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Old 11-19-2006, 10:42 AM   #226
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar



This is a sad point of view. For you are saying that everyone born of a different region and religion won't see heaven. A very limited view of God's power...

Maybe. But as a classical Buddhist - my friend believes that nobody is going to heaven becasue it doesn't exist. Essentially, true "reality" is nothingness...everything else is illusion.
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:54 AM   #227
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I know you seem puzzled by all the vitriol being thrown at you, but, frankly, you're pretty much pushing all the wrong buttons here. Almost everything you say sounds like it came from an ex-gay pamphlet, which adds to the offensiveness to anyone who is gay.

You can't "leave homosexuality" anymore than you can "leave heterosexuality." Sure, you can put on a mask and pretend to be someone you're not, put a smile on your face when you're talking to someone you know is anti-gay, and even lie to yourself. Actors do it all the time, albeit in a benign way.

I grew up in a fairly religious environment, and, certainly, there were many years where I refused to accept it, prayed, and the whole Christian gambit. But, you see, it did no good at all. Nothing changed. And I'm not about to put on a mask and masquerade as a heterosexual when I'm really not. You see, while I dispute all these supposedly anti-gay Biblical passages, one thing I do know for sure is that lying is a sin.

Many years ago, I once prayed for guidance as to what God really felt. And that night, I had a dream that I was going to hell. Odd dream, right? So, horrified, I asked why I had been condemned. And I was told that it was not because of my sexuality, but because of all the years I had ridiculed and made fun of my sister, which, back at that time, I had done for many years without a second thought, really.

And, frankly, as horrifying of a dream like that would be, it was refreshing. I then decided that I would stop making fun of my sister, and realized, as I continue to do now, that God could frankly care less about some ritualistic notions of sexuality. He's merely interested in how lovingly we live our lives and how we treat the least of our neighbors.

If that's the case, I think that there's plenty of conservative Christians in for a rude awakening when they die, considering the absolute zeal they pursue in belittling homosexuals. It's not much different than how I used to treat my sister, in the end. You just don't have a face to look at.
First off, it's great to hear you talk about God and a relationship you seem to be working on with him. Honestly, it's cool that you're open to that, despite what you've faced with Christians.

In posting here, I'm not trying to push buttons or piss anyone off. I'm just throwing out my opinon like anyone else in FYM and trying to gain better understanding through the dialogue and debate. If I've hurt anyone, I plead for your forgiveness.
And again, just because I have a different perspective doesn't mean I'm against you as a person, hateful toward gays or even not open to refining my perspective. I've stated this countless times here, but it seems to be overlooked.

As far as these "formerly gay" people -- the one's I've heard speak clearly state they're not acting and they have in fact been changed through God's grace. Do you think they're just lying or brainwashed? (I'm really asking you, not just trying to argue. I want to know your thoughts.)
Also, at the time of your dream, had you accepted Christ into your heart? If you had, I have to tell you what you were "told" wasn't Biblical. A person who had accepted Christ wouldn't be told they were going to hell for ridiculing their sister. At the very least, I think the Spirit would've moved you to seek forgiveness for it from him and your sister. I know this probably angers you that I'm disecting your spiritual experience, but if you think about it if you're being told something that contradicts what God says in the Bible, it may not be of God.
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:08 AM   #228
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That's good you're questioning what happens after we die, but keep in mind that truth isn't always what's appealing to us. Truth, especially spiritual truth, shouldn't be in fashion.


to be a little more clear (and this is a response to AEON as well) it's not that Buddhism says that when you die that's it, it's that notions of birth and death are irrelevant, or that they only matter in this specific human context.

what does bother me about many understandings and practices of christianity is the obsession with Heaven and making sure that you're Jesus's best buddy when you die -- it's all very Protestant Work Ethic, suffer now and reap later, Arbeit Macht Frei, that sort of thing.

not that i don't live my life in such a manner, because being a good New Englander, i certainly do consciously take a bit of sadistic pleasure in suffering (usually it's related to work, that i'm paying my dues, etc.) with the implicit understanding that it will all pay off later so, patience young Luke.
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:29 AM   #229
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As far as these "formerly gay" people -- the one's I've heard speak clearly state they're not acting and they have in fact been changed through God's grace. Do you think they're just lying or brainwashed? (I'm really asking you, not just trying to argue. I want to know your thoughts.)


i know that this was addressed to Melon, but the research would support -- and the inability of most "ex-gays" to not "relapse" for lack of a better word -- would point to the fact that they have indeed been brainwashed, or simply engaging in magical thinking that enables them to deal with a society that has been overtly hostile to their true selves. if i had grown up in a very religous household and society where gay people were regarded as anathema, you can be damned sure that i'd probably do whatever i could to not be a source of shame and embarassment to my parents, and i can see the temptation of "ex-gay" therapy for gay people from religious backgrounds.

at best, "ex-gay" therapy might help someone achieve a life of celibacy but it never, ever fully eliminates constitutional attraction -- physical and emotional -- to the same gender. many of the leaders of these groups have been spotted in gay bars, having gay relationships, all while publically talking about how the love of Jesus has changed them. shall we even begin to talk about Rev. Haggert? the reality isn't exactly a great advertisement for the love of Jesus, is it?

can you understand not just the distrust but the utter contempt many gay people have for organized religion? can we really blame Elton John for his comments?

having seen, firsthand, the emotional devastation that "the Grace of God" or "the love of Jesus" has done to many gay people, how pernicious such phrases are, how insidious it is to tell someone that, gee, if you just prayed a little bit harder, if you loved sweet Jesus just a little bit more, maybe THEN you'd be pallatable.

and just typing this stuff out makes me insanely angry. it makes me contemptuous of religion, and *especially* Christianity (as it gets applied in this American context). can you see how you all come across as, essentially, snake oil salesmen peddling self-loathing and shame?
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:47 AM   #230
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BTW, is that NB who is no longer posting here? Why?
NB and I have been in contact. My understanding is he is taking a break.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:07 PM   #231
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and just typing this stuff out makes me insanely angry. it makes me contemptuous of religion, and *especially* Christianity (as it gets applied in this American context). can you see how you all come across as, essentially, snake oil salesmen peddling self-loathing and shame?
Here in Northern California - just above San Francisco - there are many people who are Christians and gay. They are not singled out because they are gay. They are not admonished. They are not treated any better or worse than any other Christians. Yes - I am talking about "conservative" denominations.

The focus is a relationship with Christ - and not on sin - as it should be. Christ and Christ alone has the power to defeat sin. All we need to do is allow Him to do His work in and through us.

This does not mean that these denominations "condone" homosexual sex - for it is considered adultery. But we certainly don't single it out.

As a matter of fact, about the only place I find myself talking about it is here in FYM, only because it is such a "hot" topic. If a gay Christian came to me asking for Biblical references or advice – I would certainly share my view in as graceful way as possible. But I would also remind him that Jesus died for him as much as I died for me. That Christ is more concerned with a relationship with you. Only Satan keeps propping up sins before a believers eyes. Jesus is concerned with our future – not out past.

Irvine, if you were in my church – and if you wanted to know more about what the Bible says about being gay – I would actually say don’t worry about all that right now. Come and see Jesus Christ, get to know Him, build that everlasting relationship. Once we have faith, we are a brand new creation – perfect and blameless yet still growing.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:21 PM   #232
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Originally posted by coemgen
As far as these "formerly gay" people -- the one's I've heard speak clearly state they're not acting and they have in fact been changed through God's grace. Do you think they're just lying or brainwashed? (I'm really asking you, not just trying to argue. I want to know your thoughts.)
95% of it is a semantical game. If I grab a random woman, say that we're together, and put a smile on my face every time we're in public, I'm successfully an "ex-gay." Nevermind that I feel absolutely nothing for her, because emotional attraction means nothing. It's the image that counts.

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Also, at the time of your dream, had you accepted Christ into your heart? If you had, I have to tell you what you were "told" wasn't Biblical. A person who had accepted Christ wouldn't be told they were going to hell for ridiculing their sister. At the very least, I think the Spirit would've moved you to seek forgiveness for it from him and your sister. I know this probably angers you that I'm disecting your spiritual experience, but if you think about it if you're being told something that contradicts what God says in the Bible, it may not be of God.
Ah yes. I was prepared for this exact response, which is why I never like to share any religious experiences here. The "it's not really God, because then it would require me to question my monolithic beliefs" argument. I come from a Catholic background, which...

1) Has openly and resoundingly rejected Biblical fundamentalism.

2) Believes that faith and good works are necessary for salvation.

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.' See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." - James 2:14-26

3) Considers the entire notion of born-again Christianity to be silly cult-like behavior.

So think about that the next time you want to attribute my spirituality to Satan, will you?

For what it's worth, I consider the dream to be a metaphor, not a literal. At the time (which, mind you, was a few years before I did all this Biblical research), here I had been fixated on sexuality being my downfall, and here, my worst behavior was in how I was treating my fellow neighbor.

"Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." - Romans 13:10

And that's why I take issue with all these Christians focused on homosexuality. A gay Christian that loves is fulfilling the law, however many commandments or rituals there may be in this world.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:31 PM   #233
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Originally posted by AEON
This does not mean that these denominations "condone" homosexual sex - for it is considered adultery. But we certainly don't single it out.
As I mentioned earlier, I take issue with the extrapolation that adultery is anything more than a married person cheating on his/her spouse. That is the classical definition and the current definition, even if the current definition is less sexist than the classical.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery

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In Judaism, adultery was forbidden in the seventh commandment of the Ten Commandments, but this did not apply to a married man having relations with an unmarried woman. Only a married woman engaging in sexual intercourse with another man counted as adultery, in which case both the woman and the man were considered guilty.

In the Mosaic Law, as in the old Roman Law, adultery meant only the carnal intercourse of a wife with a man who was not her lawful husband. The intercourse of a married man with a single woman was not accounted adultery, but fornication. The penal statute on the subject, in Leviticus, xx, 10, makes this clear: "If any man commit adultery with the wife of another and defile his neighbor's wife let them be put to death both the adulterer and the adulteress" (see also Deuteronomy 22:22). This was quite in keeping with the prevailing practice of polygamy among the Israelites.

In halakha (Jewish Law) the penalty for adultery is stoning for both the man and the woman, but this is only enacted when there are two independent witnesses who warned the offenders prior to the crime being committed. Today, a man is not allowed to continue living with a wife who cheated on him, and is obliged to give her a get or bill of divorce written by a sofer or scribe.
If you have an issue with fornication, then fine. Just don't go around calling it "adultery," because it is factually incorrect.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:33 PM   #234
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Here in Northern California - just above San Francisco - there are many people who are Christians and gay. They are not singled out because they are gay. They are not admonished. They are not treated any better or worse than any other Christians. Yes - I am talking about "conservative" denominations.

The focus is a relationship with Christ - and not on sin - as it should be. Christ and Christ alone has the power to defeat sin. All we need to do is allow Him to do His work in and through us.

This does not mean that these denominations "condone" homosexual sex - for it is considered adultery. But we certainly don't single it out.

As a matter of fact, about the only place I find myself talking about it is here in FYM, only because it is such a "hot" topic. If a gay Christian came to me asking for Biblical references or advice – I would certainly share my view in as graceful way as possible. But I would also remind him that Jesus died for him as much as I died for me. That Christ is more concerned with a relationship with you. Only Satan keeps propping up sins before a believers eyes. Jesus is concerned with our future – not out past.

Irvine, if you were in my church – and if you wanted to know more about what the Bible says about being gay – I would actually say don’t worry about all that right now. Come and see Jesus Christ, get to know Him, build that everlasting relationship. Once we have faith, we are a brand new creation – perfect and blameless yet still growing.


and it's only through FYM that i'm aware that liberal christianity is out there, and it can be a healthy thing (though there are several gay friendly churches in DC, and i'm sure in most major metropolitan areas).

what i was getting so insane about was the ex-gay movement, which is the centerpiece of the Dobson-esque Chistanity that has placed homophobia at the very centerpiece of it's social agenda.

and if homosexual sex is considered adultery, why not let us get married?

or do we have to remain celibate and sexless and unable to ever have a truly adult, loving relationship?

last night, i had genuinely revelatory moment of sincere, profound adult romantic love.

i cannot see how that is sinful, and if Jesus himself were to come down and tell me that it were, i'd tell him he was wrong.

i really would.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:35 PM   #235
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Just a few samples of the source of salvation. The idea that "works" are required for salvation is the main reason I left the Catholic Church.

James was referring to those Christians that claimed faith but had zero change - they kept on living as they did before claiming that this was "freedom in Christ" because they had simply said with their lips that Jesus was Lord.

"Works" are evidence of your faith - but it is not what saves you. Faith is the point of salvation - works are the evidence.


John 6:28-29

Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:37 PM   #236
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Originally posted by Ormus

If you have an issue with fornication, then fine. Just don't go around calling it "adultery," because it is factually incorrect.


just curious, but if we are to take these definitions of adultery as accurate (and i am inclined to do so), where do we get the likewise obsession with pre-marital sex?
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:46 PM   #237
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Originally posted by Ormus



If you have an issue with fornication, then fine. Just don't go around calling it "adultery," because it is factually incorrect.

I hold a different view of the term than wikipedia. So does a mountain of textbooks in my library...

The people of Israel obvious went through several stages of understanding God and His commandments. If they "got it" the first time around, there would have been no need for the prophets...and eventually Jesus Christ.

As I've said before, many times, Jesus and Paul clarify the term. And Jesus even went so far as to say that even if a man lusts - he commits adultery.

Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

As a Christian - I am going with what Jesus says over what Melon cut and pastes from wikipedia.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:59 PM   #238
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Originally posted by AEON
Just a few samples of the source of salvation. The idea that "works" are required for salvation is the main reason I left the Catholic Church.

James was referring to those Christians that claimed faith but had zero change - they kept on living as they did before claiming that this was "freedom in Christ" because they had simply said with their lips that Jesus was Lord.

"Works" are evidence of your faith - but it is not what saves you. Faith is the point of salvation - works are the evidence.


John 6:28-29

Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Here is where an understanding of the early Christian church would do everyone good. The New Testament is a conglomerate of Jewish Christian and Gentile Christian texts.

When James stated that faith and good works are required for salvation, it would have been just that: faith and good works required for salvation, as that was a key tenet of Jewish Christianity (and considering that St. Peter and St. James were the leaders of the Jewish Christian "Church of Jerusalem," we don't have to quibble over the origin of the book's namesake). Your interpretation of James to make it compatible with the Gentile Christian concept of faith only for salvation, is an example of revisionism. And, indeed, every quote you cite here comes from the overwhelmingly Gentile Christian content of the New Testament, as St. Paul was its leader.

As Jewish Christianity was wiped out by the end of the second century A.D., it's not entirely clear why they incorporated Jewish Christian texts into the New Testament canon. In some cases, such as the Gospel of Matthew, Gentile Christians heavily edited it to conform to their theology, which is evident in all the "law and the prophets" arguing that goes on in that book.

Jewish Christian: "'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" - Matthew 5:17-19

This passage would have stated the Jewish Christian theology that all Christians need to follow all Jewish laws and rituals, down to prohibitions against shellfish and wearing multi-fibered clothing.

Gentile Christian: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:12

This passage was a later addition to the Gospel of Matthew to negate Matthew 5. In other words, a reader would originally have defined Matthew 5 as meaning that the entirety of the "law and the prophets" referred to a full observance of the Mosaic Law. Matthew 7, instead, defines the "law and the prophets" as referring to the Golden Rule, which, in St. Paul's Gentile Christian, Church of Antioch, was the only commandment. In fact, many of his followers, at the time of the Biblical canon, wanted their Bible to consist only of the Gentile Christian gospels--Mark, Luke, and John--and the Pauline epistles. That's it!

