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“The Bible Says So” and Other Stupid Arguments

“The Bible Says So”

Between the on-going debate about gay marriage and the recently-noted anniversary of the hugely divisive Roe v. Rade decision legalizing abortion, more people have been shouting: “The Bible says so. That’s how I know!”

Even though I respect the Bible, and even though it forms the foundation of my personal and professional life, I think the argument is stupid.

Here’s why: Everyone filters the Bible through their own personal preferences, choosing the parts they like.

Two examples will help demonstrate what I mean.

The first comes from the many people who use Leviticus 18:22 — about a “man who lies with man as with a woman” — to defend anti-homosexual positions. (For some reason, this stance seems particularly popular among mega-church leaders, who really ought to know better: Rick Warren, for example, or Joel Osteen, who recently told CNN that the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.)

The second comes from the many people who use “thou shalt not kill” from the Ten Commandments to defend anti-abortion or anti-death-penalty positions.

Homosexuality

It’s true that Leviticus 18:22 seems to discourage homosexuality, and though it stops short of specifically calling it a sin (which is why I think Pastor Osteen is wrong — more here), I’m not convinced by those who try to interpret the text as being about anything other than homosexuality.

But the very same section of the Bible also prohibits making clothes by combining different materials (Leviticus 19:19), technically known as sha’atnez.

So unless Pastor Warren, Pastor Osteen, and those of their ilk are willing to take a public and vehement position against wool-and-cotton clothing, I have no patience for their argument that they are locked into their anti-homosexual position by the Bible. They are not. They are choosing the verses they like, and, apparently, they like to hate homosexuality.

Similarly, Leviticus 20:13 condemns homosexuals to death, but the same punishment is mandated for people who curse their parents (Leviticus 20:9). Are those in the “it says so in the Bible” camp willing to pass laws that put children to death for speaking out against their parents?

And for that matter, Leviticus 20:10 demands the death penalty for both the man and woman involved in an adulterous relationship. Is that a law that the anti-homosexuality crowd advocates?

I believe in religious freedom, and if religious leaders want to speak out against homosexuals, I suppose it’s their right. But they are not locked into that position by the Bible. It’s their personal religious choice.

(Similarly themed passages in the New Testament, like Romans 1:26-27, are more complicated, but the same basic principal applies. Romans 1:26-27, for example, takes a negative view of both male and female homosexuality — though not actually calling either a “sin” — but in a much longer passage, starting at Romans 14:1, the same book demands tolerance and acceptance, even of sinners: “Welcome those who are weak of faith,” “[Do not] pass judgment on one another,” etc.)

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Perhaps even more than homosexuality, abortion is one of the most vexing issues of our day. Although people disagree about the details, almost everyone shares the opinion that at some point a fetus deserves the protection afforded to a human — the question just seems to be when. And the death penalty is just as divisive, with the sides remaining even further apart.

But the Ten Commandments don’t help in either case.

First of all, the original commandment doesn’t refer to “killing” but only to “illegal killing,” as in “murder” and “manslaughter.” The message in the Ten Commandments is that killing is a matter of morality. (I have more here.) So the Ten Commandments highlight the importance of getting abortion and death-penalty laws right, but they don’t provide any particular guidance regarding the details.

More to the point, though, the Ten Commandments also prohibit taking God’s name in vain, but we don’t hear religious leaders suggesting laws against that.

So again, I think religious leaders have the right to decide which of the Ten Commandments they think are important, but I also think they have an obligation to be honest with their followers. The leaders are not simply conveying Scripture. They are interpreting it as they see fit.

Hiding Behind Scripture

So when Pastor Osteen says that, “the Scripture shows that [homosexuality] is a sin,” he is being deceptive. What he means is, “my interpretation is that homosexuality is a sin.” When Pastor Warren spends his money to oppose homosexuality (and not, say, to advertise Romans 14:13: “so let us no longer pass judgment on one another”), he is not a neutral interpreter of Scripture. He is, rather, exercising his right as a religious leader to speak about what he personally feels is important.

More generally, I’d like to see religious leaders abandon the cowardice of hiding behind Scripture and admit that they are picking and choosing from the Bible, opting only for what’s important to them.

  1. January 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    You do not need the Bible to know that homosexuality is wrong for the individual and harmful for society. This does not justify bigotry toward homosexuals, but neither does it mean society should sanction such behavior just because that’s the popular thing to do.

    • February 1, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Mike,

      Thanks for commenting.

      What do you base your opinion on?

      • February 1, 2011 at 11:18 am

        Conscience.

        This is not to say that I disregard the Bible on this subject; it’s just that it and the Bible say the same thing on this subject.

    • KB
      February 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      Multiple organisms on this planet engage in “promiscuous” heterosexual relationships, homosexual relationships, and asexual reproduction. So why would homosexual behavior be “harmful to society” and “wrong” if many organisms base their entire reproductive process on it?

      In regards to humans, as Mike said, how do you base your opinion? Because it is “un-natural?” I’d only point out my last point about organisms and then also include that homosexual exploration has been going on within humans for centuries, if not millennia. It’s not a new arising and I dare say it will continue to be a part of this species for centuries to come. It’s harmful to society? I’d argue that a greater population of homosexual males or females would increase the chances of reproductive success amongst the heterosexual population as there is less competition.

      Ultimately, I agree only that bigotry and hatred directed towards someone who doesn’t agree with you or acts differently is wrong and I would argue immoral as well. At the end of the day, we are all just humans on a “pale blue dot” in the cosmic ocean of space

    • Colleen Harper
      November 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

      It seems from Mike’s first comment and his reply to Joel that his only solid argument is that he knows homosexuality is wrong because of conscience, and then he props up his conscience with verses from the Bible that he believes support his position — exactly the problem that Joel Hoffman wrote this article for.

      Yes, Mike is welcome to his opinion, but he is also picking and choosing which verses to hide behind.

      I’m sorry, but this behavior disturbs me, as it apparently does Joel.

      After all, I have trouble believing that homosexuality is wrong for the individual who is from birth interested only in people of his own gender, and I have yet to hear a solid, evidence-based (yes, scientific) explanation how homosexuality is harmful to society.

      The only interpretation I can take from Mike’s comments — since he didn’t use the classic gay-bashing verses — is that he is expressing his own prejudices, which is ok IF he doesn’t make the appeal to authority of using Bible verses that are problematic on the subject of his prejudices.

