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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. Kristo

    Knust, what are you trying to say here, is quite dangerous.
    why, because, it seems to me, that you're trying to twist the 'old perception' trough out the bible..
    i would prefer you to discuss it with a priest or someone that well enough in this matter first..
    considering the effect of a mass media.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  2. John

    This women is just pushing her own political agenda and she is using the same old tactics that social liberals use to justify there selective interpretations of the bible. Here is some examples:
    Her interpretation of the story of David is at best a complete misunderstanding and at worse an outright lie. Nearly all of the Israelite's took great "delight in David" because he was the hero who defeated Goliath on the battle field which was a key victory over the Phillistines. He was a national hero and celebrity. Jonathan knew that his father Saul had violated God's word and tried to use a mystic to tell the future. Jonathan knew that an assassinating David was part of God's will.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  3. ravforu

    The problem with any views based on Scripture, is that if God doesn't exist, and I'm not saying he doesn't, then it's pretty much just a fairy tale. The better argument comes from evolution and biology and that sort of ends the lesson.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  4. Betty

    Say what you will, you are not only unqualified to be a pastor, but don't have the mind of Christ or the God of the Bible. People like you make this world sick. Love the gay people, yes, support their sinful habit, no.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Brenda

      I agree. Just as one should not love any type of sin. That was a baseless article full of personal opinion and a clear example of twisting scripture to fit ones own agenda.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  5. Alex

    In the issue of being gay, I believe it is a sin. I don’t and will not condemn gays because I am commanded to love everyone. I believe everyone can be saved. I also believe that being gay is not something you are born with. It is a conscious decision.

    Leviticus 18:22- Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

    If the weirder of this blog think that this verse is open to interpretation, she is sadly mistaken. It says it plain and simple right there. I don’t even understand HOW you could misinterpret that.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  6. RickD

    The Word of God can speak for itself. Read Romans 1: 26-28. Scripture is sufficient, complete, and without error. God chose his words, leaving nothing out, and needing no clarification from man.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • kantukellie

      Geez, Rick... man wrote the words that are supposedly "God's" words. How do you not see the error of your logic?

      February 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Alex

      God gave those men the bible. They simply wrote it down. The Bible is GOD breathed.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Kynt

      Yup, and God 'wrote' in plain English, because he knew that Americans would have trouble with foreign languages.

      February 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • Alex

      The bible was written in three different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. These languages are translated. Scholars have dedicated their entire lives to studying these languages and that's why the bible can be translated into so many different languages. And in the issue of versions such as king James and the new imternational version, the meaning or message has not been changed, just written differently so people can understand it. I don't know about you Kynt, but I have a lot of trouble reading something the way they spoke in king James times. Just a thought to think about...

      February 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Brenda

      kanetukeli,
      just so you know, although man wrote the bible, it was divinely inspired by God. Google Dead Sea Scrolls. Out of all the religions and their books, the only one whose prophesies have been over 90% accurate is the BIBLE. this is has been proven, so do your research.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Alex

      Amen Brenda. And there are still prophesies waiting to be fulfilled. That's why not all the prophecies have been fulfilled.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  7. kertime

    Embarrassingly poor biblical scholarship tainted by the current culture... I'd like to know where this "scholar" went to seminary as a black list item for future scholars... incredible, really!

    February 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Frankly speaking in Islamic Arabic countries there are some men looking as smooth and as delicate as females and there are some looking manly hard and tough but all G-a-y-s.
    The only thing here they con-ce-al di-sgu-ise this wrong doing as all of us have some habit sin or wrong doing that we try to hide for privacy ad-dic-tion of any kind and not only s-e-x-ual behavior !? 
    Now as those men not wearing female wears or  acting as delicate or use charms,looks of invitations !? Those will not be found or con-fronted !? Beside that it is needed witnesses of four if caught redhanded to get held and pre-scut-ed just as those of committing ad-ult-ery. But since many countries are secular those in-crimi-nated are impr-iso-ned to give chance for repentance just as thieves not having lost one hand! Giving chance but third time may become serious although many escaped the counts. Some other crimes no chances are given such as mans-laughter and pir-acy acts at land or sea.!

    February 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  9. junkerjorg

    This article was really funny. I liked it when she said she was a "scholar." Hilarious! Keep up the good writing!

