Favorite dish of liberal theologians & skeptics: Shellfish


shellfish.jpgAs always, this is about careful thinking and proper analysis of the Bible and not about picking on homosexuals.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

Many liberal theologians, skeptics and pro-gay lobbyists use the “shellfish” argument to undermine and/or dismiss parts of the Bible they disagree with, often mocking about how they love shrimp and such.  They use the same reasoning with other Old Testament restrictions such as not eating pork or mixing fibers in garments.  This video by Jack Black is a recent example.

Their argument goes like this:

  • Yes, Leviticus 18:22 says Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
  • But Leviticus 11:10 says, And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of all the living creatures that are in the waters, they are an abomination unto you
  • Therefore, the Bible cannot be the word of God and homosexual behavior must be moral because the Bible is an undependable, contradictory book that equates shrimp eating with sexual immorality.  And people who teach that homosexual behavior is a sin are bigoted hypocrites who only follow the parts of the Bible they like.

Here’s a sample of how they present their conclusions.  Search for Leviticus shellfish or see sites like God Hates Shrimp for more examples.

The above exercise proves that anti-gay fundamentalists selectively quote the Bible. They enthusiastically and openly embrace those parts of the Bible which affirm and justify their own personal, pre-existing prejudice against gay people, while declining to become as enthusiastic about verses like the ones listed above.

After all, how many times have you heard a fundamentalist say that eating shellfish was an abomination? But they sure don’t hesitate to say it about gay people, do they? What does that tell you?

Actually, I find those questions to be ironic, because I think the facts will show which side is most likely to pre-judge, selectively quote the Bible and take it too literally.  I hope they take this analysis seriously and reconsider whether their premises and conclusions were sound.

On the one hand, their argument is effective because it is catchy and very few people know how to respond to it.  Many people can’t even articulate the simple Gospel.  When was the last time anyone read Leviticus?

On the other hand, their argument is ineffective because the facts do not support it.  Also, it deliberately and unnecessarily undermines confidence in the word of God.  I expect that from skeptics and non-believers, but I am always disappointed that those claiming to be Christians use it to attack the word of God.

The argument appeals to those who take passages literally when it suits them.  Both passages say abomination (or detestable, depending on what translation you read), don’t they?  And if eating shellfish is obviously a morally neutral act, then homosexual behavior must be as well, right?

However, if you follow the basic principle of reading things in context and you attempt to understand the original languages better on difficult or controversial passages, then you’ll realize that the shellfish argument is not supported by the facts.

The short version: There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination.  They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts.  The associated sins had radically different consequences and had 100% different treatments in the New Testament.  And the claim that Christians are inconsistent if they say homosexual behavior is a sin if they don’t also avoid shellfish, mixed fibers, etc. would mean that they couldn’t complain about bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, etc.  

The longer version

1. The words translated abomination in the original Hebrew are different.  In Lev. 11:10, it means detestable thing or idol, an unclean thing, an abomination, detestation.  This word is typically used in the Bible to describe unclean animals.

In Lev. 18:22 the Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, rendered “detestable act”) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners.  As noted below, the word is also used used to describe bestiality, child sacrifice and incest.

Therefore, the “same word!” argument self-destructs immediately.

2. Even a plain reading of the passages shows that the homosexual behavior is considered detestable to God, whereas the shellfish are to be detestable to the Israelites because it made them ceremonially unclean.  Those are key differences.  Being detestable to God is different than being detestable to a person.

3. The broader contexts show completely different types of regulations.  Read Leviticus 11 and Leviticus 18 yourself and note the contexts.  I’ll wait here.

The beginning and end of chapter 11 make it clear that this passage is about dietary rules just for the Israelites:

Leviticus 11:1-2 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat:

Leviticus 11:46-47 These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.

Now consider the beginning and end of chapter 18, where the Israelites are told not to be like the pagan Canaanites.  God expected the Canaanites to follow these moral laws and was about to vomit them out of the land for failing to do so.  Therefore, they obviously weren’t Jewish ceremonial laws.

Leviticus 18:1-3 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

Leviticus 18:30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.”

4. The punishments for eating shellfish and homosexual behavior were radically different.  There were about 15 things in the Israelite theocracy that could result in capital punishment, and homosexual behavior was one of them (And no, I’m not suggesting that should be the punishment today.  The punishments were for the Israelite theocracy, which is clear when you read the context of those passages.)  But eating shellfish just made one ceremonially unclean for a period of time.

Again, note how the moral laws with their steep punishments are tied to offenses God held the pagans responsible for, yet the unclean animal passages were for the Israelites only and were brief (It could have been for health reasons and/or symbolic reasons.  Animals on the ground were like the serpent and thus symbolized sin and pagan religions often sacrificed pigs).

 Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Leviticus 20:22-26 Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.

‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those which I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.

5. The ceremonial dietary laws were clearly and emphatically overturned in the New Testament, whereas the commands against homosexual behavior (and other sexual sins) were not.   Also see Acts 15:28-29 (It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.)

6. The claim that Christians are inconsistent if they say homosexual behavior is a sin if they don’t also avoid shellfish, mixed fibers, etc. would mean that they couldn’t complain about bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, etc.  That is transparently false.

And if someone tries to play the “Leviticus is outdated” card, remind them of this verse and ask if it still counts: Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

Remember, anyone calling themselves a Christian should be seeking to hold the same views as Jesus.  And Jesus fully supported the Old Testament — every last letter and mark.

Here’s another answer from Tektonics, a terrific apologetics website:

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Aren’t there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

The point of this question – aside from the matter of not knowing what ritual purity is all about – is lost; if there is a sincere interest in knowing if there are “degrees” of abomination, just ask this simple question: Are there degrees to which things may be found “abominable”? Are the works of a robber baron not less abominable than those of a murderous dictator? In any event, if shellfish is a matter of ritual purity only, and homosexuality is a matter of higher morals as argued, then indeed, eating shellfish would have been a lesser abomination. (Indeed, the fact that the words used for “abomination” in both passages are different suggests that by itself. The word used for the shellfish is used only a few times in the OT, always of unclean animals, whereas the word used for homosexuality is used for things like bestiality, incest, and child sacrifice!)

So if anyone uses the shellfish argument with you, ask a few questions to see if they have really thought it through.  Everyone I have ever seen use it was either unaware of these responses or deliberately ignoring them. 

And as always, remember this:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions or homosexual parenting.

Also see Problems with Pro-Gay Theology and Responding to Pro-Gay Theology.

194 thoughts on “Favorite dish of liberal theologians & skeptics: Shellfish

  1. Thanks for leaving a note on my site. I went and read a bit more of the passage, and Leviticus 11:45 reads:

    “For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

    God has just finished outlining the rules of eating and so forth. At the end, he seems to draw a pretty clear parallel with himself. To paraphrase, he seems to be saying “do these things and be holy like me”.

    On #4, what does Jesus say about homosexuality?

    On #5, where in the Bible are the punishments for eating shellfish described?

  2. Hi dbarefoot,

    Good questions.

    Re. #4 – Jesus is God, so the whole book is his word (including Leviticus).

    He specifically said in Matthew 5:18, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

    He reiterated that marriage was for one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”)

    He inspired Romans and the rest of the NT.

    He didn’t specifically mention homosexual behavior in the Gospels, but to imply that this means it is ok would be an argument from silence. There are many things not specifically mentioned in the Gospels that would obviously be immoral.

    Re. #5 – if someone touched the animals they were unclean until evening. I didn’t notice a verse that said how long you are unclean if you eat them (I must be overlooking it). Either way, the theme throughout ch. 11 is “ceremonially unclean” and that was just a period of time.

    Re. 11:45 – I would just keep working backwards to understand the context: Leviticus 11:41-45 “‘Every creature that moves about on the ground is detestable; it is not to be eaten. You are not to eat any creature that moves about on the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is detestable. Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.”

    Hope that helps!

    • ok i just want to say that the bible tells us not to do alot of things and labels alot of things wrong and an abomination is something that is detestable to God so how can you justify that just because he didnt specify that he would punish you or not doesnt mean that you go ahead and do it he labeled it as an abomination and he says you should not do it so you cannot sit here and justify something a sin is a sin so dont contradict that remember you are gonna be judged by your sins alone not the severity of it

      • and that is referring to shell fish and I don’t know why you Christians think that just because it’s 2012 that you have the bible figured out because people have mistranslated a lot of stuff in the bible for years so I’m over it

  3. “And no, I’m not suggesting that should be the punishment today. That is another straw man argument. Please stay focused.”

    Yes, Neil, you do indeed need to stay “focused”. I loved how you skipped over this part without much comment. Of course, the practices of the ancient Israelites are detestable in modern society — as our many practices of ancient people. And yet you will undoubtedly claim that these practices were decreed by “God”. That God character sure is fickle though isn’t he? In one millennium he asks his followers to stone adulterers, homosexuals and disobedient children. And then in the next millennium “God” gets over this and preaches love, grace, and forgiveness. Did “God” go through psychotherapy in the interim? Did he find Jesus? ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

    Neil said: Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by. The post was already long and I was trying to keep it on track. I’ll be glad to revisit that topic later if you are interested. Yes, those with ethnocentric views often think other cultures are detestable. Sometimes they are right and sometimes not.

    My guess is that most cultures – the Israelites included – think it is barbaric that so many people in the U.S. think that women must have the “choice” to have their unborn children destroyed to prove that they have equal value with men.

    I’ll also be glad to post separately on the myth of the mean OT God and the kinder, gentler NT God. Anyone making that claim hasn’t studied the whole book very well. The NT talks much more about Hell, and the OT has countless times where God loves to show mercy and kindness.

  4. Thanks for that. I’m a little confused by your literal association between Jesus and God. So are all words attributed to God in the Bible also attributable to Jesus? For example, elsewhere in Leviticus we find:

    “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.”

    Are these the words of Jesus, then?

    I ask because there’s plenty in the Bible that I disagree with. However, none of it is directly attributed to Jesus in the New Testament–his teachings seem entirely reasonable and well-founded.

  5. Yes, Jesus is God. That is a foundational Christian doctrine. He and the Father are one (along with the Holy Spirit).

    Slavery in the Bible is another emotional straw man argument people use, just like the shellfish one. I encourage further study for those truly interested.

    For those just looking for sound bites to attack something they don’t like or have a desire to really understand, they will find plenty in the 41,173 verses of the Bible. They’ll also find that I don’t have much time to waste with such discussions.

    Serious inquirers are welcome, though. We have quite a few non-Christians who I thoroughly enjoy visiting with here.

    (That isn’t just directed at you, but to folks in general, because threads like this get out of control in a hurry. I had to delete one comment already because it was just one of many random attacks on Christianity and completely unrelated to the post.)

    I’m glad you have considered the teachings of Jesus. That is a great place to start. Understanding every Bible difficulty is not required for salvation. Being a “good person” is not required for salvation (or even possible). Putting your trust in what Jesus did for you on the cross is necessary for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life.

  6. On slavery

    If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

    Real nice family values here, huh? You can dice it, you can slice it, you can “harmonize” it, but it still is slavery. Sure, it isn’t EXACTLY like American slavery practiced during the 19th century but it is still anathema to modern society. Again, the Bible has forced Christians to defend what is indefensible.

    Neil said: I let this off-topic comment post to prove my previous point (last one, though). There is a difference between bondservants and U.S.-style slaves. Those hostile to Christianity will hold to their ethno-centric views regardless of where the evidence leads. No time for that. Others with an interest should read the slavery link above.

    Re. defending the indefensible – you are talking about the pro-legalized-abortion lobby, right? :-)

  7. Thanks for this, but I’m afraid I find irreconcilable differences between the teachings of Jesus and the rest of the Bible. For example, the Bible approves of the corporeal punishment of slaves (it says so on the page you link to). I’m having a hard time making that jibe with, say, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

    Here’s another example. There are instances in the Old Testament where God commands the Isrealites to defeat and conquer another people, aren’t there? That doesn’t seem to reflect the same ethos as “Love your enemies” or “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also”.

    In short, I admire the teachings of Jesus, but can’t accept other sections of the Bible as reasonable or rational guidance. And, when I consider Jesus’s teachings on love, compassion and non-judgement, I find it far likelier that he would not have condemned homosexuality the way the Old Testament does.

  8. “There is a difference between bondservants and U.S.-style slaves.”

    OK, Neil. How many bondservants do you own? Do you treat your bondservants well? Know where I can buy some of mine own? :-)

    Neil said: Huh? The Bible didn’t say you have to own bondservants. I really don’t get your point. Comments are welcome, but please stay on topic.

  9. Yes, God gave the Canaanites 400 years to repent and they never did. They were spectacularly evil and God eventually gave their land to the Israelites. That is the only instance I’m aware of where God had them take over land like that.

    Your quotes from the Sermon on the Mount are terrific, of course, but the context is interpersonal relationships.

    Please keep reading about Jesus. He taught not to judge hypocritically, but He never said not to judge. In fact, He made judgments left and right and will ultimately judge us all. He’s the most judgmental person in the whole book!

    And what a stickler and a moralist – among other things, He said that lusting after a woman was akin to adultery. He was pointing that on our own we cannot save ourselves. We are hopeless sinners. Please don’t miss the point of why He came. It wasn’t to teach some clever sayings on how to be a better person. It was to save us.

    If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to read all of the Gospels and not just the popular parts. You are welcome to participate in my Bible Study Blog.

    Peace,
    Neil

  10. “Anyone making that claim hasn’t studied the whole book very well.”

    I’m sorry but I just had to laugh at this one. This claim is pretty universal among recognized biblical scholars. In fact, even modern Judaism recognizes the enormous differences in the “God” character written about in the OT compared with the NT.

    Also, the bit about abortion couldn’t be more ironic as ancient peoples, including the Israelites, regularly practiced infanticide — a crime which no modern country permits.

    Sarah, please slow down and stop making such patently false statements. The Jews were adamantly opposed to abortion and infanticide, as were the early church leaders. I chuckled at your “recognized biblical scholars” reference considering that you refer to “Bishop” Spong below.

    And of course modern Judaism doesn’t recognize the OT / NT coherence: They are Jews, for goodness sake! If they saw the coherence they’d probably be Christians.

    Don’t you get tired twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to “harmonize” the Bible so that it sounds moral and ethical? Wouldn’t your life be much easier if didn’t suspend your natural abilities to reason and think logically?

    Now there’s a robust, fact-free ad hominem argument. You run around the web posting random, off-topic half-truths about the Bible (I’m referring to the comments I deleted yesterday plus these) and then mock those who clarify your distortions. I suppose that is one way to communicate, but it isn’t my preference.

    You should read Hector Avalos’ “The End of Biblical Studies”. It is a great book on exactly this problem. Professor Avalos was a biblical studies professor for decades. He irrefutably demonstrates that academic biblical scholarship has clearly succeeded in showing that the ancient civilization which produced the Bible held beliefs about the origin, nature, and purpose of the world and humanity that are fundamentally opposed to the views of modern society.

    In this respect, Avalos is echoing the sentiments of progressives such as Spong and secularist humanists. The truth is that the last 300 years of human history have done more to advance human morality than 2000 years of Christianity. It took the Reformation and then the Enlightenment to end widespread slavery, child labor, the oppression of women, etc., etc., etc. These social justice movements did not spring forth from the church, but rather from educated secular humanists who succeeded in doing more for society than the Bible ever could.

    How about if you read Dinesh D’Souza’s “What’s so great about Christianity?” I am quite familiar with what’s wrong with Spong.

    I’ve tried to be gracious, but this is the last warning. All off-topic comments will be deleted.

    I think it is interesting that you haven’t dealt with any specifics of the post but have just thrown out all sorts of distractions.

  11. Yes, Neil, the truth about the Bible and Christianity is quite distracting for their adherents. Since you already dismiss all modern science (biology, geology, paleontology) it isn’t terribly surprising you dismiss all modern scholarship on scripture as well. I guess if it doesn’t fit your theology you can just toss it out. Very convenient.

    Neil said: I know I keep threatening to delete these off topic comments, but this is just so funny.

    Once again Sarah has nothing to say on the original post. Now she is trotting out straw man arguments about dismissing modern science. Who said I did that? I love science. All truth is God’s truth, whether revealed in the Bible or in nature. I just apply criticla thinking skills to science like I do everything else.

    And who dismissed all modern scholarship on scripture? I read all sorts of scholarship. I use critical thinking skills and can see how incoherent it is for someone like “Bishop” Spong to call himself a Christian and how groups like the Jesus Seminar dismiss things a priori so that their conclusions are biased.

    Sarah, thanks for proving my points better than I could have done alone.

    Here’s a tip: Find some more clear thinking atheists than Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens to follow. Just as Joel Osteen isn’t a good source for orthodox and balanced Christianity, neither are those guys much in the philosophy dept.

    fyi – Here’s a video debate between Hitchens and D’Souza – http://www.thechristianalert.org/index.php/2007/11/21/thanksgiving2007?blog=5

    Sarah, I didn’t post your final comment for obvious reasons. You are still welcome to post comments if you stick to the topic and just dialogue with people here. But the other comments just aren’t productive.

  12. Well, well…interesting “debate” on what the Bible teaches. I will leave the ongoing “debate” alone because, frankly, it’s just rediculous. For dbarefoot, I hope you will dive deeper into the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. If you look closely, these “inconsistencies” about love, aren’t really present. Love, the way Jesus teaches it, isn’t just about fpeace and hugs, but about the many deeper aspects (think about our purest of “love” relationships, such as parent/child, husband/wife, etc.) For example, you can love your child, but that does not mean you don’t provide discipline (That is a loose comparison, but I think you can get my meaning). Is God’s discipline harsh in the eyes of us mere mortals? Absolutely, but don’t confuse harsh with unjust.

  13. With all due respect, the site you linked, God Hates Shrimp,
    was not intended as a complete condemnation of all things that people describe as Christianity. The original GHS photoshop was inspired by a news article on a particular Ku Klux Klan protest in Oklahoma City, and more generally by the work of the Westboro Baptist Church (the “God Hates Fags” folks). The photograph in the former had Christian-identified people with signs saying “God Hates Sodomites”, the latter regularly uses signs that say “God Hates Fags” or “God Hates America” as part of their belief that God particularly has it in for homosexuals.

    As a non-believer, I’m more than willing to accept that the theological arguments against homosexuality are more detailed than quoting Leviticus without further explanation. And yet, it is folks who use arguments based on a more simplistic level of understanding who are, in my experience, responsible for the majority of actual violence and harm against homosexuals. So, I feel no particular guilt in fighting their well-publicized hatred with equally simplistic arguments, I see it much in the same “oversimplified and so not precise” vein as I see most modern-day political argument.

    If you have fifteen seconds to make an argument, you may need to use imprecise but metaphorically true arguments to get your point across. That’s the nature of a 15-second argument, that’s the nature of a parody web site.

    I do believe that it’s overly simplistic to call the site false. I believe that mainstream Christian belief often relies a little too much on selective reading of the Bible. You reference God’s inspiration of Paul in Romans 1 as an alternate source for a belief in the sinfulness of homosexuality, without mentioning the clear context of Romans 2, without mentioning that the entire point of Romans 1 was Paul working up the crowd into an anger to make the point so clearly made a single chapter later.

    More critically, you also selectively talk about the arguable translation problems with Leviticus, ignoring the well-documented concerns with the translations of of the Greek words used in Romans and Corinithans. That omission seems, dare I say it, selective on your part.

    But I digress. i’m an artist and a parody web site author, not a theologian. If you want religious truth, I’m probably the wrong person to talk to, I don’t have a degree in classical Greek or Hebrew, I haven’t read the Oracle of Syballne (although I do know why that work is important to the argument I’ve just made).

    If GHS inspires people to go read the Bible a little more completely and carefully, then I shall have achieved far more than the simple mockery of Fred Phelps and the Ku Klux Klan that I originally intended. Because I really don’t care what someone believes as long as they stop hurting other people based on those beliefs.

  14. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for visiting and for the clarification. Hey, by all means, whale on the Fred Phelps-types all you like. Their “Christianity” probably bothers me a lot more than it bothers you. It is profoundly un-Biblical and counterproductive to the faith. Their impact on you is a perfect example. When Phelps lost the recent lawsuit I lost track of all the conservative blogs rejoicing over it. So you and orthodox Christians have at least one common foe.

    I share your concern that those people shouldn’t be “hurt” by those beliefs (assuming you mean hurt by Phelps-types and not just having their feelings hurt because some of us are Bible-believers). I would just prefer that the pro-gay groups stop cramming their beliefs down our throats and pushing them into public schools. I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I don’t run around trying to eradicate the sins in people’s lives.

    Re. Romans 1 & 2 – feel free to make any comments on that at my Bible Study Blog. I think I presented the verses fairly above but always enjoy discussing any of it in more depth (it is one of my favorite books of the Bible). By the way, I think Paul was certainly building his case in ch. 1, and in ch. 2 as well, but I don’t think it was just whipping the readers into a frenzy.

    And I’m not aware of any translation problems with Romans (though I recall some debate on a Corinthians passage). The link on your site with the alleged Romans 1 problems was inaccurate, to be sure. The passage I referenced is spectacularly clear, just as Lev. 18:22 is. The word “homosexual” isn’t used, so one can’t claim translation errors. It says, “Romans 1:26-27 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Very, very clear in the Greek and in the translations.

    I didn’t read all of your site, but I did notice a few other problems with your Bible reasoning such as the argument from silence (I addressed that in What Jesus didn’t say).

    Your site was clever (even though I disagree with it), but it really proved my point. People have perpetuated this Biblical ignorance to such a degree that it is now a sound bite.

    Peace,
    Neil

  15. Neil,

    Hi again. You dodged a pretty critical issue above by charging Sarah with ethnocentrism and deflecting the discussion toward abortion. The punishment Leviticus prescribes for male-male sex is death. If this law is not abrogated by the New Testament along with the rest of the purity laws of the Holiness Code why do you not advocate the biblical punishment?

    It is not ethnocentrism to make moral judgments across cultures. You would no doubt hold abortion to be wrong regardless of the culture that supported it. The same is true here. Is stoning a person to death for having same-gender sex an acceptable moral action or not?

  16. Hi Aric,

    I don’t see how I dodged anything. I think we agree on what ethnocentrism is and its limits. I said, “Yes, those with ethnocentric views often think other cultures are detestable. Sometimes they are right and sometimes not.”

    I pre-emptively noted that some issues were outside the scope of the post. Sarah brought it up anyway, because she apparently had nothing to challenge in the post itself. I just gave abortion as an obvious example of how this culture isn’t the model people think it is, given that we destroy over 1m innocent humans per year. (And most of the “pacifists” and animal rights people are pro-legalized-abortion! Go figure.)

    But since you addressed this more politely than Sarah I’ll indulge you. Of course there was nothing immoral about the punishment if you take the system as a whole in the context of how they were given. This is God we’re talking about here. If you just cherry pick one punishment you like (or don’t like) and you ignore the rest of the punishments and the justice system and commands God gave, then it wouldn’t necessarily be just.

    He had a specific covenenant with the Jews and He told them how to run their society. If they obeyed, things would go well. If they didn’t, things would go badly.

    He reiterated universal laws (don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t have sex out of a one man / one woman marriage – which of course excludes homosexual behavior, etc.)

    He gave special ceremonial laws (dietary and such) for the Jews only.

    Then He told them what punishments to give for all laws, plus a justice system. He obviously held them to higher standards of compliance.

    Unless you are a Jew living in an Old Testament theocracy, the punishments don’t necessarily apply to you.

    Unless you are not a human being, the universal moral laws – all of ‘em – the ones He expected the Canaanites and others to keep – do apply to you.

    I encourage you to be careful playing the consistency card and lumping the ceremonial laws in with the civil and/or moral laws. Jesus was quite clear that adultery was still a sin (if anything, He raised the bar). So if you can’t see how the punishments were Israelite-specific then you either have to deny that Jesus was against adultery or you have to be pro-stoning of adulterers.

    Now, back to the original post . . .

  17. Hi Neil, thanks of for this article. It is and contains some great resources for the arguments that come up over and over from those who wish to attack the faith. – tr

  18. Great one, Neil. I’d never heard the shellfish argument, but it’s good to know.

    Ever noticed how ad hominem attacks so often become the standard when discussing something back and forth with a hostile non-believer?

  19. Neil, Neil, Neil I’ve said this before and I think even on your blog, Acts Chapter 15 is all you need. The Holy Spirit and Council of Jerusalem told Christians that as regards the old testament law they need only “abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality” 15:29. So God said eat shrimp[since He negated all the dietary laws], but don’t commit homosexual acts[since He kept all the sexual conduct rules].

  20. Sarah,
    Don’t feel bad about the reconciliation between the OT God and the NT Jesus. I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years and still have a tough time reconciling the two from time to time.

