Are not the Bible’s “laws” on homosexuality unbiblical?

As proof that God condemns homosexuality, anti-gay Christians commonly point to the laws prohibiting homosexuality found in Leviticus.

“But,” comes the counter-argument, “Christians today blithely ignore all the other Levitical laws, such as ‘Don’t eat shellfish,’ ‘Don’t wear mixed fabrics,’ ‘Kill adulterers,’ and so on. And the whole point of Jesus was to establish a new order; that’s why it’s called The New Testament. Paul himself was very clear about saying that following Jesus meant no longer following the Laws of Moses. Therefore it is specious to use Leviticus to condemn gay people.”

“Jesus was willing to let go of things like eating shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics,” rejoin the anti-gay Christians, “because those are ceremonial laws. But Old Testament laws such as the Ten Commandments are moral laws, which Jesus insisted on upholding. And since the Old Testament prohibitions against homosexuality fall into the category of moral law, they are fully supported by Jesus.” To buttress this point, Matthew 5:17-19 is typically utilized:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.

So let’s think about this.

The first thing to note is that nowhere in the Bible are moral laws distinguished from ceremonial laws. Those are man-made designations. It is up to Christians, in other words, to decide which Biblical injunctions are moral rules that need to be upheld, and which are not. Making those judgements is part of Christian history. And Christians have always allowed for Biblical “laws” to migrate from one category to another. It was once considered against Christian moral law, for instance, for women to speak in church, and for married couples to get divorced. It used to considered in accord with Biblical moral law for Christians to keep slaves. “Thou shalt not work on the Sabbath day” is one of the Ten Commandments. Yet today we do not assume that no real Christians mow their lawn on Sundays, or play professional football.

And why not? Because times change, and laws change along with them.

So when it comes to Christian moral law, what rule does remain constant? What is the standard by which Christians must ultimately judge each and every Biblical law?

For a ready and clear answer to that question, we have only to turn to Jesus’ Great Commandment, here at Mark 12:28:

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

and here at Matthew 22:36:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So there is Jesus directing us to understand that if breaking a Biblical “law” does not violate the Great Commandment, then that law should no longer be considered a moral law. And that is, in fact, the standard which Christians have always used to evaluate Biblical laws. No one wants to be kept quiet in church. No one wants to be told what they can and can’t do on a Sunday. No one wants to be unable to leave an abusive marriage. No one wants to be a slave. So as they were found to be out of accord with the Great Commandment, the Christian understanding of the “laws” pertaining to those Biblical injunctions evolved and finally changed.

You know what other Biblical “law” is out of accord with the Great Commandment? The one which holds that people who are born gay have but two choices: to spend their lives celibate and unpartnered, or to deserve being shunned and denigrated because their very existence is a moral offense to God.

In the manner of other such “laws,” it is time for the unjust Christian “laws” against homosexuality to change. It is time for the condemnation of gay people to be understood by all Christians as an egregious moral affront to God, since it is in such clear violation of what Jesus Christ himself called the most important law of all.

About John Shore

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

 

  • Herro

    Let’s quote all of Mt 5:17-19:

    Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    John, are you telling me that the author of those words would be fine with not following some of the OT laws because doing so would not break the great commandment?

    • Guest

      So when was the last time you violated the law with your mixed fabrics, you filthy heathen?

      • Herro

        I probably wear clothes made of mixed fabrics all the time.

        • Wayne Johnson

          So you disobey the Law, and you teach others to do so. You will be called least in the kingdom of Heaven. How’s it feel?

          • Herro

            Wayne, I feel fine. And I don’t think I’ll be “called the least in the Kingdom of heaven”, I don’t believe in Christian mythology.

          • Sheila Warner

            Nice comeback…

          • Andy

            Uh, yeah…

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Yes.

      • Herro

        Then why did he tell that stuff about not a jot or a tittle passing away and that you shouldn’t break even the smallest commandment?

        • Sandra Cowdrick

          There was nothing abut not breaking even the least commandment, Jesus broke commandments. The new testament repeatedly says we do not get to heaven by following the Law, but through the grace of God by Christ. Early christians almost all believed the old testament laws no longer had to be followed, because, afterall, that is what it says.
          If he didn’t mean that all had been accomplished, then the writings of Paul and many parables, such as ‘You cannot put new wine in old wineskins’ makes no sense. Much has been changed by the Church, the vatican, kings & translations. That doesn’t mean that the original teaching has changed.

          • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

            Wait, Sandra.

            You said,

            There was nothing abut not breaking even the least commandment, Jesus broke commandments.

            You do understand that Herro is talking about Matt 5:18, right?

            Do you feel the early church was not divided on how Jewish followers of Jesus should be? Assuming you agree that they were divided: Why were they divided? Do you think Peter and James fell in different camps? Why?

            You said,

            Much has been changed by the Church, the vatican, kings & translations. That doesn’t mean that the original teaching has changed.

            So you think Matt 5:18 was later changes of the church?

            So if I am getting you straight, Christians really only need bring their NT to church — the OT is all out-dated — new dispensation? The only think the OT was good for was to point to Jesus, right?

            My opinion: Jesus was pretty orthodox, Paul realized that wouldn’t pass and revamped things to sell to a wide audience and the story got retold. OR: Jesus was pretty radical, early Christians wanted to keep some of the law, and passages kept sneakin’ in.

            I’m not a scholar. But the question is, given either stance or any stance, what is your method on how to get there?

          • Sheila Warner

            Colossians 2 has a wonderful passage in it about how Jesus took away our transgression of the Law when he died on the cross.

        • Sheila Warner

          See my comment above on the passage in Colossians 2.

          • Herro

            Sheila, so Col 2 trumps Jesus’ words in the sermon on the mount?

          • Sheila Warner

            Not sure if my previous comment on Colossians 2 is still visible. Does the passage “trump” the sermon on the mount? No, it explains how Jesus fulfilled the Law. Remember, the Law first was given because of sin. There had to be rules in place to address the sinfulness of mankind. A person doesn’t know he is doing wrong if he is unaware of what the Law requires. Of course, no one could keep the Law perfectly except Jesus. Jesus took all of our sins that had violated God’s laws upon himself on the cross, and God punished Jesus instead of us. Voila! Law fulfilled, New Covenant ushered in.

    • Wayne Johnson

      Herro, Jesus said UNTIL all shall be accomplished. Everything has been accomplished. Jesus said on the cross “it is finished.”

      • Herro

        That’s a popular view, rather far-fetched. You’re trying to read words in the gospel of John into a saying in the gospel of Matthew. It’s not at all clear that “all things be accomplished” is refering to the death of Jesus, and if so, then that would imply that Jesus came to “destroy the law” (which he denies in the immediate context).

        • Sheila Warner

          Read this passage from Colossians 2, obtained from the Bible Gateway: “13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Our legal indebtedness was to the Law. Christ took the obligations to the Law away, openly, on the cross. He was punished for the transgression of the Law by all of humanity. All we need to do is receive the forgiveness now offered to us in Jesus.

    • Wayne Johnson

      All of modern Christendom teaches exactly that. Paul says it straight up repeatedly: the things described as sin in the Old Testament is not sin for me. I will make a point to abstain if it causes my brother to sin, but it’s not sin for me. You would have to be a very eccentric brand of Christian to claim otherwise.

      • Herro

        So Paul trumps the sermon on the mount. Fine.

        • Wayne Johnson

          Sermon on the mount – which passage?

        • Wayne Johnson

          Oh I see you mean Matthew 5:17. Ok Jesus said not one jot or tittle – not one portion of a letter of the Law would be lost until all is accomplished. Tell me if I am wrong but my understanding is that not merely a letter but the ENTIRE Law has been lost. All that we have is the Greek translation, the Septuagint. The Hebrew version we have is a back-translation. So all has been accomplished. The Law is GONE. A few scraps have been recovered in the Dead Sea scrolls, but nothing like the whole thing. Just a verse or a word or a letter here or there. A piece of a letter. A few jots and tittles. That is all that is left.

          • Herro

            >Tell me if I am wrong…

            You are wrong.

          • Sheila Warner

            I had no idea that the vast majority (with the exception of the scraps) has been lost. Makes perfect sense. Just to make sure that everyone understood that animal sacrifices were no longer to be practiced, God allowed the temple to be completely destroyed in 70 A.D.

      • Wayne Johnson

        He did not come to destroy the Law. Humans destroyed it, and it is utterly, totally, completely gone. He fulfilled the Law by showing what mattered. Love your neighbor as yourself.

        • Sheila Warner

          Exactly!

      • Sandra Cowdrick

        Actually, you would have to be JEWISH to claim otherwise! What on earth did Jesus die for if we are still bound by the Old Law just as before? He died so we don’t have to rely on following the law to get to heaven, we get there by the grace of God through Jesus.He paid for this with his life, so we no longer have to continue following laws it’s impossible to keep.

        Essentially this person is implying you can ‘earn’ your way into heaven by following the law, which the New Testament REPEATEDLY says is not true! That is the true beauty of it all, unconditional love. We are all forgiven, and have been for 2,000 yrs All that is expected of us is to love each other and God.

        I feel so sorry for the people who never get to experience the freedom, peace, joy and gratefulness that comes the day you realize there is no yolk on your neck, and we aren’t given love because we earned/deserve it. The beauty of Christianity is being disguised as a religion of hate,judgement, control and fear. So sad.

        • Sheila Warner

          Nicely stated, but I have to admit I chuckled when you said we don’t have a yolk on our necks. I prefer to eat my yolks, especially when I cook my eggs over easy. I think you meant yoke? Like I said, it made me smile and give a little chuckle. What you wrote is just beautiful. The Gospel in a nutshell.

    • Sheila Warner

      All of Matthew Chapter 5 needs to be included for context. Jesus starts off this chapter with the Beatitudes, which are the spiritual fruits that the Ten Commandments were to bring about. After the portion you quote above, Jesus gives examples of how we must live while following the Beatitudes. We are to forgive, forgive, forgive. Jesus uses as his examples murder, adultery, an eye for an eye, and how to respond to our enemies. He also states that we are to be salt and light to the world. All of this flows directly out of the Beatitudes. If Jesus was literally fulfilling every precept of the Law, he would have condoned the stoning of the woman caught in adultery. He worked on the sabbath when he performed miracles and picked off heads of wheat, which was considered working. He overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple, which created a disturbance. He touched a leper and was touched by an unclean woman, yet he did not observe the ritual required for the “unclean”. Jesus fulfilled the entire Law by doing Law was supposed to accomplish: change man’s heart so that he will act with mercy and compassion.

  • Steven McDade

    Of all these, faith hope and love, the greatest of these is LOVE! You start with faith, you gain hope then when those fail you then all that is left is LOVE!

  • Steve Russell

    The Levitical laws on Homosexuality deal with prostitution at the Molech temples. Not necessarily with homosexuality by your neighbors (or yourself) So if you want to keep those laws just don’t have any prostitutes at your place of worship.

    • Katie Rucker

      Not to mention Leviticus was written for the Priests of Israel only.

      • Herro

        Both of the sections in Lev that deal with homosexuality start with “speak to the children of Israel” and not something like “speak unto the priests”. So it seems to be for everyone, and not just the priests. And the laws in that section seem to be general, e.g. ban on adultery, incest and bestiality.

        • Katie Rucker

          I apologize, I was mistaken. Chapters 1-7 outline the offerings required of both the laity and the priesthood. Chapters 8-10 describe the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. Chapters 11-16 are the prescriptions for various types of uncleanness. The final 10 chapters are God’s guidelines to His people for practical holiness. But it was still written for Israel alone.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            In an exiled people, whose God is exiled with them because they have no temple, where their God has no place to dwell, the Priests devised a holiness code to “make the people holy” (clean, pure) so that they themselves might become the temple – the holy of holies – where God would dwell among them. The people became the temple. Thus the purity codes. It makes sense in cultural and historical context.

            And then it makes further sense reading the NT passages about how our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost and we have to make our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, perfect and acceptable to God. It’s all metaphors for the Temple of God and how that “temple” shifted over time in relationship to events.

            Levarite Laws are man-made laws.

    • Herro

      Steve, what’s your evidence for the bans being exclusively about “prostitution at the Molech temples”? I see nothing in the text itself suggesting this. :S

      • Katie Rucker

        You have to study the greek text to understand that the english translation is botched at best and lacks historical and cultural context.

      • Steve Russell

        Leviticus 18:21 “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.
        22 “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
        Everyone quotes vs. 22 but no one reads 21. Clearly they are connected. If you read the book of Kings, the Isrealites were constantly dealing with the male or shrine prostitutes. Like 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:44, 2 Kings 23:7, Job 36:14 etc.. Not all of these are about Molech so maybe I just should have said pagan temples like Molech.

        Now the word homosexual is only found 2 times in the Bible once in Leviticus 18 (above) and once in Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” This is in the midst of a long list of punishments that we totally ignore.

        In the new Testament the Greek word for homosexual is never used. Any time it is translated as homosexual would be a mistranslation. The words really mean perverts or sexually deviants.

        Some point to Romans 1′s use of “unnatural” lusts as homosexuality, but in the world the New Testament writers lived in anything kind of sex without the intent for having babies was “unnatural”. Therefore and oral, anal, sex for fun, woman to old to conceive, etc… would also be classified as “unnatural”.
        I have said a lot more than your question but I hope this helps you and others understand some more about the subject.

