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My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage
The author backs same-sex marriage because of his faith, not in spite of it.
May 19th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.

A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.

During their time together, Peter is often naïve and clueless – he is a follower, constantly learning.

After Jesus is crucified, though, a different Peter emerges, one who is forceful and bold. This is the Peter we see in the Acts of the Apostles, during a fevered debate over whether or not Gentiles should be baptized. Peter was harshly criticized for even eating a meal with those who were uncircumcised; that is, those who did not follow the commands of the Old Testament.

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Peter, though, is strong in confronting those who would deny the sacrament of baptism to the Gentiles, and argues for an acceptance of believers who do not follow the circumcision rules of Leviticus (which is also where we find a condemnation of homosexuality).

His challenge is stark and stunning: Before ordering that the Gentiles be baptized Peter asks “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

None of us, Peter says, has the moral authority to deny baptism to those who seek it, even if they do not follow the ancient laws. It is the flooding love of the Holy Spirit, which fell over that entire crowd, sinners and saints alike, that directs otherwise.

My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality

It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.

Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.

The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!

I worship at St. Stephens, an Episcopal church in Edina, Minnesota. There is a river that flows around the back and side of that church with a delightful name: Minnehaha Creek. That is where we do baptisms.

The Rector stands in the creek in his robes, the cool water coursing by his feet, and takes an infant into his arms and baptizes her with that same cool water. The congregation sits on the grassy bank and watches, a gentle army.

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At the bottom of the creek, in exactly that spot, is a floor of smooth pebbles. The water rushing by has rubbed off the rough edges, bit by bit, day by day. The pebbles have been transformed by that water into something new.

I suppose that, as Peter put it, someone could try to withhold the waters of baptism there. They could try to stop the river, to keep the water from some of the stones, like a child in the gutter building a barrier against the stream.

It won’t last, though. I would say this to those who would withhold the water of baptism, the joy of worship, or the bonds of marriage: You are less strong than the water, which will flow around you, find its path, and gently erode each wall you try to erect.

The redeeming power of that creek, and of the Holy Spirit, is relentless, making us all into something better and new.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Osler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Who cares what Paul said? Christians care more about what Paul said than what Jesus said. You know, that whole judging thing? Jesus said we should only be prepared to judge if we are ready to be judged ourselves. Judging by the horrible state of straight marriage, especially in this country, how can you condone straight marriage and deny gay marriage? It's not going to destroy the sancti-ty of marriage anymore than what is currently going on in marriage. Kim Kardashian anyone?

    May 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • bluewaterbk

      So, you're admonishing we Christians on not caring more about what Jesus said, and then citing the great Kardashian for fodder as to why not to heed HIs words. Brilliant, Einstein.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • NightOps

      I could care less if the legal union of a same-gender couple is called marriage...doesn't bother me in the slightest. Let same-gender couples have a legal marriage and receive the legal benefits of it. I'm all for it! That doesn't mean I support a religious marriage between same-gender couples. These are two completely separate issues...but many Christians like to make it the same issue. Silliness if you ask me.

      As a Christian, there is a profound difference between recognizing sin and judging it. I can recognize sin in my own life and that of others. However, unless those others share my faith, I have no business in reminding them of the consequences of their choices. I have to deal with my own junk...and there is plenty of that, to be sure. However, it is my *responsibility* to show love and compassion to ALL. How else can I convince anyone that my faith has any value?

      May 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • momoya

      bluewater missed the point by a couple light-years.. Stupidity is often part and parcel with god belief.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      bluewater, you totally missed the point. Which would explain how you ignore Jesus' teachings about treating others how you want to be treated.

      NightOps, I appreciate your sentiment about gay marriage. Nobody is saying you have to agree with it or think that being gay is right. Your church does not have to allow gay marriage ceremonies in it. That should be completely up to the church. But to deny those rights all together, even in a non-church setting? It is absolutley ludacris.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • JWT

      Remember nights-ops that not all christians share your exact definitions of faith. To many christians gay marriage is just and proper. They are also true christians just different that you is all. There is no 1 christian faith.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  2. Calvin

    There is no Christan case for gay marriage.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • momoya

      Exactly like there's no case for divorce or women speaking in the church.. Christians don't seem that bothered by what the bible instructs, I've found.. Highest rate of divorce in the world, I think, are christians in the US

      May 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Marriage in the US is a government contract. Are you saying that atheists shouldn't be allowed to get married? Christians don't own marriage. The union of two people was around long before Christianity and long before Judaism.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  3. bluewaterbk

    Mr. Osler:

    In your third paragraph, you err blatantly by saying that Peter is the "rock" on whom the church was built. Nothing could be further from the truth. After Peter proclaimed Jesus to be "the Christ, the Son of the Living God", the Lord answered him and said "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven. And upon this rock, I will build my church".
    The "rock" is what Peter SAID.....the confession that Jesus is Lord and God. It's not the person of Peter. Your Catholic slip is showing if you believe otherwise. This is fundamental doctrine to the Christian faith, and your complete misunderstanding of it has resulted in the blessing of three extra minutes of time for me this morning, not having to read the rest of your article.
    Get Christianity "straight" first before using the name of Christ to promote a "gay" agenda.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Calvin

      Osler is a liar. Period.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • William

      Well said. But people of his political leanings will always try to change the meaning and definitions of issues to suit their own ends. I think the Christian church as well as Muslims, Hindus and the like have made their long held beliefs perfectly clear. I have noticed that the only time CNN mentions religion is in an election year. Then its usually twisted to suit their own political agenda.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  4. Jason

    Oh my. To be completely honest, I believe marriage is a spiritual concept and the state should have no say in it at all. If a church wants to marry a man to another man, or a goat, or a toaster, it is that church's right. If they choose, conversely, deny that religious rite (not right) to all but a man and a woman, that is also their right. The Government should have no interest in this concept and should treat married and single people no differently. That would effectively end this silly debate in the public forum and put it back into individulal churches where it belongs.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • JWT

      Since governemtn rights and benefits are involved then government is absulutely involved in the definition of marriage, Homeselxuals should be included as they are naturally occuring consensual adults. To keep them from it is immoral and just plain wrong.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  5. David Allen

    How about Romans 2? Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment you condemn yourself, because you the judge are doing the very same things.

    And Christ taught: Judge not, lest you be judged.

    Are you so sure of your own righteousness that you risk condemnation under this simple teaching?

    Christ's commandment was to love all people, friend and enemy, neighbor and stranger alike. Love does not beginwith judgment.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Carlos

      Yes, but it is God who calls it sin, not us. The call to not be judgemental does not mean that we become incapable of discerning right from wrong. If someone murders do you say, well God said I shouldn't judge so.... I guess it's o.k? Of course not. We love the murderer, we forgive the murderer, but we still call the action sinful. This is no different.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Again, I ask: When did God put you in charge of telling others what to do? Why does he need you to enforce laws that only apply to those who believe in him? Why would you imagine that religious belief has ANY bearing on law at all? It doesn't.

      Gay marriage isn't infringing on your rights under the law.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  6. momoya

    I'd love to be "spat out" of god's mouth.. I'd latch on to a portion of lip somewhere, crawl up his nose, and dig straight down into the corner of eye.. Once I got into that brain, he'd be dead in a matter of minutes.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • bluewaterbk

      Yeah, so...........you're stable.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • momoya

      I think you mean "original.". Have you heard of anyone else coming up with that idea?

      May 21, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  7. WOW

    This professor is lost and will answer to God which he cannot escape or twist words. I feel true sadness for this man.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Crazyace

      No he won't because god isn't real.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Calvin

      agree with WOW. Its sad to see such hubris being published.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • momoya

      @Calvin

      Kind of like the hubris it takes to judge another christian "not worthy?". Christians are arrogant by default.

      And by the way, you christians have NO VERIFIABLE TEST to determine which "interpretation" of a scripture or doctrine is correct, do you?? If you did, you'd use it, and there'd only be ONE church.. Not half a million different denominations all disagreeing with each other and nobody ever able to prove how close they are to the truth or lie.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • cal

      His first sentence is an oxymoron. If he was TRULY a Christian, he would not favor gay marriage because it does NOT fall under God's definition of marriage.

      God will deal with this evil man as He does all evil people that call good evil and evil good....

      May 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • momoya

      Another "captain arrogant" christian.. Seems I just predicted it above..

      What kind of pizzy dipsh1t religion causes people to be such bratty babies?!?!? Nuh-uh! I is write and you is wronger.. You is gerin to Hay ellllll!!

      May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      I truely doubt you feel any sadness for him. I'd bet in reality the only thing you feel is happy with the brownie points for God you think you just earned.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  8. NightOps

    What? This author evidently has no concept of what baptism is truly about. To simply ram-rod Baptism and Marriage in as simple religious ceremony and consider them both falling under the same principles is simply to lack any real knowledge about either of them.

    Since we are talking about the *Christian* ceremonies of Baptism and Marriage, I will only discuss them from this viewpoint. However, let's clear the air: Should same-gender couples be denied a legal marriage? That depends on the law of the land. It is not my place, whether I am a Christian, an Atheist, or a Buddhist, to deny anyone this legal ceremony.

    Ok, on to Christian Baptism: Baptism is the public confession of one's faith, and is a symbolic gesture of putting to death your old sinful way of life (as in, living for yourself), and be raised a new creation in Christ (and now your focus is on His Will, not your own). Does this mean that sin will never again be a part of your life? No, of course not. However, you now recognize that your life is not your own. The requirements for Baptism is simply that one must first recognizes Jesus of Nazareth as their Christ/Savior, and Lord of their lives. That He died on the cross for their sins, so that they would have a way to commune with God directly. That Jesus is God's Son, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead. We ALL come to Baptism sinners, regardless of the sin. Having a predisposition towards someone of the same gender is NOT a sin. Leviticus does NOT say that liking someone of the same gender is a sin, it says that the commission of *acts* between two individuals of the same gender is sin (since the Bible only recognizes marriage between one man and one woman, and recognizes s-ex before marriage as a sin).

    On to Christian Marriage: this is a purely religious ceremony where one man and one woman enter into a covenant with God. In the *religious* ceremony, most pastors will not marry two individuals together unless they are both Christian. The Bible warns repeatedly against the marrying of individuals who are of differing faiths. Depending on the laws of the land in which this ceremony is performed, there are often additional requirements to be met if this ceremony is also to be considered legally binding. In the United States, the two individuals must also sign a marriage license and have it recognized by a Notary and witnesses – which effectively makes this a *legal* marriage as well (two marriages, one ceremony).

    I do not see any reason why any couple should be denied a legal marriage. It is NOT my place to judge, nor to restrict. I believe the laws of the United States are absolutely ludicrous in terms of the restrictions and discrimination placed on couples of the same gender – especially with regards to insurance and hospital visitation. I'm sure there are many more areas that need to be reviewed, but these are the most basic and potentially detrimental.

    I don't care what the US decides it's definition of a legal marriage is – it has no affect on what my faith recognizes as a religious marriage (nor should it). If same-gender couples wish to be Christian and have only a legal marriage (and not a religious one), then there is no reason why I should stand in the way. If they wish to have a Christian wedding, that is where the Christian faith cannot support them.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • JWT

      Actually they can have a christian wedding of the christian faith – it just depends on which christian faith they follow.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • NightOps

      @JWT
      That, unfortunately, is the public perception that other Christian churches have allowed to be broadcast. I disagree with it entirely because the Bible clearly does not allow for it. Other religions can support the religious ceremony of marriage between a same-gender couple and I will certainly not stand in the way. I believe that the Bible is perfectly clear on what it defines as a valid religious marriage.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • JWT

      And that is perfectly fine for you night ops. But you do not speak for other christian faiths who do see it as being perfectly proper. The resonaing is fully valid in their interpretation of the bible and other religious teachings. If there bible were perfectly clear there would be only 1 christian religion.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • momoya

      @JWT

      Precisely.. Squarely on the money!! bingo

      May 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • NightOps

      @JWT
      It's a tough conversation. What I see as perfectly obvious is not what others see as perfectly obvious. Who is right? Who is wrong? I can only say that what I (along with the majority of Christians I know of) believe is that the Bible is perfectly clear on these issues. Unfortunately many of us like to take the Bible in pieces and obey what is convenient for us.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • JWT

      The best that we can do is to hold faith with our personal belief system, while not trampling on the rights of others to hold faith with their belief system.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  9. Jefell

    Marrying SIN is not Christian.. being a Christian is Marrying Christ.. making Christ the Lord of your life.. so you can not be a Christian and be gay.. you can not be a Christian and be for gay marriage.. you can not.. and that is God's final Word.

    1Jn 3:9-10 Those who are born of God will not continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Those who do not do what is right are not God’s children; nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.

    God Bless <3

    May 21, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • JWT

      An amazing number number of christians would disagree with you. On the whole I would say their views are more helathy.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Primewonk

      Marriage is a civil contract. If gay people choose to marry, how does that affect you?

