Statesboro, GA, USA
Which does not support your contention that interpretations of the Bible must be defended from the Biblical texts.
That's exactly what I'm saying ... even if not wholly from those texts. Of course we often have to go extrabiblical to define the cultural implications, and hone in on what is being stated. But any interpretation which runs diametrically opposite to what the text is stating, (if the text is thought to be in any way authoritative) must be called a heresy. By your methodology, literally ANY interpretation is valid. But the Apostolic tradition, along with an almost unbroken consistency in Church History, denies that approach to biblical interpretation.
The passages you cite, Stephen, instead imply the Bible needs no defense at all
It doesn't imply that at all. Again, even your interpretation of THIS passage must be supported by the rest of the Bible. My view, (though I'm not denying there is ambiguity in the Bible) is that there is correct way to interpret scripture versus an erroneous way ... a heretical way. And again, though there is some ambiguity in the Bible, my contention is that it's not here, on the issue of homosexuality as sin. You must also remember that those who have challenged the doctrinal certainty of the deity of Christ, and the literal nature of a corporeal death and ressurection (doctrines which I assume that you hold as non-negotiable), have done so using the exact method of obscurantism that you are now using.
Here are some further scriptures to support that the Bible indeed DOES require some defending and proper principles of exegesis:
"Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." (1 Timothy 4:13)
"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4:16)
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
" ... consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures." (2 Peter 3:15-16)
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 3,4)
indeed, the passage cited from Corinthians more closely aligns to my contention that interpretations by man are often faulty
I agree with this. As your interpretation is also an interpretation "by man". That's why proper exegesis is so important. There has to be a way to distinguish between what is faulty and what is not. Or else you just threw us all (including yourself) in the post-modern mire of "nobody can really know". Though it may be more difficult with knotty passages of scripture, which can be confusing, these particular ones are not of that category at all.
The Word can and has been used to justify every atrocity imaginable.
Indeed ... and often by violating sound principles of Biblical interpretation, in order to justify what one desires to do. The word has also been used to condemn those very atrocities. The two methods should be compared and contrasted ... rather than constantly mired together.
Scripture is more than reflective, it IS the will of God. The Bible, however, is a compilation of interpretation, specifically an interpretation by the Catholic church as to what should and shouldn't be included.
Aren't you confusing the thing interpreted with the interpretations? If we only have recorded the interpretations rather than authoritative documents, what is there to judge error with, to compare the Bible with? If the Bible is to you only "man's interpretation", then what right do you have to call it "The word of God"?
The Canon of scripture is another great subject. But the Church, as a whole, has always felt that God himself has purposed what is and what is not scripture. Whether writings were "inspired of God" or not, must be at least patially objective. The Catholic Church, as faulty as men may be, was the instrument of discovering and confirming what the Canon of scripture already was. These writings did not become "inspired of God" all of a sudden, when certain Bishops and councils decided to make a definitive list. A rainbow didn't become a rainbow, when we became able to articulate what the spectrum is.
You have to believe in some sort of divine boundary for what is authoritative and theologically true, or you may as well pick up the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and the Satanic Bible the next time you hit the bookstore.
There are many people who believe in Christ, but not in Paul
But if Christ chose Paul, and gave him apostolic authority ... that means that they are wrong doesn't it? We would have to weigh one argument against the other. Should a Christian believe in Paul or not? I'm prepared to show that "believing in Jesus", while rejecting the teachings of Paul is an untenable position. History, and exegesis, and reasoning support either one or the other, not both.
Actually Jesus put it simply ...
"He who hears you hears me, he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." (Luke 10:16)
Muslims claim to believe in the God of the Old Testament, and the God of the New Testament too, yet they reject Jesus. If God set forth his son as the way to himself, will it really matter if they continue to call themselves followers but reject the Christ? It's much the same way with those who reject the Apostle Paul. Similarly, if you claim to be my friend and yet deride my wife, I've got a problem with you.
Is the Bible authoritative? Or, as you've already quoted from Corinthians, should it be filtered through the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit?
Why do you pose this as an "either/ or" situation? I never denied the Church's need of the Holy Spirit. Yet I can't imagine a non-authoritative bible being "filtered through the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit". All you are saying, is that God is needed in this whole interpretive process. I'm with you on that. But does that nullify the need for textual honesty and biblical scholarship, especially when we are called to "study to show ourselves approved"?
If Pope Paul V was wrong about Galileo, why should we believe you are right about homosexuals? You can't just brush credibility off as being irrelevant.
Part of credibility is one's ability to "rightly divide the word of truth". When's the last time you examined the Biblical support of Geocentrism? You can't win an argument on laurels of a wholly seperate one. The possibility of being mistaken is a given, and too obvious to be mentioned. But how is that an argument for ANYTHING? Each Biblical issue must be looked at quite separately, and each of the opposing arguments presented with it's own weight of interpretive evidence. And that is exactly what you haven't been doing. It's much easier to just say someone is in the same unfortunate position as Pope Paul V. But then again, you might be wearing his miter yourself.
It's not irrelevant if Paul's condemnation of homosexuality is based on the same definition you insist upon using. That's Essorant's whole point.