        Have a great day.

        • Herro

          Steve, I’ll just adress the Molech-stuff. It’s not clear at all that v. 21 and 22 are connceted. They’re in a list of various laws. In v. 23 we have a ban on bestiality, is that too just a ban on bestiality connected to pagan temple worship? And if you look at Lev 20 (which pretty much has the same list of laws) you’ll see that the ban on homosexuality is not close to the ban on Molech-worship, but after ban on incest.

          Looks to me like it’s just a general ban on homosexuality.

          • Steve Russell

            Sex with animals is prohibited other places. Homosexuality is not from what I see.

            Ex. 22:19, “Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.”
            Lev. 18:23,
            “Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled
            with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it
            is a perversion.”
            Lev. 20:16,
            “If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you
            shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death.
            Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”
            Deut. 27:21, “Cursed is he who lies with any animal. And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’”

  • Steve Nantz

    Matthew 19:4,5

    New International Version
    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

    New Living Translation
    “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

    King James Bible
    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

    1 Corinthians 6:9

    New International Version
    Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.

    New Living Translation
    Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,

    English Standard Version
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

    New American Standard Bible
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

    King James Bible
    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Well, you’ve certainly proven one thing, Steve Nantz: You know how to cut and paste.

    • Katie Rucker

      You just took that verse COMPLETELY out of context by cutting off the end of it. It’s about DIVORCE. Here’s the ENTIRE verse: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

      Also, the translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 from Greek to English has been completely botched. The idea that “malakos” (soft, effeminate) links it to homosexuality ignores the hebrew culture. Gay men were not viewed as effeminate unless they exhibited feminine characteristics in addition to being gay. Many heterosexual males were called effeminate and there is no essential connection between this and sexual preference in any ancient literature. Other greek words were used for homosexuals but never “malakos”, and the other words are never used in scripture.

      “Arsenkoites” is the word translated to “homosexuals” today. There is no recorded use of “Arsenkoites” prior to its appearance in 1 Cor 6:9. English translators traditionally have related it to Sodomites. There is a double irony to this since, as it is now generally recognized, Sodomites were not punished for homosexuality.

      The claim this word means homosexual, defies linguistic evidence and common sense. “Koites” generally denotes licentious sexual activities, and corresponds to the active person in intercourse. The prefix “Arsen”, simply means “male”. It could mean a male that has sex with lots of women. Paul made up a new word. A biblical scholar when a word is unknown, looks for similar greek words to find a possible meaning. Boswell concludes Paul writing in Koine Greek, took a word from Attic Greek combined with a word from Old Testament Greek to mean the active male prostitute. These were common in the Hellenistic world in the time of Paul. They served as prostitutes for both men and women. BINGO! Remember “porneia” in the same verse that has been mistranslated fornication but was really female temple prostitutes? Guess what? Paul also is condemning the male prostitutes that also were in the temples of the sex gods!

      Scroggs relates it to pederasty in the context it is used in conjunction with “malakos”, the effeminate call-boy prostitute. It follows that “arsenkoites” is used to describe the adult active partner of the effeminate call-boy prostitute. Again this is a specific style of pederasty characterized by a young, passive, for-hire call boy and the adult customer. What is clear it has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality as practiced today.

      http://www.lionking.org/~kovu/bible/section07.html

      • Steve Nantz

        Divorce or not, He(JESUS) was quoting Genesis 2:24 concerning Adam and Eve. Male and female.

        (Leviticus 18:22)Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

        (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
        Notice, that this names, thieves, drunks, and adulterers as well.
        No sin is greater or worse than another.

        • Katie Rucker

          Did you not read my comment at all or are you being intentionally ignorant

          • Sheila Warner

            I know, right? I chastised him for the same thing. He probably skimmed through your comment. Maybe it’s too deep for him?

        • Sheila Warner

          You did not visit the site to which the link is directing you. But, the content of the comment is directly quoting it. I said it before, and I’ll say it again–when you have no curiosity about why a person holds the direct opposite view of a passage of Scripture, then you are stubbornly digging in your heels. You can make no substantive reply if you don’t even check out what else is out there pertaining to the issue of gays. Closed mind, closed heart, darkened intellect.

      • Sheila Warner

        I read that entire treatise about an hour ago. Glad you posted the link.

    • Sandra Cowdrick

      So, unless you’re married you’re sinning? That’s your implication. Poor priests,Nuns, eh?

      Also, seriously, look up the original translations on this, it’s essentially referring to the temple prostitutes, not homosexuals. Look er up!!

      • Steve Nantz

        What?!!! Exactly where did I say you HAVE to be married? The whole point was sin is sin…Fornication and adultery. Being a Priest or a Nun has nothing to do with that. Even Paul recommended celibacy to focus on the things of GOD.

        • Katie Rucker

          What Sandra is saying is that you can’t take everything literally. The bible is not completely literal. Jesus liked to speak in parables, metaphors, and hyperboles. For example, when He said that you would be able to move mountains with a little bit of faith, he was being metaphorical and hyperbolic.

    • Don M. Burrows

      Bravo. The fact that you posted this in three different English translations made its irrelevancy all the more superfluous.

    • Sheila Warner

      I love how you ignore the context of Jesus’ description of the creation of man and woman. He’s answering a question about divorce. Had you kept going, you would have seen that Jesus said that marriage is for life (unless a spouse cheats on his or her spouse), and anyone who remarries after a divorce is committing adultery. As for the multitude of translations in the I Corinthian passage, you need to acquaint yourself with what some Biblical scholars have to say about the words in Greek being translated as “homosexual” in the English. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn.

  • Toni Browning-Early

    Thank you John, as a transsexual Christian woman, I have realized and understood these truths for quite some time now. It’s nice to hear that this kind of faith is alive.

    It’s a crying shame that more Christians in this country don’t realize what a mockery they make of the legacy, teachings, and mission of Christ by their hate and persecution of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people.

    It’s about unconditional love, nothing more, nothing less.

    Being LGBT is NOT a sin.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Wow, please help me understand the Progressive Christian epistemology:

    (1) If, as you say, ” It is up to Christians, in other words, to decide which Biblical injunctions are moral rules that need to be upheld, and which are not.” How do you decide if this command of Jesus is moral?

    (2) If this is the greatest command, why don’t John and Luke talk about it?

    (3) How can gMatthew tell us “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” yet you tell us that with the second we can declare some of the OT as immoral.

    (4) If you can declare the whole bible as “unbiblical”, then I understand what you are doing. Can you claim that? Aren’t you saying, look, I’ll choose what I value and then give it more stature by saying “Jesus said it” and there ya go –> Progressive Christianity, where we can ignore the rest.

    Mind you, I like your conclusions, and don’t mind how you get there, but why should anyone believe your choices again?

    • Sandra Cowdrick

      In case you’re looking for legitimate answers to these questions, and not just making a thinly veiled attempt to find flaws with the article you can use to reaffirm your own beliefs, here you go-

      1. He is not referring to the words/commands of Jesus, but those of the old testament. Jesus’s teachings went against many old testament laws. It is assumed ALL commandments of Jesus (being the New law, the New Testament) are moral. This is also not referring to non-christians being obligated to follow these morals, or implying that christians should use their own beliefs to regulate others behavior. It refers only to the moral obligations of christians. Many christians do not believe breaking the commandments of the old testament is sinning at all. (especially gnostics or those that follow pre-Nicean philosophies)

      2. The gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John are not identical. Some have parts others do not. Also- it he called it the greatest ‘commandment’, and it was a response to a question on which commandment was most important, not something he went around preaching to all ‘this is the greatest commandment’ etc. There could also be reasons we are not aware of- may be it is in earlier versions, maybe the didn’t hear him answer the question, etc.

      3. I don’t see the conflict. I suppose you are interpreting this differently than intended. The meaning of this that if you follow those two commandments, you will find you are fulfilling the reasons behind them all.. (some translations ‘On the two commandments rely all the laws and prophets) essentially, the common interpretation of this passage is that if a commandment violates either of these two, it is overruled by them. In this same way the words of Jesus overrule the Old Testament, and words of others (i.e, Paul) in the new Testament, if there ever is any conflict. (The new testament also REPEATEDLY says you cannot get to heaven or the kingdom of God by following the law, that it is simply by grace we are saved, so unless you’re Jewish, there is no longer danger of hellfire for breaking the 600+ old testament commands)

      4. No one is declaring the whole bible ‘unbiblical’, not even close. There has been nothing said like that (although many Gnostics do believe that) Comments like that are what make one think your ‘questions’ are simply an attempt to veil that you are preaching your own beliefs/misconceptions. The New Testament overrules the Old Testament. It is that simple. The commands of Jesus overrule the Old Law. (You can’t put new wine in old wineskins). Many ‘fundies’ manage to completely disregard the words of Christ, who they claim to worship, and pick and choose OT ‘laws’ which support their ideology to preach, which is completely in contradiction of new testament teachings.

      Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. Not one. If it was so overwhelmingly important wouldn’t he have mentioned it? He did say divorce (except for fornication) is a sin if one remarries, but the Westboro Baptists don’y preach at the funerals of people who’ve remarried. THAT is unbiblical. People these days are so used to hearing the propaganda of the religious right that they a very twisted view of what Christ taught. They hear homophobia, judgement of others, self richeousness, threats of burning in hell if you don’t follow the old laws, NONE of those things are Christian teachings, although there is some anti-homosexual teaching in the OLD testament, right next to where it says you should be stoned for ‘uncovering your fathers skirt’(seeing his privates)& being raped in a city, and says you should be excluded from the temple for 6 generations if you have non-Jewish blood. Christians are not Jews, and fundies these days don’t follow Jesus, but their own ideologies.

      • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

        Quick question, Sandra Cowdrick:
        I thought the OP was by John Shore.
        and when I look at the “Who We Are” tab for this site, I don’t see your name.
        Are you the official apologist for John Shore?
        I see you addressing lots of commentors. Or are you the actual OP author.
        I’m confused.
        Because Progressive Christians like believers in any faith, come with all sorts of theologies, rationales and such. So the conversations get complicated jumping across different theologies. I’d rather talk to the author who wrote this article — unless you are the official spokesperson.

        • Glenn Kennedy

          Oh, Sabio. You ask for help in understanding this issue, yet when Sandra takes the time and trouble to give you lucid and intelligent answers, you attempt to sidestep them with nothing more than an “I refuse to listen to you as you are not John” excuse. What is your rationale for this? Is it possible you lied when you said you wished to understand and, you did, in fact, merely wish to argue?

          • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

            Oh dear Glenn, you find some comfort in misquoting me and not understanding my point.

            My question was for the author. Perhaps the author and Sandra and you all have different theologies and so I did not want to mix them up.

            And besides, I really did no know her role on this blog — being my first time here. And already I have two wonderful greats from some kind Christian folks.

            I am actually curious of the different flavors of exegesis and epistemology among progressives.

            I actually asked Sandra a question elsewhere and still no reply — she is probably busy for now.

            Oh Glenn — do get ahold of your rhetoric.

          • Glenn Kennedy

            That certainly answers my last question.

          • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

            I am glad it was helpful.

          • Sheila Warner

            So your question was for the author. So? No one else can comment on your question? That is so petty.

        • Sheila Warner

          Oh, good grief, Sabio, this is an open forum. People are free to comment on what others say! I have read some interesting observations on here, and have responded. There is no rule that all comments must be directed at the author of this blog entry. Sorry, but now you sound like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. Perhaps the wise comments on this site are too much for you to handle?

    • Herro

      Shame that John isn’t responding to you Sabio. I think your point #3 is the crux of the matter.

      John wants to jump from Jesus saying “loving your neighbor as yourself is what the law hangs on” (paraphrased) to concluding that Jesus was actually saying “if you think that some part of the law doesn’t fit with loving your neighbor as yourself, then you don’t have to follow that part of the law”. I can’t see that in the text, no matter how hard I squint my eyes.

      And his interpretation seems to be completely at odds with what Jesus says in the sermon on the mount (Mt 5:17-19).

      • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

        Exactly.
        Perhaps I am labelled as a troll already and felt feeding me would be a bad choice.

        • Herro

          As a long-time reader of your blog I can guarantee that you’re not a troll! ;)

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      My thoughts on this….

      1.It has always been up to Christians to decide which Biblical injunctions apply as moral rules that are applicable or not. That there is a range of ideas on what those applicable rules throughout human history bears out the fact that its up to debate.

      2. Not all the gospels contain the birth narratives or the same accounts of miracles, or statements by Jesus. They each offer points of view, written decades after the fact and have different themes, intents, and original audiences.

      3, Refer to point #1. And then consider how morality norms have changed with history and culture.

      For example, according to the bible it used to be considered immoral for women who were menstruating to be touched by a man, or for a man to touch anything that came into contact with a menstruating woman, Now, we women, who are still in that biological state, can send our husbands to the store to buy tampons. You see, what was once considered immoral, is no longer thus to the majority of modern Western culture.

      (with apologies to all the male readers, who just freaked out at the thought of standing in the feminine products aisle of any store)

      4. Who is declaring the Bible unbiblical? It would be like declaring the ocean, un-oceanic. Its the Bible, a religious text, read and revered by millions, interpreted through a wide spectrum of beliefs, practices and traditions. It is considered to some the literal words of God, to some the inspired statements God gave to men to write through their own words, to others an inspired work written by people trying to understand God, to a religious text with no real application for today. Where one sits in that range, is found individually, in and out of Christianity.

      • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

        Thanx allegro.
        Yeah, your last point hits it. Christians weigh the Bible in very different ways. The one put forward by the OP seems to be — “Look, we have to decide what is morally correct and then decide how we take the bible” — an opinion I agree with. But it is like the Elephant in the room — no one discusses the different ways for understanding the Bible, instead they just throw verses at each other pretending they weigh it the same.

        For me, the OP is actually calling the Bible Unbiblical — except for one command and he is not telling us how he decide that was the right one to pick. But I am not surprised. No one wants to confess “Well, because I like it.”

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I don’t see the article as saying the bible is unbiblical. But that is the thing with opinions. They too are very varied according to the opinion holder.

          • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

            Check out the title of the Post.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And? The use of punctuation in rhat title is important.

  • hkameya

    It seems to me that many Christians will eventually feel, as I have, that apostle Paul’s choice of words (however his words in Greek are translated), has resulted in the suffering of millions of people over the past two millenia, including murders, tortures and suicides.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      I don’t think the problem is at all with Paul’s choice of words, but rather with how people have chosen, despite Paul’s care in choosing his words, to interpret them.

      • hkameya

        You are correct. I should have said that “the interpretation of apostle Paul’s words has resulted int the suffering of millions of people over the past two thousand years, including murders, tortures and suicides.”

    • Elizabeth Cox

      “And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen,
      make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and
      blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him– speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.” 2 Peter 3:14-17

      It was not unexpected that dangerous and unstable people would distort his words and other scripture. Christians are called to live peaceful blameless lives as though we believe God is actually Good, though.

      And as historically, people have thought left handed people were in league with the devil and not understood that God made more than one kind of people, I’m on the side of love. After all, if we turned the other cheek to enemies, we’d never kill innocent people. Also, is God noted for liking humble people or jerks? I’m thinking humble people. Humble people aren’t exactly known for shouting matches, or violence.

      The idea that there would be wolves in sheep’s clothing has been around from the beginning, so how do we tell the difference between people who are following God and those who are just being humans without the Spirit? Well, in one place we’re told to look for the fruit, as good people will have good fruit, and evil people will have evil fruit. Ok, but then people argue that they can’t tell good from evil, because whatever side they are on, they think is good…so, let’s check another place…

      “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

      Paul seems to think that evil is obvious, and why shouldn’t he? Didn’t all mankind share in the fruit of the tree that granted knowledge of good and evil? Oh, but evil is sneaky! Tricky stuff, and maybe people don’t realize that they are worshiping money and have put God’s name on their idol…not even because they genuinely care about Him, but just to annoy the communists…*Sigh* but anyway, since all people sin, even sparkling examples of the OT (though Christ didn’t sin) such as King David, who famously slept with a Hittite’s wife and then killed the guy by stationing him at the front of battle and ordering his troops to leave dude to die, we might need to spot the Holy Spirit in people in order to know who is actually being led by God. So, what should we look for?

      “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
      Bonus points if you go to the book and read all around it to get the context, because it would help lots of people in this discussion, but I have to keep this ‘short’ so you’ll read it.

      • pluther

        “Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant
        and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different,
        just as they do with other parts of Scripture”. I like your post because you focus on the Word, the flesh, and love, and still dont “take sides” except on the side of love and humility.

    • pluther

      Yeah, if you ever get to see Paul you will fall at his feet and realize what a small person you (and I) are next to him. His words have set millions and billions of people free to know the freedom and joy and salvation of Jesus Christ by faith and grace. Nothing he has ever written has resulted in the suffering of anyone, but only hope and life.

      • Sheila Warner

        He has also been the reason behind why so many women & children suffer in the Independent Fundamentalist denomination. His view on the role of women in marriage alone causes so many wives to be abused by their husbands. Not everything St Paul wrote was good for everyone.

      • Oswald Carnes

        Really? Sounds like you think Paul must be some kind of god or something.

  • David Lehr

    Have you read Gagnon’s “The Bible and Homosexual Practice”? I assume you’re aware that other verses in the New Testament exist that call homosexual practice sin–namely, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10, and Romans 1:18-32. And before you jump ahead, I’ve read the arguments that these verses don’t really mean what they appear to mean and that they don’t really call homosexual behavior sin. But those arguments aren’t convincing. What really makes me wonder is why, with all this biblical evidence, you can’t see how many people find plenty of warrant for believing homosexuality to be against God’s will for people. Why can’t you extend the same tolerance of these views that you ask Christians to extend to you?

    Further, have you ever read Acts 10:9-16, coupled with 1 Timothy 4:4 and Romans 14 (especially verse 14)? The New Testament repeats the commands of the Old Testament that are to be retained but abrogates certain laws that the coming of Christ fulfilled (what may be classed as ceremonial laws, although I agree with you that the Bible does not clearly make this distinction). Murder, theft, adultery, covetousness, etc., are all called sin in the New Testament–as is homosexuality–but instead of finding laws about clothes and food repeated in the New Testament, you see that they are specifically abrogated. Even the keeping of the Sabbath is relaxed. But if you think you can read the New Testament without finding any moral content in them beyond the “golden rule,” you’re not being honest with yourself.

    It’s a willful misreading of Scripture that results from your desire to keep your sin and have God, too. You have determined that, for you, nothing in the Bible but a selection of Jesus’ words (not even all of them) will carry any persuasive weight. More than that, you want to dictate and prescribe that all other Christians must abandon the Bible except what you have decided, at this particular time, is authoritative. Why do you get to trim the Bible and decide for all of us which parts of it are to be obeyed and which aren’t? In the end, I’m left wondering, really, why you want to claim to be Christians at all, if nothing in the Bible agrees with your views about the world. Why not just be honest and convert to buddhism or something? This is a serious question. If all you want or find to believe in the Bible is just the moral teachings of Jesus that align with those of Buddha (“do no harm”), why are you a Christian?

    Finally, I think it’s terribly unfair to think and speak as if everyone who believes homosexuality is sin is also a persecutor and gay-basher. Calling behavior sin doesn’t equate with wanting to kill and degrade and exclude the people committing that behavior. It’s possible–don’t you agree?–to love or respect someone without endorsing everything he or she does. I certainly think it’s possible. If you disagree, what’s to stop you from treating Biblical Christians the same way?

    • Don M. Burrows

      Gagnon’s monograph has a number of problems, so citing it as authoritative only raises more questions.
      You say you are aware of the complexities regarding the Bible’s references to what we call “homosexuality” but don’t find them convincing. That’s too bad, since they represent the consensus view of most scholars of antiquity, almost none of whom would suggest that Paul’s understanding of homoeroticism lines up perfectly with our own (much less the broader culture to whom he is writing).
      You then suggest that anyone who chooses to find complexity in what you clearly think are the Bible’s messages on “homosexuality” should just stop being Christian, because they are clearly wishing the Bible to accord with their own cultural sensitivities. Let’s assume that’s the case (I don’t think it’s that simple, but let’s assume). But you seem to think this is some sort of new phenomenon. Do you think the reception of the Bible’s precepts has been static these last several millennia? That theology, even “conservative” theology, has never changed? The oft-cited example of slavery is enough to show that Christians have routinely reached beyond a surface reading of Scripture to find more edifying meaning behind the issues we face everyday.
      I think the greater question is, why are some Christians, who have no problem relegating some aspects of the Bible (God’s Word, to them) to cultural, ancient contexts that do not speak to us today (stoning, polygamy, slavery, etc) so invested and dedicated to maintaining a prejudice against gay and lesbian individuals despite all the mounting evidence (scientific, medical, scholarly, and even philological) to the contrary? It seems a gross rationalization for a devoted prejudice.

      • Sheila Warner

        I read one of Gagnon’s treatises on the controversy surrounding the accuracy of the translation from Greek to English. He seems not to have understood the research. He approaches the issue with his mind already made up, and thinks just because he emphatically disagrees with the conclusions by other Biblical scholars, then he has to be right. Shouting from a rooftop doesn’t change error to accuracy. It seemed that the angrier he got, the less he was trying to see it from a different vantage point. I’d never use him as a source to cite anything Biblical, because he comes off as arrogant, and I cannot stand arrogance.

    • Don M. Burrows

      Moreover, it is not at all clear precisely which parts of Jewish tradition were meant to be forsaken and which not, which is why a controversy about those very things is still evident in the texts we have. Paul speaks of his arguments with Peter, Acts sanitizes it quite a bit, and John of Patmos, if Elaine Pagels’ argument is convincing (and I think it is) is still complaining about its dismissal by Pauline Christians when he writes Revelation. So to suggest this is some new, liberal preoccupation is again out of line with current biblical scholarship, most of which sees an ongoing discourse on this issue even as the books of the canon are being written.

    • GC1

      David Lehr, with all the Biblical evidence showing that homosexuality is not a sin, why do you wonder at all about why so many people agree with that and say it’s no more a sin than heterosexuality is? It’s willful misreading of Scripture that results from your desire to keep on excluding others and have God, too.

      • Sheila Warner

        There is plenty of research out there that deals specifically with the Greek words that have been translated into English. I believe what the scholars say–homosexuality is not condemned in the NT. The OT was done away with after Christ’s death and resurrection. But you can’t convince people who won’t even look at the evidence of the mistranslations. Only when the time is right, and your heart is looking for truth, can you begin to grasp all that is out there. For me, the turning point was reading the coming out stories of born again Christians. They often struggled with their homosexuality, crying out to God to change them. If it was his will to change them into heterosexuals, he would have answered their heartfelt prayers.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Oh, man. Pulling out Gagnon to make a point about the Bible is like pulling out Dracula to make a point about good nutrition.

      • pluther

        What?! Gagnon could run circles around you with Scripture and you know it. You don’t give a ___ what the Bible says; after all, it’s the modern times that matter, not the old, dusty Scriptures. It amazes me that people who do not believe the Scriptures still spend so much time trying to interpret them and make them say what they do not say, to justify their flesh. Get over it. Just say the Bible is outdated, irrelevant crap and get on with your sensual, loving life.

        • Guest

          You’re right: all of Gagnon’s arguments are indeed circular.

        • Don M. Burrows

          You’re right: all of Gagnon’s arguments are indeed circular.

      • David Lehr

        I wrote 500 words responding to your original post, and this is the only thing you can reply with? My point in bringing up Gagnon was just to show that there are many arguments defending the Bible’s view of homosexuality as sin that weren’t reflected in your post. Forget about Gagnon. The New Testament repeats–in at least 3 places–what the Old Testament says about homosexuality–namely, that it’s sinful and those who practice it unrepentantly won’t inherit the kingdom of God. You think all the references to it are about things other than the homosexuality being practiced today or that the Greek words refer to something other than what we think of homosexuality. There’s plenty of scholarship on both sides, and everyone calls that scholarship “best” which comes to the conclusions they’ve already determined are right before reading any of it. Trying to convince people otherwise is just pointless striving after the wind.

        • Don M. Burrows

          “You think all the references to it are about things other than the homosexuality being practiced today or that the Greek words refer to something other than what we think of homosexuality.” It’s true that there are some scholars of ancient sexuality that point to texts in antiquity that assert a sort of innate homoeroticism; but they stand alongside those that make no such distinction. What no scholar of antiquity would suggest is that the Greeks had *precisely* the same understanding of sexuality (or anything else, really) as we do, since ours is informed by modern science, medicine, and psychology, none of which was available to them.
          Here’s the problem with respect to ancient sexuality for those who want to condemn homosexuality: either there was, in fact, some notion of innate homoeroticism, which only proves that such a thing is transcultural and transhistorical, buttressing the notion that some people are merely “born that way,” in which case you’re condemning a fundamental part of who they are; or (in the older Dover model) it is entirely culturally informed, and the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality barely noticeable, wherein the ancients did not, by and large, then, conceive of homosexuality in the way we do, and hence could not have condemned what we understand it to be. I fail to see how any appeal to the scholarship on ancient sexuality, no matter where it falls on the issue, helps the condemner of homosexuality.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Have I read… Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. The arguments to the contrary are”unconvincing”? Says you. Your entrenchment does not render contrary views invalid.

      Quoting Gagnon to support your point is counterproductive. If he was consistent with his rigid, strict approach to scriptural interpretation would require him to declare slavery moral.

    • Thomas Johnson

      I agree with you, David

      • David Lehr

        Thank you, Thomas.

  • buzzdixon

    God did not create laws for humanity; He offered a covenant (i.e., a contract) between Himself and Israel. If the Israelites acknowledged Him and worshiped (i.e., loved) Him properly (i.e., no other gods, idols, treat their relationship w/God seriously, etc.) and act in a manner that brought honor to their parents (i.e., don’t kill, betray spouses, etc.) then God would look after them and make Israel his special treasure among all the earth.

    If they opted not to follow this covenant, God would not punish them: Rather, he would just leave them to their own devices until they realized what they had lost and returned to Him.

    Christ fulfilled this covenant. A contract can be fulfilled, but a law can not. A covenant or contract is between parties that are viewed legally as equal — at least insofar as their ability to freely agree to the terms of the agreement. A law, however it originates, is imposed on people from an exterior source.

