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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. Mariah Leigh

    As I sit back and read these responses, it explains why there is little peace in the world. Who is your creator? God, Jesus, Buddah... We are all made in the image of creator, to speak of hate is to look in the mirror at yourself and fear changing the way you think. What would happen if you changed your story and believed, actually believed, that your creator LOVED all human creatures? You heart would open and YOU would know what love is at its core. I am ever grateful I came upon this article today...thank you Jennifer Wright Knust for sharing your unbiased knowledge of the scriptures. These words written in this text are filled with the light and love of creator...if you have read this blog, you have been filled with divine light. Blessings.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  2. ptknight

    Man it's hard to avoid the moderator. Lastly, yes the Bible make it clear that s** between men and men, women and women, close family members, and with animals is forbidden. But at the same time, it also forbids gossip, backbiting, coveting (wanting what someone else has), jealousy, adultery and promiscuity. I'm ashamed of Christians who focus on the sins of "outsiders" while ignoring the glaring sins in the church. Stop worrying about Hom***xuality and abortion and help church members with their problems of internet p**n, judgementalism, and phariseeism. Jesus never address these issues. He also did not try to use government to forward His agenda. He brought about change by loving unconditionally, touching lives, and healing hurts. James makes it clear that true religion is taking care of others, and Paul say it's putting others first and above all, loving. G*ays are no more guilty than those of us who undress a woman in our mind or lust with our eyes. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!

    February 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  3. Christian

    OMG Christians are so dumb- they just hold the world back with their suspended disbelief .... but so do most religious people

    February 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  4. Paul

    It doesn't matter what any of "us" think. It only matters what God thinks about this and your enternal destiny.. Some day you will get to find out when you stand before Him. Heaven or Hell? You better have your salvation through Christ correct. You say there is no God. I say there is. If you're right (and you're not) I have nothing to lose. But if I am right ( and I am) you have everthing to lose.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • QS

      When did they rename this concept Paul's Wager?

      February 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  5. David

    I've seen these same tired arguments on all the "gay christian" sites...all easily refutable from Scripture. 25% truth mixed in with 75% falsehood is still false. The lady "pastor" who wrote this article belongs to the Unitarian Universalism Church in Virginia. Wide vs. Narrow. 'nuff said.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  6. tsk tsk

    @ WoW

    The Messiah wouldn't come up to me and profess that he is the Messiah because when the Lord comes again all eyes will see him..not just me.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  7. ptknight

    Thirdly, I've had friendships that, I'm sorry to say, were closer than even that of my wife and I, but s**uality was not a part of that friendship. These were simply very close relationships. Come on people! There is intimacy in friendship without s**! Just because David loved Jonathon doesn't mean they were gay or bi. Have you ever done something that a friend wanted you to do but your spouse did not, well then, at that instance anyway your regard for that person was greater than for your spouse.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  8. ptknight

    Secondly, the idea of the Sons of God being angels having s** with humans (the daughters of men) is another absurdity. The Bible says that God's people are called "sons of God". In Gospel geneology, Adam is called the son of God. Jesus, as human, was also called the son of God. Comparing scripture with scripture should lead to an understanding that the Sons of God were the decendents of Seth that remained faithful to God, while the daughters of men were those of Cain's decendents who were not worshippers of God. This marrying "outside of the faith" is what led to the degredation of humans and the falling away from the worship of God, resulting in the conditions that necessitated a flood to preserve the last of those who remained "sons of God", i.e. Noah's family.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • David Brenchley

      "Secondly, the idea of the Sons of God being angels having s** with humans (the daughters of men) is another absurdity." ... actually if you research this at depth, there is truth in this .. Nephalium, Rephium, Amalak .. angel/human creatures whose descendants God used the Israelites to destroy when they reentered Palestine after the exodus. Goliath and his brothers were such creatures.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  9. ptknight

    Wow! Now there's some interesting interpretation of Scripture. My mouth hung open more and more as I read. First of all, the "first" account of the creation of man was the story of creation. The "second" account was the story of Adam and Eve, to which the "first" account had already inferred. It was simply a re-telling with greater detail because now the focus has moved from creation to the story of the "first family". That there was created an an androgynous being is rather absurd. "Male and female created He them" is simply a synopsis of the Adam and Eve story which follows in greater detail than the account of what happened over the 7 days of creation.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  10. Stacey

    Dr. Albert Mohler wrote a response to this on his blog. Search it.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  11. T3chsupport

    OMG, someone who's actually READ the Bible, and doesn't just listen to what everyone else says about it! Hallelujah!

