My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality
March 3rd, 2011
01:25 PM ET

My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality

By Robert A. J. Gagnon, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D., is associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics and (with Dan Via) Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views.

In her recent CNN Belief Blog post “The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality,” Jennifer Wright Knust claims that Christians can’t appeal to the Bible to justify opposition to homosexual practice because the Bible provides no clear witness on the subject and is too flawed to serve as a moral guide.

As a scholar who has written books and articles on the Bible and homosexual practice, I can say that the reality is the opposite of her claim. It’s shocking that in her editorial and even her book, "Unprotected Texts," Knust ignores a mountain of evidence against her positions.

It raises a serious question: does the Left read significant works that disagree with pro-gay interpretations of Scripture and choose to simply ignore them?

Owing to space limitations I will focus on her two key arguments: the ideal of gender-neutral humanity and slavery arguments.

Knust's lead argument is that sexual differentiation in Genesis, Jesus and Paul is nothing more than an "afterthought" because "God's original intention for humanity was androgyny."

It’s true that Genesis presents the first human (Hebrew adam, from adamah, ground: “earthling”) as originally sexually undifferentiated. But what Knust misses is that once something is “taken from” the human to form a woman, the human, now differentiated as a man, finds his sexual other half in that missing element, a woman.

That’s why Genesis speaks of the woman as a “counterpart” or “complement,” using a Hebrew expression neged, which means both “corresponding to” and “opposite.” She is similar as regards humanity but different in terms of gender. If sexual relations are to be had, they are to be had with a sexual counterpart or complement.

Knust cites the apostle Paul’s remark about “no ‘male and female’” in Galatians. Yet Paul applies this dictum to establishing the equal worth of men and women before God, not to eliminating a male-female prerequisite for sex.

Applied to sexual relations, the phrase means “no sex,” not “acceptance of homosexual practice,” as is evident both from the consensus of the earliest interpreters of this phrase and from Jesus' own sayings about marriage in this age and the next.

All the earliest interpreters agreed that "no 'male and female,'" applied to sexual relations, meant "no sex."

That included Paul and the ascetic believers at Corinth in the mid-first century; and the church fathers and gnostics of the second to fourth centuries. Where they disagreed is over whether to postpone mandatory celibacy until the resurrection (the orthodox view) or to begin insisting on it now (the heretical view).

Jesus’ view

According to Jesus, “when (people) rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels” (Mark 12:25). Sexual relations and differentiation had only penultimate significance. The unmediated access to God that resurrection bodies bring would make sex look dull by comparison.

At the same time Jesus regarded the male-female paradigm as essential if sexual relations were to be had in this present age.

In rejecting a revolving door of divorce-and-remarriage and, implicitly, polygamy Jesus cited Genesis: “From the beginning of creation, ‘male and female he made them.’ ‘For this reason a man …will be joined to his woman and the two shall become one flesh’” (Mark 10:2-12; Matthew 19:3-12).

Jesus’ point was that God’s limiting of persons in a sexual union to two is evident in his creation of two (and only two) primary sexes: male and female, man and woman. The union of male and female completes the sexual spectrum, rendering a third partner both unnecessary and undesirable.

The sectarian Jewish group known as the Essenes similarly rejected polygamy on the grounds that God made us “male and female,” two sexual complements designed for a union consisting only of two.

Knust insinuates that Jesus wouldn’t have opposed homosexual relationships. Yet Jesus’ interpretation of Genesis demonstrates that he regarded a male-female prerequisite for marriage as the foundation on which other sexual standards could be predicated, including monogamy. Obviously the foundation is more important than anything predicated on it.

Jesus developed a principle of interpretation that Knust ignores: God’s “from the beginning” creation of “male and female” trumps some sexual behaviors permitted in the Old Testament. So there’s nothing unorthodox about recognizing change in Scripture’s sexual ethics. But note the direction of the change: toward less sexual license and greater conformity to the logic of the male-female requirement in Genesis. Knust is traveling in the opposite direction.

Knust’s slavery analogy and avoidance of closer analogies

Knust argues that an appeal to the Bible for opposing homosexual practice is as morally unjustifiable as pre-Civil War appeals to the Bible for supporting slavery. The analogy is a bad one.

