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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. Douglas

    Honor the dignity of gay celibacy!

    July 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  2. Thinker

    Pass it on!

    July 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  3. Karin

    Great article spot on and you can see the proof in the comments!

    July 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  4. New Testament Professor

    Great article!

    July 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  5. Rosina Mulrooney

    Thank you my dear. Well done. JD

    July 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  6. Jack

    Best Op-Ed Ever!

    July 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  7. PEDRO

    The Laws of the Creator, regardless of the name you give Him or Her, are there to protect you and to guide you in this life. His laws are Wisdom, Knowledge, and Love. Seek wisdom, and knowledge, and love, and you will prosper. Constantly break the laws and you will harvest pain and loss. Do good to yourself, to other humans, animals, and nature. Always do unto others what you would like them to do unto you. Above all be true and love with all your heart. Laws contrary to these are man made for his own self serving purposes. Ignore them.

    July 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • LOL

      "Love. Seek wisdom, and knowledge, and love, and you will prosper."

      Exactly what gays are doing.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  8. kucluk

    Enough of this stupid insults...
    Christ did what he wants to do as to let His people know that there is life after death....
    For those who question and insult My Lord, I hope that you all can sleep well every night for believing death is the end of everything...........

    July 21, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Brooke

      Yup I sleep very well every night knowing I spend my time that I have on this earth doing what I want to be doing, helping people, spending time with friends and family, and living each day to the fullest because if for some reason I am not here tomorrow I know that it's over and it was a good ride. Why is that so hard for some people to accept? How do you sleep at night knowing you believe in a fairy tale just because reality is too hard for you to deal with? I wouldn't sleep well living in denial.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  9. Gavin

    I think that Jonathan forgot about Leviticus 18:22 and Deuteronomy 23:17 and Isaiah 3:9 or 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,I suppose these things can easily slip you mind after doing a divinity degree at Yale.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Cat lady

      Thank you. I was just wondering why I Cor. 6 was not mentioned in the authors quotations.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • LinCA

      @Gavin and Cat lady

      Whatever you use to justify your hate makes no difference. It is still hate.
      But don't worry, I don't hate you, I only hate the sins that you commit.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Cat lady

      I never said I hated anyone. I just mentioned that 1 Cor. 6 also speaks about the subject. I don't hate anyone. 🙂

      July 21, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • Observer

      Gavin,

      Those chapters also include nonsense like killing unruly kids, support for slavery, and the inferiority of women.

      Why choose forstering hatred when you could have chosen the Golden Rule? Just pick the sins you like. Ignor the others.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • LOL

      You do know that the word ho-mo-se-xual was added later to Cor. That's right....the word hadn't been invented yet. It's also been proven that everything written until1970 was done by bias and prejudice people regarding gays, that includes the Bible.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  10. Lucas

    Your right, this IS – YOUR take on the subject.
    I wonder if a significant number of folk is our culture are going to wake up one day and say, "if all thought is opinion or personal truth-all of which is equal, then what's the point?" Can you see how this concept degrades all conversation to "blah, blah, blah" The only person who really cares about what's being said is the person who's saying it. Any other "honorable mentions" along these lines would be those who strongly agree with what was said (these folks would be called dittoheads (regardless of their politics)). Perhaps we should set aside "emotional thinking" which makes us so easily led by the nose, and return to solid logical reasoning, facts and absolute truth, . . . and yes.....right and wrong. You'd be surprised how stimulating a conversation can be when you come to the realization that you are going to have to change the way you think – based on encountering a superior intellect using solid logic. Wow – what a rush!

