Poll

What are your views on homosexuals and/or letting them wed?

I accept them.
51 (66.2%)
I tolerate them.
6 (7.8%)
It's flat out wrong.
7 (9.1%)
I don't really care.
9 (11.7%)
I have mixed views. (Describe)
4 (5.2%)

Total Members Voted: 77

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Author Topic: Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage  (Read 129093 times)

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #375 on: October 20, 2012, 02:55:37 PM »
I don't know about that.  I think the example you bring up would be quibbling over language because we're talking about a principle behind those words - that a man starts his own family upon marrying.  But just like that should be kept in mind when appropriate, a definition of the institution, even when it's not the main point (and I hesitate to say it wasn't the main point because these issues are all intertwined anyway), shouldn't be ignored when dealing with a matter that also pertains to that institution.
I'd be careful about saying "That theoretical controversy would be silly and obviously wrong, but this one we're in now definitely isn't." It's hard to have perspective on these kinds of things while you're in them. Recommended reading on this topic is Nellie Norton: or, Southern slavery and the Bible., published in 1864. Written loosely in novel form, with the intention of refuting Christian arguments in favor of abolition. A century and a half ago, Christians defended slavery just as vociferously as Christians today decry same-sex relationships -- and with more Scriptural support to boot.

Quote from: pp. 10 - 13
"The curse pronounced by God, through Noah, upon Ham and his descendants, is subject to no such restrictions and limitations [...] It was to extend from generation to generation, to be perpetual. [...]"

"My dear uncle, you shock me, you horrify me [...] Surely this cannot be true; but, if it is, I apprehend, the reason is to be found in the fact, that in the dark age in which Abraham lived, the people were not civilized and enlightened as they are now. They saw through a glass darkly, that was but the misty twilight of our day."

"But Nelly, it was so ordained of God, and He was not less wise and good then than now. [...] Your sympathy for the slave is, I fear, quite above your reverence for Deity. [...]"

"[...]I cannot believe it. I do not wish to believe it." Nellie's cheek flushed, and she grew animated as she emphasized the closing sentence: "Your proofs are insufficient. [...]"

"Then," continued her uncle, "they shall be strong enough for you, if you will take divine testimony. Will you be kind enough to open the Bible and read Leviticus xxv:44-46?"

"[...]And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them after you; they shall be your bondmen forever. [...]"

[...]

Nellie's mind was not at rest. The Bible certainly did teach that slavery was a perpetual institution. Its chains were forged in heaven, by God himself, and so fastened, that no power could sunder them but His. [...] Her Sabbath School teachers had taught her that slavery was inhuman, iniquitous, the sum of all villainies, that there was no authority whatever for it in the word of God [...] that it was the peculiar mission of the more enlightened and christianised people of the North to 'break every yoke' and set every bondman free [...] "How can it be? certainly the Bible is not a pro-slavery book. Surely! God is not a pro-slavery God. Impossible!! but here is His word. If it should be true, (and how am I to doubt it? have I not been taught to believe, to reverence, to obey it?) what am I to do? Give into the idea of slavery? Never, never.

*Note that I do not intend here to compare the struggles faced by LGBT people to slavery; only to point out the similarities in conservative Christian arguments in opposition of expanding rights in the two situations (which is not intended to equate traditional views on same-sex relations with owning slaves).

Seems like it would be a whole lot better to air on the side of caution if you can't know.
We differ on which side counts as the safe side. I think the safe side is the one that leads to lower teen suicide rates. (See also: "What If I'm Wrong?")

Heh, admittedly poorly worded.  The point I was attempting to make is just this: while a good marriage is going to have love, commitment, and monogamy, it does not follow that love, commitment, and monogamy justify a relationship or equate/qualify for a marriage regardless of gender.  In fact, I would question why monogamy is such a huge deal at this point.  How do polyamorous relationships fit into this all-inclusive view of sexuality?
Legally, I think there are more details to figure out on how to make polyamorous marriages work before we go there (i.e., if there's no limit to the number of spouses I can have, what happens if I marry a thousand people and want them all to be able to visit me in the hospital?).

I should note, of course, that polygamy was practiced extensively throughout the Old Testament. It's allowed under OT law, as long as you don't marry two sisters like Jacob did -- though, interestingly, Ezekiel 23 metaphorically portrays God as a man marrying two sisters. And while we can point to ideals and make extrapolations and such, if we're just looking at the rules, the New Testament never prohibits polygamy for those who are not in church leadership positions.

Out of curiosity, would you say, then, that you hold to inerrancy?
I don't think inerrancy is a helpful term to use. I think it contributes to a mindset that treats the Bible like 30,000 individual Confucius statements handed down on individual golden tablets, utterly divorced from any cultural or historical or even grammatical context other than our own.

