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My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?
June 21st, 2011
10:10 AM ET

My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and those who disagree just haven’t read their Bibles closely enough.

Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.

I don’t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”

Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless and universal and the other as culturally relative.

I also don’t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition.

But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy in 390 A.D. — merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be equally worthwhile endeavors — he was deemed a heretic and excommunicated from the church.

How does that sit with “family values” activism today?

Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin has noted that today’s "pro-family" activism, despite its pretense to be representing traditional Christian values, would have been considered “heresy” for most of the church’s history.

The community opposed to gay marriage has also departed from the Christian tradition on another issue at the heart of its social agenda: abortion.

Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception.

Although he admitted some uncertainty on the matter, the hugely influential 4th and 5th century Christian thinker Saint Augustine wrote, “it could not be said that there was a living soul in [a] body” if it is “not yet endowed with senses.”

Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology, argued: “before the body has organs in any way whatever, it cannot be receptive of the soul.”

American evangelicals, meanwhile, widely opposed the idea that life begins at conception until the 1970s, with some even advocating looser abortion laws based on their reading of the Bible before then.

It won’t do to oppose gay marriage because it’s not traditional while advocating other positions that are not traditional.

And then there’s the topic of divorce. Although there is only one uncontested reference to same-sex relations in the New Testament, divorce is condemned throughout, both by Jesus and Paul. To quote Jesus from the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”

A possible exception is made only for unfaithfulness.

The community most opposed to gay marriage usually reads these condemnations very leniently. A 2007 issue of Christianity Today, for example, featured a story on its cover about divorce that concluded that Christians should permit divorce for “adultery,” “emotional and physical neglect” and “abandonment and abuse.”

The author emphasizes how impractical it would be to apply a strict interpretation of Jesus on this matter: “It is difficult to believe the Bible can be as impractical as this interpretation implies.”

Indeed it is.

On the other hand, it’s not at all difficult for a community of Christian leaders, who are almost exclusively white, heterosexual men, to advocate interpretations that can be very impractical for a historically oppressed minority to which they do not belong – homosexuals.

Whether the topic is hair length, celibacy, when life begins, or divorce, time and again, the leaders most opposed to gay marriage have demonstrated an incredible willingness to consider nuances and complicating considerations when their own interests are at stake.

Since graduating from seminary, I no longer identify with the evangelical community of my youth. The community gave me many fond memories and sound values but it also taught me to take the very human perspectives of its leaders and attribute them to God.

So let’s stop the charade and be honest.

Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

soundoff (6,474 Responses)
  1. Problematic Logic

    Argumentum ad logicam – There are alot of problems with this guys logic. As another recent seminary graduate I cannot believe he made this many illogical jumps. Yes we don't repudiate marital, emotional unfaithfulness as much as the Church should but it does not negate the other.
    Second the way that Paul uses the word 'nature' in Romans and 1 Corinthians are completely different contexts. Talk about your logical errors! Two words: Historical Context.
    In addition Paul's words are in complete agreement with Jesus' words in Matthew 19:4-6, which is consistent in Lev. and way back in Genesis. This does not negate the need to be married and faithful to your wife, it reinforces it.
    Sadly this article has so many other mistakes that it is hard to mention them all in a comment.
    There are many who try to twist God's Word to their own gain but there are many who would try and avoid God's Word for their own gain as well. Christ is King, His Word has authority in our lives – whether we submit to it or not. That is the choice put before you today. Whether you believe it now or not, the Lord is good and he invites you to experience the joy of living in his authority.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Manley

      And here come the christian accusations of logical fallacies followed by proclaimations of biblical context. What a bore. Though I guess one needs to bend language a little to fit the bible into the 21st century. The gaps are getting smaller by the minute. Stick to faith, it's your best argument.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Problematic Logic

      Hey -PL...

      You Said: "There are many who try to twist God's Word to their own gain but there are many who would try and avoid God's Word for their own gain as well. Christ is King, His Word has authority in our lives – whether we submit to it or not. That is the choice put before you today. Whether you believe it now or not, the Lord is good and he invites you to experience the joy of living in his authority."

      It appears that you are 'arguing by assertion' or assumption.' You are acting 'as if' by inference that what you said here 'is' true and factual'... without question.

      We haven't even established for sure that there is some kind of deity yet, have we...? Or was what you wrote just your fervent -belief- that is 'not' necessarily fact...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Peace2All: Well said, as always.

