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The Bible And Homosexuality

"With out the Bible we could say that there are various forms of alternative marriages"

To echo Linda's comment above, I offer that WITH the Bible we could say there are various forms of alternative marriages.

The Bible isn't made to sanctify our petty views. If you really believe in Jesus, then you have to go with his teaching that the Law is to be of service to humanity, not the other way around, for the Law is only from limited consciousness.

January 24, 2010 at 6:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Is America A Christian Nation?

If you can come away from a reading of the bible with that sort of idea, then you just wasted a good few weeks.

Biblical illiteracy will do more damage than biblical literacy. Put down the TV and video games and take a year or two to open the book, draw on other resources to enhance what it is saying, and then keep an open mind. And don't forget to check it out with your own lived reality.

But remember it is a library of its own sort and it won't make any more sense in reading it cover to cover than would reading any other random shelf of book. In the same way, it is written from so many perspectives and over such a huge period of time that it would not make sense any more than if you took 66 people from the last thousand years and tried to make sense of their personal journals, contracts, creative writing, shopping lists and genealogies. All that underscores that truth requires a whole community.

Contrary to popular belief, it takes a big mind to read it and get something out of it. But if you leave it closed, then you will be prone to silly notions that a nation like ours, with the largest military EVER, crushing debt heaped upon all citizens, an ethic of permanent private ownership of land could possibly be acting with God's blessing. Oh, and this on the day that the court gave the go ahead to corporate giving to candidates! Christian nation? Hardly. Go read your OT prophets and the parables and sermons of Jesus... you'll see. It is really a book that is soooo radically opposed to what America is today.

While some will use the worst of Leviticus to back up their anti-homosexual agenda (as we heard a few days ago on TD), few will be so ready to turn to Leviticus to draw upon the laws governing economics. No usury. Return land and possessions on a regular to people who fell into debt. Let land go fallow every 7 years... What would this nation be without usury (interest/debt)? Free, maybe? Not where we are now? That would be something!

January 21, 2010 at 6:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Bible And Homosexuality

"At the end of the day you can believe whatever you want (no matter how ridiculous and unfounded in reality), but religion should have NO say what so ever in how we form our laws. Endorse that kind of thinking and the next thing you know we'll have to make burnt offerings to god, require women to stay away from us while menstruating, no more eating shellfish, stoning people to death for using the "lord's" name in vain, not wearing clothing of two different types of cloth and so on..."

Maybe if you are stuck in the most limited consciousness layers of the Hebrew Bible. Some might argue that if you endorsed religious thinking, your politics might be informed by humility, selfless service toward others, patience, cooperation, non-violence...

If you do profess to be an atheist, then maybe the layers of religious consciousness are things you have not looked into. The stuff people love to hate about the OT is the most basic level; the stuff that Jesus did and left for us to ponder, the most evolved level.

January 21, 2010 at 5:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Bible And Homosexuality

"The bible is full of gems like the above, and yet I could give you pages and pages of examples that contradict one another and some of which are so ridiculous as to leave one to wonder HOW any rationale person could base their life on it. "

The Bible, the Hebrew Bible specifically, is about the complicated faith path that defined Israel. If someone were to look at the journals that any of us write, or indeed the journal of this very nation, one would find many contradictions and shameful things that led to who we are now. That Israel decided it was the better and more prudent thing to leave intact the undignified parts of their past and let that be part of a more or less progressive trend across several thousand years, is a respectable thing. That is the sign of spiritual evolution. These days we'd call it making friends with your shadow, incorporating the ugly parts of your being.

Besides, any one of the books of the Bible were penned and redacted by different people of different abilities to understand what had come before. Some had agendas, others were illiterate. But it does a person good to maintain a full record of who they are lest they fall into self-aggrandizement.

January 21, 2010 at 5:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Bible And Homosexuality

"The Bible is a strange book. It says having sex with your father (if you are a girl) is ok if you "think" you are the last people in the world, and suggests getting him drunk first." --ischlink

It does not suggest any such thing. It is a narrative that gives a mythical backstory to the origins of tribes that the Hebrews were at odds with. It is more of a slight to feared or hated peoples. Bad neighborliness, if anything.

The thing is, the resulting tribe of that incestuous union, the Moabites, according to the storyline developed in both testaments, later had a daughter named Ruth, who in turn was included as a grandmother in the genealogy of Jesus--the point being that God can make something out of even enemies and "degenerate" stock, and can do so in such a fashion that some would even consider it the salvation of the world. The Christian confession that Jesus would be a son of such a tribe is one way to illustrate that God can work with anything, anytime, and anywhere. It is meant to humble the believer.

There are a lot of things that the Bible says that are not directives. It would be fair to recognize when things are presented that way or not.

While we're at it, Lot's wife was warned not to look back or she'd be turned to salt. It doesn't say in my NRSV that God did the salty work. Only that she had to pay the price for looking back, a predictable result in a dangerous situation that they were in. What if for example a Haitian was told last week to not look back while all was in a state of collapse? Was it God who crushed him in the falling rubble? Or does it make enough sense that some situations can't be met with indecision and when the word "go" is the order, then one must go?

January 16, 2010 at 8:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Bible And Homosexuality

Many many woes arise out of a huge problem of biblical illiteracy in this nation. You can read the book for any of a number of reasons, and at many levels. There is no one right way to read the Bible, but the smallest minded way is to use it to limit the rights and freedoms of people. The strongest thread in the entire book is that God wants dignity for all people--and a premium is put on the wellbeing of the poor, orphaned, widowed, and marginalized of all sorts. The Bible starts with wholeness in Genesis where things are "good" just as they were created. It ends in Revelation with a new wholeness. In between is a lot of misunderstanding and fearful human drama that often obscures the divine efforts. But the point is made: where we came from is good, and where we are going to is good. If only our flawed dualistic thinking can get out of the way. One irony I can't get over is how the anti-homosexual voices will proclaim Christianity but will use Jewish sacred texts to do so, all the while ignoring the simple law that Jesus put down: love your neighbor as you'd want to be loved. The Levitical laws had their place and purpose for a while--hundreds of years before Jesus. By the time Jesus came to teach, he regarded them as limited and therefore not worthy of being followed if they don't make better, more compassionate humans of us.

If we don't humanize our sacred texts and use them to make all people welcomed to a dignified life _as they are, where they are on their journey_, then maybe these texts really have expired in their usefulness and should be forgotten and wiped out. But I don't think that is the case. Bravo to Ms. Patterson for keeping the faith, even as she claims she lost it.

January 9, 2010 at 11:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )