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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. M

    The thing both sides of this argument need to understand is your not going to sway either party. Just as surely as Christians feel God in their hearts and know they are right, G-a-y- people feel just as surely feel in their hearts and know that they are right. This country was founded under God so that we may inerpret the bible in our own ways and not become the Church-State that originally brought people to America. Just as we have progressed away from some of the rules in the bible i.e about divorce, long hair, and so on. It is not for the people to dictate how people view the bible, that is our right as Americans. I've read the bible and my interpration is to love everyone and to never judge or condemn that is Jesus's job ever since he ascended to Heaven to sit beside God as divine judge.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • ....

      So you are for giving gays their civil rights.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • M

      Absolutely

      June 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  2. Steve

    Jonathan you need to back up a few steps.  First is Christ always revered to the Old Testament when teaching.  As Christian's we are not relieved from the law, just forgiven. Celibacy was promoted because it allows us to dedicate our lives entirely to the Lord.   However, if we cannot do that it is better to marry to avoid sin.  Our lives are meant to serve.  Finally, take time a read Luke 1: 39-41, I believe that should cover abortion.  The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Chris R

      Steve, go back and read the article. There is nothing in the passage you quoted which is contrary to what the author wrote. The passage doesn't indicate the age of the foetus – just that it leaped in her womb. One could argue that this means that the foetus only can be infused with a soul when it starts moving within the womb – this coincides nicely with what Augustine wrote. As such, it doesn't run counter to abortions prior to the first movement of the baby in the mother's womb.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  3. Carlos Humberto

    Dudley, you must go back to your "divinity school" and learn why GOD destroy Sodom; USA is going in the same direction is Sodom and Gomorrah and you will see it soon! The end of this World system is coming, repent, and ask the LORD GOD JESUS for your salvation.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • SMS in Texas

      gag

      June 22, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • ....

      Did you even bother to look up the definition of sodomy? Probably not which makes you and idiot. So if the definition is an-al or or-al copu-lation with a member of the opposite se-x, then what happens to the translation of that scripture.Especially when the word ho-mo-se-xual wasn't invented till much later. Oh....I know...it was about ra-pe!

      June 22, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Normon

      Bring it on!
      At least that would be some evidence that He exists.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Tired

      Yes, God's gonna shoot his lightning bolts and turn us all to stone or kill us by some other magical means he used back in the day...back before news agencies and cameras could prove crazy magic stories as just that...crazy. Why did God stop doing magic stuff?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Colin

      Tired, have you noticed that the number of miracles that any particular god performs is always inversely proportional to the level of science and technology of the society he governs. Gods and the miracles they perform seem to reduce in number in ironic lockstep with each material advance in knowledge gained by their subjects.

      That is why the unthinking theist flees the penetrating light of science and knowledge like a common kitchen co.ckroach.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  4. deltaforce

    !st of all, you don't go to study christianity because it's a way of life. I heard you say on cnn that the bible does not apply to the the 21st century, what a waste of money, if you had come to me i would have save you from spending so much money that load of crap because Luke 21:33 says heaven and earth will pass away, but will never pass away, besides why do you think God destroyed Sodom and Gomorah? Wake up man...you just spend all that money for nothing, and you need a reality check, and remember proverbs 30:5-6 say the word of God is pure, he is a shield to them that trust in him, add thou not to his word, less he reprove you and thou be found a liar, revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book, and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. I guess they didn't teach you that in the school of divinty.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  5. Grace

    You know, I was about to do what many here have done and write a long response about the host of errors in his blog. But then I stopped – because I can remember being just like him. So instead, I'm going to ask for grace for him. He may be young and maybe a little proud of his knowledge (after all he's been through the Yale School of Divinity). As we know, there is a world of difference between knowing about God and knowing Him. It's more sad to me than offensive. If I really believed that someone could have argued me out of my false knowledge, I would argue with this author. But my experience taught me that God had to get my attention because I was too proud to listen. I fear, he's going to consider our words as proof of how right he is instead. Instead, a prayer for you Jonathon Dudley – I pray that God would show himself to you in a way that might disrupt your wisdom that He might replace it with the Holy Spirit. I pray that you absorb the words in your Bible as even the best book written by the most revered scholar is still just man's attempt to know the mind of God. I pray that you learn that in the kingdom of God there are no lay-people – only sons and daughters of the Most High.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Matt

      The writer has clearly thought long and hard about his faith. He's honestly grappled with the inconsistent lifestyles of "the faithful" and the selective wars that have been waged, and in the end he has chosen a far more compassionate and loving path than most. And you pray for him? You remember what it was like to think as he does? I think it's more likely that he remembers what is was like to think as you do now. I certainly do.