      I can count on one hand, the number of believers on this post that will honestly address the question of proof of existence.

      Without the establishment of existence, they might as well be claiming to know if Bigfoot likes cream in his coffee.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Donna

      Amen!

      June 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Problematic Logic
      Argumentum ad logicam redux / Argumentum ad logicam ad infinitum
      You seem to be commiting the same fallacy.

      "Sadly this article has so many other mistakes that it is hard to mention them all in a comment."
      "Christ is King, His Word has authority in our lives – whether we submit to it or not."

      Your argument that "Christ is King" appears to be based on the logic that the articles logic is flawed, therefore, "His word has authority..."

      June 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  2. AscentAmadeus

    The more I read these "interpretations" the more agnostic I become. Man's greatest arrogance is to claim any knowledge of G-d's intent....

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Richard

      Can I have a piece of your braincake. I'd like to live in a world of make-believe.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • dwordisclear

      Your problem is that you are, in fact, clueless of who God really is. Don't you really think that the very same God, who is the creator of everything within the universe, to include the brain you are using to write your post, is not capable of writing His intend in a book? Is called the Bible!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Ummmm

      "Don't you really think that the very same God, who is the creator of everything"

      That's why there is proof now that God created gays!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • airwx

      @ AscentAmadeus....May I make a suggestion.

      Rather than abandon your faith (in anything), hold on to your personal beliefs. It has become common for us to see others lack of understanding and ascribe it to the detriment of a higher being rather than delve into our belief system and strenghthen it.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • momofslb

      @ Mmm no that is not proof God created gays pretty weak argument. God gave us free reign. Wether you believe it or not along with God Satan is also alive and well. seriously God did not create murders either

      June 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • GodPot

      @dwordisclear – "clueless of who God really is"

      And you know because when you think about yourself being in your imaginary heaven you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? I'm sorry but I'm going to need a bit more proof than an old compilation of letters made into a book 300 years after they were written and your "gut". Besides, if he did really exist then he should be arrested and put on trial if he really was behind all the violence his followers have commited against their fellowman.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Momofslb: Your comment then makes the suggestion that God is not omniscient. That is to say that he does not know everything all the time.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @dwordisclear

      You said: "Don't you really think that the very same God, who is the creator of everything within the universe, to include the brain you are using to write your post, is not capable of writing His intend in a book? Is called the Bible!"

      Hmmm... Evidently not...

      Notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 34,000). Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they understand the wants of Jesus/god.

      All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
      Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      Since God's purpose in creating the Bible is to guide human beings towards a knowledge of God, and to help them lead moral lives, Christians must be certain of the meaning of the Bible.

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.

      "There are in excess of 1,000 Christian faith groups in North America. They teach diverse beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God, the second coming, Heaven, Hell, the rapture, criteria for salvation, speaking in tongues, the atonement, what happens to persons after death, and dozens of other topics.

      On social controversies, faith groups teach a variety of conflicting beliefs about abortion access, equal rights for ho_mo$exuals and bi$exuals, who should be eligible for marriage, the death penalty, physician assisted suicide, human $exuality topics, origins of the universe, and dozens of other topics.

      The groups all base their theological teachings on the Bible. Generally speaking, the theologians in each of these faith groups are sincere, intelligent, devout, thoughtful and careful in their interpretation of the Bible. But, they come to mutually exclusive conclusions about what it teaches. Further, most are absolutely certain that their particular interpretations are correct, and that the many hundreds of faith groups which teach opposing beliefs are in error." Source: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

      If the bible is ambiguous, then it cannot be said to be inerrant.

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @momofslb
      You said: "God gave us free reign. Wether you believe it or not along with God Satan is also alive and well. seriously God did not create murders either"

      God does create babies with birth defects. Yes?

      It is still not clear to what extent ho_mo$exuality in humans or other animals is genetic rather than, say, due to hormonal extremes during embryonic development.
      http://www.newscientist.com/.../dn13674-evolution-myths-natural-selection-cannot -explain-ho_mo$exuality.html

      But what studies are NOT finding, is that being gay is a choice.

      A study done by scientists at the Karolinska Inst_itute in Sweden found that the brain development of gay men more closely resembled the brain structure of straight women, and the brain structure of gay women more closely resembled the brain structure of straight men. Source: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1815538,00.html

      When gays are asked, they say that being gay is not a choice.
      Believers choose not to believe them, since it would be hard to blame a person who suffers from a birth defect.

