So, there's this chicken place...

Nomad wrote:

I'm simply addressing the idea that homosexuality is only discussed in the old testament.

"Homosexuality" is an overly broad term.

There is a gigantic difference between a man who rapes another man and two men who are legally married and have sexual intercourse by mutual consent.

Likewise, one can be a homosexual and never participate in any sexual activity.

Koine Greek is a fairly precise language. I am exceptionally doubtful that even if I took a literal translation of the Bible all homosexual activity including sexual orientation would be covered under such a vast umbrella.

Nomad wrote:

I'm not sure you 3 are understanding me. I'm not arguing against gay marriage. I'm simply addressing the idea that homosexuality is only discussed in the old testament.

I wasn't making the claim that it was only addressed in the OT. I was making the claim that the bible says a lot of things about a lot of things and yet the only one that seems to get Christians up in arms is homosexuality. Why the obsession?

I mean if Christians truly are concerned about the sanctity of "traditional" marriage, where's all the pressure to outlaw divorce? There's a hell of a lot more divorced people out there eroding the institution of marriage than there will ever be married gay couples and yet all those divorcees get a complete pass.

Either all of the bible applies or none of it applies. If all of it applies then Christians have a lot bigger things to focus on than homosexuality.

OG_slinger wrote:

Either all of the bible applies or none of it applies.

There is nothing even close to a consensus among the incredibly wide variety of Christians out there as to whether that statement is accurate or more importantly how it is accurate. And if they did agree on that, there would be even less consensus as to how to apply it.

Robear wrote:

If you approve of that sentiment, why would you be against gay marriage at all? What justification outside of the OT is there to prevent the *state* from authorizing gay marriage, completely outside of religious ceremonies and sanction? That's the question. Why is imposing Levitican rules on our nation any better than forcing Americans to recognize, say, Islamic family law? Outside of cultural history, there is no difference; each is equally unjust, because it involved placing purely religious rules on the secular population.

To be clear, I never took a position on this issue, was just responding to the general idea that the golden rule means everyone has to accept .

Nomad wrote:

In this day and age, it's not difficult to get your hands on a Greek New Testament and a Greek/English dictionary and check the verse translation yourself.

Even Bible scholars (probably especially) would scoff at the idea that all you need is a Greek/English dictionary, a copy of the original Greek, and some time to gain a true understanding of the text. Not only are there linguistic concerns, there are considerations like historical context, changes in meaning, in both words and grammar, a complex understanding of the language almost to the degree of a native speaker... Translations that truly capture the intent and meaning of the original speaker are VERY difficult to formulate, and in some cases, not possible, because there is literally no translation that is adequate.

This is all true for any translated piece of literature, and I have wondered if I'm missing something from Beowulf by not reading it in Old English. Ultimately, I didn't really feel the need to learn Old English. No one is basing their philosophy of existence on Beowulf. I'm a little astounded, though, that more Christians aren't more interested in getting the original text correct (which ultimately is not the original, since Jesus and his Apostles were most certainly not speaking Greek). Probably because it's too much work. But just as an example of how much a few changes to both the translation and edition can influence an interpretation, the premillennial and pretribulation rapture(that is, the Christian idea that there will be a rapture and then judgment) doctrines came into being wholly through the first study bible, where the concept was introduced through the exegesis of scripture in the footnotes of that edition. It was not even remotely considered a possibility before that study bible (the Scofield Reference Bible if you're interested) was published.

Ultimately, life is far easier when you consider the Bible and the works therein as just another part of our culture, and a collection of works of literature, and nothing more.

bombsfall wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

Either all of the bible applies or none of it applies.

There is nothing even close to a consensus among the incredibly wide variety of Christians out there as to whether that statement is accurate or more importantly how it is accurate. And if they did agree on that, there would be even less consensus as to how to apply it.

How about "either all of it is worthy (by virtue of being in the Bible) of being enshrined in the secular law of the United States of America or none of it is", then?

Nomad wrote:

I'm not sure you 3 are understanding me. I'm not arguing against gay marriage. I'm simply addressing the idea that homosexuality is only discussed in the old testament.

Even playing by your rules, you need to cover those verses in caveats.