I'm gonna steal Rachel Held Evan's words here:

Quote from: Rachel Held Evans
As a Christian, I believe that the Bible represents a sacred collection of poems, stories, accounts, and letters that are inspired by God and shared by his people. As an honest reader, I confess that there are times when the Bible touches me, times when the Bible troubles me, and times when the Bible confounds me.  As an interpreter, I acknowledge that my understanding of the Bible’s meaning is fallible.

I'd recommend her series of posts on Peter Enns's Inspiration and Incarnation (or probably also that book itself, though I haven't read it yet) for a better picture of my view.

I'm not sure what this means in practical terms.  I would say that, since you compare the Bible to Jesus in terms of being divine and human, it would be good to remember that Jesus' divinity was not diminished because of his being human.
This is actually a pretty complex issue. Philippians 2:7 is a good starting place, but that one tiny verse raises so many questions. Did Jesus have grey hair? Could he have benefited from corrective lenses? More interestingly, were there ever things he didn't know? Did he ever start a carpentry job thinking it would only take a few minutes, only to find he had underestimated the amount of work at hand and it ended up taking hours? In Luke 8:45, when he asked "Who was it that touched me?", did he know the answer? Could Jesus truly be fully human without knowing what it was like to be mistaken about something?

But a big part of His ministry was getting people back on-track with what all of it really meant.  Kind of a waste of time if He would soon render it all moot in short order.
He can render "the law" -- the 613 rules and regulations outlined in Exodus through Numbers -- moot without rendering moot "what all of it really meant."

Quote from: Romans 13:8-10
Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Love for God and love for neighbor (the former of which is best expressed through the latter, as per Matthew 25:40) are the guiding principles behind all the law, along with a third principle -- looking different from how we used to. Vertical, horizontal, and circular. The 613 laws given to the Israelites after coming out of Egypt were the intersection of those principles with their time and place.

How do we look different today? The number one way we are to look different now is by following the first two principles, loving God and loving our neighbor -- they will know we are Christians by our love. Beyond that, it's complex and personal and different for every individual. Because we're no longer one monolithic people all coming out of the same slavery and the same sinful culture at the same time -- we're billions of people of every gender, every race, every color, every nationality, every caste, every orientation, every career, every population density, every level of ability, each coming out of our own personal slavery at different times in different places. Some people are going to stop eating meat sacrificed to idols as a way of making a clean break from their former life, others won't need to. The dietary laws are all rescinded, but maybe for one person in particular, eating pork reminds them of their days as a corrupt accountant for a slaughterhouse, and so they'll choose to stay away from it anyway.

I don't mean to be dismissive here, but I'm seeing certain things in Scripture that I also cannot dismiss.
The way I see it, dismissing people is dismissing Scripture. Again, Matthew 25:40.

Not saying that's what you're doing; just a general principle to keep in mind.

I do think we would do well as a culture to shift more toward many of these ideals and principles, especially recognizing the Sabbath again.
Especially the Sabbath? The one commandment of the ten that's not reiterated in the New Testament?

Out of curiosity, Saturday or Sunday?

As an aside, the latter passage is not talking about living in cities with those who don't worship God, it's talking about people deliberately going into cities and leading people away from God.  False teachers, in other words.
Yes, but note that the penalty was not just to punish the false teachers, or just the ones they led astray.

Quote from: Deuteronomy 13:15-16
[Y]ou must by all means slaughter the inhabitants of that city with the sword; annihilate with the sword everyone in it, as well as the livestock. You must gather all of its plunder into the middle of the plaza and burn the city and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It will be an abandoned ruin forever – it must never be rebuilt again.
(And no, the admonition in the preceding verse that "You must investigate thoroughly and inquire carefully" is not particularly reassuring to me.)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 01:02:24 AM by CrossEyed7 »
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #376 on: October 21, 2012, 01:06:27 AM »
Forgot to include this part:

Just looking at this on the face of it, it seems unlikely.  Every other grouping contains sets of synonyms that more or less all mean the same thing.  Now, of course, it's entirely possible that male prostitution and homosexuality and kidnapping coincided a lot, but they are not by necessity all in the same category.  It should also be remembered that pornos does not always refer to prostitution specifically, but sometimes to sexual immorality as a whole.
Again, this is where we should make every effort to be aware of the culture Paul was writing in. It's true that same-sex relationships and kidnapping, as the two concepts exist today, do not have a lot of overlap. But did they in Paul's day?

Picture a modern-day Paul listing a bunch of sins in a list like that, and one part of the list mentions "gamblers, jockeys, and bookies." Now fast-forward to the year 4000. 41st-century scholars, who speak a very different language than 21st-century American English, come across Paul's epistle to the Nevadans. The meaning of the word "bookie" has been lost to history, but the 41st-century scholars know it comes from the root word "book." Without any knowledge of our culture, a likely guess would be that Paul was condemning people who read books. Similarly, they know from scraps and fragments of other writing from within a century or two that one possible meaning of "jockey" referred to people who rode horses. Again, without knowing the culture, it would be a reasonable guess to say that Paul was condemning all horseback riding.

