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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. JohnP

    @Tom – seriously? You call this reason? Your carefully chosen passages don't refer to the context of the allegory that Christ is using (Luke 12:47), or sarcasm (Matthew 15:4-7)...I don't mind rational thought, but dude – get your arguments right. And you think Christians are selective?

    Also – this guy chooses to avoid the mulitple passages in the NT and OT condemning hs behavior, and the clear picture of marriage established in multiple passages – first in Genesis, and then in the OT establishment of laws, reaffirmed in Proverbs, reaffirmed in Hosea, and consistently taught in Ephesians, Colossians, etc. One Man, One Woman...end of story – divorce, hs marriage, etc, distorts this concept – there is no gray area of interpretation here.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JohnP.
      Bible passages and rational thought are mutually exclusive.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • mike c

      The entirety of human behavior is grey and the bible reflects that with its many contradictory passages. Only those who refuse to use the brain their God supposedly gave them see the world in solely black and white.

      June 23, 2011 at 5:03 am |
  2. Zelda

    American perverts, you can never defeat what the Bible says. Just give up. Start a new religion instead of claiming the name of Christianity or using the Bible verses like Satan does. That's more honest. The Bible texts reached the whole world because of the real American Christian missionaries; no one can be fooled with the lies of the Western perverts.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Yo!

      There are churches, pastors, rabbi's and nuns that disagree with you. You will be judged on how you are judging others wow are you going to be sorry. LMAO!

      June 23, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Scott

      Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'"
      1 Sam 15:3

      Those Amalekite infants must have been real perverts and don't even get me started on the live stalk

      June 26, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  3. Zelda

    I'm glad Yale has a copy of the Bible! Yet they let students read a few verses and give away diplomas as usual! What a fake Divinity school! The Chinese government-sanctined churches, as horrible as they are, are better and more honest on Christianity than Yale! Shame on you, pagan Americans!

    June 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Yo!

      You're clueless.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  4. Zelda

    Summary of history: The white people colonized the colored and enslaved them. It happened because the colored ones enslaved their women and children and would not stop. Now the whites force and brainwash us to accept Sodomy as norm. This time the world will fight till the end.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Yo!

      Lying is not part of being a Christians, your spewing nonsense. Your bigotry is disgusting.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Andrea

      I'm glad others have tieocnd this trend!! I was riding my bike the other day and it seemed there was a chipmunk every 2 or 3 feet!! I've never seen so many!!! and a coworker mentioned seeing many the other day .Interesting!

      April 1, 2012 at 5:44 am |
  5. Zelda

    Summary: Actually the Bible condemns all perverts to death. Jesus told us to give everyone time to repent. Now perverts force everyone to become perverse. What a world!

    June 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • ....

      You are the one perverse with prejudice that is unjustified.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  6. Believer

    Interesting viewpoint, that shows you what a seminary education can do to you. I believe what Saint Paul wrote....including the part about if an angel from heaven preaches any other Gospel let him be accursed. Yes, I believe that women are commanded to have long hair. Divorce and remarriage is forbidden. Adultery, fornication, etc. will all keep you out of the kingdom of God if you do not repent. To be a Christian you must believe Christ. Otherwise...seminary education or not...you are not a Christian.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • mary

      Christ decides who was a Christian, not you. Why do you fear discourse?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  7. Muneef

    Openly flaunting one’s sins;

    The hadith clearly condemns those who openly flaunt their sin, which implies praise of those who conceal their sin. The fact that Allah conceals it implies that the believer must also cover himself. Whoever deliberately flaunts his sin angers his Lord, Who will not then cover him. Whoever deliberately conceals his sin out of shame before his Lord and before people, Allah will bless him by concealing it." (Fathu'l-Bari, 10/487-488)
    http://darultavhid.com/en/forum/index.php?topic=3236.0;wap2

    Exposing sins and bragging about them encourages others to commit them and imitate the sinners. The prohibition of openly committing sins is a great wisdom, because Allaah knows that such acts move others and motivate them to indulge in the same evil; it also makes sinning more attractive to people, decorating it in their eyes. This is why openly exposing one's sins is so perilous.  
    http://www.shawuniversitymosque.org/JTaqwa/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=1747

