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The Bible and Homosexuality

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Green Gaia, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    I agree, pah. Whatever one believs, any interpretation is human.

    Under "How reliable is the Bible", p. 4 I adressed some of the translation difficultes, among which the kill/murder question. I wrote

    "Thou shalt not kill".

    That is a significant issue. The very unusual verb in the Hebrew text gives a meaning more like "You shall not commit manslaughter (unless necessary)" or "You shall not murder your fellow person". There are many other words used for "ordinary" killing.
     
  2. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    So what would be suggested to help get around the erronous interpretations made by man. I believe in the literal interpretation, and that is what I believe in. What makes the other interpretations any better than the one I embrace? At least with a literal interpretation, one knows exactly what God said and why. Does God need explaining in His Word? Does he speak in cryptic language so that everyone can make a different interpretation of His Word. I find it unlikely.
     
  3. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    I see some openess developing and I'm delighted, whatever the outcome.

    I would suggest learning the original language in which the OT and NT were written - a daunting task. And find the earliest know versions of the Bible - some books existed before canonization. The originals are long gone and that is indeed a shame. That would be the best that man could do and is beyond the great majority of man.

    So what else? Reading a good version (I have no idea what that might be) in conjucntiion with Hebrew and Greek lexicons to see if an important verse may have other meanings. (virgin is a good word to be careful of). Understand the context of the time it was written. All this may be only slightly less daunting than reading the original language

    What is best for the average student? A desire to know and the guidance of prayer and interaction with the Holy Spirit.

    A bit of social context and why the "times" are important.. There is a view that the Samarian woman in John 4 is one who is ostracize by the other women of her town. The clue for this view is in the mention of the 6th hour for her time at the well. Normally water is drawn at the beginning of the morning and the sixth hour is equivalent to our noon time In the early morning the women would gather together at the well but she had to go at noon. That may give you more insight into the "punishment" for having 5 husbands and a current lover. Jesus, as usual, has compassion for her in explaining "worshiping in spirit". Taken literally, you would not understand what the sixth hour meant and you might not notice the love that Jesus showed for her - Jesus might be just taken as a lecturer
     
  4. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    Dear Speaker for the LCMS,

    I don't understand what you mean by "literal interpretation". This question rather belongs to "How reliable is the Bible", but please explain how you can rely on the letters - and the letters of which Bible issue you rely on. I thought that it has been amply illustrated how difficult it is to agree on any one interpretation/translation of the book. Your quoted phrase rather suggests to me that you are more concerned with interpreting isolated words than searching for the underlying meaning. I hope I am wrong in that interpretation.
     
  5. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    An example of literal interpretation of the Bible would be that the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong. It would also support that God really did create the Earth and the universe in six days and rested on the seventh. A literal interpretation of the Bible essentially states that what the Bible says is true is indeed true. That is a literal interpretation of the Bible.
     
  6. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    LCMS,

    Do you stone your adulterers and refuse shellfish?
     
  7. teapot_tall_and_yummy

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    This comes down to letter of the law vs spirit of the law. It's one of the biggest lessons I remember learning from Sr. Donna, and it's hard to learn lessons from a huge scary nun. But we spent two days of class focusing on letter vs spirit. Jesus himself went by the spirit of the law as opposed to the letter. Quick, you're going by the letter of the law. Do you remember the whole thing with Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath? The Pharisees were all like "Ha! You're in trouble! You did work on the Sabbath!" Some things you gotta go with what you feel is right, not what is told to you. Jesus was told not to do work on the Sabbath, but He knew it was the right thing. We may be told that homosexuality is wrong, but denying someone something that is who they are is even more wrong.
     
  8. quick

    quick Member

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    I have stated previously that I was done with this debate, which I am, but then I got accused of yelling because of the CAPS in some of my posts. I felt I needed to answer this.

    The whole online "CAPS is yelling" thing is inane, in my opinion; if I want someone to know I am cutting them to shreds verbally, they'll know it; nevertheless, the reason I used CAPS here was not to "Yell" but to use a format that made it easy to distinguish between a portion of a post and my embedded response to it--the CAPS do stand out. Nothing more. I apologize if this formatting offended anyone.
     
