Beliefs David Gushee: Christians, Conflict and Change Opinion

American Christianity’s divisions go all the way down

Article 10 of the Nashville Statement. Screenshot

Each week in many churches, Christians affirm that they believe in the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” Then they leave their sanctuaries and return to the reality of an American church scene that is divided, unholy, politicized, parochial, and unapostolic.

The divisions go all the way down. They include every kind of doctrinal point, though many Christians are doctrinally illiterate and could hardly care less about dogma in any case. Those divisions are so old and so intractable as to be of little current interest.

No, the really interesting divisions are social-ethical-political. And here again those divisions go all the way down. They include:

  • The interpretation of the American cultural moment and the type of  moral witness needed;
  • The moral issues that groups find important to address and the arguments made for those issue choices;
  • The positions taken on those moral issues, and the arguments made for those positions;
  • The purported ethical, missional, and personal implications for addressing (or failing to address) these (or other) moral issues;
  • The purported blind spots and other perfidies of other groups who from our side’s perspective do not read the cultural moment properly, do not focus on the right moral issues, do not take the right positions on this or that moral issue, and do not rightly understand the consequent implications of their blind, failed perspective.

Take, for example, the now-(in)famous Nashville Statement. Pretty much the only things I like about it are the cool website and the relative parsimony of the prose. Otherwise, I am part of that section of the American Protestant Christian scene that considers the statement badly timed, rooted in a misreading of the greatest needs of the cultural moment, once again illustrating a conservative evangelical and fundamentalist fixation on sex and gender issues, taking misguided positions on most sexual-ethical moral issues it addresses, utterly lacking a pastoral heart, and failing to see the damaging ethical, missional, and personal implications that will be its predictable result.

I happen to know that very soon, another group of American Protestant Christians is about to issue a major statement related to white supremacism and racism. (There are already several very good statements. Here’s one.) The drafters of this new statement believe that it is timely, speaks to the greatest needs of our cultural moment, illustrates a proper attention to issues of human dignity and equality, takes the proper position on those issues, and will have constructive ethical, missional, and personal implications.

I will be shocked if any of the people who signed the Nashville Statement will sign the race statement. Indeed, I will be surprised if there is not a fusillade of criticism of the race statement by some of the same people who signed the Nashville Statement.

All believe themselves to be earnest Christians. All are trying to do the right thing before God. All are trying to bear Christian witness in America today on the most urgent issues before us. All believe that they have Jesus on their side.

And the two groups could not be more different in their moral vision if they were from different galaxies.

Undoubtedly there is a third Christian group preparing a statement somewhere right now that is based on Hurricane Harvey and what it reveals, once again, about the dangers climate change is posing to human civilization and even human survival. They will be sure that the greatest threat in this particular moment is climate change.

There must be a fourth group of Christians working on a statement about how to back away from the potential of war on the Korean Peninsula. Because after all, surely the greatest threat in this particular moment, and the greatest need for Christian witness, is staring us in the faces of the nuclear weapons dangling over the Korean Peninsula and even over America. (Oh, there it is, I found it. Check it out.)

A fifth statement on the terrible news that President Trump may rescind DACA? A sixth on economic inequality? A seventh on …

Probably none of the people who signed Nashville will sign Korea, or Harvey, or … might someone surprise us, somehow?

If it seems that I am exhibiting Moral Conflict Fatigue, or Irreconcilable Christian Division Fatigue, you are reading me correctly.

Please excuse me while I return to the internecine Christian warfare that just is my social media feed.

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David Gushee

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  • Well there is little christian consensus on issues, which is perfectly fine with me. Frankly, I am sick and tired of social issues/causes that christians seem to believe one must hold in order to be christian except the issue of racism since it is based on hate of another. Everything else is opinion.

  • And the American church scene is merely a small corner of the world’s practice of religious superstition.

    How, other than the standard “It’s all the fault of humanity” nonsense, do believers explain their preferred deity’s incompetent communication skills?

    I imagine that any deity worth worshipping would be able to present a consistent message and, if it had any self-esteem (was a jealous god?), be cut to the quick by the false and degenerate images touted by those who claim to know these things. Do we therefore assume that the supreme being doesn’t care about it’s image, is unconcerned about the pain caused and the evil done in it’s name or is, perhaps, incapable of correcting all the false claims used to control the vulnerable? On the other hand, maybe it revels in the disputation, wallows in the violence and chuckles at the vile things believers use its imprecision to justify?

    It would be a paltry God who stood idly by and let its devotees harm each other, verbally, physically, emotionally, financially when it could clarify the situation wouldn’t it?

  • Again the solution? Adopt the new Apostles’ Creed:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2017: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

  • The Universal Declaration of Human RIghts is morally superior to Christianity. Christianity is not only confused, conflicted, prone to coercion but also immature in moral discernment.

  • “…once again illustrating a conservative evangelical and fundamentalist fixation on sex and gender issues, taking misguided positions on most sexual-ethical moral issues it addresses…” If you would learn what the Bible teaches and stop the liberal trash of “everything is good”, along with the other media, Christians may not feel as compelled to protecting homosexuals from you and letting the Lord do the work. As it is now, they need to receive the truth from somewhere, so many Christians try to help them to have a relationship with Jesus and go to Heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11English Standard Version (ESV)
    9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    If you want to send homosexuals to Hell, please don’t do so in Jesus name.

  • News flash: Christianity has always been divided, going all the way back to its origins! At no point in its entire history have all Christians agreed on anything. 

    Perhaps the most obvious evidence of that are the “genuine” Pauline epistles (1 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans, Philemon, Galatians, and Philippians). All were written, so far as can be determined, by the mid-50s CE and therefore constitute the religion’s oldest extant documentary evidence. What they show is that, even at that time, Christians differed as to their worship. Most of these letters address those differences directly and are Paul’s effort to resolve them. 

    Other early Christian documents, both canonical and otherwise, show a continued pattern of differences. The letters to the churches of Asia in Revelation 2 & 3, for example, show this, as do the complaints of “anti-christs” having arisen in the Johannine epistles. The Didache was, almost literally, a handbook intended to establish uniformity among churches. 1 Clement addressed a rift within the church of Corinth. 

    And on and on and on and on and on and on it goes. 

    Differences, schisms, conflicts … the earliest Christians dealt with all of these things. It’s no wonder Christians have never been able to unify in any meaningful way (aside from various abortive efforts along the lines of, “let’s agree to disagree”) throughout their entire history. They can’t all agree … because they have no basis upon which to agree on anything. 

  • If, like David Gushee, you have totally abandoned the Bible’s teachings relating to homosexual behavior, gay marriage, and gay-self-identity, then you’re choosing to be in a state of wide-open disagreement with those who have NOT abandoned the Bible’s teachings. We are regretfully but unavoidably divided.

