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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. Please Read This

    This article isn't saying gay marriage is acceptable. It's simply saying why is gay marrige such a huge debate(look at all the comments and debates already) when other sins are covered much more then gay marrieg. If you wish to follow the bible, follow it fully, don't pick and choose which ones or better or worse, that's not up to you. All sin is equal in Gods eyes. So... Stop arguing about random things and get back on the topic of what his article is about... It makes sense that since you can't even understand his view on it, you wouldn't be able to understand the bible... Just food for thought. Don't act like you're Gods right arm, you're just another sinner, no better then anyone else. People know what is and is not a sin, as do you, and we all still do it. We are born into sin, and or born of a sinful nature. Don't try and say your sins or not as bad. I digress...

    September 1, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  2. Terry

    Jesus had twelve apostles, all of whom were men. The bible was written by men. The bible was edited several times by men. Maybe men were just meant to be together. We can ask Jesus when he comes back. As for the women, I think you have a shot with the woman next door. Just stay out of the man cave.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Esteban

      Terry,

      Those who believe Jesus is our Savior will indeed have the opportunity to meet him. However, these questions you suggest will not be high on the list of importance.

      I am ever thankful for the story of the murderer who was on a cross next to Jesus. After his life full of not acknowledging God, he repented in his last minutes and was saved.

      It is never too late. No one is bad enough to be kept out, no one is too good to be in.

      September 1, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Terry

      Confused "Terry" is not to be confused with Believer Terry. Discern the comments from this point on. =)

      Personal opinions are personal conclusions rooted in personal perception. We conclude based on what we see. Often, what we see is incomplete therefore our conclusions change as light is shed on the subject.

      Truth, on the other hand is absolute and unchanging.

      Example: Not long ago, astronomers set out to count the stars in the sky. Their conclusion was just over a thousand...based on what they could see at the time. It was 'true' based on what they could see...perceive. However, with better lenses and a greater capacity to see, we know just how short sighted their conclusions were.

      Same is true with mankind in reference to God. We are all short sighted to the point of blindness. Dead in sin. We don't see God, therefore we challenge the idea of God.

      Truth is, God loved each one of us so much, He initiated a plan that restores our ability to see Him. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world..." Scripture speaks on the idea of revelation...God making Himself known to mankind.

      Problem is, personal pride gets in the way. It is written, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humility is a prerequisite in the pursuit of the knowledge of God.

      Gay, straight, bi...thief, murderer, or do-gooder...whoever...we are all guilty. Jesus provides the rescue from the consequence of sin.

      The conscience bears witness to the truth of God. You can choose to supress it...but that doesn't change it.

      God Bless You,
      Believer Terry

      September 1, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  3. Douglas

    Gay, Celibate and Loving It!
    Let's help our GLBTQQ fellow citizens feel comfortable with the celibacy alternative path to salvation. It is highly
    hypocritical for straights to fornicate while wagging fingers at GLBTQQ folks who struggle with their urges and yet
    strive to live clean, celibate lives. Everyone has fallen short of the mark. GLBTQQ sins are no better or worse than straight sins. There is no condemnation in GLBTQQ celibate relationships. Sin becomes sin when you think and then act on it.
    Resist the temptation...Drive out fear and say yes to celibacy for GLBTQQ and abstinence for straights until marriage.
    That settles it! Best, Douglas

    September 1, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Observer

      Douglas,

      WHEN you similarly advocate that Christians who divorce and remarry also be celibate since they are committing ADULTERY, then you will have credibility.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • myweightinwords

      So it's "okay" to be gay as long as you don't engage in s.e.x?

      Do you also support that anyone unmarried and straight refrain? How about those who divorce and re-marry?

      You want to talk about hypocritical?

      September 1, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Esteban

      Observer,

      I believe you are twisting the words in the Bible just a bit. I strongly encourage you to talk with a theologian, not me, if you want to know the context of remarrying and what the Bible thinks of it.

      By the way, every last one of us are sinners. Not one can claim to be sinless. Getting into the weeds of every last piece of the Bible is a life-long pursuit. A noble pursuit. Until the time where I can personally understand every argument for/against the Bible, I will choose to believe (have faith).

      Every person on the earth knows right from wrong. Some acknowledge this fact, most ignore it.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Esteban,

      You said, "By the way, every last one of us are sinners. Not one can claim to be sinless."

      However, sin is a concept that depends heavily on one's definition of the word. For example, when I was Christian, my pastor defined it as any act which separates us from God...If that is the working definition, then I can claim to be without sin, as there is no act I have ever committed that could separate me from the Divine.

      From outside of Christianity, I see sin as a strictly man made concept, as can be discerned by studying history and the understanding of what is or was seen as sinful by various religions and societies through time. At one time it was good and proper and right to marry off your 13 year old daughter in exchange for money or power or simply to lighten the load financially. At several points it was good and proper and right to own people. At some times it was good and proper and right for the poor to not bother with any formal marriage, because that was a waste of time and money. And that's just within "Christian" societies...and doesn't get into the things the Bible itself seems to have no issues with that today we consider wrong.

      So if sin is defined by man, I can still claim to be sinless as those things I would define as wrong, those deeds that society condemns, I don't engage in.

      September 1, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Observer

      Esteban,

      "I believe you are twisting the words in the Bible just a bit."

      Please give ONE example.

