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Old 03-01-2002, 03:32 AM   #76
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Old 03-01-2002, 05:48 AM   #77
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Did God create us all equally?
Does God love us all equally?
Did He make us, every single one of us as we are?
Is it a gift from God to love and be loved? One of the greatest gifts He could give us. He let us all love each other differently.

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Old 03-01-2002, 10:52 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I believe we should agree to disagree, but we should also be able to continue this discussion in a civilized manner. Either way, you have made remarks that I must be allowed to address.
Well, when I said I wanted a break from this forum, I did mean it. However, I will address this briefly. What can I say? It addresses a lot that I just can't let go.

Quote:
And I will also fight arguments that suggest the Bible condones homosexuality. Most of these arguments strike me as just as unfounded as the argument above, and the probable result of biased interpretation in order to produce a desired result. Beyond that, the question of homosexuality's morality is a serious one, far more serious than transubstantiation.
Quite honestly, the "pro-gay" texts were simply to show alternate theory. Perhaps I never made that clear enough. Even the sources I picked these up from have made it very clear that it can never be conclusively made. Perhaps David and Jonathan had the very naively, quasi-erotic Victorian-style friendship. Who knows. Either way, it can never be definitely pronounced, because I believe that they had no such concept as we do today.

The "anti-gay" texts, though, I still maintain as flimsy. I do not believe that the Bible addresses homosexuality as we currently define it to be. Homosexuality, to us, involves a lifelong relationship. Or, at least, a same-sex counterpart to the way heterosexuality is practiced. Homosexuality, to the Biblical era, was, first and foremost, a pagan cult ritual. It happened during the Old Testament amongst their pagan neighbors that they were fighting against and amongst the Greeks during the New Testament. The idea, then, was that to partake in these temple orgies would bring you closer to the gods. However, these "male temple prostitutes" were not gay. They had sex with men and women.

The other belief was that "homosexuals" were straight people changed into gay people during times of great evil. This belief is also accented in Romans 1:26-27, which you quoted. However, I still stand by my assertion that this quote was mostly used to make a point to his Jewish Christian audience, rather than a strict moral pronouncement on St. Paul's part. But I digress...once the evil parted, these people would turn back straight.

Knowing this, it is honestly no wonder that, perhaps, the people of the Biblical era were so opposed to homosexual activity. As such, I believe their disgust was at the hands of the rituals behind them, rather than the same-sex acts itself. Their disgust was at the pagan idol worship or the "great evil" that caused regular "straight people" to "turn gay."

Of course, modern Biblical translations just sloppily put in "homosexual," which I think is a big mistake, because it refers to the modern definition, which was coined in 1874 in Germany. It removes the context in which these passages were written. However, this is not simply a modern problem; this has been a problem for centuries, trying to create a vernacular translation for words that simply did not have a literal counterpart in other languages, with translators who were heavily biased against it since about the time of the Crusades. Unfortunately again, most texts before that time simply don't exist.

Most interestingly, the Christian Church maintained large libraries of Greco-Roman "homosexual" literature around the eighth and ninth centuries A.D. that everyone was encouraged to study. Funny how times have changed.

Quote:
2. The immorality of homosexuality should not alter one's behavior towards homosexuals.

I don't if I've emphasized this point enough, so I will elaborate: homosexuality, even if it is a sin, does not encroach on the rights of others, and should remain legal and receive legal recognition equivalent to marriage.

I also have friends - friends, not just acquaintances - who are either homosexual or bisexual. I also have friends who debauch themselves, getting drunk every weekend, and friends who occasionally gamble. I myself have problems controlling my anger and trusting God. Nobody's perfect. But when I'm hungry, I feed myself; cold, I put on a jacket. Imperfect as I am, I still care for myself. Further my friends' sinful behavior doesn't affect me, so I treat my gambling and drinking friends as good friends. And I treat my gay friends the same way - impartially.
Well, I'm glad you are at least tolerant and can separate church from state in this instance.

Quote:
Now, on to your points, briefly.

Okay, the Catholic Church condemns homosexuality because of two saints, and they (the church? the saints?) condemn fundamentalism. It doesn't mean they're right. You cannot simply go from the Catholics believe the books aren't meant to be taken literally to the assertion that they REALLY aren't to be taken that way, that the authors "did not create it for the intentions of being taken literally, but for guidance."
Well, I wholeheartedly believe this, just as much as you wholeheartedly believe in what you do. Why I believe the Church more than other sources is because they have been master historians over the centuries. It is easy for them to do this, because the Catholic Church is the direct descendent of the early church that created the New Testament. If you'd like a history of the New Testament canon, read this: http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ45.HTM .

It was mostly done to prevent people from reading heretical texts (Gnostic and Arian texts specifically), and, even then, the last canon council (Council of Carthage) in A.D. 397 never fully agreed. Even after this, the Church continued to make pronouncements that would be considered against the literal text of the Bible. That is why I know that the Bible, at least to the creators of the New Testament canon, was only meant for guidance and uniformity against heretics.

However, the Church was still free to make new or different moral pronouncements as needed. Of course, like anything, religion could go too far, but that is why St. Thomas Aquinas came up with the then revolutionary idea of conscience being the ultimate moral guide, superceding even the Church, and to be followed even if it warranted excommunication.