The best analogy will be the comparison that shares the most points of substantive correspondence with the item being compared. How much does the Bible’s treatment of slavery resemble its treatment of homosexual practice? Very little.

Scripture shows no vested interest in preserving the institution of slavery but it does show a strong vested interest from Genesis to Revelation in preserving a male-female prerequisite. Unlike its treatment of the institution of slavery, Scripture treats a male-female prerequisite for sex as a pre-Fall structure.

The Bible accommodates to social systems where sometimes the only alternative to starvation is enslavement. But it clearly shows a critical edge by specifying mandatory release dates and the right of kinship buyback; requiring that Israelites not be treated as slaves; and reminding Israelites that God had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt.

Paul urged enslaved believers to use an opportunity for freedom to maximize service to God and encouraged a Christian master (Philemon) to free his slave (Onesimus).

How can changing up on the Bible’s male-female prerequisite for sex be analogous to the church’s revision of the slavery issue if the Bible encourages critique of slavery but discourages critique of a male-female paradigm for sex?

Much closer analogies to the Bible’s rejection of homosexual practice are the Bible’s rejection of incest and the New Testament’s rejection of polyamory (polygamy).

Homosexual practice, incest, and polyamory are all (1) forms of sexual behavior (2) able to be conducted as adult-committed relationships but (3) strongly proscribed because (4) they violate creation structures or natural law.

Like same-sex intercourse, incest is sex between persons too much structurally alike, here as regards kinship rather than gender. Polyamory is a violation of the foundational “twoness” of the sexes.

The fact that Knust chooses a distant analogue (slavery) over more proximate analogues (incest, polyamory) shows that her analogical reasoning is driven more by ideological biases than by fair use of analogies.

Knust’s other arguments are riddled with holes.

In claiming that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship she confuses kinship affection with erotic love. Her claim that “from the perspective of the New Testament” the Sodom story was about “the near rape of angels, not sex between men” makes an "either-or" out of Jude 7’s "both-and."

Her canard that only a few Bible texts reject homosexual practice overlooks other relevant texts and the fact that infrequent mention is often a sign of significance. It is disturbing to read what passes nowadays for expert “liberal” reflections on what the Bible says about homosexual practice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Robert A. J. Gagnon.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Homosexuality

soundoff (4,272 Responses)
  1. Mandi

    to peter vn

    your earlier post on why there are so mnay flaws, you rhint is wrong the correct answer is sin. Sin entered the picture when the serpent decieved Eve and she and Adam ate of the tree they were not supposed to. The answer is not because god doesn't exist.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Mandi, you get an epic fail on that response. So how is your purportedly omnipotent sky fairy not responsible for the entrance of "sin"?

      The requirements of a god such as the one of your myths are rather stringent, whether you can comprehend them or not.

      As for your "Adam and Eve" silly story, just how do you think it came about that there are many known precursor and parallel hominid species to modern humans? Which of the precursors was Adam born from? And how old do you think the earth is again?

      It's really shocking that people such as yourself still believe in the tall tales of the buy-bull.

      March 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      PeterVN, it's a shame that you resort to bullying people for learning how to read Jesus' truth in the Bible and then abiding in His righteous teachings. Why? Perhaps you don't know how to read the Bible?

      March 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      God was furious at Adam and Eve for being beguiled (deceived) by satan.

      March 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      If you don't know what happened at the beginning with Adam and Eve being beguiled by satan, then you certainly don't understand how satan beguiles the entire world. That's why Christians learn how to read, comprehend and apply Jesus truth to our lives. We know how and why satan deceives the entire world NOT to believe in Jesus. Satan wants to take as many of God's children with him to the eternal flames ... puff ... zap, no more.

      There is no evil in Heaven. Everyone in the universe knows except those on earth that refuse to learn His truth.


      March 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Something


      "God was furious at Adam and Eve for being beguiled (deceived) by satan."

      Oh, please. He knew it would happen. He could have made them smarter, if he wished... according to your all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving shtick.

