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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. thrushjz

    Sticking a man's penis inside of another man's anus is unnatural, that's why the bible condemns it. It serves no natural purpose (procreation) and harms those who practice it. I know well, as my uncle died from aids 7 years ago.

    July 23, 2011 at 5:03 am |
    • Observer

      Many many heteros engage in sodomy. Go ahead and trash them too.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • LinCA

      @thrushjz

      You said "Sticking a man's penis inside of another man's anus is unnatural, that's why the bible condemns it. It serves no natural purpose (procreation) and harms those who practice it. I know well, as my uncle died from aids 7 years ago."

      You make it sound like you think it has any meaning when the bible says something. It doesn't.

      Whatever the bible condemns, condones, commands or otherwise tells its followers how to act, only applies to those that choose the follow it. You are free to do so it, but you don't have the right to impose it on anyone else.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • ReplyALL

      Sticking a man's penis in a man's anus is disgusting. Anyone who supports such crap are closet pedophiles. Really. Seriously. You gays are nothing more than closet pedophiles and perverted freaks. I am not taking a Biblical stance on this argument because I think it is really irrelevant. Honestly, it is just morally gross and downright perverted. Gays should be labeled closet pedophiles!

      July 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Observer

      ReplyALL,

      But if the guy does it to a woman, that's perfectly acceptable and not a perversion.

      Your ignorance of the difference between gays and pedophiles is astounding.

      July 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • LOL

      ReplyALL ignorance like yours is pathetic, pick up a dictionary so you actually know what you're talking about.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  2. LinCA

    It appears a lot of comments are disappearing from this thread.

    July 23, 2011 at 2:59 am |
  3. Douglas

    Gay, celibate and loving it!

    July 23, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  4. Whatever

    If this issue were simple, we wouldn't be struggling with it so. There are many lenses with which to read the Bible - biblical scholar, person of faith, atheist, etc. That we cannot agree should come as no surprise.

    We cannot agree on "scientific" facts . . . how could we possibly concur on matters of faith?

    July 22, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Whatever

      You said "If this issue were simple, we wouldn't be struggling with it so. There are many lenses with which to read the Bible – biblical scholar, person of faith, atheist, etc. That we cannot agree should come as no surprise."

      There are also plenty of people that, after having read the bible, have tossed it aside in disgust.

      You said "We cannot agree on "scientific" facts . . . how could we possibly concur on matters of faith?"
      Those that understand the science tend to agree on the facts. It's those that insist on mixing their faith into it that are muddying the waters.

      How about, since we will probably never concur on matters of faith, leave it out altogether? If your faith or religion prohibits homosexual conduct, you, and only you, should abstain. Let's keep your faith out of everybody else's lives.

      Can we just live and let live? Whatever two consenting adults do to each other concerns only them.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Whatever

      Unfortunately, it is not so simple, given the way faith is developed. Live and let live may be on your agenda, but it doesn't work when nurturing the next generation of the faithful . . . nor does it match up with the acceptance being sought on the other side of the debate.

      As far as facts go, I am still waiting for some. The APA made a statement . . . much like a faith statement . . . because they have no facts . . . save maybe ho.mo.se.xuals are not notably more messed up than the other people pscyhologists see . . . when it comes to their thinking processes. That really isn't saying much.

      The evolution folks at least have fossils . . . so far we have absolutely nothing concrete. Furthermore, teasing a genetic result, while controlling the impact of the environment (hormones, parents, or whatever else), will be challenging indeed. So, please don't ask me to take your word for it . . . isn't that your gripe with those of us who prefer to accept the authority of Scripture?

      Judgement is a poor motivator, unless it's an inside job.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Whatever

      You said "Unfortunately, it is not so simple, given the way faith is developed. Live and let live may be on your agenda, but it doesn't work when nurturing the next generation of the faithful . . . nor does it match up with the acceptance being sought on the other side of the debate."

      It really is that simple. Keep your religion out of everyone else's life.

      If acceptance for your religion is what you want, you will have to start by accepting that others don't live by yours. Freedom of religion means that whatever you believe can determine only what you do, or don't do. Your faith is yours alone. If you value your freedom to practice your beliefs as you see fit, you have to allow everyone else to do the same.

      Unless and until believers quit forcing their beliefs on others, their beliefs deserve NO acceptance.