    Neil,
    Great post. Another difficulty I’ve had is deciding which laws apply to us today and which do not. I’ve heard the argument “Love your neighbor as yourself and God with all your heart” but in my view, this only deals with crimes against victims – yes, I know all sins can ultimately boil down to this law, but not everyone has super discernment to know what they are. Anyway, do you have a good source/website that kinda delineates applicable laws to outdated laws, or do you think this post covers it pretty well?

    And concerning penalties, I do think what is considered sin today and what isn’t, and the penalties for certain sins could reasonable be divided into two different topics. Some people think you are doing artful dodging, but I don’t think it is altogether outrageous to deal with penalties and what are sins separately.

  21. The penalty for sin is still death. God has given us a choice to avoid it, but unrepentant sinners still face that penalty.

    I think the universe was created to please God, not man. Too often people think the ultimate goal is for mankind to be happy.

  22. SST, you are right. We are so incredibly man-centered. I was just thinking about that last week.

    Ivan, thx for the reminder – I’ll add the Acts 15 piece to #5.

    Chance – if I come across a site I’ll let you know. I think Ivan’s answer covered it in part.

  23. Neil, I just stumbled onto your site while Google’ing silly shellfish argument. Great post!

    If you don’t think there was any practical reason for the some of the OT’s rules concerning food and its preparation, I would strongly urge you to link over to the Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov. Go to the A-Z index under Diseases and Conditions, and start by looking up Shellfish and Tapeworm (Pork) Diseases.

    The problem with people like your commenter, Sarah, is that it is so easy, from the comfort of their 20/21’st century easy chairs to make snide remarks about how other people lived their lives 3000 years ago. I often wonder how many of the people who belittle the OT’s proscriptions concerning different foods, for example, will turn around and buy all organic food at their local market, because, after all, organic is better because it’s clean?

    The more I learn about the actual historical context for the OT, (as opposed to the made-up pc one that Sarah is working from), the more impressed with ancient Jewish society I am becoming. Any chance you will continue posting on this topic in a greater depth?

  24. Neil you are a true saint to answer such foolishness with proper biblical exposition.

    As you stated these alien fantasy statements are about as ignorant as they get, but surprisingly the gay christian movement will pull them out of the bag real quick on unsuspecting Christians.

    Thanks for this permanent reference.

  25. you write your article without embracing the whole thing. you forgot to include household chores on the sabbath.

    by the way, stoning was done by digging a pit deep enough, so that standing in it, the person would just have their head above ground. that way someone could stand over them and drop large stones that could crush a persons head.

    numbers15: 32 “While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.”

    the point is that a number of prohibitions were not of themselves sins..

    NOW WE ARE OF A NEW COVENANT……………….ONE OF CHRIST.

    heb 8:6But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

    7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8But God found fault with the people and said[a]:
    “The time is coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant
    with the house of Israel
    and with the house of Judah.

    Hebrews 8:13
    By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    why do you persist on standing on a lev covenant to to say what is of christ and not of christ?

    isnt it the covenant of christ that declares slavery a sin. something not in scripture. in the same spirit it declares homosexuality not a sin because it does not come against loving ones neighbor as oneself.(the summation of the law, the law being for conscious…..conscious of loving ones neighbor as oneself.)

    for those who think otherwise please explain what is the spirit of the essence of homosexuality that it would come against christ.

    homosexuality being the desire to bond with someone of the same sex out of mutual love, attraction, respect, and trust for a shared committed life together…………………………..the same as with heterosexuals.

  26. Hi John,

    I didn’t follow your arguments very well. I encourage you to read the links to Problems with Pro-Gay Theology and Responding to Pro-gay Theology. I think those may answer your questions.

    Homosexual behavior comes against Christ because the Bible says it is a sin. Your definition is a subset of homosexuality, at best. It is rebellion against God, pure and simple.

  27. many of the prohibitions of lev of themselves were not sins such as household chores on the sabbath. in other words doing household chores and doing them on the sabaath are now not sins……………………………….but back at the time of moses they warranted execution. is there anything today about doing household chores on the sabbath of itself anything other than positive?

    however we are not of the covenant of moses but of christ so why do you stand on that covenant on dealing with issues of the law

    Hebrews 8:13
    By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

  28. Hi John,

    Re. the Sabbath – again, those verses need to be read in context. Did God expect the Canaanites to follow those laws, or just the Israelites? The Sabbath laws and punishments were Israelite-specific.

    The moral laws are universal.

    The Sabbath was the only commandment not specifically reiterated in the New Testament, and Paul even said not to judge people on it (Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.)

    However, as noted in Acts 15 and other places, sexual sins are still sins.

    Re. Hebrews 8:13, the covenant may be obsolete but the moral laws are not. If they were obsolete, as your argument implies, then we wouldn’t even need Jesus. There would be no laws to violate and no punishment to be saved from. So I think there is another meaning regarding the New Covenant other than saying that homosexual behavior is now morally neutral.

    Hope that helps.

  29. John, your example of a man stoned for gathering firewood on a Sabbath could be an excellent teaching moment for you if you would but leave your 21’st century home with all of its modern conveniences and try and imaging living your life as an ancient Jewish desert nomad.

    Back then there where no gas or electric ovens, cooking was all done over an open fire. Without adequate firewood to heat a dwelling, the elderly and sick would suffer. And without sufficient fuel to cook food thoroughly, food poisoning was always a possibility. You might just say, so what! But in ancient times, simple diarrhea, brought on by eating contaminated food or water, was one of the single biggest killers of infants and toddlers.

    The person you consider an unfortunate victim, was actually a man out gathering the best and easiest to get firewood. No doubt, to hoard for himself and his family. And by doing so, he was jeopardizing the health and welfare of his neighbors.

  30. “however we are not of the covenant of moses but of christ so why do you stand on that covenant on dealing with issues of the law” i never got a clear answer.

    what verses need to be read in context? if we are of a different covenant what do god’s dealing with the cannanites have to do with the law today. i have yet to hear you include christ in your response.

    in christ we are no longer under the law, or receive any of god’s righteousness from following it, but instead serve in the spirit. if you are in christ why do you insist on putting others under what you are not under.

    Neil said: I am in Christ Jesus. He is God. He gave us commands, including those about human sexuality. If I love him I will aim to follow those with the grace He has given me. People who break them will be accountable to God for them (though Jesus took the punishment for those who trust in Him).

    You have no foundation to say I’m “putting others under” anything. By your reasoning, we could murder, steal, have sex with animals & children, sacrifice children to Molech, etc. because we’re under Christ.

    the laws being for conscious……………..conscious about “loving your neighbor as yourself”, the summation of the law.

    But you said we weren’t under the laws. And guess where the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” first appears?? In Leviticus 19:18. Go figure! So do we do away with that law?

    “The moral laws are universal.

    The Sabbath was the only commandment not specifically reiterated in the New Testament, and Paul even said not to judge people on it (Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.)”

    this is merely your supposition there is nothing scriptural about this.

    You are kidding, right? I just quoted scripture to you and you say there is nothing scriptural about this?!

    what about the issue of slavery? is that not a moral law. the violation of anothers rights and freedoms for personnal gain. does this not come directly against loving your neighbor as yourself. has not our covenant in christ, expanded the understanding of neighbor to include everyone.

    is it not the covenant of christ that condemns slavery as sin rather than scripture. how is this not a moral law?

    I don’t follow your point. I put a link to the Bible and slavery somewhere in the comments thread if you want to search for that.

    i dont know about morally neutral, but im saying that scripture never said homosexuality was a sin.

    John, you have to be in fairly deep denial to miss that. 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms. 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman. 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
    0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

    I’m not sure if I can be of assistance to you if you insist that the Bible doesn’t describe the behavior as sinful. Again, please read the links at the bottom of the post.

    for starters how does the essence of homosexuality come against “loving your neighbor as your self” (the summation of all the law)

    The summation of the law started with loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That would include obeying his commandments. All of them. Which, of course, is impossible to do on our own. That is why we need Jesus. The summation by Jesus wasn’t designed to make it easier, it pointed out how impossible it was. Trying to use that to wiggle out homosexual behavior being a sin is not a proper use of the passage.

    not to use the law to prove the law, but the same thing that jesus used……………………..reasoning about facts of the real world (the struggle of the spirit)as it applied to the truth…………the truth of christ.

    so i say again how does the spirit essence of homosexuality come against the spirit of the commandment?

    an orientation that bonds in the same spirit that heterosexuals do.

    That is just human reasoning, and I don’t even see how it makes your point. There is no “spirit essence of homosexuality.” There is homosexual behavior that is sinful. Always.

  31. Pingback: Favorite dish of liberal theologians & skeptics: Shellfish « GalatiansC4V16

  32. Seems like a nit-pickingly weak argument to try to pry the two Hebrew words apart and make them seem strikingly different when they are obviously both related to things detested. Even The Septuagint translates both terms in Leviticus 11:10 and 18:22 as “bdelugma,” meaning “abomination, detestable thing.” Remember that the Septuagint was the Bible of the early Christians.

    Here is your argument in a nutshell:

    “In Lev. 11:10, the word [sheqets] translated means detestable thing or idol, an unclean thing, an abomination, detestation.”

    “In Lev. 18:22 the Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (to’evah, rendered “detestable act”) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners. As noted below, the word is also used used to describe bestiality, child sacrifice and incest.”

    You conclude from this that “Even a plain reading of the passages shows that the homosexual behavior is considered detestable to God, whereas the shellfish are to be detestable to the Israelites because it made them ceremonially unclean.”

    Well, even a plain reading of your argument shows that idols and idolatry are included under the first usage, “sheqets,” and so you are arguing essentially that idolatry cannot be detestable to God, but is just “ceremonially unclean.” Given that the first commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” it would seem that the “sheqets” abomination used to describe shellfish is also “detestable to God.”

    No wonder Greek-speaking Jews used the same term to translate both.

    As for your argument that dietary laws were abolished in the NT, that is a reflection of just one branch of Christianity. There were also Christians who believed the Jewish law was not abrogated, just as Jesus is reported to have said.

    “For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Note the “till heaven and earth pass.” That means until the end of all things.

    Yes, the NT reflects that earliest Christianity was not monolithic, and of course the NT itself expresses different viewpoints, which is why even Paul found himself bickering with those who did not agree with his version of Christianity.

    Personally, I think it is all just the fallible work of human writers with human prejudices and human error, and not binding on anyone.

  33. “Personally, I think it is all just the fallible work of human writers with human prejudices and human error, and not binding on anyone.”

    And therein lies the real problem with your objection to the post, not Neil’s exposition. You should have prefaced your comments with that and saved a lot of white space.

  34. gcmwatch wrote:

    “‘Personally, I think it is all just the fallible work of human writers with human prejudices and human error, and not binding on anyone.’

    And therein lies the real problem with your objection to the post, not Neil’s exposition.”

    Had that been the difficulty, I would not have troubled to point out the glaring problems with his faulty exposition, and I note that in your response you completely avoided dealing with the points I raised.

    If you want people to take your arguments seriously, they must be based on the facts, and not on dogmatically-inspired wishful thinking.

  35. Hi Hokku – thanks for stopping by.

    “Here is your argument in a nutshell:”

    Actually, here is my 5-point argument in a nutshell: There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination. They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts. The associated sins had radically different consequences and had 100% different treatments in the New Testament.

    “Seems like a nit-pickingly weak argument to try to pry the two Hebrew words apart and make them seem strikingly different when they are obviously both related to things detested.”

    I don’t follow. I didn’t say they were just strikingly different, just that they were different. If they were the same words, wouldn’t you think that would support your case?

    Are you saying my series of arguments, looking at the actual Hebrew words used, the context of the passages and the surrounding passage, the New Testament treatment, and the punishments for each “abomination” are more nit-picky than your arguments? What else do you suggest that I look at to do a proper exposition of the text?

    “Well, even a plain reading of your argument shows that idols and idolatry are included under the first usage, “sheqets,” and so you are arguing essentially that idolatry cannot be detestable to God, but is just “ceremonially unclean.””

    No, I’m not saying idolatry isn’t detestable to God. God may have found them eating the shellfish at that time to be detestable, given that pagan countries did so in an idolatrous way. All I was pointing out was that the text said they were detestable to the Israelites. Shouldn’t we start with reading what the text actually said?

    “As for your argument that dietary laws were abolished in the NT, that is a reflection of just one branch of Christianity.”

    Yes, the branch that holds the Book of Acts to be the Word of God. Seriously, I don’t know of any branches of Christianity that think you must hold to the dietary laws. Acts seems very, very clear to every Christian I’ve ever heard address the topic.

    “If you want people to take your arguments seriously, they must be based on the facts, and not on dogmatically-inspired wishful thinking.”

    Thanks for your opinion. I’d be glad to weigh my arguments against anyone, biased or not. You may have good reasons to think the Bible is all wrong, but that may also just be your dogma. I have a funny feeling that no matter what I claim about the Bible you won’t take it seriously.

  36. Neil wrote:
    “Actually, here is my 5-point argument in a nutshell”:

    [1]“There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination.”

    Yes, but both were translated in the Septuagint by Jews as essentially “abomination.” (Gr. bdelugma) so it is an understanding of some 2,000 years of readers, including the early Christians. So the difference is, as you finally admit, “trivial.” One wonders why you devoted so much of your argument to it, then.

    2. “They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts.”

    Really? Given that you are apparently trying to make the male-male relationship of Leviticus into a great and detestable abomination unto the Lord much greater than the abomination of eating shellfish, and are using the Hebrew term “toebah” to indicate an abomination that goes beyond tribal ritual uncleanness, it is worth seeing how that word is used elsewhere in the OT.

    Genesis 43:32 says that “Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination [”toebah”]unto the Egyptians. So here the simple non-sharing of food is described with the same word applied to male-male relations.

    Exodus 46:34 says that “every shepherd was an abomination unto the Egyptians.”

    Deuteronomy 8:25 describes how the silver or gold on images should not be desired, because it is “an abomination to the Lord they God.” So just rescuing the silver or gold when burning an image is the same kind of “abomination” as male-male relations.

    Deuteronomy 25:4 tells us that if a man divorces a woman, she may go and marry another man. But if he dies or divorces her, she may not remarry her first husband, because that is an “abomination before the Lord.” In short, it is the same kind of abomination as male-male relations.

    Psalm 88:8 tells us that the Lord afflicted the writer and put his acqaintances far from him, and made him an “abomination” unto them. Again, same word as used for male-male relations.

    In Isaiah 1:13 the Lord says, “incense is an abomination unto me.” Same word as for male-male relations.

    Proverbs 20:23 says that “divers wights are an abomination unto the Lord” — again, same word as for male-male relations. So the grocer who puts his hand on the scale while weighing the turnips commits an act described with the same word as male-male relations.

    One could go on and on with more examples, but these few are sufficient to show that the Hebrew word and its usages are not as you describe them, but in biblical usage justify the Jewish translations in the Greek Septuagint as simply things that are detested or detestable, and of course what is considered detestable depends on the time and place and circumstances (and writer). God likes incense in one time and place, detests it in another.

    3. “The associated sins had radically different consequences and [4.?] had 100% different treatments in the New Testament.”

    So you are saying that male-male relations were more serious and deserving of punishment than, for example, making idols and worshipping them, which is described with the same term as eating shellfish, yet is a violation of the first commandment (none of the ten speak of male-male relations). Does that really seem rational to you?

    And as you already know, the NT never speaks of homosexuality as such, because there was really no word for it then. Paul speaks in terms of what is contrary to nature or what is natural, but Paul had no genuine understanding of what is natural, as can be seen from his comments on the matter. To say that something found in nature is contrary to nature is simply to show one knows nothing about nature. But the Bible as a whole, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, is pre-scientific, and people should keep that in mind when reading it.

    When looked at closely, your argument dissolves into the ridiculous, and I cannot imagine why you made it to begin with.

  37. “So the difference is, as you finally admit, “trivial.” One wonders why you devoted so much of your argument to it, then.”

    Hokku, your transparent disinterest in a real dialogue leads me to want to just bounce you, but for grins I’ll address one more of your comments.

    All I did was acknowledge that I didn’t need that argument to make my case. That just means I have a really strong case.

    Again, I devoted a portion of my argument to the actual Hebrew words in question. The fact that you think that is a bad thing to look at betrays your insincerity in this whole discussion.

    “And as you already know, the NT never speaks of homosexuality as such, because there was really no word for it then.”

    That is a common but very weak argument. It is as if God knew the pro-gay theologians would argue about the word if there was one, so He always described the behavior in scripture. And He described it in incredibly clear terms in Leviticus and Romans. That way, there is no debating what “homosexuality” meant then and now. He also described his ideal for marriage and sexual relationships many times and in many ways, so it isn’t like the Bible is vague on this topic.

    I am pretty sure that if the Bible had used the word “homosexual” instead of “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” that you’d be trying to twist that word instead of these. Or do you admit that you’d say, “Gee, the Bible says homosexual behavior is bad, I better change my worldview!”

    And keep in mind the following:

    100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.

    100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

    100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

    0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

    “Paul speaks in terms of what is contrary to nature or what is natural, but Paul had no genuine understanding of what is natural, as can be seen from his comments on the matter. To say that something found in nature is contrary to nature is simply to show one knows nothing about nature. But the Bible as a whole, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, is pre-scientific, and people should keep that in mind when reading it.”

    Huh? I like that argument (in the sense that it is so easy to rebut). Some pro-gay theologians try to say Paul makes an incredibly nuanced argument such that the behavior is only sinful if a gay person tries to act straight or vice verse. That is always good for a laugh (I’ll be addressing it in detail on another post in a couple weeks).

    Yet others try to say that Paul didn’t know anything about sexuality. You all should get together, pick one argument and just go with that.

    The argument about the natural function is not as you described at all. There isn’t some genetic or scientific issues, it is basic biology. It is obvious what he means by the “natural function” in Romans 1:26-27 (For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.)

    And here’s another thing: The Bible is the Word of God, and I’m pretty sure that God knows all about science and human sexuality.

    In fact, one doesn’t have to have special scientific training to know that using one’s lower digestive tract as a sex organ is a bad idea. Natural law does even more damage to your arguments than the Bible.

    “So you are saying that male-male relations were more serious and deserving of punishment than, for example, making idols and worshipping them, which is described with the same term as eating shellfish, yet is a violation of the first commandment (none of the ten speak of male-male relations). Does that really seem rational to you?”

    Yes, it does seem rational to me. God commanded the death penalty for male-male relations. Seems like He considered it a rather bad thing to do.

    “When looked at closely, your argument dissolves into the ridiculous, and I cannot imagine why you made it to begin with.”

    Really?! Hokku, it might appear ridiculous to someone who doesn’t understand the concept of reading things in context, or who by his own admission doesn’t believe the Bible at all yet pretends he would be swayed were it written to his liking and who is obviously wedded to a pro-homosexual view and isn’t interested in reason or logic.

    I noted that the NT treatments are 100% different yet you tried to get out of that by saying that some Christians (??) think the dietary laws applied to them. And you think that is a persuasive argument?

    If you decide to take the Bible authoritatively in the future, I’ll be glad to open up the conversation again. Otherwise, please take your “arguments” elsewhere.

  38. To Neil and all who truly believe the word of God,

    I know this posting is old, but………..
    I came across this “blogsite” by chance. I’ve read many of the blogs and this is my first time posting. I haven’t been to any “cemetary schools, bubble colleges or bubble universities, or new wage classes”, so I don’t know the meaning of these big words like “exegesis” ( I know it only has 8 letters, but anyway………). Forgive me for coming across as rude, I’m not. I love Jesus with all my heart , I love God’s people and I also love a lost and dying world. I’m just an honest, up-front and straight-forward person who doesn’t bushbeat, pussyfoot, nor sugarcoat.

    I’ve been a true bible believing christian for 17 years and this is what I do know………Homosexuality is a sin. Always has been, is now, and always will be. The bible specifically defines same gender sex and SAME GENDER SEXUAL AGREEMENT (Romans 1: 32) as sin from the front of the bible to the back of the bible.

    Neil, you did an excellent job of biblically explaining away the sorry excuse of “Man Lay With Man – Shellfish Equality” theory. It’s futile, it’s stupid, and as Mike Tyson says, it’s LUDACRIS ! Paul includes this type of thinking with the rest of numb reasoning with what he calls falsely so called science – 1 Timothy 6:20.

    I learned something from this and I will be reading more of your post. Thank God for you and continue to contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints of God.

  39. You wrote:
    “The Bible is the Word of God, and I’m pretty sure that God knows all about science and human sexuality.”

    You cannot prove the Bible is the word of any God. You cannot even prove that the books included in the Bible belong there. And further, you cannot even verify all the words in the Bible as belonging there. The Bible nowhere speaks of itself as a unity, and nowhere identifies its contents, and nowhere says that all of it is in any way the “word of God.”

    It is extremely unwise, then, to treat it as anything other than a fallible and human collection of documents, revised and edited over time, and accumulated by humans into an anthology.

    If you can do anything to prove this wrong, I invite you to do so.

    Neil said: Hi Hokku – If you are interested you can review evidence of fulfilled prophecies, archeological support, historical accuracy, etc. The Bible does speak of much unity – Jesus’ comments about not a letter of the law dropping and such, Peter referring to Paul’s letters as scripture, the consistent standards for what goes in the New Testament, etc.

    With respect to the Bible being edited, that is not true. The Dead Sea scrolls and the process of analyzing ancient texts gives conclusive proof. Also see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/12/04/how-many-times-was-your-bible-been-translated/

    I’ve seen a lot of skeptics concede that point, even though they still doubt the inspiration of the originals (one step at a time!).

  40. Neil wrote:
    “If you are interested you can review evidence of fulfilled prophecies, archeological support, historical accuracy, etc. The Bible does speak of much unity – Jesus’ comments about not a letter of the law dropping and such, Peter referring to Paul’s letters as scripture, the consistent standards for what goes in the New Testament, etc.”

    I did that long ago, and found and still find it all completely unconvincing. The prophecies are false or faked, or misread, the archeological support mistaken or irrelevant, and it is obvious that the Bible NOWHERE authorizes its entire contents as divine or infallible or the “word of God,” and NOWHERE even identifies its contents, which were selected and assembled by the Church, and which varied over time and still vary today, depending on one’s religious group.

    Neil further wrote:
    “With respect to the Bible being edited, that is not true. The Dead Sea scrolls and the process of analyzing ancient texts gives conclusive proof.”

    That is completely contrary to the evidence. What the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal is a canon that was open and fluid and texts that vary, including even the fact that there was a long and a short version of Jeremiah.

    And as for revision of the NT, one can easily see that both Matthew and Luke are revised and expanded versions of Mark. Both follow the Markan sequence of events, but with additions and revisions , and where Mark supplies no model to follow, as in the birth and post-resurrection narratives, Matthew and Luke each go their own ways, with quite different and discrepant stories. One can even see the course of later changes in the manuscripts evident in any critical edition of the Greek New Testament, which details variations in the thousands.

    The evidence is completely against what you say here,

    Neil said: Hi Hokku – your last section shows how clearly disinterested you are in the facts. That Matthew and Luke address some of the same stories as Mark doesn’t mean they were mere edits of Mark. And of course if they didn’t have any overlaps you’d probably claim that was “proof” that they weren’t legitimate.

    The variants are well documented – typos and the like. But the more manuscripts you read the more obvious it is what the original said. They have located 5,000 partial and full NT manuscripts around the world. None of the variants impact church doctrine. They all say, “Love your enemy,” for example.

    Really, your arguments are without foundation and they reveal your bias on the rest of the topics.

    Good luck in your future endeavors!

  41. Neil wrote:
    “…your last section shows how clearly disinterested you are in the facts. That Matthew and Luke address some of the same stories as Mark doesn’t mean they were mere edits of Mark. And of course if they didn’t have any overlaps you’d probably claim that was “proof” that they weren’t legitimate.

    You are vastly understating the case. Matthew and Mark do not simply “address some of the same stories,” they present what are obvious the same stories (with editing) IN THE SAME SEQUENCE, and often in the very same wording. Any grade school or high school teacher, finding this in the papers of three pupils, would know that there had been copying, and that at least two of the versions were not original. If you or anyone reading this doubts what I say here, I suggest you compare the gospels of Matthew and Luke with Mark, line by line, beginning where Mark begins and ending where Mark ends. It could not be more obvious.

    Neil said: Uh, thanks for the “discovery,” but we had already noticed all that. I’m in the middle of studying a book called the Harmony of the Gospels which combines all the stories. Your “heads, we win, tails, you lose” strategy of considering both similarities and differences as proof of your points is transparently faulty.

