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My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality
February 9th, 2011
10:31 AM ET

My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality

Editor's Note: Jennifer Wright Knust is author of Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire.

By Jennifer Wright Knust, Special to CNN

We often hears that Christians have no choice but to regard homosexuality as a sin - that Scripture simply demands it.

As a Bible scholar and pastor myself, I say that Scripture does no such thing.

"I love gay people, but the Bible forces me to condemn them" is a poor excuse that attempts to avoid accountability by wrapping a very particular and narrow interpretation of a few biblical passages in a cloak of divinely inspired respectability.

Truth is, Scripture can be interpreted in any number of ways. And biblical writers held a much more complicated view of human sexuality than contemporary debates have acknowledged.

In Genesis, for example, it would seem that God’s original intention for humanity was androgyny, not sexual differentiation and heterosexuality.

Genesis includes two versions of the story of God’s creation of the human person. First, God creates humanity male and female and then God forms the human person again, this time in the Garden of Eden. The second human person is given the name Adam and the female is formed from his rib.

Ancient Christians and Jews explained this two-step creation by imagining that the first human person possessed the genitalia of both sexes. Then, when the androgynous, dually-sexed person was placed in the garden, s/he was divided in two.

According to this account, the man “clings to the woman” in an attempt to regain half his flesh, which God took from him once he was placed in Eden. As third century Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman explained, when God created the first man, God created him with two faces. “Then he split the androgyne and made two bodies, one on each side, and turned them about.”

When the apostle Paul envisioned the bodies that would be given to humanity at the end of time, he imagined that they would be androgynous, “not male and female.” The third-century non-canonical Gospel of Philip, meanwhile, lamented that sexual difference had been created at all: “If the female had not separated from the male, she and the male would not die. That being’s separation became the source of death.”

From these perspectives, God’s original plan was sexual unity in one body, not two. The Genesis creation stories can support the notion that sexual intercourse is designed to reunite male and female into one body, but they can also suggest that God’s blessing was first placed on an undifferentiated body that didn’t have sex at all.

Heterosexual sex was therefore an afterthought designed to give back the man what he had lost.

Despite common misperceptions, biblical writers could also imagine same-sex intimacy as a source of blessing. For example, the seemingly intimate relationship between the Old Testament's David and Jonathan, in which Jonathan loved David more than he loved women, may have been intended to justify David’s rise as king.

Jonathan, not David, was a king’s son. David was only a shepherd. Yet by becoming David’s “woman,” Jonathan voluntarily gave up his place for his beloved friend.

Thus, Jonathan “took great delight in David,” foiling King Saul’s attempts to arrange for David’s death (1 Samuel 19:1). Choosing David over his father, Jonathan makes a formal covenant with his friend, asking David to remain faithful to him and his descendants.

Sealing the covenant, David swears his devotion to Jonathan, “for he loved him as he loved his own life” (1 Samuel 20:17). When Jonathan is killed, King David composes a eulogy for him, praising his devotion: “greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).

Confident claims about the forms of sex rejected by God are also called into question by early Christian interpretations of the story of Sodom. From the perspective of the New Testament, it was the near rape of angels - not sex between men - that led to the demise of the city.

Linking a strange story in Genesis about “sons of God” who lust after “daughters of men” to the story of the angels who visit Abraham’s nephew Lot, New Testament writers concluded that the mingling of human and divine flesh is an intolerable sin.

As the New Testament letter Jude puts it:

And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and went after strange flesh, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire (Jude 6-7).

The first time angels dared to mix with humans, God flooded the earth, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals. In the case of Sodom, as soon as men attempted to engage in sexual activity with angels, God obliterated the city with fire, delivering only Lot and his family. Sex with angels was regarded as the most dangerous and offensive sex of all.

It’s true that same-sex intimacy is condemned in a few biblical passages. But these passages, which I can count on one hand, are addressed to specific sex acts and specific persons, not to all humanity forever, and they can be interpreted in any number of ways.

The book of Leviticus, for example, is directed at Israelite men, offering instructions regarding legitimate sexual partners so long as they are living in Israel. Biblical patriarchs and kings violate nearly every one of these commandments.

Paul’s letters urge followers of Christ to remain celibate and blame all Gentiles in general for their poor sexual standards. Jesus, meanwhile, says nothing at all about same-sex pairing, and when he discusses marriage, he discourages it.

