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Your Take: Rebuttals to rethinking the Bible on homosexuality
What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Readers responded to a professor's views on the issue.
May 17th, 2012
02:10 PM ET

Your Take: Rebuttals to rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality - and, by extension, same-sex marriage - right?

A guest "My Take" post we ran this week from a college psychology professor who has a background in religion (he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, for instance) challenged that conventional wisdom.

The professor, Daniel A. Helminiak, argues that foes of same-sex marriage have assigned modern, ethics-laden meanings to biblical passages on homosexuality to make it seem like the Bible unequivocally condemns it. In fact, Helminiak proposes, the original meanings of such passages about gays are at the very least ambiguous.

The piece has generated an avalanche of response: 10,000 Facebook shares, 6,000 comments, 200 tweets and a couple of blog posts.  Giving the other side its say, here's a rebuttal roundup of critical reactions from across the Internet:

Kevin DeYoung, a conservative Christian blogger, calls Helminiak's piece "amazing for including so many bad arguments in so little space." DeYoung, who leads a Reformed Church in Michigan, challenges Helminiak's argument that the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah doesn't condemn homosexuality per se.

"Jude 7 states that Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities 'indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,' " DeYoung writes.

"Even the NRSV, translation of choice for the mainline (and the version Helminiak seems to be using), says 'pursued unnatural lust,' ” he continues, referring to the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

"Clearly, the sins of Sodom lived in infamy not simply because of violent aggression or the lack of hospitality, but because men pursued sex with other men."

DeYoung also takes issue with our guest blogger's argument that the Greek term the New Testament writer Paul uses when describing homosexuality, para physin, has been misconstrued by modern translators to mean "unnatural." Helminiak says that the original term does not contain ethical judgment and should be translated instead as "atypical" or "unusual."

Absurd, says DeYoung. "We know Paul considered same-sex intercourse an ethical violation, and not simply something uncommon. ... (N)otice what Paul goes on to say: 'Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error' (NRSV)."

DeYoung writes, "When you read the whole verse, Helminiak’s 'nonethical' argument becomes implausible. Paul thought homosexuality not just unusual, but wrong, a sinful error deserving of a 'due penalty.' '"

On Facebook, Helminiak’s piece, "My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality," provoked a mix of positive and negative response. Some of the latter was very, very negative.

"The following article appeared on the front page of CNN. ... I was so grieved and troubled, I had to respond to the writer," Vince Smith wrote on his Facebook page Thursday. "This is what is most tragic and terrifying about beliefs on homosexuality in this nation.

"When you take Scripture and twist it to 'reinterpet' what it means, and then teach others, you are literally playing with fire ... eternal fire," Smith continued. "I pray that The Lord has mercy on Mr. Helminiak."

Readers' comments on the piece included much criticism, too (although there was plenty of support for Helminiak’s argument).

"Daniel's argument misses the glaringly obvious condemnation of gay sex in the Bible," writes a commenter named Mike Blackadder. "Catholics believe it is a mortal sin when it is premarital, masturbatory, and when we deny the possibility of conceiving children (i.e., through the use of contraceptives).

"Unfortunately, the faith suggests that gay sex falls under the same category as these others and if we interpret differently for gays, then we must accept a new interpretation of these other acts for the same reason," Blackadder writes. "The corollary is that if your faith accepts hetero impurities (such as contraceptives or [masturbation]) but condemns gays, then you may be rightfully accused of hypocrisy."

Many commenters avoided quibbling with Helminiak’s logic, instead taking aim at the piece's very existence.

"Why can't gays leave other people's sacred things alone?" asks a commenter named iqueue120. "Instead of redefining 'marriage,' just call your pervert juncture 'pirripipirripi.' We will grant you and your 'pirripipirripi-other' all the 'rights' that you want.

"You can write your own sacred book, call it, for instance, 'Pirripipirripible,' and make it teach how awesome is 'pirripipirripi,'" this commenter continues. "... All we ask in exchange is that you leave 'marriage' and 'Holy Bible' as they are."

