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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. John

    The whole "my myth is better than your myth" mentality....is destroying mankind. Most of the truly evil events/acts in this world were in the name of religion. Isn't it time we all grew up and took accountability for our actions ( as opposed to some "guy in the clouds"), treated each other humanely, and practiced what they all profess to preach?

    February 9, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Gwith3

      Dude, that "guy in the clouds" is your only saving Grace, so don't mock, we can't do it on our own, we need him and his son-Jesus Christ. I mean, you are right look at how we treat each other, it's because knowone wants to listen to Gods word, we all want to do our own thing and John, really, where has that gotten us, into a crap load of trouble, but for someone like you, by the time you find out the truth, I hope it won't be too late for you.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  2. lewis cullen

    knust
    it is not even human even animals don"t do it .dont take the bible out of context.
    take god at his word and please take christ in to your heart.so you can understand
    what god has to say.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  3. FQ

    What an antiChrist this woman is. It's clear from the very begenning that she has no clue of what she's talking about. OI VEI made it clear in his or her post. We are living on the turn of the end of life as we know it, so until Christ comes again, you still have time to repent.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Raider

      Yeah, people have been saying that for how many hundreds of years? Still hasn't happened, what's the hold-up?

      February 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Gwith3

      Uh duh Raider, Have you heard the scriptures "KNOWONE, NOT EVEN THE SON KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR" So yes, there are false prophets who say when the world is going to come to an end, and you joke around about it. Prophecy is happening as we speak, all you have to do is look at the last 40 years and see prophecy happening, I mean are you that dense, look at what is happening in Egypt. Israel is going to be the Hotspot for the tribulation, so pay attention to the Middle East and you will see GODS WORD HAPPENING BEFORE YOUR EYES, But you will still be too dense to understand. Oh well GOD BLESS YOU ANYWAYS.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  4. Plato101

    Some very dubious interpretations of scripture.

    February 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  5. Philip

    Ok, I don't believe in the bible or hating gays, but from when I was a christian, I read the bible many many times. Some real clear things. Paul hated women. Paul said women cannot be pastors. So why would I believe someone who is disobeying their own religion!? And the other thing – read Romans – Paul hated gays. The OT said to kill them. I don't agree with that, but simply claiming it's not there does not make it go away!

    February 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  6. Gabby

    Hi. I recently took a Bible course and read through the entire Bible. What this blog is doing is picking certain parts of certain stories to prove a point. I encourage those who read this blog to read the entirety of the Bible and then make their conclusion on what the Bible says on this topic. I for one follow the Lord's most important commandment; Love thou neighbor as thy self.

    February 9, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Raider

      If you can read the bible from cover to cover and still believe in god, you're sicker than I thought.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Gwith3

      God forgive me, but Raider you are an idiot!!!!!!

      February 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  7. 21k

    so sodom and surrounding towns were smoked when men tried to hit on angels. but nothing heavenly was done to stop the Holocaust. i think you need a better god.

    February 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Gwith3

      Sorry to tell you anything horrible that has happened in life is our fault-NOT GODS!!!!! We all sin and fall short and when people say the bible is a lie or twist it to fit the world view, they condemn themselves, Not God. If God stopped all the horrible things that have happened in life-YES THEN GOD WOULD BE A LIAR, BUT WHAT HE HAS STATED IN THE BIBLE IS HAPPENING AND WILL CONTINUE TO HAPPEN, BECAUSE WE ALL CONTINUE TO LIVE LIFE HOW WE CHOOSE, REMEMBER SINS OF THE FATHER IS PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. We are the ones who have brought down our own downfall, Not God.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • chels

      God comes when we ask. The world right now,
      ad then, wanted him to stay out of everything. They cut him down. People say he shouldn't be in schools or anywhere else so why should he come swoooping in to save the day for people who reject him and want him out of this world?

      February 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  8. ruemorgue

    So the Holy Babble contradicts itself. Wow. What a Revelation!

