Is our culture becoming more or less moral?

I think it’s probably the norm for one generation to the next to believe the culture is in a state of moral decline. Of course this all depends on your worldview’s standard of ethic. Depending on what you view as morally good and morally bad will shape how you view the moral direction of the culture around you.

Questions to readers, taking into consideration only the past 30-50 years:

Do you believe the culture around you (regardless of where you live) is getting morally better or morally worse?

How are you making this determination, what examples can you point to specifically to make your case?

What could make ot better?

Comments

  1. Morally worse.
    Over the past 50 years especially, pornography has gone mainstream, shacking up has become acceptable as the norm, homosexuality has become an approved way of life.

    And just these things alone are increasing in acceptance exponentially. You can’t walk out your door without being exposed to it. The entertainment industry promotes it, the news media promotes it, neighbors and friends live openly as “roommates with benefits” and homosexuality is thrown in your face.

    We are on the downhill slide to end like the Roman empire.

  2. Black folk and “minorities” are infinitely better off today than 50 years ago, morally speaking. Liberties and justice that had to be fought for have been one. Oppression that was commonplace is now the exception.

    Women have more freedom now than fifty years ago, less oppression, and that is a moral plus.

    Gay folk are not ostracized, bullied, beaten or killed as badly as fifty years ago, and that is a moral plus.

    We as a nation are less likely to get involved in a morally wrong war like Viet Nam now than fifty years ago, and that is a big moral plus.

    We are less prudish about sexuality and that is a moral plus.

    On the other hand…

    We (and our children) are exposed more to exploitive and harmful sexual imagery today and that is a moral negative.

    We are as materialistic or even moreso than we were 50 years ago and that is a moral negative.

    At a guess, we walk less, get outdoors less, appreciate this great creation less/depend upon cars more than we did 50 years ago and that is a health and moral negative, it seems to me.

    We are perhaps marginally more concerned about living sustainably, but not nearly enough so that is about a wash, I’d suggest.

    I’d suggest that a dispassionate look at our state of affairs would show that some things have gotten appreciably better, and some things have gotten worse, morally speaking. As is nearly always the case.

  3. Have been “WON,” not “one”.

  4. On one hand, I think it is obvious that “morality” is not a quantifiable quality. We can’t say that 1962 was a 49.95 on the morality scale and 2012 is a 51.24. Are we “more moral…”? No, we’re not more or less moral. We have different issues, different strengths, different weaknesses.

    So, rationally, that’s my answer.

    But to give a more direct, if less meaningful, answer, let me put it this way: If I could choose (with an eye to a “prime morality” ideal) to be living in 1962 or 2012, I would certainly choose 2012. For most of us, there is no going back.

    If I were living in the 1960s as an adult (I was born in 1963), I would almost certainly be in jail multiple times for multiple reasons – protesting an immoral war, protesting in favor of civil rights for blacks, women, gay folk, protesting against pollution crimes, etc. While it would be quaint and pleasant in some ways to not have the hypercommercialized and hypersexualized world to deal with, living at a slower pace, etc, the vastness of the institutionalized and cultural immorality as it relates to oppression of minority groups would just be a horrible thing to live through.

    The various “immoralities” of today, I can often avoid simply by not watching the TV, by choosing to live at a slower pace myself. I’m simply not as troubled by “bad sexuality” as I am about oppression. It’s an immorality of a far different scale, it seems to me. Societally, when considering the moral state of our liberties and people, I’d say we’re vastly better off today.

  5. What could be done to make it better? Now, THAT is a great question.

    Embrace grace, liberty, responsibility and sustainability at a personal and societal scale, that is my high-minded answer to the question.

    Living that out, now that is a different issue.

    If we ALL were to individually embrace grace, liberty, responsibility and sustainability, then that would be most of what needs to be done, but how do we accomplish that?

    A Great Awakening-scale revival, that’s one ideal that can push us in the right direction (women’s rights, abolition of slavery, civil liberties, concern for the poor… these were greatly advanced the last couple of “great awakenings…” and it’d be great to see again.)

    I also think that we, the people, can choose rules and regulations to help guide us in these right directions – and we have. The Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, our civil rights improvements, these have all resulted in a better, healthier, optimally more moral society, I’d suggest.

    What would be our next Clean Water Act to help us continue to improve? A Clean Energy Act? Ending DOMA and encouraging faithful, monogamous marriages?

    Like that. I think a combination of human “revival” sorts of movements, along with responsible government can go a long way towards making things better.

    Thanks for asking. It’s a good question. What do you think?

  6. The problem is that we have no readily available opposite term for what’s really going on. Are we becoming more moral or immoral? Neither. We’re becoming increasingly amoral.

    We say “That’s immoral”. They say “Who are you to say?”. Well, we’re the ones with a code. But since they have no code, they’re right. “Who’s to say?” makes perfect sense to those who’ve never been taught that someone actually IS to say what’s right and wrong.

    Amorality leaves a society with the choices to make without the benefit of the rules. We’ve made great moral advances like civil rights, but they were not made in the absence of a religious moral code (thank you, REV. King). It was immoral to have treated blacks the way we did… BASED on biblical teachings. All black men are my brothers. All black women are my sisters.

    So, how do my homosexual brothers and sisters (for example) fit in? Well, until recently, they were held accountable to the same moral code that any heterosexual was. I’m not saying that homosexuality is on the same level as some biblically forbidden acts, but am I not held to the same standards as a natural born killer or kleptomaniac? Of course. Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not steal. I may never feel the need to murder, but that doesn’t matter. I shalt not! And if I do, I’m held to account because there’s a code.

    We have to either ignore or reinterpret the code in order to accept certain behaviors. And that’s where we are. “Who are you to say?”… OR “The bible doesn’t forbid it” (as has been suggested very recently by commenters on this very blog).

    We’re becoming a more AMORAL society. To the dismay of those of us who trust a code to lay the groundwork for living together. The debate is over which is better: A common code, or individual consciences.

  7. The problem with your “common code,” c2c, it seems to me, is that it doesn’t exist. We all have always interpreted for ourselves what the Bible means/what God wants/what is right. For those who, throughout history, have appreciated the Bible as a moral guide, we have not had One Common Set of Rules that we all agreed upon.

    Rather, we all shared an appreciation of the Bible and we’ve strived (individually and in groups) to make sense of it as it applies to morality.

    Yes, the bible clearly says, “don’t shed innocent blood.” That is clear. But how does that apply when we’re talking about abortion? About war in general? About specific wars? About using bombs in wartime that shed innocent blood?

    Bible believers throughout the ages have disagreed. We did not have a precise rule book (Rule 1. Do this. Rule 2. Do that…), rather, we have always had a book that we value as a book of Truth and from there, we’ve applied our individual reasoning to sort out what rules we ought to live by.

    It has always been thus. This does not make us amoral or immoral. It just means we are fallible humans who generally value moral living but do not have a perfect system of always knowing objectively what is THE right moral thing to do.

    Am I mistaken? If so, how specifically am I mistaken?

    • Dan

      It sounds like you have a “to each his own” approach to Biblical interpretation. Is that right? It would also seem that you might believe that anyone’s interpretation can be as good as anyone else’s? Is that right? Can someone interpret the bible incorrectly, and how would you be able to tell?

  8. No, I believe some interpretations are more valid/more logically and biblically sound than others. I think, for instance, the Westboro Baptist take on the Bible and how they deal with people is WAY off. I think the Klan folk who used to “love” the bible were entirely off in how they interpreted the Bible.

    Not all opinions are valid or sound as all other opinions.

    How can we TELL if someone is interpreting badly?

    1. If the interpretation seems to be contrary to a plain reading of the text.

    Someone who says “The Bible endorses me hating other people” runs contrary to a fairly clearly understood principle in the bible, one that is oft repeated and not controversial. That would likely be a bad interpretation.

    2. If the interpretation is simply not rational in the real world.

    If someone says “the bible refers to the ‘four corners of the earth,’ therefore, the earth must be square…” or “the Bible suggests that the world was created 6,000 years ago, therefore that must be so…” when it is easily established in the real world that this is not the case, they have a bad interpretation.

    3. If the interpretation conflicts with clear moral reasoning (God’s Law, written upon our hearts, our God-given reasoning).

    Someone who is convinced that because Israel wiped out cities, including babies, in the OT and they are, therefore, convinced that it is okay for them to kill an enemy’s baby, that conflicts with basic human moral reasoning… that would be a bad interpretation.

    I’d point out that none of these are infallible – our moral reasoning may be off, our understanding of real world evidence may be off, our interpretation may be off – but I don’t really think it’s that hard, as a general rule.

  9. C2C…

    how is being less prudish about sex a moral plus?

    It would be my hunch that you all are making morality more “mysterious” and difficult than it needs to be.

    People who are overly-prudish in areas of sexuality oft-times have sexual hang-ups of a variety of sorts. We can see this when they seek professional help (seeing a counselor to learn how to embrace our natural human sexuality and not view sex as “dirty,” so that a man can be intimate with his wife and thus, make a happier, healthier marriage) or when marriages fall apart or experience trauma (a man beating his wife due to his own inability to perform, for instance) because no help is sought.

    I would suggest that those actions that lead to a healthier, happier, more whole person and family are those actions which are moral. Those actions which lead to divorce, misery, pain, constant conflict are those actions which tend to be less moral.

    That’s what I would mean by society being less prudish in general being a good moral result. By “prudish,” I do not mean to suggest that being more promiscuous or less modest is a good thing. Modesty = healthy/good. Prudish = unhealthy/bad.

  10. C2C…

    Please keep in mind that to be moral, or more moral, it needs to be in adherence with a moral principal. And if you have one in mind, I’d like to know from where it comes.

    Moral principles can come from a variety of sources.

    The Bible speaks of God’s Word or Law being written upon our hearts. We might also recognize this source of moral principles are the human conscience.

    I agree with Jefferson: There are some truths which are self-evident.

    The Bible itself, and other books recognized as books of truths and wisdom is a source for moral principles. We all recognize the moral validity of the Golden Rule – do unto others as you’d have them do unto you – whether that is found in the Bible or some other text, the Truth remains.

    The Truth is true not merely because the words appear in the Bible (the words “bash the babies’ heads against the rocks” also appear in the Bible, but that doesn’t make it a valid moral principle), but because they are True.

    For we Christians who believe thusly, the Holy Spirit can be a source of moral principles.

    We can moral validity in simple observation of the world around us: We can see in our own lives that we don’t want to see someone hitting our children, for instance – we recognize the unjust pain that causes – and, being sentient, reasoning beings, we can morally reason our way from “It’s wrong for people to beat my children – they are innocent and don’t deserve that treatment…” to “Therefore, it’s wrong for people to just walk up and beat ANYONE’s children – the pain caused can not be justified…”

    Moral reasoning is not magic, it’s not mysterious. It may not always be obvious (if there are no other options, is it right to steal bread to feed a starving child?), but as a rule, it simply isn’t that difficult, and the Golden Rule is a great starting point.

  11. C2C, I’ve answered a couple of your questions, how about answering mine?

    I said and asked…

    Bible believers throughout the ages have disagreed. We did not have a precise rule book (Rule 1. Do this. Rule 2. Do that…), rather, we have always had a book that we value as a book of Truth and from there, we’ve applied our individual reasoning to sort out what rules we ought to live by…

    Where specifically am I mistaken (or do we agree)?

    • I don’t think you’re completely mistaken, but in many ways, our society is suffering the effects of a tendency to solely rely upon our own consciences. “If it feels good, do it” is a seriously flawed way to live one’s life, and it seems to mirror your own philosophy.

      As for the word being written on our hearts, I think there’s something to your interpretation, but if we see a person clearly defying “thou shalt not (fill in the blank)” our natural desire to get along and not judge, or allow them to do what is “right for them” clearly takes us as a society away from a common moral base.

      For instance, you say that acceptance of homosexuality is a sign of a more moral society (or at least one that has become more moral in that one way). Is it? Despite the fact that we at least don’t think it’s acceptable to beat them for it (which of course is a move in the right direction), full-blown acceptance of it is certainly a departure from many moral codes, including those of most religions of the world. Is a Christian who believes that the bible forbids it not becoming less moral (departing from what he believes is part of his moral code) when he defends it as just as good a situation as heterosexual relationships which, by the way, are prescribed many times by it? And can a Christian really be acting according to his faith if he decides to take an understanding of a passage regarding homosexuality in a completely opposite way than it has been understood to mean for centuries? I’ve read you here saying that “don’t lay with men as with women” doesn’t mean just that: “it’s not good”. Are there any other biblical passages you have taken to mean something opposite to what the rest of us understand them to mean? Or is it just the one that goes against what your conscience has led you to permit or be inclined to accept as just as good as any situation?

  12. I was born in the late fifties and grew up in front of a television set. The comparison of morality from then to today doesn’t even compare. It is way worse. I fear my grandson would have the same baby sitter (Televison) as I did. The family hour where 2 men are talking infront of the 1/2 about a threesome. Or, putting him in one of the amoral madras’ they call public schools, now that they are giving the sodomites access to our children in the name of tolerance and inclusion. The image of the “frog in the pot” comes to mind.
    My wife and I have reduced our cable televison down to basic cable which gives us ‘The Big Three’ and several other channels. I can’t bare to watch the crap. Every program has a token homosexual and a token religious bigot like myself. Matter of fact, that’s exactly why I’m on the computer. Catching up on some bills and reading a couple of my favorite blogs before I head off early to bed to pray and read.

  13. It strikes me that “morality,” for the Right, appears to consist primarily of sex-related issues. Our society is more loose sexually now than fifty years ago, therefore, things are morally worse-off.

    There are issues of morality at play other than sex. Even if we are worse off in the way sexuality is dealt with now, what of the many other areas that are better off?

    It also strikes me that IF sexuality is the primary factor deciding “immorality,” our friends on the Right could find a more “moral” location easily enough by just resettling to any fundamentalist Muslim nation.

  14. For the Christian, the word “moral” or “morality” is difficult to find in Scripture. They are used a very few times. However, “immoral” or “immorality” is never used unless it is connected with sexual behavior, as in “sexual immorality”. Of the few times “moral” is used, there are connections to sexual behavior as well. I have done a keyword search at Biblegateway.com using several versions of the Bible, and this holds true, with the word, in any variation, not used at all. But again, “immoral” is NEVER used without addressing sexual behavior.

    I find this to be most interesting. More so is how the term has been extended to other types of behaviors, with a few online dictionaries defining the terms vaguely as having to do with “right and wrong” (one did have a sexual definition). It reminds me of how the word “obscene” came to be used for issues other than pornographic, such as war being “obscene”. (I wonder if we can then say that sex is “hell”.)

    From the Biblical perspective, then, it is clear that our culture has indeed become more immoral. With the mindset of the liberal of the 1960’s, sexuality has become far less restricted and inhibited, and not just in the shy or prudish sense. In other discussions on the topic, someone eventually insists that mankind has always been sexually corrupted and that we are now no different. But there is one glaring difference and that is that in times past, what constituted moral behavior was closer to Biblical standards and those that ran afoul were regarded as people of low character. Nowadays, some feminists will proudly claim the term “slut”.

    Sexually speaking the culture is definitely immoral, with the damage done to the institution of marriage via no-fault divorce laws, to today’s deviant demands for marriage “equity”, from a stark ignoring of obscenity laws to internet porn, to whores pretending they are “sex workers”…indeed a rush, rather than a slide, in the wrong direction.

    Now, if I was to regard the term in its more contemporary use, this post would be far longer, but still with a decidedly negative direction.

  15. I believe that “moral” has always meant what it means, the use of “moral” or “immoral” to refer to good/bad behavior is true back to the words origins in the 1300s (etymology. I guess what you’re suggesting is maybe the word “immoral” in the Bible – whatever Greek/Hebrew word it was – tended to pertain to sexual behaviors specifically?

    Regardless, I would assume that John was using “moral” in the standard English meaning, since we’re English speakers.

    If you want to narrow the question to, “Is sexual immorality more rampant/commonplace today than fifty years ago?” I’d hazard a guess to say that maybe, somewhat. It is certainly more “out there, front and center” now than it was fifty years ago, but people being human, I’d rather doubt that sexual misbehavior (adultery, cheating, etc) is significantly different now than then. But that’s just a guess, I don’t have the statistics.

  16. I don’t see how anyone with common sense (which doesn’t seem to be too common any more) can say that this country is more “moral” in ANY sense of the word than it was 50 years ago. But especially in the realm of sexual morality, we are exponentially worse off. Since the family unit is the backbone of society, it is important to keep sexual immorality it check. Sexual immorality has been at the root of many collapsed civilizations as they turned to rank hedonism and allowed the kingdoms/empires to collapse from within, as this nation is doing now.

    The issue of same-sex fake marriage and the overall sanctioning of homosexual behavior, as well as the sanctioning of the “hook up” culture, is bringing this country closer and closer to being Sodom. Especially in the realm of homosexuality, which God in no uncertain terms called an abomination. It is vile and destructive to society.

    “The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.” (Ps. 12:8). This has certainly been proven in this country, as well as every other country which has honored what God has called vile. Their nations are corrupt, and our nation is corrupt.

    Those who justify such vileness by claiming it is only our “hunch” or just “our” interpretation, etc, know the truth but suppress it in their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). They claim to be Christian while identifying Christ as one who would sanction what God calls abominable. And then point to every other left-wing ideology as having to do with morality while they determine what is or is not “moral” based on their subjective opinions.

  17. Glenn, you DO agree that the Jim Crow/segregation/racial injustice years were an awful immoral time period in our history, don’t you? You DO see how at least some people would think that great sin was so awful that getting past it (or mostly past it) is a pretty big deal to a lot of people, don’t you?

    I mean, it’s like praising the morality of the US in the 1800s… “Those were some pretty moral years, yessir… except for that whole slavery thing…”

    Yes, except for that! But that whole “slavery thing” and the racial injustice in the 100 years following slavery’s end, it’s a pretty awful thing.

    • I definitely think ending the Jim Crow laws democrats instituted and fought for is a good thing. But I think over all the country is on the decline due mostly to sexual liberty and the degrading of modesty.

  18. So, in your mind, sexual sins (or perceived sins and just general vulgarity) outweighs the oppression of a whole people?

    If so, that would be one place where we disagree.

    Sexual sins are sins, to be sure, and vulgarity is vulgar, to be sure, but widespread and systematic oppression trumps mere sexual sins for me.

    And you’re right, the conservative Dems that instituted the Jim Crow laws were wrong to do that.

  19. Even in reviewing the etymology link Dan provided, there is still an ambiguous reference to “good/bad”. Sexual behavior is not akin to behavior in the workplace, behavior in terms of interacting with neighbors, etc. It may also be that as far back as the 14th century is when the term “moral” began being applied to that which is not sexual. That is not the point. The point is Scripture clearly sees a difference between sexual immorality and “bad” or “sinful” behavior. While sexual immorality is indeed sinful, lying is as well while not necessarily a matter of morality.

    But again, if we are to apply it to anything that is considered less than preferred, then it seems the question is better put forth, are we more sinful than in the past? Dan seems to want to rate one sin as being worse than another. So then we must decide if we mean worse from a subjective sense, rather than anything truly measurable. Jim Crow laws have been replaced with affirmative action policies, which are not necessarily a good thing and can be argued as detrimental. Are they worse than Jim Crow laws? I’m not sure unless Jim Crow laws codified brutality, which I’m not sure they did. (I could be wrong.) We also have the sad issue of sexual immorality being lifted up to a higher level of acceptance, while those who seek to maintain God’s clearly revealed Will on the subject are marginalized and victims of discrimination in favor of those who are sexually immoral.

    Here’s something else we can say is “immoral” if we are to default to the “good vs bad” definition: Suggesting that it was “conservative” Dems who instituted Jim Crow laws, when throughout our history, it has always been those of the Democratic Party who have enacted or sought to enact race-based policy. To use the term “conservative Dems” suggest the fault lies with conservative people, as the term is understood today. Slanderous indeed. And as we are so often told, slander is sinful.

  20. C2C…

    in many ways, our society is suffering the effects of a tendency to solely rely upon our own consciences. “If it feels good, do it” is a seriously flawed way to live one’s life, and it seems to mirror your own philosophy.

    Thanks for the response. A couple of things…

    1. What I’m saying is that all we HAVE is our own consciences, our own minds, our own understanding. We certainly all SEEK God, but to try to understand an infinite God with our finite minds, we will always be relying upon our minds.

    The point is, God is not standing right there next to you, audibly saying, “Interpret this passage literally, like this…,” “Interpret that passage figuratively…” Instead, we are perforce using OUR reasoning, OUR conscience, OUR prayers… to sort these things out.

    Agreed?

    2. My own philosophy is far from “if it feels good, do it.” I don’t know where in the world you would have gotten that, since I’ve never said anything of the sort. Rather, we are to seek God, as best we can and go where that leads, by God’s grace, walking in Jesus’ steps – hardly a “if it feels good, do it” philosophy.

    You see where you misunderstood drastically there?

  21. Marshall…

    That is not the point. The point is Scripture clearly sees a difference between sexual immorality and “bad” or “sinful” behavior. While sexual immorality is indeed sinful, lying is as well while not necessarily a matter of morality.

    You have not made the case for that at all, Marshall. At best (assuming you are correct about the Bible’s associating immorality with sex), you have pointed to the suggestion that the word being used in those cases was somehow tied specifically to sexuality. But that is not to say that the Bible says that the concept of “immorality” is tied ONLY to sexual misbehavior. Again, in English, morality/immorality simply isn’t tied specifically and exclusively to sexual naughtiness.

    Your best case might be that the word used in the Bible is not the same as the English concept of “immorality.”

    Marshall…

    Dan seems to want to rate one sin as being worse than another. So then we must decide if we mean worse from a subjective sense, rather than anything truly measurable.

