Monday, November 3, 2008

No on Prop. 8, Part 4

This post is a continuation of the previous one.

Once again, I am addressing the issue of interpreting the Bible literally, which is a main argument that Christians who are for prop. 8 bring up.

One argument many Christians provide against homosexuality is that it is a choice, and that gay people should change. Well, taking the Bible literally, Jesus says that homosexuality is not a choice, but that gay people are born that way. In Matthew 19:12, Jesus says, “Some are eunuchs because they were born that way.” In ancient times, eunuchs were traditionally the ones who guarded the Queen, as they were not a threat to her because they were either castrated or homosexual. Here, Jesus is saying that some people were born gay. After stating this, Jesus did not immediately go into a rant about how all eunuchs who were born this way must repent and change. He simply makes a statement.

Further, if Christians are for Proposition 8 because of what they think the Bible says, they might want to look further into how the Bible should influence their political decisions. In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, Paul writes, “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.” So people who are voting yes on Prop. 8 based on the Bible, should definitely not vote for a ticket with Sarah Palin on it according to the Bible.

Lastly, the Bible has been used to justify many forms of discrimination in the past that we now see as wrong. It was used to justify slavery. The President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, said, “[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.”

Our society today has moved passed the practice of using the literal words of the Bible to discriminate against Africans by using them as slaves, or to discriminate against women. Let us not use the literal words of the Bible to discriminate against homosexuals. And if you choose to interpret every word of the Bible literally, then you may want to look at the verses I have included in my last two posts and wonder what the Bible really does say about homosexuality, and how you decide which verses to take literally.

I believe that a lot of hope can be found within the Bible, and that the God of this world is a God of love. Like I stated in the last post, I see the Bible as a greater story of hope and love for those who are oppressed, poor, sick, and hungry, as Jesus came to question the status quo of an empire that placed value on power and prestige. He challenged those who perpetuated injustice and embraced those who had been discriminated against in society.

Once again, I welcome thoughts and comments, because I know that there are many people who know much more about this than I do.


  1. hello again, anonymous here! The same from your first post on this subject. I will now offer my interpretation on some of the statements you have made so the we may both grow. this may be unorganized sorry!

    First, I completely disagree with your interpretation of Matthew 19:12. a Eunuch in the ancient world was not a homosexual, it was man who had been castrated, was impotent(from birth as implied), or i'm guessing (if its possible) to be born without a penis. Jesus is i no way saying that people are born gay. I find it interesting that in other arguments you claim that the bible should not be taken literally, but here you do it(though even I still would disagree with your literal interpretation as stated above).I challenge you to find a legitamite scientific study that actually has come to the conclusion that people are born gay, I havnt been able to. I believe Homosexuality stems from certain individuals with certain traits growing up in certain environments. Homosexuality (lets narrow it down to males here to make it easier) is a defense mechanism for some against masculinity. I do believe people are born with certan tendencies, such as sensitivity, need for affirmation(this is why we see many of the same character typr traits in homosexuals), things of this nature. If an individual with said tendencies has a father who is very harsh and disapproving, also very masculine, this can show this individual(at a young age of course) that masculinity is a bad thing, he then clings to his mother and learns that feminity is much safer and is what he is comfortable with. Another fact is that a large portion of gay males were sexually abused as children, this does not turn anyone gay, but with certain personality traits as I described earlier it does screw things up.

    WHoo. I practically confused myself writing that, let me know if it needs clarification.

    Secondly, you state that perversions of homosexuality are wrong, but not homosexuality itself. Ehhh I have a problem with this also. Let me stop though and say, I do not think having same-sex attraction is a sin, but to give into is. The same as a male lusts for a woman, giving into is the sin.
    Anyway, I think it can be clearly agreed (hopefully) that the Bible does preach marriage as being between a man and a woman (you know, the man will leave his mother and father and cling to the bosom of his wife in genesis story). Therefore, I see it in my worldview that God does not condone the marriage of two members of the opposite sex. And because of this any sexual practices that they partake in, no matter how in love they are, it is a sin. It is the same sin as a man and woman being sexually intimate before marriage.

    Now on to good ol' Jefferson Davis (what a racist bastard right? Thank God Lincoln wasnt racist and thought everyone was equal.......argument for a different day :] ) I will start out by saying slavery was horrible and I truly do believe that ALL humans are equal. I just dont see what your argument here has to do with anything honestly. So what if he used the bible to justify slavery? People have used the bible to justify all sorts of insanity, I dont think I am a hypocrite because of someone elses misinterpretations. If one actually looks at the slavery in the ancient world, we can definately see it was nothing like the slavery that the south employed. And I do not think that the Bible can be used to discriminate against any race of people.