      You said "As far as facts go, I am still waiting for some. The APA made a statement . . . much like a faith statement . . . because they have no facts . . . save maybe ho.mo.se.xuals are not notably more messed up than the other people pscyhologists see . . . when it comes to their thinking processes. That really isn't saying much.

      The evolution folks at least have fossils . . . so far we have absolutely nothing concrete. Furthermore, teasing a genetic result, while controlling the impact of the environment (hormones, parents, or whatever else), will be challenging indeed. So, please don't ask me to take your word for it . . . isn't that your gripe with those of us who prefer to accept the authority of Scripture?"

      I couldn't care less whether you take my word for it, or not. I don't expect anybody who "accepts the authority of Scripture" to be capable of rational thought. By accepting the scriptures as holding any truth, you have already tossed science and reason by the wayside.

      You appear to have made up your mind and use your religion to justify and spread your hate. I sincerely doubt that any evidence will convince you of anything.

      You said "Judgement is a poor motivator, unless it's an inside job."

      Are you claiming that the condemnation of gays and lesbians is an inside job? Are you claiming that your god created gays so his followers had someone to hate? I guess that would fit his despicable character.

      July 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Whatever

      Now we don't care about facts. Okay . . . hmmm . . . . seems like you did before?

      The research is lacking, flat out, on both sides of the argument. Given the length of time, we should have something . . . with solid sampling (methods and sizes), controls, p values, etc. . . . that would give us valid and reliable data on which to draw conclusions . . . we do not have it and that has nothing to do with religion. The APA position does not have anything to back it up that is research based - didn't then . . . doesn't now. If they did, they would put it on their site, but they know what they have isn't all that solid. We are a long, long way from getting proof on "born that way." Do your own reading so you can draw conclusions that are not based on a disgust for religion and hate for people of faith.

      My last statement regarding judgement has more to do with my human condition than anything else. Judgement puts me on the defensive. Jesus shared a story about helping our neighbor with the speck in his eye. It is one of the hypocrite stories that Jesus shared, another being the tax collector. I am better served to remember and deal with my own sinfulness first. That is what I meant by that statement.

      I am pretty offended by your comments. So, I guess we're even.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • @whatever

      There are plenty of facts and plenty of valid research, you f'ing clown.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • fred

      LinCA
      You said: "Whatever two consenting adults do to each other concerns only them". You are correct provided we eliminate God from the picture. You see God is truth and long ago established the base line for morals. What you and I think about the truth does not change the truth. One day we will all find what is behind this existence we call life. Christians and atheists will enter that same new reality.
      Some who believe in God and have had the privilege to experience His presence try desperately to save souls. Sometimes we get caught up in it and cross a line even God stays away from. God tells us to stay out of your bedroom so long as you do not bring down others directly or indirectly with whatever it is you are doing.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • tallulah13

      Sheesh, fred. Prove your god exists before using him to discriminate against others. Otherwise, you are just another jerk, hating people who threaten your comfort zone.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Observer

      Fred,

      The Bible says that Jesus said that NO ONE should divorce except for infidelity.

      Do you agree that couples should stay married even if the husband physically and mentally abuses his wife or do you IGNOR this commandment?

      July 23, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      I think you know that Jesus did not say that. Jesus said the reason God allowed divorce was because husbands were treating their wifes badly. He further clarified that it was not so in the beginning but because mens hearts were hardned it was necessary.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13.
      Exactly what in my comment was the least bit discriminating and against who or what? My comment was gender neutral and I spoke the truth. Looking at it again and let me know

      July 23, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Observer

      fred,
      Not exactly.
      Matthew 19:9 “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for s-xual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

      The words of Jesus. Also: "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

      July 23, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • E

      Nobody disagrees about facts in science, they disagree about the underlying theory to describe those facts.

      Apparently you don't know much about science or logic...no wonder you're opposed to giving gays basic civil rights.

      July 23, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • fred

      observer,
      You said:"Do you agree that couples should stay married even if the husband physically and mentally abuses his wife "
      You are correct Jesus did not give an out for this. Most pastors seem to have an out for this one if the offending party does not get help and get their act together. So you are correct we break the commandment

      July 23, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      I applaud you for your honesty. So now we are back to the basis of this whole blog. You admit that you (and everyone) just picks and chooses the commandments they agree with and ignor the rest. So, if you choose to ignor commandments about heteros marriages, why not choose to quote the Golden Rule when it comes to gays? If you are going to quote passages that foster hatred, why not choose those supporting love and respect for our fellow man instead?

