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Thread: The Bible and homosexuality

  1. #11
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    I maintain that there is no outright condemnation of slavery in the Bible. The Bible merey regulates it, as in:
    Exodus 22:
    Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft.
    Deureronomy 21:
    When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her. [Comment: regulation of slavery, not condemnation]
    Leviticus 25:
    Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
    Quote Originally Posted by james438 View Post
    The historical narrative should be taken as actual history and the Hebrew poetry should be taken figuratively
    Where should we draw the line between the two?
    Quote Originally Posted by james438 View Post
    Eve was made specifically for Adam. I have a hard time considering that incest. How about the children of Adam and Eve? That makes a bit more sense. Adam and Eve had sons and daughters. Yes, brothers and sisters slept together. This was necessary to populate the earth and in order to fulfill God's command to populate the earth. We have no reason to believe that Eve slept with her sons.
    My point was not the question how exactly the earth was populated. My point was that if you adhere to a literal interpretation of the Bible, then you have to admit that it was populated through incestuous behavior. Now how does that relate to condemnation of homosexulaity? What would you say is worse?
    Quote Originally Posted by james438 View Post
    We are no longer living in a theocratic society today, so such a judgment would not be appropriate.
    You're distinguishing here between Old Testamentic times and modern times. You should use this argument not just as an apology for what Elisha did, but also as an argument in favor of the claim that homosexuality is not necessarily a sin here and now (anymore).

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    Eat fish not meat on Friday. No pork ever. When did those stop being sins?

    I think the central issue is why base morality on an old tome whose translation and provenance are both questionable and open to interpretation?
    - John
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscheuer1 View Post
    I think the central issue is why base morality on an old tome whose translation and provenance are both questionable and open to interpretation?
    Yes. That seems so obvious that it is hard to understand why there are people who don't agree with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by jscheuer1 View Post
    Eat fish not meat on Friday. No pork ever. When did those stop being sins?
    The funny thing is that the whole disaster started with Eve eating ... FRUIT.

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    Talking about ancient eating habits:
    Should we eat green plant or meat
    Or should we eat whatever we need?

    Here's a poem about it (it's not mine):

    Forthy thousand years ago
    When Europe was a land of snow
    And mammoths roamed the permafrost
    Two Stone Age hominids got lost
    With ease (both being broad and stocky)
    They scrambled over ice all rocky
    But a blizzard worse than they could brave
    Made them shelter in a cave
    They'd failed to find a scrap to eat
    As the howling snow had got them beat
    So they sat a fire and set all day
    Their tummies rumbling in dismay
    'T was then that one Neanderthal
    Looked with hunger at his pal
    Slavering he licked his lips
    And gazed upon those meaty hips
    Picking up a piece of rock
    He gave his mate a mighty knock
    Then cut off slices from his bum
    And on the fire cooked his chum
    He finished off the meat he'd served
    Then thought a moment and observed:
    "No greater love has friend for me
    Who lays his life down for my tea."


    Listen to it here.
    Last edited by molendijk; 04-05-2013 at 11:21 PM.

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    I'll try to keep my post short and simple. A few points:

    1. Sins are personal, right? If two men want to get married, or want to commit any other sins (except those that hurt others such as murder), why should the general population care? Assuming the strongest argument of "homosexuality is bad", then still, why should two men (or two women) be prevented from marrying each other? Or, to take an example mentioned above, from getting divorced? Perhaps divorce is sinful and so forth; but why should society govern when individuals can sin? Isn't that something that individuals are responsible for?