1) The portion in Romans is referring to heterosexuals acting as homosexuals -- that is, against their natural urges. It seems to infer that lying about one's sexuality is the sin, not the gayness.

2) As already pointed out above, there are many issues with the passage from Corinthians, including translational issues and the fact that Paul -- beset with keeping a fundamentally apocalyptic faith running in a non-apocalyptic world across many dfferent churches -- had to write rules for whiny parishioners. Here's a nice guide to the verses in question.

The importance is one of hypocracy. If one believes portions of written work contained in a specific peice of literature but completely ignores other sections of the same literature for any reason, then the argument of lawfully abiding by the "chosen" ideals is pretty much moot. This goes for almost any subject or medium.

I was shooting for "the understanding of marriage has changed over time" rather than "it's hypocritical". The problem with using a thousand years old religious text to define modern secular law is that it's *always* going to be out of context in the modern age. The best Christians can do is to re-interpret; the modern stance takes Augustine's "marriage is for procreation and for friendship/comfort/recreation" and excises the latter, because that could be presented as supporting same sex marriage (even though Augustine was deeply against hetero sodomy - which, come to think of it, might be another problem today...). It also conveniently ignores his Pauline message of "celibacy without marriage is always best for Christians", because that would limit Christian reproduction, but also because it's an understanding of the imminence of the coming of the Kingdom of God that we don't usually subscribe to today.

I'm not sure you 3 are understanding me. I'm not arguing against gay marriage. I'm simply addressing the idea that homosexuality is only discussed in the old testament.

Nomad, how do you deal with the problem that Paul believed that the world would end within the next fifty years or so, so marriage was unnecessary and even dangerous for Christians, because it encouraged them to put effort into another person that could be better spent worshiping and contemplating God? Paul does not let go of the imminence of the Coming, and that is a very different eschatology than we have today. What would Paul have said about marriage if he knew that 2000 years later, Jesus still had not come? Because if we buy into Paul's version of sexual immorality, then we have to hold that even sex in marriage can be - and usually is - immoral. Which is kind of harsh, although some Jewish sects still push that line.

Or should we take the conclusions and ignore the reasoning? Do we just say that Paul was right about sexual immorality in same sex relationships, but that he missed the boat on marriage? Isn't that by default what is going on here - selective reading to fit *our* prejudices and beliefs?

In which case, why not bias towards equality, all other things being equal?

I don't think the New Testament writers had an understanding of sexual desire as anything other than male-female. To them, it would not have been possible for anyone to be *legitimately* attracted to the same sex; it would have to be a demon, or a deliberate spiting of nature as established by God. Unfortunately, while science tells us otherwise, this belief has stood the test of time, and indeed people feel threatened when it's challenged, even after it's become clear that there's more going on than the Biblical understanding allows.

The Old Testament does seem to have some homosexual relationships that are celebrated, however. They are just not usually emphasized as such in the US today.

Robear wrote:

I don't think the Biblical writers had an understanding of sexual desire as anything other than male-female. To them, it would not have been possible for anyone to be *legitimately* attracted to the same sex; it would have to be a demon, or a deliberate spiting of nature as established by God. Unfortunately, while science tells us otherwise, this belief has stood the test of time, and indeed people feel threatened when it's challenged, even after it's become clear that there's more going on than the Biblical understanding allows.

We're talking a time period where homosexuality was much more widely accepted in Greek and Roman culture than it is now, and Paul was a Roman citizen. Unless I have my dates wildly inverted, I don't think this is accurate.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
par wrote:

The importance is one of hypocracy. If one believes portions of written work contained in a specific peice of literature but completely ignores other sections of the same literature for any reason, then the argument of lawfully abiding by the "chosen" ideals is pretty much moot. This goes for almost any subject or medium.

Which is exactly why I now believe that the opposition to gay marriage and homosexuality is nothing more than the "ick" factor.

So, assuming for the sake of argument you're correct - you're saying it's wrong for society to prohibit actions based solely on the fact that the underlying behavior is widely considered abhorrent? In other words, you'd have to run such a rule through a utilitarian litmus test and show concrete harm to another person (or their rights) for that law to be valid? Just curious where you would draw the line and I don't want to put words in your mouth.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
Nomad wrote:

Context is king.

