1. Illinois
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    18 Nov '08 04:15
    Has anyone watched the documentary, "For the Bible Tells Me So"?

    Please share your views. I'm interested in either the Christian literalist perspective or the scientific perspective on homosexuality, evidence for and against.

    Personally, I believe that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon, and disagree with the notion that it is possible to show Christlike love to a gay person while also refusing to accept their homosexuality.

    Discuss.
  2. Joined
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    18 Nov '08 05:051 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Has anyone watched the documentary, "For the Bible Tells Me So"?

    Please share your views. I'm interested in either the Christian literalist perspective or the scientific perspective on homosexuality, evidence for and against.

    Personally, I believe that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon, and disagree with the notion that it is possible to show ...[text shortened]... hristlike love to a gay person while also refusing to accept their homosexuality.

    Discuss.
    From a Biblical perspective homosexuality is condemned in both the Mosaic law and in the New Testament from Paul.

    Having said that, there is a dilemma of sorts for people who perceive one or both as being inspired by the spirit of God yet disagree with it being condemned on a personal level. From the arguments that I have heard, some say that the Mosaic law did not condemn it for the actual homosexual act itself but because it mirrored that of homosexual prostitutes in other cultures that were being condemned. In fact, had it not been for the existence of such prostitution the Mosaic law would have never condemned homosexual conduct at all. But as for Paul having an issue with homosexual conduct, I often hear people saying that this was only based on the popular "bigoted" sentiment of the culture rather than being inspired by the word of God. In addition, we have people who simply throw Paul's teachings out altogether because they have an issue with the Christian theology in general. Therefore, his writings about homosexual conduct can be ignored as a result because he is but a heretic in their opinion. Usually this view is from an Islamic perspective but ironically, Paul's position on homosexuality mirrors that of Islam if I am correct in that both condemn the practice.

    Of course, you also have nonliteralists who simply think that much of what is in the Bible should not be taken at face value in any way other than Christ's message of love. They then say that because Christ preached love and never spoke out about homosexual conduct that we should lovingly embrace homosexuals and not condemn the practice.

    As for the latter argument I have several questions. The first is, what does it mean to love someone or "accept" someone? Does loving someone mean that you must accept their actions even if that includes them sinning? For example, Christ showed mercy on the woman caught in adultery but then said, "Go and sin no more". Did he not show love towards her by sparing her life while at the same time taking a hard stand on adultery? If I am correct, both adultery and homosexuality were punishable under Mosaic law by stoning so I think the comparison is valid. Secondly, Christ did take a stand on one sexual issue which was divorce. In fact, he took a hard stand on it forbidding his followers to divorce and then remarry causing them to be taken aback.

    Now considering all these fact, what would Christ say today about homosexuality I wonder?
  3. Joined
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    18 Nov '08 05:381 edit
    As for the scientific position, if I am not mistaken, homosexual conduct was diagnosed as a disorder as early as the 1960's. After all, the evolutionary drive is to mate and reproduce yet these people do not seem to have the same drive. In this sense it is not natural, however, homosexual conduct does seem to occur in nature naturally so should it then be considered "natural"? Then again, other perceived "disorders" appear to occur naturally so should everything we see around us be considered "natural" rather than a disorder or "unnatural"?

    Having said that, I think there are disorders for every aspect of our being. For example, things go wrong with our heart, things go wrong with our emotions, things go wrong with our psychological state yet when it comes to our sexuality there apparently are no disorders unless of course in the case of pedophilia or beastiality and even then not everyone can agree. Unfortunately, however, when things go wrong with our sexuality and/or our mental status people are instantly devalued as inferior in comparison to someone that may have simply had a heart attack. Why? Perhaps it has to do with fear? You might say that people shun what they fear of becoming but I think it is fear of what they do not understand. Physical disorders are tangible. We can study them more in depth and often have "cures" as a result. However, sexual and mental disorders seem incurable and to a large extent, intangible. And lastly, there are religious stigmas related to sexual/mental disorders. Not only are they "damaged goods" because of their disorder they are also probably hell bound according to many religious teachings.