      September 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Esteban

      Observer,

      Sure thing! Taken in context, the Bible does not say "divorce and remarrying" is adultery. There are 2 reasons the Lord gives for divorce that are seen as not sinning; Adulteress spouse, and an unbelieving spouse (married to a believer) that does not want to be in the marriage. In each of these cases, the remarrying is not considered adultery.

      1 Corinthians 7:15
      Matthew 19:9

      September 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Observer

      Esteban,
      Yes, it is not adultery (in some passages) if the prior marriage had adultery. (big difference?)

      – Luke 16:18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.”
      – Mark 10:11-12 "And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."[Jesus]

      We are getting off on a tangent. This article is not so much about gay or hetero marriage as it is about hypocrisy. As seen here, we have both selected what we wanted from the Bible so we can ignor the rest. That is what Dudley was saying and we keep proving his point over and over.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Esteban

      Observer,

      Yes, man, you are bringing up some really interesting points. This is one of the many challenges in walking in faith.

      For me, God gave us a choice to believe in Him or not. I will, no doubt, do little justice to Him the more I try to convince anyone He is The Way. So, prayerfully, I will use my walk as an example. And I will do it imperfectly...

      September 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Observer

      Esteban,

      I applaud you for being open-minded. We need much more of that on both sides.

      I believe everyone should be free to choose how they addresss the meaning of life. Everyone should be free to worship however they want in their homes and places of worship as long as they don't try to force their beliefs on others or deny them of equal rights. If everyone did that, this article would not have happened. I am a firm believer in the principle of the Golden Rule. I just wish more Christians practiced it (you are one of the exceptions), rather than just preached it.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Esteban

      Observer,

      This exchange of discussion points has been very good for me. We indeed have the right to choose who and what we believe in. IMO, that is God-given.

      The folks I hang out with are of similar beliefs. There has been and always will be a certain amount of tension between believers in Jesus and those who don't. This is a good thing. It is good provided that respect is mutual.

      One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jesus comes upon a woman at a well and asks her "Where is you husband?" "I don't have a husband" is her reply. "You speak well, because you are living with another man and have had 5 wives..."

      the reason I like this story is that it displays what we are called to do. Not condemn people, but build hem up. Jesus could have railed her for living in sin, but he chose to encourage her by saying "you told the truth" instead....

      We all could learn from this, myself included.

      September 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Esteban

      "five husbands" not "wives"...lol What a dork I am....

      September 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Esteban

      "five husbands" not "wives"...lol What a dork I am...."

      You're not a dork. To be honest, the first version was more entertaining, even if less instructive.

      September 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  4. Jeremy

    May I reply to this article and the posts regarding it?

    August 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Esteban

      Jeremy, you just did...

      August 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  5. Ha

    Conservative Christianity is saturated with ignorance and bigotry.

    August 31, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Esteban

      Ha,

      Non-believers are equally short-sighted and hypocritical. We are all sinners.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Rob

      so is the rest of the world. So why point fingers.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Ha

      No, no, no, none of this "we're just like everyone else" nonsense. Conservative Christians are far more guilty than any other group in America. Who's the most significant voting bloc for denying evolution, global warming, equal rights to gays (used to be to blacks and women), etcetera? Objective scientific polls demonstrate that the answer is conservative Christians. They are a plague on society and anyone who loves the truth and loves justice should celebrate their religion's demise.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Esteban

      Ha,

      These feelings you express are as old as time.

      For those who do not believe in the Lord, this world is a good as it will ever get. For those of us who do believe in the Lord, it will never be worse.

      I used to think similarly to you, so I understand where you are coming from. Thankfully, God is the judge, and not you or I.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Ha

      Yep, and that's exactly why conservative Christianity is a plague on society. "This world is supposed to be horrible. The followers of a God of Truth are supposed to advocate lies. The followers of a teacher of Justice are supposed to be more prejudiced than everyone else."

      August 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Esteban

      Ha....huh?

      I appreciate you being on "Belief Blog". Thank you for joining in the conversation....

      August 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Ha

      The blog discusses religion, both pro and con. It doesn't presuppose that its readers are religious, only that they're interested in religion.

      August 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Martin T

      Sin is MADE up by man... there is no such thing as sin.

      August 31, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Esteban, You do realize that there are more people represented, both here on this board, and in this world than just Christians and "non-believers" right?

      I for one am not an unbeliever, I just don't believe the same things as you. And for what it's worth? I support equality of all flavors.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Esteban

      Myweight, yes I realize their are all side on this blog. I guess, for me, it is curious that there is not an atheist, scientist, or evolution blog.

      I respect opinions, even when I do not agree. So it is awesome having unlike-minded folks talking in this forum.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  6. Stuart

    I don't even know where to begin....The author exercises extremely bad hermeneutics. Typical nonsense of the "reader-response" school of biblical interpretation. Why do you even consult the Bible at all? These types base their conclusions on pure subjective personal experience (eg. my gay neighbor is a nice guys, it must not be wrong), then they engage in interpretative gymnastics to justify their interpretation. Reminds me of the Pharisees...they pour over the Scriptures, but they did not know God.

    The Bible is clear that we are by nature objects of his wrath. We are born sinners. Simply because you have always felt that you were gay, does not justify the behavior. I may have been born with a propensity to commit a number of sins, for example, alcoholism. But this is does not justify my behavior, it only serves to highlight my need for forgiveness. Your choices are who you are.

    Repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus.

    August 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Esteban

      Amen, Stuart!

      I used to be of the mind that without the proof, I was not going to submit to anyone including God. I am ever thankful that He welcomes us all back when we discover we do not have the answers.

