SEARCH THIS SITE

Bible Reference Index

Diglot Editions

Dunash ben Labrat

Ali Ahmad Said

Verbal System of Ancient Hebrew

The Bible as seen through the eyes of . . .

« Committing Scripture to Memory: In What Version? | Main | Civil Religion: The Speeches of Barack Obama »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Chariots Of Fire 1

I have a couple of friends and cousins who are gay and one time one of them asked me, "Do you think I will go to hell because I'm gay?" I told that person, "I don't want to hurt you with this answer, but I think you are because according to the bible it says a man should be with a woman and a woman should be with a man." I didn't know how else to say it to him and I didn't want to lie, but those words did come from God's words. I felt bad and didn't want to see him in a gay way, but I guess it was his choice and I don't want to force to change him back to a straight person. All I can do is pray for him.

JohnFH

Here's an analogy. According to Jesus, divorce is wrong - either all the time or almost all the time, depending on the interpretation. However, most people would say that, if someone has formed a stable bond and built a family in a second marriage, it would add insult to injury to break that up and reconcile with one's original spouse, become a nun or a friar, or become single.

Let's say that two people of the same sex have formed a family and are just as committed to each other as two people of the opposite sex might be. Perhaps it should never have happened in the first place - we can leave the question undecided - but would it not add insult to injury to break that couple up? What if they are raising a child, as happens more and more often? I don't see how it would be the greater good to put an end to the family. Maybe it is not the ideal family, but most families are less than ideal. That is not a sufficient reason to break them up.

Finally, if we imagine on Judgment day a verdict of this kind: it was my perfect will for you to keep sex within marriage with one person and one person only, and furthermore, that that person be of the opposite sex, what comes after that? I would hope that there is forgiveness, because if there isn't, many people I know, including myself, will be frying in hell for all eternity.

Ryan H.

"I don't see how it would be the greater good to put an end to the family. Maybe it is not the ideal family, but most families are less than ideal. That is not a sufficient reason to break them up."

Hm. I don't know whether to agree or disagree. In situations like these, where the corruption of cosmic catastrophe has worked its way so deep into the cultural fabric, it becomes difficult to work out what is the most beneficial path. What corrective measures do we choose when we have stepped so far away from the ideal that no clear point of return seems open to us?

Regarding divorce and its widespread popularity in Western culture, I have always shuddered with fear for our nation and its casual treatment of it on the evidence of Malachi 2:

You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, "Why does he not?" Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. "For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless."

The Mission 3

Homosexuality is a difficult subject that many congregations simply avoid addressing. My personal opinion is that the Bible clearly states that God created man, and has known our names and our life long before our birth. If this is the case, how can one argue that God created some men/women knowing that they would hold no chance of having eternal life in Heaven.

The one counter argument an individual could provide for this is that those who are homosexual have made a conscious decision to be so. I have trouble with this argument because of the simple fact that many homosexual individuals are forced to live through numerous struggles that are a direct result of being gay; and wouldn't willingly choose to endure such struggles. If a homosexual christian had the ability to choose between being straight and gay, wouldn't they always avoid homosexuality in the hope of reaching Heaven? I believe the answer to this question is, "It's just not that simple."

I guess the only thing I have left to do is pray that our God wouldn't immediately condemn an individual for the sexual desires he/she cannot control.

Mission 2

The question of homosexuals going to hell is famously avoided so it's impressive when people are open with it. I think, from the point of the Bible, it seems easy to assume that that person will go to Hell. I think that relying on hope may end up being very dissatisfying because hope often fails us in life. Why not in death? That being said, I sincerely hope the fact of homosexuality is overlooked. I think that all people should be judged upon their quality as a person and I don't feel that sexual preference has any weight in judging how good a person is. Just like race, religion, and gender hold no weight to me. There are good people and bad people in every group, so the group that they belong to should have no bearing. I'm a straight, white, male all by no choice of my own. I don't think that I get extra points for having those features. Unfortunately, it seems many do hold on to that. If Heaven is full of straight, white guys, count me out. Sounds like a real bore. That and the dancing would be painful to watch.

Chariots of Fire 2

I’m going to have to disagree with Chariots of Fire 1 on his post. This is just my opinion, but I don't believe people "choose" to be gay. A really good friend of mine is gay and he said that he wouldn't choose to be like that. There is so much hatred towards homosexual people that why would they "choose" to be hated and looked down upon by people that don't agree with their way of life? It doesn't make sense. I truly believe that people are born with a certain sexuality and you can't just pray it away as some people think. We are all entitled to our own opinions and I guess that’s what makes for a good debate.

Averagewerewolf

As a gay Christian myself, I feel the need to comment.

1. Why is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah listed as a "text to read" on this issue? Most scholars agree that the sin of those cities was the attempted gang rape of foreigners—the genders of the people involved is simply incidental.

2. As a gay man, you can take my word for it that I made no choice to be this way, just like none of you made the choice to be straight (if that's what you are). I am not "rebelling against God," as Hays would say. Sure, the Bible presents sexual relations between people of the same sex as not optimal, but I cannot fault millennia-old texts for their ignorance regarding modern psychology and biology.

In short, the Bible is allowed to have its view(s) of sexual ethics, but with the knowledge we have today, the issue of same-sex love should not be an issue at all. The UCC, the ELCA, and the Episcopal Church here in America are all accepting, and the rest of Christianity will eventually move that way. I just hope Christians see the injustices LGBT people face and move toward full inclusion as soon as possible.

Gary Simmons

Hays' story of his friend Gary reminds me of his telling of the tale in his Moral Vision of the New Testament.

I like how you have set up your students (and blogging friends) to read Wink first, and then Gagnon's response. I would almost be tempted to accuse you of an unbalanced presentation, so unfair is their exchange -- except that the vitriol seems to come far more from that side onto my own than the other way around, in my experience.

This is a thought-provoking set of links. Thank you, John. Although I'm sure everyone has enough to read as it is, one of Gagnon's comments in his reply to Wink reminded me of this post: Temple Prostitution: A Modest Proposal on Evangel.

Averagewerewolf: Hello there, my transformed friend! I was wondering if you'd join this discussion.

If you would have the patience to suffer two one questions:

In what way do you deny yourself and pick up your cross?

This, of course, is separate from how you deny the insults some have, shamefully, thrown at you. In what ways do you deny yourself in order to remain faithful to Jesus, either as presented at face-value in the NT or in a coherent and consistent reconstruction therefrom?

C. Stirling Bartholomew

I have young friend who is like me totally hetero and not particularly inclined to hangout with non hetero folks male or female. My young friend was a statistical anomaly, an urban, intercity, african american male age 24 with no, absolute zero history with the criminal [in]justice system up until one day he got a call from the King Co Police Dept saying they wanted to have a chat with him about some text messages. As it turned out, some little amoral middle school brat from his class room where he was an teachers aid in the **** school district was stalking him, had obtained his cell number, met him face book, posed as a 20 something, exchanged obscene text and images. My friend was booked into King Co Jail with felony charge communicating with a minor using electronic means. Three months and one plea bargain later he was out on the street with three years of probation and no chance of ever getting a job in the school system or anywhere else for that matter. All because he gave into to the temptation to do what is now called sexting (texting) with a girl who was 14yo at the time. The inclination to participate in this activity which is a felony in washington state is an inclination he was born with. He didn’t ask for it. He isn’t happy about it. But for a single misstep his career is toast. Being born that way didn’t help him with the criminal [in]justice system. All of us are born that way. It isn’t an excuse.

Ryan H.

"In short, the Bible is allowed to have its view(s) of sexual ethics, but with the knowledge we have today, the issue of same-sex love should not be an issue at all."

Unless you believe, Averagewerewolf, that the Bible allows the past to critique the mores of today, or that the tradition of Church history has an added weight (that homosexual sex has been verboten from early on, from the period of the Biblical authors, both of the Old and New Testaments, through every subsequent period and major denomination of Church history until relatively recently sets a pretty significant precedent, one that cannot be tossed aside so easily). And there remain theological difficulties with the idea of same-sex love even with modern psychological knowledge, like creating space for it within the Bible's understanding of "one flesh."

"The UCC, the ELCA, and the Episcopal Church here in America are all accepting, and the rest of Christianity will eventually move that way."

Of course, time will tell, and the tide is moving in your direction. That sort of Christianity will eventually become something of an accepted branch, I expect. But I doubt the traditionalists will be wiped out completely, even if they are pushed into a small minority.

TheraP

I love the compassion of John's comment (#2 above). I also appreciated the article by Wink in the links.

