11
May
09

Forbidden Fruit

rainbows-and-apples

So, with Maine’s governor having signed a same-sex marriage bill into law (yes, legislation that actually gives gays and lesbians the ability to get married and not have to register for some parallel domestic partner registry that grants them fewer marriage rights), I’m sure the religious right is in a tizzy.

Not that I’d know how much of a tizzy, really, because I’ve been too busy to keep up with the news lately.

I’m not going to simply rehash the reasons I’ve already outlined as to why I think opposition to same-sex marriage is silly. Besides, I’ve already been accused of being a “radical liberal” (despite being against PeTA on more causes than not, and for capital punishment in some cases) and a “false Christian” (guess I’ll be joining some of you in Hell despite having accepted Jesus…who knew?) for my views on this.

What I want to address though, is the militant fascination so many on the Christian side of things have with stamping out the same-sex marriage thing. Why?

Because too many of them feel threatened by it. They fear that giving some 10% of the population the same marriage benefits as themselves will somehow give the homosexual community some unassailable power base from which to dismantle the Christian establishment. Never mind that plenty of atheists, agnostics, Jews, neo-Nazis and others can get married already, and doing so hasn’t destroyed Chrsitians.

Also, I think that the big-time Christian opposition is insecure in its own marriages overall, feeling somehow that allowing other consenting adults the same institution will diminish their own marriages. What they fail to realize is that the only thing that can truly diminish the value of their marriages is how they themselves treat them. Which is, too often, quite badly.

Opponents of same-sex marriage truly see it as some kind of demonic, destructive force that will rip a huge chunk out of the foundation of civilization itself. It is a notion that is so overblown in its assumptions that my mind reels. Frankly, I’m more disturbed that we allow minors to get married in some states than I am that two grown adults that share the same sexual parts will.

Finally, I think the opponents fear that somehow, same-sex marriage will normalize homosexuality to the extent that it will gain the same prominence as heterosexuality. I think this is where the deepest fears lie. They fear that same-sex marriage will convince their own children that homosexuality is just the same as heterosexuality. They fear that this is somehow a huge step on the path of converting their children to same-sex relations, paying no mind to the fact that sexual orientation is not established (much less changed) so easily. That by and large, overwhelmingly, people want to be with people of the opposite gender.

It has nothing to do with souls or salvation, because these opponents, if they cared about souls, would be trying to convince same-sex couple to find Jesus. But they aren’t trying to help them find anything. They are trying to oppress them and they are treating them as enemies. And they are treating the effort to prevent legalization of same-sex marriage as a war.

But there is no bright and shining goal at the end; merely a goal of preventing other adults from pledging their lives to each other. There is nothing here but an attempt to hold onto something that doesn’t even belong to Christianity alone. Marriage wasn’t created by God. It’s a societal creation, and thus one whose rules must be decided by the society in which it exists. And in a country like ours, that means the rules sometimes change, and often with a vote involved in that change.

There is no honor in this battle against same-sex marriage.

It’s driven by fear, pure and simple. And God never told us to operate from a position of fear. Nor one in which we force the rules of the Bible onto anyone.

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59 Responses to “Forbidden Fruit”


  1. May 12, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Very astute post, Deke.
    “the opponents fear that somehow, same-sex marriage will normalize homosexuality to the extent that it will gain the same prominence as heterosexuality.”

    Yes, you nailed it. The very presence of gays and transpeople call into question a lot of the most cherished and erroneous perceptions these people hold dear. It is very threatening, because the reality that is us proves the inaccuracy of the gender “opposite” binary. It threatens to upset the entire balance of power. Because if the genders are not opposites, then there is no reason to hold women down; women and femininity can be strong and rational, and feminine intuition can lead to honorable and effective conclusions. Women can be leaders as effectively as men. It is another, perhaps more than one, nail in the coffin of oppressive patriarchy. And the folks who have a vested interest in clinging to that oppressive patriarchy are fundamentalists – not just Christians, but Muslims, Jews, and others.

    “It’s driven by fear, pure and simple.”

    Exactly. And a fear that is largely moot. The patriarchy is doomed, anyway. The generation born today will find homosexuality normal (for the most part), just as the last one found dark skin normal (for the most part). In another generation or two, we’ll have a homosexual president.

  2. 2 LightWorker
    May 12, 2009 at 6:15 am

    I think that a lot of it boils down to perception. Same-sex involvements, whether solemnized by marriage or not, are often seen in the same light as pedophilia, incest, bestiality, and any number of other sexual aberrations that I won’t enumerate here–as a grave sin.

    You alluded to that with this statement: “Opponents of same-sex marriage truly see it as some kind of demonic, destructive force….”

    Once you label these things as sins (same-sex marriage included), many Christians believe that it’s their Christian duty to renounce, condemn, and forbid, using the weight of the law if necessary.

    As a sin, the opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t require a rational footing, nor does it have to pass a commonsense threshold. It’s enough that God forbids it.

    To lump same-sex marriage in with these other sins, the church blinds itself to the obvious, as you have articulated it: “Marriage wasn’t created by God. It’s a societal creation, and thus one whose rules must be decided by the society in which it exists.”

  3. May 12, 2009 at 8:20 am

    It’s driven by fear, pure and simple. And God never told us to operate from a position of fear(Deacon)

    Geez, Remind me which Bible you read?

    Psa 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

    Psa 67:7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

    Psa 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.

    Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    2Ki 17:39 But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

    Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

    1Pe 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

    Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

    Psa 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    May 12, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Tit for Tat,

    First off, there is a difference between operating from a position of fear IN the world and having a fear of God. Also, the word “fear” in connection to God isn’t always literally to FEAR him as in trembling and groveling. Moreover, the new convenant relationship is different thatn the old convenant relationsn. “Fear of the lord” involves respect and deference and not terror, but, more importantly, as Psalm 34 breaks it down (verses 11-14):

    Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

    Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,

    keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking lies.

    Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

    —————————————–

    Seda,

    I do think that homosexuality will come to a point one day where it will be seen as perfectly normal, and there is no secular reason to treat it otherwise (and even one or two biblical reasons to wonder what constitutes sinful homonexuality), but I think it will always be the minority choice. We’re wired, mostly, to gravitate toward the opposite gender in most cases.

    ——————————————

    LightWorker,

    You hit the nail on the head…they operate from a sin base but if they want to stamp it out, it cannot be through laws. Laws are secular in this society and that’s the critical point these yahoos are missing

    ——————————————-

    Thordaddy,

    I’ve told you I delete your posts from the spam queue without reading them. I also told you that I will not even so much as read your comments at other blogs. Sure, a few words slipped onto my retinas as I was hitting “delete,” like “how many lies” and “their agenda” which already tells me that you were off on some fearmongering, conspiracy-theory, homophobic rant. So now I feel even less bad that I’ve stopped paying attention to you.

  5. 5 32B
    May 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Seda – “Because if the genders are not opposites, then there is no reason to hold women down; women and femininity can be strong and rational, and feminine intuition can lead to honorable and effective conclusions.”

    I never thought about that dimension of it.

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    May 12, 2009 at 11:59 am

    To be honest, 32B, I’d never gone down that philosophical path either, so thanks to Seda for bringing it up.

    Gender is such a loaded thing. I mean, laws against pedophilia and bestiality (just to name a couple sins that LightWorker alluded to) you are protecting someone or something. But with homosexuality or transgender issues…who’s being protected from what by limiting their rights or ability to express themselves? I don’t get it. Holding back adults from having all the same levels of rights and responsibilities in life is a zero-sum game if I ever saw one. Gender, sexual preference (between consenting adults), etc. should never be a barrier to being a full citizen of a country and able to enjoy all of its rights and benefits. After all, they pay the same taxes…

  7. May 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I think a push to “normalize” homosexuality is a problem. I’m curious to hear the argument about it being “normal.” Besides the fact that “normal” is a fluid thing, I think that by most definitions of normal, having sex with somebody of the same gender is not “normal.”

    However, I find any push to discriminate against homosexuals to be equally dangerous. Attempting to force everyond to live by God’s law is wrong. There is no biblical precedent for forcing non-believers to live according to what God desires. There is no mandate from heaven to do this. God is against the idea of forced belief.

  8. May 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Also, I’m not sure that marriage wasn’t created by God. There is a good argument to be made that God ordained and then sanctioned the marriage of Adam and Eve as the first joining. There is also ample proof in the Bible that marriage is something God cherishes and wishes for his people to engage in, particularly if they plan to copulate.

    The questions becomes, where did God say that it’s the job of Christians to decide who can and cannot get married. Where did he say that we should actively work to prevent others from getting married if we believe their union is based on the wrong ideals. The Bible does not say this.

    More importantly, by focusing on certain sins, like homosexuality and abortion, many Christians weaken their ability to talk honestly about God because their hypocrisy is forced into people’s faces. People notice that Christians get pissed about some sins, but let other sins slide. This doesn’t help our witness.

  9. May 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I have to admit, Big Man, that I wouldn’t want a societal push to view homosexuality as “normal” in the sense that it should be pursued as avidly as heterosexuality. That would simply be an attempt to force the notion that we should all have sex with whomever, when in fact biologically, we are clearly designed to trend heavily toward the opposite gender. And forcing the idea that everyone should be bi-sexual is as erroneous to me as saying that no one should be comfortable being gay/lesbian.

