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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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. Tim

    Way to write an article defending yourself bigot. Your magic book is horse manure.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • vbscript2

      Hmmm... your post makes it sound like you're the bigot here.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Snow

      @vb.. nah, people usually read the article before reading the comments.. (thinking people, at least) . then its clear to them who the actual bigot is.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  2. vbscript2

    It's nice to see someone who actually has read the Bible make a post on CNN's Belief blog. Thanks Mr. Mohler for an excellent explanation.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Explanation? What the f*uck are you talking about?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • vbscript2

      The explanation that Christians are not now and have never been subject to the old (Jewish/Mosaic) law. Thus, answering the oft-repeated questions about why Christians don't abide by the OT laws regarding shellfish and the like. If you'd like a more detailed explanation, read the book of Hebrews, as one of it's primary purposes is to explain the transition from the old law and covenant (Judaism) to the new law and covenant (Christianity.)

      May 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • vbscript2

      *its

      May 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • john jaun

      big·ot·ed/ˈbigətid/
      Adjective:
      Obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one's own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions.
      Expressing or characterized by prejudice and intolerance.
      Wow! Look at that. Everyone here is a bigot. Now we can have intelligent conversation with facts and examples instead of name calling and people taking the bible out of context to fit their belief (both sides).

      May 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • John

      How can you prove, outside of your own subjective beliefs, that all of the authors of the new testament were not false prophets? How can you prove that any of the words in the new testament come from Jesus, or god? Christians freely admit that the bible was written by men, men who were not Jesus, who were born wicked and subject to the will of Satan. Even if Jesus existed, how can you prove that these men wrote anything true about him? It took hundreds of years for the bible you now quote as fact and as god's word to become what it is. Do you know how many gospels there have been, and how many were tossed out of the cannon for being proven to be incorrect, or as the church would say, blasphemous? But yet you have complete certainty that the bible you have now is the right one, the one that is the truth. Did you make that determination? No, hundreds of years of human beings (the male of the species that is) translating and re-translating and fighting for power over what the true words are created the book you carry now. I can't even be considered close to the original teachings of Jesus. Ever played telephone? The game where 10 or 15 people sit in a circle, one person whispers in the ear of the person next to them a sentence, that sentence gets whispered around the circle, on person at a time? It's a wonderful example of how the words of one person can be completely changed in the span of 5 minutes. The more people in the circle, the more the sentence varies by the time the last person says it aloud. It only takes minutes, and a few people, to completely distort the words of one person. Now imagine hundreds of years and thousands of people playing telephone, only it's not one sentence, it's thousands of sentences. And you honestly think anything in that book is even close to truth? Let me put it this way... God could appear to you and tell you something, doesn't matter what, just one sentence of divine truth. If you played telephone with 15 people, using that sentence, god's word or not the outcome would be the same. So how can you possibly believe a word that's written in that bible came directly from god?

      May 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  3. JeramieH

    > What God has made clean, do not call common.

    How can any meaning be extracted from a jumble of words like that, and more so, how does one then confirm that the interpretation is correct?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • vbscript2

      By reading the context. The context was God telling Peter to eat things that would have been unclean for Jews. Read all of Acts 10. Also, read Galatians and Hebrews.

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

      My point is, it's all like that.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Quick E Mart Clerk

      While you may approach the Bible that way, I doubt you approach your life that way. Any two or three sentence excerpt makes no sense outside of the context of the book they're from. You could not the same for any mathematical book or science if you just wanted to make them look like jibberish. You don't like the Bible? That's your prerogative. But these kinds of posts are just obvious pretense.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • vbscript2

      It's not a jumble of words if you're familiar with what is meant by "clean" and "common," which you would be if you had read the books of Exodus and Hebrews. Most of the Bible is actually quite easy to understand. The only major exceptions to that are apocryphal writings like Daniel and Revelation, where some knowledge of Jewish culture is needed to understand what was meant. Revelation was intentionally written to not be easily understood by those unfamiliar with Judaism because a letter talking about how Rome was going to fall wouldn't have been received kindly by the Roman army and would have never made it to its intended recipients. Also, some of the books of prophesy require some knowledge of ancient history to fully understand what was going on at the time.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  4. T.L.O'Connell II