On Twitter, most RTs, or retweets, endorsed the piece, but not all. "Another pastor,"  tweeted @BarbRoyal "trying to pretend the ugly parts out of the Xtian (Christian) bible. ..."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Comments • Gay marriage

soundoff (3,580 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    The simple and proper solution is to eliminate any government description of, or authority regarding "marriage." Every union should be deemed a civil union in the eyes of government. Religious definitions may remain among their followers and in their houses of worship. But if a couple seeks union by a judge, it will be a civil union with all rights to the couple as currently defined for "marriage" by law. Just leave it as that and then each side can close their respective mouths on the issue.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • LinCA

      Marriage predates all currently dominant religions. The religious don't own the term.

      If the believers don't want to participate in civil marriages, they can form their own religious unions. Civil marriage should be open to all consenting adults.

      As far as I'm concerned, churches can set up their own rules for who can enter into their form of religious union. They are free to keep calling it "marriage", as long as it is understood that they don't have exclusive use of the term.

      The only involvement that the government has to have is in their role as protector of those that can't protect themselves. Restrictions on the religious union should include minors, animals and mentally handicapped people, as they can't provide informed consent. Close relatives should be excluded because of the high medical risks associated with such relationships. But, as long as the relationship isn't abusive, and all concerned enter into it of their own free will, even polygamy should be allowed.

      The government need not care if these religious unions are restricted to opposite sex couples, or same race couples, or even if they allow people to join their mail box, or other inanimate objects, in holy matrimony.

      If the union meets the requirements under the law, they can be eligible for recognition as a civil marriage. That should be the only way these unions are eligible for the rights and protections provided to civil marriages.

      May 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Kevin

      LinCA,

      Nice. Appreciate the comment. Like your reasoning.

      May 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  2. TC

    Last part of this article caught it – leave the Bible and sacrement of marriage alone and you can have your civil union and get your tax break.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      Marriage predates all currently dominant religions. The religious don't own the term.

      If the believers don't want to participate in civil marriages, they can form their own religious unions. Civil marriage should be open to all consenting adults.

      As far as I'm concerned, churches can set up their own rules for who can enter into their form of religious union. They are free to keep calling it "marriage", as long as it is understood that they don't have exclusive use of the term.

      The only involvement that the government has to have is in their role as protector of those that can't protect themselves. Restrictions on the religious union should include minors, animals and mentally handicapped people, as they can't provide informed consent. Close relatives should be excluded because of the high medical risks associated with such relationships. But, as long as the relationship isn't abusive, and all concerned enter into it of their own free will, even polygamy should be allowed.

      The government need not care if these religious unions are restricted to opposite sex couples, or same race couples, or even if they allow people to join their mail box, or other inanimate objects, in holy matrimony.

      If the union meets the requirements under the law, they can be eligible for recognition as a civil marriage. That should be the only way these unions are eligible for the rights and protections provided to civil marriages.

      May 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  3. Salero21

    Another absurd by another reprobate mind!

    May 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  4. Veritae

    It would seem;

    That if the original meanings are, in fact, "ambiguous," as the gentleman proposes, then it is difficult to understand how the article in question carries any authority whatsoever either way. How is one to take a any position at all if the meaning/s cannot be clarified?

    Good evening.

    May 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Ting

      That fact that anyone is using the Bible as a guide for the laws in this country is absolutely ridiculous. It's the 21st century for freakin' crying out loud.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:47 am |
  5. Sam Yaza

    jesus never said anything against it you can only find it in the Law and in the letters written by the church,.... but they love to pick and chose their sins so who cares 60 years ago god was Justice not love and 100 years ago it was ok to own slaves,

    there will come a time when they will learn about their hypocrisy and only two options will remain;
    one follow the law more thoroughly ,
    two do away with their faith

    mother help us i don't let it be number one

    or they could always do number 3 and live a lie there whole life,.... i do hope their lying God of Cognitive Dissonance has constructed a powerful enough illusion

    return to the goddess and celebrate life

    May 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Anon

      Actually He did.

      And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’” (Matt. 19:4.)

      June 13, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  6. CrapSpot

    "Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures – meaning not harmful to our environments – most of the time in most of the ways that matter."

    Are you sure about what you've said didn't have any conflict against theory of evolution and its principles?

    May 19, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    May 19, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • Kandric

      Yup. It changes a normal person into an insane person.

