The deciding LGBT issue that Christians cannot ignore

  • metta

    Posts: 39144

    Aug 25, 2012 12:46 AM GMT
    The deciding LGBT issue that Christians cannot ignore

    http://johnshore.com/2012/08/23/does-a-gay-man-automatically-go-to-hell-an-angel-decides/
  • Mike31408

    Posts: 6

    Aug 25, 2012 2:48 AM GMT
    metta8 saidThe deciding LGBT issue that Christians cannot ignore

    http://johnshore.com/2012/08/23/does-a-gay-man-automatically-go-to-hell-an-angel-decides/


    If he's gay/homosexual, lied about his age, or weight, and he's stolen many a heart?
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    Aug 25, 2012 3:35 AM GMT
    The Hebrew Bible was a nation-building book. The rules of the nation and the rules of the national identity determined what was and what was not a sin.

    To equate the Hebrew people with Heaven is an error. The Hebrew Bible's end was not getting Hebrews (let alone the goyim) into Heaven. Any biblical statement in the Hebrew Bible section of the Holy Bible about homosexuality being a sin remains a sin and has nothing to do with Heaven. The Ancient Jews lived for life (to life is their toast); they did not have a developed view of the afterlife. The Ancient Egyptians did. After Hellenism, the thought of soul and afterlife appears in Judaism.

    Okay, what about the New Testament, then?

    Even after Hellenism with its bisexuality, gymnasiums, and naked Olympics washed through Judaism, Jesus, a teacher of love, never went so far as to teach homosexuality publicly. In the Gospel of Judas, there is some mention of a desire to recapture life in Eden before the fig leaf. But even there, there was only opposite gender partnering.

    Second, Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. So, he did not abolish homosexuality for being a national sin.

    Beyond national identity, is homosexuality a sin against the design of the human bodies when the male is the sexual male that fits in the female? Everyone understands the concept of male and female: plug and socket and hardware terms of male and female. We get it: the male penis has sexual fluid and the female vagina has sexual fluid. Put them together and breeding and childbirth may occur.

    Third, in society, women used to be raised to be cooperative more than competitive. Then, when it came time for setting up home, the competitive gender would partner with the cooperative gender. Again, by design, this time, social design, two partners, competitive by nature, not nurturing are not designed for a lifestyle of homemaking. I once had a book called "The New Male" by Herb Goldberg, but I doubt men are going to be so "new" that society looks androgynous.

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    Aug 25, 2012 3:52 AM GMT
    Most Jews, being of the Reform or Conservative movements, have no problem with and embrace gayness.
  • waccamatt

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    Aug 25, 2012 3:59 AM GMT
    LIEV saidMost Jews, being of the Reform or Conservative movements, have no problem with and embrace gayness.


    Exactly - and most Jewish parents encourage their children to think for themselves through the use of reason and not to follow a book some dudes wrote thousands of years ago.
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    Aug 25, 2012 4:02 AM GMT
    If anything, that should create an even stronger case against the reality of religion in the first place.

    Who wants to follow some book all their life, not even knowing whether or not they'll go to heaven till after they die?
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    Aug 25, 2012 5:26 AM GMT
    The Bible teaches that we are all sinners. As far as I've ever read, no one sin is worse than another. Paul (who wrote part of the Bible) was a pretty horrible man during a part of his life. The Bible teaches that God loves us despite our sins. Paul is a great example of His forgiveness. He went on to serve God with great distinction.

    A homosexual is no more likely to go to Hell than a liar, an adulterer, a murderer, or any other kind of sinner. Jesus set an impossible standard when he noted that what is in our heart is just as bad as what we do. Some may recall President Jimmy Carter noting that he has committed adultery in his heart. He was referencing the words of Jesus. If homosexuality is a sin, it is no more likely to send us to Hell than any other sins.

    Do not confuse the words of the Bible with the words of those who follow it. There are a great many evil, horrible people who claim to follow the Bible and claim the word "Christian." I've often said that were I Satan, the best place to act would be within the church.

    Many who oppose Christianity actually oppose the actions of those who claim to be Christians rather than the faith itself. Many Christians don't even know the tenets of their own faith or, if they do, choose not to practice them.

    None of this answers whether homosexuality is a sin or not, but I think that belongs in another topic.
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    Aug 25, 2012 8:48 AM GMT
    Further proof that we can't lead our lives based on what nomadic dwellers in the Middle East thought was moral more than 2000 years ago.
  • raen

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    Aug 25, 2012 8:55 AM GMT
    I doubt that most anti-gay Christians will agree with the article. In my experience, they only acknowledge things from the Bible that help their argument and they believe that they're holier-than-thou because they're straight.
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Aug 25, 2012 9:44 AM GMT
    An interesting article.