    So having said all that, from a medical perspective, what benefit is their to continue to label the homosexuality as a disorder? What we have is someone who is already struggling with sexual tendencies that seem contradictory to what is considered "normal" in society and, in addition, they know that there will be societal consequences if they are found out. From a medical perspective there is no way to change their sexual tendencies and they are perfectly able to function in society in general so why give them the added baggage of being labeled abnormal? What benefit is there to the individual and what benefit is there to society at large? In fact, if the medical community can convince society at large that it is normal, perhaps these people can be embraced by society which would beneficial to their overall quality of life. After all, it is not healthy to go around hating yourself and fearing what other people may think of you.
  4. Illinois
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    18 Nov '08 11:276 edits
    Originally posted by whodey
    From a Biblical perspective homosexuality is condemned in both the Mosaic law and in the New Testament from Paul.

    Having said that, there is a dilemma of sorts for people who perceive one or both as being inspired by the spirit of God yet disagree with it being condemned on a personal level. From the arguments that I have heard, some say that the Mosaic l w considering all these fact, what would Christ say today about homosexuality I wonder?
    From a Biblical perspective homosexuality is condemned in both the Mosaic law and in the New Testament from Paul.

    In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told that a man having intercourse with another man was an "abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). However, almost in the same breath the Israelites were told that it was also an "abomination" to eat living things in the waters which lack scales and fins; that it is an "abomination" to sacrifice blemished sheep; and that it is an "abomination" to make a meal out of an eagle, ossifrage, or an ospray. This term "abomination" seems to refer to that which is ritualistically forbidden, rather than that which is inherently evil. For instance, it was said that for the Egyptians it was an "abomination" to eat with Hebrew people (Genesis 43:32), and that shepherds were an "abomination" as well (Genesis 43:34).

    __________


    It seems Paul himself condemns to hell those who engage in homosexual acts (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9). I haven't looked too deeply into these passages myself yet, but their meaning appears quite plain at first glance, i.e., homosexuality bad; heterosexuality good. That said, I find it difficult to reconcile Paul's pronouncements against gay men and women with what we find in nature.

    The standard Christian response is intellectually disconcerting: "God created man and woman for marriage and procreation, but the fall of man perverted and polluted the world, therefore we find gay water buffaloes and gay frogs, etc." This explanation is meant to show that homosexuality in human beings is the result of a fallen world, but, regardless, aren't those who find themselves irrevocably maladjusted to the divinely mandated status quo nevertheless entitled to be accepted as they are? For instance, the intersexual individual who is born with both male and female sexual organs -- does Paul have anything to say about that kind of person? If an individual is neither man or woman, is that person hell-bound automatically? Does God have a place in heaven for those unable to fulfill his call to normalcy? How in a fallen world such as ours can we possibly conclude that all people are inherently capable of emulating the ideal heterosexual model of Adam & Eve simply by trying harder or being "cured" somehow? This I don't understand.

    Along these lines, I want an answer to this question: if it is possible that a person may be born with both male and female sexual characteristics, why is it not also possible for a man to be born with a woman's attraction to men, or a woman born with a man's attraction to women?

    __________


    Thanks for the replies, whodey, I look forward to a fruitful discussion.
  5. Joined
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    18 Nov '08 14:396 edits
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Has anyone watched the documentary, "For the Bible Tells Me So"?

    Please share your views. I'm interested in either the Christian literalist perspective or the scientific perspective on homosexuality, evidence for and against.

    Personally, I believe that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon, and disagree with the notion that it is possible to show ...[text shortened]... hristlike love to a gay person while also refusing to accept their homosexuality.

    Discuss.
    Brother Epi,

    There is no question that we are to be lovers of men and women as Christians. No argument at all from me about loving the sinner.

    But if we do not isolate homosexuality from the passage of Romans to stand alone, but include the other sins that Paul mentioned, such as :

    "unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity ..." (verse 29)

    "whisperers, slanderers, hateful to God, insolent, arrogant, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents ..." (verse 30)

    "sensless, faithless, affectionless, merciless ..."(verse 31)


    Do we extend the "accepting" attitude you discribe to such things as these also? In other words, I think you have to admit that the homosexual behavior which Paul condems in Romans 1 does not stand alone. It is simply one of at least 21 other negative moralities.

