Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Forum For Dan Only

This is a post specifically for Dan. It is something I've been wanting to do for a while and I have been trying to find something that is as comprehensive in its covering of the issue of homsexuality from a Christian perspective as this piece is.

It is put together by a guy named Ross A. Taylor. I don't know if he designs helicopters. I don't know exactly what he does for a living, whether religion is a hobby or a career or what. For all I know, he cleans stalls at the racetrack. It really doesn't matter, except to one particular visitor to this blog.

What's important is what he presents in his piece. And it is only that to which I hope Dan will respond. This piece covers every pro-homosex argument I've ever heard or seen or read as far as the faith is concerned. Dan's friend, Michael with the three names has hit on much of it. (Though I hadn't the education at that point, I found those arguments suspect and it earned me banishment from that blog.)

Of the many people used as sources for Taylor, both pro and con, are bits from the same Olliff and Hodges, the Hodges one visitor criticizes because of his main field, as if he is then disqualified from commenting on the issue. (Perhaps as a result of Hodges main profession, this particular visitor can't imagine someone being expert on another topic at the same time. Kinda points to his own insecurities regarding his own abilities.)

Another is Robert Gagnon, who has been dismissed for reasons unknown (except for one really silly reason I heard from a homosexual blogger who never visits here). All I know is that the homosexual enablers pooh-pooh Gagnon's expertise without explanation.

It is my hope that should Dan take me up on this challenge, that he will resist trashing the people making the claims and address only the claims themselves. If those claims are wrong or mistaken, there must be some explanation as to why which can easily be reviewed by others so as to make their own opinions. For example, regarding another piece from Olliff and Hodges that I cut and pasted to my first ever post, Dan, who says he actually read it, said simply that he just doesn't buy it, without ever explaining why or what he found wrong with their perspective.

This challenge to Dan is in response to his insistence that his current beliefs regarding homosexual marriage is based on prayerful meditations, his God-given reasoning and serious study of the Bible. Well, we can't really speak to his meditations or his reasoning. But his reasoning, I would expect, must in some way be based on his Biblical study. As this Taylor piece suggests very strongly, there doesn't exist anything Biblical that could influence anyone's reasoning toward the belief that God would bless homosexual marriages, relationships or loving and committed monogomous homosexual relationships.

I really hope Dan takes this challenge and reads the link. He can take all the time he needs. He can refer to any of the links found within (though at least a couple are broken) and try to show why any of the points made are mistaken or false. I don't think he can. As I said, the piece is pretty comprehensive. It even allows, a time or two, where a pro-homosex argument is possibly sound, even if not strongly so.

In the meantime, I want to ask everyone else to refrain from any commentary at all. If Dan is especially busy, it could take a couple of days just to get through it (it did me with the usual interruptions of family life) and if he wants to check out the links within, that'll make it take longer. Then, let him take the time to address whatever points to which he may feel he has a good counterpoint.

Should he agree to go ahead, I hope he doesn't just dismiss the whole thing without any comment. I hope he feels comfortable rejecting his current philosophy if the argument compels him so. If he's as open to being persuaded as I am, he will find support here. If he is not persuaded, he will find support only if he can explain his resolve against the evidence presented.

After a couple of weeks, whether Dan comments or not, then anyone can comment. But Dan has first rights of commentary and I'll delete any comment that publishes before him. The only caveat to this whole thing is if he and Bubba decide to take up Craig's offer, at which time they can both link to this article as it serves their debate there. Then, this post will be open to anyone who cares to address the points made in the piece.

It's a tough challenge, Dan. How strong are your convictions? How good is your ability to defend what you believe against the overwhelming evidence that you will encounter here? I believe you are misled. Show me why I'm wrong.

60 comments:

Dan Trabue said...

Your link only shows a few lines and a couple of broken links, unless it's a problem on my computer (I'm having some technical problems right now).

Is your link working for you?

Feodor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan Trabue said...

Ah, I have been able to find the whole thing.

Marshall, I shall attempt to read through these as time allows. I will keep at least as open a mind as I had when I first entered into serious Bible study as an "anti-gay" Christian some thirteen years ago.

Since, for me, the realization that Sodom/Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality was a big shocker, I began reviewing this site with their explanation of that angle.

The author begins with the note that it is "ingenious" for the "pro-gay" side to reference it because it "even has some truth to it." The author suggests that the pro-gay side "ignores" what other authors have to say about the story.

The author says...

It is not just the rape element that is offensive; it is the male-male intercourse that is offensive. It is sin piled upon sin, male-male intercourse, plus attempted rape, plus attempted rape (unknowingly) with angels.

And...

The inhospitality argument is entirely unconvincing, but it is so frequently parroted in popular sources that it will, no doubt, deceive the gullible or those having itching ears

So, right off the bat, I am seeing some serious, basic exegetical and logical problems.

Dan Trabue said...

1. No one "ignores" other passages about Sodom. NOT A SINGLE PASSAGE about Sodom mentions homosexuality. Red Herring.

2. Yes, there appear to be some fairly clear references to sexual misconduct, but nothing that implicates homosexuality specifically.

3. This would be an example of extrapolating an unknown from silence. The Bible is clear that Sodom's sin was inhospitality, being fat and lazy and unconcerned for the poor, and then, less clear, that they "committed abominations" and lusted after "strange flesh..." and their "sensual conduct" none of which are indicative of homosexuality specifically, although it does suggest some sexual sin.

4. The "inhospitality argument," is extremely convincing if one is not looking for something to support an anti-homosexual agenda. The Bible is quite clear that inhospitality and a lack of concern for the poor were primary reasons for Sodom's troubles. Along with some sort of probably sexual sin/licentiousness. A perfect example of that is the attempted rape found in the story. Attempted rape IS perverse and wicked.

5. The author's attempt to dismiss the "inhospitality argument" suggests poor reasoning and/or that the author has an agenda he's trying to support. IF he had said, "Clearly there seem to be at least TWO broad types of sin for which Sodom was in trouble - their lack of concern for the poor and some sort of sexual misbehavior, which MAY be suggesting homosexuality...," then the author might have more credibility.

6. When the author says that there are two offenses in the attempted rape story - the rape itself and the male-male intercourse - the author departs from text and begins inserting opinion. Barely supported opinion, at that. The author's reasoning on the male-male rape angle is that Lot offered his daughter's (hideously) up to be raped instead of the angels, suggesting to the author that the male-male angle was what was specifically offensive. That's a fine hunch, but it could also be that visitors were to be treated with respect and protected and THAT was why he offered his daughters up. (This is a hunch as well, but I'm clear that it is a hunch). The point is, the author departs from the text and is offering up his opinions, not biblical fact.

So, having said all of that, right off the bat I am suspicious because the author is writing like a man with an agenda, not a reasonable biblical scholar. In fact, this lacks the scholarliness which I am accustomed to in reading biblical exegesis, suggesting an untrained apologist. Which is fine, as far as that goes. I am an untrained Bible reader myself.

I'm just saying that it reads as if written by someone with an agenda to prove, not Truth to Seek.

Once again, my reasoning on this is that IF he had said, "Clearly there seem to be at least TWO broad types of sin for which Sodom was in trouble - their lack of concern for the poor and some sort of sexual misbehavior, which MAY be suggesting homosexuality...," THEN this would be a more scholarly, balanced approach. That is all the text says and the rest is speculative on the author's part.

Also, the red herring and false witness the author suggests in talking about the pro-gay side does not bode well for his objectiveness or reasoning ability.

Can we agree that the Sodom story - sticking to just the text itself - has nothing overt to say about homosexuality and move on? That the closest it comes to condemning homosexuality is the condemnation of same sex rape? And that rape is wrong whether it's against the same or opposite sex?

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, jumping back to the beginning of this fella's arguments...

Regarding OT law, the author states:

"a) The moral law is still binding on the Christian. It is still wrong to steal, to commit adultery etc. The ritual or ceremonial laws are abolished."

1. If, by "the moral law," the author is writing about ALL moral commands given in the OT, suggesting that we follow ALL moral commands, well, we don't do this.