    And Galileo? Once again I see no similarities in this at all, because once again there is no obvious clash with the bible and the fact that the earth is not the center of the universe (way to go Pope). This was a belief of the time, the same as slavery. I assume you will assert that homosexuality would fall into this category as well, I would disagree, I think the Bible has much more to say about it. That being said, if God came down to me and let me know that Homosexuality was not a sin, it would not undermine my faith, and honestly I wish to pass judgement on know one, I know that I myself am a horrible sinner, I just like debating:)

    OK now onto the APA argument. Honestly, I do not care what a secular psychological association has to say about whats normal. Our society today is so jacked up its not even funny. Its normal for 15 yr olds to lose their virginity, its normal for teens to experiment with drugs alcohol, and all sorts of other things. Just because it is rampant in our fallen society does not make it normal or ok.
    I also challenge you to read some of the success stories of homosexuals who have defeated their homosexuality. How do you account for this if people are born gay? (actually I know how you will, but I will wait to see what you say)

    As for the Old testament Law passages, I agree with you, these cannot be used to show anything.

    So yes, I realize that this is mostly just an argument on homosexuality and not on Prop 8, but so were most of your posts (not in a bad way). God bless, I hope to see you response soon!

  2. Thanks anonymous! Although I do think you should own up to your arguments and say who you are. :)

    My big question for you is how do you choose what Bible verses you take literally? If you use the Bible to justify being against homosexual marriage, then why are you also not against a woman running for vice president? How can you pick and choose what you want to take literally and what you ignore?

    If you can answer those questions for me, I will be quite happy, because it is something I really do not understand about many Christians.

    On to the rest of what you said: About Matthew 19:12, I did not come up with that interpretation of the verse; I heard it preached in a church called MissionGathering by a pastor named Rich McCullen. Here are his sermon notes:
    The only reason I posted Bible verses about homosexuality was to challenge those who do believe everything in the Bible should be taken literally to think about how one might take them literally; I never said that I think the Bible should be read literally. It is still something I struggle with and am unsure about.

    If you think homosexuals aren't born gay, you are entitled to that opinion. I don't know if they are or are not, but I do think that it is not a choice. I am unsure of why you want a scientific study showing this when you find no validity in organizations such as the American Psychological Association. But, the APA, which is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology with over 150,000 researchers, believes that homosexuality is not a choice and cannot be voluntarily changed. I guess that it is possible in rare situations for someone to change from being homosexual to heterosexual, but I believe that this is not the norm, and that forcing this can cause more harm and psychological damage to people who have often already felt great discrimination.

    My point about Galileo and slavery is that our interpretation of the Bible has evolved as our knowledge of science has increased and as we become less prejudice and racist as a society.

    My main point is that the Bible should not be used as a tool to discriminate, and today this is what many churches are using it for as they are encouraging discrimination against homosexuals. I once read that sin could be defined as something that robbed a situation of love. Marriage is a place where two people can experience the love of God, and I believe that this could happen for both straight and gay people.

  3. Hi,

    i'm a little late to this but have been wanting to comment for some time. But in order for me to fully understand what informs the Christian argument for Prop 8 (and the future of this debate -- because this will most certainly not die anytime soon), i think the 'sacredness' of marriage needs to be defined. It has always been my understanding that Christians revel in the separation of church and state until it becomes offensive. But that has always seemed odd to me. Sure, churches want their tax exempt status because without that, much of the good churches do would be nearly impossible. So, there is a link between church and state. A certain necessary evil if you will; or maybe an uncomfortable relationship. That being the case, Christian morals, while an ambiguous statement to be sure, should never enter into national political discourse under the guise of a 'world view' but just what it is, a Theocratic agenda.

    So what of marriage? The bible does in fact promulgate its sacredness within the confines of a man and woman. Perfect. We get this. Easy. But if the Church's responsibility is to protect the sacredness of marriage, and in doing so it seeks to codify a marital relationship between only a man and a woman, then what do we make of atheists or agnostics marrying? Churches all over the US deny officiating marriages of this sort. Should we seek next a constitutional amendment disallowing atheists and agnostics holy matrimony? Why stop there? What about back sliders? Divorcees outside the context of adultery (I'm safe!!)?

    And yet, if we're honest, the Church's ability to protect this sacred institution has something like a 50% attrition rate. Now I only play an analyst at work, but in my humble opinion, those numbers suck. Maybe the State should step in and legislate the marriage process? Ostensibly, marriage has been more and more secularized for generations, whether implicitly or explicitly by the Church. Instead of having pastors and their woeful attempts to discern one's readiness for marriage, churches can follow a state marriage mandate.

    The mandate would look something like this: (1) must be born again; (2) must ensure that no illicit sexual activity (meaning oral -- see Orthodoxy...oh wait, is this too literal?); (3) no one of unequal yoke can marry(accompanying this mandate every pastor will be issued a myers-briggs equally yoked marriage test);(4) if the husband dies and his brother is single, Craig enjoy my wife! it's the law!

    Or maybe, instead of requiring California, or any other for that matter, to amend the constitution, Christians' will learn to be better husbands and wives. Instead of couching marriage within Christian rhetoric, we begin to acknowledge that others outside of our faith marry, and although for us marriage is to be seen as a very sacred exchange, the 'secular' community has had its stake at this public display for nearly just as long and has done neither worse nor better in displaying the full value of matrimony.

    In the end, I think Paul says it best when he suggested that we judge Christians by Christian laws.

  4. Joel,
    I appreciate your honesty and hilarity. Great points, especially the state marriage mandate for churches. I think we could get enough signatures to get it on the next ballot. :)