    February 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Gwith3

      How sad for you ruemorgue to say that. Let's say since you find the bible a contradiction and everything said is a lie, what then is there to look forward to in life? You live, die and lay in the ground for eternity? That is so depressing. I am glad that I believe in GODS true word and the fact he sent his son to die on the cross for my sins and everyone (even you) elses. I know when I die which could be now or 40 years from now I have a place to go, that will put the most beautiful places on this earth to shame and I know that the people I love who have chosen to accept Gods son-Jesus Christ as their savior will be there. If I and every other Christian are wrong, what's the worst that will happen to us, we will lay in the ground forever (still very depressing), buy you ruemorgue, if you are wrong and we are right, WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE YOU? In hell. How very sad for you.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Magic

      Gwith,

      Heh. What if you chose the wrong "God"? What if it's really Zeus or Allah, and you are punished severely for not choosing them?

      We can spin fairy-tale endings too. What if the real super power prefers us freethinkers, and we are given a much higher place in the afterlife as a reward for using our brains - and you toadies will be the servants.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  9. Sony

    First chapter of Genesis is a SUMMARY of Creation and God summarizes that He created humankind – both male and female (v27). It is an overview. For example, 1st chapter is like saying that I went Sking last weekend and it was really fun. 2nd chapter is like me giving all the details of my sking (how i skied, description of the mountatin, how many times i fell, etc.) and how it was fun. Same principle. In the 2nd chapter of Genesis God dwells on details of how he formed man (v7) and then woman (v21, 22). It is as simple as that. There are no two versions of creation.

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

      Amen, my friend... It is sometimes referred to as "repeat and expand". When the topic is repeated, it is also expanded upon. It is very common is Scripture... especially in the prophetic writings.

      February 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • There are two versions

      LOL, if there aren't two versions, why was everything created in a different order in the "expanded" version? I wonder, have you ever explored any of the other contradictions in the Bible?

      February 9, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Sony

      Explanation of GEN ch 1 and GEN ch 2:
      Creation summary starts at Gen 1:1 and ends at Gen 2:3. Now starting from verse 4 of chapter 2, God is referring back to the third day (the day that the Lord God made the earth or dry land) and the 2nd day (the day God made the heavens or firmament) and giving us the reason how the plants/herbs grew without rain or the presence of man to till the ground (two necessities in farming). God says that the plants/herbs grew because of the mist that watered the whole face of the ground.

      KJV Verses Begin: {4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.} .....Verses End

      Starting form verse 7 of chapter 2 God describes how he created man and then on verse 8 GOD plants a garden (Eden) in earth and this is important – God puts man in the garden and not outside the garden. Outside the garden, there are plants/herbs already grown and animals/birds are present. So from verse 8 onwards everything happens inside the Garden of Eden till man’s Fall. So like a gardener, God makes trees grow in the garden (v9), God brings water to the trees by constructing rivers (V10-14), and God brings in animals/birds into the garden to have Man name them.

      Verses Begin: {19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.}...Verses End.

      I hope this helps clear any doubts. I have questioned bible a lot while learning, but GOD was able to answer all my questions. This is indeed God’s word. JESUS is the ONLY WAY, THE Truth and Life and he came to this world to die for our sins so that mankind can once again have an opportunity to resume relationship with this GREAT GOD. The question is will u BELIEVE? Will you give BIBLE a chance by reading it?

      February 10, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Muneef

      Guess the first thing that Mr.President.Barrak Obama through his recently appointed Faith Consul is to unite the Christian Holy Book to become one rather than many books !? 
      We have the Holy Quran as our Holy Book and although it is one single book but the verse below speaks that few had followed disputed and left back the clear revelations...which means still some thing has to be done about it to get them understand it as one and not as each group has it's own understanding of it !?
      Religions should be made into becoming as a " True Goodly Trees" for their followers towards bringing a religious Peace among all Faiths. Amen   

      Al-E-Imran sura 03:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations – they are the substance of the Book – and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed. (7).

      Ibrahim sura 14:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Seest thou not how Allah coineth a similitude: A goodly saying, as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven, (24) Giving its fruit at every season by permission of its Lord? Allah coineth the similitudes for mankind in order that they may reflect. (25) And the similitude of a bad saying is as a bad tree, uprooted from upon the earth, possessing no stability. (26) Allah confirmeth those who believe by a firm saying in the life of the world and in the Hereafter, and Allah sendeth wrong-doers astray. And Allah doeth what He will. (27).