    We could all have signed 100 anti-racism or 100 solidarity-on-Harvey pledges by now, or an extra two weeks could have passed before the Statement’s release. Wouldn’t make any difference. Gushee and his allies had — and have — NO intention of endorsing the Nashville Statement under ANY conditions.

    Because that would mean Christians directly endorsing the Bible’s clear teachings against homosexual behavior and gay marriage. And agreeing with Christ’s great power & sanctification & healing regarding SSA-afflicted people (1 Cor. 6:11 ; 1 John 1:9). Some people don’t like that. Hence, we’re divided.

  • I heartily recommend that all discussions about what constitutes wicked, sinful, amoral, divisive, or non-Christian behavior start with an admission that each and everyone of us is in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. It is only through the Father’s salvific action through his son Jesus Christ that we stand any chance of temporal and eternal union with the Triune God. Those of us who worship in congregations that subscribe to the common Lectionary will hear and read three valuable lessons on sin, forgiveness, love for one another, and our common calling to love our neighbors as ourselves, and more. This means letting go of the temptation to say that the other is more of a sinner one’s self because of this that or the other transgression, real or imagined. Let us fall on our knees (figuratively at least) and plead our unique individual failures to the three in one God. After doing so, I would hope we would be a bit more reluctant to see mote )or log) in the other’s eye and not in our own. We know there is no such thing as little sins and big sins. There is only sin and a God that is eager for us to repent and sin no more.

  • Are you saying that you consider it wrong to correct someone’s behaviour so they can have a relationship with Jesus and eventually, end up in Heaven?
    Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
    Christ commanded that we flee sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:18English Standard Version (ESV)
    18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[a] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

  • No, it’s actually NOT a “civil war.” Not at all. There are big disagreements, of course.
    Gushee spoke his piece; we are all speaking ours too.

    But as for the Nashville Statement, both its tone and its clarity are good. NO warfare talk. NO dissing people. NO politics. NO “God Hates Homosexuals.” It’s a quick, friendly, upfront, Biblically honest, let’s-reach-out-to-all-people and-offer-clarity gig.

    “We signers know ourselves, like all humanity, to be broken by sin. We have no right to face the world from a claim of moral superiority. We know and confess that Christians have often failed to speak the truth in love…
    …The main goal of the ‘Nashville Statement’ is to point all persons, regardless of the form of our struggles over sexuality or self-identity, to salvation and wholeness in Christ. With all our hearts, we believe that the sexual revolution cannot deliver on its promises, but that Christ always delivers on His.”

    — Dr. Albert Mohler, “I Signed the Nashville Statement”, Washington Post, 09-03-2017.

  • I can agree with Dr. Gushee on one thing primarily; Moral Conflict Fatigue or ICDF, whichever is preferred.

  • I think all factions agree, tacitly, on the following relevant point to whether our unprecedented global civilization sustains, more or less intact, to year 2100 and beyond, despite the unprecedented collective challenges it faces.
    “We will bystand to institutional evil as manifested in established legal records of corporation or government agency law-breaking that harms or kills people. We will bystand to reasonably evidenced claims of such law-breaking. We will put our professional standing and economic security above other considerations in such situations.”
    I wish I were wrong, but what does the evidence show?

  • It’s probably a good thing that Christians are divided up on issues. If it were a unified force, it would more than likely be a force for great evil in this world. There’s nothing scarier than a large group of people thinking that they alone possess the knowledge and a corner on the truth to rule over everyone in the name of their particular Deity.

    I’d rather have Christians as a whole, and Evangelicals as a group, so busy arguing and fighting among themselves that they don’t come after those of us who are not a part of their religion. History is replete with the evil visited upon others when Christianity is unified and powerful.

    So take heart David Gushee that, with regards to gay people, that Christianity and even Evangelicals are divided on the issue and becoming more so with each passing day. As long as they’re fighting with each other, that’s less time spent going after gay people and making their lives hell on Earth.

    I’ll take a divided Christianity any day over a unified Christianity on the wrong side of the issues mentioned. If Christianity were unified that going to war in North Korea was something God approved of, that would be bad.

  • floydlee, it seems you fail to appreciate the fact that christians have *always* had disagreements over the interpretation of the biblical texts. It is both ignorant and childish to declare that some christians have “abandoned the bible’s teachings”, simply because their understanding differs from yours.

  • Sandi, I’m intrigued that so many christians seem to use the word “liberal” as if it was some type of pejorative. It simply means: willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas; favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms. Personally, I think the world could do with a whole lot more of that right now.

  • It IS a rather sharp phrase to put on the table, isn’t it? Definitely wouldn’t say it lightly or in jest. Which is why I was careful to qualify the phrase with clear specifics.

    “…abandoned the Bible’s teachings relating to homosexual behavior, gay marriage, and gay-self-identity.

    Within those specifics, what I said can be fully demonstrated anytime or anywhere. It’s absolutely not a “Maybe” on what the Bible is saying. No fuzzy Zen koans here; the Scriptures only point in one direction on this topic. Pro-gay revisionists are flat-out wrong on this gig, influencing people in a tragically wrong direction.

    Mohler points out that “the Christian church has held to a normative understanding of biblical sexuality for over two millennia.” Within “the last several years”, challenges have arisen. But NOT because of any lack of clarity on the Bible’s part.

  • You obviously hold your understanding tightly and with great certainty, and yet I still disagree with you. I think there is enough credible work by biblical scholars (*not* pro-gay revisionists as you assert) to allow for other interpretations. You are entitled to believe what you do, and so am I.

  • I think it is unfair for Gushee to say that he doubts if anyone who signed the Nashville Statement would sign the race statement. Some evangelicals have been addressing racism and their past guilt in either promoting racism or not addressing it sooner.

    I think the fault of the Nashville statement is that there is no accommodation made for the different expectations that should be made on society from those made on the Church. Thus, the question of how should we share society with others is answered wrongly with regard to LGBT community. While we should be sharing society as equals, positions taken by things like the Nashville Statement does not see it that way.

    As far as statements on culture, the most important statements that can be made now are statements on racism and economic classism. These involve corporate sins that are often relegated to a less than honorable mention position in the listing of top 10 sins. Emphasizing personal sins to the exclusion of corporate sins is how some of my religiously conservative Christians end up repeating the errors made by the Church in the pre-revolutionary times of the French, Russian, and Spanish Revolutions.

  • Matthew 28:19 – 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. ”
    Are you wiser than God?

  • The Nashville Statement only clear if you assume the definitions and transitions they intended and ignore the faulty syntax and logical fallacies. That makes it innately unclear. Plenty of folks disagree with the statement on account of such faults in communication, rather than any disagreement with the position on homosexuality.