  9. Lightkeeper

    Lightkeeper Well-Known Member

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    Well said. :clap:
     
  10. quick

    quick Member

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    I just have to answer this. Sorry. I have said enough, and I was going to leave this thread alone, but this a good point and deserves an answer.

    The Pharisees were at war with Christ throughout the Gospels. Their big disagreement was simple--the Pharisees believed in abiding by the letter of the law (Both God's and the approximately 632 supplemental ones they made up), while in spirit breaking the law--Christ more than once calls them hypocrites. God's law requries perfection--not complying with the letter but not the spirit, or the spirit without the letter. It requries complying with the spirit AND the letter.

    As you can see in the Scriptures, Christ never denigrates God's law--not once, in spririt or in letter. See this verse: Matthew 5--17 "Do not think that I [Jesus] came to abolish the (1) Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."

    The Law was given to man so man could see how pitiful, sinful and in need of mercy he truly was, as God's law is perfect and we are surely not able to comply with it; Jesus came to live in this life in perfect accord with that Law so he could be good enough to be the final, blemishless sacrifice and Lamb of God to pay our sin-debt to God.

    Since we can be forgiven our sins--like homosexuality--why shouldn't we just sin more, and then get forgiven, as Christ has paid our debts? Paul answers this is Romans 6 (read it all):



    "Romans 6


    Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

    1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
    5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[1] that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
    8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
    11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

    Slaves to Righteousness

    15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
    19I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[2] Christ Jesus our Lord. "



    I think this seminal text explains that while Christ came as a savior, when we become dead to sin but alive to Christ, we change from a bird to a fish. When we were sinners, we were like a robin--we could fly anywhere we wanted, but wherever we flew, we were still in the air--in sin; when we accept Christ, we fall into the water and become a fish. We can swim anywhere we want in the water--in goodness and grace--but we are not to enter the air again, as we will surely die. We are freed from sin and alive to grace.

    Again, it is clear from the Bible that homosexuality is a sin; of course, so is greed, sloth, adultery, murder, and so many things that cut us off from the love of God; forgiveness is just a moment away, if we are called and respond; and once we accept Christ and are therefore justified before God and his justice has been served, the process of sanctification begins whereby slowly but surely we overcome sin--not perfectly, and not completely in this life--but steadily by the grace of God, to be fulfilled in eternal life in perfect fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is this joyful truth that we Christians celebrate every Sunday.
     
  11. teapot_tall_and_yummy

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    Homosexuality is a part of who someone is. Bottom line. It is neither a choice nor something to be 'cured' of. What's you fully comprehend this (which you really do not seem to) you will realize homosexuality isnt a sin. how can you separate yourself from God by being yourself?
     
  12. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    That would infer that people are born either gay or straight. Such inferences cannot be proved scientifically or religiously at this moment.
     
  13. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    People are born neither Christian nor Atheist either but it is crucuial to thier identity. You imply, by that statement, that there is no right to be Christian. Orientation is expressed, as faith is expressed, later in life.

    Science has show that there is no choice and that fact should be sufficient.
     
  14. quick

    quick Member

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    There is so much misinformation in this thread, I just cannot leave it alone.

    There is not one reputable study that so states that there is "No Choice". Here is a little inference about the recent UCLA study that was touted so highly in the press, but really is not even persuasive:

    Newswriters Represent New Study As Proof Of Biological Basis Of Homosexuality
    By Roy Waller
    October 23, 2003--A new study conducted at the UCLA School of Medicine on the developmental differences between the male and female brains of mice is being touted as evidence that sexual orientation is hard-wired into the human brain before birth.

    A reporter from the news service Reuters titled his article, "Sexual identity Hard-Wired by Genetics." The reporter opened his article with the following sweeping statement, "Sexual identity is wired into the genes, which discounts the concept that homosexuality and transgender sexuality are a choice, California researchers said on Monday."