    One can not fulfill a law. Running a stop sign remains running a stop sign: No matter how many times we stop, the law against running the stop sign is never fulfilled.

    But a contract can be fulfilled, and this is indeed what God did through Christ. “It is finished” refers not just to his earthly life, but to his mission, and to the OT covenant as well.

    It’s done. Over. It has been replaced by a new covenant, one where we are to love one another in the same way that Christ loved us.

    • Peter

      Thank you for sharing your understanding between law and covenant. I agree with you.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Ya know what I love about Progressive Christian blog threads:
    It is like going to the zoo.
    Lot of different animals (theologies) will be out running around.
    Each talkin’ past each other of course.
    Each ignorin’ each other.
    Each quotin’ their own favorite scriptures.
    What a field day!
    No one stoppin’ to make sense of it all.
    ‘Cause ya can’t.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      I checked out your blog. I enjoyed reading this post [http://triangulations.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/sabioss-de-conversion-the-jesus-coupon/]. I can see myself in it.

      I’m doubtful that making fun of us is the best way to engage us on the essence of your point.

      • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

        Thanx for droppin’ in. Posts are always open for comments.
        I think a lot of Christians would empathize with that post,
        even if they remained Christian after a similar experience.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          You might find there are more of us who might best be described as “optimistically agnostic” than one might think.

          • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

            “Us”?

            I did a post on “Sympathetic Atheists” such that a Venn Diagram may show a greater overlap with your cool phrase of “Optimistically Agnostic”. Sort of like CS Lewis who felt more in common with many Buddhists than with fellow Christians — oh the heresy of that man.

            But the interesting dialogue would be, “What are you optimistic of?” I’d wager if an Optimistic Agnostic were asked that, and they compared their answers to each other they’d vary more than they’d imagine.

            Which takes me to the question I ask of John Shore which was not answered on this post but instead I was confronted by two non-optimistic agnostics! :-)

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Us = Progressive Christians

            Re: “What are you optimistic of?”

            I imagine some (many?) might answer: That there is something after death that resembles something positive.

          • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

            Or some, like me, may answer:
            “That love is the right choice.” (afterlife or none)

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Love is the right choice. Whether there is life after life or none.

          • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

            but i only take that on faith
            the evidence is too weak

          • AtalantaBethulia

            You mentioned C.S. Lewis: “Pain is the price we pay for love… that’s the deal.”

      • Sheila Warner

        I read it, too, and completely understand why Sabio deconverted. My own search for truth led me to the Catholic Church, of all places. But I would characterize myself as more of a liberal Catholic than conservative. I don’t want to see Roe v Wade overturned. The abortion issue puts me at odds with my church.

    • Sheila Warner

      We share opinions on we think the Bible teaches, as well as how we’ve been taught to see the Bible. That’s not talking past each other. This is what robust debate looks like. Sorry you can’t understand that. I believe people read what I write, and, if moved to do so, give me feedback. I love the arena of public debate.

      • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

        Sorry Sheila, your comment was hard to understand.
        Progs vary on how they see the Bible and what it says.
        “Prog” is a wide net.

    • Don M. Burrows

      When you have “made sense” of Christian theology once and for all time, please do let us know.

  • Peter

    God and Jesus are very clear about “good sex” and “bad sex”. They cannot mixed as Jesus explains in the parable of the net. Sex is in everybody’s mind. It is like a net catching all the fishes (everybody). But then the fishes are being separated at the end of times by the fisherman. Live according to good sex
    Overcoming the desire of our flesh when they contradict God’s words is so difficult. But as we see in the NT, faith attracts Grace the most. The Bible says that the fallen world will pass away but God’s word will not.
    We should trust God and understand that we need to be reborn in order to find the true freedom that our first ancestors lost.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Do I dare ask what the difference between good and bad sex according to whatever definition you are using…which I am a bit confused over.

      You see, to me good sex is just that. The people engaging in sex are finding the time enjoyable, they feel a physical and sometimes emotional response, everyone gains something.

      Bad sex lacks any of that for at least one member if the sex engagement.

      I’ve yet to see the bible define the difference between good or bad sex, but my experience sure knows.

    • Sheila Warner

      There is no parable about the net. Jesus permitted the nets to be filled with fish to the point that the net started to tear. Later on he reminds his disciples about their experience, as a way to let them know that in the power of the Holy Spirit, they will save many souls. Nothing about sex at all in that.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I missed that parable too. It must be in the gospel if someone’s imagination following a time spent watching a documentary on modern drag-net fishing.

  • Gonzalo Palacios

    Are not the Bible’s “laws” on homosexuality unbiblical? How relevant are the Mosaic “laws” on sexuality? The answer to these questions is made clear by the Virgin Mary’s FIAT to her Divine Lover: “let it be done according to thy Word” explicitly marks the end of the Mosaic Laws (of the old Covenant) and begins the New Covenant, the Law of Christ. But then, who am I to argue? Gonzalo T. Palacios,Ph.D., author of “The Virgin Mary’s Revolution or Love and do what you will.”

  • Thomas Johnson

    There are 17 scriptures as
    I count them that condemn homosexual conduct in the Bible (ten in the Old
    Testament and seven in the New Testament). There is no question that the prohibition on homosexual conduct in the Old Testament was a part of the gospel of the New Testament as taught by Paul. Jesus also said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth
    from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceeds evil
    thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness,
    blasphemies; These are the things that defile a man” (Matthew 15:18-19).

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      17 huh? I sure don’t.

      Now can you tell me how many you count that mention caring for the poor?

      I suspect that is a much more widely covered topic, and one we should be more concerned with whether or not we count ourselves among the compassionate.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        Oh…OH! I know this one! Over 3,000. Over 3,000 verses in the Bible reference the poor.

        • Sheila Warner

          You are too cool for words. LOL

          • AtalantaBethulia

            ;-)

      • Thomas Johnson

        A lot of verses mention the poor, but that’s not the question is it? The question is what does the Bible say about homosexual behavior.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Leas than that 17 verse estimate. Its such a non issue in comparison to rest of scripture, and that several of the passages in question can easily be taken to be talking about something else entirely, I have to wonder what the obsession is over calling gay people sinful or apart from God or abominations.

          Yet fixate on a few ambiguous passages is exactly what happens, ignoring the thousands that talk about the poor or the wonder and mystery of god o of gods love for us or of how we should be looking more at our own characters and seeking to improve on that instead of pointing fingers and crying “Sinner!” like a religious body snatcher.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Allegro, are you a lesbian? If you are not, why are you trying to ignore what the Bible says about this subject? Different forms of sexual immorality is repeatedly described as some of the most serious sins in the Bible, deserving death under the Mosaic law and loss of salvation under the law of Christ.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Even though who I sleep with is not any of your busnisss, I’ll indulge you…once. I am twice married, a mother of three and grandmother of six.Only because I know know to be polite that I answer you without a tongue lashing becuae of the degrading and intended insulting tone of your query. I hope your mamma taught you better manners then that.

            As for your obsessive view on gay people. Here’s a suggestion. Meet some of them, get to know them, recognize them as neighbor, friend, brother or sister and stop hiding behind your view of what a couple of passage in the Bible may imply, your prejudice, condemnation and fear. You may just be delighted to discover just how expansive God’s love really is.

          • Katie Rucker

            I agree fully, allegro. None of what Thomas is doing is what Jesus preached. Not once did Jesus use insults towards the prostitutes he talked to (which is what those passages about “homosexuals” actually refer to). The only people He hurled insults towards were the Pharisees who believed they were doing everything right, following all the laws, and pleasing God with their devotion to man’s many decrees. You don’t have to be gay to feel love for gay people any more than you have to be a cat to love cats. Ridiculous. If God can love us all has His creations, His CHILDREN, I think man can do the same. When Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself, he didn’t mean “Love your straight white male American neighbors who are Christian”. We all know what He meant.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Katie, I fully agree that God loves all his children, but only those who keep his commandments get his blessings. I have love for all my brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attraction, but I don’t try to teach them that they can engage in homosexual behavior and still have the same blessings as those who do not engage in such behavior.

          • Katie Rucker

            “only those who keep his commandments get his blessings.” Really? Because last time I checked Jesus is the savior of all people, and ESPECIALLY those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10). Again, God blessed us with the ability to love and to give love. Saying that only a certain way of loving is “blessed by God” is a lie of satan. And why would satan lie to you? To build a rift between you and God, and you and God’s people. Homosexuality versus heterosexuality is literally UNIMPORTANT compared to everything else that Jesus commanded we do. Not once did Jesus mention it, and why was that? Because taking care of the poor, the hungry, the widows, and the orphans is literally MORE IMPORTANT than your religious dogma and frivolous arguments that were CREATED BY MAN.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Yes, Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments . . . He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:15, 21). John said, “And hereby we do know that we know him [Jesus Christ] if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him” (1 John 2:3-5). Engaging in sexual relations where there is no marriage and no possibility of conceiving children is not love, it is fornication and lust.

          • Katie Rucker

            “and no possibility of conceiving children is not love, it is fornication and lust.” Again. Many people are infertile. Your argument is pointless.

          • Thomas Johnson

            It is fornication and lust if they are not married and those who are married who engage in sexual relations are not committing sin even if one or both are infertile.

          • Katie Rucker

            You know, I’m really glad that God is the real judge, and not you. I probably stand a better chance with God than any man who thinks he knows better than God.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Katie, this will be my last post to you, but the reason I am communicating again is the immense respect I have for the many persons I have known over the past 65 years who experience same-sex attraction but who do not engage in homosexual behavior. I have known the pain they suffer for a long time; some of them choose to be celibate and some have married and have children despite the tauntings and unmerciful criticism of practicing homosexuals who tell them they are being untrue to themselves just so they can justify their own lifestyle. I have immense respect for those who have been involved in homosexual behavior but who decided to repent and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the people that will receive the great rewards in the judgment day of our Lord, and I want to be there as a witness for their righteousness.

          • Katie Rucker

            Convincing someone that their natural self is wrong, convincing them that they must change themselves and live a life that feels wrong to them, convincing them that they must live a life where they never feel true happiness and will only hurt others in the process…that is just about the most evil thing that I can think of. I will never agree with what you do or what you believe. My God is not evil. My God is good and just and loving. My God loves all people for who they are and for who He created them as. May God have mercy on your soul for allowing and encouraging so many people to torture themselves for the way they were born.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Respecting people who have been deceived into living a lie…Why am I not surprised?

          • Sheila Warner

            “Engaging in sexual relations where there is no marriage and no possibility of conceiving children is not love, it is fornication and lust.” There are plenty of married couples who cannot conceive. Should they be denied the right to marry? Should such a marriage be annulled? Do you think that sex between such a husband and wife is fornication and lust? Just what is your religion, anyway? I notice you only use the KJV.

          • Sheila Warner

            Curious–do you think divorced couples don’t have the same blessings as those who stay married?

          • Thomas Johnson

            Oh, wow, Allegro, I only asked the question about your sexual orientation because you are trying to argue that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexual behavior; in my experience it is the people who are involved in such behavior who are the most active in minimizing or dismissing what the Bible says about this issue. I would point out that you really didn’t answer my question because I personally know several people who have been married and have had children, but now claim to be gay. But your assumption about me is also wrong. My wife and I were group leaders for a group of ten men with same-sex attraction who met weekly to discuss their lives, issues, and challenges. We did this for two years and I am still actively involved with many same-sex attracted people in attending conferences and retreats. As I can say, “some of my best friends are gay.” Although same sex attraction is very real, engaging in homosexual behavior is a choice, and we do a great disservice to our friends and family members with same-sex attraction by not discouraging them from getting involved in a lifestyle that is risky, dangerous, damaging, lonely, often promiscuous, barren, and which separates them from the love of God.

          • Katie Rucker

            Heterosexual relationships are often “risky, dangerous, damaging, and lonely, often a promiscuous, barren, and which separates them from the love of God.” That isn’t exclusive to gays. It all depends on the person you are with.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Katie, from your picture it appears you are with someone in a heterosexual relationship, so you apparently show by your actions that a heterosexual relationship is better. And, the whole point of this discussion is whether engaging in homosexual behavior brings God’s blessings or doesn’t.

          • Katie Rucker

            I am in a relationship that is good and healthy for me, personally, but what is good for me is not necessarily good for other people. Notice how I, a white person, am also in a relationship with a person of color, something that was considered UNBIBLICAL less than 100 years ago. You are using the bible to condemn homosexuals, just like not that long ago white people were using the bible to justify considering black people as subhuman, and justify forcing them into slavery. They truly believed that they had God’s blessing while punishing a group of people, and now you are that punisher believing that you have God’s blessing.

          • Thomas Johnson

            The Bible condemns slavery. Rather than quoting all the verses here, I will just give you the citations: Exodus 3:9; 21:16; Deuteronomy 31:10-14; 224:7; Jeremiah 34:8-22. In the Roman society where slavery was permitted by the civil law, Paul taught slaves that their status as slaves would not interfere with their ability to have salvation. There is a great difference, however, there are no scriptures in the Old or New Testaments that recommend or condone homosexual behavior.