    Christians are hypocrites. The bible says god has no use for silver or gold in several places. And it also states the his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So what are you doing still useing money?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Quick E Mart Clerk

      Every Christian is a hypocrite? The billions of Christians in the world. All of them are hypocrites?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  5. Suzanne

    Whatever your religion, if it's used to promote hate, intolerance and misunderstanding – whether it be for gays, women, another race, etc. – it isn't anything I support. The one thing in the Bible that always made sense to me is the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you." And then that rule is contradicted not just by people's behavior but by other rules in the Bible. The Golden Rule is an easy rule to pretend to understand, but very hard to practice.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  6. Duke One

    "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to undrstand them because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14

    May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It is all BS, imaginary. Prove it isn't.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      so the book of the relgion says those that dont believe the religion are wrong.
      about as surprising as those that wrote the book claiming they are god's chosen race.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      Duke One,

      Corinthians, by Paul of Tarsus. Why would you believe him?

      Did you ever hear the fable of The Emperor's New Clothes? Only those who were not fools (without 'folly') could see these imaginary garments.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  7. God

    I hope you didn't write this on a Sunday, then your fellow humans would have to stone you to death!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • john jaun

      did you even read the article or did i just respond to a troll?

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

      Word!

      May 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • chthys

      Actually, the Sabbath is Saturday. Sunday is the day for sun worshippers, aka pagans. Nothing in the scriptures is condemned more repeatedly than paganism, yet the symbolism of Christianity – ALL of it – celebrates the fertility cycle in nature (which is the occult plan of salvation, BTW) and honors Jesus (not his original Holy Name) as a sun god born on the universal birthday of all sun gods: December 25th. Ever since the Scriptures were absorbed into the state religion of Rome, it has been 100% pagan. This includes the name "God", which is of northern European origin. "JeSus" is Latin. The original Hebrew based New Testament faith remains extinct, unless somebody restores the Holy Names.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  8. Rachel Lee

    Cheers to David Nelson for using his name even tho I disagree with his opinion on the issue. And what little man-boys and girl-babies are the rest of you for not putting your name on what you believe. But it was nice to see "god" and "satan" both in the same room. That was bi-partisan sheisse.
    But let me say my opinion again to the three, count them, three people not hiding behind fake labels to post... God made Eve by pulling a rib from Adam–therefore Eve was made by male DNA–therefore–Adam did in fact marry Steve. Now, with Lilith as the ONLY woman who was designed AS a woman..... Lilith awaits her apology. I haven't seen her yet on this sight. Maybe Satan could ask God here when they stop fighting like babies.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  9. Jim Hahn

    How does Peter is told, “What God has made clean, do not call common." turn out to be no kosher rules for Christians? That's a stretch beyond all definitions of English. In short, people take out of the Bible what suits their purpose and nothing more. The Bible has been used to both perpetuate and condemn polygamy and slavery. Neither one are societal norms now, but at various points in history, they were. Society and marriage are both fluid and ever changing.

    So-called Christians have been using the Bible to attack people and activities they don't like and support those that they do. I believe you either take in whole or not at all. Since most of the stories contained in the Bible no longer have any significance, not at all is more applicable to modern society.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  10. coderjones

    If the bible wasnt fabricated and mis-used as a tool – it might be worth the paper its printed on

    But as it is –
    it seems its only purpose is to solicit tidings, new members and used to control members

    May 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  11. Shades of Gray

    You say the Bible never commands slavery. What about this line from Ephesians: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)". If the Bible was meant to be a moral authority, it would condemn keeping other human beings as possessions, not give give guidelines on how those possessions should act.

