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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. jay

    Reason and logic. If I write a medical book claiming to have a PHD and be a highly respected Dr but later am found out to not be either of those would you still put stock in that book? I challenge any believer to go and research who actually wrote the book you call the bible and see for yourself. I would never put stock in anything someone sells me (snake oil) without first affirming the authenticity of it's claims or the maker themselves. I would also never take the word of a man who lived years later who wrote most of what you call the canon of the New Testament (Saul, also called Paul) who was struck blind by Jesus after his death. Christ himself (if you still believe) warned against false prophets after he would pass. If someone today said they saw Jesus would you believe them? Oh that's right, that's how Mormonism came to be with John Smith but I don't see the majority of Christians (who claim to only follow JC) jumping on that bandwagon. Reason and logic. Even the books supposedly written by Peter are now in question as to who actually wrote those. It will come a time when the world leaves religion behind because it is morally inferior and holding back society. BTW, if I also wrote a book that said it's true because the book says it's true would you believe it? The only authority the bible has comes from itself and if it cannot be substantiated then why continue to believe? Fear of eternal hell fire and brimstone eh? That's about as laughable as the Muslims and their virgin reward.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • guarg

      If christians here must read all of these other 'scholarly' books referenced here, then those with the above argument should go read Lee Strobel's "A Case for Christ". It pretty much has debunked the majority of the generic 'Bible is wrong' threads posted here.

      May 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Then Lee Strobel is a man operating without the fundamental human graces: Reason. Logic. Rationality

      May 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  2. hecep

    I saved alot of wasted time by just skipping the whole bible thing and basing my life on just trying to be a kind, honest, productive, and fair person.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Gordie240

    Hi Libertarian atheist, thanks for your comment. One thing I might push back is that your comment is in itself a "doctrinal statement". You are advocating a way in which we should live our lives and in community. It is a post Enlightenment, individualistic, humanistic worldview. Everyone brings their "faith", or whatever system they believe would be best for human flourishing into the public forum. Your views are just as religious, they just don't have a supernatural deity involved.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • gimmeabreak

      I "believe" 2+2=4. Does that make arithmetic a religion? This nonsense about non-religion being a religion because it involves "belief" in something is old, worn out, and silly.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  4. Horus

    Why can't people who choose to follow a particular religious text do so without promoting "their" version as morally correct? Just follow what you believe and leave those of us who choose to follow reason alone. Stop forcing your belief system into legislation.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  5. Pha-Q

    Oh, I'm so confused. God if you're real, please come down right now and explain it to me again.......waiting.....

    May 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  6. Observant Historian

    The abolitionist movement was led by Christians, it's true. The Christians who led that movement were considered radical in their time, and were roundly condemned for it by most "good" Christians, North and South. The pro-slavery movement was also led by Christians – in fact, the Southern Baptist Convention (note the article's author's relationship to it) was founded as a pro-slavery response to this Northern "radicalism," because the Southern Baptist's saw slavery as a positive and God-given good. I don't mean to imply that the Southern Baptist Convention is still advocating slavery or that the author is a racist; but I don't for a minute doubt that if he and most of the other "good Christians" of today were alive then, they'd be pro-slavery. If they'd been alive in the generation following that, they'd have supported the destruction of the "heathen" native Americans. If they'd been alive in the first decades of the 20th century, they would have used their "religious faith" to argue against women's sufferage, as many good Christians did, because it would "destroy the family." If they'd been old enough in the 1950s and 1960s, they have used their religion to justify continuing Jim Crow laws as part of God's "natural order." That part of society that is now called "conservatives" has always been the millstone around the neck of humanity.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Jen

      Well said and totally true (though I wouldn't be shocked if slavery was still legal under these people in the present day).

      May 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • guarg

      observant historian, while you make valid points there is one major issue I see in your 1 paragraph summary of the Southern baptist faith. You are right in your 19th century interpretation of the Southern baptists. I would compare them to the saducees that jesus railed against, having sold out their religious message for an interpretation that would not upset the status quo and their monetary base. However, at some point in the transition from the progressive era and the era of fundamentalism (1910-1930) the Southern baptist church changed. I would credit this to the old boys of the civil war era dieing off. the SBC that exists today is a much more radical organization compared to it's 150 year old ancestor. Albeit, it still needs to modernize on some issues.

      May 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Beautifully presented. Those who have abandoned rationality as their O.S. will have missed the point entirely. But I am happy to know that you have spoken clearly to them.