    July 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Jack

      No one cares about your opinion except you, as you yourself affirm.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Observer

      LC,

      You've missed the point. This is all about HYPOCRISY. If all the Christians REALLY cared about abominations, they'd be picketing seafood restaurants. If all the Christian h0m0phobes on here REALLY cared about sins in the bedroom, they'd be trashing the MUCH GREATER number of Christians who commit adultery. Just pick and choose the sins you like and ignor the BIGGER ones.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  11. Joshua the Agnostic

    The answer is 42

    July 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  12. a young catholic boy

    For being a member of the Church and growing up in a Catholic and conservative family, I believe it is fair to say there are "gay" people in the world. However, the Bible permits the "gay" people from sharing the same relationship a man and woman share in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. I think of the idea of "gay marriage" this way. When the world was created, God the Father put two humans, Adam and Eve on Earth (A man and a woman). Why did He not put two women (Eve and Jean), or two men (Adam and Paul)? When Jesus left this Earth, He stated "Everything you need, you now have." This means it is our own judgement to decide whether gay marriage is right or wrong. However, because of these facts and what Jesus told us, I believe it is wrong.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • a young catholic boy

      *does not permit

      July 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • a young catholic boy

      *does not permit... things to be stuffed in my bottom...

      July 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Max

      Young man, spend you some if your time focusing on getting your pope to spend his billions on the starving people of Africa. Then maybe I might just isten to what you catholics have to say. In the mean time, your dribble falls on deaf ears. Have a nice day 🙂

      July 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Perhaps when you are older, you will actually meet some gay people and learn that they are as human as you and worthy of respect. You may realize that treating them as second-class citizens is actually immoral and cruel, and you may start to question other things that you are told. I hope you do. There is great value in learning to think for yourself.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • LOL

      "However, because of these facts "

      Hmmm facts....the fact that gays are born gay, it's not a choice, it's not a mental illness and it can't be voluntarily changed. The people who wrote the bible did not know those facts and as-sumed the world was like them, straight. It's not, which is why God gave us science so we could understand his creation. What the bible does condemn is male prosti=tution, idolatry and ra=pe, not the loving gay partnerships we have today.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • fred

      lol,
      That is not the way the Bible reads sorry it would be nice if it did. The Good News is that with the exception of 4 statements that without question say ho mo $exuality is sin I can argue that the rest could well be applied differently. The Bible does not need science on this one as the apostle Paul clearly said some of us once practiced ho mo $exuality and were doomed but now we live in Christ and are fully accepted. Don't forget that with man this is not possible but in Christ it is.

      July 22, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well, points to you for making a stab at an answer, fred. However, it doesn't answer the question of why god didn't simply reveal himself to the peoples of the Americas. Or to the northern tribes of Europe. Or to the citizens of Asia. Or the aboriginals of Australia. Or the people of southern Africa Somehow your god always needs a person to take his word and won't even help speed the process.

      Considering that Jesus himself said that he would return within the lifetime of his diciples ((Mark 13:30, Matthew 10:23, 16:28, 24:34, Luke 21:32), this doesn't seem like a fair shake to all those people who never had a chance to even know they were dam-ned.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  13. hippypoet

    god is fake, just an idea when the human race had no power to look into the starie sky and understand what they were admiring. very simple to explain, you are very dumb, very low understanding level and your father just died, you want him to not die but you know that its a part of life so you create a story to make yourself feel better... k here goes – there is a thing that created everything and is so powerful that it has a place for all the people who have died to go. here is a major way in my OPINION to prove there is no god, ok we have god and satan correct. well hate to break it to you folks but the creature called satan only exists from around 900 -1300 a.d. and forever after that. yet before that point nothing, no mention of this so called eternal enemy of god. satan- the right hand of the lord turned away after man was created but before jesus, yet in the bible there is not even a word speaking of satan. why you ask because bad stuff was happening and the TRUE BELIEVERS didn't want to blame there ALL MIGHTY god, who apparently, if there is a satan, left him alive so he could reak havok on the human race, and you stupid people still follow this creature of convinence. its god when and only when its not anything bad, yet in the BIBLICAL days ( thats a joke in on itself) when crap went down, they saw it as them being bad in the eyes of there god/gods! "my beliefs have been the same for years" some other morons might say, ok so i pose a question then to all the believers whos faith has gotten them thru so much ( laughs) HOW OLD IS THE EARTH? time to read those bibles, as we all know it starts at the beganing of time, right? or was that just a really great of incest, 2 people have kids, they have kids ....WHOA...WAIT A MINUTE HERE!!! how can adam or cain have kids if theres noone else on the planet. oh i forgot that cain kills adam and gets exiled to the land of NOD east of eden where he met/knew his wife and she bore him kids... how the f- is that possible if its just you, your parents and your dead brother??? o and one more question, if the great flood which covered the earth happened, and Noah saved ALL the animals of the world then why does the bible very clearly describe the animals that would not be making the voyage, as if another one of gods creature wasn't good enough, but i thought this "god" was all knownig and never makes a mistake!

