Are homosexual relations sinful?

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Mithrae
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Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #1

Post by Mithrae »

In Australia we're currently enduring a postal vote about gay marriage, and the Christian rhetoric which has inevitably been cropping up has reminded me of some thoughts I'd initially had back in 2006.
  • Tuesday, 9 May 2006
    It occurs to me that Christianity may very well have the wrong end of the stick in their view of God. If nothing else, surely what the old testament and the gospels teach us is that God is a covenant God. Jesus said that his blood was the blood of the new covenant; looking back, the Mosaic law is described as the old covenant; he made covenants also with Abraham and David. Perhaps we should not think of God as one who simply sits in the clouds handing out laws. Rather, he is a God who makes covenants with his people; fellowship in return for blessing. . . .

    With the people of Israel God made two covenants. The first was at Sinai, beginning with the ten commandments covering chapters 20 to 23 of Exodus. These are almost exclusively commandments of worship for God and social justice amongst the Israelites, with very little about sacrifical specifications or ritual purity. Chapter 24 describes the confirmation of this covenant and the people's agreement to abide by the terms written within the 'book of the covenant.' The second covenant was made in the lands east of the Jordan River, before Moses died and the people crossed over (Deuteronomy 29:1), and covers chapters 5 to 28 of Deuteronomy (with the earlier chapters being the preamble). Laws concerning such things as legal cases, the king, cities of refuge and warfare regulations (chapters 17 to 20) make it clear that this is essentially the constitution of the new nation of Israel.
The bible does not say that God gave any rules or commandments at all to Adam and Eve, except the bit about the tree; and similarly, Jeremiah clearly states that the new covenant to come would be "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt" (Jer. 31:31). In commenting on that passage the author of Hebrews writes "In that he says, “A new covenant,� he has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13).

How can it be that at one time it was "sinful" to sow a field with two kinds of seed, or wear a garment made of two kinds of cloth (Leviticus 19:19), yet Christians now would almost universally consider these to be silly and outdated concepts? Why did commands like that exist in the first place? I believe they were intended to ingrain into the Israelite people the concept of their separateness from the nations around them, to reinforce and strengthen their own national identity. But then, that same kind of practical purpose seems to obviously underlie the prohibition against same-sex relations too (or the exclusion of anyone who'd suffered genital injuries in Deut. 23:1): A small nation surrounded by enemies would likely need all its people breeding to maintain its strength. Crude and even cruel though those laws may have been, at least we might be able to glean a worthy intention behind them.

But the Christian concept of "sin" as it is usually expressed seems to be utterly blind to the fact that these were part of a covenant - an agreement - between God and Israel, one which the author of Hebrews declared to be obsolete. And according to Jeremiah the new covenant is not to be found in letters of stone or ink in a book; instead "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor or a man his brother, saying 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest" (Jer. 31:31-34). (See also my earlier thread Did apostles think they were writing the 'word of God'?)

Likewise Paul - though he himself remained hung up on homosexuality - captures the more individual nature of the New Agreement perfectly, even as he downplays the everlasting covenant of circumcision:
  • Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. . . .
    13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.� 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.


    Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’�
    12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.
Have Christians got the wrong idea of "sin"?

And if the essence of God's will is simply that "You shall love your neighbour as yourself," as Paul says, isn't homosexuality one of the most obvious examples in which freedom in Christ replaces the situational rules of Israel?

An example in fact where Christian attitudes often seem to be almost the opposite of love?

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #191

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to Mithrae in post #0]
the conscience and reason of a bible-believing Christian would reject those things
What you are saying, may, or may not be correct, which is another debate, but the fact that you are saying a, "Bible-believing Christian" should also demonstrate that this "Bible believing Christian" would believe what the Bible actually teaches, and what the Bible actually teaches, in more places than simply the letters of Paul, is that homosexuality, along with all these other things, which you seem to believe our conscious would tell us, is a sin.

