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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. lanced

    btw, g-ay fans need to stop the h8tred by using perjorative terms like h8te" "big-ot" and "hom-ophobe." See a great article re DADT in the Armed Forces Journal, on treating ALL with dignity and respect – http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2011/05/6228187

    July 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • LOL

      "btw, g-ay fans need to stop the h8tred by using perjorative terms like h8te" "big-ot" and "hom-ophobe.""

      Did you even bother to look up the definitions of those terms because they are being used in the correct context. By the way this isn't the military. LOL!

      July 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Karin in Newport

      Hey, I just read that article! I couldn't agree more, both sides have to get past name calling and treat each other with dignity and respect. We can't put down others' sincere religious convictions. Thanks lanced!

      July 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Budhist one

      http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2011/05/6228187

      Wow, great artilce! Thanks! Dignity and respect for all!

      July 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  2. Disciple Mikey

    So I'm confused LOL. do you not believe that the Bible is God's inspired word? because you refer to God so i assume you believe in him but you say that the Bible was written by man. I dont understand where you get your facts regarding God if you dont trust the bible as a reliable source. Whatever book that you read regarding "cultures in that time" were written by men as well. but the Bible was inspired in fact inspired by God. there are numerous facts to back up the scientific, historical, and prophetic accuracy of the scriptures.

    July 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • LOL

      "dont trust the bible as a reliable source."

      The bible is a reliable source it's the interpretation and translations done by men that's not reliable. Prejudice and bigotry has been pas-sed down by the church because of cultural issues. History has repeatedly shown that man's interpretations have been wrong, such as slavery, women, eating shellfish. Now that science has shown that gays are born this way and are in fact God's creation, it requires that the misguided interpretations be challenged. Just like all the bias and prejudice research of gays of the past was challenged and shown they were wrong too.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Not inerrant

      The bible may be inspired but it is not inerrant. I have typed this before twice as to prove that. You can feel free to look up the previous posts but I am not going to keep typing it up over and over again. It was written by men, and there are no orginal manuscripts of either the O.T. or the N.T and the manuscripts that they do have are not all same. A person can believe in God, and that Jesus died for their sins, pray and have an honest relationship with God. It doesn't mean that they have to follow your interpretations of the bible. When it is all said and done it is between them and God, and God is the one who will lead them. It isn't up to you to force anyone to believe what you do.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  3. Disciple Mikey

    Also it has nothing to do with "culture in that time" God doe not change like people do. His views regarding any sin are the same as they've always been. I dont hate gay people or any other people. but like Christ I desire all to come to an accurate understanding of God and obey his word.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • LOL

      "His views regarding any sin are the same as they've always been."

      No, men wrote the bible they had bias views and limited knowledge about the real truth about gays. The culture of the time was using pagan se-x, prosti-ution and ra-pe, that has nothing to do with what we NOW know about gay people. You are brainwashed into justifying YOUR prejudice not God

      July 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So does that mean that all of the rules from Old Testament still apply, given taht God never changes his mind?
      I hope you don't eat at Red Lobster or wear poly/cotten blended shirts!

      July 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  4. Disciple Mikey

    @ LOL..... God did not create gays. God created 1 perfect MAN and 1 perfect WOMAN. After they sinned people developed imperfect inclinations. Lev 18:22 is clear when it says- "you must not lie down with men the same as you lie down with a woman. This is a DETESTABLE thing."

    July 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • LOL

      No Mikey God created Mankind....read the bible a little bit more closely next time, that includes gay people.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • kpete

      Wouldn't God have created sin since he created everything, including the Devil? So basically God set us up for failure if we are going by your interpretations.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Disciple Mikey
      Do you follow all the rules in Leviticus, or do you just cherry pick the passages that help justify your bigotry?