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

      Grace may God open your closed heart to the truth about gays, to show you they are born this way and are is creation. It's sad to see the prejudice and bigotry in your heart.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  6. VinoBianco

    It seems silly to take a book written 2000 years ago (by all men, might I add) and use it as a basis of morals and values in modern times. It's a good story book, even a historical work, but it opposes a lot of things we should advocate for and advocats for a lot of things we should oppose. Please, let's take it for what it is.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  7. Tena Hunter

    I take exception with Kyra Phillips and whoever that gay idiot was that bantered back and forth about gay people and the Bible and I am apalled at her last comment...about people who want to take a book written over 2000 years ago and try to apply it to life today....I suggest to her she might need to pick it up and read and apply it to her life...sounds like she could learn a lot from the Bible...a book who will endure till Jesus comes again

    June 22, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Erik

      Your right

      June 22, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Tena Hunter, you are correct, I will start to apply it to day. I will go to my local wal-mart and buy a few slaves and I think I could get a good price for my daughter at the flea market.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Vicky

      I wish people would be smart enough to separate God's teachings from its cultural settings. But alass, this is not always convenient when the Bible needs to be used as an excuse.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  8. heathro

    Mr. Dudley. You got some pretty scathing responses above! I’m no theology major but I do read my bible every day and try to live by the examples given. Here's my take. When gentiles came to the faith the leaders said they didn't have to observe the law any longer. Just refrain from things strangled, blood, and s.exual immorality. I’m guessing that that they viewed adultery and h0mos.exuality both as s.exual immorality. They said if you observe these three then you’ll do well. So in my view we should pursue adultery just as fervently as h0m0s.exuality. If you weight one heavier than the other then you’re right, it’s somewhat of a double standard. And taking that idea a bit further, try and think of it from God’s point of view. He gives us some clues in the bible about his take some things he just doesn’t tolerate. My supposition is that he seems to place a larger value on community verses the individual. The first example of this is when Joshua starts invading the Promised Land and then some individual does something pretty stupid. Achan takes some of the “accursed things.” What happens to him? Well God makes a pretty serious example of him. He and his family and all his things are destroyed with stones and then with fire. Why would God do that for stealing just a few things? Well I think it’s because Achan has just threatened God’s community. He’s done something that has jeopardized what He’s trying to establish there. Any time you do something that comes against His community you’ve got some problems! Another example of this is also in the book of Acts. God again sets up His community of believers and things are going ok and then Ananias and Sapphira do something pretty stupid, they lie about what they gave. Why would God punish them so severely for one little lie? Well again He’s making an example of anyone who does anything that would bring down His Community. If you really consider Gods community, you see that the base unit is the family. If you do anything that would disrupt that unit then you’re making the same mistake as the previously mentioned community violators. H0mos.exuality essentially strikes at the core of the base unit. It’s very effective at breaking down what God is trying to do with the family. Does cheating on your wife or husband have any less of an effect on God’s base unit of community? I think not. The problem is that everyone agrees that adultery and cheating is bad. No one says I think cheating on my wife is ok and good for my family! So why should we say that h0mos.exuality is ok and good for the family? Both still happen and I’m just as guilty as anyone else. “If you even look at a women with lust for her, you have committed adultery with her in your heart.” The problem here is that h0mos.exuals want us to say that their sin is ok and we should just allow it.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • M

      Heathro,
      Thank you for actually posting an argument as opposed to just saying God Hates Gays!

      However, I feel there is a serious hole in your logic. You mention that we should pursue h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-s as ferverently as child molesters because they are violating one of the three principles you outlined. However, later in your post you go on to readily admit that you yourself commit the same crime when you lustfully look upon someone else. So by your logic we should pursue you as ferverently as child molesters.

      The other thing your forgetting is that this is not a Christian nation. Never has been and never will be. So pursuing child molesters (which is a federal/state law) is what we as a nation agreed on. As a nation we never agreed that this was inherently wrong. As a nation we never agreed love between two men and two women is inherently wrong. If your belief in family is that strong then your just going to have to look the other way the same way I look the other way when the WBC protests at Marine funerals. We all have the right to do whatever we please under the law of the United States.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • JohnQuest

      heathro, you still have not stated your case, how does a gay couple living in another home effect your family? If your only objections are religious based, is it okay to base public policy on religious biases, if so which religion and which biases?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • ....