      If God were small enough for me to understand, He would not be big enough to worship.

      August 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Observer

      This article is all about hypocrisy. You just pick and choose what you like and ignor the rest. Should everyone be forced to stay married regardless of physical or mental abuse as long as no infidelity is involved? What do you CHOOSE?

      August 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Esteban

      Observer,

      The Bible is fairly clear on what reasons one could get divorced. Pretty Black and White.

      However, these standards apply to those who choose to believe that their savior is Lord. Even in biblical times people got divorced for "unbiblical" reasons. But they were not believers.

      Those who choose their own rules to live by can answer the question you pose for themselves.

      God is more interested in our permanent salvation than our present comfort.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Observer

      Esteban

      Again, this article is about HYPOCRISY. Do you support everything in the Bible or just pick and choose? If you are to put down gays, do you similarly put down all of your Christian friends who are openly guilty of adultery according to the Bible?

      August 31, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Esteban

      Great question Observer!

      Since the question is being asked of me, here is my answer;

      I hold God's standards (gays, adulterers etc...) above my own. Those standards apply to me and my brothers and sisters in Christ.

      So, if a Christian brother of mine were to come to me saying he is gay or has committed adultery, I would openly speak with him about the sin committed. Likewise, when I go to a brother about my sins, I ask for openness. If I want a "yes man" I could simply find someone not walking with the Lord.

      The term "hate the sin, love the sinner" is true for me and the guys I hang with. I have done plenty wrong in my walk with the Lord. This does not make me a hypocrite, it makes me a sinner (which we all are). When this happens, I get Godly counsel and repent (which literally means turn away from the sin and do it no more).

      Mos hypocrisy I have seen in the Christian circles is those who preach down to people, Christian and non-Christian alike. This, too, is a sin.

      There is not one person, with the exception of Jesus, who has walked on this earth without sin. Therefore, preaching down to anyone is completely unacceptable and not Christlike.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • LOL

      "The Bible is clear that we are by nature objects of his wrath. "

      Yes and that is for male prostitution, rape and idolatry, it's not for something he created. Science has shown that gays are born this way and if you weren't so lazy and did your homework you would know your seual identiy is a core part of who you are. Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Observer

      Esteban,

      You really haven't answered the question. You are on here with a discussion of gays. You have come on to agree with comments about it being a sin. Do you similarly comment to all your Christian friends who are openly adulterous about that PARTICULAR sin and how they are engaging in it?

      August 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Rob

      Stuart you are right on. The most misunderstood attribute of God is His holiness. The sinful mind will always choose to worship an unholy god. The sinful nature of man hates God and that is why people come up with religious ideas that are so far off from what the Bible tells us is true. It's the blind leading the blind.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Esteban

      Observer,

      Absolutely! Any Christian man in my life that chose to commit adultery would enter into a discussion with me on this subject. I would counsel them and rebuke the behavior. If they repent, they are walking with the Lord. If they were to continue the behavior, they would be walking with something else.

      And doing that walk without my approval.

      My approval means nothing, however, without the Lord.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Observer

      Esteban,

      Why should Christians have to tell you they are adulterous? If they have remarried after divorcing, they are adulterous unless one of the partners already was adulterous during the marriage. You are on here telling gays they have commited an ABOMINATION (like eating shellfish and using incense), so do you tell your friends who are Christians and have remarried that they are committing the Ten Commandment SIN of adultery?

      August 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • James

      "My approval means nothing, however, without the Lord."

      Your arrogance is disgusting, typical christian self consumed bigot.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Observer

      James

      "My approval means nothing, however, without the Lord."

      "Your arrogance is disgusting, typical christian self consumed bigot."

      Explain where the arrogance is. He said his approval means nothing. Can't get much more self-deprecating than that.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Esteban

      Actually, James, it is the exact opposite.

      My approval does not mean anything. Anyone who says the opposite is the arrogant one "My approval means everything".

      August 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Esteban

      Observer, you have clearly read and understand this part of the Bible. This is a good thing.

      To be clear, I am remarried. And, my wife was married before me.

      Prior to getting remarried, we sought the counsel of our Christian Leader in the Church we attend. We walked through the Bible and the discussed this very important topic. So, this hits close to home. In the end, it was determined by the Church, not by us, that we were spiritually free to marry. If you want to know all of the gory details, let me know.

      Had the leaders of the Church we attend told us differently, we would not be married. Much prayer and discussion happened in this as it is not a subject to be taken lightly.

      I, truly, appreciate your point of view and interest in discussing these points.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • James

      "My approval does not mean anything. Anyone who says the opposite is the arrogant one "My approval means everything"

      So allow gays t marry then because it's none of your business what they are doing.

      August 31, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Esteban

      James, I have never stopped gays from getting married...

      August 31, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • LOL

      "was determined by the Church, not by us, that we were spiritually free to marry. If you want to know all of the gory details, let me know."

      I hope you realize that goes for gays as well, they have been allowed to be married before God in our church and throughout this country. People are finally realize they are a creation of God and born gay and as long as they are saved, married before God their lifestyle is not a sin.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Esteban

      LOL, it is not up to me as to whether it is appropriate to be gay. I am not qualified to say it is or is not.

      Nor is it my job to convict people of their beliefs, or even attempt to convict. I have met and hung out with many gays and lesbians. The ones I have met are very good people. This point is not in question.

      If any of them ever asked me to bless their decision to be gay, I could not. But it also would not, for me, end our friendship.

