When Churches Make People Need Therapy (or Why Anti-Gay Christianity is an Abomination)

When Churches Make People Need Therapy (or Why Anti-Gay Christianity is an Abomination) July 9, 2015

I confess that I was not aware of Shane Dawson before I saw this video which has been circulating over the past couple of days. [NOTE: video contains swearing]

I want to express my appreciation for the honest sincerity with which Dawson talks about his sexual identity.

And I want to draw attention to the role that religion and God play in the video.

One of the reasons it took therapy for him to be able to finally acknowledge his attraction towards men, and eventually come out and say that he is bisexual, is because of church upbringing. His upbringing made him afraid of a God who condemns people of the sort that he was discovering himself to be.

By the end of the video, we learn that he still believes in God. I was moved by his discovery of the reality that a God who made him this way will not condemn him for being the way he is.

But I was particularly struck by his statement that, if unlike him you don’t believe in God, so much the better.

This video is a great illustration of what the anti-gay forms of Christianity are doing to people. Making them miserable. Making them need therapy. Driving them to the brink of losing their faith. And when they cling to it, making them feel as though those who don’t believe in God are better off than they are.

As a progressive Christian, I have to say that the conservative forms of Christianity that make people feel this way about themselves – and about the love they feel for others – are something terrible.

Indeed, let me suggest that there is one word that seems particularly apt…

Anti-gay Christianity is an abomination.

 

 


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  • Neko

    Now you’ve done it. The fundies will burst forth to accuse you of playing God.

    • And I will attempt to show them that they are the ones who in fact are doing that…

      • Neko

        Godspeed!

  • Larry

    Just ignore what the bible says. Make up your own rules. So what other sins are OK for committing. If you don’t rebuke gays out of love, and for religion, at least discourage them for length of life. Their lifestyle shaves off 20 years. My question is why bother with God at all? Humans think they now know better than God, like what He said means nothing.
    Stop it, don’t do it, I don’t want to hear about shrimp, and wool, you know that is a load of crap…………Christians are not anti-gay, they are anti-sin.

    • Neko

      Right on cue…

    • Dorfl

      Their lifestyle shaves off 20 years.

      A commenter called behonest made the same claim in another thread a while ago. When I tried to track down where she’d actually got that number from, it turned out to be from one study on gay men in Baltimore, which gave that as the worst case scenario based on extrapolating from the statistical data they had access to at the time. Do you have a better source for that claim?

      • Larry
        • Dorfl

          Oh, my bad. I remembered it as being Baltimore, not Vancouver, but that is in fact the study I was talking about. It gives a range of 8 to 20 years, depending on the assumptions going into their statistical model.

          • Larry

            So let me ask you, studies aside, do you believe that it is true or not? From what you observe yourself.

          • Dorfl

            No. Gay men today seem to be much more careful about using protection than they were when the study was made, which means they’re at much less risk today than they were during the big aids epidemic.

          • Larry

            I guess not much more since the rate of new HIV infections are about 50,000 per year. And we still do not have the new numbers since the “great coming out years”. Then there are new disease threats, obesity, meningitis et al.

          • The rates of obesity (with all of the attendant health conditions – diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack risk) in this country are astronomically higher than HIV. There are lots of risky behaviors one can partake in, over-eating, smoking, drinking while driving, illegal drugs – and these behaviors far outstrip the risk of HIV (which can be contracted via both gay and straight sexual activity, like any STD). The rates of death from HIV are decreasing dramatically due to better health care, drugs, and prevention such as condom-use.

            But if you are sincerely concerned about the health risk of homosexual sex, isn’t it great that our nation now supports committed, sexually monogamous marriages for the LBGTQ community!

          • Larry

            I was more speaking of the propensity for lesbian obesity. Yes, all of those activities are detrimental to health, however all of those activities do not carry a political agenda. All those activities do not attempt to change the moral standard set by God. Marriage or no marriage the homosexual community will never be monogamous in my opinion, because they can never be satisfied. You are right, that for a while condom use was prevalent, but a more recent care free younger generation trend is the opposite. No matter what man says or does on this issue, it cannot change the coming wrath of God over this issue. My opinion. All this does not affect me other than I feel sorrow for the lost. The newest trend is homosexuals claiming to be Christian, but that is impossible.

          • Larry, AMERICANS have a propensity for obesity, and that’s a statistical fact, not a lame anecdotal slur. The sexual identities of the LGBTQ community are not a political agenda! It is their life! I have many LGBTQ friends, and this last comment of yours is so filled with ignorant generalizations and offensively false characterizations, I can’t even begin to address them.

          • Jonathan Bernier

            Is there demonstrable evidence of a “propensity for lesbian obesity”? Or did you just make that up?

          • Larry

            “Our findings indicate that lesbian sexual identity is linked to a greater prevalence of overweight and obesity, even after adjusting for covariates that are shown in the literature to be risk factors for overweight and obesity. Our study substantiates the evidence generated by earlier nonpopulation-based snowball and cohort”

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1874217/

          • My guess is that overeating and consequent obesity in such cases have more to do with the impact of self-righteous people like yourself who condemn them and make them feel like garbage, than with anything inherently related to loving someone of the same gender.

          • Larry

            I do not condemn anyone. I am not self-righteous nor have I displayed such. I have said “I am not perfect” “I am not educated” “people need not listen to me”. I argue against the sin, not the sinner. If they stopped the sin, the so called garbage feeling would also stop, as proven by those who have changed.

          • What shameful dishonesty on your part. You hide behind a false humility, pretending to merely say what God says, not realizing that you have idolatrously identified your own understanding as though it were God’s own perspective on matters. That is an utterly anti-Christian stance. If you stopped persisting in this sin, you would stop making others feel suicidal as well as perhaps ceasing to heap condemnation upon yourself.

          • Larry

            Not so. I have presented my world view as I see it according to my belief in God. Like the words of Larry propel someone to jump off a cliff. I thought you were a professor.
            People do not get to do whatever makes them feel good and be right with God.

          • JaNay

            > “So if you do whatever makes you feel good ….you aren’t right with god”.

            Really. Who messed you up?

          • RidgewayGirl

            No, of course you haven’t. How on earth could anyone think you were condemning them?

          • Larry

            One way to condemn someone is to exact a punishment upon them. I do not have that power nor do I want it. Nor have I not disapproved of any person, only the sin they commit. The sins of a person is not the totality of their person.

          • Yes, this study is being over-cited by hate groups and is now being roundly criticized by health professionals for one very simple reason: the sample size of heterosexual women was 5,460, the sample size of lesbian women was 87! A ridiculous statistical disparity.

            More to the point, such studies are intended to improve health, not market hate!

          • Marissa van Eck

            And, hell, I’m a lesbian and am not obese or overweight. Talk about a crap study; the sample size was way the hell too low.

            Larry, of course, just wants aaaaaaany proof he can get that them eeeeeebil Gawd-hatin’ fornicatin’ Marx-fellatin’ homer-sexshuls are LIVIN’ A LAHFSTAHL OV DEATH!

            Scientific method? Control group? Sample size? P-test? None of that matters; we have an AGENDA to push, for thuh GLAWRY of thu LO-HWAD!

          • RidgewayGirl

            I wonder if he thinks that Americans in general are eviler than the rest of the world? We do have higher rates of obesity after all.

          • Jonathan Bernier

            Okay. So lesbian women are more prone to obesity. The question now becomes “Why”? It doesn’t follow that it is because there is something intrinsically unhealthy to the lesbian lifestyle. That is the difficulty with all these sorts of studies, when employed for the ends of hate: they assume that any sort of ill among any group of LGBT persons must be a direct result of their being LGBT. That doesn’t follow however.

          • Ian

            The Conron study showed straight people have higher prevalence of obesity than gay men. The CDC states that there are zero confirmed HIV infections between lesbians, significantly lower than the straight population.

            So being straight makes you fatter, and more likely to acquire HIV.

            Cherry picking research is fun and simple.

          • JaNay

            Did that study include lesbian IV drug users?

          • Ian

            Which study? The Conron study was about obesity. The CDC data isn’t a ‘study’, but a discussion of what data they have on file. I suspect the latter is STI specific and would thus exclude shared-syringe infections. Check the CDC website and published data if you want more details.

            But neither of which were the point. The point was that with three populations (Lesbian, Gay, Straight), you’ll find some metrics where each group ‘wins’, so cherry picking them to say the others are nasty and evil is cheap and fruitless.

          • JaNay

            Didn’t realize you were being sarcastic.
            My mistake. I took it for a serious conversation.

          • Jonathan Bernier

            What the heck has obesity and meningitis to do with homosexuality? And do you have evidence that the majority of that 50000 become infected through sexual relations with members of the same sex? And you do realize that HIV infection rates have *fallen* dramatically over the last decade, which if indeed HIV infection rates are an accurate barometer of whether gay men are being safer or not then they clearly are.

          • Larry

            HIV rates have fallen worldwide, unfortunately not among gay and bisexual men.

            “Unhappily, HIV infections in the US have not fallen among gay, bisexual, and transgender men. HIV transmission
            continues unabated because of sex with multiple partners. Anonymous sex which usually involves meeting men on the
            internet, at sex parties, or at bath houses have fueled the fire with continuing spread of the HIV epidemic. Along with
            the resurgence in HIV, has been a dramatic increase in syphilis among men who have sex with men. In many
            communities syphilis rates have more than doubled in the last two to three years (to learn more about the increases in
            HIV and syphilis among men who have sex with men go to CDC.gov).”

            http://couragerc.org/wp-content/uploads/Resurgence-of-HIV.pdf

            Since gay marriage became the focus of the LGBT community, the rate of infection among gay and bisexual men has increased by a staggering 132.5 percent between 2001 and 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tyler-curry/dont-call-it-a-comeback-t_1_b_5781780.html

          • Marissa van Eck

            And yet, oddly, we gay women have *lower* STI rates in most cases than both our straight and bi sisters and their straight male counterparts.

            It’s almost, ALMOST, as if the problem is unsafe and promiscuous sex rather than which gender your partner is! Hmmm…

            Well, you know what they say: “What does a lesbian do on the first date?” “She drives up in a U-Haul with all her stuff!” “What does a gay dude do on the second date?” “What second date?”

          • Larry

            Unfortunately traded off with the prevalence of domestic abuse, high obesity rates, and suicide. You see, sin costs.

          • LadySunami

            People already pointed out the problems with your obesity article (Comparing 87 lesbians to 5,460 heterosexual women? That’s just shoddy). Last I saw domestic abuse rates are no higher for lesbian women then for heterosexual ones. As for increased suicide rates… Look in the mirror. Being constantly told your love for the person that makes you happy is dooming both you and her to hell is not good for anyone’s mental health.

          • Larry

            I am not trying to condemn LGBT or be hateful to them. I am just trying to point out that there are consequences for sin. On the one hand many here paint a rosy picture of the LGBT lifestyle. I point out that the statistics do not agree. I merely present a counter view point.

          • Except that you’ve repeatedly demonstrated that you don’t care whether or not your statistics are accurate, only that they affirm your presuppositions.

          • LadySunami

            Except you aren’t even bothering to attribute the consequences to the actual “sins” that cause them.

            The spread of STIs is the result of unprotected casual sex. Homosexuality has nothing to do with it. Monogamous gay sex doesn’t magically produce STIs from nowhere.

            Obesity is the result of poor exercise and eating habits. Being a lesbian doesn’t somehow make women fatter. Convincing lesbian women they’re actually straight won’t instantly make them all skinny.

            Domestic abuse results from anger problems and disrespect for others. There is no reason to believe abusers would cease being abusive if their significant others were of the opposite sex. (Though female on male abuse is reported less thanks to sexism).

            As I already pointed out, increased suicide rates are due to the stress of mistreatment and lack of acceptance. Being treated as a second class citizen and/or constantly being told your love is sinful and wrong is not good for your mental health.

          • Larry

            OK my world view is Christian, bible believing Christian. God gives an alternative to this lifestyle, and people have been changed, with proof of their testimonies. You are right self changes none of these problems, but Jesus Christ can.

          • LadySunami

            I am aware of said testimonies. I am also aware that many individuals who produce such testimonies are later found in gay bars or hiring same sex escorts.
            I am aware that organizations that tout reparative therapies refuse to offer solid statistics on their success rates.
            I am aware that bisexuality is a real thing and convincing bisexuals to pursue only opposite-sex relationships doesn’t actually change their sexuality.
            I am aware of testimonials by individuals for whom ex-gay therapy failed miserably, found on sites like Beyond Ex-Gay or featured on Truth Wins Out.

          • Marissa van Eck

            Yeah you don’t hate us, you just think we deserve to spend eternity on fire. The feeling’s not mutual, because I’m a better person than you, but I’d happily watch you on fire shrieking and flailing and crying for your mother for a few minutes straight. It might give you some perspective.

          • Jonathan Bernier

            The article identifies the primary cause here: a shift of priorities away from HIV education as HIV/AIDS became more treatable. That says nothing about gay and bisexual men being inherently promiscuous or any of that nonsense. It says what we all know: safe-sex education saves lives. And I dare say that the church was doing little to help educate gay and bisexual men on safe-sex practices, so I find it hard to believe that it was doing much to deal with this problem.

        • Jonathan Bernier

          If you could find a study *not* from a known hate group, associated with scholars with any sort of credibility, then I might listen.

          • Larry

            Southern Poverty calls almost everything right of -287 a hate group. I am not going to do research for making comments “believe it or not”.

          • Jonathan Bernier

            You might not want to do research for comments, but one would think you’d walk to do some before impugning an entire group of people. And would you attack the SPLC’s credibility if we were talking about, say, the KKK?

    • Why not ignore what the bible says in this case? We already ignore what the bible says about slavery, women in authority, hair length, costume jewelry, shellfish, mixed fabrics, sabbath rules …

      • Larry

        Did you read my comment? I said don’t go there because (regardless of the sinners talking points memo) it is not valid unless you are a Jew from 2015+ years ago. Every sinner brings up the same stupid argument. Jesus gave us two commandments, love God, and love your neighbor. In these two commandments the entire law is fulfilled. Now don’t forget, the devil has also hijacked the word love. Love is not some emotional sloppy kissy poo slatherthy thing. Love is to want the very best outcome, or favor, for the one who is loved. You can not love your neighbor while causing him to sin. You can not love God while only thinking of yourself.

        • Oh, I read your comment, but I’m not sure how well you read your bible. Not everything that I listed comes from the Old Testament. Christians read the New Testament selectively too.

          • Larry

            OK my bad, I apologize. I was the one too quick to criticize. I agree on some of those. Again sorry.

          • No problem. The reason that I think bringing up interpretative problems in the Old Testament is valid is that many Christians still use Old Testament commandments to condemn others.