    Psychologist Warren Throckmorton disagreed. "All this study really suggests," he noted in an opinion piece published by the web site of Grove City College, "is that genes may play a role in creating the differences in male and female brains. This is not news; researchers have known this for a long time." But the study, Throckmorton said, has nothing to do with the formation of sexual orientation.

    Throckmorton, Director of College Counseling and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College, expressed his frustration at the misleading and inacccurate news reports. "No wonder the public is confused about this issue. The reporting has made inferences that are not at all warranted by the study itself."

    According to another news article written by the Canadian news service CanWest, the researchers' discovery of some 54 genes related to sexual differentiation adds weight to the gay lobby's claim that homosexuality, lesbianism, and transgenderism are literally part-and-parcel of the nervous system, and thus inborn and unchangeable.


    "This is not about finding the gay gene"
    However, the actual claims of the researchers were considerably more modest than the newswriters' headlines suggested. Lead researcher Dr. Eric Valain maintained that "This is not about finding the gay gene." The Vilain team was actually studying the factors that cause the masculinization and feminization of the brain, and did not look for factors that influence sexual orientation. In fact, the published results of his study do not even include the word "homosexuality."

    Vilain went on to remark that the study's findings will have their most immediate impact upon understanding transsexualism, not homosexuality. He added rather modestly that "it's possible some of these genes, with more research, could explain homosexual behavior."


    Vilain Says a "Gay Gene" Would Make
    Gay Marriage a Political Requirement
    But then, discussing the social-political policies he supports should such a gene someday be found, Dr. Vilain added, "If you can't do anything about [homosexuality]...you should have all the rights to be integrated into society and have the same rights as heterosexuals in terms of marriage and the rights to inheritance."

    Also adding to the discussion was Linda Nicolosi, Director of Publications for NARTH. "What's new about this study?" Nicolosi asks. "Nothing, at least as regards the study of homosexuality. As for its findings about the masculinization and feminzation of the brain, NARTH does not disagree that biological factors lead some people to feel a sense of masculine or feminine deficit. But when gender identity is influenced by a set of unusual biological factors that make a man feel like a woman, wouldn't that in fact be something abnormal--a biological developmental error?"

    "The most alarming problem with this study is the inaccurate headlines it's getting," said Nicolosi, agreeing with Dr. Throckmorton.

    Most of the news-service articles omitted mention of the fact that this study was conducted upon mice, not human beings. NARTH Vice-President, Dr. A Dean Byrd, commented on the irony of that omission.

    "There is no animal model that accurately reflects human sexuality," Dr. Byrd noted. "Pigs don't date, ducks don't go to church and mice don't fall in love."


    Obviously, some combination of factors cause people to engage in homosexual acts; just as obviously, none of these are outcome determinative. Way, way too many practicing homosexuals have become practicing heterosexuals for it to be any other way--no one who is blue eyed can change that eye color through any kind of therapy or counselling.
     
  15. teapot_tall_and_yummy

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    Let's look at it straight up - clearly you've never really talked to a homosexual person before. Straight or gay, a man does not have complete control over what causes his penis to erect. It isn't choice. (I'm not discriminating against women here, its just a lot easier example to explain.)
     
  16. quick

    quick Member

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    My wife has been in interior design for 25 years. I have probably met more homosexual men than you can count. My wife's business partner of 7 years was homosexual--but became so only after a varied and active heterosexual career.

    As I have said above several times (you really need to go back and read the thread), acting upon what stimulates you is no excuse to do anything. I can be in my shower and think about screwing my daughter's 11 year old playmate, who is cute. Well, do I go do it because I get an erection in the shower? No. Do you kill everyone you feel like killing from time to time? No. Morality is about doing what one ought to do, not everything we "feel" some urge to do.

    I keep going over the same old stuff. Go back and read the thread. It is worth reading.
     
  17. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    To say that homosexuality can be excused by indentity is the same excuse used by teenagers my age who say such things as "we do it because we are young and we got nothing to lose." This is a prime example of explaining something away based on teen indetity. It still doesn't make what they did right, like premarital sex, or doing drugs, or holding up a store for that matter.
     