This whole thing is over blown, because the question which we were attempting to answer was, "can we determine what the Bible has to say about homosexuality"? And we can clearly do this. Therefore, if we allow anyone, and everyone to identify as Christians, then we can say there are those who identify as Christians, who do not classify homosexuality as a sin. However, if we were to ask what the Bible actually has to say about homosexuality, then we would have to admit that it identifies it as a sin, in numerous places, and never says anything other than this. So then, it is not about what my conscious may tell me, but if I actually believe what the Bible has to say.
"What is sin?" Is it just God sitting in the clouds handing down arbitrary laws we must follow, or else?
In a way, this would be the "Old Covenant".
Or rather, is sin a matter of some named and unnamed ancient humans claiming to have heard God speaking from the clouds and maybe writing his words down correctly, which have then been transmitted with some known and God-only-knows how many unknown alterations by anonymous copyists across thousands of years before being filtered through the biases and interpretation of modern folk?
If this is your view of what is contained in the Bible, then I would not pay very much attention to what it says at all. However, and again, the question was, "what does the Bible have to say about the subject", and we would not have very much trouble deciding what this would be. Therefore, we would not have any trouble whatsoever, in determining who would be correct, as far as homosexuality goes, between those Christians who have differing views, who claim to adhere to what the Bible has to say. So then, the only way one can identify as a Christian, and hold the view that homosexuality would not be a sin, is to reject what the Bible teaches, just as you are doing.
Was planting a field with two types of crop or wearing a garment with two types of fabric sinful once upon a time (Lev. 19:19) and then stopped being sinful, or is it still wrong?
My friend, you are talking about laws which were given to the Israelites, as a nation, which was a monarchy, which would have nothing to do with Christians. However, the injunction against homosexuality is repeated in the NT.
And since they had no such commandments, were things like murder not sinful for Adam and Eve?
We are getting way off the subject here, and getting into things which would be in depth. However, the fact of the matter is, Adam, and Eve did have one command, and it was to not eat the fruit from the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil". Before they ate of this tree, they had no knowledge of sin, good and evil, nor morality. Once they ate, they were then enslaved to morality.

Again, I am not going to respond to much of what you are saying, because it would get far to in depth. Therefore, let us just look a this.
But if not, is there anything to stop someone saying that God has written on their heart and mind that they too should commit genocide against the heathens.
Well, there just so happens to be just that, and it would be called the New Testament. In other words, if one claims to adhere to the Bible, they could not possibly do such things.
Why should Christians not "hand those heathens over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that their spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord" (1 Cor. 5:5)
And it would not take me long at all to demonstrate that this passage you are referring to would have nothing whatsoever to do with "genocide", but would have everything to do with Church discipline. In other words, the Corinthians had a member of their assembly, who had taken his fathers wife, and Paul is calling for the Church to excommunicate this member, which would be to take him out from under the protection of the Church, which would be what Paul calls, "turning him over to Satan". So then, one would have to do a lot of twisting and turning to attempt to make this passage have anything to do with genocide, the way you are attempting. In fact, as you can see, it is impossible for you to even make such an argument.
Without some coherent, unifying principle or guideline on what is good and what is evil the deceitful hearts of men could easily be just as savage as the letter of the law itself!
Exactly, and it is called, "rightly dividing the word of truth" so that no one could rightly make such a mistake. Of course one can participate in sloppy hermeneutics, as you have demonstrated by using a passage to say something that it clearly does not say, but we cannot blame this on the Bible.
Paul claims that "the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”"
OH? So now we are going to listen to Paul? But when he says,
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise the men, too, abandoned natural relations with women and burned in their desire toward one another, males with males committing shameful acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Or when he says,
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
So then, as long as we agree with Paul it is all good, and we can refer to him, but when he says something we do not like, we ignore it?
Sin is adultery or greed or murder or genocide. And for that matter sin is slandering God with claims that he commands genocide; personally as an agnostic I'm pretty wary about abuse of "love 'I am who I am' your God," but flippantly associating God with various images, names, words or commands (Deut. 18:20) is one of the most clearly-emphasized no-nos in the bible!
I have no problem with your opinion on sin. The problem is, we are talking about those who identify as Christians, who claim to adhere to the teachings of the Bible.
Perhaps your reason and conscience will reach a different conclusion on that last point... maybe it's okay to associate images, words or commands with God on the basis of even a rather shaky chain of written claims? :? Well I suppose that whatever it is that God writes in his people's minds and hearts, it seems there's still room there for disagreement. But I would say that there is considerably less scope for legitimate disagreement and the worst of abuses when people choose to be personally guided by the principle to 'love your neighbour' than there is when they deny their own moral agency - their responsibility to form their own moral values - and instead just choose from the letters of the law what they'll obey.
All I am going to say here is, as a Christian I have given up on the chase after morality which I could never lived up to even if I could demonstrate what it would be. Therefore, I am free to do for others, not being concerned if my help somehow does not live up to some sort of moral code. I leave the chase after morality to you, and others.
One way or another, it is you who are choosing to view their behaviour as 'sinful';
My view on their behavior, would have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the Bible is clear in that the behavior would be sinful. Whether the Bible is correct or not, is a whole other debate.
whether as a moral agent yourself or - if you pretend to deny your moral agency - then you're still making that choice by picking up on those handful of biblical injunctions against homosexuality (while perhaps choosing to bypass biblical injunctions against polyester/cotton blends, women speaking in church, slaves seeking their freedom and so on).
No! It is you who is "picking, and choosing a handful of Biblical injunctions" and taking them completely out of there context. As an example, Paul tells slaves to "seek their freedom".
When there is obviously nothing unloving about committed, monogamous homosexual relationships
I have never insisted, nor does the Bible insist that there would be anything unloving about it. Rather, it simply calls it sin, and we are all sinners according to the Bible. No one escapes.
the decision to nevertheless treat them as an abomination in the eyes of God obviously is unloving.
And I do not treat them is such a way. As I said, I have a number of homosexual friends, one of which lives about an hour away, and me and my wife will go spend the weekend with him on occasions, and I love him like any other friend. So how is it that I am treating him, "as an abomination in the eyes of God"?

