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My Take: Jesus was a dirty, dirty God
January 5th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Take: Jesus was a dirty, dirty God

Editor’s note: Johnnie Moore is the author of Dirty God (#DirtyGod). He is a professor of religion and vice president at Liberty University. Keep track of him @johnnieM .

By Johnnie Moore, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture.

You know the image. It’s the one where Jesus is walking like he’s floating in robes of pristine white followed by birds singing some holy little ditty. He’s polished, manicured, and clearly – God.

But despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God.

He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.

To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.

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What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.

Someone said, “You mean that Jesus might have had severe diarrhea?”

“Yep,” I replied, “That’s exactly what I mean.”

It seems like an obvious statement if you believe that Jesus was “fully God” and “fully man” (as most evangelicals believe and call the Incarnation), but to some of us it seems in the least, inappropriate, and at the most, sacrilege, to imagine Jesus in this way. We might believe that God was also man, but we picture him with an ever-present halo over his head.

But, actually, the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think.

I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly.

They could relate to him.

He was the teacher from a small town who knew and understood the economic insecurity that was common in the first century. Times must have been rather tough for Jesus at points in his life, for he even spoke of being homeless, having to sleep on the ground with no roof over his head.

He also knew what it was like to have his message rejected and how it felt to be misunderstood. Jesus was regarded with such little significance in his hometown that one of his critics once remarked sardonically, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” Jesus eventually had to move to different city (Capernaum) because his teachings so infuriated the people living in his hometown that they drove him out of Nazareth and even tried to throw him off a cliff.

'Jesus Wife' fragment gets more testing, delays article

The real Jesus had dirt underneath his fingernails and calluses on his hands. He probably smelled badly from sweating profusely in the Judean sun on his long hikes to Jerusalem, and Jesus was, without a doubt, rumored to be a hypocrite or absolutely mad for all the time he spent with prostitutes and those afflicted with leprosy.

Not exactly have a clean-cut image.

He had a rather shady reputation.

Some people thought he was a revolutionary. The religious leaders called him a heretic, and others even accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton - in no small part because of the vagabond group of disciples he had with him. No serious religious leader of his day would have ever recruited such people.

For his core 12 disciples, Jesus included a tough-as-nails, bombastic fisherman (Peter), a chief tax collector named Matthew (the most hated popular figure of the time), an eventual traitor who was stealing money out of the offering bucket (Judas), a prolific doubter (Thomas), two jocks nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” (James and John) and Simon the Zealot, a member of a radical political party which believed in using violence to kick out the Romans.

Jesus was sarcastic, too.

He often snapped back at the Pharisees with a tone fit for late-night television, and in a terribly embarrassing moment for all those around him, Jesus even called these respected religious teachers “snakes” that were probably sons of “Satan.”

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That’s not exactly the behavior of a sweet, self-help teacher with a halo over his head.

It’s the behavior of a frustrated man who might also be divine, but sure knows how it feels for annoying people to get under his skin.

Christians believe that Jesus chose to be born fully human, too, but why?

Lots of theologians have laid out opinions over the centuries, and in their opining they have tried once again to hijack Jesus’ humanity by defining it in philosophical terms. I believe it’s simpler than the philosophy and church councils and centuries of argument.

The brilliance of Christianity is the image of a God, named Jesus, arrived with dirty hands.

Jesus came in a time period when Greco-Roman gods were housed in gigantic temples and portrayed with superhuman powers and with superhuman physiques. Gods were believed to be far away from people on their mountains or hemmed up in their sanctuaries.

Jesus arrived in defiance of this prevailing imagery.

Jesus didn’t come flinging lightning bolts from a mountaintop, or playing politics in Rome. He came to live in a typical Middle Eastern village called Nazareth that was home to a couple hundred typical people. He didn’t decide to brandish his power, but to spend most of his time with the powerless and disenfranchised. And when he started a religious movement that reshaped history, he did it in the most profound and anticlimatic way:

He let himself be killed, and then he busted open a tomb.

In Jesus we meet a Savior who understood the desire to sleep just a few more hours, and who had to control his temper sometimes. In Jesus we find a God we can relate to because he chose to relate to us.

He was the God who became dirty so that the world’s souls might be made clean.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Johnnie Moore.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Jesus • My Take

soundoff (7,741 Responses)
  1. Wonderer

    Let's see if this comment gets posted,! COWRDS!

    January 20, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • LinCA

      @Wonderer

      You said, "Let's see if this comment gets posted,! COWRDS!"
      Having trouble getting your comments to post?

      CNN uses WordPress blogs for their opinion pieces, and they use automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. If your post doesn't show up, it most likely had a forbidden word in it.

      On the Belief Blog, repeat posts, even those that were previously censored and not displayed, will show a message stating that you posted it before.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
            arse             as in Arsenal
            bastard
            bitch
            clit
            cock           as in cockatiel
            coon           as in cocoon
            cracker
            cum             as in circumstance
            cunt
            douche
            effing
            fag
            ftw
            fuck
            goddamn
            gloryhole
            homo         as in homosexual
            hooters
            horny
            hump
            jackass
            jap
            jism
            kinky
            kooch
            necrophilia
            nipple
            nigger
            orgy
            pis
            poon
            porn
            prick
            queer
            rape         as in grape
            sex           as in homosexual
            shit
            slut
            smut
            snatch
            spic         as in despicable
            tit               as in constitution or title
            twat
            vag           as in vague
            whore
            wonderful us
            wop
            wtf
            xxx

      To circumvent the filters you can break up the words by putting an extra character in, like: consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      January 20, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  2. Buster

    @Carla

    Jesus did not break the law, but you have broken one of the ten commandments by lying. Proceed directly to Spiritual jail.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  3. Buster

    God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one triune God of the same essence and NOT separate Gods.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Neil_in_AZ

      Think about it for a minute...How many billions of other people of faith in other gods (Isis, Allah, Zues, Shiva, etc...) have given the same evidence over the course of history? Either your faith is correct, or someone else's faith is correct, or none of them are correct. Oh but of course it is your faith that lives in the truth, and all others are lost, right?

      January 20, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Buster

      yes, a protestant form of Christianity is the only true religion.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  4. CAES

    Jesus wasn't a "dirty god," because he isn't God, nor did he ever claim to be. He's God's son, the idea of the Trinity was conceived by one of the many Catholic Council's just as many of the modern day "Christian" beliefs. Not from the Bible and just man made.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Meri

      Actually in Chapter 17 of the book of John, Jesus is praying to His Father and repeatedly acknowledges that the two of them are One, and are in each other – example from the scripture: "“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
      21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
      22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
      23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."
      If the Heavenly Father is God, and Jesus is proclaiming He is in Him, and They are in One another, would they not both be God? hmmm.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bob

      In the following scriptures were the testimony that Jesus is God there are 4 sets of scriptures. In Luke when Jesus was in the temple and teaching the Jews well understood that Jesus was saying He was equal with and was God this was the opening shot fired by Jesus at the Jews. In John we learn a bit more about Jesus before He came to earth it tells of His place and power in the Kingdom and when we read this we realized why all the demons recognized Him. They unlike man were very acquainted with Jesus and worried that their time was ended. We also see that darkness did not comprehend it we see scripture fulfilled here today.
      Joh 5:39 "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
      Joh 5:40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
      Luk 4:16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.
      Luk 4:17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
      Luk 4:18 "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
      Luk 4:19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD."
      Luk 4:20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
      Luk 4:21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
      Mat 11:1 When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
      Mat 11:2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples
      Mat 11:3 and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?"
      Mat 11:4 Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see:
      Mat 11:5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.
      Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
      Joh 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
      Joh 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
      Joh 1:5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
      Joh 1:6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
      Joh 1:7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.
      Joh 1:8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Meri

      To Bob:

      Amen, you pointed it out right here very clearly: Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

      well done.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  5. culpepper

    So basically what this article is saying is Jesus was a Dirty Jew

    January 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  6. Byrd

    Yeah, all carpenters and people who know how to make things with their hands are dirty, you friggin' pig. While all of those like you who regurgitate schmegma like this are the great grandchildren of Mr. Clean.

    Liberty University. Schmegma Central.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  7. Bob

    I love it when the atheists think those who read the Bible need to be unlearned in things when God Himself talks about knowledge and what it is and that it is good. But the priority of knowledge and importance of knowledge is the key not the lack of. I especially like the last line in Daniel.
    sa_92:6 A senseless man has no knowledge, Nor does a stupid man understand this
    Pro_12:23 A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims folly.
    Pro_13:16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool displays folly.
    Pro_14:6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.
    Pro_24:4 And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.
    Pro_24:5 A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.
    Isa_11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
    Dan_12:4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."

    January 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  8. DONT READ THIS!

    I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to geico . . .

    January 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Dreamy the observing solopsist

      Laughing my behind off. Well done.

