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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. JESUS_CHRIST_MAN

    Gresh, Jesus said the poor will be with you always. He does say the gospel is to the poor but he also said to preach the gospel to every creature, make disciples too.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Greshlyr

      Yes, He said the poor will be with us always, in reference to HIM not being with us. I've not seen him around in oh....2000 years, so maybe we should get on that whole poor thing. I don't recall him saying, when I'm gone, lets take on gay marriage.

      Let me enlighten you all on something about organized religion; it's about people and power over those people. God & Jesus have VERY little to do with religious organizations and their decrees, including the ones about what to include in teh Bible. Do you HONESTLY believe that God cares if we eat pork, if a woman seperates herself from others while menstrating, or who we marry?

      I'll give you a hint, the answer is no. People care about those things; people who want to control you, both your thoughts and actions. The modern "church" is just an instrument of that control. I'll give you another hint, whenever a politician mentions the Bible, he's trying to control you. Whenever someone tells what Jesus wants you to do, if it's not about helping the less fortunate and loving your fellow man, he/she is trying to control you. Be your own person. If you want to follow Jesus, then follow Jesus; don't follow these people.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  2. Greshlyr

    How about instead of this nonsense, we Christians focus on something Jesus actual said, like helping the poor. Maybe when we have all the famine and poverty in the world eliminated, we can come back and revisit gay marriage. Or is that too Christlike for the rest of us?

    May 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • momoya

      You don't seem to understand christianity.. A critical look at religion (all of them) demonstrates their foundations of belief as pure fallacies.. You can track the myths as they evolve and are reincorporated into other "faiths" if you feel like taking the time.. The bible is bull sh!t–as is every other "holy book."

      May 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      "You can track the myths as they evolve and are reincorporated into other "faiths" if you feel like taking the time.."

      Unproven BS

      May 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Greshlyr

      Momoya, I understand Christianity just fine. The resurrection story comes from Egyption mythology, if not farther back. And of course, almost all of our holidays were..."borrowed" I guess would be the polite term from pagan festivals.

      The poster below is the one who clearly doesn't understand. Not only is it proven, you can find it in almost any mythology class.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • jungleboo

      To IF. The stream of human ideas that has run through civilizations is one of the most enjoyable parts of studying history. The adaptation of sacred ideas from one culture to another is beyond disputing. if you dismiss it as BS because it frightens your core fantasies about the meaning of life, that in no way diminishes the facts as they can be identified and traced. For example, "v.irgin birth is not simply a stunning new reality that accompanied the birth of your Jesus. It is an ancient parable seen throughout human history, including the Mediterranean Basin. And the parable itself is just a reference to, "Where in the world did we come from?" It is not necessary, nor healthy, to make much more of it that that. Life in this realm is fabulous enough without being required by church elders to make believe.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  3. JESUS_CHRIST_MAN

    WHY DOES THE CAPTION UNDER THE PHOTO SAY WHAT IT SAYS?
    I enjoyed the article Mr Mohler.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  4. GALACTICA_CAG

    I see not one Christian has answered my questions. Are you afraid? Or do you have no answers to put forth?

    May 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Nooks

      People did

      May 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  5. Sammy

    hayden which prophecies do you mean? earthquakes? famine? wars? name a time in history when these things were not present. guess what. there will be famine and wars next year. am i a prophet now? most often the bible book describes a foretelling and also describes the fulfillment. if i write a book today and in chapter one i say my kid predicted he would fall down and in chapter two i tell the story of 2 years later HE FELL DOWN!! were my words god inspired? they would have to be right? what human could do such a thing??!!

    May 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Sammy

      sorry...meant to make this a reply to an earlier post

      May 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Bet

    "INC
    "So your "loving" god kills a man's entire family to just prove a point"

    You don't really read the entire story of Job, do you?

    OR

    Or you did but that's how shallow your half quark-sized brain could grasp."

    Actually, I know the whole story of Job. I've studied the bible extensively over several decades in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English. Aside from it being a work of fiction, it goes like this:

    Your loving god murders an innocent man's family, ruins his health, and bankrupts him, all on a bet with a mythical fallen angel. But everything turns out just fine because your loving god gives him a shiny brand new family because Job was a good little sheep.

