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Old 12-06-2008, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ive heard a few times that the bible doesnt actually condemn homosexuality. Im wondering what scriptures are used to back that up? Or is it more of an extrapolation based on the loving nature of God?

The thought came up because of another thread where we talked about the bible not being crystal clear and how its meaning can differ by religion.

Oh, and I think we all know what scriptures are used to call it a sin so we dont really need a discussion on why it's wrong. Im looking for what may lead a bible based Christian say its ok.
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:59 PM
 
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what do you mean by 'to think its ok'? ok in what sense?
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Think its ok as in it's not a sin which required repentence, forgivness
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:28 PM
 
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1littlebit-

I don't think she mean to imply anything other than saying that she wanted to have thoughts from Christians who do not believe it is a sin to live a homoesexual lifestyle. hence what one would "think was ok" would not be considered a sin to them. what one does think is a sin would they would not "think was ok"... in specifically the Christian/Biblical sense. (not any other philosphies of thought.)



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Old 12-06-2008, 09:50 PM
 
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Many christians put the verses which condemn homosexuality in the category of "cultural issue" rather than flat-out command, and in that way reason that it does not apply today in the same way that the biblical injunctions for women to obey their husband, cover their hair, not speak in church and not be in a position of authority over a man are widely ignored as not applicable to today's women.

Since most of the denominations that I've seen loudly condemning homosexuality do NOT follow Paul's injunctions towards women (they don't cover etc etc) I think the question should be, why do you (general you, of course, I don't know your particular faith) think the command on homosexuality applies today whereas Paul's other commands do not?

If you do follow all of Paul's commands however, then this comment doesn't apply
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:57 PM
 
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I grew up Catholic and am currently undecided .. i suppose.. but one of my best friends is a very devout Catholic and this an issue she struggles with. we have very dear friend who is gay and she has an aunt who is gay.... she has a hard time reconciling her religious beliefs with her emotional response to her loved ones and their happiness.

we have talked about it quite a bit... and she has read the bible passages, prayed about it, and tried to forget about it hoping that the answer would come. thus far it hasn't. She sees our friend and her aunt in committed, loving relationships. she sees that her aunts make wonderful mothers to their beautiful boy. she also feels that the bible is clear that any sex outside of a marriage in the eyes of God is sinful. She doesn't really think it's ok per se.. but she does see that people she loves are extremely happy in same sex relationships and she absolutely wants them to be happy. so basically i think she has washed her hands of it... she trusts God ... he makes no mistakes, he created every person perfectly, he gave us free will... she loves God she lives her life for Him and she has left this in His hands she loves our friend and her aunt and she will just be happy that they are happy and trust that God knew what he was doing.

i don't know if that helps at all... i realize it's not really an answer as to why someone would think it is ok.... but it is a way that someone who believes homosexual acts are sinful but really wished they weren't made peace with her beliefs and her feelings.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks HennyPenny - that is what I meant!

What Thao said about other commands being accepted as culturally void makes sense. Thanks. That seems like a pretty logical reasoning.

1littlebit - I can kind of relate to your friend in that I have pondere this off and on for a while, more intellectually than as a deep spiritual conflict, but still...

I was never close to a gay person until I married DH and his favorite uncle was gay. Most recently a great couple moved in down the street and I get along great with both of them. I can't imagine missing out on their company because they are a lesbian couple.

In the end Ive kinda decided that even the most holy and righteous person alive falls wayyyyy short of God's infinite holiness... so is there any point to assigning degrees of sin? Im less of a sinner because all I do is loosely interpret my tax deduction (lying, not submitting to governing authorities) than a gay couple? So what - Im still no where near God....

But then you have the whole, do you repent issue...

Sheesh, being Christian can really tie you up in knots!
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:54 AM
 
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one thing i think that is important to remember is that our logic doesn't equal out to God's commands. meaning that if we believe that God is in authority of all, we mustn't equal our own opinions or desires with His.

that isn't that say one should be blind to all things. not at all. but what I mean is that if it comes to use making a decisions on religious beliefs and we're not ure what to think we so instead of seeking God on it (and sometime answers do come slowly) we instead seek human logic. but... human logic is not perfect nor righteous.