      Loving someone does not mean agreeing with everything they do or say.

      The worlds culture of "deciphering your own truth" is misguided. That would mean Billions of individual truths out there with no one to support or deny them.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • LOL

      “The worlds culture of "deciphering your own truth" is misguided. That would mean Billions of individual truths out there with no one to support or deny them.”

      Many Christians interpret the scriptures showing that being gay is NOT a sin. It’s also, why there are so many denominations of Christianity because of those interpretations of the scriptures. I do not believe that it gives anyone the right to block the civil rights of a minority group that the experts have proven that they are born gay, it’s not a choice and it can’t be voluntarily changed. I also see the Christian community fueling the hatred towards this group because their use of language against this minority group.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Esteban

      LOL, I am not sure which Christian Community you hang out with, but I assure you it is not one following Jesus.

      It is way easier and more comfortable to not follow Jesus. No question about that.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • LOL

      "LOL, I am not sure which Christian Community you hang out with, but I assure you it is not one following Jesus. "

      Yes we do, that's the issue you believe your interpretation is the correct one and I am telling you that you are the one that is NOT following the teaching of Christ. No where in the Bible does Jesus condemn the saved loving married gay couple.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Esteban

      LOL, lets meet up again tomorrow here and discuss what the Bible says, not what you or I say or interpret.

      I appreciate and respect you opinions, even if I do not agree with all of them. It has been fun chatting with you and everyone else.

      Enjoy your evening!

      August 31, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • LOL

      "LOL, lets meet up again tomorrow here and discuss what the Bible says, not what you or I say or interpret. "

      Read back through the comments and anything you say is going to be based on interpretations, just like the translators of the bible have done. It's why the word homosexual was added later by bias translators to the scriptures. The experts have shown that the reports in the past on gays were done by bias and prejudice people. Now ask yourself if you are one of them.

      August 31, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Esteban

      LOL, it is true that I am a believer in Jesus. That is, I do not believe I am the answer to anything.

      I understand that as a non-believer you have feelings about Christians you have talked with, heard about, or otherwise been in contact with. And coming into a discussion with a believer has a history, your history, behind it.

      Thankfully, neither you nor I are the judge of anyone. If someone wishes to hang their hat on being atheist, gay, etc... it is not for me to judge.

      As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • LOL

      "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

      So do saved gay and lesbian couples that's the point. Jesus said if you are going to give into lust then you should marry, that is why gays want that same right. The gays I know got married before God, they have children they are raising believing in God. They are the same as you and I. The problem is so many people in our society are stuck on a stereotype.

      By the way in our household we do the same as you.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  7. Esteban

    It is extremely easy to point the finger at Christians and them/us being heretics. It is an easy target. The reason is, they/we have values that are written, not by our hands, but by God's.

    Hugh Heffner, as an easy example, is never called out for herecy. This is because he has created his own standards and lives by them every day.

    If you need a target, please choose Christians. They/we will handle it with as much grace as our humanness can muster.

    August 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  8. I uesd to be a Theist but now I'm an Atheist

    If this is what the discussions of "Christians" in heaven will be like then I want to go to hell with the fun and interesting people or better yet, just be worm dirt.

    Let's see, some Christians say one must interpret the Bible literally and anyone who doesn't is going to hell. In reality they actually pick and choose what they will interpret literally so they are probably going to hell. Oh, they won't go to hell becuase what really matters is not your deeds or thoughts other than one – your acceptance of Jesus.

    Other Christians say one must interpret the Bible literally but only the New Testament not the old Testament and that anyone who doesn't do it their way is going to hell (unless of course they accept Jesus, but they really can't be accepting of Jesus unless they do it all they way they say it must be done). Now these folks are going to hell according to the people above, but they say those who don't imterpret the New Testament literally are gonig to hell. Oh, and many times these folks actually pick and choose what to interpret literally and what not to or to ignore.

    Still other Christians say one cannot interpret the Bible literally, but all the other Christians who don't agree with this say they are all going to hell (unless of course they accept Jesus, but they really can't be accepting of Jesus if they don't interpret some or all of the Bible literally).

    Now that we have that clear we can focus on what is really important, the sins to single out and judge people by (the ones we aren't probably guilty of) and the ones to ignore. Then we can argue about this and use passages from the Bible to support our choices unless we just pronounce why we think God and Jesus would support us in heaven or do support us here.

    Now as an atheist I think there are some definitely good things in Christianity. The early Christians writers were struggling with difficult issues in the only way they knew how. Unfortunately, it is darn hard to seperate the wheat from the chaff and does anyone see why many people think most Christians are hypocrites and religion is ridiculous? You all might as well be arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I mean what did Jesus really stand for and can you actaully say you are a Christian while you argue about gay marriage when so many poor around you in the country and the world are starving and have no shelter and there are wars going on with thousands dying? Yes you do need to address these issues within your group, but it is evident to me that most of Christianity has nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with having an "in group" that seperates themselves from the "out group" so they can feel superior and elite.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Esteban

      What are aethiests doing about the poor? I would say, without being one, there is not one answer, but thousands.

      And I agree with one point of yours, Christians are their own worst enemy at times...

      August 31, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Terry

      Jesus said, "...don't be like the hypocrites..."

      The implication is that there will be hyprcrites...which is true. However, your need for a Savior from sins consequence still remains.

      Jesus said, "Follow Me." He did not say, "Follow my followers." or "Follow me until you get offended by hypocrites."