    February 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  12. chuck

    1 Timothy 2:12: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet."

    February 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  13. pastoraarn

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

    February 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  14. Mike

    No man can condemn another man for sin. That is God's job. Live your life the way you want to live it but remember that to follow Christ is a choice. Jesus didn't force his message on us. If you choose to follow christ it is on his terms and not ours. Re-wording the bible is one way many people have attepted in order to deal with their own guilt. The only way to deal with guilt is to be open about our sin and change.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  15. PeterVN

    Given all the debate and commentary about different interpretations of the bible, it seems that the Christian god, a purportedly omnipotent being, has a communication and marketing weakness. It can't reliably get its message out.

    So, Christians, think about this a bit more. This is an all-powerful being that you are claiming, yet it apparently needs a clunky book to get its message across. and the messaging is subject to multiple interpretations. That's utterly ridiculous for a "god". An all-powerful being could easily just insert its message into its subjects minds, no book required and no room for interpretation.

    Therefore, the Christian god must be pure fiction. Case closed.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Josh

      wow. there are certainly no holes in that argument. you've solved the discussion that's been going for thousands of years in a few words. congratulations.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Ty

      What you are forgetting is that God gave us free will to decide to sin or not. That is why he doesn't just show up and tell us what to do. What would even be the point of our existence if he just gave us all the answers? Maybe you should actually try to learn about God and the Bible before you start tearing it down

      February 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Round-Earther

      So true, Peter.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Magic

      Josh,

      And you have used even fewer words to add absolutely nothing to the discussion.... congratulations.

      p.s. PeterVN - you are correct.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Ty: If you have free will then God cannot be omnipotent.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Umathedog

      ...and if God is not omnipotent than I think he isn't a god – maybe a CEO?

      February 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Josh

      haha. and how have you added my friend? i'm simply clapping my hands and offering my congrats for such brilliant writing. just like you have done.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Ty

      Umathedog,

      Being Omnipotent means you have the power to do anything. It doesn't mean you have to. Like I said before, God gives us the ability to choose. We can choose to sin, or we can choose to come to him. Him being all powerful has nothing to do with it. He left it up to us for a reason. Its what gives us purpose.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Umathedog

      To be all-powerfull you have to be all-knowing – if God all knows everything, than it would have to know the future – if it knows the future, than the future is predetermined and you cannot have free will. Just because you believe that God doesn't "want" to know, doesn't mean it can't.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, it is specifically because I have read your silly, self-contradictory bible and learned about your god stories that I can so definitively dismiss them. Do the world a favor and google on "Skeptics Annotated Bible". Then do some reading and learning yourself.

      Shame on America for being so deluded for so long by bible nonsense. It's time to move on.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Ty

      Umathedog,

      Sorry, but wrong again. Just because God knows the outcome does not mean he is the one controlling it. Why would God create us, let us live our lives, and then send half of us to hell, and the other half to heaven? Why would the two places even exist if all we are are mindless robots living out a predetermined existence? Trying to blame your decisions on God is nothing but a cop out. Your sins are yours and yours alone. God can't be blamed for them even if he knew you would commit them. We live our own lives Uma. Its time you start taking responsibility for your own actions.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Ty: I'm not blaming God – I believe in free will – not God. Your post contradicts yourself – if God knows what your decisions will be then they have to be pre-determined. If you had true faith in God's Plan you wouldn't care.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Ty

      Peter,

      What makes you think you can dismiss God simply because you read the Bible with biased intentions? And who are you to question his methods? You completely miss the point of Christianity. The reason he doesn't just "just insert its message into its subjects minds" as you put it, is because he wants us to WILLINGLY come to him, not just forced to do so. Thats what Christianity is. Wanting to love God, not being made to. Shame on you for trying to put yourself above God. You are one of his creations just like the rest of us and no matter how much you hate, you will never be able to change that.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Ty

      Uma,

      In order for our decisions to be predetermined, God would have to be making them for us. He doesn't. The entire basis of Christianity lies on that foundation. Why is it hard for you to understand that someone can observe time without actually affecting it?

