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What exactly IS marriage anyway?

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Essorant
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175 posted 05-26-2004 12:51 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

If there is a decently or reasonabally complete description of "homosexuality" in the bible then bring it forth, Stephenos.  I don't know any, but I will change my opinion about the bible if you prove to me there is a part that may be well perceived as a complete, or at least from a complete acknowledging of "homosexuality" or "homosexuals".  Otherewise, I remain convinced the bible doesn't speak for what "homosexuality" completly is, and what it is today.

  
Essorant
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176 posted 05-26-2004 12:59 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I'm not trying to warp the position expressed in the bible, Stephenos. The biblical view is negative, but my point is, that view in the bible doesn't seem to speak in everything that "homosexuality" is.   You acknowledge that "homosexuals" may have decent relationships and decent feelings towards each other; but the bible doesn't seem to give a hint of acknowledging something like that.
Essorant
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177 posted 05-26-2004 03:15 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"The Bible clearly states that it is a defined thing ... a gift given to humanity by God.  Others think it is whatever we say it is.  I hold to the Biblical view.  Anything else is not true marriage at all.


There is nothing wrong with holding fast to the biblical definition; but it doesn't change the truth that there are already "homosexuals" that are united by true love and true ceremonies in this world that are living together and doing all the most important things that "heterosexuals" do in marriage.

"There may be a difference in "pursuing a good lifestyle", and demanding the public recognition and honor of a bad one.  There are many homosexual activists who really also mock the concept of monogamy as oppressive, who also want homosexual marriage legalized.  Not for the purpose of settling down in the traditional securities of marriage, but for elevating their lifestyle to the place of public acceptance and political "equality".


I don't agree with making anybody's sexuality a public event, "hetero" or "homo" sexual.   Sexuality is not a show;  nor is marriage!


[This message has been edited by Essorant (05-26-2004 05:29 PM).]

Local Parasite
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178 posted 05-26-2004 07:25 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

quote:
There is nothing wrong with holding fast to the biblical definition; but it doesn't change the truth that there are already "homosexuals" that are united by true love and true ceremonies in this world that are living together and doing all the most important things that "heterosexuals" do in marriage.


I don't see the problem with men loving other men.  The bible doesn't, either.  If you'd ever read it, you'd see that there's a very large instance of men loving each other very affectionately without taking it to the level of sexual intercourse.  For example:

quote:
2nd Samuel 1:26:  I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;  you have been very pleasant to me.  Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of women.


One of the worst mistakes homosexuals (and left-wing activists who are too busy picketing to read a book) have made in their campaign for "equal rights" is to assume that Christians are against anything other than the "sex" aspect of homosexuality.  I see the catch phrase "marriage is love" everywhere, implying that if two men "love" each other they should be able to get married... but I'd say it's absurd to so strictly divide marriage and sex.  Even the law doesn't make so many distinctions... at least in Canada, where "inability to perform sexually" is still grounds for an annulment.  Also, from a traditional point of view, marriage is the precursor to sex (and family, which comes with only one kind of sex, after all...)

I have to compliment Stephanos on his choice of subject line for this thread... it's a really good question to ask people, because everyone thinks they've got it figured out.

"God becomes as we are that we may be as he is."  ~William Blake

Essorant
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179 posted 05-27-2004 12:14 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"I don't see the problem with men loving other men.  The bible doesn't, either.  If you'd ever read it, you'd see that there's a very large instance of men loving each other very affectionately without taking it to the level of sexual intercourse."

Truly; but I don't know any where in the bible "homosexuals" are held as having such affections.  

It condemns people of the same sex having immoral sex.
But it doesn't say anything about two people of the same sex seeking monogomy.

A monogomously inclined homosexuality is NOT condemned for it is not even mentioned in the bible!

I'm not trying to throw darts at the bible.

I'm just saying the biblical view doesn't seem to  have the same "concept" as our modern where we translate  "homosexual"  
We know we are talking about much more with the word "homosexual" than what the bible refers to; the bible doesn't for sure have the same concept in the way we do at all, but we still translate that as "homosexual"  because it sexually involves people of the same sex.
It is difficult when there is such a stretch between cultures, times, languages etc, to know where our interpretations are chiming with what is really being said.  




  

serenity blaze
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180 posted 05-27-2004 02:51 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I have come to the conclusion that a marriage is something that cannot be legislated. It is not a stamp that can bend hot wax to being something "identifiable". It's not an injection of loyalty--and it won't be negated by a constitutional amendment, nor will a profession of vows before a legislator of our government make such a union more solid.

But what we can do, as a people, is give that decision back to the people to whom it belongs--the people who decide to pledge to live their lives together.

I agree, too, let's quit penalizing the people who decide to live their lives alone.

So therefore, I propose, we abolish the political idealization of marriage altogether--civil union contracts should be the only legal way to go in order to ensure parity.

We'll talk taxes later.

Stephanos
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181 posted 05-28-2004 02:55 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant .... I want to respond to you at some length.  Give me some time to throw it together.  I've got to work the weekend.  I'll be back.


