October 25th, 2011
12:09 PM ET
My Take: Why Christians are embracing their LGBT neighbors
Editor’s note: Ross Murray is director of religion, faith and values at GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
By Ross Murray, Special to CNN
America is embracing its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. Don’t believe me? Just look at the progress being made in faith communities.
The Christian church was once considered the final holdout for those who oppose equality for LGBT people. Staunch believers could gather in worship with people who thought just like them to hear sermons affirming the anti-LGBT beliefs they held in common.
For those of us who identify as LGBT, church was a place of fear and secrets. We had to figure out how to hide ourselves or how to find a more welcoming community.
But that is changing.
Although there is still a variety of scriptural interpretations, an increasing number of Christians are reading scripture and understanding that God’s design for the world includes LGBT people. It follows, good Christians believe, that if God made them, then I am called to love and support them.
Whole Christian denominations have accepted and embraced the reality of LGBT believers within their ranks and in their leadership. Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, the United Church of Christ and Unitarians have formally accepted LGBT people within their denominations.
Even within denominations and faith groups whose policies don’t fully welcome LGBT people, there are growing numbers of people who have learned to love and accept their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.
The Public Religion Research Institute found this year that as many as 71% of Catholics in America support lesbian and gay people, even up to the point of civil marriage, despite the Roman Catholic hierarchy telling them otherwise.
Of course, there still are Christian groups who work actively against equal protections for LGBT people and their families.
Indeed, as more Americans get to know and love their LGBT neighbors, the messages and vocal misinformation of anti-gay activists become even more shrill.
And yet more and more Christians are now living out the message of 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
How did this happen? More Christians now know someone who is LGBT. They probably even know someone from their church. There are countless faithful Christians who identify as LGBT.
These are folks who have found their faith in God to be stronger than the opposition of vocal anti-gay activists.
These LGBT Christians have shared their lives and their stories that build up love and break down fear, leading to tangible progress, especially with young people.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, there is at least a 20-point gap between those ages 18 to 29 and those ages 65 and older on every public policy measure in the survey concerning equality for gay and lesbian people, with younger Americans gravitating toward equality.
Even Christian-identified young people increasingly support protections for lesbian and gay people, the same survey found.
Those who oppose equality can call it what they like, but the reality is that we are living in a society that has learned how to value LGBT people as they would others.
That attitude doesn’t rely on fear or lies, but on caring relationships and trust. It lives out the apostle Paul’s wish for the Corinthians that someday we will know fully, even as we are fully known. It is a biblically informed reality that is helping to make the world a better place.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ross Murray.
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.
One more time- skip if you have seen it before-
"Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.
o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:
“ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice. "
"Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8
Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.
And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.
It is soo funny to read these comments from the spiritually high folks here.. Here is a crash course to be so great..
If a skeptic makes a statement that is against your faith, take it in a broader sense and use your integrity for the author to understand the true meaning... which suddenly turns the point for them..
If a skeptic makes a statement in which you find a miniscule error, (even grammar and the oh so favorite "to vs too"), you jump on their head and pound their face in with "You are such a moron" "You are such an idiot" kinda responses.
You gotta learn how to "love" from them.. we would fast be back to being the sheep herders and goat milkers
How can you read the comments on here and associate that with one side of the argument? There is a lot of name calling on both sides and pointing fingers on both sides.
@ wait: do you ever turn your skepticism on yourself? why are you so confident in your skepticism?
@Russ.. I do.. Quite frequently to be frank.. It is by self question and analysis that I learn the right from wrong.. After all, I can not turn to a 2000 yr old goat herder who tells me that stoning a kid to death is the right punishment for a disobedient child..
I questioned myself about the morality of such statements and found them to be wrong!
@ wait: I thought you were being skeptical of yourself. It still sounds like you assume the truth is inside you. What if it's not?
@Russ: “@ wait: do you ever turn your skepticism on yourself? why are you so confident in your skepticism?” My initial doubt about Christianity began when I started to compare the behavior of Christians and the Christian church to the precepts and rules they were trying to make me live my life by. They failed the test miserably.
@TR6: but that should be the very thing that affirms the uniqueness of Christianity.
Every religion has precepts & standards.
But every other says "keep the rules given, or you don't get in." Only the 'good people' get in.
Only Christ comes & says, "I'll do what you can't." Only in Christianity do the bad people get in.
It doesn't affirm being bad, but it is encouraging. I know I deserve death, but Jesus died for people like me.
@russ.. I am not as.suming the truth is inside me.. I am simply using my mind to ana.lyze a situation based on simple principles like "Don't hurt others" "Don't step on others' toes for my own good", etc....
If I happen to be wrong about a certain decision, I am willing to accept that I am wrong and try correct myself.
Are you willing to disobey the book if something in it is proven wrong? When did you last discip.line a child with stones?
@wait: there's the difference. you are still assuming you are the final court of appeals.
The Bible says: "the heart is deceitful above all things..."
I think we both can agree that all humans are really good at rationalizing away things they do... even if we disagree at how we come to that conclusion.
Here's the scary good news of the cross: I am the child who deserves to be "disciplined with stones." And Jesus hurled the justice I deserved at me, then stood in front of me & took it upon himself.
ay ay ay.. so now Jesus who died 2000 yrs ago (allegedly) stood in front of you and took stones.. Hallucinations are usually the first signs of a mental disorder.. Get yourself checked asap dude.. you are getting unhinged..
Besides.. what is your utter fascination with your own death.. you will get it one day whether you like it or not.. why hurry so much?
@ wait: why are you so consumed with denying it's reality? Can there be a greater travesty than to live as if death wasn't real?
