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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. ReligionIs4Dolts

    Does anyone who quotes anything from the bible twist it? Emphatically, YES!

    June 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Remember Exclamations Forty-seven nine: "So when Jesus heard that, He became exceedingly wroth and stamped His foot."

      June 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Laughing

      Don't forget the time Jesus saw a flying unicorn and said, "That horned horse is an abomination" at which point jesus raised his hands and zappéd the horned beast with his godly powers, exterminating all horses with horns" (Mark 15;23)

      June 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  2. mooP

    Don't forget, Jesus hates Figs! See Mark 11:12-14! 🙂

    June 22, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  3. PJ

    They totally twist the Bible by taking every word literally rather than interpretatively. And they fail to look at the populations the various Gospels were written for. Fundamentalists are about the most judgemental, cruel and bitter people in America – second only to Fundamentalist Islam.

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

      You seem a bit judgemental there, guess we all need to work on that problem

      June 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  4. maggie

    Chris R

    Life begins at conception

    Significantly, the Bible describes a human life as existing in the womb. The psalmist David wrote concerning God: “Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing.” (Psalm 139:16) David does not simply say “an embryo” but “the embryo of ME,” thus accurately revealing that David’s life began when he was conceived, long before his birth. Under inspiration by God, David also revealed that at conception the development of his body parts was according to a plan, or detailed ‘written’ instructions, which made him the person he was.

    Please note also that the Bible does not say that a woman conceives a piece of tissue. Instead, it states: “An able-bodied man has been conceived!” (Job 3:3) This too indicates that according to the Bible, a child exists as a person from the time of his conception. Yes, that is when human life begins.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • David Johnson

      @maggie

      Actually, maggie all it really proves is that the bible is ambiguous. And if it is ambiguous, we really can't be sure what is true and what isn't. Certainly we can't say it is inerrant.

      Each person "chooses" a position and then searches the bible for scripture that supports it.

      Cheers!

      June 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Catholic against fundamentalism

      Careful, careful, please. Misinformation and misinterpretation is a dangerous thing: Psalms are only poems, hymns, not dogmatic, but rather meant to praise the Lord. There was no such talk of embryos in the Bible's times! Do you know when the word was first used, when the concept of "embryo" was even identifed?

      June 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Catholic against fundamentalism

      Do not confuse the issue with facts! My King Jimmy says it. I believe it. End of story.

      Remember: Sola Scriptura! It has produced something like 34,000 different denominations of Christianity. I think Luther was right! ?

      Cheers!

      June 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Catholic against fundamentalism

      That's kind of uncalled for; I was not making fun of anyone's beliefs or lack there off, everyone is free to their own. Oh well...

      June 22, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • scott

      I know the embrio of a chicken is in a newly layed egg; but, that does not mean the embiro is a chicken. Thant is why we have 2 different names for egg salid and chicken salid sandwitches. Also you can be arested for cruilty to a chicken. You can not be arested for cruilty to a fertilized egg.

      June 25, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  5. Colin

    "Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology." Isn't that tantamount to calling him a gaint in the field of alchemy or wit.ch burning?

    June 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      No one knew more about phlogiston and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

      June 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  6. Reality

    Augustine, the "guilt tripper" (i.e. original sin of the soul) who also put upon us by two mythical parents living in some mythical, magical garden.

    Fast forwarding: Ultrasonography can detect a growing baby's heart at six weeks of growth.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Reality

      Saint Augustine said all descendants of Adam (that being the entire human race) were created with fundamentally flawed semen and inherited the Original Sin from all of their descendants.

      Nothing that I have a problem with in that.

      Cheers!

      June 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • scott

      And a person can be totaly brain dead but still have a lovely heart beat

      June 25, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  7. Corwyn

    I understand that many people out there think gays are sinners, and may even go to hell. (I disagree but I won't change those people's minds.) My question is: "So what?" Just because someone is a sinner, why does that mean you should deny him or her equal civil rights under the law, encourage discrimination, or encourage hate in the hearts of our children? Treat gay "sinners" with respect and legal equality - like you would any other "sinner" - and let God sort them out in the next life. I really don't get the point of denying people equal civil rights based on your own relgious beliefs.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • trying6

      Corwyn, while I respect and in many ways agree with your point, that is not what this article was about. He is trying to justify certain actions because society seems to turn a blind eye to other things that are biblically stated as wrong.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • BD7

      To the point and well said. thank you 🙂

      June 22, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • BD7

      (my well said was to Corwyn's point)

      June 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      In this country we made a decision to allow diversity in religion and ethnicity. We proved it was the right decision by storming out in both World Wars and making the whole world kneel to us. Our inclusive society is gradually taking over all existing cultures, including the Arabs: Rock the Casbah, baby! Rage all you want, but young Arabs listen to hip-hop and rap when their parents aren't watching. If you dislike our society, leave! Move to one of the Old World countries and join their state religion. No one is making you live in a country where everyone is valued.

      June 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  8. Reality

    "Abrahamics" (e.g. Mark from Middle River and Rainer Braendlein) believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences and Abrahamic and other religious traditions said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.
    ============================================================================================

    June 22, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  9. John

    "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.”"

    God new you before the foundation of the earth. Hence while before and during conception you were known. This is why we Christians believe that abortion is murder.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Joey

      It's "knew" not "new."

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

      The fact that "god knew you" before you were even conceived, can only suggest that the auther speaks not of the body, but of the soul, the two being separate. So it remains for you to prove that the soul is in the body at conception, or if god besows the soul at some other point. We know that Adam did not receive his soul when god formed him from the dirt, but only after it was breathed into him, upon his first breath of life. Does this then imply that the Soul god always knew is not wed to the body until the first breath of that child's life, at birth?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @John

      Again I ask, if christians (and most likely other believers) believe abortion is murder, why are 70% of the abortions in the USA for believers?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • JohnR

      Ok. Let's posit an omniscient being who knows everything that was, is and will be. So s/he knows us before we exist. That doesn't prove that anything in particular begins at conception. This hypothetical omniscient being knews us for billions of years before we existed in any sense at all. So we can perfectly well be known and still not exist when the egg is first fertilized and only come into being later.

      Of course, this whole line of inquiry is totally ridiculous. What some ancient author imagined that some imaginary divinity knows is not a sound basis for deciding modern abortion law.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • scott

      "God new you before the foundation of the earth" Can you quote the chapter and vers this is from? Also if you truely believe this then mensis and ma$tribation are murder too

      June 25, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  10. Nietzsche

    God is dead

    June 22, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Zelda

      You made Germans almost annihilate the Jews.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Joey

      Ignorance almost made the Germans annihilate the Jews. Nietzsche was highly critical of anti-semitism. Read Nietzsche before you talk.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • hasc

      "Neitzsche is dead" – God

      June 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  11. Link

    @Zelda, You must really be upset by all the gay dudes in Hyrule.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  12. JW

    Jonathan,

    Nice job of lifting a couple of New Testament verses out of context. The end of your commentary could just as easily read:

    So let’s stop the charade and be honest.

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

    June 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Rhonda

      Or, put the other way, "Opponents of gay marriage aren't defending the Bible's values. They are using the Bible to defend their own." Otherwise, how can you explain why they cherry pick which people to stone out of the Old Testament's list – rebellious children, adulterers, witches, etc.?

      June 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • JW Ludicrous

      Are you INSANE? You seriously read this article and STILL THINK SO? Dimwit.