      July 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Survivor

      So, according to Leviticus 18:22 lying down with another man is "DETESTABLE". According to my Websters dictionary, that word (which appears to be God's word) means strongly disliked or abominable. It however does not mean immoral or against God's word. It simply means it is disliked. So, if we take the "word" as written it just means it's disliked. Or do we take the "re-interpetted, construed, apply as the bible quoters deem fit interpretation and say that its a violation against God? I have read the bible several times over in my life and the amazing thing is that with each reading, I was able to take a different view/opinion from almost every part. So to say the Bible is an operator's manual of strict instruction would be incorrect. It's more like a series of consumer reviews of an operator's manual.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  5. faithplusnothing

    Anybody can pick verses out of the Bible and build a doctrine. ALL sin is wrong and there is no sin any worse than another. But trying to pass you sin off as something God approves of is disgusting. He hates sin and you trying to justify such a vile act is sickening while using God's HOLY word. You are clueless.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • LOL

      “trying to justify such a vile act is sickening”

      Your prejudice is showing, it’s been proven that it’s not a mental illness and that gays are born this way. What is vile and sickening is people like you who are too lazy to actually do research to learn the truth about these people. What is also sickening and vile is the churches continuation of brainwashing Christians like you with bias and prejudice information. Pickup a history book and learn the truth about the culture in that time.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Not inerrant

      I see only a few post from so called "Christians" that show any type of God's love in them. Do you realize that according to that book you are following and expecting everyone else to follow, your judgement of others, lack of love, is disgusting. You wonder why so many people either leave your religion or don't enter into it. It isn't because of sin, it is because you cannot even demonstrate the compassion or love that Jesus did. All you seem to want to do is judge and tell every one else what to believe. Maybe you should work on your own sins and your own life and maybe just maybe you will in turn become Christ like, like you are supposed to be.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  6. lanced

    Nope – gay fans twist Bible to NOT mean what it clearly states, both in OT and NT writings. Yale Divinity School nothwithstanding. Rev. Jonathan Edwards is turning in his grave (Yale, 1720, as valedictorian and head of his class – age 17).

    July 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • LOL

      "Nope – gay fans twist Bible to NOT mean what it clearly states,"

      That's why churches, pastors, priests and rabbi's have gone on record stating what we NOW know about gays has nothing to do with the past and it is not a sin.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • lanced

      @LOL – selective religious leaders. Far more still see the act as sin, akin to a heteros3xual having relations outside of marriage. Monogamous heteros3xual marriage is the only place for s3xual activity – and then it's fullness of joy within the bounds God has established for our delight!

      July 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • LOL

      "heteros3xual marriage is the only place for s3xual activity – and then it's fullness of joy within the bounds God has established for our delight!"

      It's the same for gays they are enti-tled to fullness of joy within the bounds God has established for our delight because he created them, science has proved that.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  7. J. Valentine

    All who have studied the Bible are cautioned never to build a theology or position on one particular verse or verses since it leads us into trying to justify our position instead of letting the Bible teach us. The words, "For this purpose, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" are reinerated 4 times in the Bible ( Gen 2:24, 2) Mark 10:7-8, 3) Matt. 19:5-6 and Eph. 5:31.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  8. Mike

    What Paul argues in his hair length argument is that men and women should be readily identifiable as men and women. Is there anyone who would readily disagree with this? Does no one else experience extreme discomfort at not being able to readily identify a person's gender, and does no one else experience extreme embarassment at misreading someone's gender and having to correct oneself? I would even go so far as to say that men and women ought to have *names* that readily identify their gender. (Do you really have to name your son "Dana" when "Dan" would do just fine?)

    July 8, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Zosimoff

      So, it's all about your comfort level? Yes, the world should definitely concern itself with making sure you don't feel any discomfort or embarassment! Arrogant much???

      July 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  9. Anne Marie

    A degree in Divinity but he hasn't read Leviticus, apparently . . .