      "The problem here is that h0mos.exuals want us to say that their sin is ok and we should just allow it."

      It's not a sin since it's be shown they are born this way, they are God's creation. What you need to look at is your own prejudice and bigotry towards people who have done nothing to you. You also have to put the scriptures into historical perspective, it's talking about pagan rituals worshiping a pagan god, male prost-itution and idolatry. It has nothing to do with truth about what we know about gays today.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Vicky

      "You also have to put the scriptures into historical perspective,"

      Exactly! Always remember context! Remember how people with disabilities were seen back then? Or people with mental issues? Even a woman's period? The teachings needed to be done in a way the message would come across to people from that time and those cultures; that's what makes the Bible so complex, though it's so easy for people to want to take it literally.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • heathro

      Hey JohnQuest. Good questions. I guess my real point is that we've really gotten away from community and we've put more emphasis on the individual. When you make the individual #1 then arguments like “I want to do my own thing and it doesn't have anything to do with you” seem valid. But if you consider that what God intended was real community: whole cities of people sharing life together, building each other up and giving of themselves in sacrificial ways to help their "neighbor" (Anyone breathing in my opinion) then you start to ask some questions "Is anything I'm doing going to bring down my community or neighbor?", "Am I a stumbling block to my brother?" When Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself”, that seems simple enough, right? It's such a simple statement that it really demands action. "What did he mean when he said, turn the other cheek?" - You mean when someone backs out and runs into my car door, I need to get out and tell him. "Hey hold it right there, I need to turn my car around so that you can back into the other door?" Looking at it that way you start to see that loving your neighbor really demands action! If you did that you would definitely get their attention and maybe even get an opportunity to share your faith with them. Turning to my own situation. I have two neighbors down the street that are obviously “partners”. Their names are Craig and Bryan. I love them deeply, but I don’t condone their lifestyle. How do I show them unconditional love? They know where I stand on the issue but they still call me when they need help. Why? because I'm trying to be Christ to them and they see it. They know that something my wife and I plus kids have together is something that they really would like to have too and they know it’s not the state or the country that is preventing them from having that blessing. It’s their own decisions that have put up a barrier between them and the Lord. They can see what it’s like to have the connection and they want it. Maybe someday they’ll want it bad enough to let go of some things in their life and choose to follow a different path. I’m hoping that they do. Isaiah 56:3 “All we, like sheep, have gone astray and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” I would also argue that anyone who is not in a right relationship with God is not going to have a right relationship with people. Because that’s the way He made it. Him first and then others above ourselves. (see the Jesus response to the question “What’s the greatest commandment” ) If you remove Him as first then you can’t possibly put others above yourself. You can’t do that in your own strength. You need a higher power (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13). Because let’s face it sometimes people make themselves very hard to love. I call those people EGR’s (Extra Grace Required). I’m going to love them the way that Jesus would and he definitely would bring up the issue of an alternate lifestyle (see the story about the Samaritan woman at the well!) That’s a master at work! I’m going to follow his example, especially if it means some tough love with them as well.

      June 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • heathro

      Hey M. That’s right. We should pursue every kind of sin. I’m the chief sinner and I deserve death by Gods standard! When we all start to realize that we’re hopeless then we turn to something bigger than ourselves for life. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus” When you start searching for real life (eternal life) here on earth you will find it “seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you” and “Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened” When your start connecting up to that life and it starts flowing through you to others then you get a glimpse of what the whole purpose of this life we’ve been given. And I guess I am not limiting my arguments to this nation. I’m using a bit larger scope, the whole of creation. And if America is not a Christian nation well then that’s ok with me. That just means there should be more lost people for me to talk to and show that there is a larger story than their own, something that has been going on way before them and something they are being invited into. A story that they too can play a key role in.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  9. Crissy

    At the end of the day it is up to God and God only to judge...point blank period the END!!! A sin is anything that separates us from God, but yet if we ask we are forgiven of our sins. We all lead imperfect lives, but we have a just and forgiven God. And I agree people do twist the bible for their own agenda. I remember being a 10 yr old girl and my step father telling me I was going to hell for being bi-racial because of a verse in the Old Testement the speaks about not mixing the nations. But in his ignorance he failed to understand that the reason behind that verse was because the other nations were pagans and God did not want his people to turn from Him to follow their spouses religion. People are ignorant!!!! And Christians are very hypocritical (and I'm a Christian) which is why few people are being won over to Christ....Wake up! You are not here to judge!!!!!!!! We are here to simply love one another (per Jesus Christ) and spread the gospel (aka Good News about Christ).