    Sinning Publicly

    http://dailyhadith.adaptivesolutionsinc.com/hadith/Sinning-Publicly.htm

    June 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Believer

      It appears you read from the Quran (excuse my spelling) and I read from the bible. You may believe in your Quarn and not the bible, but one thing I can guarantee you, I feel the spirit of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior; who is the Son of the only One True God of the Universe who made ALL things, heaven and earth. And the ONLY way to get to the one true God is thru Jesus Christ. Because He said in the bible He is the mediator to God. No one comes to the Father (God) but by Him. Everytime we pray, we say in Jesus name. His spirit makes me feel good and makes sense because His spirit is the spirit of love, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, faith, peace (non violence) EVERYTHING that is good. Good feels better than bad. I saw a little bit of the Quran and I saw some condoning of killing. Nothing loving, peaceful, etc., about killing. It is a bad spirit. So I accept we have different belief and most likely never agree. But I just wanted to introduce you to Jesus Christ and do not want to meet your prophet Mohammed, because the only way to God is through Jesus. This country United States of American is a great country because it was founded on the bible principal of Jesus Christ. God has truly blessed America.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Larry

      "Whoever deliberately conceals his sin out of shame before his Lord and before people, Allah will bless him by concealing it." (Fathu'l-Bari, 10/487-488) – That is interesting because it reflects a shame based culture. There is another way. Christianity does not support concealing sin but, rather, confession. Christianity believes in Grace. In grace, love and acceptance does not fluctuate depending upon how people act. People are affirmed for being who they are. In shame-based society, behavior is the most important thing. Who you are comes last.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Muneef

      Larry.
      Proceed to this blog very interesting and same subject;
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/22/your-take-do-gay-marriage-foes-twist-the-bible/comment-page-1/#comment-514419

      June 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      Believer.

      [43:81] Proclaim: "If the Most Gracious did have a son, I would still be the foremost worshiper."

      [43:82] Be He glorified; He is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, the Lord with the great dominion, far above their claims.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Joe

      Muneef, if storms are God's punishment, why does Tornado Alley cut right through the Bible Belt?

      June 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • mary

      Thought it was with liberty, freedom, and to avoid persecution. I'm not american, but some of you actually bring shame to Christianity and the United States. When did freedom of speech stop being valued by Americans?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  8. Larry

    You can not know that the Bible is the "Word of God". The only scripture that claims to have been directly written by God is the 10 Commandments. "The Word of God" is ascribed to the person of Jesus as well Christ's ministry. Some people believe in Bibliolatry. They make the Bible an idol instead of simply searching for God in their lives.

    If you believe that life was created by God, then I would say that life itself is a Word of God and the laws of life reflect God.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  9. glenda

    The Bible was written over two thousand years ago, plus it has been rewritten how many times? Everybody needs to remember when you're judging somebody else, " For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God".

    June 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • John

      The Bible was "written" less than two thousand years ago. The Council of Nicaea was 384 if memory serves.

      This atheist cares to point out, it (the bible) was a compilation of myths hundreds of years old voted in or out to make – the bible.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  10. Jay

    Firstly, I find it difficult to accept that the Bible, any bible, consisting of parts contributed by any number of people can, indeed, stay strictly as the "word" of God, any god, but, rather must become a game of historical telephone fraught with the interpretations, and thereby the good and bad prejudices of the contributor. Secondly, those interpretations have relevance within the context of the time they were made. As such, the validityy of those interpretations within the context of present society come into question. Even within the brief history of the last 200 years, the biblical interpretations have changed. Thirdly, I would wonder if God really involved him/herself in the nit-picking details of daily livingsuch as hair length, or what foods go with what foods, etc. He/she had bigger things to deal with and, as such, these proscriptions were left to Man. Finally, there is the question of free will in general. Man's interpretation of the Bible and what it proports to communicate about God's will has, as a result of belief, led to some of the most beautiful acts demonstrated by humankind and, conversely, it has led also to the most horrific. Is it God that has been that ambiguous or is it man who has chosen to read the script in a way they see fit?