(of course if you don't believe in God as authority then this wouldn't be an issue anyhow)

I think Thao made some good points! As a person who headcovers, and who has a household where the husband is the leader, I think I can safely say I do agree =) and I feel all commands given to us are of equal value b/c God gave them to us. if we start knit picking how important they are ... well... who would need God? that is a dangerous limb to be out on without much thought.

for instance: I don't head cover b/c it makes logical sense to me (truly it doesn't) but b/c I feel God's commands on feminine modesty and head covering important because He said so. sure I can see good that comes from it. and i can see reasons why I can find it a good and profitable thing... but really, when it's all said and done it isn't a command worth respecting on that point alone.

I mean to say that if you are looking for reasons to excuse what you feel is a sin, I wouldn be leery of going there b/c you WILL find reasons to justify it. but if you are looking to honestly seek God on an issue and not just take for granted that it is or is not a sin b/c that is what you have been taught, then I say go for it!! it's sad how often we think the Bible says one thing b/c we are taught his... and lo and behold it doesn't say that at all!

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Old 12-07-2008, 02:38 PM
 
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I don't really have anything valid to add to this but... the points made above are good ones. Also you mentioned in your response about 'degrees of sin'. The Bible says that no sin is worse than any other. Now that is hard to concept when you consider a white lie vs. murder (or such) but that is what the Bible says. I have to agree with what HennyPenny said about seeking God on the issue. (if you're religious) That is what I do. I just seek God on the issue. I read, study the scripture, and pray. God will lead me to the answer. There are some good points made above for why some would think its ok. I have a relative that is gay and although I don't feel its right religiously I don't condemn her for it either. She's family, I love her dearly and her personal life is her own. God will deal with us all for our own sins and transgressions regardless of what they are. I don't have the right to judge her relationship or life.
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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i just talked to my friend and she told me to add this. lol. she said that the thing that was for lack of a better term her 'ah ha!' moment was when she was thinking about marriage, sex, and pro creation. she said homosexual acts are a sin for the same reason masturbation, extra marital relations, pre marital relations, and any sexual act that is not intercourse is a sin. it is not more or less sinful then any of those things.

As strange as it seems this really helped her gain a great deal of understanding and perspective. It is a sin for the same reasons those other things are sins. Homosexual acts are viewed very differently then those sins despite that. Realizing and understanding that it is a sin for the same reasons the other things are sins lead to her believing that is should be dealt with in the same way as those other things. she does not do them, she does not recommend them, but in the end it is between that person and God. her only responsibility is to live a Godly life, lead by example, and offer love and kindness to all people she crosses paths with.

** She also said that she is strong and comfortable in her faith and the morals that come with it. she knows that having people in her life who have pre marital sex or homosexual sex does not cause her to question her commitment to chastity. if it did she would distance herself from them until she felt strong enough to keep her commitment.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:17 AM
 
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The bible says nothing about lesbianism. I've always wondered what literalists think about this.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
I grew up Catholic and am currently undecided .. i suppose.. but one of my best friends is a very devout Catholic and this an issue she struggles with. we have very dear friend who is gay and she has an aunt who is gay.... she has a hard time reconciling her religious beliefs with her emotional response to her loved ones and their happiness.
Pope John Paul II Theology of the Body is a good source for understanding the Church's understanding on this issue and why it teaches what it does.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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for the bible tells me so is a great doc! you can catch parts of it on youtube. i think it'll answer your questions sufficiently. better then i could anyways!
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Like I said before - I know whats the behind the "its a sin" side of the argument.

Im interested in what's behind the "it's not a sin" side.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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Like I said before - I know whats the behind the "its a sin" side of the argument.