      January 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  9. Buster

    True Christians go through hard times, but they do not fall away from the Gospel. If you are an atheist or agnostic, and backsliding from previous faith, realize that this is a slump in your life, and you Jesus will welcome you back with open arms. If you have never accepted Christ, put your life in Him and realize that He has the power to cleanse you from all iniquity.

    But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

    January 18, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • sam stone

      well, buster brown, what makes you think we need to be cleansed of anything?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bob

      Because Sammy you are a bigoted low life incapable of any deep thought that's why.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • Billy

      Look who's calling someone a bigot. LOL. It's Bob, the king of bigots.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Bob

      Billy how about this for Sammy Pro_14:7 Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Skip Stealey

      Sam, you "reconcile" free will with a omniscient God quite easily. He loves all of us, but will not force us to do anything. He allows us to make our own choices because we are His children, not pets. Why do bad things like hurricanes or earthquakes kill "innocent" people? Because God put a system in place for weather and making the earth run quite nicely, He isn't going to interfere with a system that has worked quite nicely for thousands of years except in rare cases when someone with enough faith asks Him to. Don't live in an areas subject to volcanos or hurricanes if you are afraid of them. Why are children born with defects? Same reason plus man put sin in the world, causing all sorts of problems. Take all the sin out, none of these "bad" things happen. You also asked what made me think you needed cleansed of anything. That answer is simple. You don't if you don't want to live with the Lord thru eternity in a perfect world. Your choice because like any parent, He allows you to make your own choices. If you want to have peace that passes man's understanding, then talk to Him. He answers all prayer, just not on command, just as human parents do. Others ask about "verified evidence" of His existence. Look around you and then tell me how it got here, You really believe all matter was condensed into something small and then exploded? What exploded and where did it come from? You really think nothing exploded and created everything? That takes a LOT of faith to believe.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  10. Science

    At its best here and peer reviewed .No go-d(s) required. Proven right here on this tread!!!

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/17/belief-blogs-morning-speed-read-for-thursday-january-17-2013/comment-page-2/#comment-2107898

    January 18, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  11. glades2

    The author is stating something Christians already know – God could have chosen a clean palace for Jesus to live in, but to fulfill Scripture (Hebrews 2:17) He willed for His Son to live like us, a common man, sweaty and as you said, dirty, and as Scripture says, "A man like us in all things, but sin", so He could experience every aspect of our Earthly life...

    January 18, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  12. ???????

    Reviewing the comments noticed someting interesting. Science PROVED it does not work the way the bible said it did !!!
    All the facts are here on this tread. Peer reviewed !!!
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/17/belief-blogs-morning-speed-read-for-thursday-january-17-2013/#comments

    January 18, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Carla

      Yet, many believers find this scientific data questionable, in spite of the fact it can be repeatedly duplicated and last time I checked the "theory" of gravity can be seen on anyone over the age of 40. This is what I took from the article:
      Jesus was the leader of a gang that was generally disliked, traveled with his posse and got liquored up. Once he ran afoul of the law and crucified (harsh dude) and then disappeared from his burial place, Maybe he's alive and living with Janice, Elvis and Jim in Europe somewhere. I realize my comment is flippant but a well thought out and intelligently written statement is virtually always met with vitriol.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:12 am |
  13. Bob

    It is interesting to use the idea that atheists who studied the Bible or went to Sunday school and call themselves Christians. The fact is that we really have to question the idea were they Christians at all? The Bible is very clear on what a Christian is in fact the Father gives a gift to all those that are His and a confirmation. What I have found is atheists like to know or study their way into things and for science that is a great way to do things. But for the Bible it’s not, no amount of study is going to make you a Christian and in fact we see many who study religions or the Bible know very little about the author of the book in fact most know nothing about Him. In my years of studying the Bible with God I have learned that there are no untruths in it. Some things I don't understand the truth behind what is being said but that really makes asking God to explain it to me all the more fun. Did you ever wonder why the Bible says seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear, well in Jesus time it is like today many thinking that knowledge is the way to find God. If that were true then how big is God? If we can find Him by knowledge then is He really God with all the knowledge in the universe?