The bottom line here is, I do not expect anyone to be a Christian, and live as a Christian, because I understand there are many unbelievers, which I have no problem with. Therefore, if you are not a Christian, and do not believe the Bible, then I cannot imagine you wanting to join the Church, so what does it matter to you what those of us as Christians believe?

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #192

Post by nobspeople »

[Replying to Mithrae in post #1]

No
But even if the were, so what?
Do I answer for the sins of Eva and Celine? Marko and Petros?
Does Eva answer for my sins?

This is NOT directed at the poster, but I wonder why the interested in the sins of others? Surely, if we've all sinned, we each have our own sins to keep us busy. Why do we need to get involved with the sins of others so much?
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #193

Post by brunumb »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:25 am
Mithrae wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:13 am Was planting a field with two types of crop or wearing a garment with two types of fabric sinful once upon a time (Lev. 19:19) and then stopped being sinful, or is it still wrong?
Biblically It stopped being sinful, it's no longer wrong.
One has to wonder what made it sinful or wrong in the first place. It doesn't really show God in a good light. He seems to set down his rules without offering any reason and then change his mind. Pity the consequences of sin are allegedly so dire. If all these proscriptions are just the product of primitive minds at work, it is quite understandable to see how they might later decide that some of them are somewhat absurd. Let's cover up any problems by inventing a new covenant with God. That should do it.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #194

Post by Mithrae »

Realworldjack wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:17 pm [Replying to Mithrae in post #0]
the conscience and reason of a bible-believing Christian would reject those things
What you are saying, may, or may not be correct, which is another debate, but the fact that you are saying a, "Bible-believing Christian" should also demonstrate that this "Bible believing Christian" would believe what the Bible actually teaches, and what the Bible actually teaches, in more places than simply the letters of Paul, is that homosexuality, along with all these other things, which you seem to believe our conscious would tell us, is a sin.
Paul claims that "the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”"
OH? So now we are going to listen to Paul? But when he says,
Yes, as I've highlighted with just a few examples every Christian picks and chooses what they'll take from the bible whether it's women speaking in church, or the various "everlasting" ordinances of sacrifice and circumcision, or Jesus' commands that to have eternal life you must sell all you have and give to the poor and you cannot be his disciple unless you give up all your possessions, or Paul's command to not even eat with a professing believer who is "greedy" or the like. I used the term bible-believing Christian to mean someone who uses the bible as one of their primary guides for faith and life, which would include but is not limited to those who try to convince themselves that they accept every sentence of their supposedly infallible 'Word of God.'

As I've tried to show throughout it seems there's two broad approaches a bible-believing Christian can take, the 'letter of the law' view which appeals solely (and supposedly strictly, though in practice with the aforementioned picking and choosing) to what was written there by those ancient authors, and what we in idiomatic English might call the 'spirit of the law' or biblically would be the new covenant of the Spirit, either of which in practice would mean seeking the general principles overlaying biblical texts (inasmuch as even that is possible in some cases) as more important than the exact wording. It's not a strict binary division of course; you have mentioned "rightly dividing the word of truth," implying that the word itself is perfect but still recognizing that it's not enough, that it can be misleading unless 'rightly' understood.