    Yeah, it all turns out great for Job. For the woman and children your loving god slaughtered just to prove a point, not so much.

    Thanks for the nice words about me personally though. It's nice to know that ad hominem arguments are still the first choice of christians when someone points out what a cruel imaginary creature their loving god is.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Bet

      Sorry, this was supposed to go on page 87 under another discussion.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  7. snicklefrits

    not everyone can come to grips with the fact that with death comes an unconcsious, infinite void, pure nonexistance. hence organized religion and all the negativity that comes with it. live for the moment, because the only heaven you will ever know is one of the living mind, and only then for a split second in the face of eternity. but in pursuit of this abstract (and ridiculous) one track afterlife many religions focus on alienating and infringing on the precious shred of existence of those that dont follow their chosen deitys guidelines. to harbor misgivings is one thing, but to unite collectively to write off a whole sub group of human beings as second class citizens is to attempt to bring a little bit of hell into their personal heaven. my only regret is that the religious nuts will lack the awareness after death to even comprehend how offbase they were

    May 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  8. paula borowski

    In the begining God created the heavens and the earth, etc and then he created man and from man came wo-man because God so man was lonely. God did not create another man for man, He created woman.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • jungleboo

      Paula, wake up.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Bet

      @ jungle boo

      Better to let her sleep it off. People who drunk post are so annoying.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Shouldn't you be somewhere keeping a man company, since that's your purpose after all?

      May 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  9. Nancy

    Ummm people – the bible was written by HUMANS. Delusional bronze age shepherds, horrific early church leaders who only wanted to control the masses (especially women) and a slew of other unknown "authors" down through the centuries. The Quran is the same. Why on earth do we even CARE about all this nonsense in the first place. It has not helped society for over 2000 years and never will. Chill out people, live by the golden rule and common sense and we will all be fine.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Sabrina

      My dear Nancy, WHere do you think the Goldan rule came from?? You must do unto others as you would have them done unto you. It is a biblical statement. God forsaw all that is comeing about and his judgement will say all. And I firmy stand on his Word to live this life and raise my children so that we has live happily in the life that God has made for us in his kingdom. We care dear woman because it is thru God that all Good has come about in this World and weather you admit it or not...in your sorrow of sorrrows and in your lowest of low, even you will seek his guidance bc in our weakest moment, Our Lord Father, has his strongest moments!!

      May 23, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Sammy

      My Dear Sabrina....the "golden rule" can be found in some form in every single religion known to man. the reason christians think their bible is the first to state it is because its all they have ever read. expand your mind sweety. your book was written by men

      May 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Hayden71

      Wow...talk about not knowing what the bible is about Nancy.

      It's pretty obvious that you have never read the bible but have no problem giving your faulty assessment.

      The Bible writers came from many walks of life, including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, herdsmen, poets, statesmen, scholars, soldiers, priests, prophets, a tax collector, a tentmaking rabbi, and a doctor.

      The Bible was written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

      The writings contained in the Bible belong to a great variety of literary types including history, law, poetry, educational discourses, parables, biography, personal correspondence, and prophecy.

      Hundreds of prophecies of future events were recorded in the Bible - some of them centuries before fulfillment - and not one detail of any of them has ever failed!

      No other "religious book" has foretold the future with 100% accuracy.

      No one can refute the Bible's accurate prediction of future events with facts. All they can do is try to get you to ignore these marvelous facts.

      Could man - especially dozens of men, writing in different countries and different times - foretell the future so accurately? Never! Only God could do such a tremendous thing.

      No one but God could reveal the future in such detail, often hundreds of years before the events occurred. Not only the future of cities, nations, and the world, but also concerning the future birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ.

      The Bible has a tremendous amount of historical detail, so not everything mentioned in it has yet been found through archaeology. However, not one archaeological find has conflicted with what the Bible records.***

      If you would like to take an objective look at how the bible agrees with sound science, then please go to

      http://www.creationism.org/articles/BibleSci.htm

      ***The renowned Jewish archaeologist, Nelson Glueck, wrote: "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference." cited by McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), p. 61.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Hayden71

      Interesting point Sammy, but no religion gives the ability or power needed to keep the golden rule.

      When have you "done unto others what you would have them do to you"?

