Homosexuality and Christianity, Part 20075

Bob Hubbard

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subtitle: "picking and choosing the law to suit your fancy."

A recent discussion that resulted after a FB posting generated more debate on the alleged Christian Bible condemnations of homosexuality. What follows are some of my comments. Other things touched on are Old Testament laws, and what the New Testament does and does not negate.

One other question. Since there is NO ban in the Christian Bible against Lesbians, why can't they get married?

If there is such a ban, please point it out.
Leviticus 18:22 does not address it.
Neither does Leviticus 20:13.
...
By the way, even if any part of Leviticus DID say it was wrong, if that was still true, wouldn't that mean that all OTHER parts of Leviticus were also still valid?

So, that would make you guilty of sin if you wore mixed fabric clothes(19), ate rare meat(26), got a haircut(27), had a tattoo(28), or fail to stand up out of respect for old people (32). (Leviticus 19)

Cursing your mom, punishment?
Death by stoning! Leviticus 20:9

Eating Buffalo Wings is Forbidden!
Leviticus 20:25
..."Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you"

I mean come on now, how can eating chicken wings be wrong? I mean sure, that Triple Atomic sauce is Hell on Earth, but it's sooooo good. Once you return to a normal color and stop smoking I mean. :D

Also, see Deuteronomy 14 for more ok and not ok food instructions. No pork. So any Southerner who likes them a good BBQ, better be eating Beef Ribs, cuz if they're slathering on the rub on some good ol piggie, theysa gunna burn in heel!
Deuteronomy 14:8

So, my last visit to Smokin Bones locked me in for a hot fire dip I guess. That's ok. It'll still be cooler than that damn sauce. :D

Now, 1 argument I've heard is that the New Testament negates the Old Testament. But if that's the case, the NT doesn't touch the topic of homosexuality really. Not in the Gospels. There are at best 2-3 references, and those depend on which translation you read. So...... ??

Deuteronomy 14:8 "The pig is also unclean; although it has a divided hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses. "

So, no piggie.
Also 14:9 and 14:10 tell me no shrimp, crab or lobster. Now to deny ...me the joys of eating water bug covered in hot melted butter...well that's just sinful that is.

If the NT does not negate the OT, then D14 is still in effect, OR you have a conflict of rules. When there is a conflict between rules, which do you choose to follow? (serious question)

Red Sea is a mistranslation. It's Reed Sea.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Red_Sea

Mary of Madelene (the of is often dropped) was a women of some importance. (The of is important, as only notables were notated as such. Poor folks, rarely were accented that way) Often characterized as a whore. Also, rather close to Jesus in some accountings, especially in the Gospel of Mary.

The Dead Sea is surrounded by ruins, however none have to date been conclusively identified as either famed city. At least, as of the 2009 History Chanel special I saw on the matter.

Also, Jesus, according to the Christian Bible, had 3 brothers. It's silent on how many 3rd cousins he might have had however, except in 1 edition in a small town in Arkansas. ;)

Going back to homosexuality in the NT:

"It is only in Romans 1:26–27, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, and 1 Timothy 1:8–11 that there may be references to homosexuality.2 The paucity of references to homosexuality in the New Testament suggests that it was not a matter of major concern ei...ther for Jesus or for the early Christian movement. "

Romans 1:26-27
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9–10 says that certain types of people “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The list of such people begins with fornicators, idolaters, and adulterers, and it ends with thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Near the middle—between adulterers and thieves—are the two Greek words translated in the New Revised Standard Version as “male prostitutes” (that is, homosexual male prostitutes) and “sodomites.” But no special emphasis is placed on these people; they are simply listed along with the others. Similarly, 1 Timothy 1:8–11 says that the law was given not for good people but for bad people, and it then provides a list, giving representative examples of who these “bad people” might be. Included in the list—this time near the end but again without any special emphasis—is the Greek word translated in the New Revised Standard Version as “sodomites.” In both texts, such people are mentioned simply in passing, in more-or-less miscellaneous catalogues of unacceptable behaviors, but with no special emphasis or attention called to them.