    But I think that society does need to get to a point where we don’t look at gays and lesbians as deviant.

    That was more what my angle was, anyway; just didn’t phrase it as well as I could have.

  10. May 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    As to your second point, it’s the institution of marriage, as something that is legally recognized and brings things like tax benefits and requires a license, that I am referring to. Through the ages, marriage has often been treated more in that realm that on the spiritual side of things. And so, while marriage does have a biblical aspect to it, it exists primarily outside of God’s designs. His idea of us “cleaving together” was something much different than what we deal with in this debate.

  11. May 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    That would simply be an attempt to force the notion that we should all have sex with whomever, when in fact biologically, we are clearly designed to trend heavily toward the opposite gender(Deacon)

    The only aspect of sexuality that is geared towards our biology is intercourse and procreation. The rest has nothing to do with our biology, its about pleasure and sharing of oneself. You dont have to be of opposite gender to do that. And as far as normal goes, I know enough people who think a blowjob is not normal. Different strokes for different folks, thats about as normal as we come(no pun intended). 😉

  12. May 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    LOL…TitforTat…intentional or not, I’ll take the pun.

    As for the rest, I think you are actually supporting my point, as you mention not simply procreation but also intercourse. People prefer to have sex with people of the opposite gender in most cases, and I don’t think this is merely societal conditioning.

    Yes, pleasure is pleasure. But mostly, people want pleasure from the opposite gender, and I think the roots of that go very deep into our genetics and our biology.

    Because really, if we say that people should have sex with whomever because pleasure is pleasure, wouldn’t that be shaming people into thinking they shouldn’t turn down a same-gendered person? That somehow they are “bad” for not wanting to have sex with someone with the same plumbing?

    That, I think, would be a societal pressuring that is every bit as bad as asking gays and lesbians to be ashamed of their desire for members of the same gender.

  13. May 12, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Just to clarify my last response, I see a big difference between saying something “isn’t normal” and saying that it is “pathological” or “bad” or “deviant.”

    Normal I see as being the more natural and/or popular manner of doing things.

    There are times when something can be promoted as normal OVER something that previously was normal, and that can be less than desirable. For example, babies used to be nursed. Now most people use formula. Formula isn’t bad, but it’s not natural, and isn’t as good for babies as breast milk. But we have decided as a society, somehow, that breast feeding isn’t normal, even though that’s what babies should be getting.

    I’m not saying that there is a parallel between that and sexuality, as there are many reasons formula feeding has come to the forefront and become the “norm” and they don’t mirror issues of sexuality at all. I seriously doubt that homosexuality would ever supplant heterosexuality or even become the equivalent in terms of people’s choices. Then again, I’ve been wrong before.

    It’s a tricky area. I don’t think homosexuality should be demonized or hidden under the rug, but I also don’t think it should be actively promoted as the way people really are or the way they all really should be. If that makes any sense

  14. May 12, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Hey folks; newcomer to the blog and all that. . .

    When you suggest (DeaconBlue #6) that unlike the other sexual deviations you list, homosexuality doesn’t harm anybody (your actual words were that prohibiting the others is “protecting someone”), you overlook an issue that remains outstanding for me, and that’s the raising of children. I believe both the biblical model and observation of society suggest that children function at their fullest if raised in the (I believe) divinely-designed paradigm of a loving father and mother–male and female. I believe that boys and girls need a mommy and a daddy. Same-sex marriages–as long as religious institutions aren’t forced to recognize them–wouldn’t bother me to the same extent except for this.

    I acknowledge all the caveats–kids are raised by single parents all the time, there are plenty of messed-up kids that come from straight families, there are at least some perfectly well-adjusted kids that come out of nontraditional families, you don’t have to be married to have kids–all these things are factual. But that doesn’t mean that the paradigm is false. . .and quite frankly I wish there would be a way to address IVF and adoption and divorce as they relate to the kids’ health too. But your point that, unlike other perceived sexual deviations, this one is harmless, isn’t entirely true IMHO.

    It is true that I hold homosexuality–along with extramarital straight sex, divorce, etc.–to be adultery from a biblical perspective. More on that here, if you’re interested. But that is a religious, not a secular or legal point. From the secular side, I really think the biggest cause for concern is yet one more way to ensure that a population of kids is raised without decent models for relating to both genders, and how they relate to each other.

    Not that I expect to change your mind. I’m really responding to your contention that opponents of gay marriage have to be responding to fear. . .”homophobia.” Not necessarily so.

  15. 15 Deacon Blue
    May 12, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Yet another follow-up to my earlier comments.

    Anyway, now that my sluggish brain has engaged, I have a better example for how to illustrate the “normal” vs. “not normal” thing. One that actually has a more direct parallel to the issue at hand.

    Many people have sexual fetishes/kinks/exotic sexual tastes. Some of these are very mainstream and some are more esoteric. I myself have at least three fairly strong sexual kinks (no, I won’t share them). They are an integral part of who I am. They don’t get in the way of me living life and they don’t adversely affect anyone else, much less society as a whole.

    I would not seek to extract these kinks from my psyche, nor would society benefit from me doing so.

    At the same time, these kinks are not “normal.” There is nothing wrong with them, but I would never call them normal, nor would I lift them up as something that people in general should embrace. Not because there is anything wrong with them but because they are very specific to specific subsets of people. And to call them normal or advocate for them to be widely embraced would be silly. It is NOT, however, silly to desire and expect that I not be labeled a “weirdo” for having them, since they hurt no one (and, in fact, have their upsides).

    So, if somebody has a thing for golden showers, or a sexual kink related to pantyhose, or a desire to dress up in cartoon character costumes and have sex, or a shoe fetish, or anything like that, there is nothing wrong with that. But it also isn’t normal. It parallels, in my mind, the dynamic between heterosexual sex vs. homosexual sex.

    On the other hand, some kinks are very dangerous or troublesome, and are not only not normal, but should not be pursued at all, in my mind. Really extreme S&M, for example, which can bring physical or mental harm to a person. Or, erotic and/or autoerotic asphyxiation, which can be DEADLY. Those things are not only abnormal but pathological, and can cause direct harm to oneself and/or others. These I would equate as being analagous to sexual preferences that I think are absolutely wrong, like pedophilia and bestiality, which are very harmful.

    This, in fact, is one of the reasons I cannot equate homosexuality with pedophilia, bestiality and things like that, because they are worlds apart from each other. Homosexuality is not normal, but it is also not evil or wicked (unless you’re coming from the biblical angle). The others are also not normal, but they also delve into terrible territory that homosexuality does not.

  16. 16 Deacon Blue
    May 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Dan,

    I’ve heard the argument before, and I understand where it comes from, but I don’t agree with it. And that’s precisely because families in general don’t always (or often) follow a biblical paradigm. And I don’t think that from a secular standpoint that kids with same-sex parents are inherently at a disadvantage (or that they should be made to feel that they are).

    One of the best pair of parents I know is a gay couple. I think their daughter will fare better, and be raised better, than most of the straight families I know.

    I do thank you for your input, though.

  17. May 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    precisely because families in general don’t always (or often) follow a biblical paradigm.

    Which is the reason for my acknowledging all the caveats. Not my primary reason for posting. I already knew you disagree with me (which, BTW, doesn’t get me into a raging fit). I’m merely saying that–whether or not my position is correct–it’s not based on fear as you defined it in your OP.

    Logically speaking, the fact that the (IMO) God-ordained paradigm of kids being raised by a straight married couple, is often (or usually) poorly-implemented, does not constitute an argument against the paradigm. It would be interesting to do a longitudinal study on outcomes of kids parented in the various ways–I suspect among other things such a study would show that divorce is way more harmful to kids than the divorcing parents want to admit. What’s nearly (if not completely) impossible, is to find a truly dispassionate investigator to really pursue the facts where they lead. But truthfully, it would take a decent population study to determine if you or I am right regarding the effect on kids. I doubt anybody has the cojones to conduct a really dispassionate one, though.

  18. May 12, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Actually Deac. I would disagree with you on the “Normal” bit. I think homosexuality for about 10% of the population is completely normal. It may not be the for the bulk of the population but its only “not normal” if one of the 90% decides to go for it. Mind you we are leaving out those pesky Bi-sexual people. 😉

  19. May 12, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Deac, my point of contention with you is your decision to say that just because something isn’t “normal” doesn’t mean it is bad.

    This is true in general, but in this case, the main problem Christians have with homosexual sex is that we believe it is bad.

    It’s not worse than pre-marital sex or adultery, but it is bad. This is based on our bibilical beliefs, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with having that belief. Some folks disagree, I understand their point.

    Just wanted to make that clear.

  20. May 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Tit for Tat

    I’m going to need you to define “normal.”

    Are you saying that a genetic mutation that makes you behave in a certain way, or look a certain way is in fact normal becuase it’s based on biology?

    I think that’s illogical.