So why are we pretending that the Bible is dictating our sexual morals? It isn’t.

Moreover, as Americans we should have learned by now that such a simplistic approach to the Bible will lead us astray.

Only a little more than a century ago, many of the very same passages now being invoked to argue that the scriptures label homosexuality a sin or that God cannot countenance gay marriage were used to justify not “biblical marriage” but slavery.

Yes, the apostle Paul selected same-sex pairings as one among many possible examples of human sin, but he also assumed that slavery was acceptable and then did nothing to protect slaves from sexual use by their masters, a common practice at the time. Letters attributed to him go so far as to command slaves to obey their masters and women to obey their husbands as if they were obeying Christ.

These passages served as fundamental proof texts to those who were arguing that slavery was God’s will and accusing abolitionists of failing to obey biblical mandates.

It is therefore disturbing to hear some Christian leaders today claim that they have no choice but to regard homosexuality as a sin. They do have a choice and should be held accountable for the ones they are making.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jennifer Wright Knust.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Homosexuality • Opinion • Sex

soundoff (4,235 Responses)
  1. LTPayne

    Thank you for this view Jennifer. People forget that the bible is a daily guide for living and it supposed to teach tolerance in ALL aspects of life and even if people out there don't believe in your assessment, they need to remember that we are free to choose and believe in our own interpretation. God gave us all a choice!

    February 9, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • NL

      "God gave us all a choice!"
      Problem with that is that many believers consider their choice to be the only correct one.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Josh

      NL: just like you consider your choice to be the only correct one.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • NL

      Josh-
      Who said I did? Atheism is good for me, but I wouldn't assume that it's for everyone. Many moderate believers are perfectly all right to get along with and actually very accepting of non-believers, and other faiths alike. I may like to criticize what they believe, but I welcome their criticism of my beliefs equally. It's open dialogue I'm after, and my comment above was directed at those who are completely closes-minded.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Josh

      I apologize NL you did not say that. That was poor reading on my part.

      The only reason I stated what I did is that people will discredit a religious person (namely Christians) for close-mindedness, and say that there is no god, or they will say they are open-minded and anything goes. The problem with that stance is that it is actually not a completely open-minded stance because the so-called "open-minded" person is actually close-minded to the idea that someone or group of people may actually be right or closest to right however you'd want to word that.

      So it sounds really good, and like it is a better or more elite stance, but in all reality there is not such thing as open-mindedness. It's a good idea, but cannot be achieved. We all have worldviews and things we believe and hold onto as what we think is right (like you stating you don't think there is a god). At some point that breaks down.

      I am also not one who is for closed-mindedness in the sense that someone just takes what someone says and regurgitates it because it sounds good. I admit, I'm close-minded in a great sense, but my point is that we all are. That's why we have these articles on here and thousands of bantering comments back and forth from all sides. But maybe it would be great for us all to leave ourselves just a tad open and think maybe there isn't a god, maybe it's all a hoax, and search that out. And maybe it would be good for the other side to think maybe Jesus is who he says he was. and maybe i should read the bible for myself.

      We'd all get a bit further i think. sorry for the long response.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • NL

      Josh-
      Hey, buddy, no worries.

      Open-mindedness and tolerance are great things, but it is OK to choose and stick with what we actually do believe in, right? I like to think of religious beliefs as being more like differences in culture than differences in identifying some universal truth. You know the old wisdom that to fully appreciate another culture you not only have to be guided in it by a native, but you also have to immerse yourself in it, live it for a time. Many atheists, if not most, were once people of faith and actually have an insider's appreciation for a religion. We've gone through thinking that maybe Jesus was real, and we've read the bible and usually continue to read it more than the average Christian actually does. How many Christians, on the other hand, can say that they honestly became atheists for a time? Truly lived for a time believing that God wasn't real? Walked in our shoes as much as we've walked in theirs? Not many, right?