Stephen.
Essorant
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182 posted 05-29-2004 10:27 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I will wait for you.
Have a good weekend, Stephenos
Stephanos
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183 posted 05-30-2004 10:28 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
If there is a decently or reasonabally complete description of "homosexuality" in the bible then bring it forth, Stephenos.  I don't know any, but I will change my opinion about the bible if you prove to me there is a part that may be well perceived as a complete, or at least from a complete acknowledging of "homosexuality" or "homosexuals".  Otherewise, I remain convinced the bible doesn't speak for what "homosexuality" completly is, and what it is today.

Essorant I will list for you all of the Biblical passages that have to do with homosexuality, but first I want to address something.  There is something you are assuming which I question ... and it is basically this:  That homosexuality today is significantly different than it was in Biblical times.  An example of this is when you wrote:

quote:
I don't know any where in the bible "homosexuals" are held as having such affections.  It condemns people of the same sex having immoral sex.
But it doesn't say anything about two people of the same sex seeking monogomy.  A monogomously inclined homosexuality is NOT condemned for it is not even mentioned in the bible!  I'm not trying to throw darts at the bible.  I'm just saying the biblical view doesn't seem to  have the same "concept" as our modern where we translate  "homosexual"



In order to hold your position, you have to assume one of several things here.  1) In Biblical times Homosexuality was different in practice, in that homosexuals never sought monogamy or commitment and never had genuine emotional love, in their homosexual relationships.  or ... 2) These “more acceptable practices” existed, but the Biblical writers were simply ignorant of them, and were aware of only the debaucherous practices of polyamorous homosexuality.  or 3)  The Biblical writers were aware of the more committed and monogamous type of homosexuality, but chose to deny that it existed, and to portray homosexuality as a completely immoral practice in contrary to the evidence that there existed a more virtuous form of it.



Assumption # 1) is simply untrue.  Historically, homosexuality was mostly practiced by those who indulged in more than one sexual partner (and also often had associations with pederasty and temple prostitution).  But there was still a marginal segment of that poplulation which valued monogamy and exclusive commitment in their homosexuality.  That’s NO different than today, in the sense that homosexuals typically have multiple sexual partners (much more so than heterosexuals).  But the fact is, Paul in Romans Chapter 1 when addressing homosexuality, doesn’t refer to anything other than the impropriety of homosexuality itself.  Greg Bahnsen says it well in an article called “Homosexuality as sin”:


”In ancient culture homosexuality was commonplace, with certain distinctions customarily drawn between homosexuality as an ideal expression of love (e.g., in Plato's Symposium) or an aid to military prowess (e.g., in Spartan propaganda) and homosexuality in the form of prostitution and indiscriminate infatuation. The one was encouraged, the other discouraged. By contrast, Paul, who was well versed in the culture of his day, drew no such distinctions but categorically condemned homosexuality without exception. Scripture cannot be interpretively shaped to fit the contours of sin, and homosexuality cannot be cleverly domesticated within a divinely approved lifestyle. There is no more a Christian form of homosexuality than there is a Christian form of adultery or bestiality or rape, etc. Romans 1 makes no room for any kind of homosexuality whatsoever, for it is plainly and simply error, a wrong lifestyle (Romans 1:27). If Paul's words can be twisted to allow for homosexuality under certain conditions, the same line of thought can be taken with all of the sins elaborated in verses 28-31-indeed, with any sin whatsoever!



Assumption #2) is very doubtful.  As rampant as promiscuous polyamory was in the Roman world ... Paul did not fail to point out that heterosexuality was not inherently wrong, but that there existed a God-ordained proper context for it ... monogamous marriage.  If such a context could exist in which homosexuality would be justified and acceptable to God, it would have doubtless been presented by Paul.  The error involves thinking that Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality was due to peripheral practices or attitudes surrounding it.  If it were, couldn’t he logically separate the homosexuality from the “perverse” things which usually accompanied it?  Though he wrote some things which are obscure, he was typically precise in his moral teachings, and not apt to condemn one thing on the basis of something completely separate.  More accurately, Paul believed, as a devout Jew, that homosexuality is sinful because it is contrary to the creative order of God, as expressed in Genesis, not because it was commonly associated with other sins.  That’s what he meant in Romans 1, where he wrote that homosexuality is  “against nature”.  But more on that later, when we get into the Biblical exegesis ...



Assumption #3) ... though it has the most going for it, out of the three ... is really to say nothing more than that you don’t agree with the Bible, or the judgement of the apostles, or that you don’t believe they wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  This is at least the more intellectually respectable argument (though I disagree with it), since it doesn’t require scriptural gymnastics to make it’s point.  It recognizes that the bible condemns homosexuality, and therefore seeks to defend it’s own conclusions on other grounds completely.
  


quote:
The biblical view is negative, but my point is, that view in the bible doesn't seem to speak in everything that "homosexuality" is.   You acknowledge that "homosexuals" may have decent relationships and decent feelings towards each other; but the bible doesn't seem to give a hint of acknowledging something like that.