  21. May 12, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Well Deac

    Firstly, pretty much every species on earth has homosexuality, so would you not consider that normal for the percentage that is born with it? And as far a genetic mutations go. Wouldnt you have to know the purpose of how the Universe works and what its up to to know what is normal or natural?

  22. May 12, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Oops…..I meant that for Big Man. 🙂

  23. 23 Deacon Blue
    May 12, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Big Man,

    Not really a point of contention between us, I suspect. The overall point of the original post and my comments is from a secular standpoint. From a biblical one, I have to concede that all evidence points to homosexuality being among the biblical sin, no better or worse than any others, but a sin all the same. I’m speaking to societal standards and how this should be addressed in that realm.

    So, I think we agree substantially. It’s “bad” in terms of God’s rules and expectations for us (although the Bible is a bit dicey at times on its defintions of homosexuality, so it’s still a confusing area sometimes)…but there is no reason it should be “bad” from a secular/civil/legal/equal rights standpoint.

    Sorry if that wasn’t clear on that. I realize that I spend a good chunk of the original post lambasting the Christian persepctive on this, but that’s only because they are attacking it in the civil sphere and because they rarely seem to have the interests of the homonsexuals at heart…only their interest in seeing biblical rules written into the law.

  24. 24 Deacon Blue
    May 12, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Dan,

    I’m not in any kind of tizzy about your comments, either…hope you realize that.

    Again, I hear what you’re saying, but I still think fear is a big motivator here. I don’t see Christians using the legal/legislative/governmental/secular sphere to stamp out other sins that affects families (divorce, adultery, etc.). Yet they are so devoted to preventing same-sex marriage. The fervor with which they do so really convinces me that fear is the underlying basis for the outrage and aggressiveness with which many Christians and Christian groups opposed such marriage.

    As for the rest of your comment, you are right that good population based studies would be useful here. And I wouldn’t be surprised if someone does conduct one or more in the future.

  25. 25 Deacon Blue
    May 12, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    TitforTat,

    And my kinks are “normal” for me, too. 😉

    Again, my point in using the word “normal” is realtive to the general population and the general trend in human nature.

    I agree with you that for a gay man, for example, to have attraction to another man feels perfectly normal to him probably. If it didn’t, he’d be sleeping with women…LOL

  26. May 14, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Homosexuality is normal, because it is natural to a certain percentage of people. It is not the norm, because most people are (and, presumably, always will be) heterosexual. Trans people are normal, too, but even less the norm. They are not inherently deviant (though, like straight people, some are); rather, that is simply who they are, who god made them to be.

    So, Big Man and/or whoever, you can say that god doesn’t like for those people to act in the way they were made to act, but I’ll have to disagree. If it is normal, as biology and experience indicate, for gays to be homosexual, then it stands to reason (IMHO) that for gays to have sex with people of the opposite sex would be far more of a sin than having sex with someone they are naturally attracted to. That shouldn’t take anything away from your Christianity, so long as you hold onto the idea of holding only Christians accountable for that peculiar Christian standard of behavior, and leave the rest of us free to live our lives in the way that gives god and us joy.

    As for marriage, I think it has both a spiritual and a societal dimension, and, like sex and gender, while they often go hand in hand they operate essentially independent of each other, on separate continua. I could go on for too long, so I’ll just link to some previous thoughts for those Blue readers who wish for more: http://silknvoice.blogspot.com/2009/02/definition-of-marriage.html – and – http://culturepax.blogspot.com/2009/02/answer-to-chairms-comment-on-definition.html .

    Dan,
    Y’gotta take divorce on a case-by-case basis, I think. I’ve seen families where the parents’ divorce was the best thing possible for the kids; others where it tore the kids apart. You can make generalizations, but legislating them makes for that large minority to suffer far more than they should.

    And while I believe that it’s true that kids flourish best with strong, intimate (as in close, not sexual) relationships with both men and women, that doesn’t necessarily mean the man and woman have to be married to each other. I know several lesbian couples who ensure that their children have close relationships with men. In my own case, my transition, while taking away my kids’ “dad,” gave them a much better relationship with a happier, more honorable, more emotionally and physically available Maddy. And now Ken, Kristin’s sweetie, makes their lives even richer and more balanced. Yes, they are thriving, and they know they are loved unconditionally. In some cultures, the father is barely involved with his own children, and the uncle takes on the role that the father traditionally takes on in ours. Doesn’t seem like those kids suffer from it.

    Deke, I totally agree that homosexuality will always be the minority. But just because most Douglas firs grow straight doesn’t mean that those that grow crooked are somehow abnormal or weak. Also, gays and lesbians DON’T pay the same taxes. They pay more, because they can’t do things like share mortgage deductions on a joint income tax return, and they have to pay accountants to separate out their different incomes for simple returns, etc.

    Which segues into this little ditty, which further illustrates the absurdity of our laws on gender and marriage: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/opinion/12boylan.html?_r=2&emc=eta1

    Enough. Good night.

  27. 27 Deacon Blue
    May 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Actually, Seda, I am aware that gay and lesbian couples get screwed on the tax thing.

    And, frankly, the new law in Maine won’t change that completely, since the state cannot force the feds to change their policies, but at least with state taxes, I assume, things will get better for them if they decide to marry.

    So, my off-the-cuff comment about paying the same taxes was more a general comment that they are footing their share of the support of this nation, and deserve equal civil treatment as a result.

    But all the same, thanks for pointing that out, since I thought I had mentioned it earlier, but perhaps not. And it is an important point.

  28. May 15, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Seda

    Just because we have natural inclination to do something does not make it “OK” in God’s eyes. I hope this doesn’t offend you, but if you spend some time reading the Bible you will see that a lot of time is spent discussing the suppression of certain natural inclinations that run counter to God’s will. Homosexuality, like say fornication, appears to be one such inclination.

    I think folks appear to be operating from a very fluid definition of normal. I hate to use this example, but sociopaths and psychopaths think their behavior is “normal” and it is present in a siginificant percentage of the population. The same argument could be made with pedophiles, or folks with sickle cell anemia. For them, certain things in their life are “normal” but what does that really mean?

    Does normal mean anything that feels “ok” to you? Does normal mean whatever the majority of people do? How do we define normal? I think this is important because people throw that word around because it has certain connotations, and I think that’s a mistake.

  29. May 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    For me personally, a big part of whether it’s “normal” or should be treated as such societally is whether it causes significant harm.

    In terms of sexual behaviors, homosexuality harms no one more or less than heterosexuality. The same cannot be said for pedophiles.

    So, you’re right that distinctions need to go beyond what the individual or group feels is normal…but there are plenty of other standards that we can apply.

  30. May 15, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Big Man, I am not the least offended when you respectfully disagree with my opinions regarding what’s normal or natural and what’s not. I do, however, find the old meme of comparing homosexuality to pedophilia or bestiality, as if they’re equally evil and equally deviant, offensive. I in no way equate consensual sex between adults with non-consensual assault, which is what pedophilia, bestiality, and the like are.

    When I say “normal,” I mean natural variations that are witnessed in multiple species. And, as Deke points out, homosexuality harms no one. The same cannot be said for behaviors that damage innocent people or animals.

    Y’all are free to read the Bible and interpret it any way you want. I’ve read the damn thing cover to cover at least twice, and passages in it hundreds of times. I’ve memorized considerable passages, entire chapters, in the past. And I don’t find the same interpretation as you regarding homosexuality. I read it in context. Seems to me Paul was talking about Greek men-who-had-sex-with-men despite their natural inclination to be heterosexual, which was extremely common in the Greek culture that had spread throughout most of the Roman Empire at that time. So we disagree on that. Fine. We can each respectfully agree to disagree.

    But I hope you understand how and why I find your equation of homosexuality with pedophilia offensive.

  31. May 15, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Not to speak for Big Man, but he and I often think along similar lines, so I suspect that he wasn’t comparing pedophilia, for example, to homosexuality.

    From what talks Big Man and I have, we tend to agree that homosexuality is no worse than, say, fornication or adultery in terms of sin.

    And clearly, pedophilia, aside from being a crime, is a form of abuse.

    What I suspect he was getting at was that we have to be careful with the term “normal” because very dangerous and sick people also think themselves and their actions very normal. What Big Man is asking for, I think, is some insight into how we define what is normal in a way that doesn’t also give a set of excuses/justifications for the truly perverse and altogether evil activities.

  32. May 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    That may be so, Deke, and if that was Big Man’s intent, I have no offense with that. I would ask, however, that he (or anyone with such intent) clarify very carefully, because “Christians” often DO equate homosexuality with pedophilia – and they do so intentionally, with malice, and with intent to marginalize, stigmatize, insult, and oppress us. So if your intent is to ask clarification of a point, please go to some effort to emphasize this, because past experience is probably going to lead me to assume the worst.

    As for homosexuality being a sin, on par with adultery or something like that, I strongly disagree. It just is what it is. To me, a “sin” is an act that hurts someone, that makes life less wonderful, that causes damage or reduces a person’s ability to connect. Promiscuity would probably fit the bill, adultery certainly – regardless of whether the relationship affected is same-sex or other-sex. But for a lesbian to have sex with her wife, that’s no more sin that it is for you to have sex with your wife. It makes both women (or both men) connected and happy, and, if god is even aware of it on any level, I feel confident that it makes Her happy, too.