Quote:
The obvious question there is, how far? Are we still to believe that Christ is the resurrected Son of God? Or that at least he was in fact crucified? Or that he actually existed? And if the Bible's one giant storybook, why have any hope for the hereafter?
In time, you learn to discern what is essential and what is unessential. I think you know how to do this. When St. Paul made a pronouncement against women speaking up in church, I think we'd all agree that this is unessential for faith. In fact, if you want to know the bare essentials, look up the Nicene Creed, created in the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, to combat against Arianism.
http://www.makedisciples.com/nicene-c.html

This is considered the essentials for Christian faith. Not once does it say that the Bible has to be taken literally, nor does it say that homosexuals aren't allowed. However, we still have a lot of our own cultural biases against sex or anything pleasureful, as originated from St. Augustine and later stoics.

Quote:
Further, many Protestants see the authority of the Pope, even over the Bible itself, as a power play on the part of the Church. So it's not obvious that fundamentalism is to blame for the ills caused by Christianity.
Understandable, but I disagree in part. Why the Pope is necessary was for the same reason that the rest of Europe was imperial: for order. It is quite amazing, when you think about it, that Christianity survived through the fall of the Roman Empire into the anarchy of the Dark Ages through the Middle Ages up to today. However, the corruption was not caused by the Papacy, per se, but by a trend that started with Emperor Constantine in A.D. 313, whereas imperial leaders felt they had just as much power to make moral pronouncements as the Pope. Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire took it upon himself to rid the world of religious statues (popular in the West) and icons (popular in Eastern Orthodoxy), as he deemed it to be idolatry.

Unfortunately, Christianity was not strong enough to rid itself of imperial infiltration, and, by the Reformation, the Church was, essentially, completely run by imperial noblemen who had absolutely no regard to morality and just saw it as another kingdom that they could abuse all their own just like back home. Cardinals, bishops, and even Popes...all appointed/elected by noblemen appointed in these positions by earthly kingdoms, who had no place in religion in the first place.

So, really, it is no wonder the Reformation began. Unfortunately, the main originator of fundamentalism, John Calvin (the originator of most of America's Protestant religions), wasn't clean himself. He used fundamentalism as a power trip. As he escaped to Geneva, Switzerland to get away from the Papal Inquisition in France, he stormed his way in to create his own Inquisition, and a "theocratic" autocratic state of his own.

Quote:
Fact is, many of the problems caused by Christianity were the result of fundamentalism, but not only taking the Word of God at face value, but misunderstanding what it is saying. Many took Paul literally and approved slavery, true enough. But I take Paul at his word and condemn the institution.
Well, then you really aren't taking the Bible completely literally. You are making your own judgment calls. Not that I condemn that, because I think that is what we all have to do in regards to the Bible.

Quote:
Now that I have had the opportunity to defend my beliefs, I am satisfied. Unless you wish to reply, this discussion is over.
I'm very pleased that we have been able to resume civility in a discussion that wholly went awry.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 03-01-2002, 11:00 AM   #79
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Well, I disagree with your specific wording of the analogy. If I may:

The "Master Chef," to me are the writers of the Bible. I do not believe that God, specifically, wrote the Bible. Secondly, I don't think that the recipe is perfect ("the recipe" is a hypothetical one...not the same one you wrote). It tastes a little bland and some of the ingredients are a reflection of the times they were written. Where am I going to find pheasant? Pomegranates? That meat seems a little undercooked to be safe, knowing what we know now about food poisoning. However, it still is salvageable. I add a few different ingredients that are more applicable to today and the meal comes out perfect.

I would be lost without the original recipe, but it doesn't mean that I shouldn't be free to make changes, as I am not just simply an amateur chef who just learned how to cook. The amateur chef will have to resort to the original recipe, otherwise he is lost. However, I've been cooking for my entire life, so I know which ingredients are essential and which ones can easily be substituted. That is the difference.

Melon

------------------
"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time

[This message has been edited by melon (edited 03-01-2002).]
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Old 03-01-2002, 02:56 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:

Unfortunately, I don't know Greek or Hebrew, but I don't believe that our modern translations are that far off that understanding the Bible REQUIRES such knowledge.

It always amazes me how many excuses people come up with when you challenge them to research and examine a particular issue further, instead of varifying it for themselves. Instead, they want to give me a lesson on biblical scriptures relating to homosexuality, as if I had never read these verses and researched it extensively myself. They assume that it is impossible to be a Christian and hold a completely different point of view.

God and homosexuality are not the problem here. Bigotry and discrimination is. It's not the gay and lesbian community or even God's fault that mankind is so intolerant.


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Old 03-01-2002, 02:59 PM   #81
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I think I've mentioned this a LONG time ago, but it bears repeating now: there are different ways to be literal. As an example, let's take John 14:6.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Now, I see three ways you can take this verse literally:

1. You can take it as a literal description of what happened, that Christ actually said what is attributed to him.

2. You can take literally what Christ said, that He is the way - in other words, he is literally a paved road.

3. You can take the underlying meaning as being the literal Truth, a communication from God.

I believe, in this case, (2) is unreasonable; Christ liked to speak in metaphors, and this is clearly another instance of figurative language. But I DO believe (1) is reasonable - that Christ actually said "I am the way, etc." And I also believe that (3) is reasonable; one can believe, as I do, that Christ REALLY, TRULY is the only conduit to God.

(I'm not sure what that means for Buddhists. They too may have access to God, but I still believe it is through the sacrifice Christ made, a sacrifice that the Buddhists may not even explicitly acknowledge. But that is mere guesswork on my part.)

The distinction is relevant to your reply, and I will mention it as appropriate.

Quote:
The "anti-gay" texts, though, I still maintain as flimsy. I do not believe that the Bible addresses homosexuality as we currently define it to be. Homosexuality, to us, involves a lifelong relationship. Or, at least, a same-sex counterpart to the way heterosexuality is practiced. Homosexuality, to the Biblical era, was, first and foremost, a pagan cult ritual. It happened during the Old Testament amongst their pagan neighbors that they were fighting against and amongst the Greeks during the New Testament. The idea, then, was that to partake in these temple orgies would bring you closer to the gods. However, these "male temple prostitutes" were not gay. They had sex with men and women.
You may be right that the verses that supposedly prohibit homosexuality are more likely concerned with pagan rituals. Either way, I still assert the idea that God's plan is strictly heterosexual, that following God's plan is a required demonstration of your love for Him, and thus anything outside that plan is a sin.

Again, I think His will is heterosexual monogamy or chastity, and that precludes a whole SLEW of thoughts and behaviors, not just homosexuality: spouse swapping, even consensually; pedophilia which moves the relationship from equal partners to predator and prey; and bestiality, which moves God's plan even out of the realm of the same species. Even if these practices aren't explicitly restricted, they probably still qualify as violations of God's will.

Hence, there's little actual dependence on proof so concrete that you can quote it, chapter and verse.

Quote:
Most interestingly, the Christian Church maintained large libraries of Greco-Roman "homosexual" literature around the eighth and ninth centuries A.D. that everyone was encouraged to study. Funny how times have changed.
Interesting, yes. Proof that the behavior was approved by the Chruch, maybe. Proof that God also approved? NOT REALLY. I believe Fundamentalist Protestants are not the only ones capable of straying from the Bible's original intent. They defended slavery with mistranslated scripture; the Catholic Church could have made a similar mistake.

Quote:
It was mostly done to prevent people from reading heretical texts (Gnostic and Arian texts specifically), and, even then, the last canon council (Council of Carthage) in A.D. 397 never fully agreed. Even after this, the Church continued to make pronouncements that would be considered against the literal text of the Bible. That is why I know that the Bible, at least to the creators of the New Testament canon, was only meant for guidance and uniformity against heretics.

However, the Church was still free to make new or different moral pronouncements as needed. Of course, like anything, religion could go too far, but that is why St. Thomas Aquinas came up with the then revolutionary idea of conscience being the ultimate moral guide, superceding even the Church, and to be followed even if it warranted excommunication.
I wonder what you mean by "creators of New Testament canon," whether you mean those who wrote the Gospels, epistles, etc., or those that organized them into the New Testament. I have trouble believing that the WRITERS didn't believe everything they said in the Gospels, etc.

And, even if the Church's pronouncements contradict a literal interpretation of the Bible, they could still fit with a more metaphorical interpretation on the assumption that they still believe it's literally the Word of God. ("Literally the Word of God," as opposed to "The Word of God is literal;" see above.)

And if the pronouncements are truly "new" or "different", to the point that they cannot be reconciled with the Bible itself, I personally side with the Bible.

All that said, Aquinas's idea of guidance by conscience wasn't all THAT novel:

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you...

"These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:16-17, 25-26.

Quote:
In time, you learn to discern what is essential and what is unessential. I think you know how to do this. When St. Paul made a pronouncement against women speaking up in church, I think we'd all agree that this is unessential for faith. In fact, if you want to know the bare essentials, look up the Nicene Creed, created in the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, to combat against Arianism. http://www.makedisciples.com/nicene-c.html

This is considered the essentials for Christian faith. Not once does it say that the Bible has to be taken literally, nor does it say that homosexuals aren't allowed. However, we still have a lot of our own cultural biases against sex or anything pleasureful, as originated from St. Augustine and later stoics.
This is another time where "literal" can mean different things. Much of the Bible is to be taken literally, particularly the recounting of events from mid-Genesis to the end of Acts. But the entire Bible is to be taken as the literal message of God, save for the occasional, probably minor errors in translation, etc.

Again, the Bible may not say that homosexuality is specifically outlawed, but my assertion is that it need not be - all that needs to be shown is that God's plan precludes the possibility.

And, cultural biases against pleasure aside, my problems with homosexuality do not stem from any problems with pleasure. I believe that sex is SUPPOSED to be pleasurable (see the Song of Soloman), but it is to be enjoyed within the limits that God set. Strange as it is, I simultaneously look forward to making love with my girlfriend once we're married and have no qualms waiting until then; thankfully, I FEEL that following God's plan of waiting until marriage is truly the best plan.

Quote:
So, really, it is no wonder the Reformation began. Unfortunately, the main originator of fundamentalism, John Calvin (the originator of most of America's Protestant religions), wasn't clean himself. He used fundamentalism as a power trip. As he escaped to Geneva, Switzerland to get away from the Papal Inquisition in France, he stormed his way in to create his own Inquisition, and a "theocratic" autocratic state of his own.
I'm not saying Protestants are perfect, neither is it necessary to say so. The perfect message can be divorced from its imperfect vessel.

Quote:
Well, then you really aren't taking the Bible completely literally. You are making your own judgment calls. Not that I condemn that, because I think that is what we all have to do in regards to the Bible.
I believe I've addressed the differences of taking the Bible literally.

Returning to my metaphor, I said the following:

"Let's say a long-established order of cooks proclaim they have a recipe for pecan pie - a recipe handed to them by the legendary Master Chef, a chef that some people believe doesn't actually exist."

I meant to say that the cooks proclaimed that the recipe was handed to them by the Master Chef. I tried to intentionally leave ambiguous the actual existence of the Master Chef or the authenticity of the recipe. If I failed, I apologize, but that was my intent.