    January 18, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • sam stone

      and who the fvck are you to question who is a real christian?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Bob

      Sammy boy I don't have to God already gave us the criteria, fool

      January 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Billy

      Jesus says if you call someone a fool, you're going to hell.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Bob

      Psa_14:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.
      Just being honest and following the Bible, I really like this one it seems really to fit Sammy
      Pro_26:11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Sorry Billy I forgot this also its about a brother not a heathen like Sammy'

      January 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  14. Buster

    Buster

    @Get Real
    @sam stone

    God knows the heart of man because we live out of our heart or core inner being. The choices we make our based on the condition of our heart. What is predetermined is the outcome of the choices that we make in life. If we accept Christ, we go to heaven. If we remain agnostic or atheist, the outcome is hell.
    ************************
    The idea that we need some sign or evidence to prove God or Spirituality is based on a false dichotomy. The dichotomy leads one to believe that if there Western scientific method or approach to proving something does not work, it is not true or does not exist. If atheists, an agnostics would take the time and read the Bible, they would see that Biblical teaching goes against this type of methodical way of knowing about the existence of Spirit.
    ************************************

    January 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Pete

      "If atheists, an agnostics would take the time and read the Bible, they would see that Biblical teaching goes against this type of methodical way of knowing about the existence of Spirit."

      Hey, idiot many of the atheists posting here are former Christians or ministers. They have read the bible and done research which showed the bible is full of literary genre, it's myth.

      January 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Really??

      men created your bible. They told you what to believe, who to worship, and a bunch of stories that are clearly made up and false. You accepted the brainwashing that goes along with religion.
      The writers of the bible pondered many questions and right wording, phrasing. They debated it back and forth and molded, forged your book over a long period of time. They thought of many of the questions that have been posed and over time closed many of the loopholes that were in it. They did not have enough knowledge to close all of them and as we progress, we see just how false the bible really is. Believing that it is truth is illogical and unreasonable.

      January 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Buster

      @Pete

      True Christians do not fall away from the Gospel.

      January 18, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • sam stone

      your empty proxy threats are a bad joke. blather on some more....it's entertaining

      January 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      "They showed you a statue, told you to pray, built you a temple and locked you away. But they never told you the price you'd pay for things you've never done" – St. William of Hicksville

      January 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      "True Christians do not fall away from the Gospel."

      Translation: "True Christians (TM) turn off their critical thinking once they accept the gospel"

      January 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm |

  15. 261 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    .
    .
    John

    Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

    Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

    There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

    Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

    Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

    Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

    That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

    .
    .
    .
    Don

    The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "whosoever." All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexual! We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others; whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships

    Biblical Interpretation and Theology also change from time to time. Approximately 150 years ago in the United States, some Christian teaching held that there was a two-fold moral order: black and white. Whites were thought to be superior to blacks, therefore blacks were to be subservient and slavery was an institution ordained by God. Clergy who supported such an abhorrent idea claimed the authority of the Bible. The conflict over slavery led to divisions which gave birth to some major Christian denominations. These same denominations, of course, do not support slavery today. Did the Bible change? No, their interpretation of the Bible did!

    Genesis 19:1-25

    Some "televangelists" carelessly proclaim that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of "homosexuality." Although some theologians have equated the sin of Sodom with homosexuality, a careful look at Scripture corrects such ignorance. Announcing judgment on these cities in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham's nephew, Lot, persuades them to stay in his home. Genesis 19 records that "all the people from every quarter" surround Lot's house demanding the release of his visitors so "we might know them." The Hebrew word for "know" in this case, yadha, usually means "have thorough knowledge of." It could also express intent to examine the visitors' credentials, or on rare occasions the term implies sexual intercourse. If the latter was the author's intended meaning, it would have been a clear case of attempted gang rape. Several observations are important.

    First, the judgment on these cities for their wickedness had been announced prior to the alleged homosexual incident. Second, all of Sodom's people participated in the assault on Lot's house; in no culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual. Third, Lot's offer to release his daughters suggests he knew his neighbors to have heterosexual interests. Fourth, if the issue was sexual, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his daughters? Most importantly, why do all the other passages of Scripture referring to this account fail to raise the issue of homosexuality?

    Romans 1:24-27

    Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same-sex acts occurs in Romans 1:24-27 where, in the context of a larger argument on the need of all people for the gospel of Jesus Christ, certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the "uncleanness" of idolatrous Gentiles.

    This raises the question: Does this passage refer to all homosexual acts, or to certain homosexual behavior known to Paul's readers? The book of Romans was written to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome, who would have been familiar with the infamous sexual excesses of their contemporaries, especially Roman emperors. They would also have been aware of tensions in the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewish laws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul's letter to the Galatians. Jewish laws in Leviticus mentioned male same-sex acts in the context of idolatry.

    The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offenses as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.

    What is "Natural"?

    Significant to Paul's discussion is the fact that these "unclean" Gentiles exchanged that which was "natural" for them, physin, in the Greek text, for something "unnatural," para physin. In Romans 11:24, God acts in an "unnatural" way, para physin, to accept the Gentiles. "Unnatural" in these passages does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action contradicting one's own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is "unnatural," para physin, for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual lifestyle.