Even for those readers here who may view homosexuality as wrong (just as Jesus viewed adultery as wrong) we know that it is unacceptable for followers of Jesus to cast stones. That is surely forbidden for all of us. As all are bidden to love our neighbor. But not only our neighbor. For if we go back to the Old Testament, the virtue of hospitality to "strangers" is epitomized in the story of Abraham at the Oak of Mamre, where God appeared in the guise of three strangers (often viewed as the Trinity). Fast forward to the Gospels where God With Us appeared with a special mission to the lost and forsaken, the sick, the burdened, and the sinner, with a message that shepherds are here to "serve" the sheep and not to lord it over them.

A few years ago I wrote a longer version of that (intended for a secular audience):

http://heresy4nothing.blogspot.com/2009/10/dignity-hospitality-community.html

As a therapist I have been struck over and over by the fear on the part of any gay individual that I might not be accepting of them - as persons - due to their sexual orientation. Honestly it amazed me to find that some therapists do discriminate! If this is the case in secular mental health setting, how much more anxious might some of these people be in a religious setting or with a pastor?

Compassion is a hallmark of Jesus' life and words. As it is meant to be a hallmark of ours. Should not Christians be known by their love? Not just for one another. But especially for groups that any society is tempted to cast out.

John, I only wish I had known about you when I worked with this individual:

http://wisdom4nothing.blogspot.com/2009/11/moral-hazards.html

I would have sent her to you!

Gary Simmons

TheraP: what about those inclined towards pedophilia, or pornography, or incest, or bestiality?

If there's no single act that is inherently traumatic (which is what I was taught in my Counseling for Ministers class), then one cannot say that ALL cases of incest, for instance, are necessarily damaging to both or even either party involved.

Surely society is sickened by the idea of incest. Hey -- the early Romans even accused Christians of incest and used that as slander against them. (For those curious: it was assumed our nighttime gatherings were orgies. That's all well and good to the Romans, but since we called each other "brother" and "sister", that made it an incest-fantasy-orgy, which even the Romans despised.) Paul said to expel an incestuous couple in 1 Corinthians 5. Was he wrong to cast out this marginalized minority?

Perhaps a more relevant question for TheraP, Average Werewolf, and others is this: what case would you have for or against same-sex incest, given that the congenital-birth-defect argument is not applicable?

Chariots Of Fire 1

“I’m going to have to disagree with Chariots of Fire 1 on his post. This is just my opinion, but I don't believe people "choose" to be gay. A really good friend of mine is gay and he said that he wouldn't choose to be like that. There is so much hatred towards homosexual people that why would they "choose" to be hated and looked down upon by people that don't agree with their way of life? It doesn't make sense. I truly believe that people are born with a certain sexuality and you can't just pray it away as some people think. We are all entitled to our own opinions and I guess that’s what makes for a good debate."

- Chariots of Fire 2

Yeah I see what you’re saying Chariots of Fire 2, but this is reality. If someone was born to be a boy that doesn’t mean that they’re born to be gay. Later in life they realize that being a boy isn’t the way how it’s suppose to be so then they change or “choose” to be gay to make life happier. That’s the how I see it.

Chariots of Fire 2

Chariots of Fire 1, I am very confused by your post. I never said that if someone was born to be a boy that they were born to be gay. From the way you’re writing and as I understand your post I think you’re talking about transgendered people. There is a difference between being homosexual and being transgendered. A definition of transgender from the dictionary defines it as "a person appearing or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex." And a homosexual is someone that is attracted to the same sex that they are. So there is a big difference between the two.

Breaker Morant 5

Discussing homosexuals and the bible is always an interesting topic. I understand that the bible condemns men having sexual relations with other men and women have sexual relations with other women. However, as stated earlier on this page, Jesus says that divorce is also wrong. Both of these issues are condemned in the bible yet in our society, one is seen as worse than the other. Have we as a society today just stressed different parts of the bible to focus on some things and put less focus on others? I still have a hard time understanding why someone’s sexual preference would be a reason to go to hell. I know that it was God’s intention to have men and women reproduce but I can’t wrap my head around sending people to hell because they are attracted to the same sex.

Seth L. Sanders

In the Hebrew Bible God has nothing to say about homosexuality among gentiles; it is of as little interest to Him as whether or not they observe Kashrut or the Sabbatical year.

Averagewerewolf

@Gary Simmons: How do I pick up my cross for Jesus? Fair question. I have devoted my life to serving the church. I am currently focusing all of my intellectual energy on grad school so that I can become a positive force in the church. I am at church almost every time its doors are open, where I play bass and sing in the choir, and where many times I have read scripture. I love taking the opportunity to do whatever charity work I can, whether it's feeding the homeless and those with lower incomes at church or doing Habitat for Humanity. When people need a ride, I give it. When someone asks for money, I give it. I don't often say no. The fact that I am a man and am dating a man has no bearing on my ability to deny myself what I could be doing and spend my time serving Jesus and the church instead.

I know you weren't making accusations, Gary, but just for everyone's and anyone's sake, I want to make it clear that the fact that a Christian is gay does not mean he or she is extra lustful or decadent, indulging in every personal desire. Gays have as much to deny and as much to offer as heteros do.

As for the incest thing, I would certainly say that a same-sex incestuous couple is out of the ordinary (if there is such a thing as "ordinary"), but seeing as their offspring would have no genetic defects (because any offspring they have could not have come from them both), I have no problem with it. If you want to serve the church but you love your cousin in a different way than I do mine, then you're still welcome in my book.

And, Chariots of Fire 1, yeah, you are confusing sexual orientation and gender identity. The fact that I'm gay says nothing about where on the (mostly culturally constructed) continuum between masculinity and femininity I would place myself. I am gay and cisgendered (which means I claim the gender that corresponds to my biological sex).

JohnFH

Here are some questions for averagewerewolf, but not just for him.

Many people, perhaps all people to some extent, have an omnidirectional sexual orientation. On what basis are some orientations to be deemed reprehensible, others ideal, others less than ideal, but not subject to consequences at the level of criminal law?

Some examples:

Some people are necrophiliacs. It is a condition, I'm told, not a choice (I would say that it is both, once it is acted on). What is the moral status of necrophilia?

Some people are bisexual. Admittedly, as you say, sexual orientation is on a continuum, so some of us who have a bisexual orientation might be able to "change" (whatever that means), or if we can't, nonetheless limit our sexual behavior in some sense. But that raises a lot of questions. What is right and wrong in this area?

Finally, is sex of any variety to be condoned so long as it is between consenting adults? What if one of the individuals is in a position of authority and the other an employee or client? How about incest or polygamy? What should we determine to be the age of consent?

The reason I ask these questions is that I'm convinced that Christianity and the other major religious faiths encode a great deal of serious reflection on these questions. You can throw out it all if you wish, but at what cost? If you wish to cherry-pick, on what basis?

The tendency among some moderns to be permissive on questions of homosexuality seems to go hand in hand with being permissive across the board. But the wisdom of permissivity in these areas is at least extremely doubtful.

TheraP

Here's my response to your questions, John:

Most people with a serious sexual perversion, such as necrophilia or even pedophilia, as well as sexual sadists realize that they have a disorder. Indeed, they may realize that they are committing crimes and need to be caught or need help. I'm thinking of Jeffrey Dahmer, for example.

We can never condone crimes. And a perversion is not something someone is born with. As opposed to one's sexual orientation (in terms of gender attraction), which, for the most part, is inborn and cannot be changed. I say "for the most part" only because some people seem to be bi-sexual or to be conflicted about their sexuality.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that all human persons - no matter their sexual orientation or whether their sexuality is what analysts have termed "polymorphous perverse" - can distinguish between desires and behaviors and can learn to inhibit the latter, no matter the former.

Your question about consent is hugely important. In my view, and I've given a couple of presentations on this, it is the responsibility of persons in authority to inhibit having relationships with persons over whom they exercise that authority. Thus, I would include teachers, pastors, parents (or any adult when it comes to a child or adolescent), supervisors, therapists, etc.

I agree with you that unfortunately all too many people adopt such a black and white view of ethics or morality that if they "give way"or "cut slack" in one area, that everything across the board is also open to experimentation. Or the reverse: I see this in sexual ethics related to abortion, where some individuals believe that any form of birth control, for example, is absolutely and totally verboten. Just as there may be some people who believe that if alcohol is ok, then why not try pot too? And on from there...

As human persons we have to negotiate many situations with a great deal of nuance and care. In my profession ethics and ethical considerations with regard to therapy are paramount and we give a great deal of time and attention to carefully navigating many sticky wickets. Though we try not to muddy our problem-solving by bringing in all sorts of extraneous and unnecessary issues. For example, while sex with a patient is ALWAYS WRONG, I have never encountered a professional discussion assuming we need to drag pedophilia or necrophilia or homosexuality into such a discussion.

Finally, I assume that your comment (#2 above) indicating compassion for those in a long term committed homosexual relationship in no way suggested that you would have condoned long term sexual perversions, incest, or other criminal sexual behaviors. By the same token, neither do I. Nor do I condone infidelity, even if consensual. And I strongly advise against sex outside ANY committed relationship between 2 adults.