      That means when you've come across a homeless person you picked them up off the street, brought them to your home and gave them everything they needed to thrive.

      Not one honest person would ever claim to have kept that perfectly.

      That's why we need salvation that only the Lord Jesus Christ can give.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Sabrina, One of the most glaring problems with fundamentalist Christians is that the only thing they know is the book that they keep reading over and over. It is a condition called "myopia". This condition causes the person affected to think their the only thing that matters is their experience, and that all others are irrelevant. Children often behave in this way, because they lack a more global viewpoint. However, if you are a grown up, you should have more knowledge than to think that The Golden Rule is the property of the Christian Bible. Far from it. It is a natural outgrowth of the human desire for meaningful community. People all over the world search for this, not just Christians. You have been taught to believe your Bible is the center of the universe. You have been taught to be myopic. If you are afraid to think a little more for fear of damnation, that in itself should tell you something about motives of your religion.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Hold on there, Hayden. The only reason the bible managed to foretell the future is that the writers who came after the fortune telling wrote stories of its occurrence to make it come true

      If I tell you I am going to enter a question mark at the end of my sentence, and then you see that I have done so, does that make me a fortune teller, or a person who has motives to complete a proposed idea correctly?

      And since when is fortune telling a sacred event in this era? It certainly worked for people living in deprived surroundings thousands of years ago, but what else did they have?

      May 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Hayden
      Could you please cite these prophecies that have unambiguously come to pass?
      o A lot of the core prophecies "fulfilled" by Jesus are up for debate.
      For example: They say that Jesus being born of a virgin fulfills the Isaiah 7:14prophecy.
      However, the Hebrew term in Isaiah “almah” which means a “young woman”. "Virgin" is a mistranslation.
      Christians assert that Jesus is from David's line, but tribal line cannot be passed on through adoption. Jesus cannot be "son of David" through Joseph. A tribal line also does not pass through the mother, and even if it did, Mary was not descended of David through Solomon.
      Furthermore, did Jesus manage to:
      1) Rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem? Kind of hard to do since the Temple still stood during Christ's lifetime.
      2) Re-establish Jewish law as the only law?
      3) Save Israel? Lessee – just after His death (and Zombification)the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, Jerusalem was laid to waste, and the Jews went into exile to begin a 1900 year long night of persecution, — largely at the hands of Jesus' followers.
      4) Establish a world government run from Jerusalem?
      5) Return all the exiled Jews to Jerusalem?

      May 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Hayden71

      Hey Jungleboo let me give a clear definition of myopia and we'll see if your assessment is correct or false.

      Myopia (Greek: μυωπία, muōpia, "nearsightedness", "shortsightedness" is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it. This causes the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus but in focus when looking at a close object.

      It's obvious that your assessment is faulty and ignorant at best. It's obvious that the bible has given clear, detailed and accurate prophesies which show the long view of history (which debunks your ridiculous shortsightedness "Myopic" theory) and cannot be disputed.

      I saw your response to my reply regarding prophesy and not only is response ignorant, but you're not looking objectively at the issue...you have a bias against the bible that is obvious.

      With the overwhelming evidence that the bible offers, it's not that you can't believe it...it's that you won't. It's clearly a will issue that has to do with moral accountability and not because of a lack of evidence.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Hayden, you undoubtedly have a calling for leading people astray. Any intelligent person reading these posts knows the use of the word "myopic". And your bandying about the optic meaning as the only meaning tells us a lot about the absurdity of your line of thinking. As far as believing being a choice, yes, I believe we agree on that little issue. It is a choice. Whether or not you have the divine authority to tell me my future, no, dear. Save that for someone who has the same mindset as you. It'll work then.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @hayden
      In opthamology, myopia is the term for near-sightedness.
      In a more colloquial sense, it means:
      a) lack of foresight or discernment; obtuseness.
      b) narrow-mindedness; intolerance.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Hey Hayden's ignorance is just as good as your knowledge

      May 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Hayden,

      Interesting point Sammy, but no religion gives the ability or power needed to keep the golden rule.

      When have you "done unto others what you would have them do to you"?

      Personally, I find "the golden rule" to be lacking somewhat. I prefer "Do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them"...because honestly, my life choices won't work for everyone I know.