    If people have a serious interest in how the Gospels were put together and why they are reliable, this is a scholarly but approachable book – http://www.amazon.com/Can-Trust-Gospels-Investigating-Reliability/dp/1581348665/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200856441&sr=8-1

    Also see his web site at http://markdroberts.com/?cat=18 – that page has a wealth of information from the book for free.

    Neil also wrote:
    But the more manuscripts you read the more obvious it is what the original said. They have located 5,000 partial and full NT manuscripts around the world. None of the variants impact church doctrine.

    The majority of NT manuscripts are very late. The farther back one goes, the fewer the manuscripts become, until by the time one gets to the papyri, they are very few and fragmentary indeed. Further, it is simply not true that “none of the variants impact church doctrine.” In fact there are numbers of variants with significant impact. For example, the entire ending to the Gospel of Mark, the part with post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, is not found in the earliest and best manuscripts.

    Neil said: Yes, I am quite familiar with that. It shows that the system works.

    The letters of Paul are generally regarded to be earlier than most of the Gospels, and he writes of the physical resurrection (1 Cor. 15 and other).

    And of course we know that because of this absence in Mark, both Matthew and Luke had to come up with their own versions of what happened, because there was no Markan model to copy and edit.

    Neil said: No, we don’t actually “know” that – it is your opinion. Funny how you come up with that “truth” with no evidence to support it!

    That is why in Matthew’s gospel, there are post-resurrection appearances in Galilee. But in Luke’s gospel there are no post-resurrection appearances at all outside the Jerusalem vicinity.

    Neil said: Luke mentions the visit to Emmaus, and Matthew mentions other appearances. So what? Again, if they are the same you say they copied, if they are different you say they made them up. That isn’t scholarship, it is speculation.

    And Luke even changes a prediction of a future appearance of Jesus in Galilee — a prediction made by an “angel” at the tomb — into a past remembrance of something Jesus had simply once said in Galilee, an obvious editorial manipulation made in the absence of any Lukan appearance of Jesus in Galilee after the resurrection.

    Neil said: Oh, come on. I’m not sure what verse you are referring to, but just because Luke didn’t mention the incident again doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And if he had included it, would you believe it? Of course not.

    If you do not believe anything I have said here, I ask that you disprove it by clearly pointing out where what I have written is wrong, and by providing relevant biblical evidence and quotes to support your viewpoint.

  42. Neil wrote:
    Your “heads, we win, tails, you lose” strategy of considering both similarities and differences as proof of your points is transparently faulty.

    If that is true, you should have no trouble in presenting actual examples to demonstrate just where the fault lies. What are your examples from the Bible that show this?

    Neil said: Yes, it is true. It is true regardless of whether I show you examples or not. You are trying to say that if the Gospels tell the same story in the same way that it must be false, and that if they are different then they must have made something up. That is not sound reasoning.

    You said in regard to the non-original ending to the gospel of Mark, which includes ALL post-resurrection appearnces of Jesus in Mark, ” Yes, I am quite familiar with that. It shows that the system works.”

    What system is that? Obviously not a “divine” system, because centuries of Christians considered the ending of Mark “gospel truth.” Now it is not that any longer, because of the relatively recent rise of textual criticism.

    Neil said: It shows that the system of textual criticism works. Again, that passage doesn’t change the resurrection accounts in the other Gospels and Paul’s letters which were written in the 1st century.

    Neil also wrote:
    “The letters of Paul are generally regarded to be earlier than most of the Gospels, and he writes of the physical resurrection (1 Cor. 15 and other).”

    No, he does not. He specifically distinguishes a physical resurrection from a spiritual resurrection. That is why he needs no empty tomb, and never mentions one as evidence for the resurrection.

    Neil said: Yes, he wrote of the physical resurrection. He mentions the 500 witnesses. He tells his own story of meeting the resurrected Jesus.

    Neil also wrote:
    RE: “And of course we know that because of this absence in Mark, both Matthew and Luke had to come up with their own versions of what happened, because there was no Markan model to copy and edit. ”

    Neil said: No, we don’t actually “know” that – it is your opinion. Funny how you come up with that “truth” with no evidence to support it!”

    One would have to ignore the Bible not to know it. Mark begins with John the Baptist; Mark has no birth stories at all. Mark ends with the women running from the tomb in fear; Mark has no post-resurrection appearance stories at all. Any reader can see that Matthew and Luke’s birth narratives not only differ considerably, but also that where they end, both Matthew and Luke take up Mark’s sequence of events. And the same with the resurrection stories. Where Mark ends, both Matthew and Luke take up with their own divergent stories. One would have to simply not look at the Bible not to see this.

    Neil said: Those aren’t contradictions, they are just telling the message from different perspectives. This is tiresome, Hokku. Go read the links I provided. You just keep going over the same illogical pattern: Different perspectives must be false, and the same stories must be copies and therefore false.

    Further, Neil wrote:
    Luke mentions the visit to Emmaus, and Matthew mentions other appearances. So what?

    Luke mentions NO appearances outside the vicinity of Jerusalem. He gives no hint that Jesus EVER appeared in Galilee. Yet in Matthew the disciples are told SPECIFICALLY to go to Galilee, and THAT is where they would see the risen Jesus. Yet Luke says nothing at all about that, but instead places the resurrection appearances in Jerusalem and vicinity, and not only never mentions appearances in Galilee, but also never gives the prediction of the “angel,” and further, CHANGES THE TEXT to omit any possibility of appearances in Galilee as the result of a supposed prediction. Look at the Bible. Read the words. Again, this is so obvious that one would have to NOT read the Bible in order not to find it.

    Neil said: Again, so what? You aren’t making any kind of a case here. Who says Luke has to mention visits to Galilee?

    Further, Neil wrote:
    Again, if they are the same you say they copied, if they are different you say they made them up. That isn’t scholarship, it is speculation.

    Not speculation at all. If we find the same events in the same sequence, often with the same words, except for occasional revision or addition, that is obvious evidence of copying. Again, any grade school teacher would recognize the appearance of the same characteristics in student papers as clear proof of copying.

    Neil said: Even if parts were copied, that doesn’t mean they aren’t true. Many scholars think the writers had access to a common source document, sometimes referred to as “Q.” They were writing to different audiences, so they emphasized different things.

    Further, Neil wrote:
    “h, come on. I’m not sure what verse you are referring to, but just because Luke didn’t mention the incident again doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And if he had included it, would you believe it? Of course not.”

    Look at the Bible, Neil.
    Mark reads:
    “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into galilee: thee you shall see him, as he told you.”
    Matthew reads:
    “And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, Lo, I have told you.”
    Matthew has already changed the text slightly, but he keeps Mark’s main issue, the Galilee prediction.
    But Luke changes it completely to make the prediction just a remembance of the past:
    Luke:
    “Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying the son of man msut be delivered…”

    Luke has changed Mark from a prediction of future Galilee appearances to a past quote of something Jesus once said in Galilee. Why? Because Luke records NO appearances at all in Galilee, even though in Mark and Matthew, those appearances were predicted by the angel at the tomb. Not only that, but Luke leaves no space for any supposed Galilee appearances.

    The evidence is overwhelming, and if you want to contradict it, you will have to show specifically where these quotes from the gospels are wrong.

    Neil said: Here’s where I think the confusion is. Luke 24:6-8 is referring to what Jesus taught in Galilee before the resurrection (“He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.”).

    That is not tied to the Mark / Matthew mentions of Jesus meeting the Disciples in Galilee. It merely recounts what Jesus told them three times before the crucifixion and resurrection.

    So to be clear: You misunderstood Luke’s comment about what Jesus said in Galillee. That not only isn’t a contradiction, it isn’t even a difficulty. You just misunderstood it. No big deal, we do that all the time. I just wouldn’t grandstand on that or keep bringing it up if I were you since it wasn’t based in fact.

    Here’s more on that topic – http://www.tektonics.org/tsr/tarrynow.html

    So far you have offered not the slightest evidence, in fact you do not reply to the examples I give, but only make comments of opinion unsupported by any evidence. Where is your evidence, and what specific evidence from the Bible can you offer to refute the evidence I have presented?

    Neil said: I have pointed out multiple times how your premise is flawed and have given evidence. Really, check out the sites I mentioned.

  43. Neil wrote:
    Neil said: Here’s where I think the confusion is. Luke 24:6-8 is referring to what Jesus taught in Galilee before the resurrection (”He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.”).

    That is not tied to the Mark / Matthew mentions of Jesus meeting the Disciples in Galilee. It merely recounts what Jesus told them three times before the crucifixion and resurrection.”

    Obviously false, Neil, because this phrase not only juggles the same key concepts as the Galilee prediction in Matthew and Mark, it also comes IN PRECISELY THE SAME PLACE in the narrative sequence. There is no escaping the fact that Luke changed the Markan text from a prediction of a future appearance of Jesus in Galilee to a past remembrance of something Jesus said. There is no other interpretation possible when one looks at the three texts and their chronological context:

    Mark:
    “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into galilee: thee you shall see him, as he told you.”
    Matthew:
    “And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, Lo, I have told you.”
    Luke:
    “Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying the son of man must be delivered…”

    And please, Neil, don’t bother referring me that abysmal Tektonics site. At least be willing to make your own arguments and defense here as I do. You notice that I present biblical evidence DIRECT FROM THE BIBLE and I use it to demonstrate that the Bible is the best witness against its own reliability. One doesn’t need to go to any other site to do that, and referring people to other sites only distracts from what is going on here. That is what I want you to deal with.

    Again, Luke clearly changed the Galilee prediction into a past remembrance, and he did it because he gives no appearances of the risen Jesus in Galilee at all.

    Neil said: First, I’ll provide links to whatever I like. If you don’t like them, just ignore them. The Mark Roberts site is quite good (I say that for the benefit of others).

    Re. your other notions, they are wrong, wrong, wrong. Really, really, very wrong. It is amusing that you insist that Luke changed it, and you have no other evidence than your bias that Luke is only a copy (more below). There is no logical reason that he must mention an appearance in Galilee. None.

    The Gospels clearly record Jesus predicting his death three times, so that is a logical place for Luke to mention it.

    We have not only the clear textual manipulation in the correct place in the sequence of events, we also have the motive for that textual manipulation. So far you have provided absolutely no evidence to disprove what is clearly written in the NT. And just to be clear, the obvious manipulation of the text is even more obvious in the original Greek than in English, and it is quite obvious enough in English.

    Neil said: You don’t have “clear textual manipulation” unless you can demonstrate that your premise is true. And you can’t. What is even funnier is that you insist that you have a motive for it. But even if your premise was true, that still wouldn’t explain the motive. Luke would have just added a bit about the encounter in Galilee (see John 21) to “cover his tracks.”

    If all you can do is to repeat that my “premise is flawed,” and can offer no biblical evidence to disprove what I have written, then you are not really defending your position. You are just expressing an opinion, a belief unsupported by the facts and the evidence.

    Neil said: Hokku, you are incapable of reasoned thought on this. You start with a false assumption, namely that Matthew and Luke are copies and only copies, so any differences between them and Mark must be errors. That is simply incorrect. I’m amazed that you can’t see that.

    You draw all sorts of conclusions from that false assumption, but they are faulty as well.

    Luke makes a clear statement about Jesus’ three predictions of his crucifixion. You see that and insist that because Luke said that instead of what Matthew said at that point that it must be false. But that proves nothing. He simply wrote something different.

    Your premise is flawed. I showed you the evidence. Your bias apparently keeps you from seeing that. Time to move on. I’ve explained this multiple times, so save your keystrokes unless you are willing to admit that there are no logical reasons that Luke couldn’t have mentioned the three predictions there.

  44. In other words, Neil, you cannot present any evidence, because you have presented none so far. And now you want to move on, because you obviously find your inability to defend your position uncomfortable.

    It is paradoxical that I am the one here going directly to the Bible, and I am the one presenting exactly what it says — and what it says demonstrates it clearly to be human and fallible, and not at all the “word of God” as you declared it to be, completely unsupported by the evidence.

    You will have to do better than this if you plant to be an apologist for the Bible.

    Neil said: Hokku, thanks for demonstrating the face of the opposition. I used the Bible to refute your points, and you can’t admit that I’m right about your faulty premise and what Luke wrote. It is amazing what people will do when confronted with their errors. You continue to insist that Luke tries to backdate the Galilee reference, when he is obviously not talking about the post-resurrection visits, he is talking about the predictions Jesus made. Sheesh.

    I said to move on because after I’ve proved a point three or four times it becomes a waste of time.

  45. Neil wrote:
    “You continue to insist that Luke tries to backdate the Galilee reference, when he is obviously not talking about the post-resurrection visits, he is talking about the predictions Jesus made. Sheesh.”

    Of course he is not talking about post-resurrection appearances. You have not even been reading what I have been writing, because I say that clearly. He ALTERS AND REPLACES the prediction of a Galilee appearances by REWRITING that prediction as merely a remembrance of something Jesus said in the past!

    Neil said: 100% bias and speculation on your part.

    Look at the context of the variant saying in the three Synoptic gospels; note when it appears, and who says it. And then compare carefully what is said. Luke has rewritten the Markan prediction, making it no longer a prediction but a remembrance of something Jesus once said in Galilee not a prediction of a Jesus the disciples are going to meet in Galilee.

    Neil said: 100% bias and speculation on your part. The context is the resurrection. The statement is a reminder that Jesus told them 3 times that He’d die.

    If you did not get this the first several times around, you should get it now. And there is no “defense” against this obvious fact, which is why you cannot come up with one.

    But I can see you are not willing to admit this in spite of the overwhelming evidence for it. Nevertheless, I hope at least some of your readers are open enough to thinking outside the fundamentalist box to see what the Bible clearly says here and what the obvious implications are, and how devastating they are to the notion of an infallible Bible.

    Now you can move on, if you will.

    Neil said: I have great confidence in the abilities of unbiased people. That is why I sometimes let seemingly pointless debates go on for a time. I know I won’t convince the person I’m debating, but I am confident that any interested party without such false premises will see the truth and know how to respond to arguments like this.

    One last time, just for the record:

    One of the original predictions: Matthew 17:22-23 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

    The reminder of the predictions which Hokku dogmatically insists was an error: Luke 24:6-8 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.

    Hokku insists – without evidence – that the Luke passage had to be an error. But unless you come to the text assuming that Luke was a copy – and only a copy – of Mark/Matthew, then the passage is logical there.

    Peace,
    Neil

  46. Neil,
    The three Synoptics — Mark, Matthew and Luke, agree frequently in arrangement of material.

    when the three do not agree, Mark’s arrangement is followed by either Matthew or Luke.

    About 90% Of Mark is found in Matthew.
    About 50% of Mark is found in Luke.

    Agreement between Matthew and Luke begins where Mark begins, and ends where Mark ends.

    Taken together, these are obvious evidences of copying. How do you explain it otherwise? Certainly not “eyewitness” reporting given the percentages.

    Neil said: This is not news. St. Augustine wrote of this, among others. For the last time, your main problem is your fairy tale that if parts of the Gospels came from a common source then they must be false, or that any differences must be false.

    And Luke, for example, didn’t claim to be an eyewitness (other than for parts of the Book of Acts), though he spoke to eyewitnesses: Luke 1:1-4 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

  47. I read all the threads Neil and paid special attention to Hokku.

    What amazes me is that after 14 yrs of higher education in academic theology (grk & heb)with extensive study in biblical, feminist, womanist, black and liberal theology, including world religions (17 yrs) the arguments have not change – nothing new under the sun. There always seems to be a lack of contextual / cultural and social understand of ancient culture. Example the Septuagint use of the same word for detestable. Somehow we assume that the people of the time lived in vaccums, not knowing the nuances of their vernacular. septuagint greek words with hebrew meanings and implications.
    Although it is good to see that there is a dialogue the hope is that while alot of information is given that the information is dealt with integrity. Hokku I am sorry to say that in many ways you are going in circle and that has been pointed out already by Neil. Neil it would be beneficial to deal the main crox of Hokku’s argument and that is the use of the term for detestable in the Septuagint.
    To be honest Hokku there are too many books already defining the authenticity of authorship when it comes to the gospels. Your careful investigation seems to only look at accounts that support your initial hypothesis/bias. Church history recounts numerous councils that dealt with this. Even liberal theologians concede at that point, esp since it is noted that the dead sea scrolls have no negative weight to ortho-xty, hence the introduction of the Gospel of Thomas and Judas to add current arguments.

    Neil, not wanting to get too deep into this but only to remark that I like your treatment of the shellfish argument. Dietary vs Moral law and tribal vs universal jurisdiction. Neil well done, acts 15 also added by another writer was well stated.

    To all. . .
    Make sure that when you are pointing towards the truth you don’t get caught focusing on the finger.

    so long.

  48. I enjoyed perusing your site: it fully confirms that a person with preconceived notions like yourself is invulnerable to reason. Once you accept a Source (Bible, Koran, Plates of Nephi, etc.) on faith, there is no contortion, no contradiction, no twist of the clear meaning of words that you will not put yourself through to affirm that faith. This may be entertaining for a blog, but one day — unless science and the faith’s institutional echo chamber keep you safely cloistered from reality — you will be forced to choose: Do I follow the arbiters of the Source, or do I follow my own mind? Thanks, Neil!

  49. Speaking of preconceived notions, thanks for your fact-free self-parody. You merely repeated tired stereotypes without engaging any of the facts and reason presented, which was ironic because your premise was that I don’t use reason.

    Are you the guy that was saying that reading things in context is meaningless and that we can’t be sure of what words mean? If so, why bother typing anything here?

    If you want to stop back sometime without your strawman arguments and other logical fallacies you are welcome to.

    Just for the record, this post addressed several questions about the use of the word abomination in two passages in Leviticus. The questions I addressed were:

    1. What were the words used in the original Hebrew?
    2. How were the words used in the context of the sentence they were in?
    3. How were the words and sentences used in the broader context?
    4. Were the associated penalties the same?
    5. Were the treatment of these topics the same in the New Testament?

    Perhaps you can explain which of these questions or the conclusions I drew were contorted, contradictory, twisted, or in any way unreasonable.

    P.S. Sorry to correct your cheery name, but the truth is in Hebrews 9:27: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

  50. I think the only problems I have here is your arrogant, flippant attitude you use towards people. It’s condescending in tone, saying you’re only responding because it humorous that they are so stupid.

    Another point is that 100% of the passages about marriage are not monogamous relationships. God said to David, “if you wanted more wives, I would have given them to you.” The only place in scripture talking about one wife is when Paul writes to Timothy that an elder should only have one wife.

  51. Hi Steven,

    If your only problem is with the tone of my post then I consider that a victory. I really didn’t think it was that bad. I was having a bit of fun with those who mock the Bible. I’m glad you agree with me that the theological liberals should not use this argument and that homosexual behavior is indeed a sin.

    Re. the “only place” about one wife? See Genesis 3 plus the multiple places Jesus is quoted as saying God’s design was for one man and one woman – e.g., Mark 10:7-8 “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.”

  52. Pingback: Are you sure you want to bring Jesus into this? « 4Simpsons Blog - Eternity Matters

  53. Hello 4Simpsons,

    Nice blog you have here. As usual the gay-advocates are serving up another bowl of “shrimp dumbo”, I see, along with their shrimp-sized excuses for immorality.

    I’ve debated so-called “gay-sex-affirming Christianity” long enough to know that the arguments boil down to a denial of the authority of the scriptures.

    We that believe in Christ place our hope of eternal life in the scriptural promises. All the arguments that condone same-sex conduct place the authority of the scriptures in doubt.

    I have a web-site blog that covers this. I agree with you that this gay-sex-affirming argument is pretty dumb. When God says He despises something in the OT, some dummy will come along and defend it.

    One of my blog-posts is about God Hating Shrimp, and I share your views :

    http://scripturerefinersfire.blogspot.com/2007/12/about-god-hating-shrimp.html

  54. Seeing this post, I notice that right off the bat you address the concerns of many of us in a snide tone that’s alienating. For instance, the following:

    “As best I can tell, many liberal theologians, skeptics and pro-gay lobbyists really love shellfish. They use the shellfish argument reflexively to undermine and/or dismiss parts of the Bible they disagree with, often mocking about how they love shrimp and such. ”

    As if there aren’t many of us who are sincerely trying to arrive at truth by applying intelligent skepticism (as we see it.)
    In order to win us over, wouldn’t it be more reasonable to open with something like:

    “Many atheists, agnostics and even people of spiritual bent see passages like that out of context and (somewhat understandably) believe The Bible to be ridiculous and full of contradictions. In this post, by examining the issue more closely, I hope I can clarify the issue for those people.”

    I look forward to reading the rest of this when I have more time.

  55. Hi Seejaye,

    Although the part you quoted was 100% factual, you bring up a fair criticism. I had pretty much given up on convincing the skeptics, because in my experience they are not interested in any facts that go against their cherished beliefs. This was mainly to equip believers with factual responses.

    I hope you come back to read the rest. And thanks again for the insights. Maybe I’ll come back and edit this to make it less strident. If any of these people could be swayed to the truth that would be great.

    Peace,
    Neil

  56. To be fair, many of my fellow agnostics/atheists also have a belittling tone with statements like “If you want to believe in your fairy-tales, fine–just don’t impose them on the rest of us.”

    A statement like that has an undertone of “Christians are gullible children who won’t grow up” that’s every ALSO snide. One can express doubts about the Bible’s validity without that kind of ridicule.

    Anyway, I have to finish up loose ends of my work–I’ll read the rest after I log off and have more time.

  57. Agreed – I think we could all stand to tone things down a bit. I’ll work on my part.

    I gotta run for a few hours but will respond later if you comment more.

  58. Yes, many. We get along splendidly. I’ll be hanging out with several this weekend while participating in the Nutcracker Ballet.

    What was the point of your question?

  59. Do you feel similarly about them (despite the apparent pleasantries of your interactions) as you would about people who practice bestiality, infanticide, or incest?

  60. Yes, in the sense that they are sinners in need of a Savior — just like me. Prison ministry and crisis pregnancy centers are two of my passions, so I come in regular contact and am friends with murderers, thiefs, drug dealers, drunk drivers, people who had abortions or pushed others to have them, etc. I’m pretty hard to shock.

    No, in the sense that I think murder (infanticide) has more direct and severe consequences to innocent people than homosexual behavior.

    At the risk of getting back to the original post, my point here was that if people claim to take the Bible seriously then they shouldn’t put forth arguments like the shellfish bit. That is, unless they can demonstrate where I have either missed a key point or where my five points are incorrect readings of the text. Christians should hold the views that Jesus did, and He had no issues with the text in Leviticus.

    The real question is how God views the behavior. Those ignorant and/or fake and/or deceitful Christians who insist that the Bible is wrong or that it condones homosexual behavior are guilty of sin.

  61. “Yes, in the sense that they are sinners in need of a Savior[.]”

    My understanding is that the disproportionate emphasis of the conservative movement on homosexuality – compared with other, “lesser” sins – is due to the believe that, while gays are technically equal in their need of a Savior as anybody else, their sin is proportionately more egregious and in need of intervention in this world. Please feel free to explain if you feel that this is incorrect or incomplete.

    “No, in the sense that I think murder (infanticide) has more direct and severe consequences to innocent people than homosexual behavior.”

    Why, then, do you feel that homosexuality is harmful?

    “At the risk of getting back to the original post…”

    The relevance is that, when you said, “In Lev. 18:22 the Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (to’evah, rendered ‘detestable act’) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners. As noted below, the word is also used used to describe bestiality, child sacrifice and incest[,]” you draw an equivalency among homosexuality and these other sins. The shellfish argument suggests that homosexuality is, at worst, as benign as shellfish consumption. Your argument claims that it is as abominable as child rape. And, as I wish to judge your exposition by the fruit it produces, I note that you recognize the dramatic difference that homosexuality does not have “direct and severe consequences to innocent people”. The appeal to Hebrew semantics leaves us wondering why homosexuality is grouped with those other sins in the first place, and why you acknowledge that it is different from them — ironically, what the shellfish argument attempts to do.

  62. My understanding is that the disproportionate emphasis of the conservative movement on homosexuality – compared with other, “lesser” sins – is due to the believe that, while gays are technically equal in their need of a Savior as anybody else, their sin is proportionately more egregious and in need of intervention in this world. Please feel free to explain if you feel that this is incorrect or incomplete.

    If you read my piece on Problems with pro-gay theology you’ll see that I noted that some people may grandstand on a sin that isn’t a temptation for them, and that is not a virtue.

    Having said that, your point is mainly a common straw man / ad hominem argument. When I write against abortion I get the same dodge – “All you care about is fetuses — why don’t you focus on hunger, etc.” The thing is that I focus on all sorts of things. People are just lazy debaters sometimes and resort to such silliness. Sadly, too few people know how to recognize the logical fallacies and to call people on them.

