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Kath

Homosexuality And The Progressive Christian

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Hi Noel! Thanks for this response! I'll definitely do the request, thank you. Wow! From a Roman Catholic point of view? What an undertaking! Good to know there are some Catholics who consider themselves progressive. I guess in a way I shouldn't be surprised because, having been raised myself as primarily a Catholic, I realize they don't really get into the bible all that much as far as the fire and brimstone condemnation thing.

 

When I was young, I didn't understand a thing the priests were doing and that was fine with me. I just liked sitting in the church, smelling the incense, looking at the pretty colors in the vestuses (sp?) stained windows and candles. I loved that you could just say 10 hail marys and 5 our fathers and all would be put right rather than burning in the fires of hell if you slipped up. Stlll waters run deep I guess.

 

In any case, congratulations on your book and I'm sure it will be a winner.

 

Kath

Edited by JosephM

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Speaking as a gay man, the way I see it is any god who would torture someone for all eternity simply because of who they love is not a god worthy of worship and thus cannot be God at all. Whatever the OT says about homosexuality is irrelevant because Jesus' death superseded the old law and Christians are not required to follow the old law. Fundamentalists are cherry picking the bible when they cherry pick the Leviticus condemnation of homosexuality while ignoring the condemnation of eating shrimp or wearing clothes of mixed fabrics. Whether or not Paul condemned homosexuality or if it's all a mistranslation is also irrelevant because Jesus is supposed to be the center of Christian teaching, not Paul. Jesus never said anything about homosexuality and even assuming the traditional reading of Paul's views on sexuality are correct, Paul only spoke about homosexuality twice. Both Jesus and Paul spoke far more about religious hypocrisy, sectarianism, and judgmentalism than they did homosexuality. There are passages attributed to Paul that support slavery yet literalists have no problem ignoring those verses. If it's acceptable to "cherry pick" the bible verses on slavery, I don't see why we can't do the same with the two whole verses of the NT on homosexuality.

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Speaking as a gay man, the way I see it is any god who would torture someone for all eternity simply because of who they love is not a god worthy of worship and thus cannot be God at all.

Amen to that! In my little opinion, it's scripture like the ones cited above that enabled the Gnostics to further develop their views about a demiurge. Maybe folks who discriminate against and exclude glt people are serving the god below the true God! ;)

Edited by Sethian

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Speaking as a gay man, the way I see it is any god who would torture someone for all eternity simply because of who they love is not a god worthy of worship and thus cannot be God at all. Whatever the OT says about homosexuality is irrelevant because Jesus' death superseded the old law and Christians are not required to follow the old law. Fundamentalists are cherry picking the bible when they cherry pick the Leviticus condemnation of homosexuality while ignoring the condemnation of eating shrimp or wearing clothes of mixed fabrics. Whether or not Paul condemned homosexuality or if it's all a mistranslation is also irrelevant because Jesus is supposed to be the center of Christian teaching, not Paul. Jesus never said anything about homosexuality and even assuming the traditional reading of Paul's views on sexuality are correct, Paul only spoke about homosexuality twice. Both Jesus and Paul spoke far more about religious hypocrisy, sectarianism, and judgmentalism than they did homosexuality. There are passages attributed to Paul that support slavery yet literalists have no problem ignoring those verses. If it's acceptable to "cherry pick" the bible verses on slavery, I don't see why we can't do the same with the two whole verses of the NT on homosexuality.

 

Hi Neon,

As I read and "cherrypicked" what you stated, I find that you raise some very valid points. The two caveats I did find that most fundies cherrypick to ignore are these; Deut.5:22 and the Jot and Tittle proclaimation Jesus allegedly made.

My point is this; prior to the 40 day stint of Moses on Mt. Siani, a message was received at Deut.4:2 that condemns the addition of or deletion to the message Moses delivered upon his descent from Mt.Siani which he further emphasised by his witnessing of the Author of The Stone Tablets at Deut.5:22.

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I looked at these verses and saw nothing unusual or interesting. The Hebrew words are 'ish 'man,' zakar 'male' and 'isha 'woman.' They seem pretty mundane to me.

