The “gays were born that way” saying has taken on a life of its own and has a significant impact on public policy. Is it true? If it is true, does it matter? Some thoughts . . .
1. I’m highly skeptical of “proof” that it is genetic (either a “gay gene” or genetic predispositions), as these studies have all been proven to be false in the past. See the Gay Gene Hoax.
2. Even if it is genetic, that doesn’t change the morality of the behavior. You don’t get an “ought” from and “is.” Gay-bashing is a sin, but those people could claim they were “born that way.”
3. If it is genetic, the number of gays will be dramatically reduced in a generation or so. Heterosexual parents will be quick to abort their children with predispositions to be gay. And the Liberals won’t do much to stop them, because they typically love abortion rights more than gay rights. They haven’t changed their views even for gender selection abortions (which virtually all involve the murder of females), so they probably won’t change them for gays, either.
I think that would be a bad thing, of course, as I’m against abortions except to save the life of the mother regardless of whether the baby has a predisposition to be gay.
4. I’ve seen lots of evidence that many people are gay because of sexual abuse and/or relationship issues. I agree that anecdotes don’t make a full case, but I’m talking about a lot of anecdotes from people who come across hundreds or even thousands of gays. I’ve read of many counselors who said that virtually all of their gay patients had been abused or had serious relationship issues. It has also been my personal experience knowing gays. And here’s a quote from gay activist / journalist Tammy Bruce from The Death of Right and Wrong:
Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhood – molestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult. The gay community must face the truth and see the sexual molestation of an adolescent for the abuse it is, instead of the “coming-of-age” experience many regard it as being. Until then, the Gay Elite will continue to promote a culture of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and suicide by AIDS.
She wasn’t trying to dispel the “born that way” notion, but I thought her comment was compelling.
And nearly all the lesbians I know were abused by their fathers or husbands.
5. It doesn’t have to be one traumatic event. It could be the complete dynamics of a relationship in place from birth that would make someone think they were “always that way.”
6. Gays who choose that lifestyle would be predisposed to say they were born that way. Otherwise, the whole “civil rights” demands would have even less reasoning behind them.
7. How many times do you see a newborn and say, “Now there’s a gay baby!” Be sure not to unfairly stereotype youths as gay just because they have non-traditional characteristics. How about nurturing and encouraging them for who they are and what interests they have?
8. Why are some people so eager to insist on the genetic link? Seems kinda homophobic to me, as if they think the lifestyle would make an undesirable choice.
And don’t just say, “They are picked on, so who would want that lifestyle?” That reasoning wouldn’t apply to people with true genetic differences that have made people a source of disapproval in the past.
Also, gay approval is at an all time high – “pride” parades, recognition as employee network groups at many businesses, civil unions & marriages – even apostate church weddings, almost universally favorable media treatment, etc.
9. Here’s one lady who doesn’t claim she was “born that way.” She says feminism led her to lesbianism (go figure!).
Ms Wilkinson, Professor of Feminist and Health Studies at Loughborough University, said: “I was never unsure about my sexuality throughout my teens or 20s. I was a happy heterosexual and had no doubts. Then I changed, through political activity and feminism, spending time with women’s organisations. It opened my mind to the possibility of a lesbian identity.”
226 thoughts on “Born that way?”
Will, are you preaching? Please stop.
Way back in your post at 9:22 a.m. yesterday you asked “4 “So how would we know what rules of the OT would still inform us? Aren’t they all applicable ? No.” I can help here. Sometimes I think I’m the only Christian who has ever read this, since this passage never seems to get mentioned in this debate. In Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem the Church is debating whether Gentile converts basically have to become Jews before they can become Christians, by being required to follow the whole law. The result was this: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements; You are to abstain from food sacrified to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality”. Acts15: 28-29a Notice two things about this. This message came from the Holy Spirit and they did not define sexual immorality, because they didn’t have to. The people they were writing to were already familiar with the sexual prohibitions laid out in the law. So all the sexual prohibitions of the law[including the one against homosexual acts] are still binding on Christians, but those banning say, shrimp eating are not. [and that’s a good thing because I love shrimp:-)
That’s why I get steamed when I hear the arguement raised that if we consider homosexual acts as sin, we have consider x [pick your favorite OT law you don’t follow] as sin. I want to scream no we don’t. Because God through the Holy Spirit said we didn’t.
ER, I’m not making an appeal to authority: I’m not saying that Scripture is authoritative simply because it says it is. I’m merely rejecting the notion that Scripture is unclear on its own authority.
I note that you apparently affirm that Jesus is perfect: “no human, save one, was without sin, or error.” Well, between His explicit affirmation of Scripture to the smallest penstroke and the many times HE appealed to Scripture without the slightest apparent qualification, I think the Gospels are clear about His opinion of Scripture. If Jesus was without error, should we not trust the Gospels on this point? If we cannot trust the Gospels on this point, how can we know anything about what Jesus said or did?
Neil is right: “Men make mistakes” isn’t proof that every work of man contains mistakes. In addition to scoring a perfect 300 in bowling, I believe men have been able to craft error-free mathematical proofs. And, look, if we as Christians affirm the Incarnation, I don’t see what’s so implausible about Scriptural inerrancy. “God became a perfect man” strikes me as far more miraculous than “God inspired imperfect men to craft perfect written records of His message to man.”
Inerrancy strikes me as a reasonable doctrine, and I affirm inerrancy. But here’s the thing: I don’t believe that denying inerrancy changes anything about how we should interpret Scripture.
Let’s say that a man is selling replicas of the Mona Lisa. How would we know that his replicas are accurate? By comparing them to the real thing.
ER, you wrote that Mark was making a mistake “in equating ‘God,’ ‘the Word of God’ and the Bible.” There’s a lot of theology wrapped up in that sentence, but let’s just suppose that this: that the Bible could be an imperfect replica of the message that God wants to communicate to man.
