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March 29, 2012

Comments

Thanks so much for this well written article. I will dfinitely use this in my ministry. This is definitely an issue that needs the input of information as shared in this article. Good job. God bless.

I would also like permission to post this article on my own personal blog. Who do I contact for permission? Thank you. God bless.

Great article Alan,

Thank you.

Alan stated...

If it can be demonstrated that just one person has changed, it would falsify the claim.

No, it wouldn't. Not from a logical point of view. Sexual orientation IS inate. I did not "choose" to be straight, any more than a gay person "chooses" to be gay. You couldn't MAKE me be gay at gun point. My heterosexuality is inate.

Do we agree on that much?

IF someone can force themselves (by shock therapy, by sheer will, or whatever means) to abandon their natural orientation, that does not logically falsify the point that orientation is inate.

Is that not something we can agree upon?

Alan...

it should be noted that people reported change was possible thousands of years ago. The sixth chapter in the biblical book of 1 Corinthians states that some of the inhabitants of the city of Corinth were homosexuals. But the passage goes on to say, “Such were some of you…” indicating that some of them were able to change

Whoa, now you are really stepping beyond just logical, rational analysis and reading IN TO the scripture something that simply isn't there. Let's take a look at the passage in question...

do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you

1. The first thing we need to recognize is that the word translated "effeminate" is poorly translated, as is the word here translated "homosexual."

2. The word translated here as "effeminate" in the greek (malakoi) is literally translated "soft." The connotation of the word in the context of the day, I'm told, was generally more like "lazy" or "degenerate," or "soft like a woman..." One MIGHT GUESS that Paul's intention was something like the modern English, "effeminate," but in context, it sounds more like it's referring to the practice of male prostitution - men who literally made themselves soft like a woman in order to attract clients. Regardless, we can't assume this word means simply "swishy males," as we might be inclined to at a casual glance at this passage.

3. Similarly, the word translated here as "homosexual," is almost certainly NOT referring to homosexuals. Their was a greek word for homosexual. It wasn't used here. Instead, Paul appears to have made up a word (arsenokoitai), which literally translated means "man, bed." We can't assume that this must mean "homosexual," and even moreso, we can't assume this means "all gay behavior." That would be sloppy biblical exegesis and reasoning. It COULD mean that, but it seems doubtful and we can't assume it means that.

4. In any case, these two ambiguous words ("the soft" and "man-bed") in a list of other behaviors that are all exclusively and obviously bad behaviors. Thieves, swindlers, fornicators, drunks, the greedy... These are a list of behaviors people engage in when they're doing bad stuff, committing harmful actions.

5. In regards to this list of bad behaviors, Paul says "and some of you were some of these," indicating that some of the Corinthians were formerly engaging in bad behavior.

6. Thus, to take this list which includes a word that MIGHT be translated "gay" but almost certainly isn't rightly translated "all gay behavior" and to look at Paul's conclusion - that they had abandoned the bad behavior - can NOT be rationally used to say, "THEREFORE, in Corinthians, some people changed their orientation..." One might GUESS that that is a POSSIBLE meaning of the Scripture, but one can not logically assert it authoritatively, as you've done here, Alan.

Can we agree on that? That at best, it's a possibility, but it's certainly not a given (and, to me at least, it's not likely)?

Dan -

Granting for the purpose of discussion the hypothetical assertion that homosexuality is not condemned in the New Testament, how would you respond to this:

1) Axiom: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
2) Jesus is God
3) God inspired both the new and old testaments
4) The old testament clearly indicates homosexuality is a sin
5) Jesus said that not one word of the Old Testament would be wiped away

Therefore:

Based on His guidance from the Old Testament, Jesus overtly condemns homosexuality, and He does not overtly support it in the New Testament.

Thoughts?

arseno koitai arseno
http://www.equip.org/articles/is-arsenokoitai-really-that-mysterious-

Does a pedaphile have a choice?

I imagine it's in an effort to establish some type of "common ground" here, Dan, but why so many appeals to "agree"? While the Word of God can be mined forever to discover the rich nuances it contains, it is also for the common man of less sophisticated learning to build a godly life upon. The straight-forward reading and understanding of His Word establishes that foundation. While scholarly pursuits can enrich and deepen our understanding, such things are frequently beyond the resources of many believers. More importantly, a deep commitment to faith in what God says is the bedrock of belief. No amount of disagreement with what is written from the standpoint of seeing Scripture as being crafted just for the folks of that era, or citing disagreement with what it says because it seems "illogical" holds much sway with those whom He has called to faith. While many here have the references and learning ability to check and cross check verses, many others in this world do not; His Word stands the test of time.

Son of Adam asked me...

Based on His guidance from the Old Testament, Jesus overtly condemns homosexuality, and He does not overtly support it in the New Testament.

Thoughts?

Thanks for the respectful question, "son." My thoughts are that this is a poor/wrong way to go about studying the Bible and thinking about the Bible. I intend no offense, I'm just trying to give my honest answer here. Let me try to explain...

1. IF the Bible were a literal rule book, then all we'd have to do is find lines in the Bible where it offers rules and follow them. Easy!

2. BUT, none of us (NONE of us - Left, right or otherwise) think this. It's not a literal rule book and each rule found in the pages of the Bible is not a universal rule. I'm quite sure we agree to this (that is, most of us probably don't think it's right to kill "men who lay with men," even though that is a direct command from God found in the Bible, nor do we think it a sin to cut the hair on the side of our head, even though THAT is a rule found "on the next page" before the command to kill men who lay with men, etc).

With me so far?

3. IF, then, the Bible contains SOME rules that are universal in nature but also some rules that are temporal in nature, then it's just a matter of having a system for figuring out which are which. Not quite as easy, but do-able, right?

