Jesus Christ, The Apostle Paul and Homosexuality

There is a school of thought out there that the message of Jesus Christ was a message of humanism that was twisted into what is now modern Christianity by the Apostle Paul.  Particularly, the current Christian stance regarding homosexuality was not something Jesus would approve of.  The thinking goes that the rejection of homosexuality is a solely Old Testament concept that has been wrongly read into the New Testament, and into modern Christian thought, by the un-Christ like teachings Apostle Paul and selective reverance to Old Testament concepts.  Specifically, the charge becomes that Christians who want to oppose homosexuality use the Bible to do so, yet there is no support for this position within the New Testament or especially in the teachings of Jesus.

This charge was made to me in a conversation with Matt from ilikeportello that started here and then continued over at a post he entitled, Homo-Christianity.  Specifically Matt (and one of his commentors, Paul) charged;

“. . .it should be obvious to anyone who reads the Gospels that Jesus had precisely nothing to say about homosexuality.  Zero. Zip. Nada. Not a word.”

“There are four references in the New Testament which could be regarded as relating to homosexuality. These were all made by Paul, the guy who took control of the nascent church after Christ’s death (and alleged resurrection) and in my mind, royally screwed up the humanist message Jesus was trying to deliver.”

“Each of these references is no more than a throw-away remark put in as a sideline to a different point he was making. None of them are decisive condemnations”

Alright, let’s get down to it.

Was Jesus A Humanist?

In order for Jesus to be accurately described as a humanist, or as giving us a humanist message, He would have to have been solely concerned with the improvement of mankind.  Think of humanism as a moral system that is “for the greater good of humanity”.  Unfortunately, anyone who wants to read a humanist message into the words of Jesus Christ must focus on certain passages, ignore others and take certain passages literally without reason, and others figuratively without reason. 

For instance, Jesus claimed “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  Notice that He said, “the” Way, not “a” Way.  Jesus is literally claiming to be the only way to salvation and no one will obtain reconciliation with the Father except through Him.  In order for the humanist to explain this passage away, they must either ignore it or attempt to allegorize it away.  Unfortunately, the context supports no allegory, analogy, or metaphor. 

In another instance where Jesus was teaching his disciples, he was speaking about how they should act, and what attitude they should have toward each other.  He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).  Here, Jesus is saying that God is able to send people to hell and that we should fear God because of this power.  Fearing God?  God sending humans to hell?  That’s not very humanist at all!

I could go on and on, for pages, about how many of the teachings of Jesus are opposite of that of humanism.  Frankly, in order for someone to claim that Jesus had a humanist message, they must be willfully ignorant of about half of the Gospel accounts.

The Authority of the Apostle Paul

The second claim of Matt and those like him, is that the Apostle Paul twisted the teachings of Jesus for motives that did not reflect the Jesus he was pretending to be following.  The inconsistency of such a position is that Matt must affirm that Paul actually wrote that which is credited to him yet what others claimed of Paul and the surrounding historical events that actually give Paul his authority.

Paul was not always named Paul.  He was Saul of Tarsus, and he was a Jewish leader that was a self-described “zealot for the Law”.  He was literally killing Christians, and being given more authority and power of the persecution campaign.  He was on his way to Damascus to round up more Christians, when Jesus appeared to him and asked him “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” and blinded Paul.  Needless to say, Paul realized his error and believe in Jesus as the Christ.  Then, a man named Ananias, who knew who Saul was, was told to go to Paul and minister to him.  Once Ananias touched Paul, scales fell from his eyes and he was able to see (Acts 9).

The fact that Paul saw the risen Christ, and this fact was confirmed by those who saw scales fall from his eyes, or his obvious change of heart since he went from killing Christians to preaching Christianity unto his death, is what gives him his authority.  Peter also acknowledges Pauls writings as equal to any other Scripture (2 Peter 3:14-16).

Even if you are hypothetically taking the Bible as a narrative, you can’t subscribe to one part and dismiss another without reason.  Especially when the historical events surrounding Paul’s conversion are what gives his writings the authority the other Apostles deemed him to have. 

The Classification of Homosexuality

Scripture is clear on where homosexuality lies, it’s considered in the category of “sexual immorality”.  Also under this umbrella are the words adultery, fornication, and rape.  Just like under the category of “stealing” is are the words theivery, cheating, pirating, tax evasion, money laundering and embezzlement.  Wether you agree or not isn’t the point, the point is this is how the Bible classifies it. 

Alright, finally we’re at the moment we’ve all been reading for.

What Does Jesus Say About Homosexuality?

Jesus is less concerned with what you actually do and more concerned with what is in your heart.  He understood that what you do first must come from your mind.  “He went on: ‘What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly‘ “ (Mark 7:20-22). 

On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is talking about the Ten Commandments, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28). 

Jesus is saying that sexual immorality makes you “unclean”, or as we like to call it, is sinful.  Not only did Jesus uphold the Law of the Old Testament, namely the Ten Commandments, He took it a step further.  Not only did Jesus consider adultery sinful, he considered thinking about committing adultery sinful. 

What shall we say then?  Can we say that if Jesus considers looking at woman lustfully as sinful then He can also consider the act of sex with someone of the same gender as non-sinful?  That just violates all logic.  Sure, you could respond with, “But Jesus never specifically talks about homosexuality, therefore He doesn’t consider it wrong.”  Along that same logic, you must admit that Jesus doesn’t consider child pornography, child molestation, and rape wrong as well.  After all, Jesus never speaks about them.

But we don’t do that, do we?  We understand that rape falls under the category of sexual immorality and violence.  Why, then, do we not treat homosexuality this same way? 

 

Arguing that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality therefore He didn’t consider it immoral is like arguing that since Jesus never said it anything about tax evasion, therefore it isn’t stealing.

The Apostle Paul on Homosexuality

 Now, we’ve already showed that Jesus’ message was not humanist, that Jesus’ was more strict on sexual immorality than the Old Testament Law, and we’ve already shown that Paul had the full authority, as an Apostle, to be considered a writer of Scripture.  So now the question becomes wether or not Paul’s statements on sexual immorality and/or homosexuality were “decisive condemnations”.  Let’s look at a few: 

(1 Cor 6:9-10)  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 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

(1 Cor 6:18)  Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

(Romans 13:13)  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

(Galations 5:18-20) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions.

These passages seem so decisive that I don’t need to make an argument in their defense.  Case closed.

So, Matt, your claims that Jesus Christ had a humanist message, that Paul distorted this message, and that Paul never made homosexuality a priority are just plain false.

A Message to the Church

We do not follow the words of Jesus or Paul.  Hopefully, that’s not a surprise to you.   But what may be a surprise to you, is that the world knows it.  One of the commentors in Matt’s blog has his eyes wide open to the actions of the church.  Regarding homosexuality, Rob says:

“Paul mentions it, but again mentions it in passages that do not necessarily reflect how Christians live their life.”

How right he is!  If Christians are seen lusting after every woman that walks by, and yet we use those same words that Jesus spoke to justify our opposition to homosexuality, we are hypocrites indeed! 

Rob also says, “If you believe in Jesus, then it seems a great disrespect to bend his words and his book to fit your own personal beliefs.”

 Alright, Church, I want you to notice something about the words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul.  In the same breath with sexuality immorality/homosexuality, Jesus and Paul mention greed, drunkeness, slander, debauchery, dissension, jealousy, hatred, discord, selfish ambition, fits of rage and factions.  Do we, as a Church, put these sins on the same playing field as homosexuality?  Or is it that we loft homosexuality on such a high pedestal of “bad” and “weird” that almost nothing else touches it?  Every one of us knows that we do the latter.  The more we treat homosexuality as a “greater” sin than those, the more we do exactly as Rob said we do and disrespect the words of Jesus and Paul to fit our own personal beliefs.