    2. I'm not actually neutral in this, but I'll pretend to be for a moment. Let's assume that slavery is fine, that women shouldn't be allowed to vote, that interracial marriage is a sin, and various other things. (Historically I'm sure there were arguments for each of these things with a religious foundation.) And yes, that we should never eat pork.
    Yet that's not the current societal standard. Those things are expected-- slavery is bad, women can vote, interracial marriage is not exceptional or improper, and we eat pork. Say whatever you want about gay marriage and so forth, but give it 20-40 years and it will be accepted in society.
    I see gay marriage as exactly parallel to the issues of civil rights. That is, there are two dimensions:
    i) personally, I find it unjustifiable to discriminate against others (I don't care if you don't like them; but I can't see why your opinions should be weighted as more important than theirs regarding things like law)
    ii) regardless of any personal views, I'm certain that gay marriage (and gay rights in general) will be acceptable in a few decades. No matter how hard many individuals resisted, the civil rights movement worked. Before then, discrimination against African Americans was normal, acceptable and politically correct. Now it's exceptional, unacceptable and politically incorrect. What changed? Nothing really, except the societal standards. Are there still people who'd passively end up racist? Sure. Are there still people who are actively racist? Sure. And give it a few decades and exactly the same will be true of homosexuality.

    3. As a linguist, I've come across a number of discussions of terrible translations in the bible that completely mess up the meaning yet are now taken as 'fact'. One example is the likely interpretation of "walk on water" as actually meaning "walking around the water". I'm not a scholar in these languages or the bible, but the English tradition of the bible is highly problematic because it's the 3rd-5th language, and I can't see how that's accurately the "word of God"; even if it is, it's distorted by translation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscheuer1 View Post
    I think the central issue is why base morality on an old tome whose translation and provenance are both questionable and open to interpretation?
    Playing the devil's advocate to my own argument, at the same time that I see the folly in any sort of "Sharia Law", regardless of what tradition it's taken from, I acknowledge the wisdom in studying the religious texts of all or any faith as a valid path in determining what's right and wrong.

    Ideally this has to be tempered with common and/or uncommon sense and sincere practice. Mere words in a book cannot convey the awe and mystery of the universe.

    In the Hindu tradition it's said that there are the holy temple, the holy law, and the holy man. If you have any one of the three, the other two will arise. These days I worry more about the wholly owned subsidiary.
    - John
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    Slavery is regulated, like divorce and death. Slavery a consequence of sin, not a sin. It is not to be encouraged and is to be avoided whenever possible just like death and divorce. Does that make more sense?

    Hebrew poetry is the Song of Solomon, Psalms, Proverbs, and finally Ecclesiastes. I believe there are other small portions of the Old Testament that are poetry as well, but they are not coming to mind right now. These are still scripture and no less important than any other portion of the Bible and some are prophetic such as some of the psalms in that they foretell who the Jesus is and what will happen during his life and how we will know him when he comes. They also give instructions for wisdom and Godly living (Proverbs) and tell what a Godly wife looks like (Song of Solomon) and the purpose of life (Ecclesiastes) and how we are to express praise, worship, and confession to God (Psalms).

    Yes, the earth was initially populated through incestuous behavior. Incest is still wrong. I am not knowledgeable enough to say what sin is worse than another. All and any sin deserves God's eternal condemnation.

    You're distinguishing here between Old Testamentic times and modern times. You should use this argument not just as an apology for what Elisha did, but also as an argument in favor of the claim that homosexuality is not necessarily a sin here and now (anymore).
    I'm not sure what you mean here. I don't see the comparison between Elisha cursing those children as was his right (and I daresay this was good in that he was defending the name of who he was representing, God) and homosexuality. Right and wrong are always the same. Murder is always wrong. Adultery is always wrong. You seem to be implying that homosexuality is no longer a sin, but how did homosexuality or any other sin become no longer wrong?

    You may be wondering about the kosher laws such as not eating pork. First, why were the kosher laws made? They were to be a sign to the nations among several other signs like circumcision and not cutting the corners of your beards that God was setting a people apart to be his own. When Jesus came he fulfilled the laws of separation from the gentiles and sacrifice since Jesus became the perfect sacrifice. He was the perfect sacrifice in that he never sinned and Jesus was God and was therefore capable of bearing the sins of the world and the punishment that came with it. God came first to the Jews and then with Jesus to the Gentiles as well so that there is now no separation between the jews and the gentiles. Therefore we no longer keep the kosher laws or make regular sacrifices on an altar.