    Actually, I specifically said that it doesn’t make any rational sense to say we are getting more or less moral, because it’s not measurable. If using curse words was up 55% and making jokes about sex was up 75% and adultery was up 25%, does that mean we are MORE moral than when lynchings were up 99%, when discrimination was up 75%… you get where I’m going. We can’t rationally say definitively “morality is down/up” because it’s not a quantifiable notion.

    BUT, I did allow that, IF we WERE to try to compare sins, then to me, oppression, discrimination, overt prejudice, racial hatred, lynchings, injustice, etc are clearly (to most people, I’d suggest – although it’s just a guess) worse than mere adultery or pornography. As bad as those behaviors are, it’s just not a contest, to me.

    I would suggest it’s pretty easy for white folk coming from a position of societal privilege to long for the “good old days” of the first half of last century, without really knowing the horrors of the days of prejudice and oppression.

    Marshall…

    affirmative action policies, which are not necessarily a good thing and can be argued as detrimental. Are they worse than Jim Crow laws?

    Do you not have ANY black friends or white friends who lived through this time period? Just ask some folk who’ve lived through it. Or read a book, watch a movie. Come on, that just isn’t a serious comparison.

  22. C2C…

    Are there any other biblical passages you have taken to mean something opposite to what the rest of us understand them to mean? Or is it just the one that goes against what your conscience has led you to permit or be inclined to accept as just as good as any situation?

    I was a conservative Christian who was strongly opposed to any gay behavior. My “conscience” didn’t lead me to change my position, it was prayer and Bible study. I just eventually came to believe that the Biblical case against all gay behavior just isn’t there – even though I had NO desire to change my position, I felt compelled to because it seems to me that the case against it is contrary to logic and the Bible.

    Does that answer your question?

    • Dan,
      As has been discussed many times before, it wasn’t prayer and Bible study which led you to your stance on homosexuality. The Bible is clear about God’s stance no matter how many times you want to deny it and claim that we just interpret it wrong, that we just have a hunch or an opinion. The plain reading of the text is simple enough for a sixth-grader. And God certainly didn’t give your belief through prayer, because the God would be contradicting himself.

      But then, YOUR god would tell you that. Your god is one of your own making.

    • Glenn is right. The bible is clear. My point is that it doesn’t take prayer to interpret “Don’t do this”. While there are many situations not specifically mentioned in the bible that may require seeking answers directly through prayer, but homosexuality simply is not one.

      I really believe that what you’ve done is to ask God for another way to see what he meant on the subject. “Dear Lord, Really? Come on”. It seems that you just didn’t like it.

      Take a look at your response to John’s question. You say we’re more moral because of issues involving minorities, women, gays, war. And more moral because we’ve moved leftward (in your estimation). Then you say we need more work on other issues. We depend on cars too much??

      I waited to call this one, because I hadn’t seen enough, but here goes: You are not who you say you are. You’re an imposter. And not a very good one. “I used to be a conservative Christian”. I doubt it.

  23. And as has been pointed out before, in the real world, Glenn, that is EXACTLY what happened. You are always welcome to your own opinions, but you are NOT entitled to your own facts.

    In the real world, I was deadset against all gay behavior, certain beyond certain that it was sinful. That is where I was in the real world, factually speaking.

    In the real world, I eventually prayed seriously about the topic, studied the Bible seriously and came to the conclusion – however much I didn’t want to – that my old interpretation wasn’t biblically or logically sound. That is the facts of how it happened in the real world.

    Now, you are entirely able to conclude that my interpretation in this Bible study was poorly reached, you are welcome to that opinion. But you can’t say that it isn’t how it happened, because, factually speaking, that is exactly what happened.

    Brother Glenn, my God is the same as your God. God the creator of heavens and earth, God the almighty, omniscient lover of humanity, God who came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost, God revealed in God’s Spirit. I am saved, like you, by God’s grace through faith in Jesus.

    If your god isn’t that God, then your god is the one of your own making. But I believe, my dear brother, that you are indeed worshiping the one true God who saves by Grace. I just pray that you embrace that Grace that God extends towards you as you deal with your brothers in Christ.

    Love you in the name of Christ our Lord,

    Dan

    • Dan,
      Sorry, bud, but I’m not making up facts. No one can find in the Scripture what you claim to have found unless they ignore what it actually says.

      And God would not answer a prayer by saying homosexual behavior in any context is okay. THAT is a fact and not my own fact but a real fact. Truth – something you are afraid of.

      No, your god is not the same as my GOD, because your god is okay with sin and my God isn’t. You made up a god and jesus who approve of homosexual behavior in whatever context YOU think is okay. To say the God of the Bible approves of it is nothing less than blasphemy. And that is a real-world fact.

      • Amen!

      • Here’s the deal. Is a person doomed to burn in hell for lying? I don’t know. Stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child? Probably not. Murder? I think it’s probable. Engaging in homosexual acts? Maybe. Maybe not. But they’re all sins. They’re all clearly going against God’s word. “Thou shalt not”… “Don’t lay down with men as with women”… It’s clear. Whether or not a gay man, a liar, a their, or a murderer can be saved is beside the point. The acts are not ok.

  24. What did any group(s) of people do and how did they behave prior to millions of copies of your bible code of conduct book being printed and disseminated? This entirely revisionist cognitive dissonance concerning the moral self righteousness of the christians morality versus everyone else’s is a farce at best. To say that this country is becoming more amoral or more immoral is irrelevant. The question is why would your god choose to invent animals capable of such heinous things in his name? Even to this day the “rightness” of christians gets them busy negating other people’s civil and human rights in the name of “their” moral compass.
    Give one example in which an atheist or non-theist or liberal or secular humanist has put forward, much less gotten passed any legislation anywhere that takes a christians right to worship away. 4k new christian churches a year. Where is the war on your values/morality? It’s in your head because the zealots learned how to use the airwaves to incite simpletons.

    • Any Christian who espouses his values is immediately met with calls of “Anti-this or that”. Most of the time it’s cultural. Not necessarily government intrusion. But when it’s a matter of government involvement, it’s rarely legislative, but judicial. You know this. I suspect that’s why you’ve asked for proof of something that’s not being argued.

      The war is within our culture. Groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation wage it every day in America. They prefer to handle it in the courts. And why not? It’s easy to say that since a Christian proposes abstinence training (for example), it would violate separation of church and state. And since the idea of separation has been so distorted, they win.

      It’s a victory against morality. If it were proposed by Christians, as a matter of faith, that condoms should be distributed at school, would they protest? I think they would. Even though it’s what they now say is a good way to handle problems related to teen sex, they are so hell-bent on opposing religion, they’d throw the baby out with the bath water. It’s what they do. I’m honestly surprised that they haven’t seen fit to attack laws that seem to have come directly from the bible, like thou shalt not steal. “Thou shalt not steal”, being a Christian tenet should is an unconstitutional imposition of Christianity, right?

      Well, no. Even though it happens to be a Christian commandment, we understand that it’s just good sense. Why then, is abstinence training any different? It IS a good idea. Isn’t it? And if it isn’t, why then attack it as an unconstitutional imposition of Christian values?

      Answer: THERE’S A WAR AGAINST MORALITY OF ALL KINDS AND CHRISTIANITY IN PARTICULAR BEING WAGED IN AMERICA. Period!

      Don’t act like you don’t know it. Be a proud warrior against traditional moral values. Stand up and say “ANYTHING GOES” is better than adhering to a code of values.

      You and your ilk seem to have learned a great lesson from something Christians are fond of saying: “The greatest trick of the devil is to convince people he doesn’t exist”.

      Good job, R. Nash. You’re doing your part in the grand deception.

  25. I’ve been following this for a while and think C2C has come the closest to getting a handle on this. In terms of a society that is amoral, and where “if it feels good, do it” are words to live by for many. Having said that it’s easy to see why some would contend that things are less moral now than a generation ago.

    We live in a society where the very existence of Truth is called into question. Not just by skeptics, but by leaders in the church. We live in a society that glorifies violence, crime, the objectification/degradation of women (b#####s, h#s). where a president gets a pass because oral sex isn’t really sex, where girls are imprisoned/injured/killed to protect their “honor”, where a significant portion of the Arab world would like to see Israel (and it’s inhabitants) wiped from the face of the earth, where slavery (despite Dan’s assertion) is still a significant problem, where the concept of a “hook up” is considered perfectly ok, where drugs and pornography are more and more considered normal, and so much more. In short a fallen world stained by sin.

    Obviously, we’ve moved past large scale sacrifice of human beings, and a number of other morally problematic behaviors, we’ve just substituted new ones. Unfortunately I do sort of agree with Dan. We live in an immoral/fallen world and to try to quantify more/less moral is probably futile. I do believe that as per the NT it will probably get worse before it gets better. But I also have the hope that one day Christ will redeem this sinful fallen world completely, and that seems like a hope worth holding on to.

    • Let’s not forget the “if it doesn’t hurt anyone…” which more accurately translates to “if I don’t happen to see any of what I might consider a negative effect…”

    • It’s only quantifiable if you have a set of morals against which to measure it. Despite the separation crowd’s denials, this nation was founded, if not by full-blown Christians, by people whose values reflected those of Christianity (with some shortcomings, such as slavery). If we see more sexual “liberty”, then we can say that in that way, we are departing from the set of values we used to uphold. We DO see it, so we CAN say it. We have departed from our values as that concern life of unborn children. We’ve departed from our values concerning marriage. We’ve departed from the biblical and societal values we used to uphold regarding work, property rights, etc. Heck, we now have to argue the meaning of the American dream!

      We’re departing from our values, therefore, by those standards, we are becoming less moral. When individuals decide that they alone can determine right from wrong, it’s to be expected that there will be a significant percentage of the people that will choose to call good bad and bad good. Individuals are becoming amoral. Their society, whose former values are being increasingly abandoned, is becoming more immoral.

  26. “Do you not have ANY black friends or white friends who lived through this time period? Just ask some folk who’ve lived through it. Or read a book, watch a movie. Come on, that just isn’t a serious comparison.”

    Racial discrimination is racial discrimination, Dan. If it’s wrong for one race, it’s wrong for all. I don’t deny the suffering of the black race during those times. I simply don’t see affirmative action as a step up if discrimination of another race ensues, which it does. In that, there is definitely a moral decline if somehow payback justifies affirmative action, or if whites suffering less under affirmative action makes it less immoral. (I’m using the term “moral” as you prefer it)

    But of course, if you want suffering to be the gauge of what constitutes immorality, if “harm” is the standard by which you judge such things, then sexual immorality has indeed led to far more harm than discrimination. Over 50 million abortions, deaths from STDs, suicides, broken homes, abuse and oppression of women viewed as sex objects, rapes, child endangerment of all kinds resulting from carnal desires and deviant behaviors…the harm from sexual liberation is overwhelming.

    And again, you have never shown that you have ever understood what conservatism is or what it means to be one. Your claims of having been conservative are based on the the most superficial of measures. Just because you viewed homosexual behavior as sinful, does not mean you were conservative. More importantly, of course, is that you have given indication in the past that your “prayerful study” was indeed influenced by others encouraging you to take another look at what Scripture says, and I do not believe an honest and objective study could ever lead to your conclusion without either those outside influences or the most silly-putty-like stretching of meaning and interpretation. Scripture alone cannot lead one to such a conclusion on the issue as you have decided to abide. Only injecting meaning that Scripture does not itself possess or intend can. You’ve done that and nothing could be more obvious.