    Are you saying that we should extend Christ's love to these other people while agreeing with these other 21 immoral behaviors?

    Are we to say, "I not only love you in Christ but ALSO realize that you were simply born - unrighteous or covetous or a murderer or full of envy, therefore we receive also your behaviors ? "

    Can I not say that I was born full of malignity or insolent or faithless or full of strife or disbedient to my parents, so I need no salvation from these traits with which I was naturally born ?

    Does Christ seek to stop me from being a whisperer when I was born with a desire to whisper and slander people behind their backs? Why doesn't Jesus simply accept my lust for whispering ?

    Not seperating our homosexuality for a special class, how do you extend your attitude towards the other behaviors mentioned by the apostle in Romans chapter one ?
  6. Joined
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    18 Nov '08 15:15
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    The standard Christian response is intellectually disconcerting: "God created man and woman for marriage and procreation, but the fall of man perverted and polluted the world, therefore we find gay water buffaloes and gay frogs, etc." This explanation is meant to show that homosexuality in human beings is the result of a fallen world, but, regardless, aren ...[text shortened]... __________


    Thanks for the replies, whodey, I look forward to a fruitful discussion.[/b]
    With all due respect, comparing the sexual practices to that of animals is like comparing apples to oranges, unless of course we are on equal footing with animals. I suppose atheists would have no problem with this comparison, however, for those of faith view the human race different in that we were created in the image of God. Mankind was given dominian over the animal race and he alone is accountable for his sexual practices as where animals act on instinct. For example, we also see animals who are promiscuous as well but does this then imply that man is then free to do so as well in the eyes of God?
  7. Joined
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    18 Nov '08 15:255 edits
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    For instance, the intersexual individual who is born with both male and female sexual organs -- does Paul have anything to say about that kind of person? If an individual is neither man or woman, is that person hell-bound automatically? Does God have a place in heaven for those unable to fulfill his call to normalcy? How in a fallen world such as ours ca

    __________


    Thanks for the replies, whodey, I look forward to a fruitful discussion.[/b]
    It does not apear that Paul has anything to say about people who are born with both sex organs, in fact, I am not even sure he was aware of such phenomenon. Having said that, I too have wondered about such things and have not seen a ruling in scripture on the matter, so all I have to go on is my own instinct and what I already know about the ways of the God of the Bible. No matter whether such people are hell bound or not the fact of the matter is this sort of physical/sexual disorder is "unfair". You are pretty much garaunteed a life full of confusion/rejection having such a disorder that is socially considered taboo. I look at it this way, we all are born with "issues". For example, some of us seem compelled to abuse drugs, some of us are compelled to lie, some of us are compelled to be promiscuous, some are even born without arms and legs etc. I say we are all then held accountable for our actions despite our sinful tendencies no matter how "unfair" that may sound. As I said before, individuals who have sexual "disfunctions" are singled out and viewed subpar to those who have other disorders for the reasons I listed in my last post. This is perhaps why we have such issues with sexual disfunctions. For example, it seems more unfair for the gay person to be born gay that it is for the promiscuous person to have sex with whomever they so desire. One is accepted socially and the other is not. In addition, one seems "cureable" as where the other seems as though they are not. Of course, these are all ASSUMPTIONS that need to be assessed on an individual basis. For example, I know of some former gay people who went straight and I know of some promiscuous people who never seem to have been able to change their ways. But then, what of the gay person who cannot change his desire for members of the same sex? Are they sinful? I say they are just as sinful as the straight person who is chaste but has the desire at times to be with members of the opposite sex. For me, there is no difference. Of course, the question then begs to be asked, is this "fair"? From my obeservation there is NOTHING fair about being born in a fallen race. I suppose you could argue degrees of fairness should be assessed but then what about the child born in Africa who is doomed to die of starvation in their first year of life? Is the person born gay in a better position than he?
  8. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Nov '08 18:214 edits
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Personally, I believe that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon, and disagree with the notion that it is possible to show Christlike love to a gay person while also refusing to accept their homosexuality.
    Epiphinehas,

    I'm going to try to make this a one-poster because I've found that trying to
    discuss things rationally with Whodey and especially Jaywill to be a literal
    impossibility (cf. Whodey's rejection of animal sexual practices but his appeals
    to nature as a standard for morality 🙄). I'll respond to you directly or any
    other serious inquiries, but the 'down-from-on-high' moralists, I'll probably
    ignore since the content of my posts are essentially ignored by them in the
    other related threads.

