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My Take: The Bible condemns a lot, but here's why we focus on homosexuality
The author writes that it's fine for Christians to take certain biblical condemnations seriously while ignoring others.
May 21st, 2012
10:00 AM ET

My Take: The Bible condemns a lot, but here's why we focus on homosexuality

Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

By R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN

Are conservative Christians hypocritical and selective when it comes to the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality? With all that the Bible condemns, why the focus on gay sex and same-sex marriage?

Given the heated nature of our current debates, it’s a question conservative Christians have learned to expect. “Look,” we are told, “the Bible condemns eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics and any number of other things. Why do you ignore those things and insist that the Bible must be obeyed when it comes to sex?”

On its face, it’s a fair question. But it can be posed in two very different ways.

First, the question can be asked to suggest that the Bible’s clear condemnation of sexual sins can simply be set aside. The other way of posing the question represents a genuine attempt to understand how the Bible is to be rightly applied to life today.

In truth, those asking the question the first way really don’t want an answer.

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An honest consideration of the Bible reveals that most of the biblical laws people point to in asking this question, such as laws against eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics, are part of the holiness code assigned to Israel in the Old Testament. That code was to set Israel, God’s covenant people, apart from all other nations on everything from morality to diet.

As the Book of Acts makes clear, Christians are not obligated to follow this holiness code. This is made clear in Peter’s vision in Acts 10:15. Peter is told, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

In other words, there is no kosher code for Christians. Christians are not concerned with eating kosher foods and avoiding all others. That part of the law is no longer binding, and Christians can enjoy shrimp and pork with no injury to conscience.

The Bible’s commands on sexual behavior, on the other hand, are continued in the New Testament. When it comes to homosexuality, the Bible’s teaching is consistent, pervasive, uniform and set within a larger context of law and Gospel.

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

The Old Testament clearly condemns male homosexuality along with adultery, bestiality, incest and any sex outside the covenant of marriage. The New Testament does not lessen this concern but amplifies it.

The New Testament condemns both male and female homosexual behavior. The Apostle Paul, for example, points specifically to homosexuality as evidence of human sinfulness. His point is not merely that homosexuals are sinners but that all humanity has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The New Testament condemns a full range of sexual sins, and homosexuality is specified among these sins. In Romans, Paul refers to homosexuality in terms of “dishonorable passions,” “contrary to nature” and “shameless.” As New Testament scholar Robert Gagnon has stated, the Bible’s indictment “encompasses every and any form of homosexual behavior.”

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality?

Some people then ask, “What about slavery and polygamy?” In the first place, the New Testament never commands slavery, and it prizes freedom and human dignity. For this reason, the abolitionist movement was largely led by Christians, armed with Christian conviction.

The Old Testament did allow for polygamy, though it normalizes heterosexual monogamy. In the New Testament, Jesus made clear that marriage was always meant to be one man and one woman.

“Have you not read that He who created them made them male and female?” Jesus asked in Matthew. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” For this reason, Christians have opposed polygamy on biblical grounds.

Why are Christians so concerned with homosexuality? In the first place, that question is answered by the simple fact that it is the most pressing moral question of our times. Christians must be concerned about adultery, pornography, injustice, dishonesty and everything the Bible names as sin. But when my phone rings with a call from a reporter these days, the question I am asked is never adultery or pornography. It is about homosexuality.

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Christians who are seriously committed to the authority of the Bible have no choice but to affirm all that the Bible teaches, including its condemnation of homosexuality. At the same time, our confidence is that God condemns those things that will bring his human creatures harm and commands those things that will lead to true human happiness and flourishing.

In other words, we understand that the Bible condemns all forms of sin because our Creator knows what is best for us. The Bible names sins specifically so that each of us will recognize our own sinfulness and look to Christ for salvation and the forgiveness of our sins.

Christian love requires that we believe and teach what the Bible teaches and that we do so with both strong conviction and humble hearts. The Church must repent of our failures in both of these tasks, but we must not be silent where the Bible speaks.

Are Christians hypocrites in insisting that homosexual behavior is sin? We, too, are sinners, and hypocrisy and inconsistency are perpetual dangers.

The church failed miserably in the face of the challenge of divorce. This requires an honest admission and strong corrective.