4. And this is the typical evangelical approach to dealing with OT teachings, right?

5. The problems with this approach? There is no consistent criteria for saying, "well, Lev 18: 22 is a UNIVERSAL rule, but Lev. 18: 16 was a TEMPORAL rule and Lev 20: 22 in the FIRST HALF of the verse is universal, but the LAST half was only for Israel..." and so on and so forth. The Bible simply provides NO SUCH criteria for sorting out which "rules" are universal and which are "temporal." In fact, the Bible never speaks of "universal" or "temporal" about any of the rules in its pages.

With me so far? Do you have any consistent, logical rubric for deciding which rules apply today and which don't?

6. A further problem with that approach is that it's simply not biblical. In the case of OT rules, they are given SPECIFICALLY to ancient Israel in their SPECIFIC time and place. "Israel: Do not be like the pagans around you," God said. "Israel: Do these things to differentiate yourselves..." Those rules are specifically for Israel.

7. Does that mean that ALL the rules have no witness or are not true for us? Of course not. The OT tells us not to shed innocent blood and that is a truth for all times and places (although, admittedly, many folk - Christians included - think it IS okay to shed innocent blood sometimes, places like Hiroshima and other war-time situations, so even there, many Christians have a loophole).

8. The thing is, the Bible is NOT a rule book. It is a book of Truth and Truths. It teaches us to study scripture to educate and correct ourselves, but NOT to glean a list of specific rules. Jesus helped point this out: "Sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath..." The rules were just there to help us live aright, not as a graceless and iron-clad way to decide which sinners to kill and which sinners to simply warn or banish.

9. Thus, in reading the Bible, we are seeking general Truths about how to live aright. We really ought not shed innocent blood, we really ought to be concerned about the poor, we really ought to love our neighbors, our families and even our enemies! etc, etc. These are truths and the Way to live. But as soon as we start bogging down into literal and graceless rule-abiding, we have fallen prey to the sin of the Pharisees and abandoned Great Truth for petty rules.

Is that making sense? It's what makes sense to me.

10. Finally, beyond all that, the OT does NOT overtly condemn all gay behavior. It's simply not in there. There are TWO texts that say (in context): Israel, don't be like these pagan nations. They worship false gods, sacrifice children to them, have pagan sex rituals in their temples. But YOU, Israel, don't be like that. Your men should not lie with men. If they do, kill them!" These TWO passages are strongly asserting how Israel needs to NOT be like the pagans around them (look it up, it's there - Read the whole Holiness Code [Lev 17-24, or something like that...]) and the pagans practiced these temple sex rituals. This is NOT a condemnation of healthy, wholesome, committed, loving, faithful marriage/family situations between gay or straight people. It simply does not appear to be that way, to me and those like me, at least.

Does that answer your question?


carolyn...

but why so many appeals to "agree"?

I'm just trying to clarify if we have understanding. I'm not trying to "force" an agreement where none exists, I'm stating something that I think is simply a rationally, observable reality and asking, "Can we agree on that much..." and, if so, then we can move on. If not, then we can try to sort out where we disagree. Does that make sense?

carolyn...

While the Word of God can be mined forever to discover the rich nuances it contains, it is also for the common man of less sophisticated learning to build a godly life upon.

Agreed wholeheartedly. I am, after all, a less sophisticated common fella, myself.

Carolyn...

The straight-forward reading and understanding of His Word establishes that foundation.

I guess I'd have to have a caveat or explanation here. "Straight-forward" is subjective and prone to error. If ONE person's "straightforward" understanding is that, "well, the Bible doesn't condemn slavery, it doesn't condemn concubinism and, in fact, seems to endorse these things, then BASED ON THAT STRAIGHTFORWARD understanding, I'm gonna get me some slaves and concubines! woohoo!" That WOULD be based on a straightforward reading, one could argue, but it would be a poor conclusion.

Does that sound reasonable? (And is that preferable to "can we agree"?)

On the other hand, I don't think the Bible's truths are too complex, if we approach it aright. The OT was written in a time where the writing style tended towards Epic and Mythic, in a time before Modern History style of storytelling had developed with an eye on factual accuracy and linear exact-ness. Given that, a straightforward reading of Genesis, for instance, is simple enough: It's telling the Truth of a Creator God who loves the world. I get it, no problem. IF, however, I begin with a bad assumption ("the Bible is a history book in the modern sense, and each of its stories must be literally factual on every point..."), well then, it's easy to get off on our understanding of its great truths.

Does that sound reasonable?

Carolyn...

More importantly, a deep commitment to faith in what God says is the bedrock of belief.

While I agree wholeheartedly with the notion of a deep committment to God's ways, the problem with this, Carolyn, is God has not "said" anything to us, not to you, not to me. Not in an audible "Here's what I want you to do, Carolyn" sort of way. Right?

Rather, we have a set of Scriptures that we agree are useful for teaching, for correction and edification, but, as with any text, WE must use OUR reasoning (prayerfully, seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance, but still OUR reasoning) to sort it out. Am I correct?

This is important because it has historically been pretty easy for humanity to conclude "Well, 'God told me...' so I MUST do it..." when it wasn't "God" telling anyone anything, it was THEM conflating THEIR UNDERSTANDING of God, with God.

Can we agree that it is vital that we not conflate our mere opinions with "what God said..."?

Carolyn....

His Word stands the test of time.

Indeed. And yet, our fallen human condition and ability to be mistaken ALSO stands the test of time.

Am I mistaken on that point?

A couple of other points...

I said "inate" earlier (more than once, sigh!). Of course, "innate..." d'oh!

JD asked...

Does a pedaphile have a choice?

I'm not entirely sure of JD's point here, but if I may, here are a few observations...

1. Pedaphiles cause great and devastating harm. It is a forced and oppressive action. When people (conservative, religious folk, anyone) compare gay folk to pedaphiles, it is an offensive and ugly comparison and many people will write off those who makes such comparisons as ugly and offensive and irrelevant and immoral.

I'm not saying that JD's brief query was intended as a comparison, hopefully not. Just a word to be cautious about how we use our words. Careless words can cause great harm.

2. IF someone has an innate condition (and all of our sexual orientations certainly would be one) and that innate condition/inclination is one that causes harm, then that innate condition is NOT a good one and can't be written off casually as simply, "Well, God made me with this tendency to rape, drink, kill, abuse, whatever, so it must be good...," that would be poor reasoning.

3. Behavior can easily be measured "good" or "bad" by obvious harm caused and by whether or not it causes harm to innocent bystanders. IF you're engaging in behavior that causes harm to innocent bystanders, then that behavior is not a morally good behavior, observably so, based upon the Golden Rule and simple self-evidence.

4. And so, some innate characteristics (eye color, skin color, sexual orientation, "handed-ness," etc) cause no obvious harm and it would be wrong to compare such innate conditions to OTHER innate conditions that do cause harm (a tendency to abuse drugs, a tendency to harm others). Apples and oranges.

What if the harm is not obvious?

Dan, you are a popular man today!

As to your first post. It seems important to you to have everyone agree that sexual orientation is innate. I do not know of any evidence that this is indeed the case. But let me grant you your point. So what follows from that? Alan's point, as I read the post, was focused on the immutability aspect of the claim, not the inborn aspect of the claim.

Where does the innateness of a trait or characteristic take us in this discussion?

On top of ignoring the question of mutability, Dan has already erased the relevance of innateness by trotting out a laundry list of more important considerations, including force, oppression, harm, great harm, obvious harm, self-evidence, etc.
The principle seems quite ready to evaporate into the subjective realm.

Brian...

It seems important to you to have everyone agree that sexual orientation is innate.

It makes not a bit of difference to me what anyone's opinion is. This seems to me to be a simple observable real world fact.

In truth, in the real world, I NEVER "chose" to be straight. In the real world, my parents did not "teach me" to find gals attractive. It was natural, innate, inborn, part of who I am.

Is that any different for you, Brian, or anyone else here?

I'm just stating what seems like an obvious, observable real world fact, but I'm open to evidence otherwise.

Brian...

Alan's point, as I read the post, was focused on the immutability aspect of the claim, not the inborn aspect of the claim.

Well, I gave the evidence of what appears to me to be the observable fact that people are born with their orientation. I then further offered the personal evidence that there is nothing that anyone can do to make me find men sexually attractive. In fact, I'm relatively sure that any efforts to force such a change on me personally would result in psychic harm. It would HAVE to be forced and, with no reason to think it healthy or logical to do so, that would seem unwise and immoral.

I guess I'm not questioning IF we could potentially "MAKE" someone change orientation. I'm sure we could (at least enforce outward conformity). My question is, Is it wise, healthy or moral to do so? The consensus amongst the experts is, "No." and rationally, that makes sense to me.

Brian asked...

Where does the innateness of a trait or characteristic take us in this discussion?

If something is natural and not harmful, then it would seem (rationally speaking) to be at least ethically/morally neutral. From a strictly rational point of view, I don't see any way around that. Is there such a thing in the real world that is natural AND not innately harmful that is somehow morally "bad..."?

A tree is natural and it is not causing harm, is there some sense in which that tree is "bad?" The human desire to protect one's children is natural and, the desire itself causes no harm. Is there reason to think that desire "bad?"

I can think of not a single real world instance. You?

Along these lines, Daron raised at least two points, saying...

On top of ignoring the question of mutability

I did not ignore it. I said, "IF someone can force themselves...," thereby allowing the notion that it's theoretically possible, and continued to note that just because we CAN do something, doesn't mean we should.

Daron also said...

The principle seems quite ready to evaporate into the subjective realm.

I fail to see how anything I've said is especially subjective. I've noted the subjective nature of Alan's initial commentary (for instance, claiming authoritatively that the Corinthian passage demonstrates conclusively that forced change happened in the early church - very subjective, not factual, but a guess/opinion) and I offered the objective reality that I am by nature heterosexual, I was not taught it, I did not choose it. Those are objective points, are they not?

On what point do you think I'm being subjective?

I had stated...

Behavior can easily be measured "good" or "bad" by obvious harm caused and by whether or not it causes harm to innocent bystanders.

And I THINK in response to that, Daron asked...

What if the harm is not obvious?

If I engage in behavior (let's say because it's "natural" to me, although that may be questionable in most instances) that causes harm to others, then I think we can safely call that "bad" behavior.

IF the behavior causes harm to others but the person doing it is unaware of the harm, then that would still be "bad" behavior, but it would not have been intentional and I would question whether we religious types could rightly call that a sinful behavior (although there would probably be a spectrum of accountability involved).

Some examples to illustrate:

1. Suppose a person in 1900 liked to smoke cigarettes. His doctor smoked and everyone else he knows does it and no one is aware of any harmful side effects. But then, as a result of his constant smoking in his house, his daughter gets cancer.

Harm has been done. It wasn't intentional, but as it turns out, it WAS observably "bad" behavior, it just wasn't deliberately bad.

2. Suppose, then, a person in 2000 liked to smoke cigarettes. He heard about the warnings of the dangers of second hand smoke, but HE was raised in a household of smokers and had no damage, so he simply didn't believe the reports. As a result of his smoking, his daughter gets cancer.

