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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. Lisa

    Obeying God's Word is like saying, "Father, you are God Almighty and you know everything. I will trust you, listen to what you say and obey you. You know so much more than I do. You love me and sent your Son to die for me."

    July 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • LOL

      You do get that there are Christian gays right.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  2. Lisa

    The Bible is the TRUTH. I was healed of a terminal heart condition until I started reciting the words in the Bible regarding His promises of healing.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @lisa
      Correlation is not causation.
      Do you believe that every word of the Bible is true, or just some parts?
      If the former, how do you reconcile the parts that fly in the face of logic and/or contradict themselves?
      If the latter, how do you decide what is true and what is allegorical?

      July 14, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • James

      I once had a painful back condition. One day I tripped over a pile of garbage and when I got up, I had no more pain in my back. I have since devoted my life to worshipping garbage just like Lisa.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  3. Joey

    Thank you and Amen to the author of this editorial. I wish more people would take comparative religion courses to help understand their fellow man better. I wish the Republican Party would loose all those Evangelicals who have brought the party down and have torn away the meaning it is to be a Republican. We do not want a Theocracy. I am proud that we have an African American President, or part African American, in the White House. What do we do when a Sikh, Chinese, Muslim, Jew or other individuals of varying and different backgrounds want to run as president? What will the Christian Right do then? We have to get off the belief that the Bible is the end all to all those answers which these right winged individuals would have you believe. The Bible is a great story book, with great history of the human condition(s) during a period time, along with metaphors, allegory, myth and other literary devices. People who believe otherwise are misguided indeed.

    July 14, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • maziotla

      The bible is the words of the almighty God. It not just storys or history. it is the instruction of God. It has the story of the salvation of all man. It shows us how to live holy and rightous. I am not misguided. im saved and living with peace and joy of teh most high because of it. i am against obama not bacause he is black but because he is leading the US in ungodlyness. Chirst is coming agian. he ready my friend.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Dave

      16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
      17. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
      18. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
      19. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
      20. "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
      21. "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.'
      Blessed is the nation who’s God is the lord.. righteousness exalt a nation but sin is a reproach to any people… God is concern about righteousness, justice, mercy, care, concern, betterment of society when
      Any Government is in power that is why he bring them up and pull them down.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • LOL

      "It has the story of the salvation of all man."

      That's why there are saved Christian gay couples that have been married before God.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • craigtm029429

      Joey, excellently said. Though I am a liberal Democrat myself, I do find it unfortunate that Republican and Evangelical have become essentially synonymous terms lately. Though it is true that political conservatives are often religous conservatives, it is not necessarily a fact. There are plenty of atheist Republicans, and if anyone has ever heard of the Log Cabin Republicans, they know that not all of them are fundamentalist Christians.

      As for maziotla's comments, both here and on other posts: I challenge your literal interpretation of the Bible. I certainly respect your right to interpret the Bible in the way that you choose, but I question your facts. How could the Bible have been written by Jesus Christ himself? It existed long before his time for one. And though it is certainly possible that it could have been divinely inspired (as in written by God, through the and of the prophets), then we should assume that the Bible ought to be entirely consistent. If it is divinely written by God, then it should have nothing that does not fit. However, the two roles of Jesus Christ himself are entirely different in the two different Testaments.

      The Old Testament predicts the coming of a political leader, not a Son of God. The Jews believed this leader would restore the Kingdom of Israel and rule the 12 tribes as a divinely appointed king from the line of David. He was not a God, or son of God. This is a major contradiction, as the man who later appeared and was recognized as the Messiah did not restore the kingdom of Israel. The Christian interpretation of the Messiah is entirely different. And yet, if the entire Bible was written by God himself, then the prediction of the coming of his Son ought to have predicted exactly what came, and not something different.

      This is not to say that Christianity as a religion and the Bible are lies. However, this does warn of the danger of a literalist apprach. The Bible is certainly a beautiful and truly holy book, but there is more to it than the exact word on the page. The more you read, the more you can find beautiful meaning that reafirms the real values of Christianity: love and salvation for ALL. Give it a read, you might find some interesting things.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  4. Nine-Tails

    I am seeing that a slight change is being effected in the religious community. The Presbyterian denomination made a historic decision to allow LGBT people as members of the congregation, women priests can now be ordained in *many* denominations, and some Christians are turning away from a strident insistence on Young Earth Creationism.

    The future looks more tolerant than ever......