    I know more than a few Christians and we aren’t shocked that some people mock God with their sins. It is when they want to teach those sins as normal and demand civil rights for sexual preferences that we object — especially when it is for oxymoronic things like “same sex marriage” that inevitably lead to perversions being taught to children as “normal.”

    Why, then, do you feel that homosexuality is harmful?

    As with any sin, it tends to be addictive. Witness the unbelievable promiscuity that typically defines the movement, poster-children “monogamous couples” aside. I suggest you do your own research if you aren’t familiar with the health issues of gay behavior. I’ve read the pro-gay apologetics sites, so spare me any of your links. The whole movement is founded on lies.

    The relevance is that, when you said, “In Lev. 18:22 the Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (to’evah, rendered ‘detestable act’) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners. As noted below, the word is also used used to describe bestiality, child sacrifice and incest[,]” you draw an equivalency among homosexuality and these other sins. The shellfish argument suggests that homosexuality is, at worst, as benign as shellfish consumption. Your argument claims that it is as abominable as child rape. And, as I wish to judge your exposition by the fruit it produces, I note that you recognize the dramatic difference that homosexuality does not have “direct and severe consequences to innocent people”. The appeal to Hebrew semantics leaves us wondering why homosexuality is grouped with those other sins in the first place, and why you acknowledge that it is different from them — ironically, what the shellfish argument attempts to do.

    You’ll have to ask God about that. What is unmistakable is that He considers it a very serious sin.

    Actually, He tells you more in Romans 1. Read it very closely and several times. People reject God in unrighteousness and basically have turned the world upside down with their rebellion. Many sins are listed as manifestations of this, but exhibit A is people abandoning their natural sexual functions. It is basically shaking your fist at God every day. Countless people do this in countless ways.

    I’ve been charitable with your off topic comments. If you want to address any gaps / issues you see in my post and how you would read the Bible, please feel free. Otherwise, all the best to you.

  63. Thanks for the comment. I just read your post. Very informative, but very flawed. According to my copy of Strong’s Concordance, the term ‘abomination’ in the original Hebrew was the same word in both verses. But even if it was a different word as you claimed – what does this have to do with you? Because I am gay, you go to lengths to assume that I have not studied the Scriptures or the words of Christ. Your are in error, my friend. I promise I have fought long and hard with this issue and have studied every verse quite more than you have.

    The issue of Hebrew word origins aside, I just have to ask you one question; this question has nothing to do with word origins or Levitical law: Where is the grace and love and compassion that Christ commanded you to have?

    The title on your blog says “Eternity matters.” Does it really matter to you, or is the only thing you care about is how much you can put others down? In your entire post you are wrapped up in word studies and legalism. You claim to be a ‘Christian’ – that is, follower of Christ. Can you please point to any bit of your research that shows that commitment to Christ?

    Keep in mind – I’m not asking for commitments to Old Testament law, religious studies, or the words of the Apostle Paul – I’m talking about your commitment to Christ. There’s no love, forgiveness, or mercy anywhere in your post. There is damnation. Is your life so clean as to bring this, and then also so clean as to try to “witness” around to various blogs? You are not doing the work of Christ; you are a disciple of Satan, doing his bidding, doing your best to spread hate and contempt while ignoring the very foundations of love and grace and forgiveness.

    Maybe, just maybe, if you truly followed Christ – you would be making a case for the poor and less fortunate or at the very least, approaching topics with love. We have not turned deaf ears to you, my friend, because we could not handle the truth. We are turning deaf ears to you because you approach us and spit at us with hate, THEN try to get us to listen to your words.

  64. Our great interpreter of the Word, kindly explain the justifying historical context or religious necessity of this passage from one version of the Christian Bible which expressly condones human slavery:

    When a slave owner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property. (Exod. 21:20-21)

    And lest you think the New Testament is any better:

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (Eph. 6:5-6)

    You may wish to run your life around some iron age thinking, but count me out.

  65. Thanks for the comment. I just read your post. Very informative, but very flawed. According to my copy of Strong’s Concordance, the term ‘abomination’ in the original Hebrew was the same word in both verses. But even if it was a different word as you claimed – what does this have to do with you?

    It has to do with me trying to understand what the text said. Does that seem illogical to you?

    Because I am gay, you go to lengths to assume that I have not studied the Scriptures or the words of Christ. Your are in error, my friend. I promise I have fought long and hard with this issue and have studied every verse quite more than you have.

    To knowledge we have never met, so I’m not sure how you arrive at any of those conclusions. My claim was that those who use the shellfish argument do so in error. If you use it then you are in error.

    The issue of Hebrew word origins aside, I just have to ask you one question; this question has nothing to do with word origins or Levitical law: Where is the grace and love and compassion that Christ commanded you to have?

    Please notice what you have just done here. You try to dismiss one argument of five, then you change subjects to an illogical personal attack. Why is my analysis of a biblical text evidence that I lack grace, love and compassion?

    The title on your blog says “Eternity matters.” Does it really matter to you, or is the only thing you care about is how much you can put others down? In your entire post you are wrapped up in word studies and legalism. You claim to be a ‘Christian’ – that is, follower of Christ. Can you please point to any bit of your research that shows that commitment to Christ?

    Your off topic attack continues here. Again, how about addressing the content of the post? If you claim to follow Christ then you should hold the view that the Old Testament is accurate down to the last letter, and you would want to understand the text properly. I could go on at length about the evidence for commitment to Christ but it would end up being prideful and counterproductive. You are just doing anything you can to change the subject.

    If you claim to be a follower of Christ, then you should know that He is God and the author of all scripture. And the Bible is quite clear that God’s ideal for marriage is for one man and one woman and that homosexual and heterosexual behavior outside this relationship is a sin. So do you seek to follow Christ’s commands? Are you as committed to him as you challenge me to be below?

    Keep in mind – I’m not asking for commitments to Old Testament law, religious studies, or the words of the Apostle Paul – I’m talking about your commitment to Christ. There’s no love, forgiveness, or mercy anywhere in your post. There is damnation. Is your life so clean as to bring this, and then also so clean as to try to “witness” around to various blogs? You are not doing the work of Christ; you are a disciple of Satan, doing his bidding, doing your best to spread hate and contempt while ignoring the very foundations of love and grace and forgiveness.

    No, what you are doing is commiting the logical fallacy attacking the person, not the message (not to mention assuming what you should be proving and changing the subject).

    Please explain to me why trying to properly understand a controversial text is doing the work of Satan. Even if I was in error that wouldn’t mean I was doing the work of Satan.

    Countless sites and the Jack Black video advance the pro-gay interpretation of the Bible. Do you chastise them for hating orthodox Christians and for not spending their time helping the poor instead?

    Do you believe Satan is real, or do you just throw that out to demonize your opponents?

    Maybe, just maybe, if you truly followed Christ – you would be making a case for the poor and less fortunate or at the very least, approaching topics with love. We have not turned deaf ears to you, my friend, because we could not handle the truth. We are turning deaf ears to you because you approach us and spit at us with hate, THEN try to get us to listen to your words.

    I hope you’ll re-read your words and realize how they betray your real motives: Ignore the biblical arguments, accuse your opponents of hate, change the subject, etc.

    Do you know how I spend my time? Do you know how much money I donate? Or do you just reflexively launch into attack mode to try to discredit those with the audacity to point out biblical truths?

    And aren’t you being a bit hypocritical here? Instead of trying to attack me for explaining the Bible, shouldn’t you be out helping the poor?

  66. Very very nice post. Thank you so much Neil. I especially enjoyed the link to the site about the differences between NTS and NWS. It always bugs me when unbelievers think they know more about the Bible than we do. But praise God that He gave you this wonderful post to post. It’s taught me a lot actually. I especially like the difference between homosexuality being an abomination, and eating shellfish being an abomination unto the Israelites. Thanks again
    Your brother in Christ,
    Jacob

  67. 1) I do not run a personal blog where I claim any religious beliefs. I do not run a blog where I claim to be portraying the message of Christ to the world. Therefore, unlike you, I do not hold the responsibility of making sure that what I say is full of grace and love. The blog is my personal views and what I find to be personally entertaining, insightful, or just plain interesting to me. Your blog portrays you as a follower of Christ – therefore content containing of the above would be your responsibility, not mine. In addition, I have come across several blogs denouncing the nature of that video, and I have not commented on them. I have taken a “to each your own” mentality, as it would have been (in my view) inappropriate to being a conversation that is in contrast with the blogger’s personal views. However, you came onto my blog, did the same thing I wouldn’t do, and opened the door. In the interest of conversation, I approved your message and responded to it. Do you not understand that when you go onto a blog that holds an obvious point of view other than your own, and post a comment with a link encouraging others to read your blog and why the intention of posting the video and its content are wrong, that someone might not be too happy about that?

    2) Your work is the work of Satan, not Christ, because you are the best kind of Satan’s servants, at least when it comes to this issue: you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. When one comes in the guise of being a follower of Christ, but ends up spewing hate and then going to great lengths (to other people’s blogs) and propagating that hate, you are doing a greater harm to the Kingdom of Christ and a great favor to Satan.

    3) Again, your argument is based in fiction, not fact, and your errant note that the word ‘abomination’ is different in both verses. I have a great appreciation for one who tries to understand things – and I even commend you for that – but twisting things once understood and then going into extremes is a different story.

    4) You state, in your response to me, that the Bible clearly defines marriage to be heterosexual between one man and one women. Yes, there are examples of marriage being this way, but nowhere in the Bible is this defined. If you insist on this being Biblical truth, please provide the exact scripture reference. You won’t find it. Thus, you are treading on dangerous ground of proclaiming that the Bible, and therefore God, says something that it/He does not.

    5) As stated above, I do not chastise the other sites for not being fans of the Jack Black video. I chastise them in their ignorance on the subject only when they approach me and open the door to the conversation.

    6) We have never met, but my attack to you was personal, yes. Why? It was a personal attack from me to counter your personal attack to me. When you criticize the content of my site, that is a personal attack. When you post a link full of hate and ignorance on my blog for my readers to visit, that is a personal attack. When you place a link on a homosexual’s blog to an article you wrote where you belittle homosexuals and refer to their lifestyle as sinful, that is a personal attack. Can you appreciate this?

    7) You are right – I have no idea how you spend your time, what you study, or what money you give to what organizations. But that isn’t the point here? I never judge a person on what their actions are on a piece of paper; I judge them by personal interactions. Judging from my personal interaction with you and what you claim to be on your site, I find you to by hypocritical.

    8) I would be out helping the poor if I was claiming to live such a life as a follower of a person who heavily emphasized this. I don’t claim this. You do. So how am I being hypocritical?

  68. Neil, good post.
    I’ve come up against the shellfish arguement before and being a Christian, one who follows Christ, I just give them what Christ himself said: “You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do”

  69. “Thanks for visiting, but I prefer that people comment on the topic at hand.”

    *********

    Funny I prefer people who answer the tough questions that were asked. I can only assume you have no answers.

    My, my so dismissive for an advocate of Christian world-view. I see your preaching is reserved for the choir!

  70. Funny I prefer people who answer the tough questions that were asked. I can only assume you have no answers.

    My, my so dismissive for an advocate of Christian world-view. I see your preaching is reserved for the choir!

    I encourage you to read the pearl holding / dust shaking passages of the Bible. I am under no obligation to answer any and every question that anyone on the Internet stops by with. I have a pretty good ability to detect sincere seekers vs. time wasters.

    But hey, prove me wrong and find a post where you are on topic and I’ll be glad to address that.

  71. You state, in your response to me, that the Bible clearly defines marriage to be heterosexual between one man and one women. Yes, there are examples of marriage being this way, but nowhere in the Bible is this defined.

    What bible are you reading? Well obviously you are not reading it because it is defined that way in the Bible! Read Matthew 19:4-6 (The Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce for any cause and this is how he answered)
    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female 5 And said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    Let’s not forget Genesis, you don’t have to read that far to even find it:
    Genesis 2:23-25 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called “Woman because she was taken out of man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife and were not ashamed.

    If you insist on this being Biblical truth, please provide the exact scripture reference. You won’t find it.

    Yeah that is why I found at least two scriptures, do you need more! Maybe crack your bible once in a while and stop letting it collect dust.

    Thus, you are treading on dangerous ground of proclaiming that the Bible, and therefore God, says something that it/He does not.

    Funny he did say it after all. Now you owe Neil an apology! It is obviously you that is treading on dangerous ground proclaiming to speak for God when he has already spoken on it himself and quite clearly I might add!

  72. 2) Your work is the work of Satan, not Christ, because you are the best kind of Satan’s servants, at least when it comes to this issue: you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. When one comes in the guise of being a follower of Christ, but ends up spewing hate and then going to great lengths (to other people’s blogs) and propagating that hate, you are doing a greater harm to the Kingdom of Christ and a great favor to Satan.

    Please do not be surprised when I dismiss your un-biblical views about Jesus and Satan. When you make comments like that it appears that you are speaking as a Christian who takes the Jesus of the Bible seriously, when in fact you are just making up your own God to try to dismiss his clear word.

    3) Again, your argument is based in fiction, not fact, and your errant note that the word ‘abomination’ is different in both verses. I have a great appreciation for one who tries to understand things – and I even commend you for that – but twisting things once understood and then going into extremes is a different story.

    Nice try. You are wrong on that point and have used all sorts of logical fallacies to avoid the other arguments, which would be valid even if I was wrong on #1.

    4) You state, in your response to me, that the Bible clearly defines marriage to be heterosexual between one man and one women. Yes, there are examples of marriage being this way, but nowhere in the Bible is this defined. If you insist on this being Biblical truth, please provide the exact scripture reference. You won’t find it. Thus, you are treading on dangerous ground of proclaiming that the Bible, and therefore God, says something that it/He does not.

    Thanks for the attempted Bible lesson, but you don’t have to look farther than Genesis 2, which is reiterated countless times. Here are some facts for you:

    100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

    100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

    100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

    0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

    7) You are right – I have no idea how you spend your time, what you study, or what money you give to what organizations. But that isn’t the point here? I never judge a person on what their actions are on a piece of paper; I judge them by personal interactions. Judging from my personal interaction with you and what you claim to be on your site, I find you to by hypocritical.

    You seem kinda prejudiced to me.

    8) I would be out helping the poor if I was claiming to live such a life as a follower of a person who heavily emphasized this. I don’t claim this. You do. So how am I being hypocritical?

    You gave a misleading impression — though perhaps innocently — of actually understanding and caring about what Jesus said. I encourage you to learn more about them. Even if people don’t sin sexually they are still sinners in need of a Savior. Eternity is a mighty long time.

  73. Neil:

    “I encourage you to read the pearl holding / dust shaking passages of the Bible. I am under no obligation to answer any and every question that anyone on the Internet stops by with. I have a pretty good ability to detect sincere seekers vs. time wasters.”

    ***************************

    I read it. I thought it was a tap dancing site. No addressing of the issue except to quibble with the words or completely dismiss the problem as some historical anomaly. Typical I’d say for a cult bent on propagating the myth that their iron age philosophy is correct despite it’s lack of rational basis. The problem with all of it is that just when you hope to pin it down, it takes another slippery turn to insure its unfalsifiablity.

    By the way, I have read the text,cover to cover, and I can assure you every form of perversion is expressly attributable to and sanctioned by the religion to which you subscribe. But then this wouldn’t just be my opinion, but the opinion of most every person who approaches it with an unbiased mind free from the dogma so essential to the propping up of your value system –men like Jefferson and Thomas Paine who saw religion for the fraud most of it is.

    I have no idea what the quote in the midst of your reply on the Turley website refers to since they are not my words. Contrary to the usual organ backed rantings I hear in church, my comments are born or rational thought unfettered by belief that the outcome is a foregone conclusion and that I must pound the facts to fit that preconceived notion. I suppose attributing quotes to those who don’t make them is indicative of the quality of your research anyway.

    Lastly, I stay with my original assertion that providing you a counter-example to your foolish argument that all contradictory Bible verses are taken out of context or the result of some mistranslation is intellectual gymnastics at best, or cowardice at worst. I still await your rebuttal to my assertion that the Christian Bible expressly approves human slavery. Like Adlai Stevenson I am prepared to wait until hell freezes over–which is just about the time it will take for you to contrive some idiocy to justify the unjustifiable.

  74. Hi Meso – You demanded information on a completely off-topic subject. I provided a link as a courtesy. If you didn’t like it, I’m OK with that. But you are tipping your hand as to your real motives when you pretend like I should spend time responding to your random request and skeptic sound bites. Keep telling yourself how open minded you are. I’m skeptical of your skepticism.

    All the best to you.

  75. Neil,

    Thank you for your reply … although I did find it very interesting that you completely dismissed my discussion of why opening the door to the argument by propagating your personal beliefs on other’s blogs – uninvited – would be received wrong by the visitor. To that point, you failed to post the reply on my blog as you did your first reply. Interesting.

    The issue at hand, however, is that I stand correct in my stating that the Bible does not define marriage as one man and one woman. Both verses described, the Genesis quote and the Jesus quote, discuss love-making. They do not discuss marriage. I asked you for a verse that SPECIFICALLY backs up your assertion: Marriage is COMMANDED to be between one man and one woman ONLY. You and your friend failed to provide this.

    What I said, however, was that there are verses where this is an example – on that end you both proved me right: you provided two examples.

    You failed to provide the exact commandment/declaration as you both would like to interpret it; you failed to provide the quote from Christ that defines this to be an exclusive arrangement.

    Most of all, you failed to provide the quote from Christ that affirms your tactics and attitude as being Christ-following.

    And for someone who originally detested my own personal attacks, you and your friends are certainly serving up plenty of your own. Again, you are a gang of Pharisees, so pious in your own beliefs that you have to condemn others, and end up truly offending Christ more than helping Him.

    Flame wars and attacks aside, let’s move onto something else I think we can both agree on: You are working on the assumption that the Bible is the error-free Word of God. You, and many other Christians, are working under the assumption that this Scriptural book is INDEED the end-all-be-all, word-for-word accurate, life guide that everyone MUST abide by.

    I have my views on the Bible, many of which are positive, but I do not subscribe to this view of it. I believe it to have errors and be erronous in some places. I also am at a place in my own life where I have trouble listening to evangelical Christians who claim the Bible to be the end all be all, Islamists claiming the same for the Koran, the Mormons claiming the same for the Book of Mormon, the athiest claiming the same for the lack thereof, et cetera. In a way, you are faulting me and many others for failing to hold the Bible in this supreme authoritive state, when we never claimed to. Can you at least understand my point of view on this? I’m not asking you at all to agree with it – I’m just asking you to understand it.

    I am not going to take my doubts around to other people and other blogs and hold them over the heads of others – my doubting beliefs in the authenticity of the Bible hold just as much weight as your beliefs in it. And honestly, Neil, I DO respect your beliefs and your perspectives … what i don’t respect is the continual effort of Christians to try to force their lifestyle and views on everyone else. I understand that Christ commands his followers to spread the Gospel, that’s fine. I respect you for the attempt. But when one is clearly not interested, why can you not respect their choice and then still have intelligent conversations them without condemnation? Is arguing with them until they break and convert or get pissed and walk away really the best way to go about this task?

    Of course, you’ll probably dismiss my thought-out question with a quick, holier-than-thou self-important comment about how you are not obligated to answer such questions, or about how I am blind to the truth, or how I am prejudiced, or how you “see through to my real motives”, or some other personal attack – like you have everybody else. And by me, really, that’s okay. You began a discussion that you seem to be unwilling to actually engage in. And with that end result, your means of beginning the conversation were wrong, immoral evening.

    I’m not claiming to believe the Scriptures are essential. I’m not claiming to believe in the same Christ you do. So why hit me over the head for it? I’m not a fraud, I’m being transparent. You just end up looking stupid when you condemn people for not believing what they never claimed to believe.

    I really don’t know why I continue to battle with Christians about this matter – the results are always the same. I’m not attempting to convert you to my views; I just want to have an intelligent TWO-WAY conversation; maybe I’m wrong about you and you CAN engage in that. But at least I still try to actually hold the conversation with your kind of people; I still try to actually learn and discuss things on a personal level, even with all of my past experience and frustration.

    That’s more than I can say for the Christians.

  76. Thank you for your reply … although I did find it very interesting that you completely dismissed my discussion of why opening the door to the argument by propagating your personal beliefs on other’s blogs – uninvited – would be received wrong by the visitor. To that point, you failed to post the reply on my blog as you did your first reply. Interesting.

    Let’s recap: You posted about the Jack Black video. I posted a comment which linked to this piece analyzing where I think the video completely misunderstands the text. You may want to make your blog private if comments like that bother you that much. I didn’t say anything personal about you at all, unlike what you have done here. I’m used to the personal attacks. I just get tired of responding to them.

    Please know that you have my permission to take any comments I make to you here and copy them to your blog. I don’t have any obligation to run multiple threads of the same discussion.

    The issue at hand, however, is that I stand correct in my stating that the Bible does not define marriage as one man and one woman. Both verses described, the Genesis quote and the Jesus quote, discuss love-making. They do not discuss marriage. I asked you for a verse that SPECIFICALLY backs up your assertion: Marriage is COMMANDED to be between one man and one woman ONLY. You and your friend failed to provide this.

    You are mistaken. If you can’t see from what I and the other commenter provided re. marriage then I’m not going to press the matter. I’m really not on commission here.

    Most of all, you failed to provide the quote from Christ that affirms your tactics and attitude as being Christ-following.

    A couple basics of the Christian faith may help clarify this for you: Jesus is God. The Bible is the word of God. So the Bible is the word of Jesus. It is all his. He is the creator of the universe. So your angle of only looking at the words of Jesus doesn’t make sense to a Christian.

    Having said that, keep reading the Gospels and you’ll see Jesus define marriage.

    And for someone who originally detested my own personal attacks, you and your friends are certainly serving up plenty of your own. Again, you are a gang of Pharisees, so pious in your own beliefs that you have to condemn others, and end up truly offending Christ more than helping Him.

    Oddly, you have condemned me in every post, then retreated to your “it’s OK, because Jeff doesn’t claim to be a Christian” theme.” I’m not interested in that game. And you are once again pretending that you actually care about Christ, know what He really thinks and are concerned that He might be offended by something. I find that to be disingenuous.

    Flame wars and attacks aside, let’s move onto something else I think we can both agree on: You are working on the assumption that the Bible is the error-free Word of God. You, and many other Christians, are working under the assumption that this Scriptural book is INDEED the end-all-be-all, word-for-word accurate, life guide that everyone MUST abide by.

    I have my views on the Bible, many of which are positive, but I do not subscribe to this view of it. I believe it to have errors and be erronous in some places. I also am at a place in my own life where I have trouble listening to evangelical Christians who claim the Bible to be the end all be all, Islamists claiming the same for the Koran, the Mormons claiming the same for the Book of Mormon, the athiest claiming the same for the lack thereof, et cetera. In a way, you are faulting me and many others for failing to hold the Bible in this supreme authoritive state, when we never claimed to. Can you at least understand my point of view on this? I’m not asking you at all to agree with it – I’m just asking you to understand it.

    I don’t expect non-Christians to follow the Bible. I didn’t fault you for that. I analyzed a portion of text from the Bible and pointed out how the Jack Black video was perpetuating a lie. You took the discussion off track from there.

    I do encourage you to continue to compare the truth claims of these texts to see which correspond to reality.

    I am not going to take my doubts around to other people and other blogs and hold them over the heads of others – my doubting beliefs in the authenticity of the Bible hold just as much weight as your beliefs in it. And honestly, Neil, I DO respect your beliefs and your perspectives … what i don’t respect is the continual effort of Christians to try to force their lifestyle and views on everyone else. I understand that Christ commands his followers to spread the Gospel, that’s fine. I respect you for the attempt. But when one is clearly not interested, why can you not respect their choice and then still have intelligent conversations them without condemnation? Is arguing with them until they break and convert or get pissed and walk away really the best way to go about this task?

    I’m not sure I follow. Re-read the original post. It takes a completely misunderstood portion of the Bible and analyzes it. I didn’t go to your blog to spread the Gospel (though I’d be glad to share it with you if you are interested).

    What you are missing is that no one has to believe the Bible is inspired to analyze this portion of the text. The issue isn’t inspiration, it is what the words mean in context, in the original language, their treatment in the New Testament, etc. The video and everyone else who uses the shellfish argument get it grossly wrong. Oddly enough, the comments I get tend to be like yours, ignoring the text of the post and launching into personal attacks. It is revealing.

    The claim that we are forcing your beliefs on you is a straw man. You posted a link about the Jack Black video. I posted a comment with a link to the analysis exposing some of its lies. That isn’t forcing anything more than you are “forcing” me not to believe.