2. In fact, the OT does not make a clear distinction (any distinction?) between "moral commands," "ritual commands," and "commands regarding Israel only."

3. For instance...
* There is a prohibition against eating shrimp or catfish (Not Catfish!) in the OT. It is an abomination (Lev 11)
* There is a prohibition against mixing fibers.
* There is a prohibition against heterosexual intercourse when a woman has her period. (Lev 18:19)
* There is a prohibition against eating fruit from a young tree (Lev 19:23)
* There is a prohibition against "cutting the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard" (Lev 19:27)

...

Dan Trabue said...

Let's take a look at just one of these passages. How about Lev 19...

23 "'When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten.

24 In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD.

25 But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD your God.

26 "'Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.

"'Do not practice divination or sorcery.

27 "'Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard...'"


Now, if I'm not mistaken, this fella would contend that some of these laws are MORAL LAWS ("Thou shalt not practice sorcery...") that are universal and everlastingly True. Others of these laws are RITUAL LAWS that pertain just to Israel for reasons of Ritual Purity.

The problem is, the text does not support such a distinction. These are COMMANDS FROM GOD - period - with no distinctions between them. They are all (in this case) discussing Taboo behavior. Forbidden. Wrong.

The position that pro-gay folk is the same as anti-gay folk EXCEPT that they anti-gay folk don't admit it.

That is, we have to look at each item and decide for ourselves if it is talking about a more universal Law or a law that has more to do with ritual or, quite frankly, that we don't know what in the hell it's talking about.

"Don't cut the sides of your hair"?? Why not?!

More to come...

Dan Trabue said...

And don't nitpick. When I say, "Decide for ourselves which are universal..." what I mean is the same thing that you would mean. That is, we have to prayerfully try to determine (for ourselves) WHICH laws God would have us obey and which ones are not speaking to us.

I don't know of many Christians who have decided for themselves that cutting the sides of their hair is morally required by God of us. Now, that passage is not specifically set aside anywhere, rather, it is something that all of us have decided that simply does not apply to us.

Perhaps it was written to Israel for some ritualistic reason. Perhaps it was to distinguish Israel from surrounding tribes. Perhaps it was a whim of God.

I don't know. I don't think Marshall knows (correct me if I'm wrong). Rather, we look at this passage in the context of the whole Bible, we look at what Jesus had to say and we use our God-given reasoning and reckon for ourselves that WE DON'T THINK this is some law that God intended for us. Perhaps Marshall and I are wrong and it IS a universal law. I just don't think so and I don't think Marshall thinks so.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, at this point, I would suggest that it might make sense for at least you or someone to offer some feedback. Rather than me wade through dozens of essays written by your fella and then someone to try to wade through my dozens of comments to correct what they might perceive to be a misunderstanding, it might be helpful if you were to say, "Yes, you have fairly stated this fella's position," or "But when you say X, I think you are off because..."

Just a thought...

Dan Trabue said...

I would note before going further, I am just a guy. I'm just a Christian who has read the Bible his entire life and who takes it seriously and who has studied with some really smart people and who is, I suppose, of average intelligence, but not especially smart.

I'm not a "biblical scholar." I don't know Greek or Hebrew. I have not had Seminary courses. There are many big words I don't know. There are doubtless others better suited to explaining why Biblically, logically and morally we are, for lack of a better term, pro-gay (as well as being pro-straight).

What I can tell you, as I read through this fella's writings, are how they come across to me. Where, to me, his logic stands or falls. Where he does and doesn't make his case.

Just by ways of a disclaimer.

I ain't no genius, just a guy striving to follow in Jesus' steps.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

First of all, thanks for taking the time to even attempt this challenge. I know there is a lot to read and ponder, and for that I welcome you to take what time you need. Your suggestion is sound and I'll respond as circumstances allow. At this point, I'd prefer that not too many jump in. Though at some point, that will likely be hard to prevent. So I will, for the time being, comment where you stop, you can follow up if you want, or just proceed and come back later. This whole thing could get cumbersome, but what the heck.

1) At the very beginning of the Sodom/Gommorah story, after Lot has convinced the visitors to stay with him, they are approached by all the men of the town who wish to "know" or have sex with the visitors. Right away we are dealing with men attempting to engage in homosexual behavior, since the visitors appear as men. This is confirmed later by Lot offering up his daughters instead. It is only after Lot refuses the men that it becomes a rape situation. His offering his daughters clearly is seen as a lesser "sin" than giving up the men. Though Lot says that the men are under his protection, wouldn't his daughters be as well? Clearly, there is a definite issue of homoseuxality at play here and the only way to maintain your position is to imply that it originates as more of an orgy suggestion by the men of the town, rather than a "loving, committed, monogomous" relationship.

2) Regarding moral vs purity/ritual laws, I really can't see that it is all that hard to distinguish between them. Obviously, dietary laws are easy due to the fact that there is no law against eating. So avoiding catfish or shellfish is a no-brainer and distinctly different from sexual behavior. In addition, though I am no expert in ancient languages myself, it is my understanding that there is a difference is either usage or in actual translation between the word for abomination regarding homosexuality and dietary restrictions. Further, the penalties for breaking these laws are decidedly different, with death for homosexual behavior but no death for shrimp on the barbie. Even more, there are other similar uses of the term later in Scripture where death is also a related consequence.

The distinctions between these laws are what my "helicopter guy" discussed in the comment section of my very first post. They (since there is another guy, too) spoke of the relationship connecting blood/death/sin which answers questions about sex with a menstruating women, eating meat with blood in it, touching road kill, etc, etc.

There are many scholars that see the Sodom story as I have presented it. In my NIV study Bible, for example, the notes refer to the homosexual behavior being routine in that town. How they know this I couldn't say, but I've never heard anything that supports the notion that Lev 18:22 speaks only to pagan rituals or oppressive sexual behavior. So perhaps both sides take some liberties. But at least in a plain reading of the story, there's no doubt that homosex behavior is being requested and then demanded by the men of Sodom. And considering the phrase to "'know' someone in the Biblical sense" is somewhat ancient itself, there's little doubt that the men were not looking to exchange email addresses. Why then offer up virgin daughters?

Marshall Art said...

3) I totally agree with others that issues of inhospitality to strangers and ignoring the poor are only listed first in later verses, but not meant as the worst things for which the people of Sodom are guilty. So to say they are "primarily" the reasons for punishment is to assume. That suggests an agenda as well.

4) I don't think the author so much dismisses inhospitality as indicates that the argument that it is the primary focus of the story is an unreasonable one and itself the result of an agenda. Indeed, Taylor's main point is that the "pro-gay" theology is driven by the "pro-gay" agenda rather than an objective search for Biblical meaning. After having looked at both sides of the issue over the years, this has become most apparent to me. I've found the "pro-gay" theology works best in little hunks. It doesn't work at all when the Bible is taken as a whole.

I would also ask you to refrain from suggesting the author is bearng false witness or dealing with red-herrings. He draws his conclusions from what he sees as illogical intrepretaions and translations. I tend to agree with those conclusions as they make a lot more sense to me than the alternative.

Dan Trabue said...

One tidbit at a time. Marshall said...

they are approached by all the men of the town who wish to "know" or have sex with the visitors. Right away we are dealing with men attempting to engage in homosexual behavior, since the visitors appear as men... It is only after Lot refuses the men that it becomes a rape situation.

Okay, fair enough, even before the attempted rape, there is promiscuous behavior, they'd like to have sex with strangers.

Does the gender of the promiscuity make it wrong? That is, if they were women, would that then suggest that heterosexuality itself is wrong, or would it be the promiscuous behavior that was wrong, not their heterosexual orientation?

Marshall Art said...

"Does the gender of the promiscuity make it wrong?"

I'd have to say "absolutely", even if not in the eyes of the men of the town. It's sorta like the difference between robbing someone or smackin' 'em before robbing them. It's an added offense.

Of course, this all takes place before God handed down commandments and rules of behavior. However, the homosex behavior does get put on the list of don'ts. And again, if it was only a matter of promiscuity, why offer the girls? It's still promiscuous behavior. Some might say that it reflects the second class status of women at the time. But it's the guy's daughters and there's no indication that Lot isn't a decent guy.

