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My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality
March 3rd, 2011
01:25 PM ET

My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality

By Robert A. J. Gagnon, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D., is associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics and (with Dan Via) Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views.

In her recent CNN Belief Blog post “The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality,” Jennifer Wright Knust claims that Christians can’t appeal to the Bible to justify opposition to homosexual practice because the Bible provides no clear witness on the subject and is too flawed to serve as a moral guide.

As a scholar who has written books and articles on the Bible and homosexual practice, I can say that the reality is the opposite of her claim. It’s shocking that in her editorial and even her book, "Unprotected Texts," Knust ignores a mountain of evidence against her positions.

It raises a serious question: does the Left read significant works that disagree with pro-gay interpretations of Scripture and choose to simply ignore them?

Owing to space limitations I will focus on her two key arguments: the ideal of gender-neutral humanity and slavery arguments.

Knust's lead argument is that sexual differentiation in Genesis, Jesus and Paul is nothing more than an "afterthought" because "God's original intention for humanity was androgyny."

It’s true that Genesis presents the first human (Hebrew adam, from adamah, ground: “earthling”) as originally sexually undifferentiated. But what Knust misses is that once something is “taken from” the human to form a woman, the human, now differentiated as a man, finds his sexual other half in that missing element, a woman.

That’s why Genesis speaks of the woman as a “counterpart” or “complement,” using a Hebrew expression neged, which means both “corresponding to” and “opposite.” She is similar as regards humanity but different in terms of gender. If sexual relations are to be had, they are to be had with a sexual counterpart or complement.

Knust cites the apostle Paul’s remark about “no ‘male and female’” in Galatians. Yet Paul applies this dictum to establishing the equal worth of men and women before God, not to eliminating a male-female prerequisite for sex.

Applied to sexual relations, the phrase means “no sex,” not “acceptance of homosexual practice,” as is evident both from the consensus of the earliest interpreters of this phrase and from Jesus' own sayings about marriage in this age and the next.

All the earliest interpreters agreed that "no 'male and female,'" applied to sexual relations, meant "no sex."

That included Paul and the ascetic believers at Corinth in the mid-first century; and the church fathers and gnostics of the second to fourth centuries. Where they disagreed is over whether to postpone mandatory celibacy until the resurrection (the orthodox view) or to begin insisting on it now (the heretical view).

Jesus’ view

According to Jesus, “when (people) rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels” (Mark 12:25). Sexual relations and differentiation had only penultimate significance. The unmediated access to God that resurrection bodies bring would make sex look dull by comparison.

At the same time Jesus regarded the male-female paradigm as essential if sexual relations were to be had in this present age.

In rejecting a revolving door of divorce-and-remarriage and, implicitly, polygamy Jesus cited Genesis: “From the beginning of creation, ‘male and female he made them.’ ‘For this reason a man …will be joined to his woman and the two shall become one flesh’” (Mark 10:2-12; Matthew 19:3-12).

Jesus’ point was that God’s limiting of persons in a sexual union to two is evident in his creation of two (and only two) primary sexes: male and female, man and woman. The union of male and female completes the sexual spectrum, rendering a third partner both unnecessary and undesirable.

The sectarian Jewish group known as the Essenes similarly rejected polygamy on the grounds that God made us “male and female,” two sexual complements designed for a union consisting only of two.

Knust insinuates that Jesus wouldn’t have opposed homosexual relationships. Yet Jesus’ interpretation of Genesis demonstrates that he regarded a male-female prerequisite for marriage as the foundation on which other sexual standards could be predicated, including monogamy. Obviously the foundation is more important than anything predicated on it.

Jesus developed a principle of interpretation that Knust ignores: God’s “from the beginning” creation of “male and female” trumps some sexual behaviors permitted in the Old Testament. So there’s nothing unorthodox about recognizing change in Scripture’s sexual ethics. But note the direction of the change: toward less sexual license and greater conformity to the logic of the male-female requirement in Genesis. Knust is traveling in the opposite direction.

Knust’s slavery analogy and avoidance of closer analogies

Knust argues that an appeal to the Bible for opposing homosexual practice is as morally unjustifiable as pre-Civil War appeals to the Bible for supporting slavery. The analogy is a bad one.

The best analogy will be the comparison that shares the most points of substantive correspondence with the item being compared. How much does the Bible’s treatment of slavery resemble its treatment of homosexual practice? Very little.

Scripture shows no vested interest in preserving the institution of slavery but it does show a strong vested interest from Genesis to Revelation in preserving a male-female prerequisite. Unlike its treatment of the institution of slavery, Scripture treats a male-female prerequisite for sex as a pre-Fall structure.