    • Marshalart, I’m telling you, Dan is a fraud. I think he thinks he is cleverly infiltrating our ranks, or something.

      OR… He’s just severely deluded.

      Either way, it’s a straight WHOOPIN’ to have to constantly refute his drumbeat of ridiculous claims of biblical acceptance of homosexuality.

      At least the anti-Christians are playing from a clear position. Sheesh! I swear, there’s very little difference between Dan and any rabid atheist we encounter. Except for his claim of being a Christian.

      • I always found it ironic that even non-believers recognize that the Bible forbids same-sex sexual relationships. Of course they believe it’s not true, or God’s word. But they can see that anyone who claims otherwise is disingenuous. I have always believed there is something afoot when someone “discovers” that the true interpretation of a given passage is the opposite of its plain reading.

        • Let’s just say that Dan is being completely honest about his prayerful quest for the truth about what exactly “his God” (our God) meant to say about homosexuality (specifically. Forget his other leftward leanings… for now). IF he’s being honest. IF he thought it was clear. IF he had no reason to find another interpretation. Why would he go into this deep study and prayer over it? Could it be that the culture around him was making him feel guilty?

          Now, back to his leftwing ideas. I think he’s been a pretty hard core liberal for awhile. And let’s face it, that ideology lends itself to anti-Christian sentiment mostly due to the thing we’ve talked about here: the “anything goes”, “don’t judge me”, “if it feels good, do it” mentality of so many on the left.

          IF he was a serious Christian, AND a liberal, I can understand how he would have some internal conflict. So, the homosexuality thing starts bothering him. He BELIEVES God forbids it. But he believes that he shouldn’t judge(?).

          He prays.

          Why wasn’t the answer FROM GOD, “DUDE! Read the words. ‘Don’t do it’! I couldn’t be more clear on the subject!”?

          Answer: God doesn’t always answer. Sometimes, He leaves things to us to figure things out.

          Dan has said that “all we have” is ourselves. It’s solely up to us to decide. With that guiding him, his own disinclination to “oppress an entire people” trumped God’s clear word.

          Of course, that’s IF he’s being honest.

  27. So much to respond to… most of it ad hom distractions/sidebars, but to the degree it has anything to do with the topic (and it doesn’t, really)…

    C2C, unlike many folk online, I am completely transparent. I use my real name, I have nothing to hide. I am who I say I am. I was raised for the first 22 years of my life at Victory Memorial Baptist (Southern Baptist) Church in Louisville, Kentucky’s south end. It was/is a conservative/traditional Christian church that taught a 6 day creation, a “literal” Bible, don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t drink, don’t date girls that do (dancing and playing cards were wrong, too), homosexuality = wrong, TULIP calvinism-ish, very traditional, very conservative (in those days, anyway) southern baptist teachings. And I believed it all.

    I didn’t read “liberal” writers. My reading stock was mostly the bible, but all the evangelical/conservative Christian authors were in the mix, too – Jonathan Edwards, CS Lewis, Corrie Ten Boom, Leonard Ravenhill, Chuck Swindoll, James Dobson, Billy Graham… etc, etc. I was a conservative’s conservative. And even after I left that church, for the next ~eight years (until I was about 30), I stayed pretty conservative. I was in a Christian band, traveling around preaching and singing the conservative doctrine. I moved on to a Nazarene church after leaving my home church (Nazarene’s typically being even more conservative than most Southern Baptists I knew) and then returned to another Southern Baptist church.

    To this day, I identify with anabaptism (which is not actually especially “liberal” Christianity) rather than Liberal Christianity. I am still a pretty conservative guy – I believe in a real God, a real Jesus who really came to earth, lived, died and raised again. I believe in the Bible and take it seriously and pretty literally (the parts that reasonably ought to be taken literally – the Truths being taught, I take them literally, or strive to… as anabaptists are wont to do).

    I was a conservative Christian. You can ask any of the folk around me growing up. I am who I say I am. If “conservative Christian” has any meaning at all, I was a conservative Christian (if someone who takes the Bible literally, who believes in a six day creation, was opposed to homosexuality, who believed roughly in Calvin’s TULIP stuff, who was a Reagan supporter ! – except he worried Reagan was conservative Christian enough!!, who read only traditionalist writers and the Bible… etc, etc, if that person isn’t/wasn’t a conservative Christian, what meaning are you attaching to “conservative Christian”?

    Again, a large part of the problem of some here is that you try to make up facts that fit your worldview, even when confronted with factual real world evidence to the contrary. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. You can say I was a “stupid” conservative, or not sufficiently informed of conservatism’s traits or whatever you wish about how well-trained I was (although, since you weren’t there, even that would lack credibility), but you can’t reasonably say that I wasn’t a conservative or that I am not who I say I am. Real world evidence contradicts your opinions and just makes your ad hom attacks all the more silly.

    Out of time…

  28. More dismissing of the ad hom distractions with real world facts…

    C2C…

    IF he thought it was clear. IF he had no reason to find another interpretation. Why would he go into this deep study and prayer over it? Could it be that the culture around him was making him feel guilty?

    Intellectual honest? Being better able to dismiss the “pro-gay” arguments that I thought were out there?

    Again, I entered the renewed study NOT to change my mind – far from it! – but for entirely rational reasons from a conservative point of view (unless you are of the opinion that conservatives are anti-Bible study – I don’t).

    As to the whole “The Bible is clear” canard… I agree. There is a CLEAR command from God to God’s followers: DON’T CUT THE HAIR ON THE SIDE OF YOUR HEAD OR TRIM YOUR BEARD. It’s a straightforward command, nothing to think about, the command is clear and it is never contradicted elsewhere in the Bible. So, therefore, clearly there is NOTHING TO THINK ABOUT. C2C and John and Marshall all obviously don’t sin by cutting the hair on the side of their heads or trim their beards…

    Except, that they almost certainly don’t take that literal, clear command literally. They don’t apply it to themselves. Why? BECAUSE THEY USE THEIR REASONING TO SORT OUT BIBLICAL COMMANDS, THEY DON’T BLINDLY TAKE THEM LITERALLY BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE STUPID.

    That is my point that I was raising: Do we just blindly treat the bible like a rule book and find rules then obey them? OR do we treat it as a book of Truth, wherein we prayerfully consider what we might glean of God’s Word from its pages?

    Clearly, the latter.

    But you all seem to want to suggest that those who reach different conclusions from you can’t have done so, even when THE REAL WORLD EVIDENCE is clear: IT does happen. Christians of good will disagree with your interpretations. That happens and it doesn’t mean that they didn’t treat the bible seriously or seek God’s will just like you have done, they simply disagree. It happens.

    And disagreeing about non-essential debatable points is not an indication of that person not being Christian. It just isn’t, not in the real world. All it is is a sign that people disagree on different questions. It happens. Get over it.

    • Do you have a link to your complete theory on the biblical acceptance of homosexuality/ non-sinfulness of homosexual behavior? I’d like to read the whole thing.

      But, as for the beard shaving instructions, as I understand it, there were things God asked His people to do so that they could differentiate themselves from those of the world. I think this is one of those. But, scripture does not say, “Shaving the sides of your beard is an abomination”.

      I hope you haven’t taken the fact that we may eat pork (for example) without fear of incurring God’s wrath to mean that EVERY clear command is just as plastic a thing to mess with. Again, I’d like to read your complete theory on homosexuality.

      But, maybe you’re wrong about the beard thing all together! Maybe it’s an honest to goodness sin. Maybe we should ask forgiveness for shaving. Obviously, there are folks who adhere to all the written rules. Maybe they’re doing all the right things. I think that they would tell you that to stray from the command regarding beards is a sign of a world that incorrectly says, “God really didn’t mean that”. I think He DID mean it. I think that He wants His people to obey it.

      Full disclosure: I shave.

      But I’m willing to admit that I am a sinner, and I’m willing to admit that in regards to beards, I’m going against God’s clearly written word on the subject. I won’t equivocate or search for another interpretation of the words “Don’t do it”.

      If I’m wrong about you being a plant, then I apologize. But everything I’ve read from you SCREAMS, “Long-time liberal”. Race, sustainability, war, womens rights… My “attacks” are not ad hominem. Liberals talk like you.

      • C2C

        I believe I have copied and saved his complete reasoning. I don’t know that I saved the link from the post it was in that he wrote. So if he doesn’t provide the link (last time I checked Dans blog had a search field) I’ll pass it along to you.

      • Dan and his ilk conveniently overlook the context in their claims about shaving, eating shellfish, etc. No matter how many times they are given the context, they refuse to accept it and just claim it is our “hunch” or our interpretation or just our opinions, etc, etc, etc. The laws he refers to were only for Israel and no other people. Period. That is the context.

        But the issue of homosexuality in the O.T. has a context of the entire world population, as I have explained in my post on the subject, and the context in the N.T. is everyone also with absolutely NO “confusion” surrounding the passages.
        http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/09/bible-and-homosexual-behavior.html

    • By the way, I’m troubled by your “real world” vs. “bible” angle. Is the bible not THE word of God, who created the real world?

      In the real world, lying and cheating can make you rich. You could do a lot of good with money you’ve stolen. In the real world, you can be a philanthropist theif. I’d suggest that would not negate “Thou shalt not steal”. Nor would it necesitate a reinterpretation. If you must steal a loaf of bread to feed a starving child, then do it. This sick, twisted, fallen real world may force your hand. Just don’t think that God didn’t mean “Thou shalt not”.

      I think you may consider the fact that your recent “discovery” of a hidden message in the bible that goes against the clear language and the thousands of years of understanding of the clear language may just be wrong. You may do well to remember that you yourself are a flawed sinner whose interpretive abilities may be hampered by the pervasive wickedness of this, a flawed, sinful, fallen real world.

  29. John…

    I always found it ironic that even non-believers recognize that the Bible forbids same-sex sexual relationships.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that many people who aren’t familiar with what the Bible actually says believe the Bible forbids all same-sex relationships, but that isn’t an actual argument in support of suggesting the Bible does say what many have concluded it to say.

    C2C…

    Marshalart, I’m telling you, Dan is a fraud. I think he thinks he is cleverly infiltrating our ranks, or something.

    Marshall’s known me quite a while, I doubt you can tell him anything he doesn’t know about me.

    But, as to the ad hom attack about being a “fraud,” that is just factually ridiculous when you look at the real world evidence.

    I was raised in the church from childbirth, learning about God and the Bible nearly every day from my parents, my preachers, my Sunday School teachers and other Christian role models.

    I was saved at the age of ten in my home church, repenting of my little childhood sins and accepting Jesus as Lord of my life, trusting in God for salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus.

    I have read the Bible my entire Christian life, studied it, pored over it, prayed over it, sought God’s will over it. Changed my life in accordance with its teachings.

