seemed some pieces were missing, then realized it was actually incomplete parts of many puzzles all mixed into one box, and no way they ever fit together.
    When you really think about it, anyone that can read the bible, some of the horrible genocides of entire populations, the traveler giving his concubine to the mob for the night, so may more such things, and they honestly cannot see the human suffering, the part of the ‘victims’, or the absurdity for stoning rape victims to death, or even young women that didn’t bleed on their wedding nights, at some point, it must occur, are the people even human???
    What you present here has been presented s many times, and its just hash and rehash, none of it makes one whit of difference to those caught up in religious madness, as if under some zombie spell, I struggle within myself. Am I becoming cynical, pessimistic? Or just accepting reality as it is?

    • Mojo

      Read the Quran and the story in short is there, then read studies on how dangerous and risky homosexuality is. Before reading it, divorce emotions and bias…peace.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Like I said on another thread where you’ve said essentially the same thing. The Quran’s story is a copy, and a variation of the much older Jewish one, who borrowed that story from local myth and legend.

        Now for the fun facts and science part. Sodom and Gomorrah, if those cities even existed, were in….wait for it…Austria. That is according to a cuniform disc found that mentions an asteroid. http://www.universetoday.com/13560/evidence-of-asteroid-impact-for-sodom-and-gomorrah/

        • Bill Steffenhagen

          I’ve seen that on that TV channel that does that kind of religious documentaries. The asteroid hit in Austria, but the stuff it blew into the atmosphere carried on the air currents to the Middle East, some of which fell on those cities. Seems a bit far fetched that air currents could carry something heavy enuf to destroy cities that far away. Anyway, the whole story is simply preposterous.

  • Steve Russell

    When people use this story I typically quote

    Ezekiel 16:48 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, Sodom and her daughters were never as wicked as you and your daughters.
    49 Sodom’s sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.
    50 She was proud and did loathsome things, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.
    Don’t see anything about homosexuality in there do you?

    • Bones

      I think Ezekiel knew a different version to the Sodom and Gomorrah story than the one later put in to Genesis.

  • KJB007

    I’m not liking anyone in this story. Seriously — offering his daughters to be raped? Are people who pimp out their kids known as “Lottites”?

    • Bones

      Yeah no one comes out of this story with any semblance of morality.

      Even God.

      I take it literalists who believe the story actually happened believe that Lot’s wife is still standing out there or maybe we have had her on fish and chips.

      • Bill Steffenhagen

        She dissolved in the subsequent rainstorm!


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