    June 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Scott

      1. God is satisfied with his works
      Gen 1:31
      God is dissatisfied with his works.
      Gen 6:6
      2. God dwells in chosen temples
      2 Chron 7:12,16
      God dwells not in temples
      Acts 7:48
      3. God dwells in light
      Tim 6:16
      God dwells in darkness
      1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2
      4. God is seen and heard
      Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/
      Ex 24:9-11
      God is invisible and cannot be heard
      John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16
      5. God is tired and rests
      Ex 31:17
      God is never tired and never rests
      Is 40:28
      6. God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things
      Prov 15:3/ Ps 139:7-10/ Job 34:22,21
      God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all
      things
      Gen 11:5/ Gen 18:20,21/ Gen 3:8
      7. God knows the hearts of men
      Acts 1:24/ Ps 139:2,3
      God tries men to find out what is in their heart
      Deut 13:3/ Deut 8:2/ Gen 22:12
      8. God is all powerful
      Jer 32:27/ Matt 19:26
      God is not all powerful
      Judg 1:19

      June 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  11. Muneef

    Just wonder why not gay men marry gay women rather than male to male and female to female ?!!

    June 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • frank

      uhhh............

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

      You just proved you don't understand this topic. LOL!

      June 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Muneef

      Ya you are right I sound strange because after all the talk is about the same kind marrying each other....haha
      Although it is not my best subject to write about but have to say that we have came across many of those in our country but at least they don't show them selves weird in the society but rather act straight not advertising their handicap but rather married normally to a female having children,going to musque prayers while keeping their personal habits as confidential as possible for the sake of their family & Children...but never came across any man asking to marry another man or women marry other women....your people are so spoilt and going far with our any consideration to society or community as it is at ours which only means and reflects how weak is the family ties that you have where no considerations given to others for openly and publicly shamelessly demand such unnatural acts that are of the devil ways of misleading man annoying God with it for having created,favored Adam&Eve..

      June 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Yo!

      Muneef it's not a handicap people are born gay and live totally normal lives with loving sam s-ex partners. 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that ho-mos-exuality, in and itself, is not as-sociated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems. Ho-mos-exuality was once thought to be a mental illness because mental health professionals and society had biased information.

      Studies comparing groups of children raised by ho-mos-exual and by heteros-exual parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in four critical areas: their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, and popularity with friends. It is also important to realize that a parent's s-exual orientation does not indicate their children's.

      You are living a lie because you belief is based on bias and prejudice view points.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Joe

      With a divorce rate at 50%+, wouldn't marrying someone you don't love just make it worse?

      June 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Muneef

      It is a handicap because it is an addiction ...such people have no control over their sinful soul...their desires controls them but they have no control over their desires".

      We as Believers Jews/Christians/Muslims know how much wrong is in this and keeping quite but to allow it to become official surely God will hold us as partners in the crime ??

      Read these bits;

      Openly flaunting one’s sins;

      The hadith clearly condemns those who openly flaunt their sin, which implies praise of those who conceal their sin. The fact that Allah conceals it implies that the believer must also cover himself. Whoever deliberately flaunts his sin angers his Lord, Who will not then cover him. Whoever deliberately conceals his sin out of shame before his Lord and before people, Allah will bless him by concealing it." (Fathu'l-Bari, 10/487-488)
      http://darultavhid.com/en/forum/index.php?topic=3236.0;wap2

      Exposing sins and bragging about them encourages others to commit them and imitate the sinners. The prohibition of openly committing sins is a great wisdom, because Allaah knows that such acts move others and motivate them to indulge in the same evil; it also makes sinning more attractive to people, decorating it in their eyes. This is why openly exposing one's sins is so perilous.  
      http://www.shawuniversitymosque.org/JTaqwa/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=1747

      Sinning Publicly

      http://dailyhadith.adaptivesolutionsinc.com/hadith/Sinning-Publicly.htm

      June 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Larry

      That understanding reflects a different culture than is predominant in America. However, even here some gay men do marry gay women and raise families. However, we seem to stress individual freedoms versus family and societal obligations. I happen to prefer individual freedoms and diversity.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Muneef

      Larry.

      Yes that is of Arabic and Islamic Culture...and not of America...