      Also:

      If your god is omniscient, if the future can be known, there is no free will.

      There is no Satan. He was constructed by men, to take the fall for natural evil.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • airwx

      @ David Johnson

      Actually David there are probably a billion or so different Christian belief sysytems. Each of us is responsible for our own journey. Some of us actually take the time to study and, when possible, translate the Bible for ourselves without the bias of groupthink. It is amazing what is contained in the primative root words used just in Genesis. Try it sometime....especially the first two verses...look at all the possible meanings in a good (preferably old) concordance and lexicon. You will find any ambiguity is caused by tradition being mingled into the translation....not in the original.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • airwx

      @ David Johnson

      Time is only incu-mbent on this universe. Eternity is the absence of time, not infinite time. For a being, God or otherwise, our time is fully observable from beginng to end and all inbetween at once. Thus God or any other being in eternity would be able to see the decisions we WILL make and know the outcome. This does not require said God to change the outcome unasked. IThat would violate our free will.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @airwx

      It is a shame that all the denominations are not as clever as you. Except, it boils down to it just being your opinion. Like anuses, everybody has one.

      The evidence is: There are ~ 34,000 different denominations of Christianity. Over 1000 in North America alone.

      If the Christian god is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, He would have the knowledge, the will and the power to preserve the translation(s). It is almost as it He does not exist. LOL

      Fundamentalists believe the King James bible is the inerrant word of god. If it is ambiguous then it cannot claim to be inerrant.

      The Christian god is very unlikely.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @airwx

      You said: "Time is only incu-mbent on this universe. Eternity is the absence of time, not infinite time. For a being, God or otherwise, our time is fully observable from beginng to end and all inbetween at once. Thus God or any other being in eternity would be able to see the decisions we WILL make and know the outcome. This does not require said God to change the outcome unasked. IThat would violate our free will."

      No. For a being, God or otherwise, our time is fully observable from beginng to end and all inbetween at once.

      The problem with free will is, that Christians have insisted on their god being Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent.
      No god can be all three at the same time. The attributes contradict each other.

      If god knows what He will do in the future and because He is Omnipotent, does something else, then He is not omniscient.
      If god knows what He will do in the future and cannot do something else, then He is not omnipotent.
      See the problem? Your: "time is fully observable from beginng to end and all inbetween at once." Means that everything is predetermined or predestined. Nothing can be changed.

      If God knows the future, if the future can be known, that means that the future is predictable and unchangeable. This, in turn, means that our actions are predetermined. If god is all knowing, free will is an illusion.

      This also binds god, in that He knows what he will do in the future, and He must do it.

      Let's look at Jesus and his predictions that Judas would betray him and Peter would deny him:

      Those were future events. Do you think Judas could have used his free will to opt out? Not, if Jesus/God was omniscient. Same goes for Peter.

      The actions of Peter and Judas were predetermined. They had no choice.

      When Moses was attempting to secure the release of the Jews, from Egypt, God repeatedly "hardens Pharaoh's heart". God did not allow Pharaoh to release the Jews, until He had delivered His 10 plagues upon the Egyptian people. Pharaoh didn't have free will.

      Biblical prophecy would not be possible, unless events and human actions were predetermined and there is no free will.
      The fulfillment of a prophecy cannot be left to random chance.

      What about the child who is murdered by a monster, or a people slaughtered by a stronger opponent (or a god)?
      Did they choose to be harmed? Where was their free will? These acts show that the strong or the people in power have greater free will than their victims. Hmmm... See how this fits in with the free will / god exists thingy?

      If god has a "plan for each of us", if there is an agenda, then that pretty much rules out free will.

      Jeremiah 29:11
      For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

      "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

      You might argue, that while god has a plan for each of us, He doesn't force us to follow this plan. The problem with this argument, is that if a person does not follow god's plan, it may affect my ability to follow god's plan. A drunk driver may run me down. A robber may shoot me.

      Ephesians 1:11 "We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."

      "this man [Christ Jesus] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23a NASB).

      The 5 point Calvinists believe our fates are sealed, even before we are born. This would mean that god allows humans to be born, knowing they will someday burn forever. Seems wrong to me, even for a mysterious god.

      There is no evidence that a god gives or safeguards free will.