      May 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Blessed

      Thank you for perfectly articulating the points I was trying to make about Mr. Mohler's stance as a "conservative christian" and his relationship to the SBC.

      May 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  7. Blessed

    I have few questions regarding this article: 1) What is a conservative Christian? 2)Mr. Mohler states that "the abolitionist movement was largely led by Christians, armed with Christian conviction".... then why did the Southern Baptist Convention wait until 1995 to adopt a resolution to apologize for its past defense of slavery, segregation and white supremacy?

    May 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  8. annebeth

    These same churches who focus on hating gays are the same one where the pastor is cheating on his wife, with the choir director. These are the same places where people have several kids,but never get married and then there are those who have married & divorced several times. The same places where the church treasurer steals a little of the offering money but ALL is OK and overlooked, as long as the person is not gay. If its all sin in Gods eyes, then why such a focus on gays?

    May 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bet

      It's because god hates gays. It's right there in the bible. He hates the other things too, but he hates gays the most. I know this is true because that preacher man at the top of the page says so.

      Christians use the bible for two things – to accuse others and to excuse their own behavior.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  9. xyx25

    Everyone of us are guilty of breaking God's law, every second. No body is rightful to judge others. God alone is the Judge. But Sin is a sin, Bible teaches but we have a Great Physician who can heal us.
    1 John 1:9
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • jungleboo

      "Everyone of us are guilty of breaking God's law, every second." Are you insane?

      May 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Bible teaches but we have a Great Physician who can heal us"

      The experts around the world have proven you can't change a person's sexuality. Duh!

      May 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  10. xyx25

    Dr. Mohler, speaking truth in love!
    If I love you and have concern for your soul, I would tell you the truth! God's Word is the truth.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • MymanDarwin

      It's okay....take a seat over here and take your medication. Your imaginary friend loves you yes I know..you say it all the time. There there...drift off to sleep in ignorance.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • jungleboo

      If you have no self control, the result would be the same. Keep you brand of love where it belongs.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "If I love you and have concern for your soul"

      Nowhere in the bible does your god condemn the saved loving respectful relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand sexuality today. The scriptures that Christians are using to try and condemn them has to do with male prostitution, idolatry and worshiping a pagan god using sex. Part of reading comprehension 101 is putting the scriptures into historical context.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      May 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  11. profbam

    The good Rev. Mohler's argument is puke. He is guilty of what he accuses others of. Easy to pick out the "purity" commands in the Old Testament and claim that the New tossed them out. He does touch on divorce, but his paraphrase of Jesus on marriage as between a man and a woman left out the part that it is to be a one time event. In the eyes of Jesus, John McCain is married to Carol and living in adultery with Cindy. Both Old and New Testaments emphasize what we refer to as the 10 Commandments, an even though God orders the execution of a man who picked up sticks for a cooking fire on the Sabbath (Numbers 15), and Paul reinforced the Commandment, nothing befalls a WalMart greeter for working on Sunday, or me for doing yard work. Read the Gospels, the primary target of the preaching by Jesus are HYPOCRITES such as Rev. Mohler. He is today's Sadducee.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • xyx25

      Everyone of us are guilty of breaking God's law, every second. No body is rightful to judge others. God alone is the Judge. But Sin is a sin, no matter who commits it, whether it is King David who is after God's own heart or Evangelist Billy Graham, Bible teaches. but we have a Great Physician who can heal us.
      1 John 1:9
      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Bet

      @ xyx25

      Cut, paste, repeat as often as you can.

      Go sleep it off, honey. You're drunk-posting again.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  12. David

    Mr. Mohler should just admit he likes a little man on man action now and then...why pretend?

    May 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  13. Pablo

    Remember Jesus was cast aside by others (Can anything worthwhile come from Nazareth?), and even almost killed by his townspeople because he was "different". Hmm did not take a wife, even though he said it is a holy practice. Perhaps He was even seen as a 30 year old "confirmed bachelor", which raised the eyebrows of the regular folk.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  14. MartyGRMI

    Can the author explain to us if God told him our government needs to be the enforcer in his morals?

    May 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • J

      Jesus didn't seem particularly concerned about examining/changing governments and policies. He seemed more concerned with individuals and their relationship with God.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  15. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    If people actually knew the origin of the Judeo-Christian God, there would be no more Christians left.

