But what about all those anti-gay clobber verses?

I do not believe that homosexuality is objectively immoral,” I wrote the other day. Again.

This horrifies many of my fellow evangelicals — not solely because they are anti-gay, but largely because they are pro-Bible. That notion of “objective immorality” is tied up with the need or desire to turn to the Bible for “objective” standards of morality — for rules. If we cannot turn to the Bible for objective rules, then we’re left without a rulebook, and how can we possibly get by without a rulebook? Without a rulebook, “How can we know the way?“*

The Bible is not a rulebook. Trying to read it as a rulebook doesn’t work. Read it that way and you’re bound to be frustrated, misled and confused. Filtering through the Bible to pluck out the rules produces two results, neither of them helpful. First it gives you a jar full of context-less rules, and second it leaves behind the vast bulk of the Bible — all those stories and songs, prophecy, proverbs, parables and promises filtered off to the side by the quest for rules.

So the end result of trying to read the Bible as a rulebook tends to be an anxiety about the worth or meaning of this text that expresses itself as a desperate assertion or “defense” of “the authority of scripture.” The greater the anxiety, the fiercer the defense.

And that is the core of the current argument over the “objective immorality” of homosexuality. It’s not really about sex and it’s not really about LGBT people at all — they’re just collateral damage, pawns in a game that doesn’t regard them as players worthy of “our” attention. What the argument is really about is defending “the authority of scripture.”**

Hence the adamant insistence on the anti-gay clobber verses as the absolute, unambiguous final word on the “objective immorality of homosexuality.” It’s not so much a fear of the prospect of LGBT people participating fully and openly in the life of the church, it’s a fear of undermining the authority of scripture — of the terrifying prospect of life without an objective rulebook.

As for the clobber verses themselves, there are six of them. Six. Out of 31,000 or so — but still those six are, in fact, in there.

It’s interesting, though, that these six verses in particular should be where the defenders of the authority of scripture have chosen to make their stand. Only one of them is really a straight-up, hard-core, thou-shalt-not style prohibition. The other five are just vaguely negative passing references.

It seems to me that if you want to reassert the authority of scripture, you’d be on surer footing by focusing on a different set of authoritative biblical rules from the biblical rulebook. The hundreds of verses regarding wealth and poverty offer a wealth of potential clobber verses — all far clearer and far stricter than any of those six brief mentions of stuff-that-sounds-sorta-gay. And those verses can be found in every part of the Bible — all throughout the law, prophets, wisdom literature, Gospels and epistles.

Yet no one seems interested in defending the authority of those clobber verses. They’re not clobber verses at all because clobbering someone with them would draw attention to them, and that’s the very last thing we want.

When I run afoul of the authority of the half-dozen anti-gay clobber verses I get hate-mail informing me that I’m not “really” a Christian at all, just some anti-Bible, anti-God wolf in sheep’s clothing. And yet I have almost never been criticized or challenged for my lifelong, egregious pattern of brazenly flouting hundreds of those non-clobber verses regarding wealth and poverty.

I have life insurance and interest-bearing bank accounts and investments. I am, perpetually, lending with the expectation of repayment. I have more clothes than there are days in a week, more stuff than I need. Every little bit I clean out the fridge and toss away food that’s gone bad. I am thus — absolutely, undeniably and unbiblically — stealing from the needy, the hungry, the naked and the poor. I am now, and for years have been, in flagrant and indefensible violation of scores of explicit biblical commands — all of which are far clearer, less culturally conditional, and less ambiguous than anything in those six anti-gay clobber verses.

And yet none of the Christians so scrupulously concerned with those six verses are the slightest bit concerned with my behavior in this regard. Most of them can’t be, because they’re violating all of those clear commands too. When the subject is “homosexuality,” and I say “the Bible is not a rulebook,” they are horrified and appalled. When the subject is money, they say “Hey, relax, the Bible is not a rulebook.”

Such self-serving inconsistency makes it impossible and unnecessary to treat their claims of concern for “biblical authority” as sincere, honest or legitimate. If this purported concern for the authority of the scriptures were demonstrated in their own lives and their own wallets with even a fraction of the passion they have for Other People’s Genitals, then that concern might merit a more substantial engagement. It is not and therefore it does not.

“By what authority do you disregard the Holy Sextet of anti-gay Bible verses?”

Tell me first by what authority you disregard the hundreds of biblical teachings on wealth and poverty and then I will answer.

In the meantime, nice shoes. Nice car. Nice house. Nice to know I don’t have to take your lectures on the “authority of scripture” any more seriously than you do.

(See earlier: Sex & Money, part 1; Sex & Money, part 2; Sex & Money, part 3.)

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* For those who don’t click links:

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way. …”

There’s all the rulebook you’re gonna get.

** You’re forgiven if every time you read the phrase “the authority of scripture,” you hear Eric Cartman’s voice pronouncing that word “authori-TAH.” That’s kind of unavoidable.

 

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Concordance-ism backfires for anti-gay preacher
Monday Monday tekel upharsin
Christian colleges and 'Christian' nationalism
Kotsko on the consequences of a 'moral trump card'
  • JustoneK

    Dammit Fred.  You might as well have spelled it authoritah the whole way.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Yeah.
    This.
    As the old joke goes, some people use scripture the way a drunk uses a lamp-post.

  • picklefactory

    So the answer to folks who cite the anti-gay clobber verses is, basically, a tu quoque?

  • picklefactory

    Or is it “The Bible is not a rulebook”? I like that one better. I can even agree with it.

  • ako

     I think the point is “The Bible is not a rulebook, and if you look honestly at what the Bible says and how people behave, even the ones shouting about the Bible being a rulebook don’t really treat it as one.”  Which is both true and great fun as a righteous smackdown, but can easily be mistaken for tu quoque

  • http://jdg123.myopenid.com/ Josh G.

    The Old Testament injunctions against homosexuality are, of course, part of the purity laws. It’s easy enough to dismiss these by pointing out that none of the other purity laws in Deuteronomy are considered to apply to Christians today – modern Christians don’t keep kosher or refrain from wearing clothing made of mixed fibers.
    But what about the anti-homosexual verses in the epistles of Paul? These writings of Paul – indeed, all his writings – have to be understood as a part of the cultural context in which they were written. In ancient Rome, the modern notion of gay relationships did not exist. What was common, however, was the sexual exploitation of adolescent boys by adult men. This practice, inherited from the ancient Greeks, combined a mentoring relationship with what we would today recognize as sexual abuse. In addition to this, the sexual exploitation of slaves – male and female, of all ages – by Roman men was both commonplace and legal.
    To the extent that Paul knew of same-sex sexual activity, this is what it would have looked like to him. As a Roman citizen, it is even possible that he may have been subjected to this sort of behavior when he was a teenager. It is not surprising that he was against it. We still condemn this kind of behavior when it takes place today. But these condemnations have nothing to do with what happens between consenting adults in the privacy of their bedroom.

  • swbarnes2

    What was common, however, was the sexual exploitation of adolescent boys by adult men.

    But during that period, the norm for sexual relations between men and women was equality?

    Where are all the verses where Paul says that exploitation of adolescent girls by adult men is wrong?  Where is the verse that says “slave girls, you don’t have to obey your master if he demands sex”?  Is it right after the one where he tells Christians to let their slaves leave if the slaves wish to leave, and to pay them fair wages until such time as the slave chooses to leave?

  • The_L1985

     Er….the Bible condones slavery in a lot of places.  That doesn’t make slavery right.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Riiight, no adult men had sex with other enthusiastically consenting adult men in ancient Rome. Whereas all heterosexual sexual relationships were non-exploitative.

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

  • Madhabmatics

     I.2.20
    (Bar/Brothel of Innulus and Papilio); 3932: Weep, you girls.  My penis has
    given you up.  Now it penetrates men’s behinds.  Goodbye, wondrous
    femininity!-pompeii graffiti

  • DavidCheatham

    Riiight, no adult men had sex with other enthusiastically consenting adult men in ancient Rome

    And the made-up word used there is _not_ the word used for that.

    The clobber verses in the New Testament don’t even really _exist_.

    There’s a reference to people getting drunk and having sex with members of the same sex and being humiliated, and people told God did that. (This is the strangest ‘condemnation’ of homosexuality I’ve ever seen. It’s clearly a condemnation of drunken orgies.)

    And there’s the word ‘arsenokoitais’, used by Paul, and copied in whoever wrote 1 Timothy, that wasn’t translated to mean ‘gay men’ until very recently, and in fact is not the Greek word that means ‘men who have sex with men’, but is some unknown word.

    There were indeed a lot of adult men in relationships with other adult men at the time…and despite not having the idea of ‘homosexual people’ per se, society had perfectly good words used to refer to those acts that were not used by Paul.

    In fact, in the early church, there was a debate about homosexuality…and it managed to somehow overlook the verse that we are now informed condemn it. And, that condemnation via one word doesn’t make any _sense_. It’s being read by people who assume homosexuality is a sin, so of course it makes sense on a list of sins

    But in the context of _Paul_, homosexual sex was just something that men occasionally did, and was fine if the man was doing the penetrating.

    This entire thing is like if I wrote, the modern day, a list of things that resulted in poor health, and included ‘soft drinks’, and two thousand years later no one knew what ‘soft drinks’ were (My writing being one of the only uses of that word), and decided that I meant _liquids_, and that you should only live on water inside food and ice. This is of course nonsense…drinking liquids is _incredibly_ common and I certainly wouldn’t have suddenly decided to condemn it by randomly including it in a list of bad things without further explanation, and I wouldn’t have made up the term ‘soft drink’ when the perfectly good term ‘liquid’ exists.

    Even if I had, I wouldn’t have condemned it with a single phrase, at the very least, it’d have an explanation. A mention. Something. Same with homosexual behavior. (Paul was writing to the Corinthians, aka, Romans, who would have no idea what Jewish law said on that subject.)