      March 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Peggy

      What was it that A & E did wrong again? ate an apple? talked to a snake? I get confused with all these fairy tales, Snow White, Seven Dwarfs......Anyway I always did enjoy the cookies & after church with my granny. As for my children gave them cookies at home and taught them right from wrong. Simple really

      March 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  2. Tek

    This guy should go join that WBC... You know, the church that protest soldiers funerals. I think he would fit right in.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  3. Phil

    This very legalistic view of the bilbe is part of the whole problem. Like most who posted here I believe (and have read in the Gospels) that the Message of Jesus was forgiveness, mercy, justice and compassion. And not just HIM but telling others to "Do as I do"

    So are we to look at the percieved speck in our neighbor's eye while ignoring the log of sins in our own? Are we to judge so we can be judged. In Matthew on the last judgement it does not mention se xuality it mentions (again) compassion, kindness, forgiveness.

    "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" – The law therefore was made for man not man for the law.

    In nature there is hom ose xual behavior (ask any Veteranarian). So if it is indeed "natural" and if it is something you are born with then you have to wonder why it can be called "unnatural" and how you can oppose two people of the same gender wishing to have a loving relationship that is blessed by both man and God.

    I am on the side of Love. If I have to choose between Church and love – Love wins! If I have to choose between what you say is rightious and Love – Love wins!

    "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

    March 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • sealchan

      I tried to post a similar arguement but could not escape the censors...well put.

      March 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  4. Maurice

    The truth of the bible is not only something
    to entertain something one might consider,
    but a life giving power that sets men free.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  5. derp

    The guy who wrote this article really looks gay. I bet he smuggles the bone on the down low.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  6. derp

    Ah hatez dem homersectuals. Jebus tells ma too. It sez so rite in ma bibul.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Mike



      March 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  7. JPopNC

    Peggy....regarding stoning children: The Bible does not tell parents to stone their children. You are quoting part of the "law" that was given specifically to Jews (no one else) during a specific time for a specific reason. Any attempt to apply the law to anyone today is taking the thing out of content.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Peggy

      Umm that would be context and really then would applying anything written in the bible be out of context to what we know NOW!? God doesn't exist I don't need to worhsip an invisible man! geeshh bring him by for coffee then we'll talk. And don't give me any faith nonsense, I ahve faith the sun will rise, I have faith that I won't k i l l my neighbour because I have a working brain..blah blah blah

      March 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  8. Lilakoi

    Well said!

    March 4, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  9. F. Andy Seidl

    Unfortunately, both Knust and Gagnon both fail to consider ideas put forth in other highly influential religious texts such as the Torah, Qur'an, Avesta, Ofudesaki, Tao Te Ching, Dianetics, God Speaks, Shabuhragan, Book of the Zodiac, Svetambara, Brahma Samhita, Brahma Sutras of Vyasa, Tantras, The Book of the Dead, Book of Enoch, Donghak Scripture, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Akilathirattu Ammanai, or Theogony–to name just a few. It's hard to imagine how anyone could take any of this too seriously.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • HeavenSent

      John 14:6

      March 4, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  10. William Demuth

    There are many here in this forum who have been raised on lies and they know it. They are just afraid to challenge their parent's dogma. They are in Christian High Schools, or with born again army units, or working for fundamentalist companies, and they fear reprisals for speaking out.

    I am here to tell them there is no shame in being rational, and turning your back on absurd and cruel beliefs best left in the dark ages.

    I am an American Atheist. I am LOUD and PROUD, and I am here to take back my country!!!

    March 4, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Peggy

      Go William! I am right there with you!! Insane isn't it??!!! I shake my head!

      March 4, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 27

      March 4, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  11. Peggy

    The nerve that someone who doesn't know me from Adam, lol, would call me a sinner??!! We are all sinners blah blah balh...but Jesus loves me anyway??! Get stuffed, like who cares what some mere mortal from the desert who lived and died before me thinks......btw again impossible?! Think about it!

    March 4, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Obviously, Peggy, you've never read Romans 11.


      March 4, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Peggy

      haha Nope! But I have read Dr. Suess and he makes more sense than every bible quote I HAVE read! Hey it's up to you to base your life on book written by MORTAL men hanging out in the desert all day without modern day science & the innernet, and yes I made that typo on purpose!!! Brainwashing at it's best.....religion!

      March 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Peggy

      Hey you didn't answer me about the used anoited faith tool & spring water????