      • November 9, 2011 at 10:04 am

        Colleen,

        What makes your conscience, or Joel’s for that matter, any more authoritative than mine? My conscience tells me homosexuality is wrong; yours tells you it isn’t. If we take the argument no further, that leaves us at an impasse. But you seem to have the attitude that my view already loses at that point. Before taking the argument further, I want to see if I understand you properly on this initial point. If I do, please tell me what makes your conscience more correct than mine?

        Mike

      • Colleen Harper
        November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

        Mike,

        You made allegations that homosexuality is wrong for the individual and harmful to society, both allegations are based on your conscience. You are welcome to these beliefs.

        My basis for my opinion, that homosexuality is not wrong for the individual and not harmful to society, rests on evidence-based explanation. I have consistently found that the evidence of countless studies that homosexuality is harmful is not substantiated by research. Contrary, the reason that homosexuality suffers within our culture is that it is burdened with prejudicial and discriminatory laws. Based on these various studies, I try to point out where untruth tries to masquerade as truth, such as the blanket statement that homosexuality is significantly more likely to transmit STD’s (lesbian relationships are the least likely of all relationships to transmit STD’s).

        Why am I reading articles such as these? I am fascinated by religion in general and Christianity in particular as its practice in this country impacts my life daily. For this reason, I feel compelled to call into question the rationale that Christianity should be given primacy in the civil sphere when the authors of our Constitution tried to distinguish the civil sphere as distinct from the religious sphere.

  2. Beth
    January 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Joel, thanks for the thoughtful analysis. I’ve appreciated, but not forwarded, many of the “why don’t we ban bacon, and pay more for virgin wives, and stone disobedient children, too?” biblically-themed, pro-equality emails. I agreed with the sentiments, but didn’t find them scholarly enough to be taken seriously by anyone who didn’t already feel that way. This takes the argument to the next level.

    Mike, what evidence do you have that homosexuality is “wrong for the individual and harmful for society”? I’m a heterosexual female, and I don’t feel threatened in any way by homosexuals. What harm is my fellow citizen doing themselves, or me, or our society, by loving someone of the same gender? I appreciate you saying your opinion doesn’t justify bigotry, but can I ask what facts are justifying, or at least forming, your opinion?

    • February 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Beth,

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • February 1, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Are you really unaware the homosexuality carries a greater incidence of sexually-transmitted disease than monogamy between a man and a woman?

      I don’t think there is any harm in loving someone of the same gender. I trust we all do this. But having sex with someone is an entirely different matter.

      Sexuality obviously works best and is the healthiest in the confines of a loving marriage.

      I feel great compassion for individuals who are tempted to be sexually promiscuous – whether they be male or female, or whether they be homosexual or heterosexual – but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them or society to give in to that temptation.

      Society and its individuals – especially children – benefit from stable, loving families. It’s obvious that homosexuality works against that structure – as do all forms of sexual promiscuity.

      • KB
        February 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

        Mike,

        You realize that ANY relationship that isn’t monogamous will have (by statistics alone) a greater chance of STDs? Do you also realize that, if we are going by populations here, the African-American community has the highest rate of STDs, even greater than that of the homosexual community? I don’t see anybody up in arms about African-American heterosexual relationships though…

        “But having sex with someone is an entirely different matter.”

        Technically, I’ll agree with this. Love does not equal sex and sex does not equal love. But I think that’s where are similarities end.

        “Sexuality obviously works best and is the healthiest in the confines of a loving marriage.”

        False. Sexuality’s primary purpose is reproduction strategies. Natural instincts drive us to ensure the ability to pass on our genetic material and to ensure its future survival generations to come. Some organisms approach this by fertilizing multiple partners so where the chance of a carried-to-term child and that it will reach sexual maturity is small, the attack amount is so great that at least one is bound to work.

        Other organisms approach it by having sex with one or few partners and then caring for the offspring until sexual maturity, thereby ensuring the successful passing on of genetic material.

        Ultimately, though, natural instinct would drive the tendency for “the more, the merrier.” In essence, it would be beneficial for a human male to have offspring with a female, help the child to sexual maturity (13/14 years old) and then repopulate again with someone different (as the mother in the first relationship would be, at that point, past reproductive prime). As the male can be at a reproductive prime longer than the female, naturally and evolutionarily this makes the most sense.

        However, society has shifted thought so that we resist certain urges that our ancestors acted upon.

        Ultimately, though, while heterosexual mating of egg and sperm is the only way to successfully produce an offspring, it does not require a marriage to be successful.

        To claim that sexuality “obviously works best and is the healthiest in a loving marriage” is, unfortunately, biased and without standing. I’d argue that sexuality is repressed in a marriage to attempt and maintain a monogamous relationship, which for humans is society driven, not naturally driven.

        “I feel great compassion for individuals who are tempted to be sexually promiscuous – whether they be male or female, or whether they be homosexual or heterosexual – but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them or society to give in to that temptation.”

        As I’ve just stated, it is a natural instinct, not a temptation. One could argue that avoiding what we are hard-wired to do is to avoid the true reality of ourselves. To try and deny human’s natural purpose and instinct is unhealthy.

        “Society and its individuals – especially children – benefit from stable, loving families. It’s obvious that homosexuality works against that structure – as do all forms of sexual promiscuity.”

        While studies have shown that children’s best bet are with biological parents, it doesn’t necessarily differentiate between one or two adults. A non-biological element, however, can in fact be slightly detrimental.

        Yet on the other hand, again I find flaw in your association that two homosexual people in a loving relationship with one another cannot be classified as a “loving family.” In fact, one calls into question the modern “family” and how much people really do love each other. (A look at the divorce rate of heterosexual marriages within the first 7 years says a lot about these “ideal relationships” in your mind).

        Ultimately, I find that your view of the subject is misguided at best, severely flawed and omitting natural tendencies that must be taken into account at worst. I respect your viewpoint, but unfortunately, I have to completely disagree with it.

      • Colleen Harper
        October 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm

        Mike, I am sorry to come so late to the conversation, but are YOU not aware that the relational type that has the LEAST incidence of sexually-transmitted disease is NOT heterosexual, but LESBIAN?

        And while “Sexuality obviously works best and is the healthiest in the confines of a loving marriage,” that privilege is legally denied to gay and lesbian couples, so it is not THEY who are to blame, but society which denies them the right to a loving marriage.