  • Tricksterson

    Huh, always knew Coca-Cola was of the Devil.

  • martsen79

    “Arsenokoitai” – if you’re interested – so far as I know only appears in Jewish writings (and then of course Christian quotations of Paul). When I was doing NT Greek I ran across another word that also occurs only in Jewish and early Christian writings – “paidophthoroi”** – which also appears to be a uniquely Jewish coinage. Both words occur almost exclusively in vice-lists and in roughly the same location, more or less: “..murderers, adulterers, the sexually immoral [porneuoi], idolaters, [arsenokoitai OR paidophthoroi], kidnappers, thieves…”

    Both are compound words:
    “Arsenokoitai” = “arsen/male” + “koite/bed”
    “Paidophthoroi” = “pais/boy” + “phthoros/seducer, corrupter”

    Like I said as far as I’ve been able to tell these words are only used by Jewish authors ca 1st century BC – 2nd century AD, in the same places, and never co-occur – although to be fair there are VERY few extant uses of the words (I think less than ten each) and none that give any context beyond a list of bad things one ought not to do. In any case, it is reasonable to guess that both are likely Jewish coinwords. Paidophthoroi may even be a play on the Greek word paiderastes (pederast, boy-lover). Given that the words seem to be used interchangeably (a dialect difference? personal preference?) in some perhaps-standard list of wrongdoings, I would argue that they may have meant approximately the same thing. And if you’re an observant Jew suddenly surrounded by Greek and then Roman culture, it’s not a stretch to see “male-bedders” and “boy-seducers” as the same; after all in many regions and epochs of the empire, pederasty was (perversely) more socially acceptable than adult homosexuality. And they say we haven’t made moral progress…

    All of this to say: hanging the modern understanding of homosexuality on an ancient word which we don’t quite know what it means is not a good practice. Resting your argument on excluding LGBT people from full acceptance in humanity on a disputed word in a vice-list is a Bad Idea, and likely only demonstrates your own prejudices.**see: Testament of Levi, Didache, Epistle of Barnabas, others..

    PS: Sorry, I geek out ont his kind of thing. Though I lost my Christianity long ago (in what was I’d like to think a logical, although extremely painful process), when I was coming out I did all this research on this to determine whether I should be celibate or not. None of this technical stuff convinced me – rather, the overarching sweep of Scripture, which claimed love was the fulfillment of the law, and doing right by your neighbor, seemed to render all of the other details obsolete, or as just that: details, suggestions, and attempts at interpreting what that kind of love means and looks like. Same applies with the Bible’s spasms of misogyny and support for slavery and Judaic ethnocentrism (and the later gentile anti-semitism). Nevertheless, my analytical/mathematical mind loved getting into the nitty gritty of all the words and the assumptions and cultures in which these things were written. And it’s a travesty when people apply modern concepts/understandings (e.g., hetero- and homosexuality) to an ancient text that did not share those concepts.

  • AnonymousSam

    Etymology is one of the coolest hobbies on the planet. Not great to make a career off of, despite being a vital role in many different subjects, but hobby and career is where the line of coolness and “oh, huh, well I guess someone has to do it” lies. :p

  • DavidCheatham

    All of this to say: hanging the modern understanding of homosexuality on an ancient word which we don’t quite know what it means is not a good practice. Resting your argument on excluding LGBT people from full acceptance in humanity on a disputed word in a vice-list is a Bad Idea, and likely only demonstrates your own prejudices.**see: Testament of Levi, Didache, Epistle of Barnabas, others..

    Exactly. There’s some sort of specific behavior that 1 century Jews knew about, and condemned. We do not know what this is. And just _guessing_ that it’s homosexuality (Which already has another word) and basing some sort of giant moral argument on that is absurd.

    Although I must point out that no one then condemned adult ‘homosexuality’ at all. Or to put it another way: There were two roles during sex. There was the male’s role, which only a man could take, and a woman’s role, which a man or woman could take. 

    So taking the woman’s role lowered a man’s status to that of a woman, if you will. A man taking the man’s role with another man was just fine. (And sometimes _better_, thanks to the strange-to-us idea they had that having sex with woman would make them ‘soft’. The most manly man would not waste his time on frivolous women, but be able to conquer other men.)

    Heck, that’s even how good-ole Leviticus 20:13 talks about it, as roles. If a man lies with a  man as with he’s a woman, _both_ have done something wrong, and it’s phrased that way because there are _two_ roles, and two things that are wrong. There’s a guy in the wrong gender role, and a guy who’s having sex with him. They didn’t say ‘two guys who lie with each other’. (And this is why there’s no concept of lesbians either.) 

    We currently have an _entirely different_ conception of sex, where we can refer to men who have sex with men without trying to figure out which is the ‘man’ and which is the ‘woman’, and the same with women who have sex with women. In our universe, people have sex _with_ people, men do not have (To be crude) sex _into_ people.

    But a word from 1st century AD _cannot_ refer to this concept, as such a concept did not exist then. There were roles back then, and a word is very very unlikely to mean ‘either of the people in that role’. An argument can be made it means ‘A man who penetrates a man’ or ‘a man who allows himself to be penetrated’, but it cannot possibly refer to both. (And it almost certainly refers to neither. I’m of the opinion it refers to men who owned young boys for sex, and there’s a reason it’s right next to kidnappers.)

  • http://mostboringradical.tumblr.com/ Lori

    I don’t think the idea is that there weren’t any loving, mutual, just relationships between people of the same sex in Paul’s time.  However, given the structure of the society, there probably weren’t very many, because there was no room for them.  I suppose you could have managed something like that under the pretense of a close friendship, but even that would probably have been difficult, given the way the society was structured.

    And, absolutely heterosexual relationships were exploitative, but they wouldn’t, in general, have looked that way to the people at the time.  Jesus, for his part, did seem to highlight some of the ways in which heterosexual relationships were exploitative, as with divorce laws that favored the male.  

    But, the point is to see these things as they would have looked to Paul, a human being living in a specific time.  And, his knowledge of same-sex relationships probably would not have included the kind of loving, just, committed, monogamous partnerships that we know, today, are just as possible for same-sex couples as for straight ones.  It is very unlikely that the relationships Paul was condemning looked anything like, say, the gay couples who line up outside of courthouses to get married in places when same-sex marriages becomes legal.  Those are not the relationships Paul was thinking of, perhaps not even relationships he could conceive of.

  • http://twitter.com/merusdraconis Matt Cramp

    I don’t think this is a winning argument, honestly, for all that it’s probably accurate. I’d imagine it’s more successful to say that Paul didn’t know about homosexuals as people who are made a particular way. Then bring in Peter’s vision about not making unclean what God has made clean and possibly also point out that this line of Paul’s is going against Jesus’ teachings, so really what side are you on here.

  • ReverendRef

    It seems to me that if you want to reassert the authority of scripture,
    you’d be on surer footing by focusing on a different set of
    authoritative biblical rules from the biblical rulebook.

    I don’t know if any of you caught it, but this past Sunday, 9/9, there was a live simulcast event entitled iPledge Sunday that was hosted in fundagelical congregations around the country.  It was sponsored by the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, and speakers included our buddies Tony Perkins, Kirk Cameron and Rick Santorum.

    Being a clergy-type person, I was sent several e-mails calling for our parish participation.

    I didn’t go.

    But I did write a letter to the editor of the local paper calling them out on recent and past behavior.  The authority of scripture I appealed to was this:  As
    Christians we need to ask ourselves:  Am
    I more interested in following man made regulations of religious purity; or will
    I love my neighbor as myself, respecting the dignity of every human being? — with a little BCP thrown in for good measure.Feel free to read the whole thing over on my blog.  So far, I have not received any threatening phone calls or found graffiti on the church.  I have, however, received numerous words of encouragement from parishioners, one non-member, and one anonymous phone call saying, in essence, “Good job.”Appeals to the authority of scripture mean nothing if you can’t love your neighbor as yourself.

  • Tina

    There is nothing loving about affirming, condoning, encouraging or remaining silent about sinful behavior

  • AnonymousSam

    That depends entirely on what constitutes sinful behavior. If you want to start a list from the Bible, be sure and tell your significant other to stop shaving, because that’s a sin. So is wearing nylon and cotton at the same time. And eating fat. And touching kittens. And performing any form of physical labor on Sunday, which includes, but is not limited to: planting, plowing, reaping, gathering, threshing, winnowing, sorting, grinding, sifting, kneading, cooking, shearing, scouring, beating, dyeing, spinning, warping, making two loops, weaving, separating two threads, tying, untying, tearing, trapping, slaughtering, flaying, curing, smoothing, scoring, measured cutting, writing, erasing, building, demolition, extinguishing a fire, lighting a fire, applying a finishing touch or transferring between two domains.

  • JustoneK

    oh but you’re not reading it literally.  clearly.

  • Tina

    So you don’t understand the different Levitical laws, their purposes and which are no longer to be upheld and which are? I suggest a little more research and scholarship on your part so that you will be more informed.

  • AnonymousSam

    I understand that people very badly want to cherry pick at them in an effort to appeal to a questionable authority in a matter that really isn’t their business to judge according to the very tenets of the faith they claim gives them the authority to judge.

    “That which I have made clean…”

  • Tina

    Where does the bible say that homosexual behavior was made clean? Show us please or you are simply blowing smoke.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    Where does the bible say it’s OK to assosciate with a woman while she’s on her period? Show us please or you are simply blowing smoke.

  • Tina

    I will point you to more study of the Levitical laws. I would hope that you would spend some time in research so you don’t look foolish.

  • The_L1985

     Believe me, Tina, we’ve all spent a lot of time researching the Bible in general, and Leviticus in particular.

    The fact that other people interpret the Bible differently than you do does not, in and of itself, make either you or them wrong.

  • AnonymousSam

    Acts 10. “God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.” I see no reservations for specific sinful behavior. I also don’t see any specific instructions for many of the other laws of Leviticus to expire, and in fact, they were repeatedly upheld in the New Testament.