    February 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  10. Alex

    For the evolutionists:
    You say that evolution is "fact" and is proven. We can 100% disprove things, but we cannot prove anything 100%. It's impossible. If you look at some of the evolution facts, you will see that it is very flawed. There are things that evolutionists make up to make evolution "fact". If the universe was created billions of years ago, how do you take into account that asteroids are younger than the universe? O wait evolutionists came up with the Oort cloud which there is no evidence for and no one has ever seen. And the eruption of Jupiters moon, io, in 1979. It shot ask and particles 100 miles into space. If the universe is as old as scientists say it is, a body like io should have been long vacant of volcanic activity. And fossilization, it supposedly takes millions of years right? How do you explain a perfectly fossilized tree shooting up through forty rock layers? Are you telling me that that tree was slowly buried by sediment until fossilized? No! The tree would have long decayed. This is supporting evidence of a world wide flood as proposed in genesis with Noah. In reality fossilization takes a lot less time than scientists propose. I believe the watchmaker argument is perfect evidence for God. It states that design implies a designer. Look at mt rushmore and crazy horse. Are evolutionists telling me that through random chance of erosion and weathering created those amazing statues? Of course not! You would have to be crazy to believe that! And in reality the human body is MUCH more complex than those statues. All I'm saying is that God is real. I don't force people to believe this but I will try to give you a good amount of evidence for it and it is up to you if you choose to believe it.

    February 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tom

      According to the watchmaker argument – who created God?

      February 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Alex

      God simply has always been. He is our designer. God is a spiritual being. Therefore not physical. He was not "designed"

      February 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • kantukellie

      Alex, if you dropped the 'he' bit on your second post, I could agree with you. A spiritual being wouldn't/shouldn't have a gender. Could you consider it?

      February 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Alex

      God is a he. It says so in the first few sentences of Genesis chapter 1.

      Genesis 1:4- "God saw that the light was good, and HE separated the light from the darkness."

      February 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • kantukellie

      Alex is a he... God is a he... the bible was written by "he's".... it makes sense to me that it makes sense to you, and thus why you are apparently unable to consider it. Oh well. 🙂

      February 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Alex

      Well it says so right there I quoted it and everything. It's your decision whether to take the bible as it is or don't believe in it at all. You can't pick and choose what you like and don't like. It's all or nothing.

      February 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Magic

      Alex,

      "You can't pick and choose what you like and don't like. It's all or nothing."

      Typical closed-minded, black and white, believer behavior. It is so much easier than having to actually think. You are are unduly attached to what a bunch of fantasy-riddled, superst!tious old timers chose to present to you as fact.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Alex

      So I talked to my youth pastor about it and he believes that God is genderless. He said that it was popular in that time for people to think men superior to women thus the image of God being a man. It makes sense to me now and I'm sorry for misleading anyone. Jesus was definitely male though. There is no denying that haha.

      February 11, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Alex

      I was never forced into my beliefs by these “old timers”. And why would you take one part of the bible seriously and not another part? I just admitted to a mistake I made in my previous comment. I don’t pretend to know all the answers because I don’t. but I really think that there are some things that Christians cannot leave to interpretation. Especially on this issue ,“ ‘Do not have relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.’ ” – Leviticus 18:22. It says it clear as day right there. I’m not saying to condemn people who are gay. That’s not what the bible says. It says to love everyone and that’s what I try to do. But I’m not perfect just like you’re not perfect. I make mistakes to. I’m just saying that this is an issue where Christians should know where they stand and Jennifer is telling a lie, intentionally or not.

      February 11, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • Alex

      Kantukellie, the bible is devinely inspired leaving no room for error. About the bible being written by God thru man even though that's true, there are some amazing stories about women in the bible. Mary being one obviously being the mother of Jesus. As well as Esther. She single handedly saved the entire Jewish race. Just saying. There are pretty influential women in the bible.

      February 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  11. RFG

    Nonsense. Plain old nonsense. The Genesis account of the making of man is written first as a summary (Genesis 1:26-27) and second as detail (Genesis 2). What an absolutely loopy idea you float about Biblical interpretation – that it can be done any old how we like it. God's word is forever settled in heaven and your whimsical and flimsy ideas won't unsettle it.

    As far as the core content of your script is concerned, God hates sin. God defines sin. in brief, it is S. I. N. or Satan's Imposed Nature. Your attempt at theological revisionism is a total failure. God is not the none in need of an education. He defined sin before you were born. God loves people. That is a fact. His love for people is not incompatible with his hatred and intolerance for sin. Sinners are people. People are sinners. God loves people. God hates sin. Sin is somethings we do. God hates the sinful things we as people do. He does not hate us. However, if we love sin and hate God, God is not obliged to agree, accept or tolerate us and our behavior. He is not obliged to agree to disagree. He is God.