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

      When using the bible as a reference, doesn't EVERYONE quote out of context? It's silly to think that this author when using quotes from the bible to protect his postion isn't giving it any context, but to then turn around and say that "leviticus says something so lets obey". The whole point of this article is what most atheists have been asking for a while, nay atheists and even a lot of christians and other believers, what gives a person the right to pick and choose which laws of god they follow and which ones are just a sign of the times? Also, your quote at the end, painfully stupid, really, just painful

      June 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  13. bird

    how the hell can anyone expect to know what Jesus / God wants or thinks? The bible is a work of men, it has no more relation to the mind of God than a head of lettuce. Please keep your stupid biases and unfounded "faith" to yourselves.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Chris R

      God is transcendental and is unknowable to mortal beings. We can no more determine God's plan than an ant can perform calculus. How God has given us clues and ideas as to how we should live and worship. Unfortunately, they are just clues and it is up to us to interpret them. Since we are fallible creatures our interpretations of these clues and signs will always be missing something – they will always be incomplete. However, we ca strive and try to live as best as we know how. We can try to live with love for all people, with toleration for all people, with peace for all people, and charity for all people. So if two people decide they love each other we should celebrate that love even if we don't understand that love. It doesn't matter if they are a man and women, two women, or two men. Love is love and a gift from God.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • dwordisclear

      bird–the name you chose for yourself matches the level of knowledge you show with this post.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • dwordisclear

      Chris R– Your post sounds beautiful, but reality is far from your view. Not even the reality of the Bible describes your wishful thinking. The fact is that without the help of the Spirit of God in our lives, we are incapable of doing what you just have described.

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

      @Chris R

      Given the complex structures that ants (and other animals) can create maybe they can perform calculus – how would you know for sure? Given that I can see an ant at work and see what they accomplish, it is much easier for me to believe (with no other evidence) that ants can perform calculus than it is for me to believe that gods exist (with no evidence at all).

      June 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Chris R

      You said: "God is transcendental and is unknowable to mortal beings. "

      When believers are challenged, and their arguments have proven inadequate, they always fall back on humans not being able to fathom god. It is their panic room. A safe place where they can hide their god, until the danger has passed.

      In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

      You said: " How God has given us clues and ideas as to how we should live and worship. Unfortunately, they are just clues and it is up to us to interpret them. Since we are fallible creatures our interpretations of these clues and signs will always be missing something – they will always be incomplete.

      Humans are fallible. But more is expected of a god.

      Christians claim their god is all knowing, all powerful, and all good.

      Christians claim god gave humans the bible to guide them toward a knowledge of Him and to help them live a moral life.

      If this is true, then it is extremely important that humans understand the bible's true meaning.

      God is all good, so He would want us to correctly interpret and understand His word.

      God is all knowing, so He would know how to compose a bible, that could not be misinterpreted, that everyone could understand.

      God is all powerful, so He would be able to produce such a bible.

      Yet, there are over 1,000 different Christian denominations in North America. Many of their beliefs are contradictory.
      Each of these denominations, base their beliefs on their interpretation and understanding of the bible.

      The bible cannot be said to be inerrant, if it is ambiguous.

      The bible is the only evidence that Christians have, that their god exists. Even this meager evidence is flawed.

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Chris R. Americans don't need a god's blessing or permission to be with whoever they wish. It is their const_itutional right.

      Cheers!

      June 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  14. Zelda

    Jonathan Dudley, read the whole Bible with honesty and come back. The Bible always condemns immorality especially gross perversion like ho-mo-s-e-x-uality. You are willfully choosing perverse lifestyles over what God plainly says.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • ....

      "The Bible always condemns immorality especially gross perversion like ho-mo-s-e-x-uality."

      Wow you're calling God's creation perverted, Satan really does live in your heart. Your ignorance on this subject is reckless.

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

      God never created sin or evil. Satan as well as the first humans who sought godless autonomy rebeled against God and started sinning and created evil by misusing their freewill. Definition of evil -> corruption of good.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Uh yes...

      Zelda is right and the reply needs to re-read his comment and their reply. He never said 'creation', he is referring to an action. This debate on the comments is all ridden with poor logic and false arguments. We all need to take a moment and breathe and then think through our responses before 'shooting from the hip'.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Zelda

      Gays and les-bians need to supress their filthy urges just as children or kins must never be sought after romantically.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Rhonda

      Zelda, where in the Bible does God put the 'grossness' of individual sins on a sliding scale. There is scripture where murder is condemned along side of gossip. I think God may be trying to tell us that we should not judge another's sin according to how much it grosses us out. Come to think of it, Jesus tells us not to judge; that's God's job.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • .....

