Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow


BIG CHICKEN COMES HOME TO ROOST

posted by Rev. Barry W. Lynn

For the past two years I have been telling my liberal friends, Jay, that the Religious Right is not dead; it is not even sleeping.  I’ve also been alerting them to the fact that the so-called “new evangelicals” may have a legitimate interest in poverty and environmental degradation, but that they often are anti-reproductive choice, anti-gay, and against real separation of church and state.  I’m on the email list of many “conservative” groups (to see how the other half thinks), and I got an interesting missive today from the Family Research Council.

Confirming my point, we now know that Pastor Rick Warren (of the celebrated Saddleback Church Forum about which we began this blog) is raising high the homophobia rooftop in supporting Proposition 8 out in California to overturn that state’s high court ruling that gay and lesbian couples must be allowed to have the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.

According to Warren “if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you have to support Proposition 8″.  I don’t recall Pastor Rick urging passage of any constitutional amendments prohibiting divorce, although that topic (unlike “gay marriage”) is actually mentioned in the Bible.

But Warren goes on. He claims: “this isn’t even just a Christian issue, it is a humanitarian and human issue, that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love and procreation”.  In his own illogically driven prose, it turns out that the only reason for “humanitarians” to support it is because Rick Warren’s version of God wants them to.  A bit of circular reasoning there, I’d say.  And this is Warren’s God, not the God of many of us Christians.  We read the Bible with an emphasis on compassion, not attuned to the bitter fear of others that is apparently encrusted on to Warren’s soul.

 



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Jimbino

posted October 28, 2008 at 10:41 am


I’d like to ask Rick Warren what Biblical text he would use as a model in preaching a sermon on the “ideal Christian marriage.” I Corinthians 13 doesn’t count, and there isn’t anything else.
Christians need to read their Bibles more to realize that Fundamentalists make the whole Christian marriage thing up, same as the Catholics do.



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James

posted October 28, 2008 at 12:41 pm


“I don’t recall Pastor Rick urging passage of any constitutional amendments prohibiting divorce, although that topic (unlike “gay marriage”) is actually mentioned in the Bible.”
– Maybe because there are Biblical grounds for divorce (see Matthew 19:8-9).
Mr. Lynn, you mention in your post that you are a Christian. I guess I didn’t even realize this based on the positions of many of your posts. What does being a Christian mean to you exactly?



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dmoraru

posted October 28, 2008 at 9:01 pm


I agree with James above, I don’t understand why Mr. Lynn has the title Reverend when his view don’t have anything to do with Christianity.



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Barry Lynn

posted October 28, 2008 at 9:36 pm


How about being ordained in a church that believes God exists and Jesus is the Son of God? Oh yes, and believing that myself.



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dsjulian

posted October 29, 2008 at 4:25 am


1 Corinthians 7:29-35 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs — how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world — how he can please his wife — and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world — how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
NIV
Paul is very clear about this: if you are married, live like you are not; if you are single, do not seek a wife — don’t do anything that will distract you from undivided devotion to the Lord.
The Bible says marriage (gay or straight) is undesirable because it causes the believer to serve two masters. You won’t hear Rick Warren (or the pastor of any other feel-good suburban megachurch) preaching on these verses anytime soon. If their followers don’t have one foot in heaven and one foot on earth, then these fleecers of the sheep can’t justify having one hand on their heart and one hand on their wallet…
And as soon as this hypocrisy is pointed out, out comes the name calling, accusations of blasphemy and heresy, etc. Barry Lynn is a duly ordained pastor (shepherd) and is therefore biblically entitled to a theology (my sheep know my voice).
For a pastor to get involved in partisan politics and then leading his sheep over that cliff is no different than getting married: it’s just another distraction away from “undivided devotion to the Lord.” And Rick “It’s-not-about-you” Warren should know better….



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The Patriot

posted October 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm


First and foremost, if gays were “born” to be gay, they would remain gay. Anyone ever hear of the “Exodus” organization. Real people who “were” gay and are no longer.
Mr. Lynn is no Christian. He is a wolf in sheeps clothing. I don’t know what Bible he reads, but homosexuality is wrong, yes, just like divorce. But, we don’t have divorced people running around for “special rights” like the gays.
Mr. Lynn better not wait to change his ways. Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows he shall reap. By the way, “seperation of church and state” was a phrase used by Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. It does NOT APPEAR ANYWHERE IN THE FOUNDING DOCUMENTS.



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Miranda

posted October 29, 2008 at 4:54 pm


No constitutional amendment needs to be written on divorce. Moses made a provision for divorce because of the hardness of peoples hearts. While it is not God’s will, he made a provision for it. About a believer being single, that was Paul’s personal opinion, not a commandment. Continue reading 1 Cor. ch 7. Paul new that an unmarried person would be better able to be devoted to the Lord.



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Earl Evans

posted October 29, 2008 at 5:11 pm


Unless I’m mistaken,Satan also believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Believing IN someone is different than believing about someone. If Mr. Lynn believed IN Jesus he would be a follower of his, which means he would support the things that Jesus supported and not hold dear the things he has fought for. The killing of innocent unborn children isn’t something that Jesus would let stand. If he flipped over tables in the synagogue for “money changing” what do you think his views of an abortion clinic would be? As much as I admire Rick Warren, I must admit that he missed a hanging curve ball that Obama the Messiah threw him at the Saddleback forum. Barrack said something about Jesus caring for “the least of these” (referring to the poor and homeless)..Excuse me but if an unborn child who is not wanted isn’t “the least of these” then I guess I don’t understand the term. Putting the word Rev. in front of his name is as laughable as Jesse Jackson use of the same. Nice try Barry.



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Bennett

posted October 29, 2008 at 6:06 pm


The bible does address homosexuality, read Leviticus 18:22 – If it states not to do it then one can conclude that the marrage aspect of it shouldn’t even be a question. It address divorce several times, in fact Jesus and Paul both addressed it.
What Paul say about marrage is true in the fact that I have to devot time to my own wife, which is my choice, instead of being able to give it all to God. It is like have a job or a hobby, if you are single can you not do more of that job or hobby? If I do not give time to my wife and family then it will fall apart. So in turn I have taken that part of me that could have been all for God and placed it else where.
David, Jesus, Paul all talk about how God judges us by our hearts, which is what is missed by so many.



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Chuck

posted October 29, 2008 at 6:30 pm


If you believe that “the United States is a “Christian nation” and support the idea of a so-called “Defense of (biblical) Marriage Act” because of what the bible teaches, then you should prove your sincerity by promoting the rest of what the Bible teaches about marriage. To begin with, (in keeping with Gen. 29:17-28; II Sam. 3:2-5) that Act should be modified to read “Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women”. Then U. S. law should be revised to incorporate the following :
A. (in keeping with II Sam. 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron. 11:21) marriage must not impede a man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives.
B. (in keeping with Deut. 22:13-21) in order to be considered valid, the bride must be a virgin. If she is not a virgin, she must be executed.
C. (in keeping with Gen. 24:3; Num. 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh. 10:30) marriage of a believer and a non-believer must be forbidden.
D. (in keeping with Deut. 22:19; Mark 10:9) since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce.
E. (in keeping with Gen. 38:6-10; Deut. 25:5-10) when a married man dies without children, his brother must marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother’s widow or deliberately does not give her children, he must pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law.