Why would the Bible need to state something so obvious?  Decent feelings and relationships are not synonymous with homosexuality, though they may coexist.  Homosexuals can have genuine concern and friendship with their “partner(s)”.  When the Bible condemns something like adultery, are we to assume therefore that there can be no “decent feelings” or real concern or even what we would call “love” for an extramarital lover?  Of course not.  In most cases there are such feelings, else it wouldn’t be so easy to rationalize and excuse adulteristic behavior.  Satan never tempts us with bad things, but with perverted good things, things out of order and out of place.  But in the case of adultery passages, it would be out of context to mention the obvious ... especially when those very obvious facts cannot justify what is condemned or forbidden.  So the Bible doesn’t “acknowledge” these things, because they, quite frankly, don’t need it.  On your premise, I could also argue for a more respectable theivery and adultery.  
  


quote:
A monogomously inclined homosexuality is NOT condemned for it is not even mentioned in the bible!



Monogomously inclined homosexuality IS included in the scripture, because it is included under the general heading “Homosexual”.  Let me ask you a hypothetical question ... If the writers of the Bible DID condemn all homosexual practice, then why would they include such a distinction? ... Why would they even mention monogomously inclined homosexuality, if in their mind there were no moral distinction?  They wouldn’t.  You’ve at least got to look at that as a textual possibility.  It’s much more cogent to say that they didn’t mention it for this moral reason, than to say that they didn’t know such a thing even existed.  Historically and sociologically it doesn’t make sense to say that a monogamous approach to homosexuality wasn’t known.  The majority of Biblical scholarship (both believing and unbelieving) supports this also.    


quote:
We know we are talking about much more with the word "homosexual" than what the bible refers to; the bible doesn't for sure have the same concept in the way we do at all, but we still translate that as "homosexual"  because it sexually involves people of the same sex.
It is difficult when there is such a stretch between cultures, times, languages etc, to know where our interpretations are chiming with what is really being said.



That’s not exactly true.  I will introduce you to the words behind the biblical texts on my next post.  And you’ll see that exegesis of these passages really isn’t all that obscure or difficult.


Thanks for your patience          

Stephen.
Essorant
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184 posted 05-30-2004 03:02 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"There is something you are assuming which I question ... and it is basically this:  That homosexuality today is significantly different than it was in Biblical times"

Stephenos,

Indeed; but I also question how they referred to people, and if they had a reference that equates to our modern "homosexual" and "homosexuality"
Do you know the original words and meanings in the bible that we are translating as referring to what we do with "homosexual" in our interpretations.  
Just because something refers to something involving people of the same sex, doesn't mean it refers to anything involving people of the same sex!  

There is no denying that what is being referred to is people of the same sex acting wrongly, but that the bible is referring to homosexuality  individually, aside from being in wrongs that sexuality in general is taken to, is questionable.  
"Heterosexuals" commit indecencies that are "homosexual" acts as well.  Why should people that are "homosexuals" because they are maturally and monogomously in love with one of the same sex be blamed and treated as sinners for such things?  

I could argue that people staying in a city shouldn't be allowed to marry; there are thousands of arguments I may bring up as to why it is healthier that only people in ruralnesses should be allowed to get married; would you have some complaints to raise?  The city may be less healthy overall, but most of us agree that the basic structure, or plan of living such a lifestyle,    Nature and God have the "room" for, And that  we are not locked into the bad behaviors that make our cities more and more unhealthy.  We rightly believe that we may behave differently and that the city may be a balanced and civilized structure that doesn't corrupt nature so much.
There seems a similarity with homosexuality.  Perhaps there were many wrong are many wrong choices, but that doesn't mean being homosexual is wrong itself, and in being homosexual people are locked into wrong choices; not all people living in the city are making wrong choices; nor are all "homosexuals" making wrong choices.

"But the fact is, Paul in Romans Chapter 1 when addressing homosexuality, doesn’t refer to anything other than the impropriety of homosexuality itself."

Paul seems to refer to usage not love in his references.  There is  not a word about monogamy that I recall.

"Monogomously inclined homosexuality IS included in the scripture, because it is included under the general heading “Homosexual”.  Let me ask you a hypothetical question ... If the writers of the Bible DID condemn all homosexual practice, then why would they include such a distinction? ... Why would they even mention monogomously inclined homosexuality, if in their mind there were no moral distinction?  They wouldn’t.  You’ve at least got to look at that as a textual possibility.

But "homosexuality" is our heading, not the bible's.  Just like where we translate "world", that you showed certainly has different signifigances and meanings in the bible.
We translate it as "homosexual" but I don't think "homosexual" was even word back then, and I'm not sure if there was exactly a certainly parallell reference in word or worth in that times and culture.  
I'm openminded and will consider the possibility that the bible may refer to a mongomously inclined homosexuality as well.  But that remains conjecture, not scripture.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (05-31-2004 01:47 PM).]

Stephanos
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185 posted 05-30-2004 05:08 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Do you know the original words and meanings in the bible that we are translating as referring to "homosexual" in our interpretations basically because they sexually involve people of the same sex?



Yes, I do.  Below I will take scriptural references to homosexuality one by one, and we'll look at those words, and why proper exegesis would conclude that these verses refer to homosexuality per se.


quote:
but that the bible is referring to homosexuality  individually, aside from being in wrongs that sexuality in general is taken to, is questionable.  
"Heterosexuals" commit indecencies that are "homosexual" acts as well.  Why should people that are "homosexuals" because they are maturally and monogomously in love with one of the same sex be blamed and treated as sinners for such things?