Compassion needs to be the watchword, no matter whether we are talking to any individual (in person) or writing on a blog.

Your last question, about cherry-picking, is, if you'll forgive me, too broad a question to address in this context. It's a hugely important question. But to me it is a question that is like a very large Venn diagram where we'd need to carefully define our circles (as well as research them). And it's likely that the circles and their definitions might change depending on the topic being parsed. If your question was in reference to sexual ethics and morality only, well I'm sure I'd rule out gang rapes, even though there is a story in the Old Testament where someone yields a woman in his household to a mob of men rather than hand over his guest. (While the latter is commendable, the former seems a very poor solution!) That's just one example, of course. But with regard to this issue alone, are not most of us seriously engaged in doing exactly what you ask? In an informal way this issue nags at me, not because I'm gay or divorced (I'm neither), but because I care.

God is merciful. Of that I am sure! And perhaps so long as we continue to meditate seriously over important and thorny questions in the light of revelation and using what careful logic we can muster, God's mercy hovers around us as we do so.

Chariots Of Fire 1

I heard that some churches have gay Pastors. Isn't that almost like breaking God's rules according to the bible? I'm confused....

JohnFH

Hi CF1,

Yes, there are a few denominations that (1) ordain gay and lesbian pastors. Those same denominations and many more (2) ordain women pastors, something else, as we saw in class, that was unheard of and would not have been acceptable in New Testament times, except perhaps as exceptions to the rule.

Plenty of denominations also (3) ordain divorcees and allow pastors whose marriage disintegrates on the job and who remarry to remain as pastors.

(1) - (3), if one wants to stick with biblical precedent, will not be practiced. It is worth thinking through the reasons why a very large number of people today are fine with (3) and (2), in theory if not in practice, but not with (1).

What I am saying is that many people are not overly concerned with the ways in which "God's rules according to the Bible" are not followed today. They just accept the fact that today, 1 out of every 2 people are divorced or will be before long. So that status or condition (is it a choice or a condition, and how do you decide?), though it meant that one was unfit to be a pastor or priest in many traditions, is a bar to ordination or continuance in fewer and fewer contexts.

The situation in the Catholic Church is worth noting. Until recently, it was not a problem for a young man to become a priest if his sexual orientation was same-gender. Like his heterosexual colleagues, the point was that he promised to refrain from sexual activity, and if he fell, to seek forgiveness through penance according to the book.

But that is no longer the case. A young man whose tests out psychologically as a homosexual is barred from becoming a priest. It would seem that the judgment has been made that the odds of something going terribly wrong, in particular, that such individuals turn out be occasional or inveterate ephebophiles or even pedophiles who are unable to exercise self-control, are too high. Is this an over-reaction on the part of the Catholic Church? In a context like ours, in which sexual experimentation is widely condoned and even more widely practiced, perhaps it is not.

JohnFH

Thank you, Thera, for a thoughtful and helpful response.

My purpose in raising the questions is also that of getting a sense of the depth of the felt need to make value judgments in the realm of sexuality. I think there is a great need to do so, but how hard it is to do so without being a hypocrite or causing more harm than good.

The first thing I want to confess is how hard this is to do for another reason if one is a counselor (which I am, since I am a pastor): a counselor cannot or should not pontificate in a counseling situation. I have to take my counselee's condition and choices as a point of departure and work from there. Even if I have fundamental disagreements with the counselee's choices, it is counterproductive for me to lay those all out. I cannot make my own moral judgments, even if I think I have scripture, tradition, experience and reason on my side, the basis of a path back to health. It doesn't work that way. Healing is not primarily about coming to have the right opinions. That's a small piece of the healing process.

Still, it is best if there is some clarity on the ethical plane. For example, I am old-fashioned in the sense that if I have a counselee who is an asyntonic homosexual (a homosexual who wishes she wasn't), I don't believe it is my job to convince him or her that she/he should be fine with it.

Likewise, if a counselee is an asyntonic heterosexual (plenty of those around, which is not the same thing as saying that they are homosexual), I will affirm their desire to be single.

On the other hand, if I have a syntonic homosexual as a counselee, I am unable to affirm them to the extent that they want. I can assure them that they are a better person than I am; that much is often obvious to me. Gays and lesbians are in my experience on average among the most giving, helpful people I know. It is a positive stereotype I have built up over my lifetime.

So I don't see them as more in need of healing from the tree of life after Judgment Day than I will be (Rev 22:2). On the contrary!

On the other hand, I do not come down, in a counseling situation, on the question of whether same-gender love is disordered by definition. To judge from the Bible, tradition, and experience in general, at least until recently, it is. But then, so is my, more omnidirectional sexual orientation. In fact, given what Jesus says about adultery, perhaps it would be fair to say that virtually everyone's sexual orientation is disordered in principle; we are literally born with a lack of adequate sexual discrimination.

A complicating factor is that sexual orientation is on a continuum. That means that for a fairly large set of people, they could go either way, and they do. But that raises the question: in which direction should those who can go either way be encouraged to go?

It is almost a taboo subject. The way it is handled is by taking an essentially amoral (not immoral) stance, to the effect that "the customer is always right." But is that a form of moral abdication?

Who is being harmed by our tendency to take an amoral stance on questions of sexuality? My tentative answer - that is all that it is: "the least of those among us," the ones with the least support and the least tools at their disposal.

In other words, I am relatively unworried about the sexual mores of savvy people with lots of means and a strong social network. They will land on their feet more or less regardless. But many others, including those the savvy ones involve in their adventures, will not fare so well.

It is in the tradition of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, to say first of all, "Do no harm." I used to think that was a hokey expression. As time goes by, I have come to see the value of putting that at the top or near the top of the hierarchy of truth.

TheraP

I have enormous respect for you, John. I'd like to underscore several of your points:

1. Yes, sexual attraction is on a continuum. You and I know that. Many people are scared to acknowledge or admit it. And people are often pressured into a choice. Either way I'm not sure that pressure is ever the way to go. For all sorts of reasons.

2. If people are "in need" of affirmation, usually no amount of it will do. So the need itself needs to become the "issue". Or if they're in need of certainty, it's the need for certainty that you might try to have them look at. I do understand that you can't "affirm" something you yourself disparage or are struggling with in terms of its morality. If the latter you might simply say that's an area you are still trying to discern or that it troubles you when the bible is not perfectly clear in some areas. I can honestly say that in a few cases women having an affair with a married man wanted me to help them and after we discussed it a few times, I let them know that if they wanted to continue the relationship, I didn't know a way to help them with their depression about it. I compared it to trying to help someone in a concentration camp feel "better" about their circumstances. I think there are ways to be true to yourself yet compassionate to the other person.

3. We may be able to help people learn a new attitude or perspective about their feelings, even if we can't necessarily change the feelings they have. I take almost a "Buddhist" perspective on feelings; they come and they go; you can learn to tolerate them; you can use them as information, about yourself, about others. People who feel intensely often suffer a great deal, but such feelings are a gift.

4. Yes, sexual orientation is a hugely taboo topic, especially in religious settings. But also for many young persons going through confusion in adolescence in almost any setting. (In terms of identity there's the danger of "identity foreclosure" in lots of ways, including one's sexual orientation.) I also think the Catholic Church severely underserves its clergy in that regard. It leads to a lack of teaching on sexual ethics (in terms of problem-solving rather than a rule book) in Catholic seminaries. A lack of discussion in how to think about navigating on a personal level (since celibacy is assumed... but all too often winked at). Taboo topics and emotions go "underground" and that only ensures that if and when they do emerge, it will likely happen without forethought, without any ability to weigh and consider the consequences. I like to get people to consider lots of consequences.

4. Amorality. Can we ever really be amoral? (I hope not!) We may try to be (relatively) neutral in the sense of helping someone struggle with conflicts. But we would intervene in some manner if someone is homicidal or suicidal. If someone lacks a conscience that is a serious personality disorder. (Then you're praying for a miracle!) But if someone lacks the "wherewithal" consider doing "supportive counseling" (with their permission) where you're doing something more like guidance and teaching and "moral support". It's hard to know for sure what you're referring to here. So I've taken it in different directions just in case. But when you ask a question like "who's being harmed?" there is nothing wrong with indicating to the person that you have a duty to them but also to the welfare of society, of other persons and that there may be times when it will be necessary for the two of you to examine a situation in terms of their welfare alongside the welfare of another or others. That's where "the least among us" comes in as well.

5. It's interesting that "first do no harm" is the first principle of medicine and psychotherapy. I would also say that if you make a mistake, but have a good relationship with the person, they will set you straight. Overly or covertly. Sometimes even unconsciously.

It's a joy to see how carefully you think about all these things!