      May 21, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Crazyace

      You said "being a Christian is Marrying Christ" so if you're a Dude then that's gay marriage.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      So when you become a Christian you get involved in gay marriage with Christ? Is that what you are saying? Sure sounds like it.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Kevin

      Probably the most offensive thing you said in all of that is that being born gay automatically precludes the possibility of being a Christian and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. How dare you claim to know who can and who can't be saved and judge others for being who they are. Honestly, I hope you think long and hard about your position on that because the only one in danger of losing eternal salvation is people who utter condemning, anti-Christian, anti-Jesus, anti-love messages like yours.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  10. Uniquitous

    The sacrement of baptism is preceded by a confession of our sins and our repentance of them. Gay marriage would not address the sin but rather place the church in a position of recognizing the act as condoned. Pick any other sin and the same rules apply. Confess, repent and accept Christ and the Holy Spirit to be one with the Lord.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Primewonk

      Being born gay is no more immoral or a sin than being born left-handed.

      There is no choice in being gay or straight, so how can it be a sin? Plus 1500+ species of mammals, fish, birds, insects, other vertebrates, ans invertebrates exhibit hômosèxuality. Can animals sin?

      Sorry, but this is simply one more thing your god got wrong.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Calvin

      except.... no one is born gay.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Marriage is a legal contract with the government. The spin that it is tied exclusively to religion is bullcrap.

      Please tell me, when did Christians invent marriage?

      May 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Calvin, science and genetics state otherwise.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • momoya

      Calvin is probably a young-earther, so he probably doesn't much care about science and genetics.. If that's the case, it's a bit hypocritical of him to use a computer and modern medical treatments, but hypocrisy doesn't seem to stop any christians from doing and saying what they want.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  11. pj

    Thank you. God is LOVE..

    May 21, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Michael

      Yes. One should be His son/daughter in His terms to enjoy it.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Primewonk

      Leviticus 20:13 If a man has sèxual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death;

      Where is the love?

      May 21, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • NightOps

      @Primewonk:
      That is the OT. If we look at the NT closely (especially in the case of the adulteress woman), we can see that, while it may be *deserving of death*, the only one that is allowed to carry out the Judgement, is Christ. The best point in this passage is that, once again, we should look at our own lives first before seeking to root out sin in others...as we ALL have sin.

      "For the wages of sin is death" – so yes, we ALL deserve death. The LOVE is that, even while we were sinners, Christ died for us on the cross. He took OUR punishment. Christians should not be here to Judge, for Judgement is reserved for GOD ALONE. However, that does not mean we should condone obvious sin – first and foremost in our own lives.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Exactly

      So, God loves sin and immorality? Methinks not.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • momoya

      I would spit in the face of anyone telling me that I deserve to "die" for simply being a fallible human like all others..

      We deserve to die according to the system put in place by whom? God
      Who has built and who sustains the eternal torture pit called hell? God
      Who won't simply clear up all the earthly, human confusion over his will and nature with soooooo many different god-beliefs? God

      May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • momoya

      Of course god loves sin and immorality.. He lets soooooooooooooooooo much of it go on without doing a thing to change it..

      May 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Logos Aletheia

      God is also holy, righteous and just and He HATES evil. There is more to God's love than simply forgetting about sin. Sin has to be paid for by somebody.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ NightOps – Your story of the prostîtute in John is a fake. It wasn't in the original copies of John. It was edited in much later.

      Regardless of that – Your very own Jesus declared several times in the NT that the OT laws and rules would remain in play until heaven and earth pass away. As far as I can tell, we are still here. Ergo, all those hideous, vile, evil rules your god demands are still valid.

      I may just open up a rock quarry to get enough stones for all the killing you good christian need to do.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • momoya

      @Logos

      If someone has to "pay the price" for sin, isn't that because your god set the system up in that manner?? Why would he do something stupid like that?

      May 21, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Exactly

      People completely misunderstand and misuse the "don't judge" verses in the Bible. If it were they way they say, no pastor, preaching, or priest would ever be able to speak on the topic of sin. That is certainly not what was intended. Sin and immorality that was condemned by God should be called out. The intent of the "don't judge" verses is to make people think about what they themselves are doing. So, if some want to call out those who are divorced, that's fine, but that doesn't make h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l behavior moral.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Exactly

      Momoya, yeah, and while we're at it, who set up the stupid system where criminals have to pay for their crimes with jail time anyway? Why punish wrong-doers? Good grief...

      May 21, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • momoya

      Morality is irrelevant because you mega-divorcing christians have made it irrelevant.. You can't keep your own house in order, but yet you want to tell others how to run their lives.. FVCK that.. Physicians, heal thyselves.. You fix divorce and keep your marriages and families whole for a few decades and THEN you can come pretend you have a right to tell everyone else what to do with their own choices.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • NightOps

      @Primewonk
      The story is a fake? I've read opinions about this, but have yet to be shown any conclusive evidence that it was incorrect. Was it written by John? Most likely not. However, Paul did not pen most of his scrolls later on in his life. It was often a fellow servant. This could easily be the case. Either way, the language and behavior is consistent with both John and Jesus, as are the practices of the Sanhedrin for that age. There is much debate about exactly where in John this particular story should have been ascribed, as it did not show up until the 5th century, but rarely any discussion about it's legitimacy.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • momoya

      @exactly

      Yes, we humans punish law breakers by giving them a finite sentence for a finite crime.. We don't TORTURE people FOREVER.. That's your twisted freakazoid who does that sort of hateful sh!t.

      And really, if salvation was a gift, he could give it to everybody regardless of what they belief or he could do it once people received proof of god's existence: when they die, if you nu tters are correct.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  12. AGuest9

    The banner picture bothers me. Do the straight brides get the same, ugly, brutish-looking cake-toppers?

    May 21, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  13. Jerald Morris

    What happened to Romans Chapter 1.

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth [l]in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident [m]within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not [n]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [o]crawling creatures.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [p]a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed [q]forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [r]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [s]indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

    28 And just as they did not see fit [u]to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, [v] haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Exactly

      Thank you. These liberal Christians completely ignore Romans because it is inconvenient. They don't want to be hated by society these days, so the compromise their values.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Patrick

      Leviticus 25:44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Exodus 21:20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

      Genesis 19:33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

      34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

      36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Primewonk

      Being born gay is no more immoral, or a sin, than being born left-handed or black. Oh...Wait...It wasn't that long ago that religious fundiots said that being left-handed was a sign of the devil, and that being black was the mark of Cain.

      This is just one more thing your god got completely wrong.

      Sorry.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Patrick

      Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and r@pes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

      Genesis 19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

      1 Timothy 2:11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

      1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

      34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Patrick

      Matthew 19: (Jesus Speaking) 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for $e xual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

      1 Corinthians 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

      Numbers 31: (Moses Speaking) 15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. 17 Now ki11 all the boys. And ki11 every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      2 Kings 6:27 The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

      She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

      FORGIVE ME CHRISTIANS IF I'VE TAKEN SOMETHING OUT OF CONTEXT. PLEASE EXPLAIN THE CORRECT CONTEXT AND HOPEFULLY, IF THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES YOUR EXPLANATION, YOU WILL DRAW SOME SOULS TOWARDS CHRIST. (THIS SHOULD CLEAR OUT THE FORUM)

      May 21, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Exactly

      Patrick, please learn theology. The New Testament overrides the verses you present from Leviticus.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Exactly

      Prime, people are either male or female. To call oneself gay is like saying you're right-handed when you're actually left-handed.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Bob

      At least someone here has actually bothered to read the bible.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Mirosal

      So, just to be clear ... the New Testament over-rides the Old. Since your "holy" book has both, only half is valid, the other half can be ignored. Ok then, your religion is half flawed. It won't take much to find the flaws in the other newer half now , would it?