      One who is born of God (John 1:12, John 3) is not moved from His relationship with Jesus when sinful man offends.

      May the Lord give you understanding in these matters...

      God Bless You

      September 1, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Esteban

      Terry,

      Beautiful...

      September 1, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  9. Roy G. Mears

    When we get to HEAVEN I do not think GOD will be splitting hairs. God knows what is in each persons Heart and mind he knows our thoughts even before we think them. If everyone was GAY mankind would be destroyed in less than 120 years as we could not reproduce. Believe what works for YOU as YOU will be JUDGE solely on your beliefs one day. Then again YOU have to believe to qualify.

    August 31, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Observer

      Roy,

      "If everyone was GAY mankind would be destroyed in less than 120 years as we could not reproduce"

      Total nonsense. Gays and lesbians can reproduce. Please learn basic biology. You won't find biology in the Bible.

      August 31, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • myweightinwords

      With today's technology this is ridiculously untrue.

      Perhaps if everyone was gay we wouldn't have so many throw away children, because each one would be a precious gift that took effort to create.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  10. Kudos

    This is the best, most concise explanation of this topic I've read yet. And as a scholar myself, I can say Dudley's position is based on completely uncontroversial facts.

    August 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  11. Andrew

    This is one of the worst pieces of Bible commentary I've seen. Mr. Dudley does himself nor Yale Divinity school any credit. His logic is flawed as well as very selective throughout this piece. But I will address his first error, the comment about long hair. He takes this scripture completely out of context relative to the surrounding passages, a major blunder since he should know better. This paragraph is not the first of it's kind where it's easy to take away the wrong meaning when you do not understand who the audience was, their cultural norms and conditions that existed at the time. If you take the time to study the facts, you will discover what Paul meant. I will summarize by saying that Paul was exhorting the members of this church community to not dress (hair included) that violates the cultural expectations of the citizens of Corinth–which was a Greek city. Paul expected Christians to adopt to local customs as long as it did not violate Biblical moral code. And in Greek culture of the time, woman covered their heads and men has "short" hair. Exactly what is short or long is not defined. Reading this scripture is like reading someone's personal letter to a friend–without understanding the context in which it's written you can arrive at some highly inaccurate assumptions. Again, shame on Mr. Dudley's poor scholarship.

    August 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Observer

      Andrew,

      Now that you have claimed that the Bible is more interested in being politically correct than being God's inspired words, please explain why so many Christians aren't worried about being politically correct today?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • LOL

      "without understanding the context in which it's written you can arrive at some highly inaccurate assumptions. "

      Which is exactly what Christians are doing when trying to claim that homosexuality as we know it today is condemned in the bible and is a sin. What is the sin when putting it into historical context, rape, male prostitution and idolatry.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • A Theist

      @ Observer Because most Christians are at fault. They not only ought to be P.C., but also have a heart directed towards being P.C. That doesn't mean altering one's beliefs or sacrificing morals. But Christians SHOULD be "doing all that [they] can to live in peace with everyone" Romans 12:18 (NLT).

      Then again, it depends on what you mean by Political Correctness as well-it's quite a loosely used term.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Observer

      A Theist,
      It does seem that a frequent excuse for nonsense in the Bible is that it doesn't count because it's in the Old Testament. In this case, the excuse for the New Testament is that it is trying to be politically correct for the time. It leaves you wondering when the "correct" time is for the true word of the Bible.

      Having said that, I will agree that a good argument could be made that "political correctness" is related to the Golden Rule, which I totally support.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Not so much

      "Taking it in context" is just a more sophisticated way of doing exactly what Dudley is describing. Are you aware that passages on hom.o.s.exu.ality can be "taken in context" and thereby explained away as well?

      August 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • A Theist

      That's why I made no statement here or there about hom.o.se.xuality, but left it to each person on their own to decide. I'm not here to judge, I was just defending what some people claim as "ridiculous" points from the bible. They actually make much more sense in context. What I believe about hom.ose.xuality is irrelevant to the topic at hand, except that with the same rigour and context we should analyze passages for or against it. I've personally decided to withdraw from making conclusions about other people's lifestyles, and leave that up to God to decide (did you know that some people argue that Paul was actually gay? Again, I have nothing to say here or there on the matter but it is an intensely debated topic on both sides.).

      August 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Jerry Fields

      Professing himself wise the writer of this article became an utter fool. Not sure what he learned at Yale,but it was not the Bible.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Observer

      Jerry,

      Since you are putting down Dudley's degree at Yale, could we guess that you might not have a degree from a better college and not in religion?

      August 31, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  12. Murray

    I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong

    As a minister, I believed it was a sin. Then I met people who really understood the stakes: Gay men

    A recent poll shows a huge shift in American attitudes toward gay marriage, from a 32 percent approval in 2004 to 53 percent today.

    I am one of those people who changed their minds.

    In 1989 when I was ordained as a minister to serve a small church in North Carolina, homosexuality was an invisible issue. Gay rights were barely on the radar of mainstream churches. The idea of an openly gay pastor was beyond the pale. 
 I knew there were "gay churches," of course, but I did not believe one could be a practicing homosexual and a Christian. The Bible was straightforward on this issue. It all seemed incredibly obvious to me.

    But over the next five years, homosexuality not only became an issue - it became The Issue. Sides were drawn, and those of us in the middle were pulled to either end. I was a biblical Christian, of the "hate the sin, love the sinner" crowd. And so it seemed clear that I could not fully accept, ordain and marry gays. If I was going to be forced to choose a side, that was mine.