    I reach that conclusion based on experience, reason, intuition, and study, including not only my rather in-depth study of gender, but also religious texts, most prominantly The Bible and also Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, but including folks like Gandhi, Kahlil Gibran, Deepak Chopra, etc. And I tend to test the Bible against science, experience, and reason, so when some Bible passage seems clearly unaligned with reality, I look for deeper meanings. Sometimes I don’t find it – at which point, I conclude that the Bible is erroneous. (Gee, do you suppose that’s why I’m not a Christian? 🙂 ) So when I see Paul rant on and on in Romans 1:26-27, I conclude that he’s talking about the promiscuous MSM (Men-who-have-Sex-with-Men)-type culture that was common in the Roman Empire, and not about truly gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships.

    Ok, is that clear enough, regarding normal and all that?

    Be well, y’all, be happy.

  33. May 16, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I got your point earlier, Seda, particularly with Paul and such. Didn’t want to imply that I missed that.

    I have my own confusions and reservations regarding what the Bible is railing on with homosexuality, and whether it is the practice in general, a choice to make it a lifestyle, or something else.

    For example, there is a passage about David and Jonathan, as I recall, that sure sounds like they had at least one very intimate encounter (whether or not that’s what happened, I don’t know). Also, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah weren’t about the homosexuality going on but the violent/abusive/rape-centered philosophy they were embracing. And there is one passage (I forget which…might be in Leviticus) that talks about men not laying with men as they do with women and not laying with beasts as they do with women…BUT, it then says women should no lay with beasts but makes no mention of laying with women. Odd to me that elsewhere the Bible gives a rule to men and we are to assume it applies to women as well. There the Bible repeats the bestiality sin for each gender individually and yet homosexuality is only flagged for men.

    Those things make me suspect, at least, that homosexuality may be too broad a term as used in the Bible and may mean something more specific.

    But I tend to err on the side of caution and so am reluctant to just write it off as not being sinful, just as I don’t really know why premarital sex (again, what truly defines forncation) would be wrong, but I assume that it is, at least in many (if not most) cases, against God’s plans.

    So, I’m not arguing with you and not agreeing with you…just saying there is plenty of confusing gray area there biblically.

  34. May 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Yeah. I tend to take anything in Leviticus as without credibility – that was a bunch of priests making laws to ensure cultural purity. An idea for why fornication is a sin (premarital sex, right?) – then you might have a kid out of wedlock, which creates all kinds of problems especially in a society like that. If so, is it a sin if you’re using a condom or the pill? They didn’t go into reasons for stuff, which I think was a big weakness. It’s like, “just take our word for it, this is what God told me.” Yeah, maybe so and maybe not.

    I try not to get too hung up on it. There really aren’t that many people who need the Bible to tell them right from wrong. If you’re able to make a reasonable guess as to the consequences of your actions, you figure out if your action will hurt someone or something or not pretty easily, in most cases. When in doubt, I like going with my instinct – that “still small voice,” the feeling in the gut. Almost always (maybe always), it steers me right. Then all that grey stuff in the Bible doesn’t seem so problematic. Though not being a Christian, I feel pretty free about it anyway. Since the Bible is a philisophical opportunity instead of a guide to life, I can pick and choose freely. 🙂

  35. May 17, 2009 at 11:35 am

    We take the Bible in different ways, all of us in the world, to varying degrees. For me it is a guide to life. It doesn’t give you a “how to” on everything, but it provides all the basics. Problem is that following it also requires a healthy dose of discernment, patience, faith, humility and a lot of other things. We often get wrong what the Bible is intended to teach us. And that, of course, is part of seeking God…to find out how to be in line with Him.

    Some will get there without much Bible reading (or none) and some will need a LOT.
    😉

  36. May 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Seda

    I didn’t want to use the pedophelia argument because I know many Christians use that argument, and I think that’s wrong.

    I wanted to point out that if we only judge “normal” but what people think is “normal” for them we open up a whole can of worms. I used pedophiles because they have often defended their behavior by saying their love is normal.

    Also, I’d like to apologize if I came off as condescending when I suggested reading the Bible. However, I often speak to people who have certain views on these topics who are woefully uninformed when it comes to what the Bible says and its context.

    Now, we do disagree with what Paul was saying regarding homosexuality and whether it is a sin. I think it’s clear from that passage and several others that is a sin. However, I think many Christians place to much emphasis on it.

    Finally, you are entitled to your definition of a sin. However, my definition is that sin is any action that deviates from God’s expressed will for our behavior. Basically, it’s disobedience to God’s word.

  37. May 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Deac

    Actually, the “natural use” scripture Seda quote first targets female homosexuality, and that occurs in other areas as well. I think the failure to discuss women is probably tied to the fact that lesbian relationshps were not as common, and to the fact that women were not considered important enough to write about all the time.

  38. May 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks, Big Man.

    I’ve considered the “women not being worth considering” mindset before in regard to that one passage…it just always struck me as odd that women were mentioned separately and only for bestiality. Just struck me as very odd and has made me wonder sometimes at what the people of the time were truly writing about, and whether it is homosexuality in the widest swath of the definition or not.

    The “natural use” passage has always been too vague for my tastes…too broad, really. One could argue that masturbation is again the natural use, and people have argued such, and I find that to be hogwash, so I try to steer clear of that passage as much as possible.
    😉

  39. 39 thewordofme
    May 19, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Hi Deacon,

    Boy lots of comments and different theories bandied about here. Do you really think a god would care about how and when and with whom humans have sex with?

    I know that those old sheep/goat herder patriarchs would care of course. They would totally want to control the sexual lives of their wife’s and daughters. Having lived a long time and explored many cultures and people (in a book learning way of course :-))I have a pretty good idea how the majority of old heterosexual men feel about homosexuals (they have probably been around since the beginning of time), and I can totally see the old guys writing gay bashing/killing into their Bible.

    Its going to be a long hard battle for homosexuals because the Christian right is dead set against homosexual rights of any kind, and they fight just as dirty as anyone else in this world.

  40. May 19, 2009 at 11:43 am

    the word of me

    Your characterization of biblical writers is just as simplistic and wrongheaded as the characterizations many Christians used when talking about homosexuals…

  41. May 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    TWOM,

    As to whether He would care or not…or why…well, that’s hard to say.

    But I imagine my three year old has precious little conception of why I forbid her or dissuade her from 90% of the things that I do try to steer her clear of.

    If one assumes the existence of a God, as I do, then one should assume that said God has some kinds of goals, standards, etc. that he/she/it wants us to achieve.

    I know that isn’t going to be an entirely satisfactory answer to you, but it does provide some persepctive as to why I don’t just write off the Bible saying, “Why would God even care?”

  42. May 19, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Hey, Big Man, thanks for clarifying, and no worries, I took no offense at all in regards to saying I shouild read the Bible. I understood where you were coming from, and was just clarifying for you! I totally agree that people often talk about the Bible without having read what they’re talking about. I probably do some of it, too, but I have read the whole damn thing and thought deeply about it, so for the most part my opinions, while unorthodox and perhaps incorrect, are informed.

    I’m fine with disagreeing on sin and homosexuality. I do, however, find your definition of sin problematic, because it presupposes that you know what God’s will is in every conceivable situation. Yet, clearly, the same action in one case often causes harm while in another, it heals. For instance, if I kill someone because they’re gay, that is completely different from if I kill someone to prevent him from blowing up an airliner full of innocent people. Same action, and I have no trouble figuring out which seems ethically defensible, but what is God’s will?

    In the case of homosexuality, God’s will comes down to a guess. Based on passages like Romans 1:26-27, you say any homosexual act at all is a sin, and you say you are absolutely right in that interpretation. Yet I, who have studied the Bible, history, and gender, read the same passage and interpret something totally different, implying that the sin would be for a gay person to have sex with someone of the other primary sex. Who is right, objectively? We each hold our opinion dear. Does your affiliation to the name of Christ provide you with infallible interpretation? I know that in my case, even though I am 100% convinced I am right, I accept that I may be wrong. Paradox? perhap. My life is full of them. As Candide discovered, all I need do, all I can do, is tend my own garden. I’m not interested in changing your opinion – indeed, I’m committed to defending your right to hold it and to choose your actions accordingly; but I am also vested in having my opinion respected, and in being able to act on it freely and without danger to myself or others. If that means getting married to someone of the same sex, well, I’ll do my best to ensure that that happens.

    So much easier to choose my actions based on whether who will be hurt or helped, and not on some unknowable mystery named “God’s will.”

    I think TWOM has a good point, though. Is God even paying attention at that level? But that gets into a whole new discussion, like, what exactly IS god, anyway?

  43. 43 thewordofme
    May 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Big Man,

    You write”
    “Your characterization of biblical writers is just as simplistic and wrongheaded as the characterizations many Christians used when talking about homosexuals…”

    Yes, I suppose it was. The cerebral vision I was hoping to implant was a bunch of smelly old sheep/goat herders, but I suppose the real writers were a bunch of smelly old scribes and rabbis. These were smart men for their time, but a 12 year old of our time is arguably smarter and has a better understanding of the world and the universe. These old people were just barely removed from the caves, and they had beliefs that included magic and the supernatural.