      Actually, I am fairly tolerate of what other people believe, but here's the rub, I'm tolerate as long as they keep their beliefs to themselves. Think of it this way, most people are very tolerate of the Amish, right? With all their outdated ways we're generally perfectly happy to let them live the way they want. Why, because they are basically a subculture with no pretensions of pushing their ways on the rest of us. They aren't a threat to our beliefs or culture so we are content to let them be. Many Christians are content to let us atheists be as well, but not all. Some appear to actually want to make enemies. They attack us directly with assumptions about our lacking any morality, so we react. Some people of faith are so sure that they are absolutely correct that they feel justified in working towards imposing their beliefs on us all. When we question their rationale they say we are being intolerant, yet don't they question the rationale of each and every law that they disagree with? These folks don't appear to want to be represented on any COEXIST bumper sticker, so that's why I argue that they're harming people.

      February 10, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  2. sheetiron

    So I'm courious Miss Knust... Just how bad did you fail Hermeunetics?

    February 9, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • WarhammerTwo

      Please, Sheetiron, are we so arrogant to think that we know the absolute right interpretation of something written nearly 2000 years ago?

      Interpret –verb (used with object)
      1. to give or provide the meaning of according to one's own understanding or sensitivity
      2. explain; explicate; elucidate: to interpret the hidden meaning of a parable.
      3. to construe or understand in a particular way: to interpret a reply as favorable.
      4. to bring out the meaning of (a dramatic work, music, etc.) by performance or execution.

      The very definition of hermeneutics includes subjectivity. The only way you could fail a course like that is if you could arguably defend your own subjective interpretation. I think the pastor defended her viewpoints quite nicely.

      In the meantime, let's remember Micah 6:8 and act justly, love mercy and walk HUMBLY with our God.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • WarhammerTwo

      That should actually read "could NOT arguably defend..." I got a little overexuberant in my reply and forgot the "not."

      February 9, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  3. Janae

    THE BIBLE IS THE GUIDE FOR ALL HUMAN KIND. ITS NOT FOR PADTOR, ELDERS, FATHERS, PRIEST TO CHANGE IT. GOD CHANGES NOT. WE ALWAYS CHANGE THINGS TO WHAT FITS US.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • NL

      And condemning gays is what 'fits' many people's bigotry, right?

      February 9, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  4. Wendy

    Finally men are getting their balls back: MANHOOD101. COM

    February 9, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Wes

      hahah

      October 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  5. sjd

    The bible condemns divorce. We should eradicate gays–right after we get rid of all those evil divorcees.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  6. yawn!!!

    Shes really a lesbian

    February 9, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  7. Trina

    This is the biggest bunch of bull that I have ever heard!

    February 9, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • NL

      Why?

      February 9, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • B.J. Moritz

      You should try reading the Bible. Hooooo boy!

      February 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • NL

      B.J. Moritz-
      I ask 'why' because I do read the bible. Have you read it?

      February 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  8. H&AI Fan

    This account is pretty much the narrative within the song "The Origin of Love" from the off-Broadway hit "Hedwig & The Angry Inch." Beautiful sentiment.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  9. Paul

    Thank you Pastor Knust for giving a clear example of modern apostasy.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Bill

      And thank you for putting a fine example of 'christian' love out into the ether...

      February 9, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  10. Tom

    Who cares what the Bible says. It's just ficition.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • PD

      Can you explain how the Bible is fiction?

      February 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Bob

      > Can you explain how the Bible is fiction?

      The age of the earth is not what the bible says. We know this from several sources, radioactive half life dating, dendrochronology to name a few.

      The way animals have come into existence has been disproven based on the fossil layers we find.

      There was no global flood with fully formed animals. We do not see a mixture of different types animals in the fossil record (ie, dinosaurs with rabbits).

      DNA has shown that we share a common ancestor with the great apes. Also showing the creation story is bunk.

      It goes on and on. Of course, you have to read more then one book to get this information...

      February 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • QS

      Can you explain how it's not?

      February 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Thinking Student

      Prove it.

      February 10, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  11. RobK

    Dave – right. I am sure there is a biological reason some are tempted into anger, murder, drug use, robbery etc. That does not excuse the sin.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • QS

      LMFAO!

      February 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • NL

      RobK-
      And there are perfectly natural reasons why little children honestly believe in monsters and other things unseen to their more mature and reasoned parents, but does that excuse grown adults who never got over that fear?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • zax

      how do you lump anger and drug use with murder and thievery? Complete apples and oranges.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  12. Dave

    Welcome to the new religion...nobody is ever at fault for anything. Their upbringing made them do it, their biology made them do it, the pressures of society made them do it. How simple it is to rationalize our sins when we remove all personal accountability from the equation.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Bill

      Flatly stupid.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • NL

      Isn't a Christian stating that they have no choice but to follow the bible also a way of removing all personal accountability from the equation?

