The Abominable Shellfish

The Abominable Shellfish July 16, 2004

Why some Christians hate gays but love bacon

The third book of the Bible, Leviticus, has some wonderful passages. The Jubilee laws outlined in chapter 25, for example, provide an inspiring vision of liberty and justice for all. The 10th verse of this chapter even supplied the inscription for the Liberty Bell: "proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

The Jubilee laws and the ideals they embody, unfortunately, are nearly wholly neglected and forgotten. Most of the book of Leviticus is similarly neglected.

Yet some passages live on, their teachings still regarded as unwavering and binding.

One such passage is Lev. 20:13, which says (in the King James Version), "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination."

That passage is frequently cited by the spokesmen of the religious right to explain why they're so adamantly opposed to allowing homosexuals to enjoy full civil rights here in America.

The thing is, though, that the book of Leviticus condemns a lot of things as "abominations." The 11th chapter is overflowing with abominations. For example, from verses 10-12:

And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

The folks over on the religious right cite Leviticus as evidence that homosexuals are an unclean "abomination," yet they have no problem eating at Red Lobster. What gives?

Since many observers have noted this apparent inconsistency (see, for example, godhatesshrimp.com) I figured I would wade in to try to explain why it is that so many contemporary Christians reject gays while embracing shellfish.

To understand why God is no longer considered a hater of shrimp you have to flip ahead to the Acts of the Apostles, the good doctor's account of the early days of the Christian church.

Acts chapter 10 finds the apostle Peter on a rooftop in Joppa, praying at noon before heading down to lunch.

The impulsive former fisherman has grown into a genuine leader in the early church. At Pentecost, he preached the gospel to people from every corner of the Roman Empire and he is slowly appreciating that this new community is supposed to transcend any ethnic or cultural boundaries. But the goyim still seem to bug him a bit. Especially the Romans.

So God gives him a vision. Peter falls into a trance and sees a vision of a giant tablecloth descending from heaven. The tablecloth is covered with honeybaked hams, cheesesteaks, crab cakes, calamari and lobster.

"Eat up, Peter," a voice tells him

"Surely not, Lord!" Peter says. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

"Don't call anything unclean that God has made clean," the voice says. "And try the angels on horseback, they're like butter."

This happens three times.

This is generally regarded as an instance in which a New Testament passage seems to set aside a prohibition from the Old Testament. And that's why our friends on the religious right do not feel compelled to eat kosher and do not consider shellfish to be "an abomination."

Fair enough, but there's something else going on in this story. The main point of Peter's rooftop epiphany has nothing to do with diet. The main point of this vision had to do with the people who were about to knock on Peter's door.

Peter is about to meet Cornelius. Cornelius is a gentile. Worse than that, he is a Roman. Worse than that, he is a Roman centurion. Cornelius is about as kosher as a bacon double cheeseburger.

But give Peter credit — he understood the vision. "Don't call anything unclean that God has made clean." Don't call anyone unclean that God has made clean.

Peter does not treat Cornelius as an unclean outsider. He travels to the centurion's house, where he says, "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean."

Peter gets it. In this new community that God is building, this church, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free. No one is excluded as unclean.

This is the unsubtle point that Luke is hammering home for his gentile friend Theophilus. The surrounding chapters of Acts read like a hyper-P.C. after-school special on celebrating diversity. The church embraces Jews and gentiles, Roman soldiers and slaves, men and women, Africans, Greeks and even a token white European.

In our fondness for Easter ham, we Christians have fervently clung to the surface-level meaning of Peter's vision. But we haven't been as enthusiastic about embracing the larger, more important lesson God was teaching him there on the rooftop. When the "unclean" outsiders knock on our doors, we don't like inviting them in.

That, in a nutshell, is why some Christians happily dismiss one "abomination" while still behaving abominably out of allegiance to another.

(Oh, and what about Leviticus' Jubilee laws? Those were never set aside by anything in the New Testament, but Christians no longer treat them as authoritative because, um … well, because money is pretty and shiny and let's us buy nice things.)


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303 responses to “The Abominable Shellfish”

  1. I really enjoyed this post and will have no compunction about opening my door to prawns!

  2. “He forbade them to say of anything that it was unclean, and insisted that all things were clean and made no distinction between the clean and the unclean.”
    — the Great Law of Genghis Khan
    The NET Bible has an illuminating translation note on Leviticus 18:22:
    The Hebrew term hb*u@oT (rendered “detestable act”) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners, whether from the viewpoint of other peoples toward the Hebrews (e.g., Gen 43:32; 46:34; Exod 8:26) or of the Lord toward other peoples (see esp. Lev 18:26-27, 29-30). It can also designate, as here, detestable acts that might be perpetrated by the native peoples (it is used again in reference to homosexuality in Lev 20:13; cf. also its use for unclean food, Deut 14:3; idol worship, Isa 41:24; remarriage of a former wife has been married in between, Deut 24:4; etc.).
    The references in Genesis and Exodus are especially interesting. The abominations mentioned there are all Hebrew customs that the Egyptians found detestable: eating at a table with Hebrews, raising sheep, and sacrificing some kind of animal. (It’s not clear what was wrong with the animal sacrifices; I would conjecture that the animals were sheep, which could be offensive in a culture where sheep were an abomination.) A note on the word in Ex. 8:26 adds:
    An “abomination” is something that is off-limits, something that is tabu.
    I’m not sure what that’s worth (I have only the translators’ word on it), but there’s a substantial difference between “tabu” and “evil”.
    And I’ve always loved Peter’s response when God tells him to eat. “Surely not…Lord!”

  3. Peter had doubtless forgotten the verse of Leviticus that goes: Thou shalt not address the Lord thy God as “Shirley.”

  4. That first sent. of Luke’s Book of Luke is the best one Henry James never wrote.
    Thanks, this was great. It was even better than that “West Wing” episode.

  5. This is a bit long but I think if you liked Fred’s post you may find this charming…
    A Letter to Dr. Laura…
    Dear Dr. Laura:
    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your radio show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific Bible laws and how to follow them.
    a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors complain to the zoning people. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
    b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. What do you think would be a fair price for her? She’s 18 and starting college. Will the slave buyer be required to continue to pay for her education by law ?
    c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense and threaten to call Human Resources.
    d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? ….Why can’t I own Canadians? Is there something wrong with tham due to the weather?
    e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should this be a neighborhood improvement project ? What is a good day to start? Should we begin with small stones? Kind of lead up to it?
    f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than
    homosexuality. I don’t agree. I mean, a shrimp just isn’t the same as a you-know-what. Can you settle this?
    g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
    glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? Would contact lenses fall within some exception?
    h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die? The Mafia once took out Albert Anastasia in a barbershop, but I’m not Catholic; is this ecumenical thing a sign that it’s ok?
    I) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
    j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing
    garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really
    necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
    I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
    Your devoted disciple and adoring fan

  6. When I was a child pedant of 9 or 10, I read all of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus (I am by far proudest of the last, because the tedium is unparalleled, and none of the stories are good like in Cecil B. DeMille–so this prepares one for any numbers of disciplines as one moves into the School of Hard Knocks.) I then was unable to finish the following book “Numbers” (two more would have got me the Torah, isn’t that what it is?)
    When I was a far more engorged 15, I did read “Numbers”–by John Rechy.
    This noble work concerns misbehaving in Griffith Park.
    Therefore, when it comes to Cornelius, he does rather sound like a Bacon Double Cheeseburger–I’d leave the bacon on to make sure both laws (and possibly at least one other) were taken care of (although I guess Gentiles breaking Jewish law is a little anticlimactic). No way I wouldn’t let that one in the house–or go to his place, for that matter. It might even turn into a “warm, caring relationship, with quiet evenings, dining by candlelight and long walks by the construction site.”
    Although if I went to his place, that might really break a sacred law: “You gonna have to come up sometime…see me..” (Love, Mae West)

  7. Wonderful post, Fred. I’ve never read Acts, but if it’s all as entertaining as the passage you quoted, maybe I should give it a try. I also appreciated your in-depth analysis of the spiritual and theological arguments behind abandoning the Jubilee laws.
    There is a lot of good in Leviticus along with the nonsense. There’s Jesus’s favorite, of course, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” as well as rules about leaving the gleanings of the harvest for the poor and homeless, treating ‘aliens’ with decency, being fair and upright in business dealings, and treating the rich and poor the same under the law. That last, especially, is one I wish more Christians would pay attention to. If they want to change government to better conform to Leviticus, why not start with something which is clearly under the provence of government: the judicial system.
    “Don’t call anything unclean that God has made clean,” reminds me of another quote, by the prophet, Tennesee Williams. In “The Night of the Iguana” a woman describes an encounter with a man who had an odd sexual perversion. “Weren’t you disgusted?” someone asks. “Nothing human disgusts me,” she replies, “unless it’s unkind, violent.” God created some sea creatures with fins and scales and some without. He created some people with a desire for the opposite sex, and some with a desire for their own. I don’t know for certain what God considers ‘impure’, never having sat down and discussed it with Him, but I do know that the only truly disgusting acts are those that are violent and cruel.

  8. Wonderful post. I’d recommend the reading of Acts to anyone who hasn’t read it. It’s one of my favorite books of the Bible.

  9. Much as I would like to agree with you, the problem with gayness in the NT is that the first chapter of Romans pretty roundly condemns it. If you believe in the authority of the New Testament Canon, then that still leaves you with problems. If, OTOH, you do not recognize the validity of the NT canon, then why make it an issue of biblical interpretation in the first place?If the First Cause is the Holy Trinity as described in the last two millenia by the Christian church, then you should work to do what He says. If the First Cause is Allah as described by the Koran and Hadiths, you should do what He says. If, though, the first cause is a blue man with a flute, a divine watch-maker, or perhaps the universe just kind of popped into existence, then one really shouldn’t bother onesself with how to interpret the scriptures except as a historical curiosity and for understanding what religious folks are up to.

  10. what if God created those who are violent and cruel?
    I’m sure He did, if for no other reason, because I’m sometimes cruel myself. But I also believe we were all made clean, and the fact that we sometimes do unclean, disgusting things doesn’t change that. Of course the Williams quote is not identical to the one from Acts, but I think they both point to a similar idea: look beyond your prejudices and recognize that your societal mores don’t necessarily reflect ultimate truth.

  11. Andrew–those are some interesting points, and remind me of some things that Eco said in his correspondence with Cardinal Martini regarding Catholicism. Thank you for “man with a blue flute” as “first cause.” It’s got a lot of possibilities.

  12. My favorite part of Leviticus (unless it’s in Deuteronomy; I think maybe it’s in both) is where it says that if you see your neighbor’s ox walking around lost, you should return it to him, or take care of it until you can.
    Sure, the NT canon still leaves you with problems. But the passage I always, always hear quoted with regards to homosexuality is the Leviticus passage–and I think that conservatives are shooting themselves in the foot there *precisely* because it’s so easy to challenge, by sites like godhatesshrimp… The Romans passage is harder to challenge, but it’s the “abomination” stuff that really gets a rise out of people, and licenses their disgust, so it’s the one that always gets brought out.

  13. Pretty selective, to say the least. Yes, all those at the door were welcome; that’s why Paul notes that many in the church at Corinth were “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers,” but were no longer, because those who practice those sins are outside of the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-12 NRSV)
    And if you think “sodomite” is some kind of exclusive first-century temple prostitute, read some of Robert Gagnon’s essays on the topic: http://www.robgagnon.net/

  14. FMA roundup

    The defeat of the Federal Marriage Amendment has led to some awfully good writing. Fred Clark from the Slacktivist, a left-wing Christian, approaches the question “Why do some Christians hate gays but love bacon?” It’s a beautiful thi…

  15. 1. ummm, what are the “Jubilee laws”?
    2. My brother has been insisting that the question I ask myself should be “what would genghis do?” He (my brother) can be quite eloquent on this, particularly when he’s had a beer or two and is sitting outside listening to the Mets game.

  16. FMA and Shellfish

    Fred Carter has a great post in reaction to the FMA and fundamentalist Christians: This is generally regarded as an…

  17. Howdy,
    Between this post and today’s Real Live Preacher post (“There’s Something About the Way You Use the Bible”), it’s a good day for sane and moderate but deeply felt Christianity.
    — Ed

  18. Thank you, Fred. Now can you direct us to the New Testament passage that has Jesus in combat boots spraying holy machine gun fire at heathens who refuse to be saved?
    Somehow, I have to convince my liberal friends that Jesus kicked ass and took no prisoners, so they’ll enlist in the Sacred Bleeding-Heart-of-Christ Marine Corps.

  19. I took a look at Gagnon’s page, and 20 minutes ought to be enough for life. A consummate nonpareil pedant, I am sure there are a lot of people like him making a lot of money.
    The only thing of interest to me was that I had always wondered about the Kings I and II “male cult prostitutes” who were “exterminated” after various “wicked reigns,” and how even some of the more virtuous rulers–like Joash, grandson of Athaliah, who tried to kill him, but he got her slain instead–lapsed into the mild versions of the “wrong path” later in life because they allowed the “worship in the high places.” These earlier ones sound like forms of the later “temple prostitutes” that this guy Rogers became aware of in Corinth; making a difference between them and non-commercial gays and Lesbians–and Gagnon does an endless, incredibly boring refutation of an already boring thesis.
    Another of Gagnon’s articles is about why gay marriage is wrong, and includes such nuggets as why same-sex intercourse is far worse than infidelity–he equates it with incest. He says gay fidelity is just a way of extending and making worse something already wrong.
    Why, Gagnon is about is refreshing as the Ku Klux Klan. What a bad trip.
    You pulled a cool one here, Fred–proliferation galore.

  20. First of all… I love your blog name! I soooo identify with it. LOL Kudos for originality.
    Secondly, what a fascinating post. Very thought provoking. I may have to blog on it.

  21. the first cause is a blue man with a flute
    a reference to Krsha Consciousness?

  22. Another View on Fundamentalist Christians and the FMA

    Fred Clark has written one of the best posts I have read about the selective reading of the Bible that some Christians engage in to justify their anti-homosexual bias. I strongly encourage you to go read it. (Thanks to Body…

  23. There’s Something About the Way You Use the Bible

    I got to this post by reading the comments on a somewhat related post at Slacktivist, which in turn I got to because Jeanne said it “might just be the richest and most beautiful post I have ever read on any blog.”

  24. There’s Something About the Way You Use the Bible

    I got to this post by reading the comments on a somewhat related post at Slacktivist, which in turn I got to because Jeanne said it “might just be the richest and most beautiful post I have ever read on any blog.”

  25. Fantastic Posst! But I have to agree with Andrew Reeves on arguing with Christians. Finding Biblical justification for legislating against or for anything is absurd — as has been amply demonstrated, especially by the Dear Dr. Laura letter, — the part about animal sacrifice was excellent! Even as we laugh at people who try to use th e Bible as a sacred self help manual for redemption and salvation, I’d like to remind us that what we are really arguing against is theocracy (in any form) and what we are arguing for is the separation of church and state.

  26. Also, Andrew, if you read the first chapter of Romans you will see that although Paul clearly doesn’t like homosexual (as well as other kinds of sexual) behavior, he is not “condemning” it; rather, he says that such behavior is a natural consequence of being an idolator. Not the same thing. And certainly not the same thing as condemning “gayness”. You’ve got the read the text, not just hit people over the head with it.

  27. I was gettng ready to post pretty much what Cliu said: all of this analysis doesn’t matter in the end because despite the rantings of the radical right, our laws should not be based on passages from the Bible, regardless of how they are interpreted.

  28. Paul–there were many reasons the other Paul had little success on his Athenian gig. They were actually pretty polite about not letting him make the sale, but there was hardly a felt need for his services.
    We are all idolaters to some degree–money, ibuprofen, necklaces, interior decoration, cream sauces, football, computers, political office–and these also lead to new idols of fellatio, cunnilingus and sodomy as well as inter-crural relationships accompanied by mutual masturbation among heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. Indeed, they do stem quite felicitously from any number of stimuli as well as idols–like nature, for example. Which means they are not “consequences” in the sense that a high fever is a symptom of a staph infection.
    There wasn’t any “gayness” to condemn in Paul’s day–there was same-sex activity, but “gayness” is a recent development, and does not apply to old cultures. Insofar as “gay” applies to some other spiritual qualities, such as happiness, laughter and joie-de-vivre, it is probably safe to assume Paul would had felt free to judge them as harmful–all this, because people are so ready to overlook Paul’s early career. I mean there are plenty of murderers on Death Row who are always “finding God.” He persecuted Christians, helped stone St. Stephen, and then “found God.” What a New Ager.
    Good thing, huh? He should have gotten at least 5 months jail time, then 5 months house arrest followed by probation.
    Ultimately, it’s a matter of who wins to some of us. And this means gay people win if they decide a lot of what gay culture is going to be that is different from heterosexual culture. If gays win their battle, they don’t have to prove they have managed to produce monogamous relationships like those heterosexuals (often don’t) have. They don’t have to please Christian dogmatists. The best gay journalist I know of, Richard Goldstein of The Village Voice, recently described his 20-year “marriage,” which he says they will legalize if they can: “he has tricks, I have affairs.” Meaning, they are not interested in the traditional edicts on fidelity; nor do they have to be. I don’t see the essential heterosexual context losing, because endless reproduction seems to be one of the most effective ways of making the world even more desperate; but the main reason gays are more interested in monogamy than in previous periods is STD’s, not anything Paul said. Any gay man or woman who cares what Paul or any other bigot says about homosexuality in this day and time (“some progress has been made,” as Blanche DuBois so succinctly put it)already needs tons of new idols in the form of Xanax or Prozac, et alia.

  29. Will anyone be offended if I post the link to the Brick Testament here? Or is it merely mightily redundant?

  30. I think a lot of people are missing Fred’s point. He’s not arguing that homosexuality is approved in the NT, but explaining ‘why some Christians hate gays but love bacon’ and showing why their reason is silly. Apparently, they use that chapter in Acts to justify ignoring the OT dietary restrictions while sill claiming its other laws are God-given and eternal. They interpret Peter’s vision as God saying, “Remember all that stuff I told you not to eat? Well, funny story, turns out that was all wrong; you can eat whatever you want. Go ahead, dig in.”
    With a literalist interpretation like that, Andrew’s right, there’s no point in worrying about it unless you buy the whole ‘Word of God’ thing. The way Fred tells it though, it’s a story that makes you think, and you don’t have to believe in the Holy Trinity for that.
    carla,
    IIRC, the Jubilee comes once every 70 years. During Jubilee, all slaves were freed, all lands were returned to their original owners, and all debts forgiven.

  31. Surface effects

    Fred Clark at Slacktivist has a very nicely done post titled The Abominable Shellfish – Why some Christians hate gays but love bacon that points out it’s a shallow interpretation of the New Testament that has folks “abominating” gay people….

