Response to Chris: Are Christianity and Homosexuality Reconcilable?

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  1. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    fundamentalism didn’t get going until the end of the 19th century.

    There was no need to protect scripture from modern science before there was modern science.

    By the way, here’s one that puzzles me. In Conservapedia, the article on Theory of Relativity is the same sort of collection of stupidity, ignorance, and ad hominem attacks as the one on evolution, while Quantum Mechanics, which is far more destructive to a naive view of divinely ordained reality, is presented quite objectively. What’s up with that?Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Mike Schilling
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      @Mike Schilling,

      I’ll go out on a limb and hazard a guess at lack of comprehension. That’s not necessarily a general assessment; quantum mechanics is hard to grok, period.Report

    • Avatar John Henry in reply to Mike Schilling
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      @Mike Schilling, Yeah, but people noticed the Genesis accounts didn’t jive well over fifteen hundred years before that. Scriptural fundamentalism is (ironically) a fairly recent development.Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to John Henry
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        @John Henry,

        My best understanding of the phenomenon is that is a reaction to modernity and the place of science in our culture. The movement is the blow-back generated by sciences success in toppling humanities sense of specialness. As such the people involved aren’t stupid, they merely believe stupid things because they create the illusion of order and safety.Report

      • Avatar Jivatman in reply to John Henry
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        @John Henry,

        Exactly. One of the very earliest and most important of the church fathers, Augustine, thought scripture should be interpreted metaphorically if it contradicted science or reason.

        “It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.”

        – De Genesi ad literam 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [408]Report

  2. Avatar Shawn
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    “There exists an old and still active philosophical tradition that treats Scriptural witness as authoritative, but also spells out systematic descriptions and norms where the Bible is allusive and literary. ”

    OK. But isn’t that active theological tradition (which is more likely to be a variety of oft competing theological traditions) itself culturally specific in a variety of ways- particularly when it comes to gender and sexuality- and therefore open to complex interpretation? After all, this tradition often argued (explicitly, and not on the fringes) that all sex is sinful and that married couples who continue to have sex after child bearing years are regularly committing serious sins. (As Dale Martin demonstrates so convincingly).

    Furthermore, you are assuming what is in dispute, and that is that homosexuality itself is sinful in a way that heterosexuality is not.Report

    • Avatar David Schaengold in reply to Shawn
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      @Shawn, “After all, this tradition often argued (explicitly, and not on the fringes) that all sex is sinful and that married couples who continue to have sex after child bearing years are regularly committing serious sins”

      I’d be interested to know which part of the tradition (thinkers, texts, eg) you’re talking about specifically here.Report

      • Avatar Shawn in reply to David Schaengold
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        @David Schaengold, I’m drawing, from memory, from a chapter in Dale Martin’s “Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation”. I have the book in my office so I’ll look at it later today and summarize Martin’s points.Report

      • Avatar Shawn in reply to David Schaengold
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        @David Schaengold, Martin, drawing on the work of J.N.D. Kelley, argues that beginning in the second century, the sexual act was considered to be intrinsically defiling and that it created a barrier between the soul and God. By the 4th century, this view was widely held. The Jovian controversy arose when he (Jovian) argued that sexually active married couples were no worse in God’s eyes than celibates. By 393 a synod called by Pope Siricius rejected Jovaian’s views and he was excommunicated. Jovian’s views were deemed a heresy and a form of blasphemy. There were varying degrees of opposition to Jovian, with Jerome being the most adamant. Jerome argued that marital sex is only legitimate for procreation and even there it shames the wife. Jerome’s position seemed to be that only celibacy within marriage (!!!) brings honor to the wife. Augustine argued that Jerome had gone too far in implying that procreative sex was sinful. His position, which became the mainstream one, was that sex within marriage for the exclusive purpose of procreation was inferior to celibacy but not sinful. (See Martin, pp. 116-118).

        Current views on sexuality and marriage represent a rejection and reversal of at least one deeply held Catholic tradition. And how could it not be so, given how much views of sexuality are tied into now antiquated and rejected views of human nature, social hierarchy and biology. The revision of this tradition is necessary and ongoing even for those who claim fidelity to the unbroken chain of tradition. This is why hermeneutics is as essential here as it is for the Bible.