      February 9, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Dave
      You seek to assign blame for something that is harmless.
      Whether it be the result of upbriging, biology, or societal pressure there is nothing inherently dangerous or harmful about being gay.
      Sin lies in harming others unnecessarily. All other 'sin' is invented nonsense.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • QS

      Welcome to the old religion...where everybody not of that religion is to blame for whatever those of that religion decide they are to be blamed for.

      How simple it is to rationalize discrimination when all we have to do is claim "the bible tells me so".

      February 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • tommas

      I suggest you read up on ethics and not a few thousand year old mythology for what a "sin" should be.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • B.J. Moritz

      Wait, wait... Isn't asking for forgiveness exactly the same thing? Wash your sins away? No longer held accountable..?

      February 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  13. RobK

    Sorry, but twisting the words of the Bible to fit your world view is not nice. Why not just say that you reject the Bible's teaching and be done with it?

    February 9, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • johnnyleen

      I would argue that everyone twists the words of the bible to fit their world view; even fundamentalists.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • WarhammerTwo

      Well, Rob,m that's just it. Who is the absolute expert on Biblical teaching? Who's to say it's not you and your religious leaders who are twisting the Word to fit your views? It's all subjective. Unless you got to speak God or Jesus and they laid it all to you as to exactly what these texts mean and your not letting in on it. Otherwise, I think this pastor's viewpoints are just as valid as yours.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Pagan Worshipper

      Think of how many Christians would be out of a religion if they had to admit to rejecting the Bible's teachings when they twist its words around to fit their world view.
      it's the 21st Century. When are we going to stop being ruled by an outdated cult and start behaving like intelligent, responsible people?

      February 9, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • NL

      So, did abolitionists have to 'twist', or 'reject' the bible to find reason to oppose slavery?

      February 9, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • QS

      I reject the bible as a source of historical reference and of reality....I accept the bible as a great work of fiction that includes all the right elements that make for a good story.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Crady

      The Bible does not exist to be "interpreted" by Jennifer Wright Knust, Billy Graham, or Jim Jones. If it is indeed God's Word (and I believe with all my soul that it is) then it must be accepted on face value or not at all. Accepting it "as" is" is a leap of faith that Jennifer Wright Knust (sadly) is unwilling to take, but without which diminishes the Bible to just another book. Shame on you, Jennifer! Love the sinner, hate the sin, or look elsewhere, but don't attempt to water-down the Bible to fit your liberal, carnal view of the world. All you've done is blaspheme and promote yourself, both decidedly un-Christian.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Yep

      Crady,

      Depending on where one is born or how one is raised, one might have the same perspective of the Koran: that it is the one, true word of an omnipotent creator. The author brings up the point of slavery, which we condemn in our society today, but was deemed 'acceptable' in the Bible. Should we take that literally, or accept that there are contradictions that require discourse and analysis to fully understand and interpret. To me, what the author is doing isn't blasphemous or un-Christian, and while it saddens me to think that those like her are often labeled as such, I have a feeling that she is comfortable enough with her relationship to her Creator to shake off unconstructive comments.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • NL

      Crady-
      Problem with accepting the bible "as is" is that it still generates different results, right?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Karl Blessing

      " but twisting the words of the Bible to fit your world view is not nice."

      um... isn't that what man has done since it's creation or in-process-of-creation? You call it twisting, I call it a thousand and one interpretations.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  14. Reality

    And does Pastor Knust actually believe in angels? Apparenty, she does:

    "The first time angels dared to mix with humans, God flooded the earth, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals. In the case of Sodom, as soon as men attempted to engage in se-xual activity with angels, God obliterated the city with fire, delivering only Lot and his family. S-ex with angels was regarded as the most dangerous and offensive s-ex of all."

    So again, we come to her rescue:

    Pastor Knust: It is called the Great Angelic Con Game:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Some added references to "tink-erbells".