        Along with that, it has been recently established that the MOST mentally healthy 5 year olds, are the ones who are raised by lesbian couples. Even more so than those raised by Christian heterosexual couples. And homosexuality, while having problems with fertility, are NOT working against stable, loving families. Once again, that is a function of society to deny gays and lesbians that right.

      • Colleen Harper
        November 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

        I find several problems with Mike’s argument and wish to present rebuttals to each point that is of concern:

        IF we are concerned with the transmission of STD’s, then we should advocate for lesbian relationships ONLY. Lesbians have the LOWEST rate of STD’s of any coupling arrangement. But I doubt Mike would approve of men being denied sexual liaisons with women.

        Yes, sexuality does obviously work best in a loving marriage, but loving marriages are denied to all gays and lesbians (except within certain progressive states and Washington DC) so there is no opportunity for gays and lesbians to secure this condition, due to social bigotry. This is why gays and lesbians are working for the right to CIVIL marriage. ALL marriages in the United States are Civil. Only a few are blessed by a religious organization, and there are several religious organizations (including Christian) that would happily bless gay marriages.

        I agree that sexual promiscuity is harmful to both the individual (due to the increased risk of STD’s) and to society (due to the destruction of social trust), but to imply this is a problem ONLY of the LGBT community is ridiculous. There are vastly more heterosexual males who are promiscuous than there are homosexual males, and probably the LEAST promiscuous coupling is once again Lesbian, but that doesn’t fit Mike’s narrative.

        And finally, children really DO better in a house with two loving adults, but I doubt that Mike knows (or believes) that researchers have shown that children raised by a lesbian couple are the MOST socially well-adjusted children, at least in early childhood. Again, this doesn’t fit Mike’s narrative. And the major reason that homosexuality might not work, according to Mike’s narrative, results from society’s refusal to grant the same legal protections and blessings to gay and lesbian relationships that are automatically granted to heterosexual relationships through civil marriage. Therefore, the problem with gays and lesbians raising children is not an internal problem (they are “unfit”), it is a socially imposed external problem (they aren’t “allowed”).

        I hope my comments will be considered and provoke thoughtful reflection.

      • WilsonC
        May 15, 2012 at 3:52 am

        Personally, I don’t have a problem with homosexuals, but if all humanity turned gay tomorrow, Mike has a good a point. That would be bad for society.

    • May 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Beth :
      Mike, what evidence do you have that homosexuality is “wrong for the individual and harmful for society”?

      Hi Beth,

      I’ve been involved in the debate over gay marriage and homosexuality for a number of years now (I participated in our denomination’s sexual ethics panel). I would offer this: Whether homosexuality is harmful to individuals or society is a political question requiring empirical evidence one way or the other. On this good people can disagree.

      From a purely theological point of view, we can not know why God values what He does. What we do know is that many (all?) of the cultures surrounding the ancient Hebrews engaged in a wide-variety of sexual practices in addition to heterosexual — bestiality, adult-child (typically male-male), incest (Egypt), male-male homosexuality, and so forth. With this in mind, I offer two observations:

      1. Disease and cultural decay were not particularly important then. Indeed, only the ancient Hebrews condemned these practices and not for medical, cultural, or political reasons.

      2. No culture or society that practiced homosexuality (and I mean none, zero, zip, nada) ever permitted homosexual marriage. None!!!!!

      In any case, these arguments are political in nature, not Biblical. What I find interesting is that over the entire arc of the Biblical narratives God reveals to us that heterosexual marriage is one of His moral values (like life, truth, justice, mercy, the ten commandments, etc.). Fortunately, as for all of His moral values, we are left to divine and instantiate an ethical response To God that reflects His will. As with all things divine, however, nothing seems to be black and white. In the Bible, we read that truth is sometimes compromised to save life and we learn that life is sometimes sacrificed for others, or as in the case of the martyrs, for the faith.

      In my own opinion, our debate ought to center on the extent to which our ethics/laws deviate from an absolutist view of God’s will that marriage be a heterosexual union. I would come down on the very conservative side and see little Biblical justification for doing otherwise. I would look to scholars more knowledgable than myself to advance a Biblical rationale for the more liberal view.

      Peace of the LORD,

      Michael

  3. February 2, 2011 at 9:51 am

    KB, if you believe that “Sexuality’s primary purpose is reproduction strategies,” then why don’t you argue for monogamous male-female marriage being the sole proper context for sex? For a homosexual union cannot produce a child, and a child produced from a promiscuous heterosexual union doesn’t have the committed mother and father that every child deserves.

    • Colleen Harper
      November 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Because, Mike, he was presenting an argument from nature that there are abundant different evolved sexual strategies practiced by various different species, with sound scientific reasons for each of the different strategies, dependent on various factors but most dependent (in some species) on the length of time to maturation of the infant. I imagine a very good explanation for his purpose is to destroy the argument used so often of something being “unnatural” when (if one appeals to nature) many opposed behaviors are very “natural.”

      You, on the other hand, have limited your argument to only one species – the species homo sapiens sapiens.

      And I don’t know on what planet you live, but I am quite aware of many gay and many lesbian relationships that have produced children (with the help of an outside assistant) who are biologically related to one of the members. And in these cases, the child truly DOES have the committed parents that most benefit the child being raised — considering the restraints that society legally places on gays and lesbians by denying them legal recognition of their relationship, a problem society can correct.

      You tried to force the argument into the biological-only “either-or” fallacy, but social life is far more complex among humans than that. I have merely shown that your “either-or” fallacy is exactly that – a fallacy.

      I grant that you will probably disregard my arguments, but perhaps there are others who will weigh both arguments and see that there are valid arguments presented by the friendly opposition.

  4. Robert Kan
    February 3, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Dr Hoffman, with respect to abortion in particular, religious leaders who oppose it do so because they *see* a conflict (hypocrisy) in society when people who believe that ‘illegal killing’ is wrong do not, for whatever reason, apply it to the unborn child. I agree that we have to get the laws right, and such leaders would don’t condemn those who condone abortion do however condemn the *behavior*.

    I don’t believe it is wrong for religious people to stand up for consistency and integrity in morality, values and principles. This is I think the heart of the issue, and not the semantics of the 10 Commandments.

    In other words, this is not necessarily a religious issue. If, in principle, we as a society choose to prohibit ‘convenient killing’, then we should be consistent and not discriminate between someone who is inside the womb or outside the womb.

    • February 3, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Thanks for commenting, Robert.

      I agree that religious leaders have not only a right but an obligation to speak out when they see injustice.

      My point is that I think they should be clear to explain that they are expressing their own opinions, not the one-and-only view of the Bible.

      In think the Ten Commandments highlight the importance of getting abortion laws right, but I don’t think they take a position for or against abortion. This seems like an important point to me. I would like to see a religious leader proclaim that “the Bible tells me this is important, so let’s talk about it and try to make the best decision we can.” What I hear, though, is leaders on one side saying “the Bible prohibits abortions” (I don’t think it does) and, on the other side, “the Bible allows abortions” (again, I don’t think it does).

      Clearly, if you accept that a fetus is no different than any other human, abortion is almost always murder. If you accept that a fetus is no different than any other body tissue, abortion is almost always elective surgery.

      I think the real issue is when a fetus stops being body tissue and becomes a human. And this is the conversation I think the two sides should be having, but, again, the Bible doesn’t offer much by way of an answer — it only tells us how important the question is.

      • Colleen Harper
        November 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

        Thank you Joel for pointing out that the real discussion is “at what point does the fetus become human.”

        In Old Testament Hebraic laws, if a woman was hit so as to cause a miscarriage, the price for causing the miscarriage was not a life-for-a-life, but was much more in line with the price for damaging someone’s property. Therefore it would appear that Hebraic laws did NOT consider the fetus in an early stage to be fully human.

        The most frequent argument used, on the other hand, by those opposed to abortion revolves around “personhood” being granted at the moment of fertilization of the egg, which is in itself problematic, because God has known some individuals “when they were in the womb.” These people therefore extend (with insufficient support) that “identity” to the moment of conception.

        While society has arguments over the assignment of “personhood” to the fetus, anti-abortionists’ claims of Biblical authority for their position is far from secure.

  5. February 3, 2011 at 9:34 am

    “I think the real issue is when a fetus stops being body tissue and becomes a human. And this is the conversation I think the two sides should be having, but, again, the Bible doesn’t offer much by way of an answer — it only tells us how important the question is.”

    Yes, this is a logical place for the two sides to meet and discuss.

  6. Gary Simmons
    February 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Dr. Hoffman, you argue well and passionately, more forceful than I’m used to hearing you. Clearly this is an overlap of several issues that truly bug you. I suspect I am on the other side of the aisle from you on, at least, the issue of homosexuality, but I will certainly grant you the overall point of the post’s title.

    As I’ve said earlier: I believe the biblical text is made to be interpreted by dialogue in community. I think it’s silly to deny the concept of authorial intent, but it’s also ridiculous to ignore one’s own bias. I concede this wholeheartedly.

    If I may perhaps pursue in particular the issue of abortion: I remember in the beginning of Exodus the story of the Hebrews oppressed as slaves, and yet God blessed them with prosperity through childbirth. Most certainly, though there are difficulties of all sorts in childbirth, children are inherently a blessing.

    I drift to this text in particular because a friend of mine posted something on Facebook about Margaret Sanger and eugenics. While I don’t tow a party line of claiming this or that about Sanger, there is a racial overtone in America with regards to abortion. Namely: there is at least one race that is *usually* not poor. And the poor have abortions more than the rich. Whether intended or not, I fear this still leads to a reduction of the population of people who are not white.

    I am not qualified to “do the numbers” as to whether this would eventually “weed out” other races. In all honesty, I doubt it would. However, the conception (no pun intended) of conception as a burden runs contrary to the general tenor of the Bible on the matter. (Although Genesis 3, as well as the disappoint Cain turned out to be, provide an off-key note from the general tenor.) This point does not particularly call for abolishing abortion as such, but it does give an impression that abortion on demand would at the very least be counterintuitive to the text’s outlook of child birth.

    Too much of this debate focuses on rights (see AskMoses.com on the issue) and too much also on when “life” begins, and when the life becomes a “person.”

    As a Christian, I would again appeal to the general tenor of Christian scripture on the matter. In general, Jesus says “love your neighbor” is the second-highest mitzvah. Several times in the Gospels, people try to ask Jesus where the limit is. Peter asks how many times he should forgive his brother (Andrew?). The disciples shoo away little children. The Pharisees ask whether it’s lawful to give taxes to Caesar, and criticize Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. In short: when people assume there are limits to “love your neighbor,” or ask Jesus where the line is, his response is: “what line?”

    I realize I am using the Bible to make my point. That’s not inherently wrong, as you’ve already said. We’re both in the same boat simply by performing exegesis. This is much different than simply pointing to Psalm 139 or the “if there is any damage” passage about hitting a pregnant woman. Regardless of whether you’re persuaded by my argument, would you consider this a legitimate use of scripture, or an abuse? Why?

    Regardless of when “life” begins, and when that life becomes a “person,” if you zoom the lens out and look at the forest rather than the trees, you will find that childbearing itself should not be viewed as a burden. I wish this element would be addressed more.

  7. Karl W. Randolph.
    April 5, 2011 at 12:15 am

    I won’t comment on the Jewish perspective, rather concentrate on errors in modern Christianity.

    Do you realize that the Ten Commandments are not operative for Christians? The theology as taught by the New Testament is that the Old Testament commands, all of them, including the Ten Commandments, have been obsoleted by the new treaty between man and God through Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Treaty” means the same as “testament” in this context. See also Jeremiah 31:31 which this theology is based on.

    However, throughout the New Testament there are still certain actions listed as “sin”, including any action that results in a person being banned from heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 gives an example of several such actions. Romans 1:18 ff lists many actions worthy of death, which is another way of saying that they are “sin”. Other places in the New Testament tell Christians how they should act towards those who practice sin, and often that is different from the Old Testament commands.

    The reason homosexuality is such a hot button activity, compared to the others, is that they are the loudest group on the list that are going around and demanding special rights based on their sexual proclivities. Those who take part in heterosexual sex orgies are mostly still in the closet, as they recognize that the Bible and to a lesser extent society frown on their actions. The same is true for thieves, drunkards and others who practice actions condemned in the New Testament.

    Another exception are those who are pro-abortion. While abortion is not condemned by name anywhere in the Bible, it is condemned by implication as murder. Implication in that the unborn are recognized from the moment of fertilization as being human with the rights of life and protection as befits any human. Only God and those God has designated have the right to take their lives. Abortion is not a designated exception as to when killing is not murder.

