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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. Heather_Muslim_convert

    So it's not okay to be a gay man, but it's okay to be a lesbian? Color me confused.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Heather_Muslim_convert

      I wish people would just "live and let live". The relationship between consenting adults, regardless of gender, is nobody's business but their own.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Adam and Eve

      Ah, the "privacy is nobody's business" angle...

      To some degree, this is right. However, my Christian brothers and sisters are called to keep me accountable. I welcome it.

      Those who do not wish to make private matters known are hiding something.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Or they just don't want religious zealots dictating to them what they think.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Adam and Eve

      Religious zealots stink, no doubt.

      But, if you pick the minority (bad minority) from a group, every group of people are zealots. Gays, Lesbians, Religious, Athletes etc...

      May 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      @Adam and Eve: You want to be all up in my private business? Fine! I'll make a video of my tying and gagging my girlfriend before f*#king her brains out! Would'ja like that?

      May 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Adam and Eve

      @Hawaii,

      Exhibit A: GALACTICA

      May 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      And how am I exhibit A? Please elaborate!

      May 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Adam and Eve

      "The worst of every group are zealots..." etc. etc. etc.

      I surprised you, the brilliant one, did not get that

      May 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      With your every post, A and E, you prove your idiocy.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Adam and Eve

      Hey Pipe Crack...missed you today

      May 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No kidding. I guess those of us who actually have jobs should be grateful the welfare queens like you are on here day and night to police up the joint.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Hardly qualifies me as a zealot, so I didn't see your meaning. It's the end of the day, and I thought I was just being a goof-off.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Adam and Eve

      CAG! That is awesome! I mean it!

      "at the end of the day...I thought I was being a goof off"

      Me too, just love seeing what people say on these things. I have had a lot of fun.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bully for you, troll.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  2. Reality

    Dear Mr. Mohler,

    Time to exit the first century AD/CE. To help, recite the following prayer five times.

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized"/"miraclized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    May 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • rather unrealistic

      Reality... Wait... why would Roman troops execute someone as a "temple rabble-rouser"? I don't think there was anything in Roman law that stated crucification as the necessary punishment for religious disagreements. There's a lot more to that history, a history worth STUDYING to find the truth. Yes, Jesus was executed, but for crimes he didn't commit. Pretty crazy considering the accusations against him. Why wouldn't they just do a public flogging and stop there?

      Everything else you said has already been said before. I'm just pointing out the fact that his crucifixion at the hands of ROMANS for "breaking" ancient JEWISH law is evidence that what the BIble says about his death have merit. I think it's more crucial that you don't actually care to examine the details. It's important to many people, so it's equally "hypocritical" for you to marginalize a belief system without giving it proper scrutiny and openness.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Keith Weatherly

      Who is more irrational? A man who believes in a God he doesn't see, or a man who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Keith

      How about a third choice? The man who believes in a god he cannot see and wants to pass laws that force the rest of the country to believe the same.

      I don't care if you want to believe in god and follow the bible. That is your right under the first amendment. But my rights under the first amendment prevent you from pushing it on to me. You are trying to change the law so that I have to believe what you believe too. I respect your choice, why can't you respect mine?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  3. Mike smith

    If the old testament is no longer in effect , why don't these 'NEW" christians, print a bible with just the second half and save some trees?

    May 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Because Christians oppose anything having to do with going green. I'd suggest a Kindle, but that will fall on deaf ears. Like everything else in the world besides the Bible.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Keith Weatherly

      Well I was at a church where the preacher used a kindle for his notes and the reading of Scripture. And as for Christians being concerned with the environment, they certainly do more so than many people I know who are not Christians. I think making generalizations like that just don't help.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  4. Mike smith

    What a putz. They focus on gays cause its in the bible? The Bible talks a heck of lot more about the poor and sick. When will they pay attention to them? Or is that part of the bible overruled by "Acts"? The bible also speaks on the issue of hypocrisy . Any chance they read that part?