  18. tigrers99

    tigrers99 Member

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    For some time now 'homosexual Christians' have been saying that the Apostle Paul was ignorant of 'Inversion' which means one sees themself as 'gay'. That this did not exist in Paul's time or the Old Testament's time. That two of the same sex would think and behave the same way.

    "No one could imagine this to be the mere amorous connexion, or that such alone could be the reason why each rejoices in the other's company with so eager a zest......." The Speech of Aristophanes Selections from Symposium from Plato (427 B.C. to 346 B.C.) HOMOSEXUALITY by James D. Young
     
  19. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    There is a statistical corolation betwen the brain and other physical differences and homosexuality

    Agreed

    Sexual diffentiation is wholly different from LGT sexual minorities and only addresses the intersexed. Sexual identity in the developement stage where trangenderism appears. Sexual orientation, occurring later, is where homosexuality is expressed. This is but another newspaper mistake.


    My understands are borne out. But I do not understand why this should be a denial of the "no choice" viewpoint.


    There is a scientific standard for when something may be classified as a genetic defect or "error". It must be extremely rare (1 in 50,000) and cannot be advantageous under any condition. The transgendered is between 1 in 200 and 1 in 500; homosxuality, between 1 in 100 to 1 in 10).

    Sexuality has nothing to do with dating, going to church, and marriage in humans - why bother even comparing it that way? What the good Doctor does not know or purposely ignores is the sexual activities of the purple swamp hen, the bonobos and sheep?


    Care to put a scientific number on "many, many"? and explain why only the predominence of orientation is changeable?

    When asking for an absolute "determinative" for honosexuality, I notice that the question of Nature versus Nurture is still largely a philosophical question and is unanswered. We don't have determinate causes of heart disease but we get along well with the indicators.
     
  20. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    To return to the thread's topic -

    Not-so-holy matrimony

    Christianity has always had a bleaker view of love - gay or straight - than any other faith

