Is the Anti Gay Branch of Christianity a Counterfit Faith?

It is refreshing to see a Protestant Pastor and academic come to his senses over the gay issue.  The link author formerly was opposed to equality for gays but has changed his mind.

In changing his mind, he did what endless Christians admonish others do here on our discussion board.  He put the Biblical comments about same gender sex in context.  He found that when one does this, there is no condemnation of homosexuality.

This confusion about what the Bible means when it refers to same sex relationships highlights the entire problem.  That problem is the Bible was not written for this year, last year or any year after it was written.  It was written over a span of many years and each part addressed issues from the limited perspective of that point in time.

On social issues, we can look at the role Christianity plays in justifying slavery.  Add to that the on going limits to women’s role in some branches.  Each of these is as bogus as the claim homosexuality is a sin or even a moral issue.

People are free to like or dislike homosexuality.  But, using the Bible as a crutch to justify this dislike is where one parts company with more high minded principles.

The link uses the term “error” for interpreting the Bible as condemning homosexuality.  In my own limited knowledge of the Bible, that seems like an appropriate term.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-mark-achtemeier/the-hidden-error_b_5605148.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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17 Responses to Is the Anti Gay Branch of Christianity a Counterfit Faith?

  1. Michael Ross says:

    Only Mosaic Law gives us the clear revealed standards for civil law that forbid homosexual “marriage.” Because marriage is a physical bond, it is not properly consummated without physical sexual relations.But this is strictly forbidden for homosexuals:

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them (Lev. 20:13).

    “That problem is the Bible was not written for this year, last year or any year after it was written. It was written over a span of many years and each part addressed issues from the limited perspective of that point in time. ”

    Then show me where that mandate has been rescinded.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 5:13 Then show me where that mandate has been rescinded.

      There is no need to rescind something that never was a mandate. Here is a link which provides one explanation of Lev 20:13–we all know there are several others. It says that properly translated, Lev. 20:13 would read And a man who will lie down with a male in a woman’s bed, both of them have made a abomination, they shall be put to death.

      The emphasis of the passage is “the woman’s bed.” The analysis explains, It can be seen that rather than forbidding homosexuality, it simply forbids two men lying in a woman’s bed. Culturally, a woman’s bed was her own. Other than herself, only her husband was allowed there.

      It might have had to do with women having an “unclean time” which is referred to. We must face the facts, Michael. It is not a clear reference to homosexuality. Only those who want it to be such see it as such.

  2. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    As someone who tried to ‘pray the gay away’ I’m really glad to see mainline Christian organizations reconsidering their understanding of scripture.

    There’s now lots of options for gay people to reconnect with mainline Christian churches if they’re so inclined.

    There’s also lots of options for people to connect with a universal power beyond themselves and this human experience.

    And it’s becoming more acceptable to be one who does not feel a connection to anything beyond the tangible.

    How cool is that?

    But to your point, I do think that anti-gay Christian church will probably become some Westboro Baptist type entity within the next 20 years.

    I personally think the next group of ‘others’ or ‘less than’ will be defined by economic status. Something about ‘God helps those who help themselves’ vs. ‘Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven.’

    I think we all know who is going to win that one.

    There’s also a big push right now to put women in their place, but I think everyone knows women will NOT be the next ‘others’ or ‘less than.’

    Even the most fundamentalist woman is not going to give up her VP title and six figure income, her birth control, and her personal 401(k) because each are biblically prohibited.

    (look it up. I no longer quote scripture to make a point.)

  3. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    Oh, crap.

    No sooner do I say I no longer quote scripture than Michael drags out anti-gay Leviticus 20:13.

    To which I respond with Lev 19:27.

    Michael, I would assume you shave every day. Mostly.

    Every day, I kiss Ricky and tell him I love him.

    It would appear each of us live every day with unrepented sin, and furthermore, have absolutely no intention of changing our ways.

    See you in Hell. :)

  4. Ray says:

    I am not a regular here, but it does seem odd to find atheists desperately searching for Biblical justification of their views on homosexuality.

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      Ray to Me that seems like a good question. One reason is that beliefs including those perhaps unsupported by the Bible lead to action sometimes very nasty action. I would like to see all people strive to live by principles based on the value of all individual People and respect for all cultures. Having said that the reality is culture often driven by religion sometimes develops in a way that tramples on the rights of individuals. This is why We need a government that will protect the rights of individuals and minority cultures. To be effective and have credibility among a diverse cultural population it is so important that there is a separation of Church and state so that there is not an oppressive domination of the majority culture over that of the minorities. Ten commandment monuments on public property undermine what really are shared values in America. We tell People They are in the land of freedom, equality and opportunity Then demand a Public Position of privilege for the dominant religious culture. We can’t have it both ways Those that would hold on to Ten Commandment Monuments in public places are not thinking it all through missing the forest for the trees.

    • entech says:

      Not quite Ray, atheists are denying that there is Biblical justification to be anti, and then not all. Homosexuality seem to be the major discrimination at the moment, the same people are against all forms of discrimination this merely the headline issue at the moment.