    They seem no smarter than the average hunter gatherer or early convert to farming. There is no earth shaking knowledge flowing from them, no sense at all that a real god was helping or guiding them, just after the fact stories and lists of how many Amorite babies (or whoever)they killed and such crap. And by the way where the heck was this god thousands and thousands of years before the Jews, why no help for the starving masses all across the earth, why no help for the poor lepers or those dying of such simple stuff as sepsis.

    But, I digress…

    No matter what I think about who and why the Bible and it laws and rules were written….Christians, it seems to me, are beholden to follow scripture, and scripture plainly says that homosexuality is Baaad, and death is the punishment. In ancient times I would guess that they stoned them to death. Nowadays it seems politically correct to ignore that injunction, even if they believe in God….which about 85% of Americans do. What’s up with that I wonder?

  44. May 22, 2009 at 11:02 am

    TWOM

    Two things. If you’ve read the Bible and still hold the belief that it offers nothing in the way of deep thought, or enlightenment, then I think we’ve read a different Bible.

    Second, I think your question about homosexuality and the punishment for it ignores a large portion of the New Testament and its guidelines. I would suggest you begin there to look for an answer to your question.

  45. 45 thewordofme
    May 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Hi Big Man,

    I can get as much deep thought and enlightenment from Shakespeare, Rachael Carson, Charles Dickinson, Robert A. Heinlein, etc., as I can from the Bible. Why do you think these old Biblical stories are so special that they have to be reread billions of times.

    Does the New Testament say that sodomy is now OK? I must have missed that, could you direct me to the verse(s).

  46. 46 thewordofme
    May 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Umhh…Could you make that Charles Dickens? My fingers type faster than my brain thinks. :-[

  47. 47 societyvs
    May 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    “In ancient times I would guess that they stoned them to death. Nowadays it seems politically correct to ignore that injunction, even if they believe in God….which about 85% of Americans do. What’s up with that I wonder?” (TWOM)

    Anyone for a slice of ignorance? Tasty!

    TWOM, for as intelligent as you are – that statement belittles any integrity you were trying to gain. Now we are both well aware of the law and this punishment – but to think its not more complex than some ‘literal’ reading of some ‘law’ is quite the mis-read – and quite insulting – namely to Jewish people who follow Torah. Do you think everyone is a literalist? Here’s a few tips:

    (a) The Torah is ‘law’ – but offers the ‘bottom line’ injunctions of the law – the law may ask for ‘death’ – doesn’t mean this is the actual penalty – but the ‘bottom line’ of the law and can have it associated with the crime. For example, in our laws, sometimes murder brings with a penalty of death (not always though).

    (b) Rabbinic literature has recorded cases/passages about how the law was used. Rabbi’s found it rather excessive if someone was killed for a crime of the law every 70 years (even that court was thought of kind of harsh). In essence, death was a last resort and basically to never used…proving how the law was interpreted and used by these…what did u call them…oh yeah – cavemen.

    (c) Homosexuality, as being against the law, is up for debate – in the Jewish communities. Gay people are being married in Judaism – yes – the same religion with the Leviticus laws. How the hell can that be possible if the literal reading says ‘it aint so’? The literal reading is read very poorly. The term homosexuality doesn’t even appear until the 1800’s and is imposed on the Hebrew text – a word being read back by Christian writers concering the meaning of that passage.

    So yeah, words for thought huh?

  48. 48 thewordofme
    May 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Hi societyvs, Thanks for the comeback.

    OK, about 85% of Americans profess to believe in and/or follow the Christian God.
    Most of these (minus the fundamentalists) go along (PC’ness) with homosexuality being acceptable. Despite the word homosexuality being a recent addition, the early wording in the Bible is perfectly clear…No homosexual acts are allowed, on pain of death.

    The Muslims (who supposedly worship the same God) to this day stone to death homosexuals in some places where theists rule. The only reason western/democratic countries don’t do it is secular governments keep the power of death to themselves to thwart lawlessness.

    Talk to some evangelical fundamentalists today and you can just feel the vibe…kill the homo’s, or at the very least send them back into the closet.

    You write:
    “(a) The Torah is ‘law’ – but offers the ‘bottom line’ injunctions of the law – the law may ask for ‘death’ – doesn’t mean this is the actual penalty – but the ‘bottom line’ of the law and can have it associated with the crime. For example, in our laws, sometimes murder brings with a penalty of death (not always though). “

    Seems that lots of Hebrews were killing lots of Amorites, Sodomites, Gomorran’s and other tribes that God was pissed off at for adultery, pedophilia, masturbation, homosexuality, bestiality, rape, and other sex “crimes”. Or have people misinterpreted the stories they have told me?

    You write:
    “(b) Rabbinic literature has recorded cases/passages about how the law was used. Rabbi’s found it rather excessive if someone was killed for a crime of the law every 70 years (even that court was thought of kind of harsh). In essence, death was a last resort and basically to never used…proving how the law was interpreted and used by these…what did u call them…oh yeah – cavemen.”

    What was their stance/thoughts on killing Jesus? I think I said barely removed from caves. Remember Adam and Eve were cave dwellers. 🙂

    You write:
    “(c) Homosexuality, as being against the law, is up for debate – in the Jewish communities. Gay people are being married in Judaism – yes – the same religion with the Leviticus laws. How the hell can that be possible if the literal reading says ‘it aint so’? The literal reading is read very poorly…”

    Hey…I didn’t write the stuff…I personally think that plain old men…you know, sheep/goat herders/ scribes/ rabbi’s wrote it.:-) It obviously is not of divine origin.

  49. 49 societyvs
    May 25, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    “Hi societyvs, Thanks for the comeback.” (twom)

    Finally, a debate that promises to stretch the mind out a bit – thanks for this twom.

    “Despite the word homosexuality being a recent addition, the early wording in the Bible is perfectly clear…No homosexual acts are allowed, on pain of death.” (Twom)

    The wording is ‘perfectly clear’…whoa whoa horses…according to who? Who is making the call ‘the wording is perfectly clear’? Catholics? Mormons? Christians? Jews? Muslims? Who exactly? Within all strands of these faiths (minus the Mormons – they have their polygamy) the acceptance of homosexuality is gaining momentum. If the wording was ‘perfectly clear’ – how can 4 major faiths be wrestling with an issue where the wording leaves no questions? I find it strange to think the wording is that clear.

    One organizatio worth checking out for the counter arguments for the ‘homosexuality’ term is Soulforce: http://www.soulforce.org/

    “Talk to some evangelical fundamentalists today and you can just feel the vibe…kill the homo’s, or at the very least send them back into the closet.” (Twom)
    Key being here ‘some’. But I don’t disagree – I think the general mindset in most Christian organizations is that being homosexual is a ‘sin’ – and they use Leviticus and Romans 1 to back up their claims usually (and the passages in letters where ‘homosexual’ is used).

    But the fact remains – violent action against gays is not pursued in Christian communities nor Jewish one’s – Muslims can answer for themselves on this one. The lone exceptions are ‘freaks on a leash’ like Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist – and they are the rare exception (percentage wise). But I have to admit in most Christian communities the acceptance of homosexuality is few and far between…but it is changing.

    “Seems that lots of Hebrews were killing lots of Amorites, Sodomites, Gomorran’s and other tribes that God was pissed off at for adultery, pedophilia, masturbation, homosexuality, bestiality, rape, and other sex “crimes”. Or have people misinterpreted the stories they have told me?” (Twom)

    The stories – depending on which one’s – sound like they have been misinterpreted if you ask me. Since we are dealing with the gay issue here – which one of those stories actually uses this as a reason for pre-cursor for the action of violence? None of them – not even Sodom and Gomorrah…so yeah I would say there was some dis-information passed your way.

    I always refuse to answer question like this if they are not specific in the story being detailed because then it’s a bunch of general statements with little proofs to them. However, my personal suggestion for the Tanakh (OT) passages you have brought up – seek rabbinical literature on the topics and you will find they are quite diverse on reasons for the wars. Plus, I don’t think Christians really do a good job of explaining Jewish literature like the Tanakh – under-qualified if you ask me – rabbi’s spend their whole life on these texts and the Hebrew behind them…I think their explanation will be of much better use.

    “What was their stance/thoughts on killing Jesus? I think I said barely removed from caves. Remember Adam and Eve were cave dwellers” (Twom)

    (a) The Jewish people did not kill Jesus – the Romans did (fact)…only they had the authority to execute anyone in that Jewish territory…being that there was no independent Jewish gov’t at this time (even Herod was ruled by Romans). For example, in one story they have Jesus before Pilate (Roman Govenor) for the process of execution – so no – a Jewish court did not execute Jesus.

    (b) It’s a logical fallacy to think the people of 0-100 AD were worse than us – heck let’s go back to some mythical Adam and Eve figure even – how can you logically say they were worse than us (less enlightened)? Do you fail to realize in the 1900’s (a good 150 years after industrialization and in modern times) we saw the worst world wars ever (most people on this planet to ever die in just one of those wars – WW2)? Top that off, a few genocides and ethic cleansing ordeals in a variety of countries and one need not make anymore comparisons about enlightenment.