        Given this, I see no reason for such a revision to exclude homosexuals from the realm of the moral and devout and to define them as sinners.Report

        • Avatar David Schaengold in reply to Shawn
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          @Shawn, thanks for getting back to me. I’m not sure I totally buy the history (for one thing, Jovinian believed in a lot of crazy things, and for another Augustine’s opinions on the matter are much misunderstood), but I accept the point: the Christian philosophy of sexuality has changed throughout the centuries, and is still changing today. This is what makes it a tradition rather than simply a received authority. It evolves over time as new understandings emerge and arguments are refined. This process is precisely what is elided by your “I see no reason” in the last sentence of your comment. Plenty of people do see reasons, and if the philosophy of Christian sexuality is indeed to change and embrace homosexual acts (you might say “to include homosexuals in the realm of the moral and the devout,” but I hope you see that this question is an unrelated one), then it is these reasons which must be addressed.Report

          • Avatar Shawn in reply to David Schaengold
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            @David Schaengold, “This process is precisely what is elided by your “I see no reason” in the last sentence of your comment.” Yes, you’re right. This was rather sloppily worded on my part,which can happen when dashing off a quick post.

            My stronger argument, I think, is that the theological tradition on sexuality is necessarily undergoing radical revision by all sides. Given this ongoing process, it is possible to develop a theology where gay marriage is also a sacrament. Such revisions are already occurring in Protestant and Jewish traditions. I would strongly advocate such a revision within Catholicism as well, and think that it could be done in a way that engages the tradition in a thoughtful and non-arbitrary manner.

            At the same time, I’m a NT scholar rather than a theologian, so I’m not in a position to say what such a revision would end up looking like.Report

            • Avatar David Schaengold in reply to Shawn
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              @Shawn, What you’re suggesting–thoughtful and non-arbitrary revision–is exactly what I thought Chris should be undertaking, and what I thought might have been a little glossed over in his post. Though in fairness, he was addressing the topic from a more Protestant perspective where the tradition in question is a hermeneutic tradition and not a doctrinal or philosophical tradition as such.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
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    Pretend that you are a disinterested observer who does not speak the language (though you have read a translation of Jefferson’s Gospels).

    Now look at the way Christians traditionally have treated homosexuals.

    Do Christians remind you of Pharisees/Sadducees or do they remind you of Jesus, called the Christ?

    Look at how Christians respond to the arguments that homosexuals are being denied hospital visitation?

    Are we reminded of Pharisees/Sadducees or of Jesus, called the Christ?

    When we hear that the homosexual community is being devastated by a new, strange “gay cancer”, do they remind you of Priests and Levites or of the Good Samaritan?

    Imagine a known homosexual showing up at a typically Christian church service and sitting in the back pew. Do the Christians remind you of Pharisees/Sadducees or do they remind you of the widow who found her lost coin (or the shepherd who found his lost lamb)?

    As a disinterested observer looking at Christianity, who do these Christians remind you of?

    These are, of course, rhetorical questions.

    Christians act like Christianity is nothing more than an anthropological phenomenon like so many others that is useful to create some amount of ingroup behavior for everybody to feel good about while they all condemn outgroup behavior. Looking for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will bear little more fruit than hearing that Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and SIN NO MORE!

    As a disinterested observer, I don’t see how any conclusion but “I don’t know these people” could be reached.

    Maybe they’ll appeal to first Chapter of Romans or Leviticus.Report

    • Avatar Endevour to Persevere in reply to Jaybird
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      Christians act like Christianity is nothing more than an anthropological phenomenon like so many others that is useful to create some amount of ingroup behavior for everybody to feel good about while they all condemn outgroup behavior.