      March 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Adam

    I have always found it fascitnating when people cling to things like the bible. Something that was written by a very small group of people, torn apart by a much larger group of people, edited, re-writen, pieced back together, has several different versions, translations, interpretations, has no fact based anchors and was probably nothing more than a collection of bed time stories from it's time. Get a clue people. If the bible really is the guide by which we should all be living our lives then I suppose we better get to work on truly following it.

    1) Any females who posted anything on this wall in the bibles defense, you should be stoned, and/or publicly humiliated for expressing free thought. It's just not acceptable, especially since your gender is responsible for our expulsion from paradise and the current state of the world. More or less (according to your precious bible) EVERYTHING from the Reign of Terror, to The Holocaust, to 911 and every war throughout time is your fault. Tsk Tsk.

    2) Castration should be a proper form of punishment. It would certainly help the overpopulation problem.

    3) CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS Sunday is coming. No one should be out and about!

    4) Pull your kids out of school, and quick!!!! Here we are again with the free thinking, not to mention the blasphemy!

    Seriously, lets get real. You CANNOT pick and choose which parts of the bible appeal to your own individual agenda. You want to live your life according to the bible and call it righteous, then you better get to work on changing your life because the only people who can claim to be living their lives according to "gods plan" are the psychotic religious extremists who are responsible for so much of societies destruction. I am all for spirituality and having faith in the idea that we are in fact here for a reason and not just some cosmic accident, but I am not about to dictate how someone should live their life. I will, however criticize someone who claims to live their life a certain way and is really only furthering the mass hysteria of organized religion to the consequences of the oppression of everyone else who is different.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Adam, women have the most important role in scriptures. That bringing forth Jesus' truth as written in the Bible. Woman ensure their children as well as husband and all relatives/friends/etc. read, comprehend and abide in Jesus Truth. When scriptures tell women to be quiet in church, that goes for every one, men, children, old and young ... especially for women to listen so they can watch and see who needs correction, additional knowledge of Jesus' truth because they weren't paying attention in church to His wisdom. Women took care of their family and husband and were the keepers of His truth. Taking care of her husband, children, others in community was the biggest responsibility, for if she didn't do as He requested, you wouldn't be here to write on this post.


      March 4, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Adam

      No offense, I do not care what anyone's role in the scriptures is/was. That's exactly my point. I am gay and just because someone centuries ago decided to put their opinion in writing doesn't mean I am going to force myself to live in a way that I cannot do happily. I have been in a relationship for almost 4 years and it is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. If my admittance to "heaven" or "the kingdom" or whatever you want to call it is based on forcing myself to be anything other than what your god made me to be, then it is not heaven. pure and simple. if you cannot be who you were made to be in this life or the next then it is not paradise, it is not salvation. It is damnation.

      March 4, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • David Johnson


      Dude! It is not your choice. Not your sin.

      It is still not clear to what extent ho_mo$exuality in humans or other animals is genetic rather than, say, due to hormonal extremes during embryonic development.
      http://www.newscientist.com/.../dn13674-evolution-myths-natural-selection-cannot -explain-ho_mo$exuality.html

      But what studies are not finding, is that being gay is a choice.

      A study done by scientists at the Karolinska Inst_itute in Sweden found that the brain development of gay men more closely resembled the brain structure of straight women, and the brain structure of gay women more closely resembled the brain structure of straight men. Source: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1815538,00.html

      When gays are asked, they say that being gay is not a choice.
      Believers choose not to believe them, since it would be hard to blame a person who suffers from a birth defect.


      March 4, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Adam

      @ David Johnson
      Believe me, I am aware of all the studies! Thats exactly my point, we shouldn't have to force ourselves to be something that is outside the very fabric of our own existence. I appreciate your response.