At the same time, this painful failure must remind us that we must not fail to answer rightly when asked what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. Love requires us to tell the truth.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler Jr.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (7,995 Responses)
  1. Basher2209

    Finally an article posted on CNN that is actually biblical.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • ME II

      Biblical?
      The context of the Romans passage is clearly about divorce, not hom.os.exuality.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Common Sense

      @ MEII : I wasn't aware that the ENTIRE article hinges on one passage from Romans......It seems you've missed the premise of this article completely, or you are just trying to pick on one passage that you really dont understand exegetically.....

      May 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Michael

      It is no less an no more biblical than most. You just happen to like this interpretation better.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • ME II

      @CommonSense,
      I "picked" on one of the cited passages used in the article. Granted, I didn't do a full critical review addressing issues with slavery, justification for disregarding the OT, etc., but it seemed like a quick example of how the article isn't necessarily "biblical". Are you saying that the Romans passage isn't about divorce?

      May 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Common Sense

      @ ME II: Here is the only reference to Romans in the article above:

      "The New Testament condemns a full range of se_xual sins, and hom_os_exuality is specified among these sins. In Romans, Paul refers to hom_ose_xuality in terms of “dishonorable passions,” “contrary to nature” and “shameless.” As New Testament scholar Robert Gagnon has stated, the Bible’s indictment “encompasses every and any form of hom_ose_xual behavior.”

      Romans 1:25-28 reads:

      "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done."

      What about this passage says anything about divorce??

      May 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • ME II

      @Common Sense,

      I stand corrected.
      I completely misread parts of the article. I was looking at the Matthew quotes and not Romans.

      May 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • newsjunkie50

      you should actually take that dusty book off your shelf and throw it away........... i forget, which day was it that your dog created the earth in the dark????? and he talked about this with himself??????? we have people commited these days for just that same thing.... lol

      May 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Biblical? The context of the Romans passage is clearly about divorce"

      =>The passage in question below, what would cause you to think it was referring to divorce??

      For kthe wrath of God lis revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be mknown about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, nhave been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,7 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they obecame futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 pClaiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and qexchanged the glory of rthe immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
      24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to tthe dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for ua lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, vwho is blessed forever! Amen.
      26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, ymen committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Chad

      oops, sorry about that.. I see ME II already addressed that. serves me right for not reading all of the replies first..

      May 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  2. JesusWasAFake

    Why bother with the whole book ? Who cares what the fictional books claim? They are called fiction for a reason.... Great entertainment but don't bring it on to reality.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • LeeCMH

      AND don't use the Bible's hatred to use government to stomp people.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Its hard to take seriously someone who presupposes that "jesus was a fake"

      May 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Frink

      Its hard to take someone who calls themselves 'common sense' and yet uses none seriously.

      May 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Oh wow Frink, you're brilliant....

      May 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • SkepticalAnon

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE

      May 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • newsjunkie50

      I enjoyed Rudolph and Wonderful life too! ...... great fiction, also!

      May 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • @ JesusWasAFake

      Jesus actually existed. Look it up. Even had it on the news a few years back. You can debate his power, but his existence... no you can't.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. MK

    Peculiar how he focuses in on minor infractions such as clothing and diet being dismissed by the "what God has made clean, do not call common" statement. What about the slavery and incest running rampant in the bible? Were those rules dismissed??

    May 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  4. bencanard

    The Old Testament allowed for divorce; the new testament forbade it. I don't see a great movement to forbid divorce in the country.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • jem4016

      Actually, Jesus forbid divorce in all cases except infidelity. But you are right, there is not a lot of talk about divorce.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Forbidding divorce is not biblical. Secondly, forbidding divorce would be for some, an extension of their torment.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Michael

      Yes, this is the greatest hypocrisy of evangelicals in the public square. They rail about the behavior of a discriminated minority but have no qualms regarding behavior like adultery that is explicity forbidden in the commandments they devalue. Any adulterer who talks about family values is the worst kind of hypocrite. (How many of them recently tried to run for the highest office in our country?)

      May 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • eric

      actually the bible does not, nor has it EVER forbidden divorce. It forbids divorce and remarriage.

