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July 18, 2004

God Talks About Homosexuality « Social Issues »

Here's a roundup of the most salient verses from the Bible on this issue. It seems fairly cut and dried to me, as well.

One thing I'd like to point out, though: One thing the Bible makes very clear: there are sins of commission, and sins of omission, and sins of the heart. If you blaspheme against the Holy Spirit in your heart without saying a word, you have still sinned. However, I think homosexuality is more equivalent to lying and adultery: you can have the urges, but it is the action that is the sin. Furthermore, any sin can be repented. Repentence means recognizing your sin, asking God for forgiveness, and then attempting to not commit that sin again. If you do, you can always go through the process of repentence again, but it's not repentence if you don't even resist the temptation.

Thus, I think it is fairly clear that it is unrepentant homosexual behavior that separates homosexuals from God, not their urges. I have urges to have wild heterosexual sex with every pretty girl I see...especially when I was younger. When I am closer to God and recognize my sin, I repent and try to turn away; over time, I have grown in wisdom, maturity, and holiness that seeing a pretty girl now usually doesn't result in lust. Most of the time. I'll never be free of it, but I certainly don't give in to it by cheating on my wife, and usually don't even give in to it with a sexual fantasy.* If a homosexual wants to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, s/he must likewise attempt to resist, reduce, and eventually eliminate the homosexual behavior and lusts...

*The point of the personal anecdote is that I don't condemn homosexuals for being homosexual. Everyone has sinful urges, and no one is better than anyone else. We all sin. It's what you attempt to do about your sinful urges that is supposed to set Christians apart.

Posted by Nathan at 10:33 AM | Comments (16)

I don't agree with you on this issue at all, as I think homosexuality is a biological issue, and not an "urge" or "lifestyle choice". However, you presented your take on it very eloquently, which most on either side of the issue seem incapable of doing and for that, I salute you.

Posted by: Funkalicious at July 18, 2004 12:48 PM

Thank you. One of the things I seem to have difficulty expressing is that I don't judge practicing homosexuals any more or less than I judge myself for the sins I can't stop, or my friends for the things they do that I think are sins. It's really no big deal.
However, homosexuality is an issue that is in the forefront of society right now. Just as men can have an opinion on abortion, people without children can have opinions on education and school vouchers, people on welfare can have opinions on tax rates, the wealthy can have opinions on welfare, etc, I am confident I have the right to express my opinion on homosexuality where it intersects public life and public policy. As such, I usually end up talking about the antecedents for my opinion, which gives the source of my opinions more prominence than I think it should really have in discussions about society, but what can you do? It's sort of the nature of the beast.

Posted by: Nathan at July 18, 2004 01:49 PM

Well said, Nathan.

Posted by: Rae at July 18, 2004 06:49 PM

I'm really glad you can talk to God. How come every time I think I'm hearing voices someone wants to put me in an asylum? How can you think you know what God wants? The Bible isn't enough since it's a tautology: People believe it's god's voice because it says it is. It is unrestrained arrogance to claim that you know what god wants, or even if there is a god.

Posted by: chuck rightmire at July 19, 2004 12:02 AM

Spoken like a true athiest/agnostic, Chuck.
If I get a letter from you stating what you believe, it is not arrogance to believe it, it is arrogance to look at the letter of your words and claim it means the exact opposite of what it says, to claim that since you aren't present to defend your words, that it could mean anything. But the worst arrogance is when you attempt to use such sophistry in a clumsy attempt to disparage and dissuade others.
You don't have to have faith, you don't have to believe. I do. The understanding that the Bible is the Word of God is the basis for my accepting the clear meaning of what he actually says. And as a trained translator, I can tell you that the problems of translation between western languages with the same root are far overstated. Particularly since we have multiple copies of every book in the Bible. Imagine 5-15 copies of a President's speech copied down by different reporters, but in 99.9% agreement with each other, and 99% of the disagreements being minor spelling errors...that's how well the bulk of the New Testament checks out.
There's a good example in the news today. Stephen Hawkings reversed himself on black holes. If I apply your logic to Stephen Hawkings, I would have to say that it is unrestrained arrogance for him to even speak about black holes, because no one has seen one, much less be discussing whether or not information has ever escaped. But based on his observation of the universe, he saw too many things that could not be explained without the presence of black holes with certain characteristics. But because it is indirect observation, some of the details are not totally clear and may change as he ponders them more.
That's the way God is: I have demonstrated to myself through observation of the universe that God exists. It isn't arrogance, it is insight. You can deny God, and it hurts me not. You can use your lack of faith as the basis of your decisions, I'll use my faith in God as the basis for my decisions. I won't attempt to force you to be a Christian, but I'm saddened you won't treat me with the same respect...

Posted by: Nathan at July 19, 2004 06:40 AM

Nathan, incredibly well reasoned and stated. Very much appreciated reading what you've written here, and please accept my thanks for that.