    “It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.”

    “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished.”

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.”

    And yet here we are, still able to pet wriggling kittens without being struck by lightning. Clearly the text is not as black and white as all that.

  • Tina

    SO I guess we agree that homosexual behavior was and still is sinful.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m saying you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either it’s sinful because the laws are all still binding as they are said to be forever and ever (and you’re no longer allowed to touch kittens), or the slate was wiped clean by God and it’s not a matter as simple as “the Bible says it’s wrong and therefore it’s wrong.”

    For that matter, where is the Bible’s prohibition feeding a woman poison to cause abortion and sterility if you suspect she’s committed adultery? The Jews had to amend their scriptures to remove that in the early first century CE, but it’s still in the Bible and supposedly should be adhered to until the end of time. Do you think this is a moral law? It’s rather in flagrant defiance of the “abortion is murder” position of the Catholic church, to say the least.

  • Tina

    This clearly shows that you have a very limited understanding of Levitical Law and Christ’s place in it. Seriously you should do some more study. I would think you would want to be fully informed. 

    And what cake? Is there some benefit I am missing to pointing to biblical truth thats obviously controversial today and gets jumped upon by those of certain beliefs?

  • The_L1985

     When on earth did he ever say that?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Homosexual behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum (unless they;re into that sort of thing). It happens between people who are homosexual.

    So if “homosexual behavior” is sinful, one of two things *must* be true:

    1. *being* homosexual is sinful — that is, iit is the person themself who is a sin rather than their action. In which case, it makes no sense to “hate the sin, love the sinner”, since the sinner *is* the sin.
    2. God means for homosexual people, though they are not in and of themselves sinful, to suffer a lifetime of never being able to have a sexual relationship with anyone (I say “with anyone” because surely it would also be sinful for them to have a loveless sexual relationship with someone they’re not sexually attracted to).

    If the first is true, then you’re a liar and a bigot. If the second is true, God is not good, or moral, or just, or worthy of my worship.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     

    Homosexual behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum (unless they’re into that sort of thing).

    I heard a filk about that at World Con, actually. Well, not so much “in a vacuum” as much as “at zero g in a ship travelling through vacuum,” but still.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Homosexual behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum (unless they;re into that sort of thing). It happens between people who are homosexual.
     
    Um. Point of clarification. Bisexuals exist. Hi. Also heteroflexibility and experimentation. (Also straight folk sexually assaulting folk of the same sex, but that’s a different issue entirely.)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I had thought of bisexuals, but since I said homosexual behavior and not same-sex behavior, I thought that neither bisexuals having same-sex relations or straight people acting against their predominant orientation would qualify.

  • Joshua

    homo- means same. Comes from the Greek. Funnily enough, to me at least, the Homo in 
    Homo sapiens comes from Latin and is a completely different word meaning man.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

     *nods*

    I’ve been studying Latin recently, and I really don’t envy teachers who have to teach Latin to teenage boys. Not only are all men “homo”s, but the word for “do” sounds disturbingly similar to “fuck it”.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yeah, my Greek friend said he had the hardest time behaving himself in high school biology when the word “gamete” was introduced.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Why? Do you say it “gay-meet”? In Canada, we say it as in “gah-meet” where the “ah” sound is like in “father”.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    No. It’s because gamete comes from the same root* as the Greek gamoto (transliterated), which means fuck. Not have intercourse with but fuck. It’s high on the list of swear words for Greek teens (and adults).

    He also had fun in geography when we were doing Asian waterways, because the Strait of Malacca translates (soundwise, anyway) to the Strait of Wanker.

    We (Australians) pronounce gamete with a short “a”, as in apple.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Huh. Wiktionary says ‘gamete’ comes from ‘gamos’, ‘marriage’. Related concepts, certainly, but not at all the same thing.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yeah, language is funny like that. All very sensible when a new word is coined, but drift means that centuries later Greek teenagers are saddled with gamete=fuck cell. Which is certainly memorable!

    Or possibly they’re not actually related at all but just sound like they are. Which still is funny.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, we do definitely say it with a decidedly short “a” as well. Obscure Greek swear is obscure to the average teenage Canadian, I’d say. Even this non-teemage non-biologist wasn’t aware of that.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The average Australian teen, too. As I said, my Greek friends found it hilarious. The rest of us had no clue.

    As an adult I’ve picked up a decent vocab of Greek greetings and swear words, courtesy of Greek friends and relatives–the latter being useful when you want to swear but it’s not really appropriate given the company.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I had thought of bisexuals, but since I said homosexual behavior and not same-sex behavior, I thought that neither bisexuals having same-sex relations or straight people acting against their predominant orientation would qualify.

    I think that’s a distinction without a difference.

  • The_L1985

     Where does it say that it wasn’t?

  • DavidCheatham

    @9bfc5e11690c7543d0049e75d72c119d:disqus You clearly are not a reader of this blog. Not even of the links in the blog post you are commenting on. It happened in Act 10.

    Acts 10:28 and [Peter] said to them, ‘You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.

    Yes, I’m sure in your universe Acts 10 is only about food…except that Peter then explained that dream as being about violating _other_ laws. Specifically, he applied it to the law about circumcision.

    More to the point, Galatians 3 is pretty explicit refutation of _all_ the Jewish law. All of the law. Every bit, not just the part about clean and unclean.

  • The_L1985

     From what I can gather, the Levitical laws that are no longer to be upheld are “things we just don’t want to worry about obeying,” and the Levitical law that are to be upheld are “prohibitions against things I either have no desire to do, or have no real difficulty avoiding.”

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

     transferring between two domains.

    No Internet on Sunday? I … I’m not sure I could handle that.

  • veejayem

    What could possibly be wrong with touching kittens? Do puddy-tats even get a mention in the Bible? Does this mean that Hell is full of playful, fluffy, purring kittens including that incredibly cute new breed with the folded-down ears? And if so, where do I find the stairs marked DOWN?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Neither is there anything loving about behaving badly towards those whose behavior we consider sinful.

    And there certainly is nothing loving about singling out some sinners for condemnation while turning a blind eye to other sinners.

    So at some point, we need to decide how important it is to be loving. Because if it’s important, then we eventually have to give that stuff up.

  • Tina

    I agree but to give up caring enough about someone to let them know their actions are damaging and sinful is giving up loving them. Of course it should always be done with gentleness and respect but needs to be done if we say we are loving.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Sure; absolutely. If I genuinely believe that your relationship with your husband is sinful and damages your soul, and I genuinely love you, I should tell you so, with gentleness and respect and support. And you should do the same for me.

    And if I genuinely believe that your relationship with your bank account damages you, and I genuinely love you, I should tell you so, with
    gentleness and respect and support. And you should do the same for me.

    And if I genuinely believe that your narrow-minded view of Christianity is sinful and damaging to your soul, and I genuinely love you I should tell you so, etc.

    All of this is speaking hypothetically, of course. Heck, for all I know, you don’t even have a husband.

  • Tina

    Well I am happy to hear those things from you in love.

    However can you show me scripturally where God condones and/or blesses homosexual behavior?  When you do that I will gladly admit that my scriptural view of Christianity is narrow minded. Until then it is your version that is unbiblical. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    That you can look at a vast text that discusses all of Creation and human experience and consider its attitude towards homosexual behavior your primary concern is fairly compelling evidence of narrowness of mind.

    But if you consider the unbiblical nature of my scriptural view of Christianity a reason not to admit that, that’s your privilege.

  • Tina

    It is not my primary concern. I was simply responding to the topic in the post.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    It is not my primary concern.

    I’m delighted to hear that. I’ll let you get on with responding to blog posts about other topics, then, which presumably takes up rather a lot of your time, given how much of your time you are devoting here to this narrow topic of secondary importance to you.

  • Tina

    It only becomes important when people lie and deceive others about this issue.  So if you want this issue to fade away stop lying to people by saying that homosexual behavior is not sinful. 

    And I post in many places about many different topics. I can do more than one thing!

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    So if you want this issue to fade away stop lying to people by saying that homosexual behavior is not sinful. 

    I don’t want the issue to fade away. I’m delighted that the issue is being discussed; I encourage the discussion. Homosexual behavior is not sinful, and when you insist that it is, you are mistaken, and the more serious that discussion becomes the clearer that conclusion is.

    I spend more time discussing the morality of homosexual behavior than I do the morality of usury, because it’s more important to me, in part because the mistaken belief that homosexual behavior is sinful and/or immoral is frequently used to justify suffering and I do not endorse suffering.

    That’s why defending the morality of homosexual behavior is more important to me than defending the morality of usury… I don’t see a lot of people suffering based on the mistaken belief that usury is sinful or immoral.

    If you spend more time discussing the immorality of homosexual behavior than you do the immorality of usury, I similarly conclude that the immorality of homosexual behavior is more important to you than the immorality of usury.

    But clearly that’s not because the immorality of homosexual behavior is biblical.  After all, the immorality of usury is also biblical, so if that were your reason, I’d expect the same behavior in both cases.

    There are other reasons, as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Appelget/100000185646776 Steven Appelget

    You are correct.  Actually listening is not your primary concern.  Your primary concern is to proclaim your righteousness.  Well, you have your reward.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Could you explain to me why what your god thinks matters? What makes you think that it’s perfectly okay to just force others to live by your beliefs? 

  • The_L1985

     How is having sex with another man damaging, exactly?

    I know it can cause physical damage to engage in certain forms of intercourse without artificial lubricants, but other than that, and STD’s (which condoms do a good job of preventing), I’m honestly at a loss.

  • Tina

    All sin is damaging not only to the individual but to all of Gods children and the kingdom of God.

  • AnonymousSam

    [citation needed]

  • The_L1985

     That isn’t an answer.  Give me a clear, obvious way in which Adam and Steve having a committed sexual relationship is either:

    – Directly physically harmful to themselves and/or others;
    – Directly emotionally harmful to themselves and/or others;
    – A direct cause of other people becoming gay who weren’t gay before.
    – A direct cause of people deciding that they hate Jesus.