Harm has been done. Although he had been informed of the dangers, he sincerely didn't believe the warnings. As it turns out, it WAS bad behavior and he SHOULD have known better, but his own ignorance got the best of him. It wasn't deliberately bad, but it WAS bad and stupid, to boot.

I'd say in both instances, that the behavior in question was observably (eventually) bad, but unintentional. The second person, having had more knowledge, is probably rationally considered more culpable for his unintentional bad behavior.

What do you think? With me so far?

In short, even if the harm is not obvious, IF there is harm, then it is my belief that we can rationally call harmful behavior "bad," with varying degrees of moral culpability, depending largely on awareness of the problem.

That said, from a purely rational, observational point of view, I can see NOTHING harmful or even potentially harmful about two people living a marriage life (including sex) in a committed, loving, faithful, respectful, compassionate relationship. On the other hand, I CAN see harm being done by DISCOURAGING such relationships (that harm including that people might reject "morality" altogether, reject the church and/or God altogether, that people might rebel by embracing licentious behavior to spite the moralizers, etc).

Can you find any observable harm in a committed, loving, faithful marriage relationship, gay or straight? Any downsides that you can think of that are demonstrable?

Hi Dan,

Harm has been done. It wasn't intentional, but as it turns out, it WAS observably "bad" behavior, it just wasn't deliberately bad.

Good stuff. So the harm does not have to be "obvious" and the act can still be bad because of that harm.

Cool? Are we on the same page?

That said, from a purely rational, observational point of view, I can see NOTHING harmful or even potentially harmful about two people living a marriage life (including sex) in a committed, loving, faithful, respectful, compassionate relationship.
You can't?

Well, let's go back a few steps and, at the risk of being ugly and offensive, continue to investigate where you DO see obvious, grievous, HARM - pedophilia and pederasty. Many people disagree with you that there is harm being done here. Agreed? With me?

No, I can't. Again, can you?

Of course harm is done when adults take advantage of children (either by force or manipulation). I don't see how that is related in the slightest to sexual orienation.

Daron!

And "many people" disagree that harm is being done with child sexual abuse? Really? Define "many..."

I know you're a fan of the English language and dictionaries, Dan, so how about this:

man·y (mn)
adj. more (môr, mr), most (mst)
1. Being one of a large indefinite number; numerous: many a child; many another day.
2. Amounting to or consisting of a large indefinite number: many friends.
n. (used with a pl. verb)
1. A large indefinite number: A good many of the workers had the flu.
2. The majority of the people; the masses: "The many fail, the one succeeds" (Tennyson).
pron. (used with a pl. verb)
A large number of persons or things: "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).
Idiom:
as many
The same number of: moved three times in as many years.
[Middle English, from Old English manig; see menegh- in Indo-European roots.]

Here are some of them:
http://www.wnd.com/2011/06/39783/

And lots of people responding to these situations see no harm whatsoever, even though it is plain and obvious to you.

SteveK?

Daron...

Here are some of them:
http://www.wnd.com/2011/06/39783/

1. WND is a notoriously unreliable website, you'd do better to find a more trustworthy source.
2. They appear to be listing many situations where only an allegation has been made, not a conviction.
3. EVEN IF each of these were an instance of adults sexually abusing children/enticing them into a sexual relationship, there are 13 pages of about 8 people on each page. Roughly 100 sex abusers (IF WND were reliable and IF these charges were true).
4. EVEN IF these were all 100 instances of actual sex abusers, we don't know that they think child sex abuse is good.
5. In our nation, we have ~300 million people. I would not call 100 "many," as a percentage. Of course, ONE is too many instances of sex abuse. My point is I don't know of many people defending child sex abuse.
6. Of course, there will be outliers - those (perhaps mentally ill?) who defend the undefendable. But setting aside the crazies, I don't see much in the way of praise for child sex abuse.

In any case, I don't see how any of this relates to my position or addresses any of my questions.

So, now that I've looked at your source and considered what seems to be an irrelevant series of comments, I repeat: Do you have any support that there is observable real harm being caused by faithful, loving, committed marriage between gay folk?

Anything at all?

Dan,

1. WND is a notoriously unreliable website, you'd do better to find a more trustworthy source.

Genetic fallacy out of the gate?
Do you think they made up the list? Drew the pictures of the perpetrators? Faked the news stories that they came from?

Of course, ONE is too many instances of sex abuse. My point is I don't know of many people defending child sex abuse.
Most people don't defend "abuse". They do defend "love", though. Here's another look:
Given these beliefs, many people see nothing wrong with a woman pursuing a boy sexually. In fact, in some circles it is considered a good way to introduce boys to heterosexuality. Some fathers take their young sons to prostitutes with the mistaken belief that it is “good” for them. A number of movies, stories, jokes, and fantasies portray older women sexually “seducing” young boys in positive terms. http://www.themensproject.ca/MaleSexualAbuseVictimsOfFemalePerpetrators
6. Of course, there will be outliers - those (perhaps mentally ill?) who defend the undefendable. But setting aside the crazies, I don't see much in the way of praise for child sex abuse.
Of course you have to call them mentally ill in order to negate them. 40 years ago homosexuals were mentally ill, so subjective claims like this don't really carry the day.
In any case, I don't see how any of this relates to my position or addresses any of my questions.
You keep not seeing but maybe I can help with that. When you stomp onto thread after thread declaring everyone wrong you might have to defend yourself on your logic. You said adult-child sex was wrong, though maybe innate, because of many factors. Among these are harm, great harm, obvious harm, and force. Force need not be involved as the cases above demonstrate, so this is not actually the determining factor. Neither is innateness, which you had pointed to at first. Neither is obvious harm, because the not-obvious harm can also make a thing wrong. Your pinions are falling like dominoes.