      February 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      About creation in the Quran;

      http://islam.about.com/library/weekly/aa092300a.htm

      February 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  10. PeterVN

    Ty, again, your energy in responding is commendable, but you've just gone on reinforcing my point with every subsequent 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 9:12 pm |
    • Gwith3

      PeterVN, it's called FAITH, maybe you as an unbeliever need to see something physical to even recognize that there IS A GOD, and you don't want to belive the bible because you are scared. The bible clearly states what is blasphemous in Gods eyes and how we should try to live life as he intended us to live it. You don't like it, because what do you have in life? You have nothing to look forward to. WE-Christians, who choose to follow Jesus Christ know that when we die, we will go to heaven, where PeterVN will you go? I suppose you will lay in the ground for eternity? how very sad, as a Christian we know that if we do not get saved, the only place for us and any other human being is Hell and it is real. I am glad that I have heaven to go to. God bless!!!!!

      February 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  11. Roxanne Rosas

    As usual, the believers are attempting to spin scripture and paint themselves in a better light. If you don't like what your book says and you feel like you have to defend it, maybe you should take a better look at yourself and your beliefs. You don't need religion to tell you how to be a good person.

    February 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Gwith3

      And you don't know what you are talking about, you are another idiot liberal who wants to, how did you say, spin the bible to what you want. The bible is meant to be read as it is, not twisted to fit YOUR WORLD VIEW. You don't like it because all the above CHRISTIANS are telling the truth, they can go exactly where scripture is and void out anything this halfwitted liberal said and you are idiotic enough to listen to what she says.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Raider

      Wow gwith, spoken like a true loving christian! What a bunch of hooey!

      February 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  12. attila

    What a shameful thing for CNN to allow a misguided sin-loving woman to give the world Bible leson! God have mercy on your soul Jennifer Wight. Making David a perverted minded person is real low girl! Why don't you read Leviticus and Romans 1? Shame , shame CNN!!!

    February 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Gwith3

      Again DITTO!!!!!

      February 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  13. Victor G.

    Humans are imperfect. Many individuals want to embrace religion, but have to first turn it to back up what they don't want to accept as "God's word". Just as David Koresh turned the words of the Bible to validate his believe . So have you Jennifer Wright Knust turned the words of the Bible to back up your agenda and/or belief. (personally I believe all gays should be left to naturally reproduce. which of course would end with no children produced. if the puzzle doesn't fit....then maybe it wasn't meant to be)

    February 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Gwith3

      DITTO!!!!!

      February 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Magic

      If this "God" were all-knowing, as is claimed, 'he' would have written a better, unambiguous book - there would be no 'turning' of 'his words' possible.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Victor G.

      It doesn't matter where in time you look...there have always been turning of words how ever well things are spelled out for clarification. Kings, pharaohs, supposed prophets and priest.......ect have been known to turn the words of God for their favor. Even change/rewrite the "rules/sins" of the Bible to be in their favor. Example: King Henry VIII and the formation of the church of England. And how he used "God's" word to keep from having anything changed to the church of England. It gave him justification to persecute others who tried to reform the church, didn't agree with, or didn't want to live by the King's "God" rules. (the victor's of war write the stories that are told. no matter if the story is true or false it is written as a fact of events that happened. So are God's words changed and sold as a fact...just because someone won getting a book published.)

      February 9, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  14. Mindy

    Leviticus 18:22 (King James Version)
    Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13
    If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    1 Corinthians 11:9
    Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

    1 Corinthians 11:11
    Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

    February 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • paul

      Amen

      February 9, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Gwith3

      DITTO!!!!!!!