  • No. Liberal would be to stretch the set boundaries set for the masses – to push beyond what Mom and Dad taught – to not conform to the world but to each other. Liberal can be very useful at times, but when it comes to scriptural things, trying to twist things away from the Lord’s meaning is wrong and punishable by the Lord (Galatians 1:8-11). Have you ever noticed that “liberals” will fight for the rights for anyone, but a Christian?

  • Depending on how YoikesAndAway is defining “racism”, that might be a reference to “Love your neighbor as [you do] yourself,” which is one of the two commandments that define what a Christian is required to do. Generally speaking, racism is violating that and hatred of one’s neighbor, as Jesus defined it, which I John 4:20 says means you hate God.

  • Would you call shits Christian????
    And is there a special kind of shit called Christian shit, a special
    religion called Chrishitianity…….

  • As I’ve said elsewhere, my own preference is to simply quote the Bible texts directly, rather than any particular “statements”, simply because the Scriptures offer the clearest (and the most powerful, see Hebrews 4:12) statements of all.

    But as Albert Mohler said, this is a time in which pastors, parents, and others are seriously asking for brief, clear, organized summaries or soundbites of what’s (biblically) to be affirmed and what’s (biblically) to be denied.

    The Nashville Statement at least succeeded that much. I don’t know if the NS is linguistically perfect, but it’s certainly clear enough to get the Bible’s message across to everybody.

  • Generally speaking, wiser than the Bible, yes. For one I know the world is round. I Timothy 2-12 says be quiet.

  • If you look at the Greek, the anti-homosexual boils down to some words that are defined differently from how they were used in contemporary sources. This was not the result I was expecting to find when I looked into it.

    That makes the Nashville Statement also faulty for claiming they’re the only possible biblical argument. The statement’s position is defensible, yes, but it’s not the only defensible position—and to be frank, the refusal to admit that may be the driving force behind all the falsehoods and inconsistencies used to support the “Homosexuality is sin arguments,” which tosses gasoline in the disconnect between the sides in this argument.

    Both sides can be defended, perfectly logically and reasonably and consistently. There is a single hinge in the Bible that could shift the argument either way, and the Greek term is defined via circular reasoning—lexicons say both that it means X b/c it’s used that way in the verse, and that the verse means X because the words mean that, and I have yet to find any non-circular resource. I’ve been searching.

    Both sides of the argument overlook this hinge. Maybe the ambiguity is caused by something having been lost over time, or maybe it was intentional—Romans 14 outright says that folks will have different applications of various verses and calls that a good thing.

    Ultimately, God will make all clear on the Judgment Day. I’m celibate by inclination—100% aromantic and asexual—so this doesn’t affect my personal life. Theologically speaking, we’re told and shown to walk away from, separate from, folks we believe egregiously wrong, so I’m not affected there, either.

    The Good Samaritan and the Jew he rescued each thought the other heretics, and they were able to accept each other as neighbors. The older I get, the more I suspect God made various verses open to more than one interpretation on purpose as a test, to see how we’d apply Romans 14.

  • Don’t celebrate too quick. The Nashville Statement is a nationwide reality now, signed by 150 evangelicals. As displays of unity go, that one ain’t shabby.

    But it’s not about “coming after” anybody, Tuesday. It’s not abut making anybody’s life a hell. Some people are in hell already, slaving away on the gay plantation. They’re deeply in trouble, and they already know it.

    They’re desperately waiting on some Christians to start agreeing with their own Bibles and their own Jesus, and offer them a new Emancipation Proclamation.

    They want to see some Underground Railroad Christians who can get a prayer through, and walk with them through the dark night, to reach a new sunrise, a new Healing and Freedom in Christ.

  • Well, sincere thanks for your reply. It takes strength from God to live in chastity, and I acknowledge your aromantic and asexual lifestyle.

    I heavily believe that the Scriptures as we have them — including the NT references, including the Greek words — are clear enough. Whatever else they are, they are NOT ambiguous about homosexual behavior.

    But you mentioned an unspecified “hinge” gig there. I am curious about that aspect. Would you be willing to say further, what and where it is?

  • You give me too much credit. Aromantic and asexual are orientations—and being 100% means I literally have no desire for a non-platonic relationship of any sort. Giving me kudos for living a celibate lifestyle is comparable to saying, “Hey, great restraint not drinking that beer!” to someone who has no interest in the beer.

    Assuming it must be a struggle is presumption that I must experience the same desires you do. That’s shoving me into your shoes, not seeking to understand mine. An understandable human inclination, but notice how it’s elevating yourself as “the” metric for human behavior? There’s risk in that.

    Since you actually want the tech specifics:

    The hinge term is χρῆσιν in Romans 1:26–27, often translated “use” or “relations” (as in, “natural use” or “natural relations”). I cannot find a non-circular definition for the Greek term, and culture of the time had its own definitions for what was “natural” in sexual relations and even familial relationships, yet folks assume it’s necessarily referring to a specific modern framework—whatever their framework is. (If folks believe that homosexuality is necessarily a choice, then they think “unnatural relations” = non-heterosexual intercourse; if they think it’s biological, then “unnatural relations” = intercourse contrary to one’s orientation.)

    As a very brief rundown of the other arguments: Scripture explicitly describes the sin of Sodom in Ezekiel 16:49–50, and homosexuality isn’t part of it at all. The “man-bed” term in I Corinthians, αρσενοκοίτης, is used to refer to shrine prostitutes by a contemporary of Paul’s (Philo, I think). The other term that’s translated catamite has its own meanings, but just think through that logic: that translation would cause Scripture to contradict itself because it’s holding victims responsible for what their abusers to for them, further oppressing them. That entire context has other logical and syntax stuff that mean there are a few more likely meanings for those two words (which are part of a triad structure), all in the family of condemning folks who are failing to love others as they do themselves.

    Per the actual words on the page of Genesis 2 and the later references to it, Adam may have been intersex before Eve was made from him (which has its own set of potential implications). Even if you ignore that or opt for the more conventional interpretation, pointing to “God created them male and female” and saying “See! that’s what God made so that’s all that is!” is intellectually dishonest. Look at all the genetic variance and mutation that has developed since then: skin colors, hair colors, diseases, and more.

    Biological sex/gender is a lot more complicated than XX vs XY. I could name a few ways to produce an XY female from the top of my head. Toss in that X and Y aren’t the only genes involved, plus the fact that our genes can actually differ in different cells (it’s called genetic mosaicism), and intersex conditions are to be expected, as is their growing frequency (which already is higher than most folks realize—0.1% of the population is a lowball figure; estimates say it might be 1% of the population). Some of this would manifest in apparent transsexuality as such folks end up something other than what their parents (or doctors—there’s alleged precedent of sex assignment happening without parental knowledge or consent) assigned them.

    Differences have been found in brain scans of various orientations. Assuming the studies hold up under investigation and repetition, the main question is chicken or the egg—are the brains changing because the person chose X, or is the brain difference what causes folks to end up X (which is a common belief)? Why does it have to be an either/or?