Im interested in what's behind the "it's not a sin" side.
I think you might find Ms.Qsmama link interesting then. "For the Bible Tell Me So" is by Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly gay Episcopal bishop. (I'm glad you found a link...and I'm hoping to read his book soon as well)

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Old 12-08-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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Like I said before - I know whats the behind the "its a sin" side of the argument.

Im interested in what's behind the "it's not a sin" side.
right, which is why i think this would be the perfect documentary for you to watch.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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When I was a fundamentalist Christian I thought the idea behind the Bible not condemning homosexuality was absolutely ludicrous. Being an inerrantist and most importantly, a literalist, such interpretations were completely bankrupt and void of credibility.

This was the brand of theology and interpretation of text I had come to understand. I was indoctrinated with that brand of belief. Coming from primarily an Independent Fundamental Baptist background and having a minister father, it was ingrained in my head what constituted "sound" scripture.

Then I ditched fundamentalist theology and began studying various interpretations of scripture and text. Biblical hermeneutics became my focus and textual criticism. Learning to really read the context of various passages. Looking past literalism and not relying on eisegesis. I know mainstream theology's argument like the back of my hand. It's one I argued a lot myself.

With the handful of passages on the topic and the character "Paul's" writings being much of the force behind the condemnation of homosexual activity, it leads me to believe the root of the condemnation of it stems from "secular" cultures and their activities, sometimes related to pagan worship and activities. The common theme then was to be "in" the world but not "of" it. To break away from secular ways of life, in other words, pagan traditions. If the pagans did it, Christians or followers of Yahweh and Jesus shouldn't do it. That still applies now. Since homosexual activity was rampant in many cultures I have no doubt "Paul's" admonishment was more of a reflection of what he saw in these other cultures. Some of the homosexual activity said to have taken place doesn't translate over to what we know as homosexual orientation or the modern relationships we see today.

There's also much debate surrounding certain words used to refer to homosexual activity. Was the activity witnessed by "Paul" between men and young boys? Did he witness orgies and activities that "glorify" sexual carnality? I think what activity he witnessed is key, rather than assuming homosexual orientation is the root of the problem. Sexual orientation wasn't even a concept during that time and homosexual activity was commonplace in certain cultures.

Even though Gospel Jesus isn't attributed to saying anything about the matter, "Paul" is seen as the mouthpiece of Yahweh and Jesus. That his words are the inspired word of Yahweh and Jesus. This allows literalism to flourish.

I think an understanding of any social, cultural, and other underlying context is key when it comes to deciphering ancient text of any kind. Many folks put more analytical skills toward reading other material. One would think ancient text requires understanding the times and various cultures in which it is said to take place.

The condemnation of the activity in the Tanakh also has much to do with pre-scientific times and the culture. I don't see that it has anything to do with any deity condemning the orientation.

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Old 12-08-2008, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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right, which is why i think this would be the perfect documentary for you to watch.
Doh! the title had me thinking it was a bible thumper things... Never judge a doc by its title, eh?

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There's also much debate surrounding certain words used to refer to homosexual activity. Was the activity witnessed by "Paul" between men and young boys? Did he witness orgies and activities that "glorify" sexual carnality? I think what activity he witnessed is key, rather than assuming homosexual orientation is the root of the problem. Sexual orientation wasn't even a concept during that time and homosexual activity was commonplace in certain cultures.
Wow, thanks for the info that was great. The part above got me thinking... So, it would seem that there is little to no argument available to construe scripture as condoning promiscuity (is there a nicer sounding word for that?). So though you might make the case that there is biblically nothing wrong with a committed gay relationship you cant really argue in favor of casual sex regardless of gender combos.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:53 PM
 
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i think semper makes some great points.

this is *my* perspective... in the interest of full disclosure im not christian anymore.

the bible was written and then repeatedly translated many times by many different people in many different time periods and cultures. humans are fallible. they have their own biases based on the culture and time and their personal experiences. they also have their own agendas. these were written and translated in the context of the culture of the writers and translators.

God is our creator. he made each man in his image. Jesus, his son, he lead a life of kindness, generosity, care of the poor, the sick, the young etc. he did not (according to Christianity) get married or have children. he lead what was for that time quite the alternative lifestyle.