      February 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • TJ

      Clearly, you have not read and understood the entire chapter 18 of Leviticus. There is more than just that listed. Why not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth...? Because the truth doesn't reside in you. Lev 18:26 Ye shall therefore keep my STATUES and my JUDGMENTS, and shall not commit ANY OF THESE ABOMINATIONS; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you. Lev 18:29 For whosoever shall commit ANY OF THESE abominationS, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

      Now notice even in Lev 18:30 that the words/list is PLURAL, which means a lot more is listed there than what hypocrites like yourself chose to pick out and focus on. So you must be guility of something there. The bible says also to Judge Not that Ye be not Judge, Condemn Not, that ye may not be condemn. Stop trying to control people and live your life and let others live theirs and leave the judging to GOD. None of you have a heaven nor hell to place anyone in. "Checkmate." There is also an ole chinese saying that goes like this; "it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth & be known a fool." Dwell on it. I say again, if it was not for God's love, grace, & mercy and the fact he sent his only Son (the new testament) we'd all be in trouble. So give Jesus his just due & credit. Thank you God for your Son Jesus, and thank you Jesus for what you have done, doing now, and will do. Help us ALL Lord, especially to love one another. Bless your name Jesus & Glory to God. Amen.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  15. What?

    Ms. Kunst –

    I suggest you go back and read the "backstory" as to the exchange between Abraham and God before the angels arrived in Sodom. You are either 1) woefully ignorant of the "rest of the story", 2) unable to "interpret" whether it's night or day, or 3) consciously choosing to ignore the entire story of Sodom's destruction.

    God had decided to destroy Sodom before the angels were ever sent to Sodom. The reaction of Sodom's inhabitants to the angels did not "cause" the destruction of the city. I feel truly sorry for your congregation – if you have one – if you have no better knowledge of the Bible than what you have displayed here.

    Oh – by the way – how do you "interpret" what happened to Gomorrah, or did you forget about that city? There is no Biblical record of the angels ever visiting Gomorrah, but it met the same fate as Sodom, didn't it? (Another 'convenient' omission, perhaps?)

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

      So true!

      February 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hud sura 11:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      And when Our messengers came unto Lot, he was distressed and knew not how to protect them. He said: This is a distressful day. (77) And his people came unto him, running towards him – and before then they used to commit abominations – He said: O my people! Here are my daughters! They are purer for you. Beware of Allah, and degrade me not in (the presence of) my guests. Is there not among you any upright man? (78) They said: Well thou knowest that we have no right to thy daughters, and well thou knowest what we want. (79) He said: Would that I had strength to resist you or had some strong support (among you)! (80) (The messengers) said: O Lot! Lo! we are messengers of thy Lord; they shall not reach thee. So travel with thy people in a part of the night, and let not one of you turn round – (all) save thy wife. Lo! that which smiteth them will smite her (also). Lo! their tryst is (for) the morning. Is not the morning nigh? (81) So when Our commandment came to pass We overthrew (that township) and rained upon it stones of clay, one after another, (82) Marked with fire in the providence of thy Lord (for the destruction of the wicked). And they are never far from the wrong-doers. (83).

      Al-Hijr sura 15:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      He said: And afterward what is your business, O ye messengers (of Allah)? (57) They said: We have been sent unto a guilty folk, (58) (All) save the family of Lot. Them we shall deliver every one, (59) Except his wife, of whom We had decreed that she should be of those who stay behind. (60) And when the messengers came unto the family of Lot, (61) He said: Lo! ye are folk unknown (to me). (62) They said: Nay, but we bring thee that concerning which they keep disputing, (63) And bring thee the Truth, and lo! we are truth-tellers. (64) So travel with thy household in a portion of the night, and follow thou their backs. Let none of you turn round, but go whither ye are commanded. (65) And We made plain the case to him, that the root of them (who did wrong) was to be cut at early morn. (66) And the people of the city came, rejoicing at the news (of new arrivals). (67) He said: Lo! they are my guests. Affront me not! (68) And keep your duty to Allah, and shame me not! (69) They said; Have we not forbidden you from (entertaining) anyone? (70) He said: Here are my daughters, if ye must be doing (so). (71) By thy life (O Muhammad) they moved blindly in the frenzy of approaching death. (72) Then the (Awful) Cry overtook them at the sunrise. (73) And We turned it upside down and We rained upon them stones of heated clay. (74) Lo! therein verily are portents for those who read the signs. (75) And lo! it is upon a road still uneffaced. (76) Lo! therein is indeed a portent for believers. (77).