        • Jonathan Bernier

          Christian “love” drove Shane Dawson to the brink of suicide. It’s driven many more over the edge. How exactly is that the best outcome?

          • Larry

            You say Christian love caused this. I say absolutely not. If you are a Christian, you also know there is an opposing force called Satan. Satan loves people who selfishly pursue their own pleasures, and takes the opportunity to drive those to the brink of suicide. Many sinners, not just sexual sinners, are driven by the forces of evil. You have great fun for a while, then the ending is death. This man had every chance to repent and give his life to Christ. He pursued his own way. Jesus changes everyone who comes to Him through the work of the Holy Spirit. I was once a sinner, not in this man’s fashion, but God took away my desire to sin, and now I am free from it. It’s funny how Christians are blamed, for the work of the real slave master Satan.
            Thieves are tempted to steal, gamblers to gamble, liars to lie. God says He will allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able handle.

            Jonathan you made me do something I have not done until now. I actually watched the video. It is EXACTLY what I knew it was before I watched it. I already knew. I did not count but just about every other word was I, I, I, I, I me myself and I. This man completely identifies himself with the sex he has. Never once did he consider turning to Jesus. He is in the grips of Satan. Never once did he consider anyone but himself. Very typical.

          • What you seem not to realize is the extensive Biblical teaching that self-righteousness, especially religious self-righteousness, condemnation of others and thus heaping judgment upon oneself, and thinking oneself wise about matters concerning which one is in fact ignorant, are all likewise the work of Satan. Are you completely blind to the trap into which you have fallen?

          • Larry

            Your key word is “self”. I am not righteous, I am forgiven. In case you have not thoroughly read your bible, we all will be judged. The bible says for us to judge righteously. And besides, you better be ready, because you just judged the heck out of me (same as from day one). I have not condemned any one, I have pointed out sin and it’s consequences. I am not wise, as if I have made a speech before congress, only a discussion to pass the time about an article

          • Having previously been a fundamentalist, I am familiar with the brand of false humility you have been representing here. You say “I am not righteous, God alone is righteous; I am not wise, God alone is wise,” but you also assume over and over that your thinking is correct and accurately represents God’s own thoughts. It is not only self-righteousness, but it is self-righteousness of the most insidious sort.

          • Marissa van Eck

            Why yes, yes he is. Isn’t it ironic enough to just make your head explode?

          • He said “I” over and over again as he humbly embraced his status as a creation of God. You have said “God” over and over and yet have presented your own twisted thinking as though it were what God says. And so it is not the frequency of particular words that indicates what someone’s attitude is. As you see the speck in another’s eye and not the plank in your own, you continue to heap condemnation upon yourself.

          • Larry

            He is God’s creation and admittedly in open rebellion to His creator.

          • That is doubtful. But you are in rebellion against the teachings of Christ but refuse to admit it. And so all you are doing, according to Jesus’ teaching, is stockpiling condemnation for yourself. I strongly advise you in Jesus’ name not to continue on this dangerous and foolhardy course you are on.

          • Jonathan Bernier

            Actually, I did watch the video, and what I heard was a man talking about the psychological damage that he suffered in his church background. And maybe the real question here is: if he went to church all those years and never thought about turning to Jesus then how effective was that church in reaching this young man? The answer clearly is “none at all.”

    • otrotierra

      Why is Jesus missing in your comment?

      • Larry

        Well I am getting to Him. Jesus is not missing in my life. I just expected a barrage like I got over at Raw Stories. Even got kicked (censored) out for speaking of Jesus. People were making the most evil, vile cruel comments and I got kicked out for talking about the cross.

        • otrotierra

          Yet in your comment here you’re not talking about what Jesus actually said, thus I’m wondering about the oversight.

          • Larry

            Do you mean Matthew 22:37-40. Sorry I said it in my own words.

          • otrotierra

            Matthew 22:37-40 is a great passage. Possibly one of my favorites, but it’s not a passage about homosexuality.

          • Larry

            It certainly is about homosexuality. You can not love your neighbor if you cause him to sin. You can not love God if you break His commandments.

          • This is a serious problem – even those who agree on principles such as love for God and love for neighbor can diverge on the application.

            But thankfully, we have Jesus’ own example, and it undercuts your approach. Jesus elevated human needs like hunger and healing above the demands of divine obedience that could have been made to trump such things, taking your approach. The sabbath was made for human beings, not human beings for the sabbath.

          • Larry

            The first message of Jesus was to repent. Many have a problem with this message cause it cramps their lifestyle. So they wiggle around and change this and change that and interpret this and claim that. The repenting never gets done. Jesus said We will always have the poor, we will not always have Him. Jesus said if you love Me you will follow my commandments.

          • That is a great example of a saying of Jesus that people misunderstand, because they don’t pick up on the Scriptural allusion. And so, if you can believe it, some people actually think Jesus was saying that poverty is an insoluble problem that is mot worth addressing!

          • otrotierra

            No, Jesus never talks about homosexuality.

            No thanks, I’ll stick with what Jesus actually said and did.

          • Larry

            Jesus said marriage is between one man and one woman. Since all sex outside of marriage is adultery, therefore Jesus speaks about homosexuality by not including it in legal marriage.

          • Where does Jesus talk about legal marriage? He very clearly cites Genesis in relation to divorce, not in relation to the number or gender of spouses, things which were not issues in his time.

          • Larry

            Marriage in itself is legal since there is only one kind. Matthew 19:4-6

          • Where does Jesus explicitly condemn polygamy in the way you claim here?

          • Marissa van Eck

            Nowhere whatsofrickingever does he condemn polygamy. Or slavery. Or selling your daughter for half a dozen sheep and a plot of land, so long as we’re talking “traditional marriage.”

    • This is the same sort of thing that the defenders of slavery said to abolitionists. But we are not ignoring the Bible. The Bible says that it is not good to be alone, and that we are to make love the guiding principle, as well as offering genocidal commands and legislation about slavery and other things. I pick and choose based on the guiding principles Jesus taught, as well as input from science, conscience, and other sources. I am guessing that you pretend that you don’t pick and choose – and yet I am also guessing that you have never commented in this manner on a blog post featuring someone who was divorced…

      • Larry

        Do you really know how few the defenders of slavery really were? Do you realize most people did not own slaves. Did you know the defenders of slavery then the same powerful elite, who keep people in slavery today?
        Back to your comment, all I can say is go with that. Every man can just go with what he believes to be true. We all stand in front of God alone on judgement day. The biggest problem most will have is that of knowing. I try to make sure as many people as possible know that Jesus Christ died for their sins and arose to be the savior of the world. If you believe in Him you will not perish but have everlasting life. If you believe in Him you will love Him, if you love Him you keep His commandments. Knowing will be the burden you will have to bear. I don’t matter at all. He is everything.

        • What does it matter how many people owned slaves? When the Southern Baptists broke away because they wanted to keep their slaves, and used biblical inerrancy as justification, does it matter how many of them actually owned slaves, and how many went along with these views of a powerful elite?

          • Larry

            The Southern Baptists will not be with you when you stand on judgement day. You must stand alone. It matters only what you believe, what you repent, and the faith you have. So called Christians have made many mistakes throughout history, that does not change or diminish the message of the cross.

          • You misunderstood my point, which is to address the kinds of atrocious practices that the doctrine of inerrancy was designed and used to justify. One cannot simply repent of the products of a pernicious doctrine time and time again, while still persisting in the underlying system of thought that keeps producing such products, of which Christians are consistently ashamed with hindsight.

          • Larry

            Thank you for making my point. Like I said, you need not point fingers if you research study and pray on your own. Only you are responsible, just make sure the way you are going is God’s way, and twisting His way to suit your own needs. That is all I am saying.

    • LadySunami

      Considering the Bible doesn’t actually refer to homosexuality at all and only refers to sex between men as toebah not chet, I think it’s safe to say you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Larry

        OK go with that then.

        • LadySunami

          Many Christains do, which is why they’re perfectly happy to support same-sex marriage. They recognize that toebah has never referred to moral wrongs, only to crimes against tradition. As we no longer condemn other things the Bible calls toebah (Yes, including eating shrimp. Deuteronomy 14:3.) sexual activity between men should be no exception. It is only condemnation of sin (chet) or evil (roa) that is upheld.

          • Larry

            Many Christians think they are Christians because they go to church once a week. Do you also know the word porniea or fornication? How do you get around that? Jesus clearly describes God made them male and female and how they become one flesh. Sex outside of this union is porniea. Tell me how in any way Homosex can be done naturally, and how it can Glorify God? Tell me one instance where homosex is condoned by God. You have good point except that it is mentioned so many more times than Lev 19, and never condoned or shown to glorify God in any way. Tell me where does it end? There are many other sinful activist who are claiming their particular vice harms no one, is in their nature, and is condoned by God. The truth has to be somewhere. No standard, no God, don’t bother.

          • The inerrantist view is that “homosex” (what an awful term) is not condoned by God, but slavery and patriarchy are. This is just evidence that Biblical inerrantists, claiming to be turning to God for a moral standard, in fact reject the moral teaching of Jesus, which is the opposite of “look to see what the Bible says,” elevating instead empathy through the Golden Rule, which sometimes relegates to minimal importance, or even nullifies altogether, things which are in the Bible. The priest in the parable of the Good Samaritan was a good inerrantist, avoiding the risk of corpse impurity by giving the seemingly dead man on the side of the road a wide berth. And so I thank you for demonstrating clearly that you have rejected the teaching of Christ in favor of a viewpoint that he explicitly opposed.

          • LadySunami

            There is nothing to “get around.” I don’t think it’s okay to cheat on your spouse gay or straight.

            Jesus referenced the marriage of Adam and Eve, yes, but he did not say “all sex outside this exact variety of union is pornea.” His objection was quite clearly to men who would end one marriage for the sake of another. (I say end one marriage for the sake of another as he offered no objection to plural marriages, only dissolved ones.)

            Jesus also said, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given (δέδοται).” (Matthew 19:11).
            As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12,

            There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, (…) All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

            1 Corinthians 12:4-8 & 11

            Not everyone is given (δίδοται) the same calling. If a person isn’t straight, they’re obviously not called to heterosexual marriage.

            Are you implying “homosex” can’t be done naturally? I mean sure prep and lubrication is necessary, but that doesn’t make it “unnatural.”
            Prep and cooking is required for eating certain foods too, but I don’t hear anyone saying this means eating said foods is “unnatural.” Should we stop eating chicken because our stomachs can’t clean and cook it for us?

            Tell me one instance where ceiling fans, eyeglasses or vaccination are condoned by the Bible. The Bible doesn’t mention all kinds of things that are morally good or neutral.

            —–

            For a long time men raping other men was used as a tool of oppression by patriarchal societies that believed being “the penetrator” during sex made one superior. (I hope you recognize that this is ridiculous… Some people still believe it.) Biblical verses opposed to male-male sexual behavior are directed squarely at such practices. To ignore the context and pretend verses like those in Leviticus refer to modern day consensual relationships between men is foolishness. Just as incense was toebah thanks to its association with pagan ritual so too was sex between men toebah thanks to its use as a tool of oppression. Things have changed since then.

            The truth is determined as it is in all things,

            Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

            1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

            The truth is that treating LGBT+ individuals as equals brings about good, while shaming them leads only to evils, like broken mixed-orientation marriages and poor mental health.
            The claims of “other ‘sinful’ activists” should be evaluated based on their own merits. They have nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

          • Marissa van Eck

            I can give you some detail about how women do “homosex” if you like 🙂 If you are married, try it with your wife; you may just find it helps. Yes, even if you two are in your 60s or 70s.

            *grins, imagining your reaction to the above*

          • Marissa van Eck

            Nicely spoken, LadySunami. Of course this idiot is an illiterate fundie and wouldn’t know Hebrew if it came up and smacked him upside his rattling skull with a loaf of stale challah!

    • splodge

      No, they are anti-gay. They wear mixed fibres. They eat pork. They allow women to teach. They divorce although Jesus himself specifically forbade it. They do a thousand and one things that the bible says no. But only the ucky gay thing gets their ire. The word for this is ‘hypocrisy’. Bible cherry-picking is hypocrisy; nothing more nothing less.

      • Andrew Dowling

        Throw in ursury

      • Larry

        “bible cherry picking is hypocrisy” Exactly what you did in your first sentence.
        Tell me what bible verse says that homosexuality is good, wholesome, natural, condoned , or how it glorifies God? You cannot cherry pick that verse, because it does not exist.
        Even though you are wrong, in your first sentence, because of dispensationalism, it would not negate the fact that homosexuality in practice is sin, same as adultery, murder, and thievery. The best thing you could possibly do in the eyes of the Lord is to stay away from all sin, and it would not hurt to stop eating pork, or shellfish (high blood pressure) or mix fiber (itchy) or anything else the Holy Spirit convicts you of doing. The bible says to work out your own salvation. If while working out your salvation you choose to ignore or interpret what the bible says to suit you own sin, then my point is, “why bother”? Because you would still be in sin any way.
        The whole, mixed fiber, slavery, shellfish, anti-feminist, thing, is clearly cherry picked by atheists, agnostics, and LGBTS, who do not understand the depths and richness of God’s word, and His purposes. I am also no expert, I read the bible plainly, then do the best I can. There is one thing I can see clearly. There is sin, and God is against it. That is pretty simple. Jesus died for our sins, and if you have repented, He has washed them all away. However, after you are saved you are expected to be a “new man” and live righteously. When you sin willfully after having the knowledge of the Truth, you crucify Christ all over again.

        • splodge

          It’s only a sin if you’re a bible cherry-picking hypocritical christian. I am not. So no sin there. Also how do you pick and choose which bits of the bible to act on and which bits you ignore? The ‘shellfish and mixed fibres’ bit is in the SAME PART as the ‘do not lie with another man’ bit so it seems relevant enough to include it. In addition there is no ancient Hebrew word for homosexual so anywhere you see it in the bible it is a mis-translation. And talking of Jesus, he forbade divorce (which cherry-pickers allow) but said nothing about homosexuality. In fact if you actually read that bible of yours you may want to read about John the Evangelist, the disciple that Jesus Loved (John 20:2). Those are not my words. Jesus also healed the Roman Centurion’s ‘boy’ (mist-translated as ‘son’) but again no condemnation. To equate a loving and monogamous same-sex couple in a long term relationship with murderers show what a totally disingenuous liar you are. Thou shalt not bear false witness.