On top of that, let's say that in the year 4000, all gambling is done on slot machines -- horseracing ended long ago due to animal cruelty concerns. So now the standard accepted teaching is that 2012 Paul said it's wrong to play the slots, ride horses, and read books. And then someone proposes that maybe we're mistranslating it and those three are actually all tied together. And then they respond "No, that's silly -- what do horses and books have to do with slot machines?"

In all likelihood, arsenokoitai refers to some form of male-on-male sexual act, just as jockey has something to do with riding a horse and bookie has something to do with books. But what kind? What would have been the nature of the relationship? Would there have been mutual consent, or was it rape (which, of course, is wrong regardless of gender)? Along this line, I strongly recommend this essay.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 01:28:34 AM by CrossEyed7 »
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #377 on: October 21, 2012, 09:42:22 AM »
I'd be careful about saying "That theoretical controversy would be silly and obviously wrong, but this one we're in now definitely isn't." It's hard to have perspective on these kinds of things while you're in them. Recommended reading on this topic is Nellie Norton: or, Southern slavery and the Bible., published in 1864. Written loosely in novel form, with the intention of refuting Christian arguments in favor of abolition. A century and a half ago, Christians defended slavery just as vociferously as Christians today decry same-sex relationships -- and with more Scriptural support to boot.
Not all Christians.  See "William Wilberforce," for example.  And what I'm saying is that the principle of those words you cited would hold true if interpreted correctly, and might speak to a certain controversy if one arose, not that it has no place.

I should note, of course, that polygamy was practiced extensively throughout the Old Testament. It's allowed under OT law, as long as you don't marry two sisters like Jacob did -- though, interestingly, Ezekiel 23 metaphorically portrays God as a man marrying two sisters. And while we can point to ideals and make extrapolations and such, if we're just looking at the rules, the New Testament never prohibits polygamy for those who are not in church leadership positions.
Jesus does - again, at the same time He defines marriage and sets the format for it.  Male and female.  Singular.

I don't think inerrancy is a helpful term to use. I think it contributes to a mindset that treats the Bible like 30,000 individual Confucius statements handed down on individual golden tablets, utterly divorced from any cultural or historical or even grammatical context other than our own.
I don't think it's divorced from any culture but our own; I think it applies to every culture.  I believe God sets absolutes in place that take precedence over the cultural assumptions we make.

This is actually a pretty complex issue. Philippians 2:7 is a good starting place, but that one tiny verse raises so many questions. Did Jesus have grey hair? Could he have benefited from corrective lenses? More interestingly, were there ever things he didn't know? Did he ever start a carpentry job thinking it would only take a few minutes, only to find he had underestimated the amount of work at hand and it ended up taking hours? In Luke 8:45, when he asked "Who was it that touched me?", did he know the answer? Could Jesus truly be fully human without knowing what it was like to be mistaken about something?
The idea is that He relied entirely on the Father, just as man was supposed to do before the fall.

He can render "the law" -- the 613 rules and regulations outlined in Exodus through Numbers -- moot without rendering moot "what all of it really meant."
But again, he has explicitly said that he did not come to do that.  "Fulfill" clearly does not mean "abolish" because he used them both in the same sentence, portraying them as different things.

Love for God and love for neighbor (the former of which is best expressed through the latter, as per Matthew 25:40) are the guiding principles behind all the law, along with a third principle -- looking different from how we used to. Vertical, horizontal, and circular. The 613 laws given to the Israelites after coming out of Egypt were the intersection of those principles with their time and place.
It's a stretch to say that love for God is always expressed best through love for neighbor, at least with how you're using "love."  It rightfully includes loving one's neighbor - that said, "love" means doing a lot of different things, including looking at the bigger picture.  The "what if I'm wrong" argument conveniently fails to take into account that sin that damages the soul.  Consequences of sin are not always measurable on earthly terms.

How do we look different today? The number one way we are to look different now is by following the first two principles, loving God and loving our neighbor -- they will know we are Christians by our love. Beyond that, it's complex and personal and different for every individual.
But not so different that moral principles differ.  "If you love me, keep my commands."

The way I see it, dismissing people is dismissing Scripture. Again, Matthew 25:40.
Sure, but this goes both ways; the other way around - dismissing people by dismissing Scripture - is dismissing people in a hugely damaging way.  Love does not equal indulgence.  Sometimes it means restraint.

Especially the Sabbath? The one commandment of the ten that's not reiterated in the New Testament?
The commandment is most certainly in play in the New Testament.  Jesus does teach on the Sabbath, noting what the Pharisees were doing wrong with it (turning it into just a different kind of duty rather than as a time of rest).

Out of curiosity, Saturday or Sunday?
That's a pretty good question.  I'm not certain it matters, but would lean toward Sunday as our Lord's Day given that we have Jesus rising from the dead then.

Yes, but note that the penalty was not just to punish the false teachers, or just the ones they led astray.
With the implication that the false teaching has become ubiquitous in its being held to, or allowed to propagate by those living there.

Again, this is where we should make every effort to be aware of the culture Paul was writing in. It's true that same-sex relationships and kidnapping, as the two concepts exist today, do not have a lot of overlap. But did they in Paul's day?

Picture a modern-day Paul listing a bunch of sins in a list like that, and one part of the list mentions "gamblers, jockeys, and bookies." Now fast-forward to the year 4000. 41st-century scholars, who speak a very different language than 21st-century American English, come across Paul's epistle to the Nevadans. The meaning of the word "bookie" has been lost to history, but the 41st-century scholars know it comes from the root word "book." Without any knowledge of our culture, a likely guess would be that Paul was condemning people who read books. Similarly, they know from scraps and fragments of other writing from within a century or two that one possible meaning of "jockey" referred to people who rode horses. Again, without knowing the culture, it would be a reasonable guess to say that Paul was condemning all horseback riding.

On top of that, let's say that in the year 4000, all gambling is done on slot machines -- horseracing ended long ago due to animal cruelty concerns. So now the standard accepted teaching is that 2012 Paul said it's wrong to play the slots, ride horses, and read books. And then someone proposes that maybe we're mistranslating it and those three are actually all tied together. And then they respond "No, that's silly -- what do horses and books have to do with slot machines?"

In all likelihood, arsenokoitai refers to some form of male-on-male sexual act, just as jockey has something to do with riding a horse and bookie has something to do with books. But what kind? What would have been the nature of the relationship? Would there have been mutual consent, or was it rape (which, of course, is wrong regardless of gender)? Along this line, I strongly recommend this essay.
First off, you make this argument as if the "epistle to the Nevadans" were suddenly found two thousand years later, and as if there didn't exist between 21st century and 41st century a massive history of the development of language and convention.  Translations change over time and but the meanings don't change with the language we use.  You present a sudden contrast between two cultures in your example but the way cultures develop in reality is gradually.

Even so, taking cultural context into account, you would still have to prove that 2012 Paul was not condemning the act of reading books in and of itself (can I assume e-readers or other such future technology have taken over as the main method of conveying textual information?).  Maybe he really was telling people not to do any of those things in and of themselves.  Which is why you'd go to the other epistles written by 2012 Paul and - lo and behold - they mention and condemn the same activities, though they're not all in the same groupings as in 1 Nevada.  But I don't see the discussion developing much beyond this point because we think very differently on the nature of the law under the new covenant, and on how the Bible works, for that matter.  The fact is, you can make the Bible say whatever you want it to, which is what I'd wager both sides of the argument think the other is doing.  Speaking of rape, maybe rape was condemned then because in a culture where women were viewed as property, rape was synonymous with theft?  But now that we're in a different situation as a culture, maybe the condemnation of things like rape no longer apply?  After all, rape isn't mentioned that much in the Bible, and when it is, the cultural context needs to be brought into account to determine what behavior is actually being condemned.
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #378 on: October 21, 2012, 02:12:32 PM »
Not all Christians.  See "William Wilberforce," for example.
Not all, but certainly most. The victory of abolitionism in Christianity is an instance of longstanding, traditional, well-established readings of Scripture being disregarded in pursuit of progress toward an ideal of perfect love.

If there are Wilberforces today on the issue of same-sex relations, they are not the ones arguing to maintain the status quo. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with maintaining statuses quo, but it's certainly not what Wilberforce did in his situation.

I don't think it's divorced from any culture but our own; I think it applies to every culture.  I believe God sets absolutes in place that take precedence over the cultural assumptions we make.
But you seem to be acting like we don't even need to attempt to be aware of cultural assumptions we may be making. You're looking at a first-century text from an entirely different culture than ours and assuming we can instantly apply those words to the modern issue of sexual orientation, a concept that did not exist in the public consciousness until at least the mid-1800s.

We cannot read the Bible without bias and subjectivity. We can either attempt to understand the lens we're looking through, and how it differs from the lens the original audience had, or we can pretend we aren't looking through a lens.

But again, he has explicitly said that he did not come to do that.  "Fulfill" clearly does not mean "abolish" because he used them both in the same sentence, portraying them as different things.

Quote from: Matthew 5:17-20
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I  tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
This is an interesting one. Not a single stroke of the law will pass away until everything takes place, and anyone who breaks the least command and teaches others to do so will be the least in the kingdom of heaven (though, interestingly, it sounds like they're still in the kingdom of heaven)... and then Paul goes and completely throws out circumcision, feasts, dietary laws, ceremonial laws, and says

Quote from: Galatians 5:1-6
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. [...] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love.

It looks a lot like Paul is teaching people to break the least of the commandments. Circumcision was not a suggestion: "The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, ‘When a woman produces offspring and bears a male child, [...o]n the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised.'"" (Leviticus 12:1-3)

So if Jesus was literally saying that every one of the 613 laws is binding until the end of time, then Paul was a false prophet -- and then suddenly we don't have any New Testament prooftexts against homosexuality, just Leviticus.