Unfortunately, most modern Christians tend to have complete disregard for historical context with the Bible, and would either see a direct contradiction or would try to explain away James in light of Gentile Christian theology. And you can't. You have to accept that there were two different Christian sects in those days, and accept that there were many issues that they flat out did not agree upon.
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:05 PM   #239
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As I've said before, many times, Jesus and Paul clarify the term. And Jesus even went so far as to say that even if a man lusts - he commits adultery.

Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
I find it most appropriate that you quoted from one of the most Jewish Christian chapters in the entire New Testament.

I think he probably meant "married man." His entire audience would have been married, as it was custom for everyone to be married by puberty. The chances for fornication, in the true sense of the world, would have been nil.
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:30 PM   #240
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Here is where an understanding of the early Christian church would do everyone good. The New Testament is a conglomerate of Jewish Christian and Gentile Christian texts.
.
Of course there were different Christian communities. One only needs to read the Book of Acts to see this.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus


When James stated that faith and good works are required for salvation, it would have been just that: faith and good works required for salvation, as that was a key tenet of Jewish Christianity (and considering that St. Peter and St. James were the leaders of the Jewish Christian "Church of Jerusalem," we don't have to quibble over the origin of the book's namesake). Your interpretation of James to make it compatible with the Gentile Christian concept of faith only for salvation, is an example of revisionism. And, indeed, every quote you cite here comes from the overwhelmingly Gentile Christian content of the New Testament, as St. Paul was its leader.
Well, the quote from Jesus Christ and written in the Gospel of John – written by John. I know of no conservative or liberal resource that asserts Paul was the writer of the Gospel of John.

I do not see how James is contradicting anything Paul or Jesus claimed about faith being the source of salvation. What James is arguing is that those who don’t have works obviously do not have faith (their faith is ‘dead’).



Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus


As Jewish Christianity was wiped out by the end of the second century A.D., it's not entirely clear why they incorporated Jewish Christian texts into the New Testament canon. In some cases, such as the Gospel of Matthew, Gentile Christians heavily edited it to conform to their theology, which is evident in all the "law and the prophets" arguing that goes on in that book.

Jewish Christian: "'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" - Matthew 5:17-19

Law = God’s eternal law (10 commandments).

Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus

This passage would have stated the Jewish Christian theology that all Christians need to follow all Jewish laws and rituals, down to prohibitions against shellfish and wearing multi-fibered clothing.

Gentile Christian: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:12

The 10 commandments can be summarized by loving God (first four commandments) and loving others (last six commandments).

Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus

This passage was a later addition to the Gospel of Matthew to negate Matthew 5. In other words, a reader would originally have defined Matthew 5 as meaning that the entirety of the "law and the prophets" referred to a full observance of the Mosaic Law. Matthew 7, instead, defines the "law and the prophets" as referring to the Golden Rule, which, in St. Paul's Gentile Christian, Church of Antioch, was the only commandment. In fact, many of his followers, at the time of the Biblical canon, wanted their Bible to consist only of the Gentile Christian gospels--Mark, Luke, and John--and the Pauline epistles. That's it!
Yes, there were many that fought to have different books put into the canon – and to leave others out. What is you point other than there was (and still is) disagreement? This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

For the longest time I wanted to leave the OT out of the Bible. It was only through the power of the Holy Spirit did I begin to see the “Good News” in the OT.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus


Unfortunately, most modern Christians tend to have complete disregard for historical context with the Bible, and would either see a direct contradiction or would try to explain away James in light of Gentile Christian theology. And you can't. You have to accept that there were two different Christian sects in those days, and accept that there were many issues that they flat out did not agree upon.
To suggest that the modern Christian scholars are not aware and study the different early Christian communities is simply wrong – and disrespectful. What you’ve written is nothing new or earth shattering – it can be found in the margins of any Study Bible.

I find it a bit ironic that you seem to enjoy attempting to discredit the Bible while at the same time conveniently use it to support a view that “fits” into your personalized theology.
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