      July 23, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • LinCA

      @Whatever

      You said "Now we don't care about facts. Okay . . . hmmm . . . . seems like you did before?"

      If you keep your delusions out of it the facts don't really make a difference. YOU seem to be needing to be convinced, and subsequently dismissing any evidence as lacking. Any decent person will just butt out and let others be.

      In case you didn't get the first time, if you try to impose your bigoted view on other you are not a decent person.

      You said "The research is lacking, flat out, on both sides of the argument. Given the length of time, we should have something . . . with solid sampling (methods and sizes), controls, p values, etc. . . . that would give us valid and reliable data on which to draw conclusions . . . we do not have it and that has nothing to do with religion. The APA position does not have anything to back it up that is research based – didn't then . . . doesn't now. If they did, they would put it on their site, but they know what they have isn't all that solid. We are a long, long way from getting proof on "born that way." Do your own reading so you can draw conclusions that are not based on a disgust for religion and hate for people of faith."

      Again, I don't give a fuck what you think the evidence says. You choose to dismiss anything that contradicts your delusions anyway. Nobody should need evidence to be nice.

      Even if homosexuality is a choice, it is not your place to question it.

      By the way, I don't hate people of faith. I do despise the hate that is spread in name of that faith.

      You said "My last statement regarding judgement has more to do with my human condition than anything else. Judgement puts me on the defensive. Jesus shared a story about helping our neighbor with the speck in his eye. It is one of the hypocrite stories that Jesus shared, another being the tax collector. I am better served to remember and deal with my own sinfulness first. That is what I meant by that statement."

      Here you have an opportunity to change your sinful ways. Let go of the hate. Accept your fellow man as he is. Worry about making yourself a better human being before you try to judge others.

      You said "I am pretty offended by your comments. So, I guess we're even."

      Take that offense and use it to evaluate your hateful views. See if you really want to be that person.

      July 23, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      Ya got me. I stretched a passage that allows divorce due to abandonmnet by and unbeleiver to justify sin because of my compasion for an abused spouse. Well back to the drawing board.

      July 23, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said "You said: "Whatever two consenting adults do to each other concerns only them". You are correct provided we eliminate God from the picture."

      Your god better be out of my picture. I don't need your delusions. If your god ever shows is face in my bedroom, he'll be in for a nasty surprise.

      You said "You see God is truth and long ago established the base line for morals. What you and I think about the truth does not change the truth. One day we will all find what is behind this existence we call life. Christians and atheists will enter that same new reality."

      Bullshit. Your god is an invention of man. He doesn't exist. He didn't establish jack-shit. One day we will all be dead, never to be heard from again.

      You said "Some who believe in God and have had the privilege to experience His presence try desperately to save souls. Sometimes we get caught up in it and cross a line even god stays away from. God tells us to stay out of your bedroom so long as you do not bring down others directly or indirectly with whatever it is you are doing."

      Please try to save your own soul, before you try to save mine. The hate you spread against your fellow man will certainly land you in hell (if you believe in that nonsense).

      July 23, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • fred

      LinCA
      Looks like there is something missing in the communication process. I said nothing hurtful and it was gender neutral. Based on your reply you made assumptions about Gods base line for morals. You do know that base line is to “love God and love your neighbor as yourself” .
      You said: “He didn’t establish $#^^$$#@#” –well this is the year 2011 AD (the year of the Lord) so the whole world can never forget the day Christ was born – our calendar began the day of his birth. Our entire culture is based on Christian values, our legal system on His Divine Law etc. etc.
      I spread no hate so look again at my kind post and your response.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Observer

      fred,

      I completely support your statement to “love your neighbor as yourself”. It may be the one thing that both believers and nonbelievers can agree on. Sadly, it is all too frequently ignored.
      No one is asking you to like or support h0m0s-xuality. It won't happen for you. No doubt there are groups, religions, or even sports teams that you don't like or support. What gays are asking for, though, is that you give them the same rights that everyone else has. There are gay soldiers, gay firemen, and gay policemen that are risking their lives to make YOU safe (and in many cases have died). While you sit safely in front of your computer, please think about why you think they are unworthy of the same rights you have.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said "Looks like there is something missing in the communication process. I said nothing hurtful and it was gender neutral. Based on your reply you made assumptions about Gods base line for morals."