    May 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • woodworkingkeith

      Have you not heard of Christian charity. Who is among the first to respond to natural disasters? Who donates more money to feed the poor than anyone else? Who are the ones who have soup kitchens, homes for the needy, clothing centers to clothe the poor? You will find that the answer is overwhelmingly Christians. Argue against it all you want but it is true.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      I love how this guy co-opts the disaster thing. Who responds first? Emergency workers from around the country! Los Angeles City and County firefighters were dispatched to New Orleans, Joplin, and the Outer Banks in disasters. Followed by the National Guard and FEMA! Get it right.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Keith Weatherly

      Didn't say they were first! I SAID they are always among the first. There are still Christian disaster workers in Alabama, Missouri and many other states where tornadoes did so much damage. They do this for free unlike the paid government workers, who by the way do a great job.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  5. Bob

    "Kindness", it's time to extinguish your sick Christian delusions. Let's have a look at what the bible really says. Read and think through some of the horrors that the bible says Christian god wants you to do:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    May 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Y'know, funny, that stuff doesn't happen now. Does that mean God's through being nasty, and mellowed? Maybe he smoke de ganja, Mon!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Nii

      BOB
      Remember the old CNN ad? Advertising, the right to choose! We say that God walked among men and we do have evidence Christ lived.
      As many times as you can publish those out of context verses, please do, as discerning individuals will then seek out the truth! Cheers!

      May 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Bob

      Nii and other religious sheeple, it's time to extinguish your sick Christian delusions about your evil sky fairy. Let's have a look at what the bible really says and claims, rather than blindly take it as guidance on ho-mo-s-exuality or any other issue.

      First, look into the eyes of a suffering victim of any of the multiple disfiguring, debilitating, painful diseases that your "loving" god has purportedly created. Then you might understand that Christian god as described in the bible is not loving, doesn't give a hoot about human suffering, and in fact does not exist.

      Second, how come your 'omnipotent' creature couldn't do all its supposed "saving" without the loony son sacrifice bit? And for that matter, how was it a sacrifice at all, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time it wants with less than a snap of its fingers? Pretty feeble god it is that you've made for yourself there.

      Next, read and think through some of the horrors that the bible very explicitly says Christian god wants you to do.

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Please, stop referencing that Christian book of nasty, AKA the bible, as a guide to, well, anything.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  6. Kindness

    A few thoughts to consider without a typical ego response....

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome

    May 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Bob

      "Kindness", it's time to extinguish your sick Christian delusions about your ass-hole in the sky. Let's have a look at what the bible really says. Read and think through some of the horrors that the bible says Christian god wants you to do:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Read a real book. I recommend Harry Potter or Twilight.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  7. Timber Joey

    Christians and non, alike, try to use Bible verses to prove whatever point they are trying to prove. It is a poor use of the Word.

    Every person has a gauge for right and wrong. The difference, in my mind anyway, is Christians mostly repent when they are wrong. The worldly folks tend to be victims an rarely admit wrongdoing.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Pretty far wrong thoughts you've expressed there Joey. Some of the worst crimes in history have been done according to the perceived requirements of Christianity. Maybe you should actually read your bible, since you sure don't know it well. It says god wants you to do some pretty horrible stuff, like this:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Timber Joey

      @Bob,

      Sad calling you have to denounce Christianity...

      May 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  8. Michael

    "On six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be sacred to you as the sabbath of complete rest to the LORD. Anyone who does work on that day shall be put to death."
    Exodus 35:2

    May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      If I didn't work this past Sunday, Michael, there's a tv series that would've been put behind schedule. In my business, time is money!

      May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What if the 7th Day Adventists are right and Saturday is the Sabbath?
      That means the overwhelming majority of Christians need to be killed right away!

      May 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Doc, if the majority of Christians are put to death, my industry would be severely crippled with monetary loss. Except for Michael. Apparently, he reads his Bible all day, every day and probably doesn't own a tv, go to the movies, or play video games.
      In other words, a loser.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • FamousShamus

      Did you even read the article? I'll just quote it since it is simply explained:

      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.

      All the scriptures you are quoting are from the Old Testament which were specifically to Israel in the Old Testament and no longer relavent. The term "Christian" is not used until after Christ came.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Me

      @Famous, ok, how about some new testament Rules that people ignore.
      Whoever curses father or mother shall die (Mark 7:10 NAB)
      He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. (Matthew 15:4-7)
      slaves should “be subject to their masters with all fear,” to the bad and cruel as well as the “good and gentle.” Peter 2:18

      there are more, simply put, the new testament is not as pure as all of you think it is.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiousity Law #4 – 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 3:29 pm |
    • Timber Joey

      @ME – Jesus said "whoever sins with there hand should have it cut off"... Jesus, if you study him, uses story, sarcasm, and many other means to get his point across.