  5. Retired Major says:

    I would not use Leviticus to condemn homosexuality. I really like bacon, love the shrimpfest at Olive Garden and my facial hair is shaved off. Those are also condemned and I am not enough of a scholar to know which of the condemned actions are ok to do and which ones are really aren’t.
    I also have no sons and two unmarried brothers. My wife has said she refuses to marry one of them if I die to try to produce a male heir for me. Another Leviticus rule I hope to never have to test.

  6. Wolfy32 says:

    The comments today are what bring me to identify with Ehrman. I haven’t read his books other than what Jon posts here, but I can certainly identify with Jon’s portrayal and other comments of the author. I was a passionate Christian who saw the world in black and white and wanted to save everyone from sin. I was going to go into the field of social work and get my masters in social work so I could help others. Then I was told that sometimes you have to counsel and help homosexuals cope with their homosexuality and you couldn’t condemn nor treat them. In my naivity 15 years ago, I couldn’t reconcile homosexuality with my beliefs and felt it was a direct violation of my core and in so doing I dropped out of social work and went into IT instead. Heh.

    Now, I see the contradictions of reality to the bible and ask myself, why are some parts of the bible followed religiously and others, oh that’s not important? Precisely the points brought up today. It’s o.k. to shave, but the bibles says it’s not. It’s not o.k. to eat pork, but we do. We do these thinks with the thought in mind that the old testament doesn’t apply to us. I’ve asked my parents and religious authorities about these discrepancies and the general answer I receive is the old testament doesn’t apply to today, it is the old law replaced by Jesus in the new testament. It’s primary purpose was to set the stage for Jesus. The rest is just historical information of how they lived then.

    Well, if that’s true, then why do we care about original sin? It’s not valid, it was a concept to applied to them in the old testament. There’s many concepts, that are not easy to understand. If people don’t take the time to try to understand what they believe, they will just believe whatever their told be it true or false.

    How then, am I to believe without questioning everything I’m told, if there’s no concistancy to what’s true and false?

    That said, I don’t deny the possibility something exists outside of us. I don’t think many christians themselves have any clue or identification of what god is. Other than a person to dump all their prayers on. Some think he’s a ball of energy, or an old wise human like being, or particles of the universe. Or what God is simply doesn’t matter to most, they just need the structure of religion to feel good about themselves.

    Very little thought seems to me, to be put into what people are buying into. And instead do their best to just assume it all makes sense through “faith”.

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      Wolfy I really appreciate Your post. What I see among religious People is a tendency to stress teachings that bring Them some sort of advantage materially or in providing Them power over Others while finding loop holes around inconvenient teachings. Give Me freedom from the hypocrisy and nonsense.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        Yes, a form of cultural domination. Reminds me of some of the “Civ” based games that one of the victory options is “Cultural victory” If you get your culture (which includes your chosen choices of religion, pop music, radio, and tv) to get spread into other leader’s territory, you expand your own “cultural influence”. As your culture grows, those cities become yours if their culture can’t stand up to your culture.

        It’s funny, instead of going for military victories I like to try for cultural victories. Take over the whole world by pushing my culture on everyone else. :)

  7. Tyndale says:

    “In changing his mind, he did what endless Christians admonish others do here on our discussion board. He put the Biblical comments about same gender sex in context. He found that when one does this, there is no condemnation of homosexuality.”

    Whether a man should change his mind, or the meaning of a passage is changed due to context, is utterly futile to effect the topic itself, unless one should hold to the position that there is no God and that man alone is able to determine what ought to be. Only an atheist can hold such a position and be consistent.

    “This confusion about what the Bible means when it refers to same sex relationships highlights the entire problem. That problem is the Bible was not written for this year, last year or any year after it was written. It was written over a span of many years and each part addressed issues from the limited perspective of that point in time.”

    No confusion. Adam and Eve were able to be fruitful and multiply into a family, a tribe, a nation. This is the pattern established by God which has not and will not change.

  8. Wolfy32 says:

    I thought Christians would be overjoyed by this as their persecution complex turns on.
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/24/world/iraq-violence/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

    I guess when I see things like this, I am glad I’m part of a free nation that is free from any one religion. Imagine if Islamic extremism used the freedom of speech like Christians use to take over congress and the government?

    We’d be in a situation no different than Iraq. Everyone being persecuted if they didn’t turn to the selected religion.

  9. Matt Noah says:

    Christianity has this pesky notion of sin given to us by God. It’s not limited to homosexual behavior. It covers things like extra- or pre-marital sex, sex with kids or animals, stealing, murder, false witness, etc.

    And the craziest thing about christianity is that if you don’t like one denomination’s declaration of sin you can pick another denomination that says “it ain’t so.”

    Even crazier is that God does not contradict Himself so it’s pretty much a black-and-white thing when it comes to sin. I guess you know what that means when it comes to christian denominations contradicting each other.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Matt 7:25 I guess you know what that means when it comes to Christian denominations contradicting each other.

      Please explain. I suppose you mean some denominations are right absolutely, and, others wrong absolutely. If that is what you mean, how is someone supposed to know which is absolutely right.

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