  32. Jubilees occur every 50 years – 7 x 7 + 1, not 70.
    AN interesting point is that one reason Christians don’t observe them is that centuries before Christ Jews had already stopped observing them. It was an early instance of idealistic legislation that sounded great but was a disaster in real life.
    The problem was that the whole economy was dependent on loans, including farmers who had to borrow against future crops to plant their seed. The Jubilee forgave all debts, so the lenders, not being idiots, refused to lend if a Jubilee year was coming up. As a result, crops plummeted in Jubilee years and the practice had to be dropped. IIRC, some formula was worked out by which a loan could be called something else and therefore still be collected in a Jubilee.

  33. Coming Soon: The Federal Crustacean Amendment

    Fred Clark at Slacktivist examines why many Christians pick and choose what to hate. On the one hand, they often cite scripture proclaiming that homosexual activity (only male homosexual activity, mind you. The Bible never mentions lesbians.) is an “ab…

  34. If the Old Testament was the only place in the Bible where homosexuality was prohibited, you might have a case that it’s no longer inherently sinful, using your argument above. However, it is also clearly prohibited in the New Testament. For example, see Rom 1:24-28, 1 Cor 6:9, and 1 Tim 1:9-10.

  35. About two hundred and fifty years ago only — the American and French Revolutions opened the way for a secular democracy based upon religious tolerance and universal brotherhood. Thus was Enlightenment thought incarnated as political fact. Now both of those Revolutions were flawed, and have struggled, but the idea that an expansive rather than restrictive notion of democracy could be launched from the ruins of the Old Regime was launched. I think the tolerance of religious doctrine in the public sphere is the actual goal of the religious conservatives. Check out Thomas Frank’s editorial in the New York Times and his new book, What’s the Matter with Kansas? The Right wants to lose the culture wars so that they can be crucified on the cross of liberal decadence. We want a democracy, not a theocracy — they want to lose the culture wars in order to rally the troops — millions of the disenfranchised who thrill to the idea of Christian righteousness, but whose wallets are being emptied by Republican tax cuts for the rich and the evisceration of public services.
    We may not win them back with shrimp.

  36. Nathan —
    Those passages are great. Unfortunately, the next chapter in Romans expresses condemnation for hypocrisy. (“Do you condemn those who commit adultery but commit adultery yourself” — something that should have been brought up a lot more during the Clinton impeachment.) The next chapter in 1 Corinthians orders women to cover their hair while praying. (A law the Roman Catholic church finally dropped after Vatican 2.) The next chapter in 1 Timothy commands women to learn in silence and not to presume to teach a man. (Imagine if you will the public school system suddenly devoid of female teachers.)
    Biblical law is all well and good, but playing “pick and choose” with Scripture, telling people it’s righteous because God said so, and then making it into public policy that non-Christians also must follow? Not in my country, thanks. Various Christian groups may feel free to deny homosexuals (or women, or Blacks, or whoever) access to their religious services. That’s their right under the First Amendment. The minute they try to also pass legal sanctions against any of these groups, because a Bible passage says it’s okay (and while they ignore the passages surrounding that same passage) they’re going to have problems from me.

  37. I highly recommend John Boswell’s “Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century.” It was a required reading in a Medieval European history course I took many moons ago. The reviewers at Amazon give a much more lucid synopsis then I can after all this time but I remember Boswell argued his thesis vigorously.

  38. I really wanna know why Paul is more important than Jesus. Let alone deuterocanonical Paul.
    I never get any answers on that, I’m just told to shut up, woman.
    I also never get any answers from bible-thumpers on why Paul/”Paul” supposedly says that it’s wrong for men to cover their hair while at prayer, when he was a proud Roman citizen as well as a traditional Jew. (Kippot didn’t become de riguer for the laity until after the Destruction of the Temple, I have read, but as a symbol of personal piety they were already starting to be used by the laity in emulation of the clergy in devotions.)
    And like we’ve been saying all along, why are some verses in the KJV so much more important than others, anyway?

  39. If one of the apostles had a prophetic dream recorded in the new testament where god pronounces same sex relationships “clean”, this would be a valid arguement. One such dream regarding food is included in scripture, so the arguement being made, while I agree with the sentiment, is hardly fair or compelling.
    This is an arguement that can be won, but not with that line of reasoning.

  40. The new dispensation is only that you love one another. Who is to stop a man from loving others? It really seems like anything past this simple devotion is window dressing…

  41. Um, the Food dream wasn’t “about” food, Derek. Did you miss the bit about how afterwards, Peter *doesn’t* run down to the market and start buying up cartons of shrimp and hams, but he goes to [gasp!] visit ritually unclean *people* instead.
    It was a metaphor, as Fred explains for those people who don’t understand symbolism.
    Also, do you make sure that you don’t ever sit on a pew or chair that’s been occupied by a woman having her period? Or worse yet, brush up against one of us? Because there’s a *lot* about that in the Mosaic law, and yet you feel free to ignore that, even though it’s not in Peter’s dream either.

  42. Christians are so concerned about homosexuals and their ‘agenda’, but they fail to mention that Jesus never once mentions homosexuals. If you don’t like homosexuals, DON’T BE ONE! How hard is that? These people that want to return to Biblical law scare the shit out of me. Ever read the Scarlett Letter? People have known for hundreds of years that extremist religious re-interpretation of any religious text leads to messed up shit!
    Here is another point that the Bill of Rights-raping ‘Christians’ need to listen to: Jesus said that when you pray, you should pray in a closet, instead of praying in public and making a big show of it for everyone (which I equate with churchgoers, also known as Churchianity, or politicians who push their religion for political reasons). Please stop shoving your ‘perfect Christian’ bullshit in my face, and leave me alone. Anyone who presumes to know the mind of God needs to shut the hell up.

  43. I agree with prozacula. People need to stop shoving their religion in other people’s faces. However, I have no problem sharing what I believe if people really would like to know.
    For example:
    in Jacob 3:7-9 it says: “Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief and their hatred towards you is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?
    O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.
    Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers.”
    So, quit shoving your religion in my face, and go ahead and shove it back in yours.

  44. I’ll have my crab cake and eat it, too.

    Fred Clark, the “Slacktivist” posted an entry the other day in which he attempted to call down Christians for not accepting homosexuals. He has jumped on the bandwagon with countless others who misuse the Bible to remain abreast of liberal

  45. Linking Fool Friday

    If it’s Friday, it must but time to dump out all these things I’ve been bookmarking all week. I’ve previously mentioned God Hates Shrimp. Now the Slacktivist has a great post on Biblical reasons for why the shrimp ban was…

  46. Here a link, there a link, everywhere a link link

    Unfortunately, these links have been hanging around on my desktop long enough that I know longer remember the source for most of them. My apologies to everyone I fail to credit… Good article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, which…

  47. What we’ve got here is a misunderstanding.
    First of all, CHRISTIANS ARE NOT AT ALL BOUND BY THE MOSAIC LAW (i.e. – the Old Testament, the Law of Moses, the Jewish Law, The Penteteuch, etc.). The New Testament affirms this multiple times. The Old Law was a covenant that was FULFILLED when Christ died. Therefore it is no longer in effect. Thus, the dietary laws no longer apply.
    On the other hand, homosexuality is condemned by the NEW TESTAMENT as well! Christ says in Matthew 19 that marriage, “from the beginning” (Gen. 2:24) is for MALE AND FEMALE for life. This necessarily exludes homosexuality. Jesus did not use extraneous words, but captured as much as possible in simple, logical statements. One man, one woman, no fornication. That means no homosexuality.

  48. I know this is coming late in the dialogue, but if we take Jesus at his word and assume that in the kingdom of heaven there is “neither male nor female”, that kind of puts the last nail in the coffin of the anti-homosexual argument doesn’t it? There is no man, there is no woman, there is only the communion of souls. Thes fleshly raiments we wear are nothing more than sensory apparatus (apparata?)
    But even better, maybe we should remember the numerous admonitions to stop worrying about what our neighbors do, leave that part of it to the better judgement of the Creator, and pay more attention to putting our own individual houses in order.
    All good stuff straight out of the New Testament. I personally like the Gospel of Thomas.

  49. Hate Lesbians and Gays, Love a Double Bacon Cheeseburger

    The Slacktivist lays out the many hilarious inconsistencies with Leviticus, the biblical book that, while mostly negected, dictates God’s disdain for homosexuality. This version of Romans, the primary provider of anti-homosexual instruction in the Bibl…

  50. There are a pair of passages in the Gospels that do further damage to the belief that God and Jesus really dislike gays.
    Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 tell parallel accounts of Jesus’ encounter with a Roman Centurion in the town of Capernaum who had a servant whom one translation said he “loved.” The NIV says a servant whom the centurion “highly valued.” Regardless, the Greek word for “servant” in both instances is pais, the word from which we derive in English the word “Pedarist.” Which is to say, despite the way it is translated and possible connotations regarding sexual abuse, there is a clear sexual inference to the relationship between the Centurion and his servant which Jesus not only specifically declined to condemn, but He went on to praise the Centurion’s faith, saying, “I have not found so great a faith in all of Israel!” This passage, I’d say, goes along way to temper the much of the legalistic dogma against homosexuals with the grace that Peter was later to experience on the rooftop in Joppa.

  51. Sorry to be a downer but there is a crucial flaw to this article. Follow Peter along a little bit longer in Acts and you find a church council in acts 15 where he is instrumental in the acceptance of Gentiles into the church without the need to follow the mosaic law. They are accepted without any reservations *except* that they don’t practice idolatry or sexual immorality.
    In that passage the Mosaic Law is explicitly set aside but prohibitions against sexual immorality (and idolatry) are retained. And Paul later demands that a church member practicing incest be asked to leave the church until he changes his ways.
    This demolishes the God Hates Shrimp argument in one fell swoop. Certainly homosexuals are to be loved and cared for by the church, the “abomination” rhetoric has no place in the church either. But you can’t make a case for homosexuality from Acts 10. The Old Testament laws against homosexuality and all sexual misconduct still stand, and just to be sure they are reiterated in Rom 1:24-28, 1 Cor 6:9, and 1 Tim 1:9-10.
    It’s the same old wisdom of loving the sinner but not the sin. People don’t like that line. Partly because sensationalist and unrepresentative christians trample it so badly. Partly just because it means they don’t get christians to submit to their agenda. But the gospels walk the line between rejection and condoning sin all they way through. Maybe one day the church will again too. But what a faithful church cannot do is simply rubber stamp the popular view of the day, they’ve done that before and it’s always been disasterous: either they look like fools in 50 years time when people wake up to themselves or worse they tolerate a Hitler or some such.

  52. Biblical literalism, Constitutional “original intent”: it’s all the same thing

    I was reading Slacktivist this evening and came across a piece that contained a simple idea that I had never thought about. (It seems so obvious now that I wonder if I’m the only one who hasn’t got it.) Put simply: religious conservatives and political…

  53. Biblical literalism, Constitutional “original intent”: it’s all the same thing

    I was reading Slacktivist this evening and came across a piece that contained a simple idea that I had never thought about. (It seems so obvious now that I wonder if I’m the only one who hasn’t got it.) Put simply: religious conservatives and political…

  54. Biblical literalism, Constitutional “original intent”: it’s all the same thing

    I was reading Slacktivist this evening and came across a piece that contained a simple idea that I had never thought about. (It seems so obvious now that I wonder if I’m the only one who hasn’t got it.) Put simply: religious conservatives and political…

  55. Excuse Me for interrupting, but I would just like to point out that the bountiful meal that I gave to Peter and implicitly pronounced clean included:
    (1) All kinds of four-footed animals;
    (2) Reptiles of the earth;
    (3) Birds of the air.
    Now, I know that many scientists believe that I do not know much about biology, but I do know these things:
    (1) Lobsters have ten feet.
    (2) Lobsters are not reptiles.
    (3) Lobsters are not birds.
    So, if eating that delicious plate of jumbo shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, and lobster stuffed with lobster stuffed with lobster is more important to you than following My law (of which, might I remind you, not one jot, not one tittle, will change until all is fulfilled (and no, My Son dying and coming back to life is not “all” being “fulfilled” – as should be obvious to you, a lot has transpired since then, and believe you Me, there’s more to come)), then by all means, go right ahead and eat away. I understand – I made those creatures, and I know full well that they’re scrumptious.
    Yes, I’ll understand if you eat them. Please keep in mind, though, that I will also make you burn eternally in a Lake of Fire.
    Thanks for listening,
    The LORD thy God.

  56. How now of you satanist to twist the worrd of God to suit your own selfiness desires!!! Satan was the father of the lie, and you people are liars just like you father Satan!!! Get It!!! Naw I bet you dont get it…..but guess what you will!!!

  57. Obviously, exclamation points. W.V.O. Quine didn’t have a question mark on his keyboard. I am beginning to think this was a fine idea for nearly all punctuation.

  58. Most. simplistic. ill-informed. comments. on. Christian. theology. ever.
    Fred: OF COURSE Christians are supposed to welcome everyone, saint and sinner alike. Jesus’s public ministry — his willingness to interract with all types of people with varrying degrees of virtue — makes that abundantly clear. But Jesus also COMMANDS us to repent and sin no more. In other words, the real beef that secularists and liberal Christians have with orthodox Christianity is that fact that, yes, Virgina, there is such a thing as sin. (If there weren’t, the whole point of Christ’s death on the cross is rendered rather moot, don’t you think?).
    Thus, as much as it may seem a total bummer sometimes, there are things we’re, um, commanded not to do. Like cheat on our taxes. Kill people. Slander. Have sex with people other than our spouses. Covet our neighbor’s new beemer. And when we do succomb to temptation and commit such transgressions, we’re supposed to repent, and make an effort not to do them again. And yes, sodomy and other forms of sexual immorality are included in those “thou shalt nots”. (apparently God — the whack-job that He is — actually thinks — tee hee hee — that unbridled sexual activity could actually have adverse effects on his cherished creations; the overprotective, unreasonable old bugger apparently thinks He needs to protect us from doing things that could harm us. What an unreasonable A-hole our creator is).
    Now, to clarify again, Christians are supposed to love EVERYONE, including those (like nearly all of us) who pretty regularly defy God’s laws. But what this DOESN’T mean is that this commandment to love somehow means the laws don’t exist. It doesn’t. And we both know it.
    Of course, none of this has any degree of relevance if one is not a follower of Christ. But if one is, it’s self-delusional to pretend otherwise. I can quite confidently say there’s exists not a single follower of Christ who, in his heart of hearts, believes that eating a lobster tail has the same effect on his soul as a roll in the hay with someone other than his spouse.

  59. there are things we’re, um, commanded not to do. Like cheat on our taxes. Kill people. Slander. Have sex with people other than our spouses. Covet our neighbor’s new beemer. And when we do succomb to temptation and commit such transgressions, we’re supposed to repent, and make an effort not to do them again. And yes, sodomy and other forms of sexual immorality are included in those “thou shalt nots”
    This is the oddest little list. Lie. Murder. Lie. Commit adultery. Covet. And buttsex.
    One of these things is not like the others. One, and only one, of the things on this list is NOT one of the Ten Commandments.
    Isn’t it a big presumtuous to rewrite the Old Testament so that buttsex ranks with the Decalouge while leaving the rest of Leviticus in place? And that’s not even addressing your little bout of begging the question; A) God forbids ‘sodomy’, B) God forbids us things that hurt us, C) That’s why God forbids us sodomy. Of course, you don’t have any proof or argument that sodomy hurts people, we’re supposed to take your God’s word as authoritative.

  60. The Prophet’s Most Difficult Parables
    If you flush the Bible down the toilet, does that make it OK to be gay?
    If the moneylenders have scales, does that make it unclean to eat them?
    When Jesus complained to the apostles, ‘The poor are always among you,
    but I will not always be among you’, was he asking to be bitch-slapped?
    If you ‘out’ a gay Pope during Ramadan, will it be a Friday or Saturday?
    Three prophets walk into a bar. The one dressed in black refuses to sit
    on the seat nearest the door, which is on the south wall. The one dressed
    in gold refuses to sit on any seat that a goyim has made unclean. The one
    dressed in white sits down, but is hovering a few feet off of the floor,
    annoying the waitress. Which prophet is Southern Baptist? (trick question)
    – –
    Recent anthropological, paleological and genetic-drift studies have now
    converged on a premise that language, and by redaction, writing, and by
    redaction, the Psalms, the Koran and the Torah … are the result of an
    expansion of human forebrain area, beyond what was needed for survival.
    Driving that change, females selected for language development in males,
    as a way to keep the drudgery of sex more interesting. Then one thing
    led to the other, and pretty soon Repugs were beating on their Bibles.
    Somebody get those Repugs laid!!

  61. Benedict —
    It’s quite a leap to read anything in the post above as a denial of the reality of sin, but I admire the passion with which you attack something I didn’t say.
    I am curious though —
    Is your point that, since we were, unambiguously and explicitly “COMMANDED” to follow strict dietary laws, that Christians remain bound these immutable laws?
    Or is your point that Peter’s vision was exclusively and narrowly about dietary laws — and that therefore both Luke and Peter himself misunderstood the meaning of the apostle’s rooftop revelation and must be grouped among the “secularists and liberals”?

  62. Fred, I think Benedict’s point is that Peter’s dream means “those who do not keep old testament laws should not be turned away from the church”, and that it is invalid to deduce from that that “breaking the old testament laws is now OK”.
    Which is a coherent stance so far as it goes, but doesn’t explain why Benedict feels himself at liberty to eat lobster. Because the same argument can be applied to the kosher laws: God is telling Peter to accept non-kosher people, but that doesn’t make eating non-kosher food any less of a sin.
    Jim’s post above seems to be a much better-argued case for a similar POV, for my money. Of course, as a non-Christian, this is somewhat academic for me.

  63. “females selected for language development in males,
    as a way to keep the drudgery of sex more interesting.”
    Pauley, you’re doing it wrong.

  64. Regardless, the Greek word for “servant” in both instances is pais, the word from which we derive in English the word “Pedarist.”
    Alas, “pais” just means “child.” See T. Irwin’s translation of Aristotle’s Ethics (2d ed. p. 319).
    I suppose the equivalent is calling one’s servant “boy.”
    Oh, and there is no English word “pedarist,” if the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is to be credited.
    (Not to join the gay-bashers, but let’s stay fact-based.)

  65. bellatrys asked, “I really wanna know why Paul is more important than Jesus.”
    That’s easy — because Paul was the anti-Christ!

  66. “Most. Simplistic. Ill-informed. Comments. On. Christian. Theology. Ever.”
    Perhaps Benedict’s used to the more sophisticated moral treatises of, say, the Westboro Baptist Church, for example.