      He is not being literal in the verse I stated above.

      I would have misread it it if was not explained to me, either. So, moral, do not take yourself or your reading of the Bible too seriously. there are things in it that are not literal.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • NotBuyingIt

      Well it's a good thing the editors and translators of the bible stuck with the sarcasm approach so as to make the book that much more understandable for the masses of generally illiterate and ignorant people who just gobble this stuff up. If they had just gone with the literal approach, the whole thing would have been totally misunderstood!

      May 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Timber Joey

      Your appreciation of anything is in direct proportion to your knowledge of it.

      Know nothing, don't get it.

      Try knowing it, you may have a chance to understand.

      Baseball, Bible... the same thing applies.

      Just look at some of the posts, they will be misunderstood as well.

      May 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Bet

      So how do we know when it's a literal command and when it's not? Looks like when it's about someone else. If it's about gays, it's literal, because I'm not gay. If it's about something I'm doing, then it's taken out of context, has another meaning, or about a different culture.

      You'd think an all knowing, all seeing supreme being would have better communication skills. Or it could be that the words change meaning when you don't have a good justification for what it says in black and white.

      I don't care what you believe as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else. Just quit trying to make your beliefs the law of the land.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bet, you rock.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  9. Michael

    Men can sell their daughters into slavery
    Exodus 21:7-10

    May 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  10. Michael

    Only women who have children will be spared hell
    1 Timothy 2:15

    May 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Then women in China have nothing to worry about. Except famine.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Michael D.

      OK...enough of this. You're not even quoting Scripture.
      1 Tim. 2:15 (KJV) – Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (NO mention of Hell).

      1 Tim. 2:15 (Amplified) – Nevertheless [the sentence put upon women of pain in motherhood does not hinder their souls’ salvation, and] they will be saved [eternally] if they continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control, [saved indeed] [a]through the Childbearing or by the birth of the divine Child.

      Please learn how to properly use your weapons. Thank you.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  11. Michael

    "Stone disobedient children"
    Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    May 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Guess I should've cleaned my room back in January 1976 instead of watching Space: 1999 on tv.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  12. GALACTICA_CAG

    Somewhere on this page, I asked conservative Christians two questions:

    1.) Were the Founding Fathers wrong for creating the United States as a secular nation? and...

    2.) why are prophets from 2,000 years ago taken seriously, but when someone claims to be a true prophet of God now, that are disregarded as a lunatic? Seems the Christials don't have the answers, or are too cowardly to answer. Need I resort to name-calling and bile and vitriol to get a response?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      GALACTICA_CAG,

      1. They didn’t they created a nation where we have freedom to worship God.
      2. Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • jungleboo

      @ Robert Brown

      coo coo

      May 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      It says in the Bill of Rights that no state religion shall be set up. In other words, secular.
      And freedom of religion means freedom to practice whatever you feel like. It also means freedom FROM religion. I'm not an atheist, but I'm spiritual, not religious.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Nii

      CAG
      The state religion they met was the Church of England and they didn't want it and its abuses in your country. They just didn't want one to be favoured. They did not exclude religion. White House Prayer breakfasts and the Washington Cathedral are testimonies to this.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      I said nothing about excluding religion. But a government functions better without religious guidelines. Look at Iran. They may have an elected president, but he can't do anything without the sitting Ayatollah's say-so.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  13. Michael

    Up, we beleive every direction in the Bible. So sell your daughter into slavery and get on with it.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      I wanna buy Dena Lohan's daughter, Lindsay. She's SMOKIN'!

      May 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @GALACTICA_CAG: Yes, Apollo, but could you afford her? 😉

      May 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. Michael

    For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.
    Exodus 35:2

    May 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      Gee, I guess there's a lot of mall, 7-11, newspaper, tv and radio station, movie studio and theme park employees who are fated to be put to death.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  15. Michael

    If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.
    20:10 If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.
    Leviticus 20:9-10

    May 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Me

      How about some from the New Testament
      Whoever curses father or mother shall die (Mark 7:10 NAB)
      He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. (Matthew 15:4-7)
      slaves should “be subject to their masters with all fear, to the bad and cruel as well as the good and gentle. Peter 2:18

      May 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • craig

      Jesus was quoting something that Moses said. Gods word stands on its own, it certainly does not need any help from someone who ridicules it.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Bet

