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Homosexuality and Religion


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#31 Nogitsune

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:51 PM

(...) the Church claims to speak for God.


The Church has said many different things throughout history, so I'm not sure how anyone could believe that the Church is always right. More importantly, though, I don't care where anyone gets their sexism, heterosexism, cissexism or whatever other -ism from, it's harmful and needs to stop.
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#32 Skullery Maid

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:49 PM



It's the acts that we have a problem with, not the people.

That puzzles me, because gay people don't do anything straight people don't also do...

Not so. Homosexual relationships and the acts performed within (i.e. sex (or even just kissing etc) with another person of the same sex) are what I was referring to, which most heterosexual people do not do. I have nothing against homosexuals as individuals, just so long as they don't act on their desires and temptations.


You're creating a false dichotomy for the sole purpose of making yourself feel better. That doesn't sound very Christian to me. In the least if you're going to damn someone to hell, you could have the good graces to feel badly about it.

I am not separate from my thoughts, feeling, emotions, and drives. Whether or not I act on something is entirely beside the point. I am gay either way. Maybe you have a really bizarre conception of what "gay" is, but it is very much a part of who I am as a human being. When I'm single and just not lucky enough to get laid, I am certainly no more or no less holy. I'm just the same ol' me.

No, I see myself as following God. I learned the correct interpretation through His Church.


Well then so did everyone. Every religious person learned their interpretations from their church, and everyone's churches considers itself to be the one true church, so all you've basically said is "I'm religious and am mimicing what I was told". Calling oneself "catholic" lends no more authority to your position than if you claimed to be islamic, lutheran, jewish, etc.

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#33 Sally

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:05 PM

Actually, Jesus did claim this. "I and the Father are one." "Before Abraham was, I am." ("I am" is God's name for Himself, given in Exodus.) "I am the way, the truth, and the life." "I am the Good Shepherd." And so on.

I notice you didn't address the fact that the Church claims to speak for God.


I don't care what the Church says; I'm not a Christian. I do care what the Church does to other people in the political arena but this thread isn't a discussion of that.

Back to God: yes, "I am" is one of the phrases that God uses in the Torah. However, if you admit that, then Jesus is merely speaking of what God says, not what Jesus is. One thing certain is that Jesus was a Jew.

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#34 Trava u doma

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:05 PM

There's a big problem with this idea, Ith. If people have no choice at all in their sexual orientation, no choice in who they're attracted to, does that imply no choice in what actions they take? "I am a gay male" automaically equals "I must have sex with guys and only guys"? If that's the case, what about pedophiles or serial killers, who are also born with ingrained and unchangeable desires. Does that give them a free pass because they didn't choose to want to do those things?

Except, paedophilia harms children. Serial killers really harm other people. Homosexuality harms no-one.
There's a whole world of a difference. Wanting to love people is very different from wanting to kill them, imho.
I mean... Religion talks about homosexual sex as if it was some outright awful thing to do, but when it comes to heterosexual sex then it's expression of love, and WHY is it so?

As for the "church" argument... The Church was not always right. The Church does not always have to be right. There have been priests and even popes with very dubious personal lives, and I daresay there are (and have been) priests and popes who have been wrong about something.

And a little off-topic maybe, but I want to add this... So, okay, let's say fornication is forbidden, and it goes for straight and gay sex alike.
Either way, you see, my problem with the whole thing is that what people do in their bedroom is THEIR business, not anyone else's, and it seems like many Christians seem to forget that. If you say it's just the act that's forbidden, then you actually have no way of knowing if someone is a sinner or not. So why harass innocent people?

By the way, out of curiosity, why kissing is included? You cannot kiss before marriage?

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#35 Des

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:07 PM

After watching Matthew Vines's video (thank you scholasticbird for posting it :) ) I want to address some things he said in the rather personal context of where I live, the people I've talked to, and who I am...

He's quite right, I think, in his assessment of what the verses he cites mean. The liberty doctrine expounded in Romans 14 makes it very clear that all Christians who listen to the influence of the Holy Spirit should be able to decide for themselves which behaviors are good and acceptable and which aren't. There are usually very clear, concise, and repeated places in the New Testament where a specific behavior is forbidden, such as idolatry. Most of Paul's prohibitions on that run along the lines of "Stay away from the temples you grew up in before you became a Christian. No, you can't eat the food there. No, drinking the blood offered isn't a valid escape clause. No, having sex with the temple prostitutes isn't okay either, even if you stayed away from the buffet. Just don't go near that old temple again."