          • Katie Rucker

            And yet in our history slavery was still justified by people who used scripture from the bible just like you’re using lack of scripture to justify the condemnation of certain people. The bible doesn’t mention a lot of things. The bible doesn’t recommend or condone many things that we do or have today. Paul mentioned slavery because it was a relevant topic of the time. Jesus said that only two laws remain after his death, you should know them. In other words, if something is not loving, it is sinful. If something is hurtful, it is a sin because it is not loving. Two consenting adults together is not hurting anyone, and therefore is not sinful.

          • Thomas Johnson

            There was a popular book quite a few years ago titled, “I’m O.K., You’re
            O.K.” It is really the idea that everybody should live and let live,
            people shouldn’t worry about whether they or their neighbor are keeping
            the commandments of God. This is like your idea that “two consenting adults together is not hurting anyone, and therefore it is not sinful.” Jesus did not say there were to be just two commandments after his time; he said they are the two “great” commandments. Do you think that Jesus approved of adultery or fornication because it is done between two consenting adults? Sometimes we can become so broad-minded that
            our brains fall out. Unfortunately, there are many man-made philosophies
            that are not consistent with the Bible which teaches the importance of
            developing virtue (through self-control and self-mastery) and avoiding
            vice, loving the sinner but turning the sinner away from sin (and God defines what is sin).

          • Katie Rucker

            Jesus said “All the laws and the prophets hang on these two commands”.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Lust is not love. Fornication or adultery is not love. Homosexual conduct is not love. The first of the two commandments is to love God, which means that we should put obedience to God’s commandments ahead of loving friends, neighbors, and family.

          • buzzdixon

            I’ll give you a nickel if you can show me where God commanded anything in the OT.

            Oh, there are plenty of individuals — products of their particular time, place, and culture — who claimed God commanded something, but as Rabbi Hillel and Jesus taught, they were only interpreting things as they understood them.

            The Decalogue is a contract between two parties — God and the Israelites — who are considered equal insofar as they can choose whether or not to agree to the terms of the contract.

            God promised to look after the Israelites and make them His special treasure among all the earth IF they worshiped Him properly (i.e., no other gods, no idols, no nature worship, do not invoke Him trivially, take time to meditate on your relationship w/God) and if they behaved so they were a credit (i.e., “honor”) to their parents (i.e., don’t murder, don’t betray a spouse, don’t take somebody else’s property, don’t lie to pervert justice, don’t want stuff you can’t have).

            If the Israelites — collectively or individually — break these clauses, God would not punish them; rather, he’d just withdraw His protection and let them deal with the world on their own.

            Rabbi Hillel — whom Christ quoted directly — boiled all this down to “Love God, love your fellow man” (famously adding “everything else is commentary”). Christ, during his earthly life, told his disciples he had come to fulfill (i.e., complete) the OT covenant, not do away with it. He did that by dying on the cross.

            Now the OT covenant is finished and done away with. All the attendent laws are done away with (viz. Peter’s vision of the clean & unclean animals). In their place is a new covenant: Love each other the way Jesus loves us.

          • Sheila Warner

            I’ve been a Christian nearly my whole life, I’m 58, and I was raised a “Fundie” so I know my way around the Bible. Yet, I have never heard of Rabbi Hillel. Where can I find out more about him?

          • buzzdixon

            Here’s Wikipedia; not a bad jumping off point. Lotsa websites devoted to the good rabbi.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillel_the_Elder
            (Hmmm, I wonder…could Hillel have been in the temple the time Christ stayed behind to talk w/religious leaders while Mary & Joseph returned to their village?)

          • Sheila Warner

            Thank you.

          • buzzdixon

            …so what you’re saying is “I’m OK, You’re OK” = The Golden Rule…?

            Which means you think Jesus was wrong…

          • Lee

            Slavery was enshrined in Mosaic Law in God’s own words if you believe that he literally talked to Moses:

            “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who
            live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners,
            including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your
            property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may
            treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must
            never be treated this way.” (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

            There is even a verse about how to BEAT your slave:

            “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave
            dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for
            a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own
            property.” (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

            Yes this is off the topic but I get annoyed when Christians claim that the bible does not condone slavery.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Hi, Lee. I am glad you acknowledge this is off-topic, but I think you deserve a response. When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, He said, “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them” (Exodus 3:9). Under the Law of Moses, “[H]e that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:16). Further, if a man captured a woman during warfare, he could take her as a wife, but “thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14). “If a man be
            found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you” (Deuteronomy 24:7). Under the Law of Moses, a
            person might be sold into bondage for failure to pay his or her debts, but under that Law, all such persons were to go free after seven years. Because the Israelites failed to abide by this law and continued to keep their bondservants
            in slavery, God proclaimed that Jerusalem would be burned and they would be enslaved by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 34:8-22). Among peoples whose civil laws permitted slavery Paul taught, “[Y]e masters, do the same things unto them [your servants], forbearing threatening:
            knowing that your Master also is in heaven: neither is there respect of persons with him” (Ephesians 6:9). Paul also taught, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke [who are Christians] count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather to do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit” (1 Timothy 6:1-2). In the Book of Revelation, John warned, “He that leadeth [others] into captivity shall go into captivity” (Revelation 13:10).
            So,Lee, I don’t try to justify slavery, but your citation of a verse that apparently approves of slavery from the Bible doesn’t mean there are any verses in the Bible that approves of homosexual behavior.

          • Don M. Burrows

            The point in bringing up slavery is that the Bible never overtly questions it as a human institution; nor was it every questioned in antiquity. There are several passages in the New Testament that endorse the institution, yet we today accept that these verses reflect their ancient context. Those who have prejudicial opinions against “homosexuality,” on the other hand, refuse to extend that contextual charity to the verses they use to rationalize their prejudice, and this is unfortunate.

          • Thomas Johnson

            No, Don, didn’t you read my earlier posts? The Bible condemns slavery and the New Testament passages do not endorse it. The opinions on homosexuality that many of us have are not “prejudiced”, unless you agree that God is prejudiced against sin.

          • Don M. Burrows

            Yes, they do endorse it. I don’t need to read your earlier posts, but you can feel free to repeat whatever argument you think you have against them (I’m not going to go hunting them down). They clearly support the institution itself, as any mainstream scholar of antiquity could easily confirm.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Actually, Don, I don’t care enough about your opinion to re-post for your benefit the things I have already said.

          • Don M. Burrows

            It’s pretty clear from most of these posts that you don’t care about any evidence that contradicts the doctrine you’re peddling — and that’s what it is. Not an honest conclusion based on an open study of the Bible and its contexts, but an ideology you care more about than any genuine study of the issues.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So the book of Philemon doesn’t count?

          • Sheila Warner

            Okay, this is just fantastic. I assume you have a blog? I must find it.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            The inestimable Don M. Burrows can also be found at http://www.donmburrows.com/.

          • Sheila Warner

            Thanks! I found it and signed up for emails of your blog.

          • Lee

            Thomas, if you read closely you will see the anti-slavery verses applied to how Jews were to treat THEIR OWN PEOPLE.

            “If a man be
            found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you” (Deuteronomy 24:7).

            It was talking about kidnapping and selling their own people to foreigners.

            The Jews sometimes sold themselves into indentured servitude but were freed after seven years. Foreigners were never freed:

            “You may treat them as your
            property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may
            treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must
            never be treated this way.” (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

            Again this is a side topic and I personally want to do more research about what the bible says about homosexuality. But as I do not believe that God has a religion then I am not avoiding discussing that, other than to say that the bible is contradictory in most things. And I do believe that we have to take a reasonable point of view that says the bible is not God’s word, but rather the words of men trying to understand God.

          • Sheila Warner

            And, further, God tells the Israelites to enslave those they catch during war. It was a common practice back then.

          • Don M. Burrows

            Wrong; slavery as an institution is not condemned. Of course it’s opposed with respect to the Israelites! It’s utter sophistry to then suggest that this can be extended to the institution as a whole. The later epistles are quite clear in their endorsement of imperial ideology, including slave-holding, with their repeated admonitions to obey your masters, even if they are violent.

            “There is a great difference, however, there are no scriptures in the Old or New Testaments that recommend or condone homosexual behavior.” Indeed, there are no verses whatsoever that address what we understand to be “homosexuality,” with the benefit of modern science, medicine, and psychology. It’s debatable (and an ongoing debate) just how they conceived of homoeroticism at all. What is clear, however, is that when Paul addresses it, he fails to use the most common terminology for same-sex relationships and instead coins his own curious word.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Don, I disagree with you, so I am willing to let you keep your opinions.

          • Don M. Burrows

            They’re not opinions, really. They are the consensus of virtually all scholars of antiquity. Check out what the Oxford Classical Dictionary says about slavery in antiquity, including the passages in the New Testament.

          • Sheila Warner

            “…so you apparently show by your actions that a heterosexual relationship is better.” What about gays who show by their actions that they are gay? Does that then not mean that gay is at least as good, if not better? Your logic is askew here.

          • Sheila Warner

            Once again, all I can say is wow. You’re right.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Well Thomas, you have either not encountered straight people who honestly support equality for all people and who do not believe being gay is any more a sin than being brown eyed it fond of bacon it human. Or maybe you’ve opted not to recognize us as existing.

            There are lots us us who feel that this whole “gays are ebil” mantra is hurtful, to society, to our communities and families and to Christianity.
            We have no problems with gay people in our families, beside us in our church pews or even representing us in government. They, to me, and to others who think like me look at someone who just happens to be gay or transexual or Any of the biological sexual variations that exist in our species , and see them as someone God adores, just as I know god adores me

          • Thomas Johnson

            Well, allegro, I don’t know what to think of someone who thinks God “adores” them. I think it is pretty arrogant to say that I don’t care what God thinks as he has expressed it through his prophets in the Bible. it sounds more like a religion you have created for yourself.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            For what’s its worth to you Thomas, I think God adores you too.

          • Thomas Johnson

            There was a popular book quite a few years ago titled, “I’m O.K., You’re O.K.” It is really the idea that everybody should live and let live, people shouldn’t worry about whether they or their neighbor is keeping the commandments of God, Sometimes we can become so broad-minded that our brains fall out. Unfortunately, there are many man-made philosophies that are not consistent with the Bible which teaches the importance of developing virtue (through self-control and self-mastery) and avoiding vice, loving the sinner but turning the sinner away from sin.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Rwoaritive therapy… sigh. Another means of telling people that who and what they are isn’t good enough and trying to force them into an unnatural ideal. A means that has proven repeatedly to be unsuccessful, as either people will lie to themselves and to the world just to fit in, or they will be honest and embrace who God made them to be

            I know people mean well, but is guilting people into dishonesty is so sad.

          • Thomas Johnson

            It was God’s apostle that said that homosexual conduct is “unnatural” (Romans 1:24-27, 31-32). There is no evidence that God “made” people to have same-sex attraction or that it is being “dishonest” with themselves to refrain from homosexual conduct. The scientist admit they have not been able to find any homosexual gene. The fact only 20% of identical twins are both homosexual shows that DNA is not the source of same-sex attractions. Many other factors such as hormones, imprinting, child molestation, female dominance, and absence of fathers have been shown to play a role in each individual case. But in no case is it necessary for people who feel this attraction to choose to engage in homosexual behavior.

        • Katie Rucker

          Christianity isn’t about focusing on the negative, the sin, the abomination, or whatever you like to call it. It’s about focusing on the positive: love, mercy, generosity, Heaven, etc. Especially when every passage that mentions homosexuality today was actually translated from words that had nothing to do with homosexuality.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Katie, I have read the efforts made by several people to explain away these 17 different scriptures in the Bible by trying to say that they weren’t referring to homosexual behavior and that they were referring to prostitutes; these explanations are just not persuasive.

          • buzzdixon

            I’m a red-letter Christian; i.e., I give primacy to what came directly from God, not what was interpreted by a human being who was the only person to hear (literally or spiritually) what God had to say.

            This means in the OT I put the Decalogue (commonly but erroneously referred to as the 10 Commandments) above everything else b/c that is the only example of God speaking out loud to a lot of earwitnesses who could compare notes. In the NT I put Jesus (God made flesh) above the apostles. (Sidebar: We know Moses was not a reliable earwitness because Exodus 19 demonstrates him adding onto things God told him to tell the Israelites; so if it’s important that Exodus 19 be included — and it is — then it must be to show even the best of prophets can feel a need to embellish what God said)

            Whenever faced w/moral or Biblical question, I ask first “what did God and/or Jesus say about it?” If I can’t find them talking about something then I think we can safely say the matter is up for personal, individual interpretation & understanding, and if someone has a different reading from us, that’s okay so long as we don’t force our understanding on them or they force their understanding on us (viz. Paul discussing the morality of eating meat offered to pagan idols; basically he said if you think it’s a sin then it is for you but if your co-religionist doesn’t think it’s a sin then it’s not for her).

            I don’t see either God or Jesus saying anything about same sex orientation. Jesus did say it was better to be so devoted to God that any & all sexual desire dwindled in comparison, but he recognized very few people were capable of that kind of devotion.

            So basically I don’t think sex matters all that much to God so long as a person — regardless of orientation — is kind, compassionate, loving, and just to their fellow human beings and doesn’t betray any person they are intimately involved with.

