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My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality
The author argues that the meaning of the Bible's passages on homosexuality have been lost in translation.
May 15th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality

Editor's note: Daniel A. Helminiak, who was ordained a priest in Rome, is a theologian, psychotherapist and author of “What the Bible Really Says about homosexuality" and books on contemporary spirituality. He is a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.

By Daniel A. Helminiak, Special to CNN

President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, like blood in the water, has conservative sharks circling for a kill. In a nation that touts separation of religion and government, religious-based arguments command this battle. Lurking beneath anti-gay forays, you inevitably find religion and, above all, the Bible.

We now face religious jingoism, the imposition of personal beliefs on the whole pluralistic society. Worse still, these beliefs are irrational, just a fiction of blind conviction. Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.

In the past 60 years, we have learned more about sex, by far, than in preceding millennia. Is it likely that an ancient people, who thought the male was the basic biological model and the world flat, understood homosexuality as we do today? Could they have even addressed the questions about homosexuality that we grapple with today? Of course not.

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Hard evidence supports this commonsensical expectation. Taken on its own terms, read in the original languages, placed back into its historical context, the Bible is ho-hum on homosexuality, unless – as with heterosexuality – injustice and abuse are involved.

That, in fact, was the case among the Sodomites (Genesis 19), whose experience is frequently cited by modern anti-gay critics. The Sodomites wanted to rape the visitors whom Lot, the one just man in the city, welcomed in hospitality for the night.

The Bible itself is lucid on the sin of Sodom: pride, lack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49); hatred of strangers and cruelty to guests (Wisdom 19:13); arrogance (Sirach/Ecclesiaticus 16:8); evildoing, injustice, oppression of the widow and orphan (Isaiah 1:17); adultery (in those days, the use of another man’s property), and lying (Jeremiah 23:12).

But nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom. That intended gang rape only expressed the greater sin, condemned in the Bible from cover to cover: hatred, injustice, cruelty, lack of concern for others. Hence, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31); and “By this will they know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

How inverted these values have become! In the name of Jesus, evangelicals and Catholic bishops make sex the Christian litmus test and are willing to sacrifice the social safety net in return.

The longest biblical passage on male-male sex is Romans 1:26-27: "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another."

The Greek term para physin has been translated unnatural; it should read atypical or unusual. In the technical sense, yes, the Stoic philosophers did use para physin to mean unnatural, but this term also had a widespread popular meaning. It is this latter meaning that informs Paul's writing. It carries no ethical condemnation.

Compare the passage on male-male sex to Romans 11:24. There, Paul applies the term para physin to God. God grafted the Gentiles into the Jewish people, a wild branch into a cultivated vine. Not your standard practice! An unusual thing to do — atypical, nothing more. The anti-gay "unnatural" hullabaloo rests on a mistranslation.

Besides, Paul used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable (1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor — for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.

In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: "God gave them up … to impurity."

But Jesus taught lucidly that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is purity of heart.

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,” reads Matthew 15. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Or again, Jesus taught, “Everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus rejected the purity requirements of the Jewish Law.

In calling it unclean, Paul was not condemning male-male sex. He had terms to express condemnation. Before and after his section on sex, he used truly condemnatory terms: godless, evil, wicked or unjust, not to be done. But he never used ethical terms around that issue of sex.

As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers.

The Bible’s Song of Songs is a paean to romantic love with no mention of children or a married couple. Jesus never mentioned same-sex behaviors, although he did heal the “servant” — pais, a Greek term for male lover — of the Roman Centurion.

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Paul discouraged marriage because he believed the world would soon end. Still, he encouraged people with sexual needs to marry, and he never linked sex and procreation.

Were God-given reason to prevail, rather than knee-jerk religion, we would not be having a heated debate over gay marriage. “Liberty and justice for all,” marvel at the diversity of creation, welcome for one another: these, alas, are true biblical values.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel A. Helminiak.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (8,832 Responses)
  1. James

    Bob, you are clue less or you need attention.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  2. Voice of Reason

    Yet another uninspired interpretation of scripture. I'll stick with the prophets, thank you. And to all you who use God's love of his children to excuse the failure to keep his commandments, that is also a mistake. Yes, He loves us more than we can imagine. But He still expects us to keep his commandments.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • jungleboo

      You mean "profits".