  67. Um, doesn’t this assume that all Christians eat at Red Lobster? I, for one, do not. I never touch shellfish, as it is proven to be poisonous, and it also slows one down mentally.
    It has taken thousands of years for science to figure out when the Bible knew all along– that shellfish is no good for the human being. The Bible always was ahead of its time. Still is.
    As for this, ahem, bit of leftist propaganda. The problem with such one for one moralizing is that eventually you can find a hypocrite for every sin you can name. Wasn’t there a Christian who murdered? Therefore murder must be okay. Wasn’t there a Jew who raped? Therefore rape must be okay. Didn’t David commit adultry and murder, and didn’t Jesus come from the line of David, and therefore…
    The argument is specious. Good is good and sin is sin, and no one has yet shown me that sodomy is good. There is always this talk about how Christians are bad because there can be no very good argument about how sodomy is good. It is, to roughly 80% of Americans, an act of pure carnal lust that can never transcend the body and never produce anything greater than the spread of disease. These people are not hypocrites. They are honest people who have decided that sodomy is not a holy act that should be honored by the laws of the society they too have a stake in.
    Sorry. I have friends who are gay, and I love them, but a sin is still a sin. I am a sinner too. We all are. But it is a far cry from being a sinner and falling in love with your sins. This is where liberal Christian theocracy has its intellectual downfall. The thing that makes one a Christian is the acceptance of Christ, not the acceptance of sin.

  68. “Acceptance”?? What makes one a Christian is the following of Christ, and the acceptance of sinfulness. L&J might consider you a Christian if you say the magic words, but Jesus said you have to walk the walk, too.
    Shellfish wasn’t poisonous until we started dumping toxic waste in the oceans. Gross, yes. I don’t eat giant seagoing insects very often either, and only when someone else does the dissecting. You may consider this to be a case of the Bible being way ahead of its time if you wish, but it is more like a case of if there really was a verse commanding all Men to carry a concealed handgun.

  69. all the evidence from the old testament is truly outdated. Has anyone happened to read the New testament? This is the new covenant! Jesus Christ is the sacrificial lamb who took away the sins of the world. The purpose of christianity is not just to follow rules but as jesus said before he rose into heaven to spread the word. Jesus was against the theology of the pharisees. They were religious people and yes all they cared about was not working on the sabbath and not eating bacon. Jesus cared more about the salvation of the world.
    Does that mean we can sin and be fine? you may ask.
    well see, the reason why we see so much sin in terms of homosexuality in the anglican churches is because of their pharice like beliefs. They still believe that obedience to god makes us acceptable to god. Thats not true at all! That is true in the old testament but like i said before, Jesus makes us acceptable to god and so they try to make themselves acceptable and fall short. They feel guilty for not being able to reach the christian standards(jesus) and guilt then leads to condemnation which is where the enemy wants us. Jesus is god how can we try to match our standards with god? The only way to live a christian life is to receive christ as the lord and saviour and living the one as life. Jesus living through us. Remember jesus saying that it was not him doing all those miracles but the father doing it through him. That is the one as life. It is easier to follow the commandments when youre living that life. It comes naturally.
    The commandments of god are to make us happy. You may think thats corny but the bible says that god is love and love has to have an object. We are the object of gods love and he loves us so he gives us commandments to be happy. So what are the punishments of sin? The punishments of sin is being unhappy. Do you think murderers are happy people, or burglars? That is all we know. God says thats he is the judge. Further punishments are up to him and not for us to say.
    Homosexuality is just another thought from the devil. Has anyone had a thought that they knew was stupid. anything that makes yourself wonder why on earth you thought that. The truth is that it is not your thoughts cause you are not that screwed up but it is from the enemy. “Homosexuality” youve given this ridiculous thought a name already?! Hell! even i have those thoughts but im not gay.
    Heres an example of a absolutely stupid thought
    ask a barber whether theyve had a wierd thought of stabbing a customer in the back of the neck for no reason. Im not saying that all barbers do that but what i am saying is that its just a stupid thought and we should not give it any significance and obsess about it.

  70. Hell! even i have those thoughts but im not gay.

    Who wants to be the one to break it to him gently?

  71. Who wants to be the one to break it to him gently?
    Not while he’s cutting my hair.
    ask a barber whether theyve had a wierd thought of stabbing a customer in the back of the neck for no reason.
    Really. Eek.

  72. Who wants to be the one to break it to him gently?
    Not while he’s cutting my hair.
    ROFLMAO!
    I never wanted to be a barber anyway.
    I always wanted to be
    A LUMBERJACK!
    Eww.. too butch. Me, I want to sing..
    I want to sing and dance, I want to sing and dance, I want to be a pirate in the Pirates of Penzance. Wear me silver-buckled slippers and me tight shiny pants – I want to sing and dance!

  73. It really depends on the kind of lumberjack you’re thinking of. Some cut down trees, yes, but also skip and jump, and like to press wild flowers. Perhaps you could meet one on Wednesday, and share a buttered scone?

  74. like i said im not saying that all barbers do that but what im saying is that its an example of a silly thought. Let me ask you a question. Do your thoughts always make sense? Im not saying that youre crazy either.(:P or maybe)Just that we should ignore these wild ideas.

  75. Anthony: Hell! even i have those thoughts but im not gay.
    We tried to break it to you gently, Anthony.
    You may prefer not to identify as gay, and that’s your choice: but if you have fantasies (thoughts) about having sex with men, unless you prefer to identify as a Manichean heretic, those thoughts are not from the Devil: they’re perfectly normal human thoughts that gay/bi men have every day.
    Fantasising about stabbing the back of the neck of the person whose hair you are cutting, though… I think that’s a message from God that you were meant to be a lumberjack. Go cut down trees, smell wild flowers, have buttered scones for tea… and dress in women’s clothing, suspenders and a bra.

  76. Anthony, the simple truth is that some men like to have sex with other men. It’s not a weird fleeting thought that they then disown, it’s not a momentary confusion. They like having sex with men in exactly the same way that you (I’m guessing) like having sex with women.
    You might want to meet one or two out and open gay men (or women) before you say any more about their ‘stupid thoughts’. Top tip: when you do, don’t compare their desire to have sex with people they are attracted to with someone’s desire to kill people. That could really get the conversation off to a bad start.

  77. well then i apologise for getting this coversation off on a wrong note.
    But if you dont mind me asking when do people actually start knowing that theyre gay?
    a few friends telling them that they are at a teen age?
    or does it just begin with an urge which they have allowed to continue?

  78. Probably about the same age you started knowing you were straight.
    I certainly didn’t need freinds to tell what my sexuality was. Did you?

  79. Anthony, when did you “decide” that blond hair and large breasts were actually kind of hot? Was it an urge that you allowed to continue? Did you try not allowing it to continue? (“No, I must be more attracted to red hair! And freckles! Yes, from now on, I will only be attracted to women who have freckles!”)
    I don’t know how to put this any clearer – gay people are just like you, except that are sexually attracted to different people. Whenever you start asking a question “Do gay people…” ask yourself “Do I…” and “Would that change if I was attracted to different people?”

  80. Anthony: But if you dont mind me asking when do people actually start knowing that theyre gay?
    The first time they are told (or read) that the feeling of being attracted to the same gender is called “gay”. Before that, they just know they’re attracted to the same gender, without having a word for it: just as straight kids know they’re attracted to a different gender from their own, without necessarily knowing yet that the word for that is “straight” or “heterosexual”.
    Also, what Ray and Wintermute said.

  81. in the same way that you being straight “started from an urge”. Seriously, gay people are gay in the same way that you are straight.

  82. well at the end of the day it depends on what your beliefs are.
    would you agree? This day and age christianinity is not everyones belief and therefore we are arguing on an (what the bible calls) “earthly” basis.
    What is natural will really depend on what you believe in.

  83. Well, that works if you ignore the huge numbers of gay Christians. You know, the folks who realized Jesus had nothing to say about gays or lesbians, but plenty about what straight people ought not to be doing with each other. (Oh, and living our neighbors, but nobody listens to that part anyway.)

  84. What is natural will really depend on what you believe in.
    No. (Assuming by “what is natural” you mean “what occurs in nature” or “what people just are”.)
    That doesn’t depend on what you believe in: that is, regardless of whether or not you believe it.
    Of course, there is the story of the (lumberjack?) who, seeing his first giraffe, stared for quarter of an hour and then said “There ain’t no sich animal.”

  85. thats a generalisation. Do you happen to know if the Gay christians are born again. Its difficult tell you about being born again if first of all youre not christian and if you have never been born again.
    The lobster and homosexuality are both found in Leviticus which is the old testament but in the new convenant that doesnt mean that those are not sins. We are acceptable to god because of jesus but that does not mean that we can ignore the commandments in the old testament.

  86. well if you believe that we are made with an inclination to sin or whether we are made pure but still sin. but thats another argument. cause if my belief says that satan corrupts my mind with wierd ideas that brings another meaning to natural.i could ignore it or i could just follow it which means another natural. Whether my thoughts are truly mine.

  87. Its difficult tell you about being born again if first of all youre not christian and if you have never been born again.
    Come again?
    We are acceptable to god because of jesus but that does not mean that we can ignore the commandments in the old testament.
    So from now on you will refrain from eating shellfish and pork?

  88. well if you believe that we are made with an inclination to sin or whether we are made pure but still sin. but thats another argument. cause if my belief says that satan corrupts my mind with wierd ideas that brings another meaning to natural.i could ignore it or i could just follow it which means another natural. Whether my thoughts are truly mine.
    How do you know those thoughts are coming from Satan? And how do you know that Satan actually exists and is able to influence your thoughts? Since you’ve entered the realm of the imaginary and fantastical, why can’t it be aliens or penguins using sopshisticated broadcasting equipment?
    Here’s a thought (from me, not Satan): those thoughts are your own, generated in the recesses of your own head with no help from imaginary monsters or aliens. If those thoughts are destructive you may have a mental condition that requires professional psychological help. If they aren’t, you’re probably just consuming too much caffeine. If you need a spiritual excuse for not taking personal responsibility for your own thoughts, check out Jeremiah 17:9.

  89. nope :P that doesnt mean that i wont eat shell fish. its too tasty.
    its just means that because of jesus i can live my life free of
    condemnation. Being born again is Christ living through me ( like i said its difficult). and being born again is the only way to live a successful christian life. When you are born again you dont even have to refrain from sinning but everything comes naturally. In john 14:10 Jesus describes this.
    Again that doesnt mean that im an angel :P. eventhough i like to believe it. Being born again is a phase as we battle to live our lives and fail instead of allowing jesus christ to live through us.

  90. that is exactly what im arguing that our beliefs determine whats natural. That was an example. and so you believe that all your thoughts are yours? even the most ridiculous ones? Are all your thoughts under your control? Never thought about anything silly? then the one who needs a phychologist isnt me :) so are we all evil then if a thought like that comes? Should we feel condemned?

  91. Do you happen to know if the Gay christians are born again.
    Another case of breaking it to you gently: Anthony, you probably know Born Again Christians who are gay, but if your attitude here is any indication of how you are in the real world, they’re probably not going to be comfortable coming out to you.
    but that does not mean that we can ignore the commandments in the old testament.
    You didn’t actually read Fred’s original post, did you?
    For me, the difference between being a Christian and not is whether or not one chooses to follow Jesus’ teachings, or whether one prefers to follow the OT and/or Paul. Christians looks to Jesus’ own words: “Love God with all your heart, and all your soul and all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.” These are the two greatest commandments, per the person who should know best. Everything else you say and do and think ought to stem from those two commandments, if you claim to follow Christ. If on the other hand, you choose to ignore them in favor of Old Testament law, that’s fine and dandy, you’re Jewish, good for you, and please stop wearing cotton-poly blended fabric, thanks. If you choose to ignore them in favor of Paul’s teachings, that’s fine and dandy, you’re a Paulian rather than a Christian, and please don’t get married and if you’re female, make sure to cover your head when you pray, thanks. If you try to do all three, good for you, please keep in mind the rest of us have our own opinions on the matter.
    A mental exercise for you: ask yourself if you are spending more time fighting activities that Jesus didn’t call sins, or those he did? (Divorce, avarice, refusing to help the poor, etc.) Ever picket a divorce lawyer’s office? Ever log onto a message board frequented by rich people and ask why they haven’t donated all their money to the poor that they may follow Christ?

  92. > that doesnt mean that i wont eat shell fish. its too tasty.
    Ah, I’m sure we’ll all agree that that’s a good enough reason to commit an abomnation in the eyes of the Lord.
    > When you are born again you dont even have to refrain from sinning but everything comes naturally.
    I’m not sure what that means. “Everything comes naturally” is, by itself, a good definition of an athiestic worldview, which is almost certainly not what you mean.
    Maybe you mean “not sinning comes naturally”. Except that sticking to the dietary requirements clearly doesn’t. Does it come naturally to you not to shave the corners of your beard (Leviticus 21:5)? What about not touching menstruating women (Leviticus 15:19-33)?
    > that doesnt mean that im an angel
    Clearly not, if you’re ignoring so much of Leviticus.

  93. Would you please refrain from assumptions like that. I really dont know any gay christians and if they have nothing to hide why are they uncomfortable coming to me?(like when adam and eve are hiding)god also said that he didnt give us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind. Youre assuming that there are gay people in my church. I did happen to criticize the anglican church though which is probably where you got your assumptions from.
    The funny thing is that the ten commandments were in the old testament. Jesus referred back to the old testament meaning that it still does count.
    and what you asked about the rich people giving all they have to the poor. Thats an example of flesh right there( flesh is doing something out of christ) and if you are familiar with christianity you would know that the flesh is hostile to god. It doesnt say good or bad flesh. It happens all the time in anglican churches where they believe that obeying god makes them acceptable to god when its actually what jesus does.
    you said”For me, the difference between being a Christian and not is whether or not one chooses to follow Jesus’ teachings, or whether one prefers to follow the OT and/or Paul.” Jesus was on earth to save souls and introduce the salvation to the world. Does that mean he was against other teachings? Like pauls. I dont think so! remember that each of these apostles were anointed by god to write their part of the bible. Jesus is god.

  94. when i said that “everything comes naturally” i was reffering to living a successful christian life. When born again living the christian life becomes a norm and not a battle. You love god naturally and you love your neighbour naturally also. after all those are the most important commandments :P
    Does it come naturally to you not to shave the corners of your beard (Leviticus 21:5). Try not to quote the bible in the wrong context. God was talking about priests.
    eating shellfish and homosexuals may be a sin if you follow Leviticus up close. but again being born again means that we are holy no matter what sin we commited jesus has died for it. You may ask that by this it means that we can sin all we like. but when you are born again, a believer, you dont sin as much. of course there will be the stumble but your christian walk will be much smoother.
    and the angel bit was a joke. dont need to criticize me cause my jokes suck :)

  95. Oh dear. You do know Paul wasn’t one of the Twelve Apostles, right? That he never, you know, met Jesus? That he persecuted Christians after Jesus died, and only came later to believe?
    Youre assuming that there are gay people in my church.
    There are gay people in every church. Some are out, some are not, and if you’re having fantasies about sex with other men, um, well … It’s called being in the closet. Gay people are afraid of being persecuted or even killed for who they are, so they, and I see you’ve got a problem with this concept, don’t tell everyone. It’s not only possible but extremely likely that you know several gay people who are afraid of telling you. You probably know even more people who are in truth gay or bisexual, but who have been told so often that homosexual = evil that they are denying it even to themselves and pretending to be straight. (I’ve seen this happen with people who got married and had families, and only accepted that they were gay years later.) So you can protest all you’d like that you don’t know anyone, but the fact of the matter is, you probably do, and don’t realize it.
    you asked about the rich people giving all they have to the poor. Thats an example of flesh right there( flesh is doing something out of christ
    I prefer to think of it as a more or less exact quote (accounting for translation) of what Jesus actually directed people to do. “Sell all your possessions, donate the money to the poor, and come follow me.” If you’re a follower of Christ, shouldn’t you do that? And more to the point, if you’re spreading Christ’s words, shouldn’t you be preaching those rather than ones he didn’t say?
    they believe that obeying god makes them acceptable to god when its actually what jesus does.
    So it’s faith rather than works, according to your view? That’s fine as your own belief, but it undercuts your entire thesis. If I go out and have lots and lots of gay sex, but I have accepted Christ as my personal savior, then I’m saved, just as if you eat shellfish but accept Christ, you’re saved. Or does that only work for sins that you commit?
    Jesus is god.
    Okay, but he said “Love God, love your neighbor.” He didn’t say “Go out and eat shellfish, but the buttsex is still bad.” Unless of course you can point us to a translation where he did?

  96. When you are born again you dont even have to refrain from sinning
    Wow! Now I see why this “born again” thing is so popular!

  97. Does it come naturally to you not to shave the corners of your beard (Leviticus 21:5). Try not to quote the bible in the wrong context. God was talking about priests.
    OK, try this one: Leviticus 19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

  98. all the evidence from the old testament is truly outdated.
    That may be the opinion of Paul. But according to the Hebrew Bible the covenant is eternal.

  99. Try not to quote the bible in the wrong context.
    How about historical context? When Leviticus was written, the Hebrews were a small nation surrounded on all sides by enemies. Infant mortality rates were high, and life expectancies were low. Now, if 3-10% of the population was gay (per current statistics), voluntarily pulling themselves out of the breeding population might make the difference between having enough children for a stable population and not. Thus, homosexual activity would be frowned on and written into the law in order to preserve the culture. Since all laws came from God, obviously God forbade homosexual sex.
    Move forward to today. We have well over six billion people on the planet, and species and cultural survival is no longer a matter of incessant breeding and hoping more of the babies live than die. There’s no more need for a cultural prohibition against homosexuality, and thus it’s as silly and outdated as telling women they must cover their heads, a relic from ages past.
    However, the prohibition sticks with us. Why? Well, as Fred has pointed out a few times, it’s hard to tell people not to eat shellfish. They are nummy and sweet, and nothing goes down quite like a ham and cheese with a glass of cold milk. Rich people get angry when you tell them to give up all their possessions, and America has been preaching the Prosperity Gospel for over a century. But most people (again, see only 3-10%) won’t be tempted to have homosexual relations, so claiming those rules are still relevant are a great way of rallying the troops against something most of them won’t be tempted to do anyway.
    Perhaps that wasn’t the context you meant.

  100. Anthony, maybe the wild idea that you should be ignoring is the one about the magic floaty guy in the sky who actually gives a shit about what you eat or who you have sex with. Because seriously, there’s a whole lot of evidence that gay born-again Christians exist, but not so much for the magic floaty guy.