    I think it is quite the fallacy to think we are much more smarter than any of those generations of people just because they fought some localized wars, lived in moderate housing, or did not have the science we have today. One can argue, and maybe this is prophetic, the more knowledge humanity has been able to amass and build upon has put them closer to the brink of serious, irreparable damage (including environment and the use of nuclear weaponry). Maybe the 21st century – which should be the brightest generation ever – will be the stupidest one of them all?

    “Hey…I didn’t write the stuff…I personally think that plain old men…you know, sheep/goat herders/ scribes/ rabbi’s wrote it.:-) It obviously is not of divine origin.” (Twom)

    I am not arguing ‘who wrote it’ though – but what the content written meant. There is not extra biblical writings concerning the death of gay people anywhere in antiquity – no purging and no cleansing. So even with the Leviticus passages – nothing still happened to gay people within Judaism – including being tried for death on such ideas. So just maybe the passage isn’t concerning gay people? This is a distinct possibility.
    As for the bible being primtive or archaic – that also needs to be seriously re-thought. The book starts off with a whole story about the ills of slavery – some 2700 years prior to its expansion into the America’s from Britain. They used the process of quarantining people with diseases they considered untreatable – something we still do today with diseases we don’t want to spread. Intorduced the real first type of fully kept legal system along with constitutional rights for the people – which we all know has been borrowed off for eons now.

    These people did not have the science and knowledge we have at our fingertips in this current age – but they were a very functional society – in fact so functional they are the oldest surviving recorded in depth culture on this planet…Jewish.

  50. 50 thewordofme
    May 25, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Hi societyvs,

    Again thanks for the comeback. I’m off for a few days at the coast and will temporarily be offline…I will be responding in a while…thanks for the comeback…looking forward to discussion. 🙂

  51. 51 societyvs
    May 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    See ya later – have fun TWOM

  52. 52 Deacon Blue
    May 26, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    I’m just going to sit back and watch, I think. My brain isn’t up to the task of contributing at this high a level right now… 😉 😛

  53. 53 thewordofme
    May 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Hi societyvs, thanks for your patience.

    You write:
    “The wording is ‘perfectly clear’…whoa whoa horses…according to who? Who is making the call ‘the wording is perfectly clear’? Catholics? Mormons? Christians? Jews? Muslims? Who exactly? Within all strands of these faiths (minus the Mormons – they have their polygamy) the acceptance of homosexuality is gaining momentum. If the wording was ‘perfectly clear’ – how can 4 major faiths be wrestling with an issue where the wording leaves no questions? I find it strange to think the wording is that clear.”

    Leviticus 20:13
    “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

    Leviticus 18:22
    “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination.”

    “It is widely argued that the things condemned in these chapters are “deemed wrong not simply because pagan Canaanites indulged in them, but because God has pronounced them wrong as such.” (Hilborn 2002, p.4; cf. Issues in human sexuality, para. 2.11; Amsel). This was also the interpretation taken in the rabbinic interpretations in the Mishnah and Talmud which also extended this to include female homosexual relations, although there are no explicit references in the Hebrew Bible to this.” Wikipedia 5-28-09

    To the best of my knowledge the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Catholics, the Muslims, and all evangelical fundamentalist congregations (as well as the Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists) are dead set against homosexuality of any kind, or same-sex marriage. The Evangelical Fundies make up roughly one half of main-line Christianity. The other half of Christianity and the Jews may be the only religious groups officially supporting gayness. What, I think, is really giving a boost to acceptance of gayness is non-aligned (religiously) young people.

    I should mention that I am atheistic and have no Biblical baggage about homosexuals in any form. I do comment on it because religion is one of my interests, and I am curious as to how the modern day problem will be solved (by religion specifically) and I like to argue. 🙂

    You write:
    “The Jewish people did not kill Jesus – the Romans did (fact)…only they had the authority to execute anyone in that Jewish territory…being that there was no independent Jewish gov’t at this time (even Herod was ruled by Romans). For example, in one story they have Jesus before Pilate (Roman Govenor) for the process of execution – so no – a Jewish court did not execute Jesus.”

    I realize that the Jews did not physically kill Jesus.

    John 19:10-16
    10″Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
    11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
    12From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
    13When Pilate heard this; he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).
    14It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
    “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
    15But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
    “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
    “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
    16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

    Mark 15:1-15
    1Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
    2″Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
    “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
    3The chief priests accused him of many things.
    4So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”
    5But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
    6Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested.
    7A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.
    8The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
    9″Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,
    10knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.
    11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
    12″What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13″Crucify him!” they shouted.
    14″Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
    But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
    15Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

    However they did seem to be the real cause of his death, for if they had shown a little Christian sympathy he would have lived. 🙂

    You write:
    “It’s a logical fallacy to think the people of 0-100 AD were worse than us…”

    I guess this would depend on your definition of “worse”

    You write:
    “I think it is quite the fallacy to think we are much more smarter than any of those generations of people just because they fought some localized wars, lived in moderate housing, or did not have the science we have today. One can argue, and maybe this is prophetic, the more knowledge humanity has been able to amass and build upon has put them closer to the brink of serious, irreparable damage (including environment and the use of nuclear weaponry). Maybe the 21st century – which should be the brightest generation ever – will be the stupidest one of them all?”

    We are smarter primarily in the sciences and this smartness explains why we are generally healthier, longer lived, and just plain leave better lives. Most all people on this earth, up until maybe 80 to 90 years ago, were infected with lice, fleas, and bedbugs…were mostly pretty stinky and unsanitary and had no ways to fight some pretty common illnesses. Considering that modern man/women had been walking the earth for perhaps 200,000 years, I think we are way better off and smarter in most ways that matter to our sanity and well-being. Yeah, sadly, I can see us destroying our home planet. Nothing like fouling your own nest.

    You write:
    “I am not arguing ‘who wrote it’ though – but what the content written meant. There is not extra biblical writings concerning the death of gay people anywhere in antiquity – no purging and no cleansing. So even with the Leviticus passages – nothing still happened to gay people within Judaism – including being tried for death on such ideas. So just maybe the passage isn’t concerning gay people? This is a distinct possibility.”

    I think the passages concern men who have sexual relations with other men. Isn’t one big part of the definition of being gay is that you have sexual relations with members of your own sex. If you want to interpret this differently go right ahead…I have no objections.

    You write:
    “As for the bible being primtive or archaic – that also needs to be seriously re-thought. The book starts off with a whole story about the ills of slavery – some 2700 years prior to its expansion into the America’s from Britain. They used the process of quarantining people with diseases they considered untreatable – something we still do today with diseases we don’t want to spread. Intorduced the real first type of fully kept legal system along with constitutional rights for the people – which we all know has been borrowed off for eons now.”

    The OT Bible is the collected words of primitive goat/sheep herders and scribes and rabbi’s. If it were actually the real words of a real god there would be no controversy or argument or finding of contradictions, and Christianity would be a world-wide all inclusive religion. A real god would not secretly reveal himself to a tribe of wandering goat herders and interfere in their personal day to day lives and let the faith go through the convolutions and hit or miss uncertainties it has gone through. And yes, I can define a god. Christians define a god who seems inherently evil at times and not dealing with a full deck at other times. The Christian definition of god is no better than mine.

    You write;
    “These people did not have the science and knowledge we have at our fingertips in this current age – but they were a very functional society – in fact so functional they are the oldest surviving recorded in depth culture on this planet…Jewish.”

    I have no problem at all with Jews, I like most all of them I have meet and I have some current friends of that faith. I agree with your paragraph above.

    twom

  54. 54 societyvs
    May 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    “The other half of Christianity and the Jews may be the only religious groups officially supporting gayness. What, I think, is really giving a boost to acceptance of gayness is non-aligned (religiously) young people.” (Twom)

    (a) The 2 passages used are from the Torah – Leviticus – used within Judaism to this day…and yet they are openly considering (and are) marrying gay couples…strange don’t ya think if those laws are ‘clear cut’?

    (b) Christianity’s interpretation is pretty clear – the majority do believe gay marriage is not allowed (I agree there). This is changing though – amongst more liberal movements in Christianity – where sanction of those marriages is occurring.

    © If you think non-aligned religious people are making the difference – awesome – keep up the good work (I agree with you here – even as a Christian).

    “The halakhic (legal) term ahnoos refers to someone who, though commanded to do something, does not really have a choice in the matter. In Judaism, one is only responsible for religious obligations that one can freely choose to fulfill. Thus some Jewish authorities have argued that since homosexuality is not chosen, its expression cannot be forbidden.” (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/life/Sex_and_Sexuality/Homosexuality.shtml)

    We must rememger these are ‘laws’ from the Torah – and are not neccesarily the domain of Christianity (as much as they try to use them as such – they do not understand law in their interpretations). Simply a law is something you must have a choice of ‘breakling’ – in this case with homsexuality – is their a choice involved are is one born this way?