Dan Trabue said...

The thing is, Marshall, there is nothing in the text that suggests homosexual promiscuity is worse than heterosexual promiscuity. Welcoming and tending strangers was a HUGE cultural thing for the Hebrew people. The fact that Lot took the God-awful step of offering his daughters is not evidence that gay promiscuity is somehow worse than straight promiscuity. It's just not in the text.

IF you are making that presumption, well, I guess you can do so, but it's not in the text. It is a presumption on your part.

Dan Trabue said...

Here's the actual text. You'll see Lot explains WHY he doesn't want them to rape the men ("for they've come under my protection...")...

1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.

2 "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning."

"No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square."

3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house.

5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."


And reading the text, it doesn't sound like promiscuity at all, it sounds like attempted rape. But either way, IN THE TEXT, the wrong is in the promiscuity and/or attempted rape ESPECIALLY of strangers passing through. There is no indication IN THE TEXT that homosexual promiscuity or rape is worse than heterosexual.

Dan Trabue said...

Perhaps you are unaware of how important hospitality was in the ancient world. It was a HUGE deal to be hospitable to strangers.

A reference...

http://www.crivoice.org/travelers.html

Feel free to research it further if you are not familiar with the concept.

Dan Trabue said...

And Marshall, as we look through these thoughts together, I'd ask the same of you that you asked of me: Please keep an open heart and mind to learning something better. May God grant us wisdom and a clearer vision of Truth through this process, amen?

I'll note that our conversation in this particular thread is VERY much like some of my conversations in my Bible study that led me to the pro-gay side of things. They kept pointing out that Sodom simply didn't tackle the topic of homosexuality in any significant way. That the text itself did not suggest that homosexuality itself was wrong any more than it taught that heterosexuality itself is wrong.

And I kept saying, Yes, it does! and pointing to this passage or that passage (What about Jude? What about the Genesis account...?) until one day, it was as if scales fell from my eyes and... wow. It's NOT in the text at all. It simply isn't. No matter how UTTERLY convinced I was that homosexuality itself was condemned in the various accounts of Sodom, it just wasn't/isn't there.

Once I was able to see that, that was the beginning of my new understanding of the Bible, God and homosexuality.

Be that as it may, may God help us all as we seek to see through the glass a little less darkly. Grant us wisdom.

Dan Trabue said...

One more quick note, you said...

But it's the guy's daughters and there's no indication that Lot isn't a decent guy.

I'd suggest offering one's daughters to be raped IS a serious indication that Lot is a flawed human being.

Mark said...

Art, I'm only interrupting so I can hit the box that says "E-mail follow up comments to...."

So I can follow the argument. That's all.

Marshall Art said...

Regarding ancient hospitality, it obviously wasn't as widespread as your link suggests if the men of Sodom are any indication. But there's a difference between the admonitions about their treatment of strangers and a general comment about hospitality made by modern supporters of homosexuality. Were Sodomites ill mannered toward every stranger? Were they inhospitable to every outsider? Claims that inhospitality was a greater concern than sexual impurity is merely taking advantage of which was mentioned first in later verses referring to Sodom.

Regarding homosexuality NOT being a part of the story, I find this notion to be willfully dismissive of the facts. Again, they came and asked for the men to come out, not Lot's daughters or any other woman for that matter. What else could it suggest but homosexual behavior? To say that it isn't in the text at all is simply untrue.

Then, to say it wasn't mentioned significantly is a matter of conscious decision. Just how significant does it have to be? It's like saying that because a commandment is made only once, that it isn't significant and that isn't true, either. The men of Sodom came to have sex with men. Lot asked them not to do this wicked thing. What wicked thing? You want to believe he only meant rape or promiscuous sex. Even if we are to concede rape and promiscuity, we can't ignore with whom the men intended to "know". Other men. So as regards Lot's phrase "wicked thing", we can't just ignore the homosexual aspect of the story. At best, we MUST say, since there is no indication otherwise and at least a hint due to the alternative he offered them, that the "wicked thing" had to be any combination of rape or sexual promiscuity between MEN.

Regarding Lot's character (as an aside) his offering of his daughters really only reflects a flaw in his decision making under pressure. Perhaps he realized that they wouldn't go for the girls anyway. Perhaps he felt it likely the "visitors" would intercede. I'm giving Lot the benefit of the doubt.

We can move on from here if you like. I don't know how much we can dissect this story and think MY perspective will change. Unless you have another arrow in your quiver, I think it's clear that homosex as a wicked thing is definitely a part of this story, even if it isn't the main part. In the same way, if inhospitality is a part of the story, and I won't say it isn't, I will say that it is definitely NOT the main part or any more significant that any of the other charges against these people.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, let me ask you a question...

IF the angels visiting Lot had been women and everything else in the story was the same - the men of Sodom came out and asked Lot to send them out so that they might have sex with them, Lot saying, "Don't do this terrible thing, FOR they are under my protection," and Lot offering his own daughters instead - IF that was the case, would the men calling for the women-angels to come out, WOULD that have been a condemnation of heterosexuality?

A simple yes or no will suffice, although feel free to add more if you wish.

Also, just want to be sure: You ARE saying that you'll enter into this conversation with an open heart, praying that God's Will be done, not merely seeking to confirm what you already believe?

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

To answer your last question first, you can rest assured that I enter into any serious conversation with an open heart and mind, none more so than that which concerns the Will of God. Imperfect Christian that I am, I see no need to BS under such circumstances and I crave His Truth too much to close my mind lest I miss something important. I don't really care what anyone does in the privacy of their own homes if they decide that's more important than His Will. I simply haven't seen any pro-homosex argument that is able to withstand any counter argument from their opponents.

As to your initial question, it is like I said, among the sins committed by the men of Sodom, homosexual behavior is but one. Remove that from the story, and you've simply "reduced the charges" so to speak to that of fornication and rape (along with any inhospitable shades that go along with it). I view anything otuside of marriage as fornication with homosex as a mere variation. It's an important distinction to remember that as far as I'm concerned, homosexuality is no worse than other sins of the flesh, but it is one of them. For example, I don't agree with any form of civil union or domestic partnerships having equal legal status with marriage. Doesn't matter if it's homosex or heterosex.

So getting back to the question, to be a homosexual is not sinful in and of itself. Even Lev 18:22 doesn't say this. What it addresses is homosexual behavior, i.e., "homo-sex". Most men who are heteros lust after other women, and bad as that is to linger in those fantasies, one can't help the thoughts jumping into one's head initially. (I say this to distinguish what would be an indication of either homo or heterosexuality.) But acting on those desires is without question sinful. Put another way, lusting after your own wife is NOT sinful because marriage is lawful, it is hetero and it is God's intention regarding human sexuality. I'm rambling a bit, but I hope that answers the question.

Marshall Art said...

Let me bring the following into sharper focusL

...to be a homosexual is not sinful in and of itself..."

By this I mean we are what we are. Is that what we mean to be, what we intend to be, does it meet a realistic image of what God wants us to be? I AM a thief if my initial compulsion is to take what doesn't belong to me should that item appeal to me. I AM an adulterer if my initial thought is to have sex with someone other than my wife. In short, I AM a sinner with all sorts of sinful compulsions. (Hence my need for Christ) But I don't HAVE to be any of those things defined by my compulsions and can repent of them and with God's Grace become something more to His liking.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm sorry, Marshall, I didn't understand if you answered my question...

IF the angels had been women and all the other details were the same, would the men calling for the women-angels to come out, WOULD that have been a condemnation of heterosexuality?

Marshall Art said...

Of my 4:34PM comment, the 2nd paragraph holds my answer. But I will clarify it further.

It would not be a condemnation of hetersex because it is the intended arrangement for marriage, but it would instead be a condemnation of fornication, of which I believe homosexual behavior to be a form or type. ONLY sex between a man and woman who are married to each other is permissable. All else is fornication. If that word doesn't work for you, for I don't believe everyone has as broad a definition for it, suffice it to say that all sex NOT between a husband and wife is unlawful or not permissable. Thus, it would actually be the same "crime" but the sexually immoral act wouldn't specifically be homosexuality. I hope this clarifies my position for you.