So now we are left with "harm" as being the decider.
But "harm", especially if not even obvious, can be quite subjective.
You've asserted there is harm, and great and obvious harm, involved in pederasty, but you've not demonstrated it. Is it always harmful? Is it always wrong, even if they are in love? Even if a lobby group says it is OK?

The largest retrospective study on the prevalence of child sexual abuse found 27 percent of women and 16 percent of men reported abuse.4
http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=410&Itemid=336 Roughly 1/5 of your 300 million are sexually abused as children. That seems like many. That would entail many abusers as well.

Daron...

When you stomp onto thread after thread declaring everyone wrong...

Daron, have I offended you personally somehow? What I've done is go to a blog that advertises its purpose as being "stand to reason," and asked what I think are reasonable questions and offered what I think are rational observations. Why would you call that "stomping..." and "declaring everyone wrong..."?

If I might note, that appears to be a rather emotional response when we're striving to "stand to reason." If I have somehow caused offense, I apologize. If you would tell me HOW I've caused offense, I could apologize specifically, if indeed I've done something wrong.

Daron...

you might have to defend yourself on your logic.

I'd be glad to. I thought that was sort of the point.

Daron...

You said adult-child sex was wrong, though maybe innate, because of many factors. Among these are harm

Yes, I believe adult-child sex is wrong because of harm. Can I assume we agree on that point?

Daron...

But "harm", especially if not even obvious, can be quite subjective.

You've asserted there is harm, and great and obvious harm, involved in pederasty, but you've not demonstrated it.

Do I need to or do we agree that it is harmful? If we agree, then I don't know that I need to demonstrate it. I rather assumed that it was safe to think we were in agreement on that point.

But if not, then perhaps I'll address that point. First, though, to keep things equitable and on an respectful, adult, conversational level in this conversation, I'd ask you to answer at least one of my questions.

Do you have any support that there is observable real harm being caused by faithful, loving, committed marriage between gay folk?

Thanks.

Why would you call that "stomping..." and "declaring everyone wrong..."?
Because that's how I see it.


Yes, I believe adult-child sex is wrong because of harm. Can I assume we agree on that point?
You can provide evidence, actually.

Do I need to or do we agree that it is harmful? If we agree, then I don't know that I need to demonstrate it. I rather assumed that it was safe to think we were in agreement on that point.
Assumptions don't carry the day when you are standing to reason. You think there is no harm in homosexual behaviour and many others think there is no harm in pederasty. Prove them wrong.
But if not, then perhaps I'll address that point. First, though, to keep things equitable and on an respectful, adult, conversational level in this conversation, I'd ask you to answer at least one of my questions.

Do you have any support that there is observable real harm being caused by faithful, loving, committed marriage between gay folk?

I'm sorry, but we are examining your assertions here. I have made no assertions about faithful, loving, committed unions, but the assertions I have made I have defended with evidence.

No, thanks.

I'm not interested in games. I'm interested in respectful, mutual adult conversations, please.

Your turn, brother.

Thanks.

(As an aside to Bennett, if he's reading: Is this the sort of thing you'd classify as "not really wanting to engage, just trying to be belligerent?")

You're done?
Ok, then time to take stock.

Alan rightly said that one case of orientation changing falsifies the claim that this is an impossibility.
You falsely said that he was wrong.

No, it wouldn't. Not from a logical point of view. Sexual orientation IS inate.

Ignoring the pure logic of his statement you made a non sequitur and you staked your claim on innateness.
While innateness does not answer his claim at all we also find out from you that innateness does not even make an act good or normative.

IF someone can force themselves (by shock therapy, by sheer will, or whatever means) to abandon their natural orientation, that does not logically falsify the point that orientation is inate.
This is not the only way it is done (read some accounts) and Alan wasn't arguing against innateness nor does innateness argue against his case.
Whoa, now you are really stepping beyond just logical, rational analysis and reading IN TO the scripture something that simply isn't there. Let's take a look at the passage in question... 3. Similarly, the word translated here as "homosexual," is almost certainly NOT referring to homosexuals.
Taking a look at the passage in question, and ignoring your attack on Alan's thinking, we see that the word almost certainly is referring to homosexuals, and your appeal to the Greek failed.
arseno koitai arseno http://www.equip.org/articles/is-arsenokoitai-really-that-mysterious-

Regarding pedophilia, you claimed:

1. Pedaphiles cause great and devastating harm. It is a forced and oppressive action.

But it is not always forced and you've never demonstrated that it is universally devastatingly harmful.

You certainly did your best to cut off all discussion though, of the subject:

it is an offensive and ugly comparison and many people will write off those who makes such comparisons as ugly and offensive and irrelevant and immoral.

I'm not saying that JD's brief query was intended as a comparison, hopefully not. Just a word to be cautious about how we use our words. Careless words can cause great harm.


Not very reasonable, there.

You hedged in behind "obvious" harm:

4. And so, some innate characteristics (eye color, skin color, sexual orientation, "handed-ness," etc) cause no obvious harm and it would be wrong to compare such innate conditions to OTHER innate conditions that do cause harm (a tendency to abuse drugs, a tendency to harm others).
but we found later that harm that is not obvious can also make a behaviour, innate or not, I would presume, morally wrong.

As I said:

On top of ignoring the question of mutability, Dan has already erased the relevance of innateness by trotting out a laundry list of more important considerations, including force, oppression, harm, great harm, obvious harm, self-evidence, etc.
The principle seems quite ready to evaporate into the subjective realm.

You denied you were being subjective, but made no attempt whatsoever to demonstrate that your view of "harm" was objective.

But you did make a good point:

5. In regards to this list of bad behaviors, Paul says "and some of you were some of these," indicating that some of the Corinthians were formerly engaging in bad behavior.