  101. I really dont know any gay christians
    Yes, we can be fairly confident that you do, assuming that you know more than (say) two dozen Christians. (Less than that, and it’s possible, if unlikely, that every single one of them is 100% heterosexual.)
    and if they have nothing to hide why are they uncomfortable coming to me?
    Because you think that their natural, normal feelings are whisperings from the Devil, and equivalent to the desire you have to stab a customer in the back of his neck while you’re cutting his hair.

  102. For me, the difference between being a Christian and not is whether or not one chooses to follow Jesus’ teachings, or whether one prefers to follow the OT and/or Paul. Christians looks to Jesus’ own words: “Love God with all your heart, and all your soul and all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    Pet peeve alert. I know some Christians are unconfortable with certain aspects of their religious tradition, and prefer to see those aspects as foreign to “real Christianity”, but I’d like to remind everyone that what you refer to as the “Old Testament” is the primary religious text for Judaism, and a secondary religious text for Islam. When you use it as a trash heap for what you don’t like in your own religion, you insult a lot of people. You also end up with a rather perverted notion of the text. For instance, “Love God with all your heart, and all your soul and all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself,” are not “Jesus’ own words”. Both are from the Torah (the second is Leviticus, not sure about the first). You’d also be a lot more likely to here that first quote in a synagogue than in a church. It is part of one of the primary prayers in Judaism.

  103. Jesurgislac:
    You may prefer not to identify as gay, and that’s your choice: but if you have fantasies (thoughts) about having sex with men, unless you prefer to identify as a Manichean heretic, those thoughts are not from the Devil: they’re perfectly normal human thoughts that gay/bi men have every day.
    and
    if you’re having fantasies about sex with other men, um, well … It’s called being in the closet.
    Not necessarily. I may have thoughts of murder (I wonder how one becomes the White House barber?), but that doesn’t make me a murderer. Thoughts of murder are natural and not a sin; acts of murder are condemned (YNATKC, right?) and is (usually) a sin. Thoughts are not deeds, or we could all get away with just thinking about helping our fellows.
    Where murder differs from homosexuality is that Jesus was pretty firmly against the one and silent on the other. And it’s not as if he didn’t speak up on pretty much everything else.
    If i watch girl-on-girl porn, does that make me gay? [grin]

  104. Beth —
    I was aiming for “if you use this as your primary basis of belief and what you’re using to decide what you should and shouldn’t do.” As has been discussed through this whole thread, I’m tired of Christians who use Leviticus as a basis for approving or disapproving of something, especially when these same people happily ignore the rest of the book. I’m even more tired of Christians who use Paul the same way. Follow the Torah, follow Paul, follow Christ, or follow all three (or none — thankfully still an option), but be up front about which takes precedence for you and which is just getting lip-service.
    True story: A guy I’ve known for years started out as Catholic. With some prodding from various people, he sat down and really looked at Jesus’ teachings, and realized how close to Marxism many of them came, and rather than change his economic beliefs, left Christianity altogether because he felt capitalism was incompatible with Christ’s teachings, and he liked capitalism better. While I’m not hoping Anthony will reread the Bible and suddenly decide to become an Objectivist, considering his comments here I think perhaps a self-examination of what he really believes might do him a world of good. Of course, it may get him more than he bargained for — the people in my circle of friends who follow Leviticus most rigorously also tend to be the most tolerant, and let’s not forget that Reform Judaism officially sanctions same-sex unions. Giving Paul precedence? Well, we’ve had that discussion upthread, including what it means in terms of expected behaviors. Jesus preaches those inconvenient “love your enemies” and “give away all your stuff” teachings, as well as the ones you rightfully pointed out are Hebrew tradition. Pick and choose what works? Fewer problems there, though it doesn’t leave much room to complain when people pick and choose other things. I wouldn’t call any of it putting things on a trash heap; I’d call it looking at everything available and seeing what actually fits your own worldview. (I’m a picker-and-chooser, personally, which makes it easier when my worldview changes.)

  105. Beth: well said.
    and a secondary religious text for Islam.
    Well, more like tertiary. The official line is that the text of the Old Testament had been corrupted prior to Muhammad and the Qur’an contains the real story. Muslim scholars therefore did not reach out to OT writings nearly as often as Christian scholars do.
    As for the quotes:
    Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
    Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

  106. But according to the Hebrew Bible the covenant is eternal.
    Yep, but the covenant with whom?
    With Israel. Many Christian theologians teach that the every person is required to keep the commandments (and can’t, that’s why we need Jesus) — when in fact about 99% of them were given specifically to the Jews.

  107. Follow the Torah, follow Paul, follow Christ or follow all three
    How do you follow Christ without following the Torah, especially when you define following Christ as obeying laws from Leviticus and Deuteronomy (thanks Bulbul)? If you took the Gospels and removed all of Christ’s teachings that didn’t come directly or indirectly from the Torah, I don’t think you’d have much left.
    It would be bad enough to say “the Torah,” when what you really meant was “the Torah exclusive of the parts Jesus preached about,” but I don’t think even that’s what you really mean. IIRC, Jesus never preaching against stealing or bearing false witness either, but if a Christian opposed those things I doubt that you’d complain that they were following the OT instead of Christ.
    I think a more honest way of presenting your three choices would be, “Follow Christ, follow Paul, or follow the parts of the Torah that I don’t like.”
    Jeff,
    Where murder differs from homosexuality is that Jesus was pretty firmly against the one and silent on the other.
    I don’t remember Jesus preaching against murder either. Can you cite a passage?

  108. > I may have thoughts of murder (I wonder how one becomes the White House barber?), but that doesn’t make me a murderer. Thoughts of murder are natural and not a sin; acts of murder are condemned (YNATKC, right?) and is (usually) a sin. Thoughts are not deeds, or we could all get away with just thinking about helping our fellows.
    According to Jesus, you’re wrong. Angry thoughts are identical to murder (Matt 5:21-22), and thoughts of lust are identical to adultery (and, presumably rape, if they aren’t also having lustful thoughts about you)(Matt 5:27-29).

  109. How do you follow Christ without following the Torah, especially when you define following Christ as obeying laws from Leviticus and Deuteronomy?
    Consequently, how do you follow Paul without following Christ? This is not an either-or situation.
    And why do people always forget Matthew 5:17-18? “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” I mean, come on.
    As for giving precedence to Paul, one could argue that his letters only reflect his opinions. But in the shellfish story, it was God who spoke.
    Merlin Missy, picking what you like and discarding what you don’t like is exactly what Fred’s original post what all about. Anybody is free to do that. But they shouldn’t be surprised if others refer to them as hypocrites. Or worse.

  110. I don’t remember Jesus preaching against murder either. Can you cite a passage?
    Well, there’s Matthew 5:21 (Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment).

  111. Consequently, how do you follow Paul without following Christ? This is not an either-or situation.
    Recall the faith vs. works dicussion from several months back? The long thread about disregarding the teaching about the sheep and the goats in favor of Paul’s “you are saved by faith alone?” Or even in this thread, choosing to cite Paul over Jesus? It’s a matter of whose teachings get preferenced. Sometimes they’re the same, sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes, like in the case we’re discussing, Jesus is silent on the matter and Paul takes up the slack. Is it a contradiction, is it an assumption that Jesus would have agreed, or is it entirely a matter of individual interpretation and choice based as much on our own cultural biases and personal beliefs as on the text? If someone gives preference to Paul in those cases, isn’t that very much like choosing to follow him instead of Jesus? You say it’s not an either/or, but I submit that sometimes it appears that way. (see G.W. Bush)
    Merlin Missy, picking what you like and discarding what you don’t like is exactly what Fred’s original post what all about. Anybody is free to do that. But they shouldn’t be surprised if others refer to them as hypocrites. Or worse.
    The only problem with that statement is that everyone picks and chooses. Keep Mosaic Law? Cover your head, or uncover it? Marry only to avoid having sex otherwise? For that matter, and yet again, sell everything, give away the money and trust to God? Everyone chooses, based on a host of factors, some of which are practical, some of which are very personal. If by your choices, you can still call yourself a member of the group you ascribe to be, then hey. If not, maybe you need to find another label for yourself. As I said, I pick and choose, and I do so widely; I’m an eclectic neopagan bordering on atheist. Back when I was a Christian, the Anthonys of the world were why I stopped using that label for myself and went looking elsewhere (the Freds are why I still have faith in people who do). The acquaintance I mentioned previously stopped using the label “Christian” because he felt it meant “communist.” When we had both discarded enough of what we’d been taught was Christianity to fit what we actually believed to be true (for varying definitions of “true”) neither of us felt comfortable using the label anymore. Take that for what it’s worth, but it’s been nineteen years, for me at least, and picking and choosing has worked pretty well so far. Call me what you’d like.
    I think a more honest way of presenting your three choices would be, “Follow Christ, follow Paul, or follow the parts of the Torah that I don’t like.”
    Beth, I seem to have offended you, and I apologize. That wasn’t my intent. I’m responding to posts while I’m doing other things offline, and I’m not expressing myself well. I’ve tried rephrasing, but that doesn’t appear to help. I suspect if I try again, I will only manage to annoy you further and I’ve got no desire to do that, so rather than continue what was intended to be just more poking of a troll, I’m stopping now.

  112. beth:
    I don’t remember Jesus preaching against murder either. Can you cite a passage?
    In addition to bulbul’s passage, there’s “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Casting the stone is not a Good Thing. I am as far as you can get from an expert on the NT (I don’t even remember most of the OT — other than Micah being the most hypocritical book in the bunch: After we kill all our enemies, we’ll turn our swords into plowshares.), but I’m sure their our others. Does “blessed are the peacemakers” count?
    wintermute:
    That leads to the old joke: “Well, I thought putting money in the poor-box!” I guess Matthew never said “One of these days, I’m gonna kill that Messiah!. Only Judas did.

  113. ETA:
    One of the good things about being a Jewish Agnostic Pantheist (The God I don’t believe in is Jewish and he’s everywhere!) is that I can pick and chose from the OT, the NT, the Bhagavad Gita, the Q’ran, the works of Mark Twain and Lewis Carrol, etc. What it all boils down to (to me) is “be nice to people”. How that works in any particular situation is the hard part, but “faith” (or thoughts) don’t enter into it at all.

  114. or is it entirely a matter of individual interpretation and choice based as much on our own cultural biases and personal beliefs as on the text
    If I were feeling really nasty, I’d go on a rant on how the Protestants screwed it all up with the stupid “sola scriptura” dogma in the times when most people couldn’t lovin’ READ. And I’d hate to get all elitist on your collective asses from my academic ivory tower, but most people still can’t. Oh they recognize the letters all right. They just have no idea how texts work. Goddamit, we hire lawyers to check our contracts and those are written in relatively straightforward present-day language. Then how come we entrust the interpretation of documents which determine the fate of our souls to any dumbfuck with a bad translation?!
    That’s what his whole debate is about: interpretation. Hermeneutics is a serious scientific subject with its own set of rules. One of the rules is that you have to consider the text as a whole. Overemphasizing Paul while ignoring James is exactly how it shouldn’t be done. Picking verse X over verse Y is another example. When you do all of that, you are not interpreting the text. You are using it or rather, MISusing it. And I don’t lovin’ care what you’re motives are. In my book, that’s not only dishonest. That’s a goddamn (literally) sacrilege.

  115. Ah hell, I’d better get it out:
    Both theoretically and practially, sola scriptura is UTTER BULLSHIT.
    Invididual interpretation my fat (post-)structuralist Catholic ass…
    Whew. Sorry about that, I’ll shut up now.

  116. Merlin Missy,
    It’s not so much that I’m seriously annoyed, but that you’ve hit a pet peeve of mine. I completely understand that it wasn’t your intention to offend, and I appologize if my reaction came off as too personal. What I’m objecting to is less what you’re saying than the way you’re saying it. I, too, am annoyed by people like Anothony, who seem to think that Leviticus begins and ends with, “Thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman.” While you want to broaden that, your view of Leviticus still seems limited to what I would call “ritual laws” and what Aunursa referred to as laws “given specifically to the Jews.” In a larger sense, the problem is that while Jesus, as a Jew, complained about certain trends in the Judaism of his day, modern Christians tend to view that as a critism of Judaism in general, and forget that what Jesus praised and preached was equally part of Judiasm. (“Love thy neighbor as thyself,” is just as much a part of Leviticus as “Thou shalt not lie with a man…”)
    What it all boils down to (to me) is “be nice to people”. How that works in any particular situation is the hard part….
    There’s a Buddhist story about a man who heard of an ancient and truly enlightened monk living somewhere in the mountains. Wishing to learn the Ultimate Truth, he spent years scouring the mountains, and at last discovered the monk, perched on the branch of a tree. “Oh venerable One,” the man cried, “Teach me the secret of life and death, the final key to enlightenment.” “Do good,” the monk said, “And don’t do wrong.” The man was aghast. “You’ve spent countless decades meditating and that’s your ultimate truth?” he asked. “Even a 3-year-old child knows that.” “A 3-year-old child may know it,” the monk replied, “but even a hundred-year-old man cannot practice it.”
    bulbul,
    You might enjoy this.

  117. I enjoyed it also. Thanks for the link. I wanted to send it to all my evangelical friends but they have no idea what is this crazy shit called “hermeneutics”.

  118. I did too. Got to send this to my British/Israeli friend: he has this framed on his kitchen wall. ;-)

  119. I’ve always liked that “shit” list.
    One modification:
    Catholicism: If you look closely enough at the shit, you will see the likeness of the Virgin Mary.

  120. bulbul may rant on all he/she likes. Martin Luther, the monk who started the change in the churches found that the catholics screwed up the interpretation of the bible(or maybe MISused it and took advatage of the common man who could not read at that time). I dont know who youre referring to when you say “dumbfuck” but if you BELIEVED in the bible, you would have to agree that the bible does not contradict itself. I may be overemphasizing somethings but that is only for the purpose of this argument.
    Beth is right in saying that Jesus was against “certain trends in the Judaism of his day”. He was against the pharices and their RELIOGIOUS approach to his teaching. Like i said before that Jesus makes us acceptable to god and not our actions. If we were able to live free of sin by oursleves do you think that god would have to send his son. Was god impatient with us(not possible after all he was always teaching patience). The only colnclusion is that we cannot live free from sin and that was why jesus had to be the sacrificial lamb.
    God hates sin and yes everyone sins but a BORN AGAIN christian is always holy. how does that work? well when a BORN AGAIn christian prays for forgiveness from god. God looks at his son, jesus and then agrees. Remember he died for all sins. You may want to sin all you like and allow a small chance that you may burn in the eternal fires of hell. Its up to you. after all god is a judge of the living and the dead.
    When i said about flesh. The passage “Sell all your possessions, donate the money to the poor, and come follow me.” was for a rich young man who wanted to follow jesus and become one of his deciples. Yes Merlin missy youre right in saying that not all christians should do that(or i hope thats what youre saying) cause i dont think that gods will for us all is to be monks which is not even in the bible. When i mentioned flesh i was referring to “Ever log onto a message board frequented by rich people and ask why they haven’t donated all their money to the poor that they may follow Christ?” thats different if jesus asks that particular man in the bible. Anyway in that part what jesus wanted to point out was the fact that it is more difficult for the rich to follow him.
    I do not believe that Leviticus begins and ends with “Thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman.” What i am saying is that jesus may not have talked about homosexuality but he didnt agree with it either. He did however refer to other commandments in the old testament which also means that Leviticus(and the old testament) has to be aknowledged. Also remember the lord’s prayer “hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is on heaven….” I also remember that the nature and the will of god is unchanging. So if he stated his will in the old testament it cant change in the new testament and if that is the case jesus does not have to mention anything about homosexuality as his father has already stated his will and jesus aknowledges and proclaims his fathers will. Therefore homosexuality is a sin.

  121. Martin Luther, the monk who started the change in the churches found that the catholics screwed up the interpretation of the bible
    Martin Luther also wanted to remove the book of James from the New Testament. Know why?
    you would have to agree that the bible does not contradict itself
    .. because Martin Luther bought Paul’s doctrine of salvation through faith alone, and James contradicts this:
    Rom. 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
    James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
    Now, some will dance on the head of a pin to make the case that these passages are not contradictory. While I personally think James and Paul were at odds on the nature of salvation, just the fact that one who believes these passages are not contradictory has to work so hard to make the case USING HERMENEUTICS and other scholarly devices only serves to reinforce Bulbul’s original point.
    And that Martin Luther wasn’t smart enough to reconcile Paul and James should be a clue. In fact, it isn’t the passages that differ so much as Paul and James ENTIRE philosophies. Of course, to be fair it should also pointed out that Martin Luther was a madman.
    (small sermon followed by condemnation of homosexuality)
    I guess what most annoys me about you glassy-eyed faith-based types is that no matter the debate, you manage to work in your interpretation of the gospel of salvation as if it was some kind of special trump card that automatically bought the trick. And as if no one had ever heard such a thing from every semi-literate Baptist preacher with a cut-rate Bible college degree and a highly-notated Schofield.
    Anyway in that part what jesus wanted to point out was the fact that it is more difficult for the rich to follow him.
    I guess it’s a good thing it wasn’t a rich homosexual because he woulda just been flat-out rejected:
    Jesus: “Keep your nice shit. You can’t get in anyway, faggot.”
    but he didnt agree with it either
    Prove it.

  122. I also remember that the nature and the will of god is unchanging. So if he stated his will in the old testament it cant change in the new testament and if that is the case jesus does not have to mention anything about eating shellfish as his father has already stated his will and jesus aknowledges and proclaims his fathers will. Therefore eating shellfish is a sin.

  123. Anthony: What i am saying is that jesus may not have talked about homosexuality but he didnt agree with it either.
    Since he never said one word about homosexuality, one way or the other, how on earth do you presume to know what he thought?
    So if he stated his will in the old testament it cant change in the new testament and if that is the case jesus does not have to mention anything about homosexuality as his father has already stated his will and jesus aknowledges and proclaims his fathers will. Therefore homosexuality is a sin.
    And since nothing changes from the Old Testament to the new, so is eating shellfish. You eat shellfish, Anthony, even though you believe that Jesus acknowledges and proclaims his Father’s will that eating shellfish is a sin: why do you do that? And, if the answer is that you just can’t resist shellfish, why are you diverting your attention from a sin that is far more common, far more widely acceptable, in the US, than homosexuality is? If nothing’s changed from Old Testament to New, then the common availability of shrimp, oysters, and bacon, their acceptability as foodstuffs, is something you ought to find horrifying and unacceptable – far more so than the narrow tolerance that’s all that’s available to GLBT people.

  124. No contradictions in the Bible? Who was Joseph’s father? Who discovered that the tomb was empty? Who came first, Adam or the animals?
    “the nature and the will of god is unchanging. So if he stated his will in the old testament it cant change in the new testament”
    so you’re in favour of the death sentence for adultery, exile for having sex with a woman during her period, the death sentence for the daughter of a priest to become a prostitute, think priests must marry virgins, and that clothes made with mixed cloth are abominations? Because they all have the same biblical authority as the ban on homosexuality.
    Or are you picking and choosing THE WORD OF GOD?