    I Corinthians 6:9

    Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relationships of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts. In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind," as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some new translations are worse, rendering these words "homosexuals." Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations.

    The first word – malakos, in the Greek text-which has been translated "effeminate" or "soft," most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.

    The second word, Arsenokoitai, occurs once each in I Corinthians and I Timothy (1:10), but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning, "males" and the other "beds", a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of I Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes. But many experts now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain. Scripture Study Conclusion…No Law Against Love

    The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love . . . . . against such there is no law. One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: "...the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself".

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    Sarah

    Let me make one thing clear: being gay is not wrong. It is not unnatural. It isn’t immoral or gross or something that should provoke disgust. What is wrong, what is unnatural, what is immoral and what is gross is intolerance and discrimination against fellow human beings for their sexual orientation and active pursuit of preventing loving and committed homosexual couples from legally being married.

    I believe in God, and I identify as a Christian, and this identity as a Christian has provided me with the insight to know that people who oppose gay marriage based on “religious reasons” are just making excuses for their homophobia. The idea that homosexuality is sinful is a farce. The Bible never actually condemns homosexuality. You know what the Bible does condemn?

    Winking. “He who winks is plotting perversity.” Proverbs 16:30

    Rounded haircuts. “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Leviticus 19:17

    Tattoos. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.” Leviticus 19:28

    It is unacceptable that some modern Americans think it’s alright to toss rules like these aside and yet still vehemently oppose marriage rights for homosexual couples.

    As a Christian, I’ve been taught to love my neighbor. Somehow, active public discrimination against homosexuals and barring fellow human beings from marriage rights does not seem very loving or neighborly to me.

    Homosexuality isn’t a disease: it’s an innate way of being.

    Nobody is going to “catch” gay.

    Nobody is going to be “cured” of their homosexuality.

    Sexual orientation is personal and affects nobody but the individual and is absolutely not the business of anybody but the individual.

    The fact that people continue to suggest otherwise and perpetuate this idea that homosexuality is wrong and attempting to make outcasts of people who identify as gay is unbelievably disgusting and frightening and old-fashioned.

    It’s 2012, and we should have come much further than this by now.

    This matters. This is an issue that, if left unfixed, tacitly permits discrimination and harassment.

    The prevalence of anti-gay messages encourages bullying and hate crimes, and there are literally confused, hurt, frightened young people who actually kill themselves over issues like this — and yet people still insist upon calling homosexuality a sin.

    The cruelty and hypocrisy is infuriating and unacceptable.

    It needs to stop.

    Until marriage equality is legal in all fifty states, I hope Americans will have the courage to end hatred and homophobia.
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    Eric

    Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.
    All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

    On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

    Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

    Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

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    James

    As usual, Bob is wrong again. The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.
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    Brent

    "There is no Christian case for "gay marriage"

    Religion-based bigotry use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

    Connecting the dots between historical bigotry against other groups and the atudes of some people today toward hosexuality is one of the most effective ways to educate people about the denial of equal rights to the LGBT community.

    Most people know that, historically, religion has been used to justify discrimination against women, religious minorities and people of color. Putting anti-gay religious beliefs in this historical context can be a powerful tool in connecting discrimination that most Americans today accept as morally wrong and the discrimination faced by LGBT people. By citing historical instances of religion-based bigotry and prejudice, you allow people to be more comfortable with atudinal change – they realize they are not stepping out alone against a commonly accepted viewpoint but rather following historical progress toward justice and equality.

    When talking about the misuse of religion to justify discrimination in the past, it is important not to say that the LGBT community’s struggle with discrimination is exactly the same as the Civil Rights Movement. Rather, the point is that religion-based bigotry has been a common denominator of injustice toward many groups in American society’s past. When given a chance, many people will see the underlying historical pattern of using religious teachings and beliefs to justify harmful discrimination.

    There is another benefit to citing other times in the past when religious teachings have been used to justify discrimination. Many times, when people of faith are challenged about their anti-gay views, they cite biblical verses or other religious texts as a safe haven when they are unable to articulate why they hold prejudiced atudes toward LGBT people. Instead of telling people that their interpretation is wrong, you can remind them that other religious texts have been used in the past to justify atudes and laws that are recognized today as morally wrong and unjust – such as discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities.

    History provides the moral judgment, and we do not have to be theologians engaged in scriptural debates to point people to the judgment rendered by history.

