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Old 06-14-2001, 10:53 AM   #1
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Post The Word of God: Homosexuality/Hypocrisy


Not having spent a lot of time on this forum, I suppose what follows has been flogged about to death. If that's the case, and you're so inclined, slug it a few more times. If not, as you were. . .

As is the case with so many other issues, I'm constantly amazed at the dishonest practice of so many Christians who use scripture selectively to affirm their personal biases. Homosexuality is a prime example. The usual chapter and verse suspects include Leviticus 18:22:

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination."

It's sure tough to misinterpret THAT! But why don't I ever see many of the other verses from Leviticus cited with comparable righteous indignation? For example, just two chapters later, Leviticus 20:10 says:

"If a man commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death."

Now, I'm no biblical scholar, but, in terms of clarity, as with Leviticus 18:22, the death penalty for adultery couldn't be ordered more plainly than that. Again, no confusion or misinterpretation possible. So, it would only seem logical and honest to me that those who spend so much time railing against homosexuality should spend at least as much time and energy trying to get legislation passed to execute convicted adulteres. To avoid doing so is the height of hypocrisy, is it not? And if there was one word that Jesus used throughout the gospels to castigate his enemies, it was "hypocrite" -- "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES..." Sound familiar?

God, speaking through the author of Leviticus, also wants us to kill folks who dishonor their parents, and on and on. Tons of nasty stuff. But, I guess if we're going to be good Christians and believe homosexuality is an abomination, we've got to be honest and believe the whole Leviticus laundry list, don't we? Or am I missing something?

And, of course, the problem isn't limited to just the Old Testament. As all Bible students know, the great and illustrious, self-appointed apostle Paul -- the quintessential theologian/Christologist -- is pretty specific about homosexuality being an affront to God in Romans 1:26-27. Discussing "those who suppress the truth by their wickedness", Paul says:

"Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity."

Again, pretty hard to misunderstand that.
But, this same Paul, in his letter to Titus, is more than just a little loosey-goosey on the subject of slavery.

Paul had left his sidekick, Titus, on the island of Crete to "straighten out what was left unfinished..." In a subsequent letter to Titus, Paul tells him to straighten out slaves as follows:

"Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not steal from them but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."

Yeah, right. If the Bible is REALLY the "Word of God", and "our Savior", Jesus, is God, and God is speaking through Paul, that particular passage sure does make God's teaching sound attractive all right, doesn't it? Makes one wonder how, in the slave markets in America in, say, the 1820s, a black mother should have reacted as she was sold to a particular bidder, and her children were separated from her, and one another, and sold individually to other bidders. I guess she should have tried to "please" her master. She shouldn't even have "talked back" according to the infallible Christian authority, Paul.

Oh, well, just because I see blatant hypocricy everywhere in certain Christian denominations today, and just because I'm at a loss to reconcile it with the teachings of Jesus, the very man who Christians of all stripes worship, it doesn't for a minute mean it all can't be reconciled. In fact, I'm fairly sure that within 24 hours there'll be answers right here on this thread that will explain it all to me in terms even I can understand. Then again, maybe not.

 
Old 06-14-2001, 11:51 AM   #2
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Well, the theists are not jumping on this. This particular piece of hypocrisy has been pointed out before, especially in regard to Republican leaders who want to legislate "family values", so you would think they would have a ready answer.

Congressman Pete Stark has even made a point of it in the halls of Congress:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Pete Stark is a liberal Democrat who has represented the East Bay for nearly 30 years, an MIT-trained engineer who once put peace symbols on the checks of the Walnut Creek bank he started.
What happened in Congress last month was hardly peaceable. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported that a Ways and Means subcommittee was scrutinizing the overlap of welfare policy and marriage, and Stark observed how curious that was, given that the "two previous Republican speakers both had extramarital affairs" and that a GOP conference chairman's children "were all born out of wedlock."
The conference chairman is Oklahoma Republican J.C. Watts, and two days later, after he got wind of this, Watts cornered Stark on the floor of Congress. "Visibly angry," he demanded to know why his children had been drawn into this.
Someone must have told Watts that Stark referred to four children, and Watts told Stark the number was wrong. Stark, a witness said, retorted, "Then how many were there?" It was then that other congressmen led Watts away.
Stark's tongue has stirred up trouble before. He ragged on California's conservative former state welfare director Eloise Anderson, saying she would "kill children if she had her way," and lately opened fire on the Bush administration's spending plan--released during Easter week--as "the embodiment of the Antichrist. . . . It turns its back on the poor, it turns its back on education and health care for young children. The holiest week of the year, to release this budget that flies in the face of all Christ's teachings is infamy."
Stark's office said he was merely noting "that Republican leaders have not always practiced what they preach," and regarding Watts, "if he overstated the number of children involved, he apologizes."
Of Watts' five children, the eldest was born out of wedlock. Stark, age 69, is the father of five, including a 5-year-old child.
</font>
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Old 06-14-2001, 11:58 AM   #3
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Fred,

I wrote an article on this topic if you're interested.

http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=28

Fundamentalists' reponses are floating around somewhere in the archives. They are wholly inadequate. Christians are usually completely blindsided by the hypocrisy argument because it is possible to hold them to their own standards of "plain sense," etc. and their arguments start getting laughable.
 