  125. bulbul may rant on all he/she likes
    Thanks for the permission, dude. And for the record, it’s THEY.
    but a BORN AGAIN christian is always holy
    So to review: a born again Christian is free to sin, and yet always holy.
    You know, I came to this site many moons ago to learn about American evangelicals, especially the batshit insane ones. I understand now that my journey so far (thanks Fred and all others) had only one purpose: to meet one. I feel I’m ready now. Teach me!

  126. I also remember that the nature and the will of god is unchanging. So if he stated his will in the old testament it cant change in the new testament and if that is the case jesus does not have to mention anything about homosexuality as his father has already stated his will and jesus aknowledges and proclaims his fathers will. Therefore homosexuality is a sin.
    Well, male homosexuality, anyway (the OT doesn’t say a word against lesbianism). But then so is eating shellfish, “working” on the Sabbath, failing to have fringes on your shirt, and disobeying a whole host of other dietary and sartorial laws. How can you judge others for disobeying ritual law if you don’t follow it yourself?
    I also seem to remember that Jesus spent an enormous amount of time preaching about non-judgementalism (“Judge not..”, “The mote in your neighbor’s eye…”, “Let he who is without sin…”, etc. etc.) The question of whether Jesus tacitly affirmed the sinfulness of homosexuality is really immaterial. Either way, no follower of Jesus has any business condemning homosexuals.

  127. Either way, no follower of Jesus has any business condemning homosexuals.
    Exactly. And then there is the whole “love thy neighbor” thing.
    But everytime I bring this up to my other Catholic friends, they reply in unison: “But to love does not mean to agree! And besides, there is such thing as bad love…”

  128. First of all if Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality but as i pointed out earlier he proclaimed that gods will be done. and needless to state to obvious that god really disapproved of homosexuality in the old testament. Thus let gods will be done!
    I didnt say that they couldnt get into heaven because of their wealth and also MORE difficult is different from cannot follow him.
    As i said many time before living a sin free life is impossible. But jesus makes us holy by dieing on the cross for ALL our sins. Yes eating shellfish is a sin then but then so is homosexuality. But it is jesus who makes us holy.(so therefore if you want, you can be a christian and be a homosexual and eat shellfish). But that is why jesus did not care much for sins like shellfish and homosexuality(there is no greater sin a sins a sin) Jesus knew that if the people believed in him(truly) will be saved from the damnation in hell.
    it is true by loving doesnt mean to agree. (Ever been married :P)
    but love is also to point out that homosexuality is wrong (and so is eating shellfish) and to spread the good news cause without Jesus you cant be holy and therefore in trouble if you sin. This is my kind of love (so that as few as possible burn in eternal fire due to ignorance).It depends how you define love (maybe just not hating him and having a grudge).
    Neither am i judging others. i never said that youre a sinner. I just said that homosexuality is a sin(and so is eating shellfish).
    Yes the will of god is unchanging. We are not put to death for our sins because jesus’s will said so. and jesus is god. Jesus was never plan B cause remember that God can see the future(do you think he did not know that the christian life was impossible)so gods will never changed all along. Jesus did not stand i the way of the father so that he couldnt strike us. They agreed in union(remember the lord your god is one god). SO if jesus was plan A i dont think theres another plan before that. Gods will did not change. It was HIS will all along.

  129. bulbul, you’re… plural? *blinks*
    That’s what you get when you forget to include the link. So here it is.
    As for Jeff’s comment, I will neither confirm nor deny. But I will say this: Resistance is futile. EX-TER-MI-NATE!!!
    But jesus makes us holy by dieing on the cross for ALL our sins. Yes eating shellfish is a sin then but then so is homosexuality. But it is jesus who makes us holy.(so therefore if you want, you can be a christian and be a homosexual and eat shellfish). But that is why jesus did not care much for sins like shellfish and homosexuality(there is no greater sin a sins a sin)
    That’s three consecutive “but”s. Surely a sign of a diseased mind (no offence, Anthony).
    And if anyone ever finds out what “there is no greater sin a sins a sin” means, let me know.

  130. (there is no greater sin a sins a sin)
    The way I fixed the punctuation was (There is no “greater” sin; a sin’s a sin), which I then translated as All sins are equally bad, which is why Christians always invite homosexuals to join them at Lobsterfest. Or something like that.
    bulbul, you’re… plural?
    Of course, otherwise they’d just be plain “bul” :-)

  131. Bulbul: And if anyone ever finds out what “there is no greater sin a sins a sin” means, let me know
    Maybe Victor could step up and translate..
    Yes eating shellfish is a sin then but then so is homosexuality
    I just said that homosexuality is a sin(and so is eating shellfish)
    jesus did not care much for sins like shellfish and homosexuality
    also to point out that homosexuality is wrong (and so is eating shellfish)
    I bet no one thought he’d condemn the shellfish so his beautiful mind could continue to hate teh gay.

  132. but love is also to point out that homosexuality is wrong (and so is eating shellfish) and to spread the good news cause without Jesus you cant be holy and therefore in trouble if you sin. This is my kind of love (so that as few as possible burn in eternal fire due to ignorance).
    That’s a fine motive, but it occurs to me that you’re not making very good use of your time. The ban on homosexuality is probably the one obscure Jewish ritual law that most people are aware of. If you really want to enlighten the ignorant, why not tell them about some of the laws they’re likely to be ignorant of, like the fact that they must not eat ostriches and eagles, or how long a woman remains unclean after giving birth? You could provide them with a list of the activities that defile the Sabbath or the laws regarding infectious skin diseases or the regulations about mildew. There are so many laws that people are ignorant of, why waste your time with one that everyone already knows?

  133. but love is also to point out that homosexuality is wrong (and so is eating shellfish) and to spread the good news cause without Jesus you cant be holy and therefore in trouble if you sin.
    What good news? “Faggot, you’re going to hell!”

  134. Marko: ..and no one has yet shown me that sodomy is good
    Hmm. Tried switching positions, or maybe trying a “smaller” partner? Other things to try: Amyl/Butyl nitrate, massage oils & water-based lubricants. Don’t be distressed if it doesn’t work out for you: not everyone is a “bottom”.
    Good luck experimenting!

  135. Beth makes a good point – if homosexuality and eating shellfish are equally sinful, and so are all the other obscure bits of Leviticus, then focussing on homosexuality is not very cost-effective. For maximum salvation, you should be picketing lobster restaurants, clothes shops, and barbers, because they send many millions more people to hell every year.
    Or are you just obsessed with the gay sex?

  136. Not obsessed with the gay sex. The only maximum salvation a person can get is through Jesus Christ. Like he said”i am the way the truth and the life….” Not by focusing on not sinning cause you will fail but by making jesus the way, the truth and your life.

  137. Anthony: So what are the punishments of sin? The punishments of sin is being unhappy.
    You think everyone who eats bacon is unhappy?

  138. Who can tell. God is the judge. He will decide on the punsihments on earth.All I can say from my own belief is that by sinning it allows a chance(no matter how small) for a person to go to hell.

  139. > unhappyness is just one thing that comes from sinning
    I know it’s been said before, but you’re clearly doing it wrong.

  140. unhappyness is just one thing that comes from sinning
    Unhappiness is also one thing that comes from not sinning. I suspect that there isn’t much cause-and-effect there.
    I don’t recall Jesus saying a lot about being happy or unhappy (although I seem to recall Paul had a lot to say about Joy, but I personally don’t think he was talking about the same thing) (I’m sure someone will supply a chapter and verse here. Probably with a sledgehammer)
    Now, the Buddha had some things to say about avoiding being Unhappy, but his goal wasn’t Happiness either.

  141. Actually, contrast that line with your earlier “that doesnt mean that i wont eat shell fish. its too tasty.”…
    Does eating shellfish make you (and I mean you, personally, not a generic “you”) unhappy?
    If so, isn’t that good enough reason for you to stop (because, clearly, the direct word of God isn’t)?
    If it doesn’t, does that mean (a) that eating shellfish is not a sin, despite what God says about it; or (b) that sinning doesn’t neccessarily cause unhappiness?

  142. All I can say from my own belief is that by sinning it allows a chance(no matter how small) for a person to go to hell.
    So you believe that eating bacon means that a person may go to hell? Do you realize that McDonald’s offer bacon, not only at breakfast, but on request at most McDonald’s restaurants at any time of the day? What is this but incitement to sin? Why are you focussing on homosexuality, when eating bacon is so widely accepted in the US?

  143. Jesurgislac:
    You think everyone who eats bacon is unhappy?
    I’m sure you know the story about the Catholic priest and the rabbi. The priest asks the rabbi if he’s ever tried bacon. The rabbi admits that he has and that it was pretty good.
    The rabbi then asks the priest if he’s ever had sex (with a woman, you perv!). The priest admits that he has. The rabbi pauses then says, “Way better than bacon, yeah?”.
    bulbul:
    Resistance is futile. EX-TER-MI-NATE!!!
    So have the Borg assimilated the Daleks or the Daleks reprogrammed the Borg? Enquiring minds want to know!
    I know the real reason Anthony doesn’t think sodomy is good is because he’s never tried it with a dinosaur (and off to Making Light I go).

  144. A priest and a rabbi found themselves sitting next to each other on an airplane. Naturally the conversation turned to the differences in their beliefs.
    When lunch was served, the pastor teasingly asked the rabbi, “Look at all you’re missing, Rabbi. when you can’t eat pork. When are you going to break down and have a nice BLT sandwich?”
    The rabbi thought for a moment and then replied, “At your wedding, Father.”

  145. A rabbi and a priest get into a car accident and it’s a bad one. Both cars are totally demolished but amazingly neither of the clerics is hurt. After they crawl out of their cars, the rabbi sees the priest’s collar and says, “So you’re a priest. I’m a rabbi. Just look at our cars. There’s nothing left, but we are unhurt. This must be a sign from G-d. G-d must have meant that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace the rest of our days.” The priest replies, “I agree with you completely.” “This must be a sign from G-d.” The rabbi continues, “And look at this. Here’s another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of Mogen David wine didn’t break. Surely G-d wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune.” Then he hands the bottle to the priest. The priest agrees, takes a few big swigs, and hands the bottle back to the rabbi. The rabbi takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap on, and hands it back to the priest. The priest asks, “Aren’t you having any?” The rabbi replies, “No …I think I’ll wait for the police.”
    (Sorry. No bacon was served with this joke.)

  146. There are many reason people believe that bacon can be eaten in present time. We have actually breed the animals with new technology and knowledge. Not available in the past. Bacon was bad because they feed on anything(even dirty dump). Crabs and Lobsters were prohibited beacaues they were scavengers and later left overs in the sea. We now know these things and are able to protect ourselves while enjoying the tasty black pepper crab. See when we debate the bible, god is not just a text he is the “beginning and the end” he can see the future remember. God has reasons too. Down to even the running water. Do you think its amazing that he knew about bacteria? Well you shouldnt be amazed! after all he is the creator(if you are a believer).

  147. So, there’s a passage in the Bible that says eating pork and lobster will stop being a sin when we invent intensive farming? Can we have chapter and verse? Does this also apply to homosexuality, since we invented condoms? If not, why not?
    How does that fit in with “I also remember that the nature and the will of god is unchanging. So if he stated his will in the old testament it cant change in the new testament and if that is the case jesus does not have to mention anything about [sin X] as his father has already stated his will and jesus aknowledges and proclaims his fathers will. Therefore [sin X] is a sin.”?

  148. Anthony, so you’re arguing that eating shellfish and pork/bacon is sinful when it is threatening to your health, but is not sinful when it is not. So, it’s sinful to eat pork or bacon in the developing world unless it has been thoroughly cooked, because you might get trichinosis, and it’s sinful to eat shellfish that might be contaminated with saxitoxin.
    But, you argue, that where an activity is not directly damaging, God hasn’t really prohibited it as a sin. So, according to that argument, as homosexuality is not directly damaging (certainly not as lethal as eating a bad oyster or undercooked wild pork would be!) you must believe that God hasn’t really prohibited it as a sin – and indeed, once Jews were no longer exclusively a small nomad tribe of desert dwellers, probably never did.
    Unlike bacon.

  149. Im just saying thats one of many different beliefs of why we can eat bacon. Even though it seems that Homosexuality or any sexual sins is more detestable than eating unclean food. Read Leviticus Homosexuality (death!!!) and unclean food (wash clothes and unclean till evening) which is more severe?
    Gods will has not changed but only the covenant has. God has not changed his mind on whats good and bad. The only difference between the old testament and now is Jesus.
    Yes we invented the condoms and WAIT how well does it work? It is so shit that getting AIDS has become a stereotype of gay people.
    I didnt say anything about the bible when i said about the pork. Im just saying that God is more than a text. You cant know god just through analysing the bible. A theologian and pastor will have different interpretaions of the same passage. You know god through praise and worship etc. In Samuel, remember the prophet Samuel. The bible said that young Samuel didnt know god. But he lived in the temple!! Knowing god is something much deeper.
    Cause if homosexuality is an urge…. wait a minute! Isnt lust(rape) an urge as well, and murder(hate) and greed etc… and wasnt all of the prophets and people god used for miracles in the bible straight. If homosexuality is alright and natural then why do they feel fear. After all god didnt give us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind. The only time adam and eve was fearful of god was not when they first had sex. Guess when?When they had SINNED! God created adam and eve…. wait eve was a man right…. WRONG! MALE(Adam) and FEMALE(eve).
    Bacon and Homosexuality may both be sins. But thats not my point. My point is that Homosexuality is not normal or natural. You could even say that about being addicted to pornography. Its normal to be turned on to a woman. But it is not normal in that way. The only difference is that jesus mentioned that even thinking of women lustfully is a sin. What about homosexuality? (im not going to type more about what i already said earlier, if you want to read about it scroll up :P) Bacon may not be normal either but in order to know why we can or cannot eat bacon, we need to understand and know god. A believer is not a person who believes the bible like his science book. But a believer should be a person who believes because he knows god. Anyway it seems that eating bacon may not be as bad as homosexuality.

  150. Even though it seems that Homosexuality or any sexual sins is more detestable than eating unclean food.
    It may seem that way to you, Anthony, but that’s because you have an unhealthy obsession with gay sex, and have got yourself all worked up about it. Calm down.
    Read Leviticus Homosexuality (death!!!) and unclean food (wash clothes and unclean till evening) which is more severe?
    Um, didn’t you just make the point that eating “unclean food” can kill you? Whereas two guys having sex together won’t die of it.
    But, you pointed to Leviticus, so let’s look at Leviticus:
    va-Yikra 18:22
    And to (a) male you (2nd person masc sing) will not lie down (euphemistic) from (comparative use) the lying-down (euph.)-of-(a)-woman! (An) improper mixing, it is!
    va-Yikra 20:13
    And (a) man who he shall lie down (euphemistic) to (a) male from (comparative use) the lying-down (euph.) -of-(a)-woman (an) improper mixing they did the two of them, they will surely die their blood(s) (is) in/with/by them.
    That’s an ugly and literal word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew.
    The word for “improper mixing” is toe-ay-vah. It is a ritual word, also used to describe ritually unclean food (Deuteronomy 14:3 – 14:8 specifically prohibits bacon, and 14:10 prohibits shellfish), worshippers of idols (Isaiah 14:24), marrying an idol worshipper (Malachi 2:11), sacrifices offered by a wicked person (Proverbs 21:27), and various other acts not acceptable in the ritual sphere. This has to do with ritual cleanliness/purity (which has nothing to do with washing) – it is the proper state for someone just about to offer a sacrifice.
    Not only may you not eat bacon, or any other food derived from pigs, to maintain ritual purity you may not even touch the dead carcass of a pig. And yes, the Bible condemns this in exactly the same terms. If you’re going to keep yourself ritually pure, you are required to refrain from having sex with men, Anthony – and you’re also required to refrain from eating shellfish, bacon, and hares.
    My point is that Homosexuality is not normal or natural.
    And you’re wrong about that: it’s both normal and natural.
    You asked “why do they feel fear?” Because people who have listened to religious fanatics will beat gay men to death: because religious fanatics who do not know their Bible will believe that while it’s okay to have an interest-bearing bank-account or eat bacon (both sins condemned in the Bible) it’s somehow not okay for a man to love another man – even though it’s both normal and natural.

  151. If you believe that
    “If you’re going to keep yourself ritually pure, you are required to refrain from having sex with men, Anthony – and you’re also required to refrain from eating shellfish, bacon, and hares.”
    I dont know how to say it….but YOURE WRONG :p
    Mark 7:18-19 “are you so dull?”he asked.”Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesnt go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.”(in saying this Jesus declared all foods clean)
    John 8:43 Jesus said “why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire….”
    then we must search our own hearts. why something so obvious can still be debatable. All foods are clean! Stick to Jesus! You got that ‘urge’ from your own heart. From birth we were sinful because of adam and eve but through jesus we can finally be holy.

  152. I dont know how to say it….but YOURE WRONG :p
    Hee! Well, you seem to have managed to say it!
    Mark 7:18-19 “are you so dull?”he asked.”Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesnt go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.”
    Then plainly, semen is also okay: so, by this verse, male/male sex does not make either partner “unclean”. Thanks for clearing that up.

  153. ewww “For it doesnt go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” it goes into the stomach as well.
    when the person is done trying to get the semen out. Does it ALL come out? But then he’ll do it again. So itll be still there. BUMMER.
    Mark 7:15 “Nothing outside a man can make him unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’.”
    hmm yeah so if you have these homosexual thought coming out of you revealing your heart…. well then its also clear than… youre unclean. So its not the act but the urge thats the problem.