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

    newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm
    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

    For added information see the review at:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

    February 9, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Annoyed

      Please stop using "-"s haphazardly. What is the point of this? It makes your comments more unbearable to read.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Tboy

      "The first time angels dared to mix with humans, God flooded the earth, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals. In the case of Sodom, as soon as men attempted to engage in se-xual activity with angels, God obliterated the city with fire, delivering only Lot and his family. S-ex with angels was regarded as the most dangerous and offensive s-ex of all."

      This too can be interpreted in several ways. Looks like these "angels" were actually extraterrestrials. Based on scripture they came from the sky ad the obviously had physical bodies to mate with human woman. There are similar stories told in all ancient civilizations. BTW the Holy Bible is based loosely off of ancient Sumerian text. The Sumerians believed that beings came from the sky and mixed their genetic DNA with apes to produce the modern day human beings. That would mean we are hybrids. In fact the book of Genesis is says "Let US create man in OUR own image"

      In the Book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel describes seeing glowing wheels of metal in the sky. He goes on to say that there are creatures with the face of man inside the wheels and that the wheels move back and forth like a flash of lightening. This is a clear description of a UFO but Ezekiel associates this with God.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Reality

      unbearable,

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

      Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

      Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      ––
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      s-ex
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      an-al......ban-al
      sh-it
      fu-ck...
      who-re
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      pr-ick
      sl-ut
      c-lit
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      hor-ny
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      nip-ple
      po-rn
      c-ock
      nig-ger
      cu-nt
      b-itch
      ra-pe
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      Sna-tch
      soft-ware
      Ja-panese
      Span-king
      hoo-ters
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.
      -–
      okay words that you might not expect to be filtered....!!!
      beaver
      penis
      ass
      crap
      damn
      anal
      anus
      sphincter
      testicles
      testes
      pubic
      boob
      -

      Here's a word to add to the banned list: co-co-on
      whether it's c-oc, or co-on, this is ridiculous

      February 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  15. johnnyleen

    The problem fundamentalists seem to have is that they cannot acknowledge the fact that the bible has changed over time. Texts have been reworded, books have dropped out or been added, and even different collections were used in different communities at the same time. And no matter how much evidence for this is presented, they will still refuse to acknowledge it.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Mike

      Actually, again and again it has been demonstrated not to have changed over time. There exisits nearly 24,000 manuscripts of the New Testament ALONE. The early church fathers in their writings quoted the NT nearly 88,000 times, allowing us to recontruct it EVEN IF we didn't have the manuscript copies. Hundreds of OT manuscripts exist including the Dead Sea Scrolls which confirmed that the Bible we have today is the same as it was 2000 years ago. The Bible is not 1 book, but 66 books, 40 Authors, written over 1500 years in 3 different languages across 3 different continents. Try finding 5 people today and ask them to write on controversial issues and see how much they agree.

      27% of the Bible is prophetic in nature, meaning that about 1 out of every 4 verses fortold a future event at the time it was written and over 50% have already been fullfilled. No other book that exisits can claim that. As far as the books that were left out...which books, and why were they left out? Research that.

      As much as it always goes down to intellectual issues, the problem is always rooted in moral issues.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • NL

      Mike-
      "the Dead Sea Scrolls which confirmed that the Bible we have today is the same as it was 2000 years ago."
      Perhaps, but according to The Oxford Companion to Archaeology:

      "While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content. In their astonishing range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint, and of the Samaritan Pentateuch. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around A.D. 100."

      100 A.D. before canonization means that the scriptures that Jesus, Paul and the others were inspired by and quoted from were not standardized in any way. Pretty much all of the NT could have been rooted in an Old Testament that isn't the same as our present one, correct? Perhaps this helps explain where all the inconsistencies arise?

      February 10, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  16. Reality

    Added assistance for Pastor Knust:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Moshe Roberts

      "After years of doubt among archeologists, a new analysis of excavations has yielded a wide range of evidence supporting the biblical account about the fall of Jericho"
      (Believers Score in Battle Over the Battle of Jericho,New York Times,By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD,Published: February 22, 1990).

      February 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Reality

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      By MICHAEL MASSING

      Published: March 9, 2002

      February 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  17. Apostle Eric vonAnderseck

    Jennifer Wright Knust says; For example, the seemingly intimate relationship between the Old Testament's David and Jonathan, in which Jonathan loved David more than he loved women, may have been intended to justify David’s rise as king.
    Apostle Eric says; Wow, how far from the truth reading into this text. Their faith was shared not their bodies.LOL http://apostlestoday.net/

    February 9, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • CRAIG

      Wow !!! What she is teaching is false. plain and simple.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • NL

      CRAIG_
      "Wow !!! What she is teaching is false. plain and simple."
      Might I ask why you think so?