Old 06-14-2001, 01:35 PM   #4
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Toto and Le pede, Thanks. You both confirmed my expectations that the subject of selective Biblical hypocricy had been driven through the table. But just thought I'd toss out my comments.

Toto, I wasn't familiar with Pete Stark. I appreciate the heads-up. I'll have to keep an eye on him. And your reminding everyone of the cynical hypocricy of the "family value" crowd on Capitol Hill was enjoyable. I've always said that one of the greatest political maneuvers of all time was Clinton getting serviced in the Oval Office, and both Newt Gingrich and his successor, having to resign. If that ain't justice, then I've never seen it.

Le pede, I read your article. You said it all, and said it extremely well. How professed holy folk can justify the kind of dishonesty you so aptly describe has been and continues to be a mystery to me. Falls into the same catagory as astrology and numerology as far as credence is concerned. But the ongoing denial of the demonstrable hypocricy is darkly unique, I think.


[This message has been edited by fred pratt (edited June 14, 2001).]
 
Old 06-14-2001, 04:07 PM   #5
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Smile

I thought Leviticus only pertained to the Preistly tribe of Levi. IOW's if you're not a Levite forgetaboutit.
 
Old 06-15-2001, 11:16 AM   #6
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Isn't there ANY biblical apologist sneaking around out there who is secure enough in their faith to take a shot at straightening me out on this topic? You undoubtedly realize that without having the courage of your convictions, and not being willing to take on the tough questions, you ought to find a different forum to shadow -- maybe something like wrangling over angels on pinheads would be about right.

[This message has been edited by fred pratt (edited June 15, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by fred pratt (edited June 15, 2001).]
 
Old 06-16-2001, 04:08 AM   #7
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Fred:
I probably shouldn't play your little game, since I am sure you are actually perfectly intelligent - intelligent enough at least to come up with the question (Feel guilty at this point if you copied the question from elsewhere). But I'll spell it out for you.

Firstly. Christian are under no obligation to enact any or all of the laws given in Leviticus: See especially Galatians and also Romans on Paul's clearly spelt out argument for this. The law imposed on Christians is to "Love the Lord... and love your neighbour as yourself".
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by fred pratt:
The usual chapter and verse suspects include Leviticus 18:22:

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination."

It's sure tough to misinterpret THAT!</font>
Yes, it is clear: Homosexuality is a bad thing in God's eyes.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But why don't I ever see many of the other verses from Leviticus cited with comparable righteous indignation? For example, just two chapters later, Leviticus 20:10 says:

"If a man commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death."</font>
It is just as clear: adultery is a bad thing in God's eyes. Wow.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Now, I'm no biblical scholar, but, in terms of clarity, as with Leviticus 18:22, the death penalty for adultery couldn't be ordered more plainly than that.</font>
Nope, but we've got this thing called "forgiveness". I suggest you go take a look at the story where an adulterer is brought before Jesus.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Again, no confusion or misinterpretation possible. So, it would only seem logical and honest to me that those who spend so much time railing against homosexuality should spend at least as much time and energy trying to get legislation passed to execute convicted adulteres.</font>
Clearly: no. They should be railing against both adultery and homosexuality though. In my opinion the Church as a whole has missed the boat in criticising adultery and divorce.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">To avoid doing so is the height of hypocrisy, is it not?</font>
No. Hypocrisy is not practicing what you preach. This is simply inconsistency in enforcement. It would only be hypocrisy if the people railing against homosexuality were homosexual themselves. This is probably why there is such a low level of criticism on adultery and divorse - that would be hypocrisy... sad really.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">God, speaking through the author of Leviticus, also wants us to kill folks who dishonor their parents, and on and on. Tons of nasty stuff.</font>
Indeed. It is nasty and this is a good reason why Christians don't do it.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But, I guess if we're going to be good Christians and believe homosexuality is an abomination, we've got to be honest and believe the whole Leviticus laundry list, don't we?</font>
Nope.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And, of course, the problem isn't limited to just the Old Testament. As all Bible students know, the great and illustrious, self-appointed apostle Paul -- the quintessential theologian/Christologist -- is pretty specific about homosexuality being an affront to God in Romans 1:26-27. Discussing "those who suppress the truth by their wickedness", Paul says:

"Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity."