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    Elaine

    "Sodom and Gomorrah is still a good example. "

    In Genesis 18, the story about the angels coming to Lot's house, we learn that the reason they were coming to destroy Sodom was because of the wickedness that ALREADY existed in the city. The exact form of wickedness is not mentioned in that story!

    Let's just reinforce this CRITICAL piece of information. In the story of Sodom, in Genesis 18, God had ALREADY decided to destroy the city BEFORE the attempted ra pe of the angels – which incidentally was perpetrated mainly by heterose xuals since ALL the men of the city were involved, and we know that throughout history, gays have only represented about 10% of the population. Also, if they were ho mose xuals, why would Lot suggest that they take his daughters instead? That just doesn't make sense if the men were gay.

    So just to get this straight, the event that took place at Sodom was an act of violence and ra pe, mainly by heterose xuals. It had nothing to do with a loving relationship between two people of the same se x, and ho mose xuality was NOT the sin of Sodom in whatever form. The story of Sodom in Genesis 18 was about violence and domination, the same type of event that takes place in prisons and occupied countries, but it was NOT the reason for God's decision to destroy the city, and to use this story as a basis for prejudice against ho mose xuality in general is like comparing ra pe to marriage. There is NO similarity!

    The aftermath of Sodom aside, let's take a look at other passages of Scripture that mention the sin of Sodom. Here are 14 references to Sodom and not one of them mentions ho mose xuality!!!!! The overwhelming themes are idolatry, immorality and inhospitality! To me, this indicates people like Bob and HeavenSent have taken things out of context!

    Deuteronomy 29:17-26 – the sin – idolatry and images to false gods – "Why has the Lord done this to the land? . . . It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . ."

    Deuteronomy 32:32-38 – the sin – idolatry – "He will say 'Now where are their gods?'"

    Isaiah 1:2-23 – the sin – idolatry, rebellion, injustice, murder, greed, theft, covetousness, mistreating the poor – "They have rebelled against Me."

    Isaiah 3:8-19 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance – "Their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious Presence"

    Jeremiah 23:10-14 – the sin – idolatry, adultery, lying by priests and prophets – "Both prophet and priest are godless. . . . They prophesied by Baal and led My people astray."

    Jeremiah 49:16-18 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance, oppression, pride of the heart – "The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived
    you. . ."

    Jeremiah 50:2-40 – the sin – idolatry, pride, false prophets – "Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. . . . . For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. . . . . Their shepherds have led them astray."

    Lamentations 4:3-6 – the sin – cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor – "My people have become heartless."

    Ezekiel 16:49-50 – the sin – "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me."

    Amos 4:1-11 – the sin – idolatry, oppression, mistreating the poor – "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom . . . . yet you have not returned to Me."

    Zephaniah 2:8-11 – the sin – idolatry, pride, mocking – "This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the land."

    Luke 17:26-29 – Jesus speaking – No specific sins mentioned

    II Peter 2:1-22 – the sin – idolatry, living after ungodliness, lawlessness, arrogance, blaspheming, adultery, greed, corruption, depravity, boasting, lust – "But there were also false prophets among the people . . . . ."

    Jude 1:7-8 – the sin – se xual immorality and perversion, i.e fornication after strange flesh (angels, see Genesis 6:1) KJV

    The dictionary defines "perversion" as "a se xual practice regarded as abnormal". That means that a heterose xual practicing ho mose xual acts is perverted as in the case of ALL the men of Sodom wanting to engage with the angels (strange flesh). However, since se x with the same gender is normal for a gay person, there is no perversion associated merely by the se xual act.

    Note also that, while the word "abomination" has been used with reference to hom ose xuality, the biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish, trimming your hair, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone the entire NFL?), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton) – the list is long. How can we discuss one sin to the exclusion of all others?

    This is an enormous subject, which has been reduced to simplistic values. It is plain and simple prejudice to portray ho mose xuals as immoral just because of the gender to whom we are attracted. Of course there are immoral hom ose xuals, just as there are immoral heterose xuals, but simple orientation carries no implication of morality or immorality.

    Our se xuality is God-given. God made us the way we are. It follows naturally that He loves us exactly the way He made us. So long as we embrace marriage with the same standards as any monogamous, loving heterose xual relationship there should be no barrier against us.

    When gays are only asking to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected, why is there so much fear and anger? To strengthen marriage, why not take a stand against divorce and separation, instead of opposing love and commitment? Jesus spoke of divorce, but he never mentioned hom ose xuality. I believe that was because ho mose xuality was not even an issue in His day. Love was love. Love IS Love!