    Just some food for thought.

  • “Have you ever noticed that “liberals” will fight for the rights for anyone, but a Christian?”

    TBH, what I have noticed a lot these days is christians loudly and publicly fighting for their own rights, at the expense of the marginalised and powerless in our society. And I don’t believe that’s what Jesus called us to do 🙁

  • In a sense, part of the problem arises with media, and with the way we commonly talk about “Christianity”. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that there is no such thing as “Christianity”–there is liberal Lutheran Christianity and liberal Baptist Christianity and conservative Baptist/ Catholic/Lutheran Christianity and so on. And sadly, media commonly refer to all types of (self-professed) “Christians” with no modifier. And that becomes common in all our speech.

  • The author of this article certainly has a low opinion of some Christians. He seems to be criticizing others for the very thing he is doing.

  • Actually, there is only one interpretation scripturally on homosexuality. It is a sin. This is carried throughout the Bible, consistently.

    Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

    Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    Revelation 2:20 International Standard Version (ISV)
    20 But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and who teaches and leads my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

    That’s pretty consistent.

  • I could not ask for a clearer illustration of situation in which an individual’s beliefs have badly distorted–one might almost say, “destroyed”– the ability to perceive the world accurately, and to understand human behavior.

  • Umm…are you familiar with that part of the NT that says that believers shall be able to handle poisonous snakes and ingest poison and will not be harmed? I’ll be happy to buy the poison, if you will agree to swallow it.

  • The “man-bed” term in I Corinthians, αρσενοκοίτης, is used to refer to shrine prostitutes by a contemporary of Paul’s (Philo, I think).”” Philo never used the term from Corinthians.

    But you don’t want to use Philo anyway, for then you must also deal with his very inconvenient writings about Sodom’s excessive wealth and leisure degenerating into various sexual abominations such as “males mounting males without regard to their shared sexual nature.”

  • [shrug] Maybe I have the wrong name there—I did make clear I wasn’t positive I remembered the right name—or maybe there’s some debate due to how Greek cognates work. Regardless, Philo’s opinion on or interpretation of anything has no bearing on his writings as a potential reference for contemporary word usage. Those are two utterly different Venn diagrams.

  • Why? Males don’t bed males anymore? (There is no debate about how Greek compound words, btw– there are several that work exactly like arsenokoite does)

  • Well sure, and thanks for the explanations. Briefly,
    (1) I don’t make assumptions about what desires other folks have. I used to think that openly gay men never desired women, and open lesbians never desired men, but you be very surprised what goes on behind lavender doors.
    (2) God gave Sodom great blessings & mercy, but you know what they did. Ezk. 16:49, despising the poor. Ezk.16:50, the final straw, homosexual mess.
    (3) No chance, zero chance, of Adam being gay or trans AT ALL. Zero biblical support for any such notion, plus what Jesus said in Matt. 19:4-6.
    (4) No chance, zero chance, of limiting the sobering words of 1 Cor. 6:9-11 to ONLY shrine or cultic homosexuality, see Bauer’s Greek Lexicon. Whoever’s on top (arsenokoites), and whoever’s on bottom (malakoi), the homosexual act is wrong and damaging, shrine or no shrine, money or no money.

    However, God didn’t miss your point about young boys being forced to get into that mess. THAT’s what 1 Cor. 6:11, 1 Cor 10:13, and 1 John 1:9 are for. There’s young folks right now who are LGBT because some adult abused them, sowing seeds of damage, confusion, and addiction.

    But Jesus can untie all the twisted knots of the past, uproot all the twisted roots. He stops the bleeding and washes off the pain, he gives new self-esteem and new purity, and puts new medicine on all the unseen scars. He tailors His medicine, power, healing, restoration, timing, etc, to each person’s individual situation.

  • I said cognates, not compounds. Not the same thing.

    If I say “lay”, am I using the verb “to lie” or “to lay”? It’s the same cognate conjugation, two different origins. That is a very simple illustration of how and why cognates conjugations’ sources aren’t always clear.

    ETA: Had a mistype.

  • “Cognates” means that the origin IS the same. If the origins are different, then they are “false cognates.”

    So are you suggesting that “arsenokoite” is somehow more unclear than “metrokoite” or “doulukoite?”

  • 1. You said outright “It takes strength from God to live in chastity”—that is indicating there’s desire for a lack of chastity that needs supernatural strength to counter. Previously having certain assumptions about other orientations that you have since changed is also irrelevant. Major non sequitur.

    Everyone has assumptions they make. What matters isn’t if you have them, but how you respond to them. If you’d paid attention, you would’ve noticed the assumption I myself made in my pointing out of the assumption. (I assumed that when you wrote “chastity”, you meant “celibacy”.)

    2. Believing that Ezekiel 16:50 is necessarily referring to homosexuality is an assumption that is inconsistent with v. 49 and the historic meaning of sodomy (which was broader and included bestiality).

    In order to include homosexuality as a toebah for which Sodom was punished, you have to demonstrate that homosexual behavior is in fact an abomination, which must be done from other contexts that refer to homosexual behavior—and even then, the application would be debatable, because the internal context in v.49 contains an outright definition of what’s being referred to.

    3. “Someone gave up his pen” & “Someone gave their pen” both are proper English constructions that can refer to an unidentified person of any gender, and they have been for centuries. Hebrew/Aramaic has similar ambiguity. This is basic linguistics.

    There are a few contextual details that can be understood as making the Adam-as-originally-intersex interpretation unlikely, but that doesn’t somehow change how language works.

    4. Denying something has no influence on its truth or validity. Logically speaking, doing as if it’s a counterargument is seeking to start a new debate about the logical inverse of the original one, not actually addressing the original debate.

    I said outright that what I was sharing was a brief overview—and it was one you asked to receive. It was sufficient data for you to be able to investigate those arguments further if you want, which was my goal. What you do from there is up to you.

  • I meant to say “same conjugation”, thanks. Still entirely different from compounds.

    Contemporary use of “arsenokoite” is what determines its meaning, and that may or may not be consistent with other “–koite” terms. Just consider what would result if you looked at “advisement” and “settlement” and then tried to use that to get the definition of “battlement”.

  • OK…well, knowing as we do that the operative words in “arsenokoite” are taken from the operative words in Leviticus 20:13, would it help to look at other 1st century Jewish writings on that subject from the same time and place?

  • Who are you to test the Lord? Paul did not go out on his own initiative to be stung by a snake. Anything else would be testing the Lord, and that is a no-no.

  • Yep. That’s where the “shine prostitute” definition comes from.

    ETA: I’m drawing a blank on which contemporary author used it in that way, and there’s always the possibility that the term had multiple uses/meanings in Paul’s time. I haven’t seen any resources claim that, though.

  • No, it isn’t. It includes it of course but is not limited to it.