    Im not sure if you are brushing over massive contradictions in the bible hoping your readers are as ignorant as your followers or this is simply a sign of your own personal ignorance. The general public has grown weary of the church's brand of propaganda. Please do everyone a favor and keep your opinion out of people's lives. Religion should have 0 say who people want to love. Get over it.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Bob

      That verse doesn't command slavery. It merely acknowledges the reality of the system that existed and the reality that some Christians were slaves. It was giving them advice on how to live within their situation.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Quick E Mart Clerk

      You obviously have made your conclusion on the Bible? Why these questions then? Why does it matter to you? In your everyday life, no one is going to care whether you're a Christian or a plumber. And at the end of the day, they're just potting soil and you're just potting soil. None of these questions matter. Who cares what Christians think? Why do nonChristians who don't like the Bible care what Christians think? Just go about your lives. Nothing to see here.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  12. Rahel

    The bible will always be relevant for those who chose to believe in the one that not only created us but that we count our time after – 2012 a.d. (ante dominumu, after God). I think, however, that it is foolish to fight over what human defect is worse then the other; we are all imperfect humans. The glutton shouldn't condem the gay, and the angry man shouldn't codemn the lazy a.s.o... Jesus said: why do you worry about the splinter in your brother's eye – take care of the beam in your own eye.
    While I'm working on my beam, my message to the gays is to take care of the splinter, to check with God what God's ideal for their life is and to strive after that. If the Bible states "don't do it" we are better off not doing it.
    I have learned that we cannot break God's laws – we can only break ourselves against them.... and our country breaking.
    God bless!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Kevin

      I'm glad you refer to gay people as defective, what a wonderful statement to make. That isn't offensive at all.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • sniff

      A.D. = Anno Domini (Year of our Lord). "Ante" means "before". Scholars use the term BCE and CE now anyway (Common Era and Before the Common Era). The older terminology was established by scholar monks who wanted to depart from the calendar used by Roman rulers. The rise and domination of the European super powers who were Catholic and the subsequent succession by Protestant America has ensured that it will be in use for some time, as all of our technology is dependent upon the same baseline. Peace!

      May 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Alan

    More Communist propaganda to destroy Christianity..............

    May 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You make a claim like that buddy you need to prove it!

      May 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • flip1

      Can't wait for that day, then maybe more people would stop killing in the name of god

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

      *points and laughs at Alan

      May 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • vbscript2

      @flip1: Then you would have loved Soviet Russia or Mao's regime in China. Or the Khymer Rouge. Or a number of the other worst societies that have ever existed.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • JCNOW

      Christianity is destroying itself.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  14. AC

    Sigh, another theologian cherry picking those verses from the Bible that he wants in order to bolster his own bigotry. Try reading Luke 16 or Matthew 5 to see if the Old Testament Law also applies to followers of Christ.

    I would have at least a smidgen of respect for Mr. Mohler and his fellow peddlers of misogyny and bigotry if he vigorously campaigned for divorce to be made illegal in this country. Then at least I would know that he was a man of integrity and principle, instead of someone who hides behind imagined words that might have supposedly been spoken by somebody 2000 or so years ago. But, then again, I think there's a greater possibility of pigs flying.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • flip1

      I threw a ham accross the room, does that count?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  15. n8263

    According to Jesus the Divine Laws must still be followed. What should take precedence? Peter's dream Rev Mohler references, or Christ's actual words?

    Matthew 5:17:
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

    To this day under Christian Law you are not to eat pork and shrimp, wear blended fabric, and must murder your disobedient children, non-virgin brides and adulterers. If you can rationalize rejecting what Jesus clearly taught then you can rationalize rejecting any part of the Bible no longer compatible with civil society.

    Of course none of this matters since we have a separation of church and state and Americans would never impose their religion on others.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Joel

      Reading the book of Matthew was a huge step toward me rejecting the silliness that is Christianity. If you want more non-believers, give believers a bible.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • triveone

      Excuse me, sir? Where in the Bible is there a commandment to murder disobedient children?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • flip1

      Don't denouce gays until you tried being one, one you've have d, you won't miss a trick.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Joel

      Deuteronomy 21:18-21

      18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

      19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

      20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

      21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Quick E Mart Clerk

      This kind of maligning is no different than the kind of maligning that you'd describe as hateful towards gays and lesbians. These kinds of posts just make it obvious that no one is operating from a vantage point of virtue. Everyone has an ideology they want the state to enforce simply because that's what they want.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • triveone

      Joel, how do you know there will not be a day of judgement? You mean to say no one is accountable for anything?