If I wanted to see whether my Mona Lisa replica was imperfect, I could simply go to the Louvre and compare it to the original, but where could we go to compare the Bible against the original message that God intended? The Bible is the closest thing we have to God’s message. We should always seek to interpret our translations better, to translate our manuscripts better, and to find manuscripts that were closer in date and in the chain of transcription to the original “autograph” manuscripts. But that’s about all we can do.
The assertion that Jesus is God Incarnate and the Word of God isn’t all that helpful, because Jesus ascended to the Father nearly 2,000 years ago, and our best record (by far) of His earthly words and deeds is the Bible. We should certainly read the Bible in light of who Jesus is and what He said and did, but the Bible is by far our single best source for knowing who Jesus is and what He said and did.
I believe that the Bible is inerrant, but even if it’s isn’t, it is — again — the closest thing we’ve got to God’s message to us. If it’s not a perfect copy of His message, it’s the nearest replica, and there is nothing by which we can say with any confidence that this verse is a flaw or that verse is a flaw. To go that route is to impose your own ideas of what God’s message ought to be, and because it is impossible to distort God’s message without also distorting one’s conception of God, it’s hard to see how cherry-picking the Bible doesn’t result in a form of idolatry.
We must accept in faith that the Bible is what it is, either (as I believe) God’s perfect message to man or (at worst) the closest thing to His perfect message. Having no other standard by which to judge and edit the Bible, we must submit to it.
Ivan, you’re not the only one to have noticed the Council of Jerusalem. See August 23rd, 2007 at 9:48 am. 🙂
Dan, if I may say one more thing for the moment:
Despite our deep disagreements, I do sincerely appreciate your honesty in denying the Bible’s infallibility, but I had noticed that you earlier didn’t make clear your beliefs on the Bible’s authority. (See my post, August 21st, 2007 at 2:56 pm.)
I mention this because of two things you wrote earlier.
1) You wrote about your love of the Bible and how seriously you take studying the Bible.
“On this particular action (which you consider a sin), we just disagree with you. We love the Bible. We seek to understand it by God’s grace and heed The Word. And in so doing, we come to a different conclusion than some here do on that particular ‘sin.’ Just as you disagree with us on that issue and likely on other sins.”
“You can say that homosexuality as sin is Not debatable if you believe the Bible, but that doesn’t make it necessarily true. I believe the Bible. I take its truths literally. I have been a Christian for over 30 years and been reading the Bible for over 40 years. I’m a deacon, Sunday School teacher and all around servant of Christ, in my better moments. I was taught to take the Bible seriously and I do.”
2) In that first quote above, and here, you write that our disagreement on homosexuality is a mere difference of opinion, resulting from drawing different conclusions:
“I’m saying I don’t see why the opposition to gay marriage would be anything but another sin which we might have differences of opinions on – and why those opposed would dedicate so much energy and money to the opposition. Cigarette smoking and alcohol are issues of some debate amongst Christians – are they sinful? Not? But I don’t see most churches today spending nearly the amount of time and energy in opposing/debating these issues. And rightly so. They are debatable points about individual sins.”
Between these statements, Dan, I believe you give the impression that we’re all approaching the Bible the same way and just happen to draw different conclusions.
I won’t presume you’re doing this deliberately, but I do think you should make quite clear your denial of Biblical inerrancy and infallibility.
That you don’t believe the Bible is inerrant is at least as important as the fact that you love the Bible. That you don’t believe the Bible is infallible is at least as important as the fact that you’ve studied it for decades.
You and I do approach the Bible differently: I believe that my beliefs should be made to conform with what the Bible says, and you believe that the parts of the Bible can be ignored if they do not conform with what you believe. Because I believe the Bible clearly, unambigously, and emphatically teaches that we were made male and female for heterosexual marriage, the difference in our approaches matter greatly.
You should be as up front about your rejection of the doctrine of inerrancy as you are about your love of the Bible. To do otherwise, deliberately or not, is to give the false impression that you approach the Bible the same way as those with whom you disagree.
Mark, great questions…
“Your words… So you believe then, that religion and governments should be seperate, obviosly. You must believe also that religion and our laws be separate. As do I. Why then is there such a problem with Civil Unions for homosexuals? It’s a legal issue – not a religous one.”
I don’t want to go into this too much. I think it is an issue for some because it is not only an issue of 2 people choosing to have a relationship, but having the rest of the state choosing to recognize the relationship. I think the latter part is what people have a problem with.
That being said, I sometimes wonder if marriage should not be an issue of the state in the first place, but of the church (of course, I don’t know what atheists would do, maybe you have ideas), that way we don’t have to worry about those things. At the same time, I think gov’t should be involved to some extent, because I think a guy should be penalized for walking out on his family.
Wow, so much to respond to…
Perhaps. I just find Dan to be quite the Biblical gymnast.
No problem. The feeling’s mutual.
Bubba tried to be dismissive by saying:
Dan, you have a frankly bizarre definition of infallible.
Both definitions I offered came from dictionary.com. Take it up with them.
What I’ve had to say consistently is that “inerrant” and “infallible” are less useful words when it comes to describing the Bible. They are the wrong words to use.
Consider the passage where God commands Israel, when they’ve wiped out an enemy, to spare the virgins and take them home and make them be their wives (after shaving their heads and paring their fingernails – perhaps to keep them from scratching them during the forced wivery and to help break their spirit? – Deut 21:10-14).
What does “inerrant” or “infallible” mean in this context? That God literally commanded them to kidnap the young women/girls of the people they’ve just slaughtered and force them to be their wives? That would appear to be an “everlasting rule” – should we be honoring that law today? Would that be interpreting that passage “without error”?
I honestly want to know, as Neil noted, I dig biblical gymnastics (although I prefer watching it than partaking in it…)
“I dig biblical gymnastics (although I prefer watching it than partaking in it…”
huh? Man if this is watching I’d hate to see the size of these threads if you’d actually particpated.