Under a 'letter of the law' approach we could note that Leviticus does not forbid lesbianism, and since men do not have a vagina the occasions on which a man would lie with another man "as with a woman," strictly speaking, would be rare indeed! Similarly Paul condemns same-sex attraction when it is 'unnatural' and caused by idolatry, so LGB people whose attractions come naturally to them with no idolatrous association should be safe, under a strict letter of the law view. I think those kinds of arguments are a little silly, partly since they don't match the obvious or likely intention of the authors - which I think we should honestly seek to understand, even if we then reject their views - but mostly because the letter of the law approach to begin with is so fundamentally opposed to the nature of the new covenant as described by folk like Jeremiah, the author of Hebrews and even Paul himself:
  • 2 Corinthians 3:3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
This whole thing is over blown, because the question which we were attempting to answer was, "can we determine what the Bible has to say about homosexuality"? And we can clearly do this. Therefore, if we allow anyone, and everyone to identify as Christians, then we can say there are those who identify as Christians, who do not classify homosexuality as a sin. However, if we were to ask what the Bible actually has to say about homosexuality, then we would have to admit that it identifies it as a sin, in numerous places, and never says anything other than this. So then, it is not about what my conscious may tell me, but if I actually believe what the Bible has to say.
The question was whether homsexual relations are sinful "according to the bible." To answer that question we need an understanding of what sin is, based on the bible and preferably accounting for other nuances and 'grey areas' like our views on men with long hair, women speaking in church, slavery and other iron age peculiarities which made their way into what eventually became the Christian canon. I've outlined two main views largely corresponding to attitudes regarding the bible itself; that good and evil are distinguished specifically and for modern folk more or less exclusively by the letter of the law - divine command theory - and that good and evil are distinguished by love (per folk like Hillel, Jesus, Paul, John etc.) with all the Torah and later scriptures merely attempting through either divine inspiration or human aspiration to clarify and apply that universal principle to particular circumstances. And I think I've shown quite well both some major problems with the former view in its own right, and some reasons why the latter is more reasonable, more positive and more consistent with the bible's teaching on the 'new covenant.' John emphasizes the centrality of love and guidance by the Spirit perhaps even more than Paul:
  • John 13:34  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
    John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

    1 John 2:7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. . . .
    27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

    1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Why should Christians not "hand those heathens over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that their spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord" (1 Cor. 5:5)
And it would not take me long at all to demonstrate that this passage you are referring to would have nothing whatsoever to do with "genocide", but would have everything to do with Church discipline. In other words, the Corinthians had a member of their assembly, who had taken his fathers wife, and Paul is calling for the Church to excommunicate this member, which would be to take him out from under the protection of the Church, which would be what Paul calls, "turning him over to Satan". So then, one would have to do a lot of twisting and turning to attempt to make this passage have anything to do with genocide, the way you are attempting. In fact, as you can see, it is impossible for you to even make such an argument.
That verse is not about genocide, obviously, and almost certainly not about murder despite the implications of "destruction of the flesh so that the spirit may be saved." But the point is that with the canon proclaiming both that God ordered genocide in the past and that he will personally commit genocide again in the future (see Revelation), it's a very small and plausible step under a divine command theory of sin and letter of the law view of the bible to suppose that "destruction of the flesh" actually is a literal description and hence a New Testament authorization, with ample precedent, for actions such as conquistadors baptizing then killing native babies.
Without some coherent, unifying principle or guideline on what is good and what is evil the deceitful hearts of men could easily be just as savage as the letter of the law itself!
Exactly, and it is called, "rightly dividing the word of truth" so that no one could rightly make such a mistake. Of course one can participate in sloppy hermeneutics, as you have demonstrated by using a passage to say something that it clearly does not say, but we cannot blame this on the Bible.
Claiming that folk like the conquistadors didn't "rightly divide" your letter of the law doesn't change the outcome of surrendering their personal moral agency to a collection of bronze and iron age writings.