    In order for a Christian to say “The Bible says …” authoritatively, one must teach all of the Bible in its context, not just what one wants to emphasize as the cause du jour.

    • Colleen Harper
      November 9, 2011 at 11:02 am

      Karl, I find it insulting that it is supposedly those in favor of homosexuality and in favor of abortion who are the most vociferous on these issues. I maintain that the exact opposite is the case.

      For millennia, homosexuals have been persecuted by the church, with loud proclamations by the church against any who practice homosexuality. It has only been in the last 60 or so years that homosexuals have stood up and declared they would no longer be persecuted and murdered by authority of the church. Historically, the homophobes have had the stage exclusively, until Stonewall occurred. And while I hear Christians loudly condemn homosexuality, I do NOT hear them condemning divorce (which is quite prevalent in Christian families). This in my opinion clearly appears selectively dumping on one group while completely ignoring that the Bible had FAR more to say about heterosexual relationship faults than it ever had to say about homosexual relationships.

      Concerning abortion, I would argue that the voices of unruly protesters who block clinics and even violence and murder perpetrated against abortion-providers is far louder than the voices supporting abortion rights. The voices in opposition to abortion have staked out an extreme position — that “personhood” occurs at the moment of fertilization of the egg — and adamantly refuse to consider any other position, while those who favor keeping abortion legal continually try — and fail — to discuss with anti-abortion extremists how to keep abortion rare and at what stage of development should abortion be disallowed except to preserve the life of the mother. Current efforts by anti-abortionists are target to eliminate most birth control pills and IUD’s as well as ALL abortions. Clearly they are not trying to reach any form of social accommodation, but are demanding that civil society privilege their religious views, a view unsupportable by our Constitution.

      You have made claims about those who support loving homosexual relationships and those who support abortion rights that I think I have clearly shown are false. Please, consider my arguments and tailor your arguments such that you no longer make what are false claims.

      And beyond that, may we agree to disagree?

      • November 9, 2011 at 11:09 am

        Colleen, if you do not believe human life begins at conception, at what stage of development do you believe it begins?

        • Colleen Harper
          November 9, 2011 at 11:50 am

          My personal belief, Mike, is that viability outside the womb is both sufficient and necessary.

          To embrace the idea that “personhood” is granted at conception would therefore make God the greatest abortionist of all, since a significant percentage of ALL fertilized blastocytes never become implanted in the lining of the uterus. I doubt that is an idea most advocates of “personhood at conception” would be comfortable with.

          Considering that Colorado has twice rejected a “persnhood” amendment, and Mississippi just yesterday did the same reflects that there is significant disagreement and concern with the results of such an amendment. These personhood amendments could clearly be used to outlaw both birth control pills (most simply prevent implantation) and IUD’s (which also prevent implantation). The personhood amendments also would prevent a doctor from saving a woman’s life if she had an ectopic pregnancy (where the blastocyte implants in the Fallopian tube rather than the uterus) because he would have to eliminate the life of the blastocyte to save the life of the woman — committing a murder to save a life — or allow both to die — in violation of his Hippocratic Oath.

          There is significant disagreement over these issues. The extremist point of view of personhood at conception does not help resolve the civil differences society must negotiate. It leaves NO room for compromise in the political (civil) arena.

      • November 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm

        Collen, I would join with you in supporting a ban on abortion once viability outside the womb is achieved. How now do we determine when that state is reached?

        • Colleen Harper
          November 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm

          That, my friend, is the real problem. With our medical practices advancing such as they are, that age now is far younger than it was 50 years ago, when a preemie was very unlikely to survive if born two months early. Today, two months premature is hardly a challenge, when we are saving babies born far more premature. I don’t have a good answer to this question, but I am confident that it is highly unlikely to extend any earlier than five months after conception.

          And I would work happily with you to make abortions as rare as possible, too, basing our efforts on techniques that have been proven to be effective.

  8. May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Dr. Hoffman,

    While you’re surely correct that many Jews and Christians cite Leviticus to oppose gay marriage (or, for example, ordination of gay [Christian] clergy), I am not compelled, however, by your claim that we ought to support gay marriage because the punishments were so severe, relative to today.

    Rather, I oppose gay marriage and homosexual practice for the reasons cited in Robert Gagnon’s magisterial “The Bible and Homosexual Practice”. His thesis, in so many words, is that homosexual practice is a violation of God’s created order, namely distinctiveness and complementarity. Put another way, God’s created order depends upon separation and distinctiveness. Homosexual practice is manifestly contradictory to His will.

    Finally, while I find the Levitical prohibitions to be suggestive, they are law codes, not specifically moral values, ala the Ten “Commandments” (as you point out in your wonderful book “And God Said:…”). As such, while they [probably] reflect God’s values, I think those of us who oppose gay marriage ought to use Leviticus as a hint to look elsewhere for insight into what God wills. As a consequence, I do not [usually] advance Leviticus as a rationale against homosexuality practice or gay marriage.

    One more comment: Prior to the the Torah — during the period between creation and Mt. Sinai — The [narrative] text seems pretty clear that God views any deviation from heterosexuality as immoral — and yes, because the Bible says so [:-)

    Blessings,

    Michael
    P.S. I am a budding translator of the Hebrew Bible(5 years now and more ignorant than when I started, it seems). I have found your books and your blog (and BBB!) to be not only informative but immensely enjoyable. Keep up the good work.

    • May 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Thanks for weighing in, Michael.

      I’m not sure I agree that “distinctiveness and complementarity” is “manifestly” God’s will, but, more importantly for me, yours is the kind of reasoned, insightful approach that I think we need.

      The point of my post was not that one side of these social/moral/religious battles is right or wrong (though, obviously, I have my own opinions), but rather to express my dismay at prominent religious leaders who cheapen the important debate by selectively quoting or misquoting Scripture.

      I [Michael] am not compelled, however, by your [Joel’s] claim that we ought to support gay marriage because the punishments were so severe, relative to today.

      That’s not what I was trying to suggest. Rather, my point was that if — as Pastors Warren and Osteen and others repeatedly and publicly cry — you are locked into following the literal word of Leviticus, then you are also locked into killing adulterers.

      I can see two coherent positions here.

      In the first, you follow everything in the Bible literally. So you cannot tolerate (male) homosexual behavior, but, equally, you kill adulterers.