Jesus set an example of how to live. he loved and cared for those around him. he shared what he could, he forgave those who wronged him. he reached out to people that no one cared about. he valued all people regardless of their situation in life. to me these are the most important things to take from the bible.

IMO- God is far more able then we are to see the big picture.. it is his picture after all. I think who someone has sex with are human prejudices and concerns not godly ones. I think God created life and we should love and care for life in all of its many variations. i think treating all life with respect and dignity is important.. after all.. God created life. I don't think God makes mistakes. I do not think God would create homosexuals just so they can live their lives hiding and suppressing who they are.. never having the love that heterosexuals have. It is a fact of biology that humans crave touch, physical closeness, etc. God created us that way... why would he create a whole group of people and then deprive them of that very primal need? those are human prejudices, human ideas, and human judgements. God does not look at this world and see love between two people of the same sex as a problem. Love is good no matter what.

so basically i think any concerns outside of love, kindness, generosity, respect, etc. are more human then Godly. murder, lying, stealing, gluttony, selfishness, greed, adultery etc. can all be taken back to those things. they are not loving, kind, generous, respectful etc.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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AlmostAPpropriate- no problem.

i ended up watching the documentary again this morning... and bawling my eyes out again while watching it. it's really great. very healing for me.

i was a fundy. i no longer am. it became a crisis of conscience for me. (homosexuality was a BIG issue for me. the "church's" theology NEVER sat well with me.) i no longer believe the bible to be inerrent..infallable. i believe it's inspired and full of beauty and truth (i think this documentary is too though...) and my very simple take on it all is that if it's an issue that leads to bitterness, divisiveness, and shame, then it isn't something that is of god. homophobia isn't of god. it doesn't breed the "fruit of the spirit"...

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

..and therefore doesn't represent the god i know.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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i think semper makes some great points.

this is *my* perspective... in the interest of full disclosure im not christian anymore.

the bible was written and then repeatedly translated many times by many different people in many different time periods and cultures. humans are fallible. they have their own biases based on the culture and time and their personal experiences. they also have their own agendas. these were written and translated in the context of the culture of the writers and translators.

God is our creator. he made each man in his image. Jesus, his son, he lead a life of kindness, generosity, care of the poor, the sick, the young etc. he did not (according to Christianity) get married or have children. he lead what was for that time quite the alternative lifestyle.

Jesus set an example of how to live. he loved and cared for those around him. he shared what he could, he forgave those who wronged him. he reached out to people that no one cared about. he valued all people regardless of their situation in life. to me these are the most important things to take from the bible.

IMO- God is far more able then we are to see the big picture.. it is his picture after all. I think who someone has sex with are human prejudices and concerns not godly ones. I think God created life and we should love and care for life in all of its many variations. i think treating all life with respect and dignity is important.. after all.. God created life. I don't think God makes mistakes. I do not think God would create homosexuals just so they can live their lives hiding and suppressing who they are.. never having the love that heterosexuals have. It is a fact of biology that humans crave touch, physical closeness, etc. God created us that way... why would he create a whole group of people and then deprive them of that very primal need? those are human prejudices, human ideas, and human judgements. God does not look at this world and see love between two people of the same sex as a problem. Love is good no matter what.

so basically i think any concerns outside of love, kindness, generosity, respect, etc. are more human then Godly. murder, lying, stealing, gluttony, selfishness, greed, adultery etc. can all be taken back to those things. they are not loving, kind, generous, respectful etc.
I appreciated what you had to say. and b/c you're aren't Christian it doesn't apply fully to the OP question. but it was still good thoughts

