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Old 07-04-2007, 10:50 AM   #46
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Guess what folks the Bible is *gasp* not the literal truth!
I know what you're getting at, but... being the daughter of a minister and all.... Most modern christian theology recognizes the NT as accurate representations of the original authors (too much to back it up).

So, I agree, it's open to interpretation, but Paul specifically called out homosexuality as a sin. Not saying that it was right, wrong, or indifferent, but...

*Flame caveat* -- I have no problem with homosexuals. I respect them, love them, hang out with them, work with them, appreciate them, and support their right to a normal, fullfilling life.

But I really get confused when people try to ignore this part of the NT, or twist it into something else. I prefer to call it like it is, and recognize the fact that Paul explicitly declared it as a sin. You don't have to listen to or agree with Paul as a Christian, but... much of the faith is built upon his other writings.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:40 AM   #47
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Ok, are you being sarcastic? How is it different?
No, I'm not. I usually refer people to Ormus, who is our resident expert on that subject, and I hope it doesn't bug him too much, but his posts are excellent. I'll try to find a link to one of his posts.

ETA: http://forum.interference.com/showth...&pagenumber=15

Last post on this page.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:59 AM   #48
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in reading the original article, i would say this guy is at stage two in cass' theory of homosexual identity development. he's got a long ways to go. it'd be interesting to see what he writes about a few years from now.
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:07 PM   #49
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Originally posted by MadelynIris
*Flame caveat* -- I have no problem with homosexuals. I respect them, love them, hang out with them, work with them, appreciate them, and support their right to a normal, fullfilling life.

But I really get confused when people try to ignore this part of the NT, or twist it into something else. I prefer to call it like it is, and recognize the fact that Paul explicitly declared it as a sin. You don't have to listen to or agree with Paul as a Christian, but... much of the faith is built upon his other writings.
I have said this ad infinitum here, but I'll say it again. The fact that anyone reads into the Bible as condemning "all homosexuality" is a heterosexist bias. People like to say that Sodom and Gomorrah, for instance, is a passage that condemns "all homosexuality." And, yet, Judges 19 is essentially a complete regurgitation of that, but in the city of Gibeah--and involving heterosexual sex. As such, why isn't that a sweeping condemnation of "all heterosexuality"? Because you're heterosexual and you'll say things like "rape is wrong," etc. In other words, you're willing to grant nuance when you're part of the "condemned demographic," but completely unwilling to do so when they're outsiders. That's certainly the kind of attitude that bred 2,000 years of "Biblically-based" anti-Semitism.

The two practices that St. Paul specifically observed were (bisexual) Greco-Roman temple orgies, which revolved around the principle that sex brought one closer to the gods, and Greco-Roman pederasty, which involved older men preying on younger men, whereupon once they reached "maturity," they would get married to women.

The sheer fact that both practices are archaic and do not have a corresponding modern vernacular word is why many translators trip over themselves to mangle these passages. I also think that modern readers would have no problem either accepting St. Paul's condemnations of idolatrous orgies or what amounts to pedophilia. As far as I'm concerned, your view on Paul and homosexuality amounts to nothing more than bad theology.
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:09 PM   #50
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And diamond, the next time you cry that people inappropriately hate Mormons, I'll remember this inane thread of yours, and I certainly won't come to your defense in any capacity any longer.
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:11 PM   #51
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I have said this ad infinitum here, but I'll say it again...
maybe it would be more monumental and memorable if you made it melon's next post.
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:19 PM   #52
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Ormus,

Agree on the condemnation of those practices. But the argument is weak when used against verses like:

Romans 1:26-27

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”

Sure, this can be sliced, diced and interpreted many different ways, but it sure seems like Paul was referring to the practice of sex with one's same sex. Not just the aldulterous nature of it.

No need to argue. I understand the plight. My theology might be bad. I have no horse in this race other than I think it naive to twist Paul into accepting homosexuality -- for goodness sake, he barely accepted heterosexuality.
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:24 PM   #53
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Originally posted by MadelynIris
Ormus,

Agree on the condemnation of those practices. But the argument is weak when used against verses like:

Romans 1:26-27

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”

Sure, this can be sliced, diced and interpreted many different ways, but it sure seems like Paul was referring to the practice of sex with one's same sex. Not just the aldulterous nature of it.

No need to argue. I understand the plight. My theology might be bad. I have no horse in this race other than I think it naive to twist Paul into accepting homosexuality -- for goodness sake, he barely accepted heterosexuality.
Again, homosexuality as we know it today did not even exist then, so how could he condemn something he didn't know about?
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:02 PM   #54
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homosexuality as we know it today did not even exist then, so how could he condemn something he didn't know about?
PhillysFan,

I'm not sure what you are getting at, but obviously, it did exist. There were homosexuals, and they had relationships like we have today.