    The truth is, I was put out that this was an issue. Feeding the hungry, preaching the gospel, comforting the afflicted, standing up to racial intolerance - these were the struggles I signed up for, not determining the morality of what adults did in their bedrooms.

    But the debate would not go away. It came up, again and again, year after year, pushed by activists on either end. Each time, I grudgingly voted to hold the traditional line and limit the role of gays in the church. But I felt increasingly uncomfortable. What I believed was biblically correct began to feel less and less right in my heart.

    While the church was fighting it out, I was going through my own battle. I moved to Alaska in 1996, but the debate followed me. And three major things happened which started to crack the wall of my complacency.

    First, I had a long, online conversation with a gay Christian man who had wrestled with his sexuality and finally decided, as he put it, that God was more concerned with his pride than his sexuality. He was hesitant to talk about the subject when I first broached it, partially because every other pastor he'd talked to wanted to convert him. But in the end, he's the one who taught me. He surprised me by saying he did not know he was gay until he was in his early 20s. (He just thought he had an extraordinary respect for women.)

    Next, a parishioner asked me to do an exorcism for him because he was gay. He had tried everything else he could think of - therapy, prayer, will power, alcohol, support groups, marriage - and nothing worked. It was a heartbreaking situation. As a minister I may have questioned the sinfulness of his actions, but I absolutely knew he was not demon-possessed. 



    Then I met a woman whose husband had left her for another man. They were a clergy couple, serving a small-town church. She had every right to be angry and hurt, but I was awed by her grace. She told me he was the best minister she had ever known. (From his work record, I would agree.) He simply got to the point where he could no longer live the lie of his sexuality. Of course he had to leave the ministry once he came out. It must have been a hideous choice: Pretend to be something he was not, or leave his calling because of the person he loved. 


    These experiences shook my worldview. It became clear to me that none of these men had chosen to be gay, just as I had never chosen to be heterosexual. How could I condemn someone for something that was really not their fault? Meanwhile, I was experiencing the slow disintegration of my own marriage. Needless to say, it was hard for me to condemn anyone else for their relationships when mine was in such bad shape. I began moving closer to the center. If homosexuality was a "sin," I wanted to add an asterisk to it.

    Toward the end of my parish ministry, I was approached by five individuals who demanded that I do a sermon to come out strong against any acceptance of gays and lesbians in the church. They wanted to hear what the Bible said on the issue. The funny thing was, all five of them were divorced and remarried. Had I done a sermon on what the Bible said about divorce, every one of them would have left the church in a huff.

    I did that sermon, however, and it was not my best hour as a Minister of Word and Sacrament. In my research, I found that the Bible was more nuanced about the issue than I previously believed, and I tried to convey that, but ultimately I still came out against acceptance of homosexuality. Now, I wish I'd been more upfront about how my own views were transforming, but I took a back-door approach to the subject. I talked about all the sins according to the Bible, and said if we were going to start throwing out sinners from our church, I wanted to start with the gossips.

    Looking back, I see how much my own opinions had been formed by the fact that I was representing a split congregation. Our church, like so many, was divided. And while the people who believed it should be accepted were not going to leave if we maintained a position of non-acceptance, those who felt it was a sin would bolt in a heartbeat if we ever allowed gay clergy or gay marriage. If they bolted, half our budget would go out the door. I knew the issue could tear the church apart. What I didn't realize was how it could tear apart the people in the church as well.

    Every year we send young people to our national meeting as youth delegates. In a year when gay ordination was going to be discussed (again), I sat down with our selected delegate to share some of my own thoughts on the topic. Later, the person declined the position. I was given reasons, but none of them made any real sense until I learned, many years later, that the person had come out of the closet. What had I said back then? I couldn't remember exactly, but I am pretty sure it boiled down to the idea that there was no place for homosexuals in our church.

    In 2005 I left the parish ministry to work as a hospital chaplain. Part of the reason for leaving was my separation. But also, I was tired of trying to live up to standards that I did not fully agree with.

    With distance, I could see the mean-spirited nature of the anti-gay movement, and the naked way large Christian organizations used the "gay threat" to raise money. Free from the constraints of a congregation, I could spend more time actually looking at the biblical texts that deal with homosexuality, and I was surprised to find they were not as clear as I had supposed they were. At this point, I have done a 180 on the topic. And I believe it's a change for the good.

    So why had we singled out homosexuality as a litmus test for True Christianity in the first place? Why had it become such a lightning rod for self-righteousness?

    One reason, I think, is that it's easy to condemn homosexuality if you are not gay. It is much harder than condemning pride, or lust or greed, things that most practicing Christians have struggled with. It is all too easy to make homosexuality about "those people," and not me. If I were to judge someone for their inflated sense of pride, or their tendency to worship various cultural idols, I would feel some personal stake, some cringe of self-judgment. Not so with homosexuality. 



    

Now I am wondering why, if two gay people want to commit their lives to one another, they should ever be denied that chance. No church or pastor should be forced to perform those ceremonies, and they can choose not to recognize gay marriage for their adherents. But the constitution of the Church does not explicitly forbid a pastor from being a thief, a murderer, or an egotistical jerk. It is not designed to do these things. It does prohibit a gay person from becoming a pastor. All I can ask is: Why?