The bible clearly states that under Moses God authorized and indeed commanded genocide against the Midianites, killing all their men, women and boy children but keeping the young girls alive for themselves (under the 'justification' of a religious dispute); and under Joshua ordered the slaughter of all men, women and children of the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Jebusites, the Girgashites, the Hittites and the Amorites (on the basis of a territorial land grab); and under Samuel ordered the slaughter of not only men, women and children but even all the livestock of the Amalekites (on the basis of what their great-great-great ancestors supposedly did to the Israelites' great-great-great ancestors); and at some undefined future time will himself not only kill en masse, but for year after year and century after century will actively enjoy the torture of billions of people (on the basis of who they 'worship' by participating in a particular economic system). I think it's pretty clear that we can and should blame those and other parts of the bible - and more particularly, blame those who promote their canon as the final word on Christian moral values - for many Christians' understanding that the lives of non-believers are essentially worthless.

So coming back to the issue of homosexuality - the 'crime' of having attraction and love towards people with similar stuff between their legs as oneself, for which a biblical prescription was to throw stones at such a person until they die - it's certainly nice when some Christians are civil and friendly towards gay people. It's nice that they select some of the more humane verses in their canon; interpolated verses about not casting the first stone for example rather than verses about 'righteous anger' and driving sinners from their misdeeds with a whip. But that they still choose to view same-sex affection as 'sinful,' under a moral and hermeneutic framework which could just as easily legitimize active oppression and execution (and indeed has done, for most Christians throughout history) is still a rather worrying decision to my mind: Especially given that a more coherent alternative bible-based perspective is available.

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #195

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:59 pm
Yes, as I've highlighted with just a few examples every Christian picks and chooses what they'll take from the bible ....
Your entire post is based in the unproven premise that your biblical interpretation is correct and any deviation from your opnion amounts to "picking and choosing" . Since you can obviously be accused of the very same thing, any conclusion drawn is by définition highly subjective.
Mithrae wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:59 pm
It's nice that they select some of the more humane verses in their canon; ... rather than verses about...driving sinners from their misdeeds with a whip.
Could you please provide a reference to the verse you are alluding to above.


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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #196

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:59 pmPaul condemns same-sex attraction when it is 'unnatural' and caused by idolatry, so LGB people whose attractions come naturally to them with no idolatrous association should be safe, under a strict letter of the law view.
Paul argument is all sexual immorality is idolatous in nature as it represents putting ones own desires above those of The Creator. The bible makes no allowance for a prohibited action being acceptable if it comes naturally or feels so to the sinner.

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #197

Post by Mithrae »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:45 am
Mithrae wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:59 pm It's nice that they select some of the more humane verses in their canon; interpolated verses about not casting the first stone for example rather than verses about 'righteous anger' and driving sinners from their misdeeds with a whip.
Could you please provide a reference to the verse you are alluding to above.
They're both from gJohn; the interpolated story of the adulteress, obviously, and while Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell of Jesus overturning tables and driving out the merchants and money changers, John adds the detail that he used a whip of cords to do so (2:15).
JehovahsWitness wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:45 am
Mithrae wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:59 pm Yes, as I've highlighted with just a few examples every Christian picks and chooses what they'll take from the bible ....
Your entire post is based in the unproven premise that your biblical interpretation is correct and any deviation from your opnion amounts to "picking and choosing" . Since you can obviously be accused of the very same thing, any conclusion drawn is by définition highly subjective.
I wasn't very clear about that; I didn't mean to suggest that the view I've described is not picking and choosing, of course it is, at least in a sense. For everything we read and hear and view, we evaluate its merit and choose whether and how to incorporate that information into our view of the world. The only thing that's different about the bible is that some Christians like to pretend that they accept all of it. Now that I think of it you and I had an interesting discussion a few months ago on this point, focusing particularly on God's covenant with Abraham the "father of many nations" (which Paul cites in Romans 4 as applying to all Christians)... the "everlasting" sign of which was to be circumcision in the flesh (Gen. 17:9-14). It is objectively true that Paul was picking and choosing there; he liked the idea of Abraham being a man of faith and recipient of God's blessing apart from the Law, but didn't like circumcision so he chose to associate that with Moses instead; likewise readers must choose then whether to accept the story as told in Genesis or Paul's creative theology, or reject them both of course.