Chariots of Fire 5

I have to agree with all the points Chariots of Fire 2 made. Homosexuals do not choose their sexuality. That is how they were made and they feel. It is wrong to say that they choose that lifestyle because they don’t. I have several friends that are homosexuals and they hate how people say they choose what they are because they don’t. Some of my friends have even said that they wish they were straight so they could be “normal” and not have to deal with it all. It really bothers me how critical others can be of homosexuals, when they do not know what it’s like. Homosexuals do not choose who they are sexually attracted to just as heterosexuals don’t either.

Also, whether there are any biblical references about homosexuality being bad or not I truly believe that we are all God’s children and he would rather have everyone be happy rather than in denial.

Gary Simmons

Breaker Morant 5 said: "Have we as a society today just stressed different parts of the bible to focus on some things and put less focus on others?"

Yes, but hasn't that always been done?

John: Do you have any other records of interactions between Wink and Gagnon? I would be interested in hearing how Wink responded to Gagnon.

Chariots of Fire 5: Honestly, I think it should be obvious to everyone that you can't just choose who you like. I know that there were times when I wish I didn't like a particular girl, but I can't help that I do. I would think that would be such a part of everyone's experience that it should be clear that attraction isn't a conscious choice. It is, rather, the result of a subconscious framework in the mind. The question, then, is how malleable that framework is, and also how it may be changed.

If one's attraction to an individual can change, then it may be possible to change the framework on a larger scale resulting in a change in orientation. As far as I'm aware, no means of doing so has been discovered, if one even exists.

In your last comment you state that you truly believe God would rather us be happy than in denial. While I have no contention with saying we're all God's children, from a biblical perspective I would challenge your idea that this is God's concern.

Jesus says that the path to life is narrow and few are those who even find it (Matthew 7:13-14), yet the wide gate and broad road to destruction is comfortably spacious and easy. The narrow road is necessarily exclusive and difficult to traverse. My point is not "let's do a lot of excluding people", but rather I'm saying that this is a difficult path to follow, according to the Bible.

It is a path that involves sacrifice and perhaps even heartbreak (Matthew 10). While we today may not have the same demands placed on us as Jesus placed on the Twelve when he sent them out, it sure sets the tone for the difficulty of Christian life. We must be willing to give up creature comforts if we are to be faithful followers. And no, not just be theoretically willing to give them up, but to truly do so in some substantive way.

I would also point out Romans 12-13 as a blueprint for Christian community. This section does involve several pleas to get along and cultivate harmony among believers, but it also includes restrictions on behavior such as sexual immorality.

While God does care about our well-being, sexual fulfillment is not a God-given right. Gratification is not a God-given right. The Christian calling should not be domesticated to include a guarantee of sexual gratification, I believe, so we should not tolerate sexual immorality either in regard to homosex acts, extramarital sex acts, pornography, or divorce/remarriage.

JohnFH

Gary,

You may find more at:

http://www.robgagnon.net

JohnFH

CF 5,

That's an important issue, isn't it? When is self-denial appropriate, and when isn't it.

We might agree that I am right to deny myself an affair with another woman since I am married. But what if my spouse and I agree affairs are permissible for professional reasons - so Sartre and de Beauvoir? Does that make it right?

Perhaps not. After all, a strong case can be made that it is psychologically healthier to be involved with one person only on the deep emotional and sexual level at one time (polygyny only works, for the male anyway, if the male has a favorite, or no strong attachments to any). Threesomes may be kidding themselves that they are not hurting anyone, themselves or anyone else.

On to hetero and homosexuals who choose not to act on their sexual orientation, for example, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, as Jesus and Paul practiced and taught. This is a form of denial that most people would affirm, if not for themselves, for others for whom they have great respect.

What about homosexuals who choose to remain married (there are many) to the mother or father of their children? This is another example of denial. The immediate cost-benefit analysis favors the children, not necessarily the parents. Most psychologists and sociologists would concur that the ideal family unit is the intact one of a biological father and mother and their biological offspring (obviously there are many occasions in which a Plan B, biologically and psychologically speaking, works out better than a Plan A in practice) This kind of choice is also worthy of affirmation.

All of these choices depend on denial. A very large people will concur that they are on principle laudable choices in which people put the interests of others (a spiritual family; their own children) ahead of their own. This is the essence of denial, the opposite of self-gratification.

Can denial be required of people? To some extent, yes. We require denial of parents on several different fronts. But more generally, no, not in terms of civil law.

But there is nothing to stop a religious community from requiring denial of a great variety of kinds, or expecting it, or holding it up as an ideal.

With respect to whether among Jews or Christians, the ideal is for someone of same-gender orientation to refrain from acting on it, on this Jews and Christians differ among themselves.

As soon as one feels free to set scripture and tradition aside, slam-dunk arguments in favor of one position or another are difficult to find.

Obviously, someone who does not consider the Bible to be a resource of their existence at the deepest levels will follow their own preferences. But they too, if they are committed to the common good, will try to argue in favor of their preferences, and show why they are well-founded.

Justin Richter

Seth L. Sanders,

You wrote:

"In the Hebrew Bible God has nothing to say about homosexuality among gentiles; it is of as little interest to Him as whether or not they observe Kashrut or the Sabbatical year."

Interestingly enough, Jacob Milgrom asserts the same idea in his monumental commentary on Leviticus; yet, it is just an assertion. He does not give any hard evidence for this conjecture and he does not deal with 18:24.

"Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled."

This directly follows the sexual purity laws. It seems clear that God is concerned with the sexual ethics of at least the nations surrounding the Israelites. Maybe there are some laws that are culturally specific, e.g., circumcision, while others are universal like the sexual ethics.

TheraP

One tiny comment related to Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir's so-called "pact". I read a long and depressing biography of her maybe 20 years ago. Their "pact" appears to have been a collusion - in Satre's favor. Simone, apparently, acted as a "procuress" - actually recruiting her own young female students as paramours for Satre. Not only that, Satre would tell her of his amorous escapades with these young women, her students. There are so many ethical difficulties here it hard to know where to start! But let me say that it would appear that a young woman, desperate for a "relationship" with a famous young man, allowed herself to compromise the position of teacher to act as a type of pimp, in exchange for information of a voyeuristic nature and an ongoing relationship with a man, whose own writing convinces me that his philosophy was almost a rationalization for a severe character disorder. This is a perfect example of a heterosexual "couple" who are not the best example of a "life style"!

TheraP

Several more thoughts about this, in case anyone returns to this thread. This is further reflection on John's question as to how to review the ethics and morality of homosexuality in the light of scripture. Two thoughts about first principles:

1. Buber's concept of "I and thou." It seems to me that evaluating any kind of sexual behavior between adults needs to be assessed against whether the two people view each other as "subjects" (as individuals with personal sacredness and dignity, as persons whose very being requires compassion, empathy). Or alternatively whether either adult (it need not be both) views the other as an "object" (as someone to be "used" or exploited, as a type of product from which one extracts things to one's personal gain, that is to say that one party "gains" and the other party is diminished). (Similarly, contrast Buber's view of "I and thou" with Satre's philosophy, which sees the "other" as an object or else as oneself as the object of another.)

2. Fidelity. I'd begin with God's care and concern for human beings as his children, those he created and longs to unite himself with and considering that God asks us to "be holy as I am holy" - and move on to how God uses the metaphor of sexual intimacy as a way of considering the "I and thou" relationship between himself and humankind (thus adultery being a rupture in the I and thou intimacy). I'm just sketching this out briefly, but my point is that when we think of sexual ethics/morality between 2 adults we need to consider that fidelity, commitment to each other, is a primary, underlying "ground" for sexual intimacy and that infidelity is the great sin (with promiscuity being that sin to its "nth" degree).

To my mind these two principles would be part of that series of Venn diagrams I suggested above, when I commented initially on John's question as to how to "review" scripture in terms of solving today's problems - using the ancient Wisdom in the Bible.

I'm pretty convinced, as I ponder this more and more, that to simply rule out homosexual behavior and consign all people who are on the extreme end of the continuum of gender attraction to a life of celibacy, becomes an easy way of bypassing our God-given powers of reason and the necessity of wrestling with texts along with denying compassion to fellow human beings, who could just as easily be us! I think it could almost be said that we have a responsibility as Christians to make sure that morality is not a "cook book" as if persons were like ingredients and ethics was simply following a recipe. Even when you're cooking one kind of flour or leaven make work differently than another (just to use only one example from thousands).

I would suggest that it is vital to develop some ethical principles or decision-trees which are applied to all persons, not just some. For example, "love your enemy" fits everyone, but how to do that in any given situation might differ. And the reason I believe that is this. For if gay individuals feel discarded or by Christianity, then we should hold ourselves party responsible when certain "lifestyles" emerge, which are not healthy - even for the gay people involved in them. I'm thinking of promiscuity and the flaunting of sex (which is certainly not confined only to the gay community of course). But if a group of people feels judged and marginalized, can we honestly blame them if they tend to segregate themselves and engage in "celebrations" of their own? Conversely, the more such individuals are welcomed into families and communities, the less need there is for them to segregate themselves, indeed the less potential that some may end up being exploited by other members of these segregated societies.