Got this from some ancient attitudes on homosexuality:

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In modern cultures, a myth has been spread, mostly by homophobic religious groups, that homosexuality is primarily a modern phenomenon, that it is a chosen orientation, and it is a symptom of moral decline.
Such a notion runs counter to what we know of homosexuality, and what we know of its history and its biological origins. We now know, for example, that most men in ancient Greece and Rome engaged in at least occasional homosexual contact, and a not insignificant number of the marriages consummated in both civilizations were homosexual. We know that homosexuality, though not known by that name, was not only tolerated, but even celebrated in the arts, theater and in cultural activities. The ancients did not view gender as a determining factor of who should love or be married to who; the qualifications related solely to matters of age and biological relationship (incest).
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:05 PM   #55
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Originally posted by MadelynIris
Agree on the condemnation of those practices. But the argument is weak when used against verses like:

Romans 1:26-27

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”

Sure, this can be sliced, diced and interpreted many different ways, but it sure seems like Paul was referring to the practice of sex with one's same sex. Not just the aldulterous nature of it.
The problem with your argument here is that Romans 1 is an exact description of a pagan temple orgy! The previous verse gives it away:

"While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes." - Romans 1:22-23

The main problem with Paul is that he was writing in a regional "vulgar Greek," which, if you're familiar with the differences between "classical Latin" and "vulgar Latin," you'll understand why later translations can be difficult. In fact, Paul's Greek was not discovered in an extra-Biblical source until the 19th century after an excavation in Turkey. Beforehand, it was tradition that Paul's Greek was special and of divine origin.

So, basically, Paul is not afraid to speak in the language of the masses, which means a heavy use of phrases and words that he will assume that his target audience understands. This attitude became the underlying reasoning behind Eugene Peterson's "The Message." I can only imagine how our slang will be translated in 2,000 years!

It has been stated that you shouldn't "pick and choose" from the Bible; that you have to understand the totality of the message. Paul's epistles certainly have to be read that way, because he has a pattern of starting his epistles with thinly-veiled flattery to the audiences he's trying to convert and finishing them by showing how his audience's preconceptions are wrong. The greatest example of this in the Pauline epistles is in his appropriation of the phrase, "the Law." Paul's contemporaries would have believed "the Law" to mean "Mosaic Law," whereas he firmly believed that Jesus changed "the Law" to refer to one commandment, to love one another.

Romans 1 is an example of that flattery, by appealing to Rome's Jewish Christians' sense of self-righteousness. By making mention of the temple cult orgy, the initial reactions would be that the Jewish Christians are superior and better than those common pagans. However, Paul then goes straight into Romans 2 and rips into the Jewish Christians, essentially stating that they are no better than the common pagan and will be judged on the same level.

The moral of Romans is in Romans 13, which I have quoted from regularly:

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." - Romans 13:8-10

These verses are probably the cornerstone of Paul's theology, whereas Romans 1 is barely an afterthought, written in confusing language. The word translated as "unnatural," para-physin, was also used as an adjective for God in another epistle.

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No need to argue. I understand the plight. My theology might be bad. I have no horse in this race other than I think it naive to twist Paul into accepting homosexuality -- for goodness sake, he barely accepted heterosexuality.
Paul looked to the ideal of Jesus, and interpreted that as emulating Him in His entirety--and since Jesus was asexual, then the ideal was to be asexual too. This theology rears its ugly head twice in the future, once with St. Augustine, whose fixation with asexuality likely had to do with his previous faith of Manicheanism's hatred of sex, and again with St. Thomas Aquinas, who expounded on Augustine's hatred of sex with a complete hatred of any and all emotion (also a tenet of Manicheanism). It's because of the latter that we have the modern adjective of "stoic," meaning "one who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain."

Christian homophobia owes itself more to these two individuals than it does to the Bible. Nonetheless, it's origin can almost directly be traced to St. Peter Damian, whose stoic work, Liber Gomorrhianus--an 11th century "attack on homosexual practices, mutual masturbation, copulation between the thighs, anal copulation and solitary masturbation, as subversive disruptions against the moral order occasioned by the madness associated with an excess of lust"--was actually condemned by Pope Leo IX as "excessive." Nonetheless, extremism was rampant in these days. Damian was also the man responsible for introducing "self-flagellation" as a theological virtue, and, not so coincidentally, this was also the time when clergy celibacy was mandated, with Damian and his allies having great influence in the Vatican during this time. This is why I have issues with the traditional excuse that clergy celibacy was mandated as a result of preventing church property going to their heirs. It frankly doesn't add up, considering the climate involved.
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:35 PM   #56
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Originally posted by MadelynIris
U2Democrat,



I know what you're getting at, but... being the daughter of a minister and all.... Most modern christian theology recognizes the NT as accurate representations of the original authors (too much to back it up).

So, I agree, it's open to interpretation, but Paul specifically called out homosexuality as a sin. Not saying that it was right, wrong, or indifferent, but...

*Flame caveat* -- I have no problem with homosexuals. I respect them, love them, hang out with them, work with them, appreciate them, and support their right to a normal, fullfilling life.

