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The God Of The Bible Embraces Gays And Lesbians

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Confused how two groups of church-goers can have such conflicting views about whether it's OK to be gay?

Both sides of the debate about homosexuality in the church, which threatens to split the worldwide Anglican church, hold their views sincerely and after much study. So how can their views be so contradictory?

The Bible makes very few mentions of homosexuality - lesbianism isn't mentioned at all in the Old Testament - and as the examples below show, interpretations of the verses that do exist differ hugely.

Following each of the verses below is a brief illustration of what a hardline pro- and anti-gay position might be. (Most Christians hold views somewhere in between these two stances.)

An illustration of the division can be seen by what either side might say about the friendship in the Old Testament between David and Jonathan. One verse reads: "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; dear and delightful you were to me; your love for me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women."

PRO-GAY

A pro-gay position might be that this is a clear indication that King David had a gay relationship, and to pretend otherwise is naive.

ANTI-GAY

An anti-gay opinion might be that the friendship between the two men was exactly that - a very close and loyal allegiance.

Similarly, the tale of Sodom is often debated. In it, Lot has two angels staying in his house. The men of Sodom surrounded the house. "They called to Lot and asked him where the men were who had entered his house that night. 'Bring them out,' they shouted, 'so that we might have intercourse with them.'"

To protect his visitors from an act which Lot describes as "wicked", he offers the crowd his two virgin daughters instead. The crowd are not satisfied and break the door down - the angels then make the intruders blind and Sodom is eventually destroyed by "fire and brimstone".

ANTI-GAY

An anti-gay argument might say this story demonstrates the immorality of homosexuality, as has been accepted for generations, hence the term sodomy. Elsewhere in Genesis, God says of the men: "Their sin is very grave." It's an example of behaviour degenerating.

PRO-GAY

Of course the men's behaviour was wicked, but it was wicked because it's a tale of sexual assault and rape. When Jesus mentions Sodom, hundreds of years later, it appears to be in a context of a discussion of hospitality, rather than one of sexual morality.

There are several verses in the Bible which are similarly contested - there are however a much smaller number of seemingly clear statements. The most famous of them is probably from Leviticus: "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; that is an abomination."

ANTI-GAY

An anti-gay position would be that this line is unambiguous. It is also repeated elsewhere in the book. The speaker of the words is God, so this is an explicit indication that homosexuality is wrong in God's eyes. It was one of the sins that justified God in giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites

PRO-GAY

A pro-gay argument might say that other verses in the same book forbid a wide range of sexual activities, including having sex with a woman who is having her period. This is an indication that the passage embodies specific cultural values rather than God's law.

There is some debate about how relevant rules in the Old Testament are to Christians. Some would say they are binding, since Jesus said he did not come to abolish the old laws. Others would say that Jesus set Christians free from the old laws, highlighting instead that people should love God and their neighbour.

Jesus himself says nothing explicitly about homosexuality. There are though two statements by him which have been interpreted as having a bearing on the subject.

"[A] man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh."

ANTI-GAY

This indicates Jesus saw heterosexual relations as the proper way of behaving.

PRO-GAY

Jesus is actually talking about the sanctity of heterosexual marriage

Later in the same conversation, after Jesus has spoken about divorce, the disciples say to him it is better not to marry at all. Jesus says: "That is something which not everyone can accept, but only those for whom God has appointed it. For while some are incapable of marriage because they were born so, or made so by men, there are others who have themselves renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let those accept it who can."

PRO-GAY

This shows that Jesus is more concerned with people looking after their own relationship with God, than with enforcement of rules. The reference to being "born so" indicates that heterosexual marriage is fine for those who are heterosexual, but it's OK to be different. Again and again Jesus reaches out to those on the margins of society, like prostitutes and tax collectors, to include them.

ANTI-GAY

Jesus here is actually talking about people who were born incapable of having children, or people who were castrated - not about gays. He is actually saying that marriage and chastity are both within God's purpose. Jesus does appeal to the sinners, but once he has called them, he tells them to go and sin no more.

The letters of St Paul provide the other traditional support for the position that homosexuality is sinful. He writes: "God has given [people who worship false gods] up to shameful passions. Their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and their men in turn, giving up natural relations with women burn with lust for one another; males behave indecently with males and paid in their own persons the fitting wage of such perversion."