    June 22, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  10. Tom

    Just a few verses in addition to Romans 1 you may have overlooked. The "reason" is that God said it was wrong.

    Leviticus 18:22
    Leviticus 20:13
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    June 22, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Andy Anderson

      So then you also follow Leviticus 11:9-12 and Deuteronomy 14:9-10, and refuse to eat shrimp? If not, then what are your criteria for determining which Old Testament passages to follow and which to ignore? Do you stone unruly children to death, as well?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Jose

      Romans: 1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

      The food thing got changed

      June 22, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Jose

      Romans 14 pardon

      June 22, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • LinCA

      @Tom, et al.,

      The value of your bible is entirely caloric.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • judy

      Good for you. I was trying to find the verses in the bible that stated it was wrong and you listed them for me. Jonathan and people like him are in danger of Gods judgement. I just wish they could understand that. I just hope not many people take his book seriously.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  11. nongay bleiver

    again I will that these are the "last days" and in these days it says it will be like sodom and gomororroh, peaple gooing after their own lusts and not listening to sound teaching and peaple leaving the faith to go after their own ways none of this surprises me! is was said it would be this way! so when the "real believers" are taken out of the way the unbelievers can have at it all they want with noone saying anything! only the real faithfull will not agree with this book and it is a shame this lad woulod not accept his parents teaching.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • CosmicC

      I tried to read your post. I really did, but it was so poorly written I gave up. Please try writing in an editor with spelling and grammar corrections. Once you have corrected the errors, copy and paste into the text box on the web page.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • ....

      Yeah, the sodomy theme again. Why don't you get a dictionary and realize it's about an-al and or-al copu-lation with a member of the opposite se-x. It's funny too since the word ho-mo-se-xual wasn't invented till the Middle Ages. So use your brain, what does that mean the true interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah is truly about, since it's not about gays! Oh I know it was about Lot giving up his daughter to be ra-ped! And, here I though people would realize the OT doesn't apply to today too. LOL!

      June 22, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  12. Vicky

    I am a catholic, and sometimes it scares me what I hear out there... about all this burning and punishment stuff! God is not a judging and condemning inquisitor; He is love, and he is mercy. Only He knows what is in every soul/heart, regardless of lifestyle or choices. I wish we'd stop using Him as an excuse for our views, whichever they are.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • M

      Well Said.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Colin

      Vicky, have you ever noticed that god alwys has the same likes, the same dislikes, the same view on morality and the same view on what is acceptable $exual conduct as the person who believes in him. Every culture that has ever existed has had its gods and they inevitable have the same desires and prejudices of that culture.

      It is clear beyond peradventure that we create the gods in our image and not v.isa-versa. Why can we see this so clearly with all other gods and yet be so blind to it when it comes to our own particular sky-vapour.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Andy Anderson

      But if I reject your god's "love", it's going to torture me for all eternity, correct?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • david

      Clearly you all have never read the book of revelation & yes we live in a period of grace & mercy, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" No that's romans 6:1. GOD US LOVE MERCY & PEACE BUT IN REVELATION GOD IS WRATHW AND DUE PUNISHMENT TO THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF HIS SONS SACRIFICE

      June 22, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Vicky

      Actually, nope, incorrect. It's not a "you give, I give" relationship. The whole New Testament is about the inconditionality (is that a word?) of that love.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • dwordisclear

      Why is it that so many of us Christians think that is all about ourselves? We tend to focuse on God's love only like that is the only attribute he posseses. I have come to the realization that most Christians who tend to focus only on His attribute of love and tend to disregard all of His other ones that makes Him holy and perfect, are the very same Christians who constantly abuse His grace in the name of Love and mercy.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Vicky

      Only it's not an atribute, it's his essence. And that is his first commandment.
      He gave us free will though, it's our responsibility if we sin. We all make mistakes, but mercy is his gift.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • dwordisclear