      May 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  16. flip1

    Who really cares about what Al Moher believes or disbelieves; its his opinion, and his opinion only. Aside from that, doesn't the Bible warn against false prophets? We all know how Satan operates through people like Al-pitting neighbor against neighbor, while the REAL loving God embraces all-saint and sinner alike.
    Forwarned is forearmed.
    REPENT Al!!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  17. Leki

    Separation of Church and State anyone?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • flip1

      What country you referring to? After R is elected we'll all be praying to the god of manna.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • n8263

      @Leki, yes please.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Logic

      Amen.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  18. Toi

    for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”..Rom 14:11; "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb 10:31.....for those of you who say the scriptures are "irrelevant" I just wonder what your take will be on the day of judgment.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Keith

      Most of us worry about you Christians,

      May 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • flip1

      That people like you will be surprised that there is nothing on the other side.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Joel

      Their will not be a day of judgment, so your holy book is as irrelevant as ever.

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

      I'm calling the bluff and living MY life as I see fit, and not beholden to some stupid book written back when the wheel-barrow was considered "high tech." And stop the intimidation, will ya. I mean, COME ON, your so-called "god" says he loves me but created a burning hell just in case I didn't love him back. That's not a plan of salvation, but a plan of coercion.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • pmmarion

      Aside from the fact that there will be NO judgement day I have nothing to say. lol

      May 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Steve Morse

      My take on Judgement day will be that Nature shows me God has a sense of humor... I will point out what a joke he has made here for those that have suppressed the ability to laugh at crap like this.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Toi

      I have a question for those of you who don't believe. If I've spent my life serving God, helping others, treating others as I want to be treated, teaching my children to be kind to all people, living my life as a moral human and I'm wrong what happens? Nothing. But what if you're wrong....what happens?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      And what happens Toi if there is a god but it isnt the one you are worshipping?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • JCNOW

      You assume that people require religion to be good. That's a falsity. All of the good things you talk about are done every day by people who don't believe in God. It's only those who "believe" who apparently need the fear of fire and damnation to be a good person. The rest of us do good because it's the right thing to do.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  19. What the Bible Says

    Isaiah 5:25 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • H in Texas

      “I know some new tricks,” Said the Cat in the Hat. “A lot of good tricks. I will show them to you. Your mother Will not mind at all if I do.” Then Sally and I Did not know what to say. Our mother was out of the house For the day. But the fish said, “No! No! Make that cat go away! Tell that Cat in the Hat you do NOT want to play. He should not be here. He should not be about. He should not be here When your mother is out!” “Now! Now! Have no fear. Have no fear!” said the cat. “My tricks are not bad,” Said the Cat in the Hat. “Why, we can have lots of good fun, if you wish, With a game that I call UP UP UP with a fish!” “Put me down!” said the fish. “This is no fun at all! Put me down!” said the fish. “I do NOT wish to fall!” “Have no fear!” said the cat. “I will not let you fall. I will hold you up high as I stand on a ball. With a book on one hand! And a cup on my hat! But that is not ALL I can do!”

      May 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Keith

      So, what is your point?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • flip1

      Wow, what a loving god. I'm glad I worship S, at least you know where you stand with him.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  20. Steve Newman

    Oh? And what about the part where Jesus told all of his followers to give up their worldly possessions? Guess all these Christians seem to ignore that one. Besides, the New Testament didn't even exist until the fourth century or so when a group of men decided what should be in it, so isn't it really Man's Word?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Toi

      Please, if you're going to use scripture, at least give book, chapter, verse. Besides, you have taken this completely out of context....the point Jesus was making was you must choose Him first. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had. The reason? Because Jesus knew this man's heart and Jesus knew the boy put his material things before everything else, including serving God. The examples in the New Testatment show christians giving as there was a need among the saints. Read Acts 8. Annanias and Saphira did not die because they refused to give all their money, they died because the lied about it.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Another Andy

      Wow, you have just totally rationalized away the spirit of charity that Christ spoke of over and over again. I figured people just ignored it because it was impossible to rationalize away. Hats off to you, I guess?