    Certainly I agree about context and contextual theology and that we are all "Sinners" (in other words dislocated from "God" (however you may chose to name or express Him/Her/It) and from ourserlves).

    I also agree that whilst the New Testament may appear to condemn some male-male sexual practices, we have to remember it condemns the sexual ACT not the person and also St Paul, bless him, mistakenly thought gay people were straight who chose to be gay out of wickedness or lust. To be honest, that was a pretty crack-pot idea 2,000 ish years ago when Paul was writing; Hellenic (Greco-Roman) cultures didn't really have a problem with male: male affection or sex acts (well the Romans had a problem with Peaderasty and in terms of male sex they didnt care where the penis went because to have a penis was to be dominant and to "put it in someone" and considered demeaning and effeminate to have a penis "put in you". The Romans were very hooked up on ideas of penis-based masculinity. But I digress).

    St Paul also says that money lenders, bankers, etc are also "sinners" and wont get into "Heaven". So why isnt the Church telling all the fat-cat bankers and lawyers they're going to hell too?

    And how come some Christians are quite happy to quote St Paul's hugely out of date medical theory (gays chose to be gay cos they're straights being wicked before God) when they accept modern science nad medical treatments from their Doctors or Hospitals? ....

    For my service on Sunday - on Sport and the Sacred - Ive actually found there is more in the New Testament on being physically and spiritually fit and using sport as a metaphor for life than there is for homosexuality! There are at least ten references to it, more than double the number which may or may not be about homosexuality. So why is the Church getting its knickers in a twist over the gays when it should be saying something about the obesity epidemic! Gluttony and sloth are "sins" as well but you dont see churches doing anything about it!

    How come is it in areas where Jesus is absolutely specific and CANNOT be misinterpretted eg. Love your Neighbour, Do unto Others, challenging and combatting greed, a "me me me" attitude the Church has a rather poor track record? Its enough to make you want to give up on the whole thing.

    Rev. Ant
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    Aug 25, 2012 9:51 AM GMT
    We choose our gods. They dont choose us. That being said, my the gods of sex and wine bless all of you.
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Aug 25, 2012 9:58 AM GMT
    Thank you for the blessing!

    And I think you're bang on. We choose our god,s in Fact...we make them.

    Religions are man-made, they are an attempt by human societies in differant places and times accross the world to deal with the sense of "other" that some chose to call God and also appearing to be finite in what appears to be infinite.

    To that end there is no "true" religion or "false" religion, merely one that works for YOU and you find "true".

    James Martineau in the 19th century said that the seat of authority on religion was in the human mind, specifically the conscience.

    I“Conscience, in which the ends are taken, not as we like, but as we ought; Faith in which the conflict is transcended between what we like and what we ought, and duty becomes Divine.”; “ Conscience, then, in its struggles, represents what God is for, and what he is against, no less, in its heavenly calm, does it bespeak the living unison of the divine spirit with our own…devout faithful persons in all ages... habitually sustained and kindled by a Divine communion, exalting and transcending their own personal strength… related spirits, joined by a common creative aim, intent on whatever things are pure and good, liv[ing] in the presence of each other…the love which subsists between them.”


    Love, Light and Peace

    Revd. Ant
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    Aug 25, 2012 11:24 AM GMT
    waccamatt said
    LIEV saidMost Jews, being of the Reform or Conservative movements, have no problem with and embrace gayness.


    Exactly - and most Jewish parents encourage their children to think for themselves through the use of reason and not to follow a book some dudes wrote thousands of years ago.


    The Torah is not a book some dudes wrote thousands of years ago. How would you like a goyim to say the same thing about your sacred book?
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Aug 25, 2012 11:30 AM GMT
    Here's my take on the whole issue

    http://anthonydawson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/bible-and-sexual-mores.html
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    Aug 25, 2012 11:41 AM GMT
    The goodness of St. Paul is overrated.

    1. He persecuted early Christians.
    2. Since he persecuted early Christians until after Jesus was crucified, he probably favored the crucifixion of Jesus.
    3. A case has been made that he contributed to the death of Jesus' brother, James. (You'd have to read King Jesus by Ralph Ellis to discover more.)
    4. His theology hijacked Jesus' theology. (You'd have to read The Jesus Dynasty by James Tabor.)
    5. When one studies the New Testament, one learns there is supposed to be a friendly connection between Paul and Luke. To a certain degree, Luke, the author of Acts of the Apostles helps Paul hijack Christianity from the Jesus Dynasty (Jesus, his brother James, and their brother Simon).

    So, a Pauline Christian is a corrupted Christian to a certain extent. A Johanine Christian is also a corrupted Christian because John's gospel makes more of Jesus than what Jesus was.