          • Sheila Warner

            I believe that, if the Bible itself was ever infallible. that was only true of the very first manuscripts, which we don’t have. The Bible has been copied over and over and over again. It has been translated out of its original languages. So, no, I don’t see the entire Bible as without error. But I believe the Holy Spirit protected it from spiritual error; that is, in matters of faith and morals, we can trust what is within its pages. Also, we must rely on scholars who understand the complexities of Hebrew and Greek.

    • Sheila Warner

      Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality. St Paul did. He also said a woman can’t speak in church, that she has to have long hair or some kind of covering, and that her husband is the head of her. And, he counseled people to remain single if at all possible. How do we separate what St Paul was thinking from what Jesus was thinking? He claimed to speak on behalf of Jesus, but the archaic views on women have long been done away with. If what he said was true in the same sense as Jesus’ words were true, we’d still have the treatment of women today as we had back then.

      • Thomas Johnson

        Sheila, Jesus said things that apply to homosexual behavior, including,“And he [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matthew 19:4-5). “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness,blasphemies; These are the things that defile a man” (Matthew 15:18-19). As far as Paul is concerned, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our scriptures, including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants correct some of the misunderstandings that were in the teachings of Paul; for example, we do not believe that women should keep silence in the church. Paul also said “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11), meaning they are partners in their marriage. When Paul counseled that people remain single, he was speaking to those who were going out as missionaries and it applied only for the time they were missionaries. But we are not talking about how women should be treated in the church; we are talking about whether homosexual behavior is a sin, both in the Old Testament and New Testament.

        • Katie Rucker

          You, and everyone else trying to make an invalid point, have left off the end of that scripture in order to suit your needs. “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” It’s about divorce. All Jesus is saying is “If you do get married, don’t get divorced.” That’s it. He was also referring to the culture of the time by describing how men and women leave their families to get married, as per the custom of their culture. Marriage was a required duty. Women who did not marry starved to death. Girls were also sold to the highest bidder by their fathers, they were basically slaves. That’s just the way it was. That doesn’t make it a definition or a guideline. Do you think Jesus really supports women being slaves to their husbands?

          • Thomas Johnson

            Katie, I agree with you that Jesus was making a point about divorce, but do you think Jesus would have quoted that scripture from the Old Testament if he disagreed with it? Why did God make male and female? Do you think God or Jesus really intended that men would marry men and women would marry women. In that case, there would have been no reason to give the commandment to “multiply and replenish the earth”, if marriage was supposed to be same sex. Of course, humanity would have lasted only one generation. And, no, I don’t think Jesus supports women being slaves to their husbands–didn’t I just quote Paul that they are supposed to be equal partners in marriage? So, let’s stay with the topic–what the Bible says about the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, not what the Bible says about how to treat women.

          • Katie Rucker

            Basic biology of mammals says that male and female are needed in order to breed and create new life. I believe that God created man and woman for that reason, and ALSO in the intention of us to love each other, regardless of sexual preference. All your passages on “homosexuality” and the condemnation of such are bastardized translations of the Greek text in order to fill an agenda. Those Greek texts actually refer to temple prostitutes more often than not. There is no difference between heterosexual love, and homosexual love, besides the fact that one can create life, and the other can’t. The way I see it, heterosexual love is more dangerous than homosexual. But if God blessed us with this ability to love, no matter who the person is or their personal gender, why would you deny it? Why would you call one of God’s greatest blessings evil and sinful? It is satan himself convincing you that love can be evil.

          • Thomas Johnson

            I didn’t call homosexual love evil and sinful, God did. Sex has two purposes–to create physical bodies for God’s spirit children to inhabit and to build strong emotional bonds between husband and wife. Through having and raising children we learn as parents how much God loves us as his children. Sex that is only for physical pleasure or that has no possibility of creating children (as in homosexual relationships) is selfish and a perversion of his purposes in creating us.

          • Katie Rucker

            So those who are infertile are selfish and perverse for having sex? (Watch your arguments). And God did not say that ANY love is evil (except maybe the love of money or possessions.)

          • Thomas Johnson

            Katie, please, let’s keep this discussion honest. No intelligent person or God would condemn a person as a sinner who could not biologically have a child or a person who is properly married having sex with their spouse. Love, as defined in the scriptures, is about commitment in marriage, selflessness, sacrifice, and giving; lust is about getting sensual pleasure and avoiding commitment.

          • Katie Rucker

            Well then be honest. “Love, as defined in the scriptures, is about commitment in marriage, selflessness, sacrifice, and giving” Gay people are not capable of this? Tell me, how are you different from a gay person in God’s eyes?

          • Thomas Johnson

            People who engage in homosexual behavior outside of marriage are expressing lust, not love. Even those homosexuals who are married are not engaging in sex for the purpose of having children and fulfilling God’s plan for his spirit children to come to earth. I am different from those who engage in homosexual behavior because I don’t engage in homosexual behavior. I did not and do not engage in sexual behavior outside of marriage–that’s what I understand God requires of us in order to get his highest blessings.

          • Katie Rucker

            You did not answer my question. How are you different from a gay person in God’s eyes?

          • Thomas Johnson

            I obey his commandments regarding sexual morality, and, therefore, I am entitled to the blessings he has promised to those who keep that commandment. A “gay” person who engages in homosexual conduct is not obeying God’s commandments, and, therefore, is not entitled to God’s blessings for obedience to that commandment.

          • Don M. Burrows

            You are actually out of line with a lot of mainstream scholarship, so I’m thinking you might not be in as good of graces as you think. But I’m sure you and the minority number of followers who agree with you tell themselves this on a regular basis.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Don, I don’t know what you mean by the “mainstream scholarship”, and I don’t accept your supposedly superior knowledge regarding it, I think the 17 scriptures in the Bible are very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin; it is only those who want to engage in the sin, but have other people accept it that argue that the Bible verses are unclear or don’t mean what they say.

          • Don M. Burrows

            Not really, but keep telling yourself that. In point of fact the greatest minds on the planet in the history of ancient sexuality are still debating what exactly they thought of when they conceived of “homosexuality,” if they conceived of it at all (in the way that term implies). I’m sure that every verse you wish to support your ideology is “very clear,” while any that cause you trouble or pause (like those regarding slavery) require all manner of elaborate, sophisticated rationalization to suggest that they don’t say what they seem to say; your selective implementation of that rationalization tips your hand — you care more about your sexual ideology than you do about God or what the Bible really says. The only question, then, is why?

          • Katie Rucker

            So then you are without sin? You follow all of God’s commands to the dot?

          • Thomas Johnson

            No, but I follow this commandment. Do you?

          • Katie Rucker

            So you admit you are a sinner?

          • Thomas Johnson

            Yes, the Bible says that those who claim they are without sin are liars and the truth is not in them.

          • Katie Rucker

            Then you are no different from homosexuals. You are no better than them.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Are you trying to say that it is O.K. for any person to engage in sin because somebody else has sinned?

          • Katie Rucker

            No I’m saying that just because you’re heterosexual doesn’t mean that you have any more favor with God than a homosexual. Get off of your high horse. It doesn’t go well with the humble nature of Christ.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Actually a great many married heterosexual couples are “sodomites” who engage in non-procreative sex acts with their spouses.

          • Thomas Johnson

            I am not quite sure on what basis you have the purported knowledge to say what a “great many” married heterosexual couples do, but I would say a “great many” engage in procreative sex acts.

          • Katie Rucker

            You’re arguing for something that is not even biblical. We were not commanded to have children. We were not condemned if we did not have children. In fact, Paul even mentions, in his opinion, that it is better to stay unmarried and focus on God, and if that’s the case for some people then those people are not having children. We are not required to have children. That is ludicrous.

          • Lee

            Joseph Smith’s idea for making more Mormons.

          • Katie Rucker

            The fact that you feel like you’re entitled to anything says a lot about you. You are entitled to nothing but what God deems you’re worthy. There are gay people in my life (who happen to also be Christians, imagine that) and they are living pretty blessed lives.

          • Don M. Burrows

            “People who engage in homosexual behavior outside of marriage are expressing lust, not love.” An opinion only, and a rather empty one at that.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Yes, but it is God’s opinion and when it comes to defining sin, his is the only one that counts.

          • Don M. Burrows

            Not really. It’s your opinion, rationalized with the Bible through sophomoric proof-texting.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Who do you think you are Don to dismiss my analysis as “sophomoric proof-texting”? I am just as entitled to my opinion about what the Bible teaches as you are.

          • Katie Rucker

            Opinions that demonize certain people and ruin their lives (which is obviously unloving), and the FACT that God loves and accepts all people, are two completely different things.

          • Thomas Johnson

            God loves them, but, as I repeat myself, He does not bless them with the blessings that come from obedience to his commandments to marry and have children.

          • Katie Rucker

            Oh, what an ego have you that you should feel holier than thou.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            What blessings? what if its a Hindu couple, or Muslim, or Sikhs who marry and have kids? Do they receive the same blessings?

          • Don M. Burrows

            Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Not all of them are supported equally by the evidence.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            It’s simply abjectly false to claim that gay people in long-term, committed, monogamous relationships are expressing lust not love.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Where is the willing to sacrifice their lust for obedience to God’s commandments, including to multiply and replenish the earth?

          • Katie Rucker

            The earth is overpopulated beyond sustainability, genius. God didn’t command for us to copulate until we’re all starving.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I didn’t say lust. I said love.

            Where is your willingness to sacrifice your love for the dearest person to you – whom you love more than life itself – for obedience to God’s commandments?

            Think of the person dearest to you. Your child. Your wife. A parent. A close friend. Whomever you can’t imagine being able to tolerate this life without…

            And now imagine society telling you that your love for them is perverse. Imagine a religion different from your own telling you that their ancient book says that your love is evil and dirty and you may not have the same legal rights as they do because of your love for this person.

            Can you imagine that?
            Are you willing and able to put yourself in those shoes and walk in them?

          • Thomas Johnson

            Atalanta, it is lust if the persons are unwilling to sacrifice their own desires in order to fulfill God’s commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. The Bible regularly teaches us that sacrificing our own will to be obedient to God is what we are here to learn in this life and is the basis for our self-development and spiritual growth. Take Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, for example. What are you talking about that different religions don’t condemn homosexual behavior. It is condemned in Christianity (Catholic, Baptist, at least), Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism. In which religion is it promoted?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            RE: “it is lust if the persons are unwilling to sacrifice their own desires in order to fulfill God’s commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.”

            To deny that gay people are able, and do, have and share genuine, fidelitas love is a convenience for you in order to maintain your confirmation bias and worldview by denying reality.

            I was quite used to this in my Evangelical Fundamentalist rearing. They would roll over in their graves to know how similarly you and they interpret scripture.

            Your inability to show compassion in my hypothetical scenario indicates to me your true character, and I see no reason to continue this conversation.

          • Sheila Warner

            How refreshing that you consider Catholics to be Christians. I don’t get that very often from Protestants. They love to say that I am headed straight to hell.

          • Lee

            So what you are saying is that gay people are animals with no capacity to give or receive love. If that were the case then none of them would have long-lasting monogamous relationships. You may disagree on whether it is moral or not, but this rationalization on your part does not work.

            As far as commited marital relationships in the bible polygamy was the norm, and women were property. We have in many ways evolved past that. Using the bible to come up with a definition of marriage is tricky, especially when men were also allowed to have concubines (sex slaves).

          • Thomas Johnson

            No, I am saying that when people engage in sexual relationships with no intention or ability to have children that they are not acting within the purposes for which God gave us bodies and sent us here to this earth. We are supposed to use or ability to reproduce so that other spirit children of God can come here to this earth and we are supposed to learn sacrifice and love by helping our children develop into successful, God-loving adults who will do the same. In regard to marriage, I agree that many people in the Bible practiced polygamy and some had concubines (which I don’t think are properly characterized as “sex slaves”), but it is not always clear that either one was approved of by God.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Thomas, it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of Christendom disagrees with Mormon doctrine regarding all that is encompassed regarding reproduction and family ties in this life and the next.

            It is clear that having multiple wives and concubines were not categorically disapproved of by God in scripture.

          • Katie Rucker

            God did bless King Solomon with more wives.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And sex slaves.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Atalanta,
            In regard to the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, I know that I have at least all the Catholics and all the Baptists on my side and I am not willing to take the time right now to identify the other Christian denominations that agree with me, but you are surely not right in thinking that the “vast majority” of Christendom disagrees with me on this issue.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            When I said, “the vast majority of Christendom disagrees with Mormon doctrine regarding all that is encompassed regarding reproduction and family ties in this life and the next,” I was not talking about homosexuality. I was talking about spirit babies and the benefits afforded to faithful Mormons in the next life because of the size of their families.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Well, then, you are off-topic. This blog is about the acceptability of homosexual behavior in the Bible. And, unless you are a “Mormon” why would you purport to say what Mormons believe?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            You are the one who introduced Mormon doctrine. So, I’m not off topic, and it’s relevant.

          • Thomas Johnson

            It’s not relevant. Unfortunately, I have no more time to devote to this conversation after giving it two hours, but I am flattered that my comments have attracted the interest of you and four other people.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Mormon doctrine regarding the importance of pro-creation is absolutely relevant when 1) you are Mormon and 2) you are making the case for why homosexuality is incompatible with good theology/doctrine.

            If those procreative proscriptions (which, admittedly, many Catholics share) are inherent to one’s theological worldview in order to receive God’s favor, then they are absolutely relevant to this conversation.