      May 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Jesus

      *Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!*!~

      May 21, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  8. sHame se.x

    @stA

    Yeah and noone will whine about same-se.x marriage anymore.

    May 19, 2012 at 5:53 am |
  9. SOAPY32

    MR N800 that quote has almost to ZERO MEANING!!! marcus aurelius was known in ancient world to caper and cavort with FOUL UNCLEAN SPIRITS DEMONS RAISED FROM GETHENNA TO MASTERS OF NIGHT LORD OF BABYLON!!! well known private home with idol dedicated to foul poison orgies and rampant destruction of brain and lung due to ingestion of OPIUM FLOWER AND ANIMAL FECES if you want better argument you would be better of trying to quote adolf hitler!!!

    May 19, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  10. Do this world a favor

    Ultimatey ban same-s.ex marriage all over the world, pass a law based on Lev. 20:13 instead.

    May 19, 2012 at 4:04 am |
  11. The TRUTH

    Travolta framed as SCAPEGOAT by mormon temple again in collusion with the vatican! Scientology centers are all safehouses for gay men and are the target of LDS oppression. Please READ and wake up!!!!

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/05/17/john-travolta-accused-trying-to-grope-late-grease-co-star-jeff-conaway/?intcmp=features

    May 19, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • Michael Worley

      I read it, It has no mention of mormons or catholics, nor is foxnews run by either group.

      May 19, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Based on some of the posts I have seen since I posted this morning, it affirms my belief that a larger number of the commentors than normal are of the same gap-toothed, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, drooling illiterates who used the same book to justify slavery, subjugation of women, etc. that I mentioned earlier.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I completely agree. They use the Bible and their interpretation of it to justify their prejudice, hatred, and ignorance. All of which are in inverse proportion to their level of education and intelligence.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Le Cheri

      That means you havent STUDIED THE BIBLE. I SAID STUDY.
      GOD hates slavery. HE freed to Hebrews from the Egyptians ("Black People")
      Then HE freed the Black people from the white people.
      But then JESUS came to free us all from the SLAVERY OF SIN

      May 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, bushwa, you ignorant tw#t. God did nothing of the sort. Men created laws that abolished slavery, you moron. God had nothing to do with it.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Le Cheri

      On the contrary, My point exacty. God uses people. God is invovled in all the affairs of mankind. God hates injustice, prejudice, slavery, wickedness of any kind. THATS MY KIND OF GOD.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tough chit. Your "kind of god" has nothing to do with anything but you, dumbazz.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • JLS1950

      Actually, what you are seeing is the gap-toothed anti-Christians setting up straw men by blaming Christians for everything from slavery to the Black Death. Evidently, you have never heard of John Newton – the former slave trader gave up that vocation upon coming to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, became a clergyman, and wrote the words of the great hymn "Amazing Grace" to celebrate and glorify God's unfathomable ability to FORGIVE – which hymn then became an anthem of the Christian anti-slavery movements in both Britain and the United States.

      The bible does not promote slavery, although it does recognize the practice and calls upon new Christian believers to treat their slaves as equals (cf Philemon). In the Jewish scripture, a form of indentured servitude is recognized and strictly controlled with set time limits on such service (seven years) as a method of discharging bankruptcy. On the other hand, such bond servants (NOT their "masters") automatically gained the right to DEMAND full employment FOR LIFE at the end of their term of bonded service.

      Imagine where the hue and cry would arise if we proposed laws permitting employees to DEMAND unbreakable full employment FOR LIFE after completing seven years' service to the same employer!

      May 19, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      TomTom, I see that folks that disagree with you, your standard is not to give arguments but offer simple flame insults. Get a life lady. There is a point to being a cranky old lady but you are taking things too far sometimes.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Cq

      Le Cheri
      If God hates slavery why does the Bible outline for the Jews who they can enslave, how much they can sell their daughters for, and how far they can beat their slaves? All God wants to do is manage his chosen people's slaves.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • fred

      Cq
      You are suggesting God give these people thoughts and ways from a culture 3,000+ years more advanced? Gads, even captain Kirk would never do that.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      cq, might I ask for the scriptures.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • GQ

      MARK, LOOK IT UP FOR YOURSELF. LAZY IDIOT.