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

      Toi – what is means are “Rich” people can not go to heaven. Prosperity gospel is a false doctrine. All the Mega-Church preachers are headed straight to He ll. You don’t get to pick and choose, the preacher is trying to justify hypocrisy. Standard Christian teaching.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • flip1

      How about buggering little boys, and shootin' people carriying skittles, isn't that what Cs do best?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Toi

      I have not rationalized away the spirit of charity at all. If Jesus taught that we MUST give up all our material possesions, then where is the spirit of charity? Charity is something we do, because, as Christians, we are pierced at the heart when someone has a true need. Jesus told us if someone was hungry, feed them, unclothed, coth them. And feed them and cloth them we must. But no where does the scriptures say we have to give up all material possesions in order to follow Christ. If I'm FORCED to give up all and it isn't of my own choice, then I have not chosen charity, I'm simply complying from fear and not from the heart.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • phil

      it is far from mans word ....it is the word of GOD something you need bad in your life

      May 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Toi

      Keith, where does it say a rich man can't go to heaven. The scriptures simply teach it is difficult for a rich man to go to heaven, but not impossible. "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24. Why you ask? Because we tend to place all our faith in our money. God knows man's heart. It's funny you all talk about being charitable, but doesn't charity take money? If I have more money than you and you are hungry, I should feed you. Read the account of the rich man and Lazarus...Luke 16:19-31. This parable doesn't teach a rich man can't go to heaven, only the rich man who places all his faith in his riches and never helps anyone.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "But no where does the scriptures say we have to give up all material possesions in order to follow Christ. If I'm FORCED to give up all and it isn't of my own choice, then I have not chosen charity, I'm simply complying from fear and not from the heart."

      But that is the whole idea behind heaven and hell......i am not forced to believe but if i dont then i burn in hell. You are not forced to give up all your possessions but dont expect a nice outcome if you dont. Same principle behind it.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Toi

      No Cedar Rapids....I'm not forced to give up all that I have. I'm forced to use all that I have to help others. If I do not help others, I will suffer the consequences. Just as heaven and hell. If I choose to deny God, I will suffer the consequences. God wants us to choose Him. He wants us to choose to help others. As Christians, we are to follow the examples of Christ. We are to help others, give as we can, and not be stingy with our possessions.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      sorry Toi but you seem to be trying so hard to convince yourself.
      no one is forcing you to do anything, in the same way that no one is forcing you to believe. Its your choice, the outcome is supposedly also your own choice. The commandments also 'force' you to behave in a certain manner else burn for eternity, and yet you dont seem to complain about being forced to be 'good' instead of choosing.

      May 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • JCNOW

      Bummer. I thought I'd get to enjoy hell without the riff-raff, and now I'm told that I'll be joined by a bunch of Wall Street brokers. Unless, of course, they get Toi to interpret biblical charity as buying themselves the second yacht and fourth vacation home as helping others. Wait a minute, that IS the Republican argument. According to Republicans, lowering taxes on the wealthy will somehow miraculously help the poor when the wealthy decide, out of the goodness of their hearts, to create more jobs. Wow. It's a miracle. Maybe I will get to enjoy that peace and quiet in hell that I so long for.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • John

      Toi, serious question: God wants us to choose him? And I assume you have. But why have you chosen to follow a god that ordered humans to kill babies, to perform genocide, and performed genocide himself with the flood? No matter what Jesus did or why he came here, your god still did all of those things. So your end goal is to ascend into heaven, to be with a god who killed millions of people, including infants, simply because they didn't do exactly as they were told.

      Let me say it again; he ordered the death of infants. There is no justification for this, none whatsoever. The god of your bible is not all love, he is a sociopathic mass-murderer with so little love for humans that he would condemn ALL of them to a lake of fire for the sin of one. Please. If the guy exists, (yes, he's a man, only a man would come up with a law dictating that a woman must be stoned to death in the street if she's not a virgin on her wedding night), he's a very jealous, capricious, and hateful thing. His only power apparently would be that he created all this stuff, because he has one hell of a time keeping his most beloved creatures in line.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:29 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.