      In the second, everything is open to interpretation. Maybe the lament in Genesis that it’s not good for people to be alone trumps Leviticus, for example. Or maybe not. Maybe, as you say, the text combines to create a position on complementarity. Maybe (as my father, Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman has suggested), progress has made us better able to hear God’s word now than we were when it was written.

      At any rate, these are the conversations that I think we need.

    • Colleen Harper
      November 9, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Michael, I support your right to deny religious recognition to gay marriage. Within the context of your beliefs, it is clearly your right to practice your faith as you see fit.

      But gays and lesbians are not demanding the right to religious blessing of their relationships, they are demanding the right to civil marriage, which has no religious connotations. ALL marriages within the United States are civil marriages. Only some marriages within the United States receive religious blessing, and all of THESE marriages are still civil marriages under the laws of the state in which it is performed.

      Does the Bible support discrimination against one minority by the majority for any cause? Rather, doesn’t the Bible clearly state “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s?”

      Therefore, isn’t it clear that civil marriage for homosexuals (no matter what the religious anathemas are) is “rendering unto Caesar” i.e. civil authorities, and thus ought to be allowed, as the current situation is clearly discriminatory on the civil level?

      The right for churches to decide whether they will or will not bless homosexual marriage has always been a right written into any proposal for gay civil marriage. Of course, organizations that are NOTclearly, exclusively religious are still required to comply with civil nondiscrimination laws. Carve-outs for these non-religious organizations should be carefully crafted to place the least burden on those who have otherwise faced historic discrimination.

      The problem of many Christians is requiring the extension of articles of religious faith into the public (civil) sphere. Why is it a problem? Whose religious faith should be given primacy? That was from the start the reason Madison argued for the First Amendment, that the United States should NOT embrace the sectarianism that divided Europe at the time, some nations giving primacy to the Pope, and others giving primacy to various protestant denominations.

      Therefore, please, keep the discussion within the realm of faith and do try to avoid extending articles of faith into the civil arena. Not everyone shares your specific faith within the United States.

      • November 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

        Colleen,

        My view is not based upon a “religious” or “Christian” or “church” perspective. I am viewing the issue in the civil sphere. This is a democracy. If a majority of citizens were to vote to legitimize gay marriage, I would have to accept that as the law of the land even though I personally disagreed with it. But in the meantime, just as you have a right in this democracy to try to persuade your fellow citizens to vote with you, I have a right to try to persuade my fellow citizens to vote with me.

        That the Bible agrees with my conscience, and that I should take note of that, should not disqualify my voice from the public square.

        My main concern here is that if society sanctions gay marriage, it is saying to children that this behavior is just as acceptable as monogamy. I believe that such sanctioning would not only be wrong, it would be destructive of children’s lives. I respect the fact that you disagree with this, but as this is a democracy, I hope you respect my point of view as well.

        Mike

        • Colleen Harper
          November 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm

          Mike, I fully agree with you in every way, except that you seem to be saying that to let a child who is BORN gay should NOT be taught that it is ok for him to BE gay.

          There is ample evidence that homosexuality is NOT a “choice” or “lifestyle” but is rather an inborn and natural, though seldom expressed, trait.

          You are free to advocate in the public sphere for those positions that you hold. Just as I am free to do the same for those that I hold.

          But I will continue to point out errors in statement and errors in truth.

          Thank you for an engaging conversation.

  9. May 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Karl Randolph wrote:

    While abortion is not condemned by name anywhere in the Bible…

    See Exodus 21:22-25

    Abortion is not specifically condemned in these verses. Instead, we deduce from the punishment that value attaches to the unborn child. Even to cause the premature birth of a child, though no harm come to the child a punishment is exacted.

    From my reading of the Hebrew in these verses, we can draw an analogy to laws against drunk driving. When I am caught driving under the influence, I am fined even though I do harm to no one. If, however, I injure someone because of drunk driving, I must suffer a far greater penalty — usually including prison time.

    Mr. Randolph, please do not conclude that because I cite Biblical support for the anti-abortion stance, that I, in any way, share your theological views. I honor them though I deeply disagree with much of what you claim.

    Blessings,

    Michael

  10. May 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Joel H. :
    …What I hear, though, is leaders on one side saying “the Bible prohibits abortions” (I [Dr. Hoffman]don’t think it does)

    While it’s true that Biblical Hebrew does not have a word for ‘abortion’, Holy Scripture is not silent on the value of the life of an unborn child. Surely, we can conclude from Exodus 21:22-25 that God values the life of an unborn child above that of a wart.

    I think the real issue is when a fetus stops being body tissue and becomes a human.

    This was never an issue — at least scientifically. In this I can speak with some authority (I have a PhD in immunogenetics) when I point out that:

    1. Topologically, a fetus resides on the outside, surface of its mother’s body. In no meaningful way is fetal tissue intermingled with (or part of) the mother’s body. (NB: the hair inside your nose, like a fetus in its mother’s uterus, is topologically on the outside surface of your body.)

    2. The fetus is genetically, physiologically, morphologically, and physically distinct from the mother. Consider an 18 year old daughter and her mother. They are inarguably distinct (biologically) from each other. When that 18 year old daughter was a zygote, 15 minutes post fertilization, that zygote was as biologically distinct then and the 18 year-old daughter is now.

    Blessings,

    Michael

    • May 18, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Surely, we can conclude from Exodus 21:22-25 that God values the life of an unborn child above that of a wart.

      Yes. My reading is that a fetus is of value but of less value than a person.

      By analogy we might look at animals, which are also regarding as having value, but even so, they seem to be ascribed less value than people.

      Secondly, your points (1) and (2) are undeniably true, but I’m not sure they’re relevant. I believe in the sanctity of human life, and I believe that — by definition — that sanctity is given by God. But I don’t see the connection between sanctity on one hand and on the other topology or biological distinctiveness.

      And returning to my main point: I think these are among the most important issues facing us today, and we need more than the inane “this one verse in the Bible proves I’m right.” I don’t know what the right answer is here, but I’m certain that it’s more complicated than just looking up the right Bible verse.

  11. May 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Michael has spoken well.

  12. May 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Joel, what I like about your rebuttal to Michael is that you use language gently and you take your position circumspectly. You’re a good example to all of us as to how to respond when we’re challenged.