That said, I think that as a Christian that believes in God as full Authority and humans as servants to Him... the argument that God is loving and wouldn't have made homosexuals if it was wrong to act homosexually doesn't hold a lot of weight. Not the homosexuality is in any way similar to what I am about to say other than to make a point of sinners being sinful) God also made murders, peopel given to the urge to masturbate, people with violent tempers, people who desire to hurt others, people who sre given to over eating, people who are addicted to sugar or tv or drugs, people are inclined to steal. etc etc etc. did he mean for those people to act on their feelings?
my point ISN'T that homosexuality and murdering is the same. (it isn't! that is clear) but it is in the sense that if God said not to act on it, and we do, it is a sin. NOT b/c we think it should be a sin. and NOT b/c we know nice people who we love who have this sin in their lives. but because God said it is sin. how we feel has nothing to do with it.

now I realize there are people that have reasons to believe God doesn't say this is a sin. that is a whole other issue that I'm not hitting on (though I'm not throwing our either)

but my point is we can't decide AS CHRISTIANS who follow god as our authority, what laws we wish to keep and those we wish the change based on how we feel. Yes, god is love. but He is righteousness. Righteousness in which we are not. so He gets to call the shots. do we have to obey? nope. but if we claim in His name that we are obedient, we mjst obey even that which we don't understand or we are not truly obedient servants.

now as a person who isn't a Christian, I realize this wont hold a lot of weight with you. but since you ono-christian answer was given to christians, I'm throwing outwhat is erroneous in it from a Christian standpoint (even if it's ok by your own standpoint, respectively). I'm not aiming to condemn you, personally!

all in all any feelings I have about homosexuality are based in what I feell God has to say about it. (taking into account all things such as human error in writing etc etc) and coming to the conclusion I feel it is sin. I don't feel this way b/c dislike gay people. not b/c I think they have cooties. not b/c I'm repulsed by them. nothing like that. I known many people that are gay and nice and I would call them good human beings! but... again... that isn't the point. however, if they aren't followers of the Christian God, then it is not my duty to impress upon them how I feel they should live. God leaves that up to each of us. and I respect that.

OP-
I'm not trying to get into what is sinful about homosexuality - I realize that is NOT what you asked for. I was trying to touch on how it is dangerous to assume that b/c God made us that we are free to act in any way we want. please don't misinterpret my post for trying to flame gays or prove what is wrong about gays. I've yet to hear a good reason/argument on why homosexuality would be not be a sin... but i've heard some based on feelings alone. and since you asked for biblical references or whatever, and I too am curious about this... I'm was just trying to make that point. please don't think I'm trying to highjack your thread!! no disrespect!

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Old 12-08-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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lol hennypenny i totally understand what you mean! you really can't pick and choose what God wants... and if you believe that God was pretty clear about something there's not much you can do about it yk?

the reason i said i am not Christian is actually partly b/c of that. God feels right to me, Mary is someone that i feel very close to.. not sure why but when i pray (i'm weird my 'prayers' are generally me babbling on about things in my head lol) it is almost always to her. or st. anthony.. if i had to make one argument for Catholicism being THE religion it would be St. Anthony.. he can find anything.. seriously. the not christian part is that i don't put a lot of stock in the intricacies of the bible. i feel very strongly that the nitpickiness of what is right and wrong is human not godly. i don't think God is bogged down by those things. in my heart i feel like he is far greater then we are and is not concerned with the same things. I think he created life and therefore requests that we respect all life. I think disrespecting life is an affront to God b/c he created man in his image and he created us equally ... he gave man dominion over the earth to protect it and care for it not to abuse and destroy it. that is why i think murder is wrong.. it is a complete disrespect for life. it is destroying Gods creation for no reason. Lying is intentionally harming and disrespecting one of Gods creations. it may not be physical.. but God isn't really about physical.. he is much more then that.

and sense thats how i feel i don't really fit into the whole christian label... since i think you can boil the bible down to about three sentences and still get the message.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I get what both HennyPenny & 1littlebit are getting at. As to my original question it is asked more to follow the logic of a Christian who believes the bible is sacred and who still comes to the conclusion that homosexuality isnt a sin.