    "Protect marriage? Puhlease. With a 50 percent divorce rate, rampant domestic violence, Las Vegas drive-through chapels, and I wanna-marry-a-really-rich-guy reality TV shows, there's no way gays could trash marriage the way straight people have."

    This letter only refers to the sin of Sodom. There are actually six "clobber verses" which are used against gays. Space does not permit an explanation of each one, but just as the sin of Sodom has been misrepresented, so have the other verses. There is an explanation for each one that clearly indicates that, just as slavery was condoned by Scripture for many years, ("Slaves obey your masters . . . . ." Eph. 6:5-8) and civil wars were fought to protect the ownership of people, we now know that Scripture was interpreted incorrectly, for God would not have people to be possessions.

    We now have a fuller understanding of Scripture with regard to slavery. It's time to accept a fuller understanding of ho mose xuality based on new research into language, concepts and customs when these words were written.

    So please choose acceptance and inclusiveness whether or not you understand fully. One of us is wrong. Many of you think it's me. I think it's you, based on solid research into Scripture from another perspective. Yes, God encourages us to question Scripture.

    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, REPROOF and instruction in righteousness." II Tim. 3:16

    If there is even a chance that I could be right, do you want to take the eternal risk of rejecting some of God's children, and slamming the doors of your churches to those of us who wish to enter? That's what you're doing when you treat us as less than yourselves simply based on our orientation.

    If we have done the research, and it is our understanding that God loves us, including our orientation, then why not just let God be the judge? He will be in the end anyway. If one of us is to err, why not err on the side of love and acceptance? Now that was truly Jesus' example!

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    Shawn

    Let me start this off with a quote from a famous lesbian, Lynn Lavner:

    "There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning ho mose xual activity, and our enemies are always throwing them up to us – usually in a vicious way and very much out of context.

    What they don't want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterose xual activity. I don't mean to imply by this that God doesn't love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision."

    I am going to attempt to keep this short and simple, so here we go.

    Some claim that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 clearly say that ho mose xual se x is an abomination. In fact, it merits death. Isn't it obvious that God hates hom ose xuality?

    Yes, depending on which translation you are using, Leviticus does say, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it's an abomination." However, a few points must be made about this statement:

    a) It appears in Leviticus, which was given to preserve the distinctive characteristics of the religion and culture of Israel. However, as stated in Galatians 3:22-55, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. Even if you, for some reason, argue that these "laws" are still important, then you surely follow all of them, right?

    It is interesting that people who use Leviticus against the gay community forget the part that talks about religious sacrifices, making women sleep in tents outside during their period, the dietary restrictions placed on them and how to cleanse a leper, all of which appear in Leviticus.

    The laws of Leviticus are completely obsolete for today's Christian; however, even if you do claim to live by the laws of Leviticus, it is not fair to pick and choose which laws you are going to live by, or condemn a people by, if you are not going to follow the others. You should not need any more convincing evidence than this; but if you do, be my guest.

    b) The word that was in the original work, "to'ebah," which was translated into Greek as "bdglygma" actually means "ritual impurity" rather than abomination (or enormous sin). These passages in Leviticus can be translated to not mean hom ose xual se x generally, but only limiting hom ose xual se x in Pagan temples.

    c) This passage does not denounce hom ose xual behavior as a whole, but just the specific act of anal se x. This was meant for the prevention of disease. It was ruled unclean because it was physically unclean; however, hygiene has made wonderful advances since that time.

    d) These passages in Leviticus can be interpreted in many ways. I have seen it interpreted by scholars and priests to mean: "don't have se x with another man in your wife's bed;" "don't have se x with another man in the temple;" and "don't have se x with another man and pretend he is a woman," just to name a few.

    I have never seen an interpretation in any Bible, or from any scholar, that specifically says to never have se x with a man.

    Some claim the Bible simply does not support gay marriage. Chapter two of Genesis defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. And later, in Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus himself reiterates the traits of a traditional marriage. How can you argue that anything other than celibacy is honorable for gay and lesbian people?

    Yes, marriage is a holy union. However, in these passages, while Jesus reiterates (but does not require) the traditional marriage, he also provides an exception for eunuchs (castrated men – or otherwise impotent men, in today's terms), and allowed them to be married, saying that this law is given to those to whom it applies.

    Because these eunuchs were born se xless, God made an exception for them because it was natural. The same applies to the Gay community today. Science has proven hom ose xuality is completely natural, so it seems God would allow for hom ose xual marriages.

    In Matthew 19: 4-5, Jesus encourages a traditional path, but does not discourage alternatives, except in the case of divorce.