      I may have been reading between the lines of your post a little bit, but I'm unconvinced I misread your position.

      When you said "One day we will all find what is behind this existence we call life. Christians and atheists will enter that same new reality.", were you not referring to the standard christian belief of a god sitting in judgement, and welcoming his followers while condemning those that have "sinned"? In essence issuing a threat of condemnation?

      When you said "God tells us to stay out of your bedroom so long as you do not bring down others directly or indirectly with whatever it is you are doing.", you weren't trying to impose your morals on others?

      Also, considering that your god doesn't exist, it is impossible for him/her/it to have established any baseline for morals. What you seem pass for those morals is based on a outdated book of fables.

      You said "You do know that base line is to “love God and love your neighbor as yourself” ."

      Yes I know it, and if your fellow christians could get past the first two words and actually work on the rest of it, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

      You said "You said: “He didn’t establish $#^^$$#@#”"

      Actually, I didn't. I said jack-shit, but whatever.

      You said "–well this is the year 2011 AD (the year of the Lord) so the whole world can never forget the day Christ was born – our calendar began the day of his birth."

      Again, your god didn't establish anything. He couldn't have because he doesn't exist.

      Jesus was not born in December. His birth was set on the 25th to make it easier to convert those that celebrated the winter solstice. Also, if our calendar is so christian, then why does it still have references to Roman emperors? Why are September through December named for their place on the Roman calendar (7, 8, 9 and 10)? The "christian calendar" is a relic of centuries of religious oppression. We still use it because the benefits of changing it to something more sensible and neutral don't outweigh the cost of the switch.

      You said "Our entire culture is based on Christian values, our legal system on His Divine Law etc. etc."

      Bullshit, bullshit and bullshit. Just because christianity also adopted some of those values and systems doesn't make them christian. Just like the "christmas tree", the Easter bunny and a host of others.

      You said "I spread no hate so look again at my kind post and your response."

      Your post is not "kind". It is full of veiled judgement and condemnation.

      July 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  5. Tina

    The American Psychiatric As*sociation stopped clas*sifying ho*mos*exuality as a mental disorder in 1973. Gay*cure or conversion therapy is condemned by the American Medical As*sociation, American Psychological As*sociation, and the American Counseling As*sociation.

    There are always more questions in science because that's what science is: an intellectual systematic study *basically tons and tons of questions. So it will appear indecisive if your worldview demands certainty. There used to be unanswered questions about how bees could fly * but we still built legions of planes. On the other hand, the "theory" of gravity is not controversial, but if you look hard enough there's bound to be a crank somewhere disputing gravity on the basis of feeling that it's wrong.

    "Some reputable scientists are not 100 percent convinced gravity exists."

    We, as a culture, have decided we're not going to practice the harems, plural marriages and incest the Christian Bible mentions and instead have opted for love*based, non*arranged marriages as the ideal. Our mores are clearly flexible, but somehow the religious right has cherry*picked a hard line on ho*mos*exuality.

    If you can choose being gay, then ho*mos*exuality can be condemned as a moral shortcoming. And the immoral having the audacity to demand acceptance is the perfect rallying cry for the Conservative Christian base.

    If you can't choose to be gay, and it's something you're born with * then being against ho*mos*exual civil rights is just plain old*fashioned prejudice * something the rest of us choose to condemn as a moral shortcoming.

    The actual choice in this issue is choosing to deny science when it doesn't fit your agenda.

    The choice is using "choice" as a way to parlay prejudice against a minority.

    July 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Observer

      KnobMaster,

      The facts in the matter are from the APA, etc. Tina supplied FACTS and you supplied nothing but ignorant juvenile insults. It's easy to see why you lost this debate.

      July 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Observer

      @To the Observer,

      I am not gay. I support equal rights for all Americans. It's pretty disgusting to hear all the unpatriotic INGRATES trash the many gays who have sacrificed, died, or continue to risk their lives for us and then claim these HEROES are less worthy than the ingrates sitting safely at home because of them. Mindless people.

      July 22, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Observer

      Jaxon,

      Any dictionary will explain the differences between "h0m0s-xuality" and "pedophilia".
      Please get an education for your obvious lack of knowledge.