  154. heres another cool one
    Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed,malice,deceit,lewdness,envy,slander,arrogance and folly All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean'”

  155. Anthony: For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed,malice,deceit,lewdness,envy,slander,arrogance and folly All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean'”
    But not homosexuality. So, that’s okay then.
    If Jesus had thought that men loving men – or women loving women – was such a terrible sin, why, do you suppose, didn’t he think to mention it? He didn’t. You, obsessed with the notion that it is – you don’t seem to be able to stop thinking about men having sex with men, and that suggests you yourself have these urges, which suggests to me that you badly need to get over the idea that if you have sex with a man that makes you “unclean”.
    But Jesus, to the contrary, said nothing about homosexuality one way or the other. If we assume he was an observant Jew who kept himself ritually pure, and that seems likely to be the case, he probably didn’t eat bacon or shellfish or hares or have sex with John the Beloved Disciple.
    But, as you’re not claiming to be an observant Jew, and you don’t care about keeping yourself ritually pure, the only reason for you to care so much about gay sex – as you obviously do care – is because you so badly want to have sex with a man, and are afraid of it.
    This organisation should be able to help you. Take care, and wishing you all the best in your future life, hopefully with another nice Christian man with whom you can have a fulfilled, loving, and sexual relationship – and eat shellfish. ;-)

  156. hahahah
    you really think that im gay. Those thoughts were gone as quickly as getting turned on by britney spears before she did a concert. She really sucks. But thats not the issue.
    Jesus definitely did not eat shellfish and had gay sex because he was supposed to be ‘pure’. Remember that we can eat shellfish and manage not to get struck down by god only because of jesus who was the sacrificial lamb.(lamb symbolising purity)
    “But not homosexuality. So, that’s okay then.”
    read “sexual immorality”?
    Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, theft, murder, adultery, greed,malice,deceit,lewdness,envy,slander,arrogance and folly All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean'”
    and in Leviticus the male/male thing is under SEXUAL IMMORALITY
    Observant Jew? Im not even jewish im asian?!
    “….the only reason for you to care so much about gay sex – as you obviously do care – is because you so badly want to have sex with a man, and are afraid of it.”
    Is that what all gay people believe, that a person against them is just uptight and needs to get some male bonding going?
    I am firmly against the notion of people who believe that homosexuality is not a sin(when it sure is!)or think that homosexuality is different from murder and any other sexual sin. Next thing youll know people will think its ok for incest to occur. WHEN ITS CLEARLY NOT. If theres an site which says that ill be arguing like i am here.

  157. > there is no greater sin; a sin’s a sin
    > Read Leviticus Homosexuality (death!!!) and unclean food (wash clothes and unclean till evening) which is more severe?
    So, is there a graduation of sins, or not? I’m confused…
    Of course, it might be that you have no idea what you’re talking about and just make stuff up hoping people won’t notice you’re continually contradicting yourself. But that’s uncharitable of me. I’m sure there’s a rational explanation that makes these sentences not contradict each other.

  158. you really think that im gay.
    Yes. You yourself admitted, in your first comment on this thread, that i have those thoughts. Now you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on this thread, focussing undistractably on one thing that obviously means so much to you that you believe is denied to you: sex with men.
    You need a nice friendly gay Christian group to support you, while you figure out that it’s okay for you to find a man you want to be with, and have a loving sexual relationship with him, while remaining a Christian. Honestly, Anthony, and I say this in all kindness; you will be happier acknowledging that the natural, normal feelings of sexual attraction that you have admitted you have towards men are just the way God made you, and you need to stop criticizing God’s creation and rejoice in how God made you, and other gay men like you.
    There’s no reason for you not to have that: there’s nothing in the Bible you can use to justify your avoidance of it. You’ve tried all down this thread to find Biblical justification for your beliefs, and you can’t.

  159. What about the thoughts for women? Which is more solid. Hmm should i ignore that?
    I really am not gay. You on the other hand have fed that urge of homosexuality like feeding the urge for murder and any other sexual immorality which is why it seems so natural TO YOU. I on the other hand have not fed these thoughts and they have disappeared long ago. Which is also why i am totally against homosexuality because it just proves to me through my own experience that it isnt normal and can be ignored.
    And the there is no greater sin bit is wrong as i had a revelation in my heart and found the bottom verse
    Mark 7:18-19 “are you so dull?”he asked.”Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesnt go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.”(in saying this Jesus declared all foods clean)
    My theology has changed. All foods are clean! and all im saying is that a sin is a sin but we may be able to get an idea of the severity of it from the punishments in the old testament. After all isnt god a just god in both the new and old testaments.

  160. Anthony: I really am not gay. …. I on the other hand have not fed these thoughts and they have disappeared long ago.
    And yet, here you still are, obsessing about gay sex. So, obviously, “these thoughts” have not disappeared – you still think about having sex with a man, but your ideas about it have got quite warped with misuse. Go find a gay Christian support group and work through it, Anthony. Whether or not you decide to stay celibate the rest of your life, this kind of self-hate isn’t healthy.

  161. > What about the thoughts for women?
    While I don’t share Jesurgislac’s enthusiasm for making assumptions about your sexuality, I’d like to point out that it’s possible to be attracted to both men and women; not everyone is either 100% totally heterosexual, or 100% totally homosexual. In fact some sociologists believe that the set of people who are only ever attracted to one sex or the other is far smaller than previously suspected, and that many people who categorise themselves as being either completely hetero- or completely homosexual in fact are occasionally atracted to people of their non-preferred sex.
    As I say, I’m not implying that you’re bisexual. I just want to point out that having feelings for women doesn’t neccessarily make you heterosexual. Especially if you’ve also had feelings for men…

  162. im not obsessed with gay guys but passionately against homosexuality. Do you think that i spend time away from the computer constantly “obsessing” this? I am as much against homosexuality as any other sexual immorality because to me(and edvidence earlier)there is no difference. I do not hate gay guys but the sin of homosexuality.
    Seriously do you believe that anyone who dares challenge your beliefs are actually suppressing their own and want to be like you? I am here because this is what i enjoy doing. Challenging misinterpretations and what is against my belief.
    I dont hate myself. Do you hate yourself?

  163. “I’d like to point out that it’s possible to be attracted to both men and women; not everyone is either 100% totally heterosexual, or 100% totally homosexual. In fact some sociologists believe that the set of people who are only ever attracted to one sex or the other is far smaller than previously suspected, and that many people who categorise themselves as being either completely hetero- or completely homosexual in fact are occasionally atracted to people of their non-preferred sex.”
    This is easily explained. This just proves that we have been made with the inclination to sin rather than being made pure and sin. Anyway doesnt god give us our own choice to choose him or the world. “youve got to choose this day who you’re going to serve….”. Heaven or Hell you choose. If he made us totally pure this is contradicting himself as then we dont have a say in it.

  164. another thing
    “…not everyone is either 100% totally heterosexual, or 100% totally homosexual. In fact some sociologists believe that the set of people who are only ever attracted to one sex or the other is far smaller than previously suspected, and that many people who categorise themselves as being either completely hetero- or completely homosexual in fact are occasionally atracted to people of their non-preferred sex.”
    this is another edvidence which proves that we are not 100% in control of our thoughts and thats why jesus said
    Mark 7:21-23 “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed,malice,deceit,lewdness,envy,slander,arrogance and folly All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean'”

  165. I’m curious about your answer to wintermute’s question – are you now saying that homosexuality is worse than other sins, or are you sticking to your original statement that ‘there is no greater sin’?

  166. There is no greater sin FOR US to judge. To me homosexuality is exactly the same as any other sexual immorality. After all it is under the same type of sin in Leviticus and the bible did not mention anything special or particular about it.
    All im saying is that eventhough we are unable to judge what sin is greatert than another(for if we judge which sin is greater, the is a possibility that we might ignore the “lesser sins” then we could be in trouble), but we might be able to HAVE AN IDEA about the degree of sin through the severity of the punishments.(its just my idea for a way to see the seriousness of a sin through the punishments)
    Ok maybe i didnt make myself clear. I am not obsessed in a confused or even positive way. I am straight against homosexuality and any other sexual immorality. To me sleeping with your sister and homosexuality are both immoral.

  167. sorry mistake in typing “To me sleeping with your sister and homosexuality are both immoral.”
    not your sister but own sister(incest)is wrong

  168. Wintermute: While I don’t share Jesurgislac’s enthusiasm for making assumptions about your sexuality
    I’m making no assumptions. Anthony’s first comment on this thread concerned his sexual feelings about other men: all of his comments since have been (considering his sexual feelings about men) full of self-hatred and self-denigration about those feelings. That Anthony wants to argue that, even though he’s obsessed with gay sex and he has sexual feelings about men, he’s not gay, well, he can always walk away. The fact that he needs to stay here and deny his gayness to the same audience he admitted his sexual feelings about men to – well, I think he sounds like he’s just recently out of one of the fraudulent ex-gay programs – so recently that he hasn’t yet discovered that they don’t work. He still has those sexual feelings towards men, no matter how much he hates himself for it, and he always will.

  169. sleeping with your sister and homosexuality are both immoral
    Clarification?
    Anthony sleeping with Anthony’s sister is immoral. (incest) (illegal, too!)
    Anthony sleeping with my sister is immoral. (adultery – she’s married)
    Anthony sleeping with my other sister is immoral. (may or may not still count as adultery, as she’s not married)
    (those last two are not illegal, but note that my father is a rabid ex-military conservative and has a large gun collection)
    This does not include Anthony’s marital status, which is irrelevent as far as Leviticus is concerned, if I remember correctly.

  170. Ive got one sentence for you :P
    “sorry mistake in typing “To me sleeping with your sister and homosexuality are both immoral.”
    as i apologised before for the wrong message i sent across. I dont even have a sister

  171. Ok now this is getting annoying. Ok I had a gay thought once it does mean that i have sinned according to the bible.(if i have a thought about murder i would have sinned as well and ones coming right now) But it doesnt make me gay. Im denying being gay because of my passionate dislike for homosexuality. I keep arguing that im not gay because you keep saying that i am. Well heres a fact you should have got a long time ago IM NOT GAY! get the message? maybe not? (by the way am i too insensitve to be gay) Sorry i know you think im attractive but its not going to work :)

  172. Having a gay thought isn’t a sin? Having a straight thought certainly is:
    “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife”.
    Then again, “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s ass”…

  173. Levitcus 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with another mans wife-with the wife of his neighbour-both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.”
    I doesnt matter about my martial status if i were or were not married and i slept with a married woman both the woman and i have commited adultery.
    But thats if the woman IS MARRIED. It wont be adultery if shes not married.

  174. Anthony: But it doesnt make me gay. Im denying being gay because of my passionate dislike for homosexuality.
    Well, yes. But that makes you a self-hating self-denigrating gay man – a gay man who hates that part of himself. Your hatred of your own sexual orientation will not remove it.
    Well heres a fact you should have got a long time ago IM NOT GAY! get the message? maybe not?
    Nope. You keep saying you’re not, but you’re still passionate about it.
    (by the way am i too insensitve to be gay) Sorry i know you think im attractive but its not going to work :)
    Heh. I’m a lesbian. :-)

  175. So if (by your own admission) you’ve had sexual thoughts about other men, and you agree that people aren’t one hundred percent gay or straight, why do you make such a big deal of denying that you’re gay? Why does it bother you so much that a stranger you’ve only communicated with briefly over the internet thinks this about you? What are you afraid of?
    Also, do you get as passionate about other sins listed in the quote from Mark? Greed, for instance? Do you protest against the prevelance of popular reality shows where people are willing to publicly degrade themselves and others for money? There’s a moral problem that Christians can get really stuck into. Television promoting greed, malice, deceit, envy, and slander as the keys to victory. Publically, nationwide. While children are watching. And the networks in question doing it purely for a quick profit (greed). Are you as passionate and energetic in opposing those values as you are about the idea that two guys or two women might touch each other for pleasure?
    That’s the point of the original post. That’s what puzzles people here. Why, to so many Christians, homosexuality is so much worse than every other sin in existence.

  176. Why, to so many Christians, homosexuality is so much worse than every other sin in existence.
    Because to straight Christians, it’s a sin they can cheerfully condemn without ever worrying that they might be tempted to commit it – and with no concern as to what this wholesale condemnation will do to the psyche of gay Christians like Anthony.
    I’ve always liked what C.S.Lewis wrote about homosexuality in Surprised by Joy: that, one, he thought the main reason Christians were so ardent in condemning it was because it was illegal; and, two, he made a point of never writing in condemnation of a sin that he had not been tempted to commit – which, he added blandly, was why he’d never written against the sin of gambling, either, because he didn’t find that a temptation any more than homosexuality. He added – I wish I could remember the exact quote – that in his view it was far from being the worst sin a Christian could commit.
    I feel sorry for Anthony. If he’s not ready to go to a gay Christian support group, I’d recommend he read Surprised by Joy.

  177. After all isnt god a just god in both the new and old testaments.
    No.
    Ref. entrapment of Adam and Eve, disproportionate punishment thereof, attempted genocide of all Earthly life forms via flood, destruction of Soddom and Gomorrah, hardening of Pharoah’s heart and punishing the Egyptians in total for said God-created hard-heartedness, and Job.

  178. Something I’ve always wondered about “Thou shalt lie with a man as you do with a woman.” (this is going to be a bit graphic).
    In many cultures of the ancient Middle East and Mediterrainean, women were only looked upon as breeding stock and prostitutes, and men were supposed to take them from behind so as not to even afford them the dignity of looking them in the face while having sex. Romantic love was only supposed to be felt between two men. Now these being the days before KY jelly, actual penetration wasn’t going to be very comfortable, and the favoured sex act between two men was interfemoral (which allowed them the luxury of making eye contact as they made love). Food for thought, huh?

  179. He added – I wish I could remember the exact quote – that in his view it was far from being the worst sin a Christian could commit.
    Could you by any chance be referring to this?:
    And that is why I cannot give pederasty anything like a first place among the evils of the Coll. There is much hypocrisy on this theme. People commonly talk as if every other evil were more tolerable than this. But why? Because those of us who do not share the vice feel for it a certain nausea, as we do, say, for necrophilv? I think that of very little relevance to moral judgement. Because it produces permanent perversion? But there is very little evidence that it does.

  180. In many cultures of the ancient Middle East and Mediterrainean … Romantic love was only supposed to be felt between two men.
    That certainly applies to Greece, but I’m not so sure about Semitic culture.
    interfemoral
    Do I wanna know..?

  181. Do I wanna know..?
    I don’t know what it is but I know it ain’t in Leviticus!!! Woohoo – who wants to get jiggy!?

  182. Romantic love was only supposed to be felt between two men.
    I disagree. My wife made a list of romance items that seem to get it done for us: food, candles, batteries, plastic and duct tape.

  183. Romantic love was only supposed to be felt between two men.
    I disagree. My wife made a list of romance items that seem to get it done for us: food, candles, batteries, plastic and duct tape.
    Nevermind, that was the hurricane checklist.

  184. To be blunt, interfemoral entails rubbing an erect penis between your thighs. I apologize to any who are grossed out.

  185. Conscience: ah, you mean intercrural sex. I was confused by the “-femoral” part, I thought it involved… Ehm, nevermind.

  186. Bulbul: That’s it – thanks! It’s been years since I read Surprised by Joy, and indeed I don’t think I own a copy any more – lent it and it went walkabout, I daresay.
    Conscience: I apologize to any who are grossed out.
    Ew! Erect penis… gross! ;-)

  187. But blowjobs are definitely okay, especially if you don’t lie down? There’s an idea for you Anthony – instead of trying to persuade gay people not to be gay, or telling them that they’ll go to hell if they keep it up, why not try to persuade them that oral sex is best?

  188. “Why, to so many Christians, homosexuality is so much worse than every other sin in existence.”
    Homosexuality is not “so much worse” than murder or any other sin but it seems to be the most protected sin. Many people dont believe that homosexuality is a sin and this is very dangerous. If it is on the same level as murder or even incest, and we think its ok and not that bad a sin, we could be in BIG trouble. And our Theology would be in need of major repair.

  189. Joke response – what about the sins of eating shellfish, and wearing blended clothes? Nobody cares if you commit those sins – nobody including you, apparently. (Not such a joke response, because it points up the complete hypocrisy of taking one bit of Leviticus as holy writ and ignoring the bits that you don’t care about)
    Serious response – what about adultery? Coveting your neighbour’s wife is right up there in the ten commandments. People who get married make a solemn promise before God, and they accept that no human agency can separate what God has joined together. But this law is flouted by Christians every day. Ronald Reagan divorced and remarried, and US Christians adored him anyway. You say that you don’t know any gay Christians, Anthony, but I’ll bet you know some divorced Christains, and you don’t give them any shit about it either.
    Why play nice any more? You’re a hypocrite and a bigot. You don’t hate gays because the Bible tells you to – you hate gays and look for justification from the Bible.

  190. Homosexuality is not “so much worse” than murder or any other sin but it seems to be the most protected sin.
    Hardly. The most protected sin, in the US at least, is eating bacon. Most people – even you, Anthony – simply don’t regard that as sinful, even though the Bible says it is sinful in exactly the same way as men having sex with men is sinful: both are abominable violations of the purity laws set down for the Jewish people back in the time of the Torah. But, in many parts of the US it’s considered disgusting for two men even to kiss in public: there can be very few places in the US where it’s considered disgusting to eat bacon in public. The same applies to most violations of the Jewish purity laws: most of them, except for homosexuality, are extremely well protected, and no one really thinks of them as a sin.
    The next-most protected category of sin, and one that Jesus was outspokenly, no-quibbles-about-it against, is accumulating wealth and oppressing the poor.
    Almost as well-protected, but again something that Jesus was unquestionably against: religious hypocrisy. People making a very big deal about how religious and virtuous they are, in public, for everyone to see.
    This is a good game, actually: shall we list sins for Anthony that are better protected in the US than homosexuality, presuming that homosexuality is a sin?
    Taking the Biblical definition of sin (that is, it has to be specified in either the New or the Old Testament as sinful: but, if we count everything to be a sin that is listed in Leviticus as an abomination, then that means everything – including cheeseburgers.)
    Cheeseburgers are a more protected sin than homosexuality.

  191. Many people dont believe that homosexuality is a sin and this is very dangerous.
    Why? I believe that homosexuality is a sin, according to the OT, as are eating pork, shellfish, and wearing blended fabrics. (Oddly, the only one of those sins I don’t practice is homosexuality. I just don’t fear the urge.) I don’t know any homosexuals who don’t know that homosexuality is considered a sin by people like you, so your campaign to inform them of that is a total waste of time. Like me, they don’t believe that Jewish ritual law is the universal, unchanging will of God, so like me, they choose to ignore it. I suppose that like me, they are all hellbound, except for one gay Evangelical I know. He has been born again, so I guess that makes him a holy homosexual. I suppose he’ll be up in heaven while my shrimp-eating ass is burning in hell. Oh well.
    And our Theology would be in need of major repair.
    Not our theology, Anthony, your theology. Our theology is doing just fine, thank you. It’s your theology that’s in trouble, mostly, I suspect, because it’s so often represented by annoying prigs whose obsession with other people’s sex lives gives the whole religion a bad name.
    Oh, and Conscience, have you ever read the Song of Songs? Did you think it was about two men?

  192. Homosexuality is not “so much worse” than murder or any other sin but it seems to be the most protected sin.
    Anthony’s back, with a tube of KY jelly vengeance!
    Ew! Erect penis… gross!
    Hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

  193. The most protected sin, in the US at least, is eating bacon.
    Nope. Eating bacon would be the most protected sin in my country with our pig- and potatoes-based diet.
    Usury is the most protected sin in the US.