      Humans have free will not because of god, but because god does not exist.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Eric G

      @David Johnson: Perfectly said. You win.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Jon

      Airwx: If eternity is the absence of time then you are effectively saying God does not exist in time. Question, if god has always been eternal (not existing in time) then how did/does he communicate with humans? We only exist in time until we die and then our souls go eternity. Bu your definition of eternal the Bible could not be God's word because he could not have given his word to us.

      June 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "If god is all knowing, free will is an illusion."

      Nah. Perspective is vital in this statement. You are applying an aspect of God to how a human would percieve their position in time. Just because God knows the outcomes doesn't mean we have no free will.

      It's like putting a DVD in of the events of 911. We already know what will happen as we view it. But the actions of the person on the DVD are still of his or her making.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Seriously??

      "It's like putting a DVD in of the events of 911. We already know what will happen as we view it. But the actions of the person on the DVD are still of his or her making."

      No, it's not since you still know the ending and if the ending is he-ll then God must be a total jerk.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "You are applying an aspect of God to how a human would percieve their position in time. Just because God knows the outcomes doesn't mean we have no free will."

      --------–

      So god knows ahead of time, before he gives someone life, that they are going to go to hell. So god knowingly creates someone he knows he will punish for eternity? Seems rather sadistic, no?

      June 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Reality

    Beyond the bible:

    Hmmm lets see, in gay se-xual activity, who plays the guy and who plays the gal? Who is on top and who is on the bottom? A coin flip? To say the least, an unusual situation.

    Then there are those "made in China" toys/strap-ons. Lets hope the FDA has checked them for lead and other toxic components. And do said "toys" come with sanitizers and/or sterilization instructions.

    Lots and lots of "gays" doing their hot and heavy things on Internet tube sites but nothing about coin flipping, who is on first, and sanitizers sites?? There must be some "Gaying It For Dummies" books out there somewhere. Hmmm, I wonder if said books/sites have to have FDA and CDC approval??

    Is said activity wrong and worthy of a trip to hell? Of course not but to the general heteros-exual population it is yucky, unusual and not normal to them. With that mind set, approval by the majority is not always sanctioned in law.

    The general population to include many of the voters in California, rightly or wrongly, find gay se-xual activities, married or not, to be "yucky" and unusual and typically associate such activity with the spread of AIDS which is of course wrong. Said AIDS epidemic in the gay male community at the start of the AIDS crises will always remain unfortunately a stigma on the gay community.

    " And after all of this rhetoric, gay "marriages" simply simplify and somewhat sanitize what are still "yucky" acts caused by a variant gene(s) and/or hormone imbalance. One wonders if stem cell research will find a cure??

    Impressive list of gay people who did not let their yucky defect get in the way of being a contribution to society. Unfortunately, they were not able to contribute to the evolutionary process of DNA improvement via procreation.
    And one will never know whether they would have achieved even greater achievements without said defect.

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex s-exual defects. Some defects are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    And yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • topgod

      gays are the evolutionary phenomena to slow down the infestation of earth by people. mandatory sterilization should be enforced

      June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • airwx

      Hello Reality.... congrats...an original thought... I'm proud of you!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • TheyNotHim

      The male organ fits nicely into three distinct orifices, as designed by doG. How is this unnatural?

      June 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Dang, Reality, that was the stupidest thing you've ever written. There are non-precreative hetero acts that I find yucky and others I find sublime. And I don't expect anyone to agree with my assessments point by point. When it comes to matters of se-xuality, it's best we all mind our own business where others' tastes are concerned providing that all of the given others are there by valid consent.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @TheyNotHim It also fits nicely into a hand, one's own or someone else's.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Normon

      @TheyNotHim,
      "The male organ fits nicely into three distinct orifices, as designed by doG. How is this unnatural?"
      'Nicely', depends on your perspective/preference.

      @John Richardson
      "It also fits nicely into a hand, one's own or someone else's."
      Hey, another proof of God's design... someone let Ray Comfort know there is confirmation of his Banana Theory of Design, the han.djob.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  4. Tim777

    WAY TOO MUCH to do about ONLY 1.4% of the US Population.
    Of that 1.4% (which includes EVERYONE who even LOOKED at a Gay it seems)
    80% are 'Straight' now.
    Good Grief, give it a REST !!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bruce

      LOL @ argument from statistics.

      (1) Your numbers are very low.
      (2) Even if your numbers are accurate (they are not), they do not matter. If the number was 0.0001%, it still wouldn't matter.