The passage I keep coming back to in figuring this out is Romans 13. "Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

It's a stretch to say that love for God is always expressed best through love for neighbor, at least with how you're using "love."  It rightfully includes loving one's neighbor - that said, "love" means doing a lot of different things, including looking at the bigger picture.  The "what if I'm wrong" argument conveniently fails to take into account that sin that damages the soul.  Consequences of sin are not always measurable on earthly terms.
But not so different that moral principles differ.  "If you love me, keep my commands."
Sure, but this goes both ways; the other way around - dismissing people by dismissing Scripture - is dismissing people in a hugely damaging way.  Love does not equal indulgence.  Sometimes it means restraint.
This is not an argument that homosexuality is wrong; this is an argument that sin is wrong, with the sinfulness of homosexuality taken as a given.

The commandment is most certainly in play in the New Testament.  Jesus does teach on the Sabbath, noting what the Pharisees were doing wrong with it (turning it into just a different kind of duty rather than as a time of rest).
The religious authorities of the day certainly did add unnecessary baggage to a lot of the law, but the fact remains that the law said that doing any work whatsoever on the Sabbath, including picking up sticks, was punishable by death. Jesus did work on the Sabbath, and led his disciples to do the same, in picking wheat to eat. Going strictly by the letter of the law, I don't see how the Pharisees' accusation was incorrect -- when the Israelites were getting manna in the desert, they weren't allowed to pick up manna on the Sabbath (which would have been as much or less work than picking grain) -- if they wanted to eat on the Sabbath, they had to plan ahead on Friday.

With the implication that the false teaching has become ubiquitous in its being held to, or allowed to propagate by those living there.
Every single man, woman, child, and animal in the town? Really?

First off, you make this argument as if the "epistle to the Nevadans" were suddenly found two thousand years later, and as if there didn't exist between 21st century and 41st century a massive history of the development of language and convention.  Translations change over time and but the meanings don't change with the language we use.  You present a sudden contrast between two cultures in your example but the way cultures develop in reality is gradually.
There's a massive history, to be sure, but it's not an unbroken chain. For example, conservative evangelical Christianity generally didn't have a problem with abortion until the early-to-mid-1980s.

Even so, taking cultural context into account, you would still have to prove that 2012 Paul was not condemning the act of reading books in and of itself (can I assume e-readers or other such future technology have taken over as the main method of conveying textual information?).  Maybe he really was telling people not to do any of those things in and of themselves.  Which is why you'd go to the other epistles written by 2012 Paul and - lo and behold - they mention and condemn the same activities, though they're not all in the same groupings as in 1 Nevada. 
There's one other passage that again mentions "bookies", as part of a list; and then there's another passage that talks about people "abandoning God, following their books filled with sinful things." The first one doesn't clear things up at all, because we still don't know what the word means. In the second one, are books inherently evil? Are books by necessity filled with sinful things, or is 2012!Paul only speaking against the books that do have sinful things in them?

I'm reminded of a change made from the 1984 NIV to the 2011 NIV: 1 Thessalonians 2:14b-15a

1984: ‟You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the
Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.”
2011: ‟You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the
Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.”

There is an enormous difference between "The Jews who killed Jesus" and "The Jews, who killed Jesus". Paul was not saying all Jews killed Jesus, he was making a reference to the ones who did. Similarly, 2012!Paul could be saying all books are evil, or he could be talking about a subset of evil books, and Romans 1 could either be saying all homoerotic acts are inherently idolatrous and/or promiscuous, or could instead be decrying a specific subset of idolatrous/promiscuous homoerotic acts, with the morality of homoerotic acts in general not being addressed. Can we say for sure which one he was going for?

But I don't see the discussion developing much beyond this point because we think very differently on the nature of the law under the new covenant, and on how the Bible works, for that matter.  The fact is, you can make the Bible say whatever you want it to, which is what I'd wager both sides of the argument think the other is doing.  Speaking of rape, maybe rape was condemned then because in a culture where women were viewed as property, rape was synonymous with theft?  But now that we're in a different situation as a culture, maybe the condemnation of things like rape no longer apply?  After all, rape isn't mentioned that much in the Bible, and when it is, the cultural context needs to be brought into account to determine what behavior is actually being condemned.
Actually, yeah, usually when rape is mentioned in the Bible, it's treated more as theft/destruction of property, due to the highly patriarchal culture it was written in. And we should not blindly apply the applicable laws about it to modern-day society -- for example, the law in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 that a man who rapes an unmarried woman must marry her. At that time, once word got out that she was no longer a virgin, no man would be willing to buy marry her, and she would therefore have no way to provide for herself once her father died. Therefore, if a man was going to take her virginity and her marriagability, he was responsible for providing for her for the rest of her life. You break it, you buy it. In modern western society, when a lack of virginity does not have the same life-destroying stigma it did for women even just a couple centuries ago, and when women are perfectly capable of getting jobs and earning a living on their own anyway, applying that law would be barbaric, infringing on the woman's freedom (where before, in a super-patriarchy, it was the only way she could have had a modicum of freedom).

But just because rape isn't wrong for the reasons it was wrong in Moses' time doesn't mean it's not wrong. I seem to remember something about loving your neighbor as yourself. Having sex with someone without their consent is a pretty massive violation of that law.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

« Reply #379 on: October 21, 2012, 03:33:43 PM »
Those liberal glasses were a dead giveaway.

The opposite of liberal glasses:



Also, I've noticed that, at any given point, this topic contains an extremely lengthy argument between CrossEyed and Turtlekid over Biblical hermeneutics.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 03:36:58 PM by PaperLuigi »
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

« Reply #380 on: October 21, 2012, 04:25:35 PM »
Conservative glasses?
VVVERExSTFJCQVM=

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #381 on: October 21, 2012, 04:34:40 PM »
Also, I've noticed that, at any given point, this topic contains an extremely lengthy argument between CrossEyed and Turtlekid over Biblical hermeneutics.
Well, at any given point in 2012. In 2008, I was telling everyone how awesome Exodus International is.

*cringe*

Sorry.



I've noticed that approximately 41% of all the words ever posted in this four-year-old topic were posted in the last four days.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

« Reply #382 on: October 21, 2012, 05:18:52 PM »
Conservative glasses?

Yeah man, that's Barry Goldwater. Premier American conservative of the 20th century, although not in the sense today's conservatives would define the word.

Dude had some *****in' glasses.
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

Markio

  • Normal
« Reply #383 on: October 21, 2012, 09:42:31 PM »
This thread has been around for quite awhile, I'd say there's at least a few of us whose opinions have evolved over time.  I think this is where I actually came out for the first time.
"Hello Kitty is cool, but I like Keroppi the best."

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #384 on: October 21, 2012, 11:02:06 PM »
Heh. I came out as "probably slightly bi" in this post in 2009, and then went back and edited it out in 2010 because I was back into repression mode.

In that vein, I'm kind of tempted to go back and edit a bunch of my 2008 posts now. (Of course, now that I'm a mod, I could also edit everyone else's posts...)
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

« Reply #385 on: October 21, 2012, 11:07:20 PM »
Indeed, my views on gay marriage and homosexuality have shifted from extreme intolerance to complete acceptance.

And I've edited quite a few of my posts from 2005-2007 because they were embarrassingly stupid and I didn't want lurkers seeing them and getting a bad impression. Especially my posts about evolution, oh god.
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

« Reply #386 on: October 21, 2012, 11:48:57 PM »
See you two in four years when you come back to edit these posts so futuremen won't know you once supported revisionist history.

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #387 on: October 21, 2012, 11:50:35 PM »
Not all, but certainly most.
Don't know if that's fair to say, given that at least among the lawmakers, there was enough support to abolish slavery.

But you seem to be acting like we don't even need to attempt to be aware of cultural assumptions we may be making. You're looking at a first-century text from an entirely different culture than ours and assuming we can instantly apply those words to the modern issue of sexual orientation, a concept that did not exist in the public consciousness until at least the mid-1800s.
Yes, I'm operating under the presupposition that there are principles to be found in the Bible independent of time.  Maybe we can both even agree on that part?  It just comes down to which principles; and reading the Bible, I don't and can't see any distinctions that would sufficiently change the principle in regards to homosexual behavior.  I can acknowledge that there is overlap between a lot of those other things that are not good.  I just don't believe that the absence of that overlap makes a difference.

As I think of it, another question would be why would he specifically mention homosexuality in addition to all those things without a reason.  So when the promiscuity and kidnapping is guy-on-guy, it's bad, but he says nothing about the rape, debauchery, and trafficking when it's hetero?  Seems like he's either singling out homosexuality as its own category; or if it's meant to be included as part of a larger context, then he's mentioning it as an especially bad variant of these other activities.  Neither of these seems to regard homosexuality positively.  But surely there is a reason it's brought up.  More of an aside that occurred to me now, but it's kind of a big aside.

We cannot read the Bible without bias and subjectivity. We can either attempt to understand the lens we're looking through, and how it differs from the lens the original audience had, or we can pretend we aren't looking through a lens.
This argument reminds me quite a bit of typical postmodernism, except it doesn't quite put the doubt on Scripture as explicitly, even though it looks like it really, really wants to.  The point I'm driving at here is that there are going to be lenses but that doesn't excuse us from doing our best to proclaim the Word of God as if it's the Word of God.  And of course this isn't because we're as great as all that; it's because God gives us what we need to interpret rightly.

Culture is not the standard for reading Scripture.  Scripture is the standard for reading culture.  You can say it's impossible to read Scripture objectively, but at some point you're going to have to have some faith that there is such a thing as a correct reading of the Bible, or else it's as good as useless.  Who do you trust as an arbiter, and if not Scripture, then why God?