Paul later writes: "Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolator, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers of drunkards of slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God."

PRO-GAY

A pro-gay position might be that the word Paul uses for homosexual here could alternatively be translated as "male prostitute". In any case, Paul's writings are clearly of his time, and there are plenty of other verses which people have no difficulty in ignoring - for instance: "a woman brings shame on her head if she prays or prophesies bare-headed; it is as bad as if her head were shaved." This should be viewed like that.

ANTI-GAY

Anti-gay argument might say this line is crystal clear in establishing that Christianity and homosexuality are incompatible. Paul is actually quite clearly referring to homosexual behaviour, and includes lesbianism. You can't just pretend that St Paul, who did so much to influence our understanding of Jesus, didn't know what he was talking about. He's clear that homosexuality is an offence against God and against people's own bodies.

Part of the reason the views diverge so much is because Christians think of the Bible differently. Some see it as literally the word of God, divine inspiration which humans should not question. Others see it rather as a book which is a witness to God's message, but one which was written by humans and thus has flaws.

Trying to find common ground between the two positions is no simple matter - one of the reasons that Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is having such a tricky job keeping everyone on board.

From BBC News

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More rubbish, aren't you gullible?

Homosexuality is clearly described as a sin and abomination and as sexual immorality in the Bible.

Please humble yourself to accept that my explanation is spot on.

It is not for Christians to ignore or hide away the warning of scriptures from others with regards to morality or sin.

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Please humble yourself to accept that my explanation is spot on.

It is not for Christians to ignore or hide away the warning of scriptures from others with regards to morality or sin.

your explanation is not spot on. Homosexual behaviour according to the Bible is sexual immorality and an abomination to God. Why are you lying so much? Are you living a gay lifestyle? God wants to save everyone (including those living as gays) and have us all repent from our sins through faith in Jesus

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your explanation is not spot on. Homosexual behaviour according to the Bible is sexual immorality and an abomination to God. Why are you lying so much? Are you living a gay lifestyle? God wants to save everyone (including those living as gays) and have us all repent from our sins through faith in Jesus

Jesus loved everyone. You're just throwing stones again.

Jesus was very close to holy and righteous men in his life. Be humble and accept the will of the Lord Jesus.

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Jesus loved everyone. You're just throwing stones again.

Jesus was very close to holy and righteous men in his life. Be humble and accept the will of the Lord Jesus.

Jesus was not gay, that is a wicked lie that you are perpetuating and you will be accountable and pay the price for that blasphemy one day unless you repent and seek forgiveness through faith in Christ.

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Jesus was not gay, that is a wicked lie that you are perpetuating and you will be accountable and pay the price for that blasphemy one day unless you repent and seek forgiveness through faith in Christ.

Jesus rarely spent nights in the company of women, except for the prostitutes.

Jesus loves gays, God loves gays. Read your scripture and be like He who God sent from Heaven to die for our sins.

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Question is what would Jesus have done? I think he'd have washed their feet.

Homosexuality is probably not the ideal but I don't think we can regard it as a grave sin either. It isn't mentioned in the 10 commandments so it's obviously far less of a sin than taking the lords name in vain.

Does Jesus condem gays? I've read nothing in the new testament to suggest he does.

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Question is what would Jesus have done? I think he'd have washed their feet.

Homosexuality is probably not the ideal but I don't think we can regard it as a grave sin either. It isn't mentioned in the 10 commandments so it's obviously far less of a sin than taking the lords name in vain.

Does Jesus condem gays? I've read nothing in the new testament to suggest he does.

too bad, God's morals don't change and homosexuality is described as sin in both testaments

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Question is what would Jesus have done? I think he'd have washed their feet.

Homosexuality is probably not the ideal but I don't think we can regard it as a grave sin either. It isn't mentioned in the 10 commandments so it's obviously far less of a sin than taking the lords name in vain.

It's also patently not as serious as going to B&Q on The Sabbath.

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Guest Skint Academic
More rubbish, aren't you gullible?

Here's a bet for you scarlets. I bet that you cannot refrain from insulting other people with ad hominem attacks and instead just debate.

You complain so much about ad hominem attacks against yourself, yet you indulge in this more than anyone else. Maybe we should count up how many insults there are and compare them?

Do you actually think that rubbishing someone's argument is going to convince them? It won't. It will just make them defend their position even more. And calling someone gullible is only going to rile them.