      It’s not?Report

  4. Avatar MR Bill
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    25 ” If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.
    26 “If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down.
    27 “For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious. (Exodus 22:25-27)
    —————-

    35 ‘ If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.
    36 ‘Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.
    37 ‘You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. (Leviticus 25:35-37)
    —————

    19 ” You shall not charge interest to your brother — interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.
    20 “To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess. (Deuteronomy 23:19,20)
    ————–

    10 “I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury!
    11 “Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.” (Nehemiah 5:10,11)
    ————-

    5 He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. (Psalm 15:5)
    ————

    One might ask, is Christianity and Usury compatible….And this is just a beginning of biblical references to lending at interest. If we can swallow the log of Usury, then the gnat of loving same sex relationships is bearable.
    And Jaybird, right on.Report

  5. Avatar Francis
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    To be fair, except for Catholics Christianity is what the people who practice it say that it is. Mormons believe themselves to be Christians. Any number of weird sects, whose practices show up in Religulous or the Colbert Report, purport to be Christians. There is no overseeing body to determine that a particular interpretation of the Bible is out of bounds.

    So, if a group of people want to call themselves Christians and believe that the guiding New Testament principal of “love one another as I have loved you” invalidates the OT prescriptions against homosexuality (and shrimp and cotton/silk blends), then more power to them. Who’s to say they’re wrong?Report

    • Avatar ReluctantAtheist in reply to Francis
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      @Francis,

      The New Testament.Report

      • Avatar John Henry in reply to ReluctantAtheist
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        @ReluctantAtheist, Yeah, there is certainly a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style of interpretation among a certain set of less-educated evangelicals; but most Christians, evangelical or otherwise, recognize the incoherence of a pure reliance on a book whose contents weren’t even defined until several hundred years after they were written. And so, most Christians accept the first few hundred years or so of doctrinal development (if not, like Chris, the moral development) in historical Christianity, if only because otherwise they couldn’t even rely on the Councils that defined which books are included in the Bible (and, yes, there are complications there, but this is a blog comment so I won’t go into them).Report

  6. Avatar Chris Dierkes
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    David,

    Your definitely right that I left out the traditional philosophical-theological arguments against homosexuality and only worked with Scriptural exegesis. Fair point.

    That tradition I would argue has its roots mostly in Stoicism which seems to me (ethically) to confuse the meaning of an ethical act with the bodily parts. This is how Augustine derives the notion of original sin as transmitted (like a virus) through the sexual act.

    I think the Stoic tradition relies on a concept of natural law which is potentially problematic in many regards–most especially a tendency to eternalize/valorize what are social-cultural forms of practice as “nautral”.

    I mean if one holds that view, then scientifically there is a real question as to whether the tradition might actually support the opposite view. That is, homosexuality (and bisexuality for that matter) are quite common (even rampant) throughout the animal kingdom, including primate mammals. Including homo sapiens. Being gay, in that sense, might be naturally considered natural. If still a minority (in terms of numbers overall) natural position.

    As to the criticism concerning love. I received a similar criticism in the comments to that post. I wasn’t saying that you can never love the sinner and hate the sin. I should have made that point more specific, but I was saying that in this particular case I think we have reached a place where people have to make stands. Not that anyone ever is acting in the perfect manner, but to the best of our (admittedly incomplete) abilities.

    I know the analog to slavery is often brought up here and has problems in certain ways, but I think in this regard it’s a valuable one. You could say that someone could hate the sin of slavery and still love a slaveowner. But if someone argued that Christianity’s true interpretation (and only interpretation) was to promote slavery (as the case was made and has at least some, if not sufficient evidence scripturally), then they felt it was more important to be against slavery than to be Christian.

    I don’t think condemning committed same sex relationships is the only interpretation of Christianity. I don’t live that. Nor (as Francis points out) is there anyone who can finally decide for all Christians what their position on this topic has to be so it will never reach said point, but if we hypothetically imagine some scenario in which that were the case (and all Christians had to be against homosexuality), then I couldn’t in good faith continue to do what I do.

    I certainly couldn’t be an ordained representative of the church.

    Unfortunately too often I think the church (or rather churches) do force this black/white take it or leave it approach on folks and many get hurt and many leave it as a result.Report

  7. Avatar Matthew Dallman
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    I dunno, Dierkes. “Love your enemies” is pretty hard to misinterpret. A bad interpretation of that would be “love your enemies except for gay people”. To me you are grasping at ghosts (and using too many words to do so, as usual).