Again, I don't consider homosex to be WORSE than other sins of the flesh, only one of them. This is how it appears in Leviticus and clearly so. Nothing anywhere suggests any other context for sex is permissable EXCEPT for what occurs within a marriage of a man and his wife.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, I agree wholeheartedly. IF a crowd of men demanded sex from an unknown (or known) woman, it would be wrong because of its sexual inappropriateness, because of the intimidation factor, because of the desire for fornication (ie, sex outside of marriage), because of element of licentiousness (disregarding sexual restraints). It would NOT be a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality, but just those particular heterosexual behaviors.

So, why is this action NOT a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality but it IS a blanket condemnation of all homosexuality?

You seem to suggest that it's because heterosexual marriage is okay but homosexual marriage is not, but that's begging the question. That's what we're seeking to determine. If you presume that all homosexual behavior (including a marriage situation) is wrong, then YES, you might conclude that all homosexual behavior is wrong. But that's what we're striving to determine.

So, if you don't mind, please clarify: WHY is this action in Sodom IF directed towards a woman NOT a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality but the same situation directed towards a man IS a blanket condemnation of homosexuality?

Marshall Art said...

Because homosexual behavior is sinful behavior no matter what the context of its manifestation. Not so with homosexuality. As I said, homosexual behavior is another sin of the flesh. Always. Not so with heterosex. Homosex is not like an opposite of heterosex. It is simply the name given to a specific form of fornication or sinful sexual behavior. It is a word that distinguishes the attraction of the participants that differs from the norm, which is heterosex. To use the expression "blanket condemnation of homosexuality" is one that doesn't fit this discussion. MY point is that the story is an example where homosexual behavior is presented and described as a wicked thing. If you wish to use the expression "blanket condemnation", that is what you find in Lev 18:22.

Marshall Art said...

"Not so with homosexuality."

Should have read "Not so with heterosexuality". But you knew that.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

Because homosexual behavior is sinful behavior no matter what the context of its manifestation.

Marshall, I thought you were going into this with an open mind. We find a passage that describes a promiscuous/attempted rape situation that happens to involve all men and you conclude that it must mean that all homosexual behavior is wrong because all homosexual behavior is wrong.

Do you see the problem? You're beginning the presumption that all homosexual behavior is wrong and then you find this passage supports your assumption because all homosexual behavior is wrong...

??

THAT is what we're trying to determine here. If you begin with presumption you are correct, you're not beginning with an open mind.

You're begging the question. You're engaging in a circular argument.

"This is proof that all homosexual behavior is wrong because we know all homosexual behavior is wrong and this is some homosexual behavior, therefore all homosexual behavior is wrong."

!

Am I missing something here??

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

I was responding to your hypothetical. The story does NOT involve men attempting to have sex with female guests of Lot. I have acknowledged (or meant to) that at the time of the Sodom story, God had not handed down His laws. BUT, He did show His intention for marriage by giving one woman to the first man. They being ashamed of their nudity after the fall suggests sinfulness connected to sexuality in a general way. Hints, in other words, have been given. In addition, Lot's reaction to the advances of the men suggest their particular plan was offensive. No, it doesn't get real specific, but the offering of his daughters suggest something wrong with the intention of the men of the town. As a result, and as stated earlier, there is only one way to assume things here: the demand for sex with the two male visitors is what is described as a "wicked thing".

Also once again, I do not equate homosex with heterosex. I don't think anyone should unless they have an agenda. I say this because one is a natural function of mankind and the other isn't. I say this because one is an intended context in which sex might take place and the other isn't.

I guess another way for me to say it is that you are beginning with homosex being on par with heterosex. I begin with heterosex being the intended context and all else flows from there and flows to what we now call "traditional" marriage, which is the only scenario within which God sanctions sex.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

In addition, Lot's reaction to the advances of the men suggest their particular plan was offensive. No, it doesn't get real specific, but the offering of his daughters suggest something wrong with the intention of the men of the town. As a result, and as stated earlier, there is only one way to assume things here: the demand for sex with the two male visitors is what is described as a "wicked thing".

The text itself TELLS us why Lot asked them not to do this wicked thing...

Let me bring them [Lot's daughters] out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, FOR they have come under the protection of my roof. NIV

only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. KJV

only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof. NASB

only to these men do not anything, for therefore have they come in within the shadow of my roof. Young's Literal Translation

They were visitors under Lot's protection. FOR THEREFORE - INASMUCH - FOR THIS reason, Lot says, don't do this wicked thing. The explanation is there in the text. Again, from what the text alone says, the sin in question here is the attempted rape/promiscuity problem. You are stretching WAY beyond text to make guesses in the vein that this is some specific condemnation of homosexuality in general. It's not in the text.

Marshall said...

Also once again, I do not equate homosex with heterosex. I don't think anyone should unless they have an agenda.

Well, homosexuality is an orientation. Heterosexuality is an orientation. One would tend to equate them as two different orientations. That's just the way it is. It seems to me that the only reason NOT to equate them is if one has an agenda.

Your offered reason for not equating them?

I say this because one is a natural function of mankind and the other isn't. I say this because one is an intended context in which sex might take place and the other isn't.

Again, you're begging the question. You're looking at the question: Is homosexuality wrong? with the presupposition/agenda: Homosexuality is wrong.

Yes, if you go into looking at a topic with the presupposition: "THIS behavior is wrong" - it DOES make it easier to find "evidence" to support your agenda. But I thought you were entering this topic with an open mind, praying for God's Wisdom, not starting off the very top with YOUR agenda.

You defended your agenda by suggesting...

I guess another way for me to say it is that you are beginning with homosex being on par with heterosex.

Well, no. I am beginning with no presumptions except that I'm looking for Truth. In truth, homosexuality and heterosexuality ARE orientations. In truth, the text in Genesis does not support your agenda, and you only see it because you are beginning with a presumption that is the very question we're seeking an answer to.

If you're beginning with an agenda to prove and not seeking God's will, Marshall, I must say that it makes me less than thrilled to continue this. However, inasmuch (ie, FOR THIS REASON) as that is the same agenda I had when I first entered the discussion that changed my mind, I will continue as time allows.

Dan Trabue said...

To sum up our positions on Sodom, then, how does this sound:

Dan: The story of Sodom is a condemnation of the attempted rape of Lot's visitors and/or the promiscuity of the men of Sodom. Nowhere in the Bible are Sodom's sins associated with homosexual behavior. Instead, they are associated with greed, lack of concern for the poor, inhospitality and general sexual immorality.

Marshall: The story of Sodom is a condemnation of greed, lack of concern for the poor, inhospitality, and general sexual immorality, with IMPLIED hints (ie, it's not in the text, but I think it's hinted at) that homosexuality itself is wrong.

Dan Trabue said...

If we have gone as far as we can with Sodom, I might return to one of my other thoughts on your fella's points.

Marshall said...

Regarding moral vs purity/ritual laws, I really can't see that it is all that hard to distinguish between them.

I have no doubt that you can choose "Oh, well THIS law is obviously a moral law and THIS law is obviously a purity law..." but that is rather random. You may well choose laws 1, 2 and 5 as ritual laws and laws 3 and 4 as moral ones, but then I might choose laws 1,3 and 4 as ritual laws and 2 and 5 as moral ones.

Here's what I'm asking: ON WHAT BASIS would you choose one law as specifically moral and universal and another as ritual?

1. The Bible makes no distinction.

2. God has not told us, "THESE laws are the moral ones you must heed, THOSE punishments can ALL be ignored (except for Israel) and THEM rules are just ritual rules that applied back then for ritual reasons, not for moral reasons."

3. You appeal to your inner logic ("I really can't see that it is all that hard to distinguish...")

4. You do so despite the fact that the Bible makes no such distinction.

And so, perhaps it would help to look at a batch of verses and you can point out Moral, Moral, Ritual, Purity, Moral AND offer some biblical or logical reason for doing so.

I'm sure you could agree that if we're just going on our hunches, then your list of laws is no better than mine - they're just hunches.

So, returning to Lev 19...