    I'm going to straddle both fences -- the scientific side and theistic side,
    since I don't find it difficult to reconcile the two.

    I believe that it is impossible to say where homosexuality comes from. The
    common oversimplification is 'it's genetic.' I do not believe that it is that
    simple; very few aspects of personality are affected by a single gene (in
    this case, a 'gay' gene). The urge for sexuality is obviously universal
    (otherwise species would not procreate), and I would say that opposite-sex
    attraction is normative. However, I believe that something genetic contributes
    to having the predisposition to express that universal sexuality in unorthodox
    ways. Some are more predisposed to opposite-sex attraction, others are
    less so. That is, sex is pleasurable so it encourages procreation, but it's
    pleasurable first, procreative second (as far as 'nature' is concerned). If
    it weren't pleasurable, it would not yield to procreation.

    We know that children undergo several developmental spurts, that certain
    neurological pathways become closed after certain points. I believe that
    sexual attraction forms in one of these early points. And, if one is predisposed
    towards same-sex attraction and sees something pleasant in male-male
    relations or unpleasant in male-female relations, the child will express his
    sexuality as 'gay.'

    As I reread this, it may give the impression that people are 'made gay.'
    That's not an accurate summary of my position. I'll try to give an analogue
    to clarify: As a man, I'm sure you have had conversations with other men
    about famous women about the measure of their attractiveness. For example,
    many people think that Jessica Alba is to-die-for hot. I do not. I recognize
    that she is very attractive, but I am not sexually attracted to her. By contrast
    I think that Helen Hunt is more attractive though most people think she is
    only fairly attractive (not remarkably so). I'm sure that, among your male
    friends, you've had similar conversations -- Paris Hilton, Jennifer Anniston,
    Jessica Simpson, Debra Messing: some men would rob a bank for these
    women, some just shrug and say 'Yeah, I guess she's pretty.'

    Those whom we find attractive are formed pretty early in our childhoods,
    even before the onset of puberty. I don't think people are 'made' to think
    redheads are hot; it just happens. I don't think parents 'do something' to
    make big butts attractive, some men just end up liking them. I don't think
    some specific experience lends itself to finding sharp facial features sexy;
    somehow it just arises.

    And I don't think any one or a handful of experiences 'make' a gay person.
    It just arises from predisposition and is nurtured inadvertently by the
    experiences that the child has as it grows up.

    This is what I believe, scientifically. I don't think it's purely genetic or
    purely experiential. It arises from a confluence of experience outside of
    the control of the child and largely invisible to the parent. However, I do
    believe that, once it's formed (and I believe it forms early), it's hardwired
    in (just like my attraction to big-butted, sharp-featured redheads [p.s., don't
    tell my wife...she's not a redhead, and her butt is average-sized...!!!]).
    Short of brain damage, nothing could happen to change these proclivities;
    they are natural to me. Similarly, I don't think that homosexuals have any
    more control over to whom they are attracted than I do. As such, I find the
    idea of persecuting them on the basis of their attraction the height of
    repugnant.

    As it pertains to Christianity and how it should negotiate orientation: The
    Bible is relatively unequivocal in its condemnation of same-sex attraction,
    both in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. If you want to maintain that
    the Bible is an eternal handbook for behavior, then one is obligated to
    reject homosexual behavior. I think that there can be no dispute about
    this.

    However, as I've pointed out, such a stance weds you to other moral positions.
    As I have cited from I Peter and I Timothy, one is required to reject those
    women who braid their hair or wear gold and fine clothing. As I have cited
    from I Corinthians, one is required to reject women who wear their hair short
    or men (like me...) who wear their hair long. One is to look at divorced
    men and women as perpetual adulterers. And so on.