      May 19, 2012 at 3:29 am |
  13. Le Cheri

    RETHINK? METHINK, WHATS TO RETHINK. THE BIBLE SAYS WHAT IS SAYS-100%

    May 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Except for how there are hundreds of interpretations for the bible...and how there are other texts that others claim to be the word of god...so...

      May 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Cq

      The Bible is like art, where a 1000 people can all be looking at the same thing, but "see" it differently.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • fred

      Cq
      Yes, but the artist painted it according to His ways and thoughts. As with most artists they love creating and put themselves into their work

      May 19, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>"The Bible is like art, where a 1000 people can all be looking at the same thing, but "see" it differently"

      Do you also find it interesting that we have ministers such as the Rev Terry Jones telling us that his negative view of Gays should be the same as his according to his intepretation of the scripture. We then get radical Atheist that also read the text and see it the exact same as Rev Terry Jones and as foolish as him believe that all Christians must and have to believe the same as him.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  14. BamaDaniel

    Man woman = life ,man man= extinction enough said. Not evolutions design.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • momoya

      So god designed gayness??

      May 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Your God maybe.but I like evolution some

      May 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • momoya

      By what method did "gayness" arrive if not by evolution?

      May 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Watching neanderthals do it. Monkey see monkey do.

      May 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And what does it say? Never mind; no one gives a crap anyway.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Cq

      There are species that can control the gender of their offspring, supposedly to aid the population to grow, or stabilize. Maybe gayness is a natural way of doing the same thing. Our species certainly is overpopulated, isn't it?

      May 19, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>"Our species certainly is overpopulated, isn't it?"

      "Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the entire world's population could fit within the 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometers) of Los Angeles."
      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/

      May 19, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      Supposedly means I hope somebody believes this crap. Predator prey relationship,and death is how nature controls population

      May 19, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • stAtheistics

      Speaking of population control, pass a law based on Lev. 20:13 and imposed it, STRICTLY!

      May 19, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • sHame se.x

      @stA

      Yeah.. and noone will whine about same-se.x marriage anymore.

      May 19, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • Chutney

      I see that this tendency to jump to conclusions that are stark black and white issues has become a hall mark of the conservative christian community that feels the need to condemn anything that conflicts with the traditions they hold so dear. There really are very few situations where an either or scenario applies with the impact so frequently suggested by this group of people claiming to be conservative christians. Gay marriage could not possibly bring about the extinction of mankind. To put forth such an argument shows just how little the commenter knows about the dynamics of the human species. For that matter, taking a stance like that, calls serious doubt about the intelligence of the person making that claim.

      May 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  15. Religion is not healthy for a boy's ass and other living things

    A prison cell changes things.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • pervert alert

      One of the best places on earth for qu-eers. Preferably in solitary confinement so as not to corrupt honest criminals.

      May 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Honest means straight

      May 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If that were true,Bama Wama, you must be gay.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • GQ

      THE MAJORITY OF PRISONERS ARE CHRISTIAN. NOT SURPRISING AT ALL.

      May 19, 2012 at 3:31 am |
  16. Voxovreeson

    "GauisCaesar said:

    People can vote based on their beliefs. The problem atheists and liberals have is when it goes against what they believe. People cannot divorce their beliefs at the voting booth, that would make them hypocrites!"
    ***********************************
    One would hope that voters were casting their ballots on the basis of what they conclude is best for a civil society and a pluralistic population, not on the more egocentric opinions they may have about right or wrong that are derived from their religious beliefs.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      Very true. Independent testing labs have confirmed that the knees of pants wear 37% faster when subjected to daily prayer.

      May 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Cq

      Evolution changes things. Demonstrated and supported my multiple disciplines.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Jesus

      ~*Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!*!~

      May 21, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  18. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS–-–>>>>--->>>>>>>

    Because of the basic biological differences, said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.

    To wit:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    May 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      Is this only for newcomers because you're aware that those who read it previously are still laughing hysterically?

      May 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Kandric

      Have you ever had a health class? Have you ever been in bed with a man and/or woman? You obviously don't understand the word s e x.