      And as for the "infidelity" subject, the biblical reference to that is not how we few infidelity today. The biblical ideology was that if a man and women were engaged to be married and on the night of the wedding the woman was found not to be a virgin, THEN and ONLY then could he divorce and be remarried. That is the infidelity the bible is speaking of, if you study the origin of that scripture.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • CollegeGirl

      My RESPONSE to: "Forbidding divorce is not biblical. Secondly, forbidding divorce would be for some, an extension of their torment."

      ...actually if you read some of the New Testament–Most of the letters written by the Apostle Paul to the churches had a main theme of suffering. Suffering in this life takes on several different forms, but the main motivation and purpose behind endurance and suffering is trusting that in times of hardship and trial that God is still a good and Holy God and that he knows what is best.

      In the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) the story of Jesus and his works completely reflects living a life of endurance in difficult situations in order that God's redemptive purposes might be complete. This theme is culminated with the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. He claims to be wholly God and wholly man. He didn't have to suffer. He was perfect. But he CHOSE to suffer though he was innocent in order to fulfill the requirement of the law. The law being a reflection of God's perfect justice. God is holy and cannot accept sin. Thats right. God CANNOT do something. He is unable to permit evil in his presence. It goes against his very nature and character. But he is also merciful. That is why Jesus is the perfect solution to fulfill both aspects of God's character. He willingly punished his son fully with his wrath and punishment (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) that we deserve to "fulfill the righteous requirement of the law" and to extend to us mercy.

      This is where Paul by the inspiration of God, writes to followers of Christ to endure for the sake of the gospel. This may include for many enduring a marriage that is dysfunctional and even abusive. A true follower of Christ has chosen to surrender his life to God. This means fully embracing and giving up the comforts of this life, in order to allow God to work through us and by us to accomplish his goal.

      What is his goal? God is God. He deserves all the praise and glory and recognition. He created us. He can do with us as he pleases. We are nothing but beings formed and designed by him. He also created us with the ability to make choices. Some of us choose to reject God and some of us choose to accept him. By creating us as agents that can choose to follow him, he brings honor and recognition to himself by saving us from our sinfulness and redeeming our broken lives. We are all equally sinners. We all equally reject God, but some people admit that they have rejected him. Some people realize that they cannot "do life" on their own. Some people recognize this and fall on their faces pleading to God for mercy for rejecting him. We have all rejected him and deserve his punishment, but that is where his mercy comes into play. He will answer those who call on his name and extend his mercy to them if they choose to recognize their own sinfulness. By recognizing ones own sinfulness, it is an obvious second step to choose to live a lifestyle that God designed. God created us and he knows what is best for us. So if people believe that he is truly perfect and truly created us, then they will willingly do as he asks and commands because it is what is best for them. This brings God honor and recognition. This is his end purpose and goal: To glorify himself. He chose to glorify himself by using us, his creation. He could have chosen to glorify himself by condemning us and punishing us. That also gives him glory, because it is perfect justice. But his mercy and ability to redeem something so broken and dysfunctional also brings him glory.

      Either way you choose to go, God is bringing himself glory through you. Personally, I choose to believe that he is God and he knows best. Personally, I choose to believe that I can do nothing to save myself from what I deserve. Personally, I believe that I deserve to die for rejecting God. I deserve to suffer for eternity, because I have continually rejected my Creator. But I believe that God has the power to save me, and to give me mercy. Personally I choose to glorify him, by allowing him to work through me and in me no matter how much it hurts and how hard it is. I constantly fail. I constantly want to quit. But by the power of God in me, I am able to endure.

      I hope and pray and plead with God that he will allow me to get married someday. I hope and pray and plead with God that he will allow my marriage to flourish and being loving and beautiful. I hope and pray and plead with God for all of the little things in my life to line up in a way that is most comfortable for me. But my main hope and prayer and the deepest desire of my heart is that God is glorified and honored and given the recognition he deserves. Evil is already in the world, and if he allows me to enter into a marriage that is destructive and hurtful, I pray that he will give me the strength to endure it in order that he receives all the honor and recognition for allowing me to endure, and that through the example of endurance in my life, others may see his power and see his goodness and choose to believe in him as well. I pray that through the difficult situations in my life, that God allows me to continue to believe that he is still good and he is still just and he is still merciful.