      May 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Cosmos42

      And coincidentally, not being gay isn't one of the commandments.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Christy

      You claim to be the voice of reason, yet you ignore researched fact that is well backed in favor of "prophets," who have no way of proving their claims and depend on emotionally dependent, hell-fearing leeches like you to perpetuate their word? real reasonable.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • sam stone

      Some of us, on the other hand, don't care about "his" commandments

      May 16, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  3. Satan

    Persecute gays, as long as the child molesting priests are left alone.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Wow

      Misleading, BOTH are wrong.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Izzet

      A persons death may come in the next seoncd or at anytime thereafter. Being saved and getting other souls saved that should be the concern. When your last seoncd here on earth is up your end of this world has come. Which world will you be thereafter HEAVEN OR HELL.

      November 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  4. ambi

    The bible is man made and I'm not talking about the ones who lived way back when the "bible" has been rewritten by every king, conquer etc who commanded a large population at any given time. It was and IS used to control people on soooo many levels and besides all that, if you want to live in a country RULED by religion go the the middle east etc The USA is suppose to have a separation of church and state PERIOD. You believe what you want as long as that belief isn't killing folks or abusing them, and the person next to you believes what they want. Other than that what people do or attached their lives to is NONE of ANYONES business.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • jungleboo

      You are indeed correct. This is a fight for America's life.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Henry

      ambi
      You are a fool but you don’t know it yet!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • jungleboo

      Henry, you and yours pose as a fortune tellers. That isn't legit, and you know it. But it's all you've got, in the final analysis.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  5. larvadog

    Thank you, Father Helminiak, for a well-reasoned and scholarly understanding of the issue. Unfortunately, it will do no good to communicate in this manner to the troglodytes who refuse to acknowledge truth.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  6. Dman Stan

    "As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines." So Daniel we should also legalize polygamy and bigamy right?

    May 16, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • ambi

      yep if you BELIEVE in the bible then yep we should

      May 16, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Brand

      So you're saying that Bible interpretation = Legal Law?

      May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Hawk

      If we want to follow the "biblical definition" of marriage, sure. Personally, as long as all the adults involved are consenting and informed, I have no objections. The problem comes when there is either coercion or deceit involved.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  7. Scott

    Censorship!! got to love anti-conservativism :)

    May 16, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  8. puckles

    Peepers and Poop chutes are a definite No NO.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  9. StlMelz

    Hmmm... I wonder what dictionary he is using to define "abomination."

    May 16, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      He's going off of the original word that was used where abomination was put in.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • larvadog

      If you use a dictionary from today you are making exactly the mistake he points out. You cannot apply meaning and intent from today's English to words written in Greek 2,000 years ago. Or did you not get that from the article? It's really quite simple, actually.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • StlMelz

      I did read it and he contradicts himself. Helminiak is assuming the original author was using using the word conversationally rather than using the literal meaning of the word. Most writers I'm familiar with take great care in chosing their words wisely. Helminiak himself uses "lucid" in this article that is in keeping with the literal meaning, but is not used conversationally, making my point.

      To assume he knows the author's intent is simply arrogant, and is done only to make a point he wants to make without much accuracy, in my opinion. Many of his points are taken very much out of context.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Pip and the Zombies

      "or did you not get that from the article" – Isn't that circular logic? Using the article to defend the article.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • jungleboo

      The ultimate in their foolishness is somehow imagining that the Bible is English, and that their god used words like "thou" and "thee.

      The Ten Commandments would not sound so imperious if they were presented in everyday speech. Sure, the ideas in it are rational and good, including my favorite: THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN aka vanity, as in religious leaders and elders imagining that they are "speaking for God").

      A little more awareness of the world, and a little less staring into the big book would do these worshippers a raft of good. At least they might spare themselves looking like fools. But if the book tells you that that's a virtue, you're a fully baked cake.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • larvadog

      No, Pip, asking a commenter if they read the article is not "circular logic", it is asking if the commenter bothered to attempt to understand the view expressed by the author, who is likely a more credible authority than some random CNN respondent. My comment wasn't even an argument, which it would have to be for logic to apply. It was a question. Care to try again?