    Some on this site have even gone so far as to suggest that they would
    have no problem with the reinstating of Levitical Law, permitting slaves and
    stoning homosexuals.

    I find such perspectives to be decidedly anti-God. To couch things in a
    Christian language, I think that revelation is an ongoing process, that it
    is never closed. I think that the authors of the texts of the Bible (and
    authors of any text at any time) express that revelation to a greater or
    lesser degree. When St Luke penned the Prodigal Son, I think he was
    inspired. When the editor inserted the story of the woman caught in adultery
    into St John's Gospel, I think he was inspired. I think that when St Matthew
    added the story of the sheep and the goats to his narrative, he was inspired.
    I think when St Paul wrote his famous chapter on love (I Cor 13), I think
    he was inspired. And the list goes on and on. I think those people in
    those moments looked at the world in a different way, saw what it could
    be if they embraced Godlike virtue, and wrote of it. I think that no one
    can sustain this level of insight for long.

    St Paul was unable to see homoerotic expression as loving because it was
    unfathomable to him. The homoerotic displays he saw were the hedonistic
    Roman ephebophelic exchanges, which were not loving and often not
    consensual, or through male prostitutes, living desperate and loathsome
    lives. The idea two men sharing a life in which the virtues of sacrifice,
    compassion, devotion, and sensitivity were prevalent was simply unimaginable,
    and it isn't hard to see why. He was also unable to imagine a world in which
    men had long hair, or women braided their hair because the associations
    he had with these actions were inseparable from what they signified. For
    St Paul, braided hair meant prostitute, women with short hair meant
    shame, and men who had sex with other men meant loathsome, Roman
    desperation. The Spirit could not prompt him to transcend these associations,
    to look past the signified and see the act itself.

    Because in sexuality we are often at our most vulnerable, it's often a taboo
    topic. Even though we know our parents had sex, many shudder to imagine
    our parents in the throes of ecstasy; even while we want the best for our
    parents, the idea of 'mom having an orgasm' creeps many people out. By
    contrast, I'd like to think my parents had sex -- good sex -- regularly.

    If, in the context of a traditional marriage between two, opposite-sexed
    consenting adults who were married in a church and have been unfailingly
    faithful to each other, we cannot talk openly about sexuality, how much
    more difficult is it to imagine that non-normative sexual practices will be
    discussed healthily?

    The question for me is: Today, can we see what St Paul couldn't? Can we
    see in two men the kind of love which empowers and inspires? Can we
    see the spark of the Divine in the experiences that two men have? I think
    we can. I think the Christian church needs to recognize that the authors
    of the Christian texts could only look with their 1st-century eyes, that their
    personal biases interfered with their ability to channel the Divine in their
    own writings.

    There is an ancient Roman hymn which is (or at least ought to be) chanted
    on Holy Thursday: Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est, which translates, 'Where
    charity and love (are), God is there.' (As I do not think that the canon is
    ever closed, I take such statements as having the status of revelation.)
    A priest I know constantly states, 'God is not simply a noun; God is a verb.
    God has a unique duality, He is both something in which we believe, but
    He something that we, as the faithful, are called to do.' This priest takes
    the dogma 'God is love' and responds with, 'How can we do God?' He takes
    the notion of 'seeing Christ in one another' and 'being Christ for one
    another' as a call to compassion.

    (cont.)
  9. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Nov '08 18:224 edits
    Within that framework (one which I think is an accurate, modern reflection
    of what I think Christianity ought to be), I don't think that any mutual expression
    of compassion or love can ever be shameful in the face of God. I think if
    we find mutual respect, devotion, faithfulness, compassion, and sacrifice
    in a relationship, we find the Divine, we find a microcosm of how we should
    be treating each other globally. If two men find in each other the inspiration
    to be better people, more loving (i.e., being Christ to others, seeing Christ
    in others), then I think the Christian framework needs to adjust to accept
    that. It needs to recognize the timelessness of the concepts of agape, while
    letting go of the ephemeral ways in which that agape has historically been
    expressed. I think it's profoundly unChristian to say, 'Yes, I know you
    find the Divine in your relationship, I know it makes you a better person,
    it inspires you to seek the Divine in others, it rewards you and nourishes
    you spiritually and emotionally, but in spite of all this, you need to give
    it up because you'll burn in hell because of it, because some guy in the
    1st-century who thought men with ponytails women with gold earrings were
    sinners.'