6. Thus, to take this list which includes a word that MIGHT be translated "gay" but almost certainly isn't rightly translated "all gay behavior" and to look at Paul's conclusion - that they had abandoned the bad behavior - can NOT be rationally used to say, "THEREFORE, in Corinthians, some people changed their orientation..." One might GUESS that that is a POSSIBLE meaning of the Scripture, but one can not logically assert it authoritatively, as you've done here, Alan.


I would not take the passage to have interacted necessarily with a person's attraction but his behaviours. I bet you could have made that point in a more adult and conversational way. Nonetheless, what the Corinthian was (by way of action or attraction) he is no more - he has changed.

I guess I'm not questioning IF we could potentially "MAKE" someone change orientation. I'm sure we could (at least enforce outward conformity). My question is, Is it wise, healthy or moral to do so? The consensus amongst the experts is, "No." and rationally, that makes sense to me.
But we don't have to force or make people do anything. What you see or don't see is not really evidence if you choose not to look. People can change their orientation, with or without help and therapy (note, I did not say all or even most) and it is simply false to claim that this is an impossibility - regardless of whether or not you think it is innate.

After that you challenged me on many of my claims and I answered each with evidence. Yes, I have refused to answer your attempt to get me to demonize homosexuals in your very selective representation and desire to get me to show you the "harm". But I never made any claim about homosexual couples; I responded to your claims of fact and reason.


Thanks.

Speaking of respectful, mutual adult conversation:
http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2012/03/is-homosexuality-just-as-normal-as-heterosexuality.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e20168e96647e5970c#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e20168e96647e5970c

And shall I assume that the answer to my question is, "No, I can't point to NOT EVEN ONE SINGLE bit of evidence that loving, committed marriage relationships between gay folk is observably "bad"..."? It would appear that is the case, based on all the real world evidence I see and setting aside the cultural prejudices and superstitious beliefs of some.

Thanks.

As to your version of what I've said, I'll let my words stand for themselves.

If anyone else would care to "stand to reason," I'm still open to respectful adult dialog.

In Christ,

Dan

Sure, Dan, you can assume that. With your argument in response to Alan's post on sexual reorientation reduced to "Corinthians might be talking only of behaviour and not necessarily orientation" and "I think there is no harm in loving, committed marriage relationships between gay folk and neither can Daron show me" I will leave you that bone to chew.

I would like to correct one point, with apologies. In my initial comment, I responded in part to Alan's...

Sexual orientation is an inborn and immutable trait like eye color. Change is not possible. Case closed.

...If it can be demonstrated that just one person has changed, it would falsify the claim.

I responded by saying, "No, it wouldn't," and in so doing, misspoke in my own misunderstanding.

Indeed, IF the claim is made, "change is not possible," and even one person truly changes, then of course, Alan's point is logically sound.

I was trying to respond to the bigger point and missed the exact point by accident and, in so doing, made a mistake. I do apologize for that and for missing what at least one point that Daron and others were trying to point out, I think. My apologies to you, too, for missing the point.

My point I was ATTEMPTING to address was that orientation is innate, which is simply an observable reality, and that changing a perfectly healthy condition against someone's will (or by threatening them with "hellfire" and condemnation) is not wise, nor is it healthy, by all evidence. But certainly IF one can demonstrate change has truly happened, then change HAS happened. Alan's statement is logically sound and my apologies for missing that point.

Dan

(and I still am very open to respectful adult conversations on the other points made...)

Thanks for that, Dan.

Tedious. Who's up for some relief?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCzbNkyXO50

RonH

Hi Dan, since you've introduced yourself as a Christian, or at least a religious type, and your claim is that you base your case on objective evidence, what historical church doctrine, be it Protestant, Roman Catholic or even Eastern/Greek Orthodox supports your opinion? If none does, it is not objective evidence in the least. You seem to be an island in a sea far from the Christian mainland, but maybe you can cite where the historic church has upheld your view. Alans straightforward reading of Corinthians stands.

Now, you said:

"My point I was ATTEMPTING to address was that orientation is innate, which is simply an observable reality, and that changing a perfectly healthy condition against someone's will (or by threatening them with "hellfire" and condemnation) is not wise, nor is it healthy, by all evidence"

Since you are striving for objective evidence, please demonstrate why we should agree with you that orientation is innate, and, that homosexuality is a perfectly healthy condition, and lastly, that it is not wise nor healthy to compel change. We are born sinners, I think this classifies as an innate quality yet the bible condemns it continually.

Hi, I came late to the conversation, but I did have a bit to add.
I never post on the internet, nor am I exceedingly well read biblically speaking, but I do believe that Christ is my saviour.
That being said my sister was a much stronger Christian than myself. At a very young age she knew she was different and from the age of 10 to 16 she would rather have died than lived and been gay. As a result, I would tend to agree with Dan on many of the above points.

Her life was terrible as she "tried" to be straight, she even sought religious AND secular therapy. Neither worked. She would never have made this choice. Ever. She felt that if she had to be with a man that it would feel wrong, "immoral", or like rape. Like being heterosexual would be harmful.

In her life as a gay person she has never been promiscuous, nor has she particularly sought out the other evils of the world that we sometimes might think go with homosexuality. She has been in a committed relationship and her goals are still to get married and have children (adopted now, I guess). She is wonderful and happy, and her partner is a beautiful person as well. Our family is alot healthier now, we no longer dread finding a suicide note.

Unfortunately she does not feel accepted at church anymore. Which I think is a terrible shame. Again, I am not much of an intellectual, so I didn't cross reference the bible; but I did decide that I would take the general stance that Jesus took, which is to love others. And as so many people piously state, "it's not for me to judge". Really. I love her.

I feel that her story lends a case study level of evidence to Dan's position.