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daniel rotter

posted October 29, 2008 at 10:06 pm


“The killing of innocent unborn children isn’t something that Jesus would let stand”.
So how much jail time would you give a 13-year old girl who got pregnant as a result of being raped by her father at gunpoint and decided to get an abortion (and please don’t give me the spiel about the woman/girl who get’s an abortion being a “victim” of the people performing the act. If she willingly had the procedure, she is definitely not the victim).



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Boris

posted October 29, 2008 at 10:24 pm


The Patriot, No reference to the Bible or Christianity is found in our founding documents either. Our founders were deists and if they had wanted the United States to be a Christian nation they would have made it one. The fact that the majority of Americans now support a clear separation of church and state is all that matters at the present time anyway.
Miranda, your God and the other mythical figures in your Bible don’t make the laws or any rules for the rest of us. Marriage and divorce existed along time before the Hebrews ever existed which wasn’t until the 8th century BCE. So it is impossible that Moses even existed anyway.
Bennett, the Bible says that homosexuals should be put top death. Do you agree with that? If we are going to ignore parts of the Bible which demand the death penalty for non-capital offenses we must ignore the entire book. You can’t just pick and chooses what you are going to obey and what you aren’t.
Chuck, this list of yours clearly shows how Christians just pick and choose what they are going to believe and what they are going to obey in the Bible.



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Jeff

posted October 30, 2008 at 9:37 am


Boris and Chuck,
All of your scriptures are Old Testament references. However, Romans 6:14 and Galatians 3:13 tells us that we are no longer under the law. While we live by the principles of the OT, we know longer practice the literal punishments and requirements of the OT law. We no longer kill witches, adulterers, homosexuals, etc. They will be punished by God eventually. We must look at the whole scripture to see a vast contrast in the operation of the Old and New Testaments. This is where people go wrong. We are not picking and choosing, we are taking the Bible in it’s entirety, in the correct context. But FYI, homosexuality is also addressed in the New Testament, particularly in Romans chapter 1.
So, when we look at the scripture, we need take into consideration what the New Testament says about things, which addresses all of Chuck’s points.



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Chuck

posted October 30, 2008 at 1:24 pm


Jeff, tell that to all the fundamentalists out there who use the old testament to justify their bigotry against LGBT people. They’re clearly picking and choosing what they deem to be important and what to ignore. We can look at the New Testament and see that Jesus never condemns gay people/homosexuality but he sure has things to say about rich people and religious hypocrites. Whether it’s the new testament or the old, people still pick and choose. The verses you point out do indicate that the old laws are no longer binding, yet Jesus says in Matt 5:17-19 that the law is binding until heaven and earth pass. Of course that’s just one of many contradictions in the Bible. This is why you can have different Christians on opposite sides of any given issue. Each can find things in the Bible to validate their positions. The Bible isn’t the most helpful book in figuring out how we should govern this country. History, science, and philosophy books are much more useful for that endeavor. We have to look for shared social values and universal ethical principles that all people can get behind regardless of differences in religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. Saying “the Bible tells me so” is no excuse for hate or bigotry.



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Boris

posted October 30, 2008 at 1:50 pm


Jeff,
The contradicts itself on almost every page. This is why believers are able to use it to promote whatever evils they want to inflict on the world.
Selected Contradictions
(1)
2 Kings 2:11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.
(2)
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Exodus 32:14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
(3)
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith . . . not by works.
James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? . . . Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Revelation 22:12 Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
(4) (Jesus speaking)
Matthew 5:16 Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.
Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.
(5) (Jesus speaking)
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Matthew 10:34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
(6)
Genesis 32:30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and my life was preserved.”
Exodus 33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God.
(7) (Jesus speaking)
John 5:31 If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid.
John 8:14 Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid.
Jeff, you failed miserably and quite humorously to defend the actions of the Bible God. Perhaps we should give you another chance to put your foot in your mouth. Would like to reconcile these contradictions for us?



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James

posted October 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm


Boris, you said:
“And yes, these Bible verses prove that I am a much more moral, ethical and intelligent being than the Christian God.”
Answer me this:
How does calling people morons; being belittling, insulting, mocking, full of arrogance, anger, bitterness, and offense considered moral, ethical and intelligent?



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Boris

posted October 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm


James,
I don’t have to be an especially moral, ethical or intelligent person to be more moral, ethical or intelligent than the Christian God. I might be annoying but I haven’t killed anyone. Besides Jesus was just as much of a sinner as the rest of us:
“‘You serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to hell'” – Matt 23:33



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James

posted October 30, 2008 at 8:49 pm


“I don’t have to be an especially moral, ethical or intelligent person to be more moral, ethical or intelligent than the Christian God.”
– That’s the problem. It comes down to moral relativity. Who creates the ‘bar’ when it comes to morals? It’s like choosing the ‘lesser of two evils’ sometimes; neither one is good, but one is ‘less evil’ than the other. There has to be moral absolutes or we as a human race will simply fall lower and lower until anything goes. This is already happening now. Don’t you agree?



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Boris

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:52 pm


James,
I absolutely do NOT agree that the morals of the human race are falling lower and lower. What do you base that absurd contention on anyway? As far as moral absolutes, there are commonly held laws that every society has to have, and have always had, in order to be able to exist as a society. Our morals and ethics evolved positively as we have as social animals. Mark Twain said: “More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the text that authorizes them remains.” I think that alone clearly shows just how far we have come as a race from our barbaric past.



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Jeff

posted October 31, 2008 at 9:38 am


Boris,
I will condense two blogs into one. First of all, I am not going to debate with you whether or not I can read Greek. That’s irrelevant. I never said I could just set down and read it, like you….I said I have studied it extensively, meaning you can read it with no problem, but I have to study a passage over and over to intrepret it. It may take me some time, but it eventually gets done. I fully realize that you can read Greek circles around me, and you are probably smarter, but for sake of argument, here is one statement concerning what you asked…Neuter plural nouns, along with masculine and feminine, will always maintain their lexical gender irrespective of their case ending.
Now for the subject at hand:
I cannot tell you why God chose to make hell, instead of just separating men from himself. Apparently, man’s sin warranted more punishment. However, if a person goes to that awful place, they choose to…I think that’s fair, don’t you? God does not desire anyone to go to Hell, but he let’s man have free-will to do what he wants.
Selected Contradictions you proposed:
1) 2 Kings 2:11 vs. John 3:13–The heaven in 2 Kings is talking about the sky, while Jesus is talking about the abode of God. The Bible talkes about 3 heavens. The Old Testament saints didn’t go to the abode of God until Jesus was resurrected.
2)Num 23:19 vs. Ex 32:14–I will answer this with a quote from Siros Zodhiates, Th.D. “The Bible frequently employs anthropomorphisms (metaphorically ascribing to God human features [such as a hand, etc.]) and anthropopathisms (metaphorically ascribing to God human emotions [such as anger, etc.]). It is in th is way that “nacham” is used in Gen. 6:6,7 to describe God’s reaction upon observing the corruption of His creation. The statement “God repented” sometimes designated a change of His purported course of action based upon man’s change of heart. This does not mean that the exercise of God’s sovereign will is contingent upon man’s behavior. Jehovah is not whimsical or fickle. God is consistent. He is morally bound not to change His stance if man continues to travel on an evil path. Yet if man turns from his wicked ways, God, in His graciousness, exercises mercy in withholding judgment. Though it might appear that God’s purpose had changed, according to God’s perspective, nothing had changed.
3) Eph. 2:8-9, James 2:14-17, Rev. 22:12. — We are saved by grace through faith, not of works. Works are a product of man’s faith. James was addressing some who made professions without the accompanying works. True faith produces works, but works do not save. As far as Rev. 22:12. Saved people are going to Heaven because of Jesus Christ, but concerning our rewards, we will still be judged based on our stewardship (1 Cor 3.
4)Matt. 5:16 vs. Matt. 6:1 — The former is dealing with being bold in one’s life for Christ. The command is to live holy at all times, so people will see a difference. However, the latter, deals with the self-motivation of works. While one must be bold in their faith, they must not do it just so people will look at them, or give them adoration, but rather glorify the Father.
5) John 14:27 vs. Matt. 10:34. These are 2 different kinds of peace. This first time Jesus came, he came to give personal peace, not world peace. He came to set people free, but he know that the gospel message as well as the command to love God supremely would be offensive, thereby causing strife between some people.
6)Genesis 32:30 — Ex. 33:11 — John 1:18 Genesis 32:30, Jacob said it he had seen God….which, after his experience, he probably felt that way. Ex. 33:11 is metaphorical. He was there with God, but it was not God’s unveiled glory (Ex. 33:20). Example: If I say, “I know my wife,” I may not know everything about her, but I know her. Moses was in the presence of God, as with a friend, but he did not see his pure glory, which clears up John 1:18.
7) John 5:31 vs. John 8:14 — In John 5:31, Jesus is illustrating that there are others that testified of Him. When he said, “my witness is not true”, he was speaking from the perspective of the Jews. However, in John 8:14, he was speaking from his perspective about his deity, as well as saying plainly that he was not lying.
Boris, I hope this clears some things up. Any supposed contradiction can be cleared up by deeper Biblical study. I am still praying for you. Jesus loves you.