    A very good 1st century source is Josephus, who was a contemporary of Paul and had the exact same legal background, having studied under the same teacher. He wrote of the sexual prohibitions in Leviticus in his “Antiquities of the Jews” and in “Against Apion.” He spoke quite directly about same-sex behavior in Against Apion, but it was in connection with marriage laws, not laws about idol worship: “But, then, what are our laws about marriage? That law owns no other mixture of sexes but that which nature hath appointed, of a man with his wife, and that this be used for the procreation of children. But it abhors the mixture of a male with a male; and if any one do that, death is its punishment.”

    The Babylonian Talmud was written down in the very early Christian era, but the oral teachings were much older and were undoubtedly known to both Jesus and Paul. It tells us: “[Rabbi] Ulla said: These are the thirty commandments which the children of Noah (a rabbinic term for non-Jews) accepted upon themselves, but they only keep three (of them) – one, that they do not write a marriage contract for males…” — Babylonian Talmud Hullin 92a-b.

    Also from the first centuries of the Christian era comes the Midrash Rabbah Genesis in its written form, which tells us: “The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote wedding hymns for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.” — Genesis Rabbah 26:5.

    None of these writings mentioned “shrine prostitution” in any way, shape or form. This was a marriage context.

  • Sandi, you are quoting english translations of texts originally written in the context of ancient cultures. There are people who have studied the original languages and cultural contexts and have come to different conclusions. I give their work far more weight than people who quote isolated texts supposedly to support their pre-determined ideas. (And who themselves do not keep the entirety of the requirements found in Leviticus.)

  • I’m still not sure what your point is…

    But whatever it is, I believe that labelling and demonising the “other” is in direct contradiction to the teachings and real-life example of Jesus. I’m afraid that those who try to take the moral high ground (whilst denouncing the “sinners”) end up looking dangerously like the pharisees of Jesus’s day – and I suspect you know what he thought of their behaviour.

  • Exactly the point. There are only “possibilities” and speculations on the one side and quite substantial evidence on the other.

  • Your point isn’t clear at all. I’ve pointed out that a definition other than “homosexual” is supported by the logical structure of the context (which can be mapped out) and by contemporary evidence that I’ve found—which I’ve summarized and simplified, not delved into. The definition of “homosexual” is potential due to linguistic logic that is demonstrably unreliable but sometimes correct.

    And neither side has “substantial” evidence. On one side, you have to assume that contemporary text or texts we have today that use the term weren’t the James Joyces of their era. On the other side, you have to assume that Paul violated logical parallelism and that he was using the term differently from that contemporary or contemporaries. Both are perfectly legitimate techniques of communication.

  • I’ve already demonstrated that while NONE of Paul’s contemporaries used this term, the passage from which its operative components are drawn was discussed by his authoritative contemporaries in a marriage context, not an idol-worship context. If “shrine prositution” exclusively was intended, there was a word for that. It was not used. What was used was a term more than broad enough to include male prostitution as well as every other male on male activity.

    You however have to make a case that Paul DIDN’T write in the same vein as his contemporaries — including his own “classmates,” so to speak.

    Pardon my frankness, but you haven’t actually summarized or simplifued anything. You’ve already made one incorrect assertion about Philo and seem at a loss as to how to correct it. You need to do far more “delving.” This is a subject which one can not afford to wade into without a thorough background.

  • You haven’t demonstrated none of his contemporaries used the term—you’ve claimed it, and a negative like that can’t be proven. At most, it could be claimed that the contemporary examples we have reveal that meaning.

    Formal logic 101: Factual correctness ≠ logical validity. A premise or conclusion can be either, both, or neither.

    I tried to remember one name off the top of my head and failed. [shrug] That happens. I’m not “at a loss” for how to correct it—I don’t care to, because it’s a better example of my main point if left as-is, because I clearly specified all along that I wasn’t sure if I had the right name, and my core points all along have been points of logical validity.

    Your claim that I haven’t summarized/simplified anything is also patently false by the elaborations I’ve given at your request and by the entire “Hey, I’ve made generalizations without specific backing data!” thing. Again, logic.

    I only brought up details that I could remember off the top of my head because I was asked, and I said outright that this particular topic of study isn’t something that particularly concerns me. I’m now seeing a comment from you below that wasn’t showing earlier which has some specific citations. Useful for further investigation into that term specifically. Maybe I’ll do it at some point, but again, my personal focus and study is on logical argument more than the content. Many data sets can change. Logical validity doesn’t.

  • “You haven’t demonstrated none of his contemporaries used the term—you’ve claimed it, and a negative like that can’t be proven.” It can certainly be DIS-proven. You can simply show me a quote from Philo or one of Paul’s other contemporaries who used arsenokoite in the manner you describe.

    I appreciate your willingness to look at relevant sources, but logic doesn’t meaningfully exist apart from accurate content. You have to have a true proposition to start from. The proposition that Paul’s contemporaries used the term arsenokoite to denote a shrine prostitute is not true.

  • No. Those are the hopes of people who want to change the standing for thousands of years interpretation. The law was given to the Jews and the Jews still uphold homosexuality as a sin today. These people spread false hope for people who want to continue in their sin without reverence for the Lord and His desires.
    Unfortunately for the still practicing homosexuals,the Lord will not wink at their desires as it is well known that homosexuality is a sin and always has been. Their only hope is repentance. Blessings.

  • The Adam-as-intersex reading is a midrash on Gen. 1:27 (“androginos,” Gen. Rabbah 8:1; “with two faces,” Rashi on Gen. 1:27). It is meant as a way of understanding the mid-sentence switch from “in God’s image he created _him_” (bara oto) to “male and female he created _them_” (bara otam). It’s not meant as literally what the text says, so it may be unlikely, but that is the nature of rabbinic literature.

  • Sandi, you really don’t speak with authority for how Judaism views homosexuality. Even within Orthodoxy there is a wide variety of viewpoints.

  • And the Jews still maintain that homosexuality is a sin as they have consistently through the years.

  • Freedom of religion is free speech and I have (any many atheists and liberals) and will fight for any American’s religious rights. But I will call people out when those rights they claim produce actions that infringe on other people’s rights.

  • Well, what is “well known” is that it is pointless trying to have a discussion with someone who is convinced their viewpoint is the only true and correct one. I’m with the author on this one, and I’m bowing out.

  • logic doesn’t meaningfully exist apart from accurate content.

    Yes, it does. Logic is structure of how things work and actually connect and fit together—a to b and b to c and on down the chain. The content is irrelevant in that chain. The chain itself is what determines logical validity.

    You have to have a true proposition to start from

    Nope. The truth or falsehood of premises is irrelevant in logical validity. If you want an argument to prove that a conclusion is true, you need both factual accuracy and logical validity, but that’s an application of logic and not logic itself.