      Just because it would annoy you: gaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygay.

      There, now. That feels better. 😛

      June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  5. loki

    The bible is replete with lines stating this behavior is forbidden, Old and New Testament. For those who think the bible is being twisted just review Leviticus 18:22 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 Of course the whole intro to Leviticus starts off with saying "The Lord said to Moses". It's nice to know there are people out there who consider themselves religous and are there to correct the almighty because they know in their heart he didn't get it right. Stop trying to bend the bible to fit your beliefs and change your beliefs to fit the bible.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Straight but not narrow

      Who gives a crap about the Bible? Are we living in Saudi Arabia?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Phil

      Eaten any shellfish or pork lately? Gone to church during you time of the month? – Well, I guess Hell will be pretty full huh?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Kyle

      Yes, lets break out old Leviticus and start stoning virtually everyone to death.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • crucified

      @phil way to point out Jewish law to a gentile Christian.. you are allowed to eat shellfish and pork.. unless you are Jewish.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Kyle

      Thats awesome crucified....that means god has different standards? Wow, way to stick it to the jews god.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • crucified

      no not different standards,,they were chosen it is by their faith that the Gentiles would come to know God and be grafted into the kingdom through Jesus.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  6. Judywire

    Come Jesus come !

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  7. fred

    Saved or unsaved is the deciding factor not divorced, gay, robber etc.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  8. Susan

    The bible also says that you're not allowed to wear linen and wool together. I'm guessing a few fashion designers out there better be careful or someone is going to stone them. You can't pick and choose which parts you like and which you don't and you can't just contort the words to mean what you want them to mean (unless you're Humpty Dumpty).

    June 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Chris

      Yet thats exactly what the nut jobs in this country do. I just dont understand how they could believe any of it if 50+% is known to be false.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Richard

      Um, ... WRONG..., it is obvious that certain ceremonial laws from the old testament are no longer for the people of God, i.e. the church, which is not Israel, per se. Other things can never be made right. I can't believe you can't understand that. Are you willingly blind, or did you just not get enough sleep last night?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • crucified

      50% wrong that is silly... none is wrong.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Kyle

      Funny richard, because Jesus said himself that the way to be saved is to follow the commandments of scripture.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • crucified

      @Kyle and he qouted the Ten commandments back to Jesus not the Levitical Laws,,, don't be silly.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  9. Ted

    Stop reading and quoting just what agrees with your position. Read the Old Testament. There you will find your truth.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • af090391

      There are many sola scriptura religions out there, completely based on what the bible says. Thank about that, many religions, one book. Something tells me what you, and everyone else around you, gleans from the bible is likely different from everyone else.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  10. FREDO

    so according to the bible divorced people will burn in the lake of fire also. About 90 % of americans will have to burn then.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • crucified

      90% divorced? funny 48% are married...

      June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • dwordisclear

      Have you ever heard about Jesus' work on the cross?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Straight but not narrow

      No, just the divorced "family values" hypocrites.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  11. Nick

    Thank goodness we have these smart folks from the Ivy League divinity schools to tell us what the Bible says. It's a wonder the world ever got along without them. I guess Bible wasn't intended for the remaining 99.999999% of us in the world's population.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Bruce

      Actually, if you check out the history of the canonical councils, there was a very strong opinion back when "the Bible" was being first arranged and canonized about how the general public should interact–and not interact–with scripture.

      And here's the thing–it wasn't the populist/democratic opinion you hold. It was quite elitist, indeedy.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Free

      Maybe not. After all, unless you can read it in the original languages and have a very good understanding of the cultural context in which it was written, how could you possibly hope to understand it exactly as it was intended? You could guess, and 'interpret' a meaning that you feel happy with, picking and choosing what you value, but isn't that what the author is saying most people do already?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Kyle

      Heaven forbid we should listen to people who take time to study our whole history of religion and not preachers who pull one small story from one book and turn it into a whole sermon.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  12. Descarado

    This article wouldn't be the product of CNN's gay agenda, would it? I am shocked! Shocked!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Richard

      May I just say that that was a very excellent one.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • God (the REAL one)

      This post wouldn't be the product of your anti-gay agenda, would it?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Straight but not narrow

      I was going to respond to your "conspiracy theory" but why bother?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  13. Daren

    I hope Jonathan and his partner are very happy together.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Richard

      Is it ho ho ho, or cry cry cry?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  14. AD

    I love the bible passages when Jesus questions the high priests understanding of scriptures. Modern churches and teaches are practically the same today as they were then. Examples:

    Re: Harming a fetus – see Exodus 20-21 and eye for an eye for harming a child in the womb

    Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

    Passages like this need to be understood against the backdrop and context of managing cultural change and conversion, which would explain why Jesus and his followers had long hair. The hair itself is like washing of hands – may be a good idea to preserve the body – but does nothing for salvation.