      You're absolutely right. The bible doesn't need any help to sound ridiculous, all you have to do is read it to see that.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  16. Michael

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    May 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Oh but um, you see that can't be taken literally because there's um some way to twist it that it doesn't really mean that. Or it's just a product of it's time but the rest of the book is totally relevant to today I swear. But I'm a novice at this whole twisting words thing. I'm sure in short order some truly saved believer will pipe in with some way to pretend that the bible doesn't actually condone slavery.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  17. Capricorn

    Cause they are closet gay themselves.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Greshlyr

    Since much of this article's arguement is centered on Paul's teachings, lets examine a few other things Paul said. Was he not the one who said that women should be silent in church? Seems like we should get back to enforcing that. What do you guys say?

    Or what about this gem....I Tim 2:8 – I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting

    That is in direct contradiction to what Jesus said in Mat 6:5 – And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    So, it seems as if Paul is the best filter through which to view the teachings of Christ.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bet

      Actually, I've been told that I should be silent in church and not ask questions, but to defer to what the men said. Twice, in two different demonimations. I left one voluntarily, and was systematically shut out of the other. That's one of the key reasons I don't believe in god or religion anymore.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Bet

      Actually, I've been told that I should be silent in church and not ask questions, but to defer to what the men said. Twice, in two different demoninations. I left one voluntarily, and was systematically shut out of the other. That's one of the key reasons I don't believe in god or religion anymore.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Bet

      Actually, I've been told that I should be silent in church and not ask questions, but to defer to what the men said. Twice, in two different denominations. I left one voluntarily, and was systematically shut out of the other. That's one of the key reasons I don't believe in god or religion anymore.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Bet

      Sorry, I was trying to correct some spelling. My bad.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Bet

      What other reasons do you have for becoming an atheist?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I'm not asking to challenge you, I'm genuinely curious and an atheist myself.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Greshlyr

      I'm sorry to hear that, Bet. It does show my earlier point about organized religion being about controlling people rather than facilitating a relationship with God. Just keep in mind that not all Christians are like that, but to be honest, the athiests I know are some of the most open-minded people I know and have the most well-researched arguments, not just when it comes to religious debates.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Greshlyr

      My grandmother's paster actually bragged to me once about running off a female congrigant who dressed inappropriately (in his judgement).

      Sometimes, as a little social experiment, I've thought about founding my own religion (Zeus or Odin worship perhaps), just to see who I could get to do what I say.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Like L. Ron Hubbard said:
      "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."

      May 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • GALACTICA_CAG

      @HawaiiGuest: The quote by Hubbard, as told to me by Frederik Pohl (who was there), was given when Hubbard was addressing the Science Fiction Writers of America at the 1949 World Science Fiction Convention. "Writing for Amazing Stories for a penny a word is not the way to make money. Starting your own religion is."

      May 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Bet

      There are so many reasons I became an atheist that I could write a book. If I had to do a top ten list:

      1. The nun who made me sit with a lap of puke because she hated when kids threw up in school. After what seemed like a couple of hours, she made me walk out of the room holding the puke in my skirt so that my panties were exposed to the whole class. She told me not to come back until I didn't smell so horrible. I had to go to the rest room, clean myself up, and then walk back into my classroom while she and the rest of the kids laughed and laughed. I was five years old. No consequences for the old hag.

      2. The nun who regularly hit us on the arms and legs with a four inch wide brass ruler for not having the correct answers to catechism. No consequences.

      3. The nun who shoved a kid up against a brick wall for talking during grace. She split open the back of his head and gave him a concussion. No consequences.

      4. The "marriage and family" class in high school that was taught by priests and nuns. (I know, w t f??) The best part was the nun who repeatedly used the term "public hair" and couldn't understand why we laughed in her face. I was seventeen by then and a bit of a rebel, not surprisingly.

      5. The book of saints that I was expected to teach from when I taught in catholic school. (I know, by this time I should have known better, but I don't quit things easily). My favorite story was about the young female saint who prayed daily to god to make her suffer as Jesus did. She was a good catholic girl, so god answered her prayers. One day while she was praying, the crucifix fell from the wall onto her and caused a large wound in her head that became infected and didn't heal for the rest of her life. This was to be the example I should use to illustrate a loving god who answers prayer to my first grade class. I swear, I am not making this up. I refused to even have the book in my classroom.