    July 8, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • neloise

      It is evident that this author places all his trust in a professor, religion(atheism) and the media/world view of things. He has not any mind of his own or conviction about wrong or right

      July 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jason

      nelois: I think you meant to say: anyone who disagrees with me isn't thinking critically while everyone who agrees with me is. dumb dumb dumb

      July 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Zosimoff

      So I suppose that after reading Leviticus that you don't eat shrimp, won't touch dead pig skin, only wear pure wool or cotton, etc...? If you're going to take the Bible verbatim, you have to take it all verbatim...not pick and choose to suit your own biases.

      The Bible is a very good story book, akin to Aesop’s Fables, that teach valuable lessons for living wisely and as a good citizen. Religions have turned it into a tool to control people and a weapon to condemn others who don’t hold their world view.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  10. Jason

    Jonathan Dudley also wrote a pretty interesting article on evolution at the HuffPo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-dudley/christian-faith-requires-_b_876345.html

    July 8, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  11. scott123

    This is a load of BS and poor theology.
    The fact may be that St Thomas and St Augustine may have not believed that the soul enters the body at conception, but they still always believed that it was wrong to abort an unborn child, whether it had a soul or not.
    So much for your arguement..
    And I don't have a degree in divinity from Yale or Harvard...
    Read Church history before you think you know better than 2,000 years of tradition.

    July 8, 2011 at 6:34 am |
    • Hm...

      Yes, but only because it was contraception, not because it was killing a person. Most evangelicals don't oppose contraception today.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Jason

      They wouldn't have called it an "unborn child." Aquinas actually compared it to a plant or an animal before ensoulment. So much for Dudley's alleged "poor theology."

      July 8, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Zosimoff

      Well, if you're all about the 2000 years of tradition, let's buy some slaves! That was in there and supported by scripture.

      It amazes me how lazy Christians are. The read the bible like it's an encyclopedia, and totally miss the point. It's just sad!

      July 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @Zosimoff

      While the bible permitted slavery, it did not command it. You would know this if you weren't being disingenuous.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Joe Blow from Idaho
      the bible also has this cool rule: Exodus 21:20-21 -> Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.
      So the bible is cool with beating slaves? Seems like exodus was written by man (not god, if god exists that is) to justify keeping slaves.

      August 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  12. Karin

    I am very sad that so many people posting here seem to have so much trouble accepting God's law of love. I cannot see how their hateful speech can be equated with loving their neighbour (i.e. fellow human being) compassionately.

    I am not American and listening to these people could give me a very distorted view of what Americans are like. However, I do know that while these people are very vocal, they are a minority.

    It is true that Christians should try to avoid sin. Sin is what separates us from the goodness of God and what is good inside us. Hate is never good. God is not a god of hate. Hate does bad things to our minds and our bodies. Love heals us and the world around us.

    Modern science has discovered that some people are born gay, or perhaps with the tendency to be gay, which other factors such as relationships with parents and other significant adults can influence. This means that for those people, being gay is their natural condition.

    Throughout time people have had trouble accepting what is different in other people. Redheads and left-handed people have suffered dreadfully down the ages but I hope people here now accept that redheads are people whose hair happens to be a different colour from the usual shades of brown and left-handed people can do the same as the rest of us with their hands, just a different way round. This doesn't make them unnatural and God does not disapprove of them.

    Being gay is the same. Gay people are the same as the rest of us, but they don't fall in love with the people we have traditionally expected them to. They still love and have all the same needs as the rest of us. God understands that, but some people are taking a while to do so. God understands their reasons, too.

    God does not approve of hateful language, though. That could be called a sin as it separates us from the goodness of God and the goodness in ourselves.

    July 8, 2011 at 4:08 am |
    • rocco

      I am mostly agnostic, but amen to your post.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Buddy R

      You are lying. Modern science has not proven anyone is born gay. There are no genes that govern any se_xual fet_ish, gay or otherwise. What IS true is that until the age of political correctness arrived gays were considered to have a mental disorder. What IS true is that there are many people who were once gay but who are now normal. Ever hear of the Exodus ministry? In 1Corinthians Paul talks about people who were once gay but who had been set free from their sin through Jesus Christ by the Spirit of the Living God.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Buddy R

      Oh, something else that is true is that it is usually the gay activist camp that is using hate speech, not those who say gay se_x is immoral.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • Karin

      Buddy R I have written a reply to the points you make, but it is awaiting moderation. perhaps due to its length.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • LOL

      "What IS true is that there are many people who were once gay but who are now normal. Ever hear of the Exodus ministry? In 1Corinthians Paul talks about people who were once gay but who had been set free from their sin through Jesus Christ by the Spirit of the Living God."

      The reality is that ho-mos-exuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable. Some therapists who undertake so-called conversion therapy report that they have been able to change their clients' s-exual orientation from ho-mo-s-exual to heteros-exual. Close scrutiny of these reports, however show several factors that cast doubt on their claims. For example, many of these claims come from organizations with an ideological perspective that condemns ho-mos-exuality. Furthermore, their claims are poorly doc-umented; for example, treatment outcome is not followed and reported over time, as would be the standard to test the validity of any mental health intervention.

      In 1997, the As-sociation's Council of Representatives pas-sed a resolution reaffirming psychology's opposition to ho-mophobia in treatment and spelling out a client's right to unbiased treatment and self-determination. Any person who enters into therapy to deal with issues of s-exual orientation has a right to expect that such therapy will take place in a professionally neutral environment, without any social bias.

      Yes that rights folks all those that claim they can change people from being gay are ho-mo-pho-bic and bias in their reports.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Karin

      I have heard that, too, LOL. In fact in the UK that is deemed an outmoded and discredited practice.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • LinCA

      @Karin

      If "Your comment is awaiting moderation." it won't ever be posted. There are no moderators only automated censoring. Your post must have had a forbidden word in it.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
      arse
      bastard
      bitch
      cock
      coon
      cum
      cunt
      douche
      effing
      fag
      ftw
      fuck
      homo
      horny
      jackass
      jap
      jism
      kooch
      nipple
      orgy
      pis
      porn
      poo
      prick
      rape
      sex
      shit
      slut
      snatch
      spic
      tit
      twat
      vag
      whore
      wtf

      To fix that you can break up the word by putting an extra character in, like consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      July 8, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • scott

      Ho-mose.x-uality is not something one is born with. We are all born with a sin nature, and some are born with a proclivity towards ho-mose.x-uality. This doesn't mean they are to act on it. Likewise, I would not be free to act on any natural tendencies to go outside of my marital boundaries and cheat on my wife. Nor is the thief justified by his propensity for stealing. We are to control impulses that the Bible CLEARLY calls out as wrong or immoral. This can only be accomplished through the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • try again

      God is not a god of hate? Did you really mean that? God HATES sin. I commend you to some real study on God's character in Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • LOL

      "Ho-mose.x-uality is not something one is born with. We are all born with a sin nature, and some are born with a proclivity towards ho-mose.x-uality"

      There are 154,000 scientist and psychologist that disagree with you. LOL!

      July 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Karin

      Thank you for that tip, LinCA, I presume it objected to the word s.e.x, which seems a bit prudish. I'll try again.

      Buddy R, I am not lying. I could be misinformed, but I am told that,

      'No simple, single cause for s.e.x.ual orientation has been conclusively demonstrated, but research suggests that it is by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences, with biological factors involving a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Biological factors which may be related to the development of a heteros.e.x.ual, ho.m.os.e.xual, b.is.e.x.ual or as.e.x.ual orientation include genes, prenatal hormones, and brain structure.'

      If you actually want to know what evidence there is for this check out the references at the bottom of this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_s.e.x.ual_orientation – leaving out the . . . in the offending word, as I'm sure you know.