    July 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • a young catholic boy

      If there is no god, please answer these questions. 1. Who put you here 2. Who made you 3. How are there animals 4. How was the entire universe created and finally 5. Why is Jesus so loving that He died on the Cross for you but you cannot accept that

      July 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Observer

      a young catholic boy,

      Questions for you. Please supply PROOF for your answers. (Note: I can supply a book that says Yoda lives and even quote him)
      (1) Who put God there? 2. Who made God?

      July 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Nocordoba

      Observer. He is a infinite deity never beginning never ending. this might be a little hard for you to understand since you are not smart enough to understand complex theology and chose instead to believe that everything came from a speck which you technically worship considering you have no beginning for your matter and energy which supposedly created us. An infinite deity seems to actually make more sense.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Observer

      Nocordoba,

      Here's what you aren't "smart enough to understand": atheists do not believe in God but they do not HAVE to believe in the Big Bang Theory or anything else. Education might help you to avoid jumping to false conclusions.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Harry Potter

      If there is no Voldemort, please answer these questions. 1. Who put me here with my Aunt 2. Who made this scar 3. How are there animals that can talk 4. How was Hogwarts created and finally 5. Why is Dumbledore so loving that He died for you but you cannot accept that...

      Silly Wabbit, Fairy Tales are for kids.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      catholic boy, all of these questions (except for the one about Jesus) can be answered by taking a few secular science classes. Humans and animals reached their current conditions via evolution.. An excellent book to read on the subject is "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne. It's a fairly easy read and the evidence it presents is compelling.

      As for Jesus, I think the first step if for someone to prove he actually existed. Then someone has to prove the supernatural angle. It's been 2000 years and no one has managed either.

      July 21, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • fred

      tallualh13
      You really need to work your bias hard to conclude Jesus never existed. Have you not figured out that God simply lets you find just what you are looking for. After a short time on this site I see atheists and ho mo $exuals have found all the verses that support their bias in the Bible and Christians have found their verses. The only thing we have in common is that we are focused on God for some reason. And as to evolution it is still called a theory.

      July 21, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • Q

      @fred – My guess is you don't understand the difference between "theory" in common usage and a "scientific theory", i.e. "...a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules (called scientific laws) that express relationships between observations of such concepts. A scientific theory is constructed to conform to available empirical data about such observations, and is put forth as a principle or body of principles for explaining a class of phenomena."

      A scientific theory is the highest status obtainable within any area of scientific study, e.g. theory of gravity, atomic theory, germ theory of disease, etc.

      July 21, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • tallulah13

      fred, it's possible that a rabbi named Jesus existed. It's also possible he was murdered by the Romans. But there is no evidence for him beyond the bible and some disputed writings by Josephus, and there is certainly no proof of his divinity. If you have more substantial proof, please provide it. And as Q said, you really need to learn the scientific definition of the word "theory". It would do you some good to read (as I recommended to Catholic Boy) the book "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne. It presents a great deal of evidence in support of evolution and is an easy read.

      Also, maybe you can answer my question: Why did it take god 1500 years to get to the new world? Why did this jealous god allow millions of people to worship different gods for centuries when all he had to do was reveal himself to them? Why did god have to wait for humans to bring him to the Americans?

      July 21, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • JD

      if you would please follow thee steps then let be what will be : Close your eyes and try to imagine "not being" at all in any state condition or form ...... good luck.