I believe the analogy was apropos in the description of the second amatuer. Compare:

I said the following:

The second amateur cook didn't believe in the Master Chef - or at least, didn't think the recipe was his handiwork. He believes that the order's recipe was never meant to be taken literally, that it was really just guidance for amateur cooks. He tried his hand at the recipe but altered it as he saw fit; he was smart enough not to use the eggshells, and he cooked the pie for 30 minutes at 250 degrees, rather than cooking it for 45 minutes at 350...

The second cook, the one who undercooked the pie, is analogous to those who take the position that the Bible is not meant for anything more than guidance (e.g., close to melon's position). The cook reasons his way through his existence and takes the entire Bible with a huge grain of salt. The results appear to be much better than that of the older fundamentalist.


You said:

The "Master Chef," to me are the writers of the Bible. I do not believe that God, specifically, wrote the Bible. Secondly, I don't think that the recipe is perfect ("the recipe" is a hypothetical one...not the same one you wrote). It tastes a little bland and some of the ingredients are a reflection of the times they were written. Where am I going to find pheasant? Pomegranates? That meat seems a little undercooked to be safe, knowing what we know now about food poisoning. However, it still is salvageable. I add a few different ingredients that are more applicable to today and the meal comes out perfect.

I would be lost without the original recipe, but it doesn't mean that I shouldn't be free to make changes, as I am not just simply an amateur chef who just learned how to cook. The amateur chef will have to resort to the original recipe, otherwise he is lost. However, I've been cooking for my entire life, so I know which ingredients are essential and which ones can easily be substituted. That is the difference.


I would like to emphasize that the entire argument for the third amateur cook HINGES ENTIRELY on the beliefs that God exists and willfully spoke to us through the Bible; again, a matter of faith.

And I would like end this post by asserting that we're ALL amateur cooks; the Master Chef's intentions are not to make us simply more competant amateurs, but perfect apprentices in His kitchen.

Glad to see you return to the discussion,
Bubba

[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 03-01-2002).]
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Old 03-01-2002, 05:58 PM   #82
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When you both grow up you should become attorneys.

You both make me dizzy.
Iam now ducking for cover.

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Old 03-01-2002, 06:18 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:

I believe that Christ is the one and only Son of God, blameless, fully human, and fully man. I believe He was given by God to be killed for my sake (both personally and for mankind universally). I believe that He rose from the dead three days later and is now alive and well, residing in Heaven, preparing a place for all who take Him as both Savior and Lord - as both He who saved us from ourselves and He who leads us to God's intended plan for us.

If you "hold a completely different point of view" on this issue, you're not a Christian.

At what point did I refute the very foundation of Christianity? This is what this has come down to. You insulting my intelligence. If I had any doubts to the validity of the aforementioned quote, I would NOT claim to be a Christian.

My reference to having "a completely different point of view" was ONLY in regards to the topic of this forum. But, as usual, your tactics are to divert everyone's attention from the issue at hand.


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Old 03-02-2002, 03:12 AM   #84
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Originally posted by S|aney:

It always amazes me how many excuses people come up with when you challenge them to research and examine a particular issue further, instead of varifying it for themselves. Instead, they want to give me a lesson on biblical scriptures relating to homosexuality, as if I had never read these verses and researched it extensively myself. They assume that it is impossible to be a Christian and hold a completely different point of view.

God and homosexuality are not the problem here. Bigotry and discrimination is. It's not the gay and lesbian community or even God's fault that mankind is so intolerant.
It's not an excuse - it's an assertion that the sum of our translations get more or less the gist of the original texts. Certainly, the more scholarly the approach, the better, but I don't think one needs to know Greek and Hebrew to more-or-less follow God's will.

If you read the rest of my posts, you would see two things: first, I'm not some ignorant lummox who spews out scripture without careful examination of context and other translations. Second, I do believe differences of opinion are possible; see my post on transubstantiation.

Honestly, I believe a Christian CAN believe homosexuality is not immoral, but - ultimately - one of us is wrong.

I will agree though, that "it is impossible to be a Christian and hold a completely different point of view" (my emphasis).

I believe that Christ is the one and only Son of God, blameless, fully human, and fully man. I believe He was given by God to be killed for my sake (both personally and for mankind universally). I believe that He rose from the dead three days later and is now alive and well, residing in Heaven, preparing a place for all who take Him as both Savior and Lord - as both He who saved us from ourselves and He who leads us to God's intended plan for us.

If you "hold a completely different point of view" on this issue, you're not a Christian.

And to say that homosexuality is morally wrong is not a sign of bigotry, any more than saying that other behaviors are morally wrong. It certainly becomes bigotry when you treat homosexuals differently, but that's a different matter altogether.
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Old 03-02-2002, 10:45 AM   #85
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<sigh>

You said, "They assume that it is impossible to be a Christian and hold a completely different point of view," and I believe you were talking about me.

It isn't the case in general, that I think it impossible a fellow Christian and I could disagree utterly on one issue - AS I POINTED OUT when I brought up transubstantiation.

But it's also not the case that a Christian and I can disagree on everything - and that is the ONLY reason I brought the basic tenets of Christianity. I didn't do it to insult your intelligence, and I didn't do it to "divert everyone's attention from the issue at hand."

(And I frankly find it insulting that you suggest that A) I intentionally divert everyone's attention and that B) it's a "usual" tactic of mine.)

Some issues (Transubstantiation) are highly contested within the faith, and rightly so; after all, both points of view can be scripturally supported. Some (like the fundamental tenets) are not subject to debate.