The Bible accommodates to social systems where sometimes the only alternative to starvation is enslavement. But it clearly shows a critical edge by specifying mandatory release dates and the right of kinship buyback; requiring that Israelites not be treated as slaves; and reminding Israelites that God had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt.

Paul urged enslaved believers to use an opportunity for freedom to maximize service to God and encouraged a Christian master (Philemon) to free his slave (Onesimus).

How can changing up on the Bible’s male-female prerequisite for sex be analogous to the church’s revision of the slavery issue if the Bible encourages critique of slavery but discourages critique of a male-female paradigm for sex?

Much closer analogies to the Bible’s rejection of homosexual practice are the Bible’s rejection of incest and the New Testament’s rejection of polyamory (polygamy).

Homosexual practice, incest, and polyamory are all (1) forms of sexual behavior (2) able to be conducted as adult-committed relationships but (3) strongly proscribed because (4) they violate creation structures or natural law.

Like same-sex intercourse, incest is sex between persons too much structurally alike, here as regards kinship rather than gender. Polyamory is a violation of the foundational “twoness” of the sexes.

The fact that Knust chooses a distant analogue (slavery) over more proximate analogues (incest, polyamory) shows that her analogical reasoning is driven more by ideological biases than by fair use of analogies.

Knust’s other arguments are riddled with holes.

In claiming that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship she confuses kinship affection with erotic love. Her claim that “from the perspective of the New Testament” the Sodom story was about “the near rape of angels, not sex between men” makes an "either-or" out of Jude 7’s "both-and."

Her canard that only a few Bible texts reject homosexual practice overlooks other relevant texts and the fact that infrequent mention is often a sign of significance. It is disturbing to read what passes nowadays for expert “liberal” reflections on what the Bible says about homosexual practice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Robert A. J. Gagnon.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Homosexuality

soundoff (4,272 Responses)
  1. David

    This is up there with does Santa Claus wear boxers or briefs.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  2. Chris

    Why is CNN publishing this random crank?

    March 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • mona

      Because news and media is supposed to be unbiased. Just how gays can showcase their pride, so can Christians.

      Just because liberals are louder, doesn't mean they are more "right" or justified.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Patrick

      Because it is a hot issue that earns many clicks of the mouse, and that sells ads. Most news agencies are for-profit enterprises, so that remains their focus.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  3. bob

    religion is g@y

    March 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • big tuna

      the pope has some seriously splashy outfits and bling
      but what is up with the bullet proof pope mobile?
      no faith in god?

      baby jesus ahd immaculate p00p ~ it did not smell

      March 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  4. Sid

    Not to be ironic, but this article reminds me of the debates concerning how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It's presented as a carefully crafted, well-researched analysis of Biblical intent. But since the Bible itself is mostly fiction and myth, the careful analysis is not relevant. It's like trying decide the intent of J.R.R. Tolkein in having Golem to destroy the Ring rather then Frodo. An interesting discussion...but an ACADEMIC discussion only.

    Sid

    March 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • big tuna

      everyone knows that answer, where have you been? it is 41 on the head of 1 pin.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Patrick

      That is very true. We don't really know anything about the author's personal opinion. This article simply presents a counter-argument using textual references.
      Of course, for the same reason this article was even published, the commenting public will take it where they wish.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • mona

      Really? with so much evidence that Jesus did live and that there are still signs of those times, you're gonna say the bible is fiction? All the prophecies in the Bible that happen today and you still think it's fiction?
      Means you are too dumb to understand the Bible.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Patrick

      Not to mention the other thousands of prophecies from hundreds of other religious texts that at claimed to have come true.

      Just because Jesus/Mohammed/Confuscious or whomever existed does not make them divine, nor their words true (as if we could even know such a thing).

      March 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @mona
      You said: "with so much evidence that Jesus did live"

      Not true Mona.

      There were no eyewitness accounts of Jesus. The Gospels were written by god knows who in the third person. The Gospels were written with an agenda i.e., Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God.

      We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
      -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

      The bottom line is we really don't know for sure who wrote the Gospels.
      -Jerome Neyrey, of the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. in "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it.
      -C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy)

      There are no known secular writings about Jesus, that aren't forgeries, later insertions, or hearsay. NONE!
      Most of the writings came from people who lived AFTER Jesus was dead. Can you say hearsay?

      We don't even have a wooden shelf that Jesus might have built. Or anything written by Jesus (He was probably illiterate).

      The Dead Sea Scrolls did not mention Jesus or have any New Testament scripture.