      It cannot be done ... why ? because you will always be ...... it is time to consider the fact that the whole subject is bigger than you and thats why we call it faith..... because we dont have all the answers. Read Romans 1:20 if you let it this will allow you to open your eyes.

      July 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Observer

      "Close your eyes and try to imagine "not being" at all in any state condition or form ...... good luck. It cannot be done ..."

      What??? You must be kidding. Everyone's seen things on tv being blown to bits. It's extremely EASY to visualize something reduced to millions of atoms.

      July 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Okay, JD. I read your verse. Now do you have any real proof that god or Jesus ever existed, or do you somehow think that a verse from the bible does the job? Are you aware that the bible doesn't consti-tute proof, as it also serves as the source of your faith?

      Also, I have no problem imagining a lack of existence. Perhaps you can't because you fear it.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • fred

      tallulah13,
      You said: Why did it take god 1500 years to get to the new world?
      We are not told as far as I know so I would need to guess. Using the Bible we have a history of God redeeming a people for Himself. The pattern is God works with individuals and nations through generations always working with them where they are physically, mentally and spiritually. Dare I say Fred’s theory of the evolution of the Christian? Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord who brought him somewhere near Iraq via the ark because Noah loved and walked with God. The Roman empire provided the stable system where Christ could fulfill prophecy. Christ is born we have BC and AD to this day marking the event so there can be no question as to its significance. From there the Gospel was carried to all the nations via the Apostles and believers.
      God is patient and longsuffering so waiting for the right bunch to get on a boat to America was no time at all relative to the time our universe has been around and a smaller time yet relative to eternity. The snap of a finger some may say.

      July 22, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yikes. I accidentally posted this in the wrong place. Here we go again:

      Well, points to you for making a stab at an answer, fred. However, it doesn't answer the question of why god didn't simply reveal himself to the peoples of the Americas. Or to the northern tribes of Europe. Or to the citizens of Asia. Or the aboriginals of Australia. Or the people of southern Africa Somehow your god always needs a person to take his word and won't even help speed the process.

      Considering that Jesus himself said that he would return within the lifetime of his diciples ((Mark 13:30, Matthew 10:23, 16:28, 24:34, Luke 21:32), this doesn't seem like a fair shake to all those people who never had a chance to even know they were dam-ned.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13,
      You said: Why did this jealous god allow millions of people to worship different gods for centuries when all he had to do was reveal himself to them? God did reveal himself to those that were seeking him. He knows those who are his own and put upon the chosen people the responsibility to carry the truth forward. Those who worship other gods (which includes things like self and money etc) in general make their own bed and lay in it. Christ was the hope all prior knowledge of the chosen people pointed to. God now revealed himself in the person as a man Jesus and the response was to beat him to a bloody pulp then and today.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13,
      You said: “Somehow your god always needs a person to take his word and won't even help speed the process”. Yes ! That we may be one just as the father and I are one. This relation building theme goes back to Adam and Eve. If I love you and all you ever saw was the moon flashing neon love messages what is that. But, if I walk with you in the cool of the garden, cover you with my hand when harm comes, place you in an ark, give you the promised land, forgive you of all sin and then give you eternal joy……..that is a relationship that takes time and a personal touch.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13,
      You said: “this doesn't seem like a fair shake to all those people who never had a chance to even know they were dam-ned.” All are given a fair shake and the Bible makes it clear you are only held accountable based upon what you were given. Don’t forget eternal dam nation by fire is reserved for satin and his demon’s. That may not be so bad either considering this is what they like.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      Agh! Posted in the wrong place again. Darned computer.

      Millions of people throughout history lived and died without ever hearing about christ, but you say that they weren't dam-ned because of it? I thought that was the whole point of christians spreading the word: to save souls. So you're saying these souls didn't need saving, and it's possible that missionary work actually condemned some good people, if the missionaries weren't convincing enough.