      "Gays and les-bians need to supress their filthy urges just as children or kins must never be sought after romantically."

      Keep showing the world how ignorant you are on this subject and spreading more lies. Satan really does have control of your heart.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • RHinWI

      @Zelda, The bible also says,"judge not, lest ye be judged". You seem to be a tad judgemental Zelda. Calm down now and take your pills like a good girl.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Sybaris

      "Gays and les-bians need to supress their filthy urges just as children or kins must never be sought after romantically."

      That's about as dumb as saying you hate everyone who likes chocolate ice cream.

      Apples and oranges.

      Pedophilia and incest have genetic and emotional consequences. Same gender relations are only perceived as harmful by those who dislike it. The harm to the population is an argument sure to follow but the relatively miniscule incidence of same gender relations has no impact on the growth of an already overpopulated world.

      June 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Sybaris

      Definition of evil -> corruption of good

      Reference please

      This is inferring that everything your god makes is good.

      Ever seen a harlequin baby?

      June 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bryan

      Zelda, the thing I never understood was why God would ever allow evil to even be a possibility. God could have just allowed everyone to be his zombie and never thought twice about it, but I guess he was bored and decided he'd allow for evil and give people choices just to see what they would do with them.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Catholic against fundamentalism

      Zelda: Are you really, truly saying gay=pedophile? Can you tell me in your own words – no scripture-quoting, please – what your evidence is, or why you say these brothers and sisters of yours se-x-ual urges' are less filthy (or not) than yours?
      Bryan: God doesn't allow evil, people do. Contrary to popular belief, God made us free; our free will is what allows us to be good or mess up.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • scott

      "The Bible always condemns immorality especially gross perversion" Then perhaps you can explain that passage in the bible where Moses tells his army to kill all the little boy and all the women who are not virgins; but, to keep the little girls for themselves?

      June 25, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Adelina

      Zelda is a witch.

      June 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  15. Prevert

    Jesus LOVES me !

    June 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • dwordisclear

      So everyone else; He didn't die just for you!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  16. MrsFudd

    Funny how no one seems to even think about the physical ramifications of long term relations between men. Ever heard of droopy @ss syndrome? Of course not – because no one talks about it. Colo-rectal cancer is rampant among hom0s*xual men, but you never hear that in the news either. My neighbor had his colon removed at 52 because of his lifestyle choice. That area was never intended for s*xual contact. Any first term anatomy class will tell you that. He now has a colostomy bag. He has been in a state of depression for months because he knows in his heart and soul that what he did for so many years was not NORMAL, yet he caved in to his impulses. It has affected his life forever and I feel so sorry for him. The Bible is very clear that the hom0s*xual lifestyle is not just abnormal, it is abominable because the human body was never created to so such things. Those who choose to practice it will reap what they have sown as they get older, and it's not a pretty picture.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • dubalu

      Where did you get these facts?

      June 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • scott

      It also says eating shelfish is an abomination too. So why doesn't god manke my ass fall off for eating clams?

      June 25, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  17. Zelda

    Ho-mo-s-e-x-uality is treated as the worst problem by Christians now because, unlike other s-e-x-ual sins, it is boasted and encouraged to be proud of, not shamed or encouraged to stop by the society. The secular West is perverse. A Sodom returned, making the whole world brace for the oncoming Fire.

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

      have you even bothered to look at the definition of sodomy? Probably not in your prejudice heart. It's an-al or o-ral copu-lation with a member of the opposite s-ex. Plus the word ho-mo-se-xual wasn't even invented back then. Satan has your heart so you can continue to fuel the flames of hatred and bigotry.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Zelda

      The Bible commands us to hate sin and shun evil. Satan loves to make men fall into perversion.

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

      "The Bible commands us to hate sin and shun evil. Satan loves to make men fall into perversion."