I'm not claiming any "certain" truth here. But I am certainly concerned that we not take the cookbook route to Christian ethics as just a set of do's and don'ts. But rather that we consider how Jesus himself was willing to confront the legalists of his time - in the service of care of one's neighbor.

Shawshank Redemption 1

Christians who attempt to follow the word of God and find themselves in disagreement with homosexuality have to fight against the world, which is on a freight train to hell. As an African American, it makes me sick when I hear people compare the struggle of homosexuals, to the struggle that African Americans went through. But true to our American hypocritical stance; we don’t trust in God, we trust in ourselves and what makes us feel good. As a man that Stands for God, I am very open about my disagreement with homosexuality. The Bible is not unclear on it, it does not waiver, and so neither shall I.

Pulp Fiction 4

Whenever the topic of homosexuality and the Bible comes up, I’m reminded of former NBA player John Amaechi, who admitted a few years ago that he’s gay. While talking about the Bible condemning homosexuality, he said, “It also forbids eating shellfish. If being gay is as bad as going to Red Lobster, I'm not really worried about it.”

Books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy are full of commands that sound ridiculous today. Do the people who use the Bible to condemn homosexuality also stone rebellious children (Deut 21:18-21), avoid ham (14:8), and cut off the hands of women who grab a man’s privates (25:11-12)? It’s been thousands of years since those laws were written; I think it’s time to reconsider the idea that someone is going to Hell for a trait that God endowed them with.

Pulp Fiction 3

I have many friends that are gay, and I support them 100%. I have had a friend ask me if I thought it was bad that he was very religious yet still gay. I said no, and she showed me many of the passages we covered in class. I don’t feel he would be justified to be sent to hell for this lifestyle. God will judge based on the quality of the person and their faith. Homosexuals are some of the most genuine people you will ever meet! They are throwing themselves on the line, just to be loved!

breaker morant 6

As concerning homosexuality, I am neutral on this. I do not know why and how the biological structure of homosexuals are constructed, and it is not my interest to judge on this matter. God will judge everyone, and be fair to everyone. I have not met a homosexual person in my life, so I really cannot tell how they think that way. The bible clearly speaks against homosexuality, mainly because God creates a woman for the man, thus it is a disorder of the creation that God made. To fall in love with the same sex, according to the Bible is a disorder of the original creation of God. Therefore, it is consider a sin in God's view. I am neutral, but I won't agreed with it.

Shawshank 4

I could not agree more with Pulp Fiction 4! Realistically, times have changed and are continuing to. For example, it would be ridiculous for a professor in this day and age to use the same syllabus that was written in 1980 because education has made leaps and bounds since then. The same concept should be applied to the expectations set forth in the bible. Granted rewriting a historical book based on the times of Jesus Christ is not the easiest task to complete, but changing how much validity one places in every single written word is not as difficult. That does become complicated when deciding what else in the bible one should just take the liberty of altering or disregarding to better fit their modern life and beliefs, but a large amount of content in the bible is entirely subject to interpretation as is. I strongly believe that with psychology and other sciences supporting the idea of homosexuality being an unchangeable trait, that has to mean it cannot possibly be something a human being deserves to go to hell for. I can only imagine how horrible it has to feel to be religious and homosexual and think you are going to hell for something you honestly cannot change nor decide. If God controls and fabricates everything as He wishes-as it is stated in the bible-and homosexuality is not decided upon by the person, then isn’t God in-turn “creating” homosexuals?

Breaker Morant 2

I agree with Pulp Fiction 4. There are commands that are no longer even followed by even Christians. Leviticus even says that we cannot mix two food groups, (cheeseburgers) and we cannot cut our hair or pierce our bodies in any way. We need to look a the Bible as more of a living document that can be amended with the times. This does not mean that we cannot read the Bible and understand what they were writing about way back when, but if we hold ourselves to this standard, we all are failing to meet God's expectations. Also, I am really disturbed by Shawshank 4's comment that God is "creating" homosexuals. I feel as if all the talk in the Bible of love and acceptance all of a sudden disappears the minute the homosexuality is brought up. Maybe God is "creating" homosexuals, but that means they deserve our love just like all other creations of God.

Shawshank Redemption3

To Hell with Gays? The Bible and Homosexuality
I too agree with PulpFiction4, in the fact that yes times are changing. Years ago no one really talked about Homosexuality. It was just unheard of. Now you see it everywhere, but that does not mean that it’s what God wants. BreakerMorant2, yes the bible does have rules on what we can and cannot eat, but these rules are made clearer, and even abolished in the new testament. In the Old Testament people made burnt sacrifices to the lord, but in the New Testament God no longer wanted this. Homosexuality, as we saw in class, is still very much not approved of in the New Testament. Things change and even things in the bible change. I have a hard time with this because I have loved ones and close friends, best friends, that are homosexual, and I know that it isn’t God’s will, but I also know that God does love everyone! And they are still human and can choose God to be there Lord and Savior! And can still go to Heaven!

The Mission 5

I could not have said it better than Pulp Fiction 4. Like we talked about in class, the homosexual passages in the old testament were totally different than what we see today. I think it is ridiculous that two people in love can not get married just because they are the same sex, but any straight couple, in love or not can. Everyone is so worried about how sinful homosexuals are. How about the heterosexuals that rape, commit adultery, divorce, lie, beat their spouse, or beat their kids? If we are going to condemn, and determine who can marry, shouldn't we worry about those people first? A Scottish man was recently tied up and burned to death for being gay. I think homosexuals are the least of our worries.

The Mission 7

I know a lot of homosexuals and two being my best friends. Though none are religious, they are good-natured people and after reading these pasages, I was confused as to the seriousness of them. If I were to know that my friends would go to hell because of who they are, I think it would greatly affect my faith at some level. The Bible says to treat your neighbors as you would want to be treated, so you can imagine how confusing it is to me that both these things in the same book that has had a major impact in my life. I treat my friends with love homosexual or not and I will continue to regardless of their so-called "sin". To me, this topic is one of the many in the Bible that are controversial and some may not come to a true understanding to. However, we should continue to try and learn the words of God.

The Mission 2

As mentioned and as we learned, the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin; and the seriousness is described in Leviticus: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death” (Leviticus 20:13). However, homosexuality is not the only sin in which someone should be “put to death” over. Murder, inappropriate sexual relations mentioned in Leviticus 20, and other sins are also a reason to be “put to death.” To me homosexuality is a sin, and from what I understand from the Bible, all sins are equal in God’s eyes. In Romans, Paul tells us that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). All people should be put to death because of their sins, but by the grace and love of God, He grants us forgiveness through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Homosexuality is a sin, but homosexuals are not worse than any other human, because all have sinned.

True Grit 2

I do not agree with the Bible on this subject. This sentence in particular I do not agree with, “The Bible condemns sex between a man and a man and between a woman and a woman.” God loves all people why would he care who a person chose to live their life with. Being homosexual does not change if they believe in God or not. I recently watched a video of a grown child who grew up with gay parents and he even mentioned that they all still went to church together. People should not be judged for who they care about!

The Mission 3

I agree with The Mission 5 about their view on heterosexuals that abuse people. That is a really good point to bring up because there are a lot of good gay parents that respect the people around them and raise their family in a respectful manner. I am not gay and therefore do not know the feeling but God created us the way He wanted to and some people think that gay people can turn their “gayness” off and turn straight. I’m not sure how that would work but wouldn’t going strait be a problem in God’s eyes because it’s not the way He intended that person to be?

Dead man walking 4

I agree like everyone else that we live in a time period and culture that being “gay” is something that is being more widely accepted. I believe that sexism has a lot to do with why so many people take their hate out on homosexuality. Different preferences in people’s love lives may make others uncomfortable and because of this people will search for reason to condemn it. This is where they pull text from the bible to try and correlate passages around the subject. It’s a sin, but so are thousands of acts in the bible and there is no rankings system mentioned to judge these men and women on. To unite an entire world, we must understand that everyone is different and see that. Remember that it’s their choice and their life not your own, whose to say what they can and cannot do.

prayingwithlior1

I feel this topic is a touchy one because of the harsh punishments for things that people love to do or rather who to be with. Being gay, I believe is a choice. And some people are ok with this choice. People that choice to be gay aren’t any different from straight people other than their sexual preference and shouldn’t be treated or viewed any different than anyone else. However, when God created mankind he gave Adam a partner and that partner wasn’t another man. When God created us in his image he intended us to he families and be fruitful. We cannot do this with same sex couples. So my opinion I believe it is wrong and sinners will be judged for it. I however don’t believe a gay family is wrong or shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

True Grit 4

I think The Mission 2 makes a good point. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, but through the word we learn that we all fall short and all have sinned, so in a way we really are all equal when it comes down to it. I think we have come really far as a society to now become more accepting of those different from us no matter the race, gender, orientation etc, and that's a plus. I do believe it's about choice when it comes to homosexuality, for those who are homosexual, its their choice and its something we should accept. Unfortunately, it isn't always accepted by our "normal" society and it's become a hot button political debate as well that keeps the fires going strong.