      In the instance of the homeless person you wrote of, maybe he or she actually CHOOSES to live as they do. I've met a few. Taking them home with me and all that might not be what they NEED or WANT. But, if I ask, "Hey, how can I help you?" and they reply "I could really use a hot cup of coffee"...getting them that cup of coffee is a nice place to start.

      And to go a little further, I'm not one who necessarily wants you to treat me as you want me to treat you. Maybe you're the kind who needs hand holding, wants visitors if in the hospital or sick, wants constant reassurances of my affection for you. Me? If I'm sick or in the hospital, the last thing I want is to feel obligated to keep you company. I want to rest and get better. If I have a need to be told that someone cares for me, I assume that they don't actually because to me actions speak far louder than words...and constantly telling me you love me or giving me gifts only make me suspect that you're faking it.

      In fact, I've dumped more than one boyfriend who couldn't understand that.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  10. Raymond128

    Most of the comments already made are spot on, so I don't need to abound on that. What I'd like to add as a Christian, and as someone who has read the Bible in full more than once, is that Paul may just be the first Christian fundamentalist bigot ever. When I read the New Testament, I was really taken aback by the exclusionary tone of Paul's letters. It had nothing to do with what I had gathered thus far from the book. It is not surprising that so many hateful people tend to focus on Paul's supposed teachings rather than on Christ's. They need to get the memo that the name of their Savior is not Paul.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • jungleboo

      Asd my painting teacher told when reviewing my work at the end of the term, "Keep going! Your paintings are events." To Raymond128, I would repeat his heartening words. You are indeed on the right track.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      So true Raymond. Paul was no better than the Pharisees that Jesus denounced. So why are people following what Paul said and not Jesus? Jesus never said a single thing about gay people.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • jungleboo

      Paul's literary work was injected into the New Testament during the Council of Nicea because it served a general purpose. They certainly need to thicken up the volume, he wrote plainly and clearly, and there was not much to choose from after most Agnostic texts had been burned. The Agnostics sought to live principled lives without resorting to literal interpretation of the stories of a wandering teacher. The teacher said' "God Within." That should have been enough, being a brilliantly new idea for the times. But no. The Roman Empire jumped in hook, line and sinker (sorry, fishers of men...) and took the new controlling texts and made it their own tool. Then, all roads leading to Rome brought all manner of outsiders in and insiders out. Control was paramount, collapse was inevitable. Then the Dark Ages, dark because human intuition and curiosity was crushed by the Church. Then the Church fragmented. Now look what we have.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  11. GALACTICA_CAG

    Here are two questions for the conservative Christians:
    1.) This Nation was founded as a SECULAR body. So, then...were the Founding Fathers dead wrong for doing so?

    2.) If the Bible is filled with the writings of prophets, why are they taken at their word, but if someone claims to be a true prophet of God in today's world, they are branded as crazies?

    May 23, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • C. Smith

      A person who claims to be a prophet is not called a crazy by many modern churches. Instead he (or she) is tested against the Word of God, as the Word commands. If his (or her) prophecies and teachings are consistent with the Word of God, then he/she is considered a prophet. If the teachings contradict the Word of God, then he/she is considered a false prophet, worse than a crazy, because a crazy is what he or she is by no fault of their own.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • jungleboo

      That, Mr. Smith, is crazy. So your little churches have prophets running around inside them. Hmmm, you should have kept the door closed on that idea. People are going to wonder about you.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Dave

      @C.Smith....your litmus test for a prophet smacks of confirmation bias...Basically if someone claims to be a prophet and they agree with you on your interpretation of doctrine then 'voila' they are a prophet. Not quite. Can you imagine the people in Noah's time challenging Noah to prove there was going to be a flood by showing it to them in the scriptures? Daring him to 'prove it' and them mocking him.

      Prophets are chosen by God and ordained by someone with proper authority. People don't just up and make themselves prophets.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  12. lindaluttrell

    The verse from the Bible that I notice all these zealots ignoring is: "Judge not, lest you be judged." This tells me they must find their god weak or lacking in some way. Therefore they feel compelled to do his job for him...the birth of hypocracy.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • jungleboo

      I have already been corrected on this issue. I have been told I have taken it "out of context."