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James

posted October 31, 2008 at 11:00 am


“I absolutely do NOT agree that the morals of the human race are falling lower and lower. What do you base that absurd contention on anyway?”
– Moral relativity. Humans are more ‘humane’ now right? From a Christ-centered moral perspective, however, things are not getting any better, but worse…and not because ‘Christians aren’t getting their way’.
In the US alone: the family structure is failing, millions and millions of abortions occur, STDs are rampant, commitment to one partner/person is fleeting, education is failing, jails are over-crowded, lawsuits are commonplace, theft (especially music/software) is high, addictions to pornography, gambling, alcohol are high, divorce is high, drug use is high, depression is high, murder is high, etc…
People are more stressed, less polite, angry, bitter, greedy, don’t take responsibility, have less respect, etc., etc., etc. And people are more unhealthy, physically, as a result too.
What more do you need to know? And please don’t say this is because the population is increasing, therefore the numbers are too (while the ratios stay the same – the ratios are changing for the worse)…
To say the morals of the world are getting ‘better’ certainly don’t jive with reality.
“there are commonly held laws that every society has to have”
– And where did these come from. Conditional altruism?



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Chuck

posted October 31, 2008 at 5:05 pm


James, what you appear to be arguing for is a form of moral absolutism. That is, you seem to accept the notion that particular actions are either right or wrong, regardless of context, as decreed by the dictates of your preferred deity. This kind of thinking is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is it isn’t possible to determine the dictates of God without hearing it from the source and it certainly isn’t compatible with a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. In other words, God doesn’t speak in one voice directly to humanity as a whole. We’re told by other human beings who claim to have heard the deity what his absolute rules are as well as the consequences for obeying or disobeying those rules. Since there are many different people who claim to know the will of God and they sometimes contradict one another, there is no way for humanity as a whole to know which one is correct. If one were to accept the premise that the correct source is the Bible, there are still contradictions in the text that would undermine an absolute morality. For example, in the Bible killing is decreed to be immoral, yet there are many instances in which killing is carried out or ordered by the deity. If killing is wrong, then what does that tell us about the deity? Of course not all Christians are fundamentalists nor do they all base their moral absolutist views on a strict interpretation of the Bible. But let’s bring it back to real world applications such as the right for same gender couples to have their marriages recognized equally under the law. One could argue that it is absolutely right that all people deserve equal treatment under the law. Opposition to allowing LGBT people to exercise the same rights would then be morally wrong. So for those who support Prop 8 and similar measures, what is the morally absolute principle by which you’re operating to deny certain rights to LGBT people?



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Boris

posted October 31, 2008 at 10:16 pm


Jeff,
You said: Neuter plural nouns, along with masculine and feminine, will always maintain their lexical gender irrespective of their case ending.
Boris says: I said neuter plural nouns, not all nouns. FYI neuter plural nouns take a singular verb. An anomaly every first year Greek student learns about early on – shortly after the alphabet. If you are trying to translate the NT without taking a course on Greek grammar you are wasting your time.
You said: I cannot tell you why God chose to make hell, instead of just separating men from himself. Apparently, man’s sin warranted more punishment. However, if a person goes to that awful place, they choose to…I think that’s fair, don’t you? God does not desire anyone to go to Hell, but he let’s man have free-will to do what he wants.
Boris says: Your argument is based on a bunch of false assumptions. First you cannot even tell me THAT God created hell because you have absolutely no evidence for that superstition. So you can’t even get to why. Billions of people have died and will die never hearing or knowing anything about the Christian God. So your God sends people to hell for the crime of honest disbelief. Do you think that is fair? People like me find it impossible to believe what other people claim about their Gods or their holy books. The Christian God especially unbelievable BECAUSE of the absurd superstition about an afterlife, not to mention all the other magical boogy entities like Satan, angels, demons, seraphs, Jesus and giants. There isn’t a shred of evidence that such a thing as a soul exists or any Christian boogymen either. The Bible’s reason for death, a rib woman eating from a magic tree after a discussion with a talking snake flies in the face of science not to mention logic and common sense. Biological organisms eventually die off once they can no longer reproduce. Humans are biological organisms, not descendants of a dirt man and a rib woman.
You said: I hope this clears some things up. Any supposed contradiction can be cleared up by deeper Biblical study. I am still praying for you. Jesus loves you.
Boris says: Contradictions cannot be cleared up by reading things into the text, as you have done. What was Zipporah’s father’s name? What was Solomon’s mother’s name? Where was Rachel buried?



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AAL

posted November 2, 2008 at 1:53 pm


As God fearing people, we need to obey the word of God. God throughout the bible offers his commands and laws so we can live in a good and clean way. He has provided us a way to live within those guidelines, so we can come to him when we pass from this life. In order to understand what God is saying, you must read the entire bible both old and new testament, then you will see that God wants us to follow his laws and commandments, and will discipline those who do not, including whole nations. So, when things like lying down with the same sex, which God considers an abomination or detestable (Leviticus 18:22 (New International Version) – 22 ” ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.) is discussed, we have to identify it as a sin against God. Any punishment in the bible is to tell us to turn away from this activity and kill the sin (Jesus says love the sinner, but hate the sin). God loves us so much that he died for our sins and offered a way to him through the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was fully man and fully God. We, as sinners, could not offer enough sacrifices to cleanse our sins, so he took it upon himself. Would you do the same? We owe God to abide by his word. Having Judaeo-Christian values, we have a duty to try our best to get the word out and preach to all the nations, as mandated by Jesus (Mark 16:15 (New International Version) – 15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.).
Marriage between a MAN and WOMAN was ordained by God from the beginning (Genesis 1:27-28 (New International Version) – 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”). So, we who believe in the word must hold this truth. Anything in contradiction is a sin. God’s plan for family, marriage, and procreation does not include same-sex sexual preference. It could never be sanctioned by God. Besides, since there is no possibility of procreating with individuals of a same-sex union, it is no other than a union for the purpose of a sexual preference behavior.
I would point you to Max Lucado’s document: What God Says About Gay Marriage (July 18, 2004 – Max Lucado) for further information about implications these same-sex issues produce: http://maxlucado.net/pdf/god.and.gay.marriage.pdf
Good news: You can be saved by asking God for forgiveness, repent for you sins, and ask Jesus for salvation.
I will pray for all that have fallen into the trap set by the devil and sin against God.