1 Timothy 1:10
for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

Or is it this:
1 Timothy 1:10
10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers— and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

Translation disagreement.

My point here is, the NT does not negate the OT. But a number of sections of the OT (such as the clauses on certain foods, personal grooming habits, and where to take a crap) are ignored today without question, deemed 'outdated'. So, I can... safely ignore the scant anti-homosexual clauses in the same way and still, if I wanted to, call myself a Christian. Which I don't. Wish to or do so.

There is also of course the definition of 'sodomy', which varies from state to state, with at least 1 US state still making it illegal (with jail time and fine I might add) for your legal wife to engage in ********. It's also still illegal in Texas to buy a rubber dicky but not to elect one as President. Strange disconnect there. :D

BTW (and anyone else interested in Bible studies) http://www.biblegateway.com/ great resource to quickly compare various translations. 25 different English editions available.

opening the floor.
 

granfire

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maybe you should not put dietary things up top....I didn't get past pork...I am having a serious bacon habit ATM....
 

Ken Morgan

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opening the floor.

The OT and the NT are either taken as literal stories or allegories. If you think they are allegories then you have no issue with the contradictions, if you are literal, then you need to justify the contradictions to your own satisfaction and to no one else.

We all know fried foods are bad for us, but we eat them. We all know exercise is good for us, but we neglect it.

Whatever aids one to get through life happily and without interfering in the lives of others, is fine by me. Believe in whatever you want, divine spirit, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, totems, or the flying spaghetti monster.

Not a one of us are getting out of this alive anyway,
 

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subtitle: "picking and choosing the law to suit your fancy."

A recent discussion that resulted after a FB posting generated more debate on the alleged Christian Bible condemnations of homosexuality. What follows are some of my comments. Other things touched on are Old Testament laws, and what the New Testament does and does not negate.

opening the floor.

I am guessing you aren't going to get alot of takers on this one.
 

Touch Of Death

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The OT and the NT are either taken as literal stories or allegories. If you think they are allegories then you have no issue with the contradictions, if you are literal, then you need to justify the contradictions to your own satisfaction and to no one else.

We all know fried foods are bad for us, but we eat them. We all know exercise is good for us, but we neglect it.

Whatever aids one to get through life happily and without interfering in the lives of others, is fine by me. Believe in whatever you want, divine spirit, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, totems, or the flying spaghetti monster.

Not a one of us are getting out of this alive anyway,
I think you are hitting on an interesting point. When the Bible was written, the family was everything. This live and let live mentality did not exist. You either got with the program or not. The nots tend to get sacrificed to the gods, or turned away. These were different times.
Sean
 
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Bob Hubbard

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I am guessing you aren't going to get alot of takers on this one.
Possibly. My focus is less to rehash the 'homo' argument, and more so use this as discussion fodder.

Hey, it's at least a topic that doesn't include Obama, Bush, The TSA or Islam. :D
 

David43515

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I though that th artcle was pretty good> I have to agree with the basic premis that while it`s a sin, homosexuality isn`t worse than any other sin. The Bible tells us there`e no such thing as big sins or little sins, just sins.That`s just us wanting to justify our behavior by saying "At least I`m not as bad as that guy".I guess some folks will say I`m the ultimate contradiction in terms. I`m a conservative Christian, and I take the whole "Don`t complain about the dust in your brother`s eye until you remove the beam from your own eye" thing pretty seriously. I still think homosexual sex is a sin, but so is speeding and cheating on your taxes. And I`ve got enough of my own weaknesses to overcome that I can`t see bitching about someone else`s unless they ask me for an opinion. And even then, we`re all commanded to hate the sin and love the sinner. As always, your milage may vary.
 

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I have to agree with the basic premis that while it`s a sin, homosexuality isn`t worse than any other sin.