11 " 'Do not steal.
" 'Do not lie.
" 'Do not deceive one another...

18 " 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.

19 " 'Keep my decrees.
" 'Do not mate different kinds of animals.
" 'Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
" 'Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material..."

23 "'When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten.

24 In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD.

25 But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD your God.

26 "'Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.

"'Do not practice divination or sorcery.

27 "'Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard...'"

28 " 'Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.'"


You tell me: WHICH laws are universal/moral laws and which ones are ritual/purity (ie, NOT universal, I guess you'd say) laws? Why?

(As a related aside: Do you have a tattoo? Do you clip off the edges of your beard or cut your hair at the sides of your head?)

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

The text tells us why they shouldn't do this wicked thing, but you ignore why it is wicked. You want to ignore the homosexual aspect of the wicked thing. I think you'd have a far better argument if Lot didn't have his daughters available to offer instead. But he calls it a wicked thing because of what they wanted to do. Are you suggesting that they already did his daughters earlier and the Bible simply didn't say so? You can't since they were virgins. Are you suggesting they didn't know Lot had daughters? Their reaction to his refusal suggests they knew him well enough. It doesn't work, Dan. They came with the intention of having sex with Lot's guests. They KNEW they were men. Lot was reacting to their request/demand to have sex with MEN. Yes they were under his protection, but that they were is NOT what constitutes the "wicked thing". Considering their request, Lot's response, as well as his offering of his daughters, I think that qualifies as a bit MORE than a "hint".

Now, we both insist we are seeking the Truth. But look where we are in the Bible thus far: God presents one woman for the first man and the Bible then says, "THEREFOR, a man will leave his family and cleave unto his wife." There's the proscription for what we now call "traditional", but is in reality the real and only definition of the term. The world's been flooded already as a result of sinfulness of all sorts. Now we see Lot being confronted by men looking for sex with men and he refuses. If it's simply sexual immorality, he isn't helping out by offering his daughters. The same goes for rape.

As to whether other verses later on allude to homosexuality in Sodom and Gemorrah, that's a debatable point we'll like run into later.

Marshall Art said...

IMPORTANT POINT COMING HERE

One more thing about my last, if we're going to look at the Bible as a whole, or take it story by story as if we don't know what will arise next, it'll make my job harder. We do know that Leviticus is coming. You like to take things in context, and I've done that UP TO this story of Lot and the men of Sodom, but the total context of the Bible only helps me. That's what I'm backing here. I'm using all the arguments that I've already encountered elsewhere that has led me to my current position. My hope was that this exercise could lead me to that point where you changed YOUR position. I don't think there's any arguement that you can use that hasn't been covered in my link. I haven't seen anything I haven't seen at, for example, you buddy Michael with the three names'. So, I'm at a loss to understand how you could end up where you did. Hence, this exercise. If it takes you a week or two to return to consider another point made in the link, that's OK with me. It that's what it takes to lead me to what you think is the truth, I can deal. I began where you did to a great extent, but all these debates have strengthened my belief in my position where it has turned you toward your current belief. Somewhere in here is the defining moment everyone's be seeking of you. If you can't add something to the link's points which destroy any of them, it's hard to believe that Scripture played any part in your "conversion". All you will be left with is your reasoning and prayerful meditations, which, I contend, must result in something that aligns with Scripture in order to be valid. I say all this with only the best of intentions and in the true spirit of Christian brotherhood. And I hope these words don't cause you to reject this exercise, because in reality, we both are putting our beliefs on the line.

Marshall Art said...

I'm going to take a shot at putting your list under what I think are the appropriate headings regarding moral/ritual/purity laws. I think some might also be under the heading of "atonement", but we'll see as we go along.

So, returning to Lev 19...

11---All moral
18---Moral
19---Purity
23---Purity
24---Purity
25---Purity
26---Purity
"Do not practice divination or sorcery."---moral
27---Ritual/Purity
28---ritual/Purity

Ritual and purity can overlap. I explain this way: Some laws are obviously purity because they deal with unclean things. Anything dead, any bodily fluids, particularly blood (considered all the same in this context) equates with sin. God won't tolerate sin. God is good and the idea is to separate good and evil.

Ritual is largely based on this as most (if not all) of the rituals are intended to set the Chosen apart from everyone else. The Chosen, because HE chose them, are (like) good and those not chosen, the gentiles, are (like) sin. You'll notice that God did not want Israel to behave as did the people whence they came. God mandated rules to set them apart.

The reason the moral laws are universal is, because quite frankly, they are. Most world religions have most of the moral laws as listed here. (Not all, but most) Most of them work in a strictly civil, secular framework of gov't. (Again, not all)

Other things have to do with atoning for transgressing these rules, such as stoning a child who curses his parents. We don't stone kids, because Christ paid for all of our sins, but a child is still supposed to honor his parents. None of the other sacifices are required, either because of Christ's sacrifice, even if the civil law requires some form of sentence or fine.

If you dissagree w/any of this, tell me why and where.

Dan Trabue said...

I am wholly unconvinced (more convinced than ever of the opposite, actually) following your reasoning on the Sodom topic. You have nothing but hunches. The text is clear.

So I reckon we'll have to move on past that topic.

Is my summation (posted July 20 at 8:48) of our positions a fair one, then?

I just want to be clear that we are at least understanding where the other one is coming from - I know I have summarized MY position fairly, have I summarized your position accurately?

Dan Trabue said...

Now, as to your Lev 18, etc reasoning, let me say... I NEARLY WHOLLY AGREE WITH YOUR APPROACH.

What you have done, to be clear, is acknowledge there is NO BIBLICAL reasons for setting aside some of these laws ("THOU SHALT...") as cultural/temporal (ie, ritual/purity) and some as universal and moral.

You and I both set aside the COMMAND FROM GOD to trim our beards as being something specific to Israel, having cultural/ritual reasons. We have no biblical reason whatsoever to do so. Instead, you and I both use our logic to decide that this is obviously not a universal moral law. How could it be?? Do we really think that God cares about the length of our hair or beard? It obviously must have had some application specific to the times and people.

On the other hand, you and I both agree that stealing is universally wrong. This law from God reinforces it, but we know that regardless. It's an infringement of someone's rights and, as such, a wrong thing to do. But we must understand that we can determine THIS law is cultural/temporal and THIS law is moral/universal using our logic, that is how we are getting to this point. The text simply DOES NOT provide any such distinction. They are THE LAW. Period.

So, given that we are acknowledging that we must use our logic to determine which of these laws are universal and which not, we can see that, to the people of the time, any homosexual behavior is going to be unclean. It involves bodily fluids and whatnot and TO THE PEOPLE OF THE TIME, this would make it unclean. Ritually unclean. Like having sex during a women's menstrual period. Ritually unclean.

Add to this that the only context that most Jews were probably familiar with any sort of homosexual behavior is the ritualistic sex ceremonies performed by the Canaanites (as the text clearly is referencing), and the Jews have good reason to consider homosexuality wrong and unclean.

Are we together then, thus far?

1. You and I both agree (correct me if I'm wrong) that the Bible DOES NOT distinguish between ritual laws and universal laws. They are just commandments from God to Israel. Obey these laws. Period.

2. We both agree that we have to use our reason to set aside some of the laws because clearly they are not universal laws. Our logic would object to such an interpretation, even if the Bible does not.

3. We then probably disagree on whether "men laying with men" is a universal rule or a temporal one. I think clearly, the Jews of the day would have considered such sexual behavior as ritually unclean and therefore, unacceptable. Additionally, the context was that the only known instances of "men laying with men" were the temple prostitution/sex ceremonies observed by the pagan Canaanites. I don't see how you could conclude - from the text - that this is anything but a culturally bound law. Marshall thinks it is clearly a universal law because... well, you would have to tell me. Because that is what we have always thought it was? Is that your reasoning?

Marshall Art said...

"You have nothing but hunches. The text is clear."

Not quite as you think. I have more than hunches here as the text is indeed clear. The men were seeking homosexual sex and that is part of what Lot described as a "wicked thing". You insist on ignoring that aspect of the story and you are wrong for doing so. Do you think it would have been better had it only been one man asking for homosex with the visitors? What makes you think Lot's reaction would have been different? You'd have to go on hunches to support that. I'm merely acting on the text as written, ignoring nothing it says.