In showing (through Jeremiah, Hebrews, Paul and John... so far) that the New Covenant was to be one in which God's guidance was to occur primarily through the Spirit and his law was to be written on his people's hearts and minds, I'm not suggesting a perspective in which those kinds of discrepancies don't exist... just that they don't matter much if any more than discrepancies in news reports or any other material. Seems to me that it's more sensible to accept a fairly coherent and consistent teaching about the new covenant and then be guilty of merely picking and choosing from the things which well-intentioned men wrote about their religious experience, than to adopt a dubious if not largely unbiblical veneration of the canon itself and in consequence be guilty of picking and choosing from divine instructions!



So why is it so common for Christians to adopt the less sensible view? I've long thought that one of the main reasons is a preference for the perceived certainty (however irrational) of words in black and white, rather than the uncertainty of internal guidance by the Spirit. Sometimes when I've raised this issue and pointed out some biblical difficulties, Christians have responded with comments about having 'faith' in the bible or somesuch, when really that clinging to false certainty is the opposite of faith! But in one of my drafts to Realworldjack I was speculating about a second possibility; that it's also about control. Individual reason and conscience have always been less useful to ruling powers than unified and preferably centralized purpose; promoting the bible as a focal point offers better potential for unity, and historically with low literacy rates and the bible's own daunting size and confusing content the need for authoritative 'interpretation' offers some potential for centralization also. I was going to ask RWJ are you/were you in the habit of calling your parents by their first names? I've recently had an interesting email exchange with my grandfather, noting that even in the case of something as simple and obvious as calling no-one teacher, father or master (Matt. 23:8-10), Christian children are pretty much always trained to ignore the words of even Jesus himself. Is that an accident, or is it a useful policy (of tradition among many churches, if not for each Christian parent) of inculcating the idea that "the bible is the absolute authority, and the bible means what we say it means"?

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

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Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:10 am I wasn't very clear about that; I didn't mean to suggest that the view I've described is not picking and choosing, of course it is, at least in a sense. For everything we read and hear and view, we evaluate its merit and choose whether and how to incorporate that information into our view of the world.
Thanks you for your honesty. However, "Cherry picking" is generally not considered merely deciding on given set of beliefs.


Image


CHERRY-PICKING suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that may contradict that position.


source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_ ... 0fallacies.
Without redefining the accepted use of the term, you posts do indeed show evidence of "cherry pickjng". I see no reason to accept any of your assessments of what is "sensible" as being anything but subjective, with the subsequent warped conclusions riddled with bias.



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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #199

Post by Mithrae »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:10 pm Without redefining the accepted use of the term, you posts do indeed show evidence of "cherry pickjng". I see no reason to accept any of your assessments of what is "sensible" as being anything but subjective, with the subsequent warped conclusions riddled with bias.
Rather than offering nothing but vague, B-grade insults - and a pretty picture, which I appreciate :) - it might be more helpful to make a coherent argument of your own. For example you've highlighted my assessment of what is sensible, as in:
"Seems to me that it's more sensible to accept a fairly coherent and consistent teaching about the new covenant and then be guilty of merely picking and choosing from the things which well-intentioned men wrote about their religious experience, than to adopt a dubious if not largely unbiblical veneration of the canon itself and in consequence be guilty of picking and choosing from divine instructions!"

By implication, are you suggesting that it is somehow more sensible to adopt the approach of veneration towards the written canon and hence picking and choosing from supposedly-divine instructions (including all those passages I've highlighted saying that God's guidance will be through the Spirit and not the letter)?

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

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Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:13 am "Seems to me that it's more sensible to accept a fairly coherent and consistent teaching about the new covenant and then be guilty of merely picking and choosing from the things which well-intentioned men wrote about their religious experience, than to adopt a dubious if not largely unbiblical veneration of the canon itself and in consequence be guilty of picking and choosing from divine instructions!"
Insulting members is against forum guidelines, if you feel you have been insulted feel free to take the issue up with a moderator. I have addressed the issue "cherry picking" by pointing the difference between how you use the word in your post and the accepted meaning of the expression. That said, you yourself admit the subjectivity of ones worldview and that would include what one sees as "sensible" or not.

I have addressed the issues you have raised many times over and may consider doing so again here if I see the central terms (new covenant, abrahamic covenent, etc ) have been clearly defined and a reasonable argument has been presented. I have no interest in engaging with a wannabe mindreader as what Paul did or did not like, and instead favor an analysis of what he did or did not did not write.

In the meantime I wish you a most excellent afternoon,



Regards,


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Last edited by JehovahsWitness on Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Romans 14:8

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