Thursday, January 13, 2005

Andrew Sullivan's suicidal religious beliefs

And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13

Remember, I'm an atheist, so obviously I don't believe anything in the Bible represents the word of God. But Christians like George Bush believe it, and that's why I find Andrew Sullivan's statement today, "I share Bush's faith, admire it, respect it," to be incomprehensible.

Andrew Sullivan is gay. How can he share faith in a religion that says he should be put to death?

And why do so many other openly gay people also want to be part of that religion?

19 comments:

mikeca said...

"Furthermore it has been said, "Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Mathew 5:31-32

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, "You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Mathew 5: 27-28

If you believe this to be the literal word of God, then a lot of people are guilty of the sin of adultery too.

Jesus died for our sins……..

Bowly said...

I'm not a Christian either, but some people believe it is a translation error; the original words were "bedman" and "bedwoman" which some believe referred to prostitutes.

So homosexuality wasn't forbidden, just male prostitutes.

R said...

What the hell does it matter to you what a gay person chooses to believe? Why should you question it?

"Libertarian?" I think not.

FireWolf said...

I agree with you on this issue LG.

Old Blind Dog said...

Pointing out Sullivan's hypocrisy has nothing to do with caring what he thinks.

As for the question "why do so many other openly gay people also want to be part of that religion?", it is because they make up "their" interpretation of the religion as they go along, picking and choosing scripture as it suits them in order to arrive at a comfortable position in which they feel justified. If you disagree with the exegesis they have arrived at then you are labeled a homophobe, e.g. no scholarship is necessary. Only wishful thinking.

Steph said...

>...it is because they make up "their" interpretation of >the religion as they go along, picking and choosing >scripture as it suits them in order to arrive at a >comfortable position in which they feel justified.

So what? Everyone picks their own (interpretation of) religion so that they feel comfortable with it. I don't think homosexuals are any exception, nor should they be.

Unless, of course, one is indoctrinated from birth into a particular religion...

Ricky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Old Blind Dog said...

So what? Everyone picks their own (interpretation of) religion so that they feel comfortable with it.And they would be wrong. If you read the Gospels it will become apparent that Jesus was a threat to the establishment specifically because he pointed out that you can't interpret the scriptures in any old way you want. There is a correct way. The Pharisees were not following it and had polluted the Temple. Later on Martin Luther got into hot water with the Pope for the same reason (pointing out the flaws). He would have been put to death were he not protected by his Prince.

Now I don't care which way someone does it since I don't think it matters (I'm atheist). But the simple fact is that the text says that one is either correct or one is not. You don't get to leave out the parts you don't like.

Alex said...

The Bible doesn't explicitly state that homosexuality is evil. To "lie" with someone refers to sexual relations. That passage doesn't refer to homosexuality but the specific act of homosexual sex.

I'm Roman Catholic, so I can't speak for other faiths, but the Church has accepted that homosexuality is something that occurs naturally and cannot be reversed. What the Church teaches is that homosexuals are called to a life of chastity. Since they cannot marry in the church, it means no sex. A homosexual can still be a member of the church. (Source -- USCCB: Catechism of the Catholic Church, Chapter 2, Article 6, lines 2357-9)

Besides that, Bush doesn't belong to an official religious denomination. He was "converted" by Rev. Billy Graham, but beyond that has no other ties with organized religion. He's basically invented his own version of Christianity. I don't think that this is something to be commended.

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

Criticizing someone else's beliefs is not unlibertarian. Trying to get government to legislate your beliefs over someone else's is what's unlibertarian. LG didn't say anything about government forbidding Andrew Sullivan from being Christian so there was nothing unlibertarian about her post. Libertarians can have all sorts of opinions about what people should and shouldn't do, should and shouldn't believe, should and shouldn't say, etc. We just don't try to force our opinion onto others through the power of the state.

Jeremy Pierce said...

The Christian view is not that Andrew Sullivan should be put to death. It's that, were he in ancient Israel, he would be put to death. How the Torah is applied in contemporary Christianity is a complex issue, but no one thinks it directly applies as written to those not under it's particular convenantal jurisdiction. Christians believe that it contains particular regulations that symbolize things to come under Christ but not continued as moral or legal requirements, an overall picture of the nature of God and how God deals with his people, and timeless principles reiterated in the New Testament. One of the last category is that gay sex and gay relationships go against God's created order, though this is by far not one of the most-emphasized moral teachings. What isn't continued is the death penalty administered by God's people for certain actions, which Christians takes to symbolize the spiritual death awaiting those who do not repent of rebellion against God.

Steph said...

>If you read the Gospels it will become apparent that >Jesus was a threat to the establishment specifically
>because he pointed out that you can't interpret the >scriptures in any old way you want.

But the reality is that people *do*... why else are there a gazillion Christian sects, plus many more that the more fundamentalist groupings disown altogether (Mormons have Judeo-Christian roots, as do Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, etc.). Some groups have extra documents, some groups interpret the language differently, etc.

Remember that the Bible is a copy of a copy of a translation of a copy of a copy. As far as I'm concerned, there is no way to know what the Bible once said with complete accuracy (unless, of course, you believe that Bible version 31.4 has been perfectly preserved by God...).