    God loves the persons who sin, but he hates the sins they commit. To remedy this, God commands every man, everywhere to repent of his sins, and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of his sins and he will grant him the gift of the Holy Spirit. This process of regeneration changes the sinner to a saint or a child of God. God's children, his saints have a voluntarily agreed to please him in all things and to live righteously. His Spirit enables them to succeed. His Spirit does not encourage them to keep on sinning. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. Now, stop the nonsense.

    February 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • hal9thou

      Oh, for God's sake, just scream JESUS SAVES and get it over with. Sheesh.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • kantukellie

      RFG, with all due respect, it appears your brainwashing runs deep. There's no room for hate in the truly divine. I wish you peace in your heart and the ability to know divine love.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Alex

      I agree RFG. You were spot on with the Genesis beginnings and God hating sin. Kantukellie, I will quote this verse but o encourage you to look it up for yourself.

      Jeremiah 44:4- Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I [God] hate!

      God does hate sin. It all just comes back to whether you are willing to accept what the bible says even if you don't like it or disagree with it. Even if you think that the truly Devine has no room for hate. God HATES sin.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  12. flammamancer

    I do not even know why you are bothering with this religious mumbo jumbo if you understand that the bible can be interpreted every which way and that you cannot take it literally.
    I mean really what good is the bible if you can make it say whatever you want?
    I will bet you also believe us Atheists can go to Heaven.

    February 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  13. Shawn

    God=Love. We were created out of love and live because of love. It is the only thing that matters in life. Anyone in my opinion who judges God's creations (Gays) is saying they know better than God. Who will be killed today at the hands of a human saying that they know God's thoughts and they are going to be God and take life? What gay teenager today will contemplate suicide because many in the world he lives in judges him for something he was created as? How can anyone say that they are a follower of God or Jesus and be a apart of the group that says they are better than or more righteous? How can anyone say that they know what God wants and they are going to go into this world and say that anything is not God like. Such damage so many have done with the Bible and the name Jesus.. Does anyone really believe that God would care what name you used to call him or that he would want anything more than for us all to love one another and see or divine equality? Anger, Judgement, Ego are all human traits, not God Like. In the end I am baffled that anyone who says they are on God's team could ignore the simple energy of life, to love, to help, to nurture, to see equality in all men. I don't need a book to understand that. The idea of God is within me and everyone else, it is there. So how can we confuse it and make it about words in a book? The truth is the truth always and has never changed. It is being expressed in this world by many people. It is the energy that corrects all things and brings them into balance. That energy has already shifted ideas about slavery, womens equality, black civil rights. It is the energy at work in Egypt right now. God to me is where there is love and support and positive growth. The world we all live in was created out of love and is changed only by love. Time corrects everything that is not in alignment with the laws of life. The day is coming when discrimination and hate directed at Gays will end. It has to, it is the correct evolution in human rights and can not be stopped or ignored.

    February 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • kantukellie

      Shawn, thank you for your insightful post.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  14. Tevan Houpt

    Sorry I missed this conversation , I`ve been vacationing inside of a Whale for the past few days ! LOL

    February 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  15. LJR

    An excellent answer to this: http://lds.org/scriptures/nt/2-tim/3.1?lang=eng#primary

    February 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • sabretooth

      To LJR: http://lds.org/scriptures/nt/2-tim/3.1?lang=eng#primary

      OMG does that mean we should stone those who are incontinent??? Why is it that the majority of christ-ians on this site are the last lot anyone would want to spend eternity in paradise with – I am sure jesus wouldn't – he much care for the money-lenders or those that would cast the first stone

      February 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Alex

      I don't know what this link says about stoning people but that is definitely not the answer. Jesus himself wouldn't stone the adulterous woman. He said, "let those who have not sinned be the first to throw a stone." And everyone left. This is definitely not the answer.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Alex

      The LDS is not a branch of Christianity no matter how hard they try to convince you that's they are. It is a separate cult. They don't even believe in most of the bible. They have subtracted from the deity and teachings of Jesus Christ and have added to Christian doctrine. Which in the book of Revelation strictly says not to or you will perish.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  16. flo

    I spent a lot of time writing my comments, I think they are a worthwhile contribution and contain no insults against anyone.
    Why are they not "moderated" yet?

    February 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Nanny Filter

      flo

      "I spent a lot of time writing my comments, I think they are a worthwhile contribution and contain no insults against anyone.
      Why are they not "moderated" yet?"

      This blog has an inane automatic nanny filter which flags certain words (or word fragments within words). Likely your posts never will be posted until you fix them.