      May 21, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Patrick

      @Exactly – I wouldn't worship a God who at any time for any people condoned slavery and slave beating.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Patrick

      @Exactly – Wrong. We've had the ability to accurately and affordably test people's $e xuality in a lab setting since the 1950s. And in all that time, not one person has ever been able to show that their $e xuality changed during the course of their lifetime. Not from gay to straight, not from straight to gay, not even from gay to bi$ exual. Not through theraputic means and not through religious means. Also, there have been tons of studies done on ho mo$e xuality – if it was a choice there would be precursors to that choice leading someone to want to be attracted to the same gender or leading them to actually having attraction for the same gender – yet not one study has ever found any precursor or cause.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Patrick

      @Exactly – Are you saying this NEW TESTAMENT verse that refers to the OLD TESTAMENT scriptures is wrong???

      2 Timothy 3:15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Exactly II

      @Exactly – The label "liberal Christian" is an understatement. The author of this CNN article essentially sounds like either an apostate Christian or an imposter claiming to be a "Christian". @Jerald Morris- Thank you for the glaringly obvious rebuttal.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Exactly wrote both ..
      "These liberal Christians completely ignore Romans because it is inconvenient."
      &
      "The New Testament overrides the verses you present from Leviticus."
      ... How "convenient" it is to "override" Leviticus, ridiculous. LOL

      May 21, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Patrick

      @ExactlyII – Sorry, you don't get to decide what Christianity is for all Christians. The United Church of Christ, Unitarians, Unity Churches, MCC, Episcopols, Anglicans, about half the Lutherans and many of the more progressive Presbyterians and Methodists would like to be able to practice their Freedom of Religion and marry gays and lesbians in their churches.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Thank you posters for pointing out the inconsistency and outright hypocrisy of the bible.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • MK

      You go, Patrick!

      May 21, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Exactly

      Mirosal, learn some theology. It's no wonder there are so many atheists these days. They read the BIble, but they don't understand it and don't bother to learn any theology. First, I didn't say the Old Testament was irrelevant. Second, it is a historical record leading to and predicting the Messiah, Jesus.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Exactly

      If horses... If you don't understand my "overriding" comments and think they are "convenient", then you probably don't realize that is what is written in the New Testament. Read Paul's letters.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Exactly

      Patrick, you're right. I don't decide for Christians. The Bible does. It's just that there is a fringe minority (perhaps it is becoming a sad majority these days) who put aside the Bible and tradition so that they will be liked by the world.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Mirosal

      A WHAT??? A historical record?? Ok, let's talk history. Find me one, JUST ONE, writing or record about the Jews escaping Egypt. Don't you think that an entire people who were slaves running away would be somewhat newsworthy? Why are there NO Egyptian records of the Jews ever having been slaves in the first place, let alone being chased through the desert when escaping? This is but a start, shall I go on?

      May 21, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      @ Exactly
      > Mirosal, learn some theology. It's no wonder there are so many atheists these days. They read the Bible, but they don't understand it and don't bother to learn any theology

      Actually… study after study has proven that Atheist and Agnostics are far more versed in the Bible than Christians. This is not my opinion but a fact you are welcome to look up. And of course with statements like: but they don't understand it and don't bother to learn any theology. You mean they didn’t apply blind faith but instead read it with an OPEN mind.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Patrick

      @Exactly – The New Testament verse from 2 Timothy doesn't say the Old Testament is a "historical record". It says it's Godbreathed scripture useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training.

      Why can't you stand up for your bible and explain how some of those other verses could have possibly come from the Creator of the Universe?

      May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • NightOps

      @Exactly & Jerald Morris:
      Please be careful. You are using VERY strong verses for a mostly-unbelieving public. We should not water down the Gospel, but we also should be very careful in making sure that the LOVE of Christ is what people see in us, so that God may be glorified. Is God glorified in exaltations of desire to stone the wicked? Is God glorified in the desire to label and outcast those that are constantly choosing lives in direct conflict of God's Word? No, He is not. it may be the truth, but until those individuals share our faith, such things are foolish in their eyes. Mimic Christ. How many times did Jesus go storming into public areas and demand that all convert or face the fires? I can count on ONE HAND such times. Yet how many times did Christ lovingly seek out those in need of God's Love in areas that the Sadducees and Pharisees wouldn't dare to venture into, just to have a conversation with them, eat with them, and try to show them God's Love? Go and do likewise.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Def5

      Thank you for sharing the absolute truth. Every scripture you referenced clearly defines where God stands with the matter and the "beginning of wisdom is the fear of God." Sodom and Gomora were destroyed for the sole reason of their sin. If they opened and read the bible they would learn so much but denial is a convenient enabler. God is an unseen deity that exists just as there unseen powers that exist that can really affect you like solar flares, radiation, magnetic fields. He is all that he says he is "Alpha and Omega" beginning and the end.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      New Testament does not override the Old Testament. Jesus said he didn't come to destroy the law or the prophets. Why do you people care so much what Paul said? He appointed himself over the Christian congregation. As far as I'm concerned, he was no better than the Pharisees Jesus denounced. Why don't you Christians actually pay attention to what Jesus said?

      May 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • NightOps

      @Tom, Patrick, Morisal, et al:
      The NT does NOT override the OT, per se. Jesus of Nazareth clearly states in Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them." The OT was not in error, it simply clarified how Christians should abide in the law of the land at that time, without breaking their covenant with God. Obviously this eventually came to a head when the law of the land pa-ssed and directly came into conflict with the teachings of the Bible (or, the scrolls at that time). When Jesus of Nazareth began his ministry, he repeatedly had opportunities to execute judgement on the sins of those around him. Rather, he chose to exercise forgiveness as an example of God's mercy and love, rather than His wrath. The verses previously pointed out by Patrick do, in fact, still stand. However, those were permissible because they were allowed by the acting Government at that time. I believe Romans 13:1-7 clarifies this succinctly:
      "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has inst-ituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

      This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

      To summarize, as long as it is not in violation of Scripture, then Christians are allowed to engage in any activity permissible by the acting Government.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Primewonk

      Exactly wrote, "The New Testament overrides the verses you present from Leviticus."