    “You haven’t demonstrated none of his contemporaries used the term—you’ve claimed it, and a negative like that can’t be proven.” It can certainly be DIS-proven. You can simply show me a quote from Philo or one of Paul’s other contemporaries who used arsenokoite in the manner you describe.

    Think through what would result if I did track down where I’ve seen that before and provided such a reference. Someone would question the translation or translator, or maybe take a page out of the book of the earlier commenter and deny the quote altogether. And that’s the kind end; my experience is that things usually end up far ruder.

    I’m not obligated to open that can of worms.

    As things stand, not bothering prevents a rabbit trail + is encouraging the coherent statement of some conservative-side arguments that differ from the standard flawed ones + results in less typing (which is literally painful for me right now). Not worth it to me right now.

  • And some Christians who insist they are the only Christians seem to have a really low opinion of other Christians. Funny, ain’t it?

    It’s almost as if your religion doesn’t make you better people, just better weaponized.

  • So you can’t produce your evidence to support your position questioning the customary translation of “arsenokoite” because someone might question the translation of your source?

    I’ve heard a lot of excuses around here but that is a first.

    You would lose very little by simply admitting that you don’t know of any other use of arsenokoite contemporary with Paul’s, for I already know that there isn’t one. Otherwise I would not have initially challenged your assertion. I do not weigh in on discussions unless I have some substantial background knowledge of the subject.

    Oh well, it’s been fun.

  • “males mounting males without regard to their shared sexual nature.”

    And that sounds just like rape to me, which is clearly what the sodom sorry is about, You once admitted the sdom had nothing to do with homosexuality. Now you’ve changed your mind.

    I’m a gay man. I always have been, I always will be. I don’t share a “sexual nature” with completely heterosexual men. They don’t share one with me.

  • Or vice versa. It all depends on whether you wish to condemn gay men or help them live authentic lives according to their natures.

  • Folks question even when you quote their own sources, if you’re saying something they don’t want to hear; I said I didn’t care to open the can of worms, not that I couldn’t, so that “can’t” is bearing false witness; and I’ve been clear about the items for which I’ve seen references vs. which I haven’t.

    You might also notice that my focus in the discussion was on the specific items about which I have thorough knowledge, like the logical validity you keep violating.

  • So are you going to take up this hopeless effort to make a scriptural case for SSM affirmation…again?

    I don’t wish to condemn anyone, nor do I wish to “help” anyone to sin by lying about the plain teaching of scripture. “Authenticity” is not of any importance from a gospel standpoint (“The flesh profits nothing” – John 6:63), for our “authentic” natural selves are fallen and fit only for the cosmic garbage dump. What matters is transformation and sanctification.

  • “And that sounds just like rape to me” Oh? So consensual sex does not involve mounting? (Before you answer, I can show you a passage from the OT where it does.)

    “You once admitted the sdom had nothing to do with homosexuality. Now you’ve changed your mind.” I said the specific incident recorded in Genesis was not about homosexuality in general, nor is it necessary in order to establish the sinfulness of same-sex relations from scripture. That doesn’t mean that Sodom didn’t have a problem with sexual perversion of all kinds, the fruit of its excessive affluence and leisure and greed. It already stood condemned before the recorded incident ever took place.

    “I don’t share a “sexual nature” with completely heterosexual men.” You’re not male? How interesting.

  • I think the media do bear some blame–reporters tend to be lazy and ill-educated; I think it’s rare to see the media identify someone as “evangelical Christian” or “liberal Lutheran” and so on.

    And people in general share some of the blame for speaking (and thinking) in a very sloppy manner.

  • Good points. For a nice illustration of your point, consider Utah! (The LDS church controls the legislature.)

  • I don’t think I’ve tried to make such a scriptural case. I’ll leave that to the people who think that the Bible has cosmic meaning. My point Has always been, as Misti has pointed out, that what the Bible might possibly have to say on the subject of what may possibly be homosexuality is nowhere near as clear as you would like it to be.

    No, you don’t wish to condemn anyone. that would be unladylike, and not comport with your self image. We’ve had this conversation many times. You’re happy to let other people do the condemning, and you just get to follow along.

    You may be fit for the cosmic garbage dump, but then, you believe in such a god. One that creates not only the cosmic garbage, but the dump to consign them to. For myself, I’m trying to make the world a better place, not the garbAge dump of your dreams. I’m sure you disagree. But then, you also think that if we only follow just the right magic formulas, the cosmic garbage we were created to be will somehow achieve sanctification and transformation, whatever those may be. But you will always, always live your life in fear that maybe you haven’t achieved it. On the other hand, your innate sense of superiority has already convinced you that you will be among the elect.

    Personally, I think you’re trying to have it both ways, but then, I don’t believe any of it. We are all of us, even you and Floyd and quite a few others, are doing the best we can. IN THIS LIFE. the difference is, some of us our trying to make it better now, and others are unconcerned what happens to people NOW, and are happy to let the harm continue as long as we can feel some god is going to save us in the end, and reward us later.

    Good and faithful servants, ya know?

  • “I don’t think I’ve tried to make such a scriptural case. I’ll leave that to the people who think that the Bible has cosmic meaning.” You did try a time or two but didn’t get very far. Well might you leave it to others — except that they don’t get far either, like Misti.

    “No, you don’t wish to condemn anyone. that would be unladylike, and not comport with your self image.” Again, kindly refrain from trying to tell me what I think. It’s quite rude, and I mean precisely what I say. Confine your argumentation to your own ideas and whatever evidence supports the same.

    “But you will always, always live your life in fear that maybe you haven’t achieved it. On the other hand, your innate sense of superiority has already convinced you that you will be among the elect.” See my above comment about amateur cyber-psychoanalysis. I have no fear whatsoever about not achieving holiness, because I understand that it is impossible. Whatever holiness I possess is given to me by Another. I respond to His guidance out of love and loyalty, not fear.

    “the difference is, some of us our trying to make it better now, and others are unconcerned what happens to people NOW” That you live in a culture where anyone cares about making things “better” for any but their own is owing to a specific point in time when Someone appeared with the revolutionary notion that everyone has inherent and equal value in the eyes of a transcendent Being.

    And here’s a hint — that Someone wasn’t Boswell.

  • Im not telling you what You think. I’m telling you what I can observe through your behavior, your attitude, and your comments. You’re free to disagree, but kindly don’t tell ME that I am engaging in amateur psychoanalysis, thateould certinly be the pot calling the kettle something orvother.

    As for your claim that Christianity is the font of all goodness: nonsense. Like every other institution of man, it has its good points and its bad points. It was those men of the enlightenment that started us on that path, and they rejected a good portion of Christianity. You ought to check out the Jefferson bible some time.

    AS for your idea that Christianity proclaimed inherent value– well, only if you believe it. Calvin. Your spiritual ancestor, certainly didn’t. The baptists and the methodists certainly didn’t. Even Jefferson didn’t.