    August 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • jim

      Your an idiot thats why Gods coming to judge this world because the preachers themselves have corrupted gods word .just like satan did Tthis world from its politics to its religions is all corrupt and just as GOD judged sodom and gommorrah his judgements are going to fall hard on America

      August 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Andrew

      Are you gay?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Observer

      Jim,

      Speaking of idiots, do you believe EVERY word of the Bible? Do you believe in talking serpents? Do you believe in unicorns?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • LOL

      "GOD judged sodom and gommorrah"

      You don't even know what God was judging do you? It had nothing to do with gays that's for sure. It has to do with rape. Plus do yourself a favor and look up the full definition of sodomy, its the anal and oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex. You are doing exactly what this author is talking about.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Eric

      This was beautiful and as well-written as the original article. Thank you for sharing your struggle.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Murray, thank you for your thoughtful and heartfelt words.

      @Jim and @Andrew, I would invite you to look at your responses to Murray. His words were heartfelt and open, honest and the result of a lot of contemplation, study and I would as-sume, prayer. In return, the two of you are rude, and in at least one of these responses severely lacking in anything resembling proper punctuation, grammar or critical thinking.

      Perchance this shows poorly on you and your position and if you should expect anyone to take your responses seriously, you might consider spending a modic-um of the time Murray clearly spent in phrasing your views in a readable, and civil, manner.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Jerry Fields

      Dude, you need to really read the Bible and stay with the teachings of Jesus Christ. If you encourage the people to sin, don't tell them about Jesus, aren't you expediting their journey to hell instead of helping save them through the good news? WAKE UP, and get back to the basics and stop falling for the lie that sin is ok. It is not. Get back to the BIBLE and the word of God.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Observer

      Jerry,

      "If you encourage the people to sin, don't tell them about Jesus"

      Is that why so many h0mophobic Christians never mention that Jesus didn't trash gays, but sure trashed the s-xual habits of many heteros?

      August 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Eric

      Murray, I'd be interested in talking to you about this. email me?

      September 1, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Eric

      ericthelutheran@gmail.com (my bad, I thought that they made names clickable)

      September 1, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  13. Obama

    Use your own hand for pleasure that way youll be safe on all accounts

    August 30, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  14. Douglas

    There is no condemnation in GLBTQQ celibacy. Where there is a will... there is a way.
    Let us help our GLBTQQ citizens muster the courage to say yes to celibacy and
    open the door to salvation. By the way...fornicating straights are no better off with their
    sin and are equally under condemnation for their acts. There is right and there is wrong.
    As Dostoevsky said, "If there is no God, then nothing is immoral." A chilling truth in a
    world where the flesh of children is bought and sold on the streetcorner because there
    is a "market" for it. GLBTQQ celibacy holds true promise for happiness and good health!
    Best, Douglas

    August 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Observer

      S-x is without a doubt a major driving force in most people's lives. To advocate a "forced" celibacy for millions of adults is ridiculous, especially coming from someone who likely won't participate. Even the New Testament recognized that people will always lust for each other and therefore should get married.

      SInce the Bible said that people should not divorce and remarry, I would expect that you would tell those people that they also should be celibate in order to get to heaven. Agree?

      August 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • LOL

      "GLBTQQ celibacy holds true promise for happiness and good health!"

      That is millions and millions of people worldwide. Being gay is not a sin and as long as they are saved, married before God they will be welcomed into heaven. If you are going to take the scriptures so literally then people who divorce are sinning by adultery and they too should remain celibate that means just here in American that would be 53 million people since the divorce rate is around 40%. Oh...that's right you'll say that many remaining celibate won't work, which is the same for the gay community. They deserve the same right to have loving partnerships, raising families just like straight people. The experts have shown that gays and lesbian raise children just the same as straights.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Esteban

      LOL,

      If we are going to debate over "gay being a sin" I say this;

      The Bible says it is a sin
      You say it isn't

      I am going to go with Bible.

      I coveted a friends home once. I could have done my worldly justification of wanting more than I had and therefore giving me this right to covet....

      The Bible says it is wrong to covet. I took my lumps and decided to be thankful for what I had.

      Anytime it is between a human in front of me and the Bible, I am going with the latter. Even though it conflicts with my thoughts.

      September 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Dani

      the Marriage Equailty bill before the State Senate. With Morahan's sitpaonase help (he came out strongly against gay marriage in July), the bill was defeated 24-38. While many Democrats gave

      March 4, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  15. Ariess

    Sin is Sin. No one sin is greater then the other. thats the point the author is trying to make.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • rawr

      Well intentioned bigots. Good one.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  16. Bob

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Read it.

    August 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Observer

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

      What's the point?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • A Theist

      See my comment below concerning that passage.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • LOL

      Now pickup a history book and read it so you actually know what you are talking about. By the way the word homosexual was added later by bias and prejudice translators too. Oh, you are doing exactly what this author is talking about.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  17. Luke

    Quit talking about whether or not long hair is a sin... It's true that Christians might not always have the best answers about old testament things. But long hair or not... the real issue is that any ONE sin is what keeps us from God. Hair or otherwise. God, seeing this as a problem, sent Jesus to die and cover our sins so that we can be with God when we die. It doesn't matter if you're gay, long hair or what... any other sin is what you need to worry about.

    August 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • jean

      It isn't about long hair. It is about choosing which sins to focus on, when the bible denounces so many things. When people bring up long hair, or wearing fabrics of two different fibers, they are pointing out this hypocrisy.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Luke

      "It isn't about long hair. It is about choosing which sins to focus on, when the bible denounces so many things. When people bring up long hair, or wearing fabrics of two different fibers, they are pointing out this hypocrisy."