      And if god was waiting for the right people, why are there so many denominations confusing the issue by evangelizing their own version of god's word? Is god that confused about his own message?

      Frankly, I think you're making excuses. The spread of christianity clearly follows the same path of human migration. The christian god never preceded his believers because either he was incapable of travel without a human host, or he was simply an invention by people of a certain region who had the good fortune to come into prominence at a time when travel and communication were becoming easier. This explains why there is no evidence of this god (or any other) ever existing.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Observer

      Fred,
      – Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be d-mned.”

      You haven't come even remotely close to answering her question. Why did God let millions of people be d-mned by not letting them know of the Bible?

      July 22, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13,
      1)“The Christian god never preceded his believers”- Throughout the entire Old Testament you have thousands of examples of God leading His people. In the New Testament Jesus showed the way and actually finished what was to be done on the cross, He has gone before us and has prepared a place just as God prepared the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve in Genesis.
      2)“incapable of travel”- God has no need of travel as He is already everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Simply as a vehicle to relate with man he took on forms that were culturally accepted at the time.
      3)You are correct his chosen people came into prominence but also great affliction as suffering often is the best path to growth. You are correct the path of growth for these people followed typical human migration patterns.
      4)“no evidence of this God” – For over 4,000 years this has been the demand show me your God. Even when Jesus arrived the religious leaders demanded a sign “none will be given to you but the sign of Jonah” (Jonah preached repentance and the town was saved because they turned from their ways and followed God. Also, reference to the cross followed). Scripture is clear as to how god reveals himself and to whom.
      5)“Is God that confused about His message”- No God is not confused the message is clear, people for various reasons change it up. Note in the first book of Genesis we see the first woman deceived with the question : did God really say that?
      6)“missionary work actually condemned some “ – Yep you are held accountable for what you have been given.
      7)“Millions of people throughout history lived and died without ever hearing about Christ”- They are not dam ed as scripture clearly states until they reject Christ. God judges with perfect justice and perfect knowledge. Scripture says those who have not heard are judged base on what they knew and how they acted on it. The purpose of saving souls is to get the word out to those that may die in their sin. God does not make mistakes and will get the word out to those who need it. Ones true heart will be clearly revealed.

      July 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Observer

      Fred,
      – Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be d-mned.”

      You haven't come even remotely close to answering her question. Why did God let millions of people be d-mned by not letting them know of the Bible?

      July 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • fred

      Observer,
      Mark 16:16 relates to empowered apostles that go out and preach the word. They will be proteced from snakes etc. As to the dam ed those are the ones that the gospel is preached to and they reject it.
      The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 peter

      July 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So fred, you continue to make excuses. By your reckoning, god deliberately condemned millions to eternal suffering because he couldn't be bothered to cross the ocean and appear in the Americas. Your god doesn't lead. Outside the middle east, he never appeared anywhere that his followers didn't go first. Your god follows human migration. That is a sad commentary on the being that allegedly created everything.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13,
      Did you not read anything I said? Let me say it again God did and does not condemn some Indian in America that never heard of Christ provided their heart and actions are in keeping with “goodness” (I use that loosely). Whether you want to believe it or not some people are just nasty and others for some reason have the most "godly" of spirit even though they never heard of Christ. I am not the judge because I am imperfect, I do not judge because I am imperfect.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, I do believe that some people are bad. A lot of them call themselves christian. A lot of them try to deprive other people of their consti-tutional rights because they think their personal belief supersedes the laws of the nation. I would ask these people to prove the existence of their god before they use him as an excuse to foment hatred towards individuals.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  14. Adam C

    Booooo! Bad research on Christian tradition. Typical liberal from NE "Divinity Schools" (note: they HATE being called a seminary). But enough of the ad hominems. Christians who oppose it is because God opposes it. STICK TO THE ISSUES and stop bringing up apparent inconsistencies in conservative evangelicalism. There are inconsistencies in EVERYWHERE when humanity is involved.

    Just because one sin is looked down on more or less, doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Jason

      Why is it bad research. Because you disagree with the author, perhaps?