    What leaves me uncomfortable with your position (and I’m saying this based primarily on the position as you staked it out in the original post and as you echoed it in your most recent comment), is that you seem to offer more clarity and denunciation against those with whom you ostensibly agree on the point of abortion than you do against those who promote and practice abortion. Which is worse: to get to the right conclusion using poor exegesis or to get to the wrong conclusion with poor or no exegesis at all?

    If you really do believe that abortion is wrong, then why not write the correct exegesis (or reasoning if you don’t think the scriptures can get you all the way there) so that those who would be godly can follow it? This is what I particularly liked about Michael’s comments – he tried to do this. If you think he fell short, please try to help him finish the job rather than using your energy lambasting Warren, Osteen, et al who, for all their faults, at least are reliable beacons to the world for whether abortion is good or evil.

  13. abqcatholic
    October 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Dr. Hoffman,

    As a Catholic, I have little problem with much of what you write. I believe The Bible is a Catholic book. It was the Catholic Church that exercised its Authority and decided which books were Inspired and which were not.

    The Bible is not a Catechism. It does not explicitly teach morality. Moral teaching requires Authority – an exercise of a power to judge human acts against an objective moral standard. (Certain knowlegde of the standard is implied). As a Catholic, I am blessed to have a Magisterium to tell me what is and is not moral. Do I believe abortion is objectively murder? Yes. Why? Because the Church teaches this is so. For my reason, the Church cites that is in the Didache and that the teaching can never change. Do I believe homosexual acts are disordered? Yes. Why? While the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes appeals to my reason as to why I should accept it, ultimately I exercise my free will and accept it. Properly understood, there can never be a contradiction between what the Church teaches and what the Bible means.

    My fellow Christians in ecclesiastical communities exercise their free will and choose to not accept this guidance, so they are left with their own opinions or the opinions of people like Warren who from my point of view is like a blind squirrel and finds a nut of truth once in a while. People like him that try to derive objective morality from the Bible fall into the trap you outlined. They do not claim any Legitimate Authority to do so because they have none. This “because the Bible says so” nonsense has been going on for centuries. Christianity is not a religion of the book.

  14. RIRL
    November 13, 2011 at 2:59 am

    I value the type of thoughts Joel is presenting on this and various other related blogs and have been eagerly awaiting reading his book “And God Said”, which I just ordered from Amazon.

    I will try and outline my understanding of the argument presented here as relates specifically to Leviticus 18:22 and then make a few points about context, and give my conclusion.

    Let’s look at Joel’s approach in a general context.
    (1) He acknowledges that this text is dealing with homosexuality, despite various attempts to deny it
    (2) He then argues that “in the very same section” various other prohibitions were made, referring in particular to Leviticus 19 and 20.
    (3) Then he shows that applying the same criteria applied to the statements about homosexuality to the later cases result in absurd, and therefore, biblically unreasonable conclusions.
    (4) The original assertion that homosexuality is immoral is therefore rejected as being biblically grounded.

    This is a rhetorical strategy known as “reductio ad absurdum.” The conclusion is then that its not biblical to label homosexuality as immoral — that is as sin.

    First, let’s follow an important rule — the rule of context, by looking at the context in Leviticus 18. In this section Moses is asked by God to convey to the Israelites (in general) practices that they are not to engage in, and to encourage them to rather keep his laws and decrees. These admonishments seem to carry moral significance because “the person who obeys them will live by them” (18:5) and seem to convey a degree of separation of the Israelites from the surrounding nations. Now, in Leviticus 19 and 20, are the so-called “holiness codes”. Its seems that there is a difference between these later codes and the preceding practices by virtue of the fact that they seem more related to the practices of “the assembly” and are more functionally religious, as opposed to the moral codes we see in the earlier chapters of Leviticus.

    Therefore, the strategy of Joel’s “reductio” seems a Biblically implausible move, when considering the contexts of the verses he compares and the original context of the admonishing against homosexuality in Lev 18:22.

    In addition, if the same strategy is applied to other verses in Leviticus 18 itself, then many practices (incest, bestiality, child sacrifice) that I would hope Joel would find immoral — that is sinful — should by his argument be considered acceptable. Of course, this is just applying Joel’s reductio argument to itself.

    The thing I find interesting is, while I agree with Joel that we often start with presuppositions about what the Bible says, that Joel seems to fail to (a) recognize this issue with his own reading here and (b) that he does not seem to ground his argument against specific “religious leaders” in a carefully considered context of the verse in question.

    Now, finally, let me be clear, on the last point. I would have many issues with both the “teachers” Joel cites here, but that doesn’t mean Joel’s argument against their position is correct.

    • Michael T
      June 1, 2012 at 6:03 am

      RIRL–I have heard this argument defending Leviticus before, ie. that the particular context of the verses which condemn a man lying with a man are couched next to other strong moral prohibitions and are not the same as the verses which condemn wearing different fabrics, eating shellfish, etc. While initially persuasive, on reflection I do not believe it convincing enough for several reasons. First, the text itself does not specify that there is a difference. If God really wanted to be clear on the issue, he would have said “and these are the extra heavy duty moral sins, as opposed to these mere ritual observances which don’t mean as much”. There’s no reason in the actual words to dispute that one should avoid blending fabrics just as fervently as avoiding same-sex behavior. They are both prohibited. Second, this does not explain chapter 20 which, as Joel pointed out, prescribes the death penalty equally for homosexuality, adultery, children who curse at their parents, and even necromancy (speaking to ghosts!). There is no distinction made here, either: all are worthy of the death penalty. So if you take one law, you have to take them all, which means that all these things are equally horrific sins in the eyes of God (not to mention the capital punishments in Deuterotomy which range from working on the Sabbath to “ox-goring” to contempt of court). I realize that the punishments of the OT were made null and void by the NT. But if defenders of Leviticus continue to claim that homosexuailty is still a grave sin, even if the punishment is no longer death, then what about round haircuts, which are also prohibited in Leviticus? Are round haircuts now exempt as a sin because they aren’t mentioned in the NT, whereas homosexuality is still condemned by Paul? But how do we know *for sure*, if they’re not mentioned either way? It seems rather disingenuous to me, some sins not being sins anymore, but others remaining. It almost seems like cherry-picking on the part of those who are trying to make logic out of what is manifestly illogical.