As to your summaries of our positions, you have mine wrong when you say that the text gives no evidence of homosexuality. The men of the town are seeking sex with men. This is not hinted, it's stated plainly. It is not a hunch on my part, it is stated plainly. It is also stated that Lot found their request and intention to be a "wicked thing". Their request and intention was to have sex with men. It's clear as day.

I will say that your summary of your own position is accurate only so far as stating what you want to believe about the story, but not that it is accurately understanding the story. I would ask you, what are the odds that in a town where all the men would gather to engage in such a thing, that there would be NO instances of men who ONLY have sex with men? I'd say that assumption is a stretch. I'd say it's more likely that relationships similar to what you support took place as well.

Marshall Art said...

Your departure from my conclusions regarding Lev leaves a bit to be desired.

Bodily fluids are involved in sex within a proper marriage. Thus, I doubt that bodily fluids has much to do with the view of homosex as unclean. But then, I'm not saying it is a matter of it being unclean. I'm saying that, like other laws regulating sexuality in Leviticus, it is immoral. The prohibition is a moral law similar to theft and lying. If not for marriage and the need to procreate, I'd wager there would be NO sanctioning of sexual activity at all. (You know my position on sex that aside from my own desires to engage in it, I acknowledge that it is a selfish act due to the pleasure involved and as such takes one's focus off of God for the short duration of its enjoyment and places it wholly on the self).

The distinction between moral law and ritual/purity laws or laws of atonement is actually running throughout the entire 66 books of the Bible. The NT shows Christ drawing a sharper understanding of adultery and murder. The NT shows Peter dreaming of being "served" foods that until then were considered unclean (purity law). Paul diminishes the importance of circumcision. In short, moral laws are strengthened and ritual and purity laws are weakened (to some extent--too tired to find a better way to say it). We could also say that when Paul said there is no difference between Jew and gentile, the need to cut our hair in a specific manner was rendered moot.

Thus, I think there is plenty to point to distinctions between moral laws to which we must still adhere, and other ritual/purity laws that, while possibly still maintaining some level of value, are no longer required.

"Add to this that the only context that most Jews were probably familiar with any sort of homosexual behavior is the ritualistic sex ceremonies performed by the Canaanites..."

I don't understand how you can make this assumption. How can you say that there never were any Jews who harbored homosexual desires, if you could even prove no such relationships ever took place? This is at best, speculation that has no place here. You are adding something for which the text does not present; something you warn me against doing, and even tried to say about the Lot story. I'm going way out of my way to make NO such assumptions in either direction.

continued----

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, slow down. Let's take this one step at a time...

1. Marshall said...

The men were seeking homosexual sex and that is part of what Lot described as a "wicked thing". You insist on ignoring that aspect of the story and you are wrong for doing so.

I have not "ignored" that the men of Sodom were seeking sex with men. I have not ignored that at all, it's right there. Don't misrepresent. If you want to keep this civil and reasonable, an apology would be normal for such a misrepresentation.

2. Marshall said...

As to your summaries of our positions, you have mine wrong when you say that the text gives no evidence of homosexuality.

Once again, you have misrepresented my position. Look again at what I said:

Marshall: The story of Sodom is a condemnation of greed, lack of concern for the poor, inhospitality, and general sexual immorality, with IMPLIED hints (ie, it's not in the text, but I think it's hinted at) that homosexuality itself is wrong.

Do you see it? No where did I "say that the text gives no evidence of homosexuality." Do you see how you have misrepresented my position?

(Understand, I'm not suggesting you're doing this deliberately, by the way, just that it is happening in reality. I'm sure it is an oversight on your part and not deliberate.)

You claim I "say that the text gives no evidence of homosexuality." But I did not, in fact, say that. I said that the you thought the text had "IMPLIED hints (ie, it's not in the text, but I think it's hinted at) that homosexuality itself is wrong."

Do you get it? No one (as in zero people) is saying that men desiring to rape or have group sex with other men does not involve a homosexual act. That is not my point.

My point is that the fact that a it is wrong for a group of men to demand sex of strangers is not a condemnation of homosexuality itself, it is a condemnation of attempted rape or promiscuity.

You seem to be acting much the same way as I did BEFORE I prayed my way through this topic. I genuinely could not see the point the pro-gay side was putting forth. They would say "This is not a condemnation of homosexuality itself," and I would respond, "But it's clearly talking about homosexuality!!"

I just didn't get their point for a long time. It only came from prayer and an open heart and more study.

Be that as it may, do you understand now my point and where you were off?

Marshall Art said...

Regarding the three points of your 8:19AM comment,

1) I do NOT agree that "the Bible DOES NOT distinguish between ritual laws and universal laws." We're not really together on all that constitutes "universal" laws. I think they include sexuality and am not sure you do, at least in the same way I do. To me, all moral law, a better term than "universal", comes from God. They don't all find their way into civil law, but exist nonetheless.

2) Reason helps, but a good study of the Bible makes it easy. It doesn't really require lifetimes of study.

3) Yes, we do disagree. I think it's a stretch to suggest that the Jews saw homosex as a matter of only a purity issue. Why only this form of sexual behavior? We don't see anything that suggests this at all.

"...the only known instances of "men laying with men" were the temple prostitution/sex ceremonies observed by the pagan Canaanites..."

This is only speculation. It ASSUMES no relationships like those you now took place ever took place then. It makes it easy to explain a "Thou shalt not..." if we are forced to believe only the worst manifestations were in mind. I can't see, and have never seen, anything that proves they only thought of those manifestations when rejecting the behavior as sinful. Do you think that's why incest was frowned upon? Because such only occurred within the context of pagan rituals? Adultery? Fornication? I believe it is human invention to say that there is any concern for the context in which bad behavior takes place. The concern was in regard for the behavior itself regardless of context. There's no way it would ever have been written with such doubt. Remember, it is not MY side of the issue that claims those ancients didn't have sufficient understanding of human sexuality. It doesn't make sense that there would be such ambiguity then. But there isn't because it doesn't bother with context.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

I think there is plenty to point to distinctions between moral laws to which we must still adhere, and other ritual/purity laws that, while possibly still maintaining some level of value, are no longer required.

Here is what I'm saying Marshall:

There is not a place anywhere in the Bible that offers a "key" or an explanation of what OT laws are universal/moral and which ones were cultural/temporal.

In fact, there is no place anywhere in the Bible that says there IS a distinction between the two types of rules.

Let's just take that much. Are we agreed that the laws are offered as a unit? "Thou shalt not steal. Period. Thou shalt not cut your hair. Period." There is no suggestion IN THE BIBLE that there is a distinction.

To be sure, there IS the places where some food laws are changed/dismissed in the NT, but that's all. Tattoo laws are not dismissed. Hair cut laws are not dismissed.

Do you agree? If not and you DO think the Bible explains which laws are universal/moral and which ones were cultural/temporal, then all you have to do is provide those passages.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said..

This is only speculation. It ASSUMES no relationships like those you now took place ever took place then.

No. It is not speculation. IN THE TEXT OF THE BIBLE, the ONLY places homosexual behavior of any sort is talked about is in the context of pagan practices and in the attempted rape case like in Sodom.

There are no other examples IN THE TEXT of the Bible of committed loving relationships.

Now, if you have some evidence of loving committed relationships being common knowledge in the ancient world, you can provide your evidence, but I am not familiar with it.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, let me try taking into consideration your latest problems with my summation of our points on Sodom...

Dan: The story of Sodom is a condemnation of the attempted rape of Lot's visitors and/or the promiscuity of the men of Sodom. Nowhere in the Bible are Sodom's sins associated with homosexual behavior IN GENERAL (ie, condemning homosexual behavior itself as being wrong). Instead, they are associated with greed, lack of concern for the poor, inhospitality and general sexual immorality (including promiscuity/attempted rape - which are problems whether it's same sex or opposite).