I hate to have to ask this, but do you actually have any friends?

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Guest Bart of Darkness
Why are you lying so much?

scarlets, a difference of opinion is not lying. Please refrain from calling other posters liars or you may find your posts subject to a spot of forced "humbling".

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Well it say that man shall not lie with man but me not being a religious type of person i just think that many of the so called puffs are simply out to put it anywhere they can and are not suffering from a genetic disorder at all.

queers should be left alone to do what ever they do behind closed doors but the problom is the PC bridgade has jumped on the band wagon and now all our kids are being told at scholl that it's normal, well it's not and should not be encoraged for any other reason than to reduce the earths population but i'm sure science will soon over come that little problom too.

maybe the PC lot here should sugest someone other than Jesus thinks it's OK to be bent and then let em fight it out between themselves because you can not have it all ways can you now.

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Well it say that man shall not lie with man but me not being a religious type of person i just think that many of the so called puffs are simply out to put it anywhere they can and are not suffering from a genetic disorder at all.

queers should be left alone to do what ever they do behind closed doors but the problom is the PC bridgade has jumped on the band wagon and now all our kids are being told at scholl that it's normal, well it's not and should not be encoraged for any other reason than to reduce the earths population but i'm sure science will soon over come that little problom too.

maybe the PC lot here should sugest someone other than Jesus thinks it's OK to be bent and then let em fight it out between themselves because you can not have it all ways can you now.

What a wonderfully ignorant and bigoted little tirade that was. You must feel so much better to get that off your chest.

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"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I pretty much thought one sin was regarded as bad as another by the sandled one. So why christians have this total fixation on people who have they're toast buttered on the wrong side is bizarre. That and their total inability with being able to cope without human history before 7000bc baffles me.

If they actually followed Jesus's teachings, they would realise everyone is as bad anyone else whatever side their toast is buttered.

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Well it say that man shall not lie with man but me not being a religious type of person i just think that many of the so called puffs are simply out to put it anywhere they can and are not suffering from a genetic disorder at all.

queers should be left alone to do what ever they do behind closed doors but the problom is the PC bridgade has jumped on the band wagon and now all our kids are being told at scholl that it's normal, well it's not and should not be encoraged for any other reason than to reduce the earths population but i'm sure science will soon over come that little problom too.

maybe the PC lot here should sugest someone other than Jesus thinks it's OK to be bent and then let em fight it out between themselves because you can not have it all ways can you now.

I hate these types of discussions, and I hate being stereotyped.

I am gay.

I am not "simply out to put it anywhere they can". I have only had one sexual relationship - my current one, which is completely monogamous and is now well into its fifth year.

Jesus also said "remove the plank from your own eye before removing the speck from your brother's". If people want to tell me to live by exactly what it says in the Bible then they should follow ALL the Bible's laws themselves. That includes not shaving, not having tattoos, and taking your shower curtain to the priest if you find mould on it.

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Guest Bart of Darkness
If they actually followed Jesus's teachings, they would realise everyone is as bad anyone else

I think to actually follow Jesus' teachings is quite difficult, and the vast majority of people (Christians included) never really get close.

Jesus also said "remove the plank from your own eye before removing the speck from your brother's".

Sound advice for scarlets which, I suspect, will fall on totally deaf ears.

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Loving a person does not mean you also have to love their behaviour.

yes but its the way that homosexuality is branded as worse than sleeping with someone outside marriage, or telling a lie

let he who is without sin cast the first sin, so why should Christians get all judgemental about homosexuality when they sin themselves?

what you are trying to say here is love the sinner hate the sin, Jesus doesn't need you to stop being homosexual before coming to him

and its much easier and better to have grace and compassion for someone than it is to just hate their sin

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What a wonderfully ignorant and bigoted little tirade that was. You must feel so much better to get that off your chest.

Yes i do feel better thank you and will do all in my power to protect kids from people who promote liberal values because i, unlike you can see where it will all end.

i am simply sick of our kids being told by left-wing motivated teachers that it's all so normal in an effort to make themselves feel better about themselves.

feel free to argue with nature and what most of the world thinks but don't exspect everyone to agree with you when queers/gays/puffs go around promoting their beleives as if it's soemthing to be proud of.