          • Larry

            God did not say you will not enter the kingdom of heaven by eating shrimp. Regardless of translation, or interpretation, God created nature, in His nature He created a man and a woman to “be fruitful and multiply”. A homosexual relationship is against nature by the use of the wrong “equipment” . He designed certain equipment for elimination of waste, not for personal pleasure. That is pretty simple.
            I could go on and say He destroyed a couple of cities for such sin. In fact He continues to judge homosexuality today if you can notice (see life span).
            I can discern that you already seem to be of a reprobate mind and will not listen, or maybe just want to argue. So if you really believe your comment above, then go with that. Who am I (no expert) to sway your belief? However, I plead with with you to make all your decisions that determine your eternal life with the gravity of prayer, and the inquiry of the Holy Spirit. Not to mention that centuries of theologians disagree with you. But every man stands before God alone on judgement day and will give account. For me, Job 28:28 is my guide.
            You can not substitute the intentions and nature God intended, for your own personal pleasure. We are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. Have you ever thought maybe there was no Hebrew word for homosexual because it was unthinkable? There is no such thing as a loving homosexual relationship since a loving person would not cause his brother to stumble.

          • splodge

            1. It’s not about pleasure it’s about being true to oneself and not lying to other people. Why should I lie to fit in with your definition of acceptable?
            2. There are 1500 animal species that exhibit homosexual behaviour. It is not against the natural order, it is part of it. For example, lesbian seagulls are better at bringing up young. Incidentally, so are lesbian human couples if you google it. I also ask you to carefully consider this: some humans are born intersex; that means it is not certain that they are male or female. This is perfectly natural. It happens. They haven’t sinned, it is simply a variation on the human condition. This sexually bipolar utopia you are talking of is pure fantasy. It isn’t like that in ANY part of nature. I’m not an American but I really have to say get real.

          • Larry

            1. It is not about “oneself”. Self, gets us in trouble.
            2. My definition means absolutely nothing. (I think I mentioned that)
            3. We are not animals. Animals are innocent, we are guilty. We are guilty be cause we know.
            4. Jesus washes all your sin away. He changes you by the renewing of your mind into conformity with His perfect will. You have to trust Him to do that for you. You must put self aside, and submit your will to His will. You must repent, believe, love, in that order. It is not whether you have sinned or not, it is whether you trust Jesus to change you, no matter what your sins may be. If you truly believe what your comments say, then that is your fruit, and your fruit shows you to be in the world and not of God (in my opinion)
            I am nobody, God is Whom you must fear, and take heed to His word. I just have an opinion based on His word.

          • So you have gone from insisting that it isn’t natural, to a view that says that only humans need to be forgiven for doing things that are natural. Any suggestions on how to tell whether this shift in your theology is an improvement?

            Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 is presumably not “His Word,” in your opinion.

          • Larry

            1. false dilemma. Humans need forgiveness for sin.
            2. I thought you were a professor? Able to distinguish allegorical writing from literal. The preachers point here, is death. Same ending as the beasts. Why would he contradict God’s appointment of “His image” upon Adam, to refer to men as mere animals.
            But, I know you are just toying with me again. No problem.

          • If a Biblical author seems to be saying something you disagree with, of course you are going to say it is allegory. The alternative, however much better it fits the evidence, is far too unpalatable…

          • Larry

            That is why we each have to work out our own salvation (with fear and trembling). We already know in our heart what is right. If you are saved, the Holy Spirit leads and guides you into all things. However, if your personal belief leads you into the way of sin, and you twist scripture to accommodate what you know to be wrong, then you probably are indeed in error. Common sense, the Holy Spirit, the bible, and scientific evidence, all lead me to believe we are not beasts, we have a soul, and are made in the image of God. If you don’t believe me, try pooping in your neighbors living room and see what happens.

  • Katherine Harms

    Just so you know, we’re all born that way–sinners in need of grace. Being bisexual is no different in the sin realm than being a thief. Both are sinful. Both occur naturally because we are all born with sinful human nature. It is Satan who tempts and deceives and makes people crazy, not God. We who have received God’s grace want it for everyone.
    What bugs some people is that those of us who have experienced God’s forgiveness do not want to be subject to Satan any longer. We don’t want to go back into that darkness. We would rather lead others to the light. If you met someone who was lost and did not know how to get home, wouldn’t you offer to help? That is the motivation we have for pointing people to Jesus for transformation.

    • otrotierra

      No Katherine, Jesus did’t equate bisexuality with thievery.

      No thanks, I’ll stick with what Jesus actually taught.

    • Larry

      Thieves don’t march down the street in jockstraps. Murderers don’t teach our children the story of the prince and the prince. Adulterers don’t sue nice people out of business. We do not have to give gossipers our tax money by way of benefits.

      • What a bizarre thing to say.

        Thieves, murderers, adulterers, and gossipers have probably done most of the things you list, though the things you list don’t sound terribly bad by comparison to theft, murder, and adultery.

        Most LGBTQ folks I know don’t walk down the street in jock straps, nor think it’s a particularly good idea (and there are heterosexual exhibitionists as well as gay ones).

        As far as tax benefits, are you referring to the tax benefits of being married? Heterosexual couples have received marriage tax benefits for years in this country, why shouldn’t LGBTQ couples get them? (And I’m sure both gay and straight couples include a few gossipers among them).

        • Larry

          I tell you Beau, you are tough to debate because you bring a lot of good points. I am not used to that.
          The bad part is the ones parading down the street get the most attention, and therefore influence the most youths. All I can say about marriage is that it belonged to God, between one man and one woman originally. The reason for the benefits was to help growing families. A reason not many gays can use.

          • Actually, marriage existed long before the earliest biblical literature was composed, and its patriarchal near eastern cultural form is simply assumed in that literature.

          • Larry

            The earliest biblical literature is written about the beginning, before that there was nothing.

          • What is that supposed to mean? You aren’t trying to pretend that the Bible is the world’s oldest literature, are you? Or that Genesis is the oldest part of the Bible?

          • Larry

            No rather that the book of Genesis is about, and describes the oldest time of the earth. The beginning. If you don’t believe now, you will.

          • Anyone can say about anything, “If you don’t believe me, God will prove I am right one day.”

          • Larry

            You are right it is all up to you, good luck.

          • Heterosexuals have been parading down streets scantily clad for far longer and in much greater numbers than homosexuals. Parading events like Mardi Gras have been around a lot longer than gay pride parades. If you’re interested in the biblical example of marriage, you’ll find far more biblical heroes (Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc.) in polygamous marriages, including the polygamous marriage that produced the twelve tribes of Israel. I know both straight and gay couples that have adopted children and provided a wonderful home for them; but any couple (gay or straight) has the right to marry, whether or not they choose to raise children.

          • Larry

            You sir have proven to be a champion of homosexuality. I will leave you now in the hands of God. I hope you can reconsider and discuss your beliefs with Him. Thanks for discussing, and I love you and wish the best for you.

          • No thanks, I prefer discussions with people. They actually answer back and have an influence on the world.

            I wish you the best as well. I especially wish that you learn to love people.

          • Larry

            To love someone is to wish the best for their future. Judgement is coming, repent before it is too late. Call on the name of Jesus and He will change you.

          • Let me think about that for a moment … you believe in a God that sends people to eternal torment, if they repent “too late”.

            Somehow that doesn’t sound like love to me. That sounds like the
            most horrific conception of a deity the human mind has ever conceived.

          • Larry

            God does not send anyone to torment. You choose to go into torment (separation from God) yourself. He offered His son as a lifeline. Since you have read the bible you have the burden of knowing the truth, if you choose not to follow you seal your own fate.

          • You clearly do not read your bible carefully:

            “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”
            Luke 12:5

            Nobody “chooses” to be tormented. That’s ridiculous. There are a number of words that are translated as “hell” in the bible, and there are a variety of theologies about the meaning of such afterlife punishments.

            But you will not find in the bible a teaching that anyone “chooses” eternal torment. One wonders if you’re making this garbage up, or getting it from idiotic sources.

          • Larry

            That is because of your own non-belief. So in effect you cast yourself. You missed the first part “Fear Him” or else. Besides you are cutting threads. Of course an all powerful God has all authority. Fear Him, yes or you can choose to stand in defiance, stomping your itty bitty tensy tiny feet, and shouting at Him about what is right and wrong with the voice of a gnat. That is why I said “go with that” since you are determined.

          • No, Larry. You were the one who stated “God does not send anyone to torment.” When I show you a verse that clearly states that God is the authority over hell, you dance around the fact that your statement was a complete falsehood. You are not honest about your understanding of scripture. “In effect you cast yourself”, you say. No. That is not a concept found in scripture – you’ve made that up yourself.

            If you believe in an everlasting torment (not all biblical interpreters see references to hell in that light, but clearly you do), then you cannot deny that the authority over this everlasting torment belongs to God. You clearly believe in a deity to whom I am an “itty bitty teensy tiny” being. If God is so powerful, and if he is a loving being, why would he cast his own creations into a place of everlasting torture? Because we love and support our LGBTQ friends?

          • Larry

            I do not know exactly what hell is. What I do know, is Who is not there. The torment of that place is from the absence of God. All goodness, all love, all justice, missing. God allows you to have authority over hell, in that He sent His Son to take your place. We all deserve hell, but through Jesus Christ, we do not have to go there. The ball is in your court, John 6:37 says “the one who comes to me I will in no wise cast out”. If you call on the name of Jesus and repent, you will be saved. If you throw back the life ring you will drown.
            If God is real, He has the authority to set the course for His creation. If the creation rebels and sets their own course by their free will, then the consequences belong to the rebels. Love does not mean people get to do whatever they want. Here is why, the righteous must receive justice from the hands of the wrongdoers. God would not be righteous unless the wrongdoers were punished. Punishment is leaving them to their made beds.

          • Larry, when you make inane and completely unfounded statements like “God allows you to have authority over hell”, I know not to take you seriously. The very verse you quoted from John demonstrates that your own statement is poppycock.

            Your worldview isn’t scriptural. It’s a rough and half-baked amalgamation of modern fundamentalist interpretations of scripture, with your own thoughtless assertions thrown in.

            And even if your interpretations were correct, they paint a picture of a monstrous God.

            If you wanted to have an honest conversation about why you believe scripture is true, and why you think specific scriptures lead to specific beliefs about judgement, I might take you seriously. But instead, you throw out quasi-theological generalizations, ugly assertions about people you don’t know, and completely false notions about what scripture actually says.

            I would add that the very notion of “justice” as punishment or torture is, itself, archaic and barbaric. And has nothing to do with love.

          • Larry

            God allows you to have authority hell by giving you grace. He gives grace with patience and He allows you to come to Him and repent. Now, all the stuff you say about me has nothing to do with God. I might not be the best representative, or even an adequate one to convince you. But I am here nonetheless.
            Your kind of love would open all prison doors, set free the guilty, and laugh at the innocent.
            1 Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God

          • No, Larry, don’t compound your insults with lies about me. I would not advocate opening all prison doors, because they are necessary to prevent criminals who would harm others. LGBTQ marriage does not harm you or your marriage, and equating it to criminal activity is just another ignorant insult on your part.

            I hope that you come to realize how ugly your attitudes are and repent of them before you bring harm to others.

          • Marissa van Eck

            If passive-aggressive narcissism were crap you’d be a Herculean labor unto yourself, Larry. May your death be slow and your descent into the Hell you love so much be swift.

          • Larry

            Sorry I am not going to hell. I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. However my death might be slow at the hands of intolerant homosexual hate mongers. That is the way things are going. Christians will be thrown into camps, tortured, and beheaded for their beliefs.
            Oh, and your big misplaced word make you seem cool and intelligent, until you look below the surface at the dirt.

          • And you left an “s” off the end of “make” – does that prove anything?
            It is always sad when people who are conservative, and thus share the outlook of those who created death camps and who behead people for their beliefs, bizarrely project that view on those who are fundamentally opposed to that sort of thing, and for that sort of reason seek to stop such conservative evil, rather than trying to do something similar in reverse. But it is particularly sad when a Christian has so little of the teaching of Christ in their mind and heart, that they not only cannot imagine not repaying in kind, but cannot even recognize when others are doing what Jesus taught. So very, very sad.

          • Larry

            Isn’t that what “comment section” is for? You are throwing all Christians in with ISIS or Nazi’s? Come on James, that really reaching. True Christians follow the teachings of Christ. Christ said I rebuke and chasten as many as I love.
            People only want to hear opinions favorable to their own. Like this lady who wishes a slow death for me. I don’t wish that on anybody, and the only reason I comment on these articles is in hope of leading someone to Christ for one, and express my own opinion for two. The people who preach love and tolerance, are the most intolerant people on earth. I don’t base my comments off my own invented reality. I base them off of the word of God. People can read what I write and do whatever they want. I am not a perfect man nor a perfect typist.

          • She is an atheist, and is free to express her view. If I thought for a moment that she literally wished you dead, I would have addressed that immediately. Perhaps I was wrong. But you claim to be a Christian, and so I expect something different from you. And you seem so immersed in your own invented reality, that you seem to genuinely if mistakenly believe that it is simply based on the Word of God.

          • Larry

            You don’t think she meant that????
            James, I am so long ago used to the conviction the word of God causes. Why would my words (of an old country boy) stir so much hatred. Like I said, I have not wished anyone harm. On the contrary, I wish everyone eternal life. No comment I have made has been mean or hateful and you know it. If you just want a cheer leading section with no dissension, then Raw Stories has a great place for commenting. Where you get kicked out for even mentioning the name of Jesus.

          • No comment has been mean or hateful? Like your insinuations that LGBTQ citizens are all promiscuous, unable to be monogamous, and undeserving of the tax benefits that other married couples have taken advantage of for years? And when you’re called out for such ugliness you claim innocence!

          • Larry

            You have to remember that according to my beliefs all homosex is sin. The bible tells in Rom 1:26 – 32 what happens when a person is given over to those desires. Allowing LGBT to continue in their sin without at least informing them of God’s wrath is the most hateful thing I can think of. I don’t have for myself any need to be right. My wife loves me, my family loves me, my children and grandchildren love me. God loves me, and commanded me to spread the good news. The problem is that His word brings out strong rebellion in men. I can’t help that. God has given you a heart to know what is right and wrong, and I believe you know. I don’t need to win a debate I am always happy to be the dumbest guy in the room. But God loves his people so much He compels us to give the truth. You know what, the greatest testimony is how He changed me from someone a lot like you, into a new creature in Christ. He can change LGBTs or anyone from their sin.

          • Why would you base your view on a passage where Paul is imitating the way some Jews spoke about Gentiles, in order to then condemn whoever speaks that way? Are you looking to condemn yourself, or to oppose Paul, or have you just not read his letter as a whole?

          • Larry

            There is no context in this scripture to substantiate the interpretation you stated. No reason, does not fit, and to say it does puts you in the category of Rom 1:18. My opinion only, but you go with that.

          • I too have a family that I love and support, and we are dear friends with other loving families, some with same sex parents. Two of the finest parents I know are a gay couple raising two children who had previously been lost in the foster care system. They happen to be Christians (which is fine with me) they are active in the community, work in local charities, and are more invested in their children’s education than most parents I know.