    Karen Armstrong
    Monday June 30, 2003
    The Guardian

    The consecration and recognition of its first gay bishop threatens to split the Anglican communion down the middle. There has not been such ferment in the Church of England since the decision to ordain women to the priesthood. There is similar uproar in the United States, where an openly gay priest has been elected Episcopalian bishop of New Hampshire, even though many American Christians regard a rejection of homosexuality as the benchmark of orthodoxy.
    Issues of sexuality and gender have long been the Achilles' heel of western Christianity. Indeed, in the earliest days of the church, Christians had a jaundiced view of heterosexual marriage, and saw celibacy as the prime Christian vocation. Jesus had urged his followers to leave their wives and children (Luke 14:25-26). St Paul, the earliest Christian writer, believed that because Jesus was about to return and inaugurate the Kingdom of God, where there would be no marriage or giving in marriage, it was simply not worth saddling yourself with a wife or husband. This, Paul was careful to emphasise, was simply his own opinion, not a divine ruling. It was perfectly acceptable for Christians to marry if they wished, but in view of the imminent second coming, Paul personally recommended celibacy.
    The fathers of the church often used these New Testament remarks to revile marriage, with the same intensity as those Christians who condemn homosexual partnerships today. The fathers accepted - albeit grudgingly - that marriage was part of God's plan. St Augustine taught that originally in the Garden of Eden, married sex had been rational and good. But after the fall, sexuality became a sign of humanity's chronic sinfulness, a raging and ungovernable force, a mindless, bestial enjoyment of the creature that held us back from the contemplation of God. Augustine's doctrine of original sin fused sexuality and sin indissolubly in the imagination of the Christian west.
    For centuries this tainted the institution of matrimony. Augustine saw his conversion to Christianity as a vocation of celibacy. "We ought not to condemn wedlock because of the evil of lust," he explained, "but nor must we praise lust because of the good of wedlock." His teacher, St Ambrose of Milan, believed that "virginity is the one thing that keeps us from the beasts". The north African theologian Tertullian equated marriage with fornication. "It is not disparaging wedlock to prefer virginity," wrote St Jerome. "No one can compare two things if one is good and the other evil." When one of his women disciples contemplated a second marriage, Jerome turned on her in disgust: "The dog has turned to his own vomit again and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
    In England during the middle ages, couples were married in the church porch and not in the sanctuary - a practice that eloquently revealed the liminal status of matrimony in the Christian worldview: Chaucer's Wife of Bath married five husbands "at the church door". Even Luther, who left his monastery to marry, inherited Augustine's bleak view of sex. "No matter what praise is given to marriage," he wrote, "I will not concede that it is no sin." Matrimony was a "hospital for sick people". It merely covered the shameful act with a veneer of respectability, so that "God winks at it".
    Calvin was the first western theologian to praise marriage unreservedly, and thereafter Christians began to speak of "holy matrimony". The present enthusiasm for "family values" is, therefore, relatively recent. In the Roman Catholic church, however, priests are still required to be celibate, and whatever the official teaching about the sanctity of marriage, the ban on artificial contraception implies that sex is only legitimate when there is a possibility of procreation. For most of its history, Christianity has had a more negative view of heterosexual love than almost any other major faith.
    The current attempt to recognise homosexual partnerships is thus the latest development in a long struggle to bring sexuality into the ambit of the sacred. In principle, Christianity should have a special reverence for the physical, because it teaches that in some sense God took a human body and used it to redeem the world. But the evangelicals who oppose gay priests would argue that because the Bible condemns the sin of Sodom, the recognition of homosexuality is a step too far.
    But in fact everybody reads the Bible selectively. If people followed every single biblical ruling to the letter, the world would be full of Christians who love their enemies and refuse to judge other people, which is plainly not the case. Christians would also be obliged to eat kosher meat (Acts 15:20) and stone their disobedient sons to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). The world has changed and practices that were acceptable 2,000 years ago have become abhorrent. We also have a more complex understanding of sexuality than the biblical writers.
    Yet the Bible has to be read with care. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 condemns homosexual rape and the violation of the sacred rules of hospitality rather than homosexuality per se. It has nothing to say about the open, stable gay relationships that are essentially a feature of modern western society, and did not exist in their current form in the biblical world.
    Again, the rules against sodomy in Leviticus 18 and 20 are not legislating for ordinary human affairs. Throughout, the authors of Leviticus are chiefly concerned with temple ritual. The practices forbidden in these chapters featured prominently in the idolatrous religions of the near east, which, as we know from the Bible, the people of Israel found extremely alluring: ritual bestiality (as practised in Egypt), child sacrifice, and the cultic use of menstrual blood in sorcery. The verses against sodomy (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13) forbid temple prostitution: in the late seventh century, there had been a house of sacred male prostitutes in God's temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:7) It is this kind of worship, which defiles the land, that concerns Leviticus.
    In the same spirit, St Paul's condemnation of the "unnatural practices" of the Graeco-Roman world springs from a visceral disgust with idolatry, the root cause of all the disorders in Paul's long list (Romans 1:20-31). The Bible is not a holy encyclopedia, giving clear and unequivocal information; nor is it a legal code that can be applied indiscriminately to our very different society. Lifting isolated texts out of their literary and cultural context can only distort its message. Instead, we should look at the underlying principles of biblical religion, and apply these creatively to our own situation.
    Modern readers frequently misunderstand Leviticus. Throughout the Pentateuch, the priestly writers insist on God's compassionate care for his creatures: all are pronounced good, exactly as he made them. Even those animals declared "unclean" in the cult must be left in peace and their integrity respected. In the New Testament, Jesus goes out of his way to consort with those whose sexual lives were condemned by the self-righteous establishment. According to Jesus, nobody has the right to cast the first stone in these matters.
    For centuries Christians failed to live up to this inclusive mandate, and found it difficult to accept their sexuality. Eventually, however, they learned to overcome their prejudice in favour of celibacy, and realised that heterosexual marriage could bring them to God. They should now be ready for the next step.
    Karen Armstrong is the author of A History of God
     
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