      Vicky– "Only He knows what is in every soul/heart, regardless of lifestyle or choices." Our lifestyle and choices are a reflection of what is in our soul/heart. Going back to your response...Our heavenly Father without question is a loving Father, but He is also a wrathful Judge. We can't diregard that aspect of Him. Is our obligation to preach both sides of the coin. Lost people don't respond with only one side of the coin. The point I was trying to make is that when we only focus on His love and mercy, we tend to focus only on ourselves and on how much of that love and mercy we can recieve from Him. We are here to glorify our Father for who He really is, not only for who we would like Him to be. The truth is that most of us are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in His word, we might discover that He evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give Him. Blessings sister!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  13. James

    An argument that we shouldn't be focusing on one issue or sin because there are other sins we don't focus on is a bad place to start. Why should I worry about injustice or hunger in Africa when I haven't solved it in my home town. I don't agree with a lot of how christians go about interacting with people holding different views but watching that segment on CNN this morning was just as silly as the opposite crazies on fox news. We need a place where people can hear honest talk from all sides of any issue not just this one. Above all, love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. I'll get that right and when I do I'll move on to less important issues.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  14. JOregon

    By definition marriage is a joining of man and woman. I am against gays being called "Married".
    I do think gays should be allowed to join in a civil union with all the rights of marriage. Make up a new name. "Gayarriage" or "Foreverjoined". Call it what you want.
    I think those people living together, where there is a loving unity, should have all the legal rights of marriage.
    The USA is not a Bible based nation. Our founding fathers made certain that there was no religious basis to our foundation. The Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams makes it very clear:
    **As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.**

    June 22, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • peace

      Very nice, but I think it should be called what it is....its a marriage. Two people who take a vow together is called marriage. Its should be called what is it for man/women .....marriage

      June 22, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • CosmicC

      Defined by whom? If it's a religious definition, then State and Federal law has no place in denying the religions that honor gay marriages and want to perform those rites. If it's a societal norm, then we're at the point where the majority support gay marriage. This is as much a civil rights issue is as interracial marriage was half a century ago.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Stephanie

      "Call it what you want.". Cool, it will be called marriage.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • myweightinwords

      If it has all the same rights, privileges and duties, and serves the same purpose, isn't it silly to demand it have a different name just because of the genders involved?

      I think marriage is the right word.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • heathro

      Who invented marriage? Who thought it up? It was God's from the beginning. It belongs to Him and he set the rules of what it is. It is not two people making vows to each other! No way. Who was present at the first wedding? Adam, Eve and of course God Himself were there. He sets up marriage as a covenant. A covenant by definition is an agreement between two parties. A lesser and a greater party. The greater sets the conditions and the lesser either agrees or disagrees to them. You either join the covenant or you don't. So in the case of a marriage who's going to be the greater party? the man? or maybe the woman? No of course not. God Himself is the greater party. You covenant with God in front of your wife/husband to agree to enter into His rules. His rules are clear. A man must leave his mother and father and be joined to His wife and they shall be one flesh. You accept the dealio and then He makes you one flesh. And let no man separate what God has joined together is important because what that means is that when you decide to divorce you are breaking the vows you took to God! So the whole idea of a g.ay marriage really doesn't work. You can't enter into a covenant with God unless you follow His rules. So sure, you can live together, sleep together and do whatever else you think married people do, but you’re missing the most important part. God isn't going to make you one flesh! One flesh goes way beyond a physical joining of the body. If God isn't joining you together then who cares if man separates you. Marriage doesn't exist in this case, it's just a relationship between two people, instead of the real deal where it's a relationship of 3. God, a man and a woman! They all join up and guess what you get. Something that's greater than the sum of the parts! You can try all you want to get a marriage between just two people but it's not the real thing, it's just a counterfeit. It's a great ploy by the deceiver to make a counterfeit of anything he can. He tries his best to make something that looks just like the real thing. If he can lead you off chasing a counterfeit then how will you ever find the real thing? Joy comes with the real thing. If you never get the real thing, then you never get the Joy. So he steals your Joy by tricking you with a counterfeit. It works all the time. And he’s going to keep using that tactic as long as he can. Think about it. Here’s some example of his other counterfeits: Drugs, they make you feel good like you just conquered the world, for a while, then they leave you face down in a gutter. P-ornography: it looks like the real thing but it leaves you empty instead of fulfilled. You always have to go back for more? Materialism: If I can get that one thing, I’ll be happy! But the happiness doesn’t last. There’s always one more thing to get. God has some real things for you. That will bring you true joy. Real marriage is one of those things. And I’m so thankful that he thought me worthy to allow me to enter into that covenant with Him!