      March 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Peggy

      Adam I take offense?!! At HeavenSent and this man's take! Religion is what belongs in the closet not people like you! I'd bet if this guy was hooked up to one of machines and saw a hot guy...well you know the rest! Peace

      March 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Adam

      🙂 In the words of their own "savior" "they know not what they do". They have no regard for how much hurt, humiliation, and davastation they are responsible for. yes, I am gay. I have a family, I have friends, I live my life honestly, I don't mistreat people, I don't cheat, steal, kill, I'm honest (most importantly with myself, which is more than a lot of people here can say), I work hard, and I love my boyfriend. My great uncle forced himself to lie about who he was for his whole life. Which was cut short by his own hand because of that lie. I refuse to let anyone dictate what god I should believe in, or what qualifies as marriage, or salvation, or what piece of fiction I should read and use to examine my life. These people have no idea who they are. For argument sake, if I was to pretend to be anything other than the way I was created, in my opinion would not be abiding by "god's law" but rather a slap in his face.

      March 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  13. Dunn

    Contradictions? What contradictions are in the Bible? Please someone show me these things...

    March 4, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  14. ellid

    This article makes me very glad I did not go to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for graduate school. That this bigot is teaching future ministers is horrifying.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  15. Michael

    Why equate it to fun? You make light of life and cherish something beyond. Cherish life period. Don't be afraid to be alone oh creature of this planet.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  16. Nonimus


    March 4, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  17. GB

    Seems like many of the comment responses have gotten emotionally off track of the original intent of this article. The writer (Gagnon) was addressing some flaws in a previous article by Jennifer Knust. It was a very good article because Gagnon understood the Hebrew and Greek languages as well as Hebrew culture and history to formulate his position. Knust on the other hand, was very strong on popular opinion without much or any emphasis on what the Bible was really saying.
    My point in all this...... If you don't believe in God or the Bible, go for it!! It's your call. But if you're going to use the Bible (as Knust did) to formulate a position you must go with what it actually says.... not what you want it to say.
    Take religion, God, gay, straight ect. out of it. This article was a clear, articulate and accurate challenge to some very shoddy language skills and interpretation.
    My experience with the Bible is that the great majority of it is easily understood as to what it is saying yet it very difficult to apply if I still want to be in charge of my life..... in other words, it requires humility before God and submission to Him.
    Again, if someone wants nothing to do with God... that's their right. But wanting God to be on your side of an issue while disagreeing and misrepresenting His Word just won't work. <– if you really are honest with yourself about it.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Allen

      I have to reject your statement that the Bible is "easily understood." If it was, why are their Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentacostals, etc? There are dozens of different sects of Christianity because people look into the Bible all the time and see something different from another person. Heck, I know more than a few Christians who believe the King James Bible was the Bible of Saint Paul!

      March 4, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Michael

      Articulately insane.

      March 4, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • W247

      Thank you for doing what a majority of the commenter s failed to do here.. talk about the actual article!

      March 4, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Peggy

      You lost me at...submission

      March 4, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • RapierPoint

      To Allen – actually the existence of the denominations, etc is due to precisely what the poster was talking about. People interpreting the Bible the way they want to. In other words, they read what they want to read into it, just like Kunst did.

      March 4, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  18. i believe

    its your choice to beleive whatever you want. just remember at the end you made that choice. live with it, because you wont have a choice then. and God doesnt make mistakes. he gave us a free will so we can make our own stupid mistakes. its all proven by whats being posted including the article.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Thomas

      If your god never makes mistakes then what about the story of the big flood where your god wiped out pretty much anything and started over. And how about after the flood did your god proclaim that he/she/it would never do it again?

      March 4, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • PeterVN

      If your "god" doesn't make mistakes, then how is it that his creations have so many intrinsic flaws and obvious points of early failure in their "design"? (Hint: the correct answer is that your god does not exist.)

      March 4, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • PeterVN

      @Thomas, sorry. We were posting a similar response at almost the same time and I didn't get to see yours.

      Like the Christian "god", I'm not omnipresent 🙂 (but unlike the Christian god, I exist).

      March 4, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Thomas, Noah's flood was NOT global. It was regional. It took place because God needed to ensure Noah's righteousness and the righteousness of His family prevailed among all the evil that dwelt among them ... to bring forth Emmanuel (future generations of Noah), God with us ... walking on this earth as Jesus the Christ who died for ALL our sins, ascended up to Heaven, to destroy evil (death of the human soul) here on earth and eternity.

      March 4, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • JDJ

      Peter VN,

      The flaws are our own fault. God gave us the ability to choose right or wrong and unfortunately, Adam chose wrong, and we continue to do so. The Bible refers to this as a "sin nature." This can be observed fairly easily by interacting with children. Children do not have to be taught how to lie or steal. They possess the ability from birth. The good news is that God forgives sin.