  194. Bulbul: Hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
    I think I can safely say that I have never knocked an erect penis in my life. ;-)

  195. Jeff:
    Bacon, BACON, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAACON!!!one11!!
    You are going to burn in hell. Thou shalt not tempt thy brother … or something.
    But what the heck, so am I. I had a BLT on Sunday…
    Make that 3 BLTs…

  196. “I believe that homosexuality is a sin, according to the OT, as are eating pork, shellfish, and wearing blended fabrics.”
    Stop mentioning the pork bit. cause its not a sin at all.
    Mark 7:18-19 “are you so dull?”he asked.”Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesnt go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.”(in saying this Jesus declared all foods clean)
    “You don’t hate gays because the Bible tells you to – you hate gays and look for justification from the Bible”
    I dont hate gay guys but i hate the sin of homosexuality. I dont hate liars, i hate the lie. See im still a people person :P .
    “Like me, they don’t believe that Jewish ritual law is the universal, unchanging will of God, so like me, they choose to ignore it. I suppose that like me, they are all hellbound, except for one gay Evangelical I know. He has been born again, so I guess that makes him a holy homosexual. I suppose he’ll be up in heaven while my shrimp-eating ass is burning in hell. Oh well.”
    Well im sure that your friend will be judged by god for all i care.
    “Not our theology, Anthony, your theology. Our theology is doing just fine, thank you. It’s your theology that’s in trouble, mostly, I suspect, because it’s so often represented by annoying prigs whose obsession with other people’s sex lives gives the whole religion a bad name.”
    The jewish ritual law is unchanging. You have made assumptions about the bible and THAT IS FALSE THEOLOGY based on what YOU believe not what gods will is. It is people like you who cling to their pride and refuse to believe that your theology needs fixing. Even mine does too!(fixed by god not by people). Jesus never was against the laws but he was against the appliication of the law used in a ceremonial/religious way. Only the punishments have changed from the old testament (now is more afterlife centred than earthy punishmenst) because of jesus. There is nothing jesus said that we should follow the rituals by our own will anyway(cause that was what the pharices were doing). Jesus only ever mentions following him and living through him. The only people who cared so much about rituals were the pharices whom jesus criticized. Yes i am highlighting laws and rituals only to point out that homosexuality is a sin and you may believe that but some people dont.
    Yeah lets do what the anglicans do and have Gay priests that will really give the religion a good name! Im not obsessed with peoples sex lives but if it is a problem i would advise to fix it. You compare homosexuality to bacon(which is not a sin anyway) and all the other sins. If a person commits adultery and continues to do so, would you not tell him that it is a sin and wrong? Or would you let it be and let the sin continue. as according to you “obsessing” and criticizing it would give the religion a bad name. I dont think jesus was worried about having a bad name anyway, he did not exactly bring peace. He was a troublemaker to preach salvation and to condemn the trends at that time.
    as in (matthew 10:34).
    “Oh, and Conscience, have you ever read the Song of Songs? Did you think it was about two men?”
    Song of Songs also known as songs of solomon, do you think that the bible is gods will? If you dont you should reevaluate why you believe in christianity cause then it will be mans will and then you can start wondering about buddhism and other religions as well. Would god after stating his stance on homosexuality add song of songs(which you beleive to be gay) to confuse you already confused people? Everyone has theories about song of songs but if you did believe in god and jesus then you also know that there are no contradictions in the bible.

  197. Song of Songs also known as songs of solomon, do you think that the bible is gods will?
    Great question. What does God – or Jesus – have to say about the Bible? I remember Jesus saying he would leave us the Spirit but I don’t recall him saying anything about leaving us a handy red-letter pocket New Testament w/ concordance.

  198. > Stop mentioning the pork bit. cause its not a sin at all.
    > Mark 7:18-19 “are you so dull?”he asked.”Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesnt go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.”(in saying this Jesus declared all foods clean)
    Are you saying that there are sins laid down in Leviticus that are no longer sins? How does that square with these statements that you previously made?
    > So if he stated his will in the old testament it cant change in the new testament (Except you now say that it can change in the New Testament)
    > Yes eating shellfish is a sin then but then so is homosexuality (Except that you now say that eating shellfish is not a sin)
    Of course, Jesus’s words in the passage you quote apply just as much to oral or anal sex as they do to eating. Therefore, gay sex is also clean, according to Jesus.
    Once again, why is homosexuality so much more important to oppose than ursury, divorce, anger (=murder), encouraging slaves to defy their owners, and all the other sins specifically preached against in the New Testament?

  199. Anthony: Stop mentioning the pork bit. cause its not a sin at all.
    It is if you think homosexuality is a sin. Eating pork – touching pork – is an abomination according to Jewish law, just as a man having sex with a man is. You can’t have one without the other.
    I dont hate gay guys but i hate the sin of homosexuality. I dont hate liars, i hate the lie. See im still a people person :P .
    So how do you deal with lying to people about not being gay, when you are?

  200. Okay, leaving aside the bacon, I bring up a different example.
    Divorce. Something Jesus specifically spoke against. For instance; Matthew 5:31-32. Same chapter as the Sermon on the Mount. Or again in Mark 10, verses 2-12. It’s often quoted by people who consider, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” to be in opposition to homosexuality. What’s rarely discussed is the explicit condemnation of divorce and remarriage as adultery.
    Now how many churches do you hear of campaigning against divorce? Honestly, think of the outcry against the possibility of gay marriage, and the fact that second marriages are explicitly authorized by law. In every state of the union, and by the federal government. Most churches, including the ones calling themselves bible-believing fundamentalists don’t stand against divorce. The Catholic Church refuses to recognise or perform second marriages after divorce, but I know of no other church that holds to the same rule. How many divorced pastors, ministers, and preachers are there? Where is the organized nationwide opposition to the legalization, and acceptance of divorce?
    There isn’t any. Because they’re too busy pouring over the Bible for passages that condemn sexual immorality, or describe humanity as coming in two genders (obviously proving divine opposition to homosexuality in all forms), and have no time to worry about things that Jesus actually says.
    Now tell me again how homosexuality is the most protected sin. Or better yet, tell me how you go on message boards for the newly divorced and tell them to repent and go back to their spouses, because you’re only trying to advise them in loving Christian concern.
    I’m guessing you don’t, though. Because your obession with homosexuality has nothing to do with Jesus or the Bible, it has to do with you being upset that gay people can find love and happiness, and you’re stuck on your own, trying to squelch the man-lust.

  201. do you think that the bible is gods will?
    No. I’m not even convinced that god actually exists.
    If you dont you should reevaluate why you believe in christianity
    I don’t, though I do respect Jesus as a teacher.
    cause then it will be mans will and then you can start wondering about buddhism and other religions as well.
    I’ve done more than wonder. I’ve studied and practiced.
    …song of songs(which you beleive to be gay)…
    No I don’t. I was responding to Conscience’s claim that there was no concept of romantic love between men and women in biblical times by pointing to a biblical text that describes such a romance.
    Everyone has theories about song of songs but if you did believe in god and jesus then you also know that there are no contradictions in the bible.
    Except of course for the dietary laws of Leviticus which are contradicted in Acts.

  202. Except of course for the dietary laws of Leviticus which are contradicted in Acts.
    No contradictions, NEW RULEZ!

  203. I’ll save you the trouble of looking up the text, Anthony – here’s the King James version, Matthew 5: 32 “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
    Adultery is, you remember, one of the big sins. We’re not talking about some obscure passage of Leviticus, along beside the mixed crops and the shellfish, this is Top Ten. And America is awash with it. Forget about your positive portrayals of homosexuals in the media – serial adultery is so commonplace that it’s not even mentioned anymore. Would a gay man get elected president? It’s unlikely – but Reagan was an unrepentant fornicator and it caused him no problems. And gay marriage is still banned in most of the US, but it’s perfectly legal for Christians to be joined before God, then go fuck whoever they like, and even get married again (and again, and again).
    Do you care? No, as long as there’s no gay sex involved you really couldn’t give a shit.
    (And what about blasphemy? I can talk about Mary sodomising Jesus with bits of the cross, and that’s constitutionally protected speech in the US. Homosexuality isn’t “the most protected sin” in the US, it’s the one that makes your butt crawl, nothing more)
    The real clincher, for me, is the sins you choose to compare gay sex to. Gay sex, remember, is consented to by both parties – nobody is injured by it. Do you compare it to sex outside marriage? Do you compare it to adultery? Do you compare it to blasphemy? Neglecting the Sabbath day? Worshipping false gods? No, you don’t compare it to any victimless sin. According to you, gay sex is most similar to murder or rape.
    You’re a bigot. Get your own life in order before you start telling other people how to live.

  204. Well i believe that the bible has no contradictions. Give me a passage more specific than just acts and leviticus and ill help you understand it better. Acts is new testament and levit is old testament so im guessing the “contradiction” lies where the laws are altered as a result of jesus sacrfice. Thats not a contradiction its a change because the son of god sacrificed his life. HELLO thats a big thing. THere is bound to have changes. GOd never compromised his will. Jesus came into the picture.
    “The real clincher, for me, is the sins you choose to compare gay sex to. Gay sex, remember, is consented to by both parties – nobody is injured by it. Do you compare it to sex outside marriage? Do you compare it to adultery? Do you compare it to blasphemy? Neglecting the Sabbath day? Worshipping false gods? No, you don’t compare it to any victimless sin. According to you, gay sex is most similar to murder or rape.”
    Thats why i said that “There is nothing jesus said that we should follow the rituals by our own will anyway(cause that was what the pharices were doing).” Tell me why is homosexuality different from any other sin? What makes it so special? Why cant i compare it to murder or rape or lying? You are seeing this in your own point of view. I dont listen to my feelings about sins because i know that i have an inclination to sin and sin feels right to the flesh. I see what the bible says and homosexuality is no different to any other sexual sins.
    No victims? WHO CARES! Its a sin! Ask jesus in your life and then try to refrain from it. Do people ask for forgiveness by the way, for homosexuality? They say that homosexuality is a sin but they dont believe that in their hearts.

  205. Well i believe that the bible has no contradictions.
    Aaah, you’re one of those.
    Give me a passage more specific than just acts and leviticus and ill help you understand it better.
    Consider this, oh sensei:
    Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    Whereas:
    James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    ‘Tis undoubtedly a contradiction, oh master. How shallt thou explain it to me, who is unworthy?

  206. Do people ask for forgiveness by the way, for homosexuality? They say that homosexuality is a sin but they dont believe that in their hearts.
    No, you say that homosexuality is a sin. I know it’s hard, but try to remember that the things you imagine people saying aren’t actually the things they are, y’know, saying.
    Asshole.

  207. (We’ve already done the contradictions in the bible thing, haven’t we? Who was Joseph’s father? Who discovered that the tomb was empty? Who came first, Adam or the animals?)
    Tell me why is homosexuality different from any other sin? What makes it so special?
    No, you tell me why you’re so much more concerned about homosexuality than you are about worshipping false gods, neglecting the sabbath day, or committing adultery. Why are you elevating an obscure passage from Leviticus over the Ten Commandments?
    Why cant i compare it to murder or rape or lying?
    Because having sex with someone who wants to have sex with you is very different from killing or raping them. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

  208. Garnet, we’ve managed to get along in this discussion with Anthony without outright calling him names. (Mockery and condescension I admit to: but in my experience a blogthread starts burning when people start actually calling names.)
    Anthony: I dont listen to my feelings about sins because i know that i have an inclination to sin and sin feels right to the flesh. I see what the bible says and homosexuality is no different to any other sexual sins.
    But you aren’t treating like homosexuality any other sexual “sin” – as Ray pointed out to you. You’re pretending it’s worse.

  209. This whole argument is moot, of course, for non-Judeo-Christians. Any time I hear someone rant “XYZ is a sin!!!!”, I say, “Then don’t do it.”
    No-one, not bulbul, not Fred and certainly not Anthony, has the right to tell me I’m sinning. You may disapprove all you like of whatever I’m doing, but I’m likely to be disapproving right back.
    And of course, there’s that whole mote / beam thing.

  210. there’s that whole mote / beam thing
    This should always come first.
    And, Jeff, I hope I haven’t offended you in any way. The whole “burn in hell” thing was a joke :o)

  211. The only people who cared so much about rituals were the pharices whom jesus criticized.
    Besides God. God expressed some interest in rituals.
    As for the Pharisees, they got unfair criticism in the NT. Imagine if you will, 2000 years into the future, if the only things known about the presidency of Bill Clinton were from Republican Party sources. Or, conversely, if the only evidence of the Reagan presidency came from the Democratic Party. Can you picture that? That’s what happened to the Pharisees and why they have been given a bad name.

  212. And, Jeff, I hope I haven’t offended you in any way. The whole “burn in hell” thing was a joke
    (nervous laughter)
    Yah, mine too.

  213. I realized that what I wrote was unduly harsh — you guys haven’t offended me. Amused me, made me think, made this possibly the bestest blog in the all teh internets. But not offended.
    I realized long ago that if there is a hell, I’m a number one candidate. Mainly because any God who would torture his own children (always for their own good, right) is not a God I could respect, much less worship.
    I think Hillel helped me with my conversion out of Judaism to whater the heck I am today. If Judaism can be summed up as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The rest is commentary. Go and study.” then there’s no need for the synagouge or any specific rabbi — any teacher will do.
    So I do reject sin, and any “morality” where the right thing comes from without, in favor of “ethics” where the right thing is the one that doesn’t hurt people. Shellfish can be eaten, except by those with allergies. Homosexuality is no more or less bad than any other expression of sexuality (although I do wish “slash” wasn’t as popular as it is). It’s OK to covet your neighbor’s wife, to covet her ass, and even to do the nasty, as long as your wife and your neighbor’s husband are free to do the same (with each other or others) (4-somes are fun!)
    I apologize for coming off unnecessarily harsh.

  214. Aunursa: That’s what happened to the Pharisees and why they have been given a bad name.
    True enough – like the Sophists in Plato, virtually all we know about them is via their critics.
    Still, besides the real historical meaning of Pharisee or Sophist (or Samaritan) these groups have also acquired a metaphorical meaning.

  215. So, have we gotten to the point where people are going to stop responding to Anthony? Because it’s obvious he’s not actually reading any of the points you folks are making, and we’re at the point where everyone is repeating themselves, but Anthony just keeps ignoring all of the salient points.
    To whit: Hey Anthony, why not address the contradictions in the Bible that have now been brought up three times? Just scroll up the page for specific examples, some actually quoted by chapter and verse.
    Then when you finish that, address the issue of why divorce is perfectly all right in both society and your hierarchy of sins, yet something that Jesus rails strong against? (And remember to refute the various discussions of adultery and why divorce apparently doesn’t count, even though Jesus specifically said they were equivalent.)
    If he actually gives full, coherant responses to this questions, I owe everyone on this board donuts.

  216. Chuck: If he actually gives full, coherant responses to this questions, I owe everyone on this board donuts.
    That’s a safe bet. But, on the offchance of a miracle occurring, I want one with chocolate frosting.

  217. Chuck: If he actually gives full, coherant responses to this questions, I owe everyone on this board donuts.
    You are clearly just too cheap to buy donuts. Since he hasn’t yet written a coherent sentence there is virtually no chance he will.

  218. Chuck: If he actually gives full, coherant responses to this questions, I owe everyone on this board donuts.
    You are clearly just too cheap to buy donuts. Since he hasn’t yet written a coherent sentence there is virtually no chance he will.

  219. Jeff,
    glad to hear we’re cool.
    FYI, it’s 8 kilos down since May. :o)
    Amused me, made me think, made this possibly the bestest blog in the all teh internets.
    Here, here.
    [Pharisees], like the Sophists in Plato, virtually all we know about them is via their critics.
    Well, perhaps those critics were right. I wonder what will the future generations think of the Nazis or Stalin should the only information available come from their critics.
    If he actually gives full, coherant responses to this questions, I owe everyone on this board donuts.
    You are clearly just too cheap to buy donuts. Since he hasn’t yet written a coherent sentence there is virtually no chance he will.
    Duane, for Crispy Creme’s sake, stop being funny and help me look. I want a donut. Chocolate glazed, preferrably.

  220. So, have we gotten to the point where people are going to stop responding to Anthony?
    Judging from some of the comments, people are having too much fun to bother.
    I sure as hell am.

  221. Duane, for Crispy Creme’s sake, stop being funny and help me look. I want a donut. Chocolate glazed, preferrably.
    Anthony is going to fail us just like he’s failing God. Drop me an email with your snail mail address and I’ll ship ya a box of Krispy Kreme chocolate-glazed donuts. Yer probably feeling a mite peckish by now.

  222. So, have we gotten to the point where people are going to stop responding to Anthony?
    Judging from some of the comments, people are having too much fun to bother.
    I sure as hell am.
    Fred should tack some of these old posts to the main page. Call ’em “Greatest Hits” or something. (Maybe “Abominable To Empathy” ?, hehe.)

  223. bulbul — Steve Colbert was talking about having a bridge named for him in Hungary… Any chance you could find out whether that’s being taken seriously or not. (I’ve forgotten which country you live in. Sorry.)
    But Krispy Kremes are not doughnuts. There’s no dough. To me, they represent the Eeeeeevill process American culture applies to food (and music and pretty much everything else) — suck everything good and fun out of it, and sell this bland copy of the original.
    Bavarian Creams (not “Kreme”, thank you very much) and Old Fashioneds (my favorites) — those are doughnuts! Bearclaws and fritters aren’t true doughnuts, but, they sure are tasty!
    KK’s (one K short?) are like White Castle hamburgers — nothing but greasebombs!

  224. Bavarian Cream? That would be one of these?
    A Bear claw sounds awfully like an almond croissant to me…

  225. A Bavarian Cream is a “solid” doughnut (no hole) that’s filled with a rich cream center. It may have chocolate frosting, but it’s not manditory. Think of it as the doughnut equivalent of an eclair.
    Bearclaws do sound a lot like almond croissants, no you mention it.
    Now I’m in the mood for a raspberry or apricot rugallah… wonder where I could find one. (Back on topic: It would go great with a cheeseburger!)

  226. #$(*%$@^(*&!!!!
    Now I’m craving a Bavarian Cream! And the nearest good doughnut shop is half an hour away and probably doesn’t have fresh ones at this time of night anyway!

  227. Jeff,
    last time I checked, Colbert was in second place tailing Miklós Zrínyi (aka Mikuláš Zrínsky) and leaving Chuck Norris far behind. The day after that, the ministry website where one could one vote would only allow Hungarian IPs. As far as I know, the whole bridge naming thing wasn’t taken very seriously in the first place – the complete list of candidates included all Star Trek captains, at least two of the three/four musketeers and alike. Colbert’s involvement seems to have put the crown of absurdity on the whole. Then again, it sure did get him a lot of press in Hungary.
    And it’s Slovakia, north of Hungary :o)
    Duane,
    thank you very much for your kind offer. But I’m affraid it would take too long to ship it to Europe and getting it through customs would probably be a problem, too. Where’s One World Government when you need it?
    Oh and peckish doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel. Shame on you, Jesu, for tempting me in such manner!

