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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. Rainer Braendlein

    The great German reformer Dietrich Bonhoeffer was once asked: "Who was the first theologian?"

    He answered: Lucifer!

    Bonhoeffer was a wise man.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Bonhoeffer was a wise man."

      Perhaps but not a very good theologian. Lucifer was a human being and not what we consider the devil.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Will E.

      Sounds clever until one realizes Lucifer is a mythological creation, and theology a defense of the naked Emperor's new clothes.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Will- actually Lucifer isn't a creation at all. Lucifer was a name used to describe the Babylonian king during Isaiah's time.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Will E.

      Good point, Uncouth. I was hasty in my reply. If I recall correctly, "Lucifer" became associated with Satan much, much later than the OT.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  2. HFM

    I have a brain....I don't need to have my life ruled by some book filled with dogma by a handful of MEN who wanted to exert power over their airheaded bretheren. Waving the bible around won't stop floods, reduce inflation or stop wars....it has no magic power. It is a crutch for simpletons.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Will R

      A handful of people, over vast distances and time compiling a 'book' of such continuity continues to be, in the mind of most literary scholars, compelling to say the least. Don't let 'simpletons' keep you from discovering the profound truths incased inside the 'book'
      Read, observe, interpret, & apply for yourself; my 2cents.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Observastion

      Your statement implying that you are more intelligent than every believer reveals your level of intelligence.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Kacy

      Actually, people who believe and live the lessons of the Bible are far from simpletons because they have to contend with a lot of complex information and a lot of people who don't like the Bible. This takes intellectual power and courage. The Bible does have power. For example, it's lessons have inspired many people to help others such as the countless people who have worked with and supported the American Red Cross since its inception. Don't bash something that you don't understand or that you don't want to understand. Just say you don't believe in it and let that be that. Just don't let fear get in the way of you knowing God.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Will R Continuity??? Egads. The Bible is an incoherent hodgepodge of ravings by opinionated but not terribly bright and woefully ignorant men.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • ttwp

      The person without God's Spirit cannot understand God's Word in the fullest sense, for he does not and cannot have a real appreciation of the spiritual implications of biblical truth, especially in relation to his own person. He may grasp the thoughts, but he misses the spirit, the life-changing purpose behind the thoughts. In that sense he comprehends the raw concepts, but he does not truly "see." Hence, the man without the Spirit of God cannot truly understand (fully grasp or appreciate) the things of God.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Realist

      So the bible helps others? Well missions have HELPED destroyed countless civilizations, cultures, and murdered millions of innocent people across the African continent and the Middle East. Not to mention those in Europe and North America accused of witchcraft and slaughtered, of another Christian denomination and killed, or just simply not Christian and murdered for it.

      In reality, your book of mistranslated notes, not even written by those who the chapters are named for but scribes over a hundred years later, has misguided, misdiagnosed, and murdered more people than any other paperback in the world.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • weezy

      I have found the simpleton, and it is YOU!.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Frogist

      @ttwp: It's a convenient falsehood that not believing in God somehow prohibits readers from understanding what is in the Bible. Or creates such a divide that conclusions made are 180 degrees away from accuracy. There is no evidence that someone's non-belief const!tutes a lack of reading comprehension. Or that someone's belief improves it. Just because we might disagree on what particular meaning there is in the book does not mean that yours is automatically right or better because you are a believer.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • judy

      I pray that you start reading the bible and believe it so you can be saved. When you die their are only two places that you can go and that is heaven or hell. Can you really feel in your heart that you know which place you will go? If you accept Jesus into your heart then you will be saved from eternal damnation. I will pray that you find your way to Jesus.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Will

      Absolutely – I agree with you.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • big Spender

      The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. Better be careful what you say HFM

      August 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • CJ

      @ Judy: If I am Jewish, and don't believe Jesus is my savior, does that me I am condemned to hell? Might I remind you that Jesus himself was Jewish...

      December 3, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Joe

      like!

      December 30, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  3. Robert

    Gay and Lesbian people can have natural children. It involves a different family model from what straight people usually chose or accidentally do but it works just the same. They are able to be vastly more choosy about with whom, when, and how they procreate. In fact a world full of children born by choice, raised with extreme care, and the love and support of several parents is likely to be better. I would watch what you ask for.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • everymom

      And your name is Billy Bob. Who would have guessed. Priceless.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • shaymac

      This makes absolutely no sense. Gay people are biologically incapable of natural procreation and the legality of their ability to adopt, or if it should be allowed, is still being debated.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Born Again 2005

      @ Robert: meant to type "There is no arguing that 2 women or 2 men committed to one another CANNOT have a natural child from that union."

      June 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Fors Miner

      @shaymac
      You said "This makes absolutely no sense. Gay people are biologically incapable of natural procreation and the legality of their ability to adopt, or if it should be allowed, is still being debated."

      This statement is ludicrous! If this were true, it would be incontrovertible evidence that "gay" is a genetic mutation. However, except for a minority of (shall we call them?) "dedicated" gay people, and discounting any who happen to be infertile, gay and lesbian sperms and eggs work just as well as anybody elses. Your argument reveals your ignorance. (I'm being generous when I say that.)

      June 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Granger

      Yep – mathematician have proven 2 + 2 = 3, but would you work with someone who believe "fuzzy" math. Nope!

      June 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • ehatts

      @Fors Miner...maybe shaymac means the 'natural' act of procreation...biologically...in the act itself... two men together or two women together are naturally unable to procreate...

      June 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • jasser

      two ga y men cannot produce and child that is the sum total of both of their genetic material. Its a convoluted process of finding a woman willing to carry one guys child –and often the spe rm of both of them is mixed together and injected into the woman so it will be ambiguous who is the bioligical father so that neither will feel left out or less. That sets you up for psychological issues right there. Its not natural–nature didnt design it–what men and woman together can do naturally is natures way.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Scott

      How are two gay fathers supposed to help a young girl through her first period? How are two lesbian mothers going to help a young boy understand what it means to be a man? Some heteros aren't doing a good job of raising their kids, but that doesn't mean we need to start implementing any other parental arraingment.

      July 13, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • LinCA

      @Scott

      You said "How are two gay fathers supposed to help a young girl through her first period? How are two lesbian mothers going to help a young boy understand what it means to be a man? Some heteros aren't doing a good job of raising their kids, but that doesn't mean we need to start implementing any other parental arraingment."
      Are you advocating taking children away from single mothers? Or from stay-behind parents who's spouses are fighting Americas wars?

      July 13, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Male01

      just how do two males, have natural children, without adopting or being previously married to a female

      July 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  4. BD7

    This is one of the most well written opinions on gay marriage that I have read. Thank you.

    I believe in equal legal rights for gay couples. If a church does not want to preform the ritual, fine. One of our founding foundations of America was seperation of church and state. A church's protest/beliefs should not opress someone's civil rights. My example that I give is of my grandmother. She was with her partner for 45 years, and when she was in ICU, her partner could not visit her because "she was not family". The family wanted her to be able to visit, but the hospital said no. As someone said earlier, down the road we will look back and see how ridiclous it was that gay couples were not able to marry and have equal rights.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • EZRA

      Yes! All State-sponsored "marriages" between consenting adults should be call "Civil Unions" – leave marriag as a sacrament ot religious right to the churches and they can do what they want.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Brad Smith

      And all people who get these so called "marriages" which are strictly religious should give up their 1000+ LEGAL benefits and obligations received when they get married in their churches. Such legal protection should only come with the civil unions that are given to all consenting adults equally and sanctioned by the state. People who claim government has no place "redefining" marriage forget that our government does define marriage and gives them many legal protections because of it.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • dannyboy49

      There is no such thing as Gay Marriage. Gay unitedly are Civil Union as a Gay Couple. Marriage is between a man and a woman. There is no need to change the meaning of a word by minority people. The word Marriage has been around for a lot longer than a few people willing to justify a change of its meaning. I guess you can add to the dictionary the word Gay License. Give official permission for the person to do something or for the activity to take place.

      July 17, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  5. JDS

    The Bible has a history of being misinterpreted (by Christians and non-Christians alike) for the purposes of supporting specific arguments. However, saying that we should allow one thing the Bible condemns simply because we allow other things the Bible condemns is a weak argument. Some things in the Bible were condemned because they are morally wrong. Others were for practical reasons, or (in the case of long hair for men) to separate the Christians from the non-Christian Jews.

    The argument that gay marriage should be allowed because it is only condemned once in the New Testament is also not a strong argument. It is condemned in the Old Testament as well. I am tired of people trying to separate the two testaments. One does NOT replace the other. The God of the Old Testament is NOT different from the God of the New Testament. Both are one and the same.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Angry Hillbilly.... I would agree with you except for one point. Each of us has a foundation for our lifestyle, be it the Bible, any other religious work or a secular/humanist work based in philosophy.
      To ask one group to check their "foundation" at the door why not requiring the same of others is a double standard.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • airwx

      sorry...why=while

      June 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      "To ask one group to check their "foundation" at the door why not requiring the same of others is a double standard."

      You misunderstand me. The way this country should be is that EVERYONE check their "foundation" at the door. We pass laws which are just and don't discriminate. Against homosexuality? That's your business, I won't tell you you're wrong. Against it because of your religious teachings and want to ban it because of them? Sorry, you're wrong and have no right to do so under what our country should be protecting.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • airwx

      With that qualifyer we can agree

      June 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • dagwud

      @angryhillbilly: You wrote, "The way this country should be is that EVERYONE check their "foundation" at the door. We pass laws which are just and don't discriminate."