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

      It's hard for anyone to understand because it's contradictory – if you truly believe that you understand it, you would have to be delusional (I don't mean that as an insult). The only basis of believing it is the concept of faith, that despite thousands of years of philosophical and scientific thought and debate no one has explained it adequately. Except religion – and even they don't agree – so get off of your arrogant bandwagon and show a little humility and deference to smarter people than you and think a little.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Ty: Sorry, I re read my post and it comes off as really arrogant – but my point still stands!

      February 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Umathedog

      It seems that I have convinced Ty – he's not reposting anymore. I hope that he enjoys his new life and stops worrying about what others will think of his decisions.

      Who's next?

      February 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Ty

      Uma,

      Have you ever fastforwarded through a movie? Ever hit rewind or pause during one? I'm sure you have. Now that being said, did you have anything to do with making that movie? No, you sure didn't. And before you say I am contradicting myself because God is the creator of the "movie of mankind" think about this: Just because God has the ability to create us does not mean he is obligated to control us. It doesn't even mean he has even bothered to look at the future. How do you know he isn't just sitting somewhere watching us like we watch a movie wondering what will happen. Being all powerful also means he has the ability to NOT use his powers if he wishes. Oh and please don't insult me, tell me it isn't an insult, and then turn around and purposely insult me later.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Ty

      Well Uma, I was going to thank you for your apology, but now it seems a little premature.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • QS

      "Wanting to love God, not being made to."

      This, free will and many other examples are merely conveniences that religion offers so followers are able to dismiss and deflect any truly tough questions which they can't answer logically when asked about their beliefs.

      Not to mention the convenience of saying the above quote to appear tolerant of others, while in the same breath threatening eternal fire and damnation if you happen to choose to not love their god.

      Obviously no religious person will ever be able to force me to believe as they do, I just find it funny when people say things like "god gave you free will so you can choose to not believe in him....just make sure you believe in him because if you don't...."

      Sin does not exist, it is nothing more than regret dressed up in a fancy religious name.
      Heaven and hell are nothing more than the stick and carrot, a means of control, a system of reward and punishment.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Sorry, I actually thought that I had convinced you – I agree that I am not omnipotent.

      Your argument does not refute that the future would have to be pre-determined – if I hit the fast-forward button it shows me the rest of the movie, made as the makers of the movie intended. The thing is, no matter how many times I rewind and fast forward, the movie doesn't change – because the movie don't have "free-will"

      February 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Well said QS – maybe that will convince Ty

      February 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Ty

      QS,

      If no one has free will, why do you even bother commenting here with your opinions. If you are correct, your opinions are as worthelss as the Christian ones you are trying to tear down so what is the point in expressing them. If you really thought no one had any choice with their actions, then why do you care enough to try and convince people there is no free will. Its not their fault they disagree with you because they never had choice by your way of thinking.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Hate to speak for QS, but in my humble opinion I believe in free will. What I have been saying is that you can either have free will or an omnipotent god. You can't have both. You're the one saying (indirectly through a logical disconnect) that we don't have free will.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Ty

      Uma,

      You are ignoring my point about how God could be using his power. The real question is if God chose not to look at the future, and hasn't seen what will happen, is everything still predetermined? How could it be when the only thing powerful enough to do that has ignored those powers completely? And besides, just knowing something will happen doesn't mean you had a hand in making it happen. Just means you didn't stop it. Thats not predetermination.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Ty

      So an omnipotent being has every power EXCEPT the power to grant free will? Kinda goes against the definition of the word doesn't it?

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

      Ty, you have actually just reinforced the point of my original post. You claim that I read the bible with "biased intentions", and that if I were only to read it with your particular colored glasses instead, I would view it differently. Think about that claim of yours some more and you might begin to understand my point.

      Again, it is very clear that your "omnipotent" creature would have to have a communication problem if its intent and guidance can be interpreted in various and contradictory ways. (That would go right along with its money problem, per the brilliant words of the late great George Carlin on that subject.)

      Your bible and your god are clearly just silly fiction and you make absurd claims. You've done a lot of posting today, and your energy in doing so is commendable, but you have repeatedly missed the point and are defending a god that is an obvious fiction.