    I think the central issue is why base morality on an old tome whose translation and provenance are both questionable and open to interpretation?
    Why have any morals? It may as well be based on anything. There are different denominations in the Christian faith. They are separated based on their interpretations of the Bible, but the central message must always be the same which is that all have sinned and and are in need of a savior (I hope the definition and need for a savior is clear at this point. I am not saying that anyone agrees with me, but that it is understood what I believe here). I recommend just reading though the Bible from beginning to end. Some parts will be a bit confusing, but for the most part it is easy to understand and well written. A lot of the confusion that people have can be remedied just by reading it from beginning to end like any other book as opposed to reading it out of order like an encyclopedia. Great care has been taken throughout history to ensure that the translation and original meaning of the Bible is preserved. Nearly every minister that goes to seminary must translate and compare the earliest manuscripts and others in order to understand and convey the original meaning and translation of the text to the congregation. I am not a linguist, but I know that those in seminary must be and I don't believe that they collectively turn a blind eye to gross misinterpretations and mistranslations.

    Daniel, although I don't agree with your statements you are practical and logical in your reasonings as always, but I must address them at another time. I did not mean to get into a large discussion with this thread, which this can easily become, so I am bowing out at this point. There are a great number of topics brought up and any one of which can have and has had countless books written on. I hope some of these answers has shed some light on my position regarding these questions.
    To choose the lesser of two evils is still to choose evil. My personal site

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    Jesus come in this world to call sinners to repentance. One cannot enter into the kingdom of God without Jesus Christ..

    Look at old testament what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah regarding the topic,
    In New testament Jesus Says, "It shall be more tolerable than the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgement........"

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    Quote Originally Posted by james438 View Post
    Yes, the earth was initially populated through incestuous behavior. Incest is still wrong. I am not knowledgeable enough to say what sin is worse than another. All and any sin deserves God's eternal condemnation.
    Even if Eve had not eaten the fruit and man had stayed away from sin, the earth would have been necessarily populated through incestuous behavior, there was no other way. So even in the absence of (original) sin, there would gave been sin (afterwards). This is an inevitable paradox from which you cannot escape if you believe that the biblical account of Genesis is a literal, scientific document.
    Quote Originally Posted by james438 View Post
    I am not knowledgeable enough to say what sin is worse.
    You don't have to be knowledgeable to know what's right or wrong. I would say: don't lean too much on authority (alone) in these and other matters.
    Quote Originally Posted by james438 View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean here. I don't see the comparison between Elisha cursing those children as was his right (and I daresay this was good in that he was defending the name of who he was representing, God) and homosexuality.
    Here's what I ment. You were saying that we are no longer living in a theocratic society today, so such a judgment on Elisha would not be appropriate. Reasoning along these lines, I could say: we are no longer living in a theocratic society today, so an old testamentic judgment on homosexuality would not be appropriate either.
    On a side note: how about the suffering of the children being ripped apart by the bears? Does making fun of a bald head justify that?
    Quote Originally Posted by james438 View Post
    Nearly every minister that goes to seminary must translate and compare the earliest manuscripts and others in order to understand and convey the original meaning and translation of the text to the congregation.
    The old testament was mainly written in ancient Hebrew. That was not the native language of those who translated it. In those circumstances, it's hard to judge whether or not a given translation is correct.
    The ministers learn reconstructed old Hebrew (and Greek) in order to be able to read the manuscripts. The debate is about whether or not the reconstructions are always accurate.
    Last edited by molendijk; 04-06-2013 at 03:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by letom View Post
    Jesus come in this world to call sinners to repentance. One cannot enter into the kingdom of God without Jesus Christ..
    Look at old testament what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah regarding the topic
    That's your belief, and of course you're free to believe it. But where's the evidence? You cannot say: the Bible is true because it says so in the Bible.

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