    Did you know that the Judeo-Christian God was not the only god the Jews had? He was one of many. They were very polytheistic. Start reading the Bible in that light and it makes a lot more sense. You begin to understand why some of the laws about worshipping only one god were written the way they were. Then you begin to see why there are so many instances of Jews worshipping other gods. The Judeo-Christian God Yahweh was a war God. He ended up winning out over the other Canaanite gods that the Jews picked up (Yahweh was one of them). Look at books like Isaiah and Jeremiah. These "prophets" were big followers of Yahweh. They noticed that in times of peace people would stop worshipping Yahweh because then they had no need of a war god. Isaiah and Jeremiah warned that the war god Yahweh would punish the people of Israel by letting them be defeated in battle. Since that area around that time was a hotbed of war and destruction, chances were always good that would occur eventually anyway. Various parts of the Bible were ammended later to make it look like they worshipped one god the whole time. I know this is a lot to swallow for some of you people but Yahweh was nothing more than a god who survived extinction.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Actually..he was not.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      He was not what? The only god the Jews had? I agree.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • alex

      bravo!

      May 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Kalessin

      Of course you agree with your own wrong @ssertion. There is no evidence that God was part of a larger pantheon. Though I will say there is evidence that God was incorporated into some groups pantheons but that is something entriely differen t from what you are saying.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Pablo

      Excellent point. There is archeological evidence that the Jews did not embrace monotheism till after the Babylonian captivity. Wonder what that would do to our old testament thoughts?

      May 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Kalessin

      @Pablo- "There is archeological evidence that the Jews did not embrace monotheism till after the Babylonian captivity."

      Can't say I ever saw that. Is there a citation you could give? I know that some groups in the Judea region (pre-Babylon Captivity) has Yahweh with a consort of some sort.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • EM

      I read the Bible regularly; one God.

      They worshipped other gods, though, (many of which they made themselves and then bowed down to) which is why He would get irritated with them....but would always relent/forgive/have mercy, which is why the Bible is encouraging (if one believes). We screw up; He forgives.

      1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
      will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
      2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
      my God, in whom I trust.”

      3 Surely he will save you
      from the fowler’s snare
      and from the deadly pestilence.
      4 He will cover you with his feathers,
      and under his wings you will find refuge;
      his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
      5 You will not fear the terror of night,
      nor the arrow that flies by day,
      6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
      nor the plague that destroys at midday.
      7 A thousand may fall at your side,
      ten thousand at your right hand,
      but it will not come near you.
      8 You will only observe with your eyes
      and see the punishment of the wicked.
      9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
      and you make the Most High your dwelling,
      10 no harm will overtake you,
      no disaster will come near your tent.
      11 For he will command his angels concerning you
      to guard you in all your ways;
      12 they will lift you up in their hands,
      so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
      13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
      you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
      14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
      I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
      15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
      I will be with him in trouble,
      I will deliver him and honor him.
      16 With long life I will satisfy him
      and show him my salvation. ”

      May 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • guarg

      ... and, have you ever actually read the Judeo Christian texts (the bible) that acknowledge this fact. It is not hard for a Christian to digest this because every kid in our Sunday Schools knows this fact. in fact, much of the Old Testament is about God trying to bring his children back to monotheism because they consistently strayed. That is why they were sent into that captivity to begin with. It's all in the Bible already. Your argument isn't even a good one. Instead, you probably read in some book or web page that this was a flaw in the Bible, did not fact check it, and then went and posted. Really, give us something that is challenging or read the book yourself. You get an F on your term paper here.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Kalessin, you should do some research about it. I'm sure you will find yourself very surprised.

      EM, yeah that's what the Bible "says". It doesn't make it true. Try reading the Old Testament with the thought running around in your mind that the Jews were polytheistic. It actually makes the OT make a lot more sense in the way it was written. Just look at the first few books of the Bible. They were supposedly written by Moses (a man who there is absolutely no proof outside of the Bible that he existed). All of the stuff in Genesis is about stuff that happened before Moses. The Bible even records the death of Moses so how could it possibly have been written by him? No, the Bible was definitely edited at a later date to fit along with the idea of a monotheistic Israel.

      Did you also notice that all of the "false" gods that Israel worship, just so happened to be Canaanite gods? It is not a coincidence.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      guarg, I have read the Bible quite a few times.

      I'm sorry you can't accept the truth, but it is the truth.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • grist

      If anyone is interested in a rational discussioin of this, read "The History of God", by Karen Armstrong. This is a well-researched book on how the god-concept evolved. The points by Jacques Strappe are supported well by the evidence. Read the book and open your minds!