  15. October 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    If homosexual behavior is not sin, what does qualify as sin? Stop looking for excuses and look for what pleases God. We were made by God for His pleasure and purposes. We were not made to sin against His love. If all we do is justify our behavior to be comfortable in our own skins, we leave God alone in the dusty wake of our short lived momentum. It breaks God’s heart to see those made in His image refuse the blood of His Son and the power of the Gospel which can restore them to His likeness.

    Or, Mr. PhD. Hoffman, do you believe anything in the Pentateuch to be factual at all?

    • Colleen Harper
      October 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      This thread has been a discussion concerning WHAT the Bible says about homosexuality. What have you added?

      Merely your own personal opinion.

      We’re trying to keep this discussion scholarly rather than personal bigotry. Please, step up and discuss the merits or faults of the scholarly translation of the verses.

      And then go back and read what Dr. Hoffman has specifically said about his beliefs, since they seem to matter to you. He HAS spoken out about his personal beliefs.

      • December 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm

        Hell is no stranger to scholars who did not believe God.

        • Colleen Harper
          December 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm

          Thank you for trying to insult me, as well as all the others who seek to come to a greater understanding of the translation of the Bible.

          Are you sure you belong here? Have you added to discussion, or merely thrown about condemnations, like a child smearing the walls with his excrement?

          I’m sorry you don’t appear to fit in.

          • December 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm

            Colleen, is homosexuality a sin or not?

        • Colleen Harper
          December 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

          Is homosexuality a sin? I do not know. I don’t know the mind of God.

          But I know that most to all of the verses used to condemn homosexuality are badly misunderstood by fundamentalists who have never taken a college course on ancient languages.

          Have YOU interviewed God and gotten HIS take on homosexuality? I hope you taped the interview for backing up your claims,

          Why was Sodom destroyed? Your answer had better agree with Ezek 16:49, since you’re so sure about yourself.

          • December 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

            Colleen, I always find it amusing when Christians (or Jews) say the Bible is fact, when, for instance, the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah are NAMED “Evil One” and “Wicked”. ha >

            The inhabitants of Sodom are sinful, but the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah are evil as well — both their names in 14:2 mean “evil, wicked.” “Bera” is apparently related to the verb rā‘a‘, “be evil,” while “Birsha” may be related to the verb rāŝa’, “be wicked,” and means “in wickedness.”

            http://www.jesuswalk.com/abraham/3_rescue.htm

            You see this A LOT (“YESHUA”?) Maybe Joel will comment.

          • December 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

            Colleen, I take it from your response that you do do regard the Bible as authoritative on the subject, yes? no?

            Doesn’t nature by the design inherent in male and female physiology speak to the matter? Are not male and female reproductive organs incompatible with homosexual behavior?

            RE the mind of God. The apostle Paul wrote much encouraging us to have the mind of Christ. (See the 1st letter to the Corinthians and the letter to the Philippians). The Bible is the history of God’s revelation of Himself to humankind. By reading it we discover how God thinks.

            RE Sodom: It is clear that homosexuality was not the only sin Sodom was guilty of. From Romans Ch1:18-32 we see that homosexuality is a result of forgetting God. I would dare say that those who forget God are also proud, gluttonous, lazy and forgetful of the poor who live next door.

            Ezek. 16:49 Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. (NLT)

            About the Bible this has been well said: “We do not change the Message, the Message changes us.”

            Romans 12: 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

            Believe God, have faith in Christ, trust the Holy Spirit who can “transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

  16. December 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I apologize if I am late to the party, but this blog posts mentions Leviticus 20:9 and I’ve always wondered about the interpretation of the word “curse”. Does this simply imply “talking back” to one’s parents or does it imply an involvement of cursing in the sense of witchcraft– maybe hiring a witch to curse one’s parents?

    I appreciate any response, even if its redirecting me to a former post. Thank you.

    • December 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      A little off topic, but an interesting question.

      I believe the “cursing” of the Bible refers to the notion that you can say something and cause something bad to happen, sort of like the modern, “I hope you die,” among others. (Or, as you suggest, what a witch or sorcerer might do. But the belief back then was that everyone had the power to curse and bless.) Cursing was not simply being rude or inappropriate.

      • December 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        Galatians 3:13
        Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

      • December 18, 2012 at 7:45 am

        Thank you Dr. Hoffman!

  17. Colleen Harper
    December 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    To Robert:

    I’m sorry that you have gotten involved, apparently through my lack of attention. Each time I try to reply to “lambsev” above, it automatically creates a reply to you. P.S. I’m not a “believer.” I merely find all religions, including Christian/Jewish literature, fascinating.

    To lambsev,

    I’m surprised you appeal to science then show no more knowledge about homosexuality in the biological world to have no clue that countless animals have shown homosexual behavior, so your appeal fails. It doesn’t account for what science has observed.

    But I am honestly amazed you took the time to look up Ezek 16:49. I found that verse in my readings around the age of 17 (43 years ago) and realized that I had been lied to time and again by people claiming to know what the Bible said.

    Further, you would be well-served to read Romans as a whole work rather than merely chapter by chapter. If you ignore the verse and chapter breaks inserted by later printers, you might discover that Paul has set you up for a great fall. You’ve started shouting “preach it Brother” and completely missed the next thing Paul says, i.e. therefore you too are guilty of all these sins, for as you condemn others, you are guilty of the very same sins. As Paul says, you have passed judgment upon yourself.

  18. December 21, 2012 at 1:47 am

    How is it YOUR business what two people do together?

  19. December 21, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Homoxexuality is but one of the many deviations from the sexual purity to which Jesus has called us.

    • December 21, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Mike,
      First you’d need to prove there really was a Jesus.

  20. April 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

    All religions are manmade, from cave engravings to sofisticated religions. Has to do with man´s fear of death and a way for the ruling classes to keep people within moral boundries. Superstitious manifestations in every culture has always been a part of humanity and only by showing vigilance and a critical mind, one can be able to see through all those psychotic dream barriers veiled in promises of eternal life. To be born homosexual has always been and will always be a struggle for independence and a tolerable life. Many countries still practice death penalty for gay actions, and discrimination against gay people have always been a vivid factor in all communities during all centuries. Religious intolerance is mostly to blame.And the fact that the humanoid Homo is one of the most dangerous predator on earth, unlogical and never to be trusted.
    Peter Brunius

  1. January 11, 2012 at 11:00 am
  2. October 3, 2012 at 11:52 am
  3. November 9, 2013 at 8:04 am

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