      Except of course, that your very own Jesus states several times that the OT rules and laws would remain in effect until heaven and earth pass away. Is the earth still here? Then the rulles hold.

      Exactly also wrote, "Prime, people are either male or female. To call oneself gay is like saying you're right-handed when you're actually left-handed."

      This shows that you are ignorant about the very basics of science. You don't even understand the difference between gender and orientation.

      Posts like yours are a perfect example of what happens when you choose to get your "sciency" sounding information from the "Pastor Dave's" of the world. The problem is that "Pastor Dave" is just as ignorant about science as you are.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  14. Kate Fox

    Couldn't have said it better myself. This is exactly how I feel as a Christian towards gay marriage...actually marriage in general. Well done sir, well done!

    May 21, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Truly Sad

      Why do some compromise their Christian values in order to be liked by the world? God will spit out the lukewarm.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Truly Sad – you god demands that you kill gay folks. Yet you refuse to do this. Seems like you fundiots are pretty lukewarm.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Exactly

      Prime, if you understood traditional theology, you'd realize how absurd what you said truly is.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Mirosal

      Actually if you understand traditional mytholo .. oops, theology, you'll realize how absurd the origins and worship of ANY deity is.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Exactly

      A little philosopy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. –Francis Bacon

      No God = Immorality and anarchy.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Exactly – I used to be one of you. I could spin the verses to justify ignorance with the best of them. Once youlearn that it's all a house of cards, once the first card falls, the whole house crumbles.

      Your Jesus declares that the OT laws remain in place until heaven and earth pass away. Earth is still here. What does this mean to you?

      May 21, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  15. JWT

    A very interesting qustion in all of this is how do some christians reconcile their religious beliefs with the cilvil rights of people who are not members of their religion and hence not subject to their religious laws.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • AGuest9

      Likely better than "Jihad!" [BOOM]. But hate is still hate.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Here it is

      This is the issue. When immorality is publicly put before a Christian on a ballot, they will vote it down as the immorality it is.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • AGuest9

      Immorality in one segment of the population's eyes doesn't necessarily make it immorality for the entire population.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Here it is

      Doesn't matter, guest. To a Christian, it is immorality, and if you put immorality up to a public vote, it is a Christian's duty to vote it down.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • JWT

      But it is not an immorality to others. It is only an immorality to some christians, not all.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Here it is – being born gay is no more immoral or a sin than being born left-handed. The Christians who insist it is immoral are wrong. They purposefully choose to be ignorant about the science of sèxual orientation.

      It is readily apparent that the nomadic bronze-aged shepherds had no clue about what they wrote down.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • JWT

      This is why traditions change – because we learn to do better. We no longer cast out those who are different as if we were a herd. We learn that some/many old traditions were just wrong and we do better.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Exactly

      JWT, sorry, morality doesn't change. Murder doesn't suddenly become ok. Immorality is once and for all immorality,

      May 21, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • withoeve

      I agree that it is the Christians' responsibility within their religion to vote a given way on an issue that is religious in nature. The litmus test is clear. Marriage is a religious issue and, therefore, should not be part of the state. Not only should we not make laws restricting marriage, all laws regarding marriage should be repealed. The separation of church and state should be the issue here, not rights.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • JWT

      Well repealing all laws regarding marriage would make the states life a lot easier. Forget about child support, spousal support, death benefits and 1000 other issues in state law that affect married couples. When it comes to matters of religious marriage the state has no say in the matter – a point that is protected by law. When it comes to matters of civil mariage for the purpose of state laws and benefits – the relgions have no say in the matter – another fact protected by law.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Primewonk

      Exactly wrote, "...morality doesn't change. Murder doesn't suddenly become ok. Immorality is once and for all immorality"

      This, of course, is bull. Why did the SBC form? Those folks were 100% positive that there version of a god said it was perfectly moral and good tom own black folks.

      Why did the SBC apologize in the 1990's? Because they could no longer spin the verses in your bible to justify owning black people.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  16. Not quite

    This article contains horrible, non-traditional theology. CNN perpetually presents the fringe, liberal Christian views, not the views of mainstream Christians. They are promoting their chosen ideology and attempting to undermine traditional Christianity. CNN should try to be more fair and balanced, but I'm not sure they can be on this issue. The author should be ashamed for promoting immorality that has been immorality for every religion and even for the non-religious until the past few decades.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Sounds like they are doing exactly what ever Christian does. Cherry picking the parts they like and pushing it as the correct version. Just like your post. Pot meet kettle.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • DrJStrangepork

      This article highlights that theology is at least subjective. Your comment indicates you are a believer that subscribes to a different interpretation than the author of this article. Further proof is the drastic numbers of denominations under the Christianity umbrella.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Exactly

      Sorry, there are interpretations and then there is completely missing the boat which this author did. What the author of this article did does not take into account the totality of the Bible, nor does he take into account two thousand years of tradition.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Two thousand years of tradition"? Oh, please. This is the blink of an eye, as you should know if you are truly a Christian. Traditional marriage has been reinvented over many thousands of years. It, like everything else, will continue to evolve, with or without your approval. And your approval isn't required for legal marriage.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  17. Christian

    In the end all of us are going to have to give an account for what's in the Bible. God's Word is true whether we choose to believe it or not, make excuses or not, justify our sins or not.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Patrick

      I'd be frightened to give an account to God when I die, explaining that I somehow believed He was responsible for a book that condones slavery(Lev. 25:44), beating slaves(Exodus 21:20), incest(Genesis 19:33-36), r@pe victims being required to marry the r@pist(Deuteronomy 22:28-29), treating women and children as property(Genesis 19:8, 1 Timothy 2:11-14, 1 Corinthians 14:33-35), requires battered women to remain married to abusive husbands(Matthew 19:9, 1 Corinthians 7:10-12), condones jihad type warfare where all children are ki11ed save the virgins who are a 'reward'(Numbers 31:15), and makes no mention at all of child molestation, the worst possible crime.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • JWT

      An interesting opinion. Even if it wrong.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • AGuest9

      It is ironic how an all-knowing god wouldn't tell (oops, "inspire") his book-writers to mention that 2000 years later, when the leaders of the church created as a follow-on to his "chosen people" shouldn't condone child molestation within their ranks. Maybe it slipped his mind.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Skeptimist

      On the matter of accounting... Jesus said my problem is the timber in my own eye, not the little speck in yours. (Ouch!)

      Ralph Waldo Emerson exposed the ultimate effect of self examination when he wrote, "I never knew, and never shall know, a worse man than myself." (Ouch!)

      Carl Jung explained why I resist accounting for myself and prefer to take your inventory (from Wikipedia):
      ~ "Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is." According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. ~ (Ouch!)