When we chide society for accepting homosexuality as a mere “alternative” lifestyle, yet say nothing to our brother about his hatred of his ex-wife, or think nothing of the dessension we sow in our own family, the deeper we fall into the oblivion of our own prejudices.

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38 Comments on “Jesus Christ, The Apostle Paul and Homosexuality”

  1. Rob Says:

    Hi Eric, Rob here.
    I guess I have a couple of points to make.

    First of all I want to re-iterate the main point being made by Matt and myself, as you seem to have deliberately clouded the issue. Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus mention homosexuality. In the passages you quote he does mention sexual immorality and adultery. Now, from your own beliefs and experiences you have decided that homosexuality is a sexual immorality, and you have decided that Jesus was talking about this but this is not the case. Your tax evasion example does not really hold here, as it is not “clear” (as you claimed) that sexual immorality encompasses homosexuality. It may be quite clear to you, as you don’t like homosexuality, but it is certainly not clear in the text. This is exactly what I was talking about when I was talking about taking Jesus’ words and twisting them to your own belief system.

    An argument could easily be made that, given in some passages sexual immorality and homosexuality are listed as separate items that they were considered different. And if you list one without the other in a different passage, then the implication is that the omission is deliberate and has meaning.

    Secondly, the passage I specifically linked to (the lego one, but I will also quote them below) was intended to illustrate that perhaps some of the Laws laid down by Paul are not followed now, because they are not actually relevant to today’s society.

    1 Corinthians 11:
    3But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. 4Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, 5but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. 6For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. 7For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man.

    Does every woman in your church wear a hat or a veil?

    34women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. 35If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

    Are women completely silent in your church?

    If your answer is no to either of those questions (as I would hope and expect it to be) then think: would you want them to follow these “laws”? Of course that leaves you with all sorts of questions to reconcile about which laws you do and do not follow. But that is a problem you are already

    Reading back over my comment I think I may be producing something of a mixed message. On the one hand I am saying “if you take it literally, then there is no justification for Jesus saying that homosexuality is wrong”. And on the other hand I am saying “don’t follow all the laws as laid down by Paul”.
    I think, the last thing i want to re-iterate is that it is perfectly fine for you to have a personal belief about anything, and no-one will actually claim that you are not allowed to believe anything. But please don’t use this text to justify your beliefs. It is uneccessary.

    It also is a great way to create hatred, discord, fits of rage, dissensions and factions. Paul wa quite clearly down on that, wasn’t he?

  2. Rob Says:

    “But that is a problem you are already ” should have read:
    But that is a problem you are already dealing with. You just may not fully aware of it.

  3. Eric Kemp Says:

    Raycol

    So basically you are going to ignore the passages I gave, ignore the arguments made, and then provide a link for an opposing view with no explanation? Sorry, I can’t let that comment stay on my blog. If you’d like to present your evidence right here, in text format, I’ll gladly discuss with you. But no red herring links please.

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    Rob

    I’m glad you joined me!

    “First of all I want to re-iterate the main point being made by Matt and myself, as you seem to have deliberately clouded the issue. Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus mention homosexuality.”

    Oops, you must have missed the part where I did a pre-emptive strike on this point, since I knew someone would make it. Your misconception is that Jesus must have had to specifically mentioned something in order for him to have talked about it, or consider it immoral. But let me quote my article, “Sure, you could respond with, “But Jesus never specifically talks about homosexuality, therefore He doesn’t consider it wrong.” Along that same logic, you must admit that Jesus doesn’t consider child pornography, child molestation, and rape wrong as well. After all, Jesus never speaks about them.”

    So, if you’re willing to admit that Jesus doesn’t consider child pornography, child molestation and rape wrong, then we can discuss the fact that he didn’t specifically use the word “homosexuality”. If not, you’re going to have to explain to me why you lump those three in with “sexual immorality” and yet keep homosexuality out of that category. Can you give me a textual reason for doing so? Or is that you just prefer it?

    “In the passages you quote he does mention sexual immorality and adultery. Now, from your own beliefs and experiences you have decided that homosexuality is a sexual immorality, and you have decided that Jesus was talking about this but this is not the case.”

    Here’s the problem. Reading the Bible bit by bit, and pulling it out verse by verse, we can make the Bible say anything we want. But taking it as a cohesive whole, it becomes obvious that homosexuality is under the category of sexual immorality. Every New Testament writer confirms the OT rejection of homosexuality in one way or another. I don’t have the time or space here to fully make that case. Perhaps I can devote an entire comment to it, or you can look it up yourself. In fact, even the verses I quoted from Paul show that, at the very least, homosexuality is considered on the same plain as sexual immorality (along with many other things, just like I said).

    “Your tax evasion example does not really hold here, as it is not “clear” (as you claimed) that sexual immorality encompasses homosexuality.”

    The point of the tax evasion example was to show that it doesn’t have to be obvious for us to easily logically deduce it.

    In fact, the only way you are making this argument right now is because you are ignoring one of my main arguments. I’ll repeat it then. If Jesus considers even thinking about having sex with a woman (who isn’t your wife) as sexual immorality how can you logically say that Jesus then considers act of sex with someone of the same gender as not immoral? Answer that question, and you’ve actually made an argument. Until then, you’re just sticking your fingers in your ears and saying, “Not necessarily!!”.

    “It may be quite clear to you, as you don’t like homosexuality, but it is certainly not clear in the text.”

    WHOA! It has nothing to do with “like” or “dislike”. The Bible says it’s immoral, therefore I consider it immoral. That’s it. You can try to make emotional arguments and manufacture discrimination, but this is as unemotional for me as you can get.

    “An argument could easily be made that, given in some passages sexual immorality and homosexuality are listed as separate items that they were considered different. And if you list one without the other in a different passage, then the implication is that the omission is deliberate and has meaning.”

    You still haven’t made an argument. You are basically saying “Well maybe . . .” without giving any reason or evidence within the text for doing so. I gave reasons, evidence and quotes to support my position. So far, yours boils down to “Not necessarily . . . maybe. . . “. Let me ask you a question: You say that sexual immorality and homosexuality “are listed as separate items”. Can you please tell me how you could list those two words as the same item? Would you combine the word? Like how Brad and Angelina have become Bradgelina? I’m not being sarcastic about this by the way, I’m truly curious.

    In the passages you are thinking of. Homosexuality, sexual immorality and many others are mentioned in the same breath. People who are committing those acts are people who “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” This puts them all on the same sinful level. How can you logically deny this?

    Your 1 Cor 11 examples: Although I understand your point, I’m confused. Our discussion is about what Jesus and Paul have to say about homosexuality. I understand that you’re attempting to say that since Christians no longer cover their head in worship, therefore homosexuality is ok for them now too. The problem is that you’ve made no textual correlation between the two passages discussion worship practices and practices that would make it so we don’t “inherit the Kingdom of God.” The other problem is that 1 Cor 11 has nothing to do with the words of Paul or Jesus regarding sexual immorality. Is your argument really that since modern Christians don’t act on what 1 Cor 11 says therefore the Bible doesn’t say it? I’m confused since we’re just discussing what the Bible says, not what Christians actually do.

    “Are women completely silent in your church?”

    Actually yes, because the only person that talks during our worship service is the pastor. So all men AND women are silent in church.

    “I think, the last thing i want to re-iterate is that it is perfectly fine for you to have a personal belief about anything, and no-one will actually claim that you are not allowed to believe anything. But please don’t use this text to justify your beliefs. It is uneccessary.”