    Because I’ve been told all of these things for years, and they all run counter to my direct experiences as a human being in a world where gay people exist.

  • Nathaniel

     Good. Then you’ll have no problem explaining exactly how and why two people of the having sex who happen to be same sex is damaging.

    I’ll even hold my breath for you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

    …and, of course, heterosexual people also engage in anal sex (what most people think of when discussing Certain Forms), and plenty of gays don’t.

    This, BTW, has my favorite summary of the bible and Jesus’s attitudes towards Teh Gay at ~1:40.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZmHC75FDqQ

  • EllieMurasaki

    I agree but to give up caring enough about someone to let them know their actions are damaging and sinful is giving up loving them. Of course it should always be done with gentleness and respect but needs to be done if we say we are loving.
     
    So my consensual sexual relationship with another adult woman, who’s that hurting, to what degree, and by what mechanism? And as you will probably never be within a hundred miles of me having sex with anybody, you can’t possibly be someone it hurts, so what business is it of yours? Also, make your case from a religiously-neutral position, as I’m an atheist, and my partner (being sadly a thought experiment and therefore whatever I say is true) is Wiccan, which (in case you didn’t know) means she holds all sex, provided all participants are consenting adults, to be sacred.

  • Fusina

     Okay, see, your comment is addressed. And I quote:
    Matthew 7 New King James Version (NKJV)

    7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    Still trying to teach this concept to my children. I am hopeful of succeeding some day.

  • Tina

    Yes we must recognize our own sin first and then if we love someone we should care enough about them to let them know as well about any unrepentant sinful behavior. 

    And I think you need to do more study on what biblical judgement means and does not mean. 

  • AnonymousSam

    If you love someone enough, you must also respect them enough to make their own decisions. If you don’t love someone, then you have no business opening your mouth to tell them what they should be doing with their lives. And if you love them and tell them that you fear for their soul and their response is to continue sinning, walk away; you have done all that you are entitled to do.

  • Tina

    Well I agree sort of. Yes people make their own choices in life and assume the responsibilities of the consequences of those choices. So yes at some point walking away is the right thing but only after you gave it your best shots. 

    As Christians we are called to love everyone.

  • Kiba

    Well I agree sort of. Yes people make their own choices in life and assume the responsibilities of the consequences of those choices. So yes at some point walking away is the right thing but only after you gave it your best shots. 
    As Christians we are called to love everyone.

    If the attitude you’ve shown here is what you consider love then I, for one, would be happy to do without it. Love? I see no love here. What I do see is you being a judgmental, holier-than-thou, condescending twit that thinks that other people should live their life according your particular belief system. 

  • Erista

     “Well
    I agree sort of. Yes people make their own choices in life
    and assume the responsibilities of the consequences of those choices. So
    yes at some point walking away is the right thing but only after you
    gave it your best shots.

    As Christians we are called to love everyone.”

    You know, when people say things like this, I’m always curious as to what they mean by “love.” Because at no point in my life have I said to someone I love that because they are gay, they are an abomination, or that they’re going to go to hell and deserve it, or that I think they shouldn’t be able to marry their partner because their marriage would demean “traditional” marriage, that they should be arrested and put in jail if they act on their sexual and romantic desires, will be kicked out of my house if I find out what they are, that they can’t be around my (hypothetical) children, are unfit parents, that the mere mention of their existence in schools should be prohibited, or any such thing.

    If a person is doing this kind of thing to another and yet still saying they still love that other, then what is love?

  • Baby_Raptor

    “As christians we are called to love everyone.”

    So you trash us, lie about us, throw away our rights and generally make our lives hell.

    Your christianity has a very sick definition of love. 

  • NoDoubtAboutIt

    I think you need to give me a reason to give a rat’s ass what the bible says about anything.

    Hint: try not to make it I better care or I’ll end up in hell, because that’s where I’d much rather be than anywhere near you.

  • Tina

    Good luck!

  • AnonaMiss

    Just out of curiosity Tina, did you actually read the blog post and the parts 1, 2, and 3 blog posts linked to by it? Because I only see you engaging with the commentariat, and all of your engagements have been adequately (imo) answered in the posts 1, 2, and 3 linked to by the above post.

    If you’d like to engage the question of usury, which is the essence of the argument, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

  • Tina

    I read the post but not the links though I agree that we should also follow the bible in regards to money. Usury is a sin but that’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about homosexual behavior being sinful as fully supported in the bible.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    I think the point is that unless you’re conversing with us on a computer in a public library while wearing your only pair of shoes, before donating all but the bare minimum to cover living expenses to charity, see Matthew 7:1-6.

  • Tina

    I would suggest you learn about what biblical judgement is and is not. Judgement is not never pointing out the truth of Gods Word. That’s hate.

    I am fully aware of my sins btw.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    Oh, your translation says “first be aware of the plank in your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”?

  • http://semperfiona.livejournal.com Semperfiona

     Which ones?

    In this very comment thread, I count pride (every post), judging people (which is God’s prerogative), false witness (you may not have *said* “you’re going to hell” to anyone but you certainly implied it by choosing to respond to NoDoubtAboutIt), failure to love your neighbors (people right here in this thread)…

  • Tina

    I don’t know which post you are responding to.

    Now I really have to go.

  • Carstonio

    The claim “I’m only trying to save you from hell” would sound far less disingenuous and far more sincere if the people making the claim would also condemn hell as an unjust punishment. Instead, they sound like children saying, “Oh, you are in so much trouble!”

  • AnonaMiss

    I highly recommend you read the links, as they are completely necessary to an understanding of the argument in favor of homosexuality.

    The links demonstrate  that without usury the needy will receive much less aid than by harnessing it, because of progress & refinement in economic theory since Biblical times. Which presents the dilemma: commit the “fully biblically supported” sin of usury, or allow the needy to go without that help?

    This is not an analogy to homosexuality, by the way. The real argument is much more complex and I strongly suggest you read the links.

  • Tina

    Well I might read them but I will say this. Jesus tells us to care for the poor and needy so that’s what I do. The bible tells us what marriage and sexuality is, Jesus affirms it, so that’s what I believe.

    It seems that the only way to make any case that homosexual behavior is not sinful is to either ignore, change, obfuscate, introduce red herrings and straw men or perform theological gymnastics that accomplishes one or all of the above.

  • AnonaMiss

    That’s exactly the point! Jesus tells us to care for the poor and needy, but caring for the poor and needy effectively requires committing the sin of usury. We are faced with the choice between upholding the letter of the law, and the spirit of it. I am very glad that you allied yourself with Jesus over the Pharisees on this issue; it shows that you have compassion.

    The troubling part is that you seem to have some odd ideas of what Jesus actually said. Would you mind pointing us to the red-letter text where Jesus affirms what marriage and sexuality are? Jesus, specifically.
    Which isn’t to tell you you’re wrong about your interpretation. I’m not trying to “gotcha” you, saying “ha, you were wrong about who said what in the Bible, therefore your entire understanding is wrong!”

    What I want you to consider is, who told you that Jesus said anything about marriage and sexuality? And, after you are unable to find any red-letter text on the subject to back up their claim, you may want to reconsider allowing them to dictate your interpretive lens on the text.

  • Tina

    I believe that the entire Christian bible is the inspired Word of God and I would never elevate myself above God by picking and choosing. Red letters are just as important and the black ones. 

    But Jesus clearly affirm heterosexual marriage in his answer about divorce. Jesus had a wonderful opportunity to redefine marriage but He did not. He affirmed Genesis. 

    I will check back later to respond to any responses. 

  • Fusina

    Tina: “I believe that the entire Christian bible is the inspired Word of God
    and I would never elevate myself above God by picking and choosing. Red
    letters are just as important and the black ones.”

    I feel that I must tell you, in love of course, that you are being awfully judgmental, and of course you are aware that the inspired word of god says that we are not to judge, yes? Of course, you must be, I just quoted it to you.  Um. So you are picking and choosing, which you just declared to be totally not cricket and all that.

  • AnonymousSam

    You really don’t want to use the “well, the Bible doesn’t say it’s not a sin” negative argument. In the absence of laws against it and plenty of material upholding it, one would have to conclude that the Bible really doesn’t prohibit slavery at all. I hope we can agree that that’s a grievous omission, and if that was omitted, what else was?

  • AnonaMiss

    I believe that the entire Christian bible is the inspired Word of God and I would never elevate myself above God by picking and choosing. Red letters are just as important and the black ones.

    Which is why I brought up usury. You implied earlier – or perhaps I misread you – that because Jesus said to serve the needy, usury in the service of the needy is OK. But usury is clearly denoted a sin throughout the bible, much more often then homosexuality.

    Reconciling the sin of usury with the fact that usury is helpful in serving the needy is the subject of the first of the 3 posts linked at the bottom of this article. Do you follow the red-letter text which tells you to serve the poor? Or do you follow the black-letter text – honestly there may be some red-letter text on the matter too, I don’t recall – which tells you that usury is a sin?

    There is no way to reconcile the two that I’m aware of – besides the route taken by our beloved Huck Finn.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    “But Jesus clearly affirm heterosexual marriage in his answer about
    divorce. Jesus had a wonderful opportunity to redefine marriage but He
    did not. He affirmed Genesis.”

    He answered the question given to him. What you’re trying to do with this verse is something like this:

    Pharisees: “Jesus, the law says that this is the proper way to peel oranges. What do you say?”
    Jesus: “The law says peel them like so.”
    Pharisees: “Then why did Moses say we could throw the peels away?”
    Jesus: “You shouldn’t do that.”