Marshall: The story of Sodom is a condemnation of greed, lack of concern for the poor, inhospitality, and general sexual immorality, with IMPLIED hints (ie, it's not in the text, but he thinks it's hinted at) that homosexuality itself is wrong. Marshall thinks that because the men of Sodom attempted rape/promiscuity with other men, that this is a HINT that ALL homosexuality is wrong, although, the text does not say that.

We disagree here:
Dan thinks that what the text condemns in context is the attempted rape/promiscuity of strangers under Lot's protection.

Marshall thinks that because the attempted rape/promiscuity was men to men, it is a condemnation of all homosexuality. However, if it were men to women, it would not be a condemnation of all heterosexuality.

Dan points out that this is an inconsistent and illogical position based on Marshall's feelings, not the text.

Fair summation or not?

If not, feel free to try to sum up our positions.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

I'm quite low on time and don't know how long I'll comment tonite. But let me start here:

I've done nothing for which I should apologize. Misrepresentations can be purposeful or accidental. I'm going to assume that any of yours were not made with malice aforethought. Let us not bog ourselves down with girlish sensitivity. We can't walk on eggshells and expect to get to the bottom line quickly. Assume I mean no harm, for that is the truth of it. I'm treating this thread differently than an average thread and engaging in this discussion almost as if we have no history. Don't be put off if things get a little heated or sarcastic or even a little snarky now and then. More than likely, the tone of a comment won't necessarily reflect more than a bad day in the office of life. Let's agree to cut each other slack and assume the best.

Marshall Art said...

OK. Almost out of time already. What the heck.

Regarding the offending statement: if you haven't been ignoring the homosex aspect of the story of Lot and the men of Sodom, I don't think I'm out of line to say that you downplay it, diminish it, or treat it as if it means nothing at all. This is what I find troubling. I don't think it's fair to say that it makes no difference. Don't forget, Lot could have offered himself rather than his daughters, but he didn't. This lends credence to the notion that this "wicked thing" was wicked because of the homosex aspect as well as the promiscuity/rape angle.

We might also contend that since God hadn't handed down any laws regulating sexuality, the only other guide would have to be Genesis and God presenting Eve to Adam. That's the first indication of God's intent for human sexuality (not a mandate as some people wish to insist I say).

Moving on a bit, here's a place where you've got ME wrong. I'm not saying that the story suggests anything more than that these men intended to have homosex with the visitors and Lot rejected the intention as a wicked thing. This particular story doesn't indict homosex in general. The whole Bible does that. This story is one place where we see it. Lev 18:22 is what indicts the behavior in general, because it does NOT allow for any context where it might be tolerated. It simply says "thou shalt not..." So I don't think you can say definitively that the Bible speaks ONLY of particular contexts of forbidden behavior. You'll have to point me to specific passages here in order to make this case.

I gotta go. More later, but feel free to comment as you see fit.

Marshall Art said...

One more thing. Anytime you feel like moving on to another aspect of the link, feel free, but know that how it happens might reflect as abandoning or conceding a point. I may insist on verbal aknowledgment if it seems you're ducking. But if you want to put aside an issue for a time, that's fine. I might want to as well to rethink or more deeply ponder a comment of yours.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

I've done nothing for which I should apologize. Misrepresentations can be purposeful or accidental. I'm going to assume that any of yours were not made with malice aforethought. Let us not bog ourselves down with girlish sensitivity.

I apologize for putting my thoughts so poorly. My intentions were not "girlish sensitivity," and I'm sorry for putting this in such a way that could thus be misconstrued.

We are having a conversation. When one has a conversation, the people involved need to understand what the other is saying.

If I say A, then you say, "Dan, you said X! How unreasonable!" I would rightly say, "You misunderstand, I did not say X, I said A."

At that point in a reasonable conversation, it would be expected that you would say something like, "Oh, my bad, I THOUGHT you were saying X, but I see now that you're saying A..."

The purpose here is not hurt feelings but understanding. How can I move on to say B if you may or may not still be thinking that by A, I meant X? You're acknowledging your mistake (and vice versa) is not any attempt to assuage my feelings but to clarify that we understand one another.

Having said that, why NOT apologize for misunderstanding? I strive to do it and think it just a normal decent thing to do. Part of that whole showing love and respect for one another thing.

So, having said that, are we clear on THIS point (it really does get tiring that you keep suggesting anytime I suggest an apology is in order that I'm worried about "girlish" feelings - don't be ridiculous, I'm concerned with respect and understanding)?

Marshall Art said...

I'll take your word that you are not being overly sensitive if you take my word that I'm not intentionally being insensitive. If both are true, what need is there for apologies? For my part, I've spent considerable time in martial arts settings where physical pain is routine. People are practicing techniques designed to hurt people. Apologies are unnecessary for that reason alone (though it's also a bad habit to form---one plays as one practices---apologizing for an over-zealous attack could lead to apologizing on the street---that small bit of ettiquette can get one killed), since why would anyone be practicing that are if one didn't expect some pain now and again.

We're sparring verbally (though vollying is what we're after) so as we're attempting to be understood, it makes sense that at times we won't be. No harm as far as I'm concerned. We can pretty much tell when the other has missed the point. I'm not offended in the least and can't see the point of expecting apologies for it. Unless you're trying to be a jerk, I don't assume ill will, thus, for what possible reason would I expect an apology? Totally unnecessary here. The mere fact that you mean no harm is apology enough. It's apology in advance. I assume you'd be sorry for any misrep or misunderstanding. I'd much rather we were clear on THIS point as it saves us both time and bad feelings. Can I get an AMEN?

Dan Trabue said...

Do you understand my point, Marshall?

If you say something and I repeat it back but get what you said wrong, and then you point out the mistake, then my acknowledging, "Oh, I got that wrong," let's you know that I understand. Acknowledging mistakes is necessary for communication.

If you don't acknowledge you got something wrong, then how do I know you've understood me?

And Christianity isn't martial arts. Apologies are always good form in Christianity.

Marshall Art said...

Acknowledging a mistake is one thing. Such will develop in time and is pretty much automatic when the light bulb flips on. But that's different than expecting an apology for the mistake from the other side. The martial arts analogy was simply the expectations of the situation. There is no harm meant in either that or these discussions. Thus, I assume no harm is meant and I EXPECT no apology. The courtesy of offering an apology is also a different matter. If you feel so inclined, go for it. I likely will as well. But I won't expect one as I won't expect that any mistake was made with malice. Do you see the distinction I'm making? Can we move on now?

Dan Trabue said...

Acknowledging a mistake is one thing... Can we move on now?

Moving on then, back to where the mistake in question was raised.

I was suggesting that it is your position that the text in the Sodom story has implied hints that homosexuality itself (ie, not certain sexual behaviors, but the ALL homosexual behaviors) is wrong.

I maintain that the text does not, in fact, say or hint that homosexuality itself is wrong.

Is this a fair summation of our positions on that point?

Marshall Art said...

"I was suggesting that it is your position that the text in the Sodom story has implied hints that homosexuality itself (ie, not certain sexual behaviors, but the ALL homosexual behaviors) is wrong."

Not quite. It is my position that this story is evidence that the Bible in general insists that homosexual behavior in any manifestation is wrong. Let's look again at the story. Backing up to Gen 18:20-21:

"The the Lord said, 'The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.'"

Then, the first indication of bad behavior we have is the incident we are discussing. Then of course, later in Eze 16:49-50, we see the same language being used to describe the behaviors of Sodomites as was used in Lev 18:22. That would be, according the Bible in front of me now, detestable acts of homosex behavior. Yet Lev doesn't speak of homosex in one particular context or another, but simply homosex behavior. So these three passages, in Gen, Lev and Eze are all connected and pointing to the behavior as wicked. These are but three places where the behavior is indicated as prohibited. There is nothing to counter it anywhere to be found.

Though I don't believe, as you seem to, that related passages are referring to specific expressions of homosexual behavior, I will concede that only one really covers the behavior in general and in total, and that's Lev 18:22. However, and again, I don't think there is a strong enough argument that says prohibitions are referring to specific pagan practices and not the behavior in general.