Even Steve Jobs noted that in his Stanford commencement speech. "It's life's ultimate change agent."
Ernst Becker wrote a pulitzer prize winning book on it: "the Denial of Death." If you spend your life in denial, that is the mental defect.
You are the one claiming that you will have life everlasting, amen. You are the one who is greedy for more... and not only more, but a *perfect* more... and life is not enough to satisfy you.
Russ has this way of turning everything around. If he were falling off a cliff, he would say, "but just think, I know I'm going the right direction".
@ Human Bean: guilty as charged! I am greedy for more life! And I want more of the world the way it was meant to be, not a place where injustices pervade, economic systems fail, humanity turns upon one another, etc.
Christ came to fix the broken world, and "that we might have life abundantly" (Jn.10:10).
@ News Flash: yes, I do. But it's not my idea originally. It's what Jesus was doing.
Consider this: maybe that means the Christianity you thought you knew, the one you rightly rejected (where only good people earn God's love & hate the bad people), is not real Christianity at all...
Who were the people who most ticked off Jesus? The religious right. Punks like me were the worst of the worst. And yet he died to save me from my legalistic lies of self-aggrandizing goodness.
I'm a totally loved moral failure. That's the joy of being a Christian.
@Russ.. tell the truth.. Are you Michelle Bachmann? Coz your thoughts really are making absolutely no sense or have cohesiveness at all..
I write: "what is your utter fascination with your own death.. you will get it one day whether you like it or not"
You write: "why are you so consumed with denying it's reality? Can there be a greater travesty than to live as if death wasn't real"
I write: "If I happen to be wrong, I am willing to accept that I am wrong and try correct myself."
You write: "I think we both can agree that all humans are really good at rationalizing away things they do"
I have to ask, what are you sniffing from the pages of you bible.. coz you seem to have difficulty understanding basic English sentences.. I say one thing and you read it as a totally opposite thing..
@wait: you said "why hurry so much? you'll get to it one day..." as in later... in the future... don't be so preoccupied with it now, right? Isn't that your intent?
My response: Ernest Becker, "the Denial of Death." Every day of life should be lived in light of the reality of death.
Is that not a direct response to your thinking?
Another question for the Christian fundies..
If god made only Adam and Eve, and god explicitly disapproves/disallows relationships among close relatives(according to the bible, ofcourse), How did mankind come into being??
What were Adam and Eve been up to in that forest (along with munching on apples)..
They were husband and wife....
@Thoughts – well, husband and rib, really. Adam was mostly doing himself.
Right.. and they had children.. a whole bunch of them.. but with no other humans around, other than "close relations", they should have ceased to exist after their generation.. according to god's word.. where did we come from then.. did they disobey god? *gasp*
NO, god approves of ince$t just check out the ending of the story of Sodom and Gomorra. There’s a lot of action that the priests don’t want you to know about
@wait is a rib an organ??? @TR6 the end of sodom and gomorrah when it was destroyed?
@observer yes! early, early on and then i started responding to comments.
Are you being directly affected? Is this negatively affecting you? I'm trying to be chipper but seriously...You're following a book written by MEN who were most likely HIGH on opiates. Good job, guys. It was 100% more likely that it was an add-in anyway.
@observer i have addressed this before. I haven't said anything about gays in any of my posts nor have i said that i am not or am gay. I can only assume that you read the bible the same way you read my posts, not very thoroughly. Today, i drove myself to work, tomorrow I might have my spouse drive me to work. I go to work daily by myself and sometimes my wife takes me to work.
Also Elijah went up to,......... the son of man went up into
Have you said ONE WORD in support of the theme of this article that Christians are now embracing their LBGT neighbors?
How do you read this? GODISNOWHERE
Christians are the very ones keeping the discrimination agains gay people alive and well. They vote to outlaw gay marriage! They make it to where gay people cannot adopt children.
"They make it to where gay people cannot adopt children."
Take them to court, you'll have the support of the APA and other organizations.
• Do children of lesbian and gay parents have more problems with sexual identity than do children of heterosexual parents? For instance, do these children develop problems in gender identity and/or in gender role behavior? The answer from research is clear: sexual and gender identities (including gender identity, gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation) develop in much the same way among children of lesbian mothers as they do among children of heterosexual parents.
• Do children raised by lesbian or gay parents have problems in personal development in areas other than sexual identity? For example, are the children of lesbian or gay parents more vulnerable to mental breakdown, do they have more behavior problems, or are they less psychologically healthy than other children? Again, studies of personality, self-concept, and behavior problems show few differences between children of lesbian mothers and children of heterosexual parents.
• Are children of lesbian and gay parents likely to have problems with social relationships? For example, will they be teased or otherwise mistreated by their peers? Once more, evidence indicates that children of lesbian and gay parents have normal social relationships with their peers and adults. The picture that emerges from this research shows that children of gay and lesbian parents enjoy a social life that is typical of their age group in terms of involvement with peers, parents, family members, and friends.
• Are these children more likely to be sexually abused by a parent or by a parent’s friends or acquaintances? There is no scientific support for fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by their parents or their parents’ gay, lesbian, or bisexual friends or acquaintances.
Donations can be accepted from anyone...salvation is for sale!!
"without money, without cost, come & buy." Isa.55:1-2
@observer The bible says that children that smite their parents shall surely be put to death. One of the commandments is honor thy father and mother. The bible also says that the wages of sin is death. Where do you get kill unruly children? I see broken commandments and certain death.
– Deuteronomy 21:18-21 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.”
Do you agree with God that they should be killed?