    Divorce and Men & Women – The Gospel is clear – A man is to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife.

    Rather than be critical of those that seek the word because it provides eternal truths at a time when the false church of an ever changing world finds many in peril, it would be kinder to understand that holding on to that eternal truth helps people rise above the trouble in the world. ...and the world is in trouble isn't it?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • God (the REAL one)

      The world is in trouble, and it has plenty to do with that comic book of yours, and the other comic books.

      At least Superman and Batman comic books had pictures.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  15. SecularVoice

    Why care at all what a bunch of goat-herders believed 2 millennia ago? Faerie-Tales have a time and a place, in storybooks and cinema.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Peter

      Why post this twice?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • John williams

      Idiot, quit regurgitating what other people told you. "The Bible is fairy tell, blah blah blah, idiots lived 2000 years ago blah blah blah. Ya, because no one that lived before us could possibly know anything (sarcasm). You are such an amateur at life. How about you use your own brain and think for yourself?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Ummmm

      "You are such an amateur at life. How about you use your own brain and think for yourself?"

      Religion is regurgitated or haven't you realize the bible was taken from other pagan religions of that time. LOL!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • ttwp

      @Ummmm: Totally inaccurate....suggest you do some more research and reading.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Ummm

      lets see....

      1st: Horus
      2nd: Jesus
      Father:
      Only begotten son of the God Osiris.
      Only begotten son of Yehovah (in the form of the Holy Spirit).

      Mother:
      Isis-Meri. 4
      Miriam (now often referred to as Mary).

      Foster father's ancestry:
      Of royal descent.
      Of royal descent.

      Birth location:
      In a cave.
      In a cave or stable.

      Annunciation:
      By an angel to Isis, his mother.
      By an angel to Miriam, his mother.

      Birth heralded by:
      The star Sirius, the morning star.
      An unidentified "star in the East."

      Birth announcement:
      By angels.
      By angels.

      Birth witnesses:
      Shepherds.
      Shepherds.

      Birth witnesses:
      Shepherds.
      Shepherds. 3

      Baptism location:
      In the river Eridan-us.
      In the river Jordan.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  16. SecularVoice

    Why care at all what a bunch of goatherders believed 2 millennia ago? Faerie-Tales have a time and a place, in storybooks and cinema.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  17. Eli

    To make your lives a little easier I’ll clarify a couple of facts that everybody should know.

    1._ God’s law is ONLY for His people, the ones who desire willingly to follow and believe His commands.
    See: 1 Corinthians 1:18 – 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    2._God has chosen to show these truths to some but not to all people: See Acts 2:47 and Matthew 11:25 25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.
    Romans 9:18 – 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
    So, avoid going about getting offended if you cannot understand it or cannot follow it, because it’s not something that is required of you. No one is obligated to follow them unwillingly. Don’t people do what they want regardless of what you tell them? See Proverbs 3:7.
    You have the will to do what you will, and no one should be making you do what you don’t want to do, and God respects that.
    3_. The Bible CANNOT be interpreted with our human mind; one needs the Holy Spirit of God. Any interpretation drawn using our own intelligence will lead only to discussions and unfound theories.
    Romans 8:16 – 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our own spirit, that we are children of God.
    I hope this helps someone.

    Thanks.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Jpdag

      Amen!! Particularly to your third point. 🙂

      June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • dwordisclear

      Great post!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • God (the REAL one)

      Nice try.

      However, you, like all of those like you, are full of feces.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Kyle

      Thought the whole point was the bible didn't NEED interpreting. That everything is written exactly true by the power of the holy spirit.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Joel

      The only problem with point number 3 is that only those who agree with YOUR truth have the Holy Spirit. It's a circular argument. I agree with the author of the original article: Y'all's wanting to pick and chose. Since "Sin is sin" you divorced folks who remarried are gonna find yourself in a heap of trouble. The author's last point is choice and is indeed the true history of Christianity through out the ages: Believe what you want and then find a verse to support it.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Timmay

      "The Bible CANNOT be interpreted with our human mind"

      How can a text written, re-written, translated, and edited for content by human minds be impossible to interpret by them?