As for the pedophilia, I am not going near whether it's innate or not with a 10 foot pole. But I do know that when my sister looks at a child, she sees a baby to be cared for, NOT a sex "partner".

LEH, let me first offer my deep sorrow that your sister has not felt accepted for who she is. That is a shame and I know how much that hurts. I am sorry.

Also, having grown up as one who was "not accepting," I am sorry for all that I have said in my past that - without intending to be unloving and unwelcoming - I know now WAS unloving and unwelcoming. I am sure that nearly all of us are simply striving to do the best we can and unfortunately, sometimes we fail.

Also, there ARE places now that are accepting. My church is welcoming to all folk (even conservative Christians!) and we have deeply cherished gay and lesbian members who are part of the family of God in our house.

Peace.

Brad said...

please demonstrate why we should agree with you that orientation is innate

I offer as evidence myself. I offer as evidence YOUR self. Did you choose your orientation? Assuming you're straight, did you choose to find women attractive or did it happen naturally? Did someone have to tell you how to desire women, or was it just there inside of you?

If you are like me and EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have asked, no one had to teach you anything, it was just there. Innate. Natural.

Given all the observable evidence that I've heard, someone would have to show me something pretty solid to indicate that our orientation ISN'T innate. What do you have?

Brad...

and, that homosexuality is a perfectly healthy condition,

I would point to the lack of evidence to the contrary. If someone were insisting, "You know, those left-handed people are sick, unhealthy - there's something wrong with them..." I would respond by saying, "What evidence do you have for such an unbelievable and unsupported claim."

If they responded (as has been the case thus far here) by saying, "Um, I can't really point to a single observable unhealthy thing about 'em, but I feel it in my bones!" I would just write off their notions as unsupported and irrational.

What else could I do, from a rational point of view?

Brad...

and lastly, that it is not wise nor healthy to compel change.

Because I know how devastating and sick it would be if someone tried to "force" me to be gay. How healthy would it be for someone to force that on you?

Forcing unhealthy, unnatural orientation on someone sounds crazy, not wise. Sick, not healthy.

Again, lacking even one single observable reason to think there is something unhealthy, why would I? It just seems a sick, sick idea and sick, sick ideas seem unwise, to me.

Hi LEH, I think most here do not dismiss that homosexual desires are earnest, internally compelling emotions that are expressions of the hearts of those who experience them. I dont think Dan's position is anything but Dan's opinion, and it is at odds with the historic Christian Church's position. That said, we strive to be faithful to endorse behaviors that God's word approves of and critical of those that it condemns.

All believers struggle to obey God, but no one who is a thief, coveter, idolator, adulterer, etc.. will be accepted if they ask that the Church endorse their sin. The marks of true repentance is a desire to conform to Gods standards of behavior. This is not to suggest that the struggle isn't real/present/enormous, but it is what it is by God's word, expressed by the organism entrusted to keep strange doctrines from being endorsed. That organism is the Church, not Dan, STR, nor any others of us. Apart from Christ's bride, we have no standing to authoritatively declare what God approves of or condemns as Dan seems to be doing.

I'm glad you love your sister, and I hope she receives the care and love that also speaks the truth.

Mere opinion Dan, let's proceed with this slowly and carefully. You said objective evidence didn't you? How come your only appeal is to individual[subjective] opinions. We now have the world according to Dan presented before us. Your argumentation is assuming the conclusion, or question begging. I wouldn't want to go further with you until we first settle this point and agree that I am correct or incorrect. To do that, the burden is on you to compel me to agree by offering an objective standard that doesn't beg the question.

Brad...

That organism is the Church, not Dan, STR, nor any others of us.

Um, Brad, I AM the Church. You ARE the Church. We are the Church, all of us individually and collectively. We are the priesthood of believers, each with a responsibility to strive to understand God and God's Ways the best we can, by God's grace.

Brad...

How come your only appeal is to individual[subjective] opinions.

I don't think you're using "subjective" in the right sense, Brad. An individual observation is objective, if it is observable by others. I'm speaking of observable phenomena. I notice you did not answer. You can answer this question objectively, Brad: Did you choose your orientation or was it natural/innate?

I mean, I guess it's a little subjective, in the sense that you COULD lie about your answer, but I trust you and believe you're like every other person who I've ever heard answer the question: It's innate. Assuming that everyone (including you?) is telling the truth, it is objectively observable.

Also, to answer some earlier questions...

what historical church doctrine, be it Protestant, Roman Catholic or even Eastern/Greek Orthodox supports your opinion?

Which opinion? Support of marriage between gay folk? There are probably very few denominations that support it - the UCC, perhaps. My church (nominally Baptist) does, as do a good deal of individual churches.

Or are you speaking of my opinion that "whatever things are good, pure, noble, etc... to think on these things. Against such, there is no law..."? That is just traditional Bible-believing doctrine.

Brad...

If none does, it is not objective evidence in the least.

Again, I don't see how you're using "objective" in the right sense, there.

Brad...

You seem to be an island in a sea far from the Christian mainland, but maybe you can cite where the historic church has upheld your view.

We Christians who disagree with the traditional teaching are, indeed, in the minority. Not unlike Christians who have disagreed with the traditional teachings on slavery or sexism in the past.

"The Church" is the collection of believers, the body of Christ. Being composed of humans, it is prone to error.

After all, humans are fallible.

And that is a traditional Christian doctrine.

Brad...

Alans straightforward reading of Corinthians stands.

If you are saying that "If I can't point to a traditional church doctrine that agrees with my camp, then Alan's reading stands," you are making a rational error. You appear to be appealing to... Well, I'm not sure what you're appealing to, but it doesn't sound like you're appealing to logic.

Alan's is rationally not conclusive and he can't state it as a fact. Not rationally. Why?