@ observer: as I said below, that's exactly why we needed the cross.
We all deserve death. On the cross, he took it for us.
Justice upheld while yet mercy is given.
No, because the old testament had no grace. Jesus was the way to grace. The old testament talks about the new covenant, God didn't change, he carried out his plan. The protocol was to stone adulterers as well but Jesus (the son of God) stopped that.
also what does "you are dead to me" mean to you? perhaps that they are not physically dead but cut off?
@ Observer: that's not true. A cursory reading of the Old Testament gives you both themes. A God who uphold justice, as well as one who is merciful.
Ex.20:5-6 – he visits guilt up to the 3rd & 4th generation, but mercy abounds to the thousands.
You see the commandments of a tribe of ancient Middle Eastern desert dwellers and of their war-like, vengeful god. There is no evidence that any almighty creator of the universe relayed these commandments to them.
@Jon is that a jab @ LGBT?
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, commanded others to arm themselves to the teeth.
"He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."
And lest we forget the divine love shown in the book of revelation.
"So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead."
Or let's examine the psalms:
"O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us- he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."
But at least Jesus never ordered anyone to commit genocide and rap.e like his Daddy did.
"Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished."
@HumanBean is there evidence that they weren't?
"@ Observer: that's not true. A cursory reading of the Old Testament gives you both themes. A God who uphold justice, as well as one who is merciful. Ex.20:5-6 – he visits guilt up to the 3rd & 4th generation, but mercy abounds to the thousands."
Yep. God changed his mind in spite of what the Ten Commandments said. – Ezekiel 18:3,20 “As I live," declares the Lord God, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore.” “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself"
@ Observer: that's right! we can't truly die for one another b/c we already owe a death.
Only the God-man could die in our place because he doesn't owe one. Only Jesus lived without sin.
"@HumanBean is there evidence that they weren't?"
That is not how it works. The burden of proof is on the person(s) claiming the fact.
@Human Bean are you saying you weren't stating fact in that well crafted intellectual response about what i have subscribed to?
I doubt that you would buy a used donkey from Ezekiel, or any of those other ancient "prophets". That you stake your very life on their words is outrageous.
p.s. I don't know how many tents Paul of Tarsus sold, but he sure was successful at peddling his zealotry. Step right up and buy my new, improved, giant, economy-sized religion... guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bruise, bend, or tear!
"@Human Bean are you saying you weren't stating fact in that well crafted intellectual response about what i have subscribed to?"
You wish to dispute my claim that these commandments were 'recorded' by Hebrew tribesmen?
@human bean this paul? "my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me." 2 tim. 3:11
@human bean i'm saying that you assumed i believed that and stated it as fact.
I'm sorry if I misunderstood. I read your words to mean that you believe that the 10 commandments were set down by a god.
Yes, *that* Paul - the one who could say *anything* loud enough, and long enough and stridently enough to have quite a few folks buy it... just like Mohammad, Joseph Smith and several others who claimed that they were visited by divine beings.
You said"But at least Jesus never ordered anyone to commit genocide and rap.e like his Daddy did.
Why do you persist with such misleading jabs? Every thing in that statement is the opposite of a Holy God and a direct insult to anyone that loves God. Isaiah 13:16 quote is taken out of context from a vision the prophet Isaiah conveyed regarding the fall of Babylon and the End of Days. Babylon is symbolic of satan and his demons and litteral as to the peoples who did terrible things to the chosen ones of Israel. Yes, the Medes did horid things in the conquest over Babylon that is what people were like in those days. The picture is very clear as to the End of Days also. There will a terrible judgement against satan and his demons. Your attempt to twist this as a shot against a Holy God speaks volums. Jesus said that from the lips a mans heart is revealed.
Take a quick check of your perspective and why the eyes of evil are your lens and not the eyes of Jesus. What is your goal and purpose in making a statement that a Holy God filled with goodness would rap.e.
@ Human Bean: your notion of Paul as some snake oil salesman fails to take into account that he willingly died for what he was "selling."
People don't willingly die for something they know is a lie. They're in it for themselves, by definition.
Just remember what Paul said about gays and ignor his comments saying that people shouldn't get married unless they can't control their passion and how women were inferior and his support of slavery. Yep. Good source.
@ Observer: again, you're ignoring his context. It's easier to caricature someone than consider the whole picture.
Paul on equality of women: (Gal.3:28) there's neither male nor female in Christ. But yes, men are called to lead... in sacrifice, not domineering (Eph.5:23-32 – die for her as Jesus did for the Church).
Paul on slavery: read Philemon. Look at what he does with Onesimus, the slave who's run away.
Paul on ho_mos_ex_uality: it is a sin (Rom.1:27) – just like all the other ones the church is struggling with. Jesus died to save us from our sins. Gay & straight people equally need the cross (1 Cor.2:2; 2 Cor.5:21).
@human bean ok, i don't see that being the same but thankfully my faith isn't in Paul.
Russ: We all deserve death? I guess this answers what kind of petty being you worship
Russ; "People don't willingly die for something they know is a lie."
Oh, he may have believed what he was saying. Lots and lots of people have died for mistaken/delusional beliefs... need I cite the obvious - Muslim suicide bombers, Jim Jones and followers, David Koresh and followers, Heaven's Gate followers?
@ Rick: it's not petty. Why did Jesus have to die? Just think about it. The cross is for us.
@ Human Bean: notice, the Branch Davidians & Heaven's Gate cult didn't suddenly explode in numbers of followers after their leader's death. Why would Christianity?
The Muslims dying today did not have direct exposure to Mohammed or those who walked with him. Paul did. He could have checked the sources. I guarantee you he did (Acts 15). Especially since he was Jew who was killing Christians just before he became one (Acts 9).
Exactly. Why DID Jesus *have* to die ? Because his father was mean, and non-forgiving ? Who would actually REQUIRE his child to die, just because it couldn't say, "never mind". BTW, we dod NOT "render" ourselves "imperfect". THAT is NOT Christian doctrine. YOU made that up. Original sin, in your world, made you imperfect. You need a course in theology.
Russ: Petty is exactly what it is.
You only "owe a death" if you are ancient, and vindictive, and childish. Grow up. Obviously you will rationalize your childishness ANY way you need to to keep the house of cards intact.
The Old Testament God commanded terrible things be done.
"And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, 'Take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.'" (Numbers 25:3-4)
"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30)
"But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses. The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same." (Psalms 68:21-23)
"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;" (Deuteronomy 13: 6)
"Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people." (Deuteronomy 13:8-9)
"Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword." (Deuteronomy 13:15)
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (I Samuel 15:2-3)
"Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." (Numbers 31:16-18)
"And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and woman: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." (Ezekiel 9:5-6)
Don't worry, they only notice the parts of the Bible that they like.
@ News Flash: that is exactly what the doctrine of Original Sin is saying. Adam rendered himself evil. Our active sin is an affirmation that we would have done the same thing. Original Sin does not excuse my sin.
I learned that in one of my many theology classes. It is Christian doctrine – from long before my time.
@ News Flash regarding "owing a death": why is it you cry out so loudly about injustices? why are they so wrong?
There is an objective moral standard. Why is racism wrong? "It just is." According to whom? God?
Have the integrity to recognize if you deny God sets a standard you have no ground on which to base the idea that injustices are wrong. Where do you get that standard? Is it relative? So the Nazis were ok according to their own standards?
@ Doc & Fred: we don't ignore those passages. They only highlight our need for Jesus.
Without the cross, we all deserve to die. (It's worse than we want to admit.)
But at the very same time, he was willing to die for us. (It's better than we ever dared to hope.)
"There is an objective moral standard. Why is racism wrong? "It just is." According to whom? God?"
As George Bernard Shaw said, "No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says. He is always convinced that it says what he means." Christians draw Jesus Christ in their own image. Every time a theologian reinterprets Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed, he further reinforces the point I am trying to make: We humans decide what is good by standards that have not been handed down by God. But if human morals and values do not arise out of divine command, then where do they come from? They come from our common humanity.
A considerable literature exists on the natural (biological, cultural, evolutionary) origins of morality. Darwin saw the evolutionary advantage of cooperation and altruism. Modern thinkers have elaborated on this observation, showing in detail how our moral sense can have arisen naturally during the development of modern humanity.
We can even see signs of moral, or proto-moral behavior in animals. Vampire bats share food. Apes and monkeys comfort members of their group who are upset and work together to get food. Dolphins push sick members of a pod to the surface to get air. Whales will put themselves in harm's way to help a wounded member of their group. Elephants try their best to save injured members of their families.
In these examples we glimpse the beginnings of the morality that advanced to higher levels with human evolution. You may call animal morality instinctive, built into the genes of animals by biological evolution. But when we include cultural evolution as well, we have a plausible mechanism for the development of human morality by Darwinian selection.
It seems likely that this is where we humans have learned our sense of right and wrong. We have taught it to ourselves. Just as God has been found superfluous in the physical and biological sciences, modern research is driving the supernatural out of our understanding of morals and values.
@hmmm: upon that line of thinking, there is no basis upon which to judge the Nazis. if morality is merely an innovation, then potentially the Nazis got it right. Are you prepared to embrace that possibility?
As one author put it: why does watching a bully so anger us? If it only reciprocates nature, either something is wrong with us or something is wrong with nature. Either way, something is wrong.
@Russ: “A cursory reading of the Old Testament gives you both themes. A God who uphold justice, as well as one who is merciful.”
The OT god was not just or merciful to the people he had the Israelites slaughter in their conquest of the promised land
"And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain." (Duteronomy 2:34)
If you read the entire Bible we have some relief where Jesus says;" if you believe I will send the Holy Spirit who will guide you in all truth".
I am not sure how old you are but I know you’re not over 3,400 years old so what reference points do you have? Try reading the Gospel of Mary written only in the last 1,800 years. I could never make sense of it period, not even close. Even though it appears English it takes experts from the language and ways of the Gnostics to read it then tell us what it says.
We are reading some old stuff in the books you quote. Let’s look at what we know. The language was middle eastern picture typology full of symbolic significance. I look at the rants coming today from the president of Iran and until his death Gadaffi “the blood of your children will run in the streets”. Now, in 1,000 years we may ask did they really chop off people’s heads in Iran in the year 2,000 or was it just a flowery language.
In short I need to rely on others that know the culture, times and audience these old authors were addressing to get an understanding of what was said. As for me I rely on this plus the attributes and character of God as clearly expressed throughout the Bible. If what someone says does not fit with the God of Bible I take a close look and usually it is a bias twist of some kind that is being tossed about.
If you are interested I will go through each of the items you put out, but consider why you continue to pull this old stuff that shows some kind of merciless killer god which is not even close to who God is. A quick note when God takes out a people like the evil generation of Cain’s it is because he is merciful and constrains a worse evil
@TR6: the cross tells me that is the exact same treatment I deserve if it were not for Jesus dying for me.
You have highlighted a passage on justice. Jesus is saying I'm that bad.