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James

posted November 3, 2008 at 12:57 pm


“James, what you appear to be arguing for is a form of moral absolutism.”
– Chuck, do you believe in moral absolutes?
“One could argue that it is absolutely right that all people deserve equal treatment under the law.”
– According to Boris, it’s all based on intelligence. So, if same-sex marriages are causing more harm to society than help, then from an intellectual perspective, it shouldn’t be allowed. Time will tell.
“what is the morally absolute principle by which you’re operating to deny certain rights to LGBT people?”
– The principle of traditional marriage? What about family structure that’s essential for any society to survive? What about procreation? Same-sex unions don’t even make sence from an evolutionary standpoint.



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Chuck

posted November 3, 2008 at 6:20 pm


Thanks for the response James. I don’t subscribe to the philosophy of moral absolutism. I threw out that example as a moral absolute one might believe that would conflict with another used to deny equal rights to LGBT people. I find questions of morality to be very subjective. These are hard issues to grapple with and I don’t think there are any easy answers. I certainly don’t think that morality is elucidated to us through the commands of the supernatural being(s). I think our understanding of what is right and wrong evolves over time and is subject to the influence of history and current social trends among other factors. I would agree that looking at the harm something does is one way to try to measure it’s rightness or wrongness, but other factors will have to come into question as well. The problem I see with a lot of the opponents of equal marriage rights is that they’re not being honest brokers in the discussion. They already have a prejudice against homosexuality so they aren’t even willing to consider things like equal rights with regards to people of that orientation. Being gay is wrong, period, to these people. You really can’t go any further in the discussion if that’s your starting point.
You brought up a few arguments (not sure they’d qualify as moral absolutes) for why you would deny certain rights…
“The principle of traditional marriage?”
I would have to argue that even if you believe in “traditional” marriages (assuming you mean one man, one woman), that isn’t a reason to deny the marriages of same gender couples. It isn’t as if “traditional” marriages will be supplanted by “non-traditional” ones. We’ll just be expanding rights. Traditional marriage loses nothing in the process. I would also point out that this concept of traditional marriage isn’t as clear cut as some would have us believe. Marriage too has evolved over the centuries and has been defined and administered in various ways, some not so good for all parties involved. So there is no reason to think that our understanding of marriage can’t continue to evolve.
“What about family structure that’s essential for any society to survive?”
Same gender couples can and do form stable families. I’m guessing by family structure you mean a mom and a dad present in the household. I don’t have to remind you that there a lots of families out there that don’t conform to this structure and yet function quite well. I would argue that certain ingredients do need to be present to have a reasonably stable family, but the genitals of the parents don’t necessarily make the biggest difference. I submit to you that two men or two women who are well adjusted, financially stable, and loving make far better parents than a heterosexual couple that is unstable and abusive. In other words, both gay and straight people can be either great parents or awful ones. Sexual orientation doesn’t determine fitness in that area.
“What about procreation? Same-sex unions don’t even make sense from an evolutionary standpoint.”
I would argue that procreation is not a requisite for heterosexuals to get married. There are many married couples who cannot or choose not to procreate. Should they be denied the right to marry? There are many children who have no parents to care for them. Same gender couples can and do adopt children and raise them just like opposite gender couples do. They can also have surrogates just like opposite gender couples. The argument that they can’t procreate so their marriages should not be legal is absurd if you consider those things. As for the evolutionary standpoint argument, I think this is understood in a broader argument that homosexuality is “unnatural” and therefore wrong. Homosexuality actually is now understood to be quite natural, meaning it occurs in nature beyond just the human race. There is a lot of scientific evidence of this that you can look up. Even same gender coupling occurs in nature. You may have heard about this a few years ago when March of the Penguins and other penguin movies were very popular. It’s been documented that some same gender penguins will couple to raise baby penguins who lost their biological parent. From an evolutionary standpoint it makes perfect sense that same gender couples would take on a role more commonly done by opposite gender couples in order to ensure the survival of the next generation.
So those arguments don’t provide a reasonable justification for denying equal treatment to the marriages of same gender couples. Some religious groups already recognize these marriages so the question is only with regards to civil law. Most states discriminate against these marriages and in effect the religions who recognize them. Eventually that will change, but how long it will take to get there is the question. If you do have reasonable arguments against marriage equality, I’d love to read them. So far I haven’t heard anything persuasive.



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James

posted November 4, 2008 at 2:51 pm


“I don’t subscribe to the philosophy of moral absolutism.”
“I think our understanding of what is right and wrong evolves over time.”
But don’t you agree that there are some things that are always wrong in every situation? And why wait for time to learn what we already know?
“You really can’t go any further in the discussion if that’s your starting point.”
As a Christian, I’ve chosen to completely believe in Jesus and His teachings as my ‘starting point’. I also believe what He says about the unconditional love He has for all people. If I believe that, then I also choose to believe that what He teaches is for the benefit of those he loves. If He says: “Love your neighbors” and “love your enemies”; I believe that is for my benefit, as well as my neighbors’ and enemies’. If He speaks against lusting, theft, idolatry, promiscuity, and homosexuality; I also believe it is for my benefit, as well as the people potentially affected by my lusting, theft, idolatry, promiscuity, and homosexuality.
I don’t believe that Jesus randomly taught stuff that has no bearing on our lives. There are legitimate consequences for not loving your neighbor or enemy. There are legitimate consequences for lusting, stealing, idol worship and living a promiscuous or homosexual lifestyle. I believe that Jesus is trying to protect us from those consequences, as well as, help us to live life to the fullest; all in the name of unconditional love.
“they aren’t even willing to consider things like equal rights with regards to people of that orientation”
– There needs to be a line drawn as to our what individual ‘rights’ are and what is good/bad for us.
Do we have the ‘right’ to have sex with as many people as we want? Sure, but is it really good for us? Do we have the ‘right’ to gamble all our money away at a casino or drink enough alcohol until we die? Sure, but is it really good for us? Do we have the ‘right’ to hate our neighbor? Sure.
Even though we live in a country that allows us to do almost anything we want, as Christians, we don’t. Why? Because Jesus, who loves everyone unconditionally, teaches against things like promiscuity, idolatry, etc. These things can hurt us, even in moderation. As a Christian, I choose not to do these things. Am I any better than a non-Christian that chooses to do these things? Not at all, but I will probably live a life with less regret, more peace, more joy, and greater fulfillment.