 

George

 

It seems to me that in this new "home", we have taken quite a few steps backwards. Before we left our old website, the issue of the Bible as the foundation of our thinking had been most thoroughly refuted and few of us were debating "facts" based on various conflicting Biblical assertions.

 

Now we are back to quoting scripture as "proof" and "evidence" as if the Bible had merely to be sifted through to discern the "truth" of our nature and existence. This, I assert, is folly and will lead inevitably to the same confusion that has plagued Western Civilization since mankind first conceived of a tangible diety and made up stories about the planets and the stars and Heaven and Hell and "Evil" and "Sin" and their own virtuosity as a group versus other groups' "Sinful" nature.

 

What goodness has emerged from quoting the Bible as a source of wisdom and truth?

 

What benefit is believing in, for instance, the Apocalypse or the symbolic assumption of guilt and atonement by one person or being on behalf of another? If sin is an invalid concept as those who wrote the Bible in their ignorance of the origins of disease have clearly demonstrated; if (as we know today) guilt cannot be effectively assumed by an innocent third party but must be negotiated by the original perpetrator, how valid are the writings of the Old Testament? And if the New Testament is based foundationally on the writings of the Old Testament, how much credence should we continue to give it?

 

How much farther down this path of folly and error do we wish to travel, believing that Christ COULD expiate our sins even by dying for three days whether or not His mother was a virgin at his conception and whether or not His Father/self/alterego was in half His genes or not?

 

Looking at the big picture, the Bible is wrong in so many places and in so many ways, continuing to use it as a first source in our search for Truth, Enlightment, or "Peace on Earth; Goodwill to all Men" is folly and doomed to end as most religious efforts at spirituality have ended: in conflict and war.

 

The study of the Bible is an exercise conducted in the brain and it effects a disconnect from our true spiritual centers which are in the body and connect us spiritually to all other humans, no matter what religions or beliefs or morals they support and proselytize. Until we as a species "get" the fundamentally divisive nature of religion and the fundamentally uniting nature of spirituality, we're going to be misled by almost all religious beliefs.

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Hello, Dave~

 

While your position has been supported by several on the old forum, including myself, these debates and biblical references aren't going away anytime soon.

 

For there to be any change, the thought process of those who do believe in the literacy of the bible also has to change, and that will take some doing. I reference biblical quotes as a means to put it on the table and dissect it, so that there may be some change in the process. When people have been raised thinking the bible is the word of God, they have to be shown otherwise.

 

Webster's dictionary and the Encyclopedia Brittanica are becoming extinct in form and substance as new information is found and published online. This transition might be possible for the book which has sold more copies in history than any other publication, but it won't happen if subjects like this are abandoned.

 

There is much work to be done.

 

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

 

Kath

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Hello, my new friends.

 

Let's get started.

 

I'd very much like to know the thoughts of 'progressive' Christians on the subject of homosexuality.

 

respectfully,

 

Kath

 

I think the issue of sexual orientation is a defining moment in the Church today. So far, I think the Church as a whole is failing miserably. Hell, there are still churches that won't even allow women full participation in anything other than the education of children (and the women who do invariable affirm the patriarchal, homophobic vision of Christianity).

 

I am encouraged by what I read and hear of progressive churches who embrace all members of the human community. I hate to be pessimistic, but I think it too little too late. The rest of the world has passed by leaving the Church in the dust. It's no surprise that the only churches that appear to be growing are those that stubbornly refuse to evolve.

 

I hope that I am wrong (and is part of the reason for joining this forum) and that the Christian Church can evolve past our historic prejudices. I've always imagined that the Jesus described in legend was a reformer and radical element of change. That's the Jesus I wish to follow.

 

NORM

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I think the issue of sexual orientation is a defining moment in the Church today. So far, I think the Church as a whole is failing miserably. Hell, there are still churches that won't even allow women full participation in anything other than the education of children (and the women who do invariable affirm the patriarchal, homophobic vision of Christianity).

 

I am encouraged by what I read and hear of progressive churches who embrace all members of the human community. I hate to be pessimistic, but I think it too little too late. The rest of the world has passed by leaving the Church in the dust. It's no surprise that the only churches that appear to be growing are those that stubbornly refuse to evolve.