So then, you're saying that only what's wrong in the context of a heterosexual relationship (ie, betrayal, adultery, etc...) is what is also wrong in the context of a homosexual relationship?  Then why doesn't the bible just condemn adultery and be done with it?  If this is true, the Biblical writers totally failed because they made it look overwhelmingly like they were referring to homosexuality itself.  (You'll see in further detail when we begin to look at the scriptures).  Abundant condemnation of betral and adultery and sexual unfaithfulness is given elsewhere in scripture.  To cloud the issue with homosexuality (which you are saying might be good in and of itself) would make no sense.   So here's my point ...  Should we derive the meaning from the actual text and what we know of the particular culture surrounding that text, or should we rather derive it from a contemporary theory that they really meant the same sexual sins condemned in adultery passages?  What are you basing that upon?


quote:
Paul seems to refer to usage not love in his references.  There is  not a word about monogamy that I recall.


You're right, Paul does not really mention love.  But then again the passage is not dealing directly with love ... it is dealing with righteousness and sin, and a right relationship with God.  Paul actually wrote the following:  "... For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.  For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and recieving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." (Romans 1:26-27)


You seem to be taking the word "use" out of context.  Paul is contrasting the "natural use" with that which is "against nature".  He's not condemning "using" someone, as if he meant the same thing as the word we use with a negative connotation, as in: "You're only using me".  That's not the sense at all that Paul is using this word.  Do you know the importance of context?  Paul goes on to define what he means by "against nature", when he wrote about men with men, having left the natural use of the woman.


So two things are clear from looking at this passage:


1) Paul doesn't use the word "USE" as in the sense of taking advantage of someone.  The passage wouldn't make sense if that were so.  Just try plugging in "taking advantage of" every place "use" occurs, and see what happens.  


2) He makes a distiction between a "natural usage" and one that is "against nature".



  
quote:
But "homosexuality" is our heading, not the bible's.  Just like where we translate "world", that you showed certainly has different signifigances and meanings in the bible.



I disagree, it is the bible's heading even if the english word "homosexuality" didn't exist.  You're right that the Roman/ pagan world did not make distinction in word.  The only words used literally meant "penetrator" and "penetrated".  But the Jews DID make distinction, and so did the Christians.  There's only one thing better than a word to describe something ... and that's several words strung together.  Some of the Biblical passages, though not containing a single "word" for homosexuality, give clear description of homosexual activity (like the Romans passage above).  
  
  

quote:
We translate it as "homosexual" but I don't think "homosexual" was even word back then, and I'm not sure if there was exactly a certainly parallell reference in word or worth in that times and culture.  



Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:  "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be decieved.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor theives, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."


This is not my favorite English translation (New King James Version), but I use it because of convenience and familiarity ...  But I wanted to call attention to the two words I have underlined.  I will describe the words in the original Greek:


The first is "malakos"  which in a literal sense means "soft raiment".  Metaphorically it was used to mean "effeminate, of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness"


The second is "arsenokoites" which is derived from two other greek words meaning literally "a man", and "a bed".  And it means "one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite.


The first term really refers to a more passive role in the homosexual relationship, as one who allows himself to be taken advantage of.  The second word (arsenokoites) is a more generic word that means exactly what we mean by homosexuality today.

  

quote:
I'm openminded and will consider the possibility that the bible may refer to "a mongomously inclined" homosexuality as well.  But that remains conjecture, not scripture.



I'm glad that you are openminded.  But you must remember one thing ... If the Bible condemns homosexuality wholesale, there will be no moral distinction between "monogamous homosexuality" and another kind.  In that case, the best that can be done is to show you that the bible condemns homosexuality in more universal terms ... in a way that applies to all humanity, and in a way that disregards whether or not there be one or twenty partners involved.  And close textual scrutiny can do that, I think, quite easily.  But you will find no reference to "monogamous homosexuality" since the Biblical writers made no moral distinction.   Just like you will never find any mention of virtuous adultery.  


Now...

I’m going to (in several posts) list and comment on scriptures that occur chronologically from the Old Testament to the New Testament, which deal with the issue of homosexuality.  Some scriptures only condemn homosexuality in a secondary kind of way, as when other sins are being addressed primarily, and homosexuality happens to be addressed alongside them.  I will not include such scriptures.  I will exclude them not because homosexuality cannot be shown to be sin from these passages ... they’re just not as clear.  But other scriptures exist abudantly enough which condemn the practice of homosexuality exclusively.  So the apologetic defense of homosexuality as sin, doesn’t have to depend upon some of the more obscure passages.  I will define underlined words in the original languages for clarity.





The first mention of homosexuality is in Leviticus 18:22


You shall not lie with a male as with a women.  It is an abomination.


*English “lie” comes from the Hebrew word “shakab”:  To lie down (for rest, sexual connection, decease, or any other purpose.)


*English “abomination” comes from the Hebrew word “Towebah”:  something disgusting, an abhorrence, especially idolatry or an idol.