      July 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jason

      And FYI: they don't "have being called seminaries," "divinity school" is simply the name given to seminaries that are associated with research universities. hence, you have the conservative evangelical Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (associated with Trinity University) and the liberal Princeton Theological Seminary (which has no formal affiliations with Princeton University). Typical baseless comment from an ignorant conservative.

      July 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • LOL

      "there are inconsistencies in EVERYWHERE when humanity is involved. "

      That includes the bible.....

      July 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  15. God

    I support gay marriage. Just FYI

    July 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • LC

      REALLY????? YOU WANT TO QUOTE HIM?????

      July 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • 3 Kinds of Believers

      1. Unbelievers – plenty of those posting here
      2. Make believers – Make excuses for what parts of Bible they don't want (like the Author)
      3. Believers – Believe the Bible is the creator's message to us. "Let God be True and every man a liar." If you don't care what Paul said then rip that page out of your Bible. You might as well. You are an unbeliever or worse a make believer. Would rather be an unbeliever who is convinced they are right than a make believer who says they believe but just the parts that they want. There is no black whitebird. There is no drunk sober man. You are one or the other.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • LOL

      “There is no black whitebird”

      Yes there is when a bird soars in front of the sun all you see is the blackness of their image you don’t see the white bird.

      “There is no drunk sober man”

      No, but a drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts.

      So, now look at what Paul wrote from a historical perspective and you get the real context of what was written.

      July 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  16. C. Macaulay

    I shall comment only on the abortion issue : A live ovum moves fron the oval sac and travels down the fallopian tube (please note that anything dead is inert). This egg has life already. The live sperm travels to meet the egg ( if it is dead it will not travel). What is the conclusion then, wise people and debaters? 'For God will bring every work into judgement, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.' Eccl 12:14. Whatever we do we must do in the light of eternity where we are all going? May the LORD give us the strength and grace to walk in His light and truth. Till then the wheazt and the tares will grow together until the harvest. Jesus again said, 'Let him that is holy be holy still and let him that is unrighteous be unrighteous still. I am coming quickly and my reward is with me.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Observer

      Your biology starts a bit late. Actually, life exists before conception. Egg and sperm must be alive before mating. So now this issue goes back to wasting life that COULD have formed babies.

      Sorry, but the Bible offers more to support abortion than oppose it. Read it all.

      July 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Observer

    chris,

    You didn't answer the question and neither did your references. Please tell us what the Bible says was the sin of Sodom and her daughters.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  18. chris

    Sodom and Gomorrah !

    July 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Observer

      Please tell us what the Bible says was the sin of Sodom and her daughters.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • GodPot

      The daughters were totaly getting Gomorrahlized...

      July 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • chris

      Please read Genesis 13:13 and Gen 19:4-11...Thanks GOD BLESS !

      July 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Biology

      Done.. read it the two passages.. Still doesn't answer what their sin was. care to explain?

      July 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Joshua the Agnostic

      Their sin was not being able to outrun a meteorite.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • DUH

      So Chris when someone has se x with another person that is not consensual what is it? Here's a hint...ra pe! The men in the house would not come out because they didn't want to be part of it. This is such a stupid argument that Christians use and it's getting old. Show were in those scripture the se x was consensual......you can't. What a bunch of idiots.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  19. zorro1107

    My comment yesterday was not posted. Why not? There nothing obcsene or inflamatory, unlike some of the stuff i've seen posted.

    July 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Tracy

      It's a huge conspiracy by CNN to suppress dissenting voices, and ultimately, convert America to being the same as Soviet Russia. That's the only explanation!!!!!