So is translation.

Whoah, whoah.

We can't have two kings. That's wrong.

Bloo Driver wrote:
Phoenix Rev wrote:
Nomad wrote:

Context is king.

So is translation.

Whoah, whoah.

We can't have two kings. That's wrong.

This Christian-themed fantasy suggests otherwise
IMAGE(http://www.cedmagic.com/featured/narnia/113-kings-queens-on-thrones.jpg)

bombsfall wrote:

There is nothing even close to a consensus among the incredibly wide variety of Christians out there as to whether that statement is accurate or more importantly how it is accurate. And if they did agree on that, there would be even less consensus as to how to apply it.

With relation to homosexuality, I would agree with you.

However, with regard to divorce, I know of no scholar or Christian denomination that has any other interpretation of Christ's prohibition of divorce (although in one Gospel he allows if for adultery).

And there is widespread agreement on how to apply that prohibition: ignore it and move on.

Why can't the same be done for homosexuality? Or, on the other hand, enforcing both prohibitions?

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Phoenix Rev wrote:
par wrote:

The importance is one of hypocracy. If one believes portions of written work contained in a specific peice of literature but completely ignores other sections of the same literature for any reason, then the argument of lawfully abiding by the "chosen" ideals is pretty much moot. This goes for almost any subject or medium.

Which is exactly why I now believe that the opposition to gay marriage and homosexuality is nothing more than the "ick" factor.

So, assuming for the sake of argument you're correct - you're saying it's wrong for society to prohibit actions based solely on the fact that the underlying behavior is widely considered abhorrent? In other words, you'd have to run such a rule through a utilitarian litmus test and show concrete harm to another person (or their rights) for that law to be valid? Just curious where you would draw the line and I don't want to put words in your mouth.

In the context of sexual practices between consenting adults, yes, it is wrong for society to prohibit those actions because it finds it abhorrent. Lawrence v. Texas established that fairly plainly.

I mean if Christians truly are concerned about the sanctity of "traditional" marriage, where's all the pressure to outlaw divorce? There's a hell of a lot more divorced people out there eroding the institution of marriage than there will ever be married gay couples and yet all those divorcees get a complete pass.

Just want to make a point of order that it is incredibly difficult in the Catholic and I also believe Orthodox churches to get a divorce and then be remarried in a religious ceremony. My aunt had to undergo an annulment process which included a 2-hour interview and filling out an intrusive survey. Her paperwork made the application I filled out for a government security clearance look like one of those silly surveys they hand out at the mall food court. BTW this process made me livid because the reason she was getting divorced is her POS ex-husband regularly beat the stuffing out of her and my cousin.

Seth wrote:
Robear wrote:

I don't think the Biblical writers had an understanding of sexual desire as anything other than male-female. To them, it would not have been possible for anyone to be *legitimately* attracted to the same sex; it would have to be a demon, or a deliberate spiting of nature as established by God. Unfortunately, while science tells us otherwise, this belief has stood the test of time, and indeed people feel threatened when it's challenged, even after it's become clear that there's more going on than the Biblical understanding allows.

We're talking a time period where homosexuality was much more widely accepted in Greek and Roman culture than it is now, and Paul was a Roman citizen. Unless I have my dates wildly inverted, I don't think this is accurate.

From what I remember of Dan Carlin's hardcore history podcast, the Roman culture in the early ADs was pretty conservative and put a high premium on "honor and virtue." Gay sex with a slave or prostitute would not have been condemned as long as it was done discretely, but open gay relationships would have made you a social pariah. Oh, and there was the standard that a freeborn Roman always had to take the dominant role, aka "it's not gay if you're doing the pushing."

jdzappa wrote:
I mean if Christians truly are concerned about the sanctity of "traditional" marriage, where's all the pressure to outlaw divorce? There's a hell of a lot more divorced people out there eroding the institution of marriage than there will ever be married gay couples and yet all those divorcees get a complete pass.

Just want to make a point of order that it is incredibly difficult in the Catholic and I also believe Orthodox churches to get a divorce and then be remarried in a religious ceremony. My aunt had to undergo an annulment process which included a 2-hour interview and filling out an intrusive survey. Her paperwork made the application I filled out for a government security clearance look like one of those silly surveys they hand out at the mall food court. BTW this process made me livid because the reason she was getting divorced is her POS ex-husband regularly beat the stuffing out of her and my cousin.