Again, pretty hard to misunderstand that.</font>
Yup it's pretty clear - homosexuality is bad.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But, this same Paul, in his letter to Titus, is more than just a little loosey-goosey on the subject of slavery.</font>
Oh dear... not another "the Bible supports slavery and we know slavery is bad therefore the Bible must be bad".

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Paul had left his sidekick, Titus, on the island of Crete to "straighten out what was left unfinished..." In a subsequent letter to Titus, Paul tells him to straighten out slaves as follows:

"Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not steal from them but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."</font>
It seems clear that Paul is talking about Christian slaves here. He wants the Christian slaves to serve their masters well and their masters will therefore be attracted to the Gospel.

There is a BIG difference between slavery in the first century and slavery in the 19th. Almost everything which we claim is bad about slavery when we think of it was not applicable. In most people's minds the number one problem with slavery is the racism that goes with it "Blacks are inferior" etc, yet in the 1st century slavery was not by race and so this did not come into it. The second major problem with slavery is bad treatment of the slaves - this normally is a result of racism and as soon as slaves are given reasonable justice this problem also disappears.
Slaves in the first century were as a whole well treated and could often be influential people and have respectable professions (eg a doctor). It is far closer to the truth to equate a 1st century slave with a 20th century employee that a 19th century slave.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Yeah, right. If the Bible is REALLY the "Word of God", and "our Savior", Jesus, is God, and God is speaking through Paul, that particular passage sure does make God's teaching sound attractive all right, doesn't it?</font>
Personally I find the words "Word of God" problematic. What exactly does one mean by this? The teaching seems perfectly sound and logical to me. The passage neither supports nor complains about the concept of slavery it is merely sound advice to Christian slaves about their behaviour.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Makes one wonder how, in the slave markets in America in, say, the 1820s, a black mother should have reacted as she was sold to a particular bidder, and her children were separated from her, and one another, and sold individually to other bidders. I guess she should have tried to "please" her master. She shouldn't even have "talked back" according to the infallible Christian authority, Paul.</font>
I wonder what the watchers would have said if she hadn't talked back? Perhaps this would have given her a chance to spread the Gospel as Paul wanted? After all what are her alturnatives? -She can complain, which doesn't change her situation and removes the chance of spreading the Gospel. Personally I'd take Paul's advice any day - what do you think?

-Tercel
 
Old 06-16-2001, 07:57 AM   #8
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So, Tercel, do you see that adultery is more serious than homosexuality? Homosexuality is an abomination, but one can be cleansed of an abomination. The penalty for adultery is death by stoning. Clearly, the God of the Bible thinks adultery is far worse than homosexuality. Consequently, in my opinion, it is therefore hypocritical for Christian of Jews to rail against the one while mostly ignoring the other.

Old Testament, you say, and therefore not applicable? Then the hypocrisy lies in the same people crying for posting the so-called Ten Commandments (not what the Bible refers to as the Ten Commandments, but that's another discussion), which, being Old Testament, are not applicable.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, onetime darling of the religious right, was indeed condemning Clinton for the Monica thing while, and at the same time, having an adulterous affair himself. Hypocrisy? You betcha!

Don't like Newt? How about Jim Bakker? Jimmy Swaggart? Oh, heck make up your own list. The net result is that hypocrisy abounds in Christianity, at least as practiced in 20th/21st century America.

Isaac
 
Old 06-16-2001, 08:23 AM   #9
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Geez, Tercel, you can be kinda snotty for a Christian who claims that "The law imposed on Christians is to Love the Lord... and love your neighbor as yourself."

First you accuse me of playing "word games." Next, my intellegence is treated with sarcasm -- "...I am sure you are perfectly intelligent." And finally, you question my honesty by implying I may be guilty of plagiarism, "Feel guilty now if you copied the question from elsewhere." And that's all by the end of your second paragraph. What's wrong, aren't I your neighbor in theological terms? With love like that, I hope I don't meet up with too many more nieghbor-loving Christians. It's scary. Shame on you. Jesus ain't gonna like that. Incidentally, just for the record, I didn't have to "copy" the questions, Tercey. I'd wager I've read the Bible every bit as much as you have -- tons of times over the years. And one doesn't need to be "perfectly intelligent" to see the glaring contradictions and inconsistencies. In fact, with a single reading, an eight-year-old would probably spot the junk in Leviticus as being so wild and wooly that to pay attention to, let alone WORSHIP, the God revealed therein would fall far outside the boundaries of sanity. And literalist or not, your precious Christianity was founded upon that very God. You can't diconnect the two testaments, else Christianity instantly topples. As I recall, the divine master himself went out of his way to assure his disciples that not a single syllable of the Law would ever change. So, the self-appointed, wild-eyed messianic mouthpiece, Paul, notwithstanding, chuck the Old Testament, with its messianic tradition, and you've stripped the New Testament of any meaning whatsoever. Or are you another cafeteria Christian who uses scripture selectively to argue with guys like me who think the whole shebang is screwy?