    2000 years later

    Oranges-Are-The-Only-Biblical-Fruit-Person: “OMG! You can’t eat apples!! Remember how Jesus explained how to peel oranges? Did he say anything about apples?? No! He had a wonderful opportunity to talk about other kinds of fruit but he didn’t. How dare you assume God thinks it’s okay to eat an apple when Jesus clearly meant for people to only eat oranges!”

    Jesus was answering a very specific question about men who divorce women, and under what circumstances is that okay. The Pharisees weren’t asking him to define marriage or sexuality, so why should we take his answer here to be the only valid explanation of both marriage and sexuality?

  • Carstonio

    The bit about the oranges reminds me of the Gourdites and the Shoeites in Life of Brian.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Thanks, Amaranth. I’ve been in a conversation on another site for weeks now, trying to figure out how to say exactly that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Jesus was answering a very specific question about men who divorce women, and under what circumstances is that okay. The Pharisees weren’t asking him to define marriage or sexuality, so why should we take his answer here to be the only valid explanation of both marriage and sexuality?
     
    Especially since either (1) Jesus was unaware of the concepts of ‘domestic violence’ and ‘marital rape’, in which case he’s too ignorant to be discoursing on marriage, (2) Jesus knew of at least one of them but still didn’t think divorce should be allowable, in which case he’s too misogynistic to be discoursing on marriage, or (3) a marriage made on earth isn’t necessarily a marriage made in heaven, thus allowing domestic violence victims an out if they can get somebody to agree that their earth marriage isn’t a heaven marriage and should therefore be dissolved. That last isn’t good enough, but it’s not abhorrent like forbidding all divorce is.

  • DavidCheatham

    It seems that the only way to make any case that homosexual behavior is not sinful is to either ignore, change, obfuscate, introduce red herrings and straw men or perform theological gymnastics that accomplishes one or all of the above.

    And the part where you’re still following Jewish law despite Galatians 3-5 very clearly saying it doesn’t apply to Christians? What sort of theological gymnastics does that require? (And what sort of theological gymnastics does it require applying Jewish law to _Gentiles_ in the first place? It’s never applied to non-Jews!)

  • ako

     I always find it fun when people are all “God says don’t be queer!” and I’m all “I’m an atheist.  I don’t believe in your god or any others.”
    They tend to flail incoherently, and either give up completely or end with a gloating little “Have fun in HELL!”  that shows what a lie their claim to be acting out of love is.  (Kind of like Tina did.)

  • Tina

    I never said that.  Is your position so weak you have to make something up?

  • ako

     What was your reply to NoDoubtAboutIt meant to be, if it wasn’t a snotty little effort to wish him good luck in hell, after he said he’d rather be there than near you?

  • Tina

    I was simply wishing him the luck that he will need if he chooses to live apart from God. I never mentioned hell.

  • ako

     Ah.  I misread you, then.  From the amount of energy you’re devoting to arguing in favor of using the Bible to metaphorically clobber gay people, I took you for the kind of person who really likes to use your religion against others.

  • Tina

    Once again I am clobbering no one. I am simply responding to the fallacious claims that the bible says homosexual behavior is any form is ok.  

  • ako

     Wow, you really misunderstood the point here.  You should try actually reading Fred’s posts.  He’s a pretty smart guy with some interesting ideas.

  • Tina

    Well I have read Fred quite a bit and yes he is an interesting guy. Mostly wrong but certainly interesting.

  • Tina

    Gotta run now. More primary concerns call.

  • The_L1985

     This means she doesn’t have an answer, y’all.  I’ve seen this tactic before.

  • ako

    So even though you read the post where explicitly acknowledged the existence of the clobber verses, you’re still arguing against a straw-man version of him that’s denying the existence of any parts of the Bible that condemns homosexuality?  

  • The_L1985

     You’re right, the bible never says that homosexual behavior is ok.

    However, it also never makes it clear that all homosexual behavior is sinful.  That’s something you have yet to sell us on, and the more we study the bible, the less clear it gets.

  • Tina

    You cannot split hairs. There were loving monogamous homosexual couples back then too (there is evidence of gay marriage at the time)and so it would have been easy to make that distinction.

  • Tricksterson

    Evidence of gay marriage?  Where?  Specific evidence please.

    And I thought you said you had to run?  Please, go, don’t stay on our account, believe me.

  • Fusina

     And here I was thinking, “Oh goody! another chance to exercise our brains in futile argument.”   ;-)

  • The_L1985

     There is evidence of gay marriage?  In ancient Greece and Rome?

    That’s news to me, and I’ve absorbed as much information as I could about ancient Greece and Rome, because they’re part of my Italian heritage.  While I’ve seen ample evidence of bisexuality among married men (married to WOMEN, by the way), I’ve seen no evidence of men marrying other men, even if they were in a committed romantic/sexual relationship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Appelget/100000185646776 Steven Appelget

    “Thank God I am not like that tax collector over there!”

  • The_L1985

     Direct quotes:  “I’d rather be in hell than anywhere near people like that.”

    And you said:  “Good luck with that.”

    Is it wrong that we interpret that “Good luck” as referring to the whole fire-and-brimstone thing?

  • Tina

    You may interpret it as you wish. I was simply responding to being attacked by someone who seems to be clueless. So that poster will need a lot of luck in life.

  • NoDoubtAboutIt

    Oh, Tina, princess, doll, I’m not clueless.  I was raised by and among ignorant christian filth just like you.  I’ve heard the crap you spew all my life.  Fortunately, I now live on the other side of the country from those particular jesus nazis, but it’s always amusing to come across another specimen on line and watch it squirm.

    Do give my best to your very chaste mother.

  • Isabel C.

    Yeah, this.

    My standard here: if your god condemns actions between consenting adults, then there’s no qualitative difference between your god and Cthulhu. Except even the Cthulhu cultists aren’t delusional enough to pretend their god is good and loving. 

  • Fusina

     No, actually I don’t. I have been judged by way nastier people that you have probably even met. You, however, might want to look up some of the verses on how to love. Cause honey, You haven’t a clue.

    Here, I’ll start you out with my favorite one…

    1 Corinthians 13
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of
    prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I
    have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I
    am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

  • Tina

    There is nothing loving about affirming, condoning, encouraging or remaining silent about sinful behavior.

  • Jenny Islander

    I’ve seen people who actively deny, condemn, discourage, and speak out against homosexuality.   They may say that they speak from love, but they want to deny people in the hospital the ability to receive visits from their most trusted loved ones.  (Google: marriage equality  hospital visiting.)  They may say that they speak from love, but one of them recently advocated kidnapping children whose parents happen to be of the same gender.  (Google: Bryan Fischer.)  They may say that they speak from love, but one of them recently advocated beating a small boy if he failed to perform masculinity to his parents’ standards.  (Google: Sean Harris.)  They may say that they speak from love, but they drive children to suicide.  (Google: gay teenager suicide.) 

    The effort to purify the stain of homosexuality from American culture appears to require the destruction of a great many lives.

    I would rather be impure and merciful myself.

  • Carstonio

    To add to your excellent point, with the issue of legal marriage for gay couples, anything about homosexuality in any religion’s holy book is irrelevant.

  • The_L1985

     Say, wasn’t there a bible verse about how good trees don’t bear bad fruit?  What does that say about the “tree” of homophobia? ;)

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    I guess that depends on whether or not you believe in sin.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    There is nothing loving about affirming, condoning, encouraging or remaining silent about sinful behavior.

    Tina – why? Specifically: what precisely is unloving about keeping your mouth shut about sinful behaviour?

    I agree that it could be unloving to let people believe something to be unsinful when it is sinful – but if they’re already aware that it is sinful, why is it unloving to not tell them again?

    If gay people are already aware – and I assure you they ARE aware – that many Christians believe homosexuality to be sinful, why do you think you need to tell them again in order to love them? Why? What will it do?

  • EllieMurasaki

    If gay people are already aware – and I assure you they ARE aware – that many Christians believe homosexuality to be sinful, why do you think you need to tell them again in order to love them? Why? What will it do?
     
    There’s been studies done to the effect of a statement is more likely to be believed the more often one’s heard it. This happens regardless of the truth of the statement itself. Apparently our monkeybrains think people don’t repeat falsehoods. Therefore, repeat often enough that gay sex is bad and people will come to believe it even though it’s blatantly false.
     
    (See also, political advertising.)

  • Jenny Islander

    (Explaining this for Tina and her ilk who have a really, really warped idea of love.  I blame Ezzo, Pearl, Dobson, and Tripp, personally.)  Of course, the problem is that “Gay is bad, bad, bad” runs into the indisputable truth, “I am gay, gay, gay.”  The logical conclusion is, “I am bad, bad, bad.”  Hence reckless sexual behavior (if I am scum just for existing then why not do stupid things with strangers in bathrooms because it’s not as though my safety matters to anyone) and depression (my deepest desires are wrong, I am wrong with every breath I take, no point in getting out of bed) and suicide (the world is better off without horrible me). 

  • Fusina

     One other thing, and I am done with this. I am only responsible for what I do. I am not now, nor have I ever been responsible for anything anyone else does.

    So, I don’t have to worry about their behavior. Just mine. And that is freedom I would love everyone to know.

    Things I am responsible for:

    If I see someone who is hungry, or thirsty, or who needs clothes, or a place to stay, or is lonely, or is sick, I am to help out where I can. We are responsible for the physical needs. God will take care of the other. And if you don’t trust God to do a good enough job with people, whom he adores, mind, I believe the verse that goes into that is the famous John 3:16.

    Oh, and I shouldn’t kill people.

    This is my personal philosophy. And I am done here.

  • The_L1985

     You’re absolutely right.  ReverendRef, why didn’t you condemn iPledge from the pulpit?

  • ReverendRef

    ReverendRef, why didn’t you condemn iPledge from the pulpit?

    Actually . . . I did — http://stlukesgrantspass.org/Sermon%20Sept2%202012.pdf

     I just happened to do it a week before the thing. 

    This past Sunday I was busy preaching about God going to the dogs.

