Want Some Answers ???Introduction
(Kristof will try and sell you what he writes, you can read it for nothing here)
Nicholas Kristof, you say -
>>We can cherry-pick biblical references to homosexuality, ignoring the message of love<< (Oct. 23, 04)
Also repeated at - http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/10/31/1099189931254.html?oneclick=true
My response will likely be ignored but surely you appreciate the importance of truth and accuracy? Truth in journalism is ambiguous at times, but the record needs to be put straight. You wrote -
>>So when God made homosexuals who fall deeply, achingly in love with each other, did he goof? That seems implicit in US legislative efforts to oppose gay marriage.<<
Most bible readers know God does not make homosexuals "fall deeply, achingly in love". That was not His plan, He intended male and female to 'love' each other and procreate. Homosexuality cannot fulfill this plan, it 'opposes' God's purposes, and 'ignores the message of love". Even science now refutes the gay-gene theory. They are not 'born that way', if they were, why aren't babies sexually active at birth? - www.trueorigin.org/gaygene01.asp
>>Over the past few months, I've been researching the question of how the Bible regards homosexuality. Social liberals tend to be uncomfortable with religious arguments, but that is the ground on which political battles are often decided. I think it's presumptuous of conservatives to assume that God is on their side. But I also think it's stupid of liberals to forfeit the religious field.<<
The bible as 'God's Word' must be allowed to determine God's 'side' of any disagreement. It's a fact 'conservatives' will accept that, but 'liberals' often will correct, dismiss or ignore it.
And 'the bible' determines how the bible must be understood. The bible key is given to those who have God's Spirit (Rom.8:5-8 Jn.15:26). The Holy Spirit guides the 'researcher' into the mind of God and truth (1 Co.2:14 Jn.5:39,40). These facts are disregarded by 'liberals'. But if they're true, and you haven't been 'born of the Spirit', then you will struggle to understand God's will in the bible (Jn.1:12-13, 3:3-7, 1 Pe.1:23).
>>Some scholars, such as Daniel Helminiak, author of What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, argue that the Bible is not anti-gay. I don't really buy that. It's true that the story of Sodom is treated by both modern scholars and by ancient Ezekiel as about hospitality, rather than homosexuality. In Sodom, Lot puts up two male strangers for the night. When a lustful mob demands they be handed over, Lot offers his two virgin daughters instead. After some further unpleasantness, God destroys Sodom.<<
It's true homosexuality was not the only sin, but the bible has made 'Sodom' synonymous with Sodomy (Lev.18:27 20:13 1 Cor.6:9 1 Tim.1:10). And its not for lack of 'hospitality' that God destroys Sodom, but the practice of Homosexuality - "the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly… the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous… they said, bring those men to us so we can rape them" (Gen.13.13, 18.20, 19:4-5).
>>As Mark Jordan notes in The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, it was only in the 11th century that theologians began to condemn homosexuality as sodomy.<<
'Churchmen' in 390 opposed it (p.97 Church History in Plain Language, Zondervan 1982). The Old Testament was 'the bible' of Jesus and the early Christians, it's 'condemned' there long before "the 11th century". (See the 1st Epistle of Clement 150-c 215 ch.11 1st Apology of Justin Martyr ch.27 c100-c 165 etc). The condemnation of 'sodomy' is not a new "Invention". "There shall be no sodomite of the sons of Israel... these are abomination unto the LORD" (Deut.23:17-18). The theologians indicate - "the voices of Scripture and tradition merge in a consistent condemnation of all homosexual acts (cf. Lev.18:22 20:13 Rom.1:24-27 1 Cor.6:9-10 1 Tim.1:9-10)" p.639 New Dictionary of Theology. Inter-Varsity Press. 1988).
>>In fact, the most obvious lesson from Sodom is that when you're attacked by an angry mob, the holy thing to do is to offer up your virgin daughters.<<
If the bible seriously read then the "most obvious lesson" is not one wrong justifies another. God didn't punish Mr Lot, but He "rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire… all the plain and all the inhabitants of the cities" (Gen.19:24-25). This is 'the most obvious lesson' and indicates your mock overlook the simple facts.
>>Still, the traditionalists seem to me basically correct that the Old Testament does condemn at least male anal sex (scholars disagree about whether the Hebrew phrasing encompasses other sexual contact). A plain reading of the Book of Leviticus is that male anal sex is every bit as bad as other practices that the text condemns, like wearing a polyester-and-cotton shirt (Leviticus 19:19).<<
Concerning mixed clothes Leviticus says "you must not". But regarding 'anal sex', it says "put to death". So "a plain reading of the Book of Leviticus" reveals degrees in punishment (Lev.19:20 cf Lev.24:16). If not, show me where God rains fire on those with mixed clothes.
The origin of the rules against such clothes might be uncertain, but not with 'anal sex' (Gen.19:15). No punishment mentioned for one, but the other - "You shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination" or you will be "put to death" (Lev.18:22, 20:13).
>>As for the New Testament, Jesus never said a word about gays, while he explicitly advised a wealthy man to give away all his assets and arguably warned against bank accounts ("do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth").<<
But Jesus did say a 'word about gays'. He said at Sodom God "destroyed them all" (Lk.17:25). If they had known Him and repented, they wouldn't have perished (Mt.11.23-24 Lk.10:12). An 'obvious lesson' about sexual perversion. And Jesus said, better to 'give away all your assets' than incur God's judgment. As Jude wrote, "don't forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbouring towns full of every kind lust including lust of men for other men. Those cities were destroyed by fire and continue to be warning to us that there is a hell in which sinners are punished" (Jude 1.7).