Though “lie” can be a general term that doesn’t necessarily describe sexual activity, the term is given it’s context when the text says “as with a woman”.  In that culture, the idiom would have been clear that to “lie as with a woman” means sexual intercourse.  Therefore the meaning of the scripture becomes clear.  It is referring to men having sexual intercourse with men.  The word for “abomination” is a qualitative description of the action.  Some do try to say that the verse was referring to only to pagan homosexual temple prostitution, or some merely religious violation, not to the act of homosexuality itself.  But there is nothing in the text which would suggest so.  Sins being described by words which suggest idolatry are common in the scripture, and do not necessarily refer to the literal religious practices.  For example, covetousness in the New Testament is described as “idolatry”, but it would be absurd to suggest that when the Bible condemns covetousness, it was referring to a first century religious “kind” of it.  The most natural rendering of this text is that the words “male” and “woman” are universal terms ... They literally mean in the Hebrew “mankind” and “womankind”.  Such universal terminology would not be used to describe a regional or cultural practice.  And again, the text would be deceptive since it does not indicate religious practice, but rather refers soley to “men having sex with men” as I have already shown.  So there is no cogent textal argument which would cast doubt on the fact that Leviticus 18:22 is referring to homosexual intercourse, regardless of circumstance.



Stephen.

  
Essorant
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186 posted 05-31-2004 03:53 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"So then, you're saying that only what's wrong in the context of a heterosexual relationship (ie, betrayal, adultery, etc...) is what is also wrong in the context of a homosexual relationship? "


Believe it or not, yes!


"Then why doesn't the bible just condemn adultery and be done with it? "

Why will we call a bruised plum or a bruised apple, a bruised plum or bruised apple, instead of just a bruise?  

"To cloud the issue with homosexuality (which you are saying might be good in and of itself) would make no sense. "

I'm not sure why you consider it "clouding" the issue.  When it seems to emphasize homosexual indecency, it means homosexual indecency to me, not "homosexuality"

"So here's my point ...  Should we derive the meaning from the actual text and what we know of the particular culture surrounding that text, or should we rather derive it from a contemporary theory that they really meant the same sexual sins condemned in adultery passages?  What are you basing that upon?"

Let's look at how well the two sides do or do not agree.  


"Paul doesn't use the word "USE" as in the sense of taking advantage of someone.  The passage wouldn't make sense if that were so."

"Use" seems like treating someone or something like an object, whether or not the connotation is added.
That to me seems a distinction, not a generalization that may include a relationship that is respectfully willed.

"Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-10...  "... nor homosexuals, nor sodomites... will inherit the kingdom of God."

This is an example of how it oft refers to people like their acts rather than like people, not how the bible has a wholehearted view of homosexuality.

"If the Bible condemns homosexuality wholesale, there will be no moral distinction between "monogamous homosexuality" and another kind"

I'm still trying to figure out how no moral distinction is a good thing!


Leviticus 18:22
“You shall not lie with a male as with a women.  It is an abomination.”

This doesn't suggest anything more than a physical approach to homosexuality; it may almost mean the same as Paul's "use"


  

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I didn't read all of the last page of this, but:

'That’s NO different than today, in the sense that homosexuals typically have multiple sexual partners (much more so than heterosexuals).'

I found this interesting, because I've actually read that homosexual males tend to be the most promiscuous while in relationships, with heterosexual couples coming in second and homosexual females being the most monogamous- this would be attributed to the male's tendency to wander moreso than the homosexual aspect, wouldn't it?

Granted, I read this in a book by Dan Savage- however, I don't really see why he would print a false statistic that admitted gay men as being promiscuous. That and the experience I've had with lesbian couples seems to back this up.
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Essorant:
quote:
I'm not sure why you consider it "clouding" the issue.  When it seems to emphasize homosexual indecency, it means homosexual indecency to me, not "homosexuality"



If you go back and read what I was referring to ... I was saying that if the only thing immoral is "adultery" then the Bible has clouded the issue by saying things like "men with men", and "even the women exchanged the natural use".  Not only does the Bible say such things (which would be clouding the issue), but it says such things to the exclusion of anything about adultery.


So, though it may look like "homosexual indecency" to you, instead of homosexuality per se, there is nothing in the actual text to suggest it.  The Bible text is at least written as if homosexuality were indecent in and of itself ... And so, if you were right, the writers of the Bible would be clouding the issue with great unclarity.  But I think the unclarity may be in your interpretation here.  You haven't shown anything textually that would indicate what you are saying is true.  The Bible text seems clear enough.  Your theory cannot be naturally derived from the texts.  If you beg to differ, please use the texts to support what you are saying ... rather than just stating that they don't refer to mere homosexuality.
  


quote:
Let's look at how well the two sides do or do not agree.



I think it's clear enough that the two sides do not agree.  Let's look at which side is supported by the texts themselves (which I have been doing).
  


quote:
"Use" seems like treating someone or something like an object, whether or not the connotation is added.
That to me seems a distinction, not a generalization that may include a relationship that is respectfully willed.



Essorant ... whether or not you like the word "use" in the Bible text doesn't have any bearing on the issue of what Paul meant in his own mind.  Both positive and negative connotation is described by the word "use".  It is given in a neutral way, and qualitatively defined by either being "natural" or "against nature".  Let's look at it again:

"... For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful ..."