But I really get confused when people try to ignore this part of the NT, or twist it into something else. I prefer to call it like it is, and recognize the fact that Paul explicitly declared it as a sin. You don't have to listen to or agree with Paul as a Christian, but... much of the faith is built upon his other writings.
I'm the daughter of a minister as well...and a sister...and a sister in law of ministers. My faith is built simply upon there is something bigger than us out there, and that we are to love one another as ourselves. That's all you need as a Christian, or even if you're not a Christian. I simply cannot take a lot of stock in the Bible for many reasons:

Meanings lost in translation
Stories passed down orally before getting written down
Written and edited by men, therefore it is fallible.
I don't need a book to confirm my faith, and I certainly don't need men who lived 6000-2000 years ago dictating to me what science clearly states otherwise.
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:36 PM   #57
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Originally posted by MadelynIris
IIn modern cultures, a myth has been spread, mostly by homophobic religious groups, that homosexuality is primarily a modern phenomenon, that it is a chosen orientation, and it is a symptom of moral decline.

Such a notion runs counter to what we know of homosexuality, and what we know of its history and its biological origins. We now know, for example, that most men in ancient Greece and Rome engaged in at least occasional homosexual contact, and a not insignificant number of the marriages consummated in both civilizations were homosexual. We know that homosexuality, though not known by that name, was not only tolerated, but even celebrated in the arts, theater and in cultural activities. The ancients did not view gender as a determining factor of who should love or be married to who; the qualifications related solely to matters of age and biological relationship (incest).
I think it's a bit of a generalization. Up until the 19th century, it was strictly believed that homosexuality was the result of heterosexuals consciously sinning--which is probably why homophobic religions today drill the idea that "it's a choice." From the 19th century up until 1970s, it went from being "a choice" to being "a psychosis" that can be "cured" (again, you can see why many homophobic religions also insist that it can be "cured").

The former idea was probably the result of Greco-Roman sexual mores, which, for better or for worse, were not monogamous. Marriage was more about power consolidation and property alliances, so expressions of love, passion, and lust were found outside of the marriage. As such, as part of biology, homosexuality "existed," but to outsiders, who saw married men carrying on adulterous affairs with other men, you can probably see why they believed homosexuality to be nothing more than "a choice" taken by heterosexuals. The latter resulted in the Greco-Roman institution of "pederasty," with older men having a sexual relationship with teenage men, which was manipulative and predatory, at times. Once the teenage men became adults, they then were expected to marry a woman and have children.

The other socially acceptable means of extramarital sex was in pagan temple orgies, which existed for many centuries, and was practiced even by the pagan Semitic tribes surrounded by Israel during the OT. Greco-Roman society, much like American society, was not above absorbing "the best" from other civilizations (crucifixion, for instance, was a gift from their rivals, the Persians). These orgies were, essentially, a worship service, as it was believed that sex brought one closer to the gods. These temples were banned entirely in the 4th century A.D. with the Christianization of the Roman Empire.

Nonetheless, Greco-Roman ideas did not die abruptly in the disintegrating empire. Loveless, arranged marriages in Europe were common through the 19th century, until the revolutionary idea arose that marriages should be for love. With the rise of the secular nation-state and the fall of nobility and imperialism, this idea took root, which obviously survives up to today. In the many centuries in between, extramarital affairs were highly rampant, with male nobles having mistresses left and right and female nobles not immune to the practice either. More than one queen had a torrid love affair with a high-ranking minister, while happening completely under the knowledge of the king, who, by this time, had no love for his wife anyway.

So when I say that "modern homosexuality" was never considered in the Bible, this is why. It wasn't. The idea of "homosexuality," even as a "psychosis," as thought of in the late 19th century, was highly controversial and revolutionary when it was proposed.
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Old 07-04-2007, 03:44 PM   #58
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Originally posted by U2democrat





Meanings lost in translation
Stories passed down orally before getting written down
Written and edited by men, therefore it is fallible.
I don't need a book to confirm my faith, and I certainly don't need men who lived 6000-2000 years ago dictating to me what science clearly states otherwise.
What is the foundation?

Where does it begin?

Abraham?

That really is a pretty shabby story.
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Old 07-04-2007, 04:15 PM   #59
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I'm the daughter of a minister as well...and a sister...and a sister in law of ministers
U2Democrat -- I'm sorry. I wasn't saying that I was a daughter of a minister. I meant, I know that you are.


I'm generally ok with your fallable take on the OT -- but not as much the NT. I think it is what it is, with much less room for translation issues. Fair enough.
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Old 07-04-2007, 04:36 PM   #60
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Originally posted by MadelynIris


U2Democrat -- I'm sorry. I wasn't saying that I was a daughter of a minister. I meant, I know that you are.
OK, wasn't sure, that clears things up thanks.

Quote:
Originally posted by MadelynIris

I'm generally ok with your fallable take on the OT -- but not as much the NT. I think it is what it is, with much less room for translation issues. Fair enough.
I guess we'll agree to disagree
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