    We didn’t progress because of Christianity, but despite Christianity.

  • Whoopee. The Nashville Statement could be universally signed by all Evangelicals, but that would not make it “gospel.” Evangelical “Christianity” started out as the con artistry of “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves,” as immortalized in the rock anthem of Cher 50 years ago. A 100 years ago, they all “preached a little gospel, sold a couple bottles of Dr. Good…” (laced with cocaine). Holy hypocrites and their legacy of faked miracles and preaching under the big top after the circus was over is not the voice of Christ or Christianity in America. They are the wolves in the sheep pen.

  • The uncivil war is brought to America by the holy hypocrite puppets of Putin. You know the collection plates have to be rolling in rubles these days.

  • Human rights came out of the political intrigue caused by England being divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants under Queen Elizabeth I. The Protestant Queen ruled her nation on a razor’s edge between warring factions. Elizabeth and her privy council sought to blunt that edge by inventing religious tolerance as one of the first human rights. Others followed in an effort to keep her on the throne and her head on her shoulders, instead of lopped off by the Catholics. Human rights have outgrown Christianity for precisely the reason that Evangelical Christianity thrives among those people who are violently opposed to real human rights for anyone but themselves. The fact that holy hypocrites find ways to denigrate all other forms of Christianity and every other religion on earth, their hatred of human rights starts with the first one granted. Their vocal opposition to LGBT rights these days is a pretext to establish theocracy and quash all human rights under their Bible-thumping.

  • I beg your pardon but YOU are the one who has previously characterized your presumptions wrt my true thoughts and motives, and those of others here, as “psychology.” I’ve frequently seen libs make excuses for their use of bigoted stereotypes as “observation” so it ‘s not surprising to see the same excuses for attempted clairvoyance. However, this is highly inappropriate in the context of an anonymous internet discussion board.

    “It was those men of the enlightenment that started us on that path, and they rejected a good portion of Christianity.” They might have rejected a good portion of Christian doctrine but they could not shed the pervasive influence of it. There would have been no “enlightenment” without Judeo-Christianity. The basis for our western legal systems with representative governments and acknowledged natural individual rights is the fundamental equality of status of all persons. Such a concept, however, did not exist in the classical world to which the “enlightenment men” mistakenly considered themselves the heirs. Nor did it arise spontaneously in any OTHER part of the world. It had a specific time and place of origin.

    Not sure why you keep mentioning Calvin, unless you’re simply too busy telling me what I think to listen effectively. I’m not a Presbyterian but a Methodist and my “spiritual ancestor,” if you really want to call it that, is John Wesley, who rejected most of Calvin’s unique ideas.

  • You’d never beg my pardon. You’re not doing it now, despite the use of the words “I beg Your pardon”. It’s just one more assertion of your superiority,

    As I said before and will say again, a lot of good has come out of Christianity, and a lot of evil has come out of Christianity. It’s a context, not a cause. It took 1700 years before Christianity had that impact that you claim for it, and even then, authoritarian Christianity fought it all the way, To say it would not have come in other parts of the world is to ignore the very impact that Christianity had on other parts of the world, usually in the context of war, conquest, slavery, exploitation, colonization, and a host of other evils– you know, the things you attribute to fallen man.

    Christianity maintained slavery in the US until 1865, and Jim Crow until 100 years later. CHristianity also fought against slavery in the the US, and against Jim Crow. Christianity maintained anti semitism for 1900 years, and saw it as a good thing. Christianity was also a force against it,

    The common ground is the context of Christianity as the dominant religion in the west. As I said earlier, it’s yet another human institution that some people use for good, other people use for evil. But that is because of the people, not because of Christianity. Just the same as the fact that how people read their bible depends on the type of person they are, and not the other way around,

    Wesley may have rejected Calvin. As far as I can tell, you haven’t. The great pruning, the cosmic garbage dump, your contempt for “libs”, your condoning of the evil of antigay bigotry while pretending you are being biblical and ignoring the reviling and slandering several people here thrive on…

    It’s all pretty obvious. And one need not be an armcnair psychologist to see it,

  • You still seem to be under the impression that slavery continued throughout Christendom for 1700 years. It died in the west during the early middle ages. Its resurgence during the age of exploration was the result of increased corrupting exposure to cultures which had no concept of human rights and equality. Christianity fought it down both the first time and the second time — certainly the “enlightenment men” weren’t much help on that since the classical thinkers that so impressed them thought slavery was a natural and normal phenomenon . As said before perhaps not all Christians were abolitionists, but all abolitionists were Christians.

    “The great pruning, the cosmic garbage dump, your contempt for “libs”, your condoning of the evil of antigay bigotry while pretending you are being biblical and ignoring the reviling and slandering several people here thrive on.” LOL! Ben, this is exactly why you will never be effective at this sort of thing unless and until you actually read the scriptures — all of them. You actually think Calvin invented all these ideas? Ever hear of Gehenna, which Jesus tells us awaits the unrepentant (Mark 9:14)? It was the “dump” outside of Jerusalem, where the garbage was continually burned.

    Ever heard of the parable of the vine? “I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He PRUNES to make it even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)

    Contempt for libs? I don’t think Calvin ever addressed that. What I will admit to a measure of contempt for is the embrace of stereotypes and bigotry while decrying stereotypes and bigotry, and the attitude of smug superiority while complaining about others’ sense of superiority — both of which sank your party in the last election, btw. I am aware of my own tendencies in that direction and try to rein it in, but as far as I can see few libs are self-aware in the same manner — at least the most vocal and visible ones. Stereotypes? Nope, just “observation.” Pfft. That doesn’t fly.

    As far as “condoning antigay bigotry goes,” that was not a creation of Calvin either but of the Torah (according to the ancient rabbis, actually it goes back to Noah), but since you in your present condition will never consider siimple belief in the truth of scripture here as anything but “bigotry” I will let that lie.

    Reviling and slandering again? What does that have to do with Calvin? As far as I can see this is simply a generalized complaint of yours that is never reduced to specifics, so I will let that lie as well except to note that I don’t think Calvin every advocated for the desirability of reviling and slandering.

    It’s all pretty obvious.?

  • Teachings based on mistranslation (Paul). As for Leviticus, if you do not kill adulterers you should not call Homosexual acts in pagan Temple worship an abomination.

  • You certainly have some very odd ideas about history. You need to absolve Christianity of its centuries of sins. It’s pretty obvious. ?

    Your excuse for slavery is positively Adamkc. Those pure Christians came into contact with bad cultures that weren’t christian, and the next thing they knew, they were As bad as those other cultures. It’s almost as if they were saying “the woman gave me of the fruit of the tree, and I did eat.”

    It’s almost as if they didn’t murder each other during the religious wars, didn’t burn witches, didn’t hate the Jews. It’s always someone else’s fault that they behaved no better than the denizens of the cosmic trash heap you were talking about.