    I understand that this is your point. However, you have made no textual or logical argument for how the passages I quoted don’t show sexual immorality, and homosexuality, to be sinful. Or that Jesus or Paul weren’t saying those things. If your point is that Christians are being hypocritical because they pick and choose from the word of Paul and Jesus what they do and don’t follow, I’m 100% with you, and I said as much in my article. However, that has nothing to do with what Jesus and Paul considered sinful. And that’s what we’re discussing.

    “It also is a great way to create hatred, discord, fits of rage, dissensions and factions. Paul wa quite clearly down on that, wasn’t he?”

    This shows your bias in a way nothing I could have said would. You are picking the words “hatred”, “discord”, “fits of rage”, and “factions” right out of Paul’s writings, considering those things as “sinful” or “bad” while IGNORING that homosexuality and sexual immorality were said in the exact same breath.

  5. Neil Says:

    First of all I want to re-iterate the main point being made by Matt and myself, as you seem to have deliberately clouded the issue. Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus mention homosexuality.

    Ah, the argument from silence. The pro-abortion crowd likes that one, too. Just a few problems with it:

    – Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy.

    – Jesus inspired all scripture, which clearly describe homosexual behavior as sinful.

    – He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter.

    – The “red letters” weren’t silent on this topic in the sense that they reiterated what marriage is.

    – He emphasized many other important issues that those who raise this argument typically ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.).

    – He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks typically treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.).

    – Homosexual behavior simply wasn’t a hot topics for 1st century Jews. The punishment for it was pretty clear.

    Other than that it is a great argument 😉 .

  6. Matt Says:

    “Even if you are hypothetically taking the Bible as a narrative, you can’t subscribe to one part and dismiss another without reason.”

    Eric, that’s exactly what you do. As Rob pointed out, the women in your church don’t wear hats and veils.

    “Scripture is clear on where homosexuality lies, it’s considered in the category of ‘sexual immorality’.”

    I disagree. That’s not clear at all. This is actually the point that your whole argument hangs on, and yet you offer it without any support whatsoever.

    It may be clear to you, but that’s because of your own pre-conceived ideas.

    “Can we say that if Jesus considers looking at woman lustfully as sinful then He can also consider the act of sex with someone of the same gender as non-sinful?”

    What Jesus was actually saying here was that everyone is a sinner. That sin is unavoidable. That it’s part of the human condition to be a sinner. This is why he came to do away with the old laws, because they were impossible to keep. This should be obvious to you . . . it links back to your other point that salvation comes only through him.

    I find it truly bizarre that you can read a link to Jesus’ alleged view on homosexuality into this.

    “Along that same logic, you must admit that Jesus doesn’t consider child pornography, child molestation, and rape wrong as well.”

    Don’t be ridiculous. Those things are clearly covered by the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” instruction. Seriously, I would have thought such cheap shots were beneath you.

    Here are the facts: Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality. At all. He just didn’t. Claiming that Jesus included homosexuality under the general banner of “sexual immorality” is purely your own invention.

    Paul did mention homosexuality, but only in the specific contexts of prostitution, child molestation and (most specifically) members of the new church partaking in pagan rituals which included (both hetero and homo) sexual orgies.

    What’s more, Paul put it alongside adultery and fornication, which says that he was concerned about sexual activity happening outside of a committed relationship. It’s clear to me that committed monogamous homosexual relationships were not what was being discussed.

  7. Neil Says:

    Forgot one: Jesus also didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins, though of course that wouldn’t justify them.

  8. Thomas Says:

    Hi, Eric. Nice post. Remember also Jesus’ attitude to the law. He said that he came to fulfill it, not to disregard it. He also said that none of it would pass away until all of it was fulfilled. Jesus showed the utmost respect for the Law, which is pretty clear on homosexuality.

  9. krissmith777 Says:

    Neil Says:

    “Forgot one: Jesus also didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins, though of course that wouldn’t justify them.”

    Good point!!!!!!!!!

  10. Rob J Says:

    Hey there, Eric.
    Reading your response to mine made me realise that I was indeed all over place and have managed to meander “off topic” in a few places (eg the veils in church thing). I will try to respond to the main point. In doing so I may seem to disregard some of your questions, but that is only because it is fuel for the red herring (if you don’t mind me mixing metaphors). If I leave behind anything you are keen to discuss further, let me know and I will address it (note that I don’t believe I was incorrect in any areas, just that I want to neaten this up, as you suggest).

    So.

    The one thing we can agree on is that Jesus was down on “sexual immorality”. That is clear from the words and clear from the context in which they are used. This is what I want to discuss, so let’s start there. It’s always nice to have a common ground to begin from.

    As Matt said, where we disagree is what is covered by that umbrella term. You say it is clear that homosexuality is covered as a “sexual immorality” and that if I want to say “we can’t be sure that Jesus means homosexuality” then I must also say “we can’t be sure Jesus means child pornography, child molestation, and rape (and child abuse, thank you Neil)”.

    Now, personally, I think that if you are going to take the position of taking the Bible literally, as I believe you do, then the onus is well and truly on you to justify any non-textual interpretation of any term, even if it is only slightly vague. After all you believe that exactly what was written is true. therefore if you are going to “expand” on it or provide any interpretation beyond a standard dictionary definition for it, you need to provide pretty strong textual evidence. Certainly better than “See this other guy mentions it in this list here” (I am, of course, referring to Paul in the list you quoted in 1 Cor 6:9-10. That list, incidentally, also includes also includes a number of non-sexual items, such as thieves and drunkards. The “logic” you use to include homosexuality as a sexual immorality by using this list, would also include thievery and drunkardness.)

    But nonetheless I am happy to provide my reasoning as to why I think child pornography, child molestation, rape and child abuse are examples of sexual immorality and homosexuality is not. It is a simple question of victimisation. All of the items in the former have a clear, and often defenceless, victim. Homosexuality, between two consenting, and loving, adults has no victims. All it has is people who love each other. Can you tell me who the victims are in a homosexual relationship?
    I feel that, if you are going say that sex between two people of the same gender, when they love each other, are faithful to each other and are wholly committed to each other is a sexual immorality, then you may as well say that sex between any two people who love each other, are faithful to each other and are wholly committed to each other is a sexual immorality. That, to me, is a more logical “slippery slope” conlcusion than saying that when Jesus said sexual immorality does not include child abuse.
    Now I’ll try and address some of you related questions/comments. (As I said earlier, I will only do the ones pertininet to the question of “sexual immorality” and the interpretation of words. I think everything else is a bit distracting).

    To answer your question of Can you please tell me how you could list those two words as the same item? Would you combine the word? Like how Brad and Angelina have become Bradgelina? I’m not being sarcastic about this by the way, I’m truly curious. Well, it doesn’t have to be a word, but in a sentence you could say something like. “… Sexual Immorality is a sin. And by that I mean “. I do like the fact you brought up Brangelina, though. It shows you know how to be, as a Philosophy lecturer of mine used to love to say, “serious, without being solemn”. I am enjoying this debate, and it’s nice to have things like that to lighten what is otherwise an incredibly heavy topic.

    The point of the tax evasion example was to show that it doesn’t have to be obvious for us to easily logically deduce it.
    Tax evasion is a way of making sure someone who is entitled to something does not receive it. That is the same things as stealing. Someon profits where they shouldn’t and someone suffers where they shouldn’t. See my comment earlier about how rape differs from homosexuality, and you will see that it is clear that if you say stealing is bad then tax evasion, which is a way of depriving someone of money when the law says they should have it, is also bad.

    In fact, even the verses I quoted from Paul show that, at the very least, homosexuality is considered on the same plain as sexual immorality (along with many other things, just like I said).
    Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Aside from the fact that he has used the word “nor” there, which suggests he is listing separate items, he also lists greed, drunkenness etc. These are not, I think you will agree, sexual immoralites.
    Having said that, it is clear that in this passage, Paul is down on homosexuality. But it is ONLY this passage. Other passages where Paul mentions sexual immorality do not imply reference to this one, unless you believe that all other items in this list are included.