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Chuck

posted November 4, 2008 at 5:09 pm


“As a Christian, I’ve chosen to completely believe in Jesus and His teachings as my ‘starting point’.”
James, fair enough. Religious freedom means you have a right to your interpretation of the Bible and what it means to you to be a Christian. I wouldn’t begrudge you that. As you stated, you made a choice to believe what you do. If there was a referendum on the ballot to outlaw your right to practice your brand of Christianity, I would vote against it because it goes too far in that it infringes on your rights as a fellow American citizen. This is the point of opposing such measures as Prop 8 in California. Gay people having the same legal rights as straight people takes nothing away from straight people. Your ability to practice your religion and believe what you want is not suddenly taken away by this. However, passing an amendment to strip people of a right they currently have goes way too far. It’s down right mean and vicious. I also need to point out that while there are verses in the Bible that can be interpreted to admonish homosexuality, there is nothing negative attributed to Jesus with regards to homosexuality. Check your Bible, it’s not there. So if you’re modeling your behavior after Jesus, then condemning gay people and opposing their rights is not a reflection of Jesus at all. He had a lot to say about a lot of things, but homosexuality and abortion didn’t even rate high enough to get a passing mention. In fact, one can find verses attributed to Jesus that could be interpreted to hint to at least a tolerance if not a promotion of homosexual behavior. Keep in mind that there are many Christians who are either gay or accepting of gay people as equal members of the Body of Christ. You both read the same Bible yet interpret it very differently to come to your chosen conclusions.
“But don’t you agree that there are some things that are always wrong in every situation? And why wait for time to learn what we already know?”
There are acts I can think of that I would consider wrong in every situation. In other words, I can’t think of any justification for them. One that comes to mind immediately is rape. Sadly, the Bible doesn’t have the best record when it comes to rape, since in that time women were treated mostly as property of men. Rape was often used as a form of punishment and was looked at as bad only in the sense that it humiliated a man to have one of his women raped by another man. Even the 10 Commandments have nothing against rape. Luckily, our society has evolved to the point that we see rape as the reprehensible act that it is. The problem is that it doesn’t appear that it is inherent in us to know that such an act is wrong. If it were, then it would have been viewed that way in the past. This suggest that our morality does change over time. I’m sure we can both think of other acts that were acceptable in the past but now we believe to be wrong. I think in time the majority of humanity will come to terms with homosexuality and see it as the natural phenomenon that it is. We will look back at the history of persecution as something that was evil just as we do for other acts that were once regarded as acceptable or even moral. There just isn’t the evidence to continue to believe that it is immoral to be gay. There is just too much evidence to show that one can be gay and live a perfectly healthy and fulfilling life. I think the collective wisdom of humanity continues to grow and we keep the good things we’ve learned in the past and discard the bad. Homophobia, racism, and sexism are all bad things we’re learning to discard for a better future.



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AAL

posted November 4, 2008 at 10:19 pm


Chuck, I can see your point of view. However, when it comes to what Jesus says about things like homosexuality we can see that he says (para-phrasing): what the Father has put in place, I am not here to take away. Remember, Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God. He is God the son (word), so he is God. He came to show us what God was like, a considerate loving God — He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes shall not die, but have everlasting life. We Christians all know that. Also, the teachings of Jesus taught us to love the sinner, but hate the sin. This I do not think is tolerance, but the mandate to all Christians to identify the sin, and give the sinner the chance to repent. We are all sinners and should support each other in identifying sin and trying to turn from it.
(Luke 15:7 (NIV) – 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.);
(John 8 (NIV) – 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11″No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”).
When we challenge items that promote non-biblical views, we are doing it as a mandate by Jesus to identify this as such. If we call ourselves a Christian, we have to take the view of the whole bible and abide by the laws and teachings of God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. Other than that we are something other than Christians. You can not be a part Christian and call yourself a Christian. It is not a smorgasbord, where you can pick and chose. Do you agree?



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James

posted November 5, 2008 at 2:04 pm


“there is nothing negative attributed to Jesus with regards to homosexuality. Check your Bible, it’s not there.”
I checked and I found something:
– 1 Cor. 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
Also see: Romans 1:24-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; 2 Peter 2:6-10; and Jude 7. Also, for reference to sexual purity, etc. please see: Mark 7:21, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Romans 6:13, 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:13, 18-19; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5; Revelation 21:8, 22:15.
I know, your statement is that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality specifically. However, Jesus never mentioned rape, pedophilia, or other blatant sins by name either. So, are you assuming that all of these things are acceptable to Jesus just because he didn’t specifically mention them as well?
What Jesus did specifically say:
Mark 7:21 – For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders…
Fornications – The Greek word is: porneia (???????), which means:
Illicit sexual intercourse: a) adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
Based on this, we can agree that Jesus did have something to say about homosexual behavior.
“then condemning gay people”
– I in no way, shape or form have condemned gay people. I have friends that are gay (in fact, my best friend for many, many years (until he moved away) is gay). I work with people that are gay. I do not treat them any different than anyone else. If anything, I try to be even more loving towards them.
“one can find verses attributed to Jesus that could be interpreted to hint to at least a tolerance if not a promotion of homosexual behavior.”
– I know what verse you are talking about and it definitely doesn’t promote homosexual behavior.
“Keep in mind that there are many Christians who are either gay or accepting of gay people as equal members of the Body of Christ.”
I’m a member of the Body of Christ, but I still have areas of sin in my life. No doubt. Does that make me a hypocrite? No, because I’ve acknowledged those sins as wrong and am in constant battle with them. That’s just part of the Christian life…gay or not gay.
“There are acts I can think of that I would consider wrong in every situation.”
– So you do admit to moral absolutes existing? I thought you didn’t?
“Sadly, the Bible doesn’t have the best record when it comes to rape” – “This suggests that our morality does change over time.”
– Just because there were acts of rape mentioned in the Bible, doesn’t mean that God condoned them. Again, just because there were people in the Bible that married multiple wives or engaged in homosexual activities, doesn’t mean God condoned it. If the people in the Bible were perfect, then what’s the point of God’s grace, love, mercy, etc? People aren’t perfect, God is and His love is too. God’s morality doesn’t change.
“Even the 10 Commandments have nothing against rape.”
– The 10 Commandments don’t specifically mention cocaine use, pedophilia, or suicide. Does that make it right? Again, the point is that Jesus taught to love your neighbors and love your enemies. Are you supposed to rape someone you love? Are you supposed to sexually abuse a child that you love? Clearly not.
“There is just too much evidence to show that one can be gay and live a perfectly healthy and fulfilling life.”
– I’m sure you’re aware that the life expectancy of someone living a homosexual lifestyle is shorter than that of a heterosexual (granted, the gap has closed some because of advances in HIV/AIDS medication)? Do you know why? Because most people that live a homosexual lifestyle don’t stick to one partner and contracting an STD is significantly higher through anal intercourse (as opposed to vaginal). So even if you think the Jesus condones the homosexual lifestyle (which He doesn’t – as stated above), He certainly doesn’t condone multiple sexual partners (which applies to heterosexuals as well).



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Chuck

posted November 5, 2008 at 7:37 pm


AAL, I think I understand the point you’re making. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’re essentially stating that there is only one true way to be a Christian, and it happens to be the way you believe and interpret the Bible, and people who call themselves Christian but believe and interpret the Bible another way are not “true” Christians. Is that where you’re coming from?
I can accept that as a premise, but the problem is that there is no way to verify which interpretation is the “true” one. These are matters of faith, not fact. You believe your interpretation of the Bible and what it means to be a Christian are right because you have faith.
You would acknowledge that there are many denominations of Christianity. If there was only one way to interpret it, then there wouldn’t be a need for multiple denominations. No need for a reformation. I don’t know how much you’ve studied the history of Christianity. I’m referring to the first century Christian sects and the evolution of the religion to the various forms in existence today. The point is that even from the start there has never been an agreed upon interpretation of scripture and understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Even if you take the stories in the bible about the early church, you find a conflict between Peter and Paul about what it means.
So I think when one understands this, one must have a certain amount of humility when it comes to questions of who is a “true” Christian and who isn’t. To me it breaks down like this: I see basically two varieties of Christian, and I’m generalizing here. One type believes that they have the ultimate truth and the world should be subjugated under that one truth in order to save it. These Christians are willing to use the force of law and/or force of arms to impose what they believe to be God’s will on others. They focus a lot on the laws in the Bible and the Great Commission. They believe the US is or should be a Christian nation. The other type also believes they have the truth but they don’t believe they can or should force it on others. For these Christians, their faith is something personal that they work on within themselves. They tend to focus on the compassion, love and forgiveness message of Jesus. Like the famous parable, they work on getting the log out of their own eyes rather than spending time pointing out the specs of dust in their neighbors’ eyes.
For the first set of Christians, when dealing with the question of whether or not to treat gay people equally under the law, they look at the law in the Bible and conclude that the answer is “no”. Absolutely not. To them these people are sinners and they must point out their sin and change them from their sinful ways. The latter type of Christians look at the issue and conclude that they have an obligation to treat them equally because it is not their place to judge. They leave the ultimate judgment to God and focus on making sure they are personally right with God. They respect other people’s free will because they believe God respects humanity’s free will. They support those who seek their help in dealing with their own sins but they don’t impose. They don’t believe God wants them to make Christian nations or reclaim the world for him. They believe all that is the province of God for him to do in his own time and according to his own will. He doesn’t need or want man to do it.
I think the latter approach is the safer position for Christians (or followers of any other religion) to take. Trying to impose what you may think is God’s will on others can inevitably lead to doing great evil in the name of God. So when it comes to homosexuality, for a Christian who believes it is sinful to be gay the safest thing they can do is to simply not be gay. Rather than trying to tell others not to be gay or trying to prevent them from marrying the person they love, one can personally refrain from engaging in homosexual behavior and not marry someone from the same gender. Going beyond that to impose on others that they too must interpret like you, behave like you, and live like you is crossing a boundary of civility that leads to totalitarianism and worse horrors we’ve seen throughout history.



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Chuck

posted November 5, 2008 at 7:42 pm


“Based on this, we can agree that Jesus did have something to say about homosexual behavior.”
James, I’m afraid I have to disagree there. The “porneia” issue is highly debatable. Some people do interpret that to include homosexuality, but it’s by no means an indisputable fact that this is what is being referred to in each instance of the use of the word if in any instance. In the context of the verse you site, Jesus is arguing with religious leaders about eating habits and justifying why he and his disciples are not following the laws of the religion. He rattles off a list of things that men do that defile themselves (worse than not washing their dishes before eating off of them). The list includes fornication among many other things including an “evil eye” and “foolishness”. So it’s vague at best as to what “sexual immorality” he’s referring to. There are certainly clearer references to homosexuality made in the Bible but none attributable to Jesus.
Of course part of the problem is that what we understand as homosexuality today is not the same concept these ancient people had of it. There are certain “homosexual acts” that they were clearly against, but there are other behaviors that we might look at today as being very “gay” that they actually saw as virtuous. Men in the Bible are described as showing particular affections for one another that today we would consider to be signs of a romantic relationship even if there is no actual intercourse going on.
I think it’s probably fair to say that Jesus and Paul would not approve of homosexual intercourse given their proclivity for sexual chastity. One could imagine that they (Paul and Jesus) were living in a world where the pagan majority was practicing all sorts of behavior that was antithetical to their religious viewpoint. Sometimes the pagan majority was in a position to persecute them as was the case in Jesus’s time under Roman occupation. It’s easy to see how this minority might want to set itself apart from the majority by rejecting many of the norms of the majority. Homosexual intercourse was common among the pagans in their midst for centuries. In order to be a good Jew or Yahweh worshiper, you had to follow certain rules that would distinguish you from the pagans. Dietary restrictions, sacrificial customs, and sexual behavior were some of the behaviors that were regulated to meet the conditions of being part of the group. They believed that Yahweh demanded of them certain things to maintain his favor. That’s not unlike today where you can find many Christians who reject certain things in the secular world because they find it antithetical to living a good Christian lifestyle. Interestingly enough, the ancient Hebrews didn’t seem as concerned about making outsiders conform to these standards. Conversion wasn’t a big goal until after the great commission. Sometimes they committed genocide against other groups instead which, on balance, is worse than converting them. I mean at least you get to live if you’re converted. But my point is that rejection of homosexual intercourse can be seen in the context of a rejection of all sorts of behaviors that we now find pretty innocuous today; behaviors that Christians don’t equivocate with murder, rape, lying, etc. One could easily lump homosexuality in with the other old “abominations” like what you couldn’t eat and how to sacrifice animals the right way and so on, that we now look back on as being somewhat silly. Yes, the ancients condemned it, but today we know it’s normal and okay, just like eating shellfish.
“I in no way, shape or form have condemned gay people…I do not treat them any different than anyone else. If anything, I try to be even more loving towards them.”
I’ll take you at your word on that. Here’s the thing. It’s possible to condemn people without even realizing that’s what you’re doing. I would argue that to deny people equal treatment under the law is to condemn them to a second class citizenship. It is to marginalize them. When people are pushed to the margins of society it can cause them to act out in ways that are harmful to themselves as well as the larger society. That isn’t loving.
“I know what verse you are talking about and it definitely doesn’t promote homosexual behavior.”
I would agree in that I think it would be a stretch to argue that it promotes homosexual intercourse, but like I mentioned above, there are things that if we saw two men doing today would cause us to think the men were gay even if they’ve never actually had sexual intercourse. My point being that it’s tricky territory to try to apply certain ancient standards to people today. The radical differences in our understanding of nature, history, psychology, sociology, etc. really makes it absurd to try to apply ancient law to modern times. It’s really all about context. When one reads the Bible, it’s helpful to read it in context keeping in mind who wrote it,when it was written, who translated it, and when it was translated.
Your last point about homosexuals living a lifestyle that shortens their lives is one I’ve read before from various leaders in the conservative Christian movement. A lot of that is conjecture, but I would argue that even if it were true, the answer to it would seem to be to allow them to marry. Think about this. If gay people were fully accepted as normal and equal to straight people with the same rights and responsibilities, instead of being marginalized, one would expect that they would follow the same patterns of behavior as straight people. Promiscuity isn’t exclusive to homosexuality, as you know. So a gay Christian would be expected to behave like a straight Christian. Both would be expected to refrain from sex until married. The only difference would be the gender of the person that each would marry. Embracing our gay brothers and sisters and acknowledging the value of their relationships as equal to our own would go a long way to saving lives, as opposed to telling them they are bad and not worthy of respect. Indeed, many gay people live a monogamous lifestyle with one partner.



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Bob D.

posted November 5, 2008 at 9:14 pm


Barry,if you believe that anal sex between two men is normal,you are sicker then the homosexuals.How can you call yourself a Christian
and condon unnatural acts between same sex partners.
Barry,if you do not believe that the bible is the living word of God
throw it away and try the koran,their book has a lifestyle that you would be comfortable with.