I also totally agree that because you feel a strong need for a certain action that doesnt mean it is "right" from a Christian God given morality standpoint. I watched part of a TV movie once where William H. Macy played a father being consumed by the conflicting guilt/urge to molest young boys. It was revolting and heartbreaking. He was such a good man but felt so empty without fulfilling that need.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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I get what both HennyPenny & 1littlebit are getting at. As to my original question it is asked more to follow the logic of a Christian who believes the bible is sacred and who still comes to the conclusion that homosexuality isnt a sin.

I also totally agree that because you feel a strong need for a certain action that doesnt mean it is "right" from a Christian God given morality standpoint. I watched part of a TV movie once where William H. Macy played a father being consumed by the conflicting guilt/urge to molest young boys. It was revolting and heartbreaking. He was such a good man but felt so empty without fulfilling that need.
wow. yes... thought provoking. sad. so hard to make sense of!

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Old 12-08-2008, 06:37 PM
 
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I get what you are saying, totally. I don't agree, but I respect your reasons and ways of getting to the beliefs you have. it's good to see people give thought to things, you know? more than just jumping formone conclusion to another etc. I appreciate wise thinking, even when I don't fullheartedly agree

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Old 12-08-2008, 06:39 PM
 
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wow. yes... thought provoking. sad. so hard to make sense of!
. we really need a sad nod face

i know there are christians around here who believe the bible is very sacred and don't think homosexuality is a sin.. just not sure where they are hiding lol.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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well, i suppose when homosexuality is defined as a "feeling" and not an integral part of a human being, then it can be dismissed as such. that breaks my heart though as i have seen first hand the damage that line of thinking does to a person. not only that, but it represents homosexual relationships as nothing more then for the purpose of sex. what an unfair portrayal.

op, you aren't going to find scripture that explicitly says something along the lines of, "homosexuality is approved by god!" if that's what you're looking for, then you're looking in vein. if you are however, willing to look at scripture through it's cultural context, then the "it's not a sin" camp makes a very good argument. (all laid out beautifully in the documentary i linked, might i add. ) we've looked at all other "abominations" through cultural context. why the hesitancy to do so with homosexuality?
and for the record, i do believe that scripture is god inspired and sacred, i just don't believe it's the final authority.

here is a good excerpt for those of you who can't or won't watch the documentary. 7 minutes versus 90 minutes.
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:17 AM
 
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i know there are christians around here who believe the bible is very sacred and don't think homosexuality is a sin... just not sure where they are hiding lol.
yeah... I was kinda looking fwd to hearing their POV. so far all I've heard are feelings based things. (no offense to those people! I was just hoping for other points of view too.)

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Old 12-09-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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well, i suppose when homosexuality is defined as a "feeling" and not an integral part of a human being, then it can be dismissed as such. that breaks my heart though as i have seen first hand the damage that line of thinking does to a person. not only that, but it represents homosexual relationships as nothing more then for the purpose of sex. what an unfair portrayal.

op, you aren't going to find scripture that explicitly says something along the lines of, "homosexuality is approved by god!" if that's what you're looking for, then you're looking in vein. if you are however, willing to look at scripture through it's cultural context, then the "it's not a sin" camp makes a very good argument. (all laid out beautifully in the documentary i linked, might i add. ) we've looked at all other "abominations" through cultural context. why the hesitancy to do so with homosexuality?
and for the record, i do believe that scripture is god inspired and sacred, i just don't believe it's the final authority.

here is a good excerpt for those of you who can't or won't watch the documentary. 7 minutes versus 90 minutes.
I would watch it but our internet isn't compatible with youtube.

believe me I acknowledge that homosexuality is more than a feeling or whim. I feel it is far deeper than that for a lot of people. but like I said, I do not believe it matters what is our "nature" as we are told to live by Godly standards, not by our nature. so it's not that I disagree or that I have an uncaring "so what" attitude about it. please do not misinterpret. and it's not that I think I'm less sinful b/c I'm not homosexual (we're all sinners), it's just one of MANY commands I adhere too for the simple fact that god gave it.

and I'm curious... what other abominations have we overlooked b/c of cultural context? I'm not sure what you mean by that but I would love to hear more of your thoughts on that.

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