      We must be getting our information from very different sources, Buddy, because I've heard of people who thought they were 'cured' of being gay, but later found they were still gay after all. I've heard that many gay people suffer severe depression because they have been taught to believe that there is something wrong with them and some even commit suicide.

      I'd be interested to know where in 1Corinthians you think that Paul talks about people who were once gay.

      Sadly there is hate on both sides, Buddy. I've seen some hateful things said against gay people here, but there have been some abusive responses, too.

      I believe that the Kingdom of God is about compassion, peace and fairness. It doesn't look like the Kingdom of God is among us at present.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Karin

      Scott and 'Try Again', I am sorry you have such a negative view of God. Look at Jesus and the positive things he said about God. God is our Father in heaven who gives good gifts to his children. God is love, Jesus said so.

      Don't listen to Wayne Grudem, he seems to have a very negative view of God. Read Jesus' words as reported by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Pastors and theologians can get it wrong, even Evangelical and Fundamentalist ones.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @LOL

      "There are 154,000 scientist and psychologist that disagree with you. "

      Well, gee, if these experts on morality disagree with us, then it must be ok.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • LOL

      "Well, gee, if these experts on morality disagree with us, then it must be ok."

      It was good enough to remove all the sod-omy laws in the US and rule them unconst-itutional. LOL! Keep showing how much you don't understand of this subject and your opinions are not based on fact.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  13. A.M

    It's interesting to read all these comments while coming from a stance that doesn't support same-s3x marriage, & personally coming from a vantage point outside the Abrahamic religions. I believe in the structure & responsibilities, that (in the least, conceptually) marriage brings/should bring to society. Not to say, that I'm against any Christian's stance against hom.os3xuality; this is not my point. I'm simply saying that perhaps reformations need to be made in the common understanding within the social responsibilities & purpose of marriage & the family. In a country where divorce rates are continuously being said at 50% or higher (U.S), & where in most, 'middle-class' or lower families, both spouses are obligated to work, clearly socially & economically, changes need to be implementated & confronted truly democratically. Scientifically, as well, people should think & expand (as i'll continue to) on the logic & physical explanation between hom.os3xuality & nature. The worste thing being done, is the ignorance being bred about it, as well as the purpose of marriage, without possessing the critical mind to assess what's just simply being deemed increasingly as politically correct. Hate is an emotion that I don't support against any human being; but beyond it, it's ignorance that can be rooted as the biggest killer today.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Karin

      An interesting observation, A.M.

      As I understand it marriage has been deemed important in many societies because it helps to make society more stable. I am married myself and can see the benefits to the family as well.

      In a time when women found it hard to earn a living unmarried mothers would have meant a lot more children would have died of starvation, or would have been begging in the streets. Of course this has often happened to widows and orphans anyway, but some societies have felt they should be supported if possible. It has been deemed more honourable to be a widow than an unmarried mother.

      Religion has been used to support the importance of marriage.

      In countries where women can earn a decent living and/or the state will support a family with no income divorce is possible for those who endure an unhappy marriage. Perhaps some give up on marriage too quickly, but others endure suffering for years.

      Many people in Western countries believe that marriage should be about a good relationship based on love. This idea is spreading to other cultures, too. So now most of us, in the West at least, are looking for a steady loving relationship. Gay people want this, too. Now some people are bis.e.x.ual and could find happiness in a marriage, perhaps, but others are not. They find that they can only fall in love with someone of their own s.e.x. Such people clearly should not marry, in the traditional sense of the word. It would be wrong for them to enter a permanent relationship with someone of the opposite s.e.x. Both partners would end up unhappy.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Karin from Surrey

      Btw, there seems to be another Karin here, so I've added a bit to my name now.

      July 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  14. Not inerrant

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-carey/bible-weddings_b_887979.html

    July 8, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  15. Yolanda

    Jonathan Dudley has argued that sin is not sin!!!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho is Gay

      Joe, stop denying your urges. Let your gay love show now.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • LOL

      Yolanda God created gays they are born this way so it's not a sin.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  16. william roberts

    Jonathan Dudley you wouldn't happen to be gay, would you?