Sorry if I come off as a too vehement here.

It looks a lot like Paul is teaching people to break the least of the commandments. Circumcision was not a suggestion: "The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, ‘When a woman produces offspring and bears a male child, [...o]n the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised.'"" (Leviticus 12:1-3)

So if Jesus was literally saying that every one of the 613 laws is binding until the end of time, then Paul was a false prophet -- and then suddenly we don't have any New Testament prooftexts against homosexuality, just Leviticus.
Even assuming this, I would think you're going to give more weight to God's Son than the false prophet.  And keep in mind that along with many prooftexts against homosexuality, so too would go the passages that you claim are abrogating the Old Testament.  Leviticus would be more than enough (which, hey, I believe it already is enough).  But there isn't a contradiction; circumcision is a part of the law that's affected by Jesus' coming; we still have a way to symbolize the covenant - it just happens to be baptism now.

The passage I keep coming back to in figuring this out is Romans 13. "Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
Yet you're ignoring a good portion of the commandments here.  You have to harmonize this somehow, but even Paul, in this passage, is still viewing the commandments as valid.  These verses are not saying "you're off the hook for every commandment except these"; or "if it doesn't look to you like a commandment does this, it's not valid"; they're saying "this is the big one, and how this is achieved is broken down and explained by the other ones."

This is not an argument that homosexuality is wrong; this is an argument that sin is wrong, with the sinfulness of homosexuality taken as a given.
Right, and the argument was made mostly in response to an article describing two hypothetical outcomes, which left out the actual implications of "if I'm wrong."  Probably didn't clarify that enough, sorry.

The religious authorities of the day certainly did add unnecessary baggage to a lot of the law, but the fact remains that the law said that doing any work whatsoever on the Sabbath, including picking up sticks, was punishable by death. Jesus did work on the Sabbath, and led his disciples to do the same, in picking wheat to eat. Going strictly by the letter of the law, I don't see how the Pharisees' accusation was incorrect -- when the Israelites were getting manna in the desert, they weren't allowed to pick up manna on the Sabbath (which would have been as much or less work than picking grain) -- if they wanted to eat on the Sabbath, they had to plan ahead on Friday.
This goes back to the matter of preserving life on the Sabbath - just like no one was put to death for rescuing an animal then.  God provided double the manna for the Israelites before the Sabbath so they would be able to still eat.  There had been no manna for Jesus and the disciples, but they still had to eat.  Again, the Pharisees were corrupting the Sabbath into a heavy yoke.

Every single man, woman, child, and animal in the town? Really?
If that's what God tells you to do, absolutely.  However...

There's a massive history, to be sure, but it's not an unbroken chain. For example, conservative evangelical Christianity generally didn't have a problem with abortion until the early-to-mid-1980s.
http://www.geneveith.com/2012/08/10/the-early-church-on-abortion-2/

There is an enormous difference between "The Jews who killed Jesus" and "The Jews, who killed Jesus". Paul was not saying all Jews killed Jesus, he was making a reference to the ones who did. Similarly, 2012!Paul could be saying all books are evil, or he could be talking about a subset of evil books, and Romans 1 could either be saying all homoerotic acts are inherently idolatrous and/or promiscuous, or could instead be decrying a specific subset of idolatrous/promiscuous homoerotic acts, with the morality of homoerotic acts in general not being addressed. Can we say for sure which one he was going for?
Again, given other passages which all mention them in different ways, and Leviticus (of which, keep in mind, we apparently disagree on the validity), and Jesus basically saying "this is what marriage is," I would say it's a fairly clear matter.  Not that either of us is going to be able to agree on this issue if a few different, broader ones weren't first resolved.

But just because rape isn't wrong for the reasons it was wrong in Moses' time doesn't mean it's not wrong. I seem to remember something about loving your neighbor as yourself. Having sex with someone without their consent is a pretty massive violation of that law.
But surely "love" is subject to the same cultural lenses that "homosexuals" is.  Why are you so willing to take "love" at face value without questioning the cultural context?  Absalom loved his sister and raped her, and it's not said that he didn't love her until afterward.  So maybe consent isn't always the huge issue that you think it is.  Maybe you're reading through the bias of a culture where we make a bigger deal out of consent than God does.  (I should hope it would be obvious that I don't actually think this)
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #388 on: October 22, 2012, 01:01:31 AM »
Yes, I'm operating under the presupposition that there are principles to be found in the Bible independent of time.  Maybe we can both even agree on that part? 
Principles, yes. But finding those principles isn't always as simple as reading the Bible as though it was written yesterday.

It just comes down to which principles; and reading the Bible, I don't and can't see any distinctions that would sufficiently change the principle in regards to homosexual behavior.  I can acknowledge that there is overlap between a lot of those other things that are not good.  I just don't believe that the absence of that overlap makes a difference.
You really don't see any meaningful difference between first-century same-sex relations -- invariably exploitative, subjugating, and usually pederastic -- and a modern-day couple of two Christian adults in an equal romantic partnership who happen to be the same sex?