      The good news: When I can push past the fear and break through to reality, I can laugh at myself. Then, in the peaceful, easy feeling that follows, it makes no sense to pick on you. As my wise old Irish Grandmother said, when we laugh at ourselves, we spit in the demon's eye. She knew, you see, where the demons dwell.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  18. Gaunt

    Hey Christians:
    If Adolf Hitler found jesus and truly repended on his deathbend, then this racist, murdering genocidal megalomaniac is in heaven, right?
    If Mother Theresa converted to Hinduism on her deathbed, then this generous, kind, selfless, giving, humble person is in hell, right?
    And you DARE call your good 'good'?

    Hey Christians.

    Jesus was the Son of God, right? But according to the principle of the Trinity (and to avoid polytheism) he also WAS God himself. Separate yet the same: also a ghost, who is also separate but still the same god. Makes no sense at all, and is fundamentally silly, but whatever.

    So why did Jesus proclaim on the Cross "Dear God, why have you forsaken me?" Was he talking to himself?

    Hey Christians:
    God sits back and eats celestial popcorn while listening to the screams of the dying of genocides, plagues, wars and the holocaust. You justify this incredibly evil act by saying it has something to do with 'free will'.
    But if God is omniscient, and knows everything you are going to do before you do it and is never wrong, then there is no such thing as free will.
    Please explain both the contraditction of your faith and the evil of your diety.

    Hey Christians:
    If the bible is infallable and exactly correct (a position even the vatican has abandoned) then please explain why the four gospels have three different and contradictory versions of Christ's last words on the cross? This isnt a small detail either, its the dying proclamation of your savior, and they cant even get their stories straight on that.

    Hey Christians:

    God is all good, and loves all people. Yet he seems to have no difficulty intervening to slaughter people by the thousands, burn cities to the ground, massacre firstborn children, testing people by ordering them to murder their own kids or even drown an entire planet in Noah's time. Why are all of god's interventions about mass slaughter and evil? Why doesn’t this good god intervene from time to time to do something good?

    God intervenes to drown a planet and burn a city, but what was god doing, exactly, while that whole 'holocaust' thing was going on?

    May 21, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Jahoobie

      Hey Gaunt...I think you confuse the b@$tardization of religion by those who would use it for personal gain and to prove their narrow minded viewpoints with what religion is really trying to teach...peace, love, patience,forgiveness, understanding. Read the teachings of Christ, or Buddah, or all the major religions...they all teach the same thing. Stop getting hung up on individual passages, or people who would distort the true meaning of religion.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • scott

      And you DARE call your good 'good'? – Christians are not good "only God is good" Christians are just sinners with a savior.
      So why did Jesus proclaim on the Cross "Dear God, why have you forsaken me?" Was he talking to himself? – God the Father and God the Son (Jesus) are in a perfect relationship except for a small amount of time when the sin of all time was placed on the Son at the cross. God the Father had to separate himself from that sin.
      God is omniscient, and knows everything...free will? God is outside of time thus he exist at every point in time. However, though he knows what we will do. He lets us do it even if it is evil and against his will.
      Why doesn’t this good god intervene from time to time to do something good? – he sent his Son to save the world that is good. Throughout the OT and NT he has relented on many times from destroying mankind. "God will not be mocked" Sin has consequencies, the same as jumping off a cliff. God is love, however God is also holy.
      I do not know the mind of God "For [God's] ways are not our ways"

      May 21, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Oakspar

      Deathbed Hitler confession? Definately heaven. To think otherwise would put the sins of man over the grace of God – and Hitler is hardly the worst guy in history nor the most brutal.

      Mother Teresa's deathbed apostacy? Definately heaven. The Bible is clear that once a sheep is his, even if it strays very far, He will always retrieve it.

      As for most of the rest of your rant, you certainly don't offer a better truth for the evils of the world. If your arguement was valid, than the massacres of men through history prove there is no God, then those massacres belong to mankind alone. If that is the case, one could easily argue that a humanity capable of causing the Holoucost, Cambodia, the Communist Purges, etc was a humanity so evil and depraved that is deserves those massacres it creates.

      You also seem hung up on Germany's attritions during the Second Great War. The dirrect outcome of that suffering was that Israel was returned to the Jewish People after many hundereds of years as a homeland, and an unoccupied homeland at that. When you think about how many Jews have died getting and keeping that little strech of land, and how many would have had to die to take it by force, the Holocaust starts to look like a good deal (to that segment of Judaism that holds Israel to be holy land worth any amount of death to recover and keep).

      May 21, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • scott

      Jahoobie – no they do not. All religions excepts Christianity say be like god and he will grade you on a curve. If he is generous that day he will let you in.
      Christianity is God coming to us and dieing for us to save us. John 3:16.
      Hindu – have many gods and the goal is to ascend after many reincarnations to not exist anymore.
      Islam – has one god that you must please so that he will let you into paradise
      Buddism – similar to Hindu, but no actual god just lifestyle
      Christianity – God loves you and He makes a path for you to salvation by paying for your evil ways.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • David

      Explanation:

      If Adolf Hitler on his deathbed truly repented of his sins before Christ, then yes, he is in heaven. What people fail to realize is that, 2000 years ago, Jesus wiped the slate clean for all of us. Meaning it doesn't matter if someone is indeed a "racist, murdering genocidal megalomaniac". We are all made pure and holy through Christ, but this truth will ONLY go into effect if we believe it. Heh, shows you the important role we play in our own lives – a sign of free will.

      If Mother Teresa converted to Hinduism on her deathbed, that doesn't necessarily mean she is bound for hell. If at some point in her life she became a Christian, then her name is jotted down in the Book of Life. No matter if she converted a hundred times after that, she are a born-again Christian. She cannot be "un-born-again". If, however, she denied Christ her entire life and then died, then yes, she unfortunately is in hell. But listen, no matter how good a person may seem on the outside, if they have it in them to always deny that nagging feeling that Christ is true, then there is something different and not-so-good about them that we don't see.

      Explanation:

      Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, and the Trinity is real. I know it is hard to imagine and that's to be expected: this truth is currently unfathomable to us. You see many rather confusing instances in the bible when God is actually conversing with His "other selves", like when Jesus cried out to God, "Why have You forsaken me?" on the cross. Same thing when the bible says that the Father turned His back on the Son when He was on the cross.

      Here, picture it this way: the Trinity is made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, right? The Father is like a great torch, the Ghost is the flame of the torch, and the Son is He who lights the torch. God is all of this in one, but He is 3 separate individuals as well.

      Explanation:

      God is not up there eating popcorn, entertained by earthly destruction and chaos. He's actually doing everything He can to convince us to change our ways, but He can't MAKE us change (I'll elaborate in the next part). You see, you've touched on one of the greatest mysteries and most beautiful things about God and man: free will. God never, ever, EVER creates a living being without free will. Even His own angels have the ability to turn against Him, as we all know. Name me 1 living, breathing, conscience creature on Earth that acts like a mindless robot.