      May 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • SJ

      EM: "We screw up; He forgives"

      Correction: We are screw ups. Solution? Jesus. -> Christianity in a nutshell.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • guarg

      obviously you didn't get the point. We Christians do read the old testament with the knowledge that the Jews were polytheistic. Abram was polytheistic and God called him out from that. It begins the entire theme of the Bible, which is that man Falls and God picks him up again. solomon was polytheistic as were his decendants, which is why his kingdom was split and then cut off until christ fulfilled the promises to David. Every book of the Old Testament states that the jews fell into polytheism and that God brought them back.

      The argument here is that your post was supposed to be this new profound thought that would shake all Christians in their faith. Yet, there is nothing new to your post and anyone who reads it who knows the Bible would shake their head trying to figure out why this would shake their faith. Instead it only confirms what my faith is based on. God builds us up when we fall and tries to make us rise above ourselves.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • J.S.

      How do you prove a critical scholar wrong?
      Wait ten years and let another critical scholar do it.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      No, I think you are actually missing the point. The point is that Yahweh to the early Israelites was not the creator God. They shared the same gods as the Canaanites. He was one of many Gods. It was a constant battle between which war God the Israelites chose. There was a group that chose Baal and there was a group that chose Yahweh. There was never anything to indicate he was anything more than that. It is pretty obvious that the beginning of Genesis was added in at a later date to add in the creation myth under the name of Yahweh.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • guarg

      the scholarship is based on supposition. The earliest archeological reference of any political names from the bible is a reference to solomon on a piece of silver jewelry. Earlier than that is conclusions drawn from digging up images from two cultures that were intermixed. The author you describe above could be pulling info from digs of Canaanite settlements pre joshua, which would show multiple Gods including yahweh, which had been adapted from Abraham's time prior to the period of Egyption slavery. It could also be from various times in the judges when certain clans reintegrated. The old testament is about a fluid history of a people over thousands of years. The work you reference above is about a series of small snapshots being used to try and poke holes in one of the most archeologically proved books in history. It's like me trying to tell my class to describe the evolution of American culture by only looking at the pictures in the textbook but not allowing them to read anything. Is her work good scholarship? Yes. Is it a valid counterpoint to the Bible? No.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  16. cstahnke

    This is a good article in presenting the fundamentalist mind-set and I hope CNN continues in this vein. Science, reason, logic are all irrelevant to the fundamentalist POV yet many intelligent people believe in these scriptures. Why? Because it really simplifies life, frankly–it has a huge payoff in a world that is swimming with data and alternatives. Just ignore everything but your scripture and you can live, particularly if you are around others who share your views, with less stress. If you deconstruct these scriptures using logic they dissolve very quickly but fundamentalists generally will not engage in real debate about their beliefs. We should get rid of the American tendency to try to ignore religious dialogue–rather, we should seriously question religions of all kinds particularly those that actively discriminate against various groups whether they are women, gays, or members of other religions.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Pete

      I think I see what you mean, do you mean its a kind of meditation where when applied in these times helps calm people down? Thats fine...but when it makes you compelled to act out against another, then its still plain wrong in my opinion.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Steve

      So, cstanhnke you want a world where you control what we are taught about god, if taught anything at all. One where the state teaches you only its beliefs, and you have no freedom to worship as you chose because the message may not be to your liking. You are quite the liberal NAZI.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bet

      @Steve

      Reading comprehension fail. The poster never suggested what you claim.

      He clearly stated that ALL religions should have open dialogue, but it is most important to question a religion, any religion, that seeks to limit human rights for some based on their beliefs.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  17. Chris Knight

    This argument that there is nothing else Christians don't follow that is written in the new testament is ludicrous. What about all that is written in the new testament about women submitting to there husbands? Woman's place as being lower that man and man's place being closer to god is all over the Bible including all over the New Testament. The list of things in the New Testament that Christian's ignore or deem not "Viable' could go on and on as well. There is even a verse in the New Testament that talks about how man should never have long hair that might hide his face because he is made in the image of God but woman should always keep their head covered. It's Corithians: " For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head." Also woman weren't not even aloud to speak in church in the New Testament. Why don't Christian's practice these New Testament Teachings? There are way more verses that speak about woman and their place in society than about gay people.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • cstahnke