    Of course, you’ll probably dismiss my thought-out question with a quick, holier-than-thou self-important comment about how you are not obligated to answer such questions, or about how I am blind to the truth, or how I am prejudiced, or how you “see through to my real motives”, or some other personal attack – like you have everybody else. And by me, really, that’s okay. You began a discussion that you seem to be unwilling to actually engage in. And with that end result, your means of beginning the conversation were wrong, immoral evening.

    I see you are now moving to pre-emptive personal attacks that accuse me of making personal attacks, ironically enough.

    I’m not claiming to believe the Scriptures are essential. I’m not claiming to believe in the same Christ you do. So why hit me over the head for it? I’m not a fraud, I’m being transparent. You just end up looking stupid when you condemn people for not believing what they never claimed to believe.

    Who hit you over the head with it? Re-read your original comments. It appeared to me that you were taking Jesus seriously and claimed to believe in him.

    I really don’t know why I continue to battle with Christians about this matter – the results are always the same. I’m not attempting to convert you to my views; I just want to have an intelligent TWO-WAY conversation; maybe I’m wrong about you and you CAN engage in that. But at least I still try to actually hold the conversation with your kind of people; I still try to actually learn and discuss things on a personal level, even with all of my past experience and frustration.

    That’s more than I can say for the Christians.

    Jeff, you are welcome to comment here and have those kinds of discussions. I have regular commenters who are atheists, liberals, etc. who don’t hold my views. I just ask that people not use logical fallacies to demonize those they disagree with. Go read your original comment, which accused me of being graceless, loveless and compassionless, among other things.

    If I came by your place preaching my views on a completely off topic post I wouldn’t expect you to be receptive.

    So feel free to come back and start fresh on another topic, or get back to the topic of this post here. Fair enough?

  77. Wow, bro. First, even though I don’t run a blog claiming to be a Christian, I do follow Christ and know my Bible intimately well. When my points against you reveal this, you dance around the topic and tell me I am someone who does obviously not know the Bible or Christ. Insulting to me at the best, dangerous to your own spiritual life at worst.

    You did exactly as I expected you to do – you dismissed many of my points in this post, didn’t respond really at all to most of my questions, and hid behind snide comments such as, “I’m not on commission here.” Thanks for proving me right.

    I did write a fairly large blog this morning about the Bible and what it does or does not say on marriage, also explaining the difference between example and definition. I invite you to read this.

    I attempted, in the last half of my post, to invite you into some serious, solid questions regarding perspective, and those were ignored. Thanks for being a stereotype for your faith.

    One of your last comments: “If I came by your place preaching my views on a completely off topic post I wouldn’t expect you to be receptive.”

    Well, you did come by my place, preached and linked to your views, and you were off-topic. Yes, the topic was the Jack Black video, but all I wrote about it was that it was amusing. I wasn’t debating or discussing or inviting a discussion about its political or religious merits. So yes, you were off topic and quite out of place there. But that’s fine – I just would like you to be aware of how that could make someone not so happy.

    The assertion by you that I should make my blog private if I don’t care for comments not agreeing with me is completely off base. Disagreeing comments are fine – rude intrusions are not. My issue with you is that both myself and numerous people have come to you on this post alone and attempted to begin dialouge, but you coward back when confronted with tough questions and provide smart remarks. Very telling, indeed, my friend.

    I have some great apologetics books for you to check out. I’ve read them many times, I’ll be happy to mail them to you if you like. You could use the studying if you’re going to conduct your public faith in such a matter.

  78. Jeff, I am weary of you going in circles with your claims about Christ. You can’t dispute the facts here and are just using smokescreens.

    Again, Jesus is God and Leviticus is his word. If you think I’ve misinterpreted it, go ahead and show me. But what have you offered? A logical fallacy-fest.

    So again, feel free to come back and start fresh on another topic, or get back to the topic of this post here.

    You ignored that the first time, so you are on moderation now. Follow the rules and your comments get posted.

    P.S. Thanks for your indirect affirmation of the original post. If someone as knowledgeable as you claim to be must restort to your tactics that is quite an encouragement of the post’s veracity.

  79. Neil,

    I too, am growing weary of you avoiding the facts in many of posts…

    My original post to you was informing you that my copy of Strong’s Concordance refers to ‘abomination’ being the same word (and same meaning) in the Hebrew … a direct conflict of what you stated in your original post. I asked you to provide the reference you were using, you have not done this.

    In numerous posts, I have asked you to tell me exactly where in the Bible marriage is defined as you claim it to be. I told you I knew of some examples of unions in the Bible being this way. What you and your friend provided were examples. But examples are not definitions. My most recent post on my blog uses websters to define ‘definition’ and ‘example.’ They are not the same. You have not done this.

    You claim, in your second to most recent response, that I will see this definition if I read further. So here, I am sincerely asking for your help – so me the definition (again, not example) of where Christ says this, and I will happily post a comment here and a post on my blog announcing that I was wrong. This isn’t a challenge, this is a sincere request for assistance – I do not want to be a person who does the opposite of what I’m accusing you of: claiming that something is not in the Bible when it is. Can you do me this one favor?

    I am fearful that in your most recent response, you are illogical again: “Jesus is God and Leviticus is his word.” Jesus claims to have come to abolish the law, does He not? So how is applying (in this day and age) the rules of Levitical law to Christians even at all relevant? The whole word-origin issue of “abomination” aside, why would Christians even attempt to discuss Levitical law when Christ came to abolish it? Please advise.

    In addition, Levitical Law does advise of many other things (pointing out that the video says “The Bible says alot of things” was one of your beefs, if I recall). Say that you’re right and the word “abomination” around the shellfish argument does not mean what we mean it to mean. You want to apply the verse regarding men laying with men, but what about the other Levitical verses about being unclean after men’s semen ejaculations? About women’s menstruation cycles? Sincerely, I am in all seriousness asking you … do you apply this to your life? If not, why? Do you feel that modern hygenics has overruled the scriptures? How do you feel that this relates to Jack Black’s claim that Christians “pick and choose” what they want to believe from Levitical Law?

    These are all honest, sincere questions, not sarcasm or personal attacks. I do invite you to my blog to engage in discussion when I post religious-oriented content. To that end, I do acknowledge that I have been harsh with the personal attacks and I apologize for any offense. I invite you to my site and offer the apology in hopes that we can continue this discussion and have future discussions … it is clear we will not agree on many things, but that is the purpose of discussion, to work things out, no? The only conditions of this (and your response, even on your own blog) is that you, too, will avoid the personal attacks or any semblance of them, as I will.

    If you are up for this, please directly (not indirectly) response to my questions with definitions and the requested scripture references. If not, then you can choose to delete this comment, obviously, and you will have to forgive me if at that point I lose any respect for you or your word. Regardless of the outcome, I will be posting this response as a new post on my blog with a link back to your site and this post. This is your chance to prove me wrong and validate your claims in a fashion where we both act mature and logical … are you up for it?

  80. Neil:

    Your patience and grace are second to none. I pray that I can do the same the next time I am in a similiar situation with someone who is disagreeable when disagreeing. You and your blog are truly inspiring my brother!

    Best,
    Joseph

  81. Sharoute,

    Thanks for your reply. I mean this a completely non-snarky way: The answers to your questions are in the post. I’m not sure how else to answer it.

    The Israelite laws had moral, civil and ceremonial components. How do you know which is which? Read the passages in context. We don’t pick and choose what we like, we read in context and see what was Israelite-specific (shellfish and such) and what was moral and universal (don’t sacrifice your children, don’t have sex with animals, etc.).

    If you take your literalist view that Jesus fulfilled the law in such a way that it all goes away, then I don’t have to love my neighbor as myself (Leviticus 19:18), I can sacrifice my kids to idols, and so on.

  82. Pingback: Open Letter To “The Morning Show With Mike And Juliet” « GalatiansC4V16

  83. Sahroute,

    Since you have asked for verses where marraige is defined in the Bible, It seems only fair that you should provide some verses that speak of homosexuality in either a positive or neutral way.

  84. Craig,

    Thanks for your response, and no worries on the misspelling – my name’s Jeff, that’s just my blog name. It’s Hebrew for “taxi” by the way. :)

    In regards to your question – I never claimed homosexuality was either neutral or okay, and I never claimed the Bible made any mention of that being the case. Some of the posts I above, and a recent main post on my own blog, actually state that I am not trying to convince anyone that homosexuality is moral, God’s will, or that gay marriage is okay. My argument is simpler than that – my argument is that Neil said “the Bible clearly defines marriage as being between one man and one women.”

    My argument is that Neil misquoted the Bible here – the Bible does not “clearly define” that. I do agree, however, that the Bible provides examples of unions being between man and a women. Neil provided those. The Bible does not provide a “clear definition” of marriage. One of my recent posts on my blog, http://www.sharoute.com, use Websters and some other examples to differentiate between “example” and “definition.”

    It would be perfectly acceptable for Neil to say, “I disagree with gay marriage because the only examples of unions in the Bible are between a man and a women.”

    This is saying what’s in the Bible, and is not claiming that a specific definition exists in the Bible when it, in fact, does not. When discussing word origins and the like, I assuming Neil likes to get technical, so in turn, I wish to be technical as well when discussing what’s at hand.

    So, to answer your question directly, I cannot provide those verses because the Bible doesn’t have those verses. I never claimed they did, either. Neil, however, claimed that the Bible says something very specific, and I am just asking for those exact verses.

    Fair enough?

    P.S. – I just realized now that I’m logged in as a different user …. not intentional, just working on a different WordPress project, so yeah. But this is Jeff from Sharoute. :)

    -Thanks

  85. And Neil,

    Thanks for your explanation of the Leviticus issue as far as context. I accept and appreciate you taking the time to explain that to me. My other unanswered Levitical question was the concordance source, either book name or website, you were using for the ‘abomination’ interpretations?

    Thanks

  86. Hey Neil,

    When I saw a clip of that silly “Prop 8 – the Musical” starring Jack Black, I thought of your post here. Looks like it has been revived with comments again. I don’t have time to read through them all, but have you heard about this yet?

    In the clip, Jack Black uses “the shrimp theory” to claim that if homosexuality is an abomination in the Bible – then so is eating shrimp. Isn’t it a riot how people can twist Scripture to say what they want it to? The man obviously hasn’t a clue about dietary laws vs. moral laws in the Old Testament.

    I hope they keep up their ridiculous protests. People are starting to realize what their real motives are – and they don’t like it.

  87. Thanks, Christine. Yes, I’ve seen the video. I may do a fresh post on the Jack Black / Newsweek themes that are getting a lot of press. I think the best way to address them is for Christians to be informed.

  88. Neil,

    Have you seen this ridiculous piece of Junk?
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/172653?gt1=43002
    I thought about writing a response, but realized several of your blog posts do a much better job. Send them to Newsweek and dare them to publish it. Then I can start my campaign accusing them of self censorship when they don’t., as in “Why hasn’t Newsweek published Neil Simpson’s response to Lisa Miller’s article. His article sets out what the Bible actually says about gay marriage. Why? Because they’re not interested in the truth, but an agenda “

  89. Hi Ivan,

    Funny you should ask! I’m working on a piece right now that refers to it.

    My theme for authentic believers is, “Don’t get mad, get educated. Or get mad and educated. But don’t sit this one out. People will be talking about this and the Jack Black video, so we should be able to respond.

  90. Jeff,

    Thanks for the response, however I’m not sure what your point is. If the only examples of marriage in the Bible are hetrosexual, then your point is simply semantic.

  91. Hi Craig,

    I can see where you’re coming from completely, but I think you are, perhaps innocently, confusing ‘definition’ with ‘example.’ i think you and Neil have both mistaken my argument to mean that I believe the Bible endorses same-sex marriage; I am not claiming this. Again, my argument has nothing to do with the issue of gay marriage.

    I don’t know how to state this any simpler, but in one last attempt (I think we can all agree the argument is becoming old at this point), I want to clarify that my argument is stating that something is SPECIFICALLY in the Bible, when it is not.

    I am against claiming anything to be in the Bible when it is, in fact, not – this is the danger one encounters when trying to twist versus – even slightly and perhaps innocently – to say what they want them to say.

    Neil and the Christian community claims at large that the Bible specifically “defines marriage as one man and one women.”

    This claim is, at its core, claiming that a definition exist in the Bible. Only examples are found of UNIONS (not even the word “marriage” in this case) between a man and a women. Again, examples are not definitions.

    Even if you don’t agree with me (which I’m not asking you to do) can you at least understand and appreciate where I’m coming from?

    When verses are used against my community, I want them to be specific. Quote Romans, if you must. Quote Leviticus, if you must – even these are streches, since the word “homosexual” was not in Hebrew, and as Christians, we should not be living by any Levitical law (be it moral, ceremonial, or else). However, there is danger in claiming IMPLICATIONS as DEFINITIONS when they merely exist as EXAMPLES.

    If you want to use the Bible against homosexuals, either on moral or cultural grounds, then for your own sake – you need to make sure you are using it correctly and without loopholes.

    If you are still confused, Craig, I invite you to my blog at sharoute.com and examine my post where I describe the difference (using Webster’s) between ‘definition’ and ‘example.’

    Thanks, and be well!

  92. By the way Neil, would you please be kind enough to forward me a copy of the Jack Black/Newsweek article that you end up writing? I would like to read it, for curiosity’s sake. You have my word that I will not initiate anything about it on your blog, for or against.

  93. Hi Jeff – the Jack Black post is up now.

    I am only partly joking when I say that your literalism regarding the Bible would make a fundie blush.

    The fact that the word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in the Bible is irrelevant. The behavior is described quite clearly. God may have done that so people wouldn’t quibble over the definition.

    Christians should seek to follow the moral laws wherever they are found in the Bible. Context is the key, as always. That is, unless you think child sacrifice and bestiality are fair game since Jesus didn’t mention those specifically.

  94. Jeff,

    If the only examples of “unions” ( and what is marriage but a union, the whole two becoming one thing) in the Bible are “hetrosexual”, then it is reasonable to conclude that the only unions the Bible regards favorably are hetrosexual. I will grant that the Bible is not a dictionaly, and therefore doesn’t define anything in that sense. It is reasonable to deduce that the Biblical ideal for unions is one man/one woman. So, split hairs if you will, but it seems pretty clear.

    I agree with Neil as to what seems to be this almost wooden literalism regarding the Bible. It really isn’t effective at anything but diverting the subject.

    I’ve been to your blog, and your post seems to be more of the same.

  95. Whew! Neil, you sure take on some controversial issues and generate spirited dialogue. It seems to me that you try to be fair and respectful, even when the positions you take are not popular with some people. It is clear, at least to me, that you take the Bible seriously and make every attempt to view it honestly. If that is the case, and if the points you make are truly Biblical, then any correspondent’s counter view or argument is with Scripture. Not with you. That fact may not be well received by some, but it is true. Perhaps this “storm that got stirred up” will let you know again why my approach has been and will remain devotional in nature. A friend, brother, and fellow student, ~don

  96. Neil,

    Sir, you’re probably tired of this post and want to move on; I can definitely understand that. I mean, you posted this originally back in November 2007! 

    However, I have a few questions about some things if you wouldn’t mind, sir.

    I am not writing this to offend you; that’s not my intent. I’m just stating an opinion and asking for clarity. I could be wrong, I’m not sure at all and I’m confused. By the way, I am an agnostic.

    I grew up in an extremely religious (Nazarene) family. As a matter of fact my grandfather built our church and was the pastor. My grandmother played the piano, and my father led the music. I was turned off from the church (you may say unfortunately so) due to hypocrisy. I was only a kid at the time and we had two very nice and very competent Sunday school teachers. They lived together as partners and were lesbians so they were kicked out of the church. However, even at my young age (10-11) I saw a great many people in the church were also committing sins equally as grievous, yet they weren’t kicked out. I have always wondered why that is. As a matter of fact, my father and stepmother were divorced from their original spouses. There were quite a few people in the church who were divorced.

    According to Matthew 19:
    They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

    Now this was Jesus himself saying this. It is not Old Testament. It’s not Paul or any other apostle saying this; it was Jesus.

    Now why is it that a great many Christians seem to look the other way at things that Jesus himself said were bad, yet they vociferously condemn homosexuality? I have seen in the bible where there is some confusion and some may even say contradictions. That’s why I always used to look at what Jesus himself said, instead of looking at the Old Testament or to what Paul might have said. In other words, go directly to the source, God. Now He (Jesus) never mentioned homosexuality at all. As a matter of fact, He didn’t mention a great many things.

    The problem I’m having is that the things he did mention, such as not judging others, the Golden Rule, love your neighbor, speaking out against divorce….well, in a nutshell, it seems that Christians nowadays are ignoring these things in large part and focusing on things he didn’t even actually say.

    Now Christians aren’t bound by the old covenant but by the new one, from Jesus. Yes, Paul speaks out about homosexuality, but Jesus does not. And of course Christians are following Christ, not necessarily Paul, otherwise they’d be called ….I don’t know, maybe Paulians??? (Haha, sorry bad joke) It is just my opinion (and again I could be wrong) but maybe Jesus thought divorce was worse than homosexuality since he specifically mentioned the former as bad but not the latter at all. So again, why is it that so many Christians these days seem to have no problems at all with divorce but are so extremely worried about (and sometimes violently opposed to) homosexuality?

    Additionally, (again, I do not mean to offend you, so if I do, I apologize in advance) this entire thread of yours seemed to not really convince me at all about the whole shellfish thing and it seemed that your overall debate against your opponents in this thread were kind of weak. It appeared to me that some of your arguments were ineffective, to say the least.

    There were leaps of interpretation with the “abomination” thing. It appears to raise a lot more questions than it answers. For instance if that one little word could be interpreted differently like you said, how many other (thousands?) of words in the bible could be interpreted differently? If a great many of them could be interpreted differently, might that open up a whole can of worms as to interpreting The Bible in a multitude of ways?

    Early on in your thread, you mentioned something to the effect that you were deleting some of the postings. Now I do not by any means claim to be the smartest girl in the world but when you said that, it appeared to me the entire thread was then suspect in that a less than scrupulous person could have very easily just deleted some of the harder rebuttals without even bothering to try to answer them. I’m not saying you did that but others might think that way and therefore completely discount your entire post as being untrustworthy and unreliable.

    Also, you repeatedly warned people to stay on track or on message, yet you allowed quite a few ‘cheerleaders’ if you will, who had nothing really more important to say than ‘Attaboy’ and give you a pat on the back. If your intent was to have a little moral support while getting harassed by all those other people, that is quite understandable. The only problem with that is if I (again I’m not that intelligent) looked at this as a bit of ‘selective editing’ to suit your purposes, then I can imagine others much more intelligent and discerning than I would see that as a complete invalidation to your entire post.

    There was a general overall tone of evasion and avoidance on your part as far as answering questions forthrightly. It gave me the overall impression of what a politician does to avoid answering difficult questions. Case in point, there were so many times you just referred the person to another blog instead of just answering the simple question yourself. There were times you just summarily dismissed some questions as not being serious or for a variety of reasons.

    As far as the assumptions or interpretations of some laws that were meant just for the Israelites and some for all of us, could you point out these verses or explain how you arrived at those conclusions? You may have done so already but I’m a little dense and sometimes need things in black and white, sorry. 

    Sir, thank you for your time.

    Jessie :-)

    • Jessie, thanks for your comment and your tone.

      First, I agree that hypocrisy is a big problem. Jesus spoke against hypocrisy in strong terms. But that is bad on the part of those who are hypocrites (all of us, really), but it doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t die for our sins and rise from the dead.

      Regarding what Jesus did and didn’t say, please remember that according to the Bible, Jesus is God, so the whole Bible is his word (not just the “red letters.”). So He agrees with all of it. He himself said that He agreed with the Old Testament, and the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament as well.

      You might also want to read this about what Jesus supposedly didn’t say — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/what-jesus-didnt-say/

      Should Christians be more concerned about divorce? Absolutely. They should fight all false teachings in the church. It just happens that false teachers are now claiming that the Bible doesn’t say homosexual behavior is a sin, or that God changed his mind, or that the Bible is wrong in teaching that it is a sin. We are simply responding to that.

      Additionally, (again, I do not mean to offend you, so if I do, I apologize in advance) this entire thread of yours seemed to not really convince me at all about the whole shellfish thing and it seemed that your overall debate against your opponents in this thread were kind of weak. It appeared to me that some of your arguments were ineffective, to say the least.

      With all due respect, it took you a long time to get to that point and as I’m about to explain, I disagree with it.

      There were leaps of interpretation with the “abomination” thing. It appears to raise a lot more questions than it answers. For instance if that one little word could be interpreted differently like you said, how many other (thousands?) of words in the bible could be interpreted differently? If a great many of them could be interpreted differently, might that open up a whole can of worms as to interpreting The Bible in a multitude of ways?

      I don’t see your objection. The original writings used one word in one place and a different word in another place. The words both mean something along the lines of “bad thing” and were translated into one English word, but the fact is the original words were different.

      How can the definition of the original words not be relevant to the discussion?

      I also explained how the context was different, in that one was an abomination to the person who couldn’t participate in religious ceremonies and another was an abomination to God.

      Early on in your thread, you mentioned something to the effect that you were deleting some of the postings. Now I do not by any means claim to be the smartest girl in the world but when you said that, it appeared to me the entire thread was then suspect in that a less than scrupulous person could have very easily just deleted some of the harder rebuttals without even bothering to try to answer them. I’m not saying you did that but others might think that way and therefore completely discount your entire post as being untrustworthy and unreliable.

      As you noted it has been a couple years so I have no idea what the deleted comments said. I assure you they weren’t relevant to the text or I would have gladly responded to them. I apply my comment policy in a pretty liberal fashion and give people a lot of rope. You have to work hard to get banned here. Stick around and see!

      If you want to discount my reliability I can’t help that, though I encourage you to consider that any newspaper may or may not publish your letters, either.

      There was a general overall tone of evasion and avoidance on your part as far as answering questions forthrightly. It gave me the overall impression of what a politician does to avoid answering difficult questions. Case in point, there were so many times you just referred the person to another blog instead of just answering the simple question yourself. There were times you just summarily dismissed some questions as not being serious or for a variety of reasons.

      Let’s see: In this extremely long comment of yours you brought up only one specific point, and that was about the definitions. I responded to that. I did the same to anyone else who came.

      As far as the assumptions or interpretations of some laws that were meant just for the Israelites and some for all of us, could you point out these verses or explain how you arrived at those conclusions? You may have done so already but I’m a little dense and sometimes need things in black and white, sorry.

      That is a good question. I’ll point you back to item 3 in the original post. Read the whole chapter for the verses in question, not just the individual verses (then expand more as necessary). You’ll find that the shellfish passage is for the Israelites only, to set them apart from other people’s. But the homosexual behavior passage is part of a series of issues God is judging the Caananites for. Hope that helps. If not, let me know.

      Thanks again for visiting and commenting. Hope you come back!

  97. NOTE:
    I reckon since you had a long essay explaining your viewpoint and have had ample opportunity to say a great many things, then you should have no heartburn with my long epic saga below. :) Fair is fair, right? I hope you will include this in its entirety, but if not, no big deal. At least read it all the way through though, please.

    o “First, I agree that hypocrisy is a big problem. Jesus spoke against hypocrisy in strong terms. But that is bad on the part of those who are hypocrites (all of us, really), but it doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t die for our sins and rise from the dead.”

    Yes sir; I’ve been to quite a few churches, yet I’ve never found a church where they aren’t hypocritical, overly judgmental, and practice ‘selective enforcement’ of sins. I have been completely and permanently turned off from organized religion because of that.

    Hypocrisy is unfortunately a big problem to the victims of that hypocrisy, wouldn’t you agree? Say for instance when a governor strongly and continuously denounces homosexuality but then prances off to South America to commit adultery. And of course, there are many, many other examples of this same thing going on lately (evangelists, government officials, etc.), I’m sure you would agree with me there also. I admit I am not perfect by any means but I leave people alone if they leave me and my friends alone.

    Unfortunately that’s not happening; people, good people, are denied basic rights and privileges that others take for granted: the right to marry the person they love, the right to be hired and retained in their jobs based solely on their performance, to not be harassed, threatened, assaulted, or murdered for being different. To be seen as a person regardless of race, religion, nationality, sex, sexual preference, or gender identity, etc. It seems throughout history, religion (mainly Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism) has been used countless times to deny others their rights: Native Americans, people who practice other religions, blacks, women, homosexuals, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

    “Regarding what Jesus did and didn’t say, please remember that according to the Bible, Jesus is God, so the whole Bible is his word (not just the “red letters.”). So He agrees with all of it. He himself said that He agreed with the Old Testament, and the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament as well.”