Whether or not you think the Biblical writer chose a fitting word by referring to use or usage ... he was judging one "use" to be proper, and another to be against what is natural.  In that context, the meaning "taking advantage of" makes no sense.  That's all I was trying to point out.


Whether or not you think that a "respectfully willed" relationship should be described by the word "use" is irrelevant.  The Biblical writer chose the word that he did to describe both a negative and positive circumstance ... You are projecting your idea about "taking advantage of" onto the text, not deriving it from the text.
  


quote:
This is an example of how it oft refers to people like their acts rather than like people, not how the bible has a wholehearted view of homosexuality.



The bible also refers to people who commit adultery as "adulterers" .... addressing them according to their deeds.  Why?  Because the unrighteousness of the deed is what the Bible is addressing at that moment.  There are other passages which also refer to people in general, and even in personal terms.  But when the bible is making a moral judgment about an action which is never right, it uses terms such as "murderers", "adulterers", "fornicators", "theives", etc...  That's really no different that you referring to "football players" when talking about the superbowl, or "politicians" when talking about the elections.  Just because the bible uses some terms in a negative context, you want to suggest it is improper.  But I disagree.  The bible also speaks of men in rewarding and praising ways, when they follow after him and learn righteousness.  


And why do you differentiate between adultery and homosexuality in regards to calling them by name?  Why wouldn't you object so strong to calling an adulterer, an adulterer, but would object when the bible calls a homosexual, a homosexual?  Again you have to assume that homosexuality is not really a sin to even make such a judgment.  You're not going to the text to find out if it says it is, or not ... you are judging the text according to your decided standard.  In which case, I'm getting you closer to where I wanted you to be ... to the place of acknowledging that the Bible condemns homosexuality categorically, in the same way as it does adultery.   And though you sound as if you're beginning to disagree with the Bible's view (judging from your above quote), I think this is a more honest and respectable view than trying to manipulate the Bible to say what you believe.



quote:
I'm still trying to figure out how no moral distinction is a good thing!



I never said that the Bible makes no moral distinction.  It definitely makes many moral distinctions, including one between homosexuality and heterosexuality ... one being proper and God ordained, and the other being sinful and "against nature".  What I did say was that the Bible doesn't make a moral distiction between monogamous homosexuality, and polyamorous homosexuality.   It absolutely does make moral distinctions ... it just doesn't make the SAME distinction that you are now making.



quote:
This doesn't suggest anything more than a physical approach to homosexuality; it may almost mean the same as Paul's "use"



I already have shown that Paul's "use" is a neutral word ... one which is acceptable when applied in the God ordained way, and unacceptable when applied "against nature".  Do you at least agree that that's how Paul must have meant it?  The text just doesn't make sense any other way.  And really, Essorant, this is getting to be too repetitive on this one point.  I have already made my case using the text itself ... you have not.  If you want to textually show me from Romans 1, how Paul meant "use" in the sense of "taking advantage of someone", then let's see it.


The Leviticus Passage simply means what it says.  The only thing we can derive from the text is EXACTLY what it says.  There is nothing present which might make any distictions among "types" of homosexuality as you are suggesting.  Give me something from the passage itself, and I'll consider what you say.  Otherwise you are the one using conjecture ... even against the most natural rendering of the texts.


It's quite okay to say "I disagree with the Bible", especially if you do.  I only want to convince you of what it actually says ... at least for now.          



Stephen.
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Hush:
quote:
I've actually read that homosexual males tend to be the most promiscuous while in relationships, with heterosexual couples coming in second and homosexual females being the most monogamous- this would be attributed to the male's tendency to wander moreso than the homosexual aspect, wouldn't it?



Perhaps so ... But as to the discussion that Essorant and I are currently having, that would have little bearing on whether or not homosexuality is sinful according to Scripture.  


I was simply trying to point out to Essorant that homosexuality in the ancient Biblical world was essentially the same as homosexuality now.  Your statement points out that adultery was very much the same back then too.  As Solomon once said "There is nothing new under the sun".


Stephen.
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I find myself wishing we had the Internet a hundred years ago. You know, back when some few people were arguing that women were more than just property? Or maybe a 150 years ago, when others were arguing that slavery could no longer be tolerated? Of course, if we're going back that far, heck, I might just as well wish the Internet had been available in 1615 when Galileo Galilei faced the Inquisition and dutifully recanted his astronomical observations as contrary to Scripture and therefore scientifically false.

I have no doubt, if forums had been available back then, we'd have a good record today of threads just like this one.

I tend to believe the Bible is never wrong. Man's interpretation of it, however, has been wrong a whole heck of a lot.
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191 posted 06-01-2004 10:13 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephenos
Remember that my argument was what scriptures do not show.  
They do not show a complete-like description, or at least some token of coming from a complete acknowledging  of what homosexuality is and what it is today.
When you show me what is in the scripture, I'm trying to show you what is not in the scripture: a showing moral awareness in or a judging of homosexuality as anything more than just a physical unnaturalness committed by heterosexuals.
If you will prove the bible is written in wit of more, you are not showing scripture to suggest that.
Otherwise how do we trust the bible's view of homosexuality, or what seems to be a view of homosexuality, is complete?  Regarding more than just an unnatural, physical act, that heterosexuals commit?  
When something is more than an physical act, and willed by much more than for a physical act, don't you think it deserves at least recognition of more than just a physical act?  
Where is any description or suggestion in the biblical description or tenor that shows or even suggests judgement coming of mentality recognizing such?  
The more I look at the scripture, the more it seems it is treated like an act not a relationship.
And that is relevant to homosexuals that believe in monogomy and marriage?