    I rededicated my life to Christ (what the Nazarenes call “sanctification”) at the age of 16 at Ridgecrest Christian retreat center at a youth retreat, making a more adult decision to follow God and God alone.

    I spent ten years preaching and singing in a conservative Christian band (from the age of 18-28), traveling throughout the southeast on our own dime (for the most part) giving away our cassettes in an effort to reach the lost and to call the church to repentance and prayer.

    I spent years teaching Sunday School, being a deacon, attending church multiple times a week, going door to door evangelizing my neighborhoods and always, always, praying and reading the Bible.

    As I became more aware of Reagan’s (and with him, the Christian Right) misbehavior in Latin America, I was made aware of the fallibility of Christian conservatism, at least on issues of embracing deadly violence and terroristic methods to pursue their goals. Still, I didn’t break with conservatism at that time, but it was the beginning of moving away from whole-hearted embrace of all things conservative.

    Still, I went/go to church, still I pray, still I serve in the church, with my time, money and effort.

    Looking at the real world evidence, clearly I am not a fraud (someone who is falsely claiming something in an effort to deceive). Clearly, I believe what I believe. There is no evidence to support such a ridiculous charge. None in the real world, anyway.

    C2C…

    OR… He’s just severely deluded.

    You can always hold the opinion that I’ve fooled myself and reached some bad conclusions in my earnest desire to follow God. But what you can’t rationally say is that I’m a fraud, there just is no evidence to support that.

    But you can’t make the case that I fooled myself by surrounding myself with liberal teachings, because that didn’t happen in the real world. It just didn’t. For the most part, I STILL don’t read much in the way of liberal Christian literature (although some would suggest my reading Walter Wink and anabaptist theologians like John Howard Yoder would fit that category – but even then, it’s been rather limited and late in coming as compared to my formative years where I forged my beliefs… in those years, I read exclusively Conservative/traditional writers and, primarily, the Bible).

    So, yet again, real world evidence trumps false charges made by you all in an attempt to engage in ad hom attacks, rather than deal with the questions being raised.

  30. C2C…

    Do you have a link to your complete theory on the biblical acceptance of homosexuality/ non-sinfulness of homosexual behavior? I’d like to read the whole thing.

    With John’s permission, I’d point to my blog where you can read about my journey on this issue…

    part I

    part II

    C2C…

    If I’m wrong about you being a plant, then I apologize. But everything I’ve read from you SCREAMS, “Long-time liberal”. Race, sustainability, war, womens rights… My “attacks” are not ad hominem. Liberals talk like you.

    You are mistaken, and I appreciate the apology. I am exactly who I say I am, not a “plant” or a “fraud.” I can be mistaken in my positions (we all are human and prone to error, as per orthodox Christian understanding of human nature), but I am not insincere about my positions: I actually believe what I say I believe.

    Liberals might talk like I do, but so do anabaptists, many of them, and we’re not all “liberal,” although taking Jesus’ teachings about peacemaking literally gets us charged with being liberal.

  31. Just a small point to address, but Craig said…

    where slavery (despite Dan’s assertion) is still a significant problem

    ?? Where did I every assert that slavery is not a significant problem today? I am WELL aware of the problems of human trafficking in today’s world.

    After all, I DO attend a church that is considered by many to be “liberal,” and liberals are VERY much on the forefront of dealing with human trafficking. For instance at my church, we have an annual Reclaiming Christmas project, where we encourage people to, instead of giving more gifts to US, to give to a project to help more needy people. The last two years we have been giving to assist those caught up in human trafficking. It is indeed a serious problem.

    I’m sure that this is just a careless slip on your part, Craig, since clearly I didn’t say this and don’t believe this, not in the real world, as real world evidence demonstrates.

    Craig…

    Unfortunately I do sort of agree with Dan. We live in an immoral/fallen world and to try to quantify more/less moral is probably futile.

    It is ALWAYS fortunate, I’d suggest, to agree with what is right, even when it’s “the enemy” who is right. Because right, after all, is right, am I right?

    I’m glad you can see that many would see (despite the problems of comparing immoralities of different ages) the horrible sins of the Jim Crow years as to be significant and not to be trivially dismissed (like, for instance, by comparing the problems of the Jim Crow years with affirmative action! Get serious).

  32. C2C…

    By the way, I’m troubled by your “real world” vs. “bible” angle. Is the bible not THE word of God, who created the real world?

    ???!

    I’m sorry you misunderstood so very entirely my point. My point was not comparing the “real world” to THE BIBLE. My point was comparing real world evidence with your all’s ridiculous conclusions. Like the crazy suggestion that I’m a fraud, not an actual Christian who actually believes what I say I believe. There is no REAL WORLD EVIDENCE to support such a conclusion.

    I wasn’t contrasting real world evidence with the Bible, just with your collective assertions.

    • I was referring to other comments you made regarding seeking truth in the bible WHILE comparing IT’S teachings to “the real world”. It was this that prompted John to say that it seems that your philosophy is “to each his own” as it pertains to biblical interpretation.

      I’ll take your word that you were raised Christian and are a believer. So, I have to conclude that you are either simply politically a hard-core liberal desperately grasping for some semblance of philosophical unification between the two, or you’ve been influenced by this wicked world into believing that the bible says something other than it has been understood to say by all for centuries. OR… Both.

      I’ll read your posts.

    • Ok. I read your posts. Wow. You know what bothered me the most? This:

      Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.

      From this, you made the leap of assuming that gay men and women must have abandoned their own “natural DESIRES” and became straight. And that leap of logic seems to be the climax; the reason the bible doesn’t necessarily condemn all homosexual behavior, in your mind.

      This is ridiculous. First, it does not speak of desire at all. It speaks of relations; the act. If anything, it gives us a clear understanding of what acts are considered to be natural. After all, the natural reason for male and female to exist is procreation. Forgive me, but the case for the natural use of the body parts of males and females can be summed up like this: tab M goes into slot F… NATURALLY! And for a purpose that inserting tab M into anything else will never be able to fulfill.

      I’m sorry, Dan. Your analysis just doesn’t make the case. In fact, you yourself state that without that ridiculous leap, you had no way of determining whether or not any and all homosexual behavior was permissible or condemned.

      That is a seriously flawed little bit of reasoning. I can’t state this emphatically enough. It is too huge a step to take.

      I say again, I think your desire to be ammenable to gay people has led you to see something that simply isn’t there. It’s more than a hunch. It’s more than a logical recognition of an implied complicity. It’s a complete fiction.

      IF you’ve imparted your journey in an honest way, then you’ve simply made a mistake. I don’t think it was the spirit working. I think it was the Pygmalion effect.

    • By the way, what made you think that a commandment would apply to a gay man in a different way than to a straight man?

      See why we think you have a “to each his own” philosophy? Am I to believe that “don’t lay with men as with women” is only applicable to those with heterosexual tendencies? Is the implied message “unless, of course, you’re gay”?

      “Thou shalt not steal, unless, of course you’re a kleptomaniac (not that being a natural born theif is a bad thing, or an urge you should try to fight).

      It’s ludicrous! He was talking to me, you, and every other being that has the option with whom to have sexual relations. “Don’t”!

      Am I making any sense, here? Do not all the rules apply to all of us?

  33. This is a bit off topic, but if John’s okay with it…

    C2C…

    Am I making any sense, here? Do not all the rules apply to all of us?

    One of the conclusions I reached while studying the Bible over the last two decades was that if we treat the Bible as a holy rule book, we’ve missed the point.

    The rules in the OT do NOT apply to us. For one thing, as they say in the OT, they were specifically for Israel, specifically at that time and culture. You recognize this, too, in that you don’t engage or support polygamy (which was fine in OT times), you do cut the hair on the side of your head, you do eat shrimp (an “abomination,” by the way), etc.

    Those rules most certainly do not apply to all of us, to ANY of us. Not directly.

    Which isn’t to say that some rules that were in place back then aren’t still logical and needed. Back then, it was wrong to kill someone and it still is. It was wrong to shed innocent blood and it still is.

    But it’s not wrong because the bible is a rulebook and it has a rule against it, it’s wrong because it’s harmful, it is self-evidently wrong, it violates the Golden Rule, which we all recognize.

    You see, the Pharisees in Jesus’ day made this same mistake. They saw OT rules and tried to treat the OT as a rule book and went even further and presumed to spell out for everyone else specifically what those rules meant. Not only was it generally wrong to work on Saturdays (a rule you no doubt violate), but the Pharisees told people SPECIFICALLY what that meant – how many steps you could take, what specifically you could and couldn’t do. In so doing, they missed the point of God’s Word – that life is to be lived by GRACE, not by rules.

    So, to answer your question: The rules don’t apply to us, not directly in any sense. That is a record of specifically Israel’s relationship with God.

    Beyond that, as you see at my blog, I don’t see that “the rule” about men laying with men is even specifically speaking of any and all gay behavior. It seems evident TO ME and folk like me, that it is speaking specifically of gay behavior in the context of pagan sex rituals.

    If someone were to ask me: Is it wrong for us to use boys and temple prostitutes to engage in sex orgies in order to ensure a good harvest? I’d answer YES, of course it is. But it’s not wrong because there is a line in the OT that says, in that context, men who lay with men in these pagan cultures are behaving abominably… it’s wrong because it is self-evidently wrong, because it causes harm to others.

    Where is my reasoning going awry?

    • So, Dan, we agree that not all the laws in the O.T. were for anyone else, but context certainly dictates those that were. And when it comes to the two big passages in the O.T. about homosexuality, context says EVERYONE:

      Let‘s look at the first passage. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Lev. 18:22

      Now, this is pretty strong in the verbiage used to describe how God sees the act of homosexual behavior – an abomination. Now let’s look at the context.

      Chapter 18 starts with God saying, “I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you.” From this point God lists all sorts of sexual practices which were done in Egypt and Canaan, and which God found detestable. There are no other topics in this chapter; God just says don’t do any of these things because these are a reason why God is punishing the nations by having Israel drive the people out of the land. It was these practices which made the land unclean. The Scripture is very, very plain: God says all the listed sexual behaviors are an abomination to Him, and that those who practice these things are worthy of severe punishment.

      Now here is the second passage: “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.” Lev. 20:13

      Notice the same strong verbiage God uses to explain His revulsion to such behavior; it is an abomination. Again, let’s look at the context.

      Beginning at 20:10, God again lists numerous sexual practices which He forbids. And again, God gives the reason why at verse 23: “And you shall not walk in the customs of the nations that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things and therefore I detested them.” God said that the pagan lands where he was bringing them were detested – another strong word – because of these sexual practices.

      Leviticus has many ceremonial laws and social order laws which are meant only for Israel as a way to set the nation up as holy – separated – to himself. Scripture tells us these laws were just for Israel (Deut. 4:7-8; Lev. 27:34; Ps. 147:19-20, et al). However, in His discussion about sexual practices He found abhorrent, God says these are behaviors that those outside of Israel are even disallowed, and because they practice such abominations they are being destroyed.

      The point is, that the Leviticus passages aren’t just relegated to some ancient prohibition for some people. These passages speak of these sexual practices as something that God detests among people no matter when or where.