      July 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ Jaxon,
      The biggest difference and the only one that matters is; one is between two CONCENTING ADULTS, the other is the r ape of a CHILD. If you don't understand that, you are beyond hope.

      July 22, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      "Actually a child under 18 can consent. That is why they are tried as an adult. Wow. "

      Try telling that to the hundreds of children considered ra-ped by priests, you sick fu**k.

      July 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • @fimeilleur

      Unfortunately, I have to cancel the conversation with you because you are not intelligent enough manage your own thoughts much less others. Go have your little gay love sessions. However, stay the f#$& away from kids you sick pedophile. I bet you love michael jackson.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  6. Thinker

    Here's a challenge for readers: What are five other New Testament verses that evangelicals ignore? (Hint: they involve allowing slavery, female subordination, greeting each other with a kiss, and a few others)

    July 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Dan

      Greeting each other with a kiss is still practiced in many Christian nations (France, for example). As to slavery, there is an awful lot of slavery in the world today, what are you doing about it?

      July 24, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  7. Rick

    He did, huh? some thinker... can't even quote the Bible correctly.

    July 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Thinker

      2 Samuel 1:26
      "26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
      you were very dear to me.
      Your love for me was wonderful,
      more wonderful than that of women."

      July 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  8. Lee

    Just point to one clealy gay marriage in the Bible and I will agree with gay marriage. I have absolutely no issue with get people – none. But don't tell me God allowed for gay marriage in the Bible. Just one example will do.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Thinker

      Jonathan loved David in the OT more than he loved women.

      July 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Observer

      Fullbag,

      Why be so ignorant that you criticize the messenger especially when he told the truth about what the Bible say?. READ the Bible. He quoted from one of the MANY versions of the Bible (possibly the Common English Bible). Your unknowing attack should have been on the Bible. The American Standard Bible says the same thing: "Thy love to me was wonderful, Passing the love of women. "

      TRY AGAIN.

      July 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Lee

      You said "Just point to one clealy gay marriage in the Bible and I will agree with gay marriage. I have absolutely no issue with get people – none. But don't tell me God allowed for gay marriage in the Bible. Just one example will do."

      Who gives a rats ass about what that rag of yours says? If you choose to live your life by it, that is your choice. Just don't expect a civilized society to accept your perverted and unnatural life style.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Dan

      @Thinker and Observer:

      David's proclamation was of the love of a friend, not a lover. If you're right and I'm wrong, you should be able to find a lot of contempraneous commentary by Jews (in the Talmud. etc.) discussing David's love for Jonathan and it should clearly state that they were lovers. Go ahead and look it up.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Dan

      @Observer and Thinker

      BTW, I love how you both failed to quote the whole Scripture, in which David specifically says that he loves Jonathan as a brother:

      I grieve for you, my brother Jonathan,

      You were most dear to me,

      Your love was wonderful to me,

      More than the love of women. (II Samuel 1:17-27)

      Typically, people do not have se-x with someone they love like a brother.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Observer

      Dan,
      If there was such a widely known scandal, they never would have achieved the stature they did. The Bible also mentions one stripping nude in front of the other. It's conjecture, but not really important. The response was in regard to someone who ignorantly blamed someone for a false quote that actually was accurate.

      This article is all about "pick and choose" hypocrisy.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Dan

      One last thought:

      You have obviously never lived in the Middle East where this story was written and took place. That part of the world is very segregted by gender. In many countires, theaters are even segregated by gender. They simply do not have the contact with members of the opposite se-x that we do and their emotional relationships are often with members of the same se-x, other than, perhaps, their spouses. Ancient Jews were not very different from modern Arabs. The Bible really comes alive when you spend time there.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:55 am |
  9. Will Duffield

    Is this maniac really sighting a reference from 390 A.D. as one of many revisions to the "Christian tradition" in a host of ways. Ask Giordano Bruno if that's true.
    Do you know who is inferior and weak minded? Anyone who believes in a god, that's who. Still disagree with me? What if you were raised never to learn about the bible? Wrap you're head around this, Religion is no different from racism, anti-Semites or being anti-gay. It's a learned behavior.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  10. Roxy

    You know, I think that anyone who only studies the Bible to try to prove their point isn't really interested in what the Bible has to say. If you believe this book is really a Divine Being's words to us, then why do you search to only see if it agrees with you? Are you God, or is God, God?