(Honestly, the verse in question obviously deals with bisexuality... if you don't lie with womankind at all...)

Old Blind Dog said...

But the reality is that people *do*... why else are there a gazillion Christian sectsYes, that's correct...in the past certain groups differed in interpretation. But they went somewhere else to form a new sect. In the case as we are discussing it that is not what is happening is it? These people are trying to force their interpretation on an unwilling congregation (such as the lesbian minister in the UMC). I'm certain that a new sect or church could be formed with interpretations that are friendly to just about anyone. But that isn't the point. The homosexuals in the church, just as in the case of gay marriage, are trying to force society to accept their behavior as "normal".


Remember that the Bible is a copy of a copy of a translation of a copy of a copy.That is not true. There are quite good copies of the texts available.


As far as I'm concerned, there is no way to know what the Bible once said with complete accuracy You may think what you want but modern scholarship does not agree with you.

Steph said...

>Yes, that's correct...in the past certain groups differed in interpretation. But they went somewhere else to form a new sect.

And the congregations can still do that today, if they want to pitch such a fit about it.

>The homosexuals in the church, just as in the case of gay marriage, are trying to force society to accept their behavior as "normal".

This is another argument, of course, but prove it isn't "normal". Animals do it, so at the very least it's "natural". Scientists are beginning to find genes and biological roots for homosexuality. And so what if a group of people doesn't consider it "normal"? Define normal.

>There are quite good copies of the texts available.

Exactly. They're *copies." How do you determine if a copy is good unless you have the originals?

And are you talking about the ones that were written decades after Jesus' death, claiming to give a perfect account of his life (if you believe that the Bible is a perfect set of books, divinely inspired)? The two sets of documents that seem to disagree with one another in some respects (the Alexandrian line and the other line)? Even if you compare and contrast American English Bibles, you can find differences in the text (and they aren't even a good example, as you can't fully trust translations anyway). Once you get to the end of the Bible, it's obvious that many of the "books" were written as rebuttals to other documents that we don't have access to, so we *can't* have a full understanding of the Bible (Jude comes to mind easily, as well as many of Paul's writings). How can you know which Bible is correct, when some fundamentalists claim that all other Bibles are written by Satan (and support this, though somewhat dubiously) when their version of the Bible is the hardest of the translations to read?

Old Blind Dog said...

Steph said:

And so what if a group of people doesn't consider it "normal"?That's just it. They decide. It is "their" church, "their" religion. As you also said, people are free to go start their own sect that ignores the rules they don't like that are part of the traditional (or conventional or conservative, whichever you like) church. The traditional church is protected by the first amendment and can have whatever rules it wants. You have assumed that I am defending the texts on theological grounds. I am not. I am simply saying that churches have a right to their interpretation and to continue to worship in the manner they see fit without outsiders demanding that they change to accomodate them. It is not okay, or constitutional, to force any church to accept homosexuals just because certain segments of society have changed their mind about the subject. Besides, the churches I know do accept homosexuals. They just require that they cease to "sin" in order to be "saved".

Steph said...

>I am simply saying that churches have a right to their interpretation and to continue to worship in the manner they see fit without outsiders demanding that they change to accomodate them.

I think it's a small group of people within the church that are trying to change it. Besides that, I think we pretty much agree. I wouldn't force a church to accept belief X, though I'd probably be prone to criticize why I think they shouldn't.

I definitely don't think they should be forced to, though, if that's the impression you were getting. Government influence in religion = bad

Sean said...

Scientists are beginning to find genes and biological roots for homosexuality.That's open for debate. A more accurate statement would be that some scientists are beginning to find genes they believe are biological roots for homosexuality.

But back to the topic here.

President Bush is a Christian. Andrew Sullivan is a Christian. The Old Testament contains Jewish Law. Christ's sacrifice freed the Jews from that Law. Gentiles were never bound by that Law.

Homosexuality is not a sin. Homosexual actions are the sin. For the atheists in the audience, Christians believe that you hate the sin but love the sinner. And let's not forget, every real Christian knows that we are all sinners. Not one of us is good in the eyes of the Lord. The most we can do is accept the Grace provided by the Lord and work really really hard not to screw it up.

Steph said...

>A more accurate statement would be that some scientists are beginning to find genes they believe are biological roots for homosexuality.

That's more or less what I meant about beginning to find... there's still many more studies that need to be done, but many biologists/geneticists believe that there is a genetic root, if you will, a genetic predisposition.

>President Bush is a Christian. Andrew Sullivan is a Christian. The Old Testament contains Jewish Law. Christ's sacrifice freed the Jews from that Law. Gentiles were never bound by that Law.

>Homosexuality is not a sin. Homosexual actions are the sin.

About that... most of the scripture condemning homosexuality is in the Old Testament Jewish law, correct? Yet most of the arguments I see make claims that there are two sets of law in the OT, moral and Jewish, that homosexuality is the former, and that all true Christians know the difference. Yet I don't see how this (For every one who curses his father or his mother shall be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his blood is upon him. -Leviticus 20:9) is Jewish law (as most claim) but four verses later, homosexual acts are part of the moral law.

(FYI, I'm an agnostic raised in a Christian environment... thought it would be relevant to the discussion as I know the basics of the Christian religion)

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