    What the Christian is basically saying is that the man in this gay relationship
    is deluded, that his experiences of the Divine are in fact false, that the
    nourishment he is getting are in fact poison, that the compassion and
    sacrifice he feels are in fact sin.

    So, essentially, it hinges on whether you think that the moral pronouncements
    made in the Bible are final and immutable. If you do, then you're obligated
    to reject homosexuality (and long hair for men and braided hair and gold
    for women). If you think that Christianity evolves, that the Church is in
    an eternal pursuit of refining its Truth, that the canon can be updated and
    indeed supplanted by the modern-day promptings of the Holy Spirit, then
    you're only obligated to consider the Bible in its context and pray about
    how it should or should not inform you.

    Most modern-day Christians have already done this, whether they admit
    it or not: their women wear gold and braid their hair, women have the
    authority to teach men in spiritual matters, slavery is condemned as decidedly
    unChristian, and so on.

    It's time for Christians to acknowledge the holiness that can exist between
    same-sex couples, too.

    Nemesio

    P.S., No, I haven't seen the documentary.
  10. weedhopper
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    18 Nov '08 21:49
    I show Christian love to Republicans every day, but refuse to accept their false doctrine.
  11. Illinois
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    19 Nov '08 12:248 edits
    Originally posted by jaywill
    Brother Epi,

    There is no question that we are to be lovers of men and women as Christians. No argument at all from me about loving the sinner.

    But if we do not [b]isolate
    homosexuality from the passage of Romans to stand alone, but include the other sins that Paul mentioned, such as :
    "unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice, ful ttitude towards the other behaviors mentioned by the apostle in Romans chapter one ?[/b]
    I'm not sure where homosexuality fits into Romans 1, exactly. The Romans of course practiced pederasty and Paul could have been referring to their cultural predispositions rather than homosexuality itself. Given that most young Roman men had male lovers, it is more likely to be true that their homosexual relations were indeed contrary to their nature. However, nothing in the passage itself rules out the possibility that there are in existence individuals, Roman or not, who are truly homosexual by nature.

    There are two instances in scripture where the "sodomite" is listed with other evil doers (1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10), but it isn't clear whether or not Paul intended the term arsenokoites (sodomite) to refer to homosexuality in general, or more specifically to "a powerful aggressor subjugating a weaker individual, whether in the context of rape, or slave trading." Paul "had many different words at his disposal for referring to homosexuality in general, not just pederasty... The few contexts in which we find these words do not require that the word means "all (active) homosexuals"." At the very least this article reveals an interesting word study: http://www.geocities.com/pharsea/Greeks.html

    Have you ever watched the movie Shawshank Redemption? Andy asks Red, after being threatened with rape by a prison gang, "would it help if I told them that I wasn't gay?" Red responds, "Neither are they; you have to be human first." It's a great line. This is the distinction, I think, that must be made biblically as well. For instance, the most accurate interpretation of arsenokoites is "sodomite" -- there is scant evidence, if any, that the Sodomites were "gay" in the way we understand the term today. Rather, the inhabitants of Sodom were exceedingly sinful in the same fashion as that gang in Shawshank, to the degree that they would rape others as an act of domination and humiliation.

    A long story short, I disagree that homosexuality is a sin, and further, I disagree that the Bible condemns homosexuality in general. Here is an interesting study for your perusal: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/16/neuroscience.psychology
  12. Illinois
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    19 Nov '08 12:53
    Here is a recent scientific study relevant to our discussion:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/16/neuroscience.psychology
  13. Joined
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    19 Nov '08 14:595 edits
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    I'm not sure where homosexuality fits into Romans 1, exactly. The Romans of course practiced pederasty and Paul could have been referring to their cultural predispositions rather than homosexuality itself. Given that most young Roman men had male lovers, it is more likely to be true that their homosexual relations were indeed contrary to their nature. rusal: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/16/neuroscience.psychology
    Some preliminary comments

    I am cautious about becoming "sin centered". Whether or not homosexuality is a sin, it does not help the Christian to focus his or her attention upon the sin. My experience is that we have to look away to Jesus and enjoy Him.