    Is there goodness in some of the writings of Paul and John? Yes, there are some nice quotations--I'd even say classic quotations. Be careful, however, because while their writings contain inspiration, they also contain corruption.
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Aug 25, 2012 11:49 AM GMT
    The thing I find most ironic is that "the Church" puts more store in the teaching of Paul - someone who never met Jesus - more than Jesus.

    Why? Becuase I think Paul appeals to the "thou shalt nots" those who would make exclusive rather than inclusive.

    Because Jesus' love ethic, of an inclusive faith, is...scary. He doesnt give "thou shalt nots" merely "thou shalts". And its a lot easier to hate someone and "thou shal not do`1 x y z" than "thou shalt love".

    In my experience. And understanding.

    Love Light and Peace


    Rev Ant
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    Aug 25, 2012 12:05 PM GMT
    Thank you metta for sharing that.icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 25, 2012 12:20 PM GMT
    To say that there is anything remotely sinful about being gay is to say that homosexuality is inherently immoral or unethical.
    And that is something that I will never agree with. No matter how much sugar coating is added by saying 'we are all sinners'

    I am a sinner, but not by virtue of being gay.
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    Aug 25, 2012 12:20 PM GMT
    StephenOABC saidSo, a Pauline Christian is a corrupted Christian to a certain extent. A Johanine Christian is also a corrupted Christian because John's gospel makes more of Jesus than what Jesus was.

    LOL, and you know this for certain because...?
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    Aug 25, 2012 12:43 PM GMT
    Rowing_Ant saidThe thing I find most ironic is that "the Church" puts more store in the teaching of Paul - someone who never met Jesus - more than Jesus.
    Why? Becuase I think Paul appeals to the "thou shalt nots" those who would make exclusive rather than inclusive.

    Because Jesus' love ethic, of an inclusive faith, is...scary. He doesnt give "thou shalt nots" merely "thou shalts". And its a lot easier to hate someone and "thou shal not do`1 x y z" than "thou shalt love".

    In my experience. And understanding.
    Love Light and Peace
    Rev Ant


    Brother Ant, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on Paul. I don't think it's fair to put Paul over and against the Gospels, rather Paul is on a continuum with them, as he comes after them (in theological continuity, not in dating of the documents).

    According to Paul's own self-testimony in Galatians and the "second-hand" account in Acts, he derives his apostolic authority from having most certainly "met" Jesus on the way to Damascus. Such divine revelation was clearly significant enough as to transform his life's purpose, motivation and worldview. It's an example of a profoundly awesome reorientation of one's being.

    Having received the call to the Gentile mission, Paul becomes a pillar of modern-day Christian theological thought. Through his letters to the churches he started, he articulates his theological understanding of a post-Resurrection Jesus (note: Jesus primarily ministered to Palestinian Jews, not Gentiles) in response to their church life/situations—expounding on the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection and its application in the practicality of their lives.

    His major emphasis—Christians as New Creations in Christ. It is in this New Creation that all who are in Christ are included not excluded. Such that "...in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." ( Gal 3:26-28 ). All earthly divisions (race, gender, social) are forever moot for those in Christ, for we are all ONE. The Gentile mission was very much a mission of inclusiveness and the new Creation, a new way of seeing oneself and others.

    To reduce Paul to "thou shalt nots" is not to do his theology justice. Rather, I think a return to a deeper and more thorough understanding of Pauline thought and theology might actually do the "church at large" some good. I think Paul has a wonderful grasp on love (cf. 1 Cor 13). There's much in Paul's words that re-emphasize for us the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection, as it is in those two moments of history that divine love is on displayed to and for the world.

    Much peace, brother.
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    Aug 25, 2012 12:45 PM GMT
    Regarding this thread... another link of interest...
    Exodus President (Alan Chambers): Gay Christians Can Go to Heaven; Jesus Didn't Say 'I'll Make You Straight'
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/exodus-head-gay-christians-can-go-to-heaven-jesus-didnt-say-ill-make-you-straight-80444/
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    Aug 25, 2012 3:20 PM GMT
    Rowing_Ant saidThe thing I find most ironic is that "the Church" puts more store in the teaching of Paul - someone who never met Jesus - more than Jesus.

    Why? Becuase I think Paul appeals to the "thou shalt nots" those who would make exclusive rather than inclusive.

    Because Jesus' love ethic, of an inclusive faith, is...scary. He doesnt give "thou shalt nots" merely "thou shalts". And its a lot easier to hate someone and "thou shal not do`1 x y z" than "thou shalt love".

    In my experience. And understanding.

    Love Light and Peace


    Rev Ant



    Thanks Ant!