      Jesus, if he existed, was not considered important enough to write about by any contemporary person. The myth hadn't had a chance to flourish.

      Paul's writings were the first, about Jesus. But, Paul's writing was done 25 to 30 years after Jesus was dead. In a primitive, ultra-supersti_tious society, 25 years is a lot of time for a myth to grow. Paul never met Jesus.

      Some people feel that Paul, not Jesus, is the real father of what most Christians believe today (Pauline Christianity).

      Jesus predicted He would return in the 1st Century. He did not.

      Mathew 16:28 – "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here,
      which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of
      man coming in his kingdom."

      Mathew 23:36 – "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon
      this generation."

      Mark 9:11 – "Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that
      stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they
      have seen the kingdom of God come with power."

      Luke 9:27 – "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here,
      which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom
      of God

      OOoopsie!

      If Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, who died for man's redemption, then this would be the most important event in the history of man.

      Why wouldn't god have ensured there was tons of evidence that this was true? Multiple Writings by contemporary eyewitnesses – Jews and Romans.

      You are going to want to say that there IS lots of evidence, but look at reality: There are way more people, in the world, who are not Christians than who are. Obviously, the evidence is not adequate to convince most if not all people.

      1. If God/Jesus existed, this fact would be more obvious.
      So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true god.

      2. God's existence is not, in fact, as obvious as we would expect, if he existed.
      This fact is evidenced by all the different religions, plus us nasty atheists.

      3. Therefore, God does not exist.

      You said: "All the prophecies in the Bible that happen today and you still think it's fiction?"

      The problem with Biblical prophecy, is that we don't know when the prophecy was actually written. The prophecy could well have been written after the fact.

      The prophecies of the Old Testament were well known to the authors of the New Testament. The New Testament was written after the Old Testament. There is no miracle here.

      The New Testament was written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah. The author of Mathew even admits to Jesus riding on a colt for the sole purpose of fulfilling a prophecy.

      Mathew 21: 1-11
      Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

      All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
      “ Tell the daughter of Zion,
      ‘ Behold, your King is coming to you,
      Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
      A colt, the foal of a donkey."

      It isn't really very hard for the writers of the New Testament to have Jesus fulfill the prophecies. LOL

      Cheers!

      March 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • StanCartmanKyleKenny

      Jeez Mona. If you actually read the bible, you'd see that God meant for women to be silent and submit to every whim of the more superior men. So unless you want to go to hell, I suggest you shut the frack up before god sends a bolt of electricity down from the heavens and straight into your gaping maw.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Michael

      You know for a fact that the Bible is myth?!?! Wow you must be the smartest person alive! Can we hangout? I'd love to find out how you know such things....seriously I'm amazed! hahaha Such ridiculous banter because of this article. If you truly read the Bible cover to cover many of you would be singing a different tune. Give Gotquestions.org a try, it answers so many of the hard questions people have about Christianity and the Bible. I challenge you to read and educate yourselves before you make blanket uneducated statements. Read "Jesus and The Eyewitnesses", mind blowing or "Reason for God" or "Case for Christ"...educate yourselves.

      March 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Michael

      David Johnson,

      Read "Jesus and The Eyewitnesses" , please read it because you are sadly mistaken about everything you have said.

      March 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  5. Bad_Conduct

    Haha

    Who gives a fudge what the Bible says?

    March 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  6. Bob

    I started reading the Bible once but decided that the God portrayed was so evil that I wanted no part of it. I mean, the Old Testament God killed more Jews than Hitler.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Michael

      He also killed His only son so that they, you, me, everyone that is willing to use their free will and choose/believe in Him might be saved.

      It cost God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion-CS Lewis Who by the way was a staunch NON-believer.

      "Early in his life he rejected any Christian beliefs he might have had, even as a youth, and became an avowed atheist. When asked at age 18 what his religious views were, he called the worship of Christ and the Christian faith "one mythology among many."

      Later in life through much reading, education and thought Lewis became a Christian and one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century. I encourage you to read and really educated yourself on why God does the things He does and hopefully you'll learn that He is a great and loving God that wants nothing but the best for us all.

      March 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  7. Jerry Bishop

    I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should Iask the police to do it??

    March 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • 2011

      LOLZ

      March 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • big tuna

      you must do it. if you let the police do it you have committed a mortal sin of omission.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Michael

    I encourage all of you to watch this video, Tim Keller does an excellent job of fielding questions from believers and non-believers.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=360]

    March 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  9. Justin

    If god was to stand infront of a gay man, do you think he will exocommunicate him? Some christians and especially catholics are so blinded by the bible that they dont realize that christianity is the belief to be NOT JUDGEMENTAL and accepting of brothers and sisters. The ones commiting hypocracy should be the one punished for making god look bad, and making him look judgementa.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • mona

      Who says we hate gays? or judge them? It's the sin they commit that we don't agree with, not the people.