A populist trend in the U.S. today about Christianity -- or, any religion -- seems to be based in the populist cultural variation acceptance requirement that is also enforced by most public institutions, and that is, that religious beliefs "have to" or are otherwise required by the U.S. to accommodate anyone's whims, desires, cultural or whatever whims, that it works for the individual if it's "good" and if it doesn't work for the individual, it's "bad" or somewhat contrary to the nation, culturally.

So that, there are a plethora of comments such as that by "chuckrightmire," wherein an imperitive is challenged because it doesn't appear plausible to an individual's mind, regardless, and/or that religious principle is required to accommodate indivual tweaks as per individual "choice" by some cultural imperative, some inherent fixed median of society that sets the dimensions of religious theory and principle within the cultural determinations, fixed by legislature, laws.

Your example of the Hawking revisions about black holes is an excellent one along those lines, as is all else that you've written.

Again, thanks for such an excellently reasoned series of comments.

Posted by: -S- at July 19, 2004 08:19 AM

Aw, shucks...[scuffs toe in the dirt]

Posted by: Nathan at July 19, 2004 08:22 AM


Whom are you responding to? Your answer does not seem to be related to what I said. The fact that the bible has been translated into so many versions with only minor differences, despite the fact that the Catholic and Protestant versions contain different books, has no bearing on its unerrancy in its claims to be the word of a supernatural being. What you belief in is yours to believe in but your public stance is in error. I haven't seen Hawking's change of heart on black holes yet, but it would show the action of science. Unlike religious belief, science is a method, not a faith or a belief. It is a way of looking at the world that changes as the evidence changes. You have not, apparently, noticed that geneticists now believe that homosexuality, to give an example, is genetically based and, therefore, cannot be a sin in the sense that it is chosen by an individual. It is chosen for him. And it is not the same thing as men in skirts who use their power to prey on children. You can be as logical as you want to be, which I don't see, but at least study the issue and start from accurate premises.

Posted by: chuck rightmire at July 19, 2004 10:06 AM

Your answer does not seem to be related to what I said.

Okay, never mind then.

Posted by: Nathan at July 19, 2004 10:32 AM

Actually, there's a part of this I'd like to comment on:

Chuck's original comment was that "I'm really glad you can talk to God. How come every time I think I'm hearing voices someone wants to put me in an asylum? How can you think you know what God wants? The Bible isn't enough since it's a tautology: People believe it's god's voice because it says it is. It is unrestrained arrogance to claim that you know what god wants, or even if there is a god."

Actually, Chuck, the Bible IS enough for Christians like Nathan and me. We don't believe the Bible is true on the grounds that it says it is. However, given that we believe the Bible is, in fact, God's revelation about Himself, it would be rather strange if we were to ignore the clear teachings of that revelation in constructing our worldview.

It's really a shame, Chuck, that you are evidently unable to comment on the substance of Nathan's post without belittling his faith. It seems to me just as much "unrestrained arrogance" on your part to, because you believe otherwise, accuse Nathan of arrogance when he says what he believes.

I'd also like to take issue with the statements "You have not, apparently, noticed that geneticists now believe that homosexuality, to give an example, is genetically based and, therefore, cannot be a sin in the sense that it is chosen by an individual. It is chosen for him."

Given the fact that, to date, no geneticists have actually been able to identify said gene in spite of prodigious efforts to discover it, how is their belief (assuming for sake of argument that all, rather than merely some, geneticists believe as you claim they do) any less a leap of faith than Christianity? What's the evidence that homosexuality is genetically based? In fact, given that homosexuals are presumably less likely to breed than heterosexuals, it seems counterintuitive that such a gene would preserve itself over many generations.

Also, even if we assume that homosexuality is genetically determined, you misunderstand what Nathan said in his original post. As Nathan pointed out, having homosexual urges isn't necessarily a sin, but acting on them is. Fornication, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is a sin. If I were to have sex with a woman before I married her, then I would be just as guilty of sin as a homosexual acting out his desires. Nor would my sin be mitigated in any way by the fact that I didn't conciously choose to be heterosexual and, according to your thesis, "it was chosen for me".

Posted by: Tom at July 19, 2004 02:27 PM

That was a nice, reasoned reply. I agree with it totally. But I think you wasted your typing because it really doesn't seem like Chuck is listening.

Posted by: Nathan at July 19, 2004 02:29 PM

Oh, I'm listening all right and reading, but I'm really not seeing anything that's really worth anything. When you base your value on a book that is a folk history with a great deal of contradictory commandments in and claim, without any proof but your own, that it is god's word, what you then say is extremely arrogant. You are saying your minds are better than others; I would say that they aren't working, only your emotions are. The rules which we have about sexuality all have to do with control of natural urges. And you would deny people the right to express their natural urges in any controlled and meaningful way. That is a sin. And I'm not denying you your belief in whatever you want to believe in. I'm just saying that for you to impose that belief on society without any kind of substantial evidence of its basis, is arrogance. You can believe what you want.
P.S. I like your puns. Maybe you should stick to them rather than politics.