“I won’t presume you’re doing this deliberately, but I do think you should make quite clear your denial of Biblical inerrancy and infallibility.”
Perhaps my previous comment should suffice, but to directly respond to this: It’s not so much that I deny that the Bible is “inerrant” or “infallible,” but rather I deny those are proper terms to use in relation to the Bible. The Bible doesn’t use those terms, nor suggest the same idea in other terms, why would I? (a question I raised earlier which I believe went unaddressed)
The Bible is a revelation of God’s Word. It demands we take it seriously if we are a believer in God. I think taking the Bible seriously requires that we reject the use of the word “inerrant” to describe the Bible. Not even so much because the bible is error prone, but because it is a book of Truths. God’s Truths found therein are without error and perfect.
But the Bible itself and the Truths therein are a conglomeration of many various writing styles and techniques and languages and people and peoples. “Inerrant” is not the applicable word. That’s like saying, “So, I watched the Superbowl the other day. It was Inerrant.” The word doesn’t make sense in that context.
Dan, I certainly wasn’t trying to be dismissive: in fact, I went into great detail to explain what I thought was bizarre about your definition of “infallible.”
Let me make myself as clear as I can. My problem is not with the online definition of “infallible”:
1. absolutely trustworthy or sure: ‘an infallible rule.’
2. unfailing in effectiveness or operation; certain: ‘an infallible remedy.’
My problem is with the direction you take that definition:
Well, we know right away that the Bible is not exempt from liability to error. You’re suggesting I’ve got an error in my understanding right now.
If Neil questions your understanding, he’s questioning YOUR infallibility, not the Bible’s. Infallibility on the part of the Bible (or any written text) is a quality of the text’s transmission of information, not the reader’s reception of information.
That you try to tie a text’s infallibility to whether a reader receives the information perfectly, that IS bizarre, as I don’t think many people would try this in any other circumstance: if a student fails to follow a math teacher’s proof, it’s not always the teacher’s fault; and if a driver gets lost, he can’t always blame the map.
Even now, about Deuteronomy 21, you ask about “interpreting that passage ‘without error’.” But the principle of Biblical infallibility doesn’t deal with one reader’s interpreting that passage; it deals with the author’s writing that passage. In asking whether we interpret without error, what you’re asking about isn’t the infallibility of the Bible, but rather the infallibility of its readers, a principle that NO ONE here has affirmed or likely would affirm.
Neil thinks you’ve misinterpreted the Bible, and you think he’s misinterpreted the Bible, so apparently neither of you affirm the reader’s infallibility, but these facts neither support nor disprove the Bible’s infallibility.
I cannot make this any more clear.
Whoa. I like that, Dan. It is incredibly hard to say what you mean when every word is loaded. But that was pretty a good job.
Of course the Bible is loaded with Truth — and truths. But those are not the same as facts as we understand the term. For me to say the Bible has errors — and I do simply state it, as in pointing at the obvious, as if I were to say, “Look at theat lovely sunset”; I am making no more of a “truth claim” or even argument, Neil — is not to say it’s not reliable as a general guide for how to live the Christian life as understood by the earliest Christians, who, as men, were fallible. The errors of science and cosmology are self-evident; the contradictions are clear. I need make no argument or “truth claim.” Which may vcery well be a fallacy. (I’m waiting, Neil). Which is fine, since we are not talking about about matters of facts, or of logic, but of faith and mysticism.
The THIRD definition is the one I quoted:
not fallible; exempt from liability to error, as persons, their judgment, or pronouncements
Which I took to mean exempt from the liability to error in interpretation by people. Perhaps I read that definition incorrectly. If so, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. But that is a minor point.
The points remain:
1. the Bible – nor God – demand that we take the Bible as “infallible” or “inerrant,” shall I add to God’s Word as to what is necessary to believe to make you happy?
2. I don’t think these are even appropriate words to use about biblical stories.
3. I’m concerned about taking the Bible seriously – about taking the Truths of the Bible seriously. I’m much less concerned about taking it literally.
” “Inerrant” is not the applicable word”.
Interesting. For hundreds of years & for thousands of scholars, theologians, reformers & just plain Bible believing folks, inerrant as well as infallible were exactly the words. Why is it the only ones to ever take exception to this are those with beliefs that don’t agree with what the Bible clearly says.
“Consider the passage where God commands Israel, when they’ve wiped out an enemy, to spare the virgins and take them home and make them be their wives (after shaving their heads and paring their fingernails – perhaps to keep them from scratching them during the forced wivery and to help break their spirit? – Deut 21:10-14).
What does “inerrant” or “infallible” mean in this context?”
Since you’re kicking this dead horse again, the short answer is probably not much since it’s pretty clearly a historical passage relating how God told Israel to deal with captives in certain situations. Best guess would be since the Bible is inerrant & infallible – God actually said it.
And since God “said it” – pronounced it a law – we ought to obey it?
You’re saying God commanded kidnapping and rape?
BECAUSE I love God’s Word, I reject that claim as in opposition to God’s Word. I don’t think claiming that God orders kidnapping and rape (forced marriage, if you prefer) is offensive to the character of God.
Why is it the only ones to ever take exception to this are those with beliefs that don’t agree with what the Bible clearly says.
THE BIBLE CLEARLY NEVER SAYS we must think the Bible is inerrant. Why is it the only ones who insist that we add to God’s Word are the ones who claim the Bible is inerrant and sufficient…?
Dan, on infallibility:
The Bible doesn’t use those terms, nor suggest the same idea in other terms, why would I? (a question I raised earlier which I believe went unaddressed)
I did address this question, though not explicitly, and I did so right after saying your definition of “infallibility” is bizarre:
“Scripture is clear about its own authority; Jesus Himself is clear about its authority to the smallest penstroke.”