      July 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • zorro1107

      @Tracy
      Well in that case that failed to muzzle a lot of dissenting folks on this story.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Observer

      Tracy,

      Wake up! CNN has an automatic censor that stops certain words or combinations of letters that could be offensive. If they actually were censoring by opinion, they obviously would have censored your words. Think before you speak.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Tracy

      lol, I know, observer, I'm just mocking the conspiracy theorists out there 🙂

      July 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • zorro1107

      Not implying a conspiracy – just curious. And irritated because you know, just like every other poster on here thinks, my comments were fabulous and spot on and deserved to be read and appreciated by everyone! 😉

      July 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Observer

      Tracy,

      I apologize. There are so many mindless comments on these blogs that it gets hard to separate the ignorance from the satire.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • LinCA

      @zorro1107

      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 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  20. ZeroEvidence

    You will never hear an atheist proclaim with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that there is no god or creator of the universe... because quite simply, no one can know that. There is absoulutely no empirical evidence to prove that a god or gods exist. The burden of proof lies with theists-they claim to know with absolute certainty that their god exists, but when asked to provide proof, they cannot say anything other than "because the Bible says so," or "because I have faith."
    Yeah.... sorry to be the one to tell you, but that's not evidence.

    July 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • tex1116

      I totally agree, But you have to admit that it is far more difficult to prove that there are no 8 legged yellow cows in china then to prove their are. You would have walk every square foot of china, search every stream and lake and river, ask every person you ran into in order to conclusively prove they don't exist. Where as if you found one, you could stop looking. The same goes with God. There is like less than 1% of the known universe discovered. Isn't it fair to say that God could be out there? I have found a savior in Jesus Christ. I've never seen Him, never heard his audible voice, never felt him touch my physical body. But He's changed my life, given me purpose, forgiven my wrong doings, and He does it without requiring any of me except my belief. See if I had proof, I wouldn't need faith would I? And the bible says it is impossible to please God without faith. It might sound stupid, but there are some people who's hearts are so hard towards the idea of God that if Jesus himself sat down next to them and started reading the bible to them and made it plain as day with 100% proof, that they still wouldn't change their hearts. He says if you don't believe the messengers he sends,and the scriptures he has given, then no amount of proof is going to save you.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • gman

      Actually there is a lot of proof of a deity ZeroEvidence. Start with the fine tuning of the universe across 20 well known parameters. expansion rate is tuned to 1 part in 10^50 power. resonance of carbon tuned to inexplainable precision – well known scientists – some that believe and some that do not – have attested to all of these fine tunings – their only non deistic explanation is that there is a universe making machine out there and we just happen to be the one universe tuned for life. that only begs to question how an intelligent agent created a universe creating machine!

      July 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Observer

      gman,

      So who or what created God? Is your answer nothing? Is your answer that God always existed, but matter didn't always exist?

      July 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Tex – " it is far more difficult to prove that there are no 8 legged yellow cows in china then to prove their are." You just proved his point, the burden of proof lie's with the one claiming they saw an 8 legged cow on their trip to China, it would be up to them to show some evidence if they want others to believe, not everyone else's job to go scour 1/2 of Asia looking for it to prove you are wrong.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Ray

      That's why it's called FAITH.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • ZeroEvidence

      Tex-
      Of course it is possible that there "could" be a creator of some kind out there, but if there is, it's definitely not "God" in the sense that you mean. If I had to guess, this "hypothetical" creator of the universe doesn't know what day Sunday is, and it probably doesn't care if you have foreskin or not.

      However, science has explained how it is possible for the Earth to exist without the help of a magic man in the sky. Therefore, with no evidence of a creator, I do not currently believe there is one. What's wrong with just admitting what we as humans do not yet have an answers to everything? Why can't we just say, "I don't know what created the universe"? The earliest gods started as a way to explain things happening on the Earth that primitive humans couldn't possibly understand, but we have evolved into highly intelligent animals. We shouldn't need that security blanket anymore.

      Being a rational person, I would most certainly accept solid evidence of a god if there were ever to be any..... but, considering the age of the Earth, chances of that happening anytime soon aren't looking so great.

      July 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Gman
      The universe is not adapted just so it can have humans in it.
      Humans are adapted to the environment.
      "Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!" This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise."
      – Douglas Adams

      July 20, 2011 at 4:02 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.