          • Sheila Warner

            Oh, I don’t know, but maybe it’s the same reason people say my Catholicism is leading me to hell.

          • Sheila Warner

            All Catholics and all Baptists? Are you kidding me? You are flat out wrong. You can say “most”, but you cannot say “all.”

          • GC1

            You keep going back and forth, Thomas. Either you think it’s okay for married people to have sex for pleasure or not. You’ve said both now more than once.

          • GC1

            Based on that statement then you’re okay with gays having sex as long as they’re married. Okay. Thanks.

          • Katie Rucker

            Love as defined in the scripture:
            “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

            8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

          • AtalantaBethulia

            So, no birth control? No non-procreative sex between heterosexual couples?

          • Thomas Johnson

            Yes, birth control for the spacing of children, provided that the married couple also fulfill their responsibility at some point to have children.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Then you align yourself with James Dobson and Focus on the Family in claiming that voluntary childlessness is sin?

            And while I might agree with you that I find my children to be a blessing and an ongoing learning experience, I do not see my having children nor other’s choice not to have them as having anything at all to do with my faith.

            I understand that that is inconsistent with Mormon doctrine. But, most people aren’t Mormon.

          • Thomas Johnson

            If that’s what James Dobson and Focus on the Family teaches, then I agree with them.

          • Don M. Burrows

            “Their responsibility …”? So you categorically deny the entirety of Christianity in antiquity, which saw marriage and children as an ill, not a gain? Not to mention those verses in the New Testament that led them to think thus? More rationalization of your own ideology through selective proof-texting. Nothing new, though, so no surprise there.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Yes, Don, among the Israelites children were always considered a great blessing and several women who were barren always considered it a great misfortune.

          • Katie Rucker

            That’s because in the culture at the time continuing their family lines was extremely important to them. It was their social standing. Plus, the population was very small, nothing like today’s populations.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Katie, are you aware that populations are declining in certain countries and that many sociologists are concerned about the “underpopulation winter”?
            Unfortunately, I have no more time to devote to this conversation after
            giving it two hours, but I am flattered that my comments have attracted
            the interest of you and four other people.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Certain countries is still < total world population growth.

          • Don M. Burrows

            And we’re flattered that you are so threatened by opposing viewpoints so as to invest said two hours to begin with, all to assert a bevy of arguments which we have heard ad nauseam so many times before.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Because in patriarchal societies such as those (and in some still today) a woman’s worth was measured by her ability to pro-create and thus not only please her husband but increase his social standing.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And primarily to produce sons, Daughters not so much.

          • Don M. Burrows

            But not among early Christians, or even among many of the writers of the New Testament. But nice dodge.

          • GC1

            Since you said up above that physical pleasure is selfish and a perversion then there is no need for birth control. You’re talking in circles.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Birth control for the spacing of children…yeah, that is why until recently death by childbirth was such an epidemic, along with high infant mortality rates, and still is in countries with no birth control options. Great method there….cept its not.

          • Sheila Warner

            There are plenty of straight Christians who believe sex is for pleasure, albeit in marriage. They use artificial contraceptives to block the procreative portion of sex. Are they evil people?

          • Oswald Carnes

            I am SO glad I’m not going to have spend eternity surrounded by idiots like you. May you soon experience the eternal bliss of paradise.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Oswald, that is one of the clearest teachings of the Bible, that after our death and judgment, there will be a separation of the righteous, the honorable, and the wicked into three groups and they will not have association with each other throughout eternity.

          • Sheila Warner

            I always said that homosexual relations distort the biological intentions of our procreative organs. Then I saw a video on Gay Christian Network, in which the person (whose name I forget) used the illustration that hands are not designed for speech–unless one is deaf. I found his argument pretty compelling. There are biological exceptions to the rule. There have been thousands of babies born with both male and female genitalia, for example. Are they perverted if they happen to pick the wrong gender for the rest of their lives? I don’t think so.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “In that case, there would have been no reason to give the commandment to “multiply and replenish the earth”

            Let’s talk about that.

            If God, in the beginning, created one man and one woman and we take a literal reading of Genesis – then we have to admit that God’s proscription for replenishing the earth included incest.

            And if you can’t bring yourself to accept that this was the case and say, “Well, there must have been more to the story that Scripture doesn’t tell us,” then you make an argument from silence which can also be used about loving, committed same sex relationships.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Atalanta, it was God’s purpose in the beginning of the earth to have it peopled. That’s why it was created and that’ why we agreed as God’s spirit children to come here and participate in the project. Adam and Eve and all of us are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. We are not commanded to sacrifice a woman’s life by, for example, having children faster than we have strength and means to take care of them. And how would it be incest for Adam to have sex with his wife? If you are referring to later generations, there was no proscription on incest until the law of Moses many hundreds of years later when there were plenty of people who were not brothers or sisters.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “And how would it be incest for Adam to have sex with his wife?”

            No. It would be incest for Adam and Eve’s children to have sex with the only people available for them to populate the earth by – each other.

            Re: “If you are referring to later generations, there was no proscription on incest until the law of Moses many hundreds of years later when there were plenty of people who were not brothers or sisters.”

            Well, what a convenient technicality that is.

            This would go against the notion that God never changes God’s mind. And admits, that in order to take a literal reading of Genesis, one must accept that God’s plan for humanity from the get go was incest.

            Nifty.

          • Thomas Johnson

            Well, let’s get to the heart of the matter? Do you believe the Bible is the word of God?

          • Katie Rucker

            The bible was written by man, inspired by God, but still written by man, and men are not perfect. Thus, the horribly botched English translations that we have today.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I believe in inspiration. I do not believe in inerrancy nor literalism.

          • Sheila Warner

            I’m with you on this one.

          • GC1

            I hear this argument often from people who haven’t really thought it through–that if gays were supposed to marry then humanity wouldn’t last. If only 5% (give or take) of the population is gay then that would have no bearing on procreation and more babies being born. Allowing gays to marry doesn’t mean straights can’t. Since God made people gay I fully believe he intends them to be in faithful relationships.

          • Sheila Warner

            And why is the population decreasing in some countries? Because straights are choosing to remain childless. It’s hardly because there are gays in the world.

        • Sheila Warner

          In Matthew 19, Jesus was replying to a question about whether divorce was permitted. You, like others, leave out the rest of the passage, in which Jesus says what God has joined together, no man may separate. Then he shocks everyone with the pronouncement that divorce, except in cases of infidelity, are not valid in God’s eyes–anyone who marries a divorced woman is actually committing adultery. As to the passage in Matthew 15, Jesus declares that fornication is an evil which comes from the heart. If you want to assume that means homosexuality, be my guest. It seems to me that the translators who chose to use homosexuality as the name of the sin in Romans 1 and in one of the letters to Timothy, would certainly have translated fornication as homosexuality if it was the same Greek word. It was not. I have no idea why you quoted the I Corinthian passage. I was pointing out that Paul was very severe in his rebukes, that’s all. As to his choice to remain celibate, it wasn’t merely because of a mission trip. He is speaking to anyone with leadership responsibilities. He even advises women not to marry: the times were very dangerous. Not to mention that Paul believed that a wife could not consistently meet her husband’s needs because she was trying to please God. That is a ridiculous thing to say. Paul was the epitome of the thinking of his era.

        • Nikk Jesues Theunissen

          JESUS DOES NOT CONDEMN!!! INSTEAD OF READING YOUR BOOK, ASK THE MAN HIMSELF FFS

        • Sheila Warner

          Jesus was talking about divorce. Yes, God made humans to be male and female, and it was the culture of the day that men and women married. No one knew about sexual orientation back then. The Pharisees wanted permission to get divorced. Jesus said no, on that question. The reaction to what Jesus taught didn’t sit well with the Pharisees. Then Jesus points to the fact that some men are born eunuchs, and some make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom. He says that it is a difficult thing he said, and those who have ears to hear “will accept” what he said. Perhaps it was gays who born eunuchs. There was no accepted way for a gay person to express his homosexual orientation, But Jesus’ main point is that marriage cannot be undone by man. As to your second point, you are of course referring to the word fornication. It does not say homosexuality. That is your interpretation. We will agree to disagree.

    • kso721

      well, it’s a good thing we scientific observation that tells us the bible is wrong on this.

    • Katie Rucker
  • pluther

    Sad. People want to want God, or at least heaven (with or without him), but don’t want to deny their flesh, or the temptations of Satan (who only wants to kill and destroy them). Being “saved” or a Christian is not about the Law at all, ceremonial or otherwise. It’s about giving your life over to God in Jesus Christ and letting him decide what is right or wrong for you. It’s about a relationship of love, where you want what he wants for you, not what you want or think you want or what your flesh hungers for. The joy of a real relationship with Jesus far, far outweighs any sensual pleasure or sexual experience or relationship. You people who want God and also your homosexual lives don’t really know God, and you are settling for hay and straw when he wants to give you gold.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “The joy of a real relationship with Jesus far, far outweighs any sensual pleasure or sexual experience or relationship.”

      Would you use this logic to prevent marriage for all people? Should everyone be celibate? Are you by any chance a Shaker? They would agree: Marriage only gets in the way of our relationship with God. St. Paul somewhat agreed.

      Wouldn’t the same also be true of “You people who want God and also your heterosexual lives don’t really know God, and you are settling for hay and straw when he wants to give you gold.”

      • pluther

        Only because from the beginning, as Jesus said, God created male and female and the male was joined with his wife and the two became one, later revealed to be a picture of the great mystery of Christ and his church. The marriage that God created is undefiled, but it’s not based on sensual pleasure or sexual experience but on a spiritual/physical union that two same-sex people cannot create.

        • Katie Rucker

          When Jesus was quoted as saying “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” He was speaking about divorce. He wasn’t setting a definition or guidelines for marriage other than “If you get married, don’t get divorced”. Of course he wouldn’t mention same sex couples at that time because at that time in history and culture, population growth and family lineage were incredibly important. In other words, they needed to make babies, and quickly, so homosexuals were irrelevant. In our culture today, we don’t emphasize the importance of family lineage, and our earth is overpopulated and beyond it’s sustainable capacity. The marriage (in your definition) that God created was in order for our population to grow and not decline into extinction. The marriage that God created was also incredibly different from what we view marriage as today. In those times, marriage was arranged. You did not marry for love, you married when you hit puberty and could start pushing babies out. Girls were also traded or sold by their fathers, and were worth much more if they were still virgins. Girls/Women had to be completely submissive to their husband, something that we look down upon in our culture today. Marriage was an expected duty, and if a woman did not get married then she could not provide for herself and she could starve to death. In those times, if a woman’s husband died, then it was the duty of her brother in law to marry her and take care of her and give her children if she had none, or didn’t have a son. Marriage is incredibly different from what it was at that time, so there really is no basis for comparison.

          • Sheila Warner

            Katie, thanks for this. Very good points.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Marriage is incredibly different from what it was at that time, so there really is no basis for comparison.”

            Yes. I agree. The concept of two emancipated adults who share mutual affection who choose to marry one another out of romantic love is a fairly modern notion.

            That would have been rather counter-cultural back then.

        • Lee

          I would point out that in the Bible the definition of marriage is completely different than now. For instance polygamy was the rule and women were treated like property.

        • Sheila Warner

          How do you know that a same sex couple cannot obtain a spiritual and physical union? Talk to some married gay people and see if they agree with you. Same sex couples may be united physically in a different way, but that doesn’t make their union any less than a married straight couple. As to the spiritual union, to think a gay couple cannot achieve that is laughable. I think you need to spend some time with gay people, and read the stories of gay Christians.

    • Katie Rucker

      And yet God blessed us with the ability to love and receive love. He blessed us with companionship. He blessed us with sexual pleasure (with the ability to give and receive, regardless of gender). He blessed us with so many wonderful things in this life. To say that a man and woman can be in love, can give each other companionship, and can give each other pleasure and happiness, but to turn around and say that two men or two women should be denied this happiness in life because they are different from you is not only the most hateful and evil thing I can think of, but is also unbiblical, and against everything that Jesus taught us. Yes, God wants a relationship with us, He wants to be the most important thing in our lives, but he also blessed us with many pleasures in life.

    • Sheila Warner

      What happens in the lives of too many gay Christian youth, who love and follow Jesus’ commands to the best of their ability, and who are wracked with guilt about their sexual orientation? These young people cry out and plea with God to change them. They pour over the Bible to find a way out. They attend church whenever the doors are open, hang out with fellow believers, go to gay conversion therapists, and have asked Jesus into their hearts? Yet, nothing changes. Not even after begging God to change them. How do you explain that? These young people are sincere in their quest to change, but nothing helps them. Do you still believe that same sex attraction is a sin? I do not.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    LOL! The rationalizations never end. Someone argues, “But Old Testament laws such as the Ten Commandments are moral laws, which Jesus insisted on upholding.” So, which of the 10 has anything to do with same sex love? There is absolutely nothing in the “Old” Testament that distinguishes between homosexuality and wearing mixed fabrics. The prohibitions are presented with exactly the same language. Absolutely nothing in the Matthew quote to use as a basis to distinguish between the law against eating shellfish or cloven animals or any other so-called prohibition such as the one imagined against homosexuality. And if the law of the prophets is to be upheld, why aren’t Christians who believe that doing animal sacrifices?