      There are some claims by those promoting homosexuality that we misunderstand these passages. They say that it is only about homosexual behavior in conjunction with idolatry. But this leaves a problem: Does God then condemn incest, adultery and bestiality ONLY if they are done in conjunction with idolatry – that at any other time they are okay?

      Dan, you lose your argument by simple hermeneutical principles. You can believe you win as much as you like, but as Jesus said about the end, he will say to YOU, “I never knew you.”

      • ??? You all are not able to correctly understand what I’m saying. Did I say we can break any of the “thou shalt nots” with impugnity? No, I did not. Rather, I acknowledged that some rules given specifically to Israel are universal rules that apply. Didn’t you read my words? I just acknowledged the fact that THOSE RULES in that form were given SPECIFICALLY to Israel.

        The point is not that “The OT says thou shalt not murder, but those rules were specific for Israel so WE can murder if we want…” that IS A MISUNDERSTANDING of what I said, not what I said at all. Read my words with understanding, my friends, not looking for silly arguments about strawmen positions I do not hold. The point is that THE BIBLE SAYS “these rules are for MY PEOPLE, ISRAEL…” Look it up, it’s right there.

        Glenn…

        as Jesus said about the end, he will say to YOU, “I never knew you.”

        Ad hom upon ad hom. So, Glenn, because I (in your estimation) am mistaken about this non-essential point, Jesus will condemn me? NO! A thousand times, NO! We who are saved, are saved by GOD’s GRACE, not by our petty little knowledge, and thank God for that or you and I both would be doomed.

        • Dan still doesn’t know what an ad hominem attack is!!!! Describing your character is NOT an ad hominem attack.

          Dan, it isn’t just the issue of homosexuality, it is your entire worldview, your entire abuse of Scripture, your claims of God approving of sin, etc. You are the kind of person Jesus is referring to in Matt. 7:21-23.

    • So dan its your position that if we break any of the old testament “thou shalt nots” with moral impugnity? Hmm when God said not to partake in child sacrifice, its OK for us because that was not for us? “But that entails murder” dan might say. Well that was said in addition to not murdering so apparently God doesn’t consider child sacrifice murder, therefore its OK. Unless you’re going to make a case for special pleading.

  34. C2C…

    the reason the bible doesn’t necessarily condemn all homosexual behavior, in your mind.

    This is ridiculous…

    If my reasoning does not convince you, then I’d advise you disagree with me. But here’s the thing: I am convinced that my reasoning is correct. Conversely, your reasoning (the reasoning that I USED to hold myself), I do not find compelling.

    It seems OBVIOUS to me that these THREE passages in the whole Bible are speaking of specifically pagan rituals, not any and all gay behavior. It’s right there in each of the context of each passage.

    If you don’t find it compelling, then don’t agree with it. But you can’t reasonably say that other folk don’t find it compelling because, clearly, in the real world, people such as myself DO find this reasoning compelling. We are seeking God sincerely and earnestly and in our search, this is the conclusion we have reached in good faith, just as you, in good faith, have reached a different conclusion.

    That I recognize you as a brother who (I believe) to be simply mistaken is not to say that I don’t believe you haven’t genuinely reached your position, nor that I doubt your Christian faith because you reach what I believe to be a wrong, sinful conclusion. We are not perfect. Clearly one side or the other is mistaken in parts, but that happens. Thank God we are not saved by our perfect knowledge, but by Grace.

    Can I get an Amen?

    C2C…

    I think your desire to be ammenable to gay people has led you to see something that simply isn’t there.

    Again, factually, in the real world, there was no desire on my part to be amenable to gay folk. As far as I knew, I didn’t even KNOW any gay folk! I wasn’t going to be hurting any friends’ feelings by reaching this conclusion, I wasn’t being sympathetic, I just thought (and think) that my position is the most Godly, rational, biblical position to take.

    I get that you don’t understand or agree with it, but that’s just the way it is. I don’t “get” that you think your position is the most correct, but I have to acknowledge that you hold it, nonetheless, because, there you are! Holding that position. For me to suggest that you couldn’t possibly honestly reach that conclusion would just be ridiculous because there is real world evidence to contradict that. The same holds true for me. This is factually how I reached my position: Prayer and Bible study.

    It doesn’t mean I can’t be wrong (I don’t think I am at all, but we can all be mistaken), but it is what I believe to be the most rational, biblical and Godly position to take and so I take it. EVEN THOUGH it was contrary to what I wanted to believe.

    You have to go where the Bible/God’s Spirit/your reasoning/understanding of them take you.

    • And dan since you claim the bible only condemns gay sex in the context of the passage, then by extension the act of beastiality is also condemned only in the pagan ritual context and now loving sexual relationships with animals is OK. Right?

    • I understand your argument. It hinges on the false fact that homosexuality is as “natural” as heterosexuality. But, whether or not God was speaking to the Israelites or not, He called it an abomination. AND it was an abomination for THE OTHERS. God didn’t mean that what he considers an abomination is ok for the others to do. When I tell my kids “I don’t want you to lie, like that kid does”, it doesn’t mean that it’s ok for the other kid to lie, or that I think so. It’s not ok for my people (kids), and if I had God-like powers, I may just “give [that other kid] over to shameful” taste so that he exchanges eating ice-cream for eating straight lard!

  35. C2C…

    I understand your argument. It hinges on the false fact that homosexuality is as “natural” as heterosexuality.

    Well, I don’t know that my argument hinges on that fact, but it IS a fact that orientations ARE natural, by definition. They are part of the natural world, they happen in nature, it is part of our human nature. Orientation – whether gay or straight – IS simply, factually natural, unless you’re using some non-standard English meaning of the word.

    C2C…

    He called it an abomination. AND it was an abomination for THE OTHERS.

    And I understand totally that this is YOUR opinion, YOUR interpretation of how to take this passage, but I don’t think it’s a logically or biblically sound opinion. For one thing, eating shrimp is an abomination in the OT, and yet you probably don’t think eating shrimp was/is an abomination for everyone, do you?

    For another thing, despite your opinion that God meant this to be a universal rule for all people everywhere for all time, the text does not say that. Rather, it is an interpretation of the text that you all arrive at using your own reasoning. And you’re welcome to it, it’s an opinion I once held. But the fact is, I no longer hold that opinion, I no longer think it is a rational or biblical opinion to hold. We disagree, it happens. But disagreement is not the same as “not being a Christian” or “…therefore he wishes to embrace evil and spit in God’s eye” or anything of that nature.

    And I’d suggest that’s enough wandering down this rabbit hold distraction. It isn’t on topic and we’ve dealt with all this before.

    In Christ,

    Dan

    • Dan

      Again, if you believe homosexuality is condemned in Leviticus only in a pagan ritual context, then it also follows that beastiality is also only condemned in this context, and that its OK in a loving relationship. That’s the only possible conclusion if you’re consistent.

  36. No, John, it doesn’t. Just because you have a set of rules that exist for a certain people (rules 1 – 10) and they were JUST for those people, that does not preclude some subset or even all those rules being applicable elsewhere. It just acknowledges the fact that they were set up for those specific people.

    Look, if I have a rewards system for my kids because they are the sort to react well to rewards and I give them $1 for each A they get on their report card, it doesn’t follow that the rule must always apply to all other kids everywhere else. On the other hand, neither does it follow that it might apply to some other kids somewhere else.

    You’re missing the point entirely.

    For one thing, I did not say nor do I believe that “homosexuality is condemned in pagan ritual context.” Do you understand what I just said? I DO NOT BELIEVE that Leviticus says that homosexuality is condemned in pagan practices only.

    What I’m saying is that the context of this passage is in response to pagan ritual practices (which include temple prostitution and orgies) and that, IT SEEMS TO ME that this passage is not a condemnation of all gay behavior, but rather, specifically dealing with the behavior of the people mentioned in that context.

    I’m out of time, but I’m inclined to give up, you really don’t seem to be understanding my point in the slightest.

    • Dan,
      I gave the entire context of the Leviticus passages above. No where do they mention that these were pagan ritual practices. YOU aren’t entitled to “your own facts.”

      The context definitely states that these sexual practices – homosexuality, bestiality, et al – are not permitted in ANY nation, and that these were a reason God was having them destroyed. Perhaps you need to take a lesson in reading and comprehension.

      • Exactly! God says don’t do like those guys. THEIR ACTS are the reason I’m driving them out of their lands.

        The thing about telling His people not to do things is that doing those things ANGER HIM! At that time, had any person read those words, he might think “Wow, we’ve done things that anger God (a god)”. Could they not embrace the rules given only to the isrealites? Would that not bring them into favor with God? Would that not mean that these rules APPLY to everyone?

  37. Glenn, Lev 18 begins…

    The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.”

    It is then followed by some behaviors that were practiced IN CANAAN, some of those behaviors were practiced in the context of pagan rituals. Perhaps you are just not familiar with the historical context? Would you like some assistance in learning more? I’d suggest looking up Moloch worship and canaan pagan rituals and learn more about the context so you can be a better student of the Bible.

    Context is always quite important in serious Bible study.

    • Dan, you are adding to the context by saying “rituals.” The context would INCLUDE such behavior used in rituals, but the context is in total, covering any use of these behaviors. He’s destroying Canaan because of these behaviors so the law against these behaviors is not restricted to Israel! If that was the case, then Canaan would not be punished for practicing behaviors which are only proscribed in Israel!

      All you want to do is justify that which is unjustifiable.

      You then decide to drag in information in the same book as if they are in the same context. But nothing in 19 is stated as being a reason for destroying other nations. CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT!

  38. Look, let’s consider the chapter right between the two single OT commands against “men laying against men.” Leviticus 19 contains (among others) these rules that God gave specifically to Israel…

    Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths.

    Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves.

    When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up.

    Do not steal.

    Do not lie.

    Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

    If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed.

    Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.

    The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.

    Do we/do YOU obey EACH of these rules? Do you refuse to wear mixed blend fabrics? Do you ALWAYS stand up in the presence of the elderly? Do you keep Saturdays as a holy day and not work on it? Do you treat foreigners as native born citizens? When you sleep with slaves, do you consider it sort of bad, but not as bad as sleeping with a free person?

    No, you do not obey each of these rules. You do not believe that, just because a rule appears in this ancient text of Israeli’s Holiness Code, right alongside rules that are appropriate today (don’t steal, don’t lie) that this means you must obey EACH rule.

    Rather, we as adult students of ethics and the bible are able to use OUR GOD-GIVEN reasoning to make up our minds –

    Yes, stealing is still a bad thing, regardless of context, NO, sleeping with your slave is not okay, HAVING a slave is not okay!, yes, it’s okay to wear polyester, although a bit uncomfortable, there’s nothing immoral about it… yes, we SHOULD treat foreigners as natural born citizens…

    Just because a rule appears in the Holiness Code GIVEN TO ISRAEL does not make it a universal rule.

    Just because a rule stands NEXT to a rule that we have reasoned is NOT universal in nature does not invalidate the righteousness of that rule.