    By enjoying Christ, as by product of that, the Christian will be freed from all manner of sins. Having said that I can remark on some of your post.


    ==================================
    I'm not sure where homosexuality fits into Romans 1, exactly.
    ===================================


    Paul seems to have the Old Testament open before him. He seems to be tracing the history in Genesis. Abraham was called out of the land filled with idols and idol worship. Then Abraham got involved with the city of Sodom first to rescue them from invasion and secondly to interceed for his nephew before God's judgment of Sodom and other cities in the vicinity.

    The Sodomite society apparantly did not remember God's previous kindness to them.

    ======================================
    The Romans of course practiced pederasty and Paul could have been referring to their cultural predispositions rather than homosexuality itself. Given that most young Roman men had male lovers, it is more likely to be true that their homosexual relations were indeed contrary to their nature.
    ========================================


    I am thinking here that Paul did not say that what the people did was simply contrary to "their" [ personal ] nature." It says it was contrary to NATURE. I have to deal with the fact that the revelation of God discribes acts that were not simply personally perculiar but were "contrary to NATURE." (my emphasis)

    "for their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature." (v.26)

    Paul seems not to be refering to a personal quirk but a violation of nature as the Creator designed it.


    I notice also that physical "bodies" are mentioned, not tendencies, inclinations, or desires.

    " ... the dishoner their bodies among themselves ..." (v.24).

    This sounds to me more than forceful gang rape of men by men. It sounds like two or more consenting adults using their bodies in a way which is dishonorable, albeit by mutual agreement.

    I have to deal with this kind of utterance "without prejudice."

    "I solomnly charge you befoe God and Christ Jesus and the chosen angels that you keep these things without prejudice, doing nothing by way of partiality." (1 Tim. 5:21)

    Like you, I am concerned that I get it right.

    To have a tendency or an inclination may not be as serious as engaging the physical body to follow through in a dishonorable way, a way contrary to God's created nature of sexual relations.

    ==============================
    However, nothing in the passage itself rules out the possibility that there are in existence individuals, Roman or not, who are truly homosexual by nature.
    ================================


    I think the thief, the murderer, the kidnapper, the gambler, the drunkard, the adulteror, the fornicator, the hater of God, could all plausibly make a case that they were simply born with a nature to act as they do.

    In fact perhaps we all have a homosexual tendency somewhere in us. The Bible says that the fallen man was constituted "by nature" the children of wrath. Could we not all argue that we sin because we were born with a nature to do so?

    " ... we also all conducted ourselves once in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were BY NATURE, the children of wrath, even as the rest." (Eph. 2:3)

    Could each of us not argue that falling into fornication we felt that it was our inevitable destiny to do so? Could each of us not argue that having stolen property we felt it was our created nature to fulfill such an action?

    Couldn't the child molester argue that he always felt it was his nature to do so ? There is some truth to that, for we were constituted children of God's judgment by nature from the fall of Adam.

    =================================
    There are two instances in scripture where the "sodomite" is listed with other evil doers (1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10),
    ===================================


    I am not sure if "sodomite" is a good translation. However, the sin is mentioned there clearly with other sins.

    But why should it not be also clear in Romans 1? God giving them up is the source of both the sin mentioned between members of the same sex (whatever we call it) and the other 21 sins. They share that in common:

    "Therefore God gave them up in the lsts of their hearts to uncleaness, so that they dishonor their bodies among themselves ... God gave them up to passions of dishonor ... females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature... likewise males with males commiting unseemliness ..." (vs. 24-27)

    Compare that with:

    "... God gave them up to a disapproved mind, to do things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice ...etc." (v.28 -31)

    The 21 sins and that of male on male sex and female on female sex are therefore classed together. And the conclusion to all of them is:

    " ... though fully knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do them, but also have fellow delight in those who practice them." (v. 32)

    So I do not see how Romans chapter 1 is ambiguous concerning God's attitude towards male on male/ female on female sexual unions of thier bodies.