    Where Jesus mentions sexual immorality there is absolutely no reference to the list that Paul makes, so you have provided no evidence whatsoever that Sexual Immorality included homosexuality. YOu say we should not pick the bible apart, and I agree, but as I said, when you go interpreting term like this, I think you need to provide strong evidence to back your claims.

    This shows your bias in a way nothing I could have said would. (this was off topic, but I couldn’t let it slide) I didn’t think I was showing a bias, but if the bias you believe I was showing is that you should pick and choose which bits of the Bible apply to today’s society then yes, I suppose I was. Actually I don’t believe it is necessary to defer to the Bible at all for our moral compass, but I assume you suspected that already.

    It’s been great disucssing this with you, and I hope that in doing so you have come to a clearer picture of where you stand. A lot of people believe that discussions like this are about changing the way people think. I have never believed this. Disucssions like this help us clarify in our own minds why we believe the things we do. They make us question ourselves, and examine our beliefs and their foundings. The day I stop doing this will be an unfortunate one.
    Having said that, with this last post I believe you have helped me get to a deeper understanding of my feelings towards both homosexuality and christianity, and I don’t think there is much in that left for me to discuss. I will keep an eye on the blog, and on the comments on this post in particular, but if you don’t hear from me again, don’t take as either a victory, nor as an indication that I have been insulted or even that I have got bored. Simply that I have reached a point in this topic at which I am comfortable.

    It’s been great, and I wish you all the best in your own self investigation.

    Cheers,
    Rob.

  11. Bianca Says:

    I have a couple of ideas on the words “homosexual offender”
    1. Is that the only translation, given that translation is a very complex art. I am sure I have heard it rendered as “soft man” ie a man who cares more for his own comfort and pleasure than for working as part of society. If we lose that passage as a reference, a lot of the arguments raised here develop holes.
    2. I propose that “homosexual offender” and “homosexual” do not mean the same thing in the same way as if I described someone as a “heterosexual offender” it would not be the same as me describing them as a “heterosexual”.

    I do not have the eloquence of Rob or Matt. Nor do I have the background knowledge of the Bible you have, but I am a Christian and I’m interested in getting a grip on the way I can integrate the modern day society and Christianity.
    I would also love to discuss gender roles but I realise that this is not the topic (although I think it is related) and so will not do that here.

    Bianca

  12. bianca Says:

    krissmith says:

    Neil Says:

    “Forgot one: Jesus also didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins, though of course that wouldn’t justify them.”

    Good point!!!!!!!!!

    No it is not, child abuse (as agreed to by all as abuse) is harming a child. pretty sure Jesus covered causing harm to others. Who is harmed by homosexuality?

  13. krissmith777 Says:

    bianca says:

    “No it is not, child abuse (as agreed to by all as abuse) is harming a child. pretty sure Jesus covered causing harm to others. Who is harmed by homosexuality?”

    You completely missed the point. Niel wasn’t comparing homosexuality to child abuse. He was only answering to the idea that only because Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality that therefore he accepted it by using child abuse as an illustration.

  14. krissmith777 Says:

    Bianca Says:

    ” Is that the only translation, given that translation is a very complex art. I am sure I have heard it rendered as “soft man” ie a man who cares more for his own comfort and pleasure than for working as part of society. If we lose that passage as a reference, a lot of the arguments raised here develop holes.”

    This is not true. I looked up the term in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testiment. A more literal translation is “Practicing Homosexuals.”

  15. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    “Eric, that’s exactly what you do. As Rob pointed out, the women in your church don’t wear hats and veils.”

    Firstly, getting a logical fallacy pointed out to you and then turning around, pointing your finger and going “Yea, well you do it too!!!”, is not rational argument.

    Secondly, the context of the passages to the Corinthians were to the Corinthians only, they were not commandments to the entire church, in fact they were not commandments at all. Paul was writing in the context as, “You’re asking for how I would do it? OK, this is how I would do it”. The context of the Paul’s words regarding sexual immorality would that ALL that practice such acts would “not inherit the Kingdom of God.” The context kills your argument.

    Thirdly, like I’ve said twice before, pointing something out that the Church is NOT doing, does not mean that we SHOULDN’T do it. If we’re wrong about viels and hats, then we’re wrong, but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong about homosexuality. The two are just completely separate issues.

    “I disagree. That’s not clear at all. This is actually the point that your whole argument hangs on, and yet you offer it without any support whatsoever. It may be clear to you, but that’s because of your own pre-conceived ideas.”

    Matt, I honestly don’t usually do this, but here we go: You’re assertion that, Biblically, homosexuality is not considered sexual immorality is just plain ignorance. You are being purposefully daft about what the Bible says. And, frankly, I just don’t have the time to educate you. If you really wanted to learn what the Bible says about sexual immorality, you would read it for yourself and find out. But, you want to have a cop out for your own beliefs. That’s fine, I’m going to let you have that cop out.

    “What Jesus was actually saying here was that everyone is a sinner. That sin is unavoidable.”

    No, what Jesus was explicitly, un-metaphorically, un-allegorically, and plainly saying is that lusting is tantamount to adultery. There is no way around it no matter how much you dance, Matt.

    “I find it truly bizarre that you can read a link to Jesus’ alleged view on homosexuality into this.”

    You’re a good politician because you completely ignored and danced around the question. Jesus’ view on homosexuality is as plain as day to anyone who takes words for what they mean. Again, how can you say that Jesus considers thinking about sex immoral and yet is ok with the act of same gender sex? Can you please explain that to me?

    “Don’t be ridiculous. Those things are clearly covered by the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” instruction. Seriously, I would have thought such cheap shots were beneath you.”

    Well done. You again completely ignored the point. You’re claim is that since Jesus didn’t specifically mention homosexuality, therefore it’s not wrong. Jesus also didn’t specifically mention child molestation, child porn, and rape. Now, you can try to find those under some other category, but the “plain fact” remains that Jesus didn’t specifically mention them, no not once. And that they fall under the category of “do unto others” is purely of your own invention. Do you see what I did there? I used your exact argument to show how ridiculous it is.

    Matt, this will be my final comment on this issue. As you’ve probably noticed, by tone has completely changed towards you. Honestly, it isn’t that you disagree with me on this issue that is so frustrating, it is that you are claiming what the Bible does and doesn’t say. In order to do so, you must shuck and jive where it suits you (“The context of Paul mentioning homosexuality is bleh bleh bleh”) and take literally where it suits you (“Jesus never specifically mentions homosexuality”) and be ignorant where it suits you (“Homosexuality is not under the banner of sexual immorality”) all the while ignoring every logical argument presented to you, because you can’t answer them. So, I’ll allow you to have the last word.

  16. Zhatt Says:

    You’re claim is that since Jesus didn’t specifically mention homosexuality, therefore it’s not wrong. Jesus also didn’t specifically mention child molestation, child porn, and rape.

    Jesus also didn’t say that taking off your shirt at the beach should be considered sexual immorality, but should we say that it is? What are your requirements for something to be included under the banner of sexual immorality?

  17. Eric Kemp Says:

    Zhatt

    Are you comparing child molestation, child porn and rape to taking your shirt off in that the immorality of each is a grey area or are up to debate?

  18. Eric Kemp Says:

    Bianca

    As Kris already answered some of your questions, I will focus on this one . . .

    “but I am a Christian and I’m interested in getting a grip on the way I can integrate the modern day society and Christianity.”