      February 10, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  16. schwarzgold

    Does she think she presenting a new revelation? Nothing we don't already know from a liberal viewpoint

    February 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  17. mamehasan

    Jennifer –
    Nicely written and very humane. Do you know "Origin of Love" from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"?
    I think that the "scandalous" nature of the video might cause most of these readers' heads to pop right off if they saw it, but I think you'd enjoy it.

    February 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  18. john316

    I'm a non-believer ...( thank god ).....but reading all these comments on this religious nonsense is amazing......I get it when third world illiterates regurgitate the scripture.....but for the rest of humanity it's pure science fiction....can't beat it.....it's a real money maker.......let's take money and tax exemption out of the religious equation especially for the mega churches...and we'll see how long it lasts.......anybody got a stop watch.......

    February 9, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Grouchy

      Nice to see others that recognize the faulty fairy tale that the Abraham religions are.... It's sad they define the world we live in...Think about how much further we would progress as a HUMAN civilization without this simple minded thinking and beliefs getting in our way.

      February 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • oi vey

      john316, I posted after you wrote your mush. Therefore, you have no problem in the after life for NOT reading His word. He just has folks such as yourself take a quick shot to the eternal flames.

      Thump on your noggin to you ...... wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee all the way down

      down

      down

      February 9, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • lewis cullen

      when you are on your death bed. please forget about calling on god

      February 9, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • apologeticavatar

      Your vacuous comment on the imminent decline of Christianity as a result of the loss of tax exemption is both ignorant and inane. Rather than leave a blathering comment on the useless nature of religion, you may want to consider the ultimate ends of holding on to a belief system (assuming atheism here) that cannot sufficiently explain where meaning, purpose or value (ethical right and wrong) could come from.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Really Guys???

      Cmon now guys. I am a die hard Jesus freak first of all. And with that said, i have to call out some of these other people calling themselves christians. Now i completely disagree with every single point of this article, but i dont need to condemn her. So what if someone has different opinions? Isnt that what free will is? Show compassion and love. If your judging people, you have no time to love them.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  19. ladylove

    The Bible might not be very clear on which specific s – x acts are sinful, but, it's very clear that selfishness is a sin. That makes most of our s – xual choices sinful. We either do it for our own pleasure or for some emotional or material gain. I think we should all take a look at the reasons why we engage in s – x with someone. After an honest look at our motivations, I doubt that many would be so proud of what they see – gay and straight. That said, I grew up with the notion that gay s – x is purely selfish, and, therefore, purely sinful. Everything I have seen from the gay community has supported that notion.

    February 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • ptknight

      Very well said, Lady

      February 9, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • oi vey

      Read His truth and learn for yourselves ...

      Matthew 7:15 (Christ speaking) 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

      Mark 13:5-6 (Christ speaking) 5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

      If someone tries to teach you something that goes contrary to what God says in the Bible, then you are to mark that man (in this case woman) and have nothing further to do with her and her false doctrines/teachings. For though she says that she works for God, she does not, but rather she makes God out to be a liar. There is not much that God hates more than a false teacher that leads His beloved children, of whom you are one, astray toward that wicked one, satan.

      Jeremiah 23:19-32
      19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
      20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
      21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
      22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
      23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
      24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
      25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
      6 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
      27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
      28 The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
      29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
      30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
      31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
      32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

      You must know that God has a "special" place in His heart for the false teachers/preachers of this world.

      Leviticus 20:13
      13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

      Here comes the nay sayers balking that this was in the Old Testament.

      God finds no more pleasure in Gay/Lesbian activity in the New Testament than He did in the Old:

      Romans 1:26-27

      26 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:
      27 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 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • tommas

      Except that they are not increasing the human population, having tons of children now that is selfish.