Also, "don't and can't" was an interesting word choice there.

As I think of it, another question would be why would he specifically mention homosexuality in addition to all those things without a reason.  So when the promiscuity and kidnapping is guy-on-guy, it's bad, but he says nothing about the rape, debauchery, and trafficking when it's hetero?  Seems like he's either singling out homosexuality as its own category; or if it's meant to be included as part of a larger context, then he's mentioning it as an especially bad variant of these other activities.  Neither of these seems to regard homosexuality positively.  But surely there is a reason it's brought up.  More of an aside that occurred to me now, but it's kind of a big aside.
But you could use that logic against any specific mention of sin. The only times that rape is explicitly described as sinful in the Bible, it's man-on-woman. Does that mean woman-on-man, man-on-man, or woman-on-woman rape aren't wrong? When the Bible says lying is wrong, is that saying that other sins involving words aren't bad? Any time someone says something is wrong, you can say "Why say x is wrong without saying y is wrong?" You can't expect every list of sins to include every possible sin, especially if there's one sin in particular that was actually happening a lot more often than the others when that list was written -- which requires examining the cultural context.

This argument reminds me quite a bit of typical postmodernism, except it doesn't quite put the doubt on Scripture as explicitly, even though it looks like it really, really wants to.  The point I'm driving at here is that there are going to be lenses but that doesn't excuse us from doing our best to proclaim the Word of God as if it's the Word of God.  And of course this isn't because we're as great as all that; it's because God gives us what we need to interpret rightly.
If the standard is that God gives us what we need to interpret, then how do you know I'm interpreting it wrong and you're interpreting it right? That's what sounds like postmodernism to me (although in practice, it's whichever Christian groups have the power get to make the rules).

Culture is not the standard for reading Scripture.  Scripture is the standard for reading culture.  You can say it's impossible to read Scripture objectively, but at some point you're going to have to have some faith that there is such a thing as a correct reading of the Bible, or else it's as good as useless.  Who do you trust as an arbiter, and if not Scripture, then why God?
God could have just written a clear, concise book of laws and logical flowcharts that unambiguously lays out everything in perfectly timeless terms. But that's not what he did. He gave us stories. And those stories are inextricably interwoven with the cultures they occurred in. We need to understand where the Bible came from, and not simply act like it just all suddenly appeared one day. It would be very convenient if God had done it that way, but he very much did not. The way he did things is about the most opposite of that you could possibly get.

Even assuming this, I would think you're going to give more weight to God's Son than the false prophet.  And keep in mind that along with many prooftexts against homosexuality,
Not many. There's at most six or seven, counting three from Paul. Out of 31,000.

But there isn't a contradiction; circumcision is a part of the law that's affected by Jesus' coming; we still have a way to symbolize the covenant - it just happens to be baptism now.
Still, in your terms, how is that not a jot and tittle that's passing away?

God provided double the manna for the Israelites before the Sabbath so they would be able to still eat.  There had been no manna for Jesus and the disciples, but they still had to eat.  Again, the Pharisees were corrupting the Sabbath into a heavy yoke.
So why didn't Jesus just plan ahead and get more food on Friday? There was no exception in the Old Testament for "Oops, I forgot to get extra food yesterday, I'll just go get some today." No. Death. Remember Uzzah (different command, same idea)?

But surely "love" is subject to the same cultural lenses that "homosexuals" is.  Why are you so willing to take "love" at face value without questioning the cultural context?  Absalom loved his sister and raped her, and it's not said that he didn't love her until afterward.  So maybe consent isn't always the huge issue that you think it is.  Maybe you're reading through the bias of a culture where we make a bigger deal out of consent than God does.  (I should hope it would be obvious that I don't actually think this)
Love is sacrifice. Love is putting the wants and needs of others above your own. Love is Jesus: the creator and potentate of existence washing feet. That, I believe, is a timeless principle.

If you want to talk romantic love, though, yeah, that's different than it was when the Bible was written. Our modern western concept of heteronormative romantic love basically takes the medieval development of courtly love and combines it with varying amounts of feminism (first-, second-, third-, or fourth-wave), within the framework of a society rooted in patriarchy.

And yes, the concept of consent as we know it today was pretty much non-existent in Bible times. That is exactly why we cannot say for certain that Paul was condemning consensual same-sex relationships -- we don't know that he could have even conceived of such a thing existing.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

« Reply #389 on: October 22, 2012, 01:42:19 AM »
See you two in four years when you come back to edit these posts so futuremen won't know you once supported revisionist history.

lol it's not like I completely rewrote the post, I just put a disclaimer at the bottom.

Also, I've read Koopaslaya's post and I've typed up a rebuttal that I'll probably post sometime tomorrow. Everyone owes it to him to read his post whether you agree with him or not because he worked [darn] hard on it.
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

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