I also want to reiterate that I'm not suggesting that the story at issue suggests that homosexual behavior was Sodom's only or worst sin, rather simply one of many, but indeed a sin that Lot was confirming as a "wicked thing". To be even more clear, the "wicked thing" to which Lot referred was the total of the following"

-Group sex
-Forced group sex, if necessary
-Group sex (forced or otherwise) between men

These things comprised the "wicked thing".

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

It is my position that this story is evidence that the Bible in general insists that homosexual behavior in any manifestation is wrong.

Your contention, then: The Bible in general insists that homosexual behavior in ANY manifestation is wrong.

The evidence? A story where a group of men attempt to rape of have casual sex with other men.

Clearly, that is a story that is condemning of THAT behavior, but there is nothing in the story itself that condemns all gay behavior.

Marshall's contention: Because Lot offered his daughters up for rape/casual sex, it suggests (it does not say at all, but to Marshall it suggests) that there was something wrong with homosexuality itself.

What the text actually says: The Bible has Lot saying, "Do not do this horrible thing, FOR THESE MEN are under my protection." Dan thinks it fairly clear that this is referencing "this horrible thing," meaning harming these visitors - Lot's own reason, THAT is why he offered his daughters, because they were not visitors specifically under Lot's protection.

Dan thinks the text fairly clearly addresses specifically why the behavior was wrong.

Marshall thinks it hints at homosexuality itself being wrong.

Marshall also says...

Then, the first indication of bad behavior we have is the incident we are discussing.

Then of course, later in Eze 16:49-50, we see the same language being used to describe the behaviors of Sodomites as was used in Lev 18:22.


What? Abominable acts? Abominable acts describes MANY bad behaviors, not just specifically "men laying with men." It is a leap to connect Lev 18 with Sodom. IF you want to be generous with the text, you COULD say that Ezekiel references "abominable acts" and these are the abominable acts the OT describes... and then give the list, which would include men laying with men, but is not limited to such.

Marshal went on...

That would be, according the Bible in front of me now, detestable acts of homosex behavior. Yet Lev doesn't speak of homosex in one particular context or another, but simply homosex behavior.

Well, as we have seen, Lev 18 specifically DOES address the following commands when it says, "Don't be like these pagan Canaanites, do not..." and then it gives lots of things not to do (including cutting the hair at the side of your head or trimming your beard, which you have already said is not a universal rule).

Marshall said...

So these three passages, in Gen, Lev and Eze are all connected and pointing to the behavior as wicked. These are but three places where the behavior is indicated as prohibited. There is nothing to counter it anywhere to be found.

There is nothing in the text that connect Lev 18 with the Sodom story directly. You are making a leap of logic to say, "Lev calls 'men laying with men' an abomination and Ezekiel describes some of the behavior of the people of Sodom to be abominable, therefore there is a connection."

The MOST you could say is there is a POSSIBLE connection, since "men laying with men" is one of the things described as abominable - one of maybe twenty or so.

You're making leaps, Marshall, to prove your point, rather than looking at just what the text does and does not say.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said...

I will concede that only one really covers the behavior in general and in total, and that's Lev 18:22. However, and again, I don't think there is a strong enough argument that says prohibitions are referring to specific pagan practices and not the behavior in general.

You're begging the question. The text says, "don't be like the pagans. Don't... cut your hair at the sides, don't trim your beard, don't get tattoos, men should not lay with men, don't practice sorcery, don't wear polyester..."

These are a list of rules that, in context, are talking about some forbidden cultural practices. Now, included in these rules are some that we can logically infer are more universal in nature and some that we agree are more cultural in nature. The thing is, the Bible itself does not differentiate these rules. It simply says, THOU SHALT NOT...

We are left, therefore, with our logic (and the ability to research and understand the context as best we can and compare what's written here to other places in the Bible) to sort out which are which. There are NO places in the Bible that differentiates cultural and universal. Are we agreed on at least that much?

Dan Trabue said...

Correction: Where I said...

Abominable acts describes MANY bad behaviors

I should have noted that "abominable acts" would describe many behaviors, some that were ritually forbidden (but not necessarily morally wrong) and some that may be more morally displeasing.

Marshall Art said...

"Your contention, then: The Bible in general insists that homosexual behavior in ANY manifestation is wrong."

You are corRECT, sir. (Tribute to Ed McMahon)

"The evidence? A story where a group of men attempt to rape of have casual sex with other men."

Not sole evidence, but evidence that aids the case. Indeed, that the entire male population of the town comes out to have sex with the visitors suggests a widespread tolerance (to say the least) of homosexual behavior in Sodom. The stretch is to assume then that it only took place within the context of pagan ritual, prostitution or exploitative activity. "All the men from every part of the city of Sodom-both young and old-surrounded the house." Homosex was commonplace in the city, without a doubt. To suggest then that it existed in every manifestation BUT willing "loving" relations is incredibly hard to believe.

"Marshall's contention: Because Lot offered his daughters up for rape/casual sex, it suggests (it does not say at all, but to Marshall it suggests) that there was something wrong with homosexuality itself."

Once again, I find it hard to believe that Lot would give up his daughters to be gang-raped if there was no definite sense that man-man sex was worse than man-woman/girl sex. Makes no sense whatsoever. Why did he not give up himself? Since the Sodomites came for sex with men, how are we to believe that they would have been satisfied with the girls? Do you really think they would have stopped when finished with the chicks and then said, "Wow! That was great, let's all have a smoke and go home!" Considering the fact that they got pissed at Lot's refusal, it's obvious they were intent on the dudes. What I'm saying here is that if Lot gave himself up, that might have been a better plan. "Don't have sex with them who are under my protection, have sex with me instead, since you're hot for dudes."

You're going way out of your way to insist that it was only the protection of the visitors that Lot had in mind and I say that it was protecting them from homosexual advances as much as anything else at that point, and the decision to offer his daughters rather than his own self is evidence of the view of man-man sex as worse than man-girl sex even if the result is the gang-rape of his own daughers.

"Marshall thinks it hints at homosexuality itself being wrong."

Once again, Marshall understands that a homosexual assault is from what Lot was protecting the visitors and that Lot offering his daughters rather than himself in place of the visitors implies that a homosexual rape is worse than a heterosexual rape. This adds to the Bible's overall prohibition of homosexual behavior in general.

continued-

Marshall Art said...

"Well, as we have seen, Lev 18 specifically DOES address the following commands when it says..."

What it says in my NIV Study Bible is:

Lev 18:3

You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

One could say this is merely first of a long list of directives. Elsewhere, you have connected the prohibition of homosex behavior to only pagan ritual. But what of the rest of the list? All of the sexual behaviors are listed together. Are we to assume by your logic that bestiality is fine if not connected with pagan ritual? How about incest? If the Bible groups homosex with all the other prohibited sexual behaviors, then what is OK for committed loving homosex relationships is also good for committed loving hetero relationship of a guy and his mom, or sister, or brother, or father, or cousin, as long as it isn't connected with pagan rituals or idolatry? I don't think so. Who's really the one making the big leaps here?

"There is nothing in the text that connect Lev 18 with the Sodom story directly."

That's good because I made no such direct connection. What I referred to is the connection in terms of how each of the three viewed homosex behavior. That would be negatively.

"There are NO places in the Bible that differentiates cultural and universal. Are we agreed on at least that much?"

I'm afraid not. Because while the Bible might have no instance of specifically saying in no uncertain terms and words that "These are universal and these are cultural", there is plenty to show the distinction. As I said much earlier, it's not a mystery which is which even without Biblical help. I risk offense but I insist one has to willfully ignore the obvious in order to protect a pro-homosex position. All references to homosex are negative. There are not even neutral references to homosex.

But as to moral law, we know that Christ discusses lust as akin to adultery and hate as akin to murder. It's not difficult or a stretch to then look at other behaviors that are similar to just those two to understand other behaviors that fall under the moral category.

Further, there are places where ritual is discussed in a dismissive way, such as the story in Acts where Peter dreams of being offered forbidden foods to eat. Places where Paul discusses things like circumcision being unnecessary.

And of course Christ's sacrifice renders all other sacrifices totally unnecessary and worthless by comparison.

Dan Trabue said...

I'll respond when I get a chance...