    I originally had a longer paragraph to say something but since you seem to be averse to long-windedness to the point of sounding demeaning, e.g. “In this extremely long comment of yours” (Yeah, I agree I’m long-winded. I’ve got a lot to say, so sue me. :) ) I will just say that I think the bible is a book written by man, not God. I could give you examples and why I feel this way but again, you may think I’m taking “a long time to get to that point”. :) I will, however, ask you your opinion on the new covenant and Supersessionism. Some people think this means the Old Testament laws are null and void and superseded, totally replaced by the New Testament. There have been many theological discussions on this matter for hundreds and hundreds of years (by a great many highly respected and knowledgeable religious scholars, both for and against the theory.)

    “don’t see your objection. The original writings used one word in one place and a different word in another place. The words both mean something along the lines of “bad thing” and were translated into one English word, but the fact is the original words were different. “

    I didn’t have an objection, just an observation: if there is that one word ‘abomination’ which can be interpreted more than one way, are there other words in the bible which also can be interpreted more than one way? I ‘m implying that I think some people interpret the bible differently to suit their purposes. Christians do it, non-Christians do it. You’re doing it, I’m doing it. We all interpret the bible, God’s supposedly perfect word, differently. If it was perfect, there would be no room for misinterpretation, I think. I’ve read the Quran also; it’s the same thing there.

    Funny story as an example. I hope this is not too long winded for you. :)
    I work in Afghanistan right now. As part of my job interviewing Afghans, I came across a young Afghan religious law (Shariah) student a couple of years ago. I asked him why a man (named Abdul Rahman) who converted from Islam to Christianity should be executed. I pointed out to him that his Quran states “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” He said “That only applies to Islam. As long as you are a Muslim and stay a Muslim, you can worship how you choose.”

    That’s exactly what he said, can you believe that? hahaha That is the biggest crock of bull I’ve heard in a while. Don’t you agree? Hahahahaha

    That’s an example of one of those people who make wild assumptions and incredible leaps of reasoning using convoluted logic, take things out of context, find a verse or verses which might conform to their thinking but ignore other verses, etc. just to ‘prove’ their point of view.

    That’s what some Christians do, that’s what I’m doing right now……..that’s what I think you’ve been doing.

    Another example:
    Cultural mores or religious law?
    Over here, Afghan women in most parts of the country are not allowed to work or go to school; many Mullahs say it is against Islam. The problem is, Mohammad’s first wife was highly educated and a successful businesswoman, so it is obviously NOT against Islam, it is just Pashtun Afghan cultural mores.

    Marriage between two men or two women is evil, many Christians say it is against Christianity……But marriage is not ever specifically defined in the bible, examples of unions are given, but not an actual definition of marriage. As a matter of fact, until relatively recently, many common people never actually got married, they were just common law or living together, not sanctioned by the church. Maybe it was too expensive. Official marriage was for the wealthy and royals. What we see as marriage today is a relatively recent invention.

    My interpretation is that maybe this Christian ban on marriage between two women or two men is more of a cultural more than a religious law. Or maybe it’s just that some laws were made in the Old Testament that are now outdated, the bans on shellfish, pork, etc. Maybe the ban on homosexuality is also outdated? What’s your opinion of that theory? Maybe back then we needed to be fruitful and multiply but now we don’t. Maybe in the NT God was condemning all types of sexual debauchery and sodomy, but since anything but the missionary position could be considered sodomy, I think it’s a safe bet a whole lot of us are in great trouble. :) I’m just throwing out theories because again, I don’t know for sure.

    Add to this that since I am an American citizen and Americans are by law not forced to be Christians or any other religion, then even if Christian law states Christians can’t do something, it does not mean non-Christians are bound by that same law.

    Additionally, Christians can not force their religious laws on non-Christians; not in the United States, anyway. Would you like it if Muslims came over here and forced all women to wear burqas? I sure as heck wouldn’t, burqas are waaay too hot and you can’t see crap through those little slots that they have over the face. You continually bump into stuff, haha. If Christians don’t want to do something and it is against their law, then they shouldn’t do it. However, if you as a Christian try to get the US Government to make a law that is enforcing a religious law; I think that is wrong.

    That is similar to the argument: A particular guy doesn’t like to read articles in the newspaper that are against his beliefs, therefore he writes to the paper telling them they should take those articles out so that NO ONE can read them. That is censorship and it is wrong. He’s forcing his beliefs and values on others. If he doesn’t want to read it then he shouldn’t read it.

    You as a Christian are free to do as you please in accordance with your religious laws. I am free to do as I please in accordance with my values. So why, I ask you, are Christians trying to ban ‘Gay Marriage’? That is against everything America stands for. Since conservatives like to use the old ‘slippery slope’ argument, here is a similar argument: If the government starts enforcing religious laws, eventually they’ll make every citizen be that religion. If it was Christianity, YOU wouldn’t have a problem, but what if it was Islam? I bet you’d have a problem with that.

    “Let’s see: In this extremely long comment of yours you brought up only one specific point, and that was about the definitions. I responded to that. I did the same to anyone else who came. “

    Okay, more to the point, (and with all due respect) you are evasive. You sound like a used car salesman. I don’t trust used car salesmen. Is that clear enough? I was trying to be subtle but I guess direct is best. I was hoping that I could find some Christian scholar to actually give me a logical explanation for these things. All I’ve gotten so far from all the Christian ‘scholars’ I’ve asked is dissimilation, evasion, avoidance, condescension, “It all boils down to faith”, “the Lord moves in mysterious ways”, and still no answers. All I’ve really got was just excuses for what I perceive to be bigotry, hatred, and intolerance.

    “That is a good question. I’ll point you back to item 3 in the original post. Read the whole chapter for the verses in question, not just the individual verses (then expand more as necessary). You’ll find that the shellfish passage is for the Israelites only, to set them apart from other people’s. But the homosexual behavior passage is part of a series of issues God is judging the Caananites for. Hope that helps. If not, let me know.”

    No it doesn’t help. I’ve read and reread all of that and I think it is waaay too great a leap of interpretation on your part. I think maybe the entire Old Testament was written solely for the Israelites. There are a multitude of examples to support this theory. I’m sure you can find them.

    “Should Christians be more concerned about divorce? Absolutely “
    Then why aren’t they?

    “They should fight all false teachings in the church. “
    Then why don’t they?

    Why do they focus on homosexuality and not divorce? Have you written any articles speaking out against divorce? What about “judge not, lest ye be judged”? Or “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”? If so, can you provide me a link to those essays of yours? I’d sure like to read them.

    “It just happens that false teachers are now claiming that the Bible doesn’t say homosexual behavior is a sin, or that God changed his mind, or that the Bible is wrong in teaching that it is a sin. We are simply responding to that.”

    Yes, I see where it says lying with a man as a woman is an abomination but using your argument of interpreting things the way you want to see them; I could say that if I were a man, I could still have sex with another man just not in missionary position.

    I think there are quite a few ‘false teachers’ who are teaching hate and intolerance instead of what Jesus himself actually said. I like what Jesus said; clear cut, to the point, no room for misinterpretation. There are so many contradictions in other parts of the bible (James vs Paul, Genesis vs Genesis, etc, etc); ergo, when in doubt I go straight to the source: Jesus. Maybe the OT is for Israelites, the NT is for Christians. That is how I interpret the bible (or at least one of my theories). Is my interpretation wrong just because you don’t interpret it that way? Who’s right? If I live by my interpretation and it doesn’t violate your rights; you live by your interpretation and it doesn’t violate mine, then maybe all would be hunky dory. But that ain’t happenin’ here.

    There are so many Christians who focus just on homosexuality and not a whit on divorce, nada on “Cast the first stone”, nil on the “Golden Rule”, zip on “Love your neighbor”. If a policeman only enforces certain laws, he’s not doing his job and therefore he’s incompetent, hence I’d fire him.

    I figure maybe I’ll selectively enforce too. Though, instead of harping on homosexuality (which in my opinion is not hurting anyone); instead of denying basic human rights to a gay person or lesbian or transgendered person and treating them with disdain, violence, etc; I think I’ll focus on judging other sins. What’s wrong with that? If Christians only speak out against their pet peeves, why can’t I?
    My opinion is that laws should only be made against actions and behaviors that infringe on the rights of others (stealing, assault, murder, etc.). I don’t think homosexuals and transsexuals hurt anyone. Why are Christians so opposed to them marrying each other? Does that harm Christians in any way? Does that take something away from them? No, I think not. Why are Christians so opposed to hate crime legislation? Were they opposed to the hate crime law in 1969; how about the one in 1994? If not, why not? If not, why are they opposed to it only now? Why are Christians so opposed to equal rights for ‘gays’? Why are Christians so opposed to teaching tolerance for others? Why? Maybe many Christians think that if something is good for ‘gays’ all Christians should automatically be against it, period, no matter what it is.
    Christians and Muslims have become synonymous with hate and intolerance to many people. Throughout history, Christianity and Islam have done a heck of a lot of evil. More murder, bigotry, hate, violence, and downright evil has been done in the name of God or Allah than for any other reason. THAT is the true “Taking the Lord’s name in vain” to me: doing evil in His name. Maybe that’s why so many people I know have left the church. That is why I left the church.
    This is my suggestion: Christians need to heed Matthew 7:3
    “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
    This is my point in my INCREDIBLY long winded way of writing (sorry). :) This is the whole point behind the shellfish argument; this is the whole point to what a great many people have tried to point out. The bottom line can be summed up very briefly:

    NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO JUDGE OTHERS, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S JUST ‘CERTAIN’ SINS THEY ARE CONDEMNING, TO DO SO IS HYPOCRITICAL AND WRONG.

    Additinally, we are fighting against religious intolerance as we speak, against Muslims extremists who are trying to force their views and interpretations of the Quran on others. Some of these terrorists, when confronted with verses in their own Quran that say killing innocent people is evil, counter that by very loose interpretations claiming that in ‘certain instances’ it is permissible. We see the evils of intolerance everyday over here in Afghanistan. Some ‘Christians’ are doing the same thing in the States (though luckily MOST of them aren’t violent).

    I ask you one simple question: Do you see the dangers of religious intolerance?

    I’ve read so much hate from ‘Christians’ lately. Things like “Fags disgust me”, “They’re perverts, they should put a gun to their heads and pull the trigger.” “They should all be sent away like lepers and wiped out completely from the earth.”

    Oh my God!!! Doesn’t that sound horrible to you???

    There are gays, lesbians, and transsexuals who are being denied work, fired, assaulted, and murdered. As a Christian, can you not speak out against violence? Can you not speak out for tolerance? Can’t you spend a bit of your time posting something on the internet in reference to what the Bible says about violence and love and tolerance? I’m not asking you to say that homosexuality is ok. I know you say it is a sin and I respect your right to your opinion, but does that mean people should kill sinners? It is obvious (to me) that the Bible does in fact denounce homosexuality, but does that mean a homosexual is any less of a person? Does that mean that Christians should band together to deny them the right to earn an honest living, to be free from hatred and violence, or to have a family and to raise their families in peace and security?

    Neil, I ask you, is it any wonder that some homosexuals are now greatly offended, hurt, mad, and defensive? They have to hear hatred spewed at them all the time. Are you surprised that some of them are fighting back? I’m not. I would too. I realize you’re just defending your views and Christianity from people who are misinterpreting the scriptures (intentionally or not), and that was the whole purpose of your post. All I ask though, is for you and other people to have empathy and compassion, put yourself in the other’s shoes for a second.

    Jesus said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No where did He say “(except the fags and people who are different from you.)”

    Goodbye and thank you.

    Peace.
    Jessie :)

    • Yes sir; I’ve been to quite a few churches, yet I’ve never found a church where they aren’t hypocritical, overly judgmental, and practice ‘selective enforcement’ of sins. I have been completely and permanently turned off from organized religion because of that.

      I’m quite familiar with the “I’m better than all those hypocrites in church argument.” So are you not a sinner in any way? In our brief encounter here you seem to selectively enforce the sin of hypocrisy and are very judgmental about it.

      I’d focus on the big picture if I were you. If Jesus really lived, died and rose from the dead then He is your only hope of eternal salvation. When you face God and have to account for your sins, it won’t be a winning strategy to say there were some hypocrites in the churches you went to.

      You also might want to keep visiting other churches, though without such a critical eye. As the saying goes, if you find a perfect church it will cease to be perfect once you step in.

      Unfortunately that’s not happening; people, good people, are denied basic rights and privileges that others take for granted: the right to marry the person they love, the right to be hired and retained in their jobs based solely on their performance, to not be harassed, threatened, assaulted, or murdered for being different.

      You created a straw man argument by saying that oxymoronic “gay marriage” is a basic right. It isn’t. No one is stopping gays from being together and committing to each other. But the gov’t has no reason to recognize those unions. They do not meet the definition of marriage, among other things.

      I will just say that I think the bible is a book written by man, not God.

      That is your opinion. It is not what the Bible claims and it is not what the evidence demonstrates.

      I didn’t have an objection, just an observation: if there is that one word ‘abomination’ which can be interpreted more than one way, are there other words in the bible which also can be interpreted more than one way? I ‘m implying that I think some people interpret the bible differently to suit their purposes. Christians do it, non-Christians do it. You’re doing it, I’m doing it. We all interpret the bible, God’s supposedly perfect word, differently. If it was perfect, there would be no room for misinterpretation, I think. I’ve read the Quran also; it’s the same thing there.

      I think you have it backwards. It isn’t that the word was the same in both places in Leviticus and got interpreted two ways. It was two different words in Hebrew. How can that not matter?

      I also think it is perfectly reasonable to read things in context and not so literally. What is wrong with synonyms? Do you really not see the contextual differences in those passages?

      I also think you over play that card. Think about it: How can I understand anything you say? Perhaps your post was all sarcasm and you really agree with me on everything.

      I work in Afghanistan right now. As part of my job interviewing Afghans, I came across a young Afghan religious law (Shariah) student a couple of years ago. I asked him why a man (named Abdul Rahman) who converted from Islam to Christianity should be executed. I pointed out to him that his Quran states “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” He said “That only applies to Islam. As long as you are a Muslim and stay a Muslim, you can worship how you choose.”

      That’s exactly what he said, can you believe that? hahaha That is the biggest crock of bull I’ve heard in a while. Don’t you agree? Hahahahaha

      Yes, that is pitifully ironic.

      That’s an example of one of those people who make wild assumptions and incredible leaps of reasoning using convoluted logic, take things out of context, find a verse or verses which might conform to their thinking but ignore other verses, etc. just to ‘prove’ their point of view.

      Right. Sort of like how people do the same things to deny the existence of God and rationalize abnormal homosexual behavior.

      Marriage between two men or two women is evil, many Christians say it is against Christianity……But marriage is not ever specifically defined in the bible, examples of unions are given, but not an actual definition of marriage. As a matter of fact, until relatively recently, many common people never actually got married, they were just common law or living together, not sanctioned by the church. Maybe it was too expensive. Official marriage was for the wealthy and royals. What we see as marriage today is a relatively recent invention.

      Go back to Genesis 1 and 2. It has been around for a long time.

      Sex between people of the same gender is clearly defined as sin in the Bible. “Gay marriage” isn’t addressed because it is an oxymoron.

      Or maybe it’s just that some laws were made in the Old Testament that are now outdated, the bans on shellfish, pork, etc. Maybe the ban on homosexuality is also outdated?

      I encourage you to re-read the post. I can’t tell if you don’t understand or are ignoring things on purpose. The dietary laws were for the Israelites only for a period of time. There was great clarity about when they went away. The moral laws did not go away.

      Are you suggesting that moral laws against murder and stealing are outdated, or will be outdated some day?

      Add to this that since I am an American citizen and Americans are by law not forced to be Christians or any other religion, then even if Christian law states Christians can’t do something, it does not mean non-Christians are bound by that same law.

      I see. So since Christians are against murder, stealing and gay-bashing then non-Christians shouldn’t be bound by those laws?

      Additionally, Christians can not force their religious laws on non-Christians; not in the United States, anyway. Would you like it if Muslims came over here and forced all women to wear burqas? I sure as heck wouldn’t, burqas are waaay too hot and you can’t see crap through those little slots that they have over the face. You continually bump into stuff, haha. If Christians don’t want to do something and it is against their law, then they shouldn’t do it. However, if you as a Christian try to get the US Government to make a law that is enforcing a religious law; I think that is wrong.

      That’s a straw man argument. No one is forcing you to do any Christian customs or sacrements like baptism or communion.

      That is similar to the argument: A particular guy doesn’t like to read articles in the newspaper that are against his beliefs, therefore he writes to the paper telling them they should take those articles out so that NO ONE can read them. That is censorship and it is wrong. He’s forcing his beliefs and values on others. If he doesn’t want to read it then he shouldn’t read it.

      Hmmmm . . . so if someone is pro-“gay marriage” then they shouldn’t go around criticizing people on blogs who feel differently? Why are you here forcing your beliefs on us? Seems kinda hypocritical to me. ;-)

      You as a Christian are free to do as you please in accordance with your religious laws. I am free to do as I please in accordance with my values. So why, I ask you, are Christians trying to ban ‘Gay Marriage’? That is against everything America stands for.

      So if your values say you can beat up gays then that’s OK? Is it un-American of me to oppose that?

      We aren’t trying to ban gay marriage. That is a clever twist of the facts. You are trying to change the definition of a word by pretending that it has already been changed.

      You ignore the obvious facts that only heterosexual unions produce children and that gays can never provide a mother and a father to a child.

      Since conservatives like to use the old ‘slippery slope’ argument, here is a similar argument: If the government starts enforcing religious laws, eventually they’ll make every citizen be that religion. If it was Christianity, YOU wouldn’t have a problem, but what if it was Islam? I bet you’d have a problem with that.

      You are confusing slippery slopes with cliffs. If gov’t says that marriage is not just a union of a man and a woman then it opens it up to anything, not just “gay marriage.” Why are you so bigoted against polygamists, incestuous couples and those who want to marry animals? Seems kinda hypocritical to me.

      Okay, more to the point, (and with all due respect) you are evasive. You sound like a used car salesman. I don’t trust used car salesmen. Is that clear enough?

      Now you are just making things up. If you can’t argue my points, don’t leave essays like this.

      I was trying to be subtle but I guess direct is best. I was hoping that I could find some Christian scholar to actually give me a logical explanation for these things. All I’ve gotten so far from all the Christian ‘scholars’ I’ve asked is dissimilation, evasion, avoidance, condescension, “It all boils down to faith”, “the Lord moves in mysterious ways”, and still no answers. All I’ve really got was just excuses for what I perceive to be bigotry, hatred, and intolerance.

      Ha! I ask for specific arguments, and what do I get? One bad argument saying that the original words in question aren’t relevant. How ridiculous is that?

      Then you come back with straw man arguments about how it “all boils down to faith.” Really now, where did I use that?

      Then you play the liberal trick of accusing me of being a bigoted, intolerant hater. You are the lying hypocrite, Jessie. You pretend to want facts then ignore the most obvious facts: The words in question in the verses! What could be more relevant.

      Then when you are exposed for having no arguments other than personal attacks, you generate more personal attacks.

      No it doesn’t help. I’ve read and reread all of that and I think it is waaay too great a leap of interpretation on your part. I think maybe the entire Old Testament was written solely for the Israelites. There are a multitude of examples to support this theory. I’m sure you can find them.

      Now I’m wondering if you can’t read or are just being evasive. Please read the opening and closing portions of Leviticus 18 and tell me why you think these only apply to the Israelites. God is going to wipe out these people for 400 years of despicable sins. Show me in the text where it implies that He is judging the Caananites for not obeying Israelite-specific laws that they never heard of:

      Leviticus 18:1-3 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

      Leviticus 18:30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.”

      I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t think you’re being serious here at all. You can’t see the most obvious points and are just here to call names.

      “Should Christians be more concerned about divorce? Absolutely “
      Then why aren’t they?

      Listen to Focus on the Family and Family Life Today Podcasts and see how much effort is spent on marriages and preventing divorces. You have another straw man argument there. See the Catholic Church. They aren’t too keen on divorce.

      The churches who are the easiest on divorce tend to be the ones who are the most pro-gay. You should like them.

      “They should fight all false teachings in the church. “
      Then why don’t they?

      Because they love their sins.

      Why do they focus on homosexuality and not divorce? Have you written any articles speaking out against divorce? What about “judge not, lest ye be judged”? Or “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”? If so, can you provide me a link to those essays of yours? I’d sure like to read them.

      Here’s one — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/08/22/biblical-literalists/ “The favorite verse of some Christians (and non-Christians) appears to be Matthew 7:1, where Jesus says, “Do not judge.” They use this as an excuse for any and all behavior and to deflect criticism. If they would keep reading they would see that Jesus meant not to judge hypocritically. He even says it is OK to judge once you’ve removed the plank from your eye!

      Also, there are plenty of verses teaching that we need to make sound judgments, such as John 7:24 (“Stop judging on mere appearances and make a right judgment.”)

      In an additional irony, they use this verse to judge those who make judgments. If anyone ever throws that verse at you out of context, then just reply by asking, “If it is wrong to judge, why are you judging me right now?””

      Or read this — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/11/14/dalmatian-theology-2/

      “It just happens that false teachers are now claiming that the Bible doesn’t say homosexual behavior is a sin, or that God changed his mind, or that the Bible is wrong in teaching that it is a sin. We are simply responding to that.”

      Yes, I see where it says lying with a man as a woman is an abomination but using your argument of interpreting things the way you want to see them; I could say that if I were a man, I could still have sex with another man just not in missionary position.

      Yes, you could be a hypocrite and miss the obvious meaning of the passage.

      I think there are quite a few ‘false teachers’ who are teaching hate and intolerance instead of what Jesus himself actually said. I like what Jesus said; clear cut, to the point, no room for misinterpretation. There are so many contradictions in other parts of the bible (James vs Paul, Genesis vs Genesis, etc, etc); ergo, when in doubt I go straight to the source: Jesus. Maybe the OT is for Israelites, the NT is for Christians. That is how I interpret the bible (or at least one of my theories). Is my interpretation wrong just because you don’t interpret it that way? Who’s right? If I live by my interpretation and it doesn’t violate your rights; you live by your interpretation and it doesn’t violate mine, then maybe all would be hunky dory. But that ain’t happenin’ here.

      More straw.

      There are so many Christians who focus just on homosexuality and not a whit on divorce, nada on “Cast the first stone”, nil on the “Golden Rule”, zip on “Love your neighbor”. If a policeman only enforces certain laws, he’s not doing his job and therefore he’s incompetent, hence I’d fire him.

      Thanks for visiting from stereotype land. Ironically, the liberals are the most judgmental and intolerant people I come across.

      I figure maybe I’ll selectively enforce too. Though, instead of harping on homosexuality (which in my opinion is not hurting anyone); instead of denying basic human rights to a gay person or lesbian or transgendered person and treating them with disdain, violence, etc; I think I’ll focus on judging other sins. What’s wrong with that? If Christians only speak out against their pet peeves, why can’t I?

      You miss the irony of your hypocrisy. You are doing that right now.

      This is my suggestion: Christians need to heed Matthew 7:3
      “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

      Here’s my suggestion. Christians and non-Christians should read the whole Bible, and not just pull verses out of context. They should read two more verses past what you quoted so they’d see the context: It is acceptable to judge, just not hypocritically.

      Matthew 7:4-5 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

      This is my point in my INCREDIBLY long winded way of writing (sorry). :) This is the whole point behind the shellfish argument; this is the whole point to what a great many people have
      tried to point out. The bottom line can be summed up very briefly:

      NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO JUDGE OTHERS, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S JUST ‘CERTAIN’ SINS THEY ARE CONDEMNING, TO DO SO IS HYPOCRITICAL AND WRONG.

      You have got to be kidding me. Do you not see the hypocritical irony in your statement? Your whole post is judging those who judge! You’ve picked a certain sin and left the church over it. That’s a great excuse, eh? You are so much better than those Christians, right? You are above them, eh?

      That is a lame approach and a lousy idea for eternity.

      I ask you one simple question: Do you see the dangers of religious intolerance?

      Yes, in the sense of people being forced to convert a la Islam.

      I’ve read so much hate from ‘Christians’ lately. Things like “Fags disgust me”, “They’re perverts, they should put a gun to their heads and pull the trigger.” “They should all be sent away like lepers and wiped out completely from the earth.”

      Oh my God!!! Doesn’t that sound horrible to you???

      That’s odd, I subscribe to dozens of Christian blogs and know countless numbers of Christians and I’ve never heard those words once. Oh, I’m sure some people say them, but you present a straw man in implying that they are mainstream in any way.

      Neil, I ask you, is it any wonder that some homosexuals are now greatly offended, hurt, mad, and defensive? They have to hear hatred spewed at them all the time.

      Uh, yeah, like the love you are spewing here.

      Look, you mock God and teach the opposite of what He does and then tell yourself how swell you are.