            You can throw as much disdain at their family as you like, but I will always see your disdain for the ignorant lie that it is, because I have experienced the love in that home first hand. You can hide behind your awful religious beliefs (which I know are not held by all Christians), but you are responsible for the hatred you spread- no one else.

          • Larry

            This beautiful picture you paint will have an awful ending with Jesus saying ” depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” You can not be a Christian while you hate God. You can only love God if you follow His commandments. He said that is how we know Him in that we follow His commandments. Homosexual sex is the sin of fornication, porniea, adultery a peice of paper does not change that.
            Hiding???? my religious beliefs are who I am. I am definitely not hiding. That makes no sense. You know the difference in us? I attack sin, and speak against it, you just attack me. I do not hate LGBT people, I pity them, and wish for their salvation, hope for them to come to the knowledge of the truth.

          • Fortunately, I know many loving Christians, and so I know that the hateful view of Christianity you represent is not universal.

          • Marissa van Eck

            I’m a Deist, James, as stated on at least one other thread. I believe there is a God; it’s just not the flying Canaanite genocide fairy this festering oxygen thief worships.

          • “The people who preach love and tolerance, are the most intolerant people on earth.”

            Do you even read the things you write?! By this logic, Jesus was among “the most intolerant people on earth”!

            You keep asserting that you base your comments off the word of God, but your rambling, incoherent, insinuations about the LGBTQ community have no basis in “the word of God”.

          • Larry

            I was speaking in reference to another comment. I was speaking of the crowd here in these comments who speak so highly of love and tolerance, but are never tolerant to views like mine. If my ramblings are so incoherent, how have I seemed to have kept your attention for so long? And had reasonable comment /counter. You just love to bash Christians.

          • Larry, the views I do not tolerate are the views that foment hatred, including the ugly smears you make against my LGBTQ friends. I tolerate quite a lot, but I do not tolerate hate-speech.

            I find offensive that Christian fundamentalists cry “intolerance” and “persecution” when they are called out for their gay bashing. The LGBTQ community has suffered real intolerance and persecution. You don’t knoW the meaning of the words.

          • Larry

            You want hate speech? This is hate speech, “If passive-aggressive narcissism were crap you’d be a Herculean labor unto yourself, Larry. May your death be slow and your descent into the Hell you love so much be swift.”
            Now that is an example of hate speech. I have not harmed anyone with my words because they are words that can be taken, or left. But words like these are the example of which you speak.
            The words Christians speak are not just made up from thin air, or out of hate, or just to be right. They are morals and truths given by God, and accepted for thousands of years by billions of people. However they are words given by God, and not accepted by trillions of people. You talk of intolerance. Let me ask you where does you tolerance end? Do you also have tolerance for pedophiles? Or others? I’ll bet you are intolerant to someone, and probably someone who says they can’t help what they do.
            God gives us the moral standard. You said earlier that Jesus would have been the most intolerant ever. Wellll yeah, I guess He would be,…. being GOD and all. He does not tolerate sin and He makes the rules over His creation. Without the moral standard from God, there is no standard. So you could just take my intolerance level up a couple of notches, and we would land on yours. Without God as a standard, our morals would be just a couple of opinions wouldn’t they?

          • I don’t know where you got that quotation wishing you death, but it didn’t come from me and I’m sure it didn’t come from James Mc Grath.

            You, on the other hand, are still spewing hateful screeds. Comparing LGBTQ relationships to pedaphilia?! Do you have any inkling of how offensive that is?! If you don’t Know the difference between an adult who abuses a child, and two adults who choose to love each other, then you truly have a disgustingly twisted worldview.

            My moral standard predates Jesus by millenia, though he borrowed the idea himself – do to others as you would have them do to you. This is the basis of nearly all moral philosophies, secular and religious. And it existed in writings that predate the bible.

          • Larry

            I did not compare, I merely asked you what is your personal level of intolerance?

          • I think I’ve made it evidently clear that my tolerance ends where one persons behavior harms others. This is basic in all moral philosophy, based in the Golden Rule, a principle found in writings from Lao Tzu, Confucious, Jesus, to Plato, as well as virtually all contemporary moral philosophers.

            In other words, this is not some arbitrary “level” of moral acceptance, as you seem to imagine. It is a principle of reciprocal altruism that has existed In moral and religious philosophies all over the world. It is based on human well-being, not on the capricious and arbitrary commands of any particular God. It is a moral principle that actually makes rational sense; it’s not good because “God said so”, it is good because it is good for humanity, guiding humans to treat each other with compassion and respect.

          • Larry

            Question avoided again. Name something you tolerate that is at the edge. What makes your philosophy superior over mine? So you named three men,…. and then God, and kind of threw them all together. I think I will stick with God.There can be only one truth.
            Many pedophiles do not feel they are hurting anyone,and in fact are working to get the laws changed to lower the age of consent (14 in Belgium, 13 in Japan) Some psychologists in the US are now saying the acts cannot be seen as criminal, and in some cases of mutual consent is not harmful to children.
            Reciprocal altruism is hogwash and just another excuse for sin. The thing is we do not know is what human well being is. The only one who knows that, also knows the future. In real situations survival mode will kick in every time, altruism is actually contradictory to evolution. Like evolution all of sudden takes a pause to purport caring for one another.
            Without Jesus, any level of goodness or evil is sin, that is why He had to die for you. you can not be good enough.
            With 7.5 billion differing opinions as to what is good which one will you follow. Humanity does not know the way. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father except through Him. With Him, all things are possible.

          • Just because you don’t like my answer doesn’t mean you can accuse me of avoiding your question. You do realize that most Christians consider lying a sin? Now you’ve altered the question, but what on earth do you mean by asking me to name something I tolerate that is “on the edge”? What do you mean by “on the edge”. I’ll try …

            You seem fixated on pedophilia, but that’s simple for me, I have NO tolerance for pedophilia whatsoever. I’m sure psychologists differ on ages of consent, and I don’t pretend to be a psychologist, but I would lean towards an age of consent that is conservatively high. I have no idea what psychologists you are worrying over in the U.S. – you don’t supply any sources – but pedophilia will remain a crime in the U.S. That’s not going to change.

            If you want an “edgy” moral question; I would suggest that war presents particularly difficult moral conundrums. I’m not a pacificist; I think that nations should be able to defend themselves, but I worry over the costs in civilian lives that become inevitable in war. I suppose I could say that I tolerate defensive war, though I consider it “on the edge”; is that what you mean? Why do you ask?

            “Reciprocal altruism is hogwash”? Oh dear, Larry, you clearly don’t know the meaning of the phrase. Altruism actually occurs quite often in evolutionary biology; your ignorance of the field notwithstanding. And not only is the principle of reciprocity a cornerstone of virtually all moral philosophy, it’s most popular variant is the one quoted by Jesus: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

          • Marissa van Eck

            We’re wasting time on this guy. I shouldn’t have shown anger; he LIKES it. He’s some kind of existential masochist. Just walk away.

            Some people learn only through pain and suffering, and he will have those in full measure when the rotting, festering mass of hate and self-aggrandizement i will charitably call his soul parts ways with his body.

          • No – I agree that it probably won’t happen in this blog post, but I’ve seen more people (and more types of people) change and learn to love in the past decade than I ever thought possible.

          • Larry

            Beau without God you have no idea what love is. You only have your opinion.

          • Someday, Larry, you should acquaint yourself with the Euthyphro Dilemma.

          • Larry

            Sorry, time is almost up, I will concentrate on God’s word. I think that will get me through. And if it all turns out not to be real, hey I am way better off than I used be before I came to Christ. I discovered true happiness, and what love really is. Mostly I have hope of spending a wonderful eternity with my savior. If a cold, hard grave is my destination, then you and I are pretty much equal……… but if not,,,,,,

          • Larry, I am an atheist, because I’ve never seen any reason to believe that Christianity has better evidence for it’s claims than any other ancient mythology. But I have numerous friends who are Christians; I have nothing against them. I have a happy and fulfilling life, but I don’t question my Christian friends who consider their happiness or fulfillment resulting from their faith.

            My only argument with Christians comes when Christians use their faith to curtail the happiness of others (and not all Christians do this).

          • Larry

            As an atheist, you can not win the most basic argument. You or anyone else can not answer how something came from nothing. That takes way more faith than any Christian has. If you start with that, You start to wonder where intelligent information comes from, and then who knows where you end up.
            Then you come to the conclusion there there is God. If there is God, He would want to communicate with His people. He would want to guide them, however He does not want to violate the free will of His creation. By giving us free will He can be assured we love Him completely. However He must make laws that insure the creation continues and does not destroy itself by it’s own free will. When we violate the laws of God, we are not only rebelling against Him, but each other as well. That is why I asked you what you tolerate.
            You say some Christians do not curtail the happiness of others, you assume we are all here for our own happiness. Many times your happiness is at someone else’s expense and you never know it because you do not know the future. God does. God knew we could never get it right, so He sent His Son to die on the cross, suffering shame and the sin of the world so that we could start to get it right. Then He demonstrated His total and awesome power by resurrecting His Son from the grave. By that resurrection we have assurance that He is real. All He asks in return is for you to believe it, stop rebelling against your true nature, then you can wait for the true happiness He has planned for us for all eternity. This life is a test, and is only a drip from the faucet of our eternal life. Not worth rebelling for. There is way more proof for what I have said, than any proof Socrates ever existed, or was just a figment of Plato’s imagination. Or even Plato for that matter.

          • What basic argument? I’m fascinated by scientific studies that push the boundaries of human knowledge, but I also realize that I can’t answer every question. That is not a problem; that is a recognition of our limitations, without rejecting our capacity for investigating more in the future.

            Not knowing everything about the origin of the universe hardly makes religious stories the default answer. You could just as easily say, “you don’t know where the universe came from so that proves fairies made the universe.”

            You have described your beliefs about the universe, but you have given me no reason to find them believable.

            And, again, I have no problem with religious beliefs, I have many friends who are religious believers. I only fault religious beliefs that foment hatred towards other people in our society.

            Incidentally, the term “atheists” was used quite a bit by the ancient Romans. Do you know who they commonly called atheists? Christians. Because they denied the existence of all gods except the three they happened to promote.

          • Marissa van Eck

            “A cold hard grave” is what you WISH you’d get, Larry.

            What lies in store for you is horrible beyond your comprehension, and *entirely* made of what lies within. I’m not going to call you to “repent” since it would be useless…and I want you to get what’s coming to you 🙂

          • Larry

            OK beau, I admit I googled it. Sounds like you know when settin around on a stump trying to figure out the mind of God. And then you realize you can’t. You remember His word says you can’t. And then you leave it that, and go about your business.
            Socrates did a lot of stump sittin and figuring, but he never did figure out the mind of God. Now he only wishes for one little sip of water.
            That is why I can’t wait to meet God and know His mind.

          • This is appalling. You take a story about a rich man experiencing torment because of how he neglected the poor, and try to twist it into a story that somehow justifies you assuming that everyone who disagrees with you is in hell or will be there soon. What despicable twisting of the words attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. Shame on you!

          • Larry

            All I said was, Socrates is probably in the same place as the rich man, regardless of his philosophy. I am not the best communicator, but James is sitting with a quiver full of arrows ready to fire at my every word. Had nothing to do with the story Jesus portrayed other except location. Calm down dude. Everyone who does not agree with me is not going to hell. Everyone who disagrees with God, will. …..drama
            The comment you made above has nothing to do with comment I made. Now I can see how you get so confused while reading the bible.

          • Larry, think about that! Just try to really imagine it for one second!

            You believe in a God who sends “everyone who disagrees with God” into a never-ending torture! What sort of God is that! A God of Love!? or a monster!

          • Larry

            I know, Socrates had the advantage of not knowing God, thereby he was probably innocent.
            Still, my real point was that his philosophy is useless. I was trying to make the point that anyone can sit around and try to figure out the mind of God. And, that their fate would be much better if they just accepted Him. The whole thing was meant to be tongue in cheek any way. We can know maybe an amount to fill a pin head, compared to what God knows. I think if Socrates had known God, he would have accepted Him because he knew “we know nothing”.

          • How do you expect to convince anyone that such a horrific God exists with such thoughtless musings. Your argument seems to be that we should believe in an all-powerful, all-loving God, who somehow also punishes billions of humans in an eternal afterlife of torture (while remaining loving?) …

            … and we should believe this lunacy because ? …

            … God is a mystery? …

          • Larry

            I don’t expect to convince you. I expect to give you the burden of knowing. When you know the truth, and reject it, you have no excuse on judgement day, and I do not have your blood on my hands because I warned you, that is it , simple. Jesus requires this of us, to spread the gospel, to mourn the lost, and have compassion. True love, is hard truth.

            And I should believe the lunacy that we are random molecules, in a random world, in a random universe, and that we have thoughts and feelings that matter? Or that we can trust? Or that we have morals that are good? based on what? ……opinions? ….an unknown future? That is beyond lunacy, that is laughable. Think how many times coffee has either been good, or bad for you according to men. lol “we know nothing”

          • How does that make sense?

            Larry, if you do not repent of your rejection of Allah and his prophet Mohammed, you will be evicted from Paradise and suffer eternal damnation.

            There, now you have the “burden of knowing”. Your blood is on your hands. Doesn’t that convince you to become a Muslim?

            There is no scientific theory that considers the universe completely random. Your ignorance of science makes you even less convincing. I might say laughable, except that your hate-filled, discriminatory attitudes are anything but.

          • Larry

            OK then name the purpose of the universe? Name the purpose of yourself. Name the purpose of calling my attitudes as originating from hate. (do you really think I would waste my time here out of hate?)
            And I thank you for letting me know, however, since I have already considered the Muslim religion and found it to be not truthful, contradictory, exclusive, and the fruit of the followers is rotten, in my opinion. A religion based on what you do for the creator, not on what the creator has done for you. (having spent much time among followers of Islam)
            I think will take my chances in rejecting it. I do appreciate your consideration though.

          • If rotten fruit from followers of a religion is a legitimate basis for rejecting it, then you really, really ought to stop displaying your rotten fruit online and giving people a legitimate reason to reject Christianity.

          • Marissa van Eck

            “Rotten fruit” is not itself a deductive argument to reject a religion. “Let every man be false and God be true” and all that after all.

            But it sure doesn’t help the religion’s case. Especially not when the fruit’s been rotten for almost 2000 years and the religion only stopped growing the kind of rotten fruit made of tortured, broken bodies and the screaming of people burning alive in the last couple hundred years. And that because they were basically forced to by secular thinking.

          • Larry

            You mean stop telling the truth?

          • Marissa van Eck

            You would not know the truth if it bit you, Larry.

          • Name the purpose of the universe? How silly. You might as well ask me to name the purpose of a rock or an asteroid.

            As a conscious being “purpose” is a useful way to describe some of my actions; but not the universe. That’s called anthropomorphizing. It’s like asking someone where the universe keeps it’s brain.

            I’m not a strident atheist. I have no interest in convincing religious people to change harmless beliefs. And I could honestly be convinced otherwise. James McGrath has given interesting and subtle arguments for the existence of a higher plane of reality on this blog – but such beliefs are a far cry from the horrific God of hell that you are trying to sell. You have provided no reason to think your version of God is in any way preferable to that of a Muslim or a Hindu.

          • Larry

            I think we went through the hell stuff already.
            So if there is no purpose, then it must be random, or better yet, not random , but without uniformity. And if there is no uniformity how can you trust your own assertions? Without uniformity, nothing is in order, without order nothing is true. Without truth, nothing can be trusted. Including our own conclusions. (I admit I am totally out of my league here so this goes as “just saying”) please don’t call me stupid again or intellectually handicapped or what ever you called me. My ego is bruised enough…… I think..or maybe I can’t trust that…… I am so confused…….

          • It is entirely possible to have a solid basis for morality based on the simple principle of, “Humans succeed best when they work in groups.” No further work required, just investigation of that statement.
            While this isn’t the ethic I live by (I live by a more or less Christian ethic), it would be foolish of me to say that it isn’t consistent simply because it’s not based on an externally received principle.

          • No, Larry, there is no logic to the statement that lack of purpose has anything to do with randomness or lack of uniformity. You are not only “out of your league”, you are making statements that have no basis in scientific fact whatsoever.

          • Larry

            You have made God very small. Why do you humanize God to bring His presence down to your level? I do not worship a very small God in the likeness of Zeus or Thor. God is not human, you can not disagree with Him. How arrogant to think someone can be on a level to disagree with God. Like if an ant can disagree with my stepping on him, having meant no harm. God is eternal. He says “I am, that I am”. Who are we that God even considers us? But, He proves His love for us in that He gave His only Son to set us free from our sin. That love is called grace.
            A truly monstrous God would be the god of etch-a-sketch, and every time He was displeased he would wipe out and start over. Or the god of robots, who would program us to do his bidding. Or the god of interference, who would be at beckoned call with candy and band-aides. We would never be able to distinguish pleasure from pain, or experience this wonderful life. The only reason we know how good life is, by the fact we can compare when life was bad, or can see someone else’s misfortunes.
            God gives us the greatest gift of all. Free will, knowing that with free will, there will be those who rebel. And for those who rebel there must be justice. But it is still better having lived than never to have existed.The amazing thing is how easy it is to experience all that God the creator has in store for us. I’ll take my hope in that over rebellious foot stomping any day.

          • It escapes me how the relative “size” of your god makes him (her? it?) any more believable. Indeed, it must be a pretty enormous god if it can create an eternal torture chamber for billions of humans. And that logic escapes me as well. You seem to think that justice equals torturing people eternally for sins they commit for a finite time on earth.?!!

            You seem to be under the mistaken impression that continuing to describe your bizarre beliefs makes them more believable. Quite the contrary.

          • Larry

            God states in His word that it is His will that all men be saved. 1 Tim 2:4.
            What you do not believe in it seems,(along with God) is justice. You seem to be very willing to set criminals free for their crimes. That logic escapes me. You came up with this torture chamber thing, not me. I just believe that separation from God would be torture. That chamber you speak of is the bed criminals have made to lie in themselves out of rebellion. Hey, when you create something you can make up your own rules about what is “acceptable” with every one.
            God is willing to set them free and has, by the sacrifice of His son in their place. I don’t know how or why it works, I just do not want to be on the wrong side of God, just to promote my weak, ill informed, mutable opinions. See Job 28:28
            I can’t make God believable to you. God set the Israelite’s free from slavery, sustained them 40 years, divided the sea for them to walk through, and gave them a promised land, all while going before them as a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. But the first chance they got, they fashioned a calf out of gold, and worshiped it. Men do not want to believe there is a God Who stands over them and judges their actions. Rather, they choose to make themselves god and answer to no one. I can not bring you to believe in God. God has to draw you though the Holy Spirit. The best I can hope for is to convince you to ask the real expert (Jesus) if He is real or not, and to show you. Out of a true heart just ask Him. That is all I hope to accomplish here.

          • As I’ve already said, describing your belief system doesn’t make it any more convincing than any other ancient religious belief system. In fact, the more you describe it, the less sense it makes.

            Of course I don’t believe in releasing criminals. Society must be protected from them. But by the same token I don’t believe that a drug addict needs to be imprisoned for his entire life. If we truly have an infinite life span, how does it make sense to determine how we spend eternity based on the tiniest sliver of time that is a human lifespan?

            My friend Jim and his loving partner Chris have been together faithfully for the past 25 years, and they are responsibly raising two adopted children with more care, love, and time than most straight couples I know. A god who would reject them for eternity is a god who lives only in your sad imagination.

          • Larry

            I do not know personally who goes to hell or who does not. I know that an un-repented sinner will go to hell, no matter how good he is, or how bad he is. I do believe with all my heart that homosexual sex is sin, it is against nature, and God condemns it. Everybody has their own trials and temptation to go through. We must think of God first.
            I do not know another way to prove what I say to you. Maybe I don’t want or need to. Like I said, don’t trust me go to the expert.
            Beau, I am worn, and beaten down by this place, I will bid you and this forum Godspeed. Many will be glad to hear that. At least you have been the most civilized, I am done commenting here.

          • Larry, you haven’t provided any proof of hell whatsoever, much less “another way”. And the doctrine of hell is not only unprovable, it is one of the more bizarre ancient beliefs to be invented and certainly the most horrible. Comparisons to the justice system are nonsense, because there is nothing “just” about the notion of never ending punishment.

            I am sorry that you feel “worn” and “beaten down”, but those feelings are nothing to the beating the LGBTQ community has endured from bullies and fundamentalist zealots who would condemn them to such a place as hell.

          • Larry

            So you have been railing against an imaginary god who sends people to an imaginary place….brilliant! The LGBT people who go to my church do not feel beaten down by the Christians, they feel beaten down by the word of God, and some of them repent and change.

          • Larry, I can only consider that last comment as completely disingenuous. (Why such dishonesty!) My concern is obviously not an imaginary god or place. It is clearly people who bully and seek to deprive rights from their fellow citizens based on such awful beliefs. You’ve just confirmed that your church engages in such beatings.

          • Marissa van Eck

            Please, your God is a tiny, narcissistic, tantrum-throwing whiner who thinks genocide is a fun hobby. And, apparently, who thinks it’s perfectly just to torture people forever for the hideous sin of…er…not kissing his ass.

            And those who do kiss his ass the right way get to…um…hm…kiss his ass some more, for all eternity. Hmm…

            Does it ever bother you, or indeed even *occur* to you, how much your God sounds like an abusive husband? The Bride of Christ is a textbook case of a battered wife.

          • Larry

            If a judge throws a criminal in jail for his crimes, is it normally because the criminal did not kiss his ass? Is it from a temper tantrum, or just whining?
            If you knew the future, could not genocide, in a certain case, have prevented the totality of destruction? What would you do, since you set yourself up as God? With the choice.
            And you point to genocide, how do you know those people are indeed no longer alive? Maybe they are in a better place. Exactly what I said when you humanize God. I do not worship a god at the level of human cognition.
            And if the judge out of pure offers the criminal a substitute (his own son) to serve his sentence, and then gives him a get-out-jail free card, if he admits to his crime, and attempts, not to do them again, is that a monstrous judge? Is it a horrible judge who decides to leave the criminal in the bed he made with all the other criminals, if he does not accept the free gift. Is it wrong to then then separate himself, and all justice and love with from those who choose to continue in their crimes?. I ask you, who commits the crimes, us or God. Who provides justice for the weak, the poor? Does it ever occur to you how much you sound like a spoiled rotten, rebellious child?

          • Marissa van Eck

            hListen, you stupid sociopath: when someone offers to “save” you from something he himself CHOOSES to do, that is not a gift; that is gaslighting.

            Leaving aside how completely unjust penal substitution is (Dr. McGrath wrote more and better on that than I ever could, or care to in your case), your God does not *have* to do ANYTHING about “sinners.”

            He is *choosing* to take offense. Do you understand this? If you truly believe your God is omnipotent, invincible, and sovereign, nothing *any* other being does can in the least little way injure, stymie, deter, or harm him. Least of us all us.

          • Do not speak words of hate and ignorance on my blog and then tell me to calm down! If you cannot see the connection between my comment and yours, perhaps you need to learn more about both the Bible and Socrates. But once again, you arrogantly assume that you have understood everything perfectly and the problem is with others. How can you persist in such unchristian attitudes and yet have the audacity to pretend that you are a proclaimer of God’s truth? What will it take to get you to recognize your own evil, so visibly on display here to all but you, and finally repent?

          • Larry

            Another personal attack, another arrow. Did you mean to say “in your opinion”. Or are you the presenter of all truth. Dissent not allowed. Sounds kind of fascist to me.
            Hate speech? Don’t you need to be angry at someone to hate? I am not angry in the least. I expect worldly people to act worldly. Jesus said you would. No surprise.
            What I find fascinating is the intellectual bullying, and the personal attacks, by such “tolerant” intellectual people.

          • If you are going to pretend not to have appointed yourself as spokesperson for God here, and yet complain when others speak to you with confidence, then I will presumably have to assume that you are a troll and ban you, since no one who was the least bit sincere in their claim to be a Christian could engage in such blatant and unrepentant hypocrisy. And so those are your options – repent of hypocrisy, or of trolling, or both, as necessary. But playing games of this sort is simply not acceptable. This blog is a place for serious discussion.

          • Marissa van Eck

            Hey, if the liberals can claim to be Christians after flushing 4/5 of the dogma down the porcelain wonder-throne, the conservatives can claim to be Christian by adhering to it and committing constant hypocrisy.

            After all, as any of them will tell you, they’re “saved,” not perfect *rolls eyes.*

          • Marissa van Eck

            He *has* no shame, don’t you get this?! People like him have deliberately and knowingly sacrificed their humanity on the altar of their Molech, Yahweh, thinking it’s going to stand them in good stead for eternity.

            What a bunch of naive fools. If they think a being horrible enough to torture ANYONE for ANY length of time will never, not once, in all of eternity do it to them, they are sorely mistaken…

          • You must not have read very far or very deeply if all you think you know about Euthyphro is “setting around on a stump trying to figure out the mind of God”. Theologians and secularists alike have wrestled with this philosophical dilemma for millennia. It goes to the heart of why your assertion that “without God you have no idea what love is” is meaningless and unconvincing.

            That comment about Socrates! Honestly, I have never understood how Christians of your ilk are able to so casually joke about a place of never ending torment. You do realize that your conception of hell is more horrific than the worst human atrocities the world has ever known.

            I’m not inclined to consider anyone as truly stupid, but you are clearly intellectually lazy.

          • Larry

            Intellectually lazy? Are you kidding me? How do you know my life? I choose to sift through the junk and try to get to the meat. I am not going to sift through volumes and volumes of meaningless philosophy. My world view and intellectual pursuit has suited me very well so far. I have been nearly everywhere, speak three languages pretty good, done many, many more things than most people I know. I am a free thinker. I have not been brainwashed by stuffy old professors who sit around patting each on the back and tell each other how magnificently intelligent they are. There is a good chance most of what they know is not true, but they go on, and on. I have only been a Christian for about three years, before that agnostic at best.
            Calling me stupid is a compliment, since I have held your attention for a few days.

          • It takes two to tango, Larry; are you holding my attention or am I holding yours?

            You’ve held my attention, because I am willing to argue against hate speech until the day I drop dead.

            … and though you continually try to put words in my mouth, you’ll note that I specifically didn’t call you stupid; I noted that you were intellectually lazy about moral philosophy. Your dismissal of Socrates as “junk” only confirms this.

          • Larry

            I call yours hate speech, you call mine hate speech. That is fine, but I have not attacked you personally, and you do that to me with regularity.

          • Ah, the persecution complex again. I always find it remarkable when U.S. Christians claim to be “attacked”. I don’t deny that there are Christian and Muslim and Buddhist and Hindu and atheist minorities in other countries (especially in theocratic or third world countries) who experience true persecution.

            And apparently when I tell you that you promote hatred it is an “attack”, but when you tell me that I am destined for an eternity of torture, it is – what – love?. You can claim that your condemnation of the LGBTQ community is not “hate”, if you like, but it’s silly (and honestly, a bit pathetic) to claim I am attacking you personally when I call you on such hogwash.

            But in the U.S. Christians are the privileged majority. No one has denied you the right to vote, marry, work, or go to school. I might “attack” your hate-filled ideas. But that is a far cry from attacking you. You do not know the meaning of the word persecution. My LGBTQ friends most certainly do.

          • Marissa van Eck

            Jesus had a word for your kind of attitude: “whited sepulcher.”

            You project the appearance of civility and clutch your pearls at the horrid, horrid swearing that goes on, oh mercy mercy me!

            Meanwhile having sacrificed your very soul to the demon you dare to call God, and approving of murder, slavery, genocide, and *endless goddamn torture!*

            Do you truly think you’ll be safe for all of eternity in the presence of a being sadistic enough to torture ANYONE for ANY length of time?! Naive fool!

          • Larry

            Prozac anyone?

          • Marissa van Eck

            Yeah, yeah, when you lose an argument start attacking your enemy’s perceived sanity. Classy as hell, Larry. You must have been a real hoot on the debate team…

          • Marissa van Eck

            It might be a good time to start considering some people stupid, defined as “willfully ignorant.” There’s nothing immoral about calling a spade a spade.

          • Marissa van Eck

            You people have such a bizarre persecution fetish. The truth is, normal people either don’t think about your kind at all, or laugh at you.

            You WISH there were some kind of systematic persecution. You’re such a pathetic waste of life, unable to handle day to day existence, that you WISH someone would liberate you of your flesh-prison.

            I would happily watch you be tortured of course, but it’s not because you’re a Christian; it’s because you’re a psychopathic waste of oxygen.

          • Larry

            Thank you, for someone who does not know me you sure know a lot. In case you haven’t noticed Christians are being persecuted. I was more speaking of the prophetic event spoke of in the book of revelations, but go ahead with your assumptions, I still love you.
            You really make me laugh with your last statement, because you prove my point, and prophecy coming true.

          • Doesn’t get the name of the Book of Revelation correct, yet assumes that he is interpreting the content of that book correctly. Classic.

          • Larry

            sorry, minus the s
            Moderator allows a comment-er to say they would like to see someone tortured, and calls himself a moderator, and a Christian, while proof- reading a professed less than educated persons comment, ultra-classic.