      February 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • TJ

      If you truly knew the Lord, and the Bible you would not have commented in such a matter. Do you even know the difference between the Old Testament & the New Testament..? Obviously you don't and neither do most people. First we all need to start giving Jesus his just due credit for what he stood for and accomplished. To only reference the Old Testament without the New means that you are denying Jesus the Christ our Lord and savior. Everyone needs to stop picking on one particular group, or stop picking out only one thing listed in the bible. According to the book of Leviticus chapter 18, it gives a entire list of sins, so do not just focus on one from the list. Levitcus 18;26 & 18:29 sums up this entire debate and will shut up alot of judgemental people. We straight people are more guility of those sins listed than just one, so get off the gays and leave them alone tend to yourself. And know this, because of Jesus, and God's love for us all, God's grace & mercy, and the New Testament/covenant all maybe saved if they so choose. God is love, and he love us all, so much that he gave his only Son/sun. It is almost impossible for God to accept anyone back unto himself if they lack love in their hearts for others. So you still have time to get it right, and love people for who they are, they way they are, and leave the judging to God. Your love or acceptance of a person should not be based on who they choose to be with.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  20. Muneef

    Al-Shuara sura 26:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    The folk of Lot denied the messengers (of Allah), (160) When their brother Lot said unto them: Will ye not ward off (evil)? (161) Lo! I am a faithful messenger unto you, (162) So keep your duty to Allah and obey me. (163) And I ask of you no wage therefor; my wage is the concern only of the Lord of the Worlds. (164) What! Of all creatures do ye come unto the males, (165) And leave the wives your Lord created for you? Nay, but ye are forward folk. (166) They said: If thou cease not, O Lot, thou wilt soon be of the outcast. (167) He said: I am in truth of those who hate your conduct. (168) My Lord! Save me and my household from what they do. (169) So We saved him and his household, every one, (170) Save an old woman among those who stayed behind. (171) Then afterward We destroyed the others. (172) And We rained on them a rain. And dreadful is the rain of those who have been warned. (173) Lo! herein is indeed a portent, yet most of them are not believers. (174) And lo! thy Lord, He is indeed the Mighty, the Merciful. (175)

    February 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Nacho1

      If you like mixed messages....try the Koran.......that is a REAL comic book............................

      February 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • tommas

      Seriously, all religions are man made myths plain and simple. But, with the peaceful beginnings and the war like ending the koran could be used to make anyone do anything.

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

      well all know the bible stories explain how we came from aliens – the ancient astronauts.

      February 9, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Muneef

      Dear's am not sure if you are judging the Quran because you did really try to read and understand what message it conveys? Am not sure if you read the stories of the Quran of God's Prophets and their people?

      Al-E-Imran sura 03:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. (59).

      Al-Hajj sura 22:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      And yet among men there are such as dispute about Allah, without knowledge, and follow every evil one obstinate in rebellion! (3) About the (Evil One) it is decreed that whoever turns to him for friendship, him will he lead astray, and he will guide him to the Penalty of the Fire. (4) O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm then out of a leech-like clot, then out a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (Our Power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much). And (further), thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs). (5) This is so, because Allah is the Reality: it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who has power over all things. (6).

      February 10, 2011 at 6:59 am |
    • Muneef

      Al-Mumenoon sura 23:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      The Believers must (eventually) win through (1) Those who humble themselves in their prayers; (2) Who avoid vain talk; (3) Who are active in deeds of charity; (4) Who abstain from s-e-x, (5) Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess― for (in their case) they are free from blame, (6) But those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors― (7) Those who faithfully observe their Trusts and their covenants; (8) And who (strictly) guard their prayers (9) Those will be the heirs (10) Who will inherit Paradise: they will dwell therein (forever). (11) Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay); (12) Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest firmly fixed; (13) Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature: so blessed be Allah, the Best to create! (14) After that at length ye will die. (15) Again, on the Day of Judgment, will ye be raised up. (16) And We have made, above you seven tracts; and We are never unmindful of (Our) Creation. (17) And We send down water from the sky according to (due) measure, and We cause it to soak in the soil; and We certainly are able to drain it off (with ease). (18) With it We grow for you gardens of date-palms and vines: in them have ye abundant fruits: and of them ye eat (and have enjoyment)― (19).   

      February 10, 2011 at 7:00 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.