      That is their loopy loop hole that allows each of them to create his own version of the truth, while at the same time being at odds with each other. Fundies fail at logic, reason and rationality, all of which they will tell you is the scourge of mankind, and not to be taken seriously. Yet they communicate world wide on the computer using these principles. We have the space program, Google Earth, GPS, the list goes on. They enjoy being ridiculed. It is an addiction formed during their early years when they were denied logic during their fundamentalist training.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • C. Smith

      This is not a failure in Christian logic, but rather a failure of the English language. Judge not means don't make your own value judgments, i.e. don't go around deciding that cotton is holier than wool or the like. Applying the judgments of God is not judging, though, just applying the rules.

      Think of it this way, Christians are forbidden from acting as moral Judges, but we are called to act as moral Juries. The Jury get's the law from the Judge and decides the facts. The Judge interprets the law.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Oh so you get to add words to it to make it mean what you want it to mean. Got it. Wow, that is pretty convenient.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • jungleboo

      Yes, adding words. It's called "interpretation". Convenient highway called bigotry. Keep a smile plastered on while you interpret.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • yeahalright

      C. Smith is the kind of guy who can add all sorts of words to simple passages to twist them to his meaning. So basically a priest, pastor or minister. The kind that justifies anything, like "thou shalt not kill" becomes "thou shalt not kill unless it's a (insert member of hated group here)"

      May 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • All Thumbs

      Evangelical Rule of Thumb:

      If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Linda has it right. Christians are instructed to correct their own. Jesus warned his followers to not even try to correct nonbelievers because they would become angry and react violently. Instead, one must be converted before being corrected.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  13. Shaka Zulu

    Why are we fighting religious fanatics on the other side of the world? Why not focus on the ones here instead? Think of all the fuel the military would save?

    I wonder how this man feels knowing that he has much more in common with a typical Taliban or al Qaeda moron than he does with a liberal atheist American? I wonder if that makes him feel uncomfortable, even just a little.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  14. Reality

    Dear RM Jr.,

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS:--->>>

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    From: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1855948_1861760_1862212,00.html#ixzz0jg0lEyZj

    “Facing calls to curb child se-x abuse within its churches, in June the Southern Baptist Convention — the largest U.S. religious body after the Catholic Church — urged local hiring committees to conduct federal background checks but rejected a proposal to create a central database of staff and clergy who have been either convicted of or indicted on charges of molesting minors. The SBC decided against such a database in part because its principle of local autonomy means it cannot compel individual churches to report any information. And while the headlines regarding churches and pedophilia remain largely focused on Catholic parishes, the lack of hierarchical structure and systematized record-keeping in most Protestant churches makes it harder not only for church leaders to impose standards, but for interested parties to track allegations of abuse."

    Bottom line Mr. Mohler, clean up your own theology and current Baptist issues with pedophilia before commenting on morals.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Roy

      Mr. Mohler is incorrect and less than truthful when he writes "the Ne Testament never commands slavery", indeed while there is nowhere to be found a direct command, instead, it support slavery and even encourages it. Namely thorugh the Apostle Paul sending a slave back to his master (owner) instructing hhim to obey his owner (in all fairness he does tell the owner to be nice to his slave). In addtion, the New Testament writers goes so far and to direclty state that slaves should remain in slavery, but if perchance they should gain their freedom they may do so. Nowhere do they encourage Christians to work for the end of slavery and to stand for human dignity and equality before God. The abolutionist movement went beyond the apolstoic practice of supporting slavery and saw the message of freedom and dignity in the broader application of the Gospel. Sadly, many people suffer from such spiritual abuse perpetrated by those Mr Mohler's represents. His statement are a prime example of how the right-wing radicals continue to use and abuse the Bible and God in order to subvert the message of the Gospel.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • C. Smith

      Roy,
      The New Testament never encourages slavery, however it does recognize government authority in civil and criminal matters, so long as they weren't religious. Paul sent the slave back to his master because, by running away, the slave had broken the law. Elsewhere, however, Paul encourages slaves to work to buy their freedom (commonly done under Roman slavery), and discourages those who aren't slaves from selling themselves into slavery. The lesson is clear if you actually bother to read it: slavery is bad and should be avoided, but it is also a reality of the world we live in and we don't have the authority to change that (at that time at least). Live within the rules, but avoid slavery if you can.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Reality

      Some of Paul's other issues:

      Paul's prophecy about the imminent Second Coming fortunately for us did not materialize but it did convert a lot of Ge-ntiles and indeed opened their purse strings and still does.