 

I hope that I am wrong (and is part of the reason for joining this forum) and that the Christian Church can evolve past our historic prejudices. I've always imagined that the Jesus described in legend was a reformer and radical element of change. That's the Jesus I wish to follow.

 

NORM

 

Norm, I'm so glad I checked back on the forum tonite.

 

You express my thoughts exactly about the Jesus I wish to acknowledge and appreciate. If he didn't exist, I find that difficult to believe and choose not to. I think he was a radical, a lover, a sympathetic man, a mover and shaker. We need someone like him today because the other side is making too much progress and what Jesus hoped to accomplish has been lost on the new 'Christians' of today.

 

I firmly believe that there will be a transformational evolution. (might be on another planet, but what the hey)

 

Kath

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Looking at the big picture, the Bible is wrong in so many places and in so many ways, continuing to use it as a first source in our search for Truth, Enlightment, or "Peace on Earth; Goodwill to all Men" is folly and doomed to end as most religious efforts at spirituality have ended: in conflict and war.

 

The study of the Bible is an exercise conducted in the brain and it effects a disconnect from our true spiritual centers which are in the body and connect us spiritually to all other humans, no matter what religions or beliefs or morals they support and proselytize. Until we as a species "get" the fundamentally divisive nature of religion and the fundamentally uniting nature of spirituality, we're going to be misled by almost all religious beliefs.

 

Heh, makes me wish I were part of the "old" forum! I agree with you 100% As long as Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the Bible, there is absolutely no chance of evolution to a humanitarian Christianity, Islam or Judaism.

 

For a number of years, I was a member of a minyan with three atheists, four orthodox, three reformed and one agnostic (myself). We could only achieve any kind of agreement when we abandoned the Tanakh and focused instead on writings found in the Talmud. Eventually, the orthodox got tired of rending their clothing at every meeting. They shook the dust of secularism from their shoes and moved to Israel. Last I heard they were trying to settle in the contested areas.

 

NORM

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I firmly believe that there will be a transformational evolution. (might be on another planet, but what the hey)

 

Kath

 

I certainly hope so. I've been inspired by much of Bishop Spong's books devoted to inspiring a non-theistic form of Christianity. For me, the story of Jesus coming to the defense of the woman about to be stoned is a heroic tale worthy of my attention. Where is that revolutionary Jesus today?

 

I am looking forward to participating in this forum. I tried in vain to begin conversations in a forum called Theology Web on subjects such as homosexuality or non-theistic forms of Christianity only to be shouted and flamed by conservative, childish people who's sole purpose seemed to be score brownie points with other like-minded bigots. It has become overrun by intellectual babies and I've since given up on it.

 

NORM

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Hey, Norm~

 

You're far from the Norm and in a very good way. Seems we will settle in with a forum that works for us, and maybe this might fit the bill.

 

I'm giving it a go.

 

I totally agree with you about the story of Jesus coming to the aid of a woman scorned. That in itself is something that gets my attention as well. Whether or not the bible is valid as far as the word of God, that situation, for example shows us that not much changes in life, whether or not 'religion' expresses it for it's own purposes.

 

What the biblical writings are for me are basically a confirmation that (as I said) nothing changes in human life. Situations remain the same and people have developed religions in order to give them some order and confirmation in that process.

 

Those bigots are nothing in themselves. They're just lost people who are clueless and rather stupid and we have to look at them as people with road rage. Forgive them for they know not. Period. :-)

 

I look forward to interaction with people like you on this forum. I will miss our old forum, but I think this could be a good advancement, actually.

 

Kath

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What the biblical writings are for me are basically a confirmation that (as I said) nothing changes in human life. Situations remain the same and people have developed religions in order to give them some order and confirmation in that process.

 

Prior to reading Bishop Spong's book Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, I had pretty much consigned the Bible to a dusty, old bookshelf where I kept my dog-eared copy of Bonfire of the Vanities - it seemed just as irrelevant to my life. Now I read the Bible just as you describe - as a glimpse of a people struggling to understand their world. They got many things wrong, but they got some things right. However we came to behold the story of Jesus - myth or history - matters less than WHAT it says about the human condition.

 

 

Those bigots are nothing in themselves. They're just lost people who are clueless and rather stupid and we have to look at them as people with road rage. Forgive them for they know not. Period. :-)

 

LOL! Road rage! That's a terrific way of putting it.