    Before you begin researching this topic, you have to make a decision. You have to decide wether or not you will consider the Word of God ultimate in your mind. That is, when get to those passages that talk about homosexuality and divorce, and you don’t like what they have to say, and no one around you likes what they have to say, will you allow this difficulty to force you to compromise? Or will you trust God that this difficulty is worth sticking with God’s Word, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it is? Let me put it another way, if you’ve already decided that the Bible NEEDS to be integrated into the modern world, then you’ve just demoted God’s Word to being subject to your mind, and not allowing your mind to be subject to God’s Word.

    To go about answering that question in another way. Please consider this a minute. This American society has elevated the good of “tolerance” to the status of “ultimate good”. Tolerance is to be put above all other goods. The greatest good for God, is love. The only way to properly love your neighbor, gay or straight, is to tell them of God’s Word. That doesn’t mean they have to like it, or that they want to hear it, or that we shove it down their throats. But it means that we humbly, and steadfastly speak and live how God would have us live, wether they like it or not.

    “No it is not, child abuse (as agreed to by all as abuse) is harming a child. pretty sure Jesus covered causing harm to others. Who is harmed by homosexuality.”

    Firstly, homosexuality is covered by Jesus under the category of “sexual immorality”.

    Secondly, you are subscribing to a moral philosophy called “utilitarianism”. In a nut shell, utilitarianism states that the only things that are morally “wrong” are that which causes harm. This is not the Biblical definition of what is considered moral. God’s ultimate and universal law is what decides what is moral.

    Thirdly, the Bible is very clear that sexual immorality hurts your own body, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18).

  19. Zhatt Says:

    That’s not what I said.

    I consider child molestation and rape immoral because it causes great physical and mental harm to the victim. For me, harm to a victim is a major requisite for something to be considered immoral. Taking your shirt off does not create a victim, nor does consensual sex regardless of the gender of the parties involved.

    I’m simply curious as to what your requisites are for something to be considered sexually immoral and why you might include homosexuality but not partial nudity.

    Thanks.

  20. Eric Kemp Says:

    Zhatt

    That’s why I asked, I wanted to make sure of what you’re position was.

    “I consider child molestation and rape immoral because it causes great physical and mental harm to the victim. For me, harm to a victim is a major requisite for something to be considered immoral.”

    Right, this is called Utilitarianism (or more accurately Negative Utilitarianism). There are a few problems with this.

    Firstly, I’m not using utilitarian standards to decided what is right and wrong. I’m using Biblical standards. You can use utilitarian standards all you want (if you still find it logical after my next point) but you can’t apply those standards to me, because I don’t apply them to myself.

    Secondly, utilitarianism get’s really wonky really fast. I’m going to follow out utilitarian thought to it’s logical conclusion. Ok, so a 15 year old boy has sex with a 30 year old man. We consider that rape, right? But what if the 15 year old tells us he wanted it and liked it, that it didn’t harm him? What do we do then? We stop believing him and call it rape anyway. But three years later, when he’s 18, he again has sex with that same man (now 33). His story never wavered, it never harmed him the whole time. Let me ask you a question: Why do we believe him when he’s 18 but not believe him 3 years earlier? Throw away American law for a second and think what causes the most harm. What if the boy wasn’t lying at 15, what if it truly didn’t harm him? Then you literally can’t call the sex “wrong”. I’m merely doing the same thing you are, when a homosexual couple says, “It’s not harming anyone” I don’t believe them.

    Let’s think of this from an epistimelogical stand-point (how do we know what we know?). How do you know what causes “harm”? If you’re talking about emotional pain, then you better never punish your kids. You’re causing them harm, you’re doing wrong. But we do punish our kids right? Why is that? Because we know what’s better for them. We know that this small (in comparison) amount of pain in the punishment they recieve, will lead to correct behavior and a healthy lifestyle. So “harm” isn’t always bad is it? That’s one point in which utilitarianism fails.

    Another epistemological problem for utilitarianism is how do you know what causes the “greatest harm”? Rape is considered wrong because it causes harm, but how do you know that the alternative, not-rape, doesn’t cause MORE harm? That is, if a particular man wasn’t able to rape, he would instead kill. Remember than your greatest concern is “harm”. Wouldn’t you have to say that the rape, then, is a utilitarian good because it is caused the “least” amount of harm in that situation?

    The bottom line is, what your definition of harm, how you know it’s harmful and how you know what the “greatest” harm is, are not concrete pieces of knowledge. Therefore, utilitarianism has no objective standard, and is morally bankrupt because almost any action can have utility that you couldn’t possibly know about.

    “I’m simply curious as to what your requisites are for something to be considered sexually immoral and why you might include homosexuality but not partial nudity.”

    I kind of already answered this but I’ll be more specific this time. God is my ultimate source of morality. His Word is the source. That doesn’t mean that His Word defies logic or reason, but that His Word is the standard by which we measure morality.

  21. Zhatt Says:

    His story never wavered, it never harmed him the whole time. Let me ask you a question: Why do we believe him when he’s 18 but not believe him 3 years earlier? Throw away American law for a second and think what causes the most harm. What if the boy wasn’t lying at 15, what if it truly didn’t harm him? Then you literally can’t call the sex “wrong”.

    You’re right. If you throw away the law, than the wrongness of the action becomes questionable. A few years ago, where I live, your whole scenario would be considered completely legal; age of consent was recently moved from fourteen years old to sixteen. These ages are set depending on what people feel is a reasonable age for someone to take full responsibility of their own actions. That age varies for different people, so unfortunately, yes, there are some gray areas concerning “child abuse”. For example, someone who has sex with an extremely mentally handicapped person who agrees might still get charged with assault because this handicapped person might be deemed unable to take responsibility of his or her own actions. We set these hard and fast laws as to fair and obvious as possible, leaving little room for weaseling out of a conviction, but I admit they’re not perfect.

    What does God/Jesus/The Bible say is youngest age someone can give consent for sex?

    …you better never punish your kids. You’re causing them harm, you’re doing wrong. But we do punish our kids right?

    Actually, my parents never punished me I don’t plan to punish my children. I plan on talking to them like reasonable people, explaining to them why I’m disappointed in them and what harm could come from continuing their actions. I don’t expect my children to have faith in me as an infallible being. I expect to learn a lot from my children as much as I teach them.

    Another epistemological problem for utilitarianism is how do you know what causes the “greatest harm”? Rape is considered wrong because it causes harm, but how do you know that the alternative, not-rape, doesn’t cause MORE harm? That is, if a particular man wasn’t able to rape, he would instead kill. Remember than your greatest concern is “harm”. Wouldn’t you have to say that the rape, then, is a utilitarian good because it is caused the “least” amount of harm in that situation?

    These are interesting question for many reasons. How do we know what would cause the “greatest harm”? What is “greatest harm”? Does the ends justify a means? These are philosophical questions are still being discussed. You’re one of the few people (only person?) who has hinted that rape is lesser than murder. I’ve often seen it expressed the other way around. What does Jesus say?

    Part of my reasoning would be that if someone is causing any harm, this person should be dealt with as to try to minimize any harm this person could cause in the future. That’s why many rapists and murderers end up in jail- not for their sake, but for ours. Keep them out of society. Some places go as far as killing these people to ensure they stay out of society. Is that wrong? That’s up for debate and likely will be for a long time to come.

    utilitarianism has no objective standard, and is morally bankrupt because almost any action can have utility that you couldn’t possibly know about.

    Possibly, but it seems most people try to work towards to a greater good. Some don’t, and that’s why there are murders and rapists in the first place. They see utility in these actions. The problem is, if everyone were a murderer and rapist, society as we know it would come to a halt.

    While the natural world may be made of absolutes, the man-made world of ideals is defiantly not. Everyone can agree what the atomic mass of plutonium is, but not everyone can agree if it’s ethical to be using plutonium for utilitarian purposes.

    I kind of already answered this but I’ll be more specific this time. God is my ultimate source of morality. His Word is the source.