    July 14, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  5. DE

    Christians quote only those passages of the bible that will further their agenda. They conveniently forget those passages that completely contradict the passages they use. If you are a christian and believe that the bible is the word of god then you have to believe ALL of it. You HAVE to believe the Earth is flat and the sun revolves around it. You HAVE to believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. You can't ignore the parts of the bible that have been proved to be complety wrong. If you don't believe every word in the bible is true then you are not a "good" christian, and very few of you do. If you are a christian, especially a conservative christian, then you are also a hypocrite, it goes with the territory. Jesus helped the poor, healed the sick, lived by the Golden Rule, preached love, tolerance and compassion, attributes conservative christians are completly lacking.

    July 14, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • ArizonaUSA

      Where does the Bible say the earth is flat and that it's only 6,000 years old?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • myweightinwords

      How nice of you to dictate what others MUST believe just because they wear a particular label. Religion is a multi-faceted conundrum, and the only "Christians" who I would ever hold to the standard you proclaim are those who declare that the bible is inerrant and literal.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Observer

      The Bible describes the earth as a circle. The Bible says that you call see all the earth from a mountain top.

      Using the ancestry list in the Bible, the generations should have taken about 6,000 years to live.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Arizona USA
      Flat Earth references include:
      Isaiah 11:12,Revelation 7:1 (four corners of the Earth)
      Job 38:13, Jeremiah 16:19, Daniel 4:11, Matthew 4:8 (ends of the Earth)
      But the most egregious example is Isaiah 40:22
      "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in."
      There was a word in ancient Hebrew for "orb" or "sphere", but the chosen term was CIRCLE.

      Young Earth Creationism is based on a literal interpration of Genesis, adding up all the "begats" (bearing in mind that before the flood, life expectancy was 900 years before Noah's time, but had decreased to 175 years by Abraham).
      The usual results when adding it up are between 5 and 10 thousand years.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  6. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the subject issue we invite you to read the latest entry of the Current Events page of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    July 14, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Observer

      Do you admit to the great HYPOCRISY of most Christians who pick their favorite sins like being gay and ignor the MUCH MUCH GREATER number of Chistians that commit adultery? Do you admit that abominations like eating shellfish are a lower level of sin to the more major sins like adultery that were considered important enough to be included in the Ten Commandments?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Dj

      1John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Observer

      Dj,

      Are all sins equal? Are abominations such as eating shellfish the same as Christians commiting adultery or murder?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Dj

      all sins are equal except suicide,,because you cant ask for forgiveness and repent.. shelfish is not a sin but ignorance of God's word is..if you believe it or not.. even if you convinced yourself it doesnt affect you.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Dj

      not all christians are CHRISTIANS..but humans make mistakes all the time.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @DJ, Ignorance of god's word is a sin? So some remote tribe living in the deep, dark reaches of some forest who has never seen a bible...they sin just by existing?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • ArizonaUSA

      Observer, Jesus said it doesn't matter what you eat, and the apostles also preached that. Christians are not obligated to eat kosher.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • ...

      AvdBerg is a troll trying to peddle their book don't waste your time with this garbage.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Dj

      Im sure God gives them grace based on their actions or some innocent person being killed as a child or baby.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Observer

      ArizonaUSA,

      So should people believe God who is perfect and unchanging or Jesus when it comes to the ABOMINATION of shellfish?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @DJ

      You said, "all sins are equal except suicide,,because you cant ask for forgiveness and repent.. shelfish is not a sin but ignorance of God's word is..if you believe it or not.. even if you convinced yourself it doesnt affect you."

      And you said, "Im sure God gives them grace based on their actions or some innocent person being killed as a child or baby."

      Which is it? Ignorance of god's word is a sin and the punishment is death and eternal torment. Or they are not actually sinning and god will take them to heaven?

      July 14, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • AvdBerg

      @Observer

      You condemn us for spreading the truth via our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
      If you had read some of content and the may articles you would have known that "so-called" Christianity is a deception as this whole world is deceived. We invite you to read the article Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You? Before you critize people try to familiarize with what they preach first.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • AvdBerg

      @observer
      You criticize Christians and you criticize us for preaching that Christians have been deceived. We invited you to read the article Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You? Obviously you have not read the article, so let me give you the answer, it is “No”. The word Christianity does not even exist in the Bible, so why are you making such a big thing of it?