On the other hand, he has two basic assumptions that just won't hold up in any argument I try to have with anyone on the subject. Most hetero people I know, Christian or not, do not believe that homosexuality, asexuality, or any such thing really exist. We're all just straight people who've gotten confused. Remember, just writing these people off as idiots and refusing to try to explain it to them is a) not helpful and b) counter to what Mr Vines concluded, in the other direction. What sort of argument is going to help explain that homo- and asexuality really are distinct things that are different from heterosexuality?

The other premise he starts on is that it's not good for man to be alone, therefore everyone has the right to find whoever they want to build their life. There are a number of problems with this, as I already started illustrating in another thread, chief of which is, that idea isn't generally supported biblically or socially. I'm not going to throw out the slippery slope with homosexuality inevitably leading to bestiality and all that, but it's a very recent idea that people should have any say in who they marry and form a family with. There are lots of people besides that who choose to stay alone because they don't want the responsibility of a family (which is a separate can of worms - open with care). It's also hard to make any appeal on the basis of "I just want this so badly it has to be allowed!" which is an undercarrying tone of his whole presentation.
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#36 Kavilk

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:18 PM

Ouch, you see yourself as a god if you think that you know what is the right interpretation of the bible. There are countless interpretations of this writing as there countless different churches one for each sect of christianity. Who are you to say which interpretations are right and which are wrong?

It's actually quite simple. The correct interpretation is whatever one you subscribe to. All others are heretical.

#37 Theophilus

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:28 PM

Actually, Protestant denominations don't claim to have the whole truth. They believe that the Bible can be interpreted by the individual, in direct violation of 2 Peter 1:20.
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#38 Skullery Maid

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:31 PM

Theo, you're hilarious.

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#39 ithaca

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:32 PM


So, as I told you in the other thread, sexual orientation is not a choice. Basically this means that God will create me with an orientation just to then forbid me to act on this orientation? To forbid me to have one of the most common ways to share love (sexual intimacy) with the person I was born to be attracted to?


There's a big problem with this idea, Ith. If people have no choice at all in their sexual orientation, no choice in who they're attracted to, does that imply no choice in what actions they take? "I am a gay male" automaically equals "I must have sex with guys and only guys"? If that's the case, what about pedophiles or serial killers, who are also born with ingrained and unchangeable desires. Does that give them a free pass because they didn't choose to want to do those things?


As Sally said already, I absolutely didn't mean to equal orientation with behaviour. It's 2 things completely different from each other. A lesbian woman can have sex with a different man every night and still be a lesbian, as much as a gay man can choose to have sex with whoever he wants, but it doesn't mean that they'll feel attraction for all these people. So no, I wasn't implying a defense for pedophiles and serial killers :lol:
Sorry for the misunderstanding.



Some might ask me, what about same-sex marriage? We believe that the reason God made marriage is to start families. God could have made us reproduce like plants. Hence, the purpose of getting married is to have children. Homosexual acts are closed to the gift of life (while infertile straight couples can still have children, just with a low probability). It follows that a man can only marry a woman (and vice versa), because he cannot reproduce with anyone (or anything) else.


Many many man and women get married and DECIDE not to have children, for many different reasons. Please, if you can, reply these questions about marriage without children for choice:
1- Is it a sin? Will God punish them?
2- Is their marriage considered inferior than a marriage with children?
3- Is marriage's only purpose the one to have children? or is it ALSO the one to love and respect and take care of each other as a couple?
4- If you think the answer that marriage's purpose is not only children, can't 2 people of the same sex love each other the same as 2 people of different sex?


I'd like to reiterate my question to Theophilus and everyone else who feels like replying from a religious point of view. Saying "not everyone is called to marriage" and "contraception is forbidden" doesn't answer all these questions. A couple can choose not to have children even without using condoms. Sometimes a little self-control is enough, without going into physical details. So I'm really curious about these questions.

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#40 Theophilus

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:59 PM

There's always natural family planning. The Church does not forbid that.