Why do we assume we deserve something more when we treat people the way we do? It cheapens mercy.
"Our active sin is an affirmation that we would have done the same thing. Original Sin does not excuse my sin."
According to YOUR doctrine, we are free, and would have been free to NOT sin. Either we have free will or we don't. Either we are "fallen" or we are not. It's all BS.
@Russ: “@ News Flash regarding "owing a death": why is it you cry out so loudly about injustices? why are they so wrong? There is an objective moral standard. Why is racism wrong? "It just is." According to whom? God?”
Check out your bible. There is nothing there against racism and god had the Israelites slaughter a lot of people because they weren’t Israelis. Also It gives instructions for keeping slaves )like don’t beat them to death but near death is ok. Check the 10 commandments, nothing about racism
@ News Flash: yes, you would have been free to 'not sin.' But do you really think you would have made a better choice than Adam & Eve? Isn't that the same blame-shifting God called them out on right after that? ("The woman you gave me made me do it..." "the snake made me do it...")
@ TR6: why do you think Jesus told the story of the "Good Samaritan?" Many Jews at the time considered them racial outsiders & "half-breeds." He was jabbing directly at their racism.
"In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek..." (Gal.3:28)
"upon that line of thinking, there is no basis upon which to judge the Nazis."
LOL Nice try but since the whole world went to war to defeat him I think we all know our humanity got it right. You don't need a god for that, believing in a god does not make you moral.
@hmmm: if the next version of the Nazis win/survive (and history demonstrates there always will be another such group), doesn't "survival of the fittest" mean you'd have to conclude that they are good?
In other words, if "survival of the fittest"/natural evolutionary development is the sole judge of ethics, what happens when such groups thrive? Are you prepared to embrace them?
The tale of Adam and Eve is a terrible message from God.
The moral of the story is "ignorance is bliss, so don't seek knowledge".
You haul out Darwin's law of survivial of the fittest as if it were a moral absolute when it is merely an oberservation of the mechanisms of life.
Moral relativism is a truism. God is not the originataor of good and evil
Blame, guilt, responsibility etc. are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else.
Concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.
Our culture has a very strong cannibalism taboo, but it cannot be a divinely mandated part of human nature to feel repulsed by it as virtually every branch of the human species has praticed it at some point in their development.
The Wari, The Kuru, Fore, Caribs, Fijians, Popayans, Serengipeans, are all fairly modern examples (within the last 500 years).
Until Christians found them, the inhabitants of Easter Island practiced cannibalism. Though it was considered a grievous insult to the consumed and their families, it was not a stomach churning, capital crime.
Cannibalistic rituals continue to be important to many Christian sects in the form of the Eucharist.
Moral behaviour is not a covenant with God – it is a covenant with ourselves wherein we agree on rules that enable cooperation and thus survival.
"survival of the fittest"/natural evolutionary development is the sole judge of ethics, what happens when such groups thrive? Are you prepared to embrace them?"
You do grasp at straws in language don't you. The proof is we are working out our humanity, you don't need a god for that, You really have a low opinion of humanity which is why you have this great need to believe an invisible deity loves you because you don't love yourself enough.
@ Doc & hmmm: I'm simply pointing out that your same arguments were in vogue prior to WW1 & WW2 & left European many intellectuals in those days with your convictions unable to call out the Nazi threat as it arose.
You are mocking the notion of an objective moral standard from without, but the lack of one leaves humanity an inability to call ANYTHING evil. It's merely evolution. And according to that thought, it might work, for all we know...
As soon as the election is over, the torches and ropes will come out again. It is not right morally, however, it is morally Right. I bet some jews voted for the Nazis, before they showed their true agenda.
@Russ: “@ Observer & Human Bean: God did not make us imperfect. We rendered ourselves that way.” That’s like a parent saying “I didn’t cut up my 3 year old. He did it himself. I just left the razor blades out where he could get them” just like god left the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden
Exactly. If god was so intent on creating a perfect world, then why leave anything to chance and then blame Adam and Eve for his own carelessness? If god wanted to run some sort of experiment, pooh on him.
Really, what purpose does any of this nonsense serve?
@ TR6 & TomTom: we are not robots. We are more complex than that. We are human beings. We were given good gifts that did not have to be misused, we chose to misuse them. We are responsible for our own mess.
Secondly, and more pointedly: what if his entire purpose was to reveal his heart for us? That despite the good freedom & joy he offered us, we would run from him, but he loved so much that he would still come after us & take our justice on himself.
@observer you did quote it accurately. I am telling you those verses aren't claiming the same thing. Good quotation but it doesn't prove contradiction. One verse involves a cloud and one doesn't.
II Kings 2:11 “Then Elijah went up to heaven in a strong wind.”
John 3:13 "No one has ever gone into heaven except the One who came from heaven. He is the Son of Man.”
So your argument is that "went up to heaven" is not the same as "gone into heaven"? Wow!
Rather than continue this nonsensical argument, why not address why you are here picking on gays when there are FAR FAR MORE Christians guilty of the Ten Commandment sin of adultery as opposed to an "abomination" like eating shellfish?
@ Observer: read the broader context. Jesus' argument is that no one is here on earth who has gone up into heaven. That's why he goes on to clarify "except the one who came down from heaven" (him).
Jesus is fully aware of Elijah's story... as well as Enoch, who did the same thing.
It is a contradiction like many others in the Bible. Pretending words don't mean what we all know them to mean is a useless argument.
@ observer: it's not pretending they mean something else. It's having the integrity to hear the author of the words in his context & to his original intent. it's the same thing you want in this forum. have the integrity to look for his intent.