    But you haven’t answered the question. You’re begging the question. You have been asked where it is said that homosexuality is sin. You said that it’s included under “sexual immorality”. I then asked you why is it included under that banner. Now you’re saying because God said so. It comes back to the point that it’s not explicitly stated as such.

    I’ll phrase the question differently: Where is it said that sexual immorality is inclusive of homosexuality?
    If it is not explicitly stated as such, then I ask again: Why do you say sexual immorality is inclusive of homosexuality?

  22. Matt Says:

    Hi Eric,

    I wasn’t intending to upset you, so if I have done so I apologise.

    You’re right, I think this particular topic has run its course. I’ve made all the points I wanted to make and I suspect you have too.

    If I am to have the final word, then the only thing that I want to say to you is: always question.

    Always question what you believe and more importantly, why you believe it.

    When any of us, and I include myself in this, start thinking that we have all the answers and can’t possibly be wrong, then we’re in real danger of missing out on some of the great knowledge the Universe has to offer.

    Take care.

  23. Shannon Says:

    Hi to all,

    Being one of Matt’s readers I have been following this discussion with some passing interest.

    So to summarise, we are debating the interpretation of what a character in a book (which in itself is an interpretation) may or may not have said and how this interpretation this then used to marginalise minority groups?

    I do not understand why Churches care about homosexuality. By their own beliefs, they can rest comfortably knowing that the likelihood of homosexuality ever majorly touching their lives is remote and that after enjoying their sinful lives those immoral so-and-sos will spend eternity in Hell. Whereas the non-Christians in this world can go along enjoy their lives coming into contact with a Christian believer on a daily basis and not be concerned.

    I truly believe that the Church’s position on homosexuality is less and less related to what the Bible says. To me it is clear… in western Christian churches, with their dwindling numbers and lack of relevance, the leaders of these groups are despite to regain their position… how do they do that? They fall on the tried and true tactic of giving their followers a common enemy. The leaders pick the group and tell their believers that these people are immoral; they attach the most heinous of humanities crimes to these people (rapists, paedophiles, perverts) and watch the result. It works; it worked in California, Germany, Japan and Italy.

    In countries like the US and Australia, nations that pride themselves on freedoms and equality (so much so we have whole government departments devoted to it) why is it that right-wing Christian groups spend so much time worrying about what occurs in other people’s bedrooms? I don’t see any major campaigns to stop heterosexual couples from engaging in ‘evils’ sodomy, or is that a lesser evil that the Church is willing to let slide?

    I don’t care that Christian’s choose to base their lives around a well written tale… I don’t understand, however, why they cannot tolerant the fact that I don’t.

  24. Neil Says:

    Shannon, that is quite a mischaracterization of the whole situation.

    Christians aren’t happy that people are on their way to Hell. We used to be going the same direction, and just want to share the truth of Jesus with them. We do it because we want what is best for them (e.g., real love and compassion, not the fake kind that encourages them to stay in their rebellion against God) and because Jesus told us to tell the world about him. But we don’t coerce people because that isn’t a Biblical model.

    So why did the homosexual discussion get front and center? Is it because of your conspiracy theory or is it because groups in the church came along and taught the opposite of what is in the Bible? If you are interested in the facts you’ll find that it is the latter.

    Your argument was a series of straw men. We aren’t trying to prevent gay couples from being together. We are just stating what I find rather obvious: Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. Oxymoronic “same sex marriage” doesn’t just add a little twist to the definition, it changes the definition to “marriage is whatever you want to call it.” Also, the fact is that by nature and design heterosexual couples produce the next generation and homosexual couples can NEVER provide a mother and a father to a child. So why would the gov’t encourage that?

    But no one is keeping them from getting “married” in an apostate church, living together, etc. Even in California they get all the rights of marriage but just don’t get the title — but don’t expect the anti-Prop 8 folks to stop telling their lies about that.

    Speaking of tolerance, I’ve noticed that the pro-gay groups pull up the drawbridge once they get their rights. Why are they so bigoted and intolerant against polygamy, incest, bestiality, etc.? All the arguments would still apply (“civil rights,” “born that way,” “they love each other,” “other people’s bedrooms,” etc.).

    P.S. The Bible is not just a “well written tale.” It is grounded in fact and history.

  25. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    I shouldn’t let it upset me. For the record, it isn’t you, or even that you disagree with me, it’s just the logical fallacies regarding Scripture that frustrate me the most. But again, that isn’t your problem, that’s mine. You’re a cordial, intelligent fellow and look forward to continuing, and starting, future discussions with you.

  26. Eric Kemp Says:

    Shannon

    “So to summarise, we are debating the interpretation of what a character in a book (which in itself is an interpretation) may or may not have said and how this interpretation this then used to marginalise minority groups?”

    To understand why the Bible considers homosexuality immoral, you have to first understand where the Bible is coming from. You are under the false impression that homosexuals are “born that way”. From a Biblical standpoint, God created all human beings a certain way, “In Our image” and all that. So, God did not create homosexuals. Homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle, and a chosen act. Even from an evolutionary standpoint, there is no gay gene. So, if homosexuality is a choice, then it is not a minority group that deserve special rights. They deserve the rights that all humans get, and they have them, but some special exception as a minority group.

    Secondly, what Scripture says, in the vast majority of cases, is not up to debate. And when it is up to debate, no major Christian doctines are altered in regards to differences in interpretation. So to use the word “interpretation” to try and posit that Biblical doctrine is obscure is to be ignorant of the process of interpretation and textual analysis.

    “I do not understand why Churches care about homosexuality.”

    The Church cares about homosexuality in the same way that they care about any other human who doesn’t know Christ personally.

    But if you’re talking about why Christian political activists fight the homosexual agenda, and yes they do have one just like any other group in America, then that’s kind a no brainer. The homosexual community want certain things included in society, schools and government that are contrary to Biblical doctrine. There are some Christians that stand up and fight against those things. It’s not that hard to understand, and it also isn’t intolerance.

    “I truly believe that the Church’s position on homosexuality is less and less related to what the Bible says.”

    As I’ve shown in my article, this sentiment is purely your opinion, and not based on anything Biblical or rational.

    “They fall on the tried and true tactic of giving their followers a common enemy. The leaders pick the group and tell their believers that these people are immoral; they attach the most heinous of humanities crimes to these people (rapists, paedophiles, perverts) and watch the result. It works; it worked in California, Germany, Japan and Italy.”

    If you are attempting to compare Prop. 8 to the fascist dictatorships that have arisen in those countries you should be ashamed of yourself. This is a baseless, senseless, and ridiculous accusation. By making this correlation you are being the hate- and fear-mongerer that you attempt to compare Christians to. Shame on you.

    “In countries like the US and Australia, nations that pride themselves on freedoms and equality (so much so we have whole government departments devoted to it) why is it that right-wing Christian groups spend so much time worrying about what occurs in other people’s bedrooms?”

    In the sense that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle, contrary to God’s will, we care about their souls as we do any who are not saved. However, if you are attempting to say that Christians want to STOP homosexuals from being together, or having the freedom to act the way they want to, you are creating a strawman of epic proportions. Such a thing has never been desired or discussed by the Christian right.

    “I don’t care that Christian’s choose to base their lives around a well written tale… I don’t understand, however, why they cannot tolerant the fact that I don’t.”

    I’m confused, are you trying to say that a Christian has attempted to forcefully stop you from acting the way that you want to?

  27. Shannon Says:

    Hi Eric,

    As the only practicing homosexual amongst you and I, I feel I am a little more qualified as to whether or not I chose the “lifestyle”… and for your information at no point did I choose to be a member of a marginalized minority, why would I? Even if I did choose, I have the right to.