    I think that's what we all have to establish first, before we argue further about any issues.

    God says that He's the same yesterday, today, and forever, so I'm pretty sure He still isn't ok with what He wasn't ok with then. If you are trying to find a way for the Bible to condone your sins, then why are you looking in the Bible? God's not a pushover who changes His mind based on human thinking and popular trends. How can you use the Bible as some kind of authority to help you understand life if you aren't going to acknowledge the authority of the one who wrote it? I'm not trying to put anyone down here; I'm just trying to help people to be consistent in their beliefs. If you believe in God, then you must believe that He is everything He says He is, and take the Bible as absolute truth. If you don't believe this, then don't try to use the Bible to figure things out. Does this make sense?

    July 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Javan

      Well put!

      July 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • So

      "If you believe in God, then you must believe that He is everything He says He is, and take the Bible as absolute truth. "

      So if your child talks back to you are you going to stone them to death? Do you follow your husband, sit at his right hand, keep the house and not work? Do you never speak in Church? Do you give your coat to the homeless when you walk by their signs asking for help? Do you believe those that get a divorce are committing adultery and no one can married a divorced person or they are committing adultery.

      It's easy to point out the bible is the absolute truth but the reality is the interpretations have changed over time as the truth of our world become apparent especially when it comes to civil rights and decency.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Peter

      OT=God bad
      NT=God good

      July 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Matt

      Understanding the Bible is like trying to cross a bridge. On one side is us and on the other side is the biblical writer. Between us there is a chasm. We need to build a bridge and cross over to get to the meaning that the writer originally intended. This is the process of exegesis. But that's only half the process because we have to cross back over to our side, bringing along with us useful and relevant application of the biblical truth. This process we called contextualization.

      Contextualization means that we do not imitate biblical culture exactly. I know that seems to be going against what believers try to achieve but think about it for a moment. We need to recognize that not every pas-sage in the Bible was meant to be applied to all believers for all time. Take for example Exodus 29:38 where it says, “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly." It's obvious we don't obey this today.

      How about Deut 21:18-21a which says, “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones." We definitely don't obey that one!

      What about 1 Peter 5:14 where it says, "Greet one another with the kiss of love." Do we obey this command to the letter and kiss each other when we meet? Are we bad Christians if we don't? Or how about this: "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments." (1 Tim 5:23.) What if I don't like wine?

      And when it comes to imitating Jesus, do we follow everything that he did? John 13:12 says, "When he [Jesus] had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?" When was the last time you washed someone else's feet?

      I think it's pretty obvious from these examples that imitating biblical culture exactly isn't the way to go. How then should we handle Scripture? The principle we need to remember is that some pas-sages in the Bible are meant to be applied for all time and some for a particular cultural context.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Gina

      Roxy you are speaking out on this blog so obviously you don't follow the bible about women.

      1 Cor 14:34,35. "The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but a should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."

      Your husband should be speaking to us not you.

      Do you also follow:

      1 Cor 11:5. "... Every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven."

      1 Tim 2:9. “… Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire…"

      July 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  11. Irving_Gangsta

    the bible also teaches divorce, adultery, etc are wrong and are just as bad. Why do these people only dwell on the gay part.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  12. Ali Mardees

    IT takes awhile to understand the meaning. I cannot give it away. Otherwise, you would be robbed of probing for the treasure. That, after all is the ticket to victory.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  13. Ali Mardees

    All People: "Cramps are not what felt like the chicken should not did". This quote changed my life. It is a double negative and poorly written, but incredible. Can you feel what I feel.

    July 22, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Michelle Williams

      Ali, at first I read this and thought you were an idiot. Then, I read it more intensely and see the paronomasia and laughed so hard I cried. I actually printed it off and posted at work. It is a great conversation starter and everyone enjoyed it. It takes awhile to get it. You are brilliant.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Clinton

      That is funny. Kudos to the one who wrote this!!! haha

      July 22, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Shady

      I don't get it.

      July 22, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Kristen Weilps

      Chicken could, but did should not.

      July 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Peter Bulgin

      Kristen. You make me horn to the knee. How about some straight love. All these people talk about is gays. I am ready for some love baby.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  14. duh

    Wrong....i would agree regardless of religion of a refund of the food price, not a trip to Idia. Can you say con artists?