    July 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Yolanda

      He must be gay because only gay people argue for gay marriage.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      Im sorry but you are wrong. Open minded, educated, aware, happy, family loving, hetero-se-xu-al, american patriots fight for the civil rights of all people.

      July 8, 2011 at 7:08 am |
    • LOL

      "He must be gay because only gay people argue for gay marriage."

      Are you really that ignorant on this subject or what. You are completely wrong.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  17. Me

    The bible is nothing more than a book. Seriously people, it's 2011.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • william roberts

      And the Good book at that!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @william roberts
      Exodus 21:20-21 says: Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.
      Wow, definitely a good book! ;-]

      August 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  18. Bibo

    Wow! Yale Divinity School huh? Good thing you posted this "after" you graduated. Otherwise your Biblical Exegesis and Greek Professors might be tempted to go back and change your grade to an "F". For anyone who knows history of theology, they know that your argument is a "johnny come lately" position that is fueled simply and primarily by a social & moral agenda ...not scholarly Biblical interpretation. What I just said...actually came from a professor of Theology from Princeton, which like Yale is not exactly the bastion of theological conservatism.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Ummm

      A more fitting name for you should be bimbo. LOL! You forgot the m.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Jack Stacey

      That's great that you can say his argument is bad and that "people at Princeton think this" (LOL) while providing no counterarguments and no evidence for your assertions. Typical, reactionary conservative response.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Jack Stacey

      Hahaha, totally agree with "ummm." Bibo is a Bimbo who has no idea what he's talking about.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • william roberts

      ummmm- must be from the same stupid rich cult that think his view is above us poor simple minded black folk.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • scott

      Bibo...I am glad that your argument was so well put that no one can argue against it. How old are the people responding to this post anyway? Are we in junior high? If you don't have an intelligent thought to add to the discussion, don't post!

      July 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • LOL

      "Bibo...I am glad that your argument was so well put that no one can argue against it. How old are the people responding to this post anyway? Are we in junior high? If you don't have an intelligent thought to add to the discussion, don't post!"

      What a hypocrite that wasn't an intelligent post either. LOL!

      July 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  19. Bernadette Brooten

    Jesus was gay with Christ

    July 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • scott

      Is this really a rational, well defined fact that you are proposing? Or are you just trying to call people names? Please come back and post when you have grown up a little bit. Thank you.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • LOL

      "Please come back and post when you have grown up a little bit. Thank you."

      You are not the moderator of this forum. Oh and that wasn't an intelligent post either so practice your own advice.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  20. William Roberts

    As an employee at the city morgue I was relieved to know in the eyes of Jonathan Dudley and his interpretation Bible that it is not immoral if it is victimless. Somehow molesting of the unclaimed bodies can now be biblically justified and morally accepted. Now I know they do have an agenda no matter how sick it is.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Bernadette Brooten

      Um... not sure which article you read, but creepy

      July 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • ummmm

      William congratulations you just showed the world how stupid your are.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • william roberts

      And your name is ummmm and I'm stupid. Thanks ummmm!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Karin

      William Roberts your comment is extremely distasteful. It also ignores the basic fact that dead people cannot give consent and any abuse to dead bodies is likely to cause the relatives of the deceased a great deal of anguish. Therefore in such a case there will be victims.

      July 8, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • Karin

      Joe B, what is this 'legal theory' that you think needs to be re-written?

      July 8, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Karin from Surrey

      If there really is no victim, what's the problem Joe? God doesn't want anyone to suffer just for the sake of it.

      July 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Karin from Surrey

      What makes it sin if there is no victim, Joe B? Is God arbitrary and irrational? What kind of God do you believe in? Just something to ponder on. Bye.

      July 9, 2011 at 2:39 am |
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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.