    I find being compared to a pedophile and rapist just as affronting as you do comparing right-wing Christians to Nazis… so indeed shame on you.

    Has a Christian tried to change me from “acting” the way I do? Yes, every day by using the Bible to limit the freedoms I am just as entitled to.

    In terms of trying to help me know “Jesus personally”… I am actually grateful that you have found a doctrine that works for your life and tried to share, however, I do not agree you, so stop forcing it. The way in which the Church is helping people to know Jesus personally is further alienating the groups it seeks to save.

  28. Eric Kemp Says:

    Shannon

    “As the only practicing homosexual amongst you and I, I feel I am a little more qualified as to whether or not I chose the “lifestyle”… and for your information at no point did I choose to be a member of a marginalized minority, why would I? Even if I did choose, I have the right to.”

    In order for you not to be offended by what I’m about to say, because I don’t mean to offend you, is to understand where I’m coming from. When I don’t believe that people are born homosexual, even if told directly by you, it’s only because I’m being consistent with my worldview. Like I said before, God created human beings “in Our image” and God had also told us that he considers homosexuality to be immoral. God would not create someone with immorality. So for me to think of someone being born a homosexual, is like me believing that someone was born a thief, it just doesn’t make any sense. Now . . .

    “I find being compared to a pedophile and rapist just as affronting as you do comparing right-wing Christians to Nazis… so indeed shame on you”

    No one is comparing you to a thief, a pedophile or a rapist. You are inventing persecution where none is taking place. The point I am making is that just because Jesus Christ didn’t mention pedophilia or rape, doesn’t mean He doesn’t think it’s immoral. You said you have been reading this thread, so you should know this.

    So, as to your above sentence, you incorrect in the comparison you are trying to make, and this invented comparison does not get you off the hook for yours.

    “Has a Christian tried to change me from “acting” the way I do? Yes, every day by using the Bible to limit the freedoms I am just as entitled to.”

    This is the lie your community has told you. The lie is two fold.
    1. That marriage is a basic human right. It is not. The right to marry is not on the Bill of Rights. If this was the case, then I should sue my ex-wife for divorcing me because she “violated my basic human rights” and I should win (I don’t have an ex-wife btw). And, in the state of California, civil unions get the exact same legal rights as a marriage. So there are no “rights” violations going on here.
    2. That you can change the definition of a word just because you disagree with it. Marriage has, since the beginning of the institution, been defined as a man and a woman. It’s nothing personal, no one is trying to stop you from living your life the way you want to, no one is stopping you for having sex with whoever you want to. Unfortunately, a homosexual relationship just doesn’t fit the definition of marriage.

    And for the people of California (the state isn’t 52% Christians, so the vast majority of people who voted for Prop. 8 weren’t Christians, so you should probably find a different scapegoat) to stand up for this definition is not bigotry or persecution. You don’t get to change the definition of a word because you don’t like it.

    You are, again, inventing persecution where there is none. You said a Christian is stopping you from “acting” the way you want because they are stopping you from getting married. However, you can have any kind of relationship with whoever you want outside of marriage, so I’m confused as to how your actions are being suppressed.

    “In terms of trying to help me know “Jesus personally”… I am actually grateful that you have found a doctrine that works for your life and tried to share, however, I do not agree you, so stop forcing it.”

    So by telling you about it, I’m forcing it upon you? Come now. Please, take off your persecuted hat and see actions for what they are. I believe Jesus when He said, “I am the truth, the way, and the life” and I’m just telling you about Him, how is this forcing? You don’t have to read, you don’t have to listen. Where is the force? Even if you are talking about Prop. 8 again, how is Prop. 8 in any way forcing you to believe in Christ. How is that even a rational correlation?

    “The way in which the Church is helping people to know Jesus personally is further alienating the groups it seeks to save.”

    Could you please give me some examples of these actions so I know where you are coming from? And, watch out now, I might actually agree with you here.

  29. paul Says:

    Hey Eric,

    I’ve entered really late into this discussion, and if it’s stopped then I apologise for flogging a dying horse.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re kinda grasping at straws with your arguments of the connection between Jesus/Gospels and homosexuality. You refer to one verse and make a keyword connection with another verse elsewhere in the Bible, and keep going to you get to where you want to go. But that doesn’t mean it’s comprehensively correct.

    But in all these arguments I’ve noticed something. You make a claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality. That’s true – there are verses in the Bible where it says no to man-on-man stuff. But you haven’t said that WE should condemn homosexuals, exclude them, call them unworthy, place conditions on their lives, make them feel less worthy of God’s love. I don’t think you’ve even mentioned they should turn their lifestyles around and become more like “us”.

    And for that I’m glad. For if we do that, if we rally our wagons around the scourge of humanity, then we must also do it to the foreigners who bring their culture into our homeland, to the wiccans who hug trees, to the Communists who preach life without God, to the suited men and women who invest in outsourcing to India, to those who dye their hair and wear sweatshop jeans, to the women who talk of liberation, to those who ask questions. And ultimately, to ourselves. For none of us is not condemnable.

    And there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more.

  30. Eric Kemp Says:

    Paul

    “You refer to one verse and make a keyword connection with another verse elsewhere in the Bible, and keep going to you get to where you want to go. But that doesn’t mean it’s comprehensively correct.”

    Actually that’s exactly what it means. That method of finding out what the Bible says about a particular topic is called “systematic theology” and it’s completely legit. Logical dedection based on the words of Jesus and Paul are completely legit as well. In order to argue the logic, you’d have to show how the logic is faulty.

    “But in all these arguments I’ve noticed something. You make a claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “condeming”, but the Bible calls homosexuality, among a lot of other things, “immoral”. And those who practice them will not “inherit the Kingdom of God.”

    “But you haven’t said that WE should condemn homosexuals, exclude them, call them unworthy, place conditions on their lives, make them feel less worthy of God’s love. I don’t think you’ve even mentioned they should turn their lifestyles around and become more like “us”.”

    I agree, there should be no judgment on our part, because that is God’s job. However, we should warn them of the judgement to come and not to act more like “us” but to act more like Christ, just as I am striving to do daily. I’m no better or worse than any homosexual, the Bible is clear on that as well.

    “And there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more.”

    I completely agree. However, we must also have the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and call Him Lord and Savior, in order to enter into eternity with the Father. If we are not reconciled, through Christ, to God, then God has no choice but to send us to Hell. It’s just the cold reality of the situation, God loves us so much that He gave us a way out, but we have to take that way out. And I, for one, will not be silent about the good news of Christ, no matter how much Shannon, and those like her, don’t want to hear it. They don’t have to listen, they don’t have to read, but if they do read, that’s what I’ll be saying.

  31. paul Says:

    Shannon is a guy.

    And I’m damn sure God thinks he’s tops.

  32. Eric Kemp Says:

    Well then, my apologies to Shannon.

  33. Mike Says:

    couple of points:

    It should also be noted that Paul’s ministry and gospel was sanctioned by Peter, James, et al, (as recorded by Luke in Acts, and asserted by Paul himself).

    And if Jesus simply had a feel-good humanist message, and didn’t claim to be the Son of God, or King of the Jews, then why was he even crucified and labelled a blashphemer?

  34. Eric Kemp Says:

    Mike

    The Biblical critics have no consideration of the culture in which Jesus walked. They suppose that humanism existed, or was a viable philosophy, two thousand years ago just because it exists today. If they were to actually walk a mile in the philosophical shoes of a 1st century Jew, they would fully understand why Jesus was crucified. So yea, you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the comment.

  35. Daniel Says:

    If Jesus considers even thinking about having sex with a woman (who isn’t your wife) as sexual immorality how can you logically say that Jesus then considers act of sex with someone of the same gender as not immoral?