      God is not up there passively watching us all go to heck. He is trying all the time to work with us (not FOR us, mind you) to a greater future. This supports my earlier example about free will and Jesus' sacrifice. We actually have so much free will that we can influence a truth. Christ took away your sins, true. But if you don't believe that truth, you'll actually miss out on heaven as if Christ never took away your sins at all. You determine your future.

      And just because God is all-knowing doesn't mean He influences us so. Sure He knows everything you've done and will do, but who said that means He decided it for you? Life is not a predetermined video game, it's a story. God already knows how the story ends, but thankfully that doesn't mean He goes, "Oh well" and sits back with His popcorn. He is so engrossed in the story that He is constantly trying to convince us, the cast of characters, to follow the happiest, most successful path we could imagine (and no that does not mean "go to church, pray, submit yourself to a monkish lifestyle"). Life's a story, you're the author, and God's the reviewer with the suggestions. Now THAT'S free will.

      Yes, the bible is infallible and exactly correct, BUT – and this is a big but – not in its modern state. When we translated the bible to English many years ago, as careful as we were, we still made some small typos, like slight mistranslations. Now, these typos don't affect major truths in the bible, fortunately, but keep in mind they are there. Then you get denominations – people who think the bible means this, when it really means that, but don't get your shorts in a knot over it.

      Anyways, yes the bible does give different "versions" of the same quote. In fact, it does this quite often in the gospels. This does not take away from its validity – the book is quite mysterious and complex, not something you're going to grasp in one go. In one instance, it says the Father raised the Son from the dead (the resurrection), but in another instance, it says the Son raised HIMSELF from the dead (hmm, Trinity much?). Bottom line, if you look hard enough, you'll find that the bible supports itself in all areas, even if it seems to contradict itself.

      Explanation:

      God is not a murderer, but I understand what you are saying. If God knows all things, then He's responsible for every death, every pain, and every bad thing in the world, past, present, and future, right? But you're forgetting about man's free will. Remember my earlier statement "Life's a story, you're the author, and God's the reviewer with the suggestions." If you go outside right now and murder someone, it's not God's fault for not stopping you. If He DID stop you, you no longer have free will.

      The Flood was different. God did indeed cause it. This was during the Old Testament, before the time of Christ and grace, when God had to be much stricter with His rules. Why? Back then we understood far, far less than we do now. We didn't know how to write our own story, so to speak. So God helped us write. This lifestyle was much more limiting than today's, explaining the strict rules. It's like raising a child: when he's little, you tell him what's right and wrong and you choose the clothes he wears, the food he eats, what time he goes to bed, etc. When he is an adult, he is able to make his own choices and live his own life.

      So back to the Flood. This was God intervening, yes, just like when He obliterated Sodom and Gomorrah. It was God writing some of the story for us, when we were too small to write. But where is the morality in this? Wiping out the human race? Well, it was necessary because humans back then were unimaginably, horribly disgusting and wicked back then, to the point that God actually regretted making them. At that point, man was so hopelessly lost that there was no going back. God couldn't do anything to save them – that's how bad it was. So, before things got any worse, God ended them.

      Notice God's true nature, though. He actually waited to find one righteous man, Noah, to save before He cleaned the Earth. Same thing happened when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his family were the only righteous people in the entire city, and He made sure they were removed – escorted by angels – before destroying it.

      On a first impression, the Old Testament makes God look bad because He is constantly cleaning up after man's messes and constantly punishing him. Why must He punish? Because grace hadn't entered the world yet – there was no other way to judge a bad deed than to take it to the wrongdoer, often resulting in death. Well, then why didn't God send grace earlier? Because man wasn't ready yet. The knee-jerk reaction that humans had to the coming of Christ would have been MUCH different if Christ had paid his visit earlier. Christ came at our earliest convenience in order to help us (and that's an intervention for the greater good, isn't it?).

      The Holocaust was all man's doing. God was powerless to stop it because of the ever-present "free will" rule. So He did the next best thing – get someone else to stop it. As we all know, that someone else was the Allies, who eventually won the war and discovered the atrocity. By the way, the Holocaust is part of the New Testament – the time of grace, when God was able to stop punishing man at every wrong turn and allow him to make the choices in life. Unfortunately, Hitler's choice wasn't a good one.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • wdgmartin1

      I can't believe anyone took the time to try and answer your taunts. The questions are good ones but not unanswerable but in reality? On CNN comment board? Too long – get a life.

      Also can't believe CNN takes out posts that taunt gays but leaves this crap in. It's OK to take pot shots at the Christian religion but you can't do it to gays and muslims. Great position CNN!

      May 21, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Skeptimist

      Gaunt, you asked "Why doesn’t this good god intervene from time to time to do something good?"

      Well, actually, She does.
      Most often I experience it as an impulse to kindness that overrides my usual self centered thoughts and behavior.
      The choice to respond is up to me.
      I suspect this works with good result among the majority of people, most of the time.
      It's what makes society possible... against all odds.
      Of course we also have less than congenial impulses which make discussions like this possible.
      But I can't blame that on God because She gave me a choice.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Deezy

      It will be impossible for me to fully explain all that you ask but I will do my best to answer your questions and I'm grateful to share my faith with you in hopes that you'll have a better understanding concerning God. It is not my job to convert you but to do as Jesus told me, and that is to “preach the gospel to all nations", I leave the converting up to Him.

      In regard to the comparisons that you made between Hilter and Mother Teresa, If Hitler was convicted for the sins and transgressions he committed, repented and placed his faith in Christ, then yes he would go to heaven. All of the prophets and disciples throughout the Bible hold great importance but the most influential Christian missionary is the Apostle Paul formerly known as “Saul of Tarsus". Now Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, a great philosopher, and keeper of the Law but he also BRUTALLY murdered Christians and rather enjoyed it. He made it his mission to slaughter and imprison all followers of Jesus. " 3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
      5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” He had to be led by his men because he was blinded by the light. The Lord gave instructions to a man named Ananias to heal Paul of his blindness and told Ananias “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” There was nothing special about Paul that made Jesus want to use him to preach the gospel, if anything you would've thought that Jesus would've have killed Paul for murdering his followers but what Jesus displayed was "Grace" which is unmerited, undeserved favor. Jesus died for ALL sins, not just some, not the ones that we like to consider big because according to the Word of God all sin is equal, big or small, obviously murdering someone will have more of an impact than lying because the individuals family is affected among other things but in the eyes of God ALL sin is equal but Jesus died for ALL sins and I believe Paul's testimony shows that there are no sins that can't be forgiven, the power of sin has been taken away. Jesus was the only person to live without sin, though tempted as we are, He never sinned making Him a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world and upon accepting Jesus as our Savior, HIS righteousness, not ours, but HIS righteousness is placed in us and our record of sin is wiped clean.