>>Likewise, Jesus praises those who make themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, but conservative Christians rarely lead the way with self-castration.<<
Jesus says anyone capable of abstaining from marriage to walk closer with God, can (Mt.19.12). Perhaps, a good solution for homosexuals who desire to obey God, because Jesus would say, even 'castration' is better than entering 'hell fire' (Mk.9:43). Its hard for those who won't deny their lust or money to enter the Kingdom (1 Cor.6:9 1 Tim.1:10).
>>Theologians point out that that the Bible is big enough to encompass gay relationships and tolerance - as well as episodic condemnations of gays. For example, 1 Samuel can be read as describing gay affairs between David and Jonathan.<<
Any can interpret the bible with imagination and prove anything. Imagination is limitless. But if the bible interprets itself, the relationship between David and Jonathan is not homosexual and nothing suggests otherwise. We should not assume when the bible says 'love' it refers to a sexual relationship.
While you use the word 'gays', the bible says "Sodomites". A term of reproach for those who practiced sodomy (Deut.23:17; 1 Kgs.14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kgs.23:7; Job 36:14). A practice referred to as wicked (Gen.19:4-14) punished by fire (Gen.19:24,25) and condemned in the law (Lev.28.33 Duet.23.17-18).
>>In the New Testament, Matthew and Luke describe how Jesus cured the beloved servant of a centurion - and some scholars argue that the wording suggests that the pair were lovers, yet Jesus didn't blanch.<<
The imagination can 'suggest' anything, but if the bible is read with the plain, simple, clear meaning nothing is suggestive. Jesus 'didn't blanch' because nothing in 'the wording suggests' homosexuality, and surely He would know (Jn.4:17-18). Biblical expressions like "valued highly" (Lk.7:2) 'love' or 'marriage' never suggest sodomites are included.
>>The religious right cites one part of the New Testament that clearly does condemn male homosexuality - not in Jesus' words, but in Paul's. The right has a tougher time explaining why lesbians shouldn't marry because the Bible has no unequivocal condemnation of lesbian sex.<<
The "unequivocal condemnation" of "lesbian sex" is found in the very 'passage' you mention "…even their women turned against God's natural plan for them and indulged in sex sin with each other…and as a result getting paid the penalty they so richly deserve….they were fully aware of God's death penalty for these crimes yet went ahead and did them anyway" (Rom.1:24-32).
The "death penalty" refers to the Law. In the Law the words, 'cursed is he'.... 'man.....' '....mankind' include all (Deut.27:15-26 Lev.18:22-29). The law applied to male, female and children.
>>A passage in Romans 1 objects to women engaging in "unnatural" sex, and this probably does mean lesbian sex, according to Bernadette Brooten, the author of a fascinating study of early Christian attitudes toward lesbians. But it's also possible that Paul was referring to sex during menstruation or to women who are aggressive during sex.<<
Once again the imagination reads into the text something not there. The plain and clear meaning of Paul's words doesn't suggest 'menstruation' or 'aggression'. It's impossible to get that from Paul's words.
>>In any case, do we really want to make Paul our lawgiver? Will we enforce Paul's instruction that women veil themselves and keep their hair long? (Note to President Bush: If you want to obey Paul, why don't you start by veiling Laura and keeping her hair long, and only then bar gay marriages.)<<
"Paul's instructions" about women 'veiling' applied to prayer in church. And he enforces no law that women's hair must be 'long'. Yet these are small matters, for he demands an immoral person be excommunicated (1 Cor.5:1-13). And warns homosexuals won't enter the kingdom (1 Cor.6:9).
Funny for you to instruct 'President Bush' about the bible. Paul instructs you. Nicholas, "You disagree? And do you think that the Knowledge of God's will begins and ends with you? You should realise that what I am saying is a commandment from the Lord Himself" (1 Cor.14:36-7).
>>Given these ambiguities, is there any solution? One would be to emphasise the sentiment in Genesis that "it is not good for the human to be alone", and allow gay lovers to marry.<<
And after God says, "it is not good for man to be alone" He says, "I will make a companion, a helper suited to his needs" (Gen.2:18-22). He then made Eve, not Steve, nothing ambiguous about God's 'solution'.
>>Or there's another solution. Paul disapproves of marriage except for the sex-obsessed, saying that it is best "to remain unmarried as I am".<<
But Paul allowed freedom for any to marry, "they commit no sin" and "do well". And "to remain unmarried" he said, was not a "command from the Lord" but related to the urgency and importance of God's work (1 Cor.7:25,27,36,38).
>>So if we're going to cherry-pick biblical phrases and ignore the central message of love, then perhaps we should just ban marriage?<<
And this is the aim of Nicholas Kristof and the homosexual loony left. Destroy marriage. A cherry-picker of 'biblical phrases' can get any 'message' they want from the bible. And their aim is to undermine all values of decency on which a stable society is built and sustained.
Every study undertaken overwhelmingly demonstrates the traditional family – father/mother/children – is the most important social institution. And those children generally have a greater opportunity for a well developed and successful life.
And don't ignore the behaviour which characterize homosexual social relationships. It's inherently injurious and prone to disease (ie AIDs). And the psychological dynamics which drive homosexual desire are themselves destructive to emotional and relational well-being of those involved.
Thanks for your message. This is an automatic response, because I can't respond individually to the emails…………I do appreciate both the compliments and the complaints………Thanks very much.
BTW - Kristof (a liberal) is happy if America launches military strikes on Nth Korea (as he has said). Not because he cares about Nth Korea's liberation, he would be the first to complain and criticize if it was done by President Bush.