Because...

1. We can't be sure that the word translated "homosexual" means what you all think it means. (It almost certainly does not, I'd suggest, but whether or not you agree with my opinion, it remains an OPINION that Paul is speaking about all gay behavior there, not demonstrably factual).

2. EVEN IF it were speaking of "all gay behavior" (and it isn't), Paul merely says, "You all used to do some of these things..." and EVEN IF Paul is saying, "Some of you used to engage in gay behavior, but now you aren't..." that is not the same thing as saying "You have changed your orientation.

3. In short, Alan is reading WAY too much into an ancient wisdom text written to an ancient people in a specific time and set of circumstances in a different language and culture. It simply is not possible to logically, rationally draw the conclusion that Alan has and state it as a certainty.

That, my friend, is the definition of subjective.

With much respect, love, and begging of forgiveness of any I may offend, I'd like to not be "lumped" in with the Americanized church vs. the church of bodies of believers in Jesus. All to often some culturize our taboos and cut and paste them into our Bible doctrines.

As soon as we start to say things like "I dont think Dan's position is anything but Dan's opinion, and it is at odds with the historic Christian Church's position. That said, we strive to be faithful to endorse behaviors that God's word approves of and critical of those that it condemns." We draw party lines that divide us.

This is not just Dan's opinion. It is a growing concern in Christendom. Homosexuality is not a threat to Christianity. It is a threat to the Rebulican Christian Right. It is not a threat to marriage. Infidelity and a high divorce rate are.

We say that we are not taught our orientation, but aren't we taught in part by what we observe? First in our homes, then by how we observe others we accept and how they they react to others still. Society in itself is it's own silent teacher. On the grand scale and in your church.

Mathew 7:1-5 stands tallest and loudest for me in this debate. Paul spent a good deal of time in Rome and we know the "cultural norms" of the then Romans, and yet Paul still had surprisingly little to say about homosexuality as we know it today. Paul didhave books to say about God's everlasting grace.

Sorry to drone on. But to make one final point Jesus said that if we could wash the inside of the cup, the outside would be made clean. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the thoughts, Steve. I agree we need to be wary about taking our cultural norms and/or our own interpretations and conflating them with God's opinions.

Brad, how about this: How about if I post some objective and subjective points as it relates to this Corinthians passage and see where we can agree and disagree (ie, stand to reason together)?

We can know objectively...

That many Bible translations translate a word in 1 Cor 6 as "homosexual."

That the word being translated "homosexual" is, in the original greek, arsenokoitai.

That arsenokoitai literally is translated "man bed."

That there was a word in Greek for "homosexual" and Paul did not use it here.

Anthing else?


Okay, now here are some observably SUBJECTIVE opinions...

That Paul in 1 Cor 6 meant to say "homosexuals" in choosing the word, arsenokoitai.

That Paul meant to say "all gay behavior is bad."

That GOD thinks that all gay behavior is bad.

That Paul was condemning marriage relationships between gay folk.

That marriage is best between a straight man and a straight woman and all other instances of marriage are not healthy or moral.

That Paul meant to say something OTHER than homosexual.

That Paul meant to say that a gay orientation is immoral.

That God thinks a gay orientation is immoral.

That Paul was saying that there were some gay guys who "went straight" in this text - some guys who were attracted to guys who, after following Jesus, learned to like gals.

...anything else?

Can we agree that the former group are all objective statements and the latter group are all subjective opinions?


Dan,
You must have carpel tunnel syndrome by now with all the back and forth.

So let me run this by you. I don't think innate and lack of choice are synonymous. My immune system is innate, I was born with one. However, how my immune system has two components, one that doesn't adapt to my internal environment. A neutrophil is a neutrophil is a neutrophil. Always functions the same way. I also have an adaptive component. It produces antibodies in response to my internal environment. So our common experience of being heterosexual appears to not be by choice. Yet, while I'm sure there is an innate component, I do not discount the influence that environment can have on my sexuality and how I express it.

Lastly, you are very much against forcing someone to attempt to change their sexual orientation. I am as well. I don't believe that Alan suggested that we force homosexuals into therapy. Were the participants in the studies he cited forced to participate? That would be very interesting since that would be against ethical standards of treatment and against ethical standards for research.

Brian...

You must have carpel tunnel syndrome by now with all the back and forth.

Ha. I don't usually have enough time to "talk" this much, but I happen to have a little extra time and energy this week and, plus, I was just excited about the whole "stand to reason" concept. I truly believe in opening polite conversation on a rational basis.

Brian...

So let me run this by you. I don't think innate and lack of choice are synonymous.

Agreed.

Brian...

while I'm sure there is an innate component, I do not discount the influence that environment can have on my sexuality and how I express it.

There is some evidence that environment can affect orientation. There is also evidence that orientation is not black/white, but a spectrum. Most of us by nature are solidly heterosexual, a few are solidly homosexual, and some are somewhere in the middle. I would expect environmental/cultural influences could most likely have an effect on those in the middle of the spectrum.

Brian...

you are very much against forcing someone to attempt to change their sexual orientation. I am as well.

Of course, I know that. I wasn't suggesting that anyone is trying to literally force change at gunpoint (although I WAS making the point that someone couldn't "force" that change in me, even at gunpoint - because it's innate).

On the other hand, there is/can be some pretty heavy pressure to change. Some in the faith community (Christian and Muslim, at least) would conflate "unwilling to agree with the teaching against homosexuality and renounce one's homosexuality" with "you're going to die and go to hell.

In other words, if the choice is between accepting one's natural orientation (in which there is no obvious moral harm or wrong) and dying and going to hell, that is, if not "force," a HUGE pressure to change.

What do you think?

Michael Glatze's experience of not being forced to change.

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