 

I look forward to interaction with people like you on this forum. I will miss our old forum, but I think this could be a good advancement, actually.

 

Me too.

 

NORM

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It seems to me that in this new "home", we have taken quite a few steps backwards. Before we left our old website, the issue of the Bible as the foundation of our thinking had been most thoroughly refuted and few of us were debating "facts" based on various conflicting Biblical assertions.

 

Now we are back to quoting scripture as "proof" and "evidence" as if the Bible had merely to be sifted through to discern the "truth" of our nature and existence. This, I assert, is folly and will lead inevitably to the same confusion that has plagued Western Civilization since mankind first conceived of a tangible diety and made up stories about the planets and the stars and Heaven and Hell and "Evil" and "Sin" and their own virtuosity as a group versus other groups' "Sinful" nature.

 

What goodness has emerged from quoting the Bible as a source of wisdom and truth?

 

This never occurred in this thread.

EDIT: I have a bad habit of not writing a second or third sentence when necessary. My apologies. Slavish devotion to the Bible is a bad thing, and a whole host of horrible things are done in the name of Biblical inerrancy and other problematic theological ideals which you will not found defended by the average poster here. That said, to blast a guy for wanting to check whether the King James accurately translated a term as slavish devotion seems... misplaced.

Edited by Nick the Nevermet
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Now we are back to quoting scripture as "proof" and "evidence" as if the Bible had merely to be sifted through to discern the "truth" of our nature and existence.

 

Excuse me but it does not logically follow that a discussion of the Hebrew meaning of a word means that the writer(s) are "quoting scripture as 'proof' . . ."

 

I meant no such thing and I read no such assumption into the comments that I was responding to.

 

George

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Slavish devotion to the Bible is a bad thing, and a whole host of horrible things are done in the name of Biblical inerrancy and other problematic theological ideals which you will not found defended by the average poster here.

 

Nick,

 

I think the salient phrase in your post is "in the name of Biblical inerrancy."

 

I don't think that Biblical inerrancy is the underlying motivation for hateful views. The Bible does not make people racist, sexist or homophobic. There are racist and homophobic people who have never read the Bible and others who are atheists. As an example, we cannot fault the Bible for anti-homosexual laws in the USSR or Red China. These laws were promulgated by radical atheists.

 

IMO, the role the Bible can, but not necessarily, play is in giving an authoritative justification for one's views on these subjects. But, it doesn't follow that one who views the Bible as authoritative need be hateful in their views. And, those who use it for authoritative justification began with a hateful predisposition.

 

George

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".... Slavish devotion to the Bible is a bad thing, and a whole host of horrible things are done in the name of Biblical inerrancy and other problematic theological ideals which you will not found defended by the average poster here..."

 

I agree with you and disagree with George W. He maintains that "The Bible does not make people racist, sexist or homophobic..." I believe that the bible does, in fact, influence some people to the point of making them become all of those things because of the powerful influence it has over people.

 

They read the bible and take it literally. The inerrancies take the form of interpretation as well as inaccuracies in translation and possible content. People often let the clergy do the thinking and just listen to the fire and brimstone and think they will be on the path to heaven if they only follow the teachings of the bible.

 

I was once, very briefly, held under the spell. I look back on what I can only be described as having drunk the coolaid and wonder how that could happen. It's a very powerful thing, Christian teachings.

 

If I can call myself a progressive Christian, it would only be because I believe in the concept, if not the reality of a man named Jesus who taught the way I believe people should follow. To me, that is progress, leaving the bible behind and incorporating other cultures similar values toward mankind.

 

Kath

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Hey, Norm~

 

You're far from the Norm and in a very good way. Seems we will settle in with a forum that works for us, and maybe this might fit the bill.

 

I'm giving it a go.

 

I totally agree with you about the story of Jesus coming to the aid of a woman scorned. That in itself is something that gets my attention as well. Whether or not the bible is valid as far as the word of God, that situation, for example shows us that not much changes in life, whether or not 'religion' expresses it for it's own purposes.

 

What the biblical writings are for me are basically a confirmation that (as I said) nothing changes in human life. Situations remain the same and people have developed religions in order to give them some order and confirmation in that process.