    Doesn’t the real issue in this have to do with the Sacrament of Marriage? After all, the Church has no jurisdiction over the State (at any level), hence if citizens at whatever level so desire to install civil unions or “marriage” in any way they want, the Church has no say on that, whether they object or not.

    But the Church does have say about how it sanctions its Sacraments. And to me, it is a hard argument to make that the Sacrament of Marriage, apostolically given, allows for anything but that between a man and women.

    In other words, I think homosexuality and the Church is, to the dismay of activists on both sides of the issue, in fact a very narrow one, when push really comes to shove. Narrow in that it is really a Sacrament matter.

    Hatred of anyone, remember, is a Sin.Report

  8. Avatar Matthew Dallman
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    “…between a man and a women”.Report

  9. Avatar Ryan Davidson
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    I’m consistently amazed at the frequency with which “The church has treated homosexuals badly” is equated with “The church is wrong about the moral character of homosexuality.”

    As if the two had anything at all to do with each other.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan Davidson
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      @Ryan Davidson, yeah, everybody relates to the good son in the Parable of the Prodigal.

      Nobody relates to the Prodigal.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Put another way: God and his Proxy Jesus, it seems to me, came out and said something to the effect of “God is God and has shit that He needs to do, and you are you and you have shit that you need to do.”

        Judging the moral character of homosexuality? That’s God’s shit. It’s not your shit. By elbowing your way onto The Throne and taking up God’s shit as your own, you are not only taking on shit that ain’t yours, you are failing to take care of your own shit.

        Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Give to God what is God’s.

        Now read that second, bolded, sentence again.Report

        • Avatar John Henry in reply to Jaybird
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          @Jaybird, I can see why the reductionistic, hippie-lite ‘live and let live’ (you know you did, you know you did) interpretation of what Jesus meant to say is attractive…but it’s not really that accurate. If God said ‘sin, no more,’ then that implies that there is sin, and that people should avoid it. And part of avoiding it means acknowledging it exists. Now, Christianity could be all wrong; or it could be, as Chris argues, the early Christians (and Medieval and pre-Enlightenment) were just all wrong about what Christian sexual ethics would look like. It’s never been particularly in-keeping with people’s personal preferences desires, whether homosexual or heterosexual. But either way, the idea that we should just ignore all questions about how people should live (whether on torture, theft, war, or sexuality) in order to avoid judging empties Christianity of any moral content; that may be what you would prefer (and it’s fine for you to prefer it), but it has very little to do with what nearly everyone who has accepted that label for the last two thousand years has meant by it.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to John Henry
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            @John Henry, that’s a good point but when you say If God said ’sin, no more,’ then that implies that there is sin, and that people should avoid it, I’m brought back to the stuff that happened about a minute before.

            In the effort to point out the wrongness of desires, do you think that Christians come off more like their Christ or more like the stone-holders?

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you (or anybody) to stop thinking homosexuality is a sin.

            Whatever gets you through the night.

            My issue is with the example given by Jesus and the fruits being manifested by His followers.

            They ain’t Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, nor Self-Control.

            And, you gotta admit, you can learn a lot about a tree by its fruit, no?Report

            • Avatar John Henry in reply to Jaybird
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              @Jaybird, Ok. I get it. You were talking about your impression of Christians. Well, I don’t have much to say about that; any political (and most moral) discussions end up with people throwing rocks at each other. That’s how politics is. And anyone on one side thinks the other is populated by jerks of one sort or another.

              Of course I would prefer that everyone, whether Christian or otherwise, always acted civilly, treated each other with compassion and kindness, and died to themselves in a thousand small ways for the good of others, particularly on topics like this. But I don’t think your impression really proves anything other than that people – Christian or not – suck…which is one of the easiest to prove doctrines of Christianity. How we even recognize that they suck (fish – what’s wet?) is one of the more interesting questions to me, but that’s obviously a much different question. So I guess I’ll say this: I agree with you that Christians on this and many other topics are often poor examples of the virtues Christians are supposed to practice.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to John Henry
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                @John Henry, I’m sort of focusing a hair closer than that.