      But you know now I understood why America out of many countries has more Natural Disasters than any other country with the same size...it must be this individual diversity thing behind it after all we should not forget about the people of Lut or Lot and what has happened to them for their individual diversity that was dominant in their city there and then...!!

      June 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Muneef

      Larry.

      Think there is a south American country that is now lead by a woman who has few month ago acknowledged Gay marriage ...wonder if any thing happened to the country since then or maybe we should wait and watch what could happen to it although I know that signs and warnings will never be admitted or recognized by them as a result for their actions of sinity...

      June 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Larry

      Muneef. America does not have more natural disasters than other countries. Muslim countries have natural disasters as well. That is the way creation is made. An earthquake is not caused by God to punish freedom versus societal control. You are going to face your own personal disasters in life even to the point of death. I will not believe that God is punishing you. It is the fate of life.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Larry

      "Whoever deliberately conceals his sin out of shame before his Lord and before people, Allah will bless him by concealing it." (Fathu'l-Bari, 10/487-488) – That is interesting because it reflects a shame based culture. There is another way. Christianity does not support concealing sin but, rather, confession. Christianity believes in Grace. In grace, love and acceptance does not fluctuate depending upon how people act. People are affirmed for being who they are. In shame-based society, behavior is the most important thing. Who you are comes last.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Muneef

      Larry.

      We live by honor and reputation in our society...if you had read the links you would have found out that we do not pray behind or beside any who is doubted by such an act....we as well have a saying that says if you want to know more about a person ask whom are his friends...so you see we are as well judged basis the friends we wix with therefore we have to be Darryl far from doubt to maintain our honor and respect among the society...People are judged by whom they mix with...so if you try to be nice and have a walk with a gay with or with out your knowledge then you can easily marked as gay like him...

      June 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • ....

      You bring shame to your community and friends by holding such prejudice and bigotry in your heart and spewing your nonsense.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • LetsThink123

      hi Muneef,
      you said, 'We live by honor and reputation in our society...'
      How can u live by honor and reputation when ur whole life is based on allah whose prophet muhammed slept with 9 yr old Aisha?? why would a prophet sleep with a 9yr old. there is nothing 'prophetic' about that at all. muhammed was a pedophile by today's society's standards.
      U also mentioned earlier about adam and eve. Do u know that adam and eve is a myth and never happened? the first humans were walking this earth 200k-500k years ago, and came out of AFRICA. not ur middle east only 2000 yrs ago.
      also have u heard about mendelian genetics? Here's a current day story for u: the bengali tigers r on the path to extinction, there r only 250 of them left. But then u say, WAIT! 250 of them left, sure they can reproduce and survive right? wrong! the genetic threshold for their population to have enough diversity in the gene pool to survive is at least 500, otherwise they will die off. these r scientific facts.
      So how can u believe this trash that only TWO people (adam and eve) provided enough genetic diversity to populate the entire human race? U have to read more scientific books rather than the koran to learn more about the real world.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  12. texan

    "And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

    I hope that as I go on I treat others with respect, dignity and love. Having said that, one day I may not oppose gay marriage based on those three things which is totally consistent with the bible. But over those three things is my desire to treat God with respect, reverence and love. It's a balancing act.

    June 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • mason

      don't matter what you think if you are a believer ,it's what the bible say that makes you a follower of Christ. When you stop follow Christ and his word ,you are no longer a follower of his . sorry if this is to hard to bare , but the bible speaks clearly , which is the word of God . sorry , take care

      June 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • gerald

      Love does not require that you approve of everything that others do. Tuff love is till love. If your child is hurting himself would it be loving to let him? No. If he takes drugs would it be loving to encourage this behavior? No. Love has the best interests of the other in mind. When one violates God's laws it is not in his best interest to condone it. Yes we must respect the person. Love the sinner, not the sin.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Seriously....

      “Love does not require that you approve of everything that others do. Tuff love is till love. If your child is hurting himself would it be loving to let him? No. If he takes drugs would it be loving to encourage this behavior? No. Love has the best interests of the other in mind. When one violates God's laws it is not in his best interest to condone it. Yes we must respect the person. Love the sinner, not the sin.”