Jesus talks about Elijah. He's fully aware of him. He clearly knows the Scriptures. Your assumption requires discounting other things the text has already ruled out.
"Up to heaven" ???????? Hahahaha. Try an astronomy course.
@ News Flash: sometimes people who are critical of literalists are more literal than literalists.
Put yourself to the same test. You call it "space." What's beyond the fringes? Could you get more generic? Dimensions? It's basically an admission that we don't even know what we're looking at. We're floating in the... well, what? "space." The Matrix? What are we talking about?
As Nietzsche said, "it is a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science." (from "The Gay Science")
@TR6 still not contradictions because they are out of context.
“Whoever is not with me is against me” Mat 12:30,
“for whoever is not against us is for us” Mark 9:40
what contradictions do you see here? against and not for mean the same thing....
Jesus says not to call a fool but he was divine so...rules for humans are different. He knows peoples hearts, humans don't
There are commandments and then there are laws....you listed a commandment from God and a law..
@TR6 those "contradictions" aren't contradictions, they are fractions. God was pleased with creation until it turned against him. In the old testament, God was in temples after Jesus died he was accessible outside of temples. You are comparing the old covenant to the new. Its like calling pre- moon landing statement to post landing statements and saying they contradict each other.
– Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change.”
@observer has he changed?
Christians say that everything changed after Jesus died. Do you still follow God's command to kill unruly children? That's what God commanded. That's what God wanted until Jesus changed his mind.
@Observer – Jesus didn't change his mind, though – people just started ignoring certain things that god had said. Jesus specifically stated that the old laws were still in place. We can see this pretty easily because after jesus was a corpse Peter was still following that whole thou-shalt-not-eat-shellfish thing until god decided to rescind that one specific rule. We can easily assume that the rest are in play and that most Christians are just choosing to ignore god.
@ observer: you're missing the point of the cross.
Jesus took the punishment we all deserve (death) & gave us what only he deserves (life).
God didn't change his mind – justice was served in an unfathomable way b/c God took the injustice on himself.
Wrong. YOU have missed the point. When God set up the rules, according to the Bible, we were to kill unruly children, blasphemers, adulterers, people working on the Sabbath, etc. That is what God wanted. Your argument logic is that we should have continued to do that if Jesus hadn't come along. Pretty bad argument.
@ Observer: no, my argument is even more difficult to swallow than that.
God's standard has not changed. We STILL deserve death. But Jesus paid the death.
Double jeopardy no longer applies for those who will trust in him.
We can tell SO much about a person by listening to how his god thinks and behaves. Frankly, some of you are desp-icable.
@ Human Bean: I think you've missed what that entails.
Yes, we all deserved death (it's worse than we want to admit),
but he was willing to die for us (we're more loved than we ever dared imagine).
God will not compromise justice, but he takes the biggest punishment for us. There is no other love like this.
You are certainly free to believe that all unruly children, blasphemers, adulterers, and people working on the Sabbath deserve to be stoned.
Your ideas of love and the Golden Rule certainly don't match those of most educated people but at least you have the God "of love" on your side.
@ Observer: don't equivocate. I'm not saying I should stone them. I also deserve to be stoned.
That is the central picture of the Christian faith. That's why Jesus had to die (to uphold his justice while showing us love). And it's the same reason the "God of love" doesn't just give out hugs without loving enough to tell us to stop hurting ourselves.
Don't you see that the cross is both a place of judgment (of the evil we do) & mercy (he saves us anyway)?
If "god" knows everything, then it would have known creation was going to turn against it, and could not have been "pleased". Either it does not know everything, or it does. It's all BS.
@ News Flash: but that's the very beauty of it. A love that knows we will give him the bird & still loves us enough to come after us.
Everyone can pick their own religion as long as it doesn't harm anyone else (that's the issue here). If you have no problem accepting that God INTENTIONALLY created imperfect humans and then sends them to hell if they do not do exactly what he commands, that's your problem. Everything else aside, I have major problems accepting that God would send billions of people to hell, not because they were bad people, but ONLY because they had never heard of God.
Your "God" demands... and his hurt feelings are pleasantly appeased by... the death of a human or humans. That you (or anyone) would think up such a thing and worship it is desp-icable.
@ Observer & Human Bean: God did not make us imperfect. We rendered ourselves that way.
We deserve Hell because of what we did, not because of God.
What's amazing is the we all deserve Hell, but God offers mercy.
"@ Observer & Human Bean: God did not make us imperfect"
So God created us PERFECT? God created us, so which is it? Did you read the Bible where God decided that he had so badly misjudged how man would turn out that he basically killed everyone and started all over?
@ Observer: the term Scripture uses is "good", not perfect. Finite. Able to fall, but not fallen.
Your question is a fallacy known as anthropomorphism. Basically, projecting human traits onto God. It's like reading the passage when God is "searching" for Adam in the Garden & saying "where are you?" as if he doesn't already know, much like a parent of a small child does.
It's clear that he does know, but in order to accommodate us & teach us, he uses a manner of speaking. It's clear from context that's what he's doing, especially since he immediately corrects Adam & explains his sin to him.
"@ Observer: the term Scripture uses is "good", not perfect. Finite. Able to fall, but not fallen."
Your answer is a fallacy called an evasion. Pretending this is a question about what the word perfect means, is ridiculous. Get a dictionary. Something is either "perfect" or "imperfect". There is no in between. Why do so many Christians have such trouble understanding the definition of common words?
@ Observer: I'm not evaded your question. You're using a different term.
It's like asking: "did you like it when you slept with that guy's wife?" I never did. Your question assumes things I didn't say.