Yes. Homosexuality is regarded as a sin by some Bronze Age people. Two passages earlier in Leviticus 20 it says: “‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head." I don't see all these faithful Christians killing their kids per a real god's command.

Religious people cherry pick verses they like to promote, and sweep the other things their god said under the rug.
It is humorous to watch people squirm when you bring up the OT. So much baggage in their for them. The NT is definitely an improvement over the OT, but there's still plenty of stupidity in the NT too.
 

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The problem I see is people keep quoting Levitical law for the Hebrew people (or others of the Jewish faith) and trying to say that Christianity doesn't follow it. Correct, Jesus only gave two commandments. While some Christians still follow some Jewish practices, it is not a requirement, nor did Jesus ever say it was. In fact, Jesus took all of the laws and commandments and summed them up into two

1) Love your neighbor as yourself
2) Love God with all your heart, mind and soul (Matthew 22:37-38)

Understanding levitical law is a different thing and must be put into context. If you look at most of the prohibitions that seem strange it is because of health practices of the time, or ways to differentiate themselves from neighboring peoples/religions

Now to look at some "weird" laws that were mentioned. I always see someone throw out the "blended cloth" crap, and really it is a big strawman argument. Back then they didn't have blended fabrics like we due today where they are homogenous blends that look like one type (rayon or polyesters). Would you put a wool patch over a cotton garment?

Testicle checkers in your church as prescribed by law? Well, not applicable today because women can enter the church.

Tattoos, again religious practices of their "pagan" neighbors.

Cutting your hair? Talking about egyptian religious practices that required it's worshippers to shave their heads. Trimming the ends of your beard? Again, talking about cutting it flat across the bottom like the sumerian priests.

Remember, the Hebrews were God's chosen people to show the rest of the world the way. They had many rules to help them set themselves apart. Since Jesus sacrificed and there is no longer "Jew or Gentile", then laws making the seperation would also be moot.

Laws regarding food were also replaced and noted by Paul that there were not clean and unclean animals. If you look at all the prohibitions, they are animals that if not prepared properly will make you very sick. Just don't read the animals prohibited, read all the prohibitions about preparing food and handling food, and handwashing etc. Even to spots on your skin etc. When you have a lot of people in close quarters, you can't take the risk of infectious disease so you would isolate those people until you could figure out if it was infectious or not. With today's medical care and food knowledge, we know how to take care of these things and again the Jewish law becomes moot on this point.

So to me, it is not a "picking or choosing" of the laws, it is a personal understanding of what type of law it is talking about. Is it talking about spiritual matters/sinful behavior or matters of governing. As Jesus said, "It is not what a man puts into his mouth that makes him unclean, it is what comes out of his mouth that makes him unclean" (paraphrase)
 

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The problem I see is people keep quoting Levitical law for the Hebrew people (or others of the Jewish faith) and trying to say that Christianity doesn't follow it. Correct, Jesus only gave two commandments. While some Christians still follow some Jewish practices, it is not a requirement, nor did Jesus ever say it was. In fact, Jesus took all of the laws and commandments and summed them up into two

He also said: "For truly I tell you, 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." Matthew 5:18

Your argument, while essentially correct, also ignores the fact that many Christians use Mosaic law as an argument for why this or that is a sin. The point that Bob and others are making is that you can't go all in on the Mosaic law that impeaches people you don't like, but ignore or explain away Mosaic law that is inconvenient to you.
 

Bill Mattocks

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The argument is the classic argument from hypocrisy.

Your argument can be simply restated as "Christians are hypocrites, therefore any claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality is invalid."

The problem is that the two are not linked. Christians *are* hypocrites, and sinners. But that does not change the biblical condemnation of homosexuality. It exists regardless of whether or not it is observed. You can't make it not be there just because many people disregard other prohibitions.

This is reinforced later in the thread with the old argument that Christians pick and choose which biblical laws they will follow, therefore they have no moral authority to cite any laws whatsoever.

This is ridiculous on it's face, for a number of reasons.

The first reason is easily demonstrated (and sorry, Bob, but I'm going to drag Islam in here). Islam is commonly condemned by those who hate or dislike the religion and those who believe in it by pointing out the terrible laws that are present in the Koran and insisting that if they are indeed Muslims, they *must* be performing these acts, or they are actually in favor of them being performed even if the modern world and laws constrain them. Well, which is it, folks? Either you condemn religious for obeying prohibitions by the letter, or you condemn religious for *not* obeying prohibitions by the letter. You cannot have it both ways. Either humans are capable of picking and choosing which laws to obey, or they are not. Choose one, but don't argue the opposite later.

The second reason is that such hypocrisy can be used for virtually any argument. Most of you exceed the speed limit, change lanes without signalling, fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs. Clearly, you do not follow the law. You pick and choose which laws you will follow. By your logic, then, you may not hold an opinion that people ought not to rob banks because bank robbing is against the law - you don't obey the law yourselves, so you have no right to hold an opinion based on it.

Clearly, you *do* have the right to be for or against something based on its legality, even though you yourself are a hypocrite. Therefore, the argument from hypocrisy is a logical fallacy.

The argument from hypocrisy also serves to shift the focus. Notice that we're not discussing whether homosexuality is a good or a bad thing. We're not even talking about whether or not it is condemned by the Bible, which is the ostensible subject. Instead, we're talking about the fact that the Bible is full of contradictions, silly dietary restrictions, and those who do not follow the rules found in the Bible, every jot and tittle, are therefore hypocrites and therefore ought to utterly reject any Biblical basis for their personal opinion on homosexuality.

These kinds of arguments boil down to a couple of core statements:

1) You are not entitled to feel the way you feel because the Bible is a lie.
2) You are not entitled to feel the way you feel because you are a hypocrite.
3) You are not entitled to feel the way you feel because the laws encapsulated in the Bible are archaic (or silly, stupid, ancient, etc).

None of them address the core issues. Does the Bible condemn homosexuality? It does. Is a person allowed to cite the Biblical injunction against homosexuality as their reason to be against it? They are.

That's pretty much it.
 

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None of them address the core issues. Does the Bible condemn homosexuality? It does. Is a person allowed to cite the Biblical injunction against homosexuality as their reason to be against it? They are.

That's pretty much it.

The argument isn't really about whether or not the Bible condemns homosexuality. We all know it does. The argument isn't even really about the Bible. The argument is directed against the Christians who cite one law while ignoring or worse justifying the ignoring of others. If Jesus discarded Mosaic law, why is homosexuality still wrong but eating shrimp isn't? If Mosaic law is binding, why do you ignore most of it? The argument is about the arguments people make from the Bible, not the Bible itself.

This is also sharpened by David's point that all sins and sinners are equal in the eyes of God, an old theological point from Christianity. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Thus, your point about speeding while condemning bank robbers makes perfect sense from the human conception of justice, but doesn't make sense from the divine conception of justice as explained in the New Testament. None are righteous. Remove the plank from your own eye first. He who has not sinned cast the first stone. And so forth. Condemning the immorality of others while ignoring your own is very much against Jesus' words. Thus it makes sense to bring this up to those who condemn homosexuality while ignoring their own sins and breaking of the Law, the new Pharisees if you will.
 

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I think you are hitting on an interesting point. When the Bible was written, the family was everything. This live and let live mentality did not exist. You either got with the program or not. The nots tend to get sacrificed to the gods, or turned away. These were different times.
Sean

I'm not a biblical scholar, Sean, but I recently read that wasn't the case at all. Our idea of family didn't really evolve until well into the 16th century. Most of the bans against homosexuality,contraception and abortion happened as a response to the Anabaptist movement.

Historically speaking, much of the hate in the bible is the result of political manipulations relatively late in life.

Which is my main issue with your point, Bill. If your faith tells you homosexuality is unacceptable, that's your right. But don't point at a millenia-old, five times translated, severely politically compromised document and say it tells you to hate somebody.
 

Ken Morgan

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Lots of room over here on the atheist side of the island boys & girls....
 
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Bob Hubbard

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Lots of room over here on the atheist side of the island boys & girls....
Or pagan. :D Though it's getting harder and harder to find virgins these days for the annual BBQ and sacrifice. The geeks at MIT are getting scared. :D
 

Bill Mattocks

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The argument isn't really about whether or not the Bible condemns homosexuality. We all know it does. The argument isn't even really about the Bible. The argument is directed against the Christians who cite one law while ignoring or worse justifying the ignoring of others. If Jesus discarded Mosaic law, why is homosexuality still wrong but eating shrimp isn't? If Mosaic law is binding, why do you ignore most of it? The argument is about the arguments people make from the Bible, not the Bible itself.

Not true. I agree that this is a very interesting discussion to have, but it's not the one we're having. Instead, Bob has used it as a wedge to open the issue and point out the contradictions in the Bible and the hypocrisy of those who disobey it's apparently-silly rules, and to extrapolate that they therefore have no moral leg to stand on when they claim homosexuality is defined in the Bible as a sin.

Bob said it himself when he opened the thread, "subtitle: "picking and choosing the law to suit your fancy."" Since he opened the thread, the discussion is about what he said it is about. As much as I agree with your statements above, I do not agree that this is what Bob is saying here.

This is also sharpened by David's point that all sins and sinners are equal in the eyes of God, an old theological point from Christianity. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Thus, your point about speeding while condemning bank robbers makes perfect sense from the human conception of justice, but doesn't make sense from the divine conception of justice as explained in the New Testament. None are righteous. Remove the plank from your own eye first. He who has not sinned cast the first stone. And so forth. Condemning the immorality of others while ignoring your own is very much against Jesus' words. Thus it makes sense to bring this up to those who condemn homosexuality while ignoring their own sins and breaking of the Law, the new Pharisees if you will.

But none of this changes the rules. If speeding and bank robbery are against the law, and I speed, it certainly makes me a hypocrite (speaking strictly) if I speak out against bank robbery because it is against the law. But it does not change either law.

And let's not pretend we don't understand the nature of the attack. People have opinions. They base them on all sorts of things, from logic to science to religion to peer pressure to just plain old personal preference. The attack is on religion as a valid reason for a person to hold an opinion, not on the opinion. The essential take-away is "You are not allowed to feel that way based religion because...," followed by "your religion is bunk," or "you are a hypocrite," or "the Bible is full of contradictions." No one who is not religious and enters into the argument regarding the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality is interested in a parsing of Mosaic versus NT law, nor of the finer points of Theology. They see the flaws in the people who claim religion as a reason for their anti-homosexual belief, and they use it as a hammer. It's not a valid argument, and I've pointed out why. The point here is not religion; the point here is invalid logic.
 

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None of them address the core issues. Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?

Yes, this is the question. If someone asks me this, my response is: " Yes it does " My question to them now is: " So what ?"
 
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Bob Hubbard

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Not true. I agree that this is a very interesting discussion to have, but it's not the one we're having. Instead, Bob has used it as a wedge to open the issue and point out the contradictions in the Bible and the hypocrisy of those who disobey it's apparently-silly rules, and to extrapolate that they therefore have no moral leg to stand on when they claim homosexuality is defined in the Bible as a sin.

Bob said it himself when he opened the thread, "subtitle: "picking and choosing the law to suit your fancy."" Since he opened the thread, the discussion is about what he said it is about. As much as I agree with your statements above, I do not agree that this is what Bob is saying here.



But none of this changes the rules. If speeding and bank robbery are against the law, and I speed, it certainly makes me a hypocrite (speaking strictly) if I speak out against bank robbery because it is against the law. But it does not change either law.

And let's not pretend we don't understand the nature of the attack. People have opinions. They base them on all sorts of things, from logic to science to religion to peer pressure to just plain old personal preference. The attack is on religion as a valid reason for a person to hold an opinion, not on the opinion. The essential take-away is "You are not allowed to feel that way based religion because...," followed by "your religion is bunk," or "you are a hypocrite," or "the Bible is full of contradictions." No one who is not religious and enters into the argument regarding the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality is interested in a parsing of Mosaic versus NT law, nor of the finer points of Theology. They see the flaws in the people who claim religion as a reason for their anti-homosexual belief, and they use it as a hammer. It's not a valid argument, and I've pointed out why. The point here is not religion; the point here is invalid logic.
Actually, there's a lot of questions around my OP. So there's room to wander a bit.

" If Jesus discarded Mosaic law, why is homosexuality still wrong but eating shrimp isn't? If Mosaic law is binding, why do you ignore most of it? The argument is about the arguments people make from the Bible, not the Bible itself."

This is one part of my question.
Another are the differences in translations, some which drastically change the meaning of sections.

And Bill, you're correct, it is a hammer. But the counter hammer is the one where people pick and choose what to cite, while being woefully ignorant of the work as a whole, it's meanings and reasonings, etc.

Also, I think someone who is telling me that being gay is a sin, better not have a mohawk, a skull tattoo and be gnawing on a bbq pig rib with a copy of Sleezy Ridher sticking out of his polyester blend overalls. I might have to stone him for heracy or something. (The hippies had it right...everyone must be stoned. They just found a non-violent way to do so. :D)

There's also the whole "lets dip our bullets in pig blood and shoot terrorists" crowd who is ignorant that the 'pig unclean' argument also can apply to Jews and Christians too.

Then there's the does the old test apply to Christians question. Some say yea some nay. If it's nay, why is it even included in the book? Etc.

So, idea foder. :D
 

punisher73

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He also said: "For truly I tell you, 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." Matthew 5:18

Your argument, while essentially correct, also ignores the fact that many Christians use Mosaic law as an argument for why this or that is a sin. The point that Bob and others are making is that you can't go all in on the Mosaic law that impeaches people you don't like, but ignore or explain away Mosaic law that is inconvenient to you.

What is the context of that verse and where does it come from? It is from Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount", if you quoted the next verse, you would note that Jesus is criticizing the religious leaders of the time because they follow the "letter of the law", but not the "spirit of the law". Jesus ALWAYS taught from the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. Jesus and/or his disciples were criticized for not following Jewish "law" while he was alive, for example, not washing hands in the ceremonially prescribed manner or doing "work" on the Sabbath.

Jesus (and most Christians) understand the purpose of the old law. It is to have a better relationship with God and as a spiritual path. Laws that have to do with Israel as a kingdom, or for members of the tribe of Levi, or agricultural laws for Israel do not apply to us today. It is NOT a matter of picking or choosing as I said in my previous post, it is understanding the differences between the spiritual laws and the "housekeeping" laws.

On the other side of the coin, name some spiritual laws from the Torah that Christians don't keep or think are wrong? Again, not the housekeeping laws due to poor hygiene or poor food management.
 

punisher73

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I'm not a biblical scholar, Sean, but I recently read that wasn't the case at all. Our idea of family didn't really evolve until well into the 16th century. Most of the bans against homosexuality,contraception and abortion happened as a response to the Anabaptist movement.

Historically speaking, much of the hate in the bible is the result of political manipulations relatively late in life.

Which is my main issue with your point, Bill. If your faith tells you homosexuality is unacceptable, that's your right. But don't point at a millenia-old, five times translated, severely politically compromised document and say it tells you to hate somebody.

The Torah has remained consistant from it's earliest versions that have been found. Are there some that were made with that purpose, yes. But, those are not the norm and the original intent is still known and can be translated.
 

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