    It IS possible and reasonable and biblical to say, “This rule in verse 10 is universal in nature. This rule in verse 11 is obviously not universal. This rule in verse 12 would be SINFUL to do today in our culture.”

    The point is: The rules are not all to be observed simply because they appear in Israel’s Holiness Code (which was written to distinguish, keep Israel separate/apart from their pagan neighbors’ practices), rather we observe good and reasonable rules because they are good and reasonable. We don’t observe unreasonable or “bad” rules because they are unreasonable or bad. Regardless of whether they appear in Israel’s ancient Holiness Code (given specifically to ISRAEL, to separate or keep them HOLY/apart from their pagan neighbors).

    Does that help you all understand?

  39. C2C…

    The thing about telling His people not to do things is that doing those things ANGER HIM! At that time, had any person read those words, he might think “Wow, we’ve done things that anger God (a god)”. Could they not embrace the rules given only to the isrealites?

    Factually speaking, historically understood, the Holiness Code was written to distinguish/keep apart/keep holy Israel from their neighbors. So, some of those rules might have to do with God being “angry” or not liking what they were doing, but some of the rules were specifically to separate Israel from their neighbors – NOT because of some innate immorality in the deed being commanded against.

    Don’t cut your beard, NOT because God hates beards, but because it was a way of separating Israel from Canaan, to keep them “holy” – set apart. There is NOTHING IMMORAL about non-cut beards – this is OBVIOUS, you don’t need a rule from the bible to explain that to you? IT IS SELF-EVIDENT.

    Don’t you agree? Do you really need some rule explaining the commandment to know that.

    So no, these rules DON’T always apply to everyone in all times and cultures. No one thinks this, not you, not me. You DO trim your beard, no doubt. And you don’t need an explanation from the bible to say, “Um, you DO know, don’t you, that I wasn’t speaking of all people for all time in all places not letting their beard go? Use your Me-Given Reasoning, fellas! ~God”

    And all of that would still beg the question: Does “men laying with men” refer to ALL gay behaviors or some specific behavior, like pagan fertility practices, which seems most likely to me in this historical context.

    Read up on the Holiness Code, friends. The contextual history is very interesting and helpful, but it’s simply NOT a set of universal rules. It just isn’t. Factually speaking.

    Ask a well-read Jewish person and they could tell you.

  40. Glenn…

    The context would INCLUDE such behavior used in rituals, but the context is in total, covering any use of these behaviors.

    And that is A FINE OPINION for you to hold, I just don’t find it reasonable or biblical. But you’re welcome to hold your opinion, I won’t condemn you for it, I’ll just disagree with you.

    I’d appreciate the same respect and grace, my brother in Christ.

    • It’s not an “opinion” any more than 2+2=4 is an opinion.
      But I guess you’re right, Dan. All the scholars for over 2000 years are wrong and you are right, because you prayed and God gave you understanding that no one has ever had before. That God really approves of homosexual behavior if the couples are in love, and he really approves of adultery if the couple is in love, and he really approves of bestiality if the person loves their pet.

      It is not slanderous to demonstrate that your writings are justifying homosexual behavior. It is not slanderous to state that approving of homosexual behavior is not justified by the Bible or by God. It is not slanderous or an unsupported claim to therefore use your writings as evidence that you are attempting to justify that which is not justifiable.

      I embrace grace, but God does not give grace to the blasphemer, so why should I. And you are not my brother in any sense of the word, and I am offended that you keep making that claim. My father is God, but you are of your father the devil – only satan would blaspheme God the way you do when you say he approves of sin.

  41. Glenn…

    All you want to do is justify that which is unjustifiable.

    ? and WHAT IN THE WORLD would make you think that? WHY would a rational person, striving to follow God WANT to justify that which is unjustifiable?

    That is a rather slanderous, ridiculous and unsupported claim, do you have any real world evidence to support such a slanderous charge, or would you think it more reasonable and adult to step back and stick to facts that you can support?

    Embrace grace, my brother.

    The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit of God brings life.

  42. Okay, my brother, you’re still welcome to your opinion.

    I love you in Christ, Glenn, whatever you may think of me. May you have a blessed Christmas season, filled with grace and wonder.

  43. Dan,

    I’m talking about natural sexual relations as was mentioned in the passage. It doesn’t say that everyone exchanged their own personal orientation for a while. It says that men lusting after each other WAS the alternative to “natural relations”. 

    You cannot equivocate on this. “Natural” was used in the passage to show what was not natural.

    In the way you use the word natural, of course we can imagine what you seem to have gleaned from the text. But in that sense of the word, murder is a natural thing to do, because “in the real world”, in “nature” murder exists.

  44. The Romans 1 passage, in context, reads…

    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness… For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen…

    For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles…

    These were people who should have been able to intuit God with their God-given reasoning, just by seeing God’s hand revealed in all of creation. But rather than turning to the True God, they worshiped false gods, images made to look like humans and animals.

    With me so far?

    Continuing…

    Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator

    “Them…”? Them, who? The pagan idol worshipers, that’s who.

    and, as a result, what happened? God gave them over to sinful desire for sexual impurity.

    Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men…

    What happened to these idol worshipers? Rather than engaging in sex relationships in healthy, marriage relationships, they abandoned the natural sexual relationships for unnatural ones. And WHAT IS a “Natural sexual relationship?” Well, for heterosexuals, it is male/female relationships. For homosexuals, it is same gender relationships.

    So, for a straight guy to abandon natural relations, that would mean that he’s engaging in sex with a guy, rather than a gal, contrary to his natural orientation. And you know who did this, don’t you? The pagan idol worshipers!

    These folk who engaged in pagan rituals in the Roman world WEREN’T, by and large, gay men, they were straight men, engaging in what was for them, unnatural.

    That seems clear as a bell to me. IF you know the historical context, it seems you’d have to really twist this passage to find the suggestion that this is anything but a condemnation of straight guys having gay sex in pagan rituals.

    Now you disagree, as I once did, but I can’t change the fact that this seems clear as day to me. This is NOT in any sense suggesting that two men or two women, living in a faithful, loving monogamous relationship are doing something wrong. Not in context, not in the text.

    On the other hand, it is abundantly clear in the real world that encouraging faithful marriage relationships – within one’s natural orientation – is an innately healthy, wholesome, desirable thing to do.

    What argument would there be against it, other than the one based on religious biases (ie, the “I think God disapproves” argument)? If you have a real-world argument against encouraging folk to express their sexuality within the context of a marriage relationship within their own natural orientation, I’d be glad to hear it.

    I have yet to hear ONE SINGLE RATIONAL argument against it using real world evidence, but maybe someone here could be the first.

    • Okay, now let’s look at Romans 1:26-27, but start at verse 24 to get more of the context: Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

      Other versions get a bit more descriptive so there is no doubt what “natural relations” mean:
      For even their females exchanged natural sexual intercourse for what is unnatural. The males in the same way also left natural sexual intercourse with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. HCSB

      Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. CEV

      Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. NLT

      Let’s begin with this question: Who is the “them” that God gave over to their lusts? Verse 18 says it is those who “suppress the truth” about God. Continuing on in the passage Paul says God made Himself known to these people who suppress the truth about God and yet they do not honor God or thank Him. Instead of giving glory to God, they give it to animals and man, and worship created things instead of worshiping God (the way evolutionists do today). These people who suppress the truth about God did not just exist at the time Romans was written – these people have always existed. Everywhere you look you will see people who suppress and deny the truths of God. (Like Dan)

      Then at vs. 24 it says “therefore,” which means it is because these people suppress the truth about God and refuse to honor Him and what He has revealed that he gives them up to sexual impurity which dishonors their bodies. God calls it “dishonorable passions.” And it is because they would rather accept a lie than the truth of God. Verses 26 and 27 then describe exactly what Paul means when he says they are given over to impurity which dishonors their bodies: homosexual behavior.

      This Scriptural passage is clear: homosexual relations for any reason are considered dishonorable and impure. There is no room for claiming that it is only about those whose “natural” inclinations are for members of the opposite sex and not about those whose “natural” inclinations are for members of the same sex. There is no such thing as “natural” sexual desires for members of the same sex.

      • Glenn…

        There is no such thing as “natural” sexual desires for members of the same sex.

        Of course, all we have to do is observe real world phenomena to see that this statement is simply and observably NON-FACTUAL. In the real world, it is a common (if not normative) occurance to see naturally-occuring homosexual orientations.

        Again, you’re welcome to your own opinions, but facts trump opinions and you’re not welcome to your own facts. You all can SAY “I think it’s not natural to have gay sex” one billion times and yet, the facts are against you.

        Sorry. It’s for poor reasoning like this that I was forced to leave my old position for this new one. Your reasoning (my old reasoning) just doesn’t hold up to the facts or to sound logic, it seems to me.

  45. Dan, HE spells out what is natural by telling us HOW they departed from acting in a natural way! It doesn’t say or imply that there is a natural way for some and a different natural way for others. The men abandoned natural relations WITH WOMEN and became lustful for MEN.

    It doesn’t mention individual sexual orientations. It doesn’t leave room for interpretaion. It’s clear what He considered to be natural FOR MEN: sexual relations WITH WOMEN.

    • C2C…

      It doesn’t mention individual sexual orientations. It doesn’t leave room for interpretaion.

      And yet, YOU interpret it one way and I interpret it another. IN FACT, it OBSERVABLY leaves room for interpretation. All you have to do is look at the evidence in the real world.

      Don’t you see what I’m saying?

      You’re saying “This can’t happen,” and I’m pointing you to factual evidence that it does, indeed happen. Given the real world evidence (“It DOES happen”) it sounds rather delusional to say, “It can’t happen…”

      Again, poor reasoning like this (on my own part, when I held your position) forced me away from the less-rational, more whimsical, less fact-based position you all hold/that I used to hold.

      While tradition is important to me, intellectual honesty and going where the evidence leads is more important.

    • It only leaves room for interpretation if you think words are playdoh for your personal mangling to suit your own desires.

      I’m finished with this conversation. I have proven again that Dan is not only apostate, but he is a fool.

      • This is a bit like an infinite loop, but…

        LOOK AT THE ACTUAL REAL WORLD EVIDENCE, Glenn, it does not support your theories.

        You said I think words are “playdoh for our own personal managing to suit our own desires…”

        If you recall, my “own desire” was to search the Bible and PROVE that all gay behavior was wrong. yet again, the real world evidence undermines your ad hom, unsupported and demonstrably false attacks.

        Real world 1, Glenn, 0.

        And one is not apostate for not agreeing with Glenn on his opinions on non-essential issues.

        Real World 2, Glenn, 0.

        Giving up is probably in your best interest, my brother.

        Again, have a blessed Christmas season.

        • Dan is right. In the “real world” sin is rampant and it is approved by man – people of Dan’s ilk.

          But in the world God created before the fall, and in the world to come, it is sin-free. In the “real” world God is blasphemed by people like Dan who claim He approves of sin. In the “real world” people like Dan “suppress the truth in their unrighteousness” and call evil good and good evil. Yes, Dan, in the “real” world homosexual behavior is as “natural” as every other sin. But somehow I seem to remember Paul saying to leave the “natural” man behind.