      February 9, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • SD

      Thank you! The unfortunate thing is that most people reading this article won't take the time to pull out their Bibles (or use google) and read the scriptures referenced in context. It's surprising what a little context actually reveals.

      Also, it would have been prudent if she had cited all of the other scripture she states supports her argument instead of merely paraphrasing portions of the Bible without any citation whatsoever. Without the citations, it leaves one to wonder what the text she is blindly referring to actually says.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • NL

      SD-
      The lady wrote a book which I'm sure likely contains the references you are interested in. The link is right on top of the article. 😉

      February 9, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Jeffry

      And how would you know for sure? Were you there? Did you exist thousands of years ago and see what type of relationship Jonathan and David had?

      Biblical scholars have more authority on this issue than lay people such as yourself.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • JH

      Can you show me where it says their relationship was not physical? I can show you where it says Jonathan stripped himself naked to illustrate his love for David, giving him everything he wore.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • SteveO

      No, their bodies. It's the Biblical proof that gay relationships are blessed by God.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • sealchan

      Hero stories have long had a hero and his male companion from Gilgamesh and Enkidu to Achilles and Patroclus to the historical Alexander and Hephaestus. In some cases the companions were lovers in others just deep friendship through shared trials. In the Bible story I think we see this mythic pattern reproduced. I suspect that while David and Jonathan's relationship was platonic, it was intimate to a degree that would challenge current standards for how men would typically relate to each other today.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • NL

      sealchan-
      It was common practice in the ancient world for men to take both male and female lovers, right? In fact, it was perhaps far more common for men to find 'soulmates' in other men because of the general inequality shown to women at the time. The bible is consistent in it's telling of how the Jewish people were tempted and influenced by outside cultures and Jonathan, being the son of a king, was likely to be more cosmopolitan than the average Hebrew. Why, then, do you suspect that this relationship was merely platonic when there is really nothing to indicate that it didn't follow the common pattern?

      February 10, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Brandon

      How do you know? Were you there? Great view point and enough to send you all wiping your eyes and grabbing your bibbles.

      February 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  18. Bill

    The greatest failure of mankind is it's ability to live in mass-delusion even after science has provided us with the answers week seek.

    In the year 2011, talks of gods and devils and saints and apostles and such make one appear rather uneducated and hugely ignorant of science.

    But using gods and devils as a justification for treating human beings, at least the gay ones, as less than human beings is one of the most shameful things it has ever been my misfortune to witness.

    There is a price to be paid for all of this nonsense, no? And that price is far too high for mankind.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • BAM

      Begin slow clap now.....

      February 9, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Patrick

      Bill;

      While using any excuse from a higher power or text is wrong, to believe that science has answered every question in our universe is equally as ignorant. Basically, science has no disproven the existence of God, just that at this point, we do not know whether there is one or not, just as the ancients did not.

      Science still cannot reconcile Physics with Quantum Physics (small scale). They are testing theorys like string theory and M theory, but ultimately it is still a guessing game and a hit or miss strategy. The Big bang theory has held court for almost 30 years, but now that is even being scrutinized.

      All science, astronomy, physics, biology etc.. only measures what we can see or indirectly measure. We think they know how the universe started, and are starting to figure out what happened before our universe expanded. But early humans explanation of the universe, whether it be sun gods, angels, jesus etc... are all one in the same with 'scientific breakthrough'... it is our best guess until the human mind invents a better way to interpret it. In 2000 years, life on this planet may be equally as skeptical about Darwin, Einstein etc... looking at the fact that humans thought the had all the answers, but new understandings and new technology has shed a skeptical light upon.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Rins

      I wouldn't consider myself "religious" per say, but I do take issue with people claiming science has proven everything we need to know. Science has not proven how all the matter in the universe got here to begin with.

      Sure, there is the big bang theory which (i believe) talks about an extremely dense point in space from which the explosion happened that caused the matter to be distributed around the universe...but where did that dense matter come from? Even if you start talking about an imbalance of anti-matter and matter, anti-matter had to come from somewhere as well.