    In fact one could say Jesus also addresses this same concern with the term eunuchs ‘For there are (1) eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are (2) eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also (3) eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” (Matt 19:12)

    It is the first terminology that garners questions ‘eunuchs who were born this way from their mother’s wombs’. Eunuchs used to live with the kings of their times – as what we might consider feminine type men…so much so the king had no problem leaving his wife in their care (no risk of cheating). Jesus seems to point out some people are ‘born this way’…he who can accept that statement – believe it.

    Eunuchs: “In some translations of ancient texts, individuals identified as eunuchs seem to include men who were impotent with women (definition #1), and those who were celibate (definition #3).” (Wikipedia – brackets added are mine)

    “However they did seem to be the real cause of his death, for if they had shown a little Christian sympathy he would have lived” (Twom)

    Nonetheless, the Romans could have just let him off the hook? No? So to blame anyone else for the execution of Jesus is putting way too much power into someone else’s hands. Just like how the courts and Gov’t decide on the process of the death penalty of an individual – not the victims of the family – althought they may want the same thing.

    “I think the passages concern men who have sexual relations with other men. Isn’t one big part of the definition of being gay is that you have sexual relations with members of your own sex. If you want to interpret this differently go right ahead…I have no objections” (Twom)

    See explanation above. However – again we need to put this in context – this is a ‘law’ from Torah…it functions as a law. Now I ask simply, how many rabbinic texts have someone being killed for this crime? Isn’t the punishment death? Find me one.

    Now maybe the texts in this time frame were written to be understood as sexual affairs between men – I agree. But law changes – or at least interpretation of law does. Who is to say the original version of this law is in reference to? Just sexual acts that’s it? I have read some reviews on these passages that place this in the context of marital infedility or even prostitution (making it reasonable such a crime was a crime). So yeah, I continue to learn on this topic – since the Jewish law is allowing it now – one must wonder why the change in the 70’s to find these passages as not solely about gay relations.

    “The OT Bible is the collected words of primitive goat/sheep herders and scribes and rabbi’s” (Twom)

    This is insulting and unfair. I can also say this about European culture that came over to the West (America’s) – their version of life was primitive (on which the consitution of a few countries is based on). Primitive racists that got a kick out of destroying other people’s cultures and enjoyed murder/genocide/enslavement…to this day. At some point one has to admit a more generous way of looking at history.

    “A real god would not secretly reveal himself to a tribe of wandering goat herders and interfere in their personal day to day lives and let the faith go through the convolutions and hit or miss uncertainties it has gone through” (Twom)

    It should be noted in some of those earlier stories God is not concerned with just the Israelites – the Jewish line is not even named until Jacob…Isaac’s son…thus making Abraham not even Jewish (in some sense). And through this ‘tribe’ – these teachings eventually make it into the whole world oddly enough (through slavery, exiles, genocides, and having no country albeit). What you see is isolation – I see a culture that saw a reason to continue and reach out even in turmoil…many cultures plain gave up.

    Now I am not saying God is about isolation – it’s about the teachings…and they can be found in almost every culture on this planet – namely ‘love God and love your neighbor as yourself’. I think if someone keeps this as their focus – form Buddhists to Nihilists – then they are touching God somehow – cause they are caring about the core concern of Torah.

    “I have no problem at all with Jews, I like most all of them I have meet and I have some current friends of that faith” (Twom)

    Well you better start – your critiques on Leviticus come from their Torah/Law. To make claims about a text they use and read and study then to claim ‘I have no problem with them’ is tantamount to a Christian loving gay people, denying them the right to marry, but in the end saying ‘I have no problem with them’.

  55. 55 thewordofme
    May 31, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Hello again societyvs, thanks for your reply.

    I wasn’t aware that the Jewish people/religion was marrying homosexual couples, and you’re right it is strange when you think of it. I can’t think of any way to make a law plainer than to say …if you do it, you will be killed. The fact that the Jews are disregarding this “law” doesn’t surprise me though…the Jews have always been independent and a ‘do your own thing’ kind of people. I think a lot of them are realizing that most of the old stuff is myth anyway.

    I also understand about homosexuality probably being a thing one is born into. If more ‘Christians’ would realize this, perhaps the drama would be over. After all if you follow the Christian logic…God made everything…therefore he made homosexuals…they are his children too.

    You write:
    “…However – again we need to put this in context – this is a ‘law’ from Torah…it functions as a law. Now I ask simply, how many rabbinic texts have someone being killed for this crime? Isn’t the punishment death? Find me one.”

    Probably none as a punishment from the priest or pulpit or alter, but the fact that it is written in the Bible seems to have lead many a religious zealot to kill them and attribute his act to God’s wishes…”Says so right in the Bible, it does”

    To be clear here, I don’t care one way or another about any homosexuality issues. I think that eventually marriage between them will be common, and all the evangelical fundamentalists in the world will go around grumbling to themselves about how civilization is about to end…but life will go on. 🙂

    Regarding the Jews and Jesus; yes I do believe the way the story is written in the Bible, the Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus, but since I don’t believe the story has any real relevance to me or the world, I don’t actually care, it is simply one of the things I’ve researched.

    You write regarding the goat/sheep herder comment:
    “This is insulting and unfair. I can also say this about European culture that came over to the West (America’s) – their version of life was primitive (on which the consitution of a few countries is based on). Primitive racists that got a kick out of destroying other people’s cultures and enjoyed murder/genocide/enslavement…to this day. At some point one has to admit a more generous way of looking at history. “

    My way of saying this is meant to convey my thought that the Bible is not inspired and is obviously a tribal genesis myth written by fairly primitive people…and it shows. It is not meant to be insulting. Most of the stories are not true, and we as modern people using modern methods of research are finally getting the proofs of this. I have no attachment to European culture and stories, and I know how sadly destructive WASP’s version of civilized behavior is and was, if I were writing about them, I would cut no slack for them either.

    You write regarding Gods secretly revealing himself to wandering tribe:
    “…through this ‘tribe’ – these teachings eventually make it into the whole world oddly enough (through slavery, exiles, genocides, and having no country albeit). What you see is isolation – I see a culture that saw a reason to continue and reach out even in turmoil…many cultures plain gave up.”

    Regarding reasons to continue, I think I agree with Finkelstein and Silberman in their book “The Bible Unearthed”, the Jews used the Torah/Bible/Words as a means to keep the people together and functioning as a kind of family group. Giving people the myths to make them think they were special. As to its making it into the world we can blame that on Paul mostly, he seems to have grabbed hold and changed the message a bit and birthed a new religion based on old Jewish writings and the possible crucifixion of the ‘Messiah’

    You write regarding my having no problem with Jews:
    “Well you better start – your critiques on Leviticus come from their Torah/Law. To make claims about a text they use and read and study then to claim ‘I have no problem with them’ is tantamount to a Christian loving gay people, denying them the right to marry, but in the end saying ‘I have no problem with them’.”

    I have no idea what you are trying to say to me here.

    twom

  56. 56 societyvs
    June 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

    “I can’t think of any way to make a law plainer than to say …if you do it, you will be killed.” (Twom)

    Which is what I have been explaining all along – maybe you don’t fully understand the interpretation of law? It’s valid – I didn’t understand it for quite some time – or at least didn’t pay it much mind.

    The problem is not the plainness of the law – but the fact you can only see a literal reading of that law.

    For example, we all know that murder is a crime that is damnable by death in some states. However, we need to define murder and who is eligible for such ‘death’. This is where we ‘as lawyers and judges’ throw in the ideas of ‘pre-meditation’ and ‘manslaughter’…various categories of what ‘murder’ is. That is in fact how the law works and our interpretation of it.

    “The fact that the Jews are disregarding this “law” doesn’t surprise me though…the Jews have always been independent and a ‘do your own thing’ kind of people. I think a lot of them are realizing that most of the old stuff is myth anyway.” (Twom)

    The article says nothing about them disregarding the law though – they feel they are ‘keeping the law’. You think they are ‘not keeping the law’ – your narrow interpretive view of their law is the problem in the scenario. Their view is about ‘ability to break the law in question’ (choice). They likely find little to no excuse for some dude leaving his wife for the night to have sex with a male prostitute.

    “I also understand about homosexuality probably being a thing one is born into. If more ‘Christians’ would realize this, perhaps the drama would be over” (Twom)

    I think some Christians got a taste for the media ‘spotlight’ – so if ain’t this issue they will find another one to get some ‘air time’. I just watched Dr. Phil the other day and I they had 3 Christian people defending the sanctity of marriage position concerning marrying homosexuals and I just about flipped. I cannot believe the arguments being used and where they pull this stuff from – it just seems so goddamn backwards and embarrassing. I live in Canada – gay people marry in Canada all the time – does it sully my marriage at all? No!

    “Probably none as a punishment from the priest or pulpit or alter, but the fact that it is written in the Bible seems to have lead many a religious zealot to kill them and attribute his act to God’s wishes…”Says so right in the Bible, it does”” (Twom)

    I find nothing about the writing leading any religious zealot to committing mass murder on ‘gay people’ – even of that time. Nowhere in the bible is this single law used as justification for any single atrocity – nor are their extra biblical sources to bring in as ‘proof’. Lack of evidence, to me at least, means the focus of that scripture(s) (Leviticus) is definitely in serious question.