      May 16, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  10. GE

    Good job taking God's word out of context there genius..Which testament is the book of "Wisdom" in?..try reading the Bible and understanding what God says in His word first you are only making a fool of yourself with this nonsense

    May 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • StlMelz

      It's part of the Catholic Bible. There are several chapters that Catholics accept that Protestants do not accept.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Madtown

      understanding what God says in His word
      -----–
      What makes you think God "said" anything? Is it on tape? Was he interviewed? If men wrote and edited the bible to their liking, on what standard could it possibly be referred to as the "word of God"?

      May 16, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Christy

      Please tell me that you're not so ignorant as to think that the books presented to you in the Bible are the only ones that exist. There are SEVERAL books that did not make it into the Bible. (Further proof that men tampered with the Bible and crafted it to their own purposes)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Wisdom

      May 16, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • mandarax

      So often, as with GE, ignorance is presented with such smugness!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • larvadog

      Insofar as you are attacking a priest's understanding of the Bible (not generally considered a smart move), what are your qualifications, oh smug one? Oh, that's right, you have an account on CNN, therefore you *are* qualified to expound on all matters, and contest the statements of *actual* authorities.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Oz in OK

      I think it's the highest form of ironic comedy when I see conservatives whine about 'verses being taken out of context' – which actually means 'Any verse bashing Gays and Lesbians should be taken literally because that doesn't affect my rights. Any verse that DOES affect my rights in the 21st century MUST be 'taken in context' – which means giving me a free pass while denying it to others.' Hypocrisy deluxe!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  11. Karim

    Helminiak wasted his life studying bible. God intended a marriage to be between a man and a woman, and you don't need a degree or become a professor to know that. All you have to do is to read the first three chapters of the Book.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      He also believes incest is okay, having several wives and concubines is just fine, raping women of other nations is cool too. Slavery? No problem! However, you better not have two materials woven into one cloth and you better not eat shellfish. Oh yeah and no gay stuff, that's gross.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Madtown

      God intended a marriage to be between a man and a woman
      -----–
      Comedy! The arrogance of fools thinking they "know" what God intended. It's both very amusing and very maddening.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Christy

      There's actually a wealth of information to be discovered if you step outside of your emotionally crafted box of ignorance and try to understand the religion you claim to follow.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • sam stone

      if you want marriage to be between one man and one woman, keep it's licensing out of the hands of government

      May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • jungleboo

      You have no real idea what your "god" intends. That's what the term implies, a deity that is far and beyond the understanding and accomplishments of mere humans. The foolishness of carrying around a book that tells you what your "god' says and thinks is beyond reason, therefore not to be taken seriously by intelligent folks. Of course, pretending to know is your ultimate disguise, hiding a frightened person who could never conceive of Life being absolutely fabulous all by itself. You need a prize at the end to make Life worthwhile, which makes you no better than a carnival ring tosser. You were not born to be brainwashed. But it happened.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • rockon

      If you believe in God you know in your heart what is right and what is wrong. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  12. Skeptimist

    Having explored many others, I've settled on the Church of Minding My Own Business (a very small congregation with no material assets).
    Our theology centers about two endeavors:
    1. Exploring the vast expanse of our ignorance.
    2. An inquiry into the least considered of spiritual topics: the Divine Sense of Humor. We suspect this may provide some insight into why we take ourselves and our opinions so seriously while God, obviously, does not. Fascinating how Grace, Mercy and theoretical physics keep popping up.

    Otherwise, we're very tolerant, based on a benign lack of concern for any rule but kindness.
    And that's how we stay out of trouble.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Funny, I belong to that church too. I love the membership!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Bobs your uncle

      That sounds like a nice church! It should have more members.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Wow

      So why post? Mind your own business... LOL

      May 16, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      @wow

      because he's practicing the 2 commandments :)

      Church of Minding My Own Business is growing stronger by each silly re-post from the bible cheery-pickers, thumpers, and atheist type haters.

      May 17, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  13. preacherman

    @palintwit: "Whenever I travel, I always take the Gideon's bible from the hotel home with me. I haven't had to buy toilet paper in years!!"