      June 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • JOregon

      @Heathrow
      You have missed something. Does God join man with a harlot?
      1 Corinthians 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • JOregon

      @the rest of you
      (Dreaded moderation maybe I can find the offensive word.)
      Why is it so important to call it a Marriage – because it offends?
      Marriage is between a man and a woman.
      There is no need to alter that definition.
      A civil union is not an offensive term, if it was equal in rights to marriage why not use such a term?
      It is bad enough to have changed the definition of gay.
      Did you know a gay man was a womanizer, a gay woman was a prost*itute?
      There is no need to change the definitions of words, just peoples att*itudes.
      By being open and not offending you can do that.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @heathro
      Adam and eve never existed. You are behind on the findings of science. Its a made up story. If adam and eve is correct in genesis, then you should not have any problem logically answering these questions:
      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.
      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??

      So the bible posits that god was present at a marriage between two people that never existed. That's basically what you are saying, unless u can explain away the problems with adam and eve. No magic answers or 'cause its God' answers accepted, since those are non-answers.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • J.W

      Most of what we know about the fossil record and how old the universe is came about fairly recently. The writer of Genesis did not have this information.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  15. Randi Grogan

    I'm Atheist but I am gay, liberal, outspoken. After seeing Jonathan on CNN what he had to got my attention. One paragraph summed it up for me and that was "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." It only goes to show in my opinion that the right wing conservatives out there will say anything to get more attention. Even though I don't believe in God, I do believe that humanity helps humanity, praying to God to me is like praying to a ghost, I've never seen him and probably won't see a ghost either.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Meterdome

      First of all it is impossible to not believe in God. He has given us all a measure of faith. You may deny him, but it is impossible to disprove his existence. Atheism is ignorance and arrogance or both. It is a overinflated narcicistic ego encoupled with fear of the unknown. It is as nonsensical as someone denying that you ever existed, once you are "dust". They may even be shown a picture of you as a form of proof, but simply because they can and have the power to do so, they deny that you were ever born. Their display of denial "power" serves NO purpose whatsoever to anyone. It is just a display of their ignorance, lack of understand and desire to get it. You cannot ever deny that God is here, he is everywhere in trees, in breathing, water, wind, rain, sun, clouds, voices...everywhere!!! You denying God does not disprove him at all nor does it give "power" to you in any way it is that you are hoping, no more power than it would to a person who refuses to believe that you exist ..now or 300 years from now.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • heathro

      There was a man who had two sons. The older son was the good kid and always agreed with his father. The younger son was somewhat different. You see he was born blind and his father was traveling in a far country when he came into the world. He was raised along with his older brother. Now the older brother was always telling the younger brother about their dad. He would say, just wait until you meet him, he’s great and he’s always got gifts to give. The younger brother said. I have never known him so I don’t know if you are telling me the truth about Him. The father was away a long time, but he always sent home all the money and provisions for his two sons so that they would be well taken care of. He knew that his younger son had been born blind and he took special care to send home extra gifts to him so that when he came he would be accepted by him. Eventually the father arrived home and the older brother ran to His father and gave him a hug. The younger brother waited inside. The father looked for the younger son but he was missing, so he called to him but the younger son didn’t know his voice. So he sent the older brother in to fetch him. The older brother said, come on dummy dad is outside and he wants to see you. The younger brother said I don’t want to see him. He doesn’t love me or he would have been here for me all these years. I don’t think he is my father. The older brother said. If he’s not your father then why would he send you food and money so you could live? I don’t know but I don’t care. I’m leaving. So he left and moved to another city to get away from his family. The father still went by his house all the time and left money and food for him and he would always knock on the door and call to him through the door but the younger son refused to believe and wouldn’t let him in. So when the father saw that his time was near, he thought to himself. Why should I give any inheritance to my younger son? I have loved him more than the older but he won’t even acknowledge me. I’ll give the entire inheritance to the older son and maybe when I’m gone the younger son will see that the food and money have dried up and finally he’ll come and look for me. I’ll be gone but at least he will know that I was telling him the truth all these years and that I really did love him.