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Your Name

posted November 5, 2008 at 9:44 pm


Chuck,
You are somewhat correct about what I was trying to say. I do not condemn Homosexuals, which is left to God to perform. As Jesus said, love the sinner, but hate the sin (para-phrase). However, it is not me that identifies what is a sin, it is the Bible. Jesus did not discount the Old Testament. Matter of fact he followed it, there was no such thing as a New Testament at that time. So, shouldn’t we look in the whole Bible for the definitions and laws set down by God as sin? For instance, I believe the following passage is very clear about this being a sin:
In the King James Version, Leviticus 18:22 is translated: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
So, having a sexual relationship with same-sex is an abomination to God (his words, not mine). We can love each other, but when you introduce sex in the equation, I believe God has set down laws for living a clean life concerning this.
Also, given what the book of Genesis says that God made MAN and WOMAN, one could say that Jesus referred to this fact:
Matthew 19 (NIV)… 4″Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,'[a] 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'[b]? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”… There is no mention of joining same-sex.
So, what I am saying is that each person has the God given right to make their own choice. However, if you are a Christian, do you not have the mandate from Jesus to identify sin and move away from it (repent)? We are all tested, but it is how we handle the test and the decisions we make that makes the difference. How inconceivable love God has for us. Shouldn’t we look to the Bible for answers?
Now, I agree with you that some interpret the Bible differently. That is why, I believe, the whole Bible needs to be prayed and taken into consideration when identifying what is a sin (or against God’s will or law). In this case, I think it is clear. So, do we not relay that to the sinner or society as a whole (especially fellow Christians), so they can look at the sin and have the choice to repent (or not)?
All Christians should love everyone: Jesus said (para-phrasing): Love one another as I have loved you. So, like myself I love all, but hate the sins in the world (as identified in the Bible). Whether the person admits that it is a sin or not and repents is their choice. All we can do is identify it (Mark 16:15 (NIV): He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.) and show where it is a sin in God’s word, and then it is up to the person to make the right choice.
I believe it is more dangerous not to spread the word. Imagine a whole immoral world. There is no forcing here, just trying to save. Wouldn’t we want to take a look at the life styles we do and really ask if that is what Jesus would do?



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AAL

posted November 5, 2008 at 10:06 pm


Oops, forgot to put my name in last append.



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James

posted November 6, 2008 at 11:05 am


“James, I’m afraid I have to disagree there. The “porneia” issue is highly debatable. Some people do interpret that to include homosexuality, but it’s by no means an indisputable fact” “There are certainly clearer references to homosexuality made in the Bible but none attributable to Jesus.”
– Chuck, what is indisputable Biblical fact is that Jesus claimed to be both God and man. Since we know that God (in the Old Testament, where clearer references to homosexuality are mentioned) was clearly opposed to homosexuality, then we can safely assume (since Jesus and God are the same) that Jesus is also.
“Men in the Bible are described as showing particular affections for one another that today we would consider to be signs of a romantic relationship even if there is no actual intercourse going on.”
– Guys, especially at my church, are always hugging and showing affection to one another…me included. I don’t think for a moment that those are signs of being homosexual…just loving each other. Our discussion, however, is focused primarily on the physical (sexual) relationship of homosexuals. I highly doubt there are many homosexual couples together right now that are not involved sexually.
– Chuck, would you mind commenting on my other point in the last post?Specifically:
“There are acts I can think of that I would consider wrong in every situation.”
– So you do admit to moral absolutes existing? I thought you didn’t?
“Sadly, the Bible doesn’t have the best record when it comes to rape” – “This suggests that our morality does change over time.”
– Just because there were acts of rape mentioned in the Bible, doesn’t mean that God condoned them. Again, just because there were people in the Bible that married multiple wives or engaged in homosexual activities, doesn’t mean God condoned it. If the people in the Bible were perfect, then what’s the point of God’s grace, love, mercy, etc? People aren’t perfect, God is and His love is too. God’s morality doesn’t change.
“Even the 10 Commandments have nothing against rape.”
– The 10 Commandments don’t specifically mention cocaine use, pedophilia, or suicide. Does that make it right? Again, the point is that Jesus taught to love your neighbors and love your enemies. Are you supposed to rape someone you love? Are you supposed to sexually abuse a child that you love? Clearly not.
Thanks.



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Chuck

posted November 6, 2008 at 2:29 pm


“Chuck, would you mind commenting on my other point in the last post?”
Certainly James and I appreciate the civil tone of the discussion thus far. Ditto to AAL.
“”There are acts I can think of that I would consider wrong in every situation.”
– So you do admit to moral absolutes existing? I thought you didn’t?”
This may get confusing due to semantics, but I’ll try to explain my position on this question of whether there are moral absolutes. Like I mentioned before, I don’t think there are easy answers to these deep philosophical questions. When I refer to moral absolutism, I’m referring to the viewpoint that holds that acts can be defined as moral or immoral without regard to context. Meaning it is either one or the other in any time or place and everyone knows the difference and recognizes it because it is universally understood as revealed either by a deity or innately. As much as I’d like this to be true, looking at how our understanding of what is right and wrong has evolved over time, I can’t see that as being true. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t personally have some moral absolutes. In other words, there are things that I find to be either right or wrong from my perspective given the way I was raised, culture and so on. So from my perspective, acts like rape, slavery, genocide are wrong. Always. However, I must acknowledge that had I been raised in a different environment or in a different time, I probably wouldn’t see some of these acts as wrong if they were norms. For moral absolutism to be true, these things would have to be wrong no matter the context. It wouldn’t have taken time to determine as a species that these things are wrong. I think morality is a human construct and we decide what is moral or immoral and it can change over time and vary throughout cultures. I think the Bible makes this case for me when you look at the actions carried out by people at the orders of God which we would see as wrong by today’s standards. If God is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong, then he would have forbidden such actions instead of ordering them. The New Testament does away with some of the old laws and today most Christians don’t live by the Levitical code or even the 10 Commandments. As our knowledge has grown, people have learned to adapt the Bible to modern life. Most take the good they can from it and leave the bad in the past. So this demonstrates to me that morality isn’t absolute beyond our personal understanding.
“”Sadly, the Bible doesn’t have the best record when it comes to rape” – “This suggests that our morality does change over time.”
Just because there were acts of rape mentioned in the Bible, doesn’t mean that God condoned them. Again, just because there were people in the Bible that married multiple wives or engaged in homosexual activities, doesn’t mean God condoned it. If the people in the Bible were perfect, then what’s the point of God’s grace, love, mercy, etc? People aren’t perfect, God is and His love is too. God’s morality doesn’t change.”
I’m afraid the God of the Bible does condone acts that we would find to be immoral today. I’m not just talking about things described in the Bible done people, but things described as being done by or directly ordered by God. Many Christians either choose to ignore those parts of the Bible, choose to not read it literally and explain away those as not really being ordered by God, or they go so far as to justify them by stating that if God does it then it isn’t wrong. Jesus, in his many arguments with religious leaders, undermines or changes the laws that supposedly came from God. So what was once wrong, now becomes okay. That’s change. That’s evolution. It happens. This is why the Catholic Church and most mainline Protestant denominations don’t interpret the Bible literally. When you do that you’re left with a literal mess. You’re left to defend the indefensible.
“”Even the 10 Commandments have nothing against rape.”
The 10 Commandments don’t specifically mention cocaine use, pedophilia, or suicide. Does that make it right? Again, the point is that Jesus taught to love your neighbors and love your enemies. Are you supposed to rape someone you love? Are you supposed to sexually abuse a child that you love? Clearly not.”
You’re absolutely right. The 10 Commandments are not very comprehensive at all. They are not the end all, be all of law and order. Neither is the Bible as a whole. That is my point. When people claim that we do or should get all of our knowledge about how to live and govern from the Bible, that is simply wrong. The Bible has a place, but the ultimate authority it is not.
So bringing it back to the issue of equal rights for gay people, it is wrong for people to use the Bible as their sole reason for denying equality. We have to look things as they are now. Are gay people members of society? Yes. Do they pay taxes just like everybody else? Yes. Do they participate in every aspect of of our society and contribute to it? Yes. The only difference is in the gender of who they’re attracted to. That’s it. It’s really not a big deal. It harms no one. It doesn’t negatively impact society at large. There is no reasonable justification for marginalizing them and denying their relationships the same rights.