    I like to leave a copy of the following in Gideon's Bibles. Feel free to copy it and spread the good news:

    Warning: Someone has placed this book here in an attempt to recruit you for their religion. They want you to believe that this is literally a magic book; however, its contents are not based on reason, logic, or factual evidence. This book is a collection of selected Middle Eastern folk histories eventually written down by people who lived well after the time of Jesus, and has been selectively edited since that time. The stories originated from uneducated Iron-Age men who were likely prone to supersti.tious explanations for everything in the world around them. Most of the themes, and many of the details, are clearly derived from earlier mythology in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

    Nevertheless, this book is being presented to you not only as fact, but as inerrant words dictated by the one supreme supernatural force in the universe (the Christian God), and someone is attempting to convince you to reorient your entire life according to it. The reader is encouraged to take that seriously, to weigh the statements in this book against research and observations on the knowable world, and to consider them in relation to the thousands of other religions from throughout history that also profess with absolute certainty to be the one “Truth.”

    Why the warning? Because this book indeed has been placed here to recruit you to join and serve a specific religious group, and because religious absolutism in all of its forms has been a significant impediment to rational thought, to advances in science and medicine, to social justice, and to world peace. When was the last time you heard of an act of terrorism that was not committed by a religious fundamentalist? Despite claims of loving benevolence, Christianity has also been used to justify war, slavery, se.xism, racism, ho.mophobia, mutilations, intolerance, and oppression of minorities. There are many good reasons to question religion as a force for good among humanity. Please consider these issues as you reflect upon the claims made in this book.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • printerpete

      Nothing like stealing from others to make your point.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • mandarax

      I wrote that, thanks.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Ken Livingston, OFS

      Reading this saddens me greatly. I am sorry that you not only have not Faith yourself but you feel compelled to belittle the Faith of others. If you choose not to believe, that is your problem. I will pray for your conversion as for mine to continue. Faith and conversion is ever ongoing process that only ends when we leave this life for the next. I hope that if you choose to continue on the road you are currently travelling that you will at least stop your hindering of others on their journeys. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". As a Secular Franciscan I am called to "bring life to the Gospel and the Gospel to life".

      May 16, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • preacherman

      But, Ken, everything that you say makes you sad about this applies to the Bible having been put there in the first place. Why feel compelled to hinder the journey of others by placing a bible between them and rational thought? In my view, the bible will only muddle the thinking of a person in search of truth.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • jungleboo

      @ Ken. Another word for faith is "bravado", an in-your-face defying of reason and rational action. It's usually associated with rude people who are so vain as to enjoy themselves at other people's expense. Faith/bravado, like a hand in glove. And "belittling another person's faith", you say? How would you like to endure being forced into a closet by those in the know, only to realize later in life that the whole thing was a sham. Belittling is the least of your worries. The Age of Enlightenment is far from over. You may call it the Apocalypse if you like, but you and yours were taught at a young age to yearn for end times anyway.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  14. Truth7

    "Wolves in sheeps' clothing"

    Those who say "it's ok to keep sinning".

    They will tell you exactly what you want to hear. Do you think they care about the gay community? NO. Their entire goal is to shut heaven for everyone.

    This is all about deceiving you. We are not to hate, we are to let people know about the Kingdom of God and the healing available, whatever that sin is. If this author wants to gloss over the definition of "abomination", further proof he is a wolf looking to devour.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Oz in OK

      So passing laws that target Gays and Lesbians is 'love'?
      So spouting misinformation, lies and slander against Gays and Lesbians is 'love'?
      So pastors telling their congregations to physically abuse their possibly Gay or Lesbian children is 'love'?

      No, it isn't. It is HATRED. If you actually asked any Gays or Lesbians 'Do you feel hated by the Christian church?' you'd get the truth – YES, Gays and Lesbians feel nothing but hatred and condemnation from the Christian church. But, alas, you'll never ask us – you'll just *tell* us that you 'love us' while doing all of the above with glee and a song in your heart... and then blame our 'hardness of heart' because we won't accept your message. It's classic 'blame the victim' mentality.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Madtown

      He's not "glossing over" the definition as much as he's defining it CORRECTLY. Unlike you and your ilk, who are the true wolves, perverting both word and message.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Yes, my goal is not to have equal rights for all people but to keep you out of a non-existent place. You've figured me out.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Truth7

      Many in the churches are NOT connected to God or they would understand the true message. They will face tough times because God says He will start His wrath at His own house. Religion is MAN MADE!! It is one of the beasts!!! False prophets are leading so many astray.