      Thanks for reinforcing my point.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Umathedog

      If a being has the power to know the future, then the future has to be pre-determined. So either of the following points has to be true – you pick one:

      1. God is omnipotent and has the ability to know the future (even if he choses not to) for the future to be knowable (I don't know if that's a word) it has to be previously established – if it were not, than God would be wrong.
      2. Man has free will and the future is a blank canvas – if this is the case, than God is not omnipotent.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Peter:

      Maybe some other readers will see the holes in Ty's logic and geton with their lives. It's kind of nice to have the fish keep biting with bad logic.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Ty

      Peter,

      I highly doubt that you have ever read the Bible TRYING to be convinced by it. More likely you read it trying to find places to tear it down. Thats why I said you did so with biased intentions. And nothing I have said has proven your point. In fact, nothing you have said has proven your point. Slingling insults does not make a logical argument. Like I said before, who are you to question how God decides to communicate with his creations? I'm sure he has a better understanding of his intentions than any of us ever could, even if he did sit us down one at a time and explain it like you wish he would.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • QS

      Sorry, I'll clarify – I do believe in free will as it is part of sentience....not something we get from being created by an omnipotent being.

      I'm not discounting the concept of free will, just the concept that Christians believe only their god is responsible for allowing us to have that free will. This is why I say it's a convenience for Christians when trying to convince (or convert) others.

      As long as they believe only their version of god is true, and only their version of god gave us free will....can you really not see what kind of convenient defense mechanism that affords them in an actual debate about their beliefs?

      February 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Ty

      QS,

      I think free will exists with or without a God, so I would agree that using it as a tool to convert is silly

      February 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, yet again, if a specific bias or intent must be used to reach your particular interpretation of your storybook, then my point is proven. You have therefore reinforced my point, and yet again have failed to understand the correspondence from others in this thread.

      In fact, you've actually gone a step further in supporting my case in your latest reply, in that you have explicitly stated that a confirmation bias is required, vs. no bias.

      Google is not your friend here as you struggle to defend your fiction, and you should definitely also google on "confirmation bias" once you have finished the prior recommended reading of the Skeptics Annotated Bible.

      Now, as for "slinging insults", in what way were you insulted by my words, and how is that even germane to the present dialogue? I made a point, and repeatedly showed how your statements supported it. I suggest that you review my words again.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Ty

      Peter,

      I never began reading the bible with the intention of believing it. It just so happens I have began to believe it. Doesn't mean I sat down with that intention. You obviously did sit down with the intention of trying to disprove it. Thats a bias.

      As far as your insults, everything you have written is in an arrogant tone that is with the intention of belittling God. That is insulting to millions of people. Saying things like "your ficticous god" and referring to the Bible as "your storybook" are obvious insults because they are meant to belittle something you don't believe in. The only reason you would use those statements in such a manner is to insult, so you YES, you ARE flingling insults.

      And please don't say Google is not on my side, because quite frankly, Google isn't on anyone's side. I can find just as much Pro God propaganda as you can Anti God propaganda on Google.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, again, your energy in responding is commendable, but you've just gone on reinforcing my point with every post you've made. If a non-skeptical bias is required to reach what you view as the "correct" interpretation of the bible, and if different viewpoints result in different interpretations, then your "god" really must have a communication weakness, and therefore is not a real god with the characteristics that are being claimed for it.

      Furthermore, the existence of so many different Christian sects, each with their own different interpretation of the bible, shows that even non-skeptical viewpoints can yield multiple interpretations. So, there again, your god has a communication problem, and cannot exist with the claimed characteristics.

      I have to add that your god's apparent need for a book to get its message across is just one more demonstration that your whole religion is man-made, as well as archaic and silly. Surely your all-powerful deity could produce at least an iPad or multimedia content for same... yet it remains incredible that such a creature needs a medium to get its message across, and even with said medium, can't do the job without error.

      It's really pathetic that anyone believes your bible nonsense.

      February 9, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Ty

      Who cares how many interpretations of the Bible there are? The vast majority of Christian Sects are separated by only minor differences, while the cornerstones of the religion are maintained, so those interpretations really do nothing to hinder the religion as a whole like you are trying to demonstrate.

      If you are as truly educated about the Bible as you claim, you will remember that much of it is simply stories about the lives of God's people that have nothing to do with his actual commandments, but more just how they overcame the troubles in theirs lives. Many of these stories are left ambiguous and up for interpretation for a very good purpose. This way, people of all walks of life and cultures can still take points from these stories they can relate to in there own lives. If it were just cut an dry like you prefer, then less people would be affected by it. The Bible would only be a book of rules, instead of a book of lessons. So that being said, these separate interpretations help elevate the Bible, not damn it like you would intend.

      The Bible is a guide, and is suppose to be interpreted differently by separate people. That is what has made Christianity a worldwide religion. Instead of trying to discourage people reading it, you should try to pull the real meaning out of it for yourself as well.

      And even though you call him "my god", he is your God to, even if you don't want him. He never gave up on you like you have on him, and he never will so you should appreciate and understand that.

      February 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, again, your energy in responding is commendable, but you've just gone on reinforcing my point with every post you've made. If a non-skeptical bias is required to reach what you view as the "correct" interpretation of the bible, and if different viewpoints result in different interpretations, then your "god" really must have a communication weakness, and therefore is not a real god with the characteristics that are being claimed for it.

      Furthermore, the existence of so many different Christian sects, each with their own different interpretation of the bible, shows that even non-skeptical viewpoints can yield multiple interpretations. So, there again, your god has a communication problem, and cannot exist with the claimed characteristics.

      I have to add that your god's apparent need for a physical book to get its message across is just one more demonstration that your whole religion is man-made, as well as archaic and silly. Surely your all-powerful deity could produce at least an iPad or multimedia content for same... yet it remains incredible that such a creature needs a medium to get its message across, and even with said medium, can't do the job without error.

      It's really pathetic that anyone believes your bible nonsense.

      February 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Ty

      Is that a repost mistake or do you think repeating the same nonsense as before will make much of a difference?

      February 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, again, your energy in responding is commendable, but you've just gone on reinforcing my point with every post you've made. If a non-skeptical bias is required to reach what you view as the "correct" interpretation of the bible, and if different viewpoints result in different interpretations, then your "god" really must have a communication weakness, and therefore is not a real god with the characteristics that are being claimed for it.

      Furthermore, the existence of so many different Christian sects, each with their own different interpretation of the bible, shows that even non-skeptical viewpoints can yield multiple interpretations. So, there again, your god has a communication problem, and cannot exist with the claimed characteristics.

      I have to add that your god's apparent need for a physical book to get its message across is just one more demonstration that your whole religion is man-made, as well as archaic and silly. Surely your all-powerful deity could produce at least an iPad or multimedia content for same... yet it remains incredible that such a creature needs a physical medium to get its message across, and even with said medium, can't do the job without error.

      It's really pathetic that anyone believes your bible nonsense.

      February 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, again, your energy in responding is commendable, but you've just gone on again reinforcing my point with every post you've made. If a non-skeptical bias is required to reach what you view as the "correct" interpretation of the bible, and if different viewpoints result in different interpretations, then your "god" really must have a communication weakness, and therefore is not a real god with the characteristics that are being claimed for it.

      Furthermore, the existence of so many different Christian sects, each with their own different interpretation of the bible, shows that even non-skeptical viewpoints can yield multiple interpretations. So, there again, your god has a communication problem, and cannot exist with the claimed characteristics.

      I have to add that your god's apparent need for a physical book to get its message across is just one more demonstration that your whole religion is man-made, as well as archaic and silly. Surely your all-powerful deity could produce at least an iPad or multimedia content for same... yet it remains incredible that such a creature needs a medium to get its message across, and even with said medium, can't do the job without error.

      It's really pathetic that anyone believes your bible nonsense.

      February 9, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, again, your energy in responding is commendable, but you've just gone on reinforcing my point with every post you've made. If a non-skeptical bias is required to reach what you happen to view as the "correct" interpretation of the bible, and if different viewpoints result in different interpretations, then your "god" really must have a communication weakness, and therefore is not a real god with the characteristics that are being claimed for it.

      Furthermore, the existence of so many different Christian sects, each with their own different interpretation of the bible, shows that even non-skeptical viewpoints can yield multiple interpretations. So, there again, your god has a communication problem, and cannot exist with the claimed characteristics.