      Jesus said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No where did He say “(except the fags and people who are different from you.)”

      Another out of context quote.

    • That took too long. If you want to post again, please pick one thing and focus on that. Perhaps you could explain why the definition and context of the actual words that are being conflated by the gay groups isn’t relevant, or why Lev. 18 isn’t clear about addressing sins of non-Israelites.

  98. Neil, your rebuttals are starting to sound downright nasty and like you’re getting angry. I noticed that before in earlier responses to others. You can be very snide, condescending and nasty sounding. Wow!
    You said:
    “I’m quite familiar with the “I’m better than all those hypocrites in church argument.” So are you not a sinner in any way? “
    Nope, I’m a sinner and a hypocrite, I freely admit it, but then I don’t make it a habit to go posting all over the internet with blogs and telling everyone that they’re sinners and homos are evil and yadda, yadda. As a matter of fact I think I just started posting rebuttals like this about 5 days ago. It’s getting old already because I have yet to find anyone who will actually really answer questions I ask. I keep getting things like “oxymoron, straw man, and inanities such as that.
    Also, I haven’t assaulted or killed a Christian because my god wants me to. I haven’t said that Christians should not have jobs, should not marry the ones they love, I haven’t tried to repeal the 1969 and 1994 hate crime laws which protect people based on …religion among other things.
    Neil, it sounds to me like you are an extremist, very intense, and radically anti-gay. Why is that? It’s actually kind of scary in a way.
    Please answer this one question for me, okay? Do you believe that people should beat up or kill homosexuals?
    You said:
    “You created a straw man argument by saying that oxymoronic “gay marriage” is a basic right.”
    Neil, you may want to look up the word oxymoronic before using it in a sentence. It kind of makes you sound a bit foolish. Let me help you out here a bit, okay.
    oxymoron

    A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist.

    In other words, two opposites or antonyms

    The antonym of homosexual is heterosexual.

    The antonym of marriage is single, or it could be divorce, depending on how you look at it.

    So if I were to say that I had a homosexually heterosexual relationship; that would bean oxymoron.

    You said:
    I will just say that I think the bible is a book written by man, not God.
    That is your opinion. It is not what the Bible claims and it is not what the evidence demonstrates.
    But that’s exactly what I’m trying to tell you. That is MY opinion. I am entitled to MY opinion. (as long as I don’t break the secular laws.) You are entitled to YOUR opinion (as long as you don’t break the secular laws.)
    You said:
    That’s an example of one of those people who make wild assumptions and incredible leaps of reasoning using convoluted logic, take things out of context, find a verse or verses which might conform to their thinking but ignore other verses, etc. just to ‘prove’ their point of view.
    Neil, I guess you didn’t get my subtle comment. I guess I have to spell it out for you. I was talking about you. And before you go and say that is what I have been doing, I admit that this is exactly what I’ve been doing. Do you not get it? Can you not grasp this simple concept that I am telling you I am twisting the bible’s words to suit my purposes just as you and everyone else does. I am telling you that I am a sinner; I am telling you that I have been and I still am a hypocrite. Do you have the honor to admit that you are also twisting the bible’s words to suit your purposes? Do you have the intestinal fortitude to admit that you are a hypocrite and maybe should focus more on love instead of hate? do you have the honor to include all of your debating opponent’s words in your post instead of what you have been doing? Do you have the integrity to actually answer the questions posed to you?
    You said:
    “If it is wrong to judge, why are you judging me right now?””

    Hehe, sounds like the old “I know you are but what am I?” or “Same to you but more of it.” Too first grade for my taste. 

    Neil, that tactic must be your favorite, you’ve used it over and over.
    You said:
    I see. So since Christians are against murder, stealing and gay-bashing then non-Christians shouldn’t be bound by those laws?
    Aha, Neil you are totally discounting secular laws: federal, state, etc. Where’ve you been for the past hundreds of years?
    That’s a straw man argument. No one is forcing you to do any Christian customs or sacrements like baptism or communion.
    Again with the “Straw man” thing. Dude get another defense. Answer the question. It is a simple question or are you afraid to answer it?
    Christians are saying non-Christians should obey their Christian law. By saying that a man can’t marry a man, because it says so in your bible is like a Muslim telling you that you must follow the Five Pillars of Islam. You are NOT bound by Muslim law anymore than I am bound by Christian law. If I am in a State that allows Gay marriage (there are currently 6 of them, last I checked), are you going to tell me that I can’t marry the woman I love. I’m not talking about rites like baptism, etc. so please don’t try misdirection yet again.
    That is similar to the argument: A particular guy doesn’t like to read articles in the newspaper that are against his beliefs, therefore he writes to the paper telling them they should take those articles out so that NO ONE can read them. That is censorship and it is wrong. He’s forcing his beliefs and values on others. If he doesn’t want to read it then he shouldn’t read it.
    You said:
    Hmmmm . . . so if someone is pro-”gay marriage” then they shouldn’t go around criticizing people on blogs who feel differently? Why are you here forcing your beliefs on us? Seems kinda hypocritical to me.
    You can’t possibly be that incredibly dense! OMG. Hahaha. Please, Neil read the paragraph again. Dude, I’m not forcing my beliefs on you anymore than you’re forcing yours on me. We are debating difference of opinion. If I don’t want to read anymore of your convoluted logic, I will just stop, same thing goes for you. Let me try to make it very easy for you to understand, okay? If I were to tell you that you must take this blog down so that no one could read this, I would be trying to censor you. I would be a hypocrite. Refer back to when I said “them they should take those articles out so that NO ONE can read them. That is censorship and it is wrong.” Another example: I hate mushrooms, it is against my religion, so I try to get a law passed that bans anyone from eating mushrooms. That is very stupid do you not agree? Take that to another level now Neil, if you can. You do not like homosexual marriage, it is against your religion, therefore you try to ensure Congress does not ever allow gay marriage.
    If I don’t like mushroom, then I won’t eat them. Similarly If you don’t like gay marriage then don’t practice it.
    Now, I hope Neil, that you can understand what hypothetical means and allegory, and parables. Do you understand innuendoes, similes, metaphors? If not, I’m wasting my time with you.
    So if your values say you can beat up gays then that’s OK? Is it un-American of me to oppose that?
    So again, Neil, have you never heard of Federal, State, and local laws? Now I ask you Neil, is homosexuality against the law right now? Look it up. I’ll be here………………………..elevator music…………………………intermission……………………..hotdog dancing……………….
    So, did you look it up? It used to be against the law, now is it? Where is it legal and where is it not? I seriously doubt you’ll answer that anyway. Oh well.
    Hopefully, Neil you get humor, but I doubt you do. So I suspect much of what I’m writing will get trashed as usual. That is why I don’t trust you and I think you are slimy. (no offense of course, hehe) I figure you attack me I attack you. Oh by the way, in case you haven’t noticed it yet, my Golden Rule is: Do unto others what they do unto you. Haha. You show hypocrisy, I mirror that. You twist verses, I do the same. Does that make this whole thing clearer or not?
    We aren’t trying to ban gay marriage. That is a clever twist of the facts. You are trying to change the definition of a word by pretending that it has already been changed.
    Actually it did change….remember California? It’s a large state in the west. Remember that little ol proposition they had a while back? Take a trip down memory lane if you will.
    You ignore the obvious facts that only heterosexual unions produce children and that gays can never provide a mother and a father to a child.
    So I am happily married (yes hetero) but no kids, we don’t want any and we can’t have any anyway. Does that mean we are living in sin? Or does that mean that we don’t have a real marriage? Hmmmmm? So why am I even married you ask? Because we love each other. Can two men or two women not love each other the same way? In my opinion I think they can. Who am I to deny their happiness. Plus, marriage has a great many social benefits, national, state, etc. meaning tax benefits, inheritance, etc, etc. The list is extremely long. There are actually practical reason for getting married…imagine that!!! Gasp!!!
    You are confusing slippery slopes with cliffs. If gov’t says that marriage is not just a union of a man and a woman then it opens it up to anything, not just “gay marriage.” Why are you so bigoted against polygamists,
    Well the bible did have numerous polygamists, you tell me.
    incestuous couples
    In Genesis, who did Adam and Eve’s kids marry? Their sisters?????? I’ve always wondered about that.
    and those who want to marry animals?
    Neil if you want to marry your horse or your dog, I am all for it, if it makes you happy. It doesn’t take any money out of my pocket and it doesn’t bruise me or hurt my feelings. It has no effect on me so I really don’t care what you have sex with. Have fun.
    I was trying to be subtle but I guess direct is best. I was hoping that I could find some Christian scholar to actually give me a logical explanation for these things. All I’ve gotten so far from all the Christian ‘scholars’ I’ve asked is dissimilation, evasion, avoidance, condescension, “It all boils down to faith”, “the Lord moves in mysterious ways”, and still no answers. All I’ve really got was just excuses for what I perceive to be bigotry, hatred, and intolerance.
    Ha! I ask for specific arguments, and what do I get? One bad argument saying that the original words in question aren’t relevant. How ridiculous is that?
    Then you come back with straw man arguments about how it “all boils down to faith.” Really now, where did I use that?
    Actually you didn’t. I never said you did. Hence the “Christian ‘scholars’”. You notice the ‘s’ at the end of scholars? That means I have talked to more than one. Please, Neil, focus, read and try to comprehend words and sentences. Try not to jump to conclusions. Maybe that is the whole problem there!!! I just had an epiphany!!! I bet that’s what you’ve done with the bible, you failed to read it all the way through and you missed one letter or one word, or you missed similes or metaphors. You have built your whole case on a “Straw house” I guess so that your Straw man” that you keep talking about can have a place to live. Haha.
    I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t think you’re being serious here at all. You can’t see the most obvious points and are just here to call names.
    Actually you are getting very warm. I think your assumptions, your condescension, your extremely loose interpretations of the bible, your convoluted logic, and your closed mindedness to any possibility but your own, and you r overall lack of debating skills is a joke. That is why I am really having fun.
    “Should Christians be more concerned about divorce? Absolutely “
    Then why aren’t they?
    Listen to Focus on the Family
    OMG, aren’t they considered a hate group?
    You have another straw man argument there. See the Catholic Church. They aren’t too keen on divorce.
    So you’re a Catholic now? So do you believe in Supersessionism? I asked you that before but …yep, you failed to answer it.
    The churches who are the easiest on divorce tend to be the ones who are the most pro-gay. You should like them.
    Nope, I rule out all organized religion. I think there all bad.
    “They should fight all false teachings in the church. “
    Then why don’t they?
    Because they love their sins.
    So which sins do you love, Neil?
    Here’s one — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/08/22/biblical-literalists/ “The favorite verse of some Christians (and non-Christians) appears to be Matthew 7:1, where Jesus says, “Do not judge.” They use this as an excuse for any and all behavior and to deflect criticism. If they would keep reading they would see that Jesus meant not to judge hypocritically. He even says it is OK to judge once you’ve removed the plank from your eye!
    Cool, Neil. I’m proud of you. Of course, I’m confused, are you saying you’ve removed the plank from your eye? I take that to mean that you are now sinless. Wow. I thought God is the only one who is without sin. Are you trying to say that you are…..? naaaah.
    In an additional irony, they use this verse to judge those who make judgments. If anyone ever throws that verse at you out of context, then just reply by asking, “If it is wrong to judge, why are you judging me right now?””
    So there is the famous “Same to you but more of it.” defense. woooow
    Yes, you could be a hypocrite and miss the obvious meaning of the passage.
    I guess you missed that one too, Neil. I was trying to point out (I guess it was too subtle for you again, sorry) that I was twisting the verse to suit my purposes just as you have done. Do you understand the mirror concept? Maybe not.
    I think there are quite a few ‘false teachers’ who are teaching hate and intolerance instead of what Jesus himself actually said. I like what Jesus said; clear cut, to the point, no room for misinterpretation. There are so many contradictions in other parts of the bible (James vs Paul, Genesis vs Genesis, etc, etc); ergo, when in doubt I go straight to the source: Jesus. Maybe the OT is for Israelites, the NT is for Christians. That is how I interpret the bible (or at least one of my theories). Is my interpretation wrong just because you don’t interpret it that way? Who’s right? If I live by my interpretation and it doesn’t violate your rights; you live by your interpretation and it doesn’t violate mine, then maybe all would be hunky dory. But that ain’t happenin’ here.
    More straw.
    So you’re saying that what Jesus said is just Straw???? Are you saying that Jesus’ actual words are not important???? Well, I have GOT to disagree with you there Neal. (hint, hint: mirror again)
    There are so many Christians who focus just on homosexuality and not a whit on divorce, nada on “Cast the first stone”, nil on the “Golden Rule”, zip on “Love your neighbor”. If a policeman only enforces certain laws, he’s not doing his job and therefore he’s incompetent, hence I’d fire him.
    Thanks for visiting from stereotype land. Ironically, the liberals are the most judgmental and intolerant people I come across.
    Haha. I’ve been an extremely straight and by the book conservative for a great many years. In all that time, I’ve had quite a few friends who were liberal and not one of them judged me. I did however have quite few conservative friends who did judge me. so no, I’ve got to say that maybe in YOUR experience liberal are judgmental but in my experience they are not. So again, what may be true for you may not be true for me. Do you understand that subtlety?
    I figure maybe I’ll selectively enforce too. Though, instead of harping on homosexuality (which in my opinion is not hurting anyone); instead of denying basic human rights to a gay person or lesbian or transgendered person and treating them with disdain, violence, etc; I think I’ll focus on judging other sins. What’s wrong with that? If Christians only speak out against their pet peeves, why can’t I?
    You miss the irony of your hypocrisy. You are doing that right now.
    Neil, again, you’re being dense here. Please wake up. I said “I figure maybe I’ll selectively enforce too” So yes, I say I am doing something and you leap at me accusing me of something I already admitted I’m doing. Dude, are you even paying attention?
    This is my suggestion: Christians need to heed Matthew 7:3
    “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
    Here’s my suggestion. Christians and non-Christians should read the whole Bible, and not just pull verses out of context. They should read two more verses past what you quoted so they’d see the context: It is acceptable to judge, just not hypocritically.
    Matthew 7:4-5 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
    So Neil, are you saying you’ve taken the log out of your eye? Are you sinless? You will never sin again???? Again, WoW.
    NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO JUDGE OTHERS, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S JUST ‘CERTAIN’ SINS THEY ARE CONDEMNING, TO DO SO IS HYPOCRITICAL AND WRONG.
    You have got to be kidding me. Do you not see the hypocritical irony in your statement? Your whole post is judging those who judge!
    Exactly!!!! You finally got it! Gooood job, Neil!
    I’ve been “Doing to others, what they do to me.” You judge me, I judge you right back in defense. Of course, I take it a step further, someone judges my friends, I judge them. It’s self-defense and defense of others.
    You’ve picked a certain sin and left the church over it. That’s a great excuse, eh? You are so much better than those Christians, right? You are above them, eh?
    I left the church because I couldn’t stand the hatred anymore. And my family and I are tons happier. Last time I heard about that church, the same stuff was going on and people were miserable. It wasn’t just my opinion either. I heard from quite a few others who left that church and others like it about their experiences with hypocrisy in the church.
    And nope, I ain’t above ‘em. I’ve sinned like you wouldn’t believe. Ooh boy, have I sinned. The difference is this:
    I have not opened my mouth one bit against all this until the past week. For over 30 years now, I have seen this happening. I’ve seen and heard ‘Christians’ condemning others and they turn right around and do the same thing. What about the recent governor, have you forgotten him? He was so loud in his opposition to gays. Look what he did. Went down to South America and had a wild time.
    I have stood silently by while supposed good people bashed supposed bad people. I heard supposed Christians bashing black people, Asians, Muslims (not all Muslims are bad), gays, on and on. Anyone different from them. Christians have been the most intolerant and bigoted people I have ever seen…second only to Muslim extremists. Now I am tired of it and I’m fighting back. I’m over here in Afghanistan trying to do a tiny bit to help fight against one religion’s (Militant Islam) intolerance only to have another religion (‘Militant’ Christianity) being full of hate back home. By the way, I don’t think all Christians are hypocrites either. When I get into a church though…ugh! Something about strength in numbers or the mob mentality or pack of dogs syndrome, I don’t know.
    “That is a lame approach and a lousy idea for eternity.”
    I don’t believe in your definition of religion though Neil so I have my own idea for eternity that might be different from yours. Can you understand that?
    I ask you one simple question: Do you see the dangers of religious intolerance?
    “Yes, in the sense of people being forced to convert a la Islam.”
    OMG, Neil!! Do you deny that there is Christian intolerance?
    Do you deny there are any Christian extremists?
    You are so blind dude.
    I’ve read so much hate from ‘Christians’ lately. Things like “Fags disgust me”, “They’re perverts, they should put a gun to their heads and pull the trigger.” “They should all be sent away like lepers and wiped out completely from the earth.”
    Oh my God!!! Doesn’t that sound horrible to you???
    That’s odd, I subscribe to dozens of Christian blogs and know countless numbers of Christians and I’ve never heard those words once. Oh, I’m sure some people say them, but you present a straw man in implying that they are mainstream in any way.
    Then get out from behind your little ‘blog world’ little Neil. Go out into the world and see the violence. See the hate. Stop sitting behind your computer all the time and mingle with people. You will definitely see hate. You’ll definitely see violence. Don’t just subscribe to your little tiny world, open up your horizons and see the world for what it is, not what you want it to be Neil. Quit being in denial. Christians have done terrible damage in the name of God for hundreds of years as have Muslims. Or are you in denial about history as well?
    And how is it a ‘straw man’ when a whacko kills a homosexual because fags are evil? Sounds like that ‘straw man’ of yours is pretty dangerous, Neil.
    Neil, I ask you, is it any wonder that some homosexuals are now greatly offended, hurt, mad, and defensive? They have to hear hatred spewed at them all the time.
    Uh, yeah, like the love you are spewing here.
    Again, I believe in an eye for an eye. Someone hates on me, I ain’t just going to lie down and take it. I’m hating right back at ‘em. I’m fighting! Hate for hate, judgment for judgment, And yep, I know, it is against YOUR bible. By the way, I don’t have a bible, I am an agnostic, like I admitted to within the first few lines of my original post.
    “Look, you mock God…..”
    Nope, just you.
    “…and teach the opposite of what He does and then tell yourself how swell you are.
    Nope, I already admitted that I sin, that I’m a hypocrite, and that I don’t have all the answers. Look up the definition to Agnostic, Neil.
    Jesus said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No where did He say “(except the fags and people who are different from you.)”
    Another out of context quote.
    Oh, Neil, Neil, Neil. Are you honestly saying that the Golden Rule….THE Golden Rule….is ‘taken out of context’????? You are the silliest most foolish person I have come across in …..well since that Muslim Shariah student I told you about. You sound exactly like him.
    Neil, I dare you to read about the violence that happens to gays and transsexuals.
    I dare you to get off your butt and out from your little ‘blogworld’ you’ve created for yourself. Go out and see what I’m talking about. Open up your eyes. Quit being such an idiot. I now realize why those others haven’t responded back to you in quite a while. They gave up trying to debate with a fool.
    Do you even care about the fact that people (whether they’re gay or not shouldn’t matter) are assaulted and killed just because they’re different? No, I think you are too wrapped up in your own little hate and your own little ‘Blogworld’ to give a damn about anyone but yourself and your little pitiful blogs you have there. You can control the entire argument there can’t you? You can (and do) edit out some things people say, then answer only the things you feel comfortable answering.
    Neil, you are welcome to stay in your own little world of blogs and denials. I don’t think I want to visit with you again, though. It smells of moldy pizza crusts, dirty socks, an unwashed, sweaty, smelly body, the sickly sweet smell of stale semen on the sheets, and looks like a room of darkness, despair, hatred, and bigotry.
    I know there is no way in hell you’re going to post all of the above. Of course, you’ll probably pick and choose a few items so that you will yet again look like you have ‘prevailed over evil’ in your own little make believe ‘blog world’. So since it will be utterly useless for me to win in your delusional world, I am not going to come back even to read your pathetic non-response. It’s like arguing with a politician turned used car salesmen who has an IQ of 90 and never made it out of puberty.
    Maybe someday you will get over this irrational hatred of all things different and just let people be themselves without you butting in to everyone else’s’ blogs with your hate and BS.
    I pity you, Neil.

    • TL;DR

      Did see the last line “Maybe someday you will get over this irrational hatred of all things different and just let people be themselves without you butting in to everyone else’s’ blogs with your hate and BS.”

      Aren’t you the one who came here?

      Seems the irrational one, sir, is you.

      • Seems the irrational one, sir, is you

        Um, shouldn’t that be “madam”?

        By the way, if anyone wants a good tutorial on blockquoting, italics, bold, embedding links etc, this is a good one.

        Sorry to send you to Dawkins’ site, but it is a good resource for learning these HTML thingies.

        Also, I only learnt this recently myself so I’m showing off.

      • LOL. Ryan, I wouldn’t insult you by saying you were in the same category as Jessie. “Liberal” isn’t a big enough word to encompass you both. There is Liberal and Conservative then off the chart nuttiness on both ends that need completely different words (e.g., Jessie, Fred Phelps, etc.).

  99. Jessie, your hypocrisy knows no bounds. You commit one logical fallacy after another and ignore the topic at hand.

    Re-read your own comments. It is just one judgment after another.

    “Also, I haven’t assaulted or killed a Christian because my god wants me to.”

    There’s another straw man. You imply that I’ve done that to others. Stop with the silliness or don’t comment here. Yes, I use the term “straw man” with you a lot. I’d also say you were bad at math if you kept saying 2+2=5. You are the poster child for bigoted, stereotypical straw man arguments.

    “Please answer this one question for me, okay? Do you believe that people should beat up or kill homosexuals?”

    No, they should not.

    Re. oxymoron: The definition of marriage is a union of a man and a woman. The definition of same-sex marriage would then be: The same sex union of a man and a woman.

    That’s an oxymoron.

    “Do you have the honor to admit that you are also twisting the bible’s words to suit your purposes?”

    That question is akin to, “Have you stopped beating your wife.” How about if you demonstrate where I’ve twisted the words of the Bible. You keep changing the subject with personal attacks and never get around to what you are claiming.

    “Do you have the intestinal fortitude to admit that you are a hypocrite and maybe should focus more on love instead of hate?”

    Ha. Have you stopped beating gays? Gee, asking illogical questions is fun, isn’t it? Of course, it proves nothing.

    “Neil, that tactic must be your favorite, you’ve used it over and over.”

    Yes, my tactic of pointing out how hypocritical you are for judging me for judging. Did you notice that you didn’t respond to my argument and just changed the subject? If judging is always wrong, why do you come here, uninvited, and never go three sentences without passing judgment?

    “Aha, Neil you are totally discounting secular laws: federal, state, etc. Where’ve you been for the past hundreds of years?”

    That’s interesting. You want to use that excuse to ignore my point about how you only object to my religious views when they disagree with your secular views. How fair of you. Yet using your logic, you’d oppose “same sex marriage” because the laws don’t define marriage as such. Where have you been the last few thousand years?

    “Again with the “Straw man” thing. Dude get another defense. Answer the question.”

    Dude, stop committing the same logical fallacy of projecting things onto people.

    “Christians are saying non-Christians should obey their Christian law.”

    The Christian laws against murder, theft, perjury, etc.?

    “By saying that a man can’t marry a man, because it says so in your bible is like a Muslim telling you that you must follow the Five Pillars of Islam. ”

    Another straw man argument. Seriously, you can’t stop it, can you? You keep putting words in my mouth that I never said. I use secular reasoning to oppose gay marriage when speaking with pagans. This post is for people who are disagreeing with my Biblical interpretation. Since you don’t care what the Bible says at all then why are you here?

    “That is similar to the argument: A particular guy doesn’t like to read articles in the newspaper that are against his beliefs, therefore he writes to the paper telling them they should take those articles out so that NO ONE can read them. That is censorship and it is wrong. He’s forcing his beliefs and values on others. If he doesn’t want to read it then he shouldn’t read it.”

    Seems to me you are trying to force your beliefs on all those who oppose changing the definition of marriage.

    “Dude, I’m not forcing my beliefs on you anymore than you’re forcing yours on me.”

    That’s odd, you just accused me of censorship and forcing my beliefs.

    “If I don’t like mushroom, then I won’t eat them. Similarly If you don’t like gay marriage then don’t practice it.”

    Yeah, and if you don’t like slaves then don’t have one, but don’t object to others having them. Pretty stupid, eh?

    Once again you are making up arguments to ignore the fact that the gov’t has no need to recognize same sex unions. No one is stopping them from marrying in some apostate church or from living together.

    “That is why I don’t trust you and I think you are slimy. (no offense of course, hehe)”

    Typical passive aggressive liberal. Why not just go away?