    =========================================
    but it isn't clear whether or not Paul intended the term arsenokoites (sodomite) to refer to homosexuality in general,
    ====================================


    I gave you my reasons why I think in Romans consentual female on female or male on male sexual unions seem indicated.

    Verses 26 and 27 do not seem to restrict the discription only to violent gang rape of an unwilling victim.

    I do not think the word of condemnation would extend to someone forcibly raped against his or her will by members of the same sex. In other words, for example, the prison inmate gang raped would not be considered a homosexual per se, but rather a victim of such behavior.

    The victim has not exchanged the natural use of his body. He has been forced. The willing and consenting homosexual could be said to be exchanging the natural use for that which is contrary to nature.

    ========================
    Have you ever watched the movie Shawshank Redemption? Andy asks Red, after being threatened with rape by a prison gang, "would it help if I told them that I wasn't gay?" Red responds, "Neither are they; you have to be human first." It's a great line.
    ===============================


    I am not sure about the meaning of the line. However, it is because homosexuality destroys humanity that God is against it. It damages the human vessel created by God for His purpose. For this reason it is closely identified with idolatry. And even lustfull heterosexual promiscuity is also identified with idolatry.

    It seems that this sin stems from making an idol out of sex. In either case, homo or hetero, the fallen man may exalt sexual union to a level of idolatry competing with God Himself and violating God's creation.

    At this present time I think the underlyng sin behind heterosexual promiscuity and homosexual body dishonoring is an idolatry, an idol worship in excessive and unbridled greed.

    I will have to bear the responsibility before Christ for what I teach. Do not think though that I do not have gay or lesbian members of my family. I had a brother die of HIV complications in the gay community in California.

    I loved him. And I loved him in the Lord Jesus too.

    ================================
    This is the distinction, I think, that must be made biblically as well. For instance, the most accurate interpretation of arsenokoites is "sodomite" -- there is scant evidence, if any, that the Sodomites were "gay" in the way we understand the term today. Rather, the inhabitants of Sodom were exceedingly sinful in the same fashion as that gang in Shawshank, to the degree that they would rape others as an act of domination and humiliation.
    =====================================


    I think as in the case of fornication, forcible rape is worst. But consenting fornication is not made righteous because of that greater guilt of forcible rape.

    I reject that gang rape makes female on female or male on male sex, by consent, righteous.

    You may try to convince me otherwise because I want the truth. So far I think you have misaimed somewhat here.
  14. Standard memberNemesio
    Ursulakantor
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Joined
    05 Mar '02
    Moves
    32455
    19 Nov '08 18:37
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Have you ever watched the movie Shawshank Redemption? Andy asks Red, after being threatened with rape by a prison gang, "would it help if I told them that I wasn't gay?" Red responds, "Neither are they; you have to be human first." It's a great line. This is the distinction, I think, that must be made biblically as well. For instance, the most accurate interpretation of arsenokoites is "sodomite" -- there is scant evidence, if any, that the Sodomites were "gay" in the way we understand the term today. Rather, the inhabitants of Sodom were exceedingly sinful in the same fashion as that gang in Shawshank, to the degree that they would rape others as an act of domination and humiliation.

    Exceedingly well put.

    And, yes, it's a great line and a very good movie. Comparing 'Sodomites' with loving, consensual
    same-sex unions borders on bizarre as far as I'm concerned, like comparing rapists with married
    couples.

    Nemesio
  15. Standard memberKellyJay
    Walk your Faith
    USA
    Joined
    24 May '04
    Moves
    148543
    19 Nov '08 19:00
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Within that framework (one which I think is an accurate, modern reflection
    of what I think Christianity ought to be), I don't think that any mutual expression
    of compassion or love can ever be shameful in the face of God. I think if
    we find mutual respect, devotion, faithfulness, compassion, and sacrifice
    in a relationship, we find the Divine, we find ...[text shortened]... between
    same-sex couples, too.

    Nemesio

    P.S., No, I haven't seen the documentary.
    Where is the scripture in all of your post, seem to be void of it.
    Kelly
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