      July 14, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Observer

      AvdBerg,
      I criticize you for the hypocrisy of trashing CNN and then using it as a source for advertizing.
      I criticize you for your failure to answer questions and only care about peddling your book.
      I criticize you for the hypocrisy of using the Bible to justify trashing gays while not admitting there is a FAR FAR BIGGER problem with believers committing adultery.
      Perhaps you could read your own book so you could actually answer questions without a sales pitch. So far, you have done very little to show that you can do any original thinking and must rely on sending someone elsewhere for the answers you are incapable of giving.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      For a better understanding we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com

      July 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  7. HumanRehab

    I am impressed. Very well researched and thoughtfully written. If only the rest of the world would learn, then react on the basis of knowledge.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  8. Beth

    Mr. Dudley,
    You should read Committed. It is the follow up to Eat, Pray, Love. She makes the same argument you do but of course more detailed as it is a book and she covers the topic over approximately 50 pages. BTW I completely agree.
    -Beth

    July 14, 2011 at 6:00 am |
  9. Chris

    The author's course of study surely ought to have included enough formal philosophy for him to know that he is committing a logical fallacy of analogy here. He is confusing the levels of authority between what the Scripture says, and the authority of its later interpreters. If the Bible is inspired by God, its meaning would not change even if 2000 years of Christian tradition interpreted it as a recipe for how to make a grilled cheese sandwich; its true meaning is not dependent upon the opinion of its readership.

    The author needs us to think that what matters is how humans choose to interpret the various passages mentioned, when the only existential question is really: "Did God write (or inspire) it?" If it is God's word, then arguing against it is arrogant human foolishness, regardless of how it makes us feel. If there is no God (or if there is, but He is not the ultimate author behind the Scriptures), then the author would not need to waste time on how to reinterpret it, because it would have no universal authority to begin with, and his only purpose should be to show that it is not God's word. But his article serves only to distract from the real question.

    I for one, based on the body of evidence, am convinced that God is the Author behind the text, but each person will have to ask him or herself why or why not they might reach any such conclusion.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Chris

      I find it equally curious that this forum never features clergy of any religious tradition writing an op-ed defending their orthodoxy in print. Either CNN presumes that its readership already fully understands the explanations behind orthodox faith (though I myself do not presume this), or it is engaging in lopsided editorializing, with defenders of orthodoxy confined to these comment boards read by a mere fraction of as many people. I dare CNN to extend freedom of speech to a pastor or priest who wants to defend the Biblical definition of marriage in writing –just once. The arguments may be novel to more people than CNN might think.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Fred

      The Bible condones incest. (GENESIS 19:33 Lot and his daughters)......do you think God does? What did Jesus Christ write??? NOTHING! God did not write the Bible, and if he did, he wouldn't have such messed up contradictions on the events of the resurrection (especially if he were there!) which are different in the Four Gospels!!!! Unless, you believe God was confused.......four different times!

      July 14, 2011 at 3:17 am |
  10. Tim

    You graduated from Yale Divinity cemetery. I think you forgot to mention 1 Cor 6:9. How many times does the inspired writer have to say so. Once does not seem to suit you. Pulling in a cultural aspect from Corinth used as an illustration dealing with nature was poor study on your part. You can say so but it doesn't make it so. God did not fail to communicate with his creation – you want the popular way but refuse to believe the NT teaching on marriage. Please get out of the religion business you don't belong there until you stop believing God is stupid and could not tell us what He intended in this area.

    July 14, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Observer

      Corinthians (11:6) also says “For if a woman does not cover her head (while praying), let her also have her hair cut off”.

      So what is your point?

      July 14, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Kevin

      Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."...........................and Jesus said that....not Saint Paul...and you do realise that for Christians Jesus is God, NOT Saint Paul. Maybe you should read the Bible again yourself...... and moreover.....practice what Jesus teaches:)

      July 14, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • LOL

      Tim did you even bother to do your research, probably not. The word ho-mo-se-xual was added later by bias translators. It was about male prosti-tution and idolatry it has nothing to do with gays as we know it today.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  11. BucketDrop

    Hoorah, Mr. Dudley. Keep up the good thinking. Don't let brittle minds discourage or sway your continued progress away from the hateful parts of the evangelical community.

    July 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Observer

      Such language and intolerance makes for a perfect example of a hypocrite who uses the Bible as an excuse.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Jonathan

      Yella, learn how to spell, read and write like a good little hillbilly:)

      July 14, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • LOL

      Yella it might help if you actually do research on this subject because if you had you would know the experts in science and psychology have shown that being gay is not a mental illness, it's not a choice and it can't be changed. It's hatred like yours that is a menace to the world and why we will never have peace. Hatred has not place in a Christian heart.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  12. Michael

    Gays need to just have a little respect and not call it marriage , That's all! Its a sin and no matter what it will always be a sin . But that does not mean god does not love you he hate all sin!