I’m going to hope that I don’t need to cite the relevant passage, and I wroter further to ER that, between His explicit affirmation of Scripture to the smallest penstroke and the many times HE appealed to Scripture without the slightest apparent qualification, I think the Gospels are clear about His opinion of Scripture.
You write, about the Bible, “God’s Truths found therein are without error and perfect.” Great: by what method do you sift out the perfect truths (sorry, Truths) from the noise? I argued earlier that there isn’t a method by which we could reliably ascertain God’s Truths in the Bible from everything else: we must humbly submit to it all as His revealed message.
Obviously, different genres require different forms of submission: we must accept that descriptive history actually happened, and we must accept that normative ethical teachings must be obeyed. The one thing we cannot do is dismiss or ignore any of it as being extraneous to what God to communicate.
ER, briefly, you bring up a topic that I wanted to address earlier.
Earlier you wrote, “faith in God is not rational. To insist it is is to denigrate it, to lower it to a human standard. I mean, we can figure out ANYTHING. But God. IMHO.”
I agree that faith requires more than rationality, but not less. I’ll agree that we can’t use reason to figure out God, but God doesn’t contradict reason.
You now write, “we are not talking about about matters of facts, or of logic, but of faith and mysticism.”
Sorry, I disagree strongly. First, we are discussing facts: either Jesus was raised from the dead or He wasn’t. Either God inspired the Bible’s writers or He didn’t. Either they wrote down His message infallibly, or they didn’t.
And God is not illogical. If He is not rational or logical, then rationality and logic cannot be reliably applied to anything He created, including the universe in which we live, and including ourselves.
And, for the record, I believe the claim that the Bible has “obvious” errors is ridiculous enough, but the refusal to offer a defense of that claim is appalling. One should put up or shut up.
I’m going out for drinks. Anyone need anything?
LOL. Yes, some Advil and some Dramamine.
It doesn’t matter what definition you used, Dan. The direction you took that definition was just weird.
You took the word to mean, “exempt from the liability to error in interpretation by people.” Again that is infallibility on the part of the reader, not the text. I’m willing to accept that your mistake was an honest one, but it’s not a minor one: there’s a HU-U-UGE difference between suggesting that a text’s infallibility depends on the reader and affirming that it doesn’t. The former is like saying that, no matter how faithful it is to the actual geography, a driver getting lost is proof that the map had an error.
You’re right that the word “inerrant” isn’t in the Bible, but neither is “triune” nor “omnipotent”, but just as the Bible makes clear that the latter applies to God, it’s equally clear that the former applies to itself.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” – Matt 5:17-18
I wonder what you make of this passage, Dan, so confident are you that Deut 21:10-14 is wrong, that God didn’t actually command those things as part of the old covenant: not one stroke of a letter will pass away, but that hardly stops you from dismissing whole passages.
I’ll ask again, by what method do you determine that Deut 21:10-14 is a lie that God didn’t actually command? And how then do you know that Deut 6:5 is legit?
And I must say, it’s really funny to see you ask this:
Why is it the only ones who insist that we add to God’s Word are the ones who claim the Bible is inerrant and sufficient…?
This, from the guy who, when asked about why we were created male and female, chose to speculate about extra-biblical reasons that would invalidate Genesis 2 and Matthew 19. That’s rich.
“And since God “said it” – pronounced it a law – we ought to obey it?”
God commanded certain acts at certain times. Again, historical passage. Not sure how you made the leap to a pronouncement of law that is applicable to all times.
“You’re saying God commanded kidnapping and rape?”
Don’t think I ever said that. In all the posts where you bring this passage up you’re the only one that ever uses those words. Couldn’t find them in most Bible translations either. And since both the Hebrew & Greek have specific words for those actions, I’m pretty confident that if that’s what God intended to say, that’s what would have been written.
“THE BIBLE CLEARLY NEVER SAYS we must think the Bible is inerrant. Why is it the only ones who insist that we add to God’s Word are the ones who claim the Bible is inerrant and sufficient…?”
Don’t even know where to start with this one. “CLEARLY NEVER SAYS” – having a problem with “clearly never”. Anyway, grammer aside, the Bible never uses the word “TRINITY’ either. But there are enough clear teachings from which we can infer the existence of the Trinity. I think Bubba already did a great post about how Scripture was viewed by Jesus that applies here.
As for who’s adding to God’s Word, I would simply ask folks to back & reread out posts to see who does more of that.
The word is “grammar.”
Ya know, this is so huge and rambling and all over the place, that I think I’ll reluctantly take my leave of this conversation for here and now. I think it would be worthwhile to continue the talk but this has sort of sprawled so far that it’s hard to make much sense of it all, for this poor simple-minded Kentucky boy anyway.
Maybe I’ll make a post soon on how we read the Bible – literal, inerrant, infallible, seriously or not – as I’ll agree that differences in how we read God’s beloved Word is at the root of much of our differences.
Agreed. BTW, my spelling cost me my last three jobs.
Blessings to all
And yes, please, by all means, look back at what’s been written and see who’s advocating extrabiblical theology. The answer may surprise you…
Dan, before you leave, I would appreciate it if you could explain why you can disregard Deuteronomy 21:10-14 in light of Matthew 5:17-18. When Jesus upholds OT Scripture to the smallest penstroke, I don’t see the justification for disregarding whole passages.
Rambling as this discussion has become, I think this one question in particular is too important to leave unanswered.
Because, quite frankly, I don’t think Jesus meant that we should interpret that “inerrantly.” He said, as you noted:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished
I read that within the context of the whole Bible and think we can take this one of (at least) two ways.
1. The whole of the Law is to be obeyed. Including killing disrespectful children, etc, etc, etc.
In order to believe this, then we have to ignore passages such as when Jesus says, “Forget the OT law about what you can and can’t eat. Eat what you will. There’s nothing abominable about shrimp.” Which means that we’re not believing the whole Bible if we believe that Jesus is here saying that the Law is to be obeyed.
Another way to take it:
2. That when Jesus talks about fulfilling the law, he is meaning to say that he’s coming to give us a better, more complete understanding of the Law, of the OT, of God’s Will for us.
In order to do this, we have to accept that some of the OT has it less than right, and that is why Jesus is fulfilling – making it more clear and whole – for us.
Either way, we have to ignore part of the Bible. Do we cling to the OT (because Jesus said that NONE of it is to be ignored and woe to those who would) or do we acknowledge that Jesus is helping reveal God in a more clear manner? The way I see it, we have to choose one or the other and, from a practical standpoint, NO ONE is advocating we obey “the least of the laws” – no one is advocating kidnapping and forced marriage, or genocide, or killing disrespectful children or obeying the Jubilee code. We freely acknowledge that NOT ALL of the law is applicable to us.
The thing is, bubba, you advocate that we disregard Deuteronomy 21:10 (I hope). You don’t believe we ought to do a lot that was commanded as part of the law. From where I stand, it’s disengenuous to imply that those of us who disagree with taking the whole of the Law “inerrantly” are rejecting the Law but that you’re embracing it. Clearly, you’re not.
Last one, I promise;
I would simply ask folks to back & reread out posts to see who does more of that.
If anyone has more time on their hands than I do, I think it would be very interesting to go back to this large post and do a count. See who has advocated extrabiblical positions (you must believe in 6 day creation, you must accept the Triune God, you must believe that the bible is “inerrant,” etc, etc) and in what numbers.
I could be wrong, but I don’t believe I’ve advocated any extrabiblical thinking or positions. Just extra-traditional.
Dan, when you speculate that the Bible’s clear teaching that we were created male and female for marriage doesn’t preclude redefining marriage to include homosexual couples, you are quite clearly advocating an extrabiblical position. And when you suggest that Deuteronomy 21:10-14 isn’t divine in origin, you advocate extrabiblical thinking.
I agree that Matthew 5:17-18 has to be reconciled with Matthew 15:10-20, though your paraphrase (“Ignore the OT”) is quite poor. I agree that Christians, under the new covenant, are not expected to obey every aspect of the old covenant: the New Testament clearly teaches this, and even in human interactions we don’t expect a man to adhere to the terms of a contract in which he is not a party.
I think the difference between is this: I believe in progressive revelation, and you apparently believe in CORRECTIVE revelation. I believe the New Testament fulfills the Old, and you apparently believe the it fixes the Old.
To give you an example, I don’t agree with you that we have to “ignore” the Old Testament passages on kosher food. Instead we should see it for it what it is: a precursor of the what was to come; the external cleanliness that comes through kosher food and animal sacrifices was a “shadow” (cf Heb 10:1) of the internal, spiritual cleanliness made possible through the Holy Spirit and Christ’s blood.
It is right to say that the old covenant was less than complete, but not “less than right.”
To put it another way, we both believe that Christians are not compelled to obey Deuteronomy 21:10-14, but for entirely different reasons. For me it has to do with the target for the command: I believe it was directed only to those under the old covenant and not to me since I am under the new covenant. For you it apparently has to do with the source of the command; you apparently deny its divine origin.
You’re saying God commanded kidnapping and rape?
BECAUSE I love God’s Word, I reject that claim as in opposition to God’s Word. I don’t think claiming that God orders kidnapping and rape (forced marriage, if you prefer) is [sic] offensive to the character of God.
I don’t obey the command because I know it wasn’t sent to me; but you apparently believe it wasn’t sent by God.
A lot of what I see from you concerning this particular verse is a mere argument from outrage. Do you honestly think that theologians before you never noticed this passage? Or that they saw it and sadistically celebrated a command to kidnap and rape? Do you find implausible the commentaries that suggest the command was merciful compared to the contempary status quo? Are you not even aware of these commentaries?
It seems to me that you’re not interested in investigating whether this particular passage can be reconciled with the rest of Scripture. You seem intent on drawing the worst possible interpretation (Kidnapping! Rape!) in order to justify discarding other passages you find inconvenient.
You aren’t just saying that this passage is a shadow of the new covenant: you’re trying to demonize this passage. You’re not just saying that this is a good command from God that was applied to someone else, you’re trying to say that it’s an evil command that never came from God in the first place.
It’s hard to think of a way to take a piece of the Law and the Prophets and abolish it more completely than to accuse it of being evil.
Cosmology in the Bible: God is up there, the devil is down there, and we are on earth in the middle. Baloney.
There two different Creastion stories in the first few chapters of Genesis. They are not the same.
He that is not with me is against me (Matthew) means one thing. He that is not against us is for us (Luke) means another thing.
“And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11). “No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, … the Son of Man.” (John 3:13)
This is too easy.
PEACE. Jesus saves! Not me. Not you. Not the Bible. And for dang sure, not ANY of our understanding of it.
It’s not too easy, ER, it’s too simplistic, though I am glad that you decided to defend your assertion after all.
There’s nothing that you mention that hasn’t been tackled again and again and again throughout the centuries by serious Jewish and Christian theologians. You honestly think they never noticed the two creation accounts in Genesis? Or do you think the way they reconciled the two accounts is so stupid or dishonest that you need not even acknowledge the existence of their arguments? I believe Genesis was written by one human hand belonging to Moses, but let’s say that it was compiled by a committee: even then, do you think they just overlooked the fact that there are two creation accounts side-by-side?
You write, “He that is not with me is against me (Matthew) means one thing. He that is not against us is for us (Luke) means another thing.”
I’ll see you and raise: both verses are found in Luke, pretty close together.
John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.” – Luke 9:49-50
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” – Luke 11:23
Do you think that the author who prefaced his Gospel account with a declaration about its thorough research would miss that he wrote seemingly contradictory statements within a distance of what would become a mere 77 verses?
What breathtaking arrogance on your part. When reading the Bible, most Christians know that its authors were by no means perfect men, but we see and know that they were wise men and saints, far greater than us in wisdom and righteousness. But just as Dan sees them as wicked for commanding rape and genocide, you see them as moronic for missing what you think are obvious contradictions and errors.
You apparently think the Bible’s authors were imbeciles.
What amazes me more is that you still affirm that Jesus saves, even though the most authoritative source for that claim is the Bible. You’re calling your guides blind but still think they’re guiding you to salvation.
Well, if the Bible’s authors were so retarded as to miss these supposedly obvious errors, what does that make you for trusting to what they wrote the eternal condition of your soul?
By your logic and interpretation of Leviticus we should embrace people involved in necrophelia, bestiality, and incest. Do you really want to go down this road?
“You apparently think the Bible’s authors were imbeciles.”
No. They were humans, and all that that implies.
Do you realize that until the invention of the printing press, questions of the Bible’s origins and “inerrancy” never got outside the churches? Do you know that most believers never saw the Scriptures? Do you know that the prevailing ciew was that the decision of a man decided the salvation, under God and Grace, of his entire household, including servants and children and wive? Do you understand that the “Sinner’s Prayer” is an AMERICAN cultural convention?
Get off me. I will not let you cram God and God’s grace into a box — even one crreated by the church.
ER, I think that we need to remember that grace is not cheap. It was very costly, for the Father to give His Son to die for our sins. Ephesians 4:17-32 has instructions for us. We need to show some gratitude and if we are ungrateful children, what do natural parents do to help their children learn?
ER, I must tell you that I don’t think that errors of the magnitude you claim can be the result merely of being human. If the mistakes are as obvious as you claim, to the degree that you will not even acknowledge the literal centuries of apologetic work that argue that the Bible’s seeming inconsistencies can be reconciled — much less that you would actually rebut their arguments — then they are the mistakes of imbeciles. It would be like saying that a figure on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel inexplicably has a third arm, or that Duncan died in Act 2 in MacBeth and was inexplicably alive in Act 3, and none of the other characters noticed. What you’re arguing is that the author of Genesis wrote two creation accounts, one after the other, that the two accounts are wholly and obviously irreconcilable, and that the author didn’t notice: that does not fall under the category of typical human error.
I don’t see the relevance of any of the questions you ask.
I don’t see how I am limiting God by believing He’s capable of inspiring His chosen messengers to write books that are coherent and inerrant. I’m not the one who thinks that, because God used humans to produce His message to man, He could not possibly have prevented those humans from making mistakes, that He was absolutely powerless to overcome their fallibility with His Spirit. I’m not the one who thinks that, because it’s not obvious how two passages in God’s message are reconciled, those passages cannot be reconciled.
And I’m not sure it’s worth continuing to discuss these issues with you when you don’t seem willing to defend the claims you make, to explain the relevance of the questions you raise, or to justify your posturing about defending God from those Christians who have the temerity to believe that He really is omnipotent.
Well, if you think that one author wrote Genesis, then, why, you’re right, brother. There’s not much to talk about. And if you actually believe, still, that think Moses wrote the Pentateuch! Which includes the account of his death alone except for God’s presence! Then, well. I concede a unassailable wall when it comes to understanding the origins of the earliest books of the OT. Which says nothing, however, about, well, anything else.
G’night, brother, and Peace.
Enjoyed the opinions and the opening piece immensely. The messages and thoughts of various authors are insightful and provoking.
I have a running dialogue with a lesbian who has absolutely no concept of individual rights verses majority rights. The label “left wing nut job” must have been conceived with this lady in mind. Needless to say she demands laws be passed for her choice of lifestyle and prison as punishment for all who oppose the gay and lesbian community.
The scary part is, with our senators and congressmen playing lose with the rights of the majority while pandering to the minority, she may get her wish. When laws are passed giving rights to one group of people, another group of people have to give up their rights. The man who owns property may no longer decide who may or may not live in his house or work for his company. The government decides all that for him.
I was one of those working for laws to give the smallest minority special rights. It seemed logical at the time. But then I was looking at it from the smallest minorities point of view and that other guy who owned the company really didn’t matter. The closer I got to the probability of any laws being passed for those like me, the more it bothered me. Laws being designed to give those like me special rights were wrapped up in the same language for gays, lesbians and bisexuals. I had made a pact with the homosexual crowd to get special laws passed.
I believe with all my heart homosexual conduct is a sin but it isn’t my place to judge. I’ll leave the judgment up to God. He’s a big boy and I think He can handle that part without my help.
But then the funny part of this whole mess is I’m TS. What does God think about me? If anyone brings up good old Deuteronomy then get ready to get slapped back down. You are taking it out of context. I can quote passages out of the bible where there isn’t a single thing anyone is wearing that isn’t against scripture. All out of context of course.
Don’t exclude someone from your church because they have sinned. God knows the church would be empty. Invite the great diversity into your church and teach them about Jesus. It’s not our place to judge. All we are supposed to do is spread the Word. Leave it at that. If God wants them He will take it from there.
Jesus chased the money changers from the temple. Don’t accept the mind games the gay and lesbian crowd are playing. They have a lot of play books and lots of practice to hone those mind games to a fine art. If you don’t speak up you are silently agreeing with them, homosexuality is okay. Write your congressmen and senators and oppose any bills giving special rights to gays, lesbians, and those like me, transsexuals. If you don’t, you are giving your silent approval. Silence isn’t golden, it’s a catastrophe.
God made Adam and Eve. Then He made me and has been wondering ever since what went wrong in that last batch of brew? That makes two of us.
Barb, if someone identifies as gay or lesbian, what business is that of society?
Like most LGBTQX arguments, that one cheats. While there are serious public health issues with the gay lifestyle*, historically most people had a live-and-let-live attitude towards LGBTQX people. We mainly felt sorry for them (you only need to see a tranny for 3 seconds, for example, to realize how screwed up they are). But you don’t want that, you want gov’t recognition of same-sex unions, silencing of churches, forcing people to participate in these God-mocking unions (“bake that cake!!!), perverting the minds of school children by pushing the LGBTQX agenda on 5 yr. olds, etc. It is Satanic.