      That's exactly my point... why are we choosing which sins to focus on? Non-Christians (those that do not except Jesus Christ) are guilty of ANY sin according to the Bible. We end up focusing on "this is a sin, NO IT'S NOT!" when that is just a distraction to the fact that if you don't know Christ, you're going to hell.

      Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide us on what is a sin. I am not afraid of getting to heaven and God saying... "Sorry, long hair was a sin SUCKA." He let's us know what is a sin if we follow Him. The Old Testament used the Law to guide them and some still seem to be stuck on that.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      " the fact that if you don't know Christ, you're going to hell.

      Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide us on what is a sin."
      Lol, this is the best evidence yet that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is real. Repent my children and become Pastafarians! The end is near!!!!

      August 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • A Theist

      Actually, like many misinterpretations of the Bible, the long hair verse was taken out of context. It is generally understood amongst those that study Apologetics today that the verse pertained to the conflict and cultural distraction this long hair was having among the church. It would be like today if somebody brought a megaphone in and started to disrupt a sermon (without good reason, of course) or if someone went to a foreign country to worship the same God, but didn't adhere to the cultures of that society (so long as they did not conflict with God's word). The sin is not about following petty rules, but for distracting or deterring others from coming to know Christ.

      To be fair, one of the passages that includes the word h o m o s e x ual actually doesn't use that word either (it literally means "men bedders"). Some have argued that being gay is not a sin for this contextual difference. I leave it to the reader to do more research and make an educated decision. My point was more to indicate that people who sometimes "read the Bible" and then "conclude that it is nonsense" reach this conclusion because they read it with a lack of context.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Observer

      A Theist,

      So the hair command is an effort to be politically correct? So why doesn't politically correct matter now to Christians?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • A Theist

      No, you misunderstand me. It was a command to be proper stewards of God when preaching the message. Corinthians had different social norms and some of the practicing Christians–because they understood a different set of liberties–felt it was ok to follow their own norms. However, when REACHING OUT to a group of people that don't understand, it is necessary to limit dissention among the people. Hence the verse, if I may paraphrase, to "do everything in your power to be on good terms with your fellow man." I can look up the correct verse if you don't know what I'm referring to. It's not about being P.C., it's about focusing on God, and helping others draw that focus when possible–instead of childish banter.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • A Theist

      And I would say the same principle applies today. If you're going to be a missionary, you should learn the language and be willing to embrace a culture totally foreign to your own. If you're communicating–and dare I say, even voting–about things that don't equate with your beliefs, you need to be a proper stewart, instead of venting angry messages or hateful I vs. them signals.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Observer

      A Theist,

      Do you consider the subtle underlying premise that "if you don't do as Christians tell you to do, then you deserve to go to hell" as "venting angry messages or hateful I vs. them signals."?

      August 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • A Theist

      No I don't, because you've decided to describe the first premise as "doing as the Christians do" –implying deeds are what save you as well as implicating a copy-cat nature. Neither of these ideas do I accept. I could be the greatest mime in the world and copy all the "best Christians" and that would still not equate to eternity with God.

      If the purpose of your response was to indicate that the idea of hell speaks of hatred and anger, that's a whole debate on it's own, and I would be happy to engage you in it if you desire. My short response would be, no. The idea of hell does not stem from hate or anger, but simply as a biproduct of free will and man's desire to live without God. It is not a place intended for torture or sadistic vengence (i.e. no literal burning fire or demons with whips and prods), but a place of remorse at choices lost and choices made–don't get me wrong, it is still a terrible place, but it is certainly NOT a place God delights in or wishes for anybody to go. I would be more than happy to discuss my beliefs on what hell is and who goes and why if you would like.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • LOL

      Saved loving gay partnerships will not be going to hell. God created gay people and being gay is not a sin.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  18. Conservative Christians Are Going to Hell

    Just fyi

    August 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  19. Luke

    This whole discussion bugs me. It's not like the Bible says "Gay people are going to hell cause they're gay." Take away the gay issue... Take away "is it a sin... or natural"... One sin, any sin, keeps us from God. God does not SEND people to hell for one sin... that one sin keeps us from God. God, seeing this as a problem, sent Jesus to pay for that sin. And people that believe in him and turn from sin can once again be with God when they die. Who cares if you are gay or not? There are other sins keeping you from God just like there were sins keeping me from God. Once a gay person sees that sin in general is what is keeping them from God, then maybe the Holy Spirit will convict them of any other parts of their lives that may or may not be considered sin to them.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • LOL

      "Once a gay person sees that sin in general is what is keeping them from God, then maybe the Holy Spirit will convict them of any other parts of their lives that may or may not be considered sin to them."

      Being gay is not a sin, the bible does not condemn that but there are people who pick and choose scriptures to say it is. It's between God and the saved gay person but it doesn't give anyone the right to block their civil rights.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  20. Just Common Cents

    Some people get it and some people don't. All yall Yale and Boston Bible Study Schools... Blah... you wasted all that money all you had to do is read these comments... I was raised Christian and I got better. I am sure if Jesus was here today he would smack some of you in the face.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • LOL

      Well it's still being debated and will continue to be debated till theygays get their equal civil rights.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Observer

      Just Common Cents,

      " I am sure if Jesus was here today he would smack some of you in the face."

      You really are clueless about how Jesus led his life. Just more of the hypocrisy Dudley talked about.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:15 am |
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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.