          • Marissa van Eck

            Hey, didn’t Jesus tell you you’d be persecuted? Suck it up and take it like a man, lest you prove yourself not Christian enough, and spend aaaaaaaallllll eternity writhing and thrashing and shrieking and flaying and screaming for your mommy in the flames of Hell.

            You wouldn’t want to disappoint Jesus, would you? He gets…violent…when he’s disappointed.

          • Larry

            You got that right, Jesus did say that. However, my life is full of peace and joy. I am not worried in the least. I am saved and I am right with the God you speak of. My purpose for commenting here is to bring to attention the coming judgement, and the opportunity for salvation for those who want to believe in Jesus Christ. Outside of here, my life could not be much more perfect. I bet if you really met me, you would not think those things you said, believe it not, most people really like me. So I can understand you are just going by my comments here. The truth I bring here causes hatred, Jesus told us of that also. In fact, it got Him killed.
            I volunteer, I help people, I show love and respect to all people, and if you are an American, I risked my life for twenty years so you could be free. Mommy was no where around then. So you can treat me as you wish, I am not calling 911. I am praying for you, I know that means nothing to you, but there is always hope.

          • Marissa van Eck

            You have no idea what awaits you in the afterlife. You’re going to see all this self-righteous claptrap in front of what passes for your eyes, put in its proper context, and you are going to suffer the tortures of your Hell for it. And it will all come from within you!

          • Larry

            May it never be! There is one Who saves me, His name is Jesus, the name above all names, the King, Thank God I am a child of the King. I am forgiven. I am changed, free from the slavery of sin. Hallelujah!

          • Marissa van Eck

            I had to give this an upvote. You just went full-on potato. That’s somewhat like going full-retard, except worse.

            Keep telling yourself all that Larry. Especially keep telling it to yourself when you’re faced with the record of all you’ve said and done and believed. Most importantly, keep telling yourself that stuff as your inner demons become quite literal and start ripping your soul to screaming shreds.

          • Marissa van Eck

            Boy, you are going to Hell, and it’s a Hell that exists in and of your own mind. When you die there won’t be any more comforting illusions; you will see yourself, your beliefs, and your actions as what they truly are, in context of the entire universe, and you’re going to torture yourself.

    • Sara

      How is being gay or bisexual the same thing as being a thief? You can choose whether or not to steal. You can’t choose your sexuality.
      Besides, I don’t see how teaching someone that they are being sinful for being bisexual or homosexual is helpful. I see it as – dare I say it – SINFUL.
      It is sinful to tell people that they are sinners for something that they cannot control. It is sinful to make the hate themselves and treat them as abominations. It is sinful to make them believe that God is a merciless, unloving deith.
      Yes, I would offer help to someone who is in the dark and lost and afraid.
      But teaching that being non-heterosexual is sinful does not qualify as that. You are just leading people further into the darkness and making them even more lost than before.

    • John MacDonald

      I suppose that you have something like this in mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh0r7C63_J0

  • James, first of all, thanks for this. Like you, I am horrified by the role religion has played and is playing in the persecution of LGBTQ folk. This is “abominable,” just like you say. At the same time, I have to frankly acknowledge how much I’ve changed. I would probably find “abominable” the “me” of ten years ago, even five years ago. And I have to say that (1) my teachers (be they secular or religious, straight or LGBTQ, strangers or friends) have been remarkably patient with me, but (2) I am not being nearly as patient with others.

    To be agents for change, we face a challenge. We must confront the “itys” and “isms” being used to persecute our friends, neighbors and family members. At the same time, we must regard those currently affiliated with these “itys” and “isms” as people like us, in the process of change. The need for this change is urgent, but the process of personal change takes time. There’s no way to meet this challenge in a neat and orderly way, and no way to move forward without making mistakes along the way.

    In this light, I worry about the effect of using that word, “abomination.”

    • I am glad that you changed and can place yourself in the shoes of those who oppose marriage equality.

      Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who is LGBTQ, someone whose relationships and identification have been called an “abomination” by conservative Christians.

      James is not calling a person or a lifestyle an abomination; he is calling an ideology an abomination.

      • Larry

        It is not Christians who called this sin an abomination. It was God. Without God what use is Christianity? I think we have to start to separate the sin, the people, and the politics. We only love one of those.

        • Well if that’s your argument, then how do you avoid all of the other restrictions in the Old Testament that God calls an abomination. You can’t avoid arguments about the Old Testament, if you bring the Old Testament into it yourself.

          • Larry

            You are right again. There are certain sins that were repeated by Jesus in the new testament,and others mentioned by Paul, and Peter. Homosexuality is repeated in both places. The rules Moses used in Leviticus were for the purpose of setting the Jewish people apart from their neighbors.

          • The word “abomination” is not repeated in the New Testament. And the references to homosexuality in the New Testament are vague and without context.

            But I’ll lay my cards on the table, and tell you that for me, ultimately, morality is about how we treat others in this world, not about arcane prohibitions in ancient religious texts.

          • Larry

            OK I accept that. I believe every man will stand alone in judgement before almighty God. People can twist and turn scripture, or say practically anything to suit their own sin. I’ll lay my cards out also. Job 28:28 The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding. When you read the bible through (I have a few times) you get the jist of what God is trying to do. I do not believe He accepts men who go their own way. No matter how you dress up homosexuality, it is not natural, and is not what God intended clearly. Homosexuality was just another sin while it was in the closet, since it is accepted and out it will bring the decline of morality. Yes, abomination is not in the NT however it was replaced with depraved mind.
            You know what they do does not affect me that much, but I just do not want to watch the house burn down without shouting fire, fire. EZE 3:18

          • I’ve read the bible a few times too. It is a reflection of the time in which it is written, when the heroes of story could be barbarous warmongers destroying whole cities, when God condoned slavery and horrific punishments such as stoning for everything from adultery to apostasy, when women were the property of their husbands and prohibited from positions of authority, and when religious peoples were also slave holders.

            There are good things in the bible as well, the beginnings of a morality based on love and mutual respect. But I read it with the same critical eye that I read all ancient texts. And I see no reason to read it otherwise.

          • Larry

            There is reading the bible, and then there is having the bible revealed to you through the Holy Spirit. Don’t put your trust in mankind, put your trust in the One who holds your life and eternal soul in His hands.

          • How convenient. Apparently, reading the bible “through the Holy Spirit” blinds you to the ancient violence that’s clear to see in the text. I prefer to read it with my eyes open.

          • Larry

            OK go with that.

          • I certainly will “go with” reading clearly.

        • You think the author of Leviticus was God?!

          • Larry

            I think the author of all scripture was God.

          • So you missed the bit at the very beginning of the epistles where Paul names himself as author?

          • Marissa van Eck

            Of COURSE he did. This guy’s hermeneutics are so shallow it’s like scuba-diving in a shot glass. Only without the alcohol to dull the pain.

            Larry, you wouldn’t recognize Jesus if he came up to you and smacked you across your sociopathic phiz and left a giant red handprint with a size 98 nail hole in it. You are a devil-worshiper and your beloved Hell will be your resting place, the sooner the better.

      • Beau, the task of wearing another’s shoes is never easy. I bring my Jewish perspective into any shoes I try to wear. I can’t help but think of the Jewish experience of persecution. I understand all too well that our persecutors hated Jews as well as Judaism. I understand that to a Jewish victim, it mattered not at all whether his or her persecutor was “anti-Semitic,” or “anti-Judaism,” or “anti-Jewish.” This is what I learn from wearing the shoes of someone who is LGBTQ: the effort to hate the sin and love the sinner doesn’t work, because at a certain point, condemnation can spread like cancer. Condemnation of an identification becomes condemnation of those who so identify. Condemnation of a relationship becomes condemnation of those in that relationship.

        I get that, intellectually speaking, we can distinguish between the act and the actor, between the “ism” and those who identify with it. But in practice, the distinction often breaks down, so that Communists were condemned along with Communism, and racists are condemned along with racism. Perhaps the speaker, the person delivering the condemnation, intends a distinction. But the way the condemnation is commonly heard is without distinction. What I hear in the shoes of someone who is LGBTQ, is personal. Do you think I need to rethink this?

        I don’t read the Old Testament to condemn same-sex sex. But even if a verse like Leviticus 20:13 DID refer to same-sex sex, it doesn’t condemn same-sex attraction, or those who feel same-sex attraction. It condemns same-sex sex. That distinction is important … but in practice, it hasn’t prevented the Bible from being used to condemn the attraction and those who feel it. This is part of the history of the word “abomination.” It’s a word that hasn’t respected boundaries. This is the main reason why I asked James if this is the right word to use in this context.

        • No, I can’t agree with you. Condemning people is harmful, but the condemnation of hate-filled ideologies is an absolute necessity. Do we fail to condemn nazism, slavery, and racism out of fear of hurting the feelings of nazis, slave-owners, and white supremacists?

          The very example you give – anti-semitism – I would have no trouble calling an abomination.

          • Of course we condemn these ideologies, hurt feelings be damned. I’m sorry if I didn’t make this clear. Please read what I wrote in the context of what you asked. You asked me to place myself in the position of someone who is LGBTQ and has faced the “abomination” condemnation. In that position, I’m pretty sure I’d take the condemnation personally.

            My point is that when we condemn hate-filled ideologies, the people who hold to these ideologies will be condemned in the process. As we are hoping to change the hearts and minds of these people, I think it matters how we phrase our condemnation. But I probably wouldn’t have even brought this up if James hadn’t chosen the word of condemnation that has been abused in the hands of fundamentalists and culture warriors. The word “abomination” has been used with such destructive effect, I wince at its use by anyone. But I am not condemning its use here. I truly mean to ask the question. Yes, we need to condemn hatred. But is “abomination” the right word of condemnation in this context?

          • Yes, I would argue that it’s an excellent word in this context. The attitudes toward LGBTQ citizens in this nation have changed drastically over the past few decades. I think this is due, in no small part, to supporters who call out anti-gay rhetoric for what it is: hate speech.

            You could argue that anti-gay Christians are just acting on their sincere beliefs. You could make the same argument for Christian slave-holders in the old confederate states. I think you can change such “sincere beliefs” by condemning them in clear words.

          • OK Beau, I respect your opinion. But after pondering this all day, I respectfully disagree. Here are some words I find appropriate to condemn anti-gay Judaism: bigotry, hate speech, sinful, anti-Torah, destructive and deadly. I can come up with more.

            Here’s why I personally would not use the word abomination in this context. First, it’s the word adopted by the other side. It’s a slur. I would not use the slurs adopted by anti-Semites to condemn anti-Semitism. I would not drop “n” bombs on racists. I don’t want to dirty myself with the mud slung by those who persecute LGBTQs.

            Second: “abomination” is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word “toehvah.” A better translation of “toehvah” is taboo. Please understand, I’m not saying that the Bible is made LGBTQ friendly by my translation. I’m simply saying, I don’t want to validate what I see as a mistranslation by adopting the mistranslation as my condemning word of choice.

            Third: I think the words I’ve chosen in place of abomination are more apt and more on the nose. For me, “abomination” describes an extreme but unexplained level of unacceptability. The words I’ve chosen, for me at least, provide the beginning of an explanation WHY anti-LGBTQ Judaism is unacceptable.

            There are other reasons for my opinion here that I can’t quite articulate yet, but the above three will suffice for the moment.

            Please note the move I made, from condemning anti-gay Christianity to condemning anti-gay Judaism. While I think I have the right as a Jew to criticize what’s going on in Christianity, this right works differently for insiders and outsiders.

          • I respect your opinion, as well, and, of course, you may use whatever words you find appropriate to address anti-gay rhetoric.

            I haven’t changed my opinion. To address your concerns:

            First, there are many other words that I would far more readily call a “slur” by the other side, akin to the “n” word – all of the ugly words that bigots use to describe the LGBTQ community – I’m sure I don’t have to repeat them. Some words (like the “n” word) are a slur in no matter what context you use them. We tend to think of such words as profane. Other words or phrases are only a slur when they are used to smear a person falsely. “Abomination” is not such a word. It has legitimate usages.

            Second, yes, I’ve heard that the Hebrew word translated as “abomination” might more closely mean “forbidden” (or the Polynesian word you suggest – “taboo”). Our english word “abomination” has a Latin root and commonly means loathsome or detestable (as it is also sometimes translated) or vile, wicked, sinful, unholy, etc. Either meaning of the word is, in my mind, applicable to the condemnation of hate-filled ideologies.

            Third, whether or not your words are “on the nose” (I’ve used them as well), I find “abomination” to be a particularly effective word specifically because it re-appropriates a word that bigots have been misusing to disparage the LGBTQ community as detestable, in order to point out that it is – quite the contrary – their bigoted behavior which is detestable.

            For my own part, I am quite prepared to call any anti-gay behavior an abomination, whether it comes from Jews, Christians, Muslims, or anyone.

        • I love it when I walk down the street holding my husband’s hand and the orthodox men shout “Leviticus” at us.

          In Christian theology, this attraction / behavior distinction is very, very new (I.e., being same sex attracted isn’t a sin, acting on that attraction is). This view emerged when it became clear that sexual orientation is innate and virtually immutable. It’s a kind of pastoral accommodation that’s untenable theologically. Jesus says our interior lives matter (e.g., hate is murder, lust is adultery, etc.). If gay sex is immoral in every context, then the attraction that leads to that sin must also be immoral. If however, sexual attraction is indeed morally neutral, then there must be a moral way to express that attraction.

          So, I’m confounded by the Christians who make this accommodation without recognizing it as such. I believe this accommodation has actually preserved/prolonged the “hate the sin, love the sinner” paradigm in the Christian church.

          • Ford, I can assure you that not all Orthodox Jewish men will shout at you. You can try shouting back, “We don’t lie in woman’s beds!” It probably won’t help, but you may at least create some delightful confusion.

            I’m no theologian, Jewish or otherwise. At least when I read Romans 1, I think that if Paul is condemning same-sex sex (and I understand that this may not be his meaning), he may also be condemning same-sex attraction. But the accommodation you mention seems to follow, intellectually at least, from our regret over our sin nature combined with the command to love. If we must love but cannot love our sin natures … what else is there to do but bifurcate?

          • Hmmm…
            How do we view envy or greed? Should they be accommodated so long as they don’t lead to theft? Can we simply chalk those motives up to a regretful sin nature, or do we repent and pray for a transformed heart?

          • Oy. This is well beyond my pay grade. I think we can work to improve our nature. I don’t think it’s possible to avoid sin entirely. Jews don’t believe in total depravity or original sin, but we too think it’s impossible to live a sinless life. So, how do we love neighbor without loving sin? Some bifurcation seems to be implied here. More than this is hard for me to say.

  • Shiphrah99

    Toevah indeed! Way to drive people away from God.