    - a fan, as always

    -Doug
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Aug 25, 2012 3:23 PM GMT
    Stuttershock saidTo say that there is anything remotely sinful about being gay is to say that homosexuality is inherently immoral or unethical.
    And that is something that I will never agree with. No matter how much sugar coating is added by saying 'we are all sinners'

    I am a sinner, but not by virtue of being gay.


    +1. I can't stand gay people who compare being gay to lying and cheating! Lying and cheating are choices; being gay isn't a choice!icon_mad.gif
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Aug 25, 2012 7:38 PM GMT
    Terra Firma,

    Jesus was talking about a way of life a way of being

    Paul was trying to start a new religion.

    Two very, very differant things.

    Paul is writing with an agenda in mind - to promote this new religion, to validate it, and to to make converts.

    Jesus was speaking to, primarly, Jewish people, predominantly the poor and marginalised (see the new book "Jesus" by Marcus Borg on this) agricultural and rural labourers of what we might term the peasant class.

    When the four gospels were written down they were written in the light of what people believed Jesus had said and also in the light of an existing and growing theology; the description of the Crucifixion, for example is not a factual historical account it tries to fits historical elements into a pre-existing liturgy (just look at the timings, every three hours or so which makes for a 24-hour liturgical drama (see Spong on this one)).

    Paul takes the Jesus cult or Jesus way, and tries to make it to appeal to more than just the Jews. The theology he is speaking is in one part pre-existing and in other part what he believes, not neccessarily what others believe.

    And remember, there are two very diferant theologies floating around about Jesus: the pre-East and post-Easter one which look at him in very differant ways and undestanding him differantly (for example John who sees Jesus as co-eternal yada yada yada, compared to Luke or Matthew where Jesus is very human).

    Surely what Jesus has to say ( or at least what we believe Jesus says as no one was walking around with a dictaphone or taking pitman short-hand, plus it is also written int he light of a pre-existing theology, and is very biased, hardly objective) should "trump" anything that Paul does. Because, hello, its Jesus saying it!
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    Aug 26, 2012 12:02 AM GMT
    Rowing_Ant saidPaul was trying to start a new religion.


    Thanks for your response, bro. I don't disagree with you about Jesus.

    While I would agree that the theology of Paul is indeed radical and seemingly "new", I don't think Paul would agree with you as he would have seen his thoughts as a continuity of his Judaism. He very much considered himself a Jew. This self-identity governed much of how he formulated and justified his thoughts on the reinterpretation of the Law. In his mind, continuity with the old was foundational, gave him the basis for the Gentile mission.

    There's an interesting book I think you might be interested in. It has changed Christian scholarship in the last century as it basically set forth more clearly, than in the past, the premise that Paul didn't invent anything new but that he was continuous with the theology and teachings of the existing (moreso Jewish) church in Jerusalem in the first century AD.

    The book is written by Archibald M. Hunter, published by Westminster Press, entitled Paul and His Predecessors (PDF)". It apparently impacted Pauline scholarship significantly, and put the interpretation of Paul's letter in a different light—rather than Paul being an "inventor" (formerly popular perspective) rather an eloquent "articulator" of existing teachings while addressing ad hoc issues with the churches he founded in the context of his calling to the Gentiles.

    Rowing_Ant saidSurely what Jesus has to say should "trump" anything that Paul does


    I don't think it can be simplified as such. Here's why:

    The Gospels and Paul are not over and against each other, but each must be considered according to their textual, literary and socio-cultural backgrounds. Textually and chronologically, the first-person nature of the Pauline letters and their earlier dating lend a bit more credence to the theological understanding of the first-century church at the time than the Gospels. An early dating of Galatians by a majority of NT scholars puts it around 48-50 AD; some would want an early dating of the Gospel (Mark) around 55-58 AD, but most agree that it is more likely 65-75, even up to 85 AD. Furthermore, in light of Dr. Hunter's premise that Paul's theology was actually in continuity with what was already taught by the Jerusalem church, it suggests that the first-century church actually came to an early understanding of the post-Resurrection significance soon after Jesus' death and resurrection. There's no evidence in Luke-Acts that Paul was so severly discordant in theology with the Jerusalem church, other than and later resolved with the validation of the Gentile mission and the matters concerning primarily circumcision.

    While the early church eventually and inevitably became all Gentile-dominated over time, I do not find that Paul necessarily "invented" anything new. That said, it was inevitable that Christianity emerged over and against being "just another sect" of Judaism in finding its identity. In that sense, you're right, it was "new" and no longer "Judaism" in the traditional sense as they were mostly uncircumcised members and perceived as worshipping "three gods" instead of the One.

    PS - Sorry for taking this thread way off topic. My bad.