Other than that, what would you like to know?
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#41 Nogitsune

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:04 PM

So. A heterosexual couple who discover they can not have children should not marry and not sleep with each other? And an older married couple past the age where they were capable of having children should also stop having sex?
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#42 ithaca

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:14 PM

There's always natural family planning. The Church does not forbid that.

Other than that, what would you like to know?


You said "We believe that the reason God made marriage is to start families. God could have made us reproduce like plants. Hence, the purpose of getting married is to have children."

So i'll repeat my questions, it would be useful for me to know a Catholic answer for each one of these questions, or I wouldn't divide them. Can you (or other Catholics) please reply to each one of them just as I give them a number?

If a married couple chooses not to have children:
1- Is it a sin? Will God punish them?
2- Is their marriage considered inferior than a marriage with children?
3- Is marriage's only purpose the one to have children? or is it ALSO the one to love and respect and take care of each other as a couple?
4- If you think the answer that marriage's purpose is not only children, can't 2 people of the same sex love each other the same as 2 people of different sex?

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#43 Theophilus

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:35 PM

1. It is a sin to have sex that is not open to life. However, if one partner is infertile, or if they are having sex during the infertile periods of the month, then they are still open to having a child if it is God's will. God does not punish people. If they die in a state of unrepentant mortal sin, then they will choose Hell.

2. No one can judge whether or not they will have children. If they married in spite of not being open to children, then their marriage is not valid.

3. All sex acts must have two aspects: the unitive and the procreative. Marriage is not simply the legal recognition of a romance. It exists to start families.

4. Genuine love can exist in sinful relationships. But sex is a separate issue. Two men can live together, as can two women. If nothing sexual happens, there is no problem.

Hope that helps.
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#44 Kisa the Cat

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:49 PM

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#45 Samael

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:13 PM

1. It is a sin to have sex that is not open to life. However, if one partner is infertile, or if they are having sex during the infertile periods of the month, then they are still open to having a child if it is God's will. God does not punish people. If they die in a state of unrepentant mortal sin, then they will choose Hell.

2. No one can judge whether or not they will have children. If they married in spite of not being open to children, then their marriage is not valid.

3. All sex acts must have two aspects: the unitive and the procreative. Marriage is not simply the legal recognition of a romance. It exists to start families.

4. Genuine love can exist in sinful relationships. But sex is a separate issue. Two men can live together, as can two women. If nothing sexual happens, there is no problem.

Hope that helps.


It may be against the ToS to voice my opinion, but it seems to me someone is trolling here. Well, at least I got a laugh for reading this mumbo jumbo, so kudos to Theo :D
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#46 Skullery Maid

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:44 PM

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Aw, that hardly seems fair that in the Philosophy and Politics section, only people holding AVEN-approved political and philosophical opinions have the right to voice them. :(

I certainly don't agree with homophobes, but I don't begrudge them the right to voice their opinions in a topic specifically created to discuss those very opinions. Half of our country, it seems, is eager to elect government officials on the sole criteria that they oppose gay rights. Given this reality, I don't see the benefit in denying the right to have these conversations.

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#47 NigelFt

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:46 PM

My background is a complicated one, but now I consider my self as belonging to the Church of England, and more specifically, Episcopalian. My theological knowledge is somewhat rusty, but I will answer the questions to the best of my knowledge.

If a married couple chooses not to have children:
1- Is it a sin? Will God punish them?
2- Is their marriage considered inferior than a marriage with children?
3- Is marriage's only purpose the one to have children? or is it ALSO the one to love and respect and take care of each other as a couple?
4- If you think the answer that marriage's purpose is not only children, can't 2 people of the same sex love each other the same as 2 people of different sex?


1} I am not aware of any specific verses that explicitly state that the deliberate decision not to have children is a specific sin. To answer the later, my understanding is that the only true unforgivable sin which will result in God punishing anyone is denying Christ as Saviour. Ergo, I don't think God would punish such a couple, and I am not even sure that is something they need to seek forgiveness for either.

2}Simple answer ... no.

3} I would say the latter; as far as I am aware of, the Episcopalian position is that marriage is a commitment between two people, based on love and respect for each other.

4} Again, as far as I am aware of, this is not prohibited. Case in point: I spoke at great length to my vicar about my fiancé, and our relationship. Without saying much, but a few words, he blessed our relationship. I think that speaks for itself.
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#48 Theophilus

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:46 PM

I didn't realize that this was hateful or bigoted. If I say that stealing is a sin, that isn't hateful or bigoted toward thieves.