Pulp Fiction 5

This is a tough topic to talk about without offending someone. I for one have a hard time having a strong opinion on the subject. I personally have no issue with someone if they are homosexual or not. I believe that homosexuals can live a perfectly normal life and do everything that a straight individual can and they should have the right to do so. At the same time the Bible says, in many different cases, that being gay is a sin and should not happen. I think that it’s hard to say you shouldn’t be gay. I believe that God makes everyone who they are for a reason and because of that I have no problem with someone being gay or not.

Nell 2

I feel like Averagewerewolf brings up some excellent points. I don't believe people "choose" to be gay. As a social justice minor on campus I really feel like people, especially Christians, don’t see the injustices LGBT people face at all, or at least, on a day-to-day basis. I was aware of different denominations that are becoming more and more accepting and I agree that we need to move toward full inclusion as soon as possible. Even if you do read the Bible to see homosexuality is wrong, is it right for us to judge them and ostracize them? God will have the final say who is wrong and who is right, but in the meantime, I feel it is important to treat everyone with respect. The Parable of the Good Samaritan stick out to me here as well. Not necessarily relating to homosexuality, but in treating everyone with respect and love.

Praying with Lior 3

In Gen 9:20-27, we see Noah react drastically as he transfers punishment from Ham to Ham’s son, Canaan, for seeing him drunk and naked or at least that is what we see on the surface. The metaphor of Noah’s son seeing his “nakedness” was a way of saying a sexual act was performed. Homosexuality is not so much as seen as a sin, but instead as a punishment of sin and is condemned throughout the Bible usually resulting in eminent death. The verses in Genesis help us see the homosexual construction of the ancient world where it is actually the role in the sexual act you are playing that is sinful. A passive partner is seen as being a pitiful person and a disgrace. An aggressive partner is seen as almost good in putting shame on his enemies. It was not uncommon for an older married male to use younger members of a family as a sexual object. Since this older male had a family, he was not seen as being purely homosexual. It is not that people saw it as being okay, but it was commonplace. Just like today, people will say that homosexuality does not bother them but when they have to take a stand on the issue, they almost always are against it.

breaker morant4

Do gays go to hell? I don't think so god would not make some one gay then send them to hell for it i know a lot of people think that being gay is a choice but i don't think you get to decide who your match is its just how your born.

Chariots of Fire 2

As many others have stated, I also believe there is nothing wrong with being homosexual. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion whether they like it or not. I feel that we were all created by God to live long, happy and peaceful lives. In order for some people to be happy they must find their true self. Some of us may like the same gender or even like both, but it should not matter that much. I do not feel that homosexuals have chosen this path, but it is just who they are. It is not a punishment or a way of lashing out. They are just going with what they truly feel. I do not look down upon homosexuals because they are only doing what makes them happy. I think it is terribly wrong to judge someone because of this. I can’t imagine what it is like to branch out from the typical society to do what makes you happy. Homosexuals deserve to be happy just as anyone who is not. Homosexuals are no different from anyone else and should be treated as anyone else because God has created us all to be brothers and sisters with one another.

Nell 5

I personally believe in the idea that you should do what makes you happy within reason. (When I say within reason, I mean do not do something as immoral as murder) However, the Bible is against the idea of homosexuality. Considered a sin, some would say that homosexuals would go to hell. However, you are overlooking the fact that through God and your faith, everyone is forgiven. Also, one can make the argument that the Bible was written centuries ago, so what if God has changed his own view in these modern times? It is hard to say. Therefore, let the judging be up to God alone, we human beings have no right to judge a person for their sexual orientation. For it is said in the Bible "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."(John 8:7)I for one am with sin and therefore will not judge, will you?

Truman Show 4

In response to what Nell 5 wrote, some people would say that being a homosexual is as immoral as murder. I don't think it is either, but I know that there are some very traditional people who believe homosexuality is an unforgivable sin. However if someone thinks that way, they are overlooking what the Bible says about sin. If all sins are forgiven, then homosexuality or even murder, or any other sin that is not "within reason" would be forgiven as well. So I would say I'm somewhere in the middle in this debate. While I don't think being gay means that you're going to hell automatically, I also do believe that being gay is a sin, but not one that is as horrible as any other sin. I think being gay and also Christian is possible and there's nothing wrong with it, however contradictory as it might sound.

Dead Man Walking 5

The discussion of homosexuals and the Bible is always a very difficult topic. There is always the question of whether or not homosexuals will go to hell or not. Clearly, in the Bible, homosexuality is seen as a sin and would condemn a person to hell. Also in the Bible, divorce is along the same line of punishment. Divorce is also seen as being clearly wrong in the Bible. Although both are along the same terms according to the Bible, divorce in today’s society is no issue whatsoever. Divorce is one of the most common things and is allowed all over the world. Same sex marriage, on the other hand, is not even legal in every U.S. state. It seems a little irrational for a person that is attracted to the same sex to go to hell for that reason.

Pulp Fiction 6

I believe that people should have the freedom to do what they please no matter what the bible says. As a psychology major, we learn quite a lot about how it is not the choice of the person to be straight or gay. It is simply how they are born and how their brain functions. The same goes for transgendered people as well. It is something that is in their brain and makes them who they are and I do not believe that we should be judging people on who they are.

True Grit 1

I think people should get to choose what they want to be. Choosing what you want to be and do is always best for you than letting someone else does it for you. God created all of us differently, and of course everyone will look and do things differently and also want to look differently. Being gay or straight I think it is not that big of matter because that is what created them to be. People can not change of what God gave them because he already gave it to that person already. So having to choose what is right for you is better than letting others do the decision.

The Truman Show 3

We all know that homosexuality is a highly debated, highly emotional and opinionated topic. I believe that a homosexual person is born with a predisposition to be gay. I have heard many opinions on homosexuality. Some are eye-opening, some accepting, and some just ignorant. I feel that the knowing gay people or a gay couple is the key to understanding. I know a few gay couples and they don't flaunt it, they don't make it uncomfortable to be around them, and they are some of the happiest people I know. Think homosexuality is wrong? Get to know a few.

Breaker Morant 1

This is a hard topic for me to debate about. One reason being is because I do not agree with gay marriage, because the Bible says that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. I have a few gay friends, which I get along with and have no problem being around. I feel that people do not choose to be gay; it is just what their brains tell them. I agree with the statement Pulp Fiction makes, " It is something that is in their brain and makes them who they are and I do not believe that we should be judging people on who they are." I am a strong believer in the bible, but the way someone else is or acts, has nothing to do with me, even though I don't agree with the marriage aspect of this debate. I am not going to judge a person on who they are because I feel that it is irrelevant to me. Overall I would say that I don't sway towards one side or the other with this topic.

True Grit 5

I think literally when people condemn gays to hell are clearly not looking at the giant plank in their own eye. To condemn somebody is not our job and the bible should never be used as a weapon. We all are born into sin and unfortunately live into until we truly feel called and saved through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus calls us to be Christ like and hang with the sinners and tax collectors, thus we can’t go around and start condemning people to anywhere even as far as hell because if we do we might as well hold their hands and join them for lacking to live a life worthy of Christ.
By this I have always learned to not hate the person but the sin, just as we hate the sin in our own lives. We have been given a second chance to come to Christ and be saved, so It breaks my heart to see when a gay person enters a church we condemn them and look the other way instead of loving on them and hoping that the sin will convict them in their lives rather than us convicting them. So if we as a body of believers condemn one person to hell, we might as well just get ready to join them because we failed to live according to God’s will for us.

True Grit 12

At the risk of telling too many personal stories in these blog comments, I continue with an example from my life that I find relevant to this topic. As I have stated in previous comments, I grew up in a very conservative Christian church. We were told, among many other things, that Homosexuality is wrong. The subject was approached with a condemning eye and, at least to my recollection, there was no emphasis on reaching out to or accepting homosexuals until I got to a Christian college. I find the idea that some "more conservative religious formations [are] not singl[ing] out homosexuality as an offense above all others" to be refreshing. I have a friend who grew up in the same church as I did, went to the same Christian high school and college, and a few years after college, came out as a lesbian. While the idea that homosexuality is not singled out as worse than other sins is an ideal, I did not see that practiced, at least by my Christian friends. This friend's proclamation of homosexuality was met by hostility, abandonment, and ignorance by our fellow college students, who themselves drank alcohol to excess regularly and engaged in other questionable behavior. I am glad to see that the movement towards singling out homosexuality is slowly dwindling, however, this situation reminds me of Matthew 7:5, "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Dead Man Walking 2

The bible does not agree with same sex couples and says it is wrong. Many people now days are against same sex marriage because of what the church says. They believe that the Bible is right in that marriage and relationships should be between a man and woman. I think we should be able to do what we want with our lives. There is no reason to look down upon gays because of their sexual orientation. I believe the BIble is wrong in what it says about same sex couples. Gay people are just like the rest of us. They have every reason to do what they want with their lives and not be looked down upon.

