Statesboro, GA, USA
Yes, you could make such an argument; and by mentioning it, you float a trial balloon. Unspoken is whether or not you intend this to be a comparison to relationships between same sex folks. I will go with the affirmative on that, otherwise it serves no purpose in bringing the suggestion up.
Of course adultery and homosexuality are different in many ways. I of course, brought up adultery to say that the alleged virtues thereof (or the moral justification thereof) can be argued in a similar fashion. You rightly argue against the rationalization of adultery. But all the while you have your own rationalizations of homosexuality. I of course can give you what I consider to be meaningful reasons for the censure of homosex, but to you, greater "good" will trump them. I suppose the same could be said by anyone arguing the virtues of adultery. If you think this is unheard of, think again. There are pro-adultery dating services, and serious writers/thinkers saying that faithful monogamy is unnatural, and that occasional affairs may be healthy. I'm not sure how our impasse may be solved. But it does give an interesting dimension to your statements about divine authority. I think there is one, ultimately, bearing on moral issues where no human consensus will be found.
Of course, I would object to the influence of homosexuality on any children involved, just as you would presume adultery to have a negative affect on children. Intuitively, I feel that Children need Father and Mother (though of course there are exceptions, where this is impossible), and that vibrant heterosexuality should be modeled for children, who do find themselves asking "what is right?", regarding their own sexuality. That research can never be conclusive, either for or against such claims, I am aware.
I wish you wouldn't do this. I know that you believe you can speak for God with certainty. I understand that within your community, other folks believe the same thing and believe that God said and says the same things that you do. In speaking with people who don't share your beliefs, though, it would help if you didn't expect them to do so already, and to believe that simply because you've said them they must be true.
I don't know what God says, honest. And when other people act as if they do it sounds as if there are holes in their reasoning process.
I believe it doesn't sound that way to you, and that the statement sounds completely natural and true. To me it is simply the beginning of a familiar conversation where everything goes back to essentially, Because God said so.
If God says so or not, surely there some way of discussing this that doesn't try to bludgeon me with an authority that I'm not all that certain exists in the way that you conceptualize it.
Bob, the original context that brought me into this discussion was a criticism of a Bishop, who believes essentially the same as I do about the divine specificity involved with human sexuality and marriage.
I, of course, would like to explain how a view that does not make homosexulity an acceptable alternative to heterosexuality, should be reasonable. It's just that there is much data that will always be interpreted differently according to our views. There is no more of a hole in my reasoning, which attempts to interpret data in light of a divine statement, than in your reasoning, which excludes divine authority and gives more weight to your sensibilities (and your own choice of what is most important in relationships).
I certainly don't like it when you say that St. Paul is arrogant, and anyone who says that God definitely said something. But wishes are wishes, and I suspect our prospective views of things have bound us to certain feelings toward the kinds of arguments we each tend to use in these discussions.
My argument is certainly not "just because God says so". It is coupled with many reasons ... none of which, like yours, are incontrovertible.
I do feel that if you really believe that Gender is so ambiguous (a position which is much more academic than really believed or felt, except in rare unfortunate cases), I'm not sure we have that much common ground to speak from. I feel that out of political correctness, people are generally afraid to say openly that homosexuality is a form of gender confusion, akin to transvestism.
Probably "lust," I guess, but hardly on a "the greatest of these is love" scale in terms of marriage. A bright and charitable man in so many ways, a good man, but not a humble man, I think.
Nor do I think this particular prescription of Paul's was meant to be on that level. But it is a persuasion that it is better to enter a God-sanctioned relationship where the sublimities of love may be learned in time, rather than to enter into sinful fornication which would only serve to damage, if not destroy the relationship altogether. Not all statements are on the same level. Some meet us where we are, rather than where we should be.
I think you've hit on something here. That is, I think there are lots of things in the bible with lots more textual weight than this issue. Idolatry, for example, which ought to be a major subject in every church in the country when it comes to people's love of money. People's lack of attention to social justice and the crimes that are committed in the name of punishment every day in this country and throughout the world. People read the "Eye for an eye" verse as though it was demanding at least equal retribution instead of limiting it. Issues of war, issues of how we treat the poor and the elderly and the ill.
The bible is rich with text on all these issues, and relatively speaking, not so much on this one. This issue has had way more written about it than it's textual importance suggests, and I think the reason for that has something to do with us, not with the mote but the log.
Our common ground: This should not be a pet-sin (usually someone else's) to harp on. And there is much to clean up at home.
Our divergence: Conceding the former point doesn't mean that homosexuality is less significant than the other issues mentioned, given the words used in scripture to describe it. "Abomination" is pretty strong language, that is never used for mere ceremonial pollution. And if one is to conclude that homosexuality is a sin at all, then it is one of the few of which not only sanction has been demanded, but nearly celebration ... making it quite unique, along with the responses of the Christian communities (both the rancorous and more civil).