  • Sheila Warner

    I’d love for you to expound on St Paul’s condemnation of gays in Romans 1. I’ve read that he is referring to male prostitution. What is your take?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I think the passage needs to be read as Paul calling people out for being self righteous and judgemental of those whose lives and cultures different, personally or culturally. You have to read a bit further in the chapter to see how he sets the audience up and then drops the, “well you ain’t no better” on them.

  • kso721

    but…, so why do i need someone have to tell me this, or anicent doctrine for that matter to illustrate these things? obviously other cultures and peoples understand this regardless of if they know jesus or the bible…

    • melissia

      Some people just need their conscience alone to be told not to cause other people such grievous pain.

      Others… sadly… need more than that.

  • Mel

    I get that we can reason away what the Old Testament says about homosexuality, but what about passages in the New Testament. One example that comes to mind is 1 Cor. 6.9-11:

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God.”

    I point out this passage, because it lists homosexuality as a sin along with other sexual acts, such as adultery, and various other sins. If we are to assume that as Christians, we adhere to traditional theological views–such as Jesus being both fully divine and human–then doctrine would assure of of the authority of Scripture. This authority does not suggest that any one part of Scripture is more holy than the other, rather we must accept this authority throughout the entirety of the Bible. I only point this out, because there is a tendency to discredit what is said by the Apostle Paul, and place a greater emphasis on the words Jesus spoke about forgiveness and love.

    The tricky thing with Christianity, is that it is a balance between orthodoxy (correct belief) and orthopraxy (correct actions). We are sanctified by our declaration of Christ as our Lord and Savior. However, it is by maintaining a holy lifestyle that we enter into a deeper relationship with the greater Christian community, and ultimately God. These are the issues that Paul so often spoke into, and sought to encourage. The passage that I quoted before is one where Paul identifies several different forms of behavior that do not align with Christian morals. Based off of this passage, homosexuality is the only sinful behavior that is in question today. As a society, we would never think it acceptable for a spouse to have sexual intercourse with a person outside of their marriage. How do we make an exception for just one of these behaviors listed? If we pick and choose, then how do we decide what is a Biblical interpretation of the writings found in the Bible?

    That being said, we must also be cautious of how we interpret Scripture through our modern lens. For example, when Paul speaks in favor of women covering their heads, he was trying to distinguish the women in Christian communities from being viewed as Temple Prostitutes. A wonderful book that sheds light on Paul’s views towards women is “What Paul Really Said About Women,” by John T. Bristow.

    Unfortunately, I have yet to find a theological framework that fully satisfies the answers to this questions. I struggle daily to find a balance of what Scripture finds acceptable on this issue, for I feel it would put the authority of Scripture into question if I choose to turn a blind eye to its teachings. However, I know that the current model the church uses to address the issues of homosexuality is one that is often harmful to those individuals. It leads to greater issues, both emotionally and psychologically, that can be extremely damaging to those who identify as homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender, etc. It alienates those who lay claim to a Christian faith from many of the church communities, and builds resentment and discord amongst fellow believers. Yet in light of all of this, I have yet to come across a Biblical and theological interpretation that fully reconciles homosexuality with the Bible, without seeking to eliminate (homosexuality) or discredit (the Bible).

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Because the academic work on this passage shows that to translate the word in that list as “homosexual” is linguistically and lexiconically dishonest. Equally so, it is culturally dishonest to understand that word to mean “homosexual” in a modern context.

      • Mel

        I meant to include this in my original post, but I did you an ESV translation of the text. This tends to be one of the most reliable and literal translations of the Bible, and there is a strong support behind it. Other reliable English translations include the NASB and NRSV. That is not to say that they are not without problems, but they come the closest out of our modern translations.

        If you could, please clarify how the use of the term “homosexual” is lexically dishonest, as I am unsure of what you mean. Also, how do you support this claim?

        • AtalantaBethulia

          It is my understanding that Paul had available to him a word that meant homosexual and instead he coined this word which appears nowhere else in antiquity.

          • Mel

            I admit, that I have not done a study of the Greek form of this word. However, I would be surprised if Paul coined a new term for homosexuality. These types of sexual practices were certainly not unheard of in Greco-Roman society. Granted, they were not viewed in a favorable light, but this was because a common thought process within that society that sex should only be used for procreative purposes. This also means that recreational sex was frowned upon, or had a social stigma against it.

          • Mel

            Also, after doing a quick search, the term used that would be in debate here is also used in 1 Timothy 1.10.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Yes, arsenokoitai, I believe.

          • Guest

            Arsenokoitai is a hapax legomenon. It appears nowhere in the vast Greek corpus before Paul. He appears to have coined it based on the Greek translation of Leviticus. That it’s used in 1 Timothy isn’t really helpful, because it appears the author of 1 Timothy simply copied it from Paul.
            Same-sex relations was a complicated matter in antiquity, more complicated than we thought even only 30 years ago. It’s true that pederasty (having sex with adolescent boys) was fairly normative for otherwise heterosexual men, but even this sometimes carried a stigma. An even greater stigma attached itself to those who were passive in the relationship, and that is where several derogatory terms existed that Paul for some reason passed over (there are still others for the active role he also passed over — it’s curious as to why).
            Most classical scholars only use the term “homosexuality” with caution, as there is no word that carries the same semantic weight in Greek or Latin. That’s why it’s in no way crystal clear what Paul might have been conceiving of. That he conceived of “homosexuality” in the same psychological, medical, and scientific way we do is of course impossible.

          • Guest

            This is me above ^ I don’t know why it posted as a guest.

          • Sheila Warner

            You must not have signed into Discus. You’re still posting as a guest.

          • Sheila Warner

            After reading this thread, it seems you did not visit the link provided to you. Please read this: http://www.lionking.org/~kovu/bible/section07.html

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “Granted, they were not viewed in a favorable light, but this was because a common thought process within that society that sex should only be used for procreative purposes. This also means that recreational sex was frowned upon, or had a social stigma against it.”

            Actually, the scholarship I have seen says the exact opposite is true. Pederastery was quite normal, accepted, and mainstream. There’s quite a lot of research and commentary available from Greek historians and linguists.

          • Mel

            I should clarify, the mentalities that I am speaking of were philosophical trains of thought that had a great influence within the society. However, various cults, and other social practices, did utilize sexuality for different rites. There are certain cities that experienced greater levels of sexual freedom, Corinth would be one of those cities. It is often thought that it is because of the sexual immorality that Paul encountered in this city that he sought to address such issues in his letter to the congregation there.

            Also, I meant to ask before, if Paul did coin the term, how would this negate or lessen the meaning of what he was trying to communicate?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “if Paul did coin the term, how would this negate or lessen the meaning of what he was trying to communicate?”

            It makes it pertinent to be clear what he meant when we make assertions like: “Those who are arsenokoitai will not inherit the kingdom of heaven” and we use our understanding of arsenokoitai – rather than what it actually means – to attempt to deny equal rights to others. If our understanding is in error – there be much woe upon us for oppressing wrongly an entire group of people. So it matters a great deal.

            “Rapists of boys” is quite a different thing than two emancipated adults who share mutual affection in a committed long term mutually monogamous relationship. #notthesamething

          • Mel

            I don’t think I ever caught how you believe the term should be translated. What translation do you think would be more honest?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Essentially the argument, at large, on the matter of: What does the Bible actually say about same sex sexual contact boils down to this:

            One camp takes a plain and simple reading of the text without close cultural and historical context and says: any same sex sexual contact = homosexuality and is absolutely forbidden.

            The other camps takes a close cultural, historical, contextual, and linguistic look and says: What the Bible seems to prohibit is: male rape, gang rape, pederasty, sexual slavery, sexual promiscuity, orgies, temple prostitution, prostitution, and sexual practices as part of religious worship but is silent on the issue of two emancipated adults in a mutually loving, committed relationship.

          • Mel

            That point is one of the reasons why I have yet to find a theological framework that fully satisfies my question on this issue. Currently, I have taken on the stance that I am fine with gay marriage, so long as it is not mandatory for churches to acknowledge it. I know that this is far from the ideal, but otherwise it would infringe upon freedom of religion (I am assuming that the people commenting are from the United States, if you are not please forgive the assumption).

            If anyone has read any books or articles that shed light on this issue I would love to hear about them.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I think you would find a great deal of commonality with most affirming Christians.

            The founder of this group, John Shore, has written about it here:

            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1490365885/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=1535523722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1467950424&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0MRS1T195HSSYCM4W0RX

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I don’t know. I put out a request to my Greek Scholar friend. I think the point is: If this is the only two places this word exists in all of antiquity, how can we know with certainty what it means? And what do we need to look at in order to best come close?

          • Mel

            In my opinion, the best way to discern what the word means would be to look at how it is used in 1 Timothy and see if we can garner any commonalities between the two. The other thing to do would try to find any related words, and break down the Greek form of this word. In Koine Greek, you have basic versions, or roots, of words. From there you build the meaning of the word based on tense, person, prefix, and so on. I took a year of Greek, and it is a very complicated language that certainly takes more than a year to fully comprehend.

    • Katie Rucker

      This is a link that I have given to a few other people, but it explains how I, and many others, believe that scriptures such as 1 Corin 6:9 have been mistranslated and taken out of context:
      http://www.lionking.org/~kovu/bible/section07.html

      You also have to understand that the term “Homosexual” was not coined until the late 20th century, and that is when it finally showed up in the bible. The word and the idea simply did not exist before then.

      The other thing is that you have to remember the bible was still written and translated by man. Just as we do not become perfect just because we call ourselves Christian, the same goes for those who compiled what is now considered the canon, and those who translated it from Greek and Hebrew. This idea that the bible is infallible just because it’s based around Christianity is erroneous in itself. Man still created it. It was inspired by God, but it was written by man and is therefore subject to man’s imperfections. However, there was a time where there was no canon, there were only the letters, or there were only the stories that people had memorized, and yet they still had God, they still had their faith. I think the biggest mistake that Christians make is thinking the bible is required for our faith. Christians today put the bible on a pedestal and they make it almost into an idol itself, putting its importance above that of God himself. It’s this thinking that I find very dangerous. It’s not the bible that we worship, it’s not the words inside that we worship, it’s God. To me, personally, the bible is still important, because what is a religion without its history or its doctrines, but it should serve as a sort of guideline, not as a crutch or an idol. However, my view may be far too liberal for even the liberals, and so I tell you that this is only my opinion.

  • Katherine Harms

    In order to agree with you, I must agree that it has been proved that people are born homosexual. I have seen no evidence that they are. I agree with you that it would not make sense for God to create someone homosexual and then decree that homosexuality is a sin. What I don’t agree with is the assumption that people are “born that way.” There is no evidence whatsoever to prove this pseudo-science. For as long as there have been human beings, there has always been the option to choose homosexuality. Or not. It is like the choice to love your neighbor. Or not. Humans have a lot of choices. Mostly they make the choices that serve their highest loyalty– self. The Bible is not about validating human choices as good. The Bible is about revealing Almighty God, the Creator of all that is.

    • Oswald Carnes

      What you think about my sexuality is irrelevant. I know for a fact that I didn’t choose to be gay. For a very long time, I tried to choose the exact opposite just so I wouldn’t have to put up with ignorant bigot trash. I’m still gay, though, so I had to learn to deal with “people” like you.

    • Nikk Jesues Theunissen

      Well why don’t you think about it logically instead of scientifically?
      I know who I am and who I am NOT and I know even from before I believed in Jesus that I wasn’t gay and you couldn’t just choose this as I was attracted to women and not men and no matter how much you try you cannot force yourself to be attracted to another gender, you just can’t.
      If you need science to prove that gay people were born that way and you cannot work it out based on who YOU are then YOU are the one with the problem not them.

    • melissia

      When you were a teenager ,you were attracted to men, I assume?

      Assuming this is true and that you aren’t a closet case, you did not consciously _choose_ to be straight. One day, you thought about a man or a boy, and realized you really liked him, in a sexual manner.

      For a lesbian, one day, they thought about a woman or a girl, and realized they really liked her, in a sexual manner. It was not a choice, but an instinctual thing, just like your attraction to men was instinctual. For a gay boy, the same could be said about their attraction to masculine people.

      I could make similar arguments about genderqueer and trans people. They didn’t necessarily actively choose their fate… they just realized one day, the truth about their bodies and the souls that reside within them.

      Telling people that they must lie to themselves is not the Gospel.

    • kso721

      you’ve seen no evidence? homosexuals are 20% of every population on every continent on the globe. whether they are acknowledged by their native culture or not, is a different issue, but you’re not paying attention apparently. or, live under a rock.

      signed, a straight guy.

  • Kagi Soracia

    So I’m just going to be over here, crying. Thank you for this.

  • TLo99

    When I read these kind of comments – anywhere – the thought that keeps going through my mind is: If any of you are without sin, then be the first to cast a stone… I have sinned, I do sin, and I will sin in the future. Therefore I don’t cast any stones.

  • Nikk Jesues Theunissen

    These comments are why I don’t like Christianity. You people condemn, Jesus does not. Everyone will be saved in the end, good day.

    • kso721

      actually, this sounds pretty condemning…. kinda bold to create your own dogma while still alive, no?

      John 15:6 ASV
      American Standard Version
      If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

      • kso721

        there’s also a passage where jesus profiles a cannaanite women and insults her before healing her…


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