Where does homosexuality fall? Somewhere in between.

You have said in an earlier post, "we need to investigate this issue in it's entirety. Why is it wrong? I mean seriously. Why would God condemn it?"

I have throroughly investigated the issue. Perhaps it hasn't been examined FULLY, but I've been addressing the issue in almost every post since it came up.

To repeat myself for the umpteenth time, I believe God's will for man is either marriage (as defined as heterosexual monogamy) or chastity, and the Bible indicates this. Homosexuality is outside the will of God, and thus is wrong.

Ultimately, my evidence circles around the following aforementioned verses:

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." - Genesis 2:24.

"And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." - Matthew 19:4-6.

"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." - Mark 10:6-9.

"But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." - Matthew 19:11-12.

The first three verses explain that heterosexual, lifelong marriage IS God's plan. The last verse explains that chastity is an acceptable alternative. Nothing else is proscribed.

Those who disagree with me have brought up what they believe are possibly conflicting verses, and I have defended my position that those verses do not support homosexuality once they are seen in context.

Do I believe a Christian can believe homosexuality and still be a Christian? Ultimately, yes, I do.

But I think that such a position is not supported by Scripture - and that Scripture actually suggests that it is outside the will of God - at the least, by not offering it as an alternative to marriage or chastity.

Now, you've said that I've come up with excuses rather than futher examine the issue. You've implied that I'm merely demonstrating "bigotry and discrimination" and have claimed that my usual tactics are to change the subject.

And, at the same, you have offered NO actual evidence to suggest homosexuality is okay.

At what point are you going to stop hurling baseless accusations and actually engage in this discussion?
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Old 03-02-2002, 11:21 AM   #86
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I believe, in this case, (2) is unreasonable; Christ liked to speak in metaphors, and this is clearly another instance of figurative language. But I DO believe (1) is reasonable - that Christ actually said "I am the way, etc." And I also believe that (3) is reasonable; one can believe, as I do, that Christ REALLY, TRULY is the only conduit to God.
On matters of faith, I tend to agree with the more literal translations. Even at that, the gospel of John was written in A.D. 90-100, the last of the four gospels and written 60-70 years after the fact. In an era without mass communication or a printing press, this is likely more of an assessment of what Christians believed about Jesus, rather than the actual words of Jesus. Do I think that Jesus would have said something like this? Probably. I don't doubt that, so I don't dispute the knowledge in this verse. Do I believe that Jesus literally said those words? Up for debate.

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I would like to emphasize that the entire argument for the third amateur cook HINGES ENTIRELY on the beliefs that God exists and willfully spoke to us through the Bible; again, a matter of faith.
Well, I could hinge an entire argument on the belief of creationism, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily correct.

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And I would like end this post by asserting that we're ALL amateur cooks; the Master Chef's intentions are not to make us simply more competant amateurs, but perfect apprentices in His kitchen.
With this assertion, I disagree. Of course, none of us are the "Master Chef," but there are different levels of Christians in terms of knowledge. The "amateur chefs" are the converts or very young Christians. However, not to sound arrogant (so don't take it that way), but to put myself at the same level of that, with over 13 years of formal Christian education under my belt, would not be fair. Quite simply, some Christian denominations encourage questioning more than others.

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You may be right that the verses that supposedly prohibit homosexuality are more likely concerned with pagan rituals. Either way, I still assert the idea that God's plan is strictly heterosexual, that following God's plan is a required demonstration of your love for Him, and thus anything outside that plan is a sin.
So, essentially, it is sinful by default?

This, of course, goes under a debate of what is "perfect" and "imperfect." Under the human definition, I'm apt to believe that we think that "perfect" is a very healthy Christian nuclear family with no diseases or afflictions that all live to a ripe, old age of 100 and die in their sleep. Hence, we think of everyone who deviates from that as "imperfect."

However, I tend to believe that whatever God creates is "perfect," and if that deviates from our human idea of "perfection," then so be it. I think that we are all perfect upon birth: we are exactly what God intends us to be. But, as we know, "birth" is a chaotic process with a fairly significant, but luckily not too common, rate of error. Most miscarriages, for instance, are due to severe chromosomal abnormalities; in fact, one miscarried fetus had three sets of chromosomes (we only have two). Despite their very short life, they are perfect.

But, you see, your argument on homosexuality hinges on that that it is a choice; that those who are homosexual somehow, one day, decided that they didn't like the opposite sex. Despite the various debates on this issue, whether genetic or not, one thing is for certain: no one chooses it. Who would choose societal ridicule? Likewise, look at yourself. Being straight, do you imagine yourself suddenly deciding today to have sex with someone of your same sex? Without knowing you at all, knowing what you've written, you are likely repulsed. Well, that same feeling of repulsion is exactly what homosexuals think of the opposite sex and always have.

(I question if a lot of the virulently homophobic ministers have bisexual feelings they have hidden from the public, and, since they do have choice on their feelings, they think that everyone who is gay is this way.)

What is unfortunate, to me, is that the Christian Church ceased writing and discussing the Biblical canon after A.D. 397. Luckily, Judaism never stopped writing scripture, and, even though we are not Jewish, we still believe in the same God, and they have some very interesting writings that apply to this subject. The Talmud, written during the Middle Ages, teaches that one who repeatedly violates a particular commandment out of inner compulsion rather than to flout the tradition is to be considered a functioning member of the community. Rambam [Maimonides] accepts this (Hilkhot Teshuva 3:9) by excluding such violaters from his list of apostates.

Due to this idea of "inner compulsion," violators of the law are not morally culpable. St. Thomas Aquinas speaks on this subject briefly with his idea of conscience. To break or violate the law, one must have a reasonable choice alternative and then choose to break it anyway. You could probably state that a true bisexual would be subject to law, since they have feelings for both men and women. And don't say celibacy is a viable choice. Even St. Paul, who advocated that all Christians should be celibate like him (just like Jesus), had to acknowledge that it was not meant for everyone.

As such, in reform and reconstructionist Judaism (and to a degree, conservative Judaism), homosexuals are not only accepted, they are encouraged to find lifelong relationships and adopt children to satisfy the "be fruitful and multiply" aspect. Modern Israel has no anti-gay legislation and allows openly gay men to serve in the military.

(An interesting sidenote, Conservative Judaism even recognizes that the "abominations" (toevah) of Leviticus refer to ritual practices, and, as such, Sabbath breakers are on equal footing with homosexuals.)

So the world is not perfect in the eyes of humanity. Now must the "imperfect" languish in misery because of it?

Melon

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Old 03-02-2002, 01:39 PM   #87
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Originally posted by melon:
On matters of faith, I tend to agree with the more literal translations. Even at that, the gospel of John was written in A.D. 90-100, the last of the four gospels and written 60-70 years after the fact. In an era without mass communication or a printing press, this is likely more of an assessment of what Christians believed about Jesus, rather than the actual words of Jesus. Do I think that Jesus would have said something like this? Probably. I don't doubt that, so I don't dispute the knowledge in this verse. Do I believe that Jesus literally said those words? Up for debate.
Well, yours is a reasonable position. However, as far as I know, those dates for the Gospels' creation are simply the earliest we can verify their existence - that we don't know for certain that they did not exist beforehand and thus, more temporally closer to the Ascension. Even if that isn't the case, one could believe that the Gospel writers (whether they be the Apostles, their followers, or someone else) were divinely guided.

...which makes me wonder, what role - if any - do you believe God (the actual Supreme Being) played in the Bible? If one accepts, at the very least, the divinity of Christ, surely it's possible that those surviving works that both predicted His arrival and detailed His life on earth were guided by His heavenly father.

Quote:
Well, I could hinge an entire argument on the belief of creationism, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily correct.


Of course not. It's one thing to say that most correct theological ideas can find a Biblical basis; it's quite another to say that most ideas based on the Bible are correct.

All "A" are "B". But not all "B" are "A."

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With this assertion, I disagree. Of course, none of us are the "Master Chef," but there are different levels of Christians in terms of knowledge. The "amateur chefs" are the converts or very young Christians. However, not to sound arrogant (so don't take it that way), but to put myself at the same level of that, with over 13 years of formal Christian education under my belt, would not be fair. Quite simply, some Christian denominations encourage questioning more than others.
Well, some cooks are more amateurish than others. What I mean is, some better understand the Master Chef's teachings than others, but none are masterful enough to start making things up as they go along. Those who come to closer to the truth are, I believe, guided by Scripture and/or the Holy Spirit. To do otherwise is to stray from God Himself.

On the issue of whether someone chooses to be homosexual...

(As an aside, I'm surprised this hasn't come up sooner in this thread.)

I'm actually not all sure that humans are created exactly as God intended. At very least, man can interfere. Scientists believe that pregnant woman abusing drugs (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) can cause birth defects in her child. It may be possible that God allows imperfections to allow free will.

The idea of allowed imperfections may account for those who seem to be born with tendancies for alcohol or gambling. Even so, they are born "perfect" in that they have yet to sin, tendencies notwithstanding.

I would say that those who have no choice about who they find sexually desirable have not sinned until they have indulging those immoral desire.

As a quick heterosexual example, I may find a woman sexually desirable, but to have sex with her out of marriage would be wrong - as would be lusting after her (taking the attitude that "I would if I could," morality be damned). The desire I can't help, whether I give into that desire - even only in my heart - is my decision and my responsibility.

In this case I would agree with the Talmud insofar as one can't help his inner compusions, but I disagree in that one CAN determine whether to act on them; and I would say that Aquinas' idea of conscience is insufficient - that conscience MUST be informed by the Holy Spirit.

And celibacy is STILL a viable choice. It's not for everyone (as Paul acknowledged), but that may simply mean that the plan is either marriage or celibacy.

I know that what I'm suggesting isn't the easiest thing in the world, but look at those who seem to be naturally predisposed to a quick temper or alcoholism. Acknowledging that disposition is a wise thing to do, but - with the rare exception of the genuinely mentally ill - it shouldn't be used to excues those who give in to immoral dispositions.
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Old 03-02-2002, 07:35 PM   #88
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
...which makes me wonder, what role - if any - do you believe God (the actual Supreme Being) played in the Bible?
Honestly? I don't believe God did play much of a role at all in the Bible. I believe it to be the creation of humans, who believed that this was what God wanted. I think the much of the Mosaic Law was written by post-exilic Jewish rabbis, who were clamoring to regain the power over their own people that they had lost when the Assyrians and Babylonians had conquered Israel and spread them out amongst present-day Iraq. Then Persia comes in, and permits them to return home. Of course, they thought that they were speaking for God Himself, so they just left out a few crucial details, and just cut to the chase, and said that God Himself commanded this.

Genesis was a print version of the creation myths, which most world cultures have, more or less. They are a great insight into how ancient people believed their world to be, but I don't think it is correct in the slightest, aside from the fact that I do believe that God created the heavens and the earth--but through an evolutionary device.

The gospels I do believe contain the truths about Jesus Christ, but not all of them, and even the gospels are not immune to human biases. Mark is the "parent gospel" that Matthew and Luke took their most important details from. John is the only separate gospel, but loses much of its credibility over the time it was written. What is against them is the fact that printing presses didn't exist, and these are all likely "copies" of texts, along with the specific author's ad hominem included. My task is to discover the words of Jesus and to figure out what is the "ad hominem." Luckily, the Catholic Church is somewhat helpful in that respect.

In Marian apparitions, if they are real and true, it was revealed that no religion has ever uncovered what God really is, but that the Catholic Church was closest. Considering that Mary always appears according to what the local tradition says she looks like (she's black in Africa, white in America, etc.), I'm apt to believe that the true God chose to reveal Himself through Judeo-Christian beliefs, but that their beliefs are not fixed. Our beliefs are just as valid about God, if done with the right intention.

But I don't know. I don't have fixed beliefs on the nature of God. I believe in God. I believe in Christ. But the specifics beyond that change. I treat my Christian beliefs much like science. I am always learning and discovering more that makes me change my mind about the specifics.

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Those who come to closer to the truth are, I believe, guided by Scripture and/or the Holy Spirit. To do otherwise is to stray from God Himself.
Well, not to sound arrogant again, I believe myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Of course, I also have the same personality temperament as "healers" or "prophets." I feel the presence of God almost constantly, and I feel that I have been given the gift of part of His wisdom, not so unlike Solomon. Perhaps that is why I feel like I "know" the nature of the Bible and of God. But, no, I don't plan on being so arrogant as to create my own religion and get others to follow me. Of course, I cannot prove any of the above. This is a matter of faith on my part.

At the very least, I do believe that my beliefs, while different, are formulated with plenty of conscience to pass the test.

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On the issue of whether someone chooses to be homosexual...

(As an aside, I'm surprised this hasn't come up sooner in this thread.)
As am I.

Quote:
I'm actually not all sure that humans are created exactly as God intended. At very least, man can interfere. Scientists believe that pregnant woman abusing drugs (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) can cause birth defects in her child. It may be possible that God allows imperfections to allow free will.
Of course, you are referring to mutations, but mutations are so "natural" that we all have an average of 8 at birth. However, most mutations occur in the benign "junk DNA," so that is why, most of the time, we do not notice. So, don't put all the blame on parents. "Mutations" are part of God's design, which is a mystery of life itself.

As for the birth defects above, there is no evidence whatsoever to point that there are causes like that for homosexuality. Hence, I don't want you to beat yourself up someday if one of your own children end up gay someday.

Quote:
The idea of allowed imperfections may account for those who seem to be born with tendancies for alcohol or gambling. Even so, they are born "perfect" in that they have yet to sin, tendencies notwithstanding.
Addictions have a cause, and that is with a specific region in the brain that is lacking in the brain chemical, dopamine. You can get addicted to anything, as the "rush" causes a brief flow of dopamine to the area. Hence, your brain becomes dependent on that activity to satisfy that chemical urge. Again, however, there are treatments for addictions that restore the dopamine balance, and none of them have cured homosexuality.

Quote:
I would say that those who have no choice about who they find sexually desirable have not sinned until they have indulging those immoral desire.
This reeks Augustinian philosophy. "Desire," itself, was a sickness in all forms to him, and that included sexual feelings that a husband had towards his wife. Women were never to have orgasms...that would mean she's an uncontrollable lush having impure thoughts. Hence, she was sick. Henceforth also came the belief that men were never to feel emotions, and that idea of the "stoic" strong male arose.

I find such beliefs to be ridiculous, reducing humanity to the status of animals.

Quote:
As a quick heterosexual example, I may find a woman sexually desirable, but to have sex with her out of marriage would be wrong - as would be lusting after her (taking the attitude that "I would if I could," morality be damned). The desire I can't help, whether I give into that desire - even only in my heart - is my decision and my responsibility.
Well, who is to say that homosexuals cannot be held to the same criteria, hence waiting for sex until they find that life partner? Objectively speaking, I think "premarital" sex is sinful, because of how much we value it. Hence, we tend to get hurt easily when a relationship doesn't work out, especially when it turned sexual. Likewise, forcing homosexuals to celibacy is equally hurtful, because it denies them the human urge to form a lifelong, lasting relationship with another human being.

It is a funny thing about marriage. Early Christianity didn't put much store in it, until the Catholic Church made it a sacrament around A.D. 1100. To be "married" was to make a promise to one another. Since God is everywhere, He knew the truth.

Quote:
In this case I would agree with the Talmud insofar as one can't help his inner compusions, but I disagree in that one CAN determine whether to act on them; and I would say that Aquinas' idea of conscience is insufficient - that conscience MUST be informed by the Holy Spirit.
Well, reform, reconstructionist, and to a degree, conservative Judaism would disagree with you. And who is to say that my opinion is not informed by the Holy Spirit? I've certainly studied enough religion to know that I'm not just some slacker Christian looking for excuses to break the rules.

Quote:
And celibacy is STILL a viable choice. It's not for everyone (as Paul acknowledged), but that may simply mean that the plan is either marriage or celibacy.
Celibacy should never be forced upon people. Some are called to it, gay or straight, but not all. I certainly believe that many gays are called to lifelong relationships or "marriage." Unfortunately, civil society is denying them their right.