      Yes. Forbidding divorce is often an extension of torment. This world is not perfect. It will not be made perfect until Jesus returns again. But when he returns, it will not be to extend his mercy, it will be to judge the world in perfect justice. The torment the people who reject him will feel, is exponentially greater than the "torment" felt in a broken marriage. God can use those situations in the life of Christ follower to display his power and love at our expense. I pray that God spends me and uses me so that others might come to believe in him. I will suffer so that God is made known and so that God is praised. It will hurt and I will fail if I try to do it by my own willpower. But God will give me strength. He made the earth right? I think he is powerful enough to give me a little bit of strength to survive hardships.

      He is God and he is alone worthy of our praise. Will the punishment of your soul bring him glory, or will the redemption and flourishing of your soul bring him glory?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • rch

      If you look in the article, Dr. Mohler specifically addressed the evangelical failure regarding divorce.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Greg Powell

      CollegeGirl, I have been a Christian for 35 years, have 2 degrees in Bible and Theology, and have written many hundreds of pages on various topics from a biblical perspective. I love Jesus with the deepest core of my heart. But I don't think I could have written what I just read in your post (article!). I hope you will continue to write for the glory of God. Please don't bury your talent. Humbly steward your gift by offering your thoughts to a broader audience than the very few who will read (and the fewer who will honestly consider) what you write as a reply to a reply to an article on CNN. The majority of what people write in this forum is so sadly shallow, so painfully absurd. Your deep Christian thinking, your clarity in communication, and your humility before God... all of this sets you apart as a very unique lighthouse for the Kingdom of Christ. So go for it girl. Keep thinking, keep writing, keep loving the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and keep calling out to people with the truth and power of the gospel.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • xyx25

      @CollegeGirl! Ambassador for Christ!

      May 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Matt

      CollegeGirl – OH MY GOODNESS! What a response! You killed it! I'm with Greg Powell. Don't waste what God has graced you with concerning your theological depth and ability to communicate it through writing. You will certainly be a blessing to your future husband, children, and church – should the Lord choose to bless you with either of the first two – as long as He keeps you here! Soli Deo Gloria!

      May 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  5. hipster

    This response is no different- he picks and chooses which verses apply and which don't.

    It's hypocritical and self serving.

    While he seems to say the Old Testament doesn't apply to modern Christians, I have a hard time believing most Christians don't believe in The 10 Commandments (which, by the way, is in the OT).

    May 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • smartaz

      The 10 commandments were first mentioned in the Old Testament, but they are also reinforced in the New Testament. The same cannot be said about many of the Old Testament laws.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Michael

      @SMARTAZ, as I recall, Jesus preferred an alternative version.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • newsjunkie50

      and I say unto you... lowlife.. you should actually take that dusty book off your shelf and throw it away........... i forget, which day was it that your dog created the earth in the dark????? and he talked about this with himself??????? we have people commited these days for just that same thing.... lol

      May 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  6. Mike

    Point taken but since the evangelical right HAS failed so miserably on the issue of divorce why do we never see vast amounts of money and energy being used to overturn divorce laws? Come to think of it, why are ministers even allowed to get a divorce? Seems to me it sets a bad example.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  7. momoya

    This moron thinks that ho mo s3xuality is the biggest issue of our times because he gets a lot of calls to write about the issue..

    THAT is some MIGHTY stupid logic.. It'd be like an engineer claiming that his building under construction is the most important issue in the state because he gets the most calls about his design..

    Look, dummy.. You're a religious commentator for CNN.. CNN's religious blogs are focused on ho mo s3xuality right now.. Thus, you're going to get calls to pontificate on it.. And if that writing above is the best you can muster, they should fire your azz.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  8. Trent

    Because religion is all about hating anyone who thinks differently. Every religion claims to be one true religion and all others are false, go out and kill anyone who doesn't worship the game god as you or who violate any one of these several arbitrary, archaic moral rules.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Actually no. Not all religions claim their way is the only way. You just haven't looked much outside the Abrahamic constructs.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Yeah, you know Trent, that's not what Christianity teaches at all. You're very ignorant.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Tony

      This isnt entirely true, hinduism accepts other religions gods in a way, for the believe that every god is the same god, just with a diffrent name. Example of this would be: you are a brother to your sibling, but a son to your father, but you are you etc. Another religion that is very accepting of other beliefs is buddhism, which, among comman people in modern times, involve it with philisophical hybridism. The religion itself has never split a drop of blood rather than its own in martyrdom.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jillian

      actually most religions teach to love others and not judge others...it isn't religion that starts wars, it is the sinful needs and wants of power and money that start wars...people use religion as a reason to cause a divide between others while religion is about bringing people together and loving one another.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Michael

      @Common Sense, your assertion about what Christianity teaches is of course correct, to a point. A message of love and forgiveness is not however how Christians (and their ministries) behave on these 'wedge' issues.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Common Sense

      @ Michael: Really? Actually, I've never been to a church that hasn't taken in a professed hom_os_exual and loved them like any other person. The problem you seem to have is that you think the Christian church should CONDONE hom_ose_xuality, and the fact that they don't makes you think we're all bigoted hypocrites. My savior doesn't condone sin, God's word doesn't condone sin and therefore, in being shaped to the image of Jesus Christ, I CANNOT condone sin of any kind. Does that mean I don't sin? NO. So in honoring my God, I cannot condone or encourage ANY sin, but instead preach repentance like my creator did on Earth. I can't condone hom_ose_xuality, nor adultery, nor lust, nor covetousness, nor idolatry of any kind. To do so would be denying my God and savior's commands

      May 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • @ Trent

      What you're claiming religion to be is no different from what you and the other non-believers are doing on this blog. Hatred belongs to those who fear what they do not know.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  9. CRC

    Amen to Mohler, well stated.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • momoya

      Really? What point of his was sensible?. Let's debate it because that article was as stupid as I've read on CNN.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Janet

      "Amen to Mohler, well stated."

      Really? The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  10. steve Morrison

    Christian "love" means they spread hate and intolerance to all. Can we please destroy all torahs, bibles, korans etc. the world will be a much better place

    May 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • gay atheist

      AGREE

      May 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • One Voice

      I agree with you!

      May 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Yay for burning books!! You guys wouldn't happen to know where the next fascist party rally is going to be do you?

      May 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Tony

      You realize, dont you, that that is what some of the things most dictators do, like hitler?

      May 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • One Voice

      This is addressed to Common Sense and Tony: Well it just so happens that a "Christian" group in my home town is suggesting the banning/burning of a certain romance novel. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I guess I should add the term Fascist and Dictator to the names I plan to use when addressing those "Christians". Thank you for the help!!!

      May 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Common Sense

      @ Onevoice: I completely agree with you. They need to repent of this and honestly sound like cooky southern baptist fundamentalists to me. As a Christian, I don't condone burning books at all. Bet you didn't expect that response did you?

      May 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • One Voice

      Actually, no I did not expect that answer. However, it is the reality I live with in the South. Throughout history mainly the "Christians" were the ones burning books and people whom did not follow their beliefs. It is actually how Christianity was able to thrive and spread like a virus.

      May 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Common Sense

      I think you're a little off on "how christianity spread," (and it wasn't by burning books) but the truth is that if you look at the world, its easy to see that we are all truly sinful, Christians included. As a Christian, I am certainly more aware of my own sin and my ability to see the results of sin in the world now, then I was before I was saved.

      May 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • jd

      Thanks for being so tolerant of other belief systems. Lets just get rid of all religious books, then we can start killing off the the religious radicals. Man, liberals absolutely scare me. Somehow religion is the source of all hate in the world. Get out a phone book and look at how many hospitals and non profits have religious affiliation. A large majority.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Pax Canning

      Tony godwined the thread!

      May 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Jack

      Isn't it funny some of them brought up Hitler and Naziis? Hitler was Christian and most of the Nazi's and their sympathizers were as well.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Jack

      Isn't it funny some of them brought up Hitler and Nazis? Hitler was Christian and most of the Nazi's and their sympathizers were as well.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  11. Explanation Needed

    "What God has made clean, do not call common", as so quoted in this article is correct, but are you making your own interpretation of this statement? i think that you are. for if you are to truly follow it, where in the bible does it tell us that "shellfish" or "pork" is clean to us? Jesus stated that he did not come to bring any new laws (or change any of the previous), he only came to enforce them. Literally, this means that everything that applied then, still applies today.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      Did Jesus keep kosher? My understanding is that yes, he did. That is to say, no change in the law.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Common Sense

      "Man is not made holy by what goes into his mouth, but by what comes forth from it." Matthew 15:11

      May 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • StudyToShowThySelfApproved