      March 4, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Peggy

      HeavenSent, Would you be interested in a used anointed faith tool & spring water?! I ordered it from popoff...you know that preacher on tv who said cheques would come in the mail IF I bought these from him?! Well they didn't?? It MUST be because I am not Christian or maybe god was busy dolling out cash to someone else? Not sure...maybe you can advise?

      March 4, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • PeterVN

      @JDJ, that's a horrifying statement that you made, and you missed the point of what I was saying. Consider 2 examples:

      1. You have a primary nerve that follows a vulnerable, tortuous path that would be a design flaw if it were indeed "designed". Your statement would mean that you are to blame for that. Do you really believe that you are to blame?

      2. Consider all the children with awful birth defects throughout history. How is your god of your myths, whom you claim to be creator of everything, not responsible for those flaws?

      March 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  19. One Person

    The bible, The Koran, The Torah are all derived from the middle east. I am tired of this place and it's religious evolutions that have crippled man ever since; We could have been better, but that is my opinion as a History major and a Hispanic American who had my people erased of their culture and mix sometimes with the white Spaniards beginning in 1492. This country is changing and the world is changing; I'm taking a course on Asian, but Chinese teachings and the origins of Buddhism which are by far ahead of anyone relgion that I mentioned from the middle east (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), but how they were taken and applied to Chinese culture and it is absolutely AMAZING. I'm ridding myself of these christian-jew-muslim religions and am considering the wisdom teachings of Confucius and Buddhism. Good luck to you all, but it is yourself that you need to look at and strive at first, cause by knowing thyself, you will know others and many other things.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • One Person

      ... and by doing so you will be happy, happy here on earth.

      March 4, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Flora

      Don't forget the Book of Moron. The four pillars of middle-eastern, misogyinistic monotheism get worse as they get newer. I'm going back to my roots as a Northern European. Hail Odin, Thor and Freya!

      March 4, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Romans 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, [of] the tribe of Benjamin.

      Romans 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

      Romans 11:3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

      Romans 11:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal.

      Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

      Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

      Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

      Romans 11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

      Romans 11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

      Romans 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

      Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but [rather] through their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

      Romans 11:12 Now if the fall of them [be] the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

      Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

      Romans 11:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation [them which are] my flesh, and might save some of them.

      Romans 11:15 For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?

      Romans 11:16 For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches.

      Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

      Romans 11:18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

      Romans 11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

      Romans 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

      Romans 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee.

      Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

      Romans 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

      Romans 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree?

      Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

      Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

      Romans 11:27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

      Romans 11:28 As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers' sakes.

      Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

      Romans 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

      Romans 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

      Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

      Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

      Romans 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

      Romans 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

      Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.

      March 4, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Audi R8 Guy

      @Heaven Sent:
      Alice in Wonderland (The Duchess): If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.

      Winnie the Pooh: It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?""

      March 4, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Mao

      Good on you for your studies but I just hope you separate western commercialism that got mingled with Christianity over actual Christianity when comparing it with Chinese wisdom.
      I also appreciate the teachings of Confucius but remember that Jesus' teachings and the Buddha are argued to be the same, as well as the Confucius home is comparable to teachings in the Bible as well.
      At the same time the Chinese system is not perfect. Many CBC's and ABC's (Canadian/American born Chinese) feel overwhelmed by the pressures that traditional Chinese has put on them. You might be interested in the Chinese blogs to get their take on their culture.

      March 4, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  20. Audi R8 Guy

    This analysis of biblical advice is academically interesting as was the analysis the author is critcizing. It does seem like a horrible waste of intellect to devote one's work to analysis of the minutiae of a book of fables that has been re-written many times to meet the agendas of various groups. At least the author does not conclude that his interpretation of the stories infers that gay people should not exist or get married. He simply provides his view of what the stories say. My interpretation of what Winnie the Pooh says is different and is as valid in terms of implications for my relationship with my partner and gay marriage. There is just something very strange about those who believe in supernatural beings and magical forces. It is sort of current-day equivalent of identifying and burning witches.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:04 am |
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About this blog

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.