I will take a closer look again at all things you said above; and examine the scripture more closely, but I fear I probably will still remain unconvinced that biblical mentality/manner of approaching homosexuality is whole.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (06-02-2004 01:54 PM).]

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Ron:

I don't see that the interpretion in this case is as far off base as the application.  Don't you think that is the real issue here?

Jim
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Okay, once again I don't see why it matters what the Bible says on this subject. The Bible also says not to worship any god before God, and not to commit idolatry and so on, but there's no law saying I can't do those things. Personally, from a biblical point of view I think that Christianity is right in believing homosexuality to be prohibited by God, but the Bible doesn't- or shouldn't- run our society.
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194 posted 06-01-2004 12:53 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
You know, back when some few people were arguing that women were more than just property? Or maybe a 150 years ago, when others were arguing that slavery could no longer be tolerated? Of course, if we're going back that far, heck, I might just as well wish the Internet had been available in 1615 when Galileo Galilei faced the Inquisition and dutifully recanted his astronomical observations as contrary to Scripture and therefore scientifically false.
I have no doubt, if forums had been available back then, we'd have a good record today of threads just like this one.
I tend to believe the Bible is never wrong. Man's interpretation of it, however, has been wrong a whole heck of a lot.


Regardless of what interpretation you think is right, Ron ... interpretations of the Bible must be defended from the Biblical texts.  Personally I think you're making the error of assuming that concepts like geocentrism (or even slavery) are as easy to defend biblically as "homosexuality as sin".  I personally don't think those interpretations had any more weight (scripturally speaking) back then than they do now.  Presenting obscure poetic soliloquy as scientific treatises was an error that Galileo understood and yet one which the governing authorities of the Church (swayed by Aristotelian belief about Geocentrism) refused to see.  


Now your job is to present a textual / historical / polemic case that would persuade us to believe that the "homosexual" scriptures in the Bible fall under that some category of misinterpretation and unwarranted interpolation, instead of just making the comparison, and saying it is so.  Biblical pro-homosexuality shouldn't be assumed correct on the merits of heliocentrism, or the vices of slavery, or anything else for that matter.  You have to do your legwork.


Hush:
quote:
... I don't see why it matters what the Bible says on this subject. The Bible also says not to worship any god before God, and not to commit idolatry and so on, but there's no law saying I can't do those things. Personally, from a biblical point of view I think that Christianity is right in believing homosexuality to be prohibited by God, but the Bible doesn't- or shouldn't- run our society.
  


Now this response acknowledges what the Bible says, and then goes on to disagree with it.  Though not a safe position (in my opinion, it is openly treasonous), it is at least courageous and honest enough concerning the data we are given.  


Stephen.
    
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quote:
I don't see that the interpretion in this case is as far off base as the application.

Jim, do you really think anyone ever thought their interpretation was off base? Were they somehow less sincere than those today? Less Christian, perhaps?

quote:
Regardless of what interpretation you think is right, Ron ... interpretations of the Bible must be defended from the Biblical texts.

Really, Stephen? And what passage would you cite to support that rule?

Scripture is a fire that can either comfort or consume, depending on its use. It was never meant to be read in isolation, apart and separate from its Creator. It is only with the Guiding Hand of God that the Word of God can have meaning. Or, for that matter, give meaning.

Tearing the meat off the bones of a sparrow will never tell us what it feels like to soar over trees and roof tops. Look at the whole bird. And when you see something in the bird that proves it cannot fly, question your observations in light of its greater truth. I certainly don't pretend to understand the will of God, but condemnations of love, commitment and trust just don't jibe with the greater truths I have seen.

I know too much to believe the bird can't fly. And far too little to ever feel justified in casting the first stone at it.
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Ron:

By application I meant that Christians in the U.S. often seem to confuse Biblical mandates with Constitutional mandates.  But I don't know of any serious biblical scholar - conservative or liberal - who has found justification for the homosexual lifestyle in the biblical texts.

The point I was trying to make earlier (in the 170s?) was that a clear biblical mandate alone is not, nor should it be, the foundation on which American law ought to be built.  As I read it, the Establishment Clause prohibits such a practice, just as the Free Exercise Clause protects churches from having to recognize a civilly-legal homosexual marriage as sacred.

Jim
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quote:
The point I was trying to make earlier (in the 170s?) was that a clear biblical mandate alone is not, nor should it be, the foundation on which American law ought to be built. As I read it, the Establishment Clause prohibits such a practice, just as the Free Exercise Clause protects churches from having to recognize a civilly-legal homosexual marriage as sacred.