      With regards to the passage in Romans on Peter's vision, to get the true interpretation read the verses before and 13 verses after to see what was really being said of Peter's vision. Peter still was using the "jewish" standard of anyone not a jew is unclean and the Lord was telling Peter in the vision that he was not to judge the "gentiles" as unclean. Thel Lord was preparing him for the visit from the gentile men on their way and to also show that the gospel was to be preached to everyone regardless ethnicity.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Brandon

      Great question – Jesus actually clearly states that all foods are clean in Mark 7:18-19: "And he said to them, 'Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?' (Thus he declared all foods clean.) "

      And if you look at the passage in Acts, notice that God is telling Peter to eat the animals in this vision – which are said to be "all kinds" of animals, all kinds of unclean animals. By showing him this he was not only referring to the fact that the Gospel was extended to all people, but was obviously reinforcing what Jesus had declared earlier, that the ceremonial and dietary laws of the Old Testament were no longer in practice.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  12. Logimath

    Ok, that's great. I now understand why Christians can't get gay married. Now care to explain why it's OK for Christians to decide what everyone else can and can't do?

    May 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • jake

      It's called a democracy. So sorry if you think it is unfair.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Common Sense

      If you dont like the state of our democracy or how our citizens vote, then leave.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • J.W

      We aren't really a true democracy. We are a democratic republic. We do not vote on most of our laws.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      What is called a democracy? Not the US, this isn't a democracy. You may want to do some reading and learn about what sort of government we do have in this country, before you visit.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • bluesky

      Those of you responding to Logimath with statements about how we live in a democracy: you are wrong. In this country, basic human rights are not determined by popular vote, but are protected by the courts. What you are promoting is a tyranny of the majority and every one of us should want to avoid that – or someday we may find ourselves in an unpopular minority.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  13. Spangler

    Couples who have a religious marriage service only, without filling out the civil paperwork, are not legally married. Couples who have a civil marrriage service only, with no religious event at all, are legally married. Marriage is a civil, not religious, event. A religious service, dinner, reception, honeymoon etc. are extra to, but not necessary for, a legal marriage.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  14. RichardSRussell

    FAIR WARNING!!

    Despite the fact that the article itself refers to  s e x  and  h o m o s e x u a l i t y, it you yourself try to do the same in your comment, CNN's idiot nannybot sees "forbidden words" and will not let them pass. Also beware the female breast lurking in the Const¡tution and the ejaculate that can accµmulate in the scµm and encµmber your message.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  15. If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

    Why do the religious focus on same sx relationsips? .. Fear. Fear of what they don't know, don't like and don't understand. Also, they get a feeling of gaining brownie points for God(s) by speaking out publically against it.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • rch

      Dr. Mohler explains why he focuses on it in his article. You should read it.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • bluesky

      The author tried to rationalize why fundamentalist Christians are so focused on hom0sxuality, but I personally believe the real reasons actually are something quite different. Fundamentalists benefit from their obsession because 1) There's nothing like creating a common enemy for solidifying bonds, so it brings them closer together as a group. 2) If all your energy is directed at preventing some terrible sin elsewhere, you don't have time to examine your own sins. Jesus said it well, "Why do you focus on the speck in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

      May 23, 2012 at 7:33 am |
  16. cj

    Two opinions. 1. If we are to live in a country that was founded on religious freedoms, then we must have laws that do not conform to any one religion. Governments need to be run as if there is no God. Make laws that govern people based on human beings needs, not religious needs. 2. Jesus said that he is the new and everlasting covenant. That the old laws are gone and his laws are the only ones we need. Quoting the Old Testament makes no sense if Jesus said that those laws are dead. Then again, refer to opinion #1.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  17. Terry

    Wait a second. The Ten Commandments are from the OT, and this guy is saying they don't apply to Christians? I bet there are priests, and popes who would disagree with him. And it pretty much demolishes his entire argument. It seems he is more concerned with justifying his pick-and-choose-reading of the bible, than he is with anything else.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Michael

      Where do you see that Mr. Mohler does not endorse the commandments? What he does endorse is the concept that some parts of the OT are mandatory and some can be safely ignored. This could be considered as pragmatism, but simultaneously scuttles any argument that the Bible is the inerrant word of God if "some of it" is wrong.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Brandon

      It's a common misconceptions that Christians dismiss the Old Testament – many Christians actually believe this, but this is clearly not what Jesus or the New Testament writers were teaching. What they did teach is that Jesus was the FULFILLMENT of the law (cf. Matthew 5). As the fulfillment of the law, Jesus is completing the purpose for which is was intended. The OT law was given to show the people the way to love and honor God, but in the story of Israel, we see that they couldn't fulfill it. So Jesus comes and does what people cannot do, he lives a perfect life for God, and through his death he pays for the sins of all who would believe in him.