          However, in the context of the Romans passage, Paul is talking about “natural” sexual relations, i.e., the way God designed them to be between husband and wife, male and female. God did NOT design sexual relations for same-sex activities, and the very design of the human body proves that “natural” sexual relations are only between members of the opposite sex.

          Dan keeps bringing in the ridiculous “shell fish” argument as if it hasn’t been answered a zillion times. Which again demonstrates conclusively what an unteachable fool he is. And that is not an “ad hom” attack, because an ad hominem attacks the person rather than the argument. We’ve addressed the argument and are now identifying the problem – an unteachable fool.

  46. Glenn is right. “To suit his desires”.

    It’s human nature to wish some sins weren’t sins. There are decent gay folks out there. Just as I am a “decent” sinner.

    I have desires. How about as many women as I could physically handle? THAT’S in me! But, I know it’s wrong. BUT IT’S SUCH A NATURAL DESIRE! It is part of who I AM.

    I resist it. Other decent Christian guys may succumb. They DO succumb. Are they less worthy of God’s grace? Or my own? Of course not. I wish that all natural desires were not sins. I’m just not going to allow flawed logic or stretched interpretations to make me say “Well, I see now that not ALL adultery is wrong”.

    I’ll say this: I wish homosexuality was not strictly forbidden. I know how hard it was for my friends to live with the guilt. It’s a horrible thing to know that you’re natural tendencies are wrong in the view of thousands of years of biblical studies.

    I’ve also acted on what seemed natural at the time when I knew it went against the word of God. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling. I’m just not prepared to say that since the sin existed in my nature that it’s NOT a sin.

    Dan,

    Your “homosexuality IN pagan rituals” argument just doesn’t hold up. Wouldn’t it have been more clear for God to call the pagan rituals alltogether an “abomination”? Why point to one specific act and call that an abomination, if the act itself wasn’t specifically what was being referred to?

    • C2C…

      Glenn is right. “To suit his desires”.

      C2C, it may well be YOUR desire to wish that homosexuality wasn’t a sin, but I can tell you with some great deal of authority (since we’re speaking of ME), that factually, in the real world, it simply was NOT my desire. I can’t tell you how mistaken you are, based on real world evidence.

      Real World, 1; C2C, 0

      C2C…

      I wish that all natural desires were not sins.

      All “nature desires” are sins, is that what you’re saying?? The desire for your children to be healthy and happy, that is a natural desire, you aren’t saying that’s sinful, are you? The desire to be at peace and not oppressed, that is a natural human desire, you don’t really think that it’s a sin, do you? Demonstrably, reasonably, no, it’s not.

      Real World, 2; C2C, 0

      C2C…

      Why point to one specific act and call that an abomination, if the act itself wasn’t specifically what was being referred to?

      ? Like pointing to eating shrimp as an abomination? The Bible calls it that, but you’re not really suggesting that just because the Bible calls eating shrimp an abomination, that this means that anyone anywhere at any time who eats shrimp is engaging in an abomination, are you?

      And ONCE AGAIN, you’re begging the question. You’re assuming “men who lay with men” is referring to all gay behavior and then saying, “If the Bible didn’t call all gay behavior a sin, why would it call all behavior a sin…?” The Bible hasn’t called all gay behavior a sin, that is YOUR interpolation, extraction out of scripture something that isn’t there.

      And I still see NOT THE FIRST rational real world reason to suggest that two people living together faithfully and lovingly in a marriage relationship is in anyway harmful or obviously “bad,” when, from all I can see, it is only a rational and moral thing to support, self-evidently so.

      • I’m saying that I wish every natural desire would be allowed by God. But, God is good, and some natural desires are bad. And SOME are sins. Some are obviously wrong (the desire to punch someone in the face), and some SEEM relatively harmless.

        I’m a flawed human being. But I’m not so flawed as not being able to see that what the bible says is unnatural actually IS.

        Real world: Gay men are at almost infinitely greater risk of AIDS than am I. They ACT on their natural urges, and it hurts them.

        As for shrimp, maybe it is an abomination! I didn’t say it. God did. Whether the law was given to me or not. Whether the rule applies to me or not. Is it out of the realm of possibility that eating shrimp actually is an abomination? It seems like a relatively harmless thing to do, right? But there it is, in black and white with golden edges: it’s an abomination.

        Ok. He told the Israelites “don’t eat shrimp”. “don’t shave”. And now, we’re not under those laws. He did call a few things “abominations”. Was he wrong? Was he mistaken? Was He Lying? Why shouldn’t I believe that the true word of Almighty God on the subject of shrimp IS RIGHT? “It’s an abomination”!

        Full disclosure: I do not eat shrimp. The allergy induced vomiting is an abomination.

        • C2C…

          Real world: Gay men are at almost infinitely greater risk of AIDS than am I. They ACT on their natural urges, and it hurts them.

          In the real world, to the extent that it’s true that gay guys (but not lesbians) are more at risk for AIDS, the reason is because of promiscuity. Therefore, LOGICALLY SPEAKING, encouraging faithful, monogamous marriage is a rationally GOOD solution.

          Where is the mistake in that? That gay men are (perhaps) more prone to AIDS seems to be an argument in my favor, not yours.

          C2C…

          But, God is good, and some natural desires are bad. And SOME are sins.

          Ah, I am glad to see that we agree on this point. You’ve backed away from the all natural desires are sinful, and rightly so. Just a misstatement, no problem. Glad we’re on the same page there.

          C2C…

          As for shrimp, maybe it is an abomination! I didn’t say it. God did. Whether the law was given to me or not. Whether the rule applies to me or not. Is it out of the realm of possibility that eating shrimp actually is an abomination?

          Yes, it IS out of the realm of possibility that eating a particular food is “an abomination” before God – if by “abomination” you mean something that is inherently wickedly depraved. That would be a ridiculous conclulsion to reach. Just because a line appears in the Bible (eating shrimp is abominable) does not mean we must take it as a literal rule for all time. The Bible is not a rule book and the Holiness Code is not full of rules for all people in all times and places.

          Beyond just the rational moral reasoning that would tell us, “Eating a shrimp is not innately evil – this is self-evident!” we also have biblical support that tells us eating shrimp is not evil. “For it is not what goes in a person’s body that is sinful, but what comes OUT of the body…” (going from memory, there) and other passages that make it abundantly clear that EVEN THOUGH the OT is clear that eating shrimp is an abomination, it is not morally wrong to do so.

          It’s okay (and essential) to use our moral reasoning to strive for understanding. If we take the Bible as a literal rule book, we will have missed the point of the Bible ENTIRELY.

  47. No. Once again, for the zillionth time, eating shrimp is NOT, that is NOT, an abomination to God. The passage says that it was to be regarded as an abomination to the Israelites. That is an incredibly important distinction that the pro-homosexual lobby and their enablers (Dan) choose to ignore.

    Another important distinction is this “natural to them” nonsense, whereby Dan pretends there is logic in the idea that because a homosexual desires men then that makes it natural. It is not. It is disordered by virtue of the biological design of our bodies. To put it another way, it is as “natural” for a homosexual to desire men as it is for an insane guy to bark like a dog and bury his bone. Indeed, Dan would convict a guy who feels it is in his nature to be attracted to sheep.

    To say that Glenn and C2C are right in their understandings is obvious. More so is John’s description of Dan’s strained arguments. Mind-numbing.

  48. Dan, I’d like to go off on one more short tangent. If we disagree, I won’t argue (it’s already taken so long), but I’d just like to know what is your stance on abortion. Is it more moral to grant a woman the right not to be forced to use her body to support the life of another?

  49. With John’s permission…

    I view abortion as a medical issue and a freedom of religion issue on the end of life decisions continuum.

    I believe if someone is dying and in great pain and hooked to a machine keeping him alive, I believe he and his family should get to make the decision to remove him from the machine if they so choose. I don’t think gov’t has a right to interfere, that decision would be between the man, his family and their God and faith community.

    I believe IF the man were unconscious/unable to speak for himself, the responsibility on how to deal with his connection to that machine should still belong to the family, not the gov’t. I’d be strongly opposed to the gov’t stepping in and saying, “Some people believe that God would be opposed to you disconnecting that man from that machine that is keeping him alive and in pain, therefore, you can’t disconnect him.” That would be a violation of that family’s religious liberty, it seems to me and an example of gov’t intrusion in areas it ought not intrude.

    Abortion is like that, to me – a medical question touching on freedom of religion and individual conscience issues, not a matter for the gov’t to interfere with.

    Now, to be clear: I am VERY WARY of this option. Clearly, if rich Aunt Edna were 70 years old and in perfect health, of course, we’d all be opposed to her family “deciding” that it was time for her to be “put down,” in a blatant attempt to get her money! The right of the family to make their own medical decisions is not limitless.

    Similarly, I hold a great concern that some (probably relatively few) people might be tempted to use abortion as a form of birth control. “Ah, I didn’t mean to get pregnant. No problem! Just a quickie abortion and I’m gold!” and do so without much serious thought.

    Life and end of life issues are not something to be taken lightly and I’m supportive of efforts to help people grasp the sobriety of their decisions. But because I take life and end of life issues seriously, I’d rather leave those in the hands of The People – families, communities and their faith institutions, not the gov’t.

    That in a brief nutshell is my position on abortion.

  50. Wow. If Dan isn’t an example of moral decline in our culture, I don’t know who is. There is a massive, galaxy wide difference between an old person deciding to end his life, either verbally or by having had his position made known earlier, and someone taking the life of a defenseless child. And yes, most abortions are indeed made with very little real thought, very little true discussion between the woman and her doctor (especially since most abortions are performed in the mills where little contact between them actually takes place [based on testimonies of women who had them] ). I would say there are few women who have had abortions who didn’t already have abortion as a ready remedy for a pregnancy they did not want when they willfully and eagerly dropped their panties.

    But of course, like with homosexual behavior, the issue isn’t so much abortion as a sign of moral decline. Abortion is a consequence of the moral decline that led to the behavior that resulted in the unwanted pregnancy. Some like to focus their attention on the practice of aborting human beings, when the focus should be on the sexual activity that resulted in the pregnancy. So few want to suggest that people practice self-denial or delayed gratification in any aspect of their lives, but in the area of sexual behavior, one is a “SexNazi” as one idiot leftie likes to call me. That, too, indicates a decided decline of morality that to suggest a more moral lifestyle indicates something negative about the person making the suggestion.

    Like with homosexual behavior, the cheap rationalizations for maintaining abortion as a legal procedure, available for any reason at any time, demonstrate that moral decline is in full swing. In both areas, personal desires and the demand that they must be fulfilled, to the extent that we must now regard them as acceptable, if not totally righteous, are obvious indicators of moral decline in our culture. There have always been homosexuals trying to fulfill and justify their desires. There have always been the promiscuous doing the same, There have always been women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. Unlike a time not so long ago, there is does not exist the same level of societal condemnation for such selfish behaviors. That is to say, even while these desires existed and where acted upon, the culture didn’t accept it at all as decent, appropriate or righteous behavior. Now…..?

Any Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: