When Religion Loses its Credibility: A Biblical Reply

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    When religion loses its credibility
    A response

    This post is a response to an article that appeared on YahooNews by Oliver "Buzz" Thomas called "When Religion Loses Its Credibility". The article can be found here. Be warned the article is insulting and filled with misinformation and blasphemy.

    The author starts the article by asking, "What if Christian leaders are wrong about homosexuality? I suppose, much as a newspaper maintains its credibility by setting the record straight, church leaders would need to do the same" and answers it by saying "Despite what you might have read, heard or been taught throughout your churchgoing life, homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God's followers". That statement is shocking for several reasons. First science does not determine what God does, and does not, condemn. Morality is not determined by biology (otherwise fornication and adultery would not be wrong) and therefore any so-called biological cause of homosexuality does lead us to the conclusion that homosexuality is moral. Second, as far as I know, there is no conclusive evidence that homosexuality is determined at birth. One of my professors is a activist lesbian. Even she admitted that this issue is unsettled. The fact is scientists do not know "why" some people seem to lean towards homosexuality. Is it biological, psychological, sociological, or some combination of any of those? At this time science cannot answer that question. However theology can, Biblical studies can. Homosexuality is not part of God's original creation (Gen 2:18-25) and God does not approve of it today (Rom 1:26-27). Any so-called biological "cause" is a result of the fall (Rom 5:6-10, 6:16, 8:5,7-8, Rev 21:8, 21:27, etc). As I stated above, morality is not determined by biology. God holds humans morally accountable. Simply because we are tempted to do something, whatever that something maybe, does not mean it is "of God" (Jms 1:14-16) nor does it mean God will excuse that person and not hold him/her morally accountable (1Cor 10:13, Rom 8:5-8, Eph 2:1-5). God expects humans to rise above biology.

    The author continues:
    "It's happened to Christianity before, most famously when we dug in our heels over Galileo's challenge to the biblical view that the Earth, rather than the sun, was at the center of our solar system. You know the story. Galileo was persecuted for what turned out to be incontrovertibly true. For many, especially in the scientific community, Christianity never recovered."

    ==This is a very poor analogy but probably the best the author could do. The Bible never states, as scientific fact, that the earth is flat or that the sun moves around the earth (let's take into genre). That was man's theory. On the issue of homosexuality the Bible is very clear. It is an abomination...

    Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 states that homosexual acts are an abomination that, under Israel's law, resulted in capital punishment.

    Romans 1:26-27 states that homosexual behavior, and lust, is degrading, unnatural, indecent, and that it leads to physical illness (a fact supported by medical science). Later, in verse 32, it stated that these type sins lead to death.

    1Corinthians 6:9-10 says that the practice of homosexuality, and other sins, proves that a person is not saved.

    Revelation 21:8 says that immoral people, and those who are guilty of abominations, will end up burning in the lake of fire.

    The Bible is very clear in its condemnation of homosexuality. The analogy between this, the civil rights movement for blacks and women, and the theories of early science and Christian teaching, is poor. The Bible never states that blacks should not be given equal rights and it never states that the earth if flat (etc). However it does clearly state that homosexuality is sinful.

    The author continues…

    Christianity is in danger of squandering its moral authority by continuing its pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the face of mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice. To the contrary, whether sexual orientation arises as a result of the mother's hormones or the child's brain structure or DNA, it is almost certainly an accident of birth. The point is this: Without choice, there can be no moral culpability.”

    ==There are several problems with this statement. First discrimination is not always a bad thing. We discriminate against people, based on behavior every day of our lives (and that is a good thing). We don’t let our children play with children who are bad influences, we don’t hang around drug dealers and drunks, and many of us don’t like to be around gossips. Secondly the idea that “without choice, there can be no moral culpability” is wrong. As I stated above, biology does not determine morality. If that were the case then fornication and adultery, lying, gossiping, and stealing would all be morally ok. Why? Because each of those sinful behaviors is based in biology (sex drive, survival, etc). However God expects humans to rise above biology and do what is right (and the only way to do this is via the new birth). Notice what Scripture says about lost people…

    “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath” –Eph 2:3

    Biological behavior, animal instinct, is sinful. This is because of the fact that our natures, our minds, our behaviors have all been infected by sin. Humans always have a choice, not matter how heavy the temptation. A person has to choose to engage in homosexual behavior. While they may not choose the temptation they do choose to give into the temptation. Therefore there is “choice” and there certainly is “moral culpability”


    End Part I.
     
    #1 Martin, Nov 23, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2006
  2. Martin

    Martin
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    Part II

    Part Two.
    __________

    The author continues…

    So, why are so many church leaders (not to mention Orthodox Jewish and Muslim leaders) persisting in their view that homosexuality is wrong despite a growing stream of scientific evidence that is likely to become a torrent in the coming years?”

    ==This, so called, new evidence will change nothing. Why? Humans always have a choice and biology never determines morality. There is also the fact that we cannot allow human science to determine how we understand Scripture.

    “Leviticus is filled with laws imposing the death penalty for everything from eating catfish to sassing your parents. If you accept one as the absolute, unequivocal word of God, you must accept them all. For many of gay America's loudest critics, the results are unthinkable. First, no more football. At least not without gloves. Handling a pig skin is an abomination. Second, no more Saturday games even if you can get a new ball. Violating the Sabbath is a capital offense according to Leviticus. For the over-40 crowd, approaching the altar of God with a defect in your sight is taboo, but you'll have plenty of company because those menstruating or with disabilities are also barred. The truth is that mainstream religion has moved beyond animal sacrifice, slavery and the host of primitive rituals described in Leviticus centuries ago. Selectively hanging onto these ancient proscriptions for gays and lesbians exclusively is unfair according to anybody's standard of ethics. We lawyers call it "selective enforcement," and in civil affairs it's illegal.”

    == The Levitical Law applied to the Nation of Israel. It did not apply to non-Jews (gentiles) of that day, nor did it apply to other nations, and it does not apply to the Church or modern gentiles. The Sabbath Law was a covenant between God and the Nation of Israel having nothing to do with the Church or gentiles (Ex 20:8-10, 31:12ff). While we are not under the Levitical Law, the Law does serve a purpose. It shows us God’s moral standard. God is opposed to homosexual behavior. So this is not “selective enforcement” nor is it “hanging onto these ancient proscriptions for gays and lesbians exclusively”. From these same laws we understand that incest is wrong, adultery, fornication, bestiality, stealing, and other such sins.

    The author of the article has a poor understanding of these things. He is clearly not well versed in theology or in how the Old Testament applies today. Maybe this author should go back to writing about things he knows something about, maybe things a bit more his speed like politics (where misrepresentation and half truths are the norm).

    “A better reading of Scripture starts with the book of Genesis and the grand pronouncement about the world God created and all those who dwelled in it. "And, the Lord saw that it was good." If God created us and if everything he created is good, how can a gay person be guilty of being anything more than what God created him or her to be?”

    ==A “better reading” or just a reading that fits this author’s personal desires (ie…ear tickling)? The latter is certainly the case. There is no evidence that God created men/women to be homosexuals. Before the fall there were not homosexuals. Homosexuality only appears “after” the fall in Genesis 3. Homosexuality, like all sin, is a result of the fall. God never calls homosexuality, or any other sin, “good”.

    “Turning to the New Testament, the writings of the Apostle Paul at first lend credence to the notion that homosexuality is a sin, until you consider that Paul most likely is referring to the Roman practice of pederasty, a form of pedophilia common in the ancient world.”

    ==This reading is popular among homosexuals however it find “NO” textual support. It is a classic case of “eisegesis”, the fine art of reading one’s own beliefs into the text. Let’s look at each of the New Testament Pauline texts that deal with homosexuality…

    “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”Romans 1:26-27

    In that text does Paul say anything about pederasty? Pedophilia? No. He is talking about men having sexual relations with men, and women have sexual relations with women. Greek or English it is that simple. There is no textual indication that the assertion made by the author of the article is correct.

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals…” –1Cor 6:9

    The term translated “homosexual”(arsenokoitai) in this verse literally means male intercourse (homosexuality). The term refers to men who have sex with men. Therefore this verse, like Romans 1, does condemn homosexuality and does not simply deal with pederasty.

    “For those who have lingering doubts, dust off your Bibles and take a few hours to reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Jesus. You won't find a single reference to homosexuality. There are teachings on money, lust, revenge, divorce, fasting and a thousand other subjects, but there is nothing on homosexuality. Strange, don't you think, if being gay were such a moral threat?”

    ==Jesus also did not condemn blowing up airplanes, but I don’t suggest you try it. The above is a classic argument from silence that does not work. Jesus clearly believed the Old Testament’s moral Law and warned against those who attempt to annul any part of it (Matt 5:17-19). While Jesus certainly fulfilled the sacrificial parts (etc) the moral standards of God has not changed. It is also noteworthy that Jesus agreed with the Old Testament view of marriage and sexual immorality (Matt 19:3-12, Mk 7:20-23). There is also the fact that Paul was appointed by Jesus, and his teachings are endorsed by Jesus.
    So the fact that Jesus did not condemn homosexuality directly does not mean that homosexuality is correct. When all of Scripture is taken into consideration, when Jesus’ own views of marriage and sexual immorality are taken into consideration, and when each of Paul’s verses are looked at individually instead of making general, unsupportable claims about his verses, we see that homosexuality is indeed a sin and that Jesus agrees that it is a sin.

    “The suffering that gay and lesbian people have endured at the hands of religion is incalculable, but they can look expectantly to the future for vindication.”

    ==This is a false, satanic, hope. The only thing the unrepentant homosexual has to look forward to is eternity in hell (1Cor 6:9-10, Gal 5:19-21, Rev 21:8,27). There will be no vindication for their immorality.

    Link To Article: Here.
     
  3. bound

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    Interesting.
     

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