You and Essorant are forwarding two very different arguments. He seems to be saying that the Bible means something else. You seem to be saying that the Bible is wrong on this point. At least that's what it sounds like to me when you write that Paul was merely writing out of cultural bias rather than the inspired words of God. I was showing Essorant that biased or not, Paul did not mean a certain "kind" of homosexuality. I maintain that that argument is indefinsible historically and from the text itself. Would you like to try to defend this view? Like Essorant, you'll have to offer something historically or textually to give weight to your assertion.
However, I don't believe you can define either gender or sexual orientation solely by actions. Both are physical manifestations, which in turn, define the actions.
But science has not, up to this point, offered any evidence that homosexuality is essentially a physical difference. Any physical differences that are there (inconclusive and pretty much limited to the brain) might have been caused by the habitual practice and variance in thinking, not vice versa.
In your worldview, Stephen, I sense you can't imagine ever being attracted to another man. But your worldview is sorely limited if you've never encountered a man who can't imagine ever being attracted to a woman.
Who says I've never encountered a man who can't imagine ever being attracted to a women? I have.
Nothing short of a supernatural miracle is going to turn you into a woman, and nothing short of a miracle is going to turn a true homosexual into a heterosexual.
And nothing short of a miracle is going to turn a sinner into a saint. Habitual adulterers and pedophiles do not typically change either .. that alters nothing concerning the immoral nature of their deeds. All of the above mentioned are "sexual orientations".
Paul's usage more appropriately should be characterized as, "out of our place, out of our order." If you define natural in any way apart from nature, it becomes entirely subjective. Which is exactly the problem.
It must be entirely subjective unless God is imposing a rule of "what should be" onto nature. And that is exactly what the Bible teaches from beginning to end. There is an an appropriateness, a natural or moral order that the creature is accountable to conform to. If this were not so, then Paul's context of "exchanging God's truth for the lie" becomes meaningless. Also the wrath of God being revealed from Heaven against all "ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" is without significance. For God to punish men for violating human subjectivity is an incredible interpretation. That means that you assume the subjective view of what is "natural", and then wrestle with the fact that the entire structure of context in which Paul speaks does not conform. Your unsavory task now is to defend why God has the right to punish men for merely overstepping social norms, which have no real moral foundations. In this instance, I interpret the piece of the puzzle according to the overall context (the pieces already in place). While you're throwing out the context in order to salvage the piece of your choosing.
If you define "natural" in this scripture, as any way other than that which is orderly and appropriate according to God, then EVERYTHING becomes entirely subjective. Because every crime and sin imaginable, condemned by the pages of scripture, occur "in nature" ... if nature merely means "that which is".
When homosexuality and long hair on a man are both deemed unnatural, questioning the usage probably isn't such a bad idea.
Briefly, on the "long hair" issue ... Paul was speaking within the context of culture here. But cultures typically reflect what is universally proper in various outward forms. We must determine what is variable here, and what is constant. Again, looking at the rejection of pedantic legalism by the early Christian Church as opposed to Judaism ... and looking at such things as the Nazarite vow in which men were set apart and holy and required to have long hair, the underlying principle must be what is kept as universal.
What is that underlying principle? I believe it is that nature teaches us that there should be a proper social distinction between men and women ... that the importance of gender difference should not be ignored. A friend of mine informed me that in certain Native American community, it was that a man should have a bear chest. If his chest is covered, as an Indian woman's, it was improper. The male Indian's long hair was actually seen as an emblem of masculinity. The principle is kept, the variable is not. It would be unnatural and counterproductive to impose a different form of this principle upon a society for the sake of legalism. In light of the whole Bible, my interpretation of Paul here involves proper Gender differences and roles. But again I don't disregard mountains of clear scriptural principles in order to reach my conclusion, by sweeping them under the proverbial rug. I use them in my reasoning and exegesis.
I don't want to turn this thread into a debate about Paul's instructions on "head coverings", simply because it is comprehensive and might deserve a thread of it's own. But I'm contending that it only looks the same to those who haven't looked closely enough. And again, you can't forward your position based on something quite different. And I am prepared to discuss why these two are worlds apart, based upon context.
It's inconclusive for everyone, Stephen, but only unsatisfactory for some.
So was Geocentrism. It wasn't so satisfactory to Galileo and his entourage.
We knew that blue eyes was genetic several hundred years before the gene was found
We also had instantaneous empirical evidence that humans are born with eye color. Since it's not the same with sexual orientation, you're comparing apples and tennis balls.
anyone who has been close friends with a homosexual knows it is not something they picked up on the playground or learned in college.
I do have homosexual friends. And who ever said it was as simple as choosing to buy a car? (actually that's probably not so simple either, from a psychological standpoint) I never denied that it was a complexity of influences. But the same can be said of a multitude of behavioral wrongs. And yet we don't tend to justify them just because they didn't happen overnight.
It's who they are and how they see the world, determined by wiring set in place long before that first slap on the butt.
It's the "determined by wiring set in place long before that first slap on the butt" that you can't prove, either by intuition or by science.
that's okay, too, because when I get to know someone well enough, I really don't need a scientist to tell me what's what.
Thanks. That's a clear statement to me that what you have earlier passed off as "scientific" is merely intuitive, a hunch. I don't mind that. And those kinds of intuitive arguments do hold certain weight at times ... but not when they are passed off as science. I think we've made some progress.