Quote:
I know that what I'm suggesting isn't the easiest thing in the world, but look at those who seem to be naturally predisposed to a quick temper or alcoholism. Acknowledging that disposition is a wise thing to do, but - with the rare exception of the genuinely mentally ill - it shouldn't be used to excues those who give in to immoral dispositions.
But, you see, you see it as a sickness. To me, a sickness is anything that prevents you from living a normal life functioning in society. I believe it is just as natural as heterosexuality. However, for argument's sake, let us say that this is an "illness." We don't put the terminally ill at the same level of accountability as the healthy. At the same level, I don't think that homosexuals should be held accountable for the "sin" (I don't believe it to be a sin, though) that they come natural to. It would be a sin, to me, if homosexuals married someone of the opposite sex, knowing full well what comes natural to them.

Melon

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Old 03-02-2002, 08:21 PM   #89
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In essence, this argument boils down to what is essential for faith as a Christian. I don't believe it means to follow the Bible to the letter, and don't think that everyone else hasn't made value calls either. We did have a debate on St. Paul once, and I did once bring up his issues on women and slaves, not to mention circumcision:

"Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law." -- Galatians 5:2

It's funny how most Christians are still circumcised, despite this very harsh pronouncement against it.

"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." -- 1 Timothy 2:9

How funny is that, for centuries, a woman who did not dress well in church was bad. And, yet, St. Paul makes a pronouncement against dressing well.

And look at all the female teachers we have in this country. In fact, we even have female ministers now. But St. Paul makes it very clear that women are not to have any authority over men.

Then, of course, the killer: how women are the originators of evil and how they are "saved through childbearing." Apparently, his pronouncement for celibacy only applied to men.

"Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them." -- Titus 2:9

So, I guess, when we had slaves escape their masters during the Underground Railroad, that they were all sinners for doing so?

Also, Remember that passage in Acts?

"It is my judgment, therefore, that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God, but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood." -- Acts 15:19-20

But wait...St. Paul makes his own pronouncement:

"Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God. So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do." -- 1 Corintians 8:1-13

If I remember right, you rightfully called all of this stuff "cultural bias," and discarded it. However, why should pronouncements against homosexuals be any different?

"Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." -- 1 Corinthians 7:1-11

If that isn't reason enough why homosexuals should be allowed in lifelong relationships, I do not know what else. In an ideal world, to St. Paul, none of us would ever have desires. But it is better to have them fulfilled in a proper channel (lifelong relationship) than to have them burn inside of us unfulfilled and have them consume us whole, for we will be no good to the Lord in that state.

Melon

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Old 03-03-2002, 09:14 AM   #90
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No, I don't think America, or any other country for that matter, is accepting enough of Gays or Lesbians. If they were we wouldn't be having this eternally long thread right now.

I don't wish to confine my arguments to the Bible, because ultimately they can not be applied to all; one may use it as the Defender of Gay Rights, or one may use it as the Lawful Condemnation as such; both have been the case here. The day a fundamental or Conservative christian wakes up from a homoerotic dream and starts having doubts about himself, he will no doubt alter his interpretation of the Bible slightly.

My point concerning the Bible is this; there is a wide spectrum of opinions and interpretations one could write an entire Bible on it, where is one to draw the line? One could argue this and one could argue that, but the fact that it is so controversial leads me to believe that the Bible is so artful its writings are evidently SO ambiguous people are still arguing over them now. A conclusion has to be made in my mind, and the Bible can not suffice. I don't believe it was written by God, the same way I don't believe the Koran was written by God and the same way I don't believe that the Jews are the 'Chosen Race'. Apparently, there are lots of Gods who did a lot of writing. Not to mention a lot of choosing.

The Bible is a book, first and foremost. And its a book that was written milleniums ago, now, isn't that a tad out of date? Of course, for those of you who believe that it WAS God who wrote it (tell that to the Muslims) you will therefore find refuge in the logical argument that Truth doesn't change, and it doesn't. However, the one fundamental Truth that is harvested from the Bible, is the truth that LOVE will take us to God, self-less and pure love as much as it is possible for human beings to love purely and seflessly. Everything else is just semantics, complications and irrelevant discussions forged by the minds of men.

I believe that Love is divine, that proper love in any form is God incarnated; to love someone is surely to look into the eyes of God. Homosexual love, for me, has always been a part of that love and will always be such, why shouldn't it? Why should it be condemned as a vile and filthy thing, when it has created such beauty in its process. People (or certain fundamental Catholics) who talk of Homosexuality in a filthy manner forget that Michaelangelo, the Artist behind your beloved Sixteenth Chapel, was as gay as they come. The Pope at the time didn't mind, apparently.

It is both cliched and stupid to talk about the 'greatness that honosexuality is', as it is cliched and supit to talk about the 'greatness that love is'. I equate them both. How one can write homosexuality and beastiality in the same sentence is beyond me, as if the soul can be shared with an animal in terms emotional and physical.

What is horrendous and abhorrent to me is the abuse of sex, aimless sex and destructive relationships where people are only in it for self-interest. Infidelity and mendacity are the scourge of true love, and they reside relationships homosexual and heterosexual.

However, most people know this. And most people I think are ready to think of homosexuality as something normal, but there is one thing to accept it intellectualy and accepting wholeheartedly, we still have a long way to go for most of us. That is for the next generations to live to see, I don't think we ever will see an age where homosexuality is no longer an issue worthy of controversy.

I will now concern myself with those who poison their own minds with thinking it to be wrong, and pray for them that God should never ever grant them a Gay son or a Lesbian daughter; it will be quite painful for both parties.

Ant.

[This message has been edited by Anthony (edited 03-03-2002).]
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