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Old 11-10-2006, 08:50 AM   #376
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A lot of my basis is a matter of "reading between the lines" in the context of Christian history. Much of conservative Christian philosophy reminds me an awful lot of the exact approach that St. Thomas Aquinas took a millennium ago, which, to me, was based on admirable intentions and a logically flawed approach.

St. Thomas Aquinas, like some of what you have said here, believed that God and reason were compatible, and he, ultimately picking up where St. Augustine of Hippo left off from 600 years ago, became the father of "natural law."

The trouble is that his logical basis for "natural law" was entirely disproven with the advent of science. That is, all of reason, science, logic, etc. could be made to correspond with what he read in the Bible. And, most certainly, anything that he disliked in this world and could not reconcile with what he read in the Bible, automatically--and without fail--went into the category of "Satanic."

And it was through these "natural law" arguments that they came up with a whole bunch of wacky theories of the world. It was here that the real homophobia of the Christian church started, not with the Bible or Bible passages. Indeed, like anything from "natural law," the Bible was merely used as justification after the fact.

But don't think that they stopped with same-sex acts (notice my distinction; "homosexuality," both in the concept of the sexual orientation and word did not exist until the 19th century) in these days. No, "natural law" also stated that every and all expressions of pleasure and pain were Satanic. Men were forbidden to express either. They were to go through life with a macho emotional detachment (hence, the origin of the modern adjective "stoic," in reference to their self-described "Christian stoic" movement).

And continuing with St. Augustine's deep misogyny, women were not expected to be "stoic," admitting to their "inherent weakness" as human beings. After all, "objectively," it was through the sin of Eve that mankind underwent "the Fall," right? From there came the extension that, if women are weak and cry, then that must mean that they're inherently Satanic too. Since it would be several hundred years that science would reveal that pregnancy would be created through sperm and eggs, these "Christian stoics," without fail, "objectively" believed that life must come strictly from men and that women just held the incubating waters. After all, if women are "objectively" Satanic, they cannot have any part of life.

But what about female babies? Since women are "objectively" Satanic, how could a "Godly" male create a "Satanic" female child? After all, the woman only had the incubating waters. Rest assured, the Christian stoics covered this too! As a result, "objectively," all fetuses were really male, but that Satan, with his wily ways, would interfere with many pregnancies and, thus, create female children!

But back to the idea that all pleasure and pain were "objectively" Satanic, not only were same-sex acts "objectively disordered," since it was seen as the ultimate act of hedonistic "pleasure" with no responsibility, but opposite-sex acts, even amongst married couples, were highly regulated. No pleasure was permitted. The woman was expressedly forbidden from expressing any sense of enjoyment from sex, and the man was, theoretically, forbidden from it too. They could not look at each other, for fear of "objectively" sinning from lust from one another. Hence, it was sex through a "hole in the sheet." Obviously, in this climate, sex only occurred when they were to conceive a child and never at any other time.

...

Do you see why I ultimately end up rolling my eyes at a lot of conservative Christian arguments? They end up sounding like a bunch of medieval pseudoscientific nonsense to me. Like the Christian stoics, it is all "tradition first, Bible justification afterwards." Babble like "intelligent design" also takes a page from this era, and reading a papal encyclical, with its elaborate, purposely intimidating language to ultimately say nothing is also from this era.

In the end, like St. Thomas Aquinas, I do believe that God is represented through logic, reason, and science. However, I do not believe that the Bible inherently represents any of these concepts, and, as such, I look to science first. Science has long since dismissed the idea that people "choose" to be gay, and that's that. As such, it is "objectively" part of "God's plan."

But if you all are to look at sex as being strictly for procreation, you're certainly taking a page from Christian stoicism, not so much the Bible. As such, I hope you're using a hole in a sheet and not enjoying it, having sex solely when you're ready to conceive a child, because they would all frown upon you wanting to have sex with your wife. And, most certainly, she had better not want it either! You hedonistic lushes!
Thank you for the Catholic history of thought toward homosexuality. It was very informative.

While many of the early theologians are fantastic and engaging to read, and they certainly help us understand what Christians thought "back then" - they ultimately have no bearing on how modern conservative Christian scholars interpret the Greek (or Hebrew in the OT) in the Bible.

The practice of hermeneutics and exegesis goes straight to the text and to the time and circumstance in which the letter was written. We then apply it in a way a “modern” audience would understand without losing the meaning and intention of the author. It is not a simple process or one that anyone takes lightly.

While men like Augustine are good references for understanding how the Bible was understood, translated, and applied throughout history – he was not the actual writer of the letters. Unlike the Catholics (of which I still hold tremendous respect for, probably because I am a former Catholic) – conservative Protestant Christians do not accept the concept of “Holy Tradition.”
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:55 AM   #377
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Originally posted by AEON
While many of the early theologians are fantastic and engaging to read, and they certainly help us understand what Christians thought "back then" - they ultimately have no bearing on how modern conservative Christian scholars interpret the Greek (or Hebrew in the OT) in the Bible.

The practice of hermeneutics and exegesis goes straight to the text and to the time and circumstance in which the letter was written. We then apply it in a way a “modern” audience would understand without losing the meaning and intention of the author. It is not a simple process or one that anyone takes lightly.
Perhaps not consciously. However, has any conservative Christian scholarship ever contradicted Christian tradition? It seems to exist solely to prop up traditional beliefs, rather than to earnestly question them.