    July 14, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Holy Spirit

      Being gay is not a sin and there are many churches that welcome gays and lesbians to be united before God.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • myweightinwords

      What do you call it when two people in a committed, life-bonding relationship stand before their family and friends and dedicate their lives to one another in order to begin a family?

      Sounds like marriage to me.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  13. mike from iowa

    RELIGION IS A MENTAL DISEASE.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Jesse

      Your demented opinion is noted.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • MikefromHeaven

      Do you have a mental disease?

      July 14, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  14. Jacky

    This is the best article I've ever read on gay marriage!

    July 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  15. Joe

    Notice that the young man says he has abandoned his evangleical upbringing. Could that be because he has now been thoroughly exposed to the facts which clearly show that the Bible is a book written LONG after Jesus died, by men ABOUT God. It's so full of holes and contradictions because it's written by men with an agenda, i.e., to explain the unexplainable. The whole basis for Christianity does not hold up to scrutiny. Why would God "the Father" require himself (God "the Son") to sacrifice himself, and how could that make things right? And how DID that make things right? Say this slowly: "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son to suffer and die for us." It's nonsensical. God created us as imperfect beings, but then became angry when we acted in imperfect ways? By the way, I don't believe you have my picture but if you did, I wouldn't give permission to use it because it would be no time before some good Christian would try to kill me.

    July 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Dubious Dissent

      And yet... he's writing in this blog... you depart from the facts which support your initial premise, and your conclusion violates the premise.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Tim

      Joe – you have been brainwashed by what? Don't you think God is smart enough to protect His communication with His own creation? He created the world and the universe but could not protect a message to us? Every so-called contradiction has been shown time and time again not to be a contradiction – go do your own homework and stop mouthing comments from others. There are plenty of solid commentaries out there that give completely reasonable answers. By continuing to say the Bible is full of contradictions is the same as calling God stupid (failed to protect His message). It's your eternitiy on the line – go study!

      July 14, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Observer

      Tim,

      The Bible is full of contradictions. Rather than pick on other people, you really should read it all. God said "thou shalt not kill" and gave a long list of things we should kill people for. God then contradicted his contradiction by saying we should kill anyone who kills anyone.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  16. BL

    The Bible also says, "Thou Shalt Not Kill," but I never met a Christian yet who actually believed it.

    July 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Tim

      You are speaking of the Old Testament. Do you really understand the difference between the Old and New? You speak of Exodus 20:13. You shall not murder is what it means. This and the other commandments were given to ancient Israel and not to anyone else. In the New Testament Paul, an inspired writer stated that some things people practice are worthy of death (Romans 1:32). Therefore the death penalty is supported – killing not murder – big difference. Go study and stop gurgling in your emotions.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Observer

      Paul also said people shouldn't marry; marriage is for those too weak to fight lust; he support slavery and the inferiority of women.

      Maybe you should read his words.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Jesse

      The property interpretation of "You shall not kill" is "You shall not murder". I assume you are speaking of war as killing.
      War is sanctioned by the state. Murder is not. War is unfortunate, and many followers of Jesus are against war. Also many are not as war seems to be the only language some nations understand. Like Radical Islam.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  17. Mary

    Way to go, Jonathan. I consider myself a follower of the Christian faith and agree 100% with your take on this.
    More needs to be said by Christian scholars and other Christian followers on this matter and let the other alleged 'Christians' know that they are not being Christian when they distribute the dogma of hatred to other humans no matter what the made up reason is they use. I agree, they have taken the bible and twisted it to serve their own purposes. So, you can also tell them to read their bible –in its entirety - because it is they who obviously haven't.

    Thanks again for your courage and forthrightness in writing this and keep spreading the good word.

    Mary

    July 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  18. Dan

    You are obviously not well informed man... I get shocked when individuals try to put the church and the vatican as one, they not. the vatican in a well established demonic force on earth with looks like the 'church'. So please get your facts right. I didn't even have to finish the article...sorry.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Michael

      Did you read any of the article at all? The writer grew up, like me, in an evangelical community, not a Catholic one ... neither the Vatican nor anything remotely Catholic is mentioned in the article ... it's like you're just ignorantly spouting words without even understanding their meaning.