      May 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Reality

      The reality of se-x, contraception and STD control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

      Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

      : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

      Added information before making your next move:

      from the CDC-2006

      "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

      And from:

      Consumer Reports, January, 2012

      "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

      Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

      Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
      1a. (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      1b. (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
      Followed by:
      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

      Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

      May 19, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  19. just sayin

    I never have anything intellegent to say. proven. God Bless.

    May 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wow, you stole someone's Blog handle ....

      You really showed them how wrong they are...

      May 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Mark from Muddy River

      You also misspelled intelligent. Of course that could have been planned. Bravo.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • just sayin

      Wow, I must have really left a mark on the poor soul. God bless

      May 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Muddy ...where dirt and water find commonality.... where folks find that co-exisitance is a trap to extremist views. Where folks have to work together to survive.

      Yeah, Muddy, Middle, the center .... sigh ...yes Bravo my friend Bravo... 🙂

      May 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  20. n8263

    "Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
    ― Marcus Aurelius

    May 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Russ

      @ n8263: problem for your first contention... "live a good life."
      The Bible says: "no one does good. no one seeks God. no, not even one." (Rom.3:10-12)

      And further: what if the point of life is not "be good" (per E.T.) but having a relationship with your Creator? ...and that latter option is something that would obviously be according to *HIS* terms, not "however I feel". In that case, attempting to "be good" would simply be trying to be your own Messiah – and the ultimate repudiation of the offer of a relationship that begins by admitting you cannot save yourself.

      In the words of Flannery O'Connor (Wiseblood): "there was a deep, black, wordless conviction in him that the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sinning."

      May 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Steven

      "In that case, attempting to "be good" would simply be trying to be your own Messiah – and the ultimate repudiation of the offer of a relationship that begins by admitting you cannot save yourself."

      Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.

      For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.

      Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

      It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.

      Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.

      Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. That is why people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama are known in neurological circles as "vagal superstars." We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      steven,

      fantastic post. very well thought out. thank you.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Madtown

      Russ
      @ n8263: problem for your first contention... "live a good life."
      The Bible says: "no one does good. no one seeks God. no, not even one." (Rom.3:10-12)
      ---------
      Russ, how in the world can I get into heaven, if I'm a primitve African tribesman who's never heard of Jesus or the bible? I was born in the heart of Africa, something I didn't choose. Is it good enough for you that I seek God in my own way? What other choice do I have, I've never heard of the christian bible!

      May 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      @ Steve old saying goes monkey see monkey do

      May 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Russ

      @ madtown: the tribesman who hasn't heard has the same hope my ancestors did (who used to paint their faces blue & eat one another) – it's the reason Christians believe in missions.

      As Romans 1 makes clear: all men are without excuse. We've done this to ourselves. We've turned our backs on God. It is only grace (Jesus' life, not mine) that can save us because we cannot save ourselves.

      As for "seeking God in my own way" – if we met & I said "hey, I like to think of you as a transcendental wrestler mailman who goes into nature & wrestles bears before bringing me my mail." if you sensed at all i was serious & in any way wanted to have ANY semblance of a real relationship, I'd need you to correct my preconceived notions of who you are. I'd need to have a relationship IN ACTUALITY. In other words, if just as humans, the only way I can really know you is meeting you as you really are – how much more with God? You can't seek in any way you choose to get to know him when He is the One who chooses who he makes himself known – and WHO he is.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Steven: the same sorts of arguments were made about the inherent goodness of man in the late 19th & early 20th century. Everyone was so sure that spirituality was a primitive hangover of the past. Then WW1 & WW2 hit. The reality of the depraved evil in the heart of humanity was clear. Similar things were happening in the late 20th century. And then September 11th happened.

      The notion that humanity is inherently good need simply take a brief look at the news – any given day of the week.
      Or politics – why don't people get in power & naturally share it? Why is almost everything government so exceedingly corrupt?
      Or nature – why are we so troubled that the strong eat the weak? Is something wrong with us or with nature?
      Or the mirror – just try to go ONE DAY upholding the very standards that *you* set for other people. If someone secretly recorded all you thought & said about others & held you to the same standard... would you ever be able to uphold even YOUR OWN standards?

      Science cannot present ethics. It only observes & gives data.
      History only reports realities to us. It does not judge as good or evil.
      So – on what basis do we judge?
      I guess you could pull a Deepak Chopra & call all those things part of the "oneness" of good & evil – but I don't think that holds up in the face of concentration camps, or starving children, or r.a.pe victims, or even if someone just punches you in the nose.

      The question of the reality of evil is not normally where the debate is. It's the problem the reality of evil presents.
      But in the words of Charles Baudelaire (as repeated by Kaiser Sose): "the devil's greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

      per your thoughts on evolution, consider this:
      evolution co-opts love & says: love is really a charade for the optimization of the gene pool to propagate the species. in other words, Valentine's Day is a charade. Love for your child? just an instinct to ensure your DNA survives in the gene pool. love isn't real, it's just synapses firing for the greater goal of species optimization. you are utterly insignificant otherwise – despite all that your brain tells you about your child & you. it's all a big chemical farce serving the one great purpose of existence: species propagation. As such, there is no such thing as evil – just poor decisions for gene optimization.

      Can you live with that kind of intellectual schizophrenia ("loving" others though you believe it to be a farce)? or do you outright acknowledge all "love" in your life is a charade?

      May 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Iceman

      @ Russ, How has my lil man and my lil girl turned their backs on God? Why in the h3ll do you tell someone that you want them to live forever then put a tree here and tell them if you eat it you will surely die? Why put the d@mn tree here, so it gives him an excuse to get off on killing billions of people. My lil ones is going to burn forever because of what again? Yea see how dumb this is God is an azz-killN-whor3!!!!

      May 18, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Russ

      @ iceman: your anger is directed at the wrong place. this is what we've done to ourselves. this is the legacy we pass onto our kids & that they actively affirm.

      the shortest answer to your question is the cross, where God tells us two things clearly:
      1) we are much worse off than we want to admit (that's what I deserve)...
      but at the very same time...
      2) we are much more loved than we ever dared hope (Jesus takes what I deserve)

      On a more personal note – why do you think (as you say) 'your little ones are going to burn'?

      May 19, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • a person of the Name

      It all has to do with free will and the ability to choose. If there was only one choice there would be no free will. If there was only good how would you even know what good was without the presents of evil. God want us to choose to love Him, not be forced into it like some mindless slave. Think it though ppl.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • JLS1950

      So Steven... you are saying that people affected by Asperger's Syndrome – whose mirror neurons are largely of fully disabled – are beyond redemption?

      I DON'T THINK SO!!!

      May 19, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Iceman

      Russ what you just said makes no sence, none, and miss no said .It all has to do with free will and the ability to choose. If there was only one choice there would be no free will. If there was only good how would you even know what good was without the presents of evil. God want us to choose to love Him, not be forced into it like some mindless slave. Think it though ppl. I would have liked it to be only one choice instead of creating evil so we could die.

      May 19, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • Iceman

      Do yall christians even know that there are more than 20 books mentioned in the bible but for some crazy reason they are not in there! Did yall ever reaserched where this book came from or who was the first one to compile it, or READ ANY OTHER BOOKS THAT ISN'T CALLED THE BIBLE SO SEE IF SOME OF THE THINGS IN THERE IS CORRECT?

      May 19, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Madtown

      He is the One who chooses who he makes himself known – and WHO he is.
      --------
      You're making my point for me. If someone from a different culture, with no knowledge of Jesus or the christian bible, makes a serious attempt to find and connect with God, then they are likely to formulate spiritual concepts and feel spiritual connection. It's absurd to suggest that only people who are "serious" about finding God will end up seeing things your way, because again...many folks will just never have the chance to learn about Jesus or the bible, because that information just isn't available to them. It has nothing to do with missionaries, all that means is once again you think your way is the only way, and should be the right way for all cultures.

      May 19, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • myklds

      @Steven..you said and I quote,

      "Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments."

      See? Science also believe in miracles.

      Relgion and Science supposed to work hand in hand to find absolute truths until they have been used by selfish people from both sides to further their own respective agenda.

      But when Science and Religion met in a certain idea and principle, it becomes an absolute truth.

      May 19, 2012 at 8:55 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.