  • The_L1985

     This is beautiful.  I can’t stand when people preach politics in church, but this is one of those cases where you can’t explain what’s morally wrong without mentioning political actions of others.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Why would God go to the dogs? I thought all dogs went to Heaven anyway. 

  • ReverendRef

     Why would God go to the dogs? I thought all dogs went to Heaven anyway.

    It was a reversal of what the saying normally implies and it was a sermon on Jesus’ confrontation with the Syrophoenician woman and her comments about even the dogs under the table receive scraps from the children.

  • AnonymousSam

    Even the lowliest of sinners get their share of grace under the table, eh?

  • The_L1985

     :D nice one!

  • Ross Thompson

    Why would God go to the dogs? I thought all dogs went to Heaven anyway.

    Not according to the Bible:

    Blessed are they that
    do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and
    may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

    –Rev 22:14-15It’s silent on the destination for the immortal souls of cats, though.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I think cats get no joy based on the first commandment, being themselves objects of worship. 

  • http://www.crochetgeek.net/ Jake

    “‘It proves our point,” Curran said. “Whoremongers and murderers and the rest—they all have souls, don’t they? They only have to repent, and it’s the same with dogs. The dogs who come to our church have repented. They don’t consort any more with whoremongers and sorcerers. They live with respectable people in Brunswick Square or Royal Crescent.”

    -Graham Greene, Travels With My Aunt

  • Tricksterson

    Frankly he’d probably be better off with the dogs than with most people.

  • ReverendRef

     Frankly he’d probably be better off with the dogs than with most people.

    Maybe that’s why all dogs go to heaven.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, actually, there is. It’s called respect. Respect for the law. Respect for peoples’ rights. Respect for yourself.

    You wouldn’t want some other religion coming over here and trying to legislate things you don’t consider sins but they do, would you? No, you’d scream about your freedom and your rights. 

    So why should you get to stomp all over ours? Loving your neighbor as yourself means doing to them as you’d want done to you. And you would be lying if you claimed you were perfectly okay with other groups trying to legislate your life. 

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Feel free to read the whole thing over on my blog.

    Would if I knew where your blog was, Ref…

  • ReverendRef

     Hmmm . . .  just assumed people would google Reverend Ref.

    But no matter — http://reverendref.blogspot.com/

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hmmm . . .  just assumed people would google Reverend Ref.

    But no matter — http://reverendref.blogspot.co

    Ooh, *adds to blogroll*

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I like to think of James 5.

    Jas.5
    [1] Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
    [2] Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
    [3] Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.

  • ReverendRef

     Most of James is good for pointing out the errors of the rich and righteous.

    From this past Sunday’s lectionary selection:

    Is it not the rich who oppress you?  Is it not they who drag you into court?  Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you.  You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the laws as transgressors.

    Which I found extremely appropriate on the day of the event I mentioned earlier.

  • Moleary93

    Since gold and silver do not actually rust or deteriorate like iron, I wonder what else the Bible gets wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    I, for one, would love to read some of your Christian hate-mail.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I have a question!

    These people who are totally confused by and terrified of sexuality — what do they make of the Song of Songs?

  • redsixwing

     Usually, a totally not-sexy-at-all love letter from God to the Church, using the metaphor of a human marriage between One Man And One Woman, wherein all the fun is saved for after the painful long searching and waiting is over.

    … I don’t generally read it that way, myself, but it’s a pretty common interpretation.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I question if anyone who thinks the Song of Songs could possibly be about that has actually read the thing. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    THERE IS NO SEX IN THE BIBLE. YES OF COURSE I’VE READ SONG OF SONGS THERE IS STILL NO SEX IN THE BIBLE. EXCEPT WHEN DETAILING WHAT SEX IS FORBIDDEN.

    …what is this ‘figurative language’ thing? Lot/daughters? you LIAR.

  • Carstonio

     There’s not supposed to be sex in the Bible. Song of Songs is almost like someone played a joke on the ancient scribes and stuck a 7th century BCE equivalent of the Penthouse Letters column in the copying stack. “Dear Absalom, I never thought this would happen to me…” Sex is supposed to be shameful and sordid, not beautiful and lyrical. If you don’t feel dirty afterward, you’re doing it wrong. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    ….Right ;) 

  • PJ Evans

     I was quite amused by the introductory text in the Jerusalem Bible, explaining how it’s an allegory of a purely spiritual relationship, yadda yadda.

  • SisterCoyote

    One of my favorite lasting memories of Fundagelical (thanks, Rev. Ref, I think that’s my favorite word for it – RTC doesn’t work outside of this general area) Baptist church was the time I asked my dad, at about nine, what was meant by one of the verses in the Song of Songs, something about locking a sister’s door, I think? And he went “…well, Pastor X is over there, why don’t we ask him?”

    Poor guy. He stammered about church metaphors for about five minutes, and I pretended to understand, and I still wonder how my dad kept a straight face the whole time.

  • The_L1985

     Oh, that’s totally symbolic!  It’s about the relationship between Christ and the Church, donchaknow.

  • banancat

    I suspect that one of the reasons KJV-only is such a big thing is that the old-fashioned language makes it easier to pretend those poems aren’t actually about sex. Some people are also just really bad at understanding euphemism and metaphor.

  • TheFaithfulStone

    Well, I got this reply from “wintermute” (weirrrrd) on long dead thread today about clever-dick legalism and then I read this post and how we’re all supposed to love our neighbors.

    Seems like some people are taking the text of the Great Commandment as an instruction to establish a really, really, strict and exclusive homeowners associations.

    Or to quote from somebody unknown “Love thy neighbor as thyself is not a command to move to a gated community.”

  • Jenny Islander

    Of course, Sodom still gets dragged into the mess, despite what God Himself says through the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16: 49-50):  Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.   And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw [good]. 
    The NIV translates the first accusations bluntly as “arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned.”  “Abomination,” as far as I can tell by comparing translations, means simply that: something God abominates, something God detests.  Not anal sex.

    Seething outbursts against those who trample upon the poor, spit on justice, and pride themselves on their wealth and righteousness are all over the prophetic books, but of course only a few verses that might be read to mean either (1) God’s gonna get you on this specific date cuz you wouldn’t join our church, haw haw or (2) God’s gonna get you for having sex without my approval , haw haw ever get preached in good God-fearing family values churches.

  • Amy

    *sighs*  Yeah.  My mother left my biological father when I was eight, because he was an alcoholic and kind of abusive and she had two kids and there way no way she could stay in that situation any longer.  

    Our church VERY LOVINGLY informed her that she was a sinner.  I had youth pastors who explained to my nine-year-old self that yes indeed, divorce was a sin that you went to hell for unless you were truly sorry.  

    (even at nine, I was not terribly *sorry* that they’d divorced, and I knew that my mom wasn’t at all sorry.)  

    Which is all a longhand way of saying: PROTIP, lady: if you are loving someone, and that person seems to be in physical pain or emotional distress or suddenly AFRAID OF YOU, you are in fact loving someone wrong.  

    *HAHAHA.  Of course victim blaming/shaming in the name of love is never kind, because it cannot be.  They certainly thought they were very Godly people, though, which I guess was the important part.  

  • ReverendRef

    Something like that, yes.

  • Erista

    I posted most of this (I changed some wording and added some) in another thread, but I’m going to post it again here:

    I have to admit that I’m always baffled that people seem to take every
    word that Paul wrote as the Word of God. Paul was a man, and even if you
    believe he had some kind of special connection to God, he would still
    just be a man, prone to mistakes, misunderstandings,
    misinterpretations,  bias, overreaching, and all the other wonderful
    human frailties. Unless Paul said, “And God said to me—” then why is
    anyone taking it as more than the personal beliefs of one man? If there
    is one thing that the bible has proven, it is that divinely inspired men
    can do truly stupid thing (Noah’s first act after stepping of the ark?
    Get raging drunk. Lot, the one righteous man in  Sodom and Gomorrah? Had
    sex with his daughters. King Solomon?  700 wives and 300 concubines.),
    but few take those stupid acts and insist that we should follow them.
    And yet, for some reason that I do not understand, believing that Paul
    could have made an error is beyond what most will accept. Many Christians act as if Paul’s words actually had more weight than Jesus’s
    did, given the number of times that people quote each respectively; I almost never hear “love your enemy” unless it’s in a joke, but I hear Paul’s anti-gay Romans 1:26-27 all the freaking time.

    Can someone please explain this to me? Because I don’t understand. Even if one believes in the inerrancy of the Bible (which seems difficult to pull off in my mind), the Bible clearly shows that the people in the Bible are not inerrant. Why would Paul be any different?

  • LL

    RE  And yet none of the Christians so scrupulously concerned with those six verses are the slightest bit concerned with my behavior in this regard. Most of them can’t be, because they’re violating all of those clear commands too. When the subject is “homosexuality,” and I say “the Bible is not a rulebook,” they are horrified and appalled. When the subject is money, they say “Hey, relax, the Bible is not a rulebook.”

    This. I mean, if someone wants to live their life by a “rule book” written by ignorant men thousands of years ago, fine. I think it’s silly, but I guess I admire their commitment. Until I notice that they’re not really committed because they pick and choose the stuff to be committed about and ignore the stuff that’s inconvenient or insignificant to them. That’s the thing about a rule book. You either “live” by all of it or none of it. Cause that’s kinda the point of a rule book. Here are the rules. Either they all apply,  or there’s really no point in insisting that any of them apply. 

    It’s not just Christians who do this, of course. They just seem to be (along with politicians) the ones who are the most hypocritical (in this country) about it. 

  • stly92

    Tina said. “However can you show me scripturally where God condones
    and/or blesses homosexual behavior?  When you do that I
    will gladly admit that my scriptural view of Christianity
    is narrow minded. Until then it is your version that is unbiblical. ”

    I can.