That's a good example of humans looking at the Bible and questioning whether it was the word of God or the word of humans and whether it was worth following it to the letter. Ultimately they decided the pain caused to people wasn't worth it so they split the difference and made divorce legal, but hard. I'm not sure why the same grace can't be offered to homosexuals.

You want to make homosexuals legal, but hard?

Rallick wrote:

You want to make homosexuals legal, but hard?

That would make the best gay porn title ever - "Legal but hard."

jdzappa wrote:
Rallick wrote:

You want to make homosexuals legal, but hard?

That would make the best gay porn title ever - "Legal butt hard."

FTFY.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
So, assuming for the sake of argument you're correct - you're saying it's wrong for society to prohibit actions based solely on the fact that the underlying behavior is widely considered abhorrent? In other words, you'd have to run such a rule through a utilitarian litmus test and show concrete harm to another person (or their rights) for that law to be valid? Just curious where you would draw the line and I don't want to put words in your mouth.

In the context of sexual practices between consenting adults, yes, it is wrong for society to prohibit those actions because it finds it abhorrent. Lawrence v. Texas established that fairly plainly.

Well, not really, Lawrence contains explicit exemptions for public lewdness and prostitution.

But regardless, why the bolded qualifier? You're saying the "ick factor" in the absence of harming another person is allowable outside of sexual practices?

Phoenix Rev wrote:

However, with regard to divorce

Even with this relatively clear example, there is zero consensus as to how to address it. The grace of God covers it and therefore we all just move on, love the two people and support their divorce? Christ himself forbids it therefore it's a line that should not be crossed, so we should love the two people but hate their sin? Is it legalistic to really hold people to the prohibitions against divorce? Or are we trading away our moral foundation? Don't you know that's how the roman empire fell? I know it's true because Francis Shaeffer wrote it and he's knows the Bible better than you, sir. The Bible said that in the last days God would give men over to their desires, and if you're watching the news brother you've gotta know it's the last days. And the Bible told us that we should expect to the persecuted for following Christ, so the fact that the liberal media slanders us from day to day is just evidence that we're doing something right!

And this could go on and on and on because it's all based on individual or church interpretation of scripture along with personal revelation and political alignment. I don't even need to make this argument - the vast number of denominations that split over issues just such as this says it loud and clear.

My point isn't that it's hopeless, just that it's not a matter of "how did they get this so wrong", because there is no consensus on how to get the bible, it's commands and prohibitions "right". Some may be swayed purely by being given an alternate, more inclusive scriptural interpretation, but there is a vast core of people (less every year, thankfully), for whom such a tack is not going to be fruitful.

The reason why divorce is more accepted? Because a lot of Christians want divorces and know divorced people and have seen that they aren't all that scary. That's it. It's not that they one day said "I've found it! The part of the Bible that says everyone can get divorced!" And a great many christians (probably a lot of the same ones who are ferociously anti-gay marriage) will cite divorce rates as an example of our society falling away from God, and they've got to draw the line somewhere before marriage/the country is ruined for evaaaaar.

We need aliens to land on this planet.. pronto. It's the only hope we have as a human race... make it quick... while Will Smith is still alive.

TheGameguru wrote:

We need aliens to land on this planet.. pronto. It's the only hope we have as a human race... make it quick... while Will Smith is still alive.

IMAGE(http://onlyhdwallpapers.com/thumbnail/watchmen_ozymandias_adrian_veidt_desktop_1920x1200_wallpaper-427621.jpg)

So you're saying Veldt released a horrible creation upon mankind to bring us together in brotherhood against it?

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b5/KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg/220px-KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg)

talk about "ick factor"

also, talk about "unnatural unions"

Hypatian wrote:

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b5/KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg/220px-KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg)

Hey, look! It's that thing that convinced me all human endeavor was hollow farce that could only produce destruction and misery!

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b5/KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg/220px-KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg)

Hey, look! It's that thing that convinced me all human endeavor was hollow farce that could only produce destruction and misery!