      Here is @Reality's post about them:

      CNN posting tips for new visitors – GNU public license – feel free to copy for your very own
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ----–
      ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      ba-stard
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      do-uche
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      fu-ck......!
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      ji-sm
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-it
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
      -–

      February 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • flo

      kind of funny to be invited to discuss a topic without being allowed to call it by its name 😕

      February 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  17. Rafael Delgado

    It's funny how un-Christ-like most Christians are. Jesus is supposed to be the perfect example, yet most Christans see him as an unrealistic goal and therefore pay his example no mind. If anything, most Christians today are like the Pharisees of yesterday. They judge anyone who doesn't think like them or lives like them, when in all honesty, that kind of thinking and those kind of actions are specifically frowned upon by Jesus. I'm a U.S. Army Combat Medic and have done 2 deployments to Iraq, each deployment having been one year long. I have been exposed to the worst humanity has to offer, and when I compare the hatred, closed-mindedness, and bigotry that I found over there to the hatred, closed-mindedness, and bigotry that I find over here in the States, I find it worrysome how similar both cultures are! Look at yourselves and look at them and you will see a mirror image without the bombings! Christ went out to everyone. Christ professed love and acceptance for everyone. He not only tolerated those who hated him, but he loved them that much more. Jesus cared more about what was in the hearts of people as opposed to their actions. Stop acting like the Pharisees and start acting like your God, Jesus the Christ. You'd be surprised how hard it is to walk the walk that you supposedly believe in. If you have any rebuttal, please feel free to contact me at cubansuperman@gmail.com. I don't hide behind anonymous names.

    February 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Bryan in Orlando

      Raphael... I APPLAUD your post and could not agree more! More important, thank you for your service to our country. The GOOD thing is that what you have done in serving makes us able to have these discussions (however ridiculous some people seem to be) and not have bullets flying over our heads, or the internet being shut down.

      Again, THANK YOU for your service.

      February 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Alex

      First, Jesus being man/God, was perfect in every way. He was sinless. He gave his life in order that we are saved and that we could sin less. Second, everyone sins. It's not something we do, it's something we are. We are sinners. Sin defines us. But if you have Christ on your side you can sin less. No one is perfect and we all miss God's mark so completely. I think it's wrong of people to hold Christians to the highest standards possible. Ya being Christian, we should be held to a higher standard, but not as perfect as Christ's. We all screw up. And I do thank you for serving our country and putting your life on the line for our freedom. No matter who you are, what you do or have done, no matter what you believe, God loves you and so do I. That goes for everyone posting on this page.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Amen to that excellent response, and thank you for your service.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Camar

      Who are you to say what "most Christians" think, see, feel?

      February 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Matthew

      Rafael:

      Being in the service, I wonder how you would react to someone claiming to be a patriot, yet they then deficate on the American flag the next moment. Would that qualify as freedom of speech, or would you question their understanding of being a patriot?

      When someone claims to be a Christian, and then completely dismisses essential doctrine that Christian's agree upon, it is simply logical to question the authenticity of their faith. Knust's take on Scripture is in complete contradiction to traditional faith practices and understanding. Furthermore, she makes historical errors in how she interprets Scripture and fails to cite historical evidence, only making bold claims that do not stand the test of time.

      You've committed a fallacy in claiming that Christian's have no right to air their disagreements because to do so would not be fitting with the love that, as you claim, was at the center of Christ's ministry. I suggest you do your homework next time you call people out.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • PowerOfReason

      Hola Rafael! ¿Que pasa, compai? ¿Eres Cubano? Que bueno....tambien yo lo soy.

      I respect how you feel because several of my friends have been to Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. Living within walking distance of several military installations allows me to meet service folks quite frequently and my heart goes out to them and their families.

      That being said, ...there is one VERY, VERY BASIC premise that you are forgetting about, and one that MANY people completely overlook, or perhaps don't even know exists. I'm speaking about what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10: 34-36

      34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

      And, in Matthew chapter 25:31-33

      31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

      Does ANY of that sound to you like a Jesus who isn't judgmental?

      Much to the contrary. He will be DIRECTLY involved in judging humankind and not because I, or anyone else will tell you, but because the scriptures(the ONLY reason humanity has come to know about Jesus of Nazareth) will tell you; very explicitly, too.

      It's a very popular notion to say: "Jesus is LOVE and he doesn't judge, so why should YOU"

      It's true that sinful humans shouldn't judge each other...but Jesus? You bet he judges and WILL judge. He is his Father's appointed judge and will be directly responsible for dealing out heavy sentences during his galloping on a white horse during the war of Armageddon. (Revelation 19:11-21)

      What Satan wants is for us to believe that Jesus will NOT judge. The devil is banking on many falling prey to that type of thinking and waiting to pounce on those that let their guard down. The times are such that instead of letting our guard down, we should be more fearful than ever of our Judge. Fearful of displeasing him by allowing our faith to drift off, taken away by wild notions and philosophies.