    Galations 3:28  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    If this is true, this has profound implications. Total egalitarianism, no more patriarchy, No longer “men are head of the house,” No longer any differentiation because of sex at all. If it’s true, then in Christ homosexuality isn’t even really a thing. if there is no male or female, then how can their be sexual laws about who you can and can’t have sex with.

    There Tina, I did it. Any and all differentiation based on sex, up to and including homosexuality, wiped away from the Bible, by the Bible itself.

    Now, make it go away.

    Find some way I’m taking this out of context, or that it doesn’t really mean what it says, or anything that you can come up with for why your Bible verse matters more than my Bible verse. Cause that’s all it comes down too. Bible vs Bible.

  • swbarnes2

    If this is true, this has profound implications. Total egalitarianism, no more patriarchy, No longer “men are head of the house,” No longer any differentiation because of sex at all.

    Great idea, but aren’t you supposed to read that in the context of an author who also wrote:

    I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet women shall be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with modesty.

    The person who wrote the above did not believe in anything like equality between genders.  So isn’t it unfair to claim that that person wrote something that’s really in favor of radical equality?  Or am I using context wrong, because I’m not concluding that a 1st century  Near-Eastern text affirms 21st century Western liberal values?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Great idea, but aren’t you supposed to read that in the context of an author who also wrote:

    Or… a guy who said he was the guy who wrote that other bit.

    Different letters. And some authorship is disputed.

  • stly92

     See there, someone stepped up and made what I said go away. They countered with another verse from Paul, which is apparrently a more important one, what paul actually meant to say, than the verse I quoted. Obviously, the verse you quoted says what it means and means what it says, no further research required, whereas the verse I quoted has to be considered carefully and in context, and well, doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means. Good Job! We can all safely ignore Galations 3:28 now, right? That is what you’re trying say. Or the effect of what you’re trying to say.

    I say this: if the verse I quoted isn’t about Radical equality in Christ, what the Hell is it about?

  • swbarnes2

    We can all safely ignore Galations 3:28 now, right?

    Yes!  Absolutely!  Do that!  We can ignore all of it, because the text is ridiculous!   

    Basically, the more you argue in this vein, the more you support Tina’s argument that the Bible leads one to correct moral decisions.  You just disagree on how to do that; she thinks you don’t need a PhD in Near Eastern literature and culture to get the right answer, you think she does, or at least needs to consult heavily with people who do.

    You don’t have to amplify Tina’s premise.  You can assert that human empathy, and fairness and reason are sufficient to define good morals, and then you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to make a 2000-4000 year old text mean something that you find morally palatable.

  • AnonymousSam

    Something morally palatable like “human empathy, fairness and reason are sufficient to define good morals”? Because, ironically, you’re arguing against taking the same interpretation as what you assert as being sufficient, and that seems like an unworthy battle. :p

  • swbarnes2

    Because, ironically, you’re arguing against taking the same interpretation as what you assert as being sufficient, and that seems like an unworthy battle. :p

    You completely misunderstand, and you demonstrate my point.  You are so caught up in justifying your beliefs with appeals to what a 2000 year old Near Eastern guy really meant in the context of his deeply morally flawed 2000 year old society that you didn’t even catch that I was completely rejecting that premise entirely. 

    Let me try this another way.  “The reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate…. the time has come to find a way of thinking about ethics beyond religion altogether”.  First step…stop arguing as if Paul’s Platonic opinion, unsullied by the awfulness of his culture, is relevent, just because he’s in a religious text.  The text says that women should be silent, and slaves should obey their masters.  Just let Tina have it.  You have fairness and empathy and reason on your side.  Use them!  Make them the standard to which you refer, the standard to which you demand others adhere.  Not a 2000 year old religious text.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah but then they go ‘I reject your reality and substitute my own’. If they’re going to side with their book over fairness, reason, and empathy, then the approach to take might be to show them how their book sides with fairness, reason, and empathy.

  • Tricksterson

    Still won’t work.  You think they only need to be shown the way to fairness, reason and empathy.  They’ve already seen all these things and actively rejected them.  Nuke them from orbit.  It’s the only way to be sure.

  • AnonymousSam

    Quick question: How can I be caught up in attempting to justify beliefs that I don’t possess? I’m not Christian.

  • The_L1985

     You’re forgetting the part where this is a Christian blog.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    the more you support Tina’s argument that the Bible leads one to correct moral decisions.  You just disagree on how to do that

    That’s pretty much where I’m coming from, yeah.

  • Matri

    Come on, everyone. Lay off of Tina. If she wants to continue insisting that her god is petty and small-minded instead of benevolent and all-loving, who are we to say otherwise?

  • Amy

    It only becomes important when people lie and deceive others about this issue.  So if you want this issue to fade away stop lying to people by saying that homosexual behavior is not sinful.

    There is nothing loving about affirming, condoning, encouraging or remaining silent about sinful behavior. 

    Tina: maybe you missed me?  Hi!  I know, I’m late, and maybe you’re gone forever, but on the offchance: I’m directly engaging you on the statement “telling people that they’re sinning is love, shutting up occasionally is hate.”  

    If it’s loving to tell gay people that they’re sinning, is it also loving to tell a woman and her children that divorcing a not-terrible-safe man is a sin?  

    If so, why?  

    If these two approaches to “rebuking sin” are morally different in some way, please explain.  

    I also mentioned that if you are attempting to “love” someone, and you are in fact making that person angry, hurt, or afraid, how do you know that this is love?  What gives you the moral authority to define the interaction as loving, when the other person in the interaction would define it as hateful, icky, unwanted, etc?    
      
    I mean, I have so many FEELINGS about this stupid evangelical-tactic-thing, you guys, I’m sorry, but to boil it down AGAIN, it’s like: 

    “OH MAN BEIN’ GAY IS WRONG?  I have been DECEIVED! THANK GOD YOU TOLD ME, Random Bus-Stranger/Coworker I See Every Couple of Days or So!  I’m texting my boyfriend to tell him that we are officially over and he is going to hell RIGHT NOW!” said absolutely no gay person, ever.  

    Tina: when you love people like this, what is the Absolute Best Outcome that could really happen in the real world?  What’s your endgame?  

    (Keeping in mind that in basketball, for example, the Absolute Best Outcome is that everybody has a really great time and nobody gets hurt and my team wins, right?  but I DON’T get to say that in basketball, the Absolute Best Outcome is that I go to a court and someone’s left a briefcase full of money under the bleachers, and I get to keep it without feeling morally sketchy about it for Some Reason, because then I’m not actually talking about basketball anymore.)  

  • Rowen

    AHH I missed out on all the Tina fun!! Which. . being a gay man, that could be taken in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT manner. I wanted to plug one of the first articles I wrote for this webzine dealing with the clobber verses after I got sick of writing out the same screed over and over again. The talk about arsenekotoai comes into play, but there’s more!!!

    http://crasstalk.com/2011/07/what-does-the-bible-say-about-homosexuality/

  • olsonam

    I’ve got one for Tina or someone else who might want to try.  Jesus never said that men couldn’t have more than one wife and He also never said that slavery was bad.  Same with Paul. So why not support both of those? We now take a very un-biblical approach to slavery and marriage.  Why can’t we do the same with homosexuality, especially since we know more about biology, such as that homosexuality isn’t a choice?

  • Beau Quilter

    I suppose it’s nice when Christians try to be nice . . . whatever the motivation.

    But the real problem is that Christians try in any way to assess my morality based on the scribblings of people who lived 2000 years ago with 2000-year-old prejudice and ignorance.

    Let ancient folly lie buried in the dust where it belongs. Look at me, instead. I’m alive; and I’m standing right next to you.

  • http://www.crochetgeek.net/ Jake

    I’m a bit troubled by the bold assertion that the Bible is not a rulebook, and that reading it that way is aberrant. It’s true that a reasonable Christian interpretation involves disregarding the legalism as any sort of binding rule, but Jewish orthodoxy has always been to interpret the Torah as the most important part of the Bible, and the Torah as an explicit legal code. There are bits they can’t make work  together well which the Sages kludged together in the Talmud (not unlike judiciaries have had to interpret other legal codes), and other parts which have aged poorly with reference to the modern world, but the assertion that using the Biblical text as a rulebook is untenable is rather insulting to this tradition.

    And, yes, I know, you’re talking about the Christian viewpoint of the texts they regard as canonical and their respective importances, but they’re not the only ones who get to say how the text is used.

    (For the record, I’m a lapsed, reform Jew, so don’t ask me if I support this tradition, or how I reconcile element X of the tradition with element Y of the real world, or suchlike. The answers are “No” and “I don’t know” respectively, and I’m not out specifically to defend this legalistic interpretation, but it does in fact exist and has been hacked over centuries into a self-consistent form)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     For my own part, I’m a lapsed Orthodox Jew, and one of the reasons I’m lapsed is because I found the idea of using this text as a rulebook untenable.

    I mean, I’m as fond of pilpul regarding how big an eyruv gets to be as the next guy — more so, typically; I still remember a long discussion with a rabbi in my youth of whether a wire strung in orbit would properly demarcate the entire planet as a single community, and if so whether the wire itself is even necessary… doesn’t the gulf of interplanetary space serve that function perfectly adequately? What’s wrong with seeing all of humanity as my neighbors, if only symbolically? And where is any of this stuff about not carrying items beyond an eyruv in the text to begin with, anyway?

    The rev was supportive of my thinking about this stuff, for which I give him credit, but ultimately his answer was “There are things we do as Jews, and things we do not do, and we get to define which those are, because we’re Jews.” (Not in those words.) And ultimately my response was “There are things I do, and things I do not do, and you don’t get to define which those are. If that means I’m not a Jew anymore, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.”

    But none of this has to do with how we approach the text, really. It has to do with how we approach being in community.