      July 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • paul

      This is a response to Michael's post. The part about the theologian who was excommunicated from the church in 390 AD was about the Catholic church

      July 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  19. LetoAtreides

    I find it interesting that Mr. Dudley chooses to approach the Bible with selective approvals and disapprovals. He clearly wants to defy parts of the word while accepting other parts. What is truth to Mr. Dudley? What does the phrase "authority of God" mean to him? Is the Bible just a guide that we as humans can cavalierly discard if it doesn't fit what we want?

    July 13, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • YaThink

      "He clearly wants to defy parts of the word while accepting other parts"

      Isn't that what the entire Christian community does, think about it. There is huge greed, adultery by getting divorces, gluttony by all the overweight and obese Christians, the homeless population is huge right now and Christ said give them your tunic but Christians drive right on by. You want to look a hypocrisy look at yourself in the mirror.

      July 13, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Andrew Y.

      Where does the Bible say that Christians will not sin? We are no different from others. Yes, we struggle against it, but we are fallible. Someone may be gluttonous, but maybe they're working on it and have lost significant amounts of weight in the last year. As a response to an inexcuseable divorce, maybe that man is living celibate. The Christian life is not supposed to create saints, perfect and without sin. That's impossible. Jesus was the only one to ever live a blameless life.

      July 13, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • YaThink

      Andrew did you miss the part that LTA wrote "approach the Bible with selective approvals and disapprovals."

      Guess what all Christians do that which is the point but so many are to blind and deaf to acknowledge it.

      July 13, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Craig

      Wow, you missed the point of the article entirely and even made an effort to make a comment on it. You practically make the author's point for him. Cherry picking bible "laws" and "commandments" is hypocrisy and so-called Christians do it every day to advance their own views, politics and opinions.

      July 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • GodPot

      And I find it interesting that Christians choose to approach the Bible with selective approvals and disapprovals. They clearly want to defy parts of the word while accepting other parts. What is truth to Christians? What does the phrase "authority of God" mean to them? Is the Bible just a guide that we as humans can cavalierly discard if it doesn't fit what we want?...

      July 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Observer

      AvdBerg,

      You ignorantly trashed CNN, but have no problem using CNN for free advertizing to peddle your book. This site is not for advertizing. Why not take your sales pitch and hypocrisy elsewhere?

      July 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Janice

      So many people think the Bible is the "authority of God". The Bible was written by PEOPLE who were writing it with their own agendas in mind. Today, people are STILL using it as a tool to spread hatred and intolerance according to their own agendas. The words of Jesus (the MOST important words from the Bible) are all about peace, love, compassion, and acceptance of others. Real Christians know this to be true and follow in Jesus' footsteps, treating others with love and kindness, not judgment and bigotry.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • ron

      as the author says, christians are already picking parts to discard.
      ummmmm... please re-read the article.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      Leto, are you a muslim? Your "authority of God" is the muslim God Allah, you muslims, Christians and Jews have been bringing your hell toEarth and terrorizing the entire population for more than 2,000 years. You wacko's time is drawing to a close. Ever wonder why Jesus won't come back for you? Because your all a load of stark raving mad violent, terroristic hatersand hypocrits. Oh, and Leto – alalalalalalalalalalalalala alaah akbarh, right? you religious people are sick in the head, you are the warmongers and the haters, not the Godless atheists who love the earth and their fellow man.

      July 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      Anyway, I can't tell a Christian from a Muslim. Either one has the same God, and they both are equally violent haters, with a mass of scared followers who will devote their lives in the name of their religious leaders so that God doesn't burn them forever (their God that loves them so much will gladly burn them eternally. Now that's how religious people perceive the world, vengence, pain, torture, revenge, punishment, giving all your money and devotion to your religious leaders)

      July 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • LetoAtreides

      I'm not talkiing about "my" truth. I'm talking about "the" truth. I follow the Bible as the truth about life and God. My questions for the author regard what truth he is following. I sense he his interpreting the scriptures his way and disregarding sound hermaneutics and centuries of scholarly study on the Bible. The Bible requires careful study to interpret carefully which is one of many reasons why so many people have misinterpreted and abused the scriptures. Given some of the responses here, my question to all is... What do you base your understanding of truth upon? God? Yourself? Others? Gut instinct? How do you come to your conclusions? If the Bible is a farce, than what do you turn to? How do you know what good versus evil is? How do you discern moral from immoral action? What is your guide? What is your hope? I'm not looking for snide remarks or personal insults here. Cynicism and accusations are the easy responses with this discussion. What's your positive and constructive answer to these questions?

      July 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  20. Sara

    This needs to be forwarded to as many people as possible.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:26 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.