      6. The priest I consulted about catholic doctrine who didn't have even a rudimentary knowledge of the bible, but who told me that I should not read the bible because I 'wasn't educated enough to understand it like he was". I resigned my teaching position and left the catholic church.

      7. The pastor of the born again fundamental church I attended who continuously badged me, and the rest of the congregation, to give money that I didn't have and could't afford to give, under the pain of being separated from god, while he lived in a million dollar mansion, drove an expensive car, and bought his wife designer clothes.

      8. Same pastor got angry with me for asking too many questions, and told me that I, as a woman, should not ask questions about the bible, but do whatever the men of the church told me to do.

      9. I noticed how, during services, the pastor would make very subtle hand or head signals to the church elders and deacons, and suddenly they would break out in tongues, or prophesy, call for headings and such at convenient moments, such as just before the collection basket was passed. I also noticed patterns in the sequence of events during services that subtly manipulate the mood of the room to make the congregation more receptive to the "message". Start with up tempo music to get people in a good mood, move to slower music to quiet us down and calm our minds to get us ready for the hours long force feeding of how to think and open our wallets, back to slow mood music to reinforce the message, end with up tempo for a feel good ending, just one example. A little hard to explain, but definite manipulation with music and prayer.

      10. When I refused to stop reading the bible and asking questions, the pastor systematically shut me out of the congregation.

      There's a lot more, but those are a few that come to mind right now. I could go on about the problems with the bible, but we've covered them in other posts.

      Also, I'm a scientist, so I found that I couldn't reconcile blind faith and my reasoning mind any more.

      I should point out that I was a catholic for 25 years, a born again for another 25 years, in limbo for 3-4 years and an atheist for 3 years, so it's not something I've decided on the spur of the moment. It was a long and painful process. When I finally came to the day I knew that I couldn't believe in god any more, I was more frightened than I've ever been. I had invested more than 50 years in a religious life. But then, it was like taking an iron band off my body. I felt like I could breathe for the first time. I'm happy, my relationships are better, and I have more love in my life. I am a more compassionate person. I don't fear death anymore. Most of my friends and family have noticed the change and have commented that I seem so much more at peace with myself and with the world.

      Anyway, I'm rambling. Thank you for your kind words and I wish you peace and love.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Bet

      #9 should say "healings" not "headings". I guess even auto-correct doesn't believe in healings.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  19. unreligious

    Basically what this articles is saying is that right-wing Christians did not speak out against divorcee because they practice that sin but lets throw the book at Gays because most of us are not gay and it will not effect our lives.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bet

      That pretty much sums it up. Pastor Billy Bob can't preach against divorce because that might make his flock of sheep uncomfortable. Uncomfortable sheep find a new place to graze where the pastor preaches about other people, not them. Pastor Billy Bob doesn't get as much money in the offering plate. Next thing you know, Pastor Billy Bob can't pay for his brand new shiny Cadillac, or his pretty trophy wife's designer clothes. Can't let that happen.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  20. Donald L Paine

    All the Old Testament passages are male oriented sinfulness and as such are condemned. It is not maleness that is condemned but the use of maleness to subjugate or subsume rather than nurture and mutual submit to all as God is in all.

    God's creation was of and for loving in whatever form or function it is experienced. The universe breeds and breathes multiplicity and multiversity. It is ever expansive and contained at the same time. Love and peace are the same. Our parts that want or need to condemn or condone need only to give way to the compassion that neither condemns of condones and is in all of us for all of us. The "I am who I am" God invites all to be who they are with respect to the you, me and the us.

    The reason well meaning, peace loving and love living people of Christian or other faiths go off on "one group" that they judge to be wrong or bad is that they are unwilling to honor, be honest and live in humility. Power and control are nasty internal toxics that get projected externally in righteousness that are not righteous at all. Righteousness is the internal peace and love that allows all to be who their "I am is" without judgment or control. God created us free human beings regardless of our human doings.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • jungleboo

      This seems like good philosophy, but, referring to the end last paragraphs of your post, the term "righteous" for me has come to mean the cruel and judgmental campaigning that has gone on far too long. Perhaps those to whom it belongs have used it to mask their true feelings and activity. To me the word righteous is scary. it looks like it should be a pleasant term, but like the term "Christianity", it has been polluted by people like Mohler. Just can't trust it anymore.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:50 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.