                I’m one of those folks who doesn’t believe in a deity. Most discussion of morality comes across, to me, as a discussion of ice cream flavors. (Note: I’m not talking about rape, or theft, or violence… I’m perfectly capable of seeing those as matters of morality rather than matters of taste. When it comes to homosexuality, however, it’s exceptionally difficult for me to see the discussion as anything but a discussion of why vanilla is not only better than rainbow sherbet, but why rainbow sherbet goes against what nature intended.)

                As such, I have to look at the discussion much like a political one.

                The Christian Religion has a lot of little rules in it. Some of the little rules, when followed to excess, run into conflict with others of the little rules.

                The response to homosexuality tends to conflict with stuff explicitly said by Jesus. I’m not talking about people saying “It’s wrong, but it’s in God’s hands, I shake the dust off my sandals and move on having given my message.” I’m talking about people going out of their way to use the Scriptures to act like the Pharisees and Sadducees who acted like foils to Jesus… even as they quote Jesus!

                Indeed, one wonders what The Holy Spirit Made Manifest would look like. I imagine that one would see Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control, no?Report

            • Avatar David Schaengold in reply to Jaybird
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              @Jaybird, think about the question “are homosexual acts sinful” not as a discourse between people but within a single person. Obviously lots of Christians only interested in other people’s sins, and we know what Christ had to say about such people. It doesn’t seem like this in any way alters the necessity for the Christian of understanding what’s pleasing to G-d and what isn’t. After Jesus told the woman to sin no more, assuming she intended to obey him, she had to ask herself “well, does that mean I shouldn’t do X?” If you think that’s an illegitimate question to begin with, then I think that pretty much does empty religion of its moral content.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to David Schaengold
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                @David Schaengold After Jesus told the woman to sin no more, assuming she intended to obey him, she had to ask herself “well, does that mean I shouldn’t do X?” If you think that’s an illegitimate question to begin with, then I think that pretty much does empty religion of its moral content.

                Funny. When I think of the homosexual debate within Christianity, I tend to associate the people saying that we need to really tell these homosexuals that they’re sinners!!! with the people holding rocks and the poor homosexuals as the lady caught in adultery.

                And, this is the really weird dynamic, every time the conversation turns back to how we need to establish the sinfulness of homosexuality, I see the speaker as picking up rocks again.

                You’re the guy with the rock in this case. Put it down. Quit picking it back up. In this particular case, you may think that you’re identifying with Jesus but, really, you’re a guy who runs back and picks a rock up again.

                Don’t be that guy.Report

            • Avatar Ryan Davidson in reply to Jaybird
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              @Jaybird, you’re still missing my point. The historic conduct of Christians is irrelevant in the analysis of the moral nature of homosexuality. Accusing Christians of hypocrisy can only lead to the conclusions that Christians are hypocrites. You can’t get from there to the conclusion that God actually thinks homosexuality is okay. There’s simply no logical connection between the two theses. It’s a perfect example of the ad hominem fallacy.

              Cut it out.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan Davidson
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                @Ryan Davidson, I cannot claim to know the mind of God, Ryan.

                I’m actually pretty sure that there isn’t one.

                That said, if there *IS* one, I’m perfectly willing to be told that, nope, I screwed up royally by not telling more homosexuals that their desires point them to abominable status.

                In the meantime, it really seems to me that the Pro-Heterosexuality Christian Soldiers are acting a double-buttload more like the Pharisees/Sadducees that Jesus kept yelling at to knock it off than like the folks that Jesus said we needed to be more like.

                Out of curiosity, Ryan… how do you pray?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Davidson in reply to Ryan Davidson
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                @Jaybird, you don’t get to both position yourself as someone who doesn’t believe in God and as one who speaks for him. Which, by saying that Christians are misrepresenting God, is what you are going. If you want to say that Christians are misunderstanding their own faith, you need to do so by using arguments internal to Christianity. There are people that do this, but you aren’t one of them.