      However, God does not. He seeks those who seek Him. Don't look for Him in one of the churches. Seek Him from home.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Cosmos42

      Don't forget your tin-foil hat.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  15. MMOB

    There was an 11th Commandment but it was on Tablet #2 ... and apparently was never circulated ...... it read " mind your own F***ing Business and all will be right with the world.... sayeth the Lord" Why do people care so much about what the neighbours are up to? The 'little book of love' also states that it's ok to own slaves – to smite thy neighbour if he works on the sabbath! Evolution is an ongoing process................. Catch Up People! Keep your religious beliefs at home and adhere to the 11th Commandment............. the rest of us would appreciate it! .... oh... and why don't you try reading another book sometime.......... there is much to be learned!

    May 16, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Bobs your uncle

      Exactly. I have no idea why this whole gay thing is an issue.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      There were actually two tablets that held 5 commandments on each. Remember in History of the World: Part 1, Moses dropped the third one. I have with me these 15... (drops tablet and shatters)... these 10 commandments.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  16. Joel Peters

    The bible( a collection of myths and stories handed down for generations) allows for slavery, multiple wives, killing sassy children, incest and stoning your wife. Why aren't you christians following those tenants of the bible? I know this is an old argument yet it is an argument that cuts to the heart of evangelicals' actions and hypocrisy.
    I have repeatedly been told the rapture is coming soon and I have responded to these people. "give away all your possessions, quit your job throw yourself on the mercy of your god, the bible says he will take care of you!" Alas their faith only goes so far when it comes to the bible.
    It seems the more a belief is shown to be incorrect the tighter people cling to it and become more fanatical. The gay issue has become this wonderful crusade for christians they can hate and do violence and it's sanctioned by the bible. All that angst, perversion and hate that has been striving to get out of a certain number of evangelicals now has a legitimate channel to express itself. The nazis' had the Jews, Romans the christians, muslims/ infidels, communists/capitalists,evangelicals/gays.
    When the bible was first printed it was thought by some people to be a bad idea giving such a piece of literature to the unwashed masses who did not have the education to understand or interpret it. History has proven them correct.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • A pastor in the midwest

      Joel, the first part of your comment shows a lack of understanding of Biblical context. There is a big difference between societal/religious law and the law of God. When Christ came, alot changed. As a simple example, animal sacrifices, which were previously required, were no longer required. Alot of people do blindly pick and choose what they want to adhere to (and harp on), but it is important to be aware of the true meaning of Scripture, what is and is not purely societal law, and what Jesus really leads us to. A lack of understanding on these parts is why you have people, such as yourself, who make fairly illogical comments such as this, as well as other people are the types that you describe.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Truth7

      "The education to understand it".

      Tells me you have no idea what it says. ONLY GOD and the Holy Spirit can unseal it for a person.

      Otherwise, the Bible contains snares for those with evil hearts. They see what they want to see. Both God and Jesus tell us "ALL men's hearts are evil". So guess what? Those who are EVIL have not a clue as to the real meaning of the words. If a man's goal is to overpower another human being, they see the concept of "slavery" and expand it to include their OWN definition. If a man wants to k.ill, they see the word "death" as murder, instead of God's definition – being cutoff from God.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Wow

      Joel, you bitteness is very noticable. Did you know that is was foretold that false prophets would come and mislead you such as the ones that told you to go sell your belongings and quit your job?

      Did you know that the crusifxion of Jesus did not say it would end the very same things you spoke about such as slavery, muti wives...etc but did give us the ability to turn to him for our Savior?

      Did you know that Christians do not hate Gays but we do speak out for the name of our Lord and it is our responsibility to speak the gospil for we know we will be ridiculed but that is our blessing?

      Joel, your bitterness blinds you from the light. I pray that some day you that darkness will leave you and you will see the truth and the way.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Madtown

      but it is important to be aware of the true meaning of Scripture
      -----
      Impossible, as there's so much room for personal interpretation. Never mind the inescapable fact that it was written by men, and edited to send the message they wanted.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • ladybrenwyn

      A Pastor in the Midwest: I am reading thru the blog for the first time and came across your response to Joel. Whether I agree with you or not, I appreciate the tenor and tone of your writing – quite rare here. I look forward to coming across similar gentle chides to some of the Christian comments here.

      May 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      @A pastor in the midwest

      they why don't you teach YOUR PEOPLE what you tried to educate to the post writer who is of no affiliation to your "church"

      The so-called followers of this book thingy don't get it either which should be of great immediate importance.