I do not hate gays. In fact, hatred is forbidden.

But if such an opinion is taboo, I will not participate in threads in which the topic comes up.
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#49 Skullery Maid

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:55 PM

I didn't realize that this was hateful or bigoted. If I say that stealing is a sin, that isn't hateful or bigoted toward thieves.


It may be, but unfortunately for thieves, they aren't a "protected class". Being gay is awesome because no one can say anything bad about me without getting in trouble, and I can say whatever I want back to them. Now that's what I call progress.

EDIT: Tea, I'm not picking on you personally, FYI... it's a general society thing, not a mod thing. ;)

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#50 Kisa the Cat

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:58 PM

Sorry...This should be clarified. None of the opinions expressed thus far were problematic. It was basically a reminder to help prevent personal attacks :)

*awaits more conversation*

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#51 ithaca

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:01 AM

Actually, thanks for your replies Theophilus. I split this conversation from Musirants to see more viewpoints about homosexuality from different religions and it is getting quite interesting.

I also see Nigel posted from an Episcopalian position, which is something totally obscure to me, sadly for my culture, so really, thank you for this bits of cultures.

Nigel, is marriage between homosexuals allowed in the Episcopalian Church? And if yes, how is it perceived today from the religious community, as far as you can tell?

Is there any other religious ambassador who wants to share their ideas? ^_^

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#52 Bye Bye Birdy

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:33 AM

x


Nope.


#53 Bye Bye Birdy

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:40 AM

x


Nope.


#54 Sally

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:43 AM

Actually, thanks for your replies Theophilus. I split this conversation from Musirants to see more viewpoints about homosexuality from different religions and it is getting quite interesting.

I also see Nigel posted from an Episcopalian position, which is something totally obscure to me, sadly for my culture, so really, thank you for this bits of cultures.

Nigel, is marriage between homosexuals allowed in the Episcopalian Church? And if yes, how is it perceived today from the religious community, as far as you can tell?

Is there any other religious ambassador who wants to share their ideas? ^_^


Marriage is a civil entity. If a particular state or country doesn't allow gay marriage, homosexuals can't be married.

Re other religions (meaning actual religions, not just the difference between two types of Christianity), when people talk about the Jewish religion, they're usually referring to what they call the "Old Testament". That was written probably 3,000 years ago, and it does not exemplify Judaism as practiced now. There are traditions within modern Judaism which allow homosexual marriage.

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#55 NigelFt

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:45 AM

Nigel, is marriage between homosexuals allowed in the Episcopalian Church? And if yes, how is it perceived today from the religious community, as far as you can tell?

As I said, please don't take my word as being the voice of being Episcopalian ... I can only really speak as a individual.

But to answer your questions:

is marriage between homosexuals allowed in the Episcopalian Church?


That is a tricky question, as what occurs in the UK, is different form what occurs in the Episcopalian Church in, say, the US, and that is mostly down to civil law, than anything else. but I would say in general yes.

And if yes, how is it perceived today from the religious community, as far as you can tell?


Now that is a enormous can of worms right there ...

As far as I can tell, the Episcopalians belong to the more liberal wing of the Anglican commune. However, on the key issues (the ordination of women, the ordination of gay clergy, and gay marriage), this brings them into direct dispute with the more conservative wing of the commune; I could go into great depth, but suffice to say the entire Anglican community is fractured along idealogical faultlines that threaten to split it into various fragments.

But this split goes further; in a way, it mirrors the split between the conservative parts of Christianity, and the more liberal parts.

However, I take it when you say the religious community, you mean the difference between the Episcopalians and all other faiths, rather than just Christianity. That is in itself a big question, and requires a more in depth knowledge of other faiths than I currently have.
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#56 Kisa the Cat

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:57 AM

I come from a Reform Jewish background and basically, this form of Judaism...for lack of a better way to put it, seems to be based more upon Hillel's Law (What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor that is the whole Torah the rest is commentary). At least from what I've experienced. Other people may have been raised in the same faith and may have a very different opinion.

Looking at this and looking at the idea of homosexuality, the question is "is homosexuality hateful"? Personally I would say no.