      I accept things that science has proved and for a long time I was extremely anti-religion/anti-any kind of creater...but when posed with the question of how everything in the universe got here to begin with I realized I didn't have an answer. Now, that doesn't mean there is a God and that science won't eventually find out how everything got here...but I'm not going to make the mistake of saying 100% that there isn't a God because I don't have an alternative answer.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Patrick,
      Dispite what Bill appears to be saying, I don't think anyone is saying science has answered all the questions in the universe, however, we are not in the same position "as the acients."

      One could argue that the real origins of religion and gods was the need of early man to explain the natural world, weather, birth, death, pain, joy, etc. and as we find answers for those things through science there is less need to make up supernatural explainations. (Perhaps this is what Bill was talking about)

      You are correct that there are still many unanswered questions in science, the more we figure out the more there is to figure out, but that is not the same as religion at all. When was the last time religion made a discovery? Science is not "our best guess," it is a reasoned explaination of the natural world based on objective evidence and testing. When was the last time anyone tested a theological premise? Did anyone actually count the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin?
      Finally, in 2000 years it is not likely that anyone will be skeptical about Darwin or Einstein, simply because that isn't the way science works. In 2000 years they will either be disproven and replaced by better theories or still accepted by the scientific community.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Bill

      I never said science provided ALL answers, you geniuses.

      But they have surely provided us with enough knowledge to know that the bible is false.

      There is a reason that 93% of scientists are atheists. It's called logic.

      Total geniuses.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • CF

      Untrue re: 93% of scientists are atheists, though the % atheistic is higher than in the general population. See http://legacy.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10.1525/sp.2007.54.2.289, a study done in 2007 that found the maximum prevalence of atheism to be 41%.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • NL

      Patrick & Rins-
      Science has not answered all questions yet, but it has answered a great many and is beginning to answer many others. Religion's guess that 'God did it' is about as satisfying as saying 'just because' to a two year old. Thing is, two year olds grow up and find the real answers for themselves, like we have through science and reason. Religion's problem is that it still wants to treat us like little children.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Moshe Roberts

      Bill – See below.

      "When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!
      (5 George Wald, "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, 191:48, May 1954.) – Harvard PhD. & Nobel Prize Winner: Physiology or Medicine.

      "In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it, and many are prepared to 'bend' their observations to fit with it."
      (H.S. Lipson, "A Physicist Looks at Evolution," Physics Bulletin, vol. 31, May 1980, 138. –professor of physics, University of Manchester (UK)

      February 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • NL

      Moshe Roberts
      Anyone can hold a personal opinion about evolution. The real question is whether these scientists could prove now what they claimed back in the '50s and '80s. We've learned a great deal since then, wouldn't you agree?

      February 10, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • B.J. Moritz

      I've always felt that there are some questions in life that man is simply not meant to answer. We're too small, too ignorant to understand all the great mysteries of life and existence. Religion is the most simple answer to the complex questions.

      You don't know how humans got on the planet? Must be God!
      Why are some people good, some people bad? God! God made "good" and "evil"!
      Why are some people lucky, some people not? God is testing them!!

      It just makes it way too easy. Give all problems to God and forget about it! Who doesn't want to forget all their problems, ans imagine someone stronger than they is taking care of them? It must be a comforting (if not delusional) thought...

      February 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  19. Reality

    Obviously, Pastor Knust is trapped in the bible box so we come to set her free:

    All "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

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

    February 9, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • sealchan

      And this is precisely why Christians must look to God and His creation and not just certain passages of the Bible for spiritual guidance. Jesus criticized the Jews of His day for focusing too much on the rules of the Torah and not enough on the sensibilities of the heart...

      February 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Saved Pharisee

      Surely pastor: you might have a different version of these words from the book you have expounded, apart from the true sense of these words?

      why cant the writer of Romans mean these words as they areare... but a different ambiguous view?

      Romans 1:26-27 (King James Version)

      For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

      February 21, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  20. Nonimus

    Interesting viewpoint. I like the parallels to old arguments for slavery and against women's rights, very appropriate.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • pastoraarn

      Here is a brief response to this article. http://arlingtonbelievers.com/does-want-us-to-be-androgynous/

      February 9, 2011 at 5:28 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.