  • Bible Fundie

    Real Christians don’t judge the person who is sinning, they hurt for them, and want them to turn from their sin towards God whom all things are possible. Homosexuality is a sin as is plainly read in the Bible. Just as anyone falls in sin, a person practicing homosexual tendencies is sinning, regardless of how the secular media portrays the action. A real Christian would follow God’s word above all.

    • otrotierra

      No, Jesus doesn’t address homosexuality.

      I’ll stick with what Jesus actually says.

      • Sara

        Amen.

      • Tony

        Jesus doesn’t say a word in the Bible. Every word of the Lord was narrated by his disciples. The sames that wrote Romas 1.

        • otrotierra

          I’ll stick with what Jesus actually said and did.

      • Larry

        Neither did He address bestiality, pedophilia, or many other perversions. John said if all Jesus said or did was recorded it would take volumes and volumes.

    • Sara

      No, a real Christian would avoid judging people for something that they can’t control.

      • Larry

        So you are saying a homosexual person has never become heterosexual? Christians are not called to avoid judging people rather to judge people righteously.

  • Tony

    Flooding the internet with this propaganda won’t work for Christians that read their Bible. I guess you are targeting the ones that don’t. Romans 1 (among other texts) are our basis, and we are ok if you disagree.

    • John MacDonald

      Interesting. What are your thoughts on Matt Slick’s thoughts on Roman’s 1:26-27:

      “For this reason God gave them over to
      degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for
      that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the
      natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one
      another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their
      own persons the due penalty of their error” (Rom. 1:26-27, NASB).

      Some argue that Romans 1:26-27 does not condemn homosexuality per se, but is instead condemning unnatural love. In other words, the verses condemn the act of going against what a person’s natural sexual orientation really is. So, if it is natural for a person to be attracted to someone of the same sex, then it would be “unnatural” for that person to go against his/her homosexual orientation. Is this argument sound? No, it is not.

      Let’s take a look a closer look at these two verses.

      “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural [phusikan] function [xrasin] for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire [orexis] toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error,” (Rom. 1:26-27, NASB).

      The passage has several important words worth looking at, but for our
      examination we’ll look at the words “natural function” (“natural use,”
      KJV). Let’s take a look at how different Bibles translate the Greek
      into English.

      “natural function” – NASB

      “natural relations” – ESV, NIV, RSV

      “natural use” – ASV, Darby, GNT, KJV, NKJV, YLT

      “natural sexual function” – ISV

      “natural intercourse” – NRSV

      The passage is not referring to a person’s alleged natural sexual
      orientation. If the text only said “natural” and not “natural
      function/use,” then the homosexuals’ argument might be stronger. But
      the text doesn’t help them. If the word “natural” in this context means
      “natural sexual orientation” then why does Paul add the word “function”
      and not something like “preference” (Rom. 12:9, NASB), or “choice” (Rom. 9:11), or “inclination” (1 Cor. 11:16), or “desire” (Rom. 1:27; 10:1)? Further, verse 27 says that the “men abandoned the natural function of the woman.” By definition, “men” and “woman” are gender specific words. What is the man’s natural function of the woman? Sex! Is Paul saying the natural function of the man with the woman is really about
      natural desire of men with men? That would be ridiculous. Instead, the
      words are used in the context of sexual activity – a man’s natural
      function with the woman (v. 27). “Function” and “use” here are not
      about preference, but about sex.

      The Greek Says…

      The Greek for “natural function” are φυσικὴν χρῆσιν, phusikan krasis.

      “natural” – phusikan, 1) produced by nature, inborn, 2) agreeable to nature, 3) governed by (the instincts of) nature1

      “function” – Only two instances in N.T. Rom. 1:26,27. χρῆσις, εως, ἡ use made of anything, usage; more specifically of sexual intercourse function, sexual use (Rom. 1.26, 27)2

      The issue is not one’s perceived natural orientation or natural preference,
      but of natural function. Preference is internal. Function, in this
      context, is biological and is related to design, which is why Paul tells
      us that the men gave up the natural function (“use” KJV) of the woman
      and burned for other men. There is nothing here about sexual
      orientation. It is about sexual function where the norm is male and
      female, not male and male, or female and female.

      • Tony

        First, you didn’t write this but copied for another site. Second, you conveniently left out the word lust ὄρεξις. And therefore the interpretation provided is incorrect.

        • John MacDonald

          I know I didn’t write it. That’s why I said “What are your thought’s on Matt Slick’s thoughts …” So, including “orexis,” could you give your interpretation of Romans 1:26-7

          • Tony

            That the Apostle is not approving of men lusting over men. Gay or straight. Now you add 1 Co 14:37 and you understand this is the word of the Lord.

          • John MacDonald

            Can you explain how 1 Co 14:37 helps clarify the homosexual/Christianity issue?

          • Tony

            It doesn’t. It just affirms that the Apostle wrote the Word of the Lord.

          • And so that means that when Paul says in 2 Corinthians that he writes as a fool and NOT according to the Lord, that too is the Word of the Lord, and so it was the Lord who wrote as a fool and not according to the Lord?

            Oh the depths of depravity and heresy to which false teachings like biblical inerrancy bring one down…

          • Tony

            Stay on topic. Shifting the argument does nothing. If you do not believe the biblical records, that is ok

          • How is it not on topic to discuss your claim that Paul’s words in general are the “Word of the Lord”?

            Do you believe the biblical record when Paul tells us that he wrote as a fool and not according to the Lord, or at that point do you selectively choose to disbelieve, so that you can maintain your false teaching concerning other things which Paul wrote?

          • Tony

            The topic is “anti-gay Christianity is an abomination” We are not anti-gay, we are pro biblical truth. We disagree with your views, we are not an abomination. Learn to respect other people’s views

          • You are in favor of belief in a dome over the earth, the acceptability of slavery, and the treatment of women as property? Or do you only stand for biblical truth that you like? You want to be respected, and yet you do not even respect the Bible which you claim to be your authority, and want to be respected while treating others with even greater disrespect. This is an abomination!

          • Tony

            Your question is shifting the topic. Stay on topic. No human being deserves to be called an abomination. That is a form of disrespect even most of your supporters can agree on.

          • I did not say that you personally are an abomination, just that your hate-filled pseudochristian worldview and lifestyle are abominations. I hate the sin but love the sinner.

          • Tony

            My Christian views are not hate-filled. You continue to disrespect rather than provide coherent arguments. On the contrary, your selection of words lack Biblical ground as they are designed to disrespect others that do not agree with you.

          • ccws

            Shorter Tony: “I’m smarter than the guy who not only does NT Greek for a living but is in charge of a whole department that does NT Greek for a living.” /snark

          • Tony

            I’m not trying to prove anything I’m not. I’m typing on my phone and it’s not easy and this is not really the forum to debate Greek text with anyone, I understand that. I’m just a voice that wants to promote respect for every believer and posts like this one is not getting us any closer. If this is how humans treat one another, no amount of Greek can help us.

          • Can you kindly make substantive points, rather than complaining that I am supposedly not making coherent arguments, and yet never specifiying about what? What are your points? What points of mine do you disagree with and why?

      • Larry

        It does not matter how you interpret this scripture. There is no way homosexual sex or partnership can glorify God since it is against His nature, and His plan for procreation. That is simple. The two can not become one flesh. Homosexuals who have changed after being redeemed by Jesus is living proof that it is sin.

  • ccws

    “…what does God require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly…” To deny anyone the joy of a partner for life is to be unjust, unkind, and arrogant in thinking you know better than the God who joins people together for reasons we may not be able to fathom.

    • Tony

      Nope. We just disagree and disagreements are not a crime. Play the victim all you want, Bible believers of Romans 1 have a right to disagree.

      • otrotierra

        Yet what Jesus has to say is more interesting. Thus, I’ll just stick with Jesus.

      • You mean, when Paul says in Romans 1 that he hopes that he and the Roman church “may be comforted together”? Or when he says that he’s a debtor “both to the wise, and to the unwise”?

        • Tony

          You have read it. Arrived at your conclusions and go can live together in disagreement. It’s not a crime to disagree. I do not hate, do not discriminate, so do not misrepresent my position

          • Where did I misrepresent your position? Or even “represent” it? I didn’t even presume to guess which verse in Romans 1 you were talking about!

          • Tony

            You didn’t. And I didn’t say you did. I just stated that my position and that of the many millions that opposed your views of Romans 1 posted somewhere else is of disagreement. Not of hate or discrimination. Having said that, we ask that our position is not misrepresented.

          • Anyone who cites “Romans 1” in this way is clearly a heretical apostate, since Paul’s letter did not originally have chapter divisions, and anyone who has continued reading into chapter 2 knows that the whole point of Paul’s imitation of stereotypical Jewish talk about Gentiles in chapter 1 is to then condemn the person who speaks in that manner in chapter 2.

          • Paul is hard.

          • ccws

            That he is – and he’s made even harder by the fact that he didn’t write a lot of what’s attributed to him. Some of it (for instance, the Timothys and Titus) was written decades after his death. IMO one of the best books on the subject is Borg & Crossan’s “The First Paul.”

            http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Paul-Reclaiming-Conservative/dp/0061430730

          • Tony

            And I just continue to disagree. Meet me on your Greek bible on the meaning of ὄρεξις in Romans 1:27 within the context of Romans 1:18. I’m not heretical, I disagree with your views and that is ok.

          • There isn’t room for us both to stand even on all my Greek Bibles laid side by side, at least not without difficulty.

            It is not OK to claim Paul in your support while having missed his point. Atomistic focus on a single word in isolation from others, and a chapter ripped from what follows, has led you into error. Paul’s letter must be understood as a whole, and you have clearly failed to do that.

          • Tony

            I and disagree with your biblical interpretation. But more importantly, having identified the issue at its roots (the difference of opinion on what the bible says about the subject) it should be noted that it’s unethical and unfair the manner in which you treat your opposition just because they disagree with your views.

          • So you are opposed to calling gays and lesbians an abomination, I presume, since it would be an unethical and unfair manner in which to treat people simply because they disagree with your views?

          • Tony

            Display the evidence that proves your point. I haven’t disrespect anyone and I haven’t called anyone names. You see, to argue a point you need to be able to demonstrate your point, but your post title and responses are working against you. To a point that your supporters may have left for a different post.

            No human deserves to be called an abomination. Totally uncalled for.

          • I am glad you agree with me on that last point and eschew so-called conservative Christianity’s stance on that matter.

            On the whole, my evidence is the Bible. If you want something more specific than that, then you really will need to ask clearer and more specific questions.

          • Tony

            Since we both now agree that no human being deserves to be called an abomination it appears natural to me that you owe a lot of people an apology for the post title.

            On the subject of the Bible I was willing to debate the Greek text and you stated there was no room here, so I dropped it.

          • When did I say there was no room to discuss the Greek text of the Bible? Do you reject the Hebrew Bible, since I notice you always refer only to the “Greek Bible”? What is your proficiency with Koine? If your idea of “debating the Greek text” is you looking things up online using Strongs, then that would indeed be an utter waste of time.

            I think you misunderstood the blog post title from the outset. I never said that conservative Christians are an abomination. I said that conservative Christianity is. No one has to adopt that worldview and the accompanying lifestyle. It is a choice.

          • Tony

            So much in here, I won’t be able to hit all points. Suffice to say that in the originals Paul is in Greek not Hebrew. More importantly, the implications of the post title. You mean to say the church that sends people to therapy is the people or the building? Of course you mean the leadership of that church. Consequently the anti-gay is not the building, but the people in the building. There is nothing innocent about the title. Finally to James Strong. If you claim that he is unreliable, that’s fine, but tell that to the whole academia and they will tell you you have pathos, but have lost ethos.

          • Paul is not the whole Bible.

            The church is not buildings.

            Can you provide me of an instance of a mainstream academic who uses Strong’s concordance? But that is not the point – if you want to discuss Greek texts, you have to actually know the language. I would have thought that was obvious…

          • Tony

            Many things are obvious that you have missed. I have used Strong’s but I use logos, so I own as many Greek bibles as money can buy. Next thing we’ll hear is the logos is unreliable too. I think I had enough of this. We will never agree and you still owe an apology to many people.

          • Logos is wonderful software. I use it myself. But if you don’t know the language, then any “discussion” will merely be you looking up definitions. The time wasted in that would be better spent by you actually learning the language.
            To the extent that you do continue to look up Greek words, the online version of Liddell and Scott that the Perseus website makes available ought to be among the resources you make use of.

          • Andrew Dowling

            Tony, instead of actually responding to the points of others, you only decry that they are treating you unfairly. Which is the tell tell sign you are out of your league in this argument.

  • Thanks so much for posting this video, which I would not have expected to find on a religious blog. There is so much talk in church these days about “powerful testimonies.” Well, here’s a powerful testimony that all churches should watch, from a young man who has spent 26 years of his life learning a fundamental truth – that God made him the way he is, with a capacity to love both women and men, emotionally as well as sexually. He’s also learned that in loving someone, he has to be totally honest about who he is, or he could hurt them. Sadly, some of your readers have already written in, condemning Shane Dawson to hell because of Corinthians, Romans 1, or whatever Biblical verses suit their biases. All that these readers have shown is that they have gone to the wrong churches and listened to the wrong pastors, who have blinded them to such a degree that they can’t even acknowledge that a 26 year old who has gone through an intense, life-long emotional, psychological and spiritual journey, has something important to teach us about God.

    • Tony

      Is it not ok to disagree? It’s unbelievable that we are told that we condemn others because we hold to a different view. The biblical argument in Romans 1, which is “men lusting for other men” in the Greek, is not about how someone is born, but rather the things that people do. Use the hate/discrimination/condemnation argument and you will always win. Meet me at the disagreement argument and you don’t stand a chance because it’s not a crime to disagree.

      • It’s perfectly okay to disagree. I think our disagreement has to do with our frame of reference. Yours is a religious tradition which elevates the Bible to the law-giving word of God, and therefore chapter, verse, and individual words matter enormously, as do their interpretation and the credentials of those who insist they have the knowledge and power to interpret what God meant. On that basis, Shane Dawson is a sinner whatever he may say his inner sexual nature might be and from Whom it comes. In my frame of reference, I don’t accept the Bible as a rule of moral law. It has great moral value, but when it comes to religious teaching on homosexuality, I find that Philo of Alexandria’s understanding of human sexuality, as expressed in his writings on the Ten Commandments, is more perceptive, and easier to understand, than anything Paul wrote. Philo was a contemporary of Paul’s, and found that the only aspect of same-sex attraction worthy of condemnation – indeed worthy of death – was temple prostitution whereby young boys were forced to act as sexual objects and soothsayers for older men. Philo certainly knew his Leviticus, and he certainly knew of the Holiness Code abominations, but chose not to condemn same-sex attraction in general, but only in a very specific instance. Christians love to talk about the “Judeo-Christian” ethic, but often leave the Judeo part out. This is just one reason why it is wrong for Christian churches and pastors to raise the Bible up (KJV or any other accepted version) as absolute, moral law. That is a form of idolatry, and Prof. McGrath is right to point out that it leads to its own abominations, including our modern Christian practice in some homes of forcing gay teens out into the streets, often to a life of prostitution and even suicide. Philo, for one, would be horrified to learn that ancient Jewish scripture was being used as an excuse to condemn young men to the same-sex prostitution that victimized them during his time.