      May 17, 2012 at 3:00 am |
  17. Greg s

    As always the belief section is all about dis-belief.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • n8263

      Thank God.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Tom Paine

      Only in the comment section Greg.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Jay

      and this from a "former" priest. so is he telling us he is gay? biased, maybe? trying to justify his own sin with less than "theologian" views of scripture?
      trying to take abomination and turning that atypical, how laughable?
      Typical for CNN ,home to the gay promoting station it is.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Mike

      Thank you for this it's always some idiot that takes Sriptures out of context and reads them.
      This dude is wrong in 100% of what he says

      May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Madtown

      Jay
      and this from a "former" priest. so is he telling us he is gay? biased, maybe?
      -----–
      No. He's telling us he's intelligent. No wonder it's lost on folks like you.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Madtown

      Mike
      Thank you for this it's always some idiot that takes Sriptures out of context and reads them.
      This dude is wrong in 100% of what he says
      -----
      Thank goodness we have internet-morons telling us like it is!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  18. Wow

    Persecution, be it with gay, red head child, black, Jewish the list goes on, is nothing new to this world. Why does so many people act like it is such a new thing? Christians have been persecuted and still are just as any other group but Christians are blessed when we are persecuted for our kingdom is with our Lord and savior; hence, everytime a posting is made persecuting our faith you are actually blessing us. No one likes to be persecuted, not even I, but there is a reason for persecution and for Christians it is a blessing. For what other belief can say that?

    Matthew 5:
    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • jvic

      Then you all have just given the GLBT community VIP access to heaven.

      Why is an interpretation that differs from yours an attack or persecution? What about churches that agree with what is posted above, are you persecuting them?

      May 16, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  19. n8263

    It is immoral to impose your religious superstition on others.

    You do not believe in religion because you honestly think it is true, you believe in it because you fear mortality or are seeking meaning in your life. It does not take a genius to figure out all religion is man made, so for humanity's sake, please stop lying to yourself.

    Deluding yourself in religion does not change reality. Lying to yourself is probably the worst possible way to try to find meaning.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • A pastor in the midwest

      You can't really make that statement. Some people do ascribe to religion for lame reasons. But many, as myself, have had real encounters with God that changed our lives. Religion is man made, yes. God is not. It's about a relationship with him. Religion can help format how that relationship takes place, but it's not the end-all be-all. Either way, just because you don't buy into it, no need to put down those who do.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Wow

      (Deluding yourself in religion does not change reality. Lying to yourself is probably the worst possible way to try to find meaning.)

      With such a bold statement you made... If we are looking for meaning then tell us all what is "your" meaning?

      May 16, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • n8263

      @pastor, I do not intend to put down those who believe, rather I am stating my honest opinion. I do not rule out that a god may exist but it is obvious organized religions are man made, and you even seem to agree.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • ambi

      yep man made and I'm not talking about the ones who lived way back when the "bible" has been rewritten by every king, conquer etc who commanded a large population at any given time. It was and IS used to control people on soooo many levels and besides all that, if you want to live in a country RULED by religion go the the middle east etc The USA is suppose to have a separation of church and state PERIOD. You believe what you want as long as that belief isn't killing folks or abusing them, and the person next to you believes what they want. Other than that what people do or attached their lives to is NONE of ANYONES business.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  20. Tom Paine

    Again, well knowing that your religion blog will fill with comments like, "religion is man made", "this is all a fairy tale", "you might as well base your beliefs on (fill in your most ridiculous notion)" that CNN continues to post thoughtful articles for the faith based community. Although all will surely not agree with this one, I thought the author did his research.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Skeptimist

      Research seldom prevails over the firmly held conviction that ignorance is no excuse for not knowing it all.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • jimmytwoshoes

      Thank you, Tom.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Dave

      Sure, the author did his research. But not objectively. He didn't start with an open mind and say "Let's see what these passages say it the original language." He said "I'm going to look these passages up in the original language and prove them false." Starting with that premise it's easy to twist. Remember the serpent in the Garden of Eden? He did the same thing. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Eve answered yes. “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So even then we have an example of someone taking the clear words of scripture and saying "You have a very clear, simple command backwards, let me jump through some linguistic hoops to show you that it actually means the opposite." We've all seen children do it when one says something like "Mom told us not to swim in the pool when no adults are around." and the other replies "Well my mom's at home only 5 houses away. So she's 'around'."

      May 16, 2012 at 11:08 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.