    Jesus did stress purity of marriage, but not in regard to the se xes of the people within it. It can be seen that the reason that churches are against hom ose xual marriage is not because it is explicitly said by God, but because of a lack of instruction to specifically allow it.

    In the time that the Bible was written it would have been impossible to foresee the future to be able to specifically allow or forbid hom ose xual marriage.

    Some claim, in Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he lists hom ose xuals amongst the many sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Doesn't that make God's position on this vice very clear?

    If we look at the other types of people listed in this passage, we can understand what it is actually talking about. Law breakers, thieves, adulterers and drunks are specifically mentioned. The word "hom ose xual" was not found until the 1890s, so it would have been impossible for it to be in the original version.

    What actually appears in the original is Paul condemning those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind." In this context, the original Greek word, "malakos," is translated into effeminate, or soft, which, more than likely, refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control.

    In this passage, when Paul condemns "abusers of themselves with mankind," he is speaking of male prost itutes.

    Then there are the people who claim that, even though science has proven that people don't choose their se xual orientation, the fact remains that hom ose xuality is unnatural. Romans 1:26-27 tells us that humans have a sinful nature, and therefore commit sins against God. Certain people are predisposed to be alcoholics and pedophiles, but that doesn't make their actions any less immoral. God tells us to "tear out your eye" if it makes you stumble. Why can't you just accept hom ose xuality as the part of your nature you must deny?

    Because the Bible has gone through so many translations, and through the hands of many people (some being non-believers), it is not surprising that the meaning has become a little fuzzy in parts.

    Hom ose xuality is normal. The phrase "para physin" appears in the original text for this verse. This term is often translated to mean "unnatural;" however, more accurate translation would be unconventional.

    Proof for this can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:14 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to men with long hair (unconventional, not unnatural) and in Romans 11:24 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to the positive action God made to bring together the Jews and Gentiles.

    All in all, hom ose xuality is obviously not a sin, unless you take passages from the Bible and add your own words or you just try really hard to interpret it that way. Let's just remember Galatians 5:14, where Paul stated, "the whole Law is fulfilled in one Statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

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    YeahRight

    Bob – the biggest liar anywhere. We've pointed out over and over again you are using reports from well known hate groups that the experts in this country have proven are false. The experts in this country are stating that heterose xual behavior and hom ose xual behavior are normal aspects of human se xuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bise xual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that hom ose xuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    Like their heterose xual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

    Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-se x partners closely resemble those of heterose xual partnerships. Like heterose xual couples, same-se x couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterose xual and same-se x couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterose xual couples.

    A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-se x parents as it is for children of opposite-se x parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-se x parents as for children of opposite-se x parents.

    Assertions that heterose xual couples are inherently better parents than same se x couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterose xual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterose xual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterose xual parents.

    January 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Why do you make your comment so short and succinct? Elaborate. Don't be afraid of boring anyone. Give us the details.

      January 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  16. Rocko

    261 dead burning in hell pastors claim gay marragie is ok

    January 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Buster

    @Get Real
    @sam stone

    God knows the heart of man because we live out of our heart or core inner being. The choices we make our based on the condition of our heart. What is predetermined is the outcome of the choices that we make in life. If we accept Christ, we go to heaven. If we remain agnostic or atheist, the outcome is hell.

    The idea that we need some sign or evidence to prove God or Spirituality is based on a false dichotomy. The dichotomy leads one to believe that if there Western scientific method or approach to proving something does not work, it is not true or does not exist. If atheists, an agnostics would take the time and read the Bible, they would see that Biblical teaching goes against this type of methodical way of knowing about the existence of Spirit.

    January 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm |

  18. 261 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    January 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  19. Buster

    Jesus purchased salvation for us by his death on the cross. We are free in the sense that we can cling to Christ to inherit eternal life with Him. It's our choice.

    January 17, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • sam stone

      Do you serioiusly desire eternal life?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  20. Buster

    For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving not regret, but worldly sadness brings about death.

    January 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • sigh

      I'm worldly and sad about death...actually quite p.o.'d is more like it.

      January 17, 2013 at 6:05 am |
    • sam stone

      free people do not need salvation, buster brown, only slaves do

      January 17, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Buster

      Free people need salvation, but it is a choice out of their own free will. A life without salvation leads to death and eternal condemnation.

      January 17, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • sam stone

      sayin' so don't make it so, buster brown

      January 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      while we are at it, buster, how do you reconcile "free will" with an omniscient god?

      January 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Get Real

      Buster,
      "A life without salvation leads to death and eternal condemnation."

      And your verified evidence that this actually happens is....?

      January 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.