        • Tony

          You lost me after your statement about it’s ok to disagree. If it’s ok to disagree, why do you call us abomination? We are not anti-gay, we are pro-biblical truth. If you disagree with our views that does not makes us an abomination.

          • I am not saying you are an abomination, Tony. My objection to your line of reasoning is the focus on the Biblical text as the decisive, if not solely acceptable, word on whether same-sex love is a sin and offense against
            God. If that is the foundation for discussion, then all argument is shut down other than the parsing of words and text. To me that becomes a form of idolatry, which can lead to abominations. Others on this forum, for example, talk about “rebuking” gays and their “lifestyle” out of love and in obedience with God’s word. Spend any time with gay people, especially if they’ve grown up in a very conservative Christian household, and you can learn about the self-loathing, depression, and even suicidal thoughts such talk can cause. Those who say such things profess that they hate the sin but love the sinner, but that distinction only makes sense if being gay is truly a choice. The testimony of Shane Dawson says otherwise. If you put any value on what he is saying, and what millions of LBGT people have said, they are born with their sexual inclinations, and to rebuke their sin is to rebuke their entire being. This is where the harm comes in, but the platform on which all this starts is the supposed word of God written by two or three people two thousand or more years ago (and none of these people was Jesus Christ). Within your church, no one is going to stop your pastor from using these Bible passages to denounce homosexuality, the “lifestyle,” gay marriage and anything related. No one can stop you from believing your pastor and following his teachings. My only point is this: within your congregation and the immediately family of its members, there are almost certainly some people, including young adults, who are LGBT in orientation. The testimony from these people is overwhelming, that they have been badly hurt by these condemnations. The video by Shane Dawson is one such testimony, and it took him 26 years to figure things out and have the courage to say what he did in a public setting. If you choose to dismiss his testimony as misguided, unbiblical, and sinful, because you have the truth of the matter as you see it in a handful of sentences in the Bible, then you are making it impossible for those in your congregation who are LGBT to come to terms with their sexual orientation, because they already know the reaction you will have along with the rest of their church. You make it impossible for them to escape the trap of self-loathing that Christianity has created. That is where the harm comes in, which can lead to much worse harm when imposed by people who think like you, but unlike you, then proceed to take physical action against those even perceived to be gay.

          • Tony

            You seem to agree with the author, video or both. If you do not claim I’m an abomination, would you tell the author to take the title of his post back? You bring words like condemn and harm into the discussion where the discussion it’s rooted on a simple disagreement. Who cares how I arrived at my conclusion (you seem to know about church living) This post or anyone cannot take my right to disagree. And that is my one and only point. Respect our views, do not call us haters, for we are not going away, and we have a right to speak up.

          • What despicable hypocrisy on your part! You want the right to call others an abomination, but want to control what others call you? You need to repent of this evil, self-serving stance you have adopted!

          • Tony

            You misunderstand and would twist anything anyone would say here. Fact one you called others an abomination not me. Fact two, my right to speak do not include disrespecting others. My posts do not include calling others names

          • I was simply returning upon conservative Christianity the epithet it has used in reference to gays and lesbians. Do you live in some isolated part of the world where you have never encountered that?

          • Tony

            There is evil where I live. I do not return evil for evil (2 Peter 3).

  • Hisprisoner

    For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
    Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    • You can quote Romans. Good job.

      Now maybe you can tell everyone why they should:
      a.) Take the word of a man who lived 2,000 years ago as anything other than the words of a man, who while wise was the product of his time as we are of ours.

      b.) Take your particular exegesis as the only correct one which cannot be debated.

      • Hisprisoner

        But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
        In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

        • OK, this is plagiarism. These are not your words. Stop pretending that they are.

          • Hisprisoner

            These are my words. They are written on my heart.

          • Hisprisoner

            These are my words. They have been written on my heart.

          • ccws

            This can happen when the heart (that great deceiver!) crowds out the mind that needs to be seeking the mind of Christ as much as the heart wants to have Jesus in it. One of the great lessons I learned from my Baptist minister dad is that if you can’t express your faith in your own words, it isn’t really YOURS.

            Vanity of Vanities, sayeth the Preacher’s Kid: all is Vanity.

          • Hisprisoner

            “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

          • Hisprisoner

            Hear the Word of the Lord: 2 Timothy 3:2, 7 (KJV) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
            Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

          • Sorry, but this is a place for discussion, not spamming and trolling. Anyone who wants snippets of Scripture can buy a calendar for that sort of thing. Goodbye.

          • ccws

            I just thought of your “inspirational Bible quote” calendar page from a week or two ago and nearly busted out laughing…

        • Sorry, quoting the same book at me in a rather silly attempt to discredit me as an unbeliever and somehow lend authority to said book is both illogical and sad.

      • Tony

        A) The Biblical record is as authoritative today as it was then. You don’t agree? That’s ok we can disagree.
        B) The interpretation presented above it’s not particular of an individual. It’s held by millions and millions of believers. You can debate it, just bring your Greek Bible.

        • You haven’t given me reason to believe that a man who got slavery wrong is authoritative enough to listen to in other matters.

          • Tony

            Shifting the argument solves nothing. The topic is: “anti-gay Christianity is an abomination” if you want to talk about slavery or something else fine but that is not today’s chat. You disagree with my biblical view and I disagree with yours ( if any). My point then drives the inevitable question: If I disagree, how am I an abomination? How is having a different view harmful? And why can’t the author and it’s supporters respect others people’s views?

          • When your practice of your flavor of Christianity does demonstrable harm to people, it is abhorrent.

            Religion should practice the same precept as medicine: First do no harm. Countless folks have been harmed by evangelical Christianity’s modern incarnation.

          • Tony

            You haven’t seen me pray, read my Bible, provide for the needed and therefore your suggestion that you know how I practice Christian living lacks evidence. Respect those who do not agree with you.

          • ccws

            AMEN!

          • The topic I was replying to was someone quoting Paul to me as if Paul was the final word on the topic.

            I would like to know why I should take Paul as the final authority on any moral topic when the man had a demonstrably bad moral stance on the practice of slavery that he enshrined in his writings?

          • Tony

            I’m quoting Paul in the context of the post title, not in a vacuum. If you do not believe Paul or the Bible then that is the end of the line. We now need to mutually agree not to disrespect one another.

          • That is not the end of the line, although I can understand why you wish it were and might pretend that it is. Your view suggests that Paul spoke to people in his time and they simply had to assume he was correct, that Paul never needed to make a case for his views, nor was he able to do so. You are an enemy of Christianity, with a view like that, as well as adopting an indefensible stance from any other perspective – so why should anyone respect such a view? It is disgraceful from both a Christian and a non-Christian viewpoint!

          • Tony

            I, like millions and millions of believers have a different view. And now I’m an enemy of Christianity and a disgrace? So much for civilized people having coherent arguments. You are just swinging wildly.

          • So you think that truth is a matter of following whatever the majority thinks? That view is also unbiblical.

          • Tony

            No, the point I’m making above is that if you call me an enemy of Christianity and a disgrace (now that’s soft for unsaved) you are calling the millions and millions that hold a view opposite to yours the same thing. No a good way to frame any discussion. We disagree with you, but it seems difficult to register that anyone who disagrees with your is not evil.

          • (…wonders to himself at what point the penny will drop and his interlocutor will realize that how he perceives me as sounding is exactly how conservative Christians sound to others, and that this was the whole point of using such language in the first place…)

          • Tony

            I stated before, meet me at the disagreement argument and you don’t stand a chance because disagreements are not crimes. You took the bait. I now need to continue to work on Sunday’s message.

          • Who on earth do you think said that disagreements are crimes? But I am glad to see that you support the recent Supreme Court decision, and do not think that a different practice than that which you personally embrace should be considered criminal.

      • ccws

        What exegesis? That’s just parroting.

  • Religion needs to die. It has stifled humanity long enough.

  • NWaff

    Paul wrote in Romans 8 that all of Creation is broken from God’s original design and painfully waits to be reformed. That would includes the breakdown in gender identity. The struggle is there to direct us to the Hope in God’s plan to restore Creation. While living with that confident expectation, Paul reminds us to wait and not live according to the desires of the body but live through the indwelling of God’s Spirit.
    .
    Some LGBTQ Christians conclude that their LGBTQ nature is contrary to God’s plan for males/females and, as such, do not live according to their LGBTQ body but live according to their understanding of God’s Word, which can only be achieved through God’s Spirit indwelling them. There are LGBTQ Christians living-out this life with joy and peace.
    .
    What some criticize as being “conservative” Christianity is sometime individuals who are devoted to living this life God’s way, as they see communicated in the Bible.
    .
    But, then again, 50% of heterosexual Christians are divorcing – and God hates divorce.

  • NWaff

    I’ve realized that, if I want to keep-up on the conservative-Christian hate, I should keep reading this site.

    • Larry

      What is the definition of a conservative Christian in your words?

  • Jim

    “If I have these desires then it must mean that God made me this way, which then must mean that acting on these desires is the right thing to do.”

    Apply this same logic to things other than human sexuality and they’d be considered absurd.

    • If you oversimplify matters, them of course they become absurd. So why not deal instead with a well-rounded argument of the sort people make, assuming you are able to do so?

      • Jim

        As you are certainly aware, it’s not possible to discuss these things in detail in the comments section of a blog. Perhaps you can point out exactly which part of my syllogistic summary of the argument being promoted is inaccurate, assuming you are able to do so. At that point we will have something to discuss. If you are not able to point out which part of my summary is inaccurate, then I’ll assume that you don’t have a good counter-argument.

        • “If I have these desires then it must mean that God made me this way, which then must mean that acting on these desires is the right thing to do.”

          Does anyone really suggest that, with no further detail clarifying and elaborating what is meant? First, the problem is that you are trying to reduce human intimacy and attraction to sex. Second, you are ignoring the role of consent in any sexual ethics worthy of the name. Third, you are vaguely alluding to “things other than human sexuality” without providing any details as to what you have in mind.

          Kindly first make an argument – one that is not itself absurd and merely engaging in caricature – and then and only then can others see whether you have said something worth responding to, and if so, offer a counter-argument if they disagree.

          Oh, and one can be as detailed as one wishes in comments on a blog – but if you cannot be detailed enough to not seem ridiculous, then why comment at all?

  • Jim

    So if the entire Christian movement was an “abomination” for almost 2000 years, why would you even want to be associated with a group that has that sort of track record? Sounds like you need to align with a different group.

    • It isn’t clear that Christians have always fixated on same-sex relations the way conservatives do today. And you might as well ask why I associate with a country which from its founding disenfranchised both native populations in its territory and people brought as slaves from elsewhere.

      • Jim

        You’re moving the goalposts now. Your original post claims that versions of Christianity that make non-heterosexual people feel sinful, or in need of changing lifestyles, are “an abomination.” Now you’re suggesting that it’s only an abomination if a movement “fixates” on the issue beyond a certain threshold. Who defines this alleged threshold of fixation?

        • No goalposts have moved. Paul traveled widely in a context in which same-sex relations were common and considered normal. And yet we see no suggestion that laws should be changed, and no suggestion that people ought to carry placards. And more than that, there is only one place where he is unambiguously referring to same-sex relations, and in that passage he is imitating the stereotypical way Jews characterized Gentiles, so that he can then turn on the one doing the condemning and condemn them.

  • The part of the statement where Shane says: not condemn him for being the way he is.” is false. God will not condemn Shane if he asks Jesus for forgiveness of his sins and accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior:

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

    When gays are born as sinners, there position isn’t any different than anyone else’s. All sin not cleansed by Jesus blood is equal to God. To quote Billy Graham:

    “God loves homosexuals as much as anyone else. I think homosexuality is a sin, but no greater than idolatry and adultery. In my judgment, is not that big.”

    The problem that many gays have is not that they are gay, but that they refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. That makes them no different than any other sinners who are perishing. They love their sin more than they love God and refuse to give it up and submit to Him.

    “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” (Revelation 16:10-11)

    God will accept gays who know they are sinning, confess to God they are sinning and are trying to change even if they struggle trying to give up there old lifestyle. Struggling to change the old sinful lifestyle is an issue all Christians have. God understands that, but God doesn’t tolerate people trying to get into His Kingdom on their terms instead of His. and adultery. In my judgment, is not that big.

    • Can you think of any other instance of something that is intrinsically connected to a person’s very being and identity, and which can express itself in faithful monogamous love towards another person, which you nonetheless believe that God condemns? If not, can you kindly at least make some attempt to explain the discrepancy?
      Another point worth noting is the apparent inconsistency in your comment. Do you, or do you not, believe that a lesbian woman married to another woman and faithful to her, who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, is saved?

      • A person’s love for God is more important than a person’s love for some one else. That’s what the fall of man is all about. Man started putting himself ahead of God. Part of loving God is following His commandments. As for a woman marrying a woman that’s definitely not following His commandments. You can’t enter the Kingdom of God on your terms, but on God’s. If you’d read the Bible carefully, you would see that. The Bible is either 100% true because it’s God’s Word or it’s 100% false because it was written by a bunch of demented old fogies. There’s no middle ground. Let’s wait until Judgment Day and see who is right.

        • Ian

          A person’s love for God is more important than a person’s love for some one else. That’s what the fall of man is all about.

          then

          If you’d read the Bible carefully, you would see that.

          Oh, the irony!

          The Bible is either 100% true because it’s God’s Word or it’s 100% false because it was written by a bunch of demented old fogies.

          There are caricatures of the ‘excluding the middle’ fallacy that are more subtle than that.

          Let’s wait until Judgment Day and see who is right.

          How very convenient. We’ve been waiting a long time for folks like you to be vindicated. But I’m sure it will happen soon, any day, soon, eventually. I’m sure there are some alive today who will not taste death before they see him come in power. This generation won’t pass away, at least. Right?

          Still, suits me, at least. I’m happy to wait, I’m sure in 100 years or 1000 years it will be very clear which one of us was right, about the judgement day and about the sinfulness of same-sex marriage.

        • That’s not how Jesus applied what he said were the greatest commandments. The priest on the road to Jericho could have justified giving the apparent corpse by the side of the road a wide berth, using the same argument you are.