      Stop clinging to psychobabble ramblings of monarchs from centuries past. I consider myself to be a Christian, but taking every setence in the Bible as the word of God is in my mind, a bit silly, and discounts the very argument that you are making. Perhaps it is time that we realize that a text written by man is incapable of perfectly communicating the word of God.

      Or whatevs.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  18. Guest

    Young Man, please take your personal copy of the Bible and read over these verses. They will enlighten you.

    The Bible at 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 says that All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.

    1 Corinthian 6: 9,10 states What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.

    1 Timothy 1:8-11 states Now we know that the Law is fine provided one handles it lawfully in the knowledge of this fact, that law is promulgated, not for a righteous man, but for persons lawless and unruly, ungodly and sinners, lacking loving-kindness, and profane, murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, manslayers, fornicators, men who lie with males, kidnappers, liars, false swearers, and whatever other thing is in opposition to the healthful teaching according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.

    Yes the apostle Paul wrote these verses but he was inspired by God to write them. Therefore it is not man who we are accountable to, but God!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Phil

      Nice bit of selective quotes. Missed the global message of the Gospels but hey we are looking for judgement here, right?

      Here are a couple for you:
      John 8:7 – So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
      Matt 7:2-5 – Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • InFormed

      And yet it can support genocide (the genocide of Noah), and incest (the story of Lott)

      June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Kyle

      Funny, because the "scripture" that he is talking about is not the bible. The bible including that letter was compiled 300 years later.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • crucified

      Noah never committed genocide and Lot never had incest! his daughters did it to him and noah made a boat and got in it.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Kaden

      I just looked these bible references up. You know, to ensure validity. Seems that religion is awfully fond of using God's word as law. Ok, if you are going to go that route, let's make sure it's accurate. Guess what? They don't appear in any of the original text in that format. Neither 1 Timothy 1:8-11 nor 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 contains the lines about men who lie with men or males or anything like that. It was rewritten, one passage very recently. Like most of the Bible, it has been completely rewritten to justify a personal view. Rewriting God's word seems a little more than heretical, in my opinion. I would think very carefully about citing bible verses that have been altered, and in your pride, using them against your fellow man. Judging others, especially using lies, seems like a really good way to be judged yourself. Use the original word of God if you are going to use anything.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • crucified

      read jude 1:7

      June 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Bible Reader

      To Kaden: Interesting point, however it sounds like you may be making one innocent mistake. The Bible your reading from may not be a translation, it may be a version. Huge difference when it comes to accuracy. Guests citations are accurate according to several translations. However,please realize that if you have a King James .... it is a version not a translation, so it contains many erroneous passages.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Straight but not narrow

      Am I crazy or is there more than ONE Bible? Aren't there many interpretations of the original? Even the name itself is an interpretation. It's all been interpreted by MAN – prone to mistakes and driven by his own point of view.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • fuyuko

      if he is truly a biblical scholar, chances are he has read those passages.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Kaden

      mmmkay. Jude 1:7: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

      So, let's see...shall we interpret this in whatever way justifies our own belief? After all, that seems to be an awful lot of what goes on with the bible. It says what it says and is not specific. Interpret it as you will, but it's STILL interpretation.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  19. nycbull

    good post all around. Well written and has the beautiful ring ot truth. Thank you for an honest take on these issues.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  20. Mom in MA

    of course it is , they always ignore the other laws calling for stoning/death/punishment that are in the same book (Leviticus) ... if they really followed what they preach half of them and their kin would have been stoned by now. They single out those lines that best back up their attacks and blow everything else off.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • dwordisclear

      Please, read Ely's post above yours. It is clear you have no clue about Scriptures.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Mel

      Leviticus is in the old testament, and the practices in the old testament were the old law. Jesus nailed the old law to the cross. That is why you do not see people stoning people or sacrificing animals anymore. True Christians don't contradict themselves. They just know the Bible better than most.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • TheyNotHim

      @Mel ... so being gay is OK because Jesus nailed all of the OT stuff to the cross? Thank you I will use that argument in the future to support equal rights for everybody...

      June 21, 2011 at 5:46 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.