  228. Hm, that Bavarian Cream sure looks/sounds like the stuff you can get around here, too. In fact, the supermarket opens in four hours…
    #$(*%$@^(*&!!!!, indeed.

  229. If Chuck Norris is a candidate, they’ll have to name the bridge for him. Otherwise, he’ll just roundhouse kick it down! My second choice would be Janeway Bridge — I hated Voyager, but the idea of a bridge by that name in the middle of Hungary amuses me.
    How did all this silliness start anyway?

  230. How did all this silliness start anyway?
    It started on the day the Hungarian government or the municipal government started the poll. They vastly underestimated the pranksterism of the people of Central-Europe which is especially prominent in all matters involving government.
    Just to give you an idea: in the last census in the Czech Republic, several thousand people entered “Apache” in the “ethnicity” column. A number of people did the same in the last Slovak census, only they entered “Eskimo”. I would, naturally, never take part in such nonsense. I mean, come on, “Eskimo” is just not the correct term. It’s “Innuit”.
    Therefore I am proud to announce that as of the 2002 census, I am officially a Hittite.

  231. Shame on you, Jesu, for tempting me in such manner!
    Oh, I feel terrible shame. (No, really! I do!)
    I also want a Bavarian Cream doughnut, and there is nowhere that sells them around here.
    But I might be able to get an almond croissant…
    Hey, where did Anthony go? Did we scare him off with our loose talk about pastries?

  232. Have you thought about where you might re-establish the Hittite homeland?
    Greenland? (cross-posting is such fun!)

  233. Silly wintermute, trying to sawy us with that “logic” stuff. Obviously, bulbul belongs in Compton, because [rap beat]you know I wanna Hittite, you know I wanna Hittite, you know I wanna Hittite.[/rap beat].

  234. Have you thought about where you might re-establish the Hittite homeland?
    Indeed I have. My first thought was Turkey (the original homeland), but then I remembered the Kurds and went “naaaaah”. I then thought it might be a good idea to do it the Herzl way, but do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a benevolent colonial superpower these days?

  235. Nope — I catch both Daily Show and Colbert Report on a hit-or-miss basis. I caught the one with Will Power (” ‘he writes with urban sensitivity’. I think that means he’s black.”), but that was the only recent one.

  236. Well then: Colbert revisited the whole bridge-naming thing. Turns out that he won the second closed competition, too. He then brought on the Hungarian ambassador who presented him with the official certificate (official seal and everything) confirming that Stephen Colbert was indeed the number one choice (93k votes or something). But there was a catch: the government stipulated that in order for the bridge to be named after Colbert, Colbert has to
    1. speak fluent Hungarian (which Colbert proved by pronouncing the name of the runner-up, Nicholas Zrinyi, and the word “híd” = bridge)
    2. be dead.
    Colbert (who was left speechless for about two seconds) was then given a Hungarian passport and a 10.000 forint banknote (which, incidentally, bears the portrait of St. Stephen, the patron of Hungary) and invited to check out the construction.
    Needless to say, I was literally rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off.

  237. 2. be dead.
    What I found most amusing was the Hungarian Ambassador’s implication that #2 could be quickly arranged if Colbert would be willing to come to Hungary.
    He seemed serious about that.

  238. Commenting on “I know 100’s of Gay Christians”- Gay Christians. Gays for Jesus. Jews for Hitler. Armenians for Ataturk. All the same types of people. All equally self loathing in their servitude to masters intent on their subjugation and destruction.

  239. The shellfish argument is full of bad reasoning and lack of understanding of the Bible. If you really care about the truth of this argument, I encourage you to read flaws of the shellfish argument.

  240. I’m just here because this post was linked to in a more recent one. I hope Anthony was able to accept that maybe a part of him likes dudes.

  241. Next you should address how the Christian prohibitions against incest and bestiality are both only listed in Leviticus as well, right next to the passage about homosexuality, and how good, thinking Christians should get past those pointless restrictions too.

    Right?

  242. No.

    What I’m stating very clearly is that if you make the argument that Christians should accept homosexuality because Acts tells them to ignore Leviticus, then you could make the same argument about incest and bestiality, since Leviticus is the only place they are condemned, too.

    The upshot here is that it’s obvious the passage in acts lifts dietary restrictions only and doesn’t address sexuality ethics, because

    1.) The Early Christians didn’t change their sexual behavior (from how it was when they were Jews) in response to the passage; insofar as the people who actually WROTE Acts knew what it meant, they didn’t seem to think it means what Fred says it does.

    2.) The passage literally only mentions dietary restrictions, assuming it applies to everything in Leviticus is an unfounded leap in the first place, and

    3.) Every time sexual ethics is mentioned in the New Testament, it is to re-assert them. No sexual prohibition of any kind from the Old Testament is explicitly lifted anywhere in the New Testament, and they are often re-established. So why assume this passage is implying something it doesn’t state, when the Scriptures have plenty of opportunities to flat out state it, but do the opposite? The one semi-exception is when Jesus stops them from stoning the adulteress woman, but even then He says “go and sin no more”- He’s clearly criticizing the punishment, not the notion that adultery is a sin there.

    The author is making an inconsistent, bad argument based on a poor reading of the Bible. He’s able to get away with it because people enjoy the conclusion he comes to. Just because you personally like the conclusion of an argument doesn’t mean the argument is good.

  243. What do you mean by “accept” homosexuality? Gay-bashing Christians use that terminology, implying that they’re being demanded to turn gay. You probably know that no such demand is being made. All they’re being asked to accept is the freedom for consenting adults to choose partners from their own sex or the other sex. The freedom works both ways. One wouldn’t have to hold any particular stance on scripture to refuse to interfere with orientations of others, even if one personally objects to a particular orientation.

    Your point muddies the distinction between any sexual prohibitions on Christians and any rules for Christians on treatment of others who don’t follow those prohibitions. A Christian can believe that homosexuality is a sin and treat gays and lesbians no differently from anyone else.

  244. The Abominable Shellfish argument doesn’t seem convincing enough to me, at least in Fred’s version. Perhaps because whether someone chooses to eat shellfish or abstain, or whether someone seeks partners of the same sex or the other sex, is none of my business. Fred could instead challenge gay-bashing Christians to explain why they don’t want society to regard shellfish consumption as shameful, or to make it illegal.

  245. I really wish you guys would stop trying to ‘out’ me as some political enemy that can be disregarded, and actually read the arguments I’m making. Regardless of the moral nature of homosexuality, I’m simply making the point that the blog article uses a terrible argument- Christians can’t disregard what is said in Leviticus, least of all because of the cited (not quoted) passage in Acts.

    I didn’t ‘muddy the distinction’ because it quite simply has nothing to do with the point I’m making, and nothing to do with the point I’m responding to that the blog writer was making. You really seem to be raising side issues to avoid what I’ve said, or perhaps to bait me into saying something that would be easier for you to argue with, which I’m not going to do.

    To repeat: Practically all sexual prohibitions in Christianity originate in Leviticus. An argument for disregarding one on the basis that “Leviticus doesn’t matter anymore” is an argument for disregarding them all. The passage the blog writer cites in Acts doesn’t say anything about sexual prohibition, and there’s no reason to think it was meant to. How Christians ought to treat homosexuals or how homosexuality fits into a Christian view of morality has nothing to do with what I’m saying.

  246. Every time sexual ethics is mentioned in the New Testament, it is to re-assert them.

    Except that the Torah doesn’t have sexual ethics. It has a long list of things you’re not allowed to do, which can be broadly categorized as “don’t defy your gender role”, “don’t mess up the lines of inheritance”, and “don’t steal a woman belonging to someone else”. It’s a code of civil law, not an ethical statement.

    At no point in the New Testament does anyone say “We should abstain from sexual immorality, as defined by the oddly specific rules about sexual behavior in the Torah.” Jesus’ only statement on the subject is the bit in the Sermon on the Mount about how lustful thoughts are a kind of adultery, which is not a reaffirmation of the Torah. It’s way, way outside the scope of the Torah.

  247. “How Christians ought to treat homosexuals” has everything to do with what Fred is saying. From my reading, Fred isn’t urging Christians to disregard the prohibitions in Leviticus for their own sexual conduct. He’s instead urging them to stop using the prohibitions as justification for mistreating gays and lesbians.

  248. You know, it’s entirely possible to throw out everything Leviticus says about bestiality and incest and still come to the conclusion that bestiality and incest are morally wrong. The Bible isn’t the only source of morals one can draw upon, and good thing, or we’d still stoning women to death for being raped, for not being virgins on their wedding night, dragging them into temples to get abortions because we suspect they’re pregnant with the fetus of another man, etc.

  249. You can call the prohibitions on certain sexual activities in Leviticus whatever you’d like to call them. The fact remains that the prohibitions on homosexual acts are made in the same way and the same context as the prohibitions on incest and bestiality, and fact remains that the New Testament says not one word to overturn them.

    Jesus’ only word on sex is most certainly NOT limited to the Sermon on the Mount. He also tells the adulteress woman to ‘go and sin no more’, affirming that adultery is still sin, and he also condemns polygamy as never having been God’s intention, but only permitted because Hebrew men of earlier times were weak.

    As an aside, I’d like to hear how you possibly draw a line between civil law statements about private sexual behavior and ethical statements about private sexual behavior when they are made by a religious leader in a [i]theocracy[/i], but that might be a bit of a side track. In fact, I see zero evidence that the Hebrews had any concept of such a distinction at all.

  250. Then you believe that those few lines in Leviticus are the only reason that christians should reject beastiality and incest? That had Moses failed to note those down, it would mean that both were entirely moral?

    If the passage in Romans only refers to dietary restrictions, then why did Peter react to it by announcing that God had just told him not to declare anyone unclean and welcoming an unclean Roman into his home? Why didn’t Peter say “God just told me that I didn;’t have to keep kosher, but he didn’t say a word about hanging out with centurions; beat it, pal.”?

  251. Peter was a disciple of Jesus, and as such, had seen Jesus spending time with ‘unclean’ folks like Centurians, lepers, tax-collectors, menstruating women, criminals, and Samaritans over and over and over and over and over again. It’s a pretty common theme of Jesus’ ministry you know- even if Peter for some reason needed a special knock on the head to be reminded that it’s ok to associate with Gentiles, the reader of the New Testament shouldn’t, and there’s still no reason to interpret the passage to have ANYTHING to do with sexual prohibitions whatsoever.

    As to you first comment, you still aren’t really addressing my point, but I’ll play your game- if a Christian can ignore Leviticus and still reject bestiality and incest, then they can ignore Leviticus and still reject homosexuality, too. So the blog poster’s argument still fails.

  252. That’s all absolutely true.

    However, the blog writer wrote his article arguing from the assumption that if he could show that Leviticus isn’t to be taken as authoritative, then Christians shouldn’t conclude homosexuality is morally wrong. Since bestiality and incest are mentioned in the exact same way in the exact same sense in Leviticus, the same rules apply. Sure, the Christian can come up with some other reasons to reject incest, but then again, they can come up with other reasons to reject homosexuality too.

    And besides, if what the blog writer meant to say was “Just ignore the Bible when you feel like it and come up with your own rules”, then he easily could have just said so. He’s attempting to present a BIBLICAL approach for how homosexuality ought to be viewed, and I’m showing why his approach is incorrect.

  253. That isn’t specifically what Fred was trying to do. Fred’s argument is that if the law regarding homosexuality in Leviticus is binding, then so ought to be other things in Leviticus — and yet very few things are. Rules about sex, and… that’s really about it. Nothing about Jubilee, or dietary restrictions… and rarely even that tiny inconsequential law in Leviticus 19:18 that never gets mentioned ever again in the Bible.

    In other posts, where Fred has made arguments specifically for homosexuality, he has tended to focus on verses like that last one. This was more of a blanket argument- “if scripture is authoritative, then why only parts of it?”

  254. Except that we already know that not everything in Leviticus is binding, because of the passage in Acts he cited…which, as I’ve pointed out a few times, has absolutely nothing to say about sexual taboos.

    I guess I’m lost on that last bit. When he asks “If scripture is authoritative, then why only parts of it?” is it because he doesn’t know, or because he hopes his audience doesn’t know and he wants to capitalize on their ignorance to make a point?

    In either case, we’re left with a very clear and obvious biblical reason why food taboos are no longer followed, and not the slightest bit of a biblical reason for why sexual taboos ought not still be followed.

    Like I said in other replies, the principle reason that sexual taboos in Leviticus are still taken seriously is that every time sexual ethics are mentioned in the New Testament, it is to reinforce them or strengthen them. There’s not the slightest indication anywhere in the scriptures that people pre-Jesus ought to take a different attitude towards sex than people post-Jesus. You can’t say that about diet, you can’t say that about socialization, you can’t say that about politics, you can’t say that about the celebration of holy days.

    And that’s just if you’re a Protestant. If you aren’t, there’s the whole tradition of how the Scriptures have been interpreted through the ages to consider as well. It’s a phenomenon peculiar to the U.S. and Western Europe that individual Christians think any old way they choose to interpret the biblical is automatically valid.

  255. I guess I’m lost on that last bit. When he asks “If scripture is authoritative, then why only parts of it?” is it because he doesn’t know, or because he hopes his audience doesn’t know and he wants to capitalize on their ignorance to make a point?

    Neither. The point he’s making is that people use the Bible as an appeal to authority, but only certain parts of it, and only in very narrow ways, thus Peter’s vision invalidates dietary restrictions, but apparently “anyone” only means “gentiles who behave in very specific ways within the boundaries of which we approve” (and not a word is spoken about Jubilee, because trapping poor people in debt is what drives the economy, don’t cha know).
    Fred would argue that Peter’s vision should be taken broadly, that no one should be using anyone’s sexual habits as a reason to condemn them. The theme of not judging people is also repeatedly emphasized in both the Old and New Testament, but that also gets pitched out in favor of the (comparatively smaller) verses which imply that telling people they’re going to burn in Hell for eternity (something also not actually much upheld by scripture). He emphasizes the love of Jesus as being paramount to understanding Christianity and the perspective of God — that is, if something runs contrary to love, then it cannot be true of God. (Small example- “Westboro Baptist teaches that Jesus failed)

    A number of Fred’s posts are dedicated to pointing out the ways various interpretations of the Bible are consistent or inconsistently applied or what they seem to neglect or outright dismiss. He rarely attacks someone as being wrong, but when he does, it’s when their actions contradict that central message, and even then. If anything, Fred has a tendency to be forgiving to a fault (being quick to forgive something nasty a pastor has said about LGBT people in the past in favor of something they’ve said more recently about upholding mutuality and the need to ease burdens in the lives of the poor, for example) and to emphasize individual worth and a duty to reinforce it, most recently in this post.

    He’s not above picking apart his own beliefs and admitting he just doesn’t know some things, but he less often runs down other people’s beliefs except when they seem to have missed the point altogether (such as when Tony Perkins or the Family Research Council blatantly lies to encourage the denigration of gay people). That’s probably why Christians of many different denominations are comfortable coming here to express their views, along with people of many other religions (and lack thereof).

  256. It’s perfectly valid to criticize the way some Christians pick and choose arbitrary interpretations of the Bible to follow. The problem is that Fred is just picking an equally arbitrary interpretation that he happens to like better. There’s still zero reason whatsoever to think Peter’s vision applies to how we regard sexual behavior, and plenty of reason not to think so.

    It’s like you said- people can get moral ideas from plenty of sources other than the Bible. That’s what’s happened here- Fred has his moral ideas of sexuality that he’s gotten from somewhere other than the Bible, and now he’s trying to shoehorn Bible passages into supporting it. “Some people distort the Bible, so my distortion is no worse than any other” is a pretty bad argument.

    If one is actually interested in knowing what the New Testament position on sexual ethics is (either so they can follow it, or purely out of historical interest), all evidence points to it being something very much like I’ve already described in this discussion- Levitican law, minus the harsh punishments.

    And again, I have to stress that for any non-Protestant, the most important non-biblical source of ethics is going to be the Church, and how the Church has interpreted these passages from the very beginning is pretty obvious.

    The theme of ‘don’t judge’ isn’t very prominent in the New Testament. It’s certainly there, but it’s certainly not as dominant as people with certain political persuasions wish it was, and it has to be tempered with the recognition that Jesus and His followers are CONTINUALLY condemning people for things throughout the New Testament- including Paul condemning people specifically for homosexual acts in Romans.

  257. Oh, then what is their chrisitan basis for rejecting beastiality and incest? Does it also apply to homosexuality?

    That’s what this comes down to. You can ignore one line out of Leviticus, and I submit that you still have a basis in christianity for rejecting incest and beastiality. I equally submit that if you ignore the odd isolated contextless prooftext, you are not left with a christianity that calls for homophobia.

  258. The Christian basis for rejecting bestiality and incest is firstly that they’re condemned in the Scriptures, and secondly that the sum total of Church thought and practice from then until now interprets and acts on those Scriptures with that condemnation as the proper interpretation thereof. You can say all you want about ‘love’, but what that word (or those 4 words, in Greek) mean, how they apply etc. in Christianity is not understood except through a thorough understanding of Scripture and the tradition surrounding it.
    You can ignore the lines in Leviticus that condemn homosexuality and still have a basis for condemning homosexuality because Paul re-condemns it in Romans. You can decide to ignore that verse too (for no reason other than it suits your political ends to do so, mind), and still have a Christian basis for rejecting incest and bestiality because you can simply choose to continue being arbitrary and accept the verses in Leviticus that condemn such.
    Or hell, you can choose to ignore every word the Bible says and just believe whatever you want, and reject incest and bestiality because they ‘seem yucky’ to you, and at least be right about that one thing because you’re still milking the benefits of being raised in a Christian culture that taught you what seems yucky and what doesn’t.
    Anyway, what you’re calling homophobia – which is just a pejorative, mind, for people that have a different political view than you do – is absolutely called for according to the Scriptures, you have ceased even bothering to argue that such is not the case, and I’m not really interested in a discussion on how we can distort Christianity by ignoring whatever bits we don’t like. Fred made it seem like he was doing something a little more rational than that, that’s what I stopped by to interact with, nobody is even defending his (poor) argument anymore, so I suspect this will be my last reply here.

  259. I am not a political issue, thanks. “A different political view” doesn’t quite encompass the efforts of people to denigrate my status to one of “potential murder victim who no one will mourn because groups like Family Research Council have spent the last few decades arguing that people like me literally worship pedophilia.”

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