      So, tell me, if we all leave our "foundations" at the door, how do we determine what is "just"? The definition of "Justice" is based on a foundation – many, in fact, and some that disagree. The position that laws shouldn't discriminate also is based on a foundation.

      The argument that people should check their beliefs at the door to the polling place, and that legislators should leave their beliefs at home when going to the capitol is silly. When espoused, it usually means "people with whom I disagree should shut up and leave their beliefs at home, but those who agree with me are welcome to participate."

      June 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      "So, tell me, if we all leave our "foundations" at the door, how do we determine what is "just"? The definition of "Justice" is based on a foundation – many, in fact, and some that disagree. The position that laws shouldn't discriminate also is based on a foundation."

      What is just? That's kind of easy. Everyone has equal rights. Sound just? That foundation is humanist. The foundation I'm referring to is one of religion should be the driving force behind our laws.

      "The argument that people should check their beliefs at the door to the polling place, and that legislators should leave their beliefs at home when going to the capitol is silly. When espoused, it usually means "people with whom I disagree should shut up and leave their beliefs at home, but those who agree with me are welcome to participate.""

      Bullshit. Disagree with me on political points all you want, but your arguments should not be based by religion. That is the "foundation" that needs to be left at the door. Don't have an argument that isn't based on your religious faith? Then it was likely unconstitutional.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • MomOf3

      Sorry! for some reason, my reply posted as a new comment... **SIGH**

      @dagwud – the basis of the laws of the US are not from the Bible, but from cultures that predate the Bilbe by thousand's of years. If you want to say our foundations should be reflected in our laws, then according to our current laws, we should be a polytheistic society, worshipping gods from Sumaria, Greece and ancient Rome. I specify ancient Rome so you don't confuse this with the Rome that currently houses the Roman Catholic Church...

      June 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • dagwud

      @momof3 – I didn't say the Bible was the foundation of our laws. My point is that the Bible informs the views of many who vote or who legislate. You can't just leave that behind when you cross the congressional threshold. But neither do I think it can serve as a valid support for an argument in government.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • dagwud

      Moderation appears to have swallowed my comment so let me make it shorter.

      @AngryHillbilly – I happen to agree. If your faith informs your belief and your belief is valid, then you've got to be able to find non-religious support for the position. However, you've still given preference to a "humanist foundation," by your own choice of words regarding justice and equal rights. So you're not asking everyone to leave their foundations at the door. You've given preference to one foundation.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      Did you skip over the part where I said "The foundation I'm referring to is one of religion should be the driving force behind our laws?" Or when I said "but your arguments should not be based by religion. That is the "foundation" that needs to be left at the door?"

      June 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      To continue, I mean that the foundations that need to be ignored are the ones by which give favor to a religious ideology. Humanism isn't really a religion, nor is libertarian, liberal, conservative, etc. Those are based on rules a "god" never had a hand in making, thereby making them easier to change.

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

      @AngryHillbilly – nope. I didn't miss that part. I also didn't miss the part where you originally said "EVERYONE check their foundation at the door," without specifying only religious foundations. But you're further clarifying your thoughts for the rest of us, which I appreciate since I had my Psychic Club Of America card revoked.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      Yeah, they've been revoking a lot of cards recently. No one saw it coming...

      June 22, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  6. PimpOfBabylon

    While the author doesn't actually come out and say it, this article makes the excellent point that if you want to blindly base your life, and try to force others to base their lives, on an ancient and poorly written science fiction novel, you should at least read it first. Of course, most people who possess the intellectual integrity and curiosity to do so are already atheists, so it's kind of a moot point.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Fors Miner

      I just have to interject here and say I *LOVE* your screen name! (Thank you!) LOL

      June 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  7. Jayleigh

    Are you really trying to defend Gay Marriage using the bible through logical and obvious contradictions.

    Don't you know that people pick and choose what they like and do not like about religion. Then they reverse engineer the scripture in order to make their stance seem valid.

    Human Ego dictates that what I think is better than what you think. If these religious and pious people lived like Christ they would have no Ego and bow to His unlimited Awesomeness. But as it is we have to deal with each other's BS.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Sam

      Are you really asking a question without using a question mark?

      June 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  8. Lin

    Katherine, God DID write the Bible. If you have access to a Bible, check out 2 Peter, 1:20-21 "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." Also, 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. " Nuff said.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Stevie7

      So ... the bible is the word of god because the bible says so? What about other religious text that also claim to be the word of the divine. They say so as well, so who's right? And what if I said that my statements are the words of god – that god is literally speaking through me. Would I be right because I said so?

      June 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Free

      Lin
      That's a case for the Jewish scriptures being God's word, and that's all Peter, Timothy, Paul and even Jesus had at hand.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • EatRunDive

      2 problems

      You are assuming that 100% of the Bible is prophetic.
      &
      When the New Testament refers to "scripture" it is referring to the Old Testament.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      Why didn't god write it in the side of a mountain with lightning? Why did he write it so long ago, and have incorrect information in it? Seeing how the bible has been translated so many times, and is interpretted so differently, why doesn't god write a new version that everyone can agree on?

      Quotes from the bible are not proof the bible is the word of god. That's circular reasoning.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Vanilla Gorilla

      Lin,
      How can you actually believe that a supreme bring (aka God) wrote the bible? Most of the OT was ripped from ancient texts written thousands of years before there were Hebrews or a Chosen People. The NT is an amalgamation of tests written by a variety of "religious" leaders to foster their own agenda – most of the books/texts that should have been in the NT were excluded. Get in your way back machine and head to the 4th century where you will be right at home..........
      There certainly maybe a god .............. but I doubt that he/she would want to be connected to the bible and modern Christianity – religion, a really decent idea gone by bad at the hands of man.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Vanilla... Having read most of the "excluded" writings you speak of in your post I am surprised that you mention them. Since you claim the bible is ripped from other religiolns then I would expect you to recognize the foundations of those "gospels" as being a cross of Eygpttian and Babalonian religions; not Christianity.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Paul

      The BIble said it so it MUST be true. Sheeeezzzzz...

      June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Rye

      @Lin

      This comment was left by God..... using your logic toward the Bible, you must really believe it.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Erin

      Well Lin if you said God wrote it it must be true.... not man but God! I did not realize we still had living witnesses

      June 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Larry

      Lin, this probably won't matter to you, but at the time that 2 Peter and 2 Timothy were written, they were not considered Scripture.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Fors Miner

      Yes, those words were written by God Peter and God Paul. What?!

      June 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • expatADAM

      A group of men wrote the bible, and they weren't journalists recording events as they saw them happen, either. Also, different groups of men have done various translations of this book over the last 2000 years. All of these people had egos (some very big egos), some were quite mad, and they all had their own personal agendas, too. And you ask us to believe that what you are now reading in English was written by God himself? Nuff said.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  9. JJ in CT

    Question: How do we know the bible is actually the word of god?

    June 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Mike from ct

      The same way we trust the other historical events in the bible. The same way we setup our judicial system. The same way you believe that two people are married to a wedding you never been to. The same way you trust your birth certificate. Based on the reliable testimony of others.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @JJ in CT

      You asked: "Question: How do we know the bible is actually the word of god?"

      Ans. – Because the bible says it is

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      @ Mike.

      What historical events ae you referring to?

      June 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @mike – so when evidence contradicts statements made in the bible, we should easily be able to question it's supposed divinity, correct?

      And by your reasoning, it's perfectly logical to believe in ghosts, mermaids, and alien abductions because of 'reliable' testimony. I mean, current first person accounts should carry at least as much weight as accounts of often anonymous authors recording events to which they were not witnesses, often times decades, centuries, or millenia after they occurred, right?

      June 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      @ David.

      Oh. That explains it.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      @ Stevie.

      Good points.

      Also, when the bible began to appear in the historical timeline, this was an age when humans thought there were many gods, they thought the Earth was flat, and that the Earth revolved around the sun.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • nojinx

      We don't. It is based on desire. If you want it to be true, you will put faith into it. Deism is based on a desire to understand one's paradigm, as it has always been.

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

      "Based on the reliable testimony of others."

      There goes all validity of religious texts.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • siubo11A

      You're right! How do we know whether the bible is the word of god or the word of man?

      I would think it boils down to an easy analogy. When a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, fact is that it doesn't make a sound.

      In this case, if there is a god and no one is here to believe him/her, the god would not exist. Man created god to explain how man was created.

      (Let me get this out there that I'm agnostic and still open to belief if I have proof.) My explanation to your question is that the bible is not the word of god. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, even if it once was, it is not anymore. The birth of the bible is when man said, "God wanted to play a game of telephone with me and the holy spirit. But don't worry, I remember what he told the holy spirit to tell me! I wrote it down!"

      Through years and years and years of changes, revisions, corrections, explanations, interpretations and translations, by now, the bible is just a good piece of literature perverted by the human imagination.

      Besides, if it was god's words, and god knows everything, you would think he would choose better writers so we don't have these problems understanding and deciphering what they mean or what we want them to mean!

      June 22, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Mike from CT

      JJ
      Matthew,Mark, Luke, and John the letters of Paul... especially Luke and Acts.

      Talmud, Joespeis (sp?), historically lining up the events in the old testiment to other doc uments.

      Why do you believe a report from CNN but not Luke?