Now the next part of the law is "the rest is commentary".

If we want to go into the commentary of why homosexuality is hateful or not, we have to go into why the bible would outlaw homosexuality in the first place.

First we can argue one theory: that it was outlawed because Jews were supposed to be less pagan than other groups and outlawing homosexuality was one way to do that.

Another theory is that a man technically cannot lie with a man the way he lies with a woman because biologically speaking...men can't have children together. (I tend to dislike this theory simply because it's more redundant than it needs to be)

Assuming we go with the first theory, we can also agree that the Torah is a pretty old book. And...possibly outdated. So some of the laws in there (e.g. you can stone your son, have slaves, etc.) are moot points because if you tried to do that in the US (and probably most other countries), you'd still get arrested and your rabbi would not support you in court.

So where does this leave homosexuality? Judaism right now is a pretty well known religion. Paganism (from what I understand) is different today than what it used to be. Even homosexuality now has different connotations than it did in biblical times. In short, stuff changed and we have to change with it.

Anyway that's how I see it, and I could be very VERY wrong about some stuff because I'm not a biblical scholar or a historical one.
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#57 Peaceful & Happy

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:59 AM

God loves us all very much! :D
Peace pray for it, work for it, and live it.

#58 Sally

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:52 AM

If we want to go into the commentary of why homosexuality is hateful or not, we have to go into why the bible would outlaw homosexuality in the first place.

First we can argue one theory: that it was outlawed because Jews were supposed to be less pagan than other groups and outlawing homosexuality was one way to do that.

Another theory is that a man technically cannot lie with a man the way he lies with a woman because biologically speaking...men can't have children together. (I tend to dislike this theory simply because it's more redundant than it needs to be)


The third and more likely theory is that at the beginning of the religion now known as Judaism, it was necessary to increase the population and you don't do that by having men having sex with men. That's not the case now, and I don't know of any Reform (or Conservative) Jews who feel that homosexuality is hateful.

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#59 Des

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:28 AM

So, okay, let's say fornication is forbidden, and it goes for straight and gay sex alike.
Either way, you see, my problem with the whole thing is that what people do in their bedroom is THEIR business, not anyone else's, and it seems like many Christians seem to forget that. If you say it's just the act that's forbidden, then you actually have no way of knowing if someone is a sinner or not. So why harass innocent people?

By the way, out of curiosity, why kissing is included? You cannot kiss before marriage?



I like your second point. I have myself argued that even if you see two men kissing in public, you can't rightly ssume that automatically they're having sex too. I think there's room to expand there.

As for fornication, I have done my own very detailed study (but I'm not going to make my own hour-long presentation video unless you really really want me to) but those verses are frequently misapplied as well. The biblical definition would mean fornication : sex :: gluttony : food. It can include sex between unmarried people, but to say it automatically does is no more valid than to say it's automatically a sin to eat other than at socially accepted mealtimes.

I might point out that nearly all such modifications by religious leaders were added for a lot of the same reason the Pentateuch commandments were. Grabbing hold of the sexual and other physical behaviors of their followers was the surest way to determine who would be loyal to them and trust every thing they said and who was fuel for the stake. Most of the propagation of their non-scriptural commands since then have been by people who likewise thought, "well, if they've already done the research, I'll just take their word for it."
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#60 beyondweird

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:21 AM

Another Christian viewpoint here - I'm not sure on denomination yet (it's very likely to end up being United Reformed), but I'm just finishing up doing my degree in theology and philosophy, so I'm probably coming from a more academic view point.

Basically, given the limited amount of passages mentioning it explictly, the context those passages are in and the lack of reference to it at all by Christ, I cannot justifably agree with the idea homosexuality is sinful.

Also, Theo - I have to disagree with your idea "Actually, all Catholics know the proper interpretation of the Bible, because God gave us the Church to tell us. It was, after all, the Church that decided which books would be considered Scripture, and if the Bible is infallible, so is the Church that put it together."

Given the process that occured as the Bible was being put together, the lateness of it's 'official' appearance in the form we have now, and the differences between each church on which books were favoured, I also cannot believe the Bible to be infallible. That, and given the current interpretation of a lot of the doctrine coming from Greek Philosophy, rather than the initial Judaic views it came out of, and I find it very hard to believe the Church is infallible too.




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