      Gerald you do get that s-exual orientation is different from s-exual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept..Psychologists believe that negative att-itudes toward gay people as a group are prejudices that are not grounded in actual experience but are based on stereotypes and misinformation. These people are born this way, most scientists today agree that s-exual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, s-exual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's s-exuality. The reality is that ho-mos-exuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable.

      You are probably one of those people that thinks being left handed was from Satan and would use tough love to change it, not realizing you are the problem and not the child. So before you go getting all righteous and full of tough love do yourself a favor and get the facts. People like you are the ones raising the children that bully others because they are gay. Get a grip and an education.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • gerald

      Seriously,

      You broad brush. hs tendencies are not a sin. If that is a part of your point then I agree. Acting on them is. "The reality is that hs is not an illness. " Nothing you have said proves this conclusion. Cancer and diabetes have both genetic and environmental causes. Oh well they must not be an illness also. People tend to oversimplify the causes of hs. Whatever the cause this is not proof of it not being an illness. I happen to disagree with you and have known radical hs's that have been cured.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • gerald

      And quite the contrary my wife and I do not allow any gay jokes and encourage respect for people who struggle in this area just as we struggle in other ares. We are all sinners in need of a savior.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @gerald

      Hi -gerald... I hope that you have been well.

      You Said to @Seriously....."Cancer and diabetes have both genetic and environmental causes. Oh well they must not be an illness also."

      You are creating a fallacious complex equivalency by taking something like 'cancer' which is typically a horrible, terrible disease that puts people through terrible physical torture, suffering and pain, and which is quite often fatal, and you are trying to equate 'cancer' with 'gayness' as if they are on the (same logical level).

      Obviously they are 'not.'

      While you can chunk your argument to such a high enough level to say that they both share a couple of criteria, such as environmental and genetic factors, you most certainly lose the symmetry of your analogy by attempting to make 'cancer' = 'gay.'

      That is a very insidious way that a lot of radical believers attempt to make the argument that being gay is 'really' not o.k.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      June 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  13. Worship

    Jonathon – you are an impressive young man, with a cool head and a genuine disarming manner. Thank you for bringing the precise topic to the forefront and linking science as equally abused as religion by our political culture. Keep it up. You make your generation proud.

    June 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  14. maggie

    I try to subject myself fully to the teaching of the bible. I would have to say, it is not easy not because it is so hard to do but rather because of other people that are around me. I do self evaluation regularly and make ajustment as needed.

    June 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • LinCA

      @maggie.
      Starting a new sect, are we?

      June 23, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  15. maggie

    JohnQuest
    God does not do these things, we do. We do have free will to do what ever we want.

    June 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      I would agree (except for famine), but what does that tell you about the human spirit\soul that Christ came to save? in all these years and billions of people one would have thought by now the debt would have been paid.

      It's easier for me that for you I suspect, I have no concerns about God (any God), all that happens good or bad happens either via man or nature (simple). There are things that I (humans) can not explain (yet) but I don't think it is supernatural.

      I am not waiting for Christ\God to come back and save me from Christ\God wrath. I live an ethical life only because it is the right thing to do.

      June 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Tom

      @Maggie The freewill argument is extremely weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.

      Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill that did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.

      Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?

      June 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Bayu

      You asked,Are you implying there was no ihrtosical Jesus?Jesus exists before History. Because he understood that he was the same “I am” that exists in all things before time.You are the same “I am” – everything is “that”Why does evolution stop at the monkey, the fish, the Icthys, the algae, the bacteria, the single celled organism, the zygote ?Where does the Universe come from ?What does the best Science tell us ?From a single point? – A Quark ? A fermion ? A Higgs Boson, something smaller ?Infinitly smaller – that means that we have all evolved from “that”We are all made of the same stuff. Carl Sagan called it Star Stuff – and he was correct,Einstein was Correct.Baruch Spinoza was Correct.Yahshua (Esse) of Nazareth was Correct.The Essenes, the Nazarenes were Correct.Parable ? Yes .Mythology ? YesFiction ? YesQuantum Physics ? YesTruth ? What is Truth ?