*If you really love people you’ll warn them that the gay lifestyle is a coin flip away from getting HIV. From — http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/09/25/behind-the-increase-in-hiv-infections-among-gay-and-bisexual-men/ — “Gay and bisexual men represent an estimated 2% of the U.S. population but more than half of all people living with HIV and 66% of new HIV infections. They are the only population group in the United States for which HIV infections are rising. Projections have shown that if current trends continue, half of all gay and bisexual men will be HIV-positive by age 50.”
ER, I hope you have a good night, too.
More than that, I worry for you and people like you. You are so fully confident that the Bible is replete with obvious errors that you don’t even acknowledge centuries of apologetic arguments to the contrary, much less grapple with those arguments: it’s hard for me to see how a person who denies even the possibility of inerrant inspiration can long cling to the miraculous claim of the Incarnation.
And you so thoroughly trust modern intellectual fashion regarding the authorship of Genesis: it’s hard for me to see how one who so easily disregards the traditional idea that Moses wrote Genesis can still continue to affirm the Resurrection in the face of the trendy tendency to dismiss the miraculous as mythological.
I hope what remaining trust you have in the core tenets of our faith leads to an increasing humility in the face of thousands of years of Biblical studies, before the works of prophets and Apostles whose wisdom and righteousness shine far brighter than yours, and in the presence of a Heavenly Father who is more than powerful enough to inspire men to communicate an infallible copy of His message to us.
Believing that your position is precarious, I hope your denial of the secondary doctrines of Christianity is a passing phase rather than a prelude to far worse.
mom2 said, “I think that we need to remember that grace is not cheap. It was very costly, for the Father to give His Son to die for our sins.” Wait just a minute. How costly could it have been? The Father and the Son are the same being – God. At least I’m pretty sure I’ve read that here a few times. Seems like the death on the cross was mere symbolics than anything else. Ok, “mere” is probably not the right word. It would, in fact, be miraculous to allow yourself to die and then return to life. But, if Jesus was/is God, then he really didn’t die, he just pretended to die. You can’t kill God, can you? So we’re back to symbolism.
Just random thoughts…
You can’t kill God, but God can — and has — chosen to die for our sins.
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” – John 15:17-18, emphasis mine
If Christ didn’t have the power to lay down His own life and not just merely pretend to lay down His life, He is a liar.
The Incarnation of God is a tough thing to grasp — infinite, eternal, almighty God becoming a man — and yet the Bible is clear about Christ’s humanity. The same Apostle who wrote in John 1 that, in the beginning, the Word was God, also wrote in II John 1 that denying that Christ truly came in the flesh is the mark of an antichrist.
If God’s revelation to man is clear about His Incarnation in Christ, it is equally clear about Christ’s death. In Philippians 2, Paul connects the two by saying that Christ “emptied Himself” of His divine rights in two ways, first by becoming human and then by obeying the Father even by dying.
It comes to this: the Bible affirms, and I believe reason confirms, that death is the only just punishment for willful rebellion from God.
Christ died as our substitute. Only by being fully man, was He an appropriate substitute for us; only by being fully divine, was He a perfect, sinless substitute for us. Since death is the only just punishment for sin, the death of Christ, fully man and fully God, is the only possibly means of salvation that satisfies justice.
If Christ did not die and yet we are still saved from our sin, God is not just.
Or if Christ did not die and we are not saved, then we have no reason to be grateful to God.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is literally God. He became literally human to die a literal death and be literally raised from the death. As Christians we can claim no other gospel: this is not only the only gospel God gave us, it is the only gospel that truly qualifies as “good news” from a perfectly just yet perfectly loving God.
Such illogical statements. I know this is what each and every one of you believes, but to me it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
If he was “fully” a man when he died then he could not possiblly have revived himself. Death is permanent. It would take some form of consciousness to revive yourself.
“He became literally human to die a literal death and be literally raised…” Sorry – impossible on those terms. This is a big problem I have with many of you. You lead very productive lives. You are very smart, logical people. Yet on this point you surrender all logic to the four winds. I can’t throw logic out the window so easily.
Mark, the Bible is clear about the “what” of the Gospel, that Christ was fully man and fully God, that He truly died and was truly raised. It is also clear about the “why” of the Gospel, that this was the only way for God to save us while justifying us, that is, to satisfy His perfect love and His perfect justice.
It is not however clear about the “how” of the Gospel. At one end of the story we have the virgin birth: we know that Mary conceived while being a virgin, but we don’t know how. If the fetus was originally a zygote, was the zygote originally an egg? If it was an egg, was it a perfectly mundane egg of Mary’s? When it was presumably miraculously fertilized, were the necessary second set of 23 chromosomes created ex nihilo or out of existing biological material? We don’t know — and we don’t need to know to respond in faith, or God would have made a point to go into details — but we can speculate within reason.
(None of us Christians should let this speculation about the virgin conception offend our sensibilities. Some people, like Muslims, revile the very notion of God becoming a man; we don’t. Some others believe that God would only appear human or arrive as a mature adult with all his faculties; we affirm that He experienced all the temptations and frailties of being truly human, including childhood, and including infancy. Some would expect that God would be born in a palace; we know He chose to be born in a barn. In the thirty years of life on earth, God Incarnate urinated when He woke up in the morning, and He had literally thousands of bowel movements. His being a zygote and a fetus should not offend us; as a demonstration of the depth of His love, it should awe us.)
So, just as I can’t say how the virgin conception occurred, I can’t say for certain how it is that Jesus raised Himself from the dead, but I can say that it occurred, and I can speculate on the mechanism to show that the claim does not offend reason.
Being fully man, Jesus Christ truly died. But I believe that, being fully God, He retained the power to raise the dead, and living a sinless life wholly obedient to the Father, the Son earned the keys to death and Hell (see Rev 1:18). When Jesus died physically, His soul still lived, which is why I deny that it was necessarily the case that He wasn’t conscious that Saturday following Good Friday.
(Let us not forget what Christ said in Matthew 22:31-32, which we are told astounded the audience: “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.” The clear implication is that the Patriarchs who had long ago physically died and who have not yet been physically raised can rightfully be called alive, right now.)
The lack of consciousness attending physical death is an assumption that you make, one that you cannot possibly prove, one that isn’t supported in Scripture, one that is clearly rejected by Scripture, such as in Luke 16:19-31.
It is true that the claims of Christianity cannot be proven by logic, but they are still consistent with logic: they are mysteries, not contradictions.
What Christianity is offending is not logic, but your assumptions. Of course you’re drawing conclusions that clash with Christianity: respectfully, I believe you’re starting with the wrong assumptions.
Bubba, hey, look up. I’m not down where you were talking. (Sorry, you seemdd to be talking down to me a little, and I didn’t like it.)
I think it takes more hubris to cling to tradition that flies in the face of new testimony and evidence than it takes to admit I don’t have the answers. But, I accept your heart-felt hopes for me in the spirit in which (I think) they were intended.
But, I’m sorry, but rhe Buble most certainly is NOT clear about Christ’s godness-manness. Nor about the Resurrection — as in, what does that mean, exactly?
I believe in the Risen Christ because I believe I encounter Him every day — and because a few times in my life His presense has been almost palpable. But if by “Resurrection,” you mean his body was resuscitated, and came back together of a piece, from the blood soaked into the ground under the Cross, to the flesh imbedded in the wood of the Cross, to the blood and fluid left on the soldier’s sword that pierced his side, to the skin sloughed off all over Palestine over 30-33 years of living, well, I think those are all things to thing about — and it givesd plenty of room for Christians of good faith to “doubt” the Resurrection, depending on what one means by it. I’m of the glorified body school myself, which doesn’t require bodily resuscitation, but accepts it as likely. Do NOT misunderatand me. I believe in the Resurrection, but like every other element of our common faith, I don’t pretend to understand it. 🙂
ER, I tried very hard not to talk down to you, even if response to comments like this: “Get off me. I will not let you cram God and God’s grace into a box — even one crreated by the church.”
Disagree though we do, I’ll continue to try to approach you as respectfully as I can. I think I can do better, and I will try to do so.
Respectfully, I think the Bible is clear about the physical, bodily, biological Resurrection of Jesus. To say that the belief is optional is to beg the question, what happened to His body if it wasn’t raised? The tomb was empty, so was the body obliterated, or did the angels move it so the Jewish leaders couldn’t find it and present it as counter evidence to the Apostle’s claim of “He’s alive”? And if the Resurrection wasn’t bodily, why obliterate or hide the body at all, as doing so would give the wrong impression that the Resurrection was bodily?
(For that matter, what in the world happened to Lazarus? Is it optional to believe his resurrection was physical, too?)
I think the Bible is clear that the Resurrection was bodily. In the introduction to I John, the Apostle writes about “what we have looked at and touched with our hands” and connects that to eternal life, suggesting that eternal life involves physical life. More emphatically, the Apostles examined the risen Christ’s wounds and ate with Him.
I don’t think that the Resurrection required gathering “the skin sloughed off all over Palestine over 30-33 years of living.” After all, Jesus didn’t need that dead skin to live as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; why in the world would that detritus be needed for Him to live again on Easter Sunday?
I also don’t think even the blood lost at Golgotha needed to be recovered. I’ve donated over a dozen pints of blood over the years, and the human body holds only 8-10 pints; how is that possible? How am I even alive? A living body makes new blood from bone marrow, so it’s altogether possible that a miraculously resurrected body also miraculously produced all the new blood it needed in a very short time.
Regardless, the Bible is clear about the bodily Resurrection of Christ, as it is likewise clear about both the deity of Christ and the humanity of Christ.
It’s not enough that you think that God couldn’t prevent His written message to man from being distorted by extraordinarily obvious errors? You also think that God couldn’t or didn’t inspire the Bible’s writers to be clear on such fundamental truths as who Jesus is? It’s truly a wonder then that you still believe that Jesus lives and Jesus saves.
Suggest you folks get you hands on a copy of “The Testimony of the Evangelists” by Prof. Simon Greenleaf of Harvard Law School. He also wrote the treatise on evidence that is still in use in law schools today.
He was a skeptic that was challenged by his students to review the Godpels the same manner that you would apply to evidences used in a court of law. His basic conclusion was that no unbiased, reasonable person could reach any conclusion other than the Gospel accounts of Jesus life were true. He bacame a flaming Christian.
Please read this because he takes you through the entire reasoning process of how he reached his conclusions using the rules of logic & evidence used in courts.
You have some very good and excellent arguments here. Keep up the good work. It’s encouraging to see your responses. You might consider a blog of your own. 🙂
Dittos to you too! Both of you are fighting the good fight.
I don’t think they’ll read it. Afterall, it was written by man and is erroneous.
Bubba and WOZ you do a great job!
Why, I didn’t know this was a fight, good one or no. But I likewise encourage y’all all to keep it up. This kind of thing is called “working out” salvation.
And Bubba, I’m sorry. I wa a little touchy. My bad.
Man! So CLOSE to 200 comments! 🙂
ER, I was hoping your comment was 199. I was going to be like Ernie when he was eating Bert’s cookie. Started out to eat a bite, then had to keep nibbling to make it round. I was going to round out the comment number to 200. 🙂
Ha! OK, but we gotta stop at 200. It will make Monk happy.
LOLLOL! The ERs love Monk. I think it appropriate that our kind host have the honor of No. 200! 🙂
ER, you are too kind. Monk would be proud.
(Just kidding about stopping at 200 – if someone really has something to say, then feel free.)