    July 22, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  15. tallulah13

    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 10:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      Sorry people. This is a reply to a specific comment and I apologize for the misplacement.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • J.W

      Well I didnt see the original quote that you were responding to, but I do not believe that all the people who do not know of Jesus will go to hell. My beliefs I know differ from many Christians, but I do not believe in a literal hell. I believe that hell was used as an analogy as a separation from God. I personally have always thought that Christian missionaries should focus more on helping people rather than preaching the word of God.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  16. Gebril

    It is advisable, my brothers and sisters in humanity, to know what and how Islam address this issue. Allow yourself some time to read, compare, and contrast between What you have in your Bible & what Islam says. Best of Luck

    July 22, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  17. Fullbag

    I love how the persons of 'alternative life style' (wow, I hate writing like this...but CNN seems to auto-edit so many words) and their sympathizers try to escape the obvious condemnation of their ways using the same tactics over and over: 1) Only one scripture blatantly speaks against issues relating to sodomy in the New Testament (nevermind how often it is condemned in the Old Testament), 2) Christians are horrible people.

    As to the first point, murder isn't harped on in the New Testament either, but we ALL know it is wrong and God condemns such an act. Is there some threshold number of times sodomy could be spoke against in the New Testament where it could be said 'Yeah, well NOW it's irrefutable'?. As to my second point, don't equate man to God. Just because many people claiming to be God's people have done wrong does not make God wrong. If you believe in God, then you believe in Adam and Eve. THEY did wrong.

    In short, accept the Bible's stance against such relations, or don't. No skin off my nose how you side. What makes me ill though is such 'partners' or their supporters trying to suggest God really is ok with their life style.

    July 22, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • LOL

      "What makes me ill though is such 'partners' or their supporters trying to suggest God really is ok with their life style."

      Be ill all you want just don't try to justify it for blocking their civil rights. Science has shown that they are born gay, it's not a choice, it's not a mental illness and it can't be voluntarily changed. No where in the bible does God condemn the loving saved gay relationship as we know and understand it today. Now before replying make sure you read what I just wrote and not twist it around typical of Christians replying in this forum.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • LOL

      Still using multiple handles spewing the same nonsense. The experts disagree with you. Scientists today agree that s-exual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, s-exual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's s-exuality. Psychologists do not consider s-exual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed. The reality is that ho-mos-exuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Fullbag,

      You've totally missed the point. This discussion is all about hyporcrisy and just selecting which sins believers want to oppose and which they want to IGNOR.

      July 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  18. cc

    I will have to use this quote in the future..."Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own." This can be applied to many other topics/issues as well.

    July 22, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  19. Peter Youkhanna

    What???? It says it is an abomination to the LORD. What else does that mean to you? Go back to school and get a better education.

    July 22, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • Thinker

      It also says eating ostrich is an abomination to the Lord.

      July 22, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Observer

      Peter Youkhanna,

      No one said that the Bible didn't say that. This story is all about the hypocrisy of picking which sins Christians will support and which they will ignor. You completely missed the point.

      "Go back to school and get a better education"

      July 22, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Enjay Sea

      Sorry, but you're gonna have to convince me there's a LORD in the first place before I give a flying hoot what it thinks is or is not an abomination.

      July 22, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  20. Michael

    Good points, however not accurate. What about Sodom? What about what God says that is recorded i the old testament? Is sodomy "natural"? My bible says that there is a way to man that seems right, but its end is destruction. Sodomy is an abomination! Read it is the bible. No where is this gross behavior deemed as "natural". A man's penis was not designed to enter into another mans anus!

    July 22, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Observer

      What did the Bible say was the "sin of Sodom and her daughters"?

      July 22, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • LOL

      "Sodomy is an abomination"

      Did you even bother to look up the definition of sodomy? Here's a hint an-al or or-al copu-lation with a member of the opposite se-x. Plus if you really read the scriptures you would recognize that in Sodom and Gomorrah that people are not giving their consent that means ra-pe. Especially since Lot offered his daughters up, now if he knew they were gay then he wouldn't have done that. It has nothing to do with gays as we know it today.

      By the way I hope you have never received a BJ or gone down on a woman otherwise you are an abomination to the Lord.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:28 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.