The Truman Show 5

The topic of same sex marriages is an extremely touchy concept. The Bible doesn’t agree with the ideas conveyed through society of the topic of gay marriage. Just recently in my church there was a large discussion whether a homosexual could be a pastor. This uproar in my home town church had split the congregation into two separate groups. One opposing the idea and one that was not against it. Even in my small town church there is still tensions over this topic of homosexuals.

Praying with Lior 2

The Bible’s position about gays and gay marriage is very clear; it is not allowed. I do not see what the big deal is with gays and gay marriage. It is not up to me or anyone else to say what can and cannot make someone happy. I think that gay marriage should be made legal in this country and giving every other privilege as other married couples.

Chariots of Fire 4

I completely disagree with you praying with lior 2. This country was founded on religion and that's why it says "One nation under God" in the pledge of Allegiance. Since the Bible makes it so clear that gay people are not allowed then why would we make it legal in this country. It doesn't matter if it makes them happy because they are living a lie. The only reason it makes them happy is because both of them can't find a woman!

Breaker Morant 3

I believe that homosexuality is a sin. I believe the Bible is right in everything it says. I don't think it is right and I think that today people read the Bible like it's a buffet. They look at it and say, well, it says I shouldn't do "this", but I like doing "this" so, that part of the Bible doesn't agree with my life, so I'm going to say that part of the Bible isn't relevant anymore. It is very frustrating to me. I was raised in a way to "hate the sin, love the sinner." Homosexuality is a temptation that some people choose to succumb to. It's no more of a sin than pre-marital sex, and I don't know many people who could say they aren't guilty of that. I believe that homosexuals are, in society, entitled to their way of life, but I don't believe we should be going around saying it's perfectly acceptable in a Bible based religion.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Google Blogrolls