The Bible didn't say we were perfect. We were good. There are differences. You are changing the vocabulary & it has implications.
"The Bible didn't say we were perfect. We were good."
So your god created an imperfect being but holds them accountable to perfect standards, if they don't follow those standards they will be tortured for all eternity. LOL! That is one screwed up god you got there. 😉
@ So: as I said before... God made us good. We rendered ourselves evil.
We are at fault. We can't blame God for what we've done to ourselves.
@Thoughts: “"contradictions" aren't contradictions” Ok here’s another one for you. Do you know that there are 2 sets of commandments in the bible. Do you know they are not the same? Number 10 on one list is You shall not covet.. Number 10 on the other list is don’t cook baby goats in their mothers milk
@Thoughts:”@TR6 those "contradictions" aren't contradictions”
How about this one, Jesus contradicting him self
“Whoever is not with me is against me” Mat 12:30,
“for whoever is not against us is for us” Mark 9:40
@Thoughts:”@TR6 those "contradictions" aren't contradictions”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself Matthew 27:5
With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Acts 1:18
How about this one, Jesus contradicting him self
JESUS ON FOOLS – Matthew 5:22
"But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."
JESUS ON FOOLS – Matthew 23:17,19
"Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?"
"God made us good. We rendered ourselves evil.
We are at fault. We can't blame God for what we've done to ourselves"
Oh so your god isn't all knowing and didn't know that when he created you that you would choose evil, then blame you for your bad choices. Some god you got there. LOL!
@observer I am saying that something came a claimed Elijah, Jesus traveled solo
"@observer I am saying that something came a claimed Elijah, Jesus traveled solo'
Correct, but totally irrelevent. I quoted the Bible accurately.
Love is complicated.
Here is why/how FAITH in AMERICA has promoted these talking points re a bigoted pastor. See link for calm reasoned discussion points.
Jerry Skrocki from Amsterdam, New York has been working hard to be a voice of reason within his community by proving religion-based bigotry has no home in Amsterdam or anywhere in this world.
But Jerry needs our help. As an organization devoted to ending the harm caused by such bigotry, we are here to assist.
We asked for your help and you are here, visiting this page to provide it. So, thank you. And thank you for taking the extra step in learning how to correctly communicate your feelings and beliefs on this issue.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when helping Jerry, by reaching out to Pastor Mike:
People of faith who have been taught it’s okay to hold negative attitudes toward gay and lesbian individuals are themselves harmed by these false and misguided beliefs. Letting go of those harmful beliefs is a very positive experience for a person of faith. Many people of faith are initially hesitant to embrace acceptance and equality because they may fear they are letting go of an important part of church teaching. If I don’t believe the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin, then isn’t all of its teaching up for reevaluation? This is where pointing to history as a guide can be effective. People of faith usually understand that religious teaching was used to justify discrimination against interracial couples, women and African Americans. They can realize that departure from those misguided religious teachings did not lead to a dismantling of religious doctrine or faith communities but rather had a positive effect on religion and its communities. That realization can open their minds to the idea that questioning religious teaching or beliefs that condone harmful discrimination against gay people may also strengthen their faith community and lead to other positive results.
As a Christian, we are called to love LGBT the same as everyone else. We are all sinners, and will I judge against them and not judge against my self? I can never agree with or support that lifestyle, but they are loved by God and by me, however much I might disagree.
No one believes every word of the Bible. They just pick and choose whatever they like and ignor the rest.
That's why there are so many Christian HYPOCRITES on here who pick on gays for an "abomination" (like eating shellfish) and ignor the FAR FAR GREATER number of Christians who commit the Ten Commandment "sin" of adultery by remarrying (unless their previous spouse already commited adultery).
Ok, you seem to be having a real bad hair day. Perhaps I can help. Before I can please let me know if you are atheist, agnostic or what denomination you belong. Thanks
P.S. For God so loved the world he gave His only son so all who believe on HIm will have eternal life.
Being a believer, atheist or agnostic has NOTHING to do with the truthfulness of my statements. Please address that.
When ever you begin to speak of sin it matters. Sin is against a Holy God where as moral failure can be sin or moral failure. When we move speak of morality outside of the Divine Holyness of God it is a different perspective. In that case morality is what ever floats the communities boat at the moment. That is why.
My statement is correct. It's all pick and choose.
Ones faith matters as to in which Bible they believe every word
Ones faith matters as to what they pick and choose
Ones faith matters as to how you are a hypocrite when understanding abomination
Ones faith matters as to eating shellfish (some denominations of Jewish sects still do not eat shellfish)
Ones faith matters as to when adultery is “sin” (i.e oh, here let me annul that for you)
"Ones faith matters as to what they pick and choose".
Good. We are in agreement. That's what I have said all along.
I believe that The Bible is the inspired word of God and read it everyday. I try to live my life in accordance with the faith that I profess. Sometimes I fail, and it is up to me to admit that failure and ask for forgiveness. Since none of is ever reach our desried perfect state, we are all hypocrites are one level or another because we all fail. Should we advise and admonish others when they need it? Yes. Should we be honest with ourselves and admit when we have sinned, yes. Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with The Lord.
Certainly I agee we pick and choose.
You seem very bothered with Christian hypocrites that pick and choose relative to the ho mo $exual morality debate. Jesus did a good job addressing Christians that judge and I for one need to be careful not to slip into that danger zone. It seems to be a general fault with humans that we tear down rather than build up. Not sure religion matters or is the cause.