We are in complete agreement, Jim. I am not prepared to have the majority dictate my religion, even when I feel my religion is the majority. Because I know it won't always be the majority.

Stephen probably should have titled his thread, "What exactly IS the Christian viewpoint of marriage anyway?" since that is the only direction he seems prepared to address.
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The "homosexuality" in the bible's eye is not for sure even perceived as form of sexuality at all or a form of relationship, but is a physical unnaturalness heterosexuals commit, and they are then "homosexuals" for commiting that act.  There is no suggestion that the bible sees in a personality or spirit of a union to what it is referring to, as we do today; in the bible it seems physical act of deviance for physical gratification or outrage.  There is legitimacy in what it regards, for it is regarding physical indecency of people, which is as legitmate to speak out against about homosexual acts as it is heterosexual.  It is not the homosexual personality and relationship or a will to marry, nothing of such homosexuality is shown, therefore nothing of such homosexuality is condemned.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (06-02-2004 02:37 AM).]

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Essorant:
quote:
I will take a closer look again at all things you said above; and examine the scripture more closely, but I fear I probably will still remain unconvinced that biblical mentality/manner of approaching homosexuality is whole.



All along, I've only been trying to show that the Bible is clear in what it's position is on this matter.  If you say that you disagree with it's position and don't consider it to be "whole", then I've at least accomplished part of what I was trying to do ... because you are acknowledging what it says, rather than trying to forward the idea that the scriptures are speaking of something other than homosexuality in these verses.


But just when I thought I was making some progress ... you forward this     ...

quote:
The "homosexuality" in the bible's eye is not for sure even perceived as form of sexuality at all or a form of relationship, but is a physical unnaturalness heterosexuals commit, and they are then "homosexuals" for commiting that act.



That's a contradiction in terms ... to say that the Bible only condemns "homosexuality" when it is an act committed by a heterosexual.  There is no support from the text that would suggest such a thing.  When Paul used the phrase "against nature" he was referring to the nature of men and women according to the created order of God.  As a good Jew, Paul absolutely believed that God intended only men and women to have sexual union.  It is supported from Genesis to Revelation.  Any other explanation of what Paul meant by "against nature" doesn't fit the context in which Paul was speaking.  The assertion that Paul was referring to a person's individual sexual nature, and therefore he only condemns those who act against their basic orientation, is without support.  Why would heterosexuals act against their heterosexual desires?  And if homosexuality per se were not wrong, why would a heterosexual be condemned for committing such otherwise acceptable behavior?  Biblical Scholar James White calls this type of interpretation eisegetical rather than exegetical.  


eisegesis (eye' si gee' sis) n. an interpretation, esp. of scripture which expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.


and in his book "The Same Sex Controversy", he writes about this very same idea:


"Paul's argument does not allow this shift in meaning.  The meaning of the words (the "natural use" of the male or female, the active choice to engage in homosexual behavior, the desire expressed in the mutuality of the activity) and the context of the argument (God has given them over to "degrading passions," and they remain degrading no matter who is engaging in them) militate strongly against this revisionist attempt."


I have to agree with him here.  The context just doesn't allow for such an interpretation.  The references to "men with men committing indecent acts" and "leaving the natural use of the woman" don't make sense in the context you speak of.  He would need to point out the sin of going against one's personal orientation (which there would hardly be a reason to have to do that).  And the idea that it is a horrendous sin to act contrary to one's own personality or psychological makeup ... is a concept that is foreign to scripture.  Remember that the context with Paul was mankind turning from God's revelation ... not self revelation.  So this suggestion is textually bankrupt.
  


quote:
When something is more than an physical act, and willed by much more than for a physical act, don't you think it deserves at least recognition of more than just a physical act?  
Where is any description or suggestion in the biblical description or tenor that shows or even suggests judgement coming of mentality recognizing such?  



Essorant, adultery is often done for much more than a physical act.  Yet the Bible still refers to it as a sin.  Should the bible elaborate on the fact that many adulterous relationships have genuine feelings and commitments?  What would be the purpose of doing so?  It is a given that these acts are more than physical.  Why state the obvious?  And like adultery, homosexuality (even with commitment and bonafide emotions and care) cannot be justified.  


If you're going to defend homosexuality based upon the possibility of love and commitment, you would have to defend many cases of adultery as well.  The Biblical writers weren't ignorant of basic human nature, so as to exclude such phenomena out of ignorance.  They just believed some relations were wrong regardless of these things.  A larger bank account is a good thing too, but it can never justify stealing.


Don't you see that if the Biblical writers even thought homosexuality was wrong in and of itself, it would be out of place to include the kind of description you are looking for?  You're either arguing that they were ignorant, or too austere and simply mistaken about their moral teaching.  


The ignorance argument isn't at all likely.  And the charge of being wrong or too austere is simply to say that you disagree with the Biblical writers.  In which case, at least you admit that they are saying "homosexuality is wrong".



quote:
The more I look at the scripture, the more it seems it is treated like an act not a relationship.
And that is relevant to homosexuals that believe in monogomy and marriage?



Adultery is also treated like an act and not a relationship ... and yet we know that it is a relationship too.  The question is, why should that alone matter with regard to the question of morality?



Stephen.
 
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