a community of bloggers

  • Abnormal Interests
    Intrepid forays into realia and texts of the Ancient Near East, by Duane Smith
  • After Existentialism, Light
    A thoughtful theology blog by Kevin Davis, an M. Div. student at University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • AKMA's Random Thoughts
    by A. K. M. Adam, Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow
  • alternate readings
    C. Stirling Bartholomew's place
  • Ancient Hebrew Grammar
    informed comment by Robert Holmstedt, Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, and John Cook, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore KY)
  • Antiquitopia
    one of the best blogs out there, by Jared Calaway, assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Illinois Wesleyan University.
  • Anumma - Hebrew Bible and Higher Education
    by G. Brooke Lester, Assistant Professor in Hebrew Bible, and Director for Emerging Pedagogies, at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston IL)
  • Awilum
    Insightful commentary on the Bible and the Ancient Near East, by Charles Halton
  • AWOL - The Ancient World Online
    notice and comment on open access material relating to the ancient world, by Charles Jones of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
  • Balshanut
    top-notch Biblical Hebrew and Semitics blog by Peter Bekins, Ph. D. student, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati OH, faculty member, Wright State University (archive)
  • Believing is Knowing
    Comments on things like prophecy, predestination, and reward and punishment from an orthodox Jewish perspective, by David Guttmann
  • Ben Byerly's Blog
    thoughts on the Bible, Africa, Kenya, aid, and social justice, by Ben Byerly, a PhD candidate at Africa International University (AIU), in Nairobi, Kenya working on “The Hopes of Israel and the Ends of Acts” (Luke’s narrative defense of Paul to Diaspora Judeans in Acts 16-20)
  • Berit Olam
    by a thoughtful Matt Morgan, Berkeley CA resident, grad student in Old Testament at Regent University, Vancouver BC (archive)
  • Better Bibles Blog
    Discussion of translation problems and review of English Bible translations by Wayne Leman, Iver Larsen, Mike Sangrey, and others
  • Bibbia Blog
    A Bible blog in Italian and English by former students of the PIB and PUG
  • Bible Background research and commentary
    by Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Bible Design & Binding
    J. Mark Bertrand's place
  • BiblePlaces Blog
    a spotlight on the historical geography of the Holy Land, by Todd Bolen, formerly, Assistant Professor at the Israel Bible Extension campus of The Master's College, Santa Clarita CA
  • Biblicalia
    The riches of orthodoxy brought online by Kevin Edgecomb, a seminarian at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline MA)
  • Biblische Ausbildung
    by Stephen L. Cook, professor of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible at Virginia Theological Seminary
  • C. Orthodoxy
    Christian, Contemporary, Conscientious… or Just Confused, by Ken Brown, a very thoughtful blog (archive). Ken is currently a Dr. Theol. student at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, part of The Sofja-Kovalevskaja Research Group studying early Jewish Monotheism. His dissertation will focus on the presentation of God in Job.
  • Catholic Bibles
    a thoughtful blog about Bible translations by Timothy, who has a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum) and teaches theology in a Catholic high school in Michigan
  • Chrisendom
    irreverent blog with a focus on the New Testament, by Chris Tilling, New Testament Tutor for St Mellitus College and St Paul's Theological Centre, London
  • Claude Mariottini
    a perspective on the Old Testament and current events by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Chicagoland, Illinois
  • Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot
    by Tyler Williams, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and cognate literature, now Assistant Professor of Theology at The King's University College in Edmonton, Alberta (archive)
  • Colours of Scripture
    reflections on theology, philosophy, and literature, by Benjamin Smith, afflicted with scriptural synaesthesia, and located in London, England
  • Complegalitarian
    A team blog that discusses right ways and wrong ways Scripture might help in the social construction of gender (old archive only; more recent archive, unfortunately, no longer publicly available)
  • Connected Christianity
    a place to explore what it might be like if Christians finally got the head, heart, and hands of their faith re-connected (archive)
  • Conversational Theology
    Smart and delightful comment by Ros Clarke, a Ph.D. student at the University of the Highlands and Islands, at the (virtual) Highland Theological College (archive)
  • Daily Hebrew
    For students of biblical Hebrew and the ancient Near East, by Chip Hardy, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago
  • Daniel O. McClellan
    a fine blog by the same, who is pursuing a master of arts degree in biblical studies at Trinity Western University just outside of Vancouver, BC.
  • Davar Akher
    Looking for alternative explanations: comments on things Jewish and beyond, by Simon Holloway, a PhD student in Classical Hebrew and Biblical Studies at The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Deinde
    News and Discussion by Danny Zacharias
  • Discipulus scripturae
    Nathan Stitt's place
  • Dr. Claude Mariottini
    balanced comment by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary, Lombard IL
  • Dr. Platypus
    insightful comment by Darrell Pursiful, editor at Smyth & Helwys Publishing, on the New Testament faculty of Mercer University
  • Dust
    A diary of Bob MacDonald's journey through the Psalms and other holy places in the Hebrew Bible
  • Eclexia
    The heart and mind of this Bible and theology blogger sing in unison
  • Eat, Drink, and be Merry
    The journey of a grad student with a love for ancient languages at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (archive)
  • Elizaphanian
    Rev Sam tussles with God, and limps away
  • Emerging from Babel
    Stephen investigates the potential of narrative and rhetorical criticism as a tool for expounding scripture
  • Evangelical Textual Criticism
    A group blog on NT and OT text-critical matters
  • Evedyahu
    excellent comment by Cristian Rata, Lecturer in Old Testament of Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology, Seoul, Korea
  • Exegetica Digita
    discussion of Logos high-end syntax and discourse tools – running searches, providing the downloads (search files) and talking about what can be done and why it might matter for exegesis, by Mike Heiser
  • Exegetisk Teologi
    careful exegetical comment by Stefan Green (in Swedish)
  • Exploring Our Matrix
    Insightful reflections by James McGrath, ass't. professor of religion, Butler University
  • Faith Matters
    Mark Alter's place
  • Ferrell's Travel Blog
    comments of biblical studies, archaeology, history, and photography by a tour guide of Bible lands and professor emeritus of the Biblical Studies department at Florida College, Temple Terrace (FL)
  • Fors Clavigera
    James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, thinks out loud.
  • Friar's Fires
    an insightful blog by a pastor with a background in journalism, one of three he pens
  • Gentle Wisdom
    A fearless take on issues roiling Christendom today, by Peter Kirk, a Bible translator
  • Giluy Milta B‘alma
    by Ezra Chwat and Avraham David of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jewish National and Hebrew University Library, Jerusalem
  • He is Sufficient
    insightful comment on Bible translations, eschatology, and more, by Elshaddai Edwards
  • Higgaion
    by Chris Heard, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University
  • Idle Musings of a Bookseller
    by James Spinti of Eisenbrauns
  • if i were a bell, i'd ring
    Tim Ricchiuiti’s place
  • Imaginary Grace
    Smooth, witty commentary by Angela Erisman (archive). Angela Erisman is a member of the theology faculty at Xavier University
  • James' Thoughts and Musings
    by James Pate, a doctoral student at HUC-JIR Cincinnati
  • Jewish Philosophy Place
    by Zachary (Zak) Braiterman, who teaches modern Jewish thought and philosophy in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University
  • kata ta biblia
    by Patrick George McCollough, M. Div. student, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA
  • Ketuvim
    Learned reflection from the keyboard of Jim Getz
  • Kilbabo
    Ben Johnson’s insightful blog
  • Kruse Kronicle - contemplating the intersection of work, the global economy, and Christian mission
    top quality content brought to readers by Michael W. Kruse
  • Larry Hurtado's blog
    emeritus professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh
  • Law, Prophets, and Writings
    thoughtful blogging by William R. (Rusty) Osborne, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies as College of the Ozarks and managing editor for Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament
  • Lingamish
    delightful fare by David Ker, Bible translator, who also lingalilngas.
  • Looney Fundamentalist
    a scientist who loves off-putting labels
  • Menachem Mendel
    A feisty blog on rabbinic literature and other Judaica by Michael Pitkowsky, Rabbinics Curriculum Coordinator at the Academy for Jewish Religion and adjunct instructor at Jewish Theological Seminary (New York)
  • mu-pàd-da
    scholarly blog by C. Jay Crisostomo, grad student in ANE studies at ?
  • Narrative and Ontology
    Astoundingly thoughtful comment from Phil Sumpter, a Ph.D. student in Bible, resident in Bonn, Germany
  • New Epistles
    by Kevin Sam, M. Div. student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon SK
  • NT Weblog
    Mark Goodacre's blog, professor of New Testament, Duke University
  • Observatório Bíblico
    wide-ranging blog by Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica/Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, Brasile (in Portuguese)
  • Observatório Bíblico
    Blog sobre estudos acadêmicos da Bíblia, para Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica / Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, SP.
  • Occasional Publications
    excellent blogging by Daniel Driver, Brevard Childs' scholar extraordinaire
  • old testament passion
    Great stuff from Anthony Loke, a Methodist pastor and Old Testament lecturer in the Seminari Theoloji, Malaysia
  • Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog
    A weblog created for a course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, by James Davila (archive)
  • On the Main Line
    Mississippi Fred MacDowell's musings on Hebraica and Judaica. With a name like that you can't go wrong.
  • p.ost an evangelical theology for the age to come
    seeking to retell the biblical story in the difficult transition from the centre to the margins following the collapse of Western Christendom, by Andrew Perriman, independent New Testament scholar, currently located in Dubai
  • PaleoJudaica
    by James Davila, professor of Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland. Judaism and the Bible in the news; tidbits about ancient Judaism and its context
  • Pastoral Epistles
    by Rick Brannan and friends, a conceptually unique Bible blog
  • Pen and Parchment
    Michael Patton and company don't just think outside the box. They are tearing down its walls.
  • Pisteuomen
    by Michael Halcomb, pastor-scholar from the Bluegrass State
  • Pseudo-Polymath
    by Mark Olson, an Orthodox view on things
  • Purging my soul . . . one blog at a time
    great theoblog by Sam Nunnally
  • Qumranica
    weblog for a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, taught by James R. Davila (archive)
  • Ralph the Sacred River
    by Edward Cook, a superb Aramaist
  • Random Bloggings
    by Calvin Park, M. Div. student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton MA
  • Resident aliens
    reflections of one not at home in this world
  • Revelation is Real
    Strong-minded comment from Tony Siew, lecturer at Trinity Theological College, Singapore
  • Ricoblog
    by Rick Brannan, it's the baby pictures I like the most
  • Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
    Nick Norelli's fabulous blog on Bible and theology
  • SansBlogue
    by Tim Bulkeley, lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College (New Zealand). His Hypertext Commentary on Amos is an interesting experiment
  • Ancient Near Eastern Languages
    texts and files to help people learn some ancient languages in self study, by Mike Heiser
  • Midrash, etc.
    A fine Hebrew-to-English blog on Midrash, by Carl Kinbar, Director of the New School for Jewish Studies and a facultm member at MJTI School of Jewish Studies.
  • Phil Lembo what I'm thinking
    a recovering lawyer, now in IT, with a passion for a faith worth living
  • Roses and Razorwire
    a top-notch Levantine archaeology blog, by Owen Chesnut, a doctoral student at Andrews University (MI)
  • Scripture & Theology
    a communal weblog dedicated to the intersection of biblical interpretation and the articulation of church doctrine, by Daniel Driver, Phil Sumpter, and others
  • Scripture Zealot
    by Jeff Contrast
  • Serving the Word
    incisive comment on the Hebrew Bible and related ancient matters, with special attention to problems of philology and linguistic anthropology, by Seth L. Sanders, Assistant Professor in the Religion Department of Trinity College, Hartford, CT
  • Singing in the Reign
    NT blog by Michael Barber (JP University) and Brad Pitre (Our Lady Holy Cross)
  • Stay Curious
    excellent comment on Hebrew Bible and Hebrew language topics, by Karyn Traphagen, graduate, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia PA (archive)
  • Sufficiency
    A personal take on the faith delivered to the saints, by Bob MacDonald, whose parallel blog on the Psalms in Hebrew is a colorful and innovative experiment
  • The Sundry Times
    Gary Zimmerli's place, with comment on Bible translations and church renewal
  • Sunestauromai: living the crucified life
    by a scholar-pastor based in the Grand Canyon National Park
  • ta biblia
    blog dedicated to the New Testament and the history of Christian origins, by Giovanni Bazzana
  • Targuman
    by Christian Brady, targum specialist extraordinaire, and dean of Schreyer Honors College, Penn State University
  • Targuman
    on biblical and rabbinic literature, Christian theology, gadgetry, photography, and the odd comic, by Christian Brady, associate professor of ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature and dean of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
  • The Biblia Hebraica Blog
    a blog about Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the history of the Ancient Near East and the classical world, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, early Judaism, early Christianity, New Testament interpretation, English Bible translations, biblical theology, religion and culture, philosophy, science fiction, and anything else relevant to the study of the Bible, by Douglas Magnum, PhD candidate, University of the Free State, South Africa
  • The Forbidden Gospels Blog
    by April DeConick, Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University
  • The Naked Bible
    by Mike Heiser, academic editor at Logos Bible Software
  • The Reformed Reader
    by Andrew Compton, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (focus on Hebrew and Semitic Languages) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • The Sacred Page
    a blog written by three Catholic Ph.D.s who are professors of Scripture and Theology: Michael Barber, Brant Pitre and John Bergsma
  • The Talmud Blog
    a group blog on Talmud News, Reviews, Culture, Currents, and Criticism
  • Theological German
    a site for reading and discussing theological German, by Mark Alter
  • theoutwardquest
    seeking spirituality as an outward, not an inward quest, by David Corder
  • This Lamp
    Incisive comment on Bible translations in the archives, by Rick Mansfield
  • Thoughts on Antiquity
    By Chris Weimer and friends, posts of interest on ancient Greek and Roman topics (archive). Chris is a graduate student at the City University of New York in Classics
  • Threads from Henry's Web
    Wide-ranging comment by Henry Neufeld, educator, publisher, and author
  • Tête-à-Tête-Tête
    smart commentary by "smijer," a Unitarian-Universalist
  • Undeception
    A great blog by Mike Douglas, a graduate student in biblical studies
  • What I Learned From Aristotle
    the Judaica posts are informative (archive)
  • Bouncing into Graceland
    a delightful blog on biblical and theological themes, by Esteban Vázquez (archive)
  • Weblog
    by Justin Anthony Knapp, a fearless Wikipedian (archive)
  • Writing in the Dust
    A collection of quotes by Wesley Hill, a doctoral student in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK), and a Christian who seeks the charism of chastity
  • גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב
    by David Miller, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism, Briercrest College & Seminary, Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • ואל-תמכר
    Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, and understanding - a blog by Mitchell Powell, student of life at the intersection of Christ, Christianity, and Christendom
  • משלי אדם
    exploring wisdom literature, religion, and other academic pursuits, by Adam Couturier, M.A. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

Viewing Documents

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    To view the documents on this blog you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this, download it from the link above.
Blog powered by Typepad

Technorati

Terms


  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

    Creative Commons License

    Copyright © 2005 by John F Hobbins.