    You have just lumped gay sex and cheating (assuming you are married) into the same class. Oh the joys of denying civil rights. So let me get this straight; It is sinful to have sex with a woman before you marry her, but once you’re married its all good? I can’t believe you subscribe to that morally dead bull***.

    The Bible says it’s immoral, therefore I consider it immoral.

    Great, we have an unquestioning believer! Can you say “I do my own thinking daddy!”?

  36. Eric Kemp Says:

    Daniel

    You know, you’re getting kinda nasty. Perhaps you should take a step back and re-evaluate your words and see if that’s really how you want to behave. If it is, then I must warn you that your profanity will be censored if not the entire comment disapproved. If it isn’t, then I welcome any discussion that you have.

    And yes, I lumped gay sex and cheating into the same category of sexual immorality. That’s how the Bible puts it, and since we’re discussing what the Bible has to say . . .

    “So let me get this straight; It is sinful to have sex with a woman before you marry her, but once you’re married its all good?”

    You really gotta stop thinking just because you say something that makes it true. So, can you please provide an argument, from the Biblical point of view since that’s what we’re discussing, why there shouldn’t be a different between fornication (sex before marriage) and marital sex?

    “Great, we have an unquestioning believer! Can you say “I do my own thinking daddy!”?”

    The funny part about this statement is that our previous discussions have centered around your unquestioning loyalty to your atheistic presuppositions. You have ceased to begin to answer my questions, or respond to my arguments, regarding those presuppositions. In fact, you are completely neglecting those threads. So, as I’ve said previously, to ignore your own presuppositions but hound others for theirs is blatant hypocrisy. Honestly, Daniel, you’re grasping for straws and running to the end of your rope here. Please pull it together and form a rational argument/rational response to a specific topic or take a step back and take a break from this blog.

  37. Eric Kemp Says:

    Zhatt

    I apologize for taking so long to respond to your post. As you may or may not have seen, my son has been in the hospital since last Saturday, and is still there, but I’m back at work so I’m grabbing a few minutes to right back to you.

    “You’re right. If you throw away the law, than the wrongness of the action becomes questionable.”

    That’s exactly my point. That’s the problem with utilitarianism. If our standard is the “least amount of harm” or “the greatest good” than it quickly becomes no standard at all. In fact, we quickly become unable to call anything a moral good or evil.

    Let me explain: When I say that something is morally “good”, I am comparing it to something else. That is, “good” is compared to another action that is “not good” or “evil”. If I’m not comparing that action to something else, I can’t call it “good”. The word “good”, loses all meaning in a situation when there isn’t an “evil” choice. So, with utilitarianism, where any action, in a certain circumstance, can be deemed a moral “good”, the word loses all meaning. You can’t call anything good or evil since there is no standard of comparison.

    But yet, you still think of things as “good” and “not good” don’t you? You still have this inner sense of good and evil that you can’t shake. So, your logical deduction of where your morality comes from (utilitarianism) and how your morality actually acts are completely separate. Thus, every time you think of an action as “evil” you aren’t using your own utilitarian system. What system are you using? The Christian one. Every time you call something “good”, you are comparing the action to an absolute moral standard. This is the Christian worldview; you are standing upon the Christian worldview, wether you realize it or not, in order to call things “good” or “evil”.

    Irony comes into play when you are using the Christian worldview of an absolute moral standard, namely God, to call things “good” or “evil” and using that standard to criticize Biblical morality.

    “How do we know what would cause the “greatest harm”? What is “greatest harm”? Does the ends justify a means? These are philosophical questions are still being discussed.”

    Exactly, and if the philosophical backing for what constitutes morality is under discussion, then there is no standard at all is there? So then we can’t use the words “good” and “evil” at all can we? So then why do you still believe in good and evil? Because you don’t actually live in an atheistic universe, you live in a Christian universe. Meaning your inner sense of morality comes from God, wether you “believe” He exists or not; the only way you’d have the idea of an ultimate standard to call things “good” and “evil” is if an Ultimate Standard exists. Search your inner self Zhatt, you know it to be true that you cannot shake the inner moral compass you have. That moral compass is yet another thing that is unexplanable in the atheistic worldview. Again, every time you call something “good” or “evil”, you are standing upon the Christian worldview.

    “I’ll phrase the question differently: Where is it said that sexual immorality is inclusive of homosexuality?
    If it is not explicitly stated as such, then I ask again: Why do you say sexual immorality is inclusive of homosexuality?”

    I’m confused, are you asking me for chapter and verse on this one? Or will a logical deduction do? Or both? And are you admitting that “sexual immorality”, as described by the Bible, is a legit “evil”?

  38. Zhatt Says:

    I apologize for taking so long to respond to your post. As you may or may not have seen, my son has been in the hospital since last Saturday

    I hope all is well.

    If our standard is the “least amount of harm” or “the greatest good” than it quickly becomes no standard at all. In fact, we quickly become unable to call anything a moral good or evil.

    It’s not that we’re unable to call anything moral, it’s just difficult. It’s usually based on a consensus, or in some cases, dictated by a few (like laws). Morality will change and has been changing along with humanity. Morality will also be different across different cultures. If there were an obvious standard, why is there any debate about morality at all?

    If I’m not comparing that action to something else, I can’t call it “good”. The word “good”, loses all meaning in a situation when there isn’t an “evil” choice.

    That’s true. What’s your point? If I have a gun, I have the choice of shooting you and not shooting you. For some obvious reasons, it would be immoral to shoot you. There are obvious good and evil actions. Now, if you were running at me with a knife, and you were just about to stab me in the face, I kinda run out of options. If I shoot, it’s considered self defense by law. Shooting you isn’t good, but when it’s my “only option”, it’s excused.

    You can’t call anything good or evil since there is no standard of comparison.

    Most of the time there is a comparison, even if it’s just doing something versus not doing something.

    But yet, you still think of things as “good” and “not good” don’t you? You still have this inner sense of good and evil that you can’t shake.

    If you’re talking about some sort of inkling that there’s an innate goodness or badness to certain actions, then no, I don’t have that “inner sense of good and evil”. I reason out if I should enact on something or not, I don’t just let my emotions dance me around like a puppet.

    This is the Christian worldview; you are standing upon the Christian worldview, wether you realize it or not, in order to call things “good” or “evil”.

    I admit that the current culture I live in has been heavily influenced by the Christian worldview and I many of my morals are parallel with the Christian worldview, but there are so many other cultures out there that have completely different sets of morals that there cannot be an absolute moral standard. If, soon after I was born, I was lost to some small South American jungle tribe who never knew modern civilization, my morals would be quite different today.

    Search your inner self Zhatt, you know it to be true that you cannot shake the inner moral compass you have. That moral compass is yet another thing that is unexplanable in the atheistic worldview.

    Haha. Sorry, but I’m actually laughing every time you assume something about me. Please stop it. I don’t have an “inner moral compass”.

    I’m confused, are you asking me for chapter and verse on this one?

    Yes. I haven’t read the whole bible and I wonder if it’s there or not. If it’s not I’m asking you why you feel it’s a sin.

    …are you admitting that “sexual immorality”, as described by the Bible, is a legit “evil”?

    I feel that there are some pitfalls to certain types of sexual promiscuity, and that it is detrimental to society to impose yourself on others sexually, if that’s what you’re asking.

    Now these are the questions I pose to you:
    If you seriously believe that there is an absolute moral standard, why are different ages of consent in different states and countries? Like in you last example, you stated the age of 18 (which I assume is common for most states in the US) while I said here it was, at one time, 14. For something as serious as child molestation, I’d think God or Jesus would have been clear on this issue.
    I don’t know if you missed my other post or not, but I’m still curious of your reasoning as to why the “Uberealm” (or some other existence above God) must not exist.


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