      Paul of Taurus was first of the "necessary accessories". He recognized early on the great wealth of Roman and Greek Gentiles so he wrote his epistles raising Jesus and his embellished life from the dead and the Ge-ntiles "ate it up". His promise of the imminent second coming was shear brilliance in gathering much silver and gold (the prime necessary accessory). The Romans got jealous ending the life of the first necessay accessory.

      Professor Chilton pulls no punches in criticizing one of the founders of Christianity. Basically Paul was a "pr-ude". An excerpt for Chilton's book,

      "He (Paul) feared the turn-on of women's voices as much as the sight of their hair and skin..... At one point he even suggests that the sight of female hair might distract any "pretty wingie talking fictional thingies" in church attendance (1 Cor. 11:10). Simply add Paul's thinking about women to the list of flaws in the foundations of Christianity.

      Many of the epistles attributed to him, were written by psuedo Pauls: (e.g. T-itus and Timothy)

      References on
      psuedo Pauls:

      1. Professor/Father Raymond Brown in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 639, 654, 673, 684 (The book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Catholic Church),

      2. Professor John Dominic Crossan, On Faith Panelist and NT exegete, in his book, In Search of Paul (with Professor Jonathan Reed), p. 105, pp. 112-123, p. 377,

      3. Professor Bruce Chilton, NT exegete, in his book, Rabbi Paul, p. 8, 16, 102, 164, 257, 262.

      4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Epistle_to_the_Corinthians

      May 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • yeahalright

      C. Smith...what a cowardly answer. You don't get much more objective and universal agreement than the statement that slavery is morally wrong. Maybe child molesters are morally wrong would get about the same level of agreement.

      Morally wrong is morally wrong. That Paul is supposedly defending it, saying effectively "aw shucks it's bad but gotta follow the law!" according to your interpretation, makes him a coward.

      Not to mention giving yet more evidence that people – like you – can twist the bible to say whatever the heck they want it to say.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  15. t3chsupport

    Aw, what a nice article. It's so nice to live in a country with Christian Sharia law, where old men we don't know can tell us what the sky daddy wants, and how to run our theocracy. We are no better than our enemies.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Blorgon

      Except that under actual Sharia Law you'd be legally persecuted and possibly killed for being gay, while in this country the Christians just vote based on their outdated beliefs until the majority wises up and overrules them. So yeah – bit of a difference there.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • jungleboo

      let us not forget Giordano Bruno (1500s) who was burned at the stake as a heretic for suggesting that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Edwin Hubble was spared this fate in the 1920s when he revealed to the world that the Milky Way was not the entire Universe, but only a single galaxy among billions. Mr. Hubble had the freedom (and the downright encouragement) to speak of his discoveries BECAUSE reason, rationality and logic were well paved roads by his time. Gay rights is just the next speed bump that is scaring the living daylights out of the Sunday fundies. They'll be swept along into the history trash heap, because that is the nature of human nature. We are here. We are now. Make the most of it and be kind to your fellow man. Nobody needs to hear their forlorn future telling.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  16. Jandy

    It just seems to me that if God were really that concerned about gay marriage then we would have 11 Commandments and Number 11 would be "Thou shalt not have gay marriage" and if Jesus were so concerned, he would have answered the lawyer's question about the greatest commandments by saying "There are 3 – love your God with all your heart and soul, and your neighbor as yourself, and no gay marriage."

    May 23, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • jungleboo

      Thank you Jandy. Makes sense to me. Answer to this proposal? Anybody..? Anybody...?

      May 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • sarahsaint

      It's covered under the seventh commandment (adultery).