      March 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  16. ipevin

    you know from looking at these comments and really stupid arguments i fully realise why jesus said "do not throw pearls before swine" (mt7:6)

    June 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Ummm

      It's easy to make sweeping generalizations when you don't have to back it up with fact.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • ipevin

      ummm the facts come from your arguments against the bible and christianity the facts also come from the morbid philosophies that people come up with even the philosophy of this article the disciple paul said look out perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men according to the eleentary things of the world and not according to christ (col 2:8)

      June 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Carol in PA

    This article is the best I have read in a long time about Christians and the Bible. Luke 14:26 says, "If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." My father was a minister and he lived by these words. He ws a horrible, and many times, absent parent. My mother was, too. We must use common sense when studying the Bible.

    June 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • ipevin

      it sounds like your father did not live by bible principles or your mother so they obviously was not walking by way of the truth so it is understandable why you have a gloomy perspective keep searching and not quoting scriptures

      June 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Zee

      But as this opinion piece so clearly illustrates, what are these so called principles? The bulk of the christian community follows only a portion of the rules, laws, and principles set out by the bible. Quite honestly, her father probably was practicing the principles in manner more true than your average christian. If you look at the old testament, it is a nasty nasty piece of work. I would not want to follow most of the laws and beliefs etched out in that book. Just being female is enough to make me a sinner at least once a month!

      June 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • scott

      If you use common sence when studying the bible you will give up an go do something usefull.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  18. Andy N.

    Jonathan Dudley, I need to contact you but can't find a way to do so. There's too many people with your name on Facebook. Can you email me if you read this? I'll have my fingers crossed you read this.

    June 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Laughing

      You might want to state your intentions, or a contact number or something considering this guy is probably going to have a lot of crazy coming his way after this article, you may want to find a better way of contact him instead of shouting into the wind.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Jackson Stacey

      He has his contact information on his website: jonathan-dudley.com

      June 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  19. Texan

    The "inconsistencies" of the bible are like the natural "inconsistencies" of a piece of natural fabric. It's still one piece of fabric even though there may be different colors and consistencies in the fabric.

    The bible does not make robots who look the same, eat the same foods, worship exactly the same, etc. The bible says there is one Lord (Jesus Christ, if you're a Christian), one faith and one baptism over all. The only thing you can do is read the bible for yourself, listen to what others say (to some degree) and pray about it.

    June 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • b4uheis

      Are you a Christian? If someone is a Christian they believe the Bible is the inarrant word of God. There is no mistake or inconsistentcy in it. It is all truth. The problem with some is they read it as a novel and not in spirit. It is taken out of context. I'm sure that most of the posters on this artical have not researched the history of the Bible or Christianity. I invite you to do so. As for the gentleman from yale that wrote the artical it seems that he was once a believer and lost faith once the American education system got a hold of him. Just remember the Bible came first and all other writings about the Bible should be seen in light of the Bible and not the other way around. So if that book contradicts the Bible it is wrong not the other way around.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Tarun

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      April 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Johni

      I'm speechless. This can be a rpeusb blog and very attractive too. Nice work! That's now not actually a lot coming from an newbie publisher like me, however it's all I may just say after diving into your posts. Nice grammar and vocabulary. Not like other blogs. You actually recognise what you?re talking about too. Such a lot that you made me want to discover more. Your blog has develop into a stepping stone for me, my friend.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  20. maggie

    JohnQuest,

    If my religion performs gay marriage, i will stop associating with that religion and stop going to church all together. You see as a child, I was raised as a catholic and when i was 9 I was told by the priest that God burns people in eternal fire if they do not do his will. I told him in his face, that was not true and he was a liar. After mass, I told my parents the priest said terrible things about God and I do wish to go back there any longer. i was surprised when my father told me if I did not want to go, I did not have to and from that day, I never set foot in a catholic church. I visited many other religions when I became an adult and studied their history in human affairs, and I only find one religion that meets my expectation. They do what they say and they say what they do and they willing to die for each other.

    June 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • FruitieLoo

      That's sad to hear. I mean, would you stop believing in your religion' tseachings or dogmas, only because some ministers think differently? If your spiritual belief were firm, your relationship with God shouldn't be concerned with external matters.

      June 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • John W.

      I can't argue with your exit from Catholicism, but what is the religion that you found?

      June 22, 2011 at 5:52 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.