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Jeff

posted November 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm


By way of encouragement, I am thoroughly enjoying this discussion. I am of the same opinion as James, but I enjoy the calm, “insult-less” discussion of opinions. Keep it up–both sides.



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AAL

posted November 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm


Moral absolutes. Hmmm, well, I would look at it as non-negotiable than absolutes. These include, among others, being against: abortion (to maintain sanctity of life), marriage (biblically between a man and a woman, to maintain our human race). Those that can definitely be referenced in the Bible. There may be passages in the Bible where some may say God condones behavior, but I believe that if you read the Bible in its entirety, you will see that God is loving, but does punish sin. There is a sacrifice that must be made for the sin, also. God knew we could not do enough sacrifices for our sins, so he gave his only begotten son, so whoever believes, shall not parish, but have everlasting life. This means to repent for our sins and ask Jesus for salvation. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Now with that said, shouldn’t we follow Jesus’ teachings? Remember, Jesus is God, so what is in the Old Testament still holds. The Bible’s theme is mainly: “Obedience to God – OK; Disobedience to God – brings discipline). It is no way an easy path. The devil and evil is at play all the time with temptation, and God has trials for us to grow spiritually. Jesus mentioned that many times. Just think about the description of the tribulation period before the end. So, we have to keep prepared, for we do not know the place or time.
As for the 10 commandments, there are many more commands and laws set down by God. I believe there are actually over 16 commandments alone, if you read the sections that define them. And, if you look at the laws and commandments in the whole Bible, you will find references to all types of sin. God has unconditional love for us that we can not conceive. Take King David, he committed adultery and murder, but since he repented and came to know God, he was forgiven and a line that included Jesus. He knew it was wrong, what he did, before he committed it. We can not do something and ignore the word, like some do. I guess they think if they are ignorant of the word, they can do anything they want (me and I syndrome). How arrogant we are. We are all sinful by nature (what did that Adam and Eve do to us!).
What are the absolutes? That is up to the individual to make a choice. However, we better make sure we are not justifying something that we do (or think), and know (or think) it is wrong. I guess the phrase: “What would Jesus do?” is a good one.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest command was, he answered something like this: Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. I believe that is because if you do that (put God first), everything else falls in place. If you do that, everything you do, you will ask yourself if it is Godly, and go search for the word. If you have that relationship with God, it will come to you, at that time.
So, are there absolutes? Yes, but you have to come to know Jesus and God and have a relationship with them. Only then you will be guided by the Holy Spirit toward good. Did you ever do something and just know it was right? Do something and know it was wrong, but do it anyway? Conscience and the Holy Spirit at work? If you do not have that relationship, there will be a void there that only that relationship will fill. The right and wrongs are there and you have the word to refer to. I believe that when we do wrong, we know it is wrong, but somehow secularly justify it. Or, worse yet, use part of a biblical passage to justify it. That is why the whole Bible has to be read to know the whole word. We are all lost sheep, and only Jesus can gather us back into the flock, but you have to reach out. Also, God has punished nations for their turning away from him. So, if we support immorals in the society (even though we do not do them ourselves), are we not just a guilty of putting the nation on a path to destruction and God’s wrath? Look what God did to his chosen people as a nation when they turned away from him.



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James

posted November 7, 2008 at 11:32 am


Chuck,
Thanks for the civil discussion, it’s appreciated.
Now, this post will be challenging and I ask that you take a different perspective of God to understand where I’m coming from. Here’s the perspective points:
1) God is perfectly righteous.
2) God does not delight in the death of the wicked.
3) Gods love endures forever.
4) God does not lie.
5) God never changes.
6) God desires what’s best for those who love him.
7) God’s mercy is very great.
Ok, based on the above perspective, here’s the rest:
“I’m afraid the God of the Bible does condone acts that we would find to be immoral today. I’m not just talking about things described in the Bible done people, but things described as being done by or directly ordered by God.”
In the Old Testament, there were circumstances where God condoned the annihilation of nations. Also, God Himself annihilated the world population with the great flood. There’s no denying this and it can’t be ‘talked’ around…and it shouldn’t be. Of course this causes a quandary: How can God, whose love endures forever, who does not delight in the death of the wicked, who is perfectly righteous, who has great mercy, who does not lie, who desires what’s best for those who love Him, and who doesn’t change; how can He do this?
Disclaimer: I do not claim to understand everything that God does. There is definitely an element of faith involved.
With that said, consider this verse (Genesis 6:5):
“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”
Notice that God said “…EVERY inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil ALL the time.” For God to use words like ‘Every’ and ‘All’ is extremely serious. He’s not exaggerating at all; 0% exaggeration.
The situation that man was in before the great flood was irreversible. Man had become reprobate, by choice. God’s mercy was poured out, time and time again, but man continued to a point that “EVERY inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil ALL the time”. The only family that had not turned over to a reprobate mind & heart was Noah’s family (and they took a lot of flak from their society as a result).
So, what does God do now?
Let me challenge you with this: Is it possible that the MOST merciful thing to do at that point is to pass judgment? If man had become 100% evil, by choice, then there was absolutely no hope anymore. Even new members of that society, born in, had 0% chance of escaping the reprobate condition. Would it have been more merciful to allow their behavior to continue indefinitely?
By faith, I believe that God’s judgment was the only thing left to do. So He exercised it. This is the same situation reached with the different nations that God had commanded the Israelites to destroy (Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites). As a side note, the Israelites did not completely do what God commanded and it cost them dearly.
Again, I’m not claiming to completely understand God’s ways (as it is written: “His ways are not our ways”), but I do hold steadfast to God’s attributes (some of which I mentioned above). Hence, I must believe that God’s ways are perfectly righteous…regardless of what our current society says.



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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted September 24, 2009 at 11:34 am


Rev. Barry, unlike the Bible’s provision for divorce in the case of mental/physical abuse and adultery, there is no such provision for homosexuality: this act is just wrong, plain and simple. There are no amendments per se to this directive in the Bible. I wonder if God will give you an “F” for not following directions of the Bible from the Teacher.
You state that Pastor Warren uses circular reasoning, ultimately pointing to the fact you think the Bible is the circular reasoning of God, positing that just because God commands something doesn’t mean that one has to follow it. This pick-and-choose Christianity is not the type I adhere to, seeing I consider the Bible to be the ultimate authority and not mere human’s speech seeing they have the wisdom of humans, not God.



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Previous Posts

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posted 11:26:38am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

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