 

Those bigots are nothing in themselves. They're just lost people who are clueless and rather stupid and we have to look at them as people with road rage. Forgive them for they know not. Period. :-)

 

I look forward to interaction with people like you on this forum. I will miss our old forum, but I think this could be a good advancement, actually.

 

Kath

 

Hi Kath,Norm,

I ran across some information that reminds one of the Spong genre of thought, that you both might find enlightening and edifying. It's called the "Shadow of the Third Century".It addresses where we possibly went wrong in our religious mindset.

I posted it here on the forum with the link. Look for my latest post. If you don't find it, just google that title,It should come up.

The Juanster

Edited by Juanster

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I read something interesting recently, I think it was from Greg Boyd. The Bible (both old and new testament) mentions the issue of same-sex relations around 6 times....The Bible mentions the responsibility to end poverty and suffering over 3,000 times....so (according to greg, I think it was ) how has homosexuality become THE defining moral issue for so many Christians? Why hasnt ending poverty and suffering become the defining moral issue?

 

I really like that greg boyd! :)

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I read something interesting recently, I think it was from Greg Boyd. The Bible (both old and new testament) mentions the issue of same-sex relations around 6 times....The Bible mentions the responsibility to end poverty and suffering over 3,000 times....so (according to greg, I think it was ) how has homosexuality become THE defining moral issue for so many Christians? Why hasnt ending poverty and suffering become the defining moral issue?

 

I really like that greg boyd! :)

 

Zaida, interesting point about the general (3,000 to 6) Biblical theme.

 

IMO-- stated ad nauseam here -- the focus on social issues (including homosexuality), reflects the worldview of conservative Christians. The salient point is 'conservative,' not 'Christian.' Conservatives in non-Christian contexts have quite similar views. Fundamentalism, I think, is a reaction to a rapidly changing world by those who are uncomfortable with change.

 

George

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Zaida, a P.S.

 

Abortion stands along with homosexuality as one of the headline Fundamentalist issues. And, interestingly, there is not a single explicit mention of this in the Bible. And, one passage in the OT that is pertinent, suggests that the fetus is the property of the parents. So, it would be hard to argue that Biblical texts motivate their position.

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW

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The Bible (both old and new testament) mentions the issue of same-sex relations around 6 times....The Bible mentions the responsibility to end poverty and suffering over 3,000 times....so (according to greg, I think it was ) how has homosexuality become THE defining moral issue for so many Christians? Why hasnt ending poverty and suffering become the defining moral issue?

 

Ending poverty is hard work.

 

Condemning behavior that you know for certain you would never be "guilty" of yourself is easy.

 

NORM

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Hi Kath,Norm,

I ran across some information that reminds one of the Spong genre of thought, that you both might find enlightening and edifying. It's called the "Shadow of the Third Century".It addresses where we possibly went wrong in our religious mindset.

I posted it here on the forum with the link. Look for my latest post. If you don't find it, just google that title,It should come up.

The Juanster

 

Thanks Juanster! I started reading it. You can find it HERE

 

NORM

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Another example of a fundamentalist belief without Biblical support is abstinence from alcohol.

 

When I was a child in the small-town South, many Protestants thought that drinking was sinful. Yet, a word count of 'wine' in the Bible gets 303 hits. And, many of the heroes were said to drink wine. In fact, Jesus himself is reported to be a wine maker when a party came up short.

 

So, while abortion has no Biblical support and drinking alcohol lots, these are considered sins by Fundamentalists. How can we explain this if the Bible is the source of Fundamentalist attitudes?

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW

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Hi Kath,Norm,

I ran across some information that reminds one of the Spong genre of thought, that you both might find enlightening and edifying. It's called the "Shadow of the Third Century".It addresses where we possibly went wrong in our religious mindset.

I posted it here on the forum with the link. Look for my latest post. If you don't find it, just google that title,It should come up.

The Juanster

 

Juansterooni,

 

(Juan, first I want to mention that it was I who dubbed you the Juanster in our Spong forum :D . I'm sure everyone is thrilled with that bit of trivia)

 

I read through it quickly and am going to print it out. I think whomever wrote it is brilliant and I look forward to reading it.

 

xoKath

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