      In fact, some early Christians allowed women full equality but the idea of diversity changed when the current canon was authorized and politicians took over the Church–just read the history of early church and see how arbitrary were the rules it formulated. Let's be clear here–Christianity is not a friendly religion to women without a doubt. Sadly many American women are quite content to be beneath the thumb of the Church and their husbands. If that's what rings your bell–why not? However, it is wrong for these views to be forced on the rest of us.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • guarg

      Another argument Christians hear and as the author states, the people voicing it probably don't want an answer. If you read those verses in context of the gospels you will find that the husband has to love the wife and Christ loves the church. It is impossible for both parts of the relationship to live up to these ideals of love and submission without allowing for the other to be equal. Another verse to place this into context is the one quoted above where the man leaves the family to cleave to the wife and not vice versa. As such, he has already submitted to her position prior to marriage. Do not assume that humanities application of verses out of context means that the bible is flawed. Rather read the whole thing in context while Cross referencing with Christ's words from the Gospel. Treat it as any other research project. The results will amaze you.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Mike T

      the correct word is allowed... not aloud.

      1 Cor. 6:9
      Galatians 5:19-21

      May 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  18. MG

    Crap!!!! "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 first Christians were Jews!!!!! and yes the law applies to all. How convenient for these so call Baptists. Jesus would be a shamed who was also a Jew!!!!!

    May 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • John D

      Actually, Acts (specifically, the Council of Jerusalem) clearly does exempt gentile Christians from much of the Mosaic law.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      It is interesting to see how you are allowed to interpret what gets thrown out from the Mosaic Law. You know, one big thing about the contraception debate is based off of a scripture in the OT about not spilling your seed on the ground. Interesting that they didn't throw that one away.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • chuck

      Intelligent assertion - not.

      If you read the article, regardless of your opinions of it, the vision about clean things was given to Peter - the chief Jewish Apostle. So, you can't throw out the context so simply... Disagree, but at least intelligently disagree.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Kalessin

      "It is interesting to see how you are allowed to interpret what gets thrown out from the Mosaic Law."

      I don't see JohnD doing that at all.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Steve

      No Jesus would not, as the teaching that the good reverend is promoting by saying it is okay to eat shellfish is what Jesus taught us. Learn the scripture BEFORE you try to condemn.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Sure he does that. He said "gets to throw out most". Okay, so what are we throwing out? Who is deciding which Mosaic law to throw out? When I say "you" I am speaking in general terms. As in, how do we decide what gets thrown out? What became invalid? Because I see plenty of Christians picking and choosing which Mosaic laws they will/won't follow.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  19. SlaveWorld

    History Lesson 101:

    The Vikings (and other Northern peoples) were a curious bunch and very accepting of other cultures. The readily let missionaries in and the missionaries worked on the women, thralls and poor and that helped spread the religion while the men were off farming, raiding or exploring.

    2) It became a political and economic advantage to be Christian to continue trading with the south. The economic system was based on farming and trade, it became impossible to trade with other countries if the King and Chieftains weren't Christian.

    3) At times it was spread into the North by force. Several chieftains were killed horribly when they refused to convert (I can provide a couple of instances in the morning). Convert or die was an acceptable way of converting people.

    4) Economic terrorism. Trade embargo, threats of invasions, overthrow of non-Christian kings and queens, and destruction of property if the people didn't convert.

    5) Christian monks would change the myths and lore to a Christian slant and try to convince the Heathens that Odin was actually G-d and Baldur was Jesus, Loki the devil, etc.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • J.S.

      Cool story bro

      May 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  20. geotigg

    Did Jesus not embrace the leper???

    OK, so what's a 'leper' ... given the lack of medical information at the time of Christ, the term 'leper' applied to a wide variety of afflictions. Many of those afflictions are well know today, and actually are diseases. However, the most common use of the term 'leper' at the time of Jesus was used to refer to someone who was 'unclean'. Someone who had sinned, or failed in some ritualistic way, thereby causing them to be rejected by society at large until they had once again become clean. Indeed, Biblical "leprosy" could also involve clothing and leather garments (Leviticus 13:37-48). In Lev.14:37 it could even affect the walls of buildings.

    Clinically, Jesus was not a “leper” but, if we understand that Biblical leprosy was more than just a disease – it was a “condition” – there is truth in claiming that he was a “leper”. The Christian faith becomes meaningful only when we identify with Christ in caring for those who, in our society, are rejected for whatever reason.

    So, who are the 'Leper's of today ??? How would Jesus treat them???

    May 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Pablo

      And Jesus partied with the sinners, making many very crazy. But as He stated, the doctor heals the sick, not the well.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:01 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.