The reason I ask what your beliefs are is because I have little to offer say an atheist these days because God changed my perspective around and I could no longer proceed in that way once my eyes were opened. In the same way Saul could no longer kill Christ followers and became a main force in creation of the Christian Church. However, I can see his personality shine through his works (good and bad). I am not at all surprised at the countless denominations when even the 12 Apostles had different thoughts.
I am not so certain we are to call anyone but a fellow believer in our particular faith on the carpet for “sin”. Even so it would be with some witnesses and only after we have discussed the “sin” in person and a brother or sister refuse help. Last I heard we are to share the wonders of Christ and pray for those who do not know Christ. We are to the salt of the earth. Salt is of no value to one who does not have a taste for it and we are of no value when we lose our “salt”. Jesus warned us clearly to be a light in how we conduct our ways and careful we do not become like the Sanhedrin, Sadducees’ or Pharisees.
Let's see - Saul of Tarsus, fred, herbert juarez, prism, doubting Thomas and a few other claimants had the perfect, almighty, everlasting "God" appear to them and take over their lives, with no difficulty. Isn't *that* special! This "God" has pet creatures. The rest of us are chopped liver, I guess.
fred – if people can just pick and choose what they want out of the bible, then what's the point of the bible?
As I have said before, I respect you because you make an effort to look at both sides. We both agree on the concept of the Golden Rule, although I believe I truly support it more than you do. As I have also said, if your religion makes your life better, then don't use it to make someone's life worse.
The Bible has given each generation of belivers a clear message and revalation of God. Each generation for over 6,000 years picks and chooses what it likes not what God has given. From the beginning to the End of the Bible we see God bringing a group of peoples back into harmony with Him in an everlasting relationship as modeled by Christ taken up to be one with the Father.
That Word of God is before us today and we make a choice. In that garden long ago was that same choice to remain in unity with god or look to deception of desire. Same warnings to believe God or satan.
The Gospel of Mary is very expressive as to how we are tied down and tricked in so many ways we lose sight of the message that Jesus gave. I know because for many years I saw only the foolish who believed in Christ.
No, that is the wonder of God in that you are special and Jesus has a made a way for any that would call upon His name
"The Bible has given each generation of belivers a clear message and revalation of God."
No it hasn't given a clear message, its why there are so many denominations and various translations of the bible. Not to mention how people view women and blacks today. Huh...you would have thought your god would have known that too. LOL!
So which of these bibles do you actually read.....
21st Century King James Version
American Standard Version
Common English Bible
Contemporary English Version
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition
English Standard Version
English Standard Version Anglicized
GOD’S WORD Translation
Good News Translation (with Apocrypha)
Holman Christian Standard Bible
J.B. Phillips New Testament (NT)
King James Version
Lexham English Bible (NT)
New American Standard Bible
New Century Version
New Internattional Reader's Version
New Internattional Version
New Internattional Version – UK
New Internattional Version 1984
New King James Version
New Life Version
New Living Translation
Today's New Internattional Version
Worldwide English (New Testament) (NT)
Young's Literal Translation
I sometimes need a couple if a word does not seem to sit right.
Doubtful any of the Mary's Jesus hung with had blue eyes. I was really impressed with a sculpture in a small church in Italy that was supposedly from a man that knew Jesus 2,000 years ago. Jesus was black with egyptian features. Anyway, I am more impressed that God intentionally made Jesus with muddled features because man was looking for his own image not Gods image that is.
I think the message is very clear, it was repeated often enough and though every generation. Heck, atheist even point to cave men that scratched their image of God on walls. So, before the written word people still looked up and said thank you God for this wonderful creation you made for me. Thank you for all your love and care.
The bible is just a guide so everyone doesn't run around killing. There is no "god", there is a creator. A supreme being that created humans through genetic engineering. God is like santa there to keep your ass inline.
The same book you are referring to also says, only the foolish say there is no God.
That same book is a useless moral guide considering the being it deifies is a genocidal monster and rapist who impregnated a virgin with itself so it could sacrifice itself to itself to erase the original sin that it instilled in its creations in the first place.
This sin was introduced when a talking snake tricked the first people into biting an apple. That is why we all deserve hell unless we believe exactly as you do.
MAKES PERFECT SENSE BRO
You can't use the bible to say anything about god. It's circular reasoning. It's a FALLACY ! Take a Logic course. Name one thing your god instructs that YOU disagree with...............................................................that's what I thought.
GOD offers to the people and still many people refuse HIS offerings. Keeping distance from GOD is easy. Getting close to GOD is fearfully unpleasant to the unwise and the wiser of wise. Knowing GOD's Will is always sought and in thought contemplated. GOD needs no one yet one needs GOD. Not so much for a righteous Life but rather for HIM being a 'sustainer' of thoughtfulness toward holiness. Without GOD, there would only be Nothingness. GOD can no more be an un-trodden vestige of self deniabilities, but rather a wanton need by one's selflessness' Acts and actions.
Only Abrahamics can manage to spew out so many words and still say absolutely nothing. Abrahamics and schizophrenics. Every day I find it harder to discern the difference between the two.
I'm sorry to hear you cannot see the writing upon the wall,,, for reading comprehensibly seems so hard for the abnormals of the socially inept. Keep your chin up though, for the Times, they are a changing. (J. Edgar Cayce and Nostrodamus were my students.)
god, built by the Gods forever living upon the insides of GOD
Oh, my apologies. Didn't realize I was feeding a troll.
Can anyone explain this: "GOD can no more be an un-trodden vestige of self deniabilities, but rather a wanton need by one's selflessness' Acts and actions." without using the word "schizophrenia?" Me neither.