Posted by: chuck rightmire at July 19, 2004 02:47 PM

Well, the consensus does seem to be to continue punning.
But the reason I felt you weren't really listening is several thoughtful, intelligent people have taken the time to express appreciation and agreement for what I've said. There are multitudes of brilliant, thoughtful people like C. S. Lewis, St Augustine, and even Albert Einstein upon whose beliefs and assumptions I build my ideas. Now, just because Albert Einsten believes something doesn't make it true, but it should at least give you pause to consider that maybe it isn't as baseless as you insist it is.
I love to have discussions and debates, but while you haven't upset me with anything you've said (Oh! I've changed in 2 years of blogging!), your logic strikes me as:
1) I'm right.
2) No other view can possibly be correct.
3) Christianity is another view, thus:
4) Christianity cannot possibly be correct. Ergo:
5) I'm right.

That may not actually be your view, but it is how it come across. We don't have enough common points of reference to even agree on definitions.

P.S.- you might not want to study Quantum would probably be disturbed to find out that many of the things you take for granted as "proven beyond a shadow of a doubt" have been demonstrated to be wrong and inaccurate... In fact, QP has formed the basis of a resurgence of my faith in God.

Posted by: Nathan at July 19, 2004 03:20 PM

Good. I do enjoy reading them, that's why I keep coming back to rub that little itch. But I have to say we don't have any common definitions because I don't think you have even looked at science or quantum physics. To make any supposition in science, you have to have quality evidence. In any discussion about God, the evidence is contained only within the awareness of the believer. There is no evidence that anyone knows what God thinks or can pretend to speak for him, not even the guys who put the finishing touches on the Old Testament in about 70 modern era. Each of us, if we find God, must do so by himself or herself and that finding occurs only within ourselves and not out in some mystical world or in "spiritual" writings. In the meantime, any of those who have found God in their own way have no right to try to turn this country into a theocracy controlled by their beliefs. And those who cheer you on have as little evidence to offer as you do.

Posted by: chuck rightmire at July 19, 2004 08:51 PM

the evidence is contained only within
the awareness of the believer

And that's exactly the same truth about Quantum Physics; just replace "believer" with "observer" and you just described one of the most important tenets of QP, which is why I mentioned Hawkings and his theory of black holes... I haven't studied it on the collegiate level, no, but I've read/am reading several excellent books about it. One other aspect of QP is that Newtonian Physics that we all take for granted and is the basis of dualistic, mechanistic views of a clockwork world that excludes God is completely wrong. And inaccurate as well. The wonderful Science! upon which you base your rationality, the "objective" observation has been proven to be a fair approximation of the world, but not the true world at all. When you get to the very big, the very small, or the very energetic, the commonly understood rules of physics get thrown out of the window. What is God except both very big and containing/controlling vast amounts of energy? Like Schrodinger's Cat, the observer affects the situation by his very act of observing it...well, isn't that an apt description of prayer...?
I have a category called "New Thinking" in my sidebar. There's only 4 entries at this point, but the category is the archive of everything I've written to date of Quantum Physics intersecting with theology.
I also take exception to your phrase, "try to turn this country into a theocracy controlled by their beliefs", because the exact same thing could be said of people who are trying to turn this country into an atheistic nation controlled by their beliefs, because you have nothing, nothing!, to offer in the evidence of proof, either. Only your "faith" that there is no God.
I urge you to read through the Declaration of Independence and the US Constituion once more, and you can tip me $5 for every time it says "God", and I'll send you $5 for every time it says "atheism".

Other than that, I see from MT Politics that you are a Montanan? Whereabouts? I grew up in Costrip, myself, but left in '85...

Posted by: Nathan at July 19, 2004 09:32 PM

Actually, I am not claiming that "my mind is better than that of others" because I believe in God. Rather, I believe God opened my eyes to see the truth. In fact, I don't believe finite humans can genuinely apprehend an infinite God without His help.

It seems to me that Chuck is essentially arguing that, because we cannot prove the nature and existence of God, Christians (and, presumably, other people of faith) must set aside their beliefs and principles and pretend we don't have them in public. But then he bases his own opinion on homosexuality (ie, that it is a "natural" urge) on a leap of faith that is just as unproven. As I mentioned before, simply saying "genetecists believe" something, even though they have little or no evidence to believe it, is at least as unsatisfying to me as it would be unsatisfying to you if I attempted to show the veracity of a statement by telling you my pastor believed it.

I suppose I should keep Paul's commentary in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 in mind...

Posted by: Tom at July 20, 2004 07:04 AM
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