    “yes I do believe the way the story is written in the Bible, the Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus” (Twom)

    It’s okay to believe that – does it make it factual? I would say ‘no’. I am not going to deny a few of the narratives have Jesus being handed over by a Jewish mob to Roman authorities…it’s the added stuff that I struggle with as legit (ie: the chants added to the narratives). I think it is believable a mob of people wanted Jesus dead for his stand on a variety of issues and his claims of being messiah. That’s all believable to me. To think it is a whole race of people because a handful didn’t like Jesus is ludicrous. That’s just the language of the bible being used, in our days, wrongfully.

    It’s a little known fact the use of sweeping generalization is used in the biblical authors language all the time. Does it mean they think the generalizations are true? Maybe…but likely it was simply emphasis to add to the point (the bigness of the point). Fact is – most Jews (maybe some 95%) likely had nothing to do with Jesus’ death. How do we know this? History has little to say on the issue outside the biblical writers.
    “My way of saying this is meant to convey my thought that the Bible is not inspired and is obviously a tribal genesis myth written by fairly primitive people…and it shows” (Twom)

    It shows? I think it is inspired by God – not written bu Him or anything crazy – but people inspired by God wrote as they saw their situation.

    I can say in some portions we can make the argument about it being primitive – whatever primtive means? I, however do not see much problem with what many of it actually says – from the problematic verses to the instructional ones. In it, we see a movement of a culture from a period of time to another period of time – complete with stories and exhortations…in essence we see the development of a society. I think it is very anthropological and theological…not just one or the other.

    What I can say in this day in age – those scriptures help create upstanding individuals. How many people do any of us know – that claim to follow the Christian faith with any amount of consistency – that are committing crimes on a regular basis? I can say I know a handful…and even then the crimes are not meant to support a lifestyle.

    How many people do I know that live in the neighborhood that do not profess to have anything to do with this faith into criminal activity? The measuricg stick leaps in comparison – not only in amount of people – but amount and severity of crimes committed. Is there a study on it…no…this is all obsevrance and number keeping I do in the neighborhood I grew up in. But I am sure we can find many similar stories in inner cities across America.

    So to bash this book as ‘primitive’ in nature is to not see it’s ability to change the ‘primitive nature’ of humanity. Because as progressive as we think this society is and how intelligent it is and all that – that’s not totally true – not for everyone in society. Intelligence in our societies (mixed with Capitalism and individualism) have created pockets of existence where the ‘have nots’ suffer for the people that ‘have’. Now having some form of empathy for them would be a start for change of this situation – but do you think intelligent society grasps this? No. The huddled masses in the pockets do though!

    I grew up in poverty – 3rd world conditions in Canada to be exact. Lived the inner city life and grew very familiar with ‘hoods’ (pockets) of desperation. You know what saves people in scenarios like that…faith. Faith actually can lead a person in desperate poverty towards the ability to find the hope to make it ‘out’ – to build a paradigm to develop their lives into something exquisite. How does that work?

    In those pockets of poverty functions what I can only call ‘chaos’ – ‘anarchy’ – serious forms of ‘atheism’ (or whatever its called when you believe in absolutely nothing – adhere to no form of ideology). But this is what happens when people feel everything is meaningless or as Tupac once said ‘There is no hope for the youth, but the truth is there is no hope for the future’. It’s that environment that breeds true despair and hopelessness – the like you can only truly know if you existed in its clutches. It gets real dark real fast in these conditions.

    I never wonder why inner cities struggle with all the worst issues – it’s very simple really – lack of hope. I would say if the bible offers a glimpse of ‘hope’ – there is nothing primitive about how much people it can turn into productive members of society by simply allowing them a ‘ray of hope’. Does this mean the book is written by sheepherders and rabbi’s…yes. Does it mean what they said was ‘primitive’ – no…relevance can still be found in it for the ‘oppressed’. Rant over (lol).

    “I have no idea what you are trying to say to me here.” (Twom)

    You say you have no problem with the Jews – but you in turn haul out 2 of their scriptures from Leviticus and then mention their scriptures are uninspired and written by primitive men (which to me seems like a cut-down). Well, this can be levelled at Christians but it also levelled at anyone that is a Jewish adherent because Judaism’s core scriptures are the Tanakh/OT – and any point levelled at that area of the bible is levelled at them (and almost primarily them since they still adhere and study those portions of scripture daily).

    Is it a good point? No…but it points out that your sayings are levelled at more than just Christianity – but also Judaism.

    ***Man I am getting long winded and boring (lol)

  57. 57 thewordofme
    June 3, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    You write:
    “It’s okay to believe that – does it make it factual? I would say ‘no’. I am not going to deny a few of the narratives have Jesus being handed over by a Jewish mob to Roman authorities…it’s the added stuff that I struggle with as legit (ie: the chants added to the narratives). I think it is believable a mob of people wanted Jesus dead for his stand on a variety of issues and his claims of being messiah. That’s all believable to me. To think it is a whole race of people because a handful didn’t like Jesus is ludicrous. That’s just the language of the bible being used, in our days, wrongfully.”

    From the NIV Bible:
    “John 19:4-7 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
    6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
    But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
    7 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

    Since this was the time of passover and most of Jewry was in Jerusalem for this festival, and the people talking to Pilate about Jesus were the leading priests and officials I would say that definately the Jewish people wanted him dead…this was an official act of the priests

    John 19:31 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

    Notice how much sympathy is shown for Jesus.

    twom

  58. 58 societyvs
    June 5, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    “The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.””

    Find me this law? It, in fact, does not exist. Unless the law is the one from the Roman Empire – since this would catapult the person making to claim to equal status with Caeser (who also claimed to be the son of God)…making him a political challenger of sorts. Maybe this was being hauled out to get action or movement from Caesar’s hand.

    Your using a narrative to prove the Jewish people wanted him dead…a narrative that, IMO, has a purpose added into it by Christian authors of its time (and John is the king of this exact thing – colorful narrative).

    Just so we both know about John – did you know John uses the term ‘Jew’ over 60+ times? Doesn’t seem like a lot – well the other 3 gospels combined us the term a total 15 times (John uses 4X as much in a single book). John is really the main book that sets up the clear distinction between Jew and Christian – no other author really writes with this much focus on the issue…thus this encapsulating end with Jesus’ trial…why though?

    Christians were looking for differentiation from the Jewish congregants (the synagogues). Christians were banned from synagogues (rejected by Jewish authorities as a legit form of Judiasm) and in this same time Christians did not want to seem like agigtators or associated with violent revolutions for the country(ie: 70 AD and later Bar Kohkba). A 3rd reason may be the fact the church was no longer Jewish in leadership either by the time John (this gospel) was written. This gospel seems to encapsulate that time period and the fight back with Judaism for credibility of this faith (so the book comes of anti-semitic at times – IMO).

    So I cannot fully give too much credence to John’s gospel when I know full well their is some colorful narrative behind it…IMO.

    “But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him…”

    Really? Did the Jewish people have the power to crucify a single person? Did they ever do this in known history? The only people known in this time period to crucify people was the Romans – only they had power to do this. But it adds to the case of real blame if you ask me – why didn’t the Jewish mob agree and crucify Jesus if they had (a) the lawful accusation (b) the death sentence and (c) the right to do so? How can John turn and say ‘the blood is on this mob’s hands’ after that – they refused to kill him themselves.

    “Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down”

    I don’t think Jesus was treated any differently than any other prisoner on those crosses – so this is rather irrelevant. Now if they requested he be stabbed a few times prior to being taken down – then I’d say you have a point.

    My point about the language is also valid – ‘Jews’ as symbolic of the whole people or just a generalization for emphasis. If you read John you will see a lot of this type of writing being used – mass generalization to make the point. Heck it’s even within John 3:16 – ‘for God so loved the World…’…does this mean everyone on the planet? Because universalists tend to think that is what it means – all (meaning everyone no matter their actions) is saved. I say it’s the language of the book not being understood – this generalization for emphasis technique.

  59. 59 thewordofme
    June 6, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Hi societyvs, thanks for your reply.

    You write:
    “Find me this law? It, in fact, does not exist. Unless the law is the one from the Roman Empire – since this would catapult the person making to claim to equal status with Caesar (who also claimed to be the son of God)…making him a political challenger of sorts. Maybe this was being hauled out to get action or movement from Caesar’s hand.”

    Uhhm…I did not write that passage, it’s from the actual Bible.

    Also Mark 15:12-15 12″What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13″Crucify him!” they shouted. 14″Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

    You write:
    “Your using a narrative to prove the Jewish people wanted him dead…a narrative that, IMO, has a purpose added into it by Christian authors of its time (and John is the king of this exact thing – colorful narrative).”

    I do not understand what the problem is about my writing. I’m not personally accusing anyone of anything. Yes there was lots of politicking going on then and probably most of the writing in the New Testament had some ulterior motivation behind it i.e. slanted towards a particular group.

    Perhaps you could spell out in detail what is wrong here, as I am not a Jewish historian and I think some of what you are trying to say to me is whizzing over my head.

    twom


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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