      Although it's pretty, politically correct and cliche' to say: "Jesus LOVES EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING", the truth of the matter is that the book of Revelation talks about a time when Jesus will spill a LOT of blood on the earth and will do so in order to establish peace and order and to return the planet to its original, paradise form.

      Ten much cuidado, mi compadre...no te dejes engañar 😉

      February 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  18. Kristina

    Yuck!!! So instead of really trying to understand the original meaning and interpretation of the Bible to the best of your ability you twist it to accomplish your own means. This is the same as creating your own GOD who makes you feel soft and fuzzy instead of the one who might make up his mind to send you to hell.

    February 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • JSKC

      @Kristina
      "So instead of really trying to understand the original meaning and interpretation of the Bible to the best of your ability you twist it to accomplish your own means."

      Actually, that is exactly what she is trying to do. In order to understand literature, you have to understand the environment in which it was written. You have to attempt to understand the world in which the author lived if you hope to have any hope of discerning the original meaning of the text. Divinely inspired or not, the Bible was written by men and is therefore subject to the fallicies of man.

      February 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  19. xcatfish

    the fact that the Christian deity came after many others that are in the classification of a "God", then merely refering to said deity as basically THE GOD is incrediblly pretentious. then there's the whole jehovah yahweh debate, not to mention the maddening way that Jehovah's and Mormon's spread their nonsense, everyone wants to believe in the Bible, but only the parts that suit them best. Suicide is clearly a sin but Baptists do not believe that you will go to hell for it, even though there are some pretty clear rules laid out, we take only what we want and leave the rest.

    February 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  20. Mike

    Ma'am, your commentary on Scripture and context show that you are no scholar and should not be a pastor.

    February 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Larry

      out of all the thoughts I had in mind, yours said it simple. where is the thumbs up?

      February 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Mike, if Knust doesn't understand that satan lied and deceived Adam and Eve in the garden (from the beginning), she certainly doesn't understand that satan is deceiving all of us today to get God's children away from His truth.

      God's wrath was so hotly fired due to satan twisting and corrupting His truth in the garden.

      The deception by satan to get Adam and Eve not to follow God's truth is the same deception all of us get today.

      Read scriptures. It's all in there if anyone has eyes to see, ears to hear.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Brant

      Unfortunately, unless you are a biblical scholar yourself, I don't think you can condemn someone's work without providing your own rebuttal. You don't have to agree with her stance on this issue, but you're in no position to judge her academic work.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Nolan

      That was th most simple way to put it, this article actually made me sick to my stomach. Just awful. Everything is becoming more and more watered down.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Nolan

      And to Brant, that doesn't make her any smarter than any one of us. And making a judgement on what she just said will happen as soon as anyone reads it. Allowing this will lead to other even more perverted acts that will continue to grow because of people like her and their "good" theologies and "smarts". Throw theology out the window if that's what you are worshipping. It's about Christ and following him and loving one another not looking down on someone because you have a college degree. Yes we all have our opinions, but some of them suck and cause more harm than good.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Maybe

      "The deception by satan to get Adam and Eve not to follow God's truth is the same deception all of us get today."

      If Satan is the master deceiver of all time, what makes you think that he didn't 'write' the Bible too? It's the perfect vehicle for spreading evil. Write it with liberal doses of love messages and promises of eternal life... they'll eat it up; and then he just sits back and watches y'all fight over it.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • kantukellie

      Maybe... exactly! YES YES YES!! Folks like you give me hope for this world. Religious dogma is exactly what separates us from 'God'... by creating 'others' who don't believe said religious dogma. Gravity doesn't care whether you believe in it or not... and 'God' doesn't either. Recognizing our same souce oneness is truly divine... it's the separation that is the ultimate 'sin'.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Patrick Reyes

      Prompting needed conversation around a contentious topic!

      Looking into the reflecting pool,
      Ugliness and vanity return society's glare,
      When only a pebble need,
      To trouble the waters.

      A blog begin a conversation thousands of people long, but it will take many more courageous people to transform the Church, relationships with others and humble communities to recognize loving words, reminiscent of Dr King's Beloved Community: "intergroup and interpersonal living." Let's learn to know and love our neighbors.

      February 10, 2011 at 8:04 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.