      If mother Teresa converted to Hinduism before dying she would NOT have entered into the kingdom of God. The reason for this is because salvation is not based on good works but by grace through faith in Jesus and Jesus said " I am the way the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father but through Me". Some may not see this as fair but what people consider fair is not what God considers to be fair. The Bible tells us that God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), and holiness requires nothing less than self. Also, all people have sinned (Romans 3:23) and sin results in the judgment of God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, the person who lived a good life is still a sinner. Obviously, a "good person" has not sinned as much as a person who purposely rebelled against God his whole life. But it is not the amount of sin that is the issue. Rather, it is SIN itself. Any sin is sufficient to bring damnation. Second, the sacrifice of Jesus (who was God in flesh, John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9) is of such tremendous value that it can clean the sins of someone who sinned only a little sin as well as someone who sinned a great deal. So, is it fair that a person who was bad his whole life gets to go to heaven because he accepts Jesus, but a good person who doesn't receive Jesus goes to hell? Yes, it is fair. Whether someone has sinned a great deal or a little, or receives Christ early in life or late in life, salvation is guaranteed to those who truly receive Christ as their Savior... all of their sins are removed. Without the cleansing sacrifice of Christ on the cross (which is received by faith), nobody will be able to stand before the infinitely holy presence of God, no matter how good they were on earth.

      The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three persons that co-exist and are equal but are one. All three are God, not three Gods, but all three make up God and are of the same essence. For instance, how many forms of water can be produced? Three, liquid, steam, and ice, the same substance just different forms. In Genesis 1:26 God says " let US make man in OUR image". God wasn't talking to the angels because angels don't have the ability to create. Now God had every right to wipe mankind clean off the face of this planet because of how evil and rebellious we are but instead He loved us so much that He took off His godly attributes, became flesh and lived among us as a man and his will was the Father's will. And that will was to die for the sins of the world and redeem us.

      The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the spirit of God and the third person of the Trinity. He plays multiple roles from convicting us of our sins to living in us upon accepting Christ giving us the ability and strength to live as children of God and to do the will of God. He is the engine that drives the believer to do the will of God and leads us into all truth both through knowledge and application of that knowledge. You can identify whether or not someone is an authentic Christian because if they are then God's spirit lives in them and they bear the mind and characteristics of God, in other words, they will bear fruit. I know there are those that claim to be Christians and I know that sometimes it can be a bit confusing to tell the real from the fake because everyone claims they know and live the truth but if their life isn't consistent with what scripture says about God and the marks of a believer than you have every right to question their authenticity and as a believer I apologize for anyone you know that claimed to be a follower of Jesus but lived a life that contradicts what God stands for because it not only makes us look stupid but it defames Jesus. But at the same time Jesus can and will make it known who he truly is.

      When Jesus said, " Why have you forsaken me" he said this because God the Father turned His back on Him, not because of how bad he had been beaten, because the scriptures made it clear that "it pleased the Father to crush Him", but because God hates sin and can't stand to look at it and because Jesus took on the sins of the entire world he became sin and when God the Father looked at Him he saw sin. So no Jesus was not praying to Himself.

      Regarding the genocide, holocaust, murder, etc. you must be asking how could God be so loving yet allow so much evil to take place in the world. This is the most common question people have regarding God. Here is an interesting question for you to consider. What do you propose God should do about it? To stop evil and suffering, God would have to stop every act that causes any suffering. To do that, He would have to stop those who cause the suffering (adulterers, liars, murderers, criminals, fornicators, etc.). Wouldn’t that mean He would have to put a stop to us too? Haven’t we, by our own actions, caused some of the suffering that exists in the world? Haven’t you hurt somebody’s feelings? My friend, God has not destroyed evil because He would have to destroy us. By permitting evil and suffering to continue, God is actually showing the world mercy. The Bible says that there is coming a day when God will stop evil (2 Peter 3:7-13). He will judge sinners, put them away forever, and create a new heaven and a new earth where there will no longer be any death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). In the meantime, God is using the suffering that exists for good (Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:12). Often, when a person is suffering, they turn to God and receive the kind of help they truly need.
      Now regarding free will. The Bible teaches that Man was created with the ability to make moral choices and that he is responsible for those choices. The Fall of Man was not a predetermined event in which Adam and Eve were hapless victims of a Puppet-Master God. On the contrary, Adam and his wife had the ability to choose obedience (with its attendant blessing) or disobedience (with its consequent curse). They knew what the result of their decision would be, and they were held accountable (Genesis 3). The theme of being held accountable for our choices continues throughout Scripture. “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble” (Proverbs 22:8a). “All hard work brings a profit, / but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). “Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you” (Romans 13:3). We sin because we choose to. We can’t blame “Fate,” kismet, predestination, or God. James 1:13-14 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” Interestingly, many people who choose to sin are annoyed by the negative consequences of their sin. “A man's own folly ruins his life, / yet his heart rages against the LORD” (Proverbs 19:3). This is a very insightful verse. When a man foolishly wrecks his life, he may yet insist on blaming God, or perhaps “Fate.” In this way, he persists in his folly.

      Concerning the contradictions of Jesus last words on the cross. What you have to realize is that the gospels testify to the life, burial, and resurrection of Jesus from multiple accounts. The consistency of who Jesus is, is consistent with the writers of each gospel, because they are giving their OWN accounts, they may not include details that others chose to use, that doesn't contradict what happened. For instance if I were giving a speech about feeding the hungry, and I said " I will make every possible effort to feed as many people as I possibly can", in those exact words, and three people that attended that event gave three accounts about what I said one may say, " he said that he's going to help feed the hungry", another says, " he said with a big smile on his face, just after receiving a good luck kiss from his daughter, I will make every effort to feed as many people as possible, and another says, " as his daughter left and with tears in his eyes he said, I will feed as many people as possible", the same event happened but each person chose to only include details they deemed as neccessary, does it contradict the message or the overall event, absolutely not. Hope this helps, God Bless!

      May 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  19. Reality

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology 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.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • WASP

      @reality:"Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male."
      so seriously who cares what they do in the bedroom, i sure as hell don't care. what most equality people are fighting for isn't their right to screw they can do that any how, we are trying to get people to see that marriage comes with a lot of benefits that are being denied from this group of people based on s-e-x-ual orientation. all humans are equal, we are all created the same way and death puts rich,poor, straight, gay, etc etc etc all on the same field, through this we are all truly equal. so other than something you learned during your short stay on earth, why shouldn't these people enjoy what happiness they can get while above ground?

      May 21, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Reality

      As noted, there are basic biological difference in gay unions vs heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  20. o3whatever

    test

    May 21, 2012 at 7:25 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.