      I have to add that your god's apparent need for a physical book to get its message across is just one more demonstration that your whole religion is man-made, as well as archaic and silly. Surely your all-powerful deity could produce at least an iPad or multimedia content for same... yet it remains incredible that such a creature needs a medium to get its message across, and even with said medium, can't do the job without error.

      It's really pathetic that anyone believes your bible nonsense.

      February 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Ty

      Haha ok Petry, I guess that means you aren't interested in expressing valid points anymore, or attempting to anyway. I will leave you to your own misconceptions and mistakes from now on. I hope God is with you. You are going to need him.

      February 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Ty, you have yet to make a defensible point. All you have done is reinforce my original point. Read the original post again until you understand it. Rinse and repeat.

      February 10, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  16. Hmm...

    @Chris R
    I have not heard someone say it better! Thanks for your insight!

    "The Bible is the foundation of my faith but God also gave me the ability to think and reason and learn. As such, the Bible is my foundation and not the blueprint of my faith."

    February 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  17. Henry L.

    Well, she may wish to read Romans 1:20-28. There is need to understand that sin is sin regardless of who commits it.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • WarhammerTwo

      Ya can't have Romans I without Romans II.

      In Romans I, Paul states the men and women have allowed s-ex to become their god. They worship lust before God. That takes natural love and turns it into something unnatural. Again, it's the lack of love God abhors.

      Paul does, however, describe men as naturally preferring women. For men whose natural preference is for women, to have s-ex with a man would violate this, which, y'know, makes the case for pederasty. Here's the kicker, though: it says these men must "katergazomai" the act of s-ex with other man. In Greek, that means a whole lot of extreme energy is required to accomplish the deed. That sounds an awful lot like ra-pe. And that's what he-teros-exual males would do to degrade those captured in battle, a pretty common practice under pederasty. See? All about lust, ra-pe, violence, hate, LACK OF LOVE.

      That would surely not be the case for two ho-mos-exuals in a loving, caring relationship; especially two committed enough to take vows of marriage. I would, however, go so far as to state that a he-teros-exual man and woman engaging in the act of s-ex out of lust rather than love would be more abominable to God than two ho-mos-exuals who have intercourse founded out of deep love and affection for one another.

      On more thing to chew on. I spoke of Romans II earlier. It's important to always note Romans II when using Romans I to speak out against ho-mos-exuality. In this letter, he is concerned with trying to bridge the gaps between Jewish Christians and Greek Christians who were judging each other and putting each other down.

      Paul starts by talking about those "awful pagans" - a group which both Jew and Greek Christians felt superior to. He gives a laundry list of "sins" and the Christians are probably going, "yeah, yeah, those bad people, we are better." Then, after having caught them in their judgementalism, he says "by judging, you pass judgment on yourself." By using a pagan example of sins, he could then go on to say, in effect – GOTCHA! Do not judge! He said, "God shows no partiality" (2:11).

      See? By using Romans I to condemn ho-mos-exuals, or even lust filled sinners, you are condemning yourself. You and I are sinners, and as such no better than anyone else and you and I both know that. So, if they are in a loving relationship, whether g-ay of straight, we should support that love. If they are acting strictly out of lust, putting s-ex before God, let them to their own devices so long as it is consensual and no one is getting hurt. God will judge them in His own good time.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  18. Frank

    This is why we have 20,000 denominations. One must devote one's life to scripture before they proclaim to be a "biblical scholar". Moral relativism has no place in scripture. I will be praying for Jennifer tonight. She has played her part is deceiving many including herself.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • savior of time

      I'd say you're wasting your time, but it doesn't sound like your time goes to much use anyway.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • QS

      "Moral relativism has no place in scripture..."

      And why is that again?

      How about....scripture has no place in determining morality for all? There, much better.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Ty

      QS
      "Moral relativism has no place in scripture..."

      And why is that again?

      How about....scripture has no place in determining morality for all? There, much better.

      Hahahahahahahaha, you say scripture has no place in determining morality, but how does morality even exist without God or scripture. Morality needs an untouchable standard to exist. Human beings cannot live up to this standard, so accept that morality comes from God and scripture or just accept that morality doesn't exist. Can't have it both ways.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Umathedog

      Ty: I actually agree with you – there is no morality.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • QS

      You're right, you can't have it both ways....but I certainly don't agree that your two options are the only options.