                As a result, you aren’t making an argument with which it is possible to engage with any seriousness. In essence, what you are saying amounts to “People who don’t believe the Bible read the Bible in such a way that renders homosexual conduct morally acceptable.” No shit, Sherlock.

                I don’t see any need to pursue this particular line of silliness further.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan Davidson
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                @Ryan Davidson, Ryan, I *DO* believe that I can stand to the side and watch as a disinterested observer and compare and contrast to the stuff that Jesus talked about and with whom he talked about it and the dynamics of the conversation.

                Looking at the debate over gay marriage, is it fair to see a comparison between the Pharisees and Jesus?

                Is it fair to ask what side Jesus would have been likely to take against the Pharisees?

                If not, why not?Report

  10. Avatar DJ
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    says:

    I think that Chris’ use of the label “post-liberal” comes from the Hauerwasian school of theology wherein there is a rejection of liberalism/enlightenment thought in favor of a collective narrative.Report

  11. Avatar Gordon Wilson
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    This is a very interesting discussion on a very difficult topic because the Scriptures are open to interpretation and very much influenced by upbringing, education, peer pressure and various other foibles of our own human nature. It is hard. It is meant to be so I believe, for whom God would call sons he scourges, and we are not so fortunate to live in barbaric times when the scourging, and martyrdom were obvious to the non-believers as well as the believers.

    I am of the mind that since we should not even examine and conclude anything about our own salvation, for it is a gift that has not yet been bestowed, but it is the thing hoped for though not yet beheld, that it is folly to make these judgments about others. Iscariot was doing powerful works with all the other Apostles until he fell, a lesson seemingly lost on many high profile members of the way. Ultimately we will stand alone, and that to me is a pretty hairy proposition. I would hate to answer to a living God why I had condemned someone that he had approved of, or approved of someone that he had condemned, because in either case I was never appointed to be a judge of anyone’s salvation, only whether I associated with them or not. As the book of Judges brings out, after Joshua, everyone went their own way and did what was right in their own eyes, for they had all heard the Law. God raised up judges from the people, not the people from amongst themselves. The Law, being within, left the appearance of anarchy without. I’m not overlooking the structure of the ancient society, but it is what God intended for his people to live like. I gave you a king in my anger and I took him away in my rage. God has given us a king too.

    I think in many ways the Greek variants of love gave an abstraction of thought missing in the English, and not articulated very well by any preaching I have heard, but porneia is not indicative of sexual orientation, except in the spiritual sense. It is physical not spiritual in nature. We have a much clearer understanding of adultery than porneia. One goes to the core of our being, the other appeals to the basest of our inclinations. There is more to love than meets the eye.

    Where we get in trouble in my opinion is when we become so strong in own judgments of righteousness, that we stumble those who are not so strong in theirs. A poor pun, but eating of the sacrifices of the temples comes to mind. If what we, who have found the Christ, are doing stumbles those whom God is seeking, then of what benefit is it to us to have found the Christ?

    Let each one be sure in their own minds, what is good and wholesome and pleasing to God, but I will not trade this freedom that I have received from God through Christ to take it away from another that has received the same gift. If you wish to worship and associate with gays then be sure in your own mind, if you do not, then be sure in your own mind, but hopefully mature Christians will not use what we are in the flesh to ascertain what we, and others are in the spirit. God did not send his son to save the righteous, but the unrighteous, not as we see righteousness but as God himself sees righteousness. It is not my place to call unclean what God has called clean, or to call clean what God has called unclean. It is my place to urge one and all to live together as brothers and sisters, and when that is done, perhaps, debate who is to sit on the right hand or the left of the Lord, but we should not debate that we are the Lord. Most assuredly we are not.Report

  12. Avatar Endevour to Persevere
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    The problem I have with this kind of discussion, as an atheist, is that the tradition and growth of theological thought seems to be primarily a reflection of cultural trends rather than a refinement of truth.

    I think this is seen in most theological traditions and indeed a great deal of human thought. So, as a curious bystander in all this I tend to view it as a clash of cultural norms rather than a earnest attempt to uncover god’s will.

    You don’t seem to be arguing over how to find the buried treasure but how to spend it.Report

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