    “You show hypocrisy, I mirror that. You twist verses, I do the same.”

    The only thing is that you haven’t ever demonstrated hypocrisy or verse twisting on my part. Great excuse for you to be a hypocrite though, right?

    “Actually it did change….remember California? It’s a large state in the west. Remember that little ol proposition they had a while back? Take a trip down memory lane if you will.”

    Right, and who changed that? The people? No, judges.

    “So I am happily married (yes hetero) but no kids, we don’t want any and we can’t have any anyway. Does that mean we are living in sin? Or does that mean that we don’t have a real marriage? Hmmmmm? So why am I even married you ask? Because we love each other. Can two men or two women not love each other the same way? ”

    More fake arguments. I never said gays couldn’t love each other. I said the Bible teaches that it is a sin for them to have sex. And I’m right, and you have nothing to demonstrate otherwise.

    I offered secular arguments as to why gov’t shouldn’t recognize the unions, and you can’t rebut that. You tried the “we don’t have kids” argument, but my claim wasn’t that all married couples must have kids, was it? My claim was that heterosexual unions produce children and gay couples can never provide a mother and a father.

    Instead of responding to my claims you made up claims and attributed them to me. More straw.

    “Who am I to deny their happiness.”

    More straw. Who said I want to deny their happiness? I am just voting against gov’t recognition of their unions. If the gov’t didn’t recognize my marriage it wouldn’t make me unhappy.

    “I was trying to be subtle but I guess direct is best. I was hoping that I could find some Christian scholar to actually give me a logical explanation for these things.”

    Yeah, I can tell you are in a sincere search for the truth. [end sarcasm]

    “Cool, Neil. I’m proud of you. Of course, I’m confused, are you saying you’ve removed the plank from your eye? I take that to mean that you are now sinless. Wow. ”

    More straw. I never claimed to be sinless, but then again that isn’t what the passage says, does it? If I said, “Don’t have homosexual sex” but did so, that would be hypocritical.

    When you say, “Don’t judge,” then you are being hypocritical.

    “I left the church because I couldn’t stand the hatred anymore. And my family and I are tons happier.”

    Yeah, I can really feel the love from you.

    “I don’t believe in your definition of religion though Neil so I have my own idea for eternity that might be different from yours. Can you understand that?”

    Yes. I also understand that if your made-up idea doesn’t conform to reality then it will do you no good.

    “Then get out from behind your little ‘blog world’ little Neil. Go out into the world and see the violence. See the hate. Stop sitting behind your computer all the time and mingle with people. You will definitely see hate.”

    Oh, I see lots of hate, right now it is coming from you.

    Oh, and more straw: I do get out into the world.

    Wow, you are a piece of work. I know there are a lot of bizarre liberals out there but you are beyond any stereotype.

    I have a post coming up dedicate to you:

    Oh, the hypocrisy!

    Critics have a point when they demonstrate where some Christians are hypocritical. After all, Jesus taught to judge but not to judge hypocritically.

    But unless the critics are just pointing out the hypocrisy of some Christians as mere trivia, then the critics become judgers and hypocrites themselves.

    Think about it: If they reject the Bible, then what is their grounding for claiming that judging and hypocrisy are wrong?

    Even if they could provide a grounding outside the Bible that judging is wrong (they can’t, of course, but that’s a different problem for them), then they are guilty of judging Christians for judging.

    And of course, since they judge others for the (ungrounded) universal sin of judging, then they are hypocrites.

    They judge when they say we are wrong to judge, and they are hypocrites as well.

    Do they see the irony? Do they realize their own hypocrisy? In my experience they don’t. They are too busy avoiding the central issues of the debate and they use the hypocrisy charge to position themselves as morally superior to Christians.

  100. Any rational argument should begin with what is known for certain, and then proceed. But it is absolutely certain that there is no plausible evidence for the existence of supernatural beings, now or in the past. Thus arguments based on the “word of god” are void of any meaning.

    • Uh, sure, we don’t have any plausible evidence other than the teleological, cosmological, moral, logical, historical, etc. categories. “Absolutely certain?” Heh.

      And once again, a reader ignored the point of the post. Go ahead and try to refute it if you like, but don’t make silly claims like that and expect to be taken seriously here.

      • All of those arguments are quite weak. And they all are far far weaker than the evidence we have that shows the Bible is incorrect.

      • Don’t be so silly. Pick an argument and tell me why it it weak.

        Or just quit embarrassing yourself and stop making comments like that.

      • Well, I’ll give you a couple. The teleological argument says basically that complexity implies design, which is nothing more than an argument from ignorance. Since you can’t understand how something could become complex through natural processes, you claim that your hypothesis must be true.

        The cosmological argument is just an endless loop. You can’t claim that the universe must have had a first cause without admitting that God must have had a first cause. Christians get around this by claiming that God gets his own version of space and time, and the only evidence anyone has for that is that some guys who believe in God dreamed it up.

        And I don’t feel the slightest bit embarrassed

      • 1. Stay on this topic or don’t comment again.

        2. Design is strong evidence for a designer. Or do you seriously think there is the remotest chance that this comment just happened to appear without anyone writing it? (that’s rhetorical – back to the topic or don’t comment).

        3. Gee, we never considered that response to the First Cause argument. Oh, wait, countless people have and have pre-responded to your straw man. We don’t “get around” your argument, our argument is far more logical than your “quantum physics of the gaps” fantasy.

    • I. “Any rational argument should begin with what is known for certain, and then proceed.”
      II. Reason can not be known for certain.
      III. By your own definition, rational arguments can never begin

      I’d deal with the rest of your post too, but when the first sentence is so bad, I tend to just stop there.

      Thanks for playing. Better luck next time.

      • LCB, your “proofs” are getting more suspect. Are you saying that when making an argument, we don’t begin with what we know for sure? His statement was dead on.

      • You throw around this accusations of “this argument is weak” “that argument is weak” but you always fail to mention *why*.

        I have demonstrated, using a clear logical syllogism, that his starting statement was in error, which invalidates the conclusions drawn from it.

        Just because you *like* his conclusions doesn’t mean they are true. It means you simply like wrong conclusions.

        If you were being intellectual honest (which you stopped being when you started calling for certain babies to be killed based on your subjective judgments and solidified when you demanded that I stop using logic because you didn’t like the conclusions) you would admit that the person made a terrible argument as an excuse to try and kick faith out of the public square.

        His argument is so terrible that the first sentence doesn’t hold up to the most basic levels of intellectual scrutiny.

        If you started agreeing with arguments because they were good and true, and not because you like the conclusion they give, you would find your thinking much more clear.

      • I have told you on many occasions that you have put forth good arguments. I have praised much of your reasoning, even though I have disagreed with it. I have been more than far with you. All do can do is call me dishonest because I disagree with you?

        Is it your position that one can use things that are not known for sure as parts of a proof? That’s what you are saying, and you’re wrong.

        I’m far more open-minded than you think. But one must not be so open-minded that one’s brain falls out.

      • “Is it your position that one can use things that are not known for sure as parts of a proof? That’s what you are saying, and you’re wrong.”

        Prove, using reason alone, the existence of reason.

        Q.E.D.

      • I have no idea if you’re being genuine, or just trying to make me look stupid. Could you please just say what you want to say, instead of asking me more questions?

        The fact that one uses reason alone can prove that it exists. That means that reason can be known for certain.

      • The fact that one believes in God alone can prove that He exists.

        Doesn’t work out so much when you substitute one thing that you plce faith in (reason) with something else that someone else places faith in (God).

        The hard truth is that believing in the functioning of reason reqires an act of faith. Pure reason collapses in the face of any level of skepticism, and becomes just a war of your reason vs. other’s reason

      • I. “Any rational argument should begin with what is known for certain, and then proceed.”
        II. Reason can not be known for certain.
        III. By your own definition, rational arguments can never begin.

        I disagree with the original premise; but since your own argument is based on reason, and therefore you’ve implicitly accepted that reason is a reliable tool, why should we accept your premise II?

      • Reason being a reliable tool is different from knowing for certain that reason exists and works.

        If the requirement is knowing something for certain, it is almost impossible for us to have any rational argument since almost nothing is known for certain (such as your own existence– go ahead, prove you exist. I’m waiting.)

      • Since I’m fundamentally sceptical, I don’t really feel the need to prove that I exist …

      • If one can not know for certain that one exists, and reasonable argument should proceed from what we know for certain… well, I think you should obviously join me in recognizing that my debunking of the statement above was correct.

  101. As I said, I disagree with the original premise, but you’re missing my point. If reason cannot be known for certain, then your own argument is self-defeating, since it relies on reason – and thus we have no basis on which to accept your premise II.

    • Merkur,

      I’m not missing your original point, I’m demonstrating using reason that the original premise is incorrect. If the requirement is knowing things for certain, then we can’t even use reason. Clearly the requirement is something other than certitude.

      My use of reason to demonstrate this is acceptable b/c the original poster clearly has the assumption that reason falls under this, and so I am using his own criteria so the argument is internally consistent.

  102. If we accept your premise that reason cannot be known for certain, then the conclusions from any argument based on reason cannot be known for certain. Since your argument is based on reason, we cannot know if your conclusion – that rational arguments may not begin – is certain.

    Therefore your argument is in fact self-defeating, since you have used reason to prove that reason cannot be used. If you want to show that the original premise was wrong, you’ll need to use a different argument, I think.

    • Let’s slow down.

      “If we accept your premise that reason cannot be known for certain”

      Can reason be known for certain? No, it can not. This isn’t a premise, this is actually a self-evident truth (they are very rare, but they do exist. This is, infact, the foundational self-evident truth). To prove reason one must use reason. But that begs the questions of reason’s existence. Thus reason can not be proven. We are forced to accept reason’s existence on faith

      “then the conclusions from any argument based on reason cannot be known for certain”

      That is correct. That is why we must accept, as a matter of faith, that reason works, functions, and is real. This is also why we would say the role of reason is to recognize what is true, as opposed to deciding what is true.

      “Since your argument is based on reason, we cannot know if your conclusion – that rational arguments may not begin – is certain.”

      This is where you are misunderstanding me. I am working within the framework provided by the original poster, and showing that the provided framework is self contradictory. Why is it self-contradictory? Because it goes against reason by assuming reason is known for certain. To make that point I am assuming the existence of reason, since the original poster is also doing that.

      “Therefore your argument is in fact self-defeating, since you have used reason to prove that reason cannot be used.”

      Firstly, that is not correct. What I have done is demonstrate the logical inconsistency of a position that I do not hold. You are mistaking my showing the self-contradiction of someone else’s position as an articulation of my own position.

      Secondly, If you deem my argument as self defeating, it still ends up being a disproving of the statement in question.

      “If you want to show that the original premise was wrong, you’ll need to use a different argument, I think.”

      You are incorrect, since (by your own logic) even if my argument is incorrect it disproves the statement in question is false.

      Consider this: You have made an act of faith in, you believe in, something you can not prove to be true.

      Is this different from religious faith in type, or is it different in kind? I would argue it is different only in kind. You have religious faith, it’s just in something that isn’t God.

    • No worries, looking forward to your reply.

      Recall this: we can’t prove anything 100%, there is always that micro-slim chance that this entire world is an illusion, that we are merely brains in a jar of a mad scientist (or “the matrix”), etc. There comes a point where we have to accept certain things on a sort of faith… like that reason works, that we do infact exist, that the world around us is more-or-less real (though there are obvious debates about what type of reality we live in, etc).

      The scientific method faces the same problems. The scientific method clearly can’t be the ‘thing’ that decides what is true or false, since the scientific method 1) Can’t prove itself 2) Can’t overcome the skepticism of the ‘matrix’ argument, etc.

      • LCB, I do get what you are saying here, but I don’t view the acceptance of certain unproven things as “faith”. I don’t take it on “faith” that I exist, because that would require that I believe we exist. I don’t have any basis to believe that other than my own consciousness, which does exist, since even an illusion would require a mind to be fooled. If I don’t exist, then all arguments I make are moot anyway, since I did not actually make them.

        I accept that reason works because to prove, or even consider that it does not work would also require reason. The scientific method is the same thing – it’s just a standard application of reason.

      • “Firstly, that is not correct. What I have done is demonstrate the logical inconsistency of a position that I do not hold.”

        You haven’t demonstrated the self-contradiction of their position (premise 1) because nowhere did they assert premise 2. You introduced premise 2 into the argument, and premise 2 does not form part of their premise 1.

        “Secondly, If you deem my argument as self defeating, it still ends up being a disproving of the statement in question.”

        No, because premise 2 was not part of their original statement, so they have no reason to accept your conclusion.

        “Consider this: You have made an act of faith in, you believe in, something you can not prove to be true.”

        If you do not believe that anything can be proven true, then absolutely everything is an act of faith. If that’s your definition of faith – and it isn’t my definition of faith – then the word is meaningless.

        “Is this different from religious faith in type, or is it different in kind? I would argue it is different only in kind. You have religious faith, it’s just in something that isn’t God.”

        I may have faith – it depends how you define faith – but I clearly don’t have religious faith, since no religion is involved.

      • “Is this different from religious faith in type, or is it different in kind? I would argue it is different only in kind. You have religious faith, it’s just in something that isn’t God.”

        I’m not sure what you mean by different in type vs in kind – there doesn’t seem to be an obvious distinction. Under this argument, religious faith is a third-order faith, because it relies on the individual already believing things such as (first) their own existence and (second) the reliability of their senses, the consistency of the universe and so on. So I would argue that it is different to those first- and second-order beliefs.

      • “there doesn’t seem to be an obvious distinction.”

        The difference between type and kind is one of the most critical differences made in intellectual debates.

        I highly advise you to research it. I’m not trying to be rude, but again, you’re using nice prose that doesn’t really have a lot of content at all.

      • A cursory search via Google leads to very little material on the distinction between kind and type – which seems strange considering that it is so critical – so perhaps you would be kind enough to point me to a reference through which I can educate myself?

        I should also point out that just because I am unaware of a particular concept does not mean that my prose “doesn’t really have a lot of content”. Throwing this accusation at me is an interesting dodge, particularly since you
        fail to identify exactly why my questions lack “content”.

        I’m fairly confident that my comments do not in fact lack “content”. That being the case, perhaps you could respond to the actual points that I’ve made above? You are free not to respond, of course, and I’m happy for the record to reflect your disinclination to do so.

      • Premise II. is a self evident truth, it is infact the foundational self-evident truth.

        Reason can not be known for certain (certain meaning with certitude, 100%, etc), because to prove reason you must use reason, which would be begging the question, yet by the definition of the terms the statement is true. It’s like saying “A part is always lesser than the whole, and a whole is always greater than the part” the mere definition of the terms makes the statement true, and the opposite is always and everywhere false and a contradiction in terms.

        You’re now at the point of trying to play word games because you are in over your head. Instead of trying to play word games to justify a position that can’t hold, I would advise you to consider changing your position since it’s been clearly demonstrated to be wrong.

        I highly suggest reading these two books:
        10 Philosopher Mistakes, by Mortimer Adler
        and
        Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl

        Both books are easy to read and understand (Adler will take a bit of time to get into, his massively distributed essay “How to Read a Book” my be a helpful foundation).

      • I fail to see where I am playing “word games”. Perhaps you could give me an example.

        “Premise II is a self evident truth, it is infact the foundational self-evident truth.”

        Firstly, I would dispute that this is the “foundational self-evident truth”. I would assume that one must do a little cogito ergo sum before one addresses the question of whether reason is reliable.

        Secondly, you can’t just insert what you consider to be a self-evident truth into somebody else’s argument. It’s bad form, and it creates a straw man; you may believe your premise II is a self-evident truth but your respondent may not share that belief. For example, I agree with your premise II, but I disagree with your assertion that it is a self-evident truth, and therefore I object to you automatically attributing it to others – including me, despite the fact that I agree with it.

        “Reason can not be known for certain (certain meaning with certitude, 100%, etc), because to prove reason you must use reason, which would be begging the question, yet by the definition of the terms the statement is true.”

        Again, I must dispute this. You are claiming that the statement “reason cannot be known for certain” is true by definition, but there is nothing in the definitions of the words in that statement that makes it self-evidently true. One can demonstrate that the logical problem of induction renders inductive reasoning uncertain; but that is not an instance of self-evident truth, and inductive reasoning is not the sum of reason (there’s deductive reasoning, for one), and reason is not the only path to knowledge (I might be an idealist and hold that the concept of reason can be known with certainty without having to use the tool of reason).

  103. LCB

    What are you smoking?

    Reason cannot be proven because it would require reason to do so. ?!?

    So it is perfectly reasonable I guess to believe the world is flat, the Sun revolves around the earth, humans can breath water (we just don’t know how), and you are an idiot, because neither you nor anyone else can reasonably prove otherwise.

    Thanks for playing. Better luck next time.

    • Mark – LCB is at least partially correct when he says that reason cannot be known for certain without using reason. As I said above, the statement is poorly phrased (not entirely his fault – the original comment was also poorly phrased), but the problem of induction is a common and valid philosophical complaint.

    • “Reason cannot be proven because it would require reason to do so”

      That statement is true. Prove it false.

      You are attempting to disprove it by… citing situations that involve using reason? How does that prove reason without using reason?

      All you’re doing is saying “There are facts about things unrelated to this, therefore I am right.”

      Which is about as close to as a concession speech as you can get.

    • Mark, please take a little more time to follow what LCB has said. He is clearly not an idiot and you do him and yourself and yourself a disservice by making such comments.

  104. I’m trying to point out that this conversation has gotten very rediculous.

    You might as well say that the color blue cannot be proven to exist because it requires the color blue to exist.

    While it may be a true statement, we can still agree that blue (reason) exists. Otherwise, how could we be having this conversation?

    Where oh where has common sense gone?

    • You’re missing the point. I believe LCB was just demonstrating that some things have to be assumed or you end up with a circular reference (e.g., not being able to use reason to prove reason exists). Your examples don’t fall into that category.

      • Neil, although LCB has obviously read a lot of philosophy, I don’t think anyone here wants to hash out the existence of something we all agree exists. i have made many points here only to be asked to prove the existence of morals/rights/reason/logic. It seems it’s just to avoid the more detailed question.

        Of course some things need to be assumed, but the only things we’re assuming here are things that are not disputed by anyone, and all all but self evident.

      • Ryan,

        This little debate started over someone asserting that the only things we should start arguments with are those which are known for certain, and me pointing out that we really don’t know anything at all for certain, so that requirement can’t possibly be true.

        Further, you write, “It seems it’s just to avoid the more detailed question.”

        That isn’t the case at all. How can we possibly discuss the application of principles if we do not agree on what the principles are? The foundational issues are everything, because once the authentic foundations are established, the proper conclusions naturally flow from them.

      • Where do we disagree on the principles? I didn’t hear anyone say that reason does not exist.

      • No we don’t. Almost everybody uses the word morality in almost exactly the same way.

        I came here for a discussion on current issues with people who have a different perspective, but you turn every thread into some kind of dissertation, where every last part of each sentence is analyzed to death, and the definition of words is what ends up being argued. As humans, we have a very unique ability to understand a person’s ideas and perspectives regardless of the words used, and I think you understand pretty much everything I’ve said. Look beyond the individual words, and just speak your mind.

      • Ryan

        You nailed it! That’s it exactly.

        LCB – It seems that, and I’ve read a few of your latest active threads, having a discussion with you is nearly impossible. It’s as though we’re trying to talk to Einstein and he’s always engaged in the very minute details of some subatomic theory. All we want to know is what he wants for lunch!

        If having a discussion with you is always this difficult then you must be quite the bor. Try to lighten up a little. Have some fun. We all know you’re smart. You don’t have to show us every time you open your mouth. As Ryan just noted, just speak your mind.

      • Those are interesting perspectives.

        Here’s another one: LCB is being unfailingly polite and giving you respect by taking your ideas seriously. Many of your ideas are spectacularly ridiculous and inconsistent with your own worldview, but instead of saying, “You’re an idiot,” he seeks to carefully understand your thinking.

        The problem for you is that when someone takes your ideas to their logical conclusions to point out their errors (a technique known as reductio ad absurdum), then you typically get defensive and revert to doing one or more of the following: Anti-religious bigotry and stereotyping, name-calling, subject-changing or more bad arguments.

        LCB doesn’t put words in your mouth and doesn’t commit the fallacies you use against him. You should thank him.

      • Neil

        I should thank him for telling me that nothing can be known for certain and then following that up with this gem: “Prove, using reason alone, the existence of reason.”

        ???

        Thank him?? No – He took the thread way off track with those two arguments.

        Now it’s time for me to get back to work. I think… I can’t be certain of anything. …not certain what time it is – or even what work is anymore.

      • Thank you Neil.

        I think it’s terribly funny that the crowd that chants “Just think for yourself” gets so upset and hateful when I try to clarify what their words mean, so I can understand what they’re saying, and then take their own thoughts to the logical conclusion. At that point it’s no longer about “thinking for yourself” but is instead about “just expressing opinions” and “stop using logic” and “stop trying to understand what words mean.” They get especially angry when I point out that they have religious faith in reason, something they can not prove exists but live their entire life as if it exists.

        I don’t think it’s that out of line to simply ask people to be logically consistant in what they say. They are certainly holding Christianity to higher standards of proof and evidence than that.

      • I’ve thanks LCB on many occasions for interesting responses, but lately, he is just trying to drown us in philosophy. Am I so incoherent that he really does not know what I’m saying?

      • I think we all know what you are saying. It is just that when what you are saying is foolish or inconsistent, one way to demonstrate it is to use questions.

  105. The wife and I are waiting for trick or treaters here and this question came up. I sort of gave her the 20 second summary but then I remember – Hey – I know where to find the indepth answer… thanks :-)

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  107. Hi Neil!

    I just put a link to this post over on the Manhattan Declaration Facebook page. IJust wanted to give you a heads up that it might generate some additional comments here.

    I still think that your post on this topic is THE BEST that I have ever read to counter the silly “shellfish” arguments that pro-homosexual behavior affirming people like to use to try and discredit the Bible’s condemnation against homosexual behavior.

    • Hi Christine,

      Thanks for the link and your comments on that thread. I really appreciate that. This piece is one of my favorites. It shows how those using the argument are almost always just parroting a sound bite and don’t have a clue about the Bible — and don’t really care to.

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  112. Your first argument, that “the same word argument” self-destructs, presents a paradox. You cannot use this argument unless you also claim that the King James Bible is not an accurate translation. If it is not an accurate translation, then it cannot be the literal word of God. Because of that, your argument self-destructs.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I’m not sure I follow. For starters, I don’t use the KJV (although it is a good translation). Even if I did, our claim is that the original writings of the Bible turned out exactly the way that God and the original writers wanted them to. The translations may be very, very accurate but aren’t claimed to be inspired.

      Translations pose all sorts of challenges as language evolves, so it is possible that the translators felt like “abomination” (or whatever) was the best word to use for two different Hebrew words. That doesn’t mean the original Hebrew words weren’t different.

      If you are referring to “KJV only” people who insist that their translation is inspired, then I disagree with them.

      Hope that helps!

  113. You chastise sceptics for cherry-picking quotes from the bible, but ALL of the bible meant to be truth? And if that’s not the case, who picks which bits are truth or not?

    • Hi Gary,

      All of the Bible turned out exactly as God and the human writers wanted in the original writings and they have been accurately communicated to us. But it must be read in context. You can’t just take part of a verse, such as Psalm 14:1, and say, “the Bible says ‘there is no God,'” when the rest of the text says, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.”

      So we don’t get to vote on what is true, we use the same guidelines for reading that elementary schools teach: Read in context, know the literary genre (history, poetry, etc.), etc.

      Hope that helps, and whatever you do I encourage you to read it for yourself!

  114. I was looking over Leviticus Chapter 18, and it begins with
    18:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
    18:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.
    So all the instructions in this chapter, including the verse about homosexuality, are for Israelites only, just like the instructions against eating shellfish.
    Thank you.

    • Is there a reason you didn’t read just one more verse?

      3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.

      Hmmmm . . . apparently God had an issue with what the Egyptians and Canaanites did, too — homosexuality, bestiality, child sacrifice, etc.

      Now I see why you didn’t quote the additional verse . . . or Romans 1:26-28: 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

      Thanks for the softball ;-) .

      • You still haven’t shown that these instructions are for anyone but Israelites.

      • ?? I showed that God was punishing the Canannites for doing those things — as in, the Canaanites knew they shouldn’t do them and did them anyway, so God was punishing them. If you can’t see that I can’t help you.

      • I know! It was written by Paul. And Paul’s words turned out exactly as God wanted them to. The Bible is consistent. I encourage you to read it all carefully. Don’t worship your pet sins and miss out on forgiveness, eternal life and a relationship with God.

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