      We don't have to judge gays, God will.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • squealy

      Ah, yes, the convenient old standby – we love the sinner yet hate the sin. To me, that is just a cover of true feelings, and while of course I cannot be in your head or heart, I suspect most really do in fact hate the sinner. It just "sounds" better the other way.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • B Nakka

      You know in old days there was this practice if you don't like somebody to be polite you said "Bless their heart" and say the underhanded comment. This is just like that.

      So all of a sudden humans didn't have the emotion called "HATE"? Get pratical everyone including you have been judgemental since the beginning of time. It is just a chemical imbalance in every organism I guess.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • David

      You don't have to judge gays, Mona. But you and your Xtian brothers and sisters feel they have to tell them how to live. Tell them who they can marry. Tell them they can't adopt a child. Tell them they can't qualify for partner benefits. Tell them you won't recognize their marriage from another state or country. Your hypocrisy is mind blowing.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  10. Lisa

    Glad I'm an atheist.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Rachel

      Now THAT is something to say amen to!

      March 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  11. Carlos

    To some extent, I gotta agree with Gary here ("The Bible is what keeps poor people from killing rich people...")

    To apply yesterday's rules to today's society is causing a lot of harm. Time to update.

    Watch Patton Oswalt's "Sky Cake" skit. It's funny, but it's also 1000% spot on. Religion IS great:
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55h1FO8V_3w&w=640&h=360]

    March 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Chris

      That skit is the perfect counterpoint to any stupid religious argument.

      March 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  12. Eric Rife

    Well, there you go. The bible says it, YOU believe it, that settles it – I guess the executions by stoning will commence any day now.

    There is no logical reason why, in an ostensibly free society, two consenting adults should not be allowed to voluntarily enter into one of the most common contracts known to humanity. Of course little things like logic and reason are completely lost on those who would couch their prejudices in religious faith. The good professor would be wise to open up a book on the Enlightenment.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • mona

      The bible also says you can live any way you want. and you really can. But i'm not so sure you're gonna love your choices on Judgment day.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Patrick

      I don't like my choices now, and I am sure I will like them less on Judgment Day. Such is the price I pay for being true to my heart.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • voyager115

      I love how self centered and spoiled our world views have become. Use words like "enlightenment" and "new age thinking" and suddenly you're breaching a new frontier of thought right?

      Enlightenment is the recognition of our depravity and our small mind thoughts. The world has been FAR MORE liberal than you could ever imagine and every single time it's gone there it ended badly for everyone involved.

      Take a few history lessons and you'll find out that your "enlightened" view is nothing but old world ways of thought that has done nothing good for humanity.

      Praise God for pulling me away from my atheist ways into the truth so that I can see my depravity and praise him for his victory.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Patrick

      @Voyager115:
      "Enlightenment is the recognition of our depravity and our small mind thoughts. The world has been FAR MORE liberal than you could ever imagine and every single time it's gone there it ended badly for everyone involved."

      I hear you. The Bill of Rights, Womens' Suffrage, the Civil Rights Era, Emancipation, etc. screwed it up for everybody.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  13. Tom

    Blah, blah, blah....many of us don't care what its in the bible. It's just fiction. Now here's a real-world observation? Why are there gay animals? Wrestle with that pastor.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • mona

      then don't read the article. DUH

      March 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bemused

      lol Tom don't bother debating with Mona, she's content in her ignorance, and will fight to keep from growing up

      March 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  14. Pastor Evans

    I'm highly educated and a retired U.S. Army Soldier and neither qualifies me to serve God as a Pastor. It is by His anointing, not by anything natural!!! Just because someone has a Phd means nothing to God. What matters to God is if the individual is doing what He created them for and fulfilling His desires, not their own!!!

    March 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  15. sue

    And doesn't the bible also say that we should bake bread using human excrement for fuel? Oh, I believe it does! Ezekiel 4:12. Problem with Bible literalists is, they pick and choose the passages they like and toss the rest out. Can't do that. That's a bad thing. You're either a Bible literalist or not. Thankfully, I am not!