It's one shrimp on Saturday away from violating every Levitican dietary law

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Phoenix Rev wrote:
So, assuming for the sake of argument you're correct - you're saying it's wrong for society to prohibit actions based solely on the fact that the underlying behavior is widely considered abhorrent? In other words, you'd have to run such a rule through a utilitarian litmus test and show concrete harm to another person (or their rights) for that law to be valid? Just curious where you would draw the line and I don't want to put words in your mouth.

In the context of sexual practices between consenting adults, yes, it is wrong for society to prohibit those actions because it finds it abhorrent. Lawrence v. Texas established that fairly plainly.

Well, not really, Lawrence contains explicit exemptions for public lewdness and prostitution.

But regardless, why the bolded qualifier? You're saying the "ick factor" in the absence of harming another person is allowable outside of sexual practices?

The qualifier is often necessary due to the often-used (not here, mind you) and always-stupid connection some people like to fantasize about between homosexuality and pedophilia. It is pretty much reflex to include that qualifier due to the ignorance that gets thrown around in less-civilized environs.

There are all kinds of things that some faction of society is drastically offended by that cannot be illegal. Our legal system does generally require some sort of harm to have been done in order to pass a law declaring an act illegal. That's why the courts have struck down most of the laws regulating which arrangements of slots and tabs are being connected.

Further, polls taken over the past decade-ish have shown that homosexuality and even same-sex marriage are not as widely considered abhorrent as we think.

Hypatian wrote:

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b5/KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg/220px-KFC_Double_Down_%22Sandwich%22.jpg)

Still further, one man's ick factor is another man's sudden craving. Makes me sad that my local KFC is a mismanaged hole that serves primarily food poisoning.

We're talking a time period where homosexuality was much more widely accepted in Greek and Roman culture than it is now, and Paul was a Roman citizen. Unless I have my dates wildly inverted, I don't think this is accurate.

Paul, though, is pretty clear that *any* sexual activity is a sin, and he feels it is only legitimate in marriage to head off illicit sexual activity. I think Paul disagreed with the Greek Jews and others who accepted homosexuality; I think he would have regarded it as a judgement of god, rather than the way someone is, and thus doubly sinful - not just sex, but defiance of nature as well. He refers to the acts which result from that defiance as "indecent" and specifically calls out men being attracted to men as being against nature. (It's interesting that Paul ascribes this to God *causing* this change in people in retribution for their rejection of Him.) Romans 18-27, where he says "...God gave them over to degrading passions..."

I don't think Paul took the Roman or Greek approach to this; instead, he tries to focus people on the idea that all sex is a waste of time, given the imminent end of the world as he knew it. It seems to have been hard for the followers of the Church, too, given the amount of time he spends on the topic.

jdzappa wrote:

Just want to make a point of order that it is incredibly difficult in the Catholic and I also believe Orthodox churches to get a divorce and then be remarried in a religious ceremony. My aunt had to undergo an annulment process which included a 2-hour interview and filling out an intrusive survey. Her paperwork made the application I filled out for a government security clearance look like one of those silly surveys they hand out at the mall food court. BTW this process made me livid because the reason she was getting divorced is her POS ex-husband regularly beat the stuffing out of her and my cousin.

I'm not sure I'd claim that a two hour interview and filling out a form to annul a marriage makes it an incredibly difficult process.

Even the concept of an annulment is simply the Catholic Church's way to get around the biblical prohibition on divorce. I mean imagine the mental gymnastics early church leaders had to go through before someone came up with the idea that they would simply retroactively pretend that a couple didn't get married: "It's not a divorce because they were never married in the first place! Yeah...that's the ticket!"

So, again, if even the stuffy Catholic Church can contort itself to allow things specifically prohibited in the bible then why should anyone listen to them about the rest of the stuff god supposedly doesn't want us to do? It would be much more ideologically pure for them to simply stop doing annulments. That's a long, long way from the church organizing and backing a national movement to pass laws and change state constitutions to prohibit divorce for all Americans, which is exactly what's happening in the case of gay marriage.

Again, one supposed prohibition is being singled out. Not only that, there's a vast, religious-fueled mechanism behind it that attempting to make that one religious no-no the law of the land. Why?