Quote:
While men like Augustine are good references for understanding how the Bible understood, translated, and applied throughout history – he was not the actual writer of the letters. Unlike the Catholics (of which I still hold tremendous respect for, probably because I am a former Catholic) – conservative Protestant Christians do not accept the concept of “Holy Tradition.”
Perhaps. But much of his "Holy Tradition" crept its way into how people view the Bible. You cannot look at conservative/traditionalist Christianity without understanding the contributions that St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas (in)directly put into your line of work.

You cannot merely brush aside the bias that these two men created.
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:56 AM   #378
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Originally posted by Ormus


However, has any conservative Christian scholarship ever contradicted Christian tradition? It seems to exist solely to prop up traditional beliefs, rather than to earnestly question them.

Certainly. There is currently a significant movement within the conservative circles to accept the Big Bang as proof of the Creation Moment 14 billion something years ago. Astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross can now be seen on evangelical Christian cable channels. A major breakthrough if you think about “the “Inherit the Wind” days.

The concept of purgatory is something that has been disregarded by modern conservative Christians.

Also – the concept of Hell is changing - moving away from traditional Miltonesque images into one of personal isolation, loneliness, and despair. This is not solidified, but it is clear that Jesus at least some circumstances is NOT talking about the Hell seen in Dante or in “What Dreams May Come.” I have to check, but I don’t think Paul ever mentions Hell (Hades, Gehenna, or Tartarus)

Mars Hill Bible Church is part of the “Emergent Church” scene that is seen as conservative by you, but are seen as very liberal by the older conservative Christians.

Again – all of these “new” conclusions are being reached by setting aside tradition – and simply going back to the text and trying to understand the intent of the Holy Spirit speaking through the author.

Dumping several thousand years of historical, traditional baggage is tough – I admit. But I do trust the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to break through our barriers.
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:37 PM   #379
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Border Girl didn't say it was purely a reproductive act. There's lots of ands to that statement -- "and it's enjoyable, and it promotes intimacy, and..." -- but its primary (though not exclusive) purpose is reproduction.
Thanks for adding this. I thought it was a given.....
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:52 PM   #380
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Ah yes. Just when I was ready to bury this accursed thread.

Like I said in another thread, no matter what I say, people will look for any reason, any excuse, any argument, no matter how illogical or nonsensical it is, to maintain the status quo.

That is, after all, the hallmark of prejudice.
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:08 PM   #381
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Originally posted by AEON


Dumping several thousand years of historical, traditional baggage is tough – I admit. But I do trust the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to break through our barriers.
In a previous post you stated this about yourself, I presume:
"conservative Protestant Christians do not accept the concept of “Holy Tradition.”

I find it contradictive that "conservative Protestant Christians do not accept the concept of “Holy Tradition" yet do appeal to the Holy Spirit which is the living inspiration of "Holy Tradition".
???
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:12 PM   #382
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Originally posted by Ormus
Ah yes. Just when I was ready to bury this accursed thread.

Like I said in another thread, no matter what I say, people will look for any reason, any excuse, any argument, no matter how illogical or nonsensical it is, to maintain the status quo.

That is, after all, the hallmark of prejudice.
Sorry, I thought I was just agreeing that not only is sex good for the purpose of reproduction, but that it is also enjoyable.
Fin.
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:16 PM   #383
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Sorry, I thought I was just agreeing that not only is sex good for the purpose of reproduction, but that it is also enjoyable.
It's not your fault. After six years of arguing this topic here ad infinitum, I guess I'm plain exhausted.
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:47 AM   #384
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Quote:
Originally posted by BorderGirl


In a previous post you stated this about yourself, I presume:
"conservative Protestant Christians do not accept the concept of “Holy Tradition.”

I find it contradictive that "conservative Protestant Christians do not accept the concept of “Holy Tradition" yet do appeal to the Holy Spirit which is the living inspiration of "Holy Tradition".
???
Appealing to the Holy Spirit and the concept of Holy Tradition are not the same thing.
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:01 AM   #385
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Originally posted by Ormus


It's not your fault. After six years of arguing this topic here ad infinitum, I guess I'm plain exhausted.
Don't despair. You helped change my thinking!
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:10 AM   #386
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Originally posted by Ormus


It's not your fault. After six years of arguing this topic here ad infinitum, I guess I'm plain exhausted.
Don't give up on Christians, or on Humanity in general....however imperfect we ALL are, we're here to learn.
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Old 11-15-2006, 01:48 PM   #387
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Originally posted by maycocksean


Don't despair. You helped change my thinking!
And mine. You've had a greater impact on people's views than I think you realize, Melon. Don't give up!
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:08 PM   #388
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I'm happy to hear that you are making a difference Melon, even if it is exhausting!
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Old 11-16-2006, 11:35 AM   #389
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Originally posted by BorderGirl


Don't give up on Christians, or on Humanity in general....however imperfect we ALL are, we're here to learn.
I should add this:
Though I value ALL opinions, I just want to make clear that what I find truly valuable is the actual discussion of these opinions.
By this I do not mean to imply that I'm in agreement with all views here.
Information is truly that....as we are all in-formation.
Let's respect, with humility, the fact that we're all here.
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