      June 22, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Stevie

      Don't confuse the fact that you did not get to witness something as "they were not witnesses" within 10-30 years of the even, not millenia.

      You did not get to witness the civil war but still believe that it occured.

      "current first person accounts should carry at least as much weight " it does, such an account can land you in jail today. Again just because you were not there does not make it not first person witness.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  10. RAN

    We should all become gay. Then the issue will be solved in one generation.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      It needs a mandate. Then everyone will be for it!

      June 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @RAN

      You said: "We should all become gay. Then the issue will be solved in one generation."

      Straight people can no more "become" gay, than gay people can "become" straight. All studies indicate that people are born the way they are.

      When asked, gay people state, they did not choose to be gay. I think we should believe them. And accept them.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Mike from ct

      Dave you have to lighten up buddy and loose the Chip on your shoulder. Then maybe you would laugh at ran's joke.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Phoenix

      Totally agree! What a genius!

      July 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  11. Matthew Cremeens

    A very well written article with an interesting point that warrants further discussion. My only complaint, if you can call it a complaint, is that this line of reasoning could be used to advocate any behavior. I mean, really, why aren't we advocating the marriage of any two or more consenting adults? Polygamy, and incenstuous relationships alike. So long as all parties involved are of sound mind and freely consent.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Eric G

      Well, incest produces genetically inferior offspring. (Insert Royal Family jokes here).

      The point is that these questions are secular. Society determines what is acceptable.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      Excellent point! It is a change in the laws to suit a particular desire and not a principle to be applied at all levels.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      Also, as far as polygamy goes, there's a history of sexual abuse that can be found with those who regularly practice it. At least, that's my understanding for why the feds have cracked down on it.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Matthew Cremeens
      You said: "this line of reasoning could be used to advocate any behavior. I mean, really, why aren't we advocating the marriage of any two or more consenting adults? Polygamy, and incenstuous relationships alike. So long as all parties involved are of sound mind and freely consent."

      Your argument is often used when discussing gay marriage. Usually they give examples such as marriage to animals etc.
      Society must decide what it will allow, and what it will disallow, based on an actions effect of society. Gay marriage has no bad effect. It should be allowed. Gays are just attracted to others of the same $ex. They are not perverts. It certainly doesn't follow that if you allow gay marriage, then you must allow a shopping list of perversions.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Matthew
      There's nothing wrong with polygamy, according to the Bible.

      GENESIS 4:19
      "Then Lamech took for himself two wives : the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah."
      Deuteronomy 21:15
      "If a man have two wives, one beloved and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:"
      Exodus 21:10
      "If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights."
      King David is called "a man after God's own heart" and he had multiple wives.
      1 Samuel 25:43 states:
      "David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and so both of them were his wives."
      2 Samuel 5:13:
      "And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron. Also more sons and daughters were born to David."
      2 Samuel 12:8
      "Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel : 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. ' I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!"
      GENESIS 32:32
      "And he [Jacob] arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok."
      2 CHRONICLES 11:21
      "Now Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters."

      June 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Angry Hillbilly

      You said: "Also, as far as polygamy goes, there's a history of $exual abuse that can be found with those who regularly practice it. At least, that's my understanding for why the feds have cracked down on it."

      I have nothing against polygamy, providing the marriages are between adults. But, I am irritated that they are determined to have as many children as possible, and then collect public assistance. I also glower at mom's in the supermarket who have kids hanging off her, in every direction and paying with food stamps.

      The world does not need families with excessive numbers of children. Thank god for Planned Parenthood and ALL of its services.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      Yeah, I feel the same way. We want to point our finger at the Democrats, or the Republicans, or the terrorists, or the atheists, or whoever and say "That group is the problem." WE are the problem. Every time I see people having a dozen kids when they can't support themselves, I feel a little disgusted. But that's just my personal opinion, what do I know...

      June 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @David Johnson

      You said,"Your argument is often used when discussing gay marriage. Usually they give examples such as marriage to animals etc.
      Society must decide what it will allow, and what it will disallow, based on an actions effect of society. Gay marriage has no bad effect. It should be allowed. Gays are just attracted to others of the same $ex. They are not perverts. It certainly doesn't follow that if you allow gay marriage, then you must allow a shopping list of perversions."

      My first question is who are you to say whether or not something is or is not perverted...you said a "shopping list of perversions" some people think that being gay is a perversion, what makes you right and them wrong?
      By that same rationale you cannot say that something else is perverted because you think it is, or even because some other people agree with you...With no set standard of what is right and what is not right brings anarchy...The bible gives a set of standards, if we choose not to follow them we will have to answer for it one day...

      In response to the article that was written...
      Mr. Dudley mentions hair length, celibacy, when life begins, and divorce as well as the gay lifestyle choice...the problem with comparisons is it leads to weighing sin and saying that one is worse than another...All sin is wrong and will seperate us from God...God does not grade sin, we do, it's just unfortunate that gay people fight so hard to say that their choice is okay, when they know it's not...otherwise why push so hard? To quote Shakespeare "I think the lady doth protest too much..."
      It seems to me that gay people are trying very hard to convince themselves that what they are doing is okay, because for those who know the Truth, there is no question...

      June 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Yo!

      "It seems to me that gay people are trying very hard to convince themselves that what they are doing is okay, because for those who know the Truth, there is no question."

      There is no convincing they already know they are born gay, it's prejudice people like you that is the problem. You're the one trying hard to convince everyone you know the truth but the reality is you're too full of hate and prejudice, blind and deaf, because Satan has your heart.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't matter

      Why should the book of tribal mythology you subscribe to be the standard for all things right and wrong?

      June 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      "Mr. Dudley mentions hair length, celibacy, when life begins, and divorce as well as the gay lifestyle choice...the problem with comparisons is it leads to weighing sin and saying that one is worse than another...All sin is wrong and will seperate us from God...God does not grade sin, we do, it's just unfortunate that gay people fight so hard to say that their choice is okay, when they know it's not...otherwise why push so hard? To quote Shakespeare "I think the lady doth protest too much..."
      It seems to me that gay people are trying very hard to convince themselves that what they are doing is okay, because for those who know the Truth, there is no question..."

      We aren't a theocracy, therefor it doesn't matter if being gay is a sin or not. Your bronze age book needs to take a back seat to the part of the constitution which says there will be a barrier between the church and the state.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Dmarq

      Hey doesn't matter – nice how you miss the point. You want to say that gays are sinners even though – as pointed out in the article, the issue is only raised once in the New Testament but you are silent on the sin of divorce. You are proving the point of the article! You can't have it both ways dude!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Doesn't Matter –

      Then why do those that [think they] know the "Truth" only push to legislate against one sin, and ignore a myriad of others. That's the entire point of the article. Could it be that the those pushing to legislate against gay marriage don't legislate against divorce because the latter can directly affect them, while the former (presumably) does not? Convenient, no?

      June 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Yo!

      You said,"There is no convincing they already know they are born gay, it's prejudice people like you that is the problem. You're the one trying hard to convince everyone you know the truth but the reality is you're too full of hate and prejudice, blind and deaf, because Satan has your heart."

      Who said anything about hate or convincing anyone about the Truth? If you don't believe in the bible that is your choice, God gave you free will to make that choice, just as he gave people the choice to be gay or straight. Regardless of what you think there are just a many studies done proving it's a choice as there are proving it's a trait you are born with, so that is a moot argument. Perhaps you should examine yourself for this hatred you speak of becuase in my theology we are to hate the sin, but love the sinner...and because we are all sinners, I'm no better than anyone else who sins...so how could I hate someone for co-mmit-ting the sin of h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y when I'm am guilty of sinning in other ways myself?

      June 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      You said," Why should the book of tribal mythology you subscribe to be the standard for all things right and wrong?"

      Perhaps you should study your history books, most of our laws and culture are from the laws and rules in the bible...

      June 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Angry Hillbilly

      You said,"We aren't a theocracy, therefor it doesn't matter if being gay is a sin or not. Your bronze age book needs to take a back seat to the part of the const-i-tution which says there will be a barrier between the church and the state."

      Do you know why there was a seperation of church and state? It was not to protect the state from religion, it was to protect the church from the corruption of man...Absolute power corrupts absolutely! The bible was used to balance our forefathers views and they used it as a standard to build and structure the society we live in today...we may not be a theocracy but "one nation under God" was put in the const-i-tution for a reason...

      June 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Dmarq&Stevie7

      Had the two of you actually read my post, you would have seen that I did in fact acknowledge divorce as sin, what I also said was that we as a society grade sin, God however does not...
      Do I agree with people comparing sin or saying that one is okay and another not? No I do not, sin is sin...more importantly God says all sin will separate us from him...
      So no I did not miss the point of the article, what I was in fact getting at was that because gay people try to force there lifestyle into the public eye, some people get upset and fight back...I don't agree with hating gay people or saying they are any worse than anyone else...we are all sinners in need of God's grace...

      June 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Doesn't Matter: "we may not be a theocracy but "one nation under God" was put in the const-i-tution for a reason..."

      Uh....... That is not in the consti-tution. It was put into the pledge of allegiance in 1954.

      Congratulations! You have won the "Most Moronic Post Of The Day" award. Read a book once in a while.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Yo!

      "Regardless of what you think there are just a many studies done proving it's a choice as there are proving it's a trait you are born with, so that is a moot argument."

      You loose, laws were put into place because the real science that it's not a choice and can't be changed was the truth. The studies you quote were shown to be done by bias and prejudice people.

      "we are to hate the sin, but love the sinner."
      That is not in the bible – prove it.

      "so how could I hate someone for co-mmit-ting the sin of h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y when I'm am guilty of sinning in other ways myself?"

      So allow them to marry, adopt children and live their lives in peace.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      Actually, Matthew Cremeens, you bring up a very good point. The only speculation I can offer is this:

      Moral/religious objections aside, the three main "deviations" (as in deviations from the norm, not necessarily deviant as in evil) typically brought up alongside gay marriage are polygamy, incest, and marrying animals/property. Unlike gay marriage, all three deviations present complicated, messy legal problems that have nothing to do with their moral worth.

      Incest, as scientifically proven, produces harmful effects in the offspring and in the long term threatens the survival of the species. Keeping it illegal is sort of a protect-the-children's-health measure.

      Polygamy is frankly a logistical nightmare, especially in terms of death/divorce rights: if the man dies, are all the wives still considered married to each other (or vice versa)? What about hospital visitation rights? Division of property? Child custody? The list goes on. Look at how messy divorce is even just between two people, then imagine adding more into the fray.

      Marrying one's property, be it animals or inanimate objects, would be problematic because modern marriage is a legal contract between equal partners (read: citizens). Spouses have not been considered property since the 19th century, and for good reason. To return to that would be a step backward in our legal history.

      Hope you found that helpful, and keep thinking!!! Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Doesn't Matter

      You said: "My first question is who are you to say whether or not something is or is not perverted...you said a "shopping list of perversions"

      As I pointed out, when gay marriage is discussed there are always numerous posts claiming that if gay marriage is allowed, all manners of perversions will also be allowed. The poster gives numerous examples.

      Society should decide what is perverted, based on an action's effect on society. I consider any action perverted (or at least not allowed) that has a negative effect. Does the action cause harm? Marriage to an animal, marriage of brother and sister etc. cause harm.

      You asked: "some people think that being gay is a perversion, what makes you right and them wrong?"

      Again, society should base what is allowed, on its effect on society. Gay marriage has no bad effects. Allowing gays their civil rights would make them happy.

      You said: "The bible gives a set of standards"

      Does god give these standards because they are good, or are they good because god gives them?

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Eric G

      Sorry Eric, I'm not American so I may be mistaken, but thanks for the hateful and rude remark, you are a bastion of hope and truth for atheists everywhere!

      @Yo!

      "You loose, laws were put into place because the real science that it's not a choice and can't be changed was the truth. The studies you quote were shown to be done by bias and prejudice people. "

      I lose? I didn't realize we were competing here...regardless of your skepticism, there are studies as well as personal accounts of people who have ceased to be gay and many others who acknowledge that it is a choice they made.

      "That is not in the bible – prove it."
      We are commanded to love our neighbour as ourself...I'd say that pretty much covers the love aspect...as for forgiveness when one of the disciples asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother who sins against him Jesus said 70 times 7...in other words forgive no matter what...

      "So allow them to marry, adopt children and live their lives in peace."

      The can live in peace all they want...I will not stop them from doing that but to get married as it is spoken of in the bible, "for the two to become one flesh" can not happen at least in regards to the spiritual marriage that God ordained between a man and a woman...They can call it something else I guess and go to the justice of the peace...

      @David Johnson

      "As I pointed out, when gay marriage is discussed there are always numerous posts claiming that if gay marriage is allowed, all manners of perversions will also be allowed. The poster gives numerous examples.

      Society should decide what is perverted, based on an action's effect on society. I consider any action perverted (or at least not allowed) that has a negative effect. Does the action cause harm? Marriage to an animal, marriage of brother and sister etc. cause harm. "

      Without the ability to procreate naturally, I would say that in the long run that would cause harm...yes? Also by your rationale a person could marry an object like a tree or a car as this would cause no harm yes? Yes it makes perfect sense...

      "Again, society should base what is allowed, on its effect on society. Gay marriage has no bad effects. Allowing gays their civil rights would make them happy."

      Would it? Or would it just create more problems? How do you know that allowing gay marriage has no bad effects? So should we also grant KKK people the ability to produce tv programs provided that no one is harmed during the filming...or perhaps we should let people produce p-o-r-n-agraphic movies where older women are dressed as pre-teen girls and seduced by older men, provided the girls are not actually underage...

      The point I'm making here is that regardless of what you believe being gay is a choice, and God says it is not okay (not trying to focus on it being the only sin but it is what we are talking about here) if we accept that it is okay, then we encourage others to try it out and see if they like it...which is the problem with the other two examples I gave above: if people see a KKK tv show they might decide to try that lifestyle out, or someone might decide to see if a real pre-teen might be fun to have s-e-x with...if we accept sin we encourage sinfulness...

      "Does god give these standards because they are good, or are they good because god gives them?"

      This is a very good question. But I would say the latter applies more than the former because God is good so anything he gives would be by it's very nature "good"

      June 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't matter

      Given the volume/size of the the bible and the number of laws in force today, you are at least technically wrong.

      But your response did not answer the question, so I repeat – "Why does your book of tribal mytholgogy get to set the standard?" Why not a book from China, or Ja-pan or India or ...? That believers of the christ myth (or any other for that matter) have had their way for a couple of thousand years does not justify that we continue to live under their delusionsal beliefs. You are going to have to do better, or be lumped in with the idiots that fall back on "That's the way it has always been, that's the way it should stay!" Are you smarter than a dumb bible thumper?

      June 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      "Given the volume/size of the the bible and the number of laws in force today, you are at least technically wrong.

      But your response did not answer the question, so I repeat – "Why does your book of tribal mytholgogy get to set the standard?" Why not a book from China, or Ja-pan or India or ...? That believers of the christ myth (or any other for that matter) have had their way for a couple of thousand years does not justify that we continue to live under their delusionsal beliefs. You are going to have to do better, or be lumped in with the idiots that fall back on "That's the way it has always been, that's the way it should stay!" Are you smarter than a dumb bible thumper?"

      The question you asked is a good one (the one asking why the bible, not the one about me being smarter than a dumb bible thumper) But the problem is I can't answer it for you, only you can answer the question for yourself, you need to decide in what you are going to put your faith...in man or in God...it's up to you...

      June 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't matter

      Clearly I have already determined that nothing based on any tribal mythology should be used for the basis of rules/laws applicable to all. But it was you (and a few others) that claimed the bible should be the standard. I'm asking you to defend this assertion with substance. And of course, I bet you can't do that – that you will in fact fall back on something like "the bible says it is the word of god, and I believe in the bible therefore we should continue to do whatever the bible says cause the bible says so..." But, please do show me that you have a better argument than that.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      "Clearly I have already determined that nothing based on any tribal mythology should be used for the basis of rules/laws applicable to all. But it was you (and a few others) that claimed the bible should be the standard. I'm asking you to defend this assertion with substance. And of course, I bet you can't do that – that you will in fact fall back on something like "the bible says it is the word of god, and I believe in the bible therefore we should continue to do whatever the bible says cause the bible says so..." But, please do show me that you have a better argument than that."

      @HotAirAce

      Well, I can only respond by saying that both America and Canada were both countries founded on biblical principles and they both seemed to be thriving until recently as not coincidentially they have begun to depart from these foundations of truth...the more secular the two countries become the more the seem to be going down hill. in every way possible...perhaps you could point out to me some of the ways that secular humanists have contributed to the societal bliss that you seem to think we exist in...

      What I was saying in my previous post is that most of what we are discussing is secondary to the much more important question here: the important question is not why should the world listen to Christ, but why should you? For it is not the world that will give an account of your life here on earth, it is you just as I will give an account of my life...so shall we all and this should be what consumes us as we dwell here...

      June 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Ummmm

      Has anyone else notice HeavenSent aka Doesn't Matter is now playing the same name game they condemned others of using. LOL!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't matter

      You are just "ducking and diving" to avoid answering my question! This is not about me – it's about your assertion that your book of tribal bullsh!t should set the standard. You have not made a single statement in defense of your assertion, therefore I must conclude that you are just a dumb non-thinking bible thumper.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Ummmm

      "Has anyone else notice HeavenSent aka Doesn't Matter is now playing the same name game they condemned others of using. LOL!"

      This handle is the only one I have ever posted under; if you care to look at some of the previous editorials on this site you'll see that both myself and heavensent have appeared on the same blog...so if he has condemned people for changing their name I can't really speak to that because I'm not heavensent sorry to disappoint you...

      @HotAirAce

      "You are just "ducking and diving" to avoid answering my question! This is not about me – it's about your assertion that your book of tribal bullsh!t should set the standard. You have not made a single statement in defense of your assertion, therefore I must conclude that you are just a dumb non-thinking bible thumper."

      I did answer your question in the first part of my last post, perhaps you should read it again...and maybe you should try answering the question that I posed while you're at it. So by your rationale of not answering my question should I resort to childish name calling as you have? Lets wait and see if you can answer my question after you re-read my post and answer mine shall we?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Yo!

      "This handle is the only one I have ever posted under; if you care to look at some of the previous editorials on this site you'll see that both myself and heavensent have appeared on the same blog...so if he has condemned people for changing their name I can't really speak to that because I'm not heavensent sorry to disappoint you.."

      Lying is a sin.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Yo!

      "Lying is a sin."

      Agreed Yo!, and so is saying something about someone that is untrue, or to put it another way to give false testimony against your neighbour...which is why I corrected ummm by telling him that I am not heavensent...it is important for people to know that because I don't know everything he or she has written and I don't want what he or she said to be attributed to me...

      June 22, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Frogist

      @Doesn't Matter: I didn't want to believe it, but your assertions about the alledged decline of secular countries (that recognize gay rights) puts you in the same league as the Fred Phelps of the world. I had always wanted to believe that not all Christians were so hateful. But you are really doing a lot to prove they are.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Doesn't matter

      Frogist

      "I didn't want to believe it, but your assertions about the alledged decline of secular countries (that recognize gay rights) puts you in the same league as the Fred Phelps of the world. I had always wanted to believe that not all Christians were so hateful. But you are really doing a lot to prove they are."

      Whoah! I never said that the decline of these countries had anything specifically to do with gay rights. I said these countries have abandoned all biblical principles...save your particular brand of hatred for someone else...I don't hate anyone and the God I believe in is a God of love...My God does not hate gay people...he hates sin, not just ho-mo-s-ex-uality ALL sin...before you try to put words in someone's mouth ask yourself if you would want someone to do that to you...

      June 22, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't Matter

      I believe this is your post where you believe you posted a question that I did not answer.

      "@HotAirAce

      Well, I can only respond by saying that both America and Canada were both countries founded on biblical principles and they both seemed to be thriving until recently as not coincidentially they have begun to depart from these foundations of truth...the more secular the two countries become the more the seem to be going down hill. in every way possible...perhaps you could point out to me some of the ways that secular humanists have contributed to the societal bliss that you seem to think we exist in...

      What I was saying in my previous post is that most of what we are discussing is secondary to the much more important question here: the important question is not why should the world listen to Christ, but why should you? For it is not the world that will give an account of your life here on earth, it is you just as I will give an account of my life...so shall we all and this should be what consumes us as we dwell here..."

      With respect to "contributions to societal bliss" I did not make any statements about the health of any country and we could probably go on forever about who was responsible for what advancement over the past 2000+ years but my final position is that regardless of what good religion has achieved, its net effect is to hold societly back from even greater accomplishments, if for no other reason than time spent pretending gods exist could be used better on other real things. But that is not the point here...

      The point is that you asserted that your book of tribal mythology should set the standard for all. You attempted to dodge the question by asking me irrelevant (to this discussion) questions. So again I ask: "Why your book?"

      June 22, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      "With respect to "contributions to societal bliss" I did not make any statements about the health of any country and we could probably go on forever about who was responsible for what advancement over the past 2000+ years but my final position is that regardless of what good religion has achieved, its net effect is to hold societly back from even greater accomplishments, if for no other reason than time spent pretending gods exist could be used better on other real things. But that is not the point here...

      The point is that you asserted that your book of tribal mythology should set the standard for all. You attempted to dodge the question by asking me irrelevant (to this discussion) questions. So again I ask: "Why your book?""

      Okay, the main reason I believe that the bible should be our standard is very simple and I felt that I had addressed this question already, but I will attempt it in another way...The two countries I mentioned, America and Canada were founded on biblical principles meaning that the people who founded these countries picked the bible because the rules in it would not change...in order for something to be absolute Truth it cannot change...the bible teaches that God does not change and his Truth does not change...if we try to establish Truth on our own what we get is constantly in-flux...contrary to popular belief Truth (absolute Truth) is not relative...you cannot say that what is true for you is true for me because we cannot agree...so what we need is something outside and above both of us, this is where God's word comes in...his standard has not and does not change...if we disagree with his standard, we have to take it up with him, not each other...If we set the standards they are going to change and how on earth can a society that can barely govern itself decide on matters of absolute Truth? if we can't agree on matters such as gay rights, abortion, age of accountability for minors, drinking age, driving age, how can we be expected to agree on matters of absolute Truth?
      If you have a better way, I'd love to hear it...this was what I was asking you to do when I asked for examples of how secular humanism has helped society through the years...

      June 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't Matter

      Thank You! Your answer amounts to "This is the way is was done before, so this is the way it must be forever." Of course, you ignore the fact that at the time Canada and the USA were formed, it was virtually impossible, if not lethal, to oppose religion, and at no time did society at large actually explicitly select any book of tribal magic to govern their lives. You have no real basis for the bible being the standard, and of course, there is no evidence to believe the bible is actually true, so you are left with "I believe, therefore you must all believe what I believe!" Not a good argument.

      David Johnson actually provided the answer to your "better way" query: "Society must decide what it will allow, and what it will disallow, based on an actions effect of society." To elaborate, our duly elected representatives are empowered to enact (legal) laws, wihout any reference to magic books required, wanted (by me and many others) or even allowed (under various const!tutions).

      I will ask you one more (multiple part) question: If you believe that the bible should be the standard, have you pet!tioned your representatives to make it the law? If not, why not? And finally, if voters were asked to vote on such a pet!tion, what do you think the chances are (in the USA) of it becoming the law?

      June 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      You said,"Thank You! Your answer amounts to "This is the way is was done before, so this is the way it must be forever."" That is a very simplistic and dismissive way of looking at what I said, but I find that people who don't believe in God's word often are...

      Next you said,"Of course, you ignore the fact that at the time Canada and the USA were formed, it was virtually impossible, if not lethal, to oppose religion, "

      This was not during the crusades, it was because of opposition to religion that these two countries were founded, the people were seeking religous freedom from the catholic church...

      Then,"and at no time did society at large actually explicitly select any book of tribal magic to govern their lives. You have no real basis for the bible being the standard, and of course, there is no evidence to believe the bible is actually true, so you are left with "I believe, therefore you must all believe what I believe!" Not a good argument."

      I have the entire history of the world at large and both America and Canada specifically to base the fact that this standard works...It has until we recently started deviating from biblical Truths. And as for the last bit, the "I believe so you believe" bit, I could make the same claim about what you believe...If you say something is true, then what? I should just believe it because you say so? What's the difference here?

      Then,"David Johnson actually provided the answer to your "better way" query: "Society must decide what it will allow, and what it will disallow, based on an actions effect of society." To elaborate, our duly elected representatives are empowered to enact (legal) laws, wihout any reference to magic books required, wanted (by me and many others) or even allowed (under various const!tutions)."

      If you read my response to David you will see that I already responded to his statements concerning his flawed logic...You actually did what you accused me of...I asked YOU what YOUR ideas were, not David's...

      And lastly you asked,"I will ask you one more (multiple part) question: If you believe that the bible should be the standard, have you pet!tioned your representatives to make it the law? If not, why not? And finally, if voters were asked to vote on such a pet!tion, what do you think the chances are (in the USA) of it becoming the law?"

      To answer the first part: their is two parts to my answer; firstly I don't have to, many of the laws that exist in our society already conform to the bible...but this leads into the second part of my answer; no I have not and would not because I neither think nor expect the world to listen to God. People have, for the most part ignored God throughout history...The bible states that on the day of judgement, many (not a few but many) will not be found in the book of life...The ruler of this society and earth at this time is satan, which is why the world is such a messed up place to begin with...christians are called to be a light for society and the world...to show God's love to the world...Are we always good at this? No. We have failed in many respects, but we are human and we ar trying...Now understand I am not speaking about people who say they are christian and then do things completely contrary to that, I'm speaking about genuine followers (and then even some of them make mistakes) we are none of us perfect...But we strive to be as God calls us to be...

      For the second part of your question, it should be clear based on what I wrote above that I think that most of these articles would be voted down...But I would like to caution you that that wouldn't necessarily make it right or wrong, it would only make it what most people want...But what if most people suddenly decided that murder was okay, would that suddenly make murder okay, because the majority decided it was?

      June 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't Matter

      I thought it would have been obvious, but I referred to David J's post because I agree with him, not because I was hiding behind his words. And while we're on about his post and your reply, you never even came close to disproving anything he wrote.

      In your last ramble about imaginary beings and books with no foundation, I think you ended up asking one question – something like would it be ok if it was determined that murder was ok? The obvious answer is that no it would not be ok to me and many others, but not because of anything in your book of bullsh!t. It would not be ok because it has been determined, by many societies without reference to your imaginary friend, and it is incredibly obvious that, it would not be good for society. Such a decision would be an aberration, perhaps passed by a bunch of loonies "drunk" on their form of religion, and I have more than just faith that such an aberrant law would be declared null and void. A correction does not always occur as quickly as one would like but they do eventually happen – one only has to look at slavery in the USA for a real world (as in not a stupid contrivance such as yours re: murder) for a glaring example of correcting what the bible says is ok. The battle for equal rights for all is merely the latest correction to your very fallible book of fairy tales. In closing, I don’t think such a law re: murder would ever be passed – whereas you have faith in some book of questionable authenticity and value, I have trust in my fellow men and woman, and am confident that in this modern day, the probability of a stupid law based on religious bullsh!t is virtually zero, about the same probability that any god exists. And I think you know that too, and that is why you don’t have the guts to expose your beliefs to in depth public scrutiny such as would happen if anyone attempted to turn the USA into a theocracy.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      First of all I never said I disproved it, I said I revealed the flawed logic he displayed...How could I disprove what has never happened?

      You speak about murder not being legalized by "glorified mankind" when that is exactly what (at least in the two countries we have been talking about) has been legal for quite a few years now, except we call it abortion as if that changes what it really is...That issue is a perfect example of what happens when "society" decides what is right and what is wrong. I don't want to hear anything about a baby not being alive until it leaves it's mother's body either...if it isn't alive then you can't kill it and abortion kills...or let me put it another way, when does life begin? Can we agree that the baby is alive when it comes out of the mother? I think we can. If so, what about the day before that? Are you really going to say that that baby was any less alive the day before it was born than when it actually is born and if not then what about the day before that? And the day before that? Do you see where I'm going this? Life does not happen in increments, it is or it isn't. If a baby is alive when it's born then surely it was alive the day before...So therefore when does life truly begin? Could it actually be at conception since I feel fairly confident that we can establish that life is not incremental and if it doesn't happen at birth, when exactly does it begin?

      And as for your mistake about slavery being accepted in the bible, this is not the case...The bible does not endorse or condone slavery...There was slavery and Jesus did address it in the new testament, he told slaves to serve their masters as if they are serving God and he told masters to serve their slaves in the same manner...It goes without saying that it is clear that Jesus was not endorsing it, he was tackling the issue without confronting it head on the way that he did some other issues of that day...I believe he knew that culture would take some time to catch up to what he was saying, and eventually it did.

      Lastly, you seem to have alot of anger and disdain for something that you don't seem to really understand. You and your ilk are forever screaming about equality and tolerance, and yet here you are in the religion blog railing against people of faith. I find it illuminating that alot of the people on this "belief blog" who claim to be atheists argue so vehemently against the existence of God. Who exactly are you trying to convince with your anger and name calling? I don't go to the science blog and talk about God...Why are their so many people here who don't believe? Could it be that you are trying to convince yourself so you can keep on living like their is no heaven and no hell. My only statement for that is something I have said in other posts...If you are living like there is no hell, you had better be right....

      June 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't Matter

      You claimed to show David J the flaws in his logic – I think a reasonable person would equate showing someone the flaws in their logic with disproving their point.

      So now you want to shift to abortion... I do not know when life begins. I do not believe it begins at conception. I defer to the medical experts to determine viability. I think the current laws (in Canada and the USA) are reasonable and do not see any reason for change. Those that want to change are free to advocate for same. I will take great delight when they cause their own irrational beliefs to be exposed publicly – the more scrutiny religions gets, the sillier they are seen to be.

      That being said, do you believe that people's behaviour will change if the law was changed? I remind you, 70% of all abortions in the USA are had by believers. If your "good book" (of bad fiction) and belief in your "lord" can't stop believers from violating their code of conduct, do you really believe that a change in law will change their behaviour? If you believe that "satan" causes otherwise righteous believers to misbehave, do you really believe that satan will be stopped and people's behaviour will change (to conform to a larger set of beliefs that has no foundation in reality)?

      Finally, with respect to slavery, it seems to me that my trust in mankind (inclusive of all, not just men) is exactly the same as what you claim to be jesus' approach to slavery – don't worry, eventually sanity will prevail! If it was good enough for him, it should be good enough for you. The question becomes why would a loving god allow ~2000 years of misery by slaves when he could have ended it all at the wave of a hand, or a clear cut 11th commandant: “Thou shall keep no slaves!"?

      PS: No anger here, just cold hard facts! In my opinion of course!!

      June 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      As for your first statement, showing faulty logic does not disprove what hasn't happened, ultimately it is still unproven either way...

      It's nice the way you tip toe around the abortion issue, even though you say you don't believe life begins at conception...Why? It seems to me that you are just trying to absolve yourself of any responsibilities involved with the taking of human life...whether by tacit agreement or by vote if one was offered...
      As for your statement about "believers" getting abortions, I stated earlier that saying you "believe" in Jesus does not make you a christian...I would submit to you that if they are getting abortions then they are not christians...I don't know where you pulled that percentage from since you did not site a reference, but I will accept that you accpeted it as true, and without verification I might add...the very thing you accuse people of doing with the bible. You as-sume that it is true and speak as if it is, when really you are just taking someone's word for it...I however have researched the bible and what it claims, as well as numerous other beliefs and religions and have come to the conclusion (with some help from God) that the bible is His word and if we don't follow it, we do so at our own peril...He loves us and paid the price for our sins so we wouldn't have to.
      It seems I need to clarify my earlier statement about satan being in charge here: he is in charge because society has put him there. By ignoring God and his laws, we as a society have become slaves to sin...our society is a perfect mirror of sinfulness. I would not expect legislation to change anything...laws do not make people change, only God can change the heart of man, and then only if we open ourselves and ask him to. God does not force his will on anyone, we have a free will to chose what we will do...as a society we have chosen evil. This is evident in our self-serving morality and our selfish lifestyles...everything is all about "what's in it for me?"

      As for your last statement, I find it telling that you follow "just cold hard facts" with "in my opinion of course"...funny how your "opinion" lines up perfectly with what you call "old hard facts". That's the difference between what you believe and what I believe: your "cold hard facts" come from man, mine come from God...which one do you really think is the right one?

      June 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Ummmm

      "laws do not make people change,"

      That's why slavery in the US is no more because the law made it illegal, not it didn't stop it completely but thousands of slaves were set free – God had nothing to do with it. It was laws that made it illegal to discriminate against blacks, did it come to a complete stop no. It's the laws that is bringing our society together, not God. It's Christianity that is trying to tear society apart by their lack of tolerance of those that believe differently in religion and se-xual orientation.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Doesn't Matter

      I didn't tip toe arround anything – I said exactly what I know and believe. If somehow you are correct and I meet up with your god, then I suppose they might hold me accountable, for my stance on abortion and other subjects, but I do not live in fear of that. With regard to abortion statistics, I have cited the source of this fact numerous times – don't be lazy, all you have to do is google "abortion statistics by religion". You will find a source of data that use to be related to anti-abortion advocates, but that is also referred to (as in, is used, not disputed) by anti-abortion groups. You might question others when they claim to a member of a particular cult, but I do not.

      Finally, with respect to "In my opinion, of course!" or whatever I wrote, this was obviously a failed attempt at humour while openly recognizing that one person's facts may not be another person's. I will stop trying to be humouress...

      June 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Ummmm

      ""laws do not make people change,"

      That's why slavery in the US is no more because the law made it illegal, not it didn't stop it completely but thousands of slaves were set free – God had nothing to do with it. It was laws that made it illegal to discriminate against blacks, did it come to a complete stop no. It's the laws that is bringing our society together, not God. It's Christianity that is trying to tear society apart by their lack of tolerance of those that believe differently in religion and se-xual orientation."

      You proved my point, laws did not change the things you mentioned, there are still slaves and there is still racism...It goes back to what I said, we have free will. In the same way we can chose to not follow God, we can chose to not follow the laws of the land, the difference is when God judges, the judgement is eternal...Decide which law you're going to follow, it's up to you...

      June 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      I wasn't being lazy, I was simply saying that you googled something, and then took it at face value...don't you think it's possible that what you read was wrong?

      It's funny that some people choose to call pro-life people anti-abortion, does this mean we should start calling pro-choice people anti-life?

      You mention about questioning people belonging to a "cult" christianity is no more a "cult" than islam is...to call either a "cult' displays your lack of knowledge about what a "cult" is...

      One final comment since you really didn't answer any of my points, I am beginning to believe that you are simply parroting what you have heard other people say; in other words: a lot of what you are saying seems to athestic propaganda. You claim to think for yourself, but I challenge you to actually read the bible and come to your own conclusions about it.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: “I wasn't being lazy, I was simply saying that you googled something, and then took it at face value...don't you think it's possible that what you read was wrong?”
      I spent considerable time checking to see if the statistics were in dispute and could not come up with a “smoking gun” indication that they are. As I wrote before, anti-abortion groups refer to them to support their view.

      Re: “It's funny that some people choose to call pro-life people anti-abortion, does this mean we should start calling pro-choice people anti-life?”
      I use the terms I did because I believe they more accurately describe the issue you raised. If anything, those that use the term pro-life are the ones trying to sensationalize the issue. But you are somewhat correct, I should have used pro-choice because that is where I stand – for choice, by those directly involved.
      Re: “you mention about questioning people belonging to a "cult" christianity is no more a "cult" than islam is...to call either a "cult' displays your lack of knowledge about what a "cult" is...” This has been discussed numerous times and cult is applicable to religions. I suspect you just want to duck the negative connotations of the word, whereas I delight in causing people to think about the organizations they belong to.
      Re: “One final comment since you really didn't answer any of my points, I am beginning to believe that you are simply parroting what you have heard other people say; in other words: a lot of what you are saying seems to athestic propaganda. You claim to think for yourself, but I challenge you to actually read the bible and come to your own conclusions about it.” I believe I answered all your points worth responding too, and all your direct questions. If I did not, please itemize them. I assure you that I have read the bible and suffered through many years of religious indoctrination. I have done my own research into religion and take full responsibility for my views.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Ummmm

      "You proved my point, laws did not change the things you mentioned, there are still slaves and there is still racism..."

      The point you are missing is a person can now take legal action against it to stop it whereas before they couldn't. Your God isn't doing anything about it and Christianity isn't doing anything about it. Therefore, it does take laws. Your God is standing back doing nothing unless you can prove otherwise.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @HotAirAce

      "I spent considerable time checking to see if the statistics were in dispute and could not come up with a “smoking gun” indication that they are. As I wrote before, anti-abortion groups refer to them to support their view."

      My point was that if you look hard enough anyone can find "statistics" to back up their claim, whatever it is; this doesn't make their viewpoint any more true...

      "I use the terms I did because I believe they more accurately describe the issue you raised. If anything, those that use the term pro-life are the ones trying to sensationalize the issue. But you are somewhat correct, I should have used pro-choice because that is where I stand – for choice, by those directly involved."

      You better believe they are! We are talking about innocent children being slaughtered! I should think it should be news. And as for the last part about "those directly involved" I would say that the child being aborted is directly involved...pro-life people are the only ones speaking on their behalf because the rest of the world has decided they are not "viable" until they have actually taken breath...utterly ridiculous...

      "This has been discussed numerous times and cult is applicable to religions. I suspect you just want to duck the negative connotations of the word, whereas I delight in causing people to think about the organizations they belong to."

      It has nothing to do with negative connotations, I believe in Jesus; you can call me whatever you want...I was making the point that christianity by definition does not fit the definition of a cult...

      "I believe I answered all your points worth responding too, and all your direct questions. If I did not, please itemize them. I assure you that I have read the bible and suffered through many years of religious indoctrination. I have done my own research into religion and take full responsibility for my views."

      if you answered what you thought was "worth" responding to already then why would I itemize the others? I feel bad for you then if your only exposure to God and Jesus was through religion and man, because my God is a personal God and I was not indoctrinated into my faith, I have a realtionship with God, not religion.

      @Ummmm

      The point you are missing is a person can now take legal action against it to stop it whereas before they couldn't. Your God isn't doing anything about it and Christianity isn't doing anything about it. Therefore, it does take laws. Your God is standing back doing nothing unless you can prove otherwise.

      Who do you think was largely responsible for pushing legislation to make these things against the law? Yup that's right it was people who called themselves christians and they did it based on the biblical truths they held to. Look it up...

      June 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • expatADAM

      @Doesn't Matter.: said, "Perhaps you should study your history books, most of our laws and culture are from the laws and rules in the bible".......oh, really????!!!!!! Just how many of the 10 Commandments are laws? Two....the ones against killing and stealing.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  12. TigerEllis

    We can argue fine points all day long but in the end, it really doesn't matter what we think; God is clear on his views. ... If, at the end of my life I find that God's word was wrong, I will have lost nothing. But if unbelievers find at the end of their lives that God's word is true, they will have lost everything - and there will be h-e-double hockey sticks to pay - ha! I crack myself up. ... I'm outta here.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Joe

      Most of the Christian people in this country are revisionists with no concept of the history of their religion. They take a two thousand year old stack of different stories, bind it up in one big book, take it completely out of context, and believe it's the word of God. Are you guys aware that the Scriptures in the Bible you read were assembled and approved by a council of Catholic/Orthodox, Mary-worshipping, statue-kissing bunch of celibate monks in 325? Durp, no, probably not. Learn your religion if you're going to make an idiot out of yourself with it.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Demiurge

      Unless the deity is playing reverse Paschal's wager and demands critical thinking for entrance to paradise (a Persian word cribbed from Zoroastrianism) or condemns those who blindly believe into hell (a concept related to the dualistic theology of Zoroastrianism, which Judaism got most of its theology, including the idea of a messiah and judgement day during the Babylonian captivity).

      June 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Katherine

      You really don't know that. Maybe God isn't going to condemn people based on their views. It is completely possible to be a good person and not have a relationship with God. Do you really think that God is going to send people to hell when they led an incredibly good life. You don't have to be a Christian to be a good person. And you can still go to heaven.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Me

      The danger is mistaking the words of men for the words of God.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Stevie7

      The other thing to consider is that maybe you were wrong about the criteria for heaven/hell. Maybe you missed something and, being wrong, will end up in h-e-double hockey sticks with the rest of us heathens.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Let them eat Cake

      Faith Hope and Love but the greatest of these is LOVE!!! I love my partner as an extention of myself, no matter what society says, our love is true and everlasting. Marriage or no Marriage we will be together come what may!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      @ TigerEllis.

      You said: "God is clear on his views."

      If god is so clear on his views, why are there so many different kinds of religion? Why are there so many different types of christianity? Seems that god is not very clear at all.

      The fact is, the bible is full of contradictions and errors. The types of errors that humans would have made. The bible was clearly written by man in the interest of control and explaining the unknown.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Katherine

      You asked: " Do you really think that God is going to send people to hell when they led an incredibly good life."

      That's the rub, Katherine. The crazy Evangelicals think exactly that.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Norman

      tiger, to believe "just in case" is cowardly and uneducated-you do know that religion was created by man to control man through teh fear of death right? primitives bowed before religion-what is your excuse sir?? seriously, no one should believe just in case
      Do your own spiritual journey-study ALL religions and take pieces of them all-the TRUTH is that IF God exists, He only cares that we love each other-thats it-IF there is a heaven, be good to all and youll go there-the REAL God doesnt care about cutting your hair, eating shellfish, orderign women to marry their rapists-thats all hogwash

      June 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Mike from ct

      Jj name one.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Mike, for contradictions, why don't we start with the easy stuff. If the bible is literally the word of god, you'd think that god would know who his own paternal grandfather is, but Matthew and Luke can't even agree upon that.

      Or, you would think that god would know who discovered his empty tomb. But we get three conflicting accounts of this. How does that work? Did god forget? Are two of those verses incorrect?

      June 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      Genesis 1:16: "God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night."

      The "lesser light" refers to the moon, which clearly is not a light at all. We know that the moon appears to give off light because it is reflecting light from the sun. The people who wrote the bible were ignorant of this, as they did not have the knowledge available to them.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Angry Hillbilly

      Go further back than that. God created the light on the first day, but didn't create the sun until the forth day.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Steve,
      We all started with two sets of grandparents. That is not a contridiction.

      http://www.lookinguntojesus.net/ata20010401.htm

      Also if we go to the same resturant and a person ask what did you have, I say steak and you say steak and salad there is no contridiction. Please go back and review the text for your own edification.

      http://www.lookinguntojesus.net/ata20010408.htm

      JJ, don't confuse terms in every day speech with contridiction. If you do we will never be able to say anything. like

      Example:
      "I live a mile from the capital... actually you live 1.12323424324 miles LIAR"
      "The sunrise is at 6am... actually the sun doesn't rise LIAR"

      [audio src="http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/resource_files/audio/200901200630HWC21ATAAA_MattChandler_DwellDeepPt03.mp3" /]

      June 22, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Brad Smith

      "If, at the end of my life I find that God's word was wrong, I will have lost nothing"

      Yeah, you will have lost nothing. But all the people you used the bible against will have lost a lifetime of happiness. You use the bible to tell gays they are wrong, immoral, and don't deserve happiness. Well guess what? If you find at the end you were wrong, they lost a whole lot.

      Thanks for your insensitivity.

      June 23, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  13. Ed

    Hell they twist the bible for anything and any agenda they want as long as it is serving their self center bigioted needs. That is why I am an athiest. I finally saw the light and gfot tired of being brainwashed by some stupid idiotric ass in the pool pit. .

    June 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Katherine

      I don't think that's a very good reason for being an athiest. I completely apologize if you don't believe in God at all, and that is your reasoning. However, just because you feel that some Christians were corrupt, doesn't mean that you shouldn't believe in God. But I don't know you, and I don't know what all your views are. I just think that some hypocritical Christians shouldn't end anyone's relationship with God.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  14. Mike

    Seriously CNN, you're starting to look so desperate now that it's beginning to look like self-parody.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  15. Rainer Braendlein

    Gayness within the Christian Church is strictly prohibited. Outside the Chuch the secular society must lay down rules.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Chris

      What Christian Church? The Catholic Church? Then, yes. But, the Protestant side of the house is certainly more accepting.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Norman

      agreed, but important to know that thousands of christian churches accept gay equality-milluions of christians are for total gay rights-its only a handful of dying christian sects that reject equality-but theyll all be gone in a few generations per Gods will

      June 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Yo!

      Hey Rainer that's why there are churches that allows gays to worship and marry. Your clueless, get an education.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  16. sk3ptic

    Just a general comment, not targeted at the article/author. Ever noticed how many instances of 'interpreting Scripture' there are in the Old Testament? Hundreds. By contrast, note that the Gospel has only one instance - when the idiot mob brought the 'adulteress' to Jesus - and even then, Jesus told them basically to shut up and go away: he among you who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. Figure it out folks – Jesus is telling you to get your sin-corrupted nose out of the Old Testament, and to turn to Him to find out what you should do. He even says that he is the only way into Heaven, so how will your Old Testament help you? It will just get you judged, without Christ by your side to speak in your favor. Reliance on the Old Testament = rejection of Jesus Christ.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Stephen, who grew up in the buckle of the Bible Belt but is mostly recovered now

      Bingo! Those who rely on Old Testament legalism do so because they lack faith in the transcendent, all-encompassing message of love through Jesus Christ. They call themselves Christian, but they are not. They are Pharisees.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • FredFarkle

      This thread of comments is testamony as to the variant branches off the main trunk of Christian-hate. These people have worked out their seemingly sound, but fundamentally flawed, logic on the origin of the Bible, the "hate" of Christians, the fact that Christianity is no different than Islam (a favorite theme of the left), Christians "shoving their religion" down people's throat, etc., etc., ad nauseum. These comments prove that these people have been exposed to the saving grace of God and, for now, have rejected it, to their peril. One thing is true: we ALL have an appointment with God at the end of time and we will stand accountable for our acts. Come Jesus.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • EatRunDive

      We could use an example, as there are NT quotes up the page that speak of scripture from Paul and Timothy. Remember that whenever scripture or law is mentioned in the New Testament, it is referring to the Old Testament and the 613 commandments contained therein.

      And doesn't Jesus say that he did not come to replace the law?

      June 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  17. atypical

    the bible is a manifestation of man–not god ( and you'll note I did not say "humanity.) it's legitimacy sustained by the perpetuation of belief.
    it is time for a greater truth to emerge. we're ready.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  18. Katherine

    May I just point out the fact that God did not write the Bible. He did not come down from Heaven and say, 'Oh hey, Paul, Moses, all you guys, this is exactly what you need to write. Mkay? Thanks.' The Bible is just an interpretation of God's will. Everyone sins. Including those who wrote the Bible. I'm not saying that they're wrong about everything. I'm just saying that quoting the Bible like God came down and said this to you directly, or even wrote the Bible himself isn't exactly the best move. God is love. Jesus ate with sinners. Some of his disciples told him not to, because it was 'unclean' or 'untraditional', but he didn't listen. Because Jesus loves everybody. Arguing over whether something is wrong or right is pointless. There are always going to be some people somewhere with a view opposite of yours. If you wanted to follow God's example, you would stop judging and love everyone.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • vel

      Funny how this supposedly omnipotent, omniscient omnibenevolent god is totally inept in getting its "real" message across and allows people to kill and die for the mistakes it supposedly allows. This isn't what I would consider it or Jesus "loving everybody". Certainly makes one think that this god is either not what its advertised as, or that it doesn't exist at all.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      John 17:20-23

      Jesus prayed just before being crucified for the unity of all believers. Please read.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Btrommy

      I would like to note that judging someone does not mean you're not loving them. When I identify sin in someone's life I am in fact loving them. Christ did that, the Holy Spirit does that, the Apostles did that, everyone is called to do that. Identifying sin and calling for reproof is glorifying to an utterly holy God, and loving towards those who receive reproof. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training in righteousness." so, yes, the Bible was actually written by sinful men, but those words are truly God's words without sin or error. This is called the inerrancy of Scripture.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Katherine

      The fundamentalist believe the King James Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of god.

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @vel
      You said: "Funny how this supposedly omnipotent, omniscient omnibenevolent god is totally inept in getting its "real" message across and allows people to kill and die for the mistakes it supposedly allows. This isn't what I would consider it or Jesus "loving everybody". Certainly makes one think that this god is either not what its advertised as, or that it doesn't exist at all."

      Funny you should mention this.

      As you pointed out, Christians say their god is All powerful, All knowing, All good.

      1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      Otherwise, why would He have bothered supplying man with a book of His will?

      2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 34,000 different denominations of Christianity.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Good post, dude!

      Cheers!

      June 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Katherine: It's fascinating that people in their individual interpretations of the bible like to ignore Jesus' willingness to engage with and show kindness to unconventional people. They ignore that diversity and fearlessness of the unfamiliar as if that wasn't part of the story. I think the reason people took to the Jesus story was because he was rebellious in his caring for others. He rejected the old social boundaries. But when so many look to their Bible for guidance about gays, they latch onto the opposite of Jesus' example. It is unfortunate that part of Jesus' message is lost.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  19. RobertW

    1. Judge not, lest ye be judged. (Matthew 7:1)

    2. Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. (Matthew 22:21)

    3. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Galatians 5:14)

    June 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • FredFarkle

      Thou shalt cherry pick only those verses which supports thy point of view, even if thy point of view is not known. HubbaBubba 1:1

      June 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Frogist

      @RobertW: Seems like that message is clear! It's true that people tend to see what they want to see. But what is also true is the verses you have picked out support equality and kindness. Nobody should argue with that.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  20. MarcusE

    Why does it matter what it says in the bible? Or the Koran? Or the Torah? Or the Phone book? The phone book is the most useful of all four and I threw it away along time ago, when it became useless. The bible I tossed out right after Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. Christians get a life! And stop screwing up the world. The rest of us have to live in it.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Evan

      "Why does it matter what it says in the bible? Or the Koran? Or the Torah? Or the Phone book? The phone book is the most useful of all four..."

      The phonebook never saved me from my sins.

      "The bible I tossed out right after Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny"

      If you think that believing what the Bible says is like believing in Santa Clause of the Easter Bunny, then you've go some serious reading to do.

      "Christians get a life!"

      We do: it's called "eternal life".

      "And stop screwing up the world"

      We're sorry for creating charities, universities, soup kitchens, orphanages, etc.

      "The rest of us have to live in it"

      From my experience, most Atheists I have met have actually been narrow-minded, intolerant bigots who demand that all religious people "shut up" and blame religious people for every problem in the world. The Christians I have met have actually been friend, caring, open-minded people who don't care what religion you are, they just see a human-being. Yes, I did not mix my words up.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Evan

      You said: "If you think that believing what the Bible says is like believing in Santa Clause of the Easter Bunny, then you've go some serious reading to do."

      Yeah, serious reading to do...

      God created Adam from a handful of dirt; Talking snakes; trees that bear fruit, that imparts knowledge and eternal life; a global flood, that required a pair of each organism on earth, be stuffed onto a boat; people who lived hundreds of years; a man who was swallowed by a fish, only to be spit up 3 days later, unhurt; a tower god was afraid might reach heaven; a woman who is turned into a pillar of salt; talking donkeys; unicorns; satyrs; a leviathan god creates and then does battle with; a zombie messiah, who was actually god incarnate; zombie Saints who left their graves and wandered about the town; belief in a circular, flat earth you could fall off the edge of.

      You're right, Evan. Nothing even remotely similar to other fairy tales. LOL

      You said in answer to 'getting a life': "We do: it's called "eternal life".

      Eternal life, for which you have not a shred of evidence.
      Christians do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

      You said: "We're sorry for creating charities, universities, soup kitchens, orphanages, etc."

      And for trying to create a theocracy with an imaginary god at the helm.

      Cheers!

      "The rest of us have to live in it"

      From my experience, most Atheists I have met have actually been narrow-minded, intolerant bigots who demand that all religious people "shut up" and blame religious people for every problem in the world. The Christians I have met have actually been friend, caring, open-minded people who don't care what religion you are, they just see a human-being. Yes, I did not mix my words up.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Evan

      "God created Adam from a handful of dirt"

      It never says that. It just says God created man.

      "that imparts knowledge and eternal life"

      It never says why the tree is called the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

      "a man who was swallowed by a fish, only to be spit up 3 days later, unhurt"

      Actually, there is evidence that such an event did happen.

      "a woman who is turned into a pillar of salt"

      Perhaps she was caught in the explosion.

      "unicorns; satyrs; a leviathan god creates and then does battle with"

      Somehow, I missed that part. Oh yeah: because it is not in there.

      "a zombie messiah"

      Jesus is not actually a zombie, by definition.

      "Saints who left their graves and wandered about the town"

      Perhaps it was an apocolyptic vision.

      "belief in a circular, flat earth you could fall off the edge of"

      The Bible never says the Earth is flat.

      Perhaps it's about time you read the Bible yourself rather than reading bias, faulty interpretations off of Atheists websites.

      June 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Evan
      Your points r quite flawed. Let's see if u can answer these logically:
      "21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
      22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. "
      So you believe that this is how women came into being?? from a man's rib? that tells me a lot.

      Answer these simple questions logically (without playing interpretation tag with me like u did with the above poster David when u mentioned 'apocolyptic vision') before i move on to your other inerrant points.
      1. FACT: If a brother and sister have a child together, there is a high probability of that child suffering from retardation.
      Based on this fact, why isn't most of the world suffering from retardation if we all came from Adam and Eve?
      2. FACT: The first early humans were walking this earth 200k-500k years ago, and came out of AFRICA.
      Based on this fact, how does the Adam and Eve story hold up to such a vast error in timescale? God created the world in 7 days, and even if you say that 1 day = 1000 years, the number is still way off!
      3. FACT: The stars we see in the night sky are just other suns (some larger than our sun, some smaller). They were also formed BEFORE our sun.
      Genesis 1:3 says: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. <– This means that the sun was created.
      Genesis 1:16 says: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
      Why did God make the stars AFTER our sun?? It contradicts FACT.
      Also god made 'the lesser light' (the moon) to rule the night. Unfortunately, god conveniently forgot to mention that the moon is not a source of light but reflects light from the sun.
      4. FACT: Land animals were present BEFORE animals who could aviate.
      Genesis 1:20 says: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
      Genesis 1:21 says: And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
      Why did god do the reverse??

      ur other comment:
      "belief in a circular, flat earth you could fall off the edge of". The Bible never says the Earth is flat.

      It does imply that the earth is flat. Infact, Jesus implied that the earth is flat too in his 40 day fast. when he was fasting, satan took him to the mountain top and said, 'behold, i offer u all the kingdoms of the earth'. Evan, if i took u to the highest mountain and said that u could see all of the earth, that would not be possible cause the earth is round! how come the biblical author/ Jesus/Satan were not aware of this fact?

      July 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Again

      @letsthink123-Its always humorous for me to read comments from non believers quoting the bible. If you don't believe what the book says why quote it? When reading the bible you have to ask for guidance from the comforter "the holy spirit". The point one of the posters wrote earlier was that you have to have the spirit of God with you to interpret the spirit of the bible, this is true. You know what brings all the non-believers to this post? You just makes no sense to you guys why we believe and until you have a relationship with God you never will.

      July 18, 2011 at 2:22 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.