But that's all an aside. My original point was simply that, as my examples showed, huge numbers of Christians drool over using Leviticus and Paul selectively to condemn homosexuality, but scrupulously avoid citing passages in the same books that would make them look like patent idiots. You can call that what you want. I call it hypocricy (you know, pretending to believe something -- like killing adulterers and supporting slavery -- when you don't). But here's the clincher, Tercey. You're guilty of this gaff yourself. After pointing out that Christians aren't bound by Leviticus -- which, therefore, dismisses its relevence -- you agree that Lev. 18:22 validates that "homosexuality is a BAD thing in God's eyes."

Hold it. If you and big Paul insist that Christians aren't bound by the stuff in Leviticus, what kind of sense does it make to claim that a verse in that book reveals a valid opinion of your God's about anything? YOUR God teaches "love and forgiveness". You said so yourself. But it ain't over yet. You then go on to agree that Lev. 20:10 affirms that "It's clear: adultery is also a BAD thing in God's eyes." Talk about wanting it both ways! You claim you're not bound by Leviticus, then you cite it to prove God's opinions. Is there anything wrong with that picture? Besides being nonsenical, I mean.



But enough trivia. Let's get to the serious stuff:

Honest, Tercey, I hardly know where to BEGIN to deal with your torturous attempts to justify the Pauline position on slavery. You would've been a tremendous help to Bill Clinton during the impeachment process. Your pathetic defense of ancient slavery, and Paul's obvious approval of the practice makes Clinton's famous utterance "It depends on what 'it' means" look like a coherent statement.

I have niether the time nor inclination to deal with the entire mess you wrote, so I'm just going to cite a few quotes. You said things like:

"In most people's minds the number one problem with slavery is the racism that goes with it 'blacks are inferior, etc..."

Oh REALLY? Well, just a couple of observations here: First, where the hell is the evidence to support that foolishness? The obvious "number one problem" with slavery is the unspeakable EVIL involved in the ownership of one human being by another. Next, your assertion implies that "most people" would feel a lot better about salvery if slave and owner were of the same race. Oh? Would YOU feel better about it? Yeah, right.

You then go on to say:

"The second major problem with slavery is bad treatment of the slaves -- this normally is a result of racism, and as soon as slaves are given reasonable justice this problem also disappears."

LOOK, THE ONLY GODDAMN 'REASONABLE JUSTICE' YOU CAN GIVE A SLAVE FOR CHRIST'S SAKE IS HIS OR HER FREEDOM.

I'm going to end this here, Tercey, because, as you can see, I'm having real difficulty remaining civil on this subject. I'll just say that if you think you can justify slavery in ANY form, at ANY time, in ANY place, just to rescue St. Paul from drowning in his own pool of ignorance, and, thereby, preserving your tenuous hold on his pernicious theology, then do it. I don't want any part of that shit.
 
Old 06-16-2001, 09:25 AM   #10
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I've been reading this thread with interest and am compelled to jump in. Thanks Fred for starting it.

The "cafeteria" method of interpreting the bible is a serious problem infesting fundamental/evangelical Christianity. Consider how sexual matters are handled as compared to matters of the tongue. While the god they worship is often seen as excessively prudish, he doesn't seem to have a problem with slander, gossip, arrogance, and like expressions. Christians who think and act like this, plus those who know about it and do nothing to address it, I hold in utter disdain.

I will use Romans 1 to show the disingenuousness of such Christians. After addressing homosexuality, it says beginning in vs 28 - "And even as they did not retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting...sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters...who, knowing the righteous judgment of God that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."

Now, you Christians who have a problem with homosexuals, you had better have a problem with the deceitful, whisperers, backbiters, etc., and especially those in your midst who claim to be Christians!

While I am sure many here on the Secular Web like to interact with the Christians who post, I think said Christians would do well to get their own houses in order. I cannot speak for others here, but you have absolutely no testimony with me.

Mel
 
 

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