      Wow your are the one full of perversion, so now use your brain, what does it say on how to treat people.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Chris R

      Zelda,

      What you may not understand is that Satan, as you think of it, doesn't *really* exist. Think about it – God is absolute and all powerful. All of the angels are nothing more than his servants. They have no free will of their own – by definition and injunction they cannot as only man was given the gift of free will. Anything else is heresy. As such Satan never 'rebelled' against God – without free will there can be no rebellion. As such Satan is God's servant as much anyone else – this is clearly laid out in the Book of Job. Perhaps Satan does tempt men into the ways of evil but if Satan does do this then it is at God's command. This is contrary to our view of God as just and loving – a loving person doesn't tempt people into rebellion and sin in order to punish them now do they? Satan therefore, is either evidence of God's duplicity (which I reject out of hand) or it's just a human way of explaining the evil that exists in all men – the propensity towards rebellion that comes from the gift of free will. God loves us – but he wants us to come to Him of our own choosing. So God had to give us free will or our faith and compliance would mean nothing. So there is no need for the idea of Satan as some dark independent force opposed to God. We only need to look at our own nature and the gift of free will to explain the evil in the world.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Zelda

      Chris, stop writing your garbage personal opinion and start reading the Bible.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • RHinWI

      @Zelda, just one more thing, Wm. Shakespear said, and I agree; "me thinks thou does protest too much". Seems to me that those that shout the most, have the most to shout about.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • HotAirAce

      We need more "Zeldas" especially in public. The more thinking people hear/see a "Zelda" the faster religion will be discarded. "Zeldas" are atheism’s best public relations "tool" (tool being used in its most negative context!). I imagine that many believers cringe when they read stuff from "Zeldas." Not to worry, all "Zeldas" will soon be spouting their evil at sideshows, right beside astrologists, their evolutionary predecessors.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey Zel- Question. The Sodom part. There have been many discussions that the reason it was destroyed was not that there were Gays there but that the Gay males were attempting to ra'pe the angels that Lot's family was sheltering.

      Could the attempted "ra'pe" of the Angels have been the true reason for its destruction.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      HotAirAce – "We need more "Zeldas" especially in public. "

      You have her ... and we have you and Reality...

      Fair trade I feel 🙂

      June 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Mark from Middle River

      You have dealt me a near mortal blow. To be put in the same category as the other to is cruel.

      June 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      HotAirAce... fair enough. Yah do not cut and paste like he does 🙂

      June 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • dubalu

      Zelda, you are a sick piece of humanity, and GOD has a plan for you too, hater.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Chris R

      You said: "What you may not understand is that Satan, as you think of it, doesn't *really* exist. "

      Chris! I'm starting to think you have promise. LOL

      Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?

      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god? What would be the point in continuing the battle, if the goal (victory?) ABSOLUTELY was not obtainable? I think this would be disheartening to any army. Even a band of fallen angels.

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      What's funny, is that Christians bestow upon their god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

      But, Christians never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

      Some have told me, that Satan knows he will be defeated. His goal is to take as many humans to hell with him as possible.
      But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning. Only that number of souls lost and saved, is possible. No more. No less.

      If god can know the future, Satan would be locked into his part. Like Judas and Peter, he would have no choice. And neither would the damned or the saved have a choice.

      If the predictions of the bible concerning Satan and the end times are true, then all the events and actions leading up to the fulfillment of these predictions, are predetermined. Predictions, cannot depend on chance.

      “For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
      – Carl Sagan

      Cheers!

      June 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • scott

      You want perversion? Get out your bible and read what Lot and his daughters get into right after god destroys saudom for being naughty

      June 25, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  18. Big Man

    The contents of the old testment should not be the moral compass for our society. First of all the vast majority of us in US and Europe have no ancestral connection to the Levant (or Middle East). If anything the virtues in Greek/Roman/Celt/Norse societies are more fitting culturally and make a hell of a lot more sense. Our dependence on the bible is has if anything retarded our human/society growth. Just think about it. Get back to your own roots, it is quite liberating.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  19. SMS in Texas

    How do we know Jesus wasn't gay? He spent all his time hanging out with twelve dudes.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Zelda

      Are you saying every man is gay? Perverts know no normality or friendship.

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

      "Perverts know no normality or friendship."

      Continue to show Satan has your heart as you spread more lies.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Chris R

      That's odd. I know quite a few gay men who have deep long lasting friendships (some of those with me) and appear to live very normal lives. Far more normal and mainstream than a lot of straight people I know. My guess is that you know a few gay people yourself – you just don't know that you do.

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

      Chris, your personal experience is too tiny. Not scientific to make a general truth. Gays feel romance with everything they see – the reason they have hundreds or thousands of partners in lifetime. Anyway, don't pollute the planet.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • ....

      "Gays feel romance with everything they see – the reason they have hundreds or thousands of partners in lifetime. "

      Another lie and more proof Satan has your heart. You are one disgusting perverted person.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Catholic against fundamentalism

      Dear God, Zelda... Where do you get your facts? Are you a real person or a troll? Can this really be your opinion?
      Hey guys, please know there are sane cristians out there! Well, I consider myself one... 😀

      June 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Chris R

      You said: "My guess is that you know a few gay people yourself – you just don't know that you do."

      I play poker with a gay couple and 3 other straight guys, most every Friday night. We play cards. We drink beer. I find my gay friends to be warm and funny.

      Cheers!

      June 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus loves us, God loves us.

    Does God love us? Is there any proof?

    Let us reflect a little about the baptism of John the Baptist. By John's Baptism people got the label: "This man is a sinner, who needs forgiveness". By John's baptism people received no releasing power, but were completely humbled. So, as they got completely humbled, they became able to receive the Messiah (Jesus). John the Baptist just prepared the way of the Lord and made his path straight.

    Jesus Christ got himself baptized by John the Baptist. Why? Jesus was no sinner of at all, but holy. He was the incarnated Son of God. He had absolutely no need to be humbled by John's baptism, in order to get prepared for receiving forgiveness.

    Jesus got himself baptized, because he wanted to associate or to equate with us. He joint the community of the sinners. He, who was holy, accepted to get the label: "declared sinner". Reason why: Jesus didn't want to be a proud Pharesee but wanted to be our brother. God the Son become our brother. That is mind-blowing.

    The deep love of Jesus Christ should cause, that we acknowledge him as our LORD.

    Jesus has also become the brother of the gays. This love should lead us to repentance.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Chris R

      God and Jesus are, according to doctrine, of the same substance. So if Jesus loves us then God loves us. What Jesus speaks, God speaks.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Hi!

      I agree with you Chris R. The Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father. He is a triune God, indeed.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      So what's the difference ?

      June 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Rainer Braendlein

      You asked: "Does God love us? Is there any proof?"

      How about the disasters like these that God sends to draw people to him, sort of like beating your wife and kids in order to get them to love you?

      God is responsible for or allowed the following just in the last 10 years:

      2004 Indian Ocean tsunami (approx. 230,000 killed)
      2005 Hurricane Katrina (approx. 1,836 killed)
      2005 Kashmir earthquake (approx. 79,000)
      2008 Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar (at least 146,000 killed)
      2008 Sichuan earthquake (approx. 87,400)
      Other Smaller Disasters:
      2003 Bam earthquake, Iran (30,000)
      2001 Gujarat earthquake, India, Pakistan (20,000)
      2006 Bantul earthquake, Indonesia (5,800)
      2001 Floods and landslides, Brazil (5,100)
      2007 Cyclone Sidr, Bangladesh, India (4,200)
      2004 Floods, Haiti, Dominican Republic (3,350)

      So god has killed ~ 613,000 humans in the last decade. These were men, women, children and babies.

      Then there are the starving, the diseased and the parasite ridden.

      Yes, Jesus loves us, this we can tell...sort of...

      Cheers!

      June 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
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About this blog

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.