    March 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • The Woof

      You also forgot to read the next verse, which stated, The LORD said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them. Sometimes it's better to read the whole thing to get good context. And evidently you have no experience of living on a farm as anyone who does know that animal excrement when dried can be used like wood and burned to provide heat when nothing else is available.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • voyager115

      haha... NO. Read the passage in its interity and not out of context and you'll see that Ezekiel mentions how God prophesized this would happen (the verse you're reffering to), and how he will not participate in verse 14 "Ah, Lord GOD! behold, i have never defiled myself".

      March 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • voyager115

      ya what woof said

      March 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  16. Scotty

    Doesn't matter what the bible says, it's a book for judeo christians to follow if they choose, and has some good stories, it's not the law of the land, thank God! or whoever you choose. I love bacon and hate facial hair!

    March 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • squealy

      That is a very excellent point. It really makes the whole issue moot.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bemused

      Amen! ...and, beam me up Scotty

      March 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  17. momma_in_new_england

    Why do we think that as created beings that we can do whatever our hearts desire and that everyone is suppose to accept it? When you buy a car do you do whatever you want with the car even though the car manual says differnently? Wouldn't the manufacturer who MADE the car know the ins and outs of it? It is because of sin and the carnal nature that humans behave this way. We don't have to think and act certain ways, but we do because of choice and we cannot blame God for our choices in life. If a people stop reading the bible like a novel and study it by referencing other scriptures, like someone who is intelligent and has a mind will do, one will actually be greatly enlightened and will actually want to obey the Word of God. But people would rather have the pain, sorrow, anger in their lives and blame God. Typical. The bible is practical and will give one a peace of mind if obeyed.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Patrick

      The same can be said of any religious text or creation mythology, and many texts that are neither of those. This is not evidence of anything other than a willingness to have peace of mind.
      Blaming God is a myth in the secular world. Only those who follow God (Jews/Christians/Muslims) bother to blame him.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • stejo

      we're evolved beings, if you want to get to the facts, but I have a feeling that's not your motivation here.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Alverant

      You mean "peace of the grave" if obeyed. Your car anology is flawed because the car manufacturers made the car. Your god did not make man. Man made god.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • C+

      How do you know who the manufacturer is?

      March 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • ThereisnoGod

      "created beings" is an opinion not a fact.
      Evolved beings is more like it. The burden of proof is on you people of faith and so far there is no evidence that there is a God and there is overwhelming evidence of evolution.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • wt

      The irony about your argument is that many want to give credit to god when something good happens, but it is a bad choice by the human when it is something bad. For the argument to be convincing, it must support both sides.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • StanCartmanKyleKenny

      Heh heh, she said "Ins and outs".

      March 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  18. Jerry Bishop

    I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what would be a fair price for her??

    March 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • JohnR

      Does she do windows?

      March 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Frank

      Depends what shwe looks like.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • mona

      ignorant

      March 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  19. Slovensko

    Pwned.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Bob Hudson

      Pwned? What is that? These posts are about COMMUNICATING. Practice. Practice. Practice.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  20. Cathy

    Wow. A lot of hateful words coming from folks who call themselves open-minded, tolerant, and educated.

    And I'm talking about the comments, not the article.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Jay

      Yes. What have religious "conservatives" done to deserve such strong words? Besides telling everyone else how to live, and trying to use the government to get in everyone's business, I mean.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Alverant

      Well how would you counter the willful ignorance and hatered of the bible thumpers? Logic doesn't work. Neither does being nice. Mockery is the best tool because it shows how foolish the bible is.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Chris

      Everyone's focusing on the blatant, hateful stupidity of his conclusions, but let's look at his actual argument for a second. I like how he's shifted the argument from what the Bible actually says to this nebulous idea of what was present in the "pre-Fall structure" for which there's no solid definition other than "Whatever I, a random degenerate CNN dug up to troll for hits, think it is." So can dismiss the various other OT strictures that sound absurd to a modern person, but keep the ones he likes.

      Under the "pre-Fall structure" snakes could talk!

      March 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • jpeay

      I agree. The article is full of sound reasoning and historical backing. The writer uses all his faculties to produce a strong argumented case that seems to have ruffled a lot of feathers because his reasoning is impossible to refute. His command of history, biblical language and hermenutics strongly defends the argument and shows Knust to have been biased. Let the truth set you free.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Thatguy

      Reap what you sow lady. Christians for milenia have terrorized people into believing their faith. They have fomented discord and strife even within their own ranks debating who's belief is more valid then the other and spilled blood to prove who Jesus loves more. No better than the Muslim extremists. They've ostrocized , marginalized and alieniated anyone who isn't of them. Now the worm begins to turn and you've the gaul to accuse others of hatred? Now you're the victem? Suck it up nancy, everbody hurts....sometimes.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.