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Yes i do feel better thank you and will do all in my power to protect kids from people who promote liberal values because i, unlike you can see where it will all end.

i am simply sick of our kids being told by left-wing motivated teachers that it's all so normal in an effort to make themselves feel better about themselves.

feel free to argue with nature and what most of the world thinks but don't exspect everyone to agree with you when queers/gays/puffs go around promoting their beleives as if it's soemthing to be proud of.

I am not a liberal leftie but I am gay. I discovered this in my teens. I didn't want to be. I wanted more than you can imagine to be "normal". As a "natural" bloke you can't possibly understand the torment I went though coming to terms with being different in this way - the certainty that I would never marry; have children; the fear of being treated like a freak. It was made worse by the bigotry of those around me, including the father of a lad of 16 I knew who kicked his son out of home when he found out about him being gay. Perhaps if there had been a "liberal leftie" teacher to tell me that actually it was OK, that I was just different and should do my best to accept it, then I wouldn't have had to go though years of misery and denial.

Us "queers/gays/puffs" cannot change our sexuality. It is not a belief. It is not a choice. It is part of our nature, built into us from birth.

That is why I've pulled you up on this. You have no idea what it is you condemn.

Edit: highlight

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yes but its the way that homosexuality is branded as worse than sleeping with someone outside marriage, or telling a lie

let he who is without sin cast the first sin, so why should Christians get all judgemental about homosexuality when they sin themselves?

what you are trying to say here is love the sinner hate the sin, Jesus doesn't need you to stop being homosexual before coming to him

and its much easier and better to have grace and compassion for someone than it is to just hate their sin

Your right.. Christians shouldn't be judgemental about homosexuals or any other kind of person. But most are and that makes them sinners just the same.

All sin is equal in the eyes of God, only one sin is unforgiveable according to God and that isn't homosexuality.

Not all Christians are actually born again, some don't actually understand what God is saying about sin.

Jesus doesn't need you to stop being homosexual before coming to him

Of course not, it is the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit alone that changes us within..we don't change by our own works. lest any man should boast.

and its much easier and better to have grace and compassion for someone than it is to just hate their sin

Those also are gifts from the Holy Spirit without them how can someone be called a Christian.

We are all sinners, only Jesus is without sin.

God doesn't measure which sin is worse. Sin is sin and every kind of sin separates us from God, only the blood of Jesus and faith in him alone can cleanse us from our sins.

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Your right.. Christians shouldn't be judgemental about homosexuals or any other kind of person. But most are and that makes them sinners just the same.

human nature gave us greed, fear and also made us judgmental it part of survival and stood us in good stead you 1000's of years and if we pretend that nothing is bad and people can not help themselves then where were does that get us.

are you saying that if a kill someone that has killed lots of people for pleasure than that make me as bad as him and not just doing what any decent person should do.

reverse logic where good is bad does not work in this universe but might in others.

I am not a liberal leftie but I am gay. I discovered this in my teens. I didn't want to be. I wanted more than you can imagine to be "normal". As a "natural" bloke you can't possibly understand the torment I went though coming to terms with being different in this way - the certainty that I would never marry; have children; the fear of being treated like a freak. It was made worse by the bigotry of those around me, including the father of a lad of 16 I knew who kicked his son out of home when he found out about him being gay. Perhaps if there had been a "liberal leftie" teacher to tell me that actually it was OK, that I was just different and should do my best to accept it, then I wouldn't have had to go though years of misery and denial.

Us "queers/gays/puffs" cannot change our sexuality. It is not a belief. It is not a choice. It is part of our nature, built into us from birth.

That is why I've pulled you up on this. You have no idea what it is you condemn.

Edit: highlight

i take your point but too many gays are looking for converts and not only promote it as normal but a prefured way of life.

Today i was doing a search for property for sale in Bulgeria and would you beleive i came across a site dedicated to gays and property in Bulgeria ! what's next the Gay ford escort owners club and then they are the first to scream they want to be a part of normal socity.

i smoke dope now and then but thats not to say i want to taught in schools that it's good for you is it now.

stop forcing belives on our kids and i'll stop kicking back.

strange i've had this debate before and it's often the ones that are open that i can have common ground with.

i don't have a problom with real gays so much but i can not stand the ones who bat on both sides and it these ones that try so hard to make it look like everyone is up to the same thing in a vain attempt to make themselves feel normal.

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