  • Erista

    EllieMurasaki
    I think that’s also partially a subconscious desire to fit in with one’s in-group; if everyone but you believe something, they might hurt you, kill you or kick you out (which was often the same as killing you).
    Lori
    As you said/alluded to, something that complicates the issue is that many things that we would identify as “homosexual” would not have been identified as such in other times and places. I remember reading a letter (I don’t know what letter, although I could look if someone really wanted me to; I might have to look for one of my old textbooks) from one man (a bishop, I think) to another man (another bishop, I think). The second bishop had moved away from where both the first bishop and the second bishop had lived (something to do with church advancement or duties, I think), and the first bishop was very unhappy about this. He wrote what we today would think is a love letter, as the letter had all kinds of things about the second being half of the first bishops being. But back then, no one leaped on either of them to toss them out of the church or throw then in jail for being homosexuality; it’s simply that back then a greater intensity of emotions between friends was allowed than we allow now. In fact, one of my professors who was from South Korea told everyone in one of my classes that in South Korea, it was expected that the bond between friends be stronger than the bond between spouses; if one had to choose between one’s friend and one’s spouse, it was expected that you would choose the friend (my professor also told us that he deviated from this because he wanted a spouse he could view as this kind of a friend, and he counted himself as very lucky to have found such a spouse ). Or, to use another example, it’s been incredibly common is recent centuries for “confirmed bachelors” to live together without people assuming they were gay. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that sex between two young men was viewed as an expression of being really horny but also being without access to a woman who would have sex with them. Two men holding hands has also been viewed as innocuous, as has been two men kissing on the mouth. Hell, we even have people in the bible swearing on each others penises Source, David loving Johnathan more than any woman (II Samuel 1:26) and David and Johnathan having their souls knit together before Johnathan took off all his clothes/etc es and gave them to David (I Samuel 18:1-4).

    If we had men pull that stuff today in our modern society (declaring that “Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women,” men kissing each other on the mouth, two men living together as “confirmed bachelors,” two men having their souls knit together ) we call that gay, and some of it probably was a kind of disguised, unrecognized and unacknowledged homosexuality. But this categorization has not been uniformly applied in other places and times, because our conceptualization* of homosexuality is ridiculously new, spanning only a few decades, and quite frankly, Paul would not have had this concept. It’s possible that he would have condemned homosexuality even if he’d had our modern concept (Paul said some really nasty things), but he didn’t have it, so he couldn’t. To act like it was even possible for Paul to talk about homosexuality as we recognize it today is bizarre. The bible was not written in  current time or for our modern culture; it was written in and for a group of people with a very different outlook on life than we have. This is something we should be able to recognize (even Christians today have different cultures and outlooks), but for some reason this recognition is difficult.

    *I also find our conceptualization somewhat irritating, as men feel less able to touch/bond with other men without being perceived as gay, and the same with women.

  • Tapetum

    Actually, given that all the bible clobber verses that I’m aware of are very specific – where would Lisa get her contention that the Bible condemns lesbian relationships as sinful? Every verse I’m aware of condemns a) male behavior, and b) very specific forms of male behavior.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     No doubt if we studied further our levitical verses, we would know.

  • Tricksterson

    Remember, to a fundgelical the Bible is literal, except when it’s not.  For instance Genesis is literal but Revelations is symbolic.  In this case obivously, Leviticus meant to condemn lesbians so “men” means “men and women” because otherwise it would inconvenience Lisa’s belief system and she knows that God would never dare do that.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/S576F4643X3T6SZZSJLXR5N3MU Nick

    Really?  Look I’m sorry but to try to mess around with the language of the scripture just to justify your lifestyle or beliefs which fall contrary to the word of God is sinful in and of itself.  You choose plain readings of some parts of God’s word but conveniently try to devise other interpretations when it suits you?  While you’re at it you might as well try and mess around with the wording in the scripture which holds that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and the wording which confirms, the Holy Trinity, and on and on until you’ve re-invented the scripture to suit your lifestyle and secular values.

    Homosexuality IS sin.  If the scriptures say so, in your language then it is so.  Its not simply the God’s law, but the spirit of God’s law which makes it so.  You KNOW that the bible does NOT authorize sexual behaviour unless its between a man and a woman who are married to each other to the exclusion of all others.  Polygamy, homosexuality, shacking up together, one night stands, even engaged straight couples are technically engaged in fornication if they are NOT yet married in the sight of God.

    So go on, try to fool yourself by attempting to engage in “intellectual gymnastics” with God’s laws.  You must know at least that He won’t and Can’t be fooled because He sees and knows all!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Polygamy, homosexuality, shacking up together, one night stands, even engaged straight couples are technically engaged in fornication if they are NOT yet married in the sight of God.

    So Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, Jacob and Leah and Rachel and Bilhah and Zilpah, David and Michal and Abigail and Bathsheba and his other wives whose names I’ve forgotten, Solomon and his three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines (or was it the other way round?), are they no longer in the Bible, or are you ready to stand with us in the fight for polyamorous marriage?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Sorry, I’m a christian, so I believe in a God who is love and whose highest commandment is that we love each other. That’s frankly incompatible with whatever weird cult you belong to that worships a sadist god who condemns people to lives of misery and suffering on account of the sexual orientation they were born with.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If you’re going to call it a sin, and I hate bringing out the tired old “gotcha”, but seriously – part of that justification used by Christians is partially based on Leviticus.

    Why does “A man shall not lie with a man as a man lies with a woman, for it is an abomination and both shall be put to death” still get to apply, but not, say, mixing two kinds of fabrics together? (see here for the Revised Standard Version) Or for that  matter, how about the fact that nobody makes burnt offerings of animals anymore at temples? Even the Jews stopped doing it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Did the Jews stop burnt offerings at temples before or after the most recent destruction of the Temple? Because it might be that a synagogue, being not a temple, is an inappropriate place to do a burnt offering, and of course it’ll probably take two wars and three miracles to rebuild the Temple, given that there’s this kind of important Muslim holy building occupying the Temple Mount.

    But yeah. Didn’t somebody say hereabouts the other week that homosexual behavior is the same level as cheeseburgers and cotton-linen clothing?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    True. That said, the fact that burnt offerings aren’t apparently a dealbreaker for Jewish people and that Jesus Christ supposedly said “you don’t need to do all that Levitical shit anymore” to Christians makes relying on Leviticus as a bulletproof “Gotcha, God Hates Fags” chapter rather… um, less than stellar.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/S576F4643X3T6SZZSJLXR5N3MU Nick

    Tina you’re right, they know it, fact is with laws, and God’s law is no exception, you’re to adhere to both the wording and the spirit of the law.   Its pretty clear that both the the spirit and the law on this issue is that God wants us to refrain not only from homosexuality but ALL sex which doesn’t include a man and a woman married to each other who have forsaken all others.  The bible both Old and New Testament condemns ALL forms of sex outside of this model.  As for Homosexuality and Christians, you have more than one text where homosexuality is condemned, I believe this is so for a reason.  I think the Lord as with all things foresaw this debate and wanted to make Himself clear with regards to what we are to do and what we are to refrain from doing. 

    When one is trying to retranslate the scriptures from their own language to an ancient language to try and find new meaning to certain words to skewer the meaning of the scriptures so as to make them read differently from what they understand them to read in the plain sense then clearly they are trying to kid themselves and others.  Of course we all know that the Lord who knows the  desires of the heart is not fooled for one moment.

    Keep the true faith!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Tamar dressed up as a prostitute to have sex with her father-in-law. Or possibly ex-father-in-law, I’m not entirely sure. She’s counted among the ancestors of David, who’s an ancestor of Jesus.

    Rahab actually was a prostitute. She’s also one of David’s ancestors.

    Ruth talked Boaz into marrying her, but she had sex with him first. She’s also one of David’s ancestors.

    I already covered Abraham, Jacob, David himself, and Solomon.

    In what way does any of this prove that the Bible is at all against sex outside marriage, or that the Bible is at all against marriage with multiple people?

    Speaking of David, this is the dude who had like ten wives and who told his buddy Jonathan, in the slashiest scene in classic literature, that David’s love for Jonathan surpasses David’s love for women. Not really seeing the condemnation for homosexuality here, either.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/S576F4643X3T6SZZSJLXR5N3MU Nick

    Wrong!  When the scripture condemns homosexuality in multiple instances along with other kinds of unmarried  heterosexual sex as sinful fornication, then its pretty clear that homosexuality is ALL its forms is forbidden. 

    You’re argument is akin to saying that some forms of adultery or some forms of stealing or idol worship is okay.  That’s a nonsense argument.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you’re all in favor of prosecuting Wells Fargo for its foreclosing on at least one homeowner who had never had a mortgage with Wells Fargo? Awesome.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/S576F4643X3T6SZZSJLXR5N3MU Nick

    Exactly, I could have a loving monogamous extra-marital affair with my neighbour’s wife.  You know only having the ONE mistress in my lifetime because we were “in love.”  Figure that nonsense out as well while you’re at it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You can sleep with your neighbor’s wife all you like and nobody’s got any right to object PROVIDED you’re consenting, she’s consenting, her spouse knows and is consenting, and your spouse (if applicable) knows and is consenting. What was your point?

  • Whitebear5969

    Apparently homophobia was running ramped during these times, they didn’t except it, so they made it a sin and put it in writing hence the bible verses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.stilp Benjamin Stilp

    read it – brilliant. I have been searching for this insight as I have long wondered and noticed how rule obssessed and militant religious zealots are – almost as if they have a deep-seated need for discipline and authority yet missing compassion, kindness, and lacking a comfort-level with inevitable ambiguity life seems to heap. As if any hint of chaos is psychologically threatening, and thus religion’s true comfort and value comes from the authority in its drive to control. This piece is the first I have noted to articulate my thinking. HOWEVER – I do not agree that queers like myself are collateral damage in the religious zealots insistance on order and srtucutre and rules – instead I believe they have their deep-seated prejudice and bias (hatred perhaps rooted in ignorance) of queer people, and thus religious rule-minding is a convenient hook on which to hang moral superiority. In any case, Dante Aligheri reserved a special place in hell for hypocrites posing as acolytes…..