      May 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Christian

      I believe it is covered under the 7th commandment.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Clewin

      Adultery does not cover sodomy, as someone suggested, and in fact, the definition of adultery in the bible is very different than the modern definition of adultery. The Bible makes it pretty clear that a man must sleep with a virgin and then he is married to her or he is an adulterer. If the woman is not a virgin or widow, both are adulterers. It specifically doesn't say the man has to be a virgin, and that comes to play somewhere in Kings I think, where the Bible suggests that widows can sleep with whomever they want (as long as she doesn't take money) but it can lead towards sin, and if they get pregnant they need to marry the man that gets them pregnant. Even though it isn't listed in the 10 commandments, the punishment for sodomy and adultery is the same – death by stoning. But Jesus said let he who is without sin cast the first stone to save an adulteress, and I don't see why that couldn't apply to a sodomist as well, since both are mortal sins.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Ooooh, covered under the seventh commandment? But if I am not married, how is that adultery? You mean, no premarital s.x for anyone? What a pile of interpretive self-serving doo too.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bet

      From dictionary.com:

      adultery (əˈdʌltərɪ)

      — n , pl -teries
      voluntary se x ual in te rco urse between a married man or woman and a partner other than the legal spouse

      Since gays can't marry, they are not violating the seventh commandment.

      You'd think an all-powerful, omnipotent supreme being would have better communication and administrative skills. Or maybe Mel Brooks was right and there were fifteen commandments, but Moses dropped one of the tablets.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  17. webperez

    Religious people are cavemen living in modern times. What an embarrassment and ignorance.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Michael

      Kindly educate them; now to do it in the most unnatural way.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • jungleboo

      @ Michael. It's natural. Believe me. It's just a feeling that one knows is correct. Are you only behaving in "natural ways" across the board? No automobile? No artificial flavors? How far do you go? As far as the Mennonites? Why not? Where do YOU draw the line regarding "natural"? And why must you l e g i s l a t e your myopic little line?

      May 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  18. Barn

    Luckily this bigotry will all die out in the end and we'll look back on people who tried to justify it and laugh at their primitive ignorance.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • fintastic

      Hopefully sooner than later......... and we can thank religion for keeping the hate alive.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • NationalForestHunter

      Barn – what you call bigotry is faith in God to another. What will die out in the end is every human being on the face of the earth – just as God commanded when Adam fell into disobedience and dis-fellowship with God. God knew that man could not endure the sinful condition on an eternal basis....therefore he commanded death for every soul that sins. Surely you admit that all human beings die....right? Why is it that all human beings die? Chance? Fate? Primitive ignorance? I think not – we die because God had a mercy on us. But He did not abandon us to the grave – He promised the resurrection of the dead from the grave. Every single person who ever lived will be resurrected.....some to glory and some to condemnation.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Bet

      NationalForestHunter

      Of course bigotry to one is faith in god to another. Mohamed Atta is a perfect example. Fred Phelps is too. People do horrible things to innocent people all the time in the name of god. No one is arguing with that.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Barn

      If "faith in god" involves denying worldly, secular, civil, and legal rights to groups of people who, when engaging in those rights do not infringe upon rights of others, simply based on a particular belief system those others may not even agree with or believe in themselves...then yes, I name thee bigotry. God wants to sort it out after we're all dead, fine. But while we are here on this planet, in this nation based on secular, legal reasoning, there is simply no excuse for banning such rights to others and any attempt to do so IS bigotry.

      I admit that currently all human beings die, yes. I just don't think it is a mystical metaphor for coming back to life, though. I view it as the inevitable end of a prolonged struggle for limited resources and constant cellular damage do to routine biochemical life functions and a relatively hostile environment.
      But here's the difference, I wouldn't use my lack of a belief in god to bar secular, legal rights to people in a secular, law-based society.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  19. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Interesting to note there is absolutely no archaeological evidence of the Exodus account. The only evidence is in the Bible. According to the Bible there were hundreds of thousands of Israelites (as well as Egyptians) making the trek through the Wilderness for 40 years. You would think there would be some sort of evidence of this but there is none. It is almost like it is a made up story or something.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  20. Chris Kroll

    He says those who pose questions about why the Bible condemns eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics, etc.. do not want answers. That's not true, we know the answer. The Bible is a collection of stories and tales written by men trying to fake everyone out by saying they had a special connection to God that nobody else could and God spoke through them. Its filled with foolishness, repitious stories and family history that has no use, and personal prejudices that fall under the false guise of the word of God. It's like believing a comic book. Anybody could write it as fact and only a simpleton would believe it as the real thing.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:38 am |
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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.