      Morals and ethics existed before religion and man's creation of god. The fact that a couple thousand years or so ago some people decided to actually write down what they held as their own moral standard means nothing today.

      Your bible leaves much to be desired in regards to morality; condoning slavery among other things, yeah, that's a great "untouchable" moral standard, isn't it? Odd that such an untouchable standard would be deemed wrong and immoral later on, hmmm.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Ty

      No, morals don't exist if there isn't a standard untouchable by human beings. We can't just make our own morals up and then say they are universal. And if a moral isn't universal, its not a moral, just an opinion. The existence of a God is the only way to truly have morals. God is the only untouchable standard because he wasn't created by humans, and therefore isn't inherently flawed

      February 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  19. hrmo RO

    It leaves me completely numb and dumbfounded when i continually come across articles which are far from the "Truth", misleading, erroneous, and a perfect example of heresy, not to mention blasphemy! I also will agree with a blog above which encourages the believers to pray not only for the obviously lost soul who authored the article. But also for the souls which are instinctively searching for their creator, our creator, the creator of the heavens and the earth.... GOD, Jehova, Lord of Lords, El Shaddai, Adonai, Lord and Savior.

    February 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Joe

      "misleading, erroneous, and a perfect example of heresy, not to mention blasphemy"

      You do know the bible wasn't written in English, right? It has gone through so many translations (each one allowing the author to alter it if they had the urge) and so many possible incorrect words or phrases that it is almost impossible to know what the original text contained. Even if it is in Hebrew or Greek, it's still been copied through the years still allowing for changes.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Umathedog

      I'm wiith Joe – hrmo should get off his lazy a$$ and lear ancient Greek or Hebrew so that he can make the interpretation for himself, rather than rely on the english translation. That should keep him busy for a while and I'm sure that amount of effort would be looked upon favourable by his god.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • QS

      Instinctively searching?! That's a new one. Since nobody is born religious, there is no instinct inherent in human biology that would lead every living human being to eventually search for their "creator".

      The most I'll give you on this one is that it is human nature, not instinct, to question things and search for understanding, but not a creator.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  20. Unbelievable!

    What kind of pastor are you? Obviously not a Christian one!

    February 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Cindi

      The first problem is when you say, "I love gay people," as if true Christians do not. True Christians love the person, but they also hate the act of wrongdoing.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Ty

      Exactly Cindi, well said

      February 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • QS

      That is one of the worst conveniences that Christianity offers...hate the sin, love the sinner. This way, even the seemingly "nice" or "true" Christians can still justify their discriminatory views while still feeling that they're doing nothing wrong because "the bible tells me so".

      It's also the same principle of convenience at play when somebody has a loved one in the hospital. Let's say that person has a 50-50 chance of living; if the person lives, praise the lord, it's a miracle and "god has plans for you".

      If that person dies, it's "god called you home" or "god needed you in heaven more than on earth".

      Either way, god at that point becomes nothing more than another human coping mechanism.

      But actually, the real problem isn't saying "I love gay people" but hate the sin; the real problem is that a cult can label a specific group of people as "sinners" and somehow that translates into legally protected discrimination in a country where religion should not be dictating our laws.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Ty

      QS,

      I suppose you have never loved someone, but disliked some of their qualities. I also suppose you have never heard the word hypocrite.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • QS

      Ty, the difference is that you're talking about a personal relationship with one other real life person; in that context there is cooperation and understanding, but not condemnation of the other person simply for the things about them the other person doesn't like.

      I'm talking about how an idea like religion tries to dictate its own version of morality to others by declaring a certain group of people as being abominations....oh, but we still love you, you crazy little abomination you....so long as you do only what we tell you is ok.

      Having said all that, you should now be able to see that your second assumption about me is also incorrect because what I just described is the epitome of hypocrisy.

      February 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Ty

      It isn't hypocritical for a religion to look down on certain actions, but still love and hope the person committing them changes there ways. Christianity isn't about just pointing fingers at sins. Its about fixing them also. Gotta love someone first to care about the actions they take.

      February 9, 2011 at 7:25 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.