    The rest of your post is just as silly. Lucky for both of us I’m on vacation. You might accuse me of armchair psychologkzing if I pointed out that if you teach children they are worthless garbage– which is what you have said any number of times– They grow up believing it and acting it. So I won’t point that out.

  • “You need to absolve Christianity of its centuries of sins.” You’re trying to tell me what I think again, Ben.

    It doesn’t require “absolving” any sins to simply point out that we would have a much different world without Christianity, and it wouldn’t be a better one. As far as slavery in particular goes, since it still exists to this day in many places in spite of everything, it would likely still exist universally without the Judeo-Christian rationale for repudiating it, as it once did.

    “if you teach children they are worthless garbage– which is what you have said any number of times– They grow up believing it and acting it.” The belief that man is born corrupt beyond his own ability to redeem himself, but of such value that God Himself would endure the cross for him, has not led to a culture of people “acting like garbage” but to a culture that, while of course not perfect, has been the global standard-bearer for civilization and human rights.

    You sound like someone who learned psychology back when everyone was still carried away by the notion of “self-esteem.”

  • No, I’m not telling you you are thinking. I’m telling you what you are doing.

    Of course we would live in a different world. That much is obvious. We’d live in a different world without potable drinking water. But You no more know that we would live in a much better world than I do. That’s another one of your beliefs, and ignores the evil that Christianity AND Christians inflicted on the world for centuries, IN THE NAME OF YOUR GOD. THe world progressed. It might have done so otherwise. It might not have. Someone else may have led the progress. But if we were to progress, it just happened that it was Christianity that did so, when it wasn’t dragging the world backwards.

    As for your dismissal of self esteem, that is no more old fashioned and irrelevant now than it was then. I grew up with a brother than hated himself. I’ve worked clinically with people who suffer the same. Your nonsense is just that.

    Enough of this. Intellectual superiority based upon fanatasies does not become you, but it IS you. It always amazes me that such an intelligent and learned person such as yourself can so easily go to the places that you do.

    Enough.

  • No, you are not telling me what I am doing. You are telling me what my motivations supposedly are. And failing miserably.

    Spare me the paeans to self-esteem. Criminals have the highest self-esteem, high achievers the lowest. The reason being that higher self-esteem is associated with poorer impulse-control and self-examination skills which is the death-knell to success. In case you haven’t noticed over the last couple of decades, people’s eyes glaze over when the self-esteem talk starts. Most know it’s fluff. But in any case, most people of faith do not hate themselves and actually tend to be quite happy and well-adjusted. The key is to steadily look to Christ for one’s identity– then the self, fallen though it is, becomes more or less a non-issue.

    “But You no more know that we would live in a much better world than I do.” Which of the pre-Christian or non-Christian world cultures would you have preferred?

    Greece and Rome? At least one-third slave, population dwindling because of so many baby girls thrown out to be eaten alive by animals? Hanging out of a Saturday afternoon watching people kill and maim each other for entertainment? That one?

    The Celts (my roots)? Engaging in human sacrifice in those much-lyricized “sacred groves” so disgusting that even the brutal Romans were horrified. That one?

    How about native America (also my roots)? Grabbing up members of other tribes to enslave or alternatively to vivisect by the hundreds for the sun gods? That one?

    The empire of Islam? Marching slaves from Africa across the Arabian penninula to Asia while slavery lay dead in Europe? Wiping out virtually the entire Christian population of the Ottoman Empire — not to mention their penchant for throwing guys like you to your deaths from high places, which continues to this day? That one?

    Africa? That sold a steady stream of the above-mentioned slaves (POW’s) to the above-mentioned Muslim traders to be marched across the Sahara? Where FGM originated as well and continues to this day, which tells you all you need to know about what it was like to be a woman there? That one?

    The Orient? My great-uncle found out first-hand what happens in a culture with no “Imago Dei” at Camp Fukuoka during WWII — and hung himself at the age of 47 rather than go on living with the memory of it. That one?

    C’mon Ben, quit playing chicken. You already know that I’m done with you and your talking points and still you keep pursuing me with the same old lame Christianity-bad nonsense. And then stoop to squalling “enough” when I push back. So make a call already — which of these Christian-less places in time do you want to “go to?” Because so-called “progression” of humanity notwithstanding, pockets of them still exist all over the world for you, if you’re that interested. Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?

  • Christianity is moving along, healthily enough in spite of all the ho-humming from the White Tower Types.

  • yea and how is that been working for you and all the kids that are dead by suicide. when is enough enough youre wrong Mohler hiding behind your computer.

  • Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Romans 1:26-27 all define homosexaulity as a sin, an abomination, stating that those who participate in homosexual acts won’t inherit the kingdom of God.

    Effeminate – Strong’s Concordance Number: G3120, found in 1 Corinthians 6:9 http://www.kingjamesbibledictionary.com/StrongsNo/G3120/effeminate

    Bible Usage: effeminate soft.
    Part of Speech: Adjective
    Strongs Definition: soft that is fine (clothing); figuratively a catamite
    Thayers Definition:
    1. soft, soft to the touch
    2. metaph. in a bad sense
    a. effeminate
    1. of a catamite
    2. of a boy kept for homosexual relations
    with a man
    3. of a male who submits his body to
    unnatural lewdness
    4. of a male prostitute

  • You wrote, quote: “you have to demonstrate that homosexual behavior is in fact an abomination” — Easy! Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    The Old Testament was the only form of Scripture used by the Lord Jesus Christ who often quoted from it, as did St Paul, St Peter, St John the Evangelist, other New Testament authors and the first Christian community. http://www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/old_testament.html

    Apostle Paul stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

    Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

    Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
    Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

  • And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but
    indeed a very learned man:

    “And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the
    generation of Minerva”

    Letter to John Adams, from
    Monticello, April 11, 1823

  • You wrote, quote: “you have to demonstrate that homosexual behavior is in fact an abomination”

    You missed “and even then, the application would be debatable, because the internal context in v.49 contains an outright definition of what’s being referred to.”

    You’re also overlooking that Leviticus also forbade things like blending fabrics or planting more than one kind of seed in a field, and that “abominations” described in Leviticus 11 are explicitly overturned in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 15:11, Acts 10:28).

    So, not nearly as “easy” as you think.

  • You’re ignoring a lot of definitions there, and assuming the definitions that would condemn a victim for something that they do not have an option to consent or choose to do—which is rather contrary to how Scripture otherwise refers to victims.

    Just from your quoted definitions (and there are others that those lexicons skip, even if you assume those lexicons are right on the idiomatic meaning, which is debatable), the term can easily describe a sycophant—which is something that Scripture condemns elsewhere, too.

    If Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture, then the definition that’s congruous with more Scripture should be assumed over the one that would conflict with it.

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