      June 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Meterdome
      you said, "First of all it is impossible to not believe in God." I do not believe in god. It is definitely possible.
      you said, "You may deny him, but it is impossible to disprove his existence.". Sure, it is impossible to disprove his existence since we cannot disprove a negative. Surely u know that don't u? I believe in the tooth fairy. I pray to the tooth fairy everyday for mundane things like 'please let me have a good day at work'. This prayers is 9/10 times answered! therefore the tooth fairy must be real, and to me the tooth fairy exists. Can u disprove the existence of the tooth fairy? You can't! Get it now?
      you said, "Atheism is ignorance and arrogance or both." Quite the contrary! After applying rational thought to the bible, it is easy to see that the biblical god is man-made. I'll make this as simple as possible for u without getting into details. If u sit back and think rationally, u will notice that all religions in the world, including western religions like Christianity did not tell us anything about the universe. What i mean by this is that if u read the creation story in the bible, there is no mention that god created the solar system with the sun in the center, with the other planets, with other solar systems and binary stars, with us in the milky way galaxy, and all the other billions of galaxies. In the creation myth of adam and eve, god created stars after he created the sun, thats backwards! There is no mention that other planets existed either (which men at that time were not aware of).
      I ask you this question, how come the gods of virtually all religions in the world including christianity in their creation stories, only created things that people at that time knew existed (such as the earth, stars, sun, moon) and not about the other planets, solar system, other solar systems, binary stars, and other galaxies etc...? The knowledge of the gods when it came to the universe was limited to the knowledge of the men who lived at that time. Hmmm.......could these gods be man-made?
      you said, "They may even be shown a picture of you as a form of proof, but simply because they can and have the power to do so, they deny that you were ever born." You need to understand that certain analogies don't work because the subjects u r comparing r totally different. If u show me a picture of somebody, i will agree that person exists and was born because its another human being, which is an ordinary occurrence. Now u r using that as an analogy to say that u have a picture of god. Of course, i bet u, if u take that pic of god and show that to people (even Christians) today u would get laughed at. Why? because god by definition is a supernatural being and the pic would be suspect right away. If i came to u and showed u a pic of my pet dinosaur in my backyard, u would immediately call me out on it cause its not an ordinary occurrence. U would demand to see the dinosaur in person. Same goes for a supernatural being. So that analogy fails.
      you said, "It is just a display of their ignorance, lack of understand and desire to get it." This makes no sense, but believers often spout senseless ramblings.
      you said, "You cannot ever deny that God is here, he is everywhere in trees, in breathing, water, wind, rain, sun, clouds, voices...everywhere!!!" Sure, your god conveniently hides away in other objects and cannot be seen unless i 'believe'.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  16. mysteryrighter64

    "You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

    June 22, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • CosmicC

      Where's the LIKE button?

      June 22, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  17. Dave

    I cannot wait to buy this book.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  18. Dan from Chicago, IL

    I agree with you that the culture and morality of America has lost the true meaning of what is written in the Holy Bible, BUT to say that everyone that is opposed to gay and lesbian marriage is a hypocrite is false. Their are many people who are true to the word of God!

    June 22, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Karen

      Actually, no one is true to the Word of God, not one single person apart from Christ, because we are all in bondage to sin. That's what made the cross necessary.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • LinCA

      @ Dan from Chicago, IL.

      You don't have to like what anyone else does but you don't have the right to tell them what they can or can't do based strictly on your religion.

      Your religious freedom gives you the right to not engage in the behavior that your particular flavor of religion considers a "sin". It does not give you the right to tell anyone else what to do, or not to do. Your religious freedom ends where that of anyone else begins.

      Just like Canadian law doesn't apply in the US, and vice versa, your religious dogma doesn't apply to anyone who doesn't subscribe to your religion. It's simply a matter of jurisdiction. Your bible doesn't have any jurisdiction outside the christian community.

      Peace.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Jesus

      Jurisdiction? – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

      June 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @LinCa

      As a Canadian employee of a US-based multinational, I have been made well aware that (certain) US law does apply in Canada and other countries, at least according to the US! But other than that bit of modern day imperialism, I agree with what you say, as usual.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Seriously?

      "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”"

      That is your belief does not make it true. I do not have to abide by your belief in a book of fallacies.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  19. QuestionsOfFaith

    Let this and more discussion continue:
    http://www.questionsoffaith.org

    June 22, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  20. Don Juan

    People are sheep and will do anything that is written and said.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:50 am |
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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.