      So once something has been fulfilled, there's no reason to go back to it, it's done. Jesus used the illustration of putting new wine in old wineskins to make this point. Now as Christians, we are called to live in response to Jesus' free gift by honoring him through the obedience of his moral commands – this is not as a way to be saved, but as a response to the gift we've been given.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  18. Michael

    Mr. Mohler's article is reasoned, though I think a bit glib. According to him, we can neglect the requirement to keep kosher because St. Peter had a vision, but not other arbitrarily selected tenants of Leviticus. OK, but what he glosses over here is that the only NT references to the behavior in question are in Acts, not the Gospels. There is a reason Mr. Mohler avoids the Gospels here. Jesus has nothng to say on the subject.

    While it is tacitly admitted, this article does not do enough to address the hypocrisy of people who adamantly support secular restrictions marriage but who accept the ubiquity of adultery with a shrug.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Arlen

      Michael, though Jesus did not actually utter recorded words onj the subject, or abortion and other things, it is reasonable to believe as a Jewish boy and later a man, he believed the Old Testament. Why? He quoted from it VERY often.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Michael

      @Arlen, yet no one ever seems to find a suitable verse for this subject. The way I was taught, Jesus loved "everyone" indiscriminately. That idea is missing in evangelical Christianity.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Common Sense

      @ Michael: Yes Jesus loves. He gave his life so that anyone who believes would have everlasting life. He also spoke the truth to sinners about their sin. Don't confuse Jesus' love with accepting sin. Jesus preached repentance from sin. That doesn't mean he "loved the sinner and hated the sin." He wasn't meek and mild and preached "its ok who you are, just as long as you love people." Telling people the uncompromising truth is also very much itself, love.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • ellid

      He also completely ignores the epistles in the New Testament that command slaves to obey their masters. Liar.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  19. MK

    It doesn't matter how you spin this topic, Mr, Mohler, Christians are bigoted, judgemental, unaccepting, intolerant, self-righteous and demeaning. I know because I was one.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Alex

      This is right. Reason does not work on them.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Charles

      I'm sorry you feel that way, but not all Christians are that way.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Uh

      @Charles, not all, but many, and they would call you "Not a real Christian", and you would say the same of them.....its a vicious cycle that will never end.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • MK

      Until Christians stop calling being gay a sin and the gay person a sinner, they are all that way.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Common Sense

      @ MK: "Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. " Romans 3:23. Not only I, but all people are sinners MK. That includes hom_os_exuals. I didn't write the mail, I just deliver it. Be careful with your accusations of intolerance and bigotry, lest you include yourself in that charge by doing so.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • mike

      If you're not a christian now, then you never were, but it doesn't mean that you can't become one now. see 2 Cor 6:2

      May 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • newsjunkie50

      well said!

      May 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • rch

      Glad to see you've grown out of the bigoted, judgmental part.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  20. MormonChristian

    One question help me understand if something ie. behavior or lifestyle is good: What if everyone did it? Would the consequences be good or bad?

    For those who would say there is no sin – would you deny yourself the chance to grow and learn when recognizing a mistake and correcting it can be the greatest opportunity to grow? Taken in this light, hate and condemnation rather than love are also the wrong path to take.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prove being gay is a sin or a mistake. Then explain how God made said mistake.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • ME II

      Do you mean like if everyone, "Sell everything you have... Then come, follow me."
      Who would get the food, make clothes, etc.? Or, would God take care of that?

      May 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "What if everyone did it?"
       
      Then we'd be ants, not people.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Mike

      Well, yes, if all gay people engaged in gay relations, the world would be a better place. There would be no unhappy and depressed closeted gay people. But why would "everyone" do it? That doesn't make sense.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Babs

      Tom Tom: The same way adultery is a mistake.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.