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Thread: Does the Bible forbid homosexuality and abortion?

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    You are obviously blinded by your beliefs Lion. No point in arguing with you. I read that nasty book when I was young. It always bothered me as a child that I was told to believe such horrible stuff, but being a child, I believed what I was told to believe. Luckily, I was able to see the light in my late teens and early teens. But, I do realize that many people need some type of mythology to get them through the day. I just wish it wasn't such a harsh, sexist, often hateful mythology as that in much of the Christian holy book.

    I will add that the verse in Exodus only says not to kill. It says nothing about ending a pregnancy. It says nothing about a fertilized egg or a fetus being the same as a living child. It says nothing about who or what isn't supposed to be killed, so I could interpret that to mean that we should all be vegans and never kill any living thing.

    The Bible can be interpreted however the reader wants to see it, as it's an ancient book of mythology, nothing more and nothing less. Prior to the movement that politicized abortion, I never knew of a Christians who made a claim against abortion. Nope. That's why all the Christian nurses who I worked with in the late 70s and early 80s never seemed to have a problem with abortion, at least not when it came to the choices of other women. That's the way it should be.

    And, even if the Bible did condemn abortion, which it obviously doesn't, one's religious beliefs should never be forced on those who don't share those beliefs in a democratic society. There are human universals, but anti abortion and anti homosexuality beliefs have never been universal beliefs.

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    You are obviously blinded by your beliefs Lion. No point in arguing with you. I read that nasty book when I was young. It always bothered me as a child that I was told to believe such horrible stuff, but being a child, I believed what I was told to believe. Luckily, I was able to see the light in my late teens and early teens. But, I do realize that many people need some type of mythology to get them through the day. I just wish it wasn't such a harsh, sexist, often hateful mythology as that in much of the Christian holy book.

    I will add that the verse in Exodus only says not to kill. It says nothing about ending a pregnancy. It says nothing about a fertilized egg or a fetus being the same as a living child. It says nothing about who or what isn't supposed to be killed, so I could interpret that to mean that we should all be vegans and never kill any living thing.

    The Bible can be interpreted however the reader wants to see it, as it's an ancient book of mythology, nothing more and nothing less. Prior to the movement that politicized abortion, I never knew of a Christians who made a claim against abortion. Nope. That's why all the Christian nurses who I worked with in the late 70s and early 80s never seemed to have a problem with abortion, at least not when it came to the choices of other women. That's the way it should be.

    And, even if the Bible did condemn abortion, which it obviously doesn't, one's religious beliefs should never be forced on those who don't share those beliefs in a democratic society. There are human universals, but anti abortion and anti homosexuality beliefs have never been universal beliefs.
    The proscription against killing seems oddly unspecific, especially when compared to the list of things one must not covet. There's no list of who one must not kill, or of anyone exempt from the rule. A few books forward and we learn that "Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands." No one seemed upset about that.

    As for specificity, consider "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." That's pretty clear, to the point that all the paintings of Moses walking down the mountain with the stone tablets are prohibited by those very same tablets.

    What it comes down to, even the most sincere believers who use the Bible to justify their actions, happily disregard any scripture that prohibits something that is a social norm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post

    What it comes down to, even the most sincere believers who use the Bible to justify their actions, happily disregard any scripture that prohibits something that is a social norm.
    In his essay 'Superstition', Robert Ingersoll provided a long list of the ways Bible believers have made a spectacle of themselves over the centuries, claiming support for contradictory positions. Here is an edited version of this passage:
    "Millions of men have wasted their lives in the study of this book -- in trying to harmonize contradictions and the explain the obscure and seemingly absurd...Probably no two of its readers have agreed as to its meaning...By the same book they proved that nearly everybody is to be lost, and that all are to be saved; that slavery is a divine institution, and that all men should be free; that polygamy is right, and that no man should have more than one wife; that the powers that be are ordained by God, and that the people have a right to overturn and destroy the powers that be; that all the actions of men were predestined -- preordained from eternity, and yet that man is free; that all the heathen will be lost; that all the heathen will be saved...that there is no salvation without baptism; that baptism is useless; that you must believe in the Trinity; that it is sufficient to believe in God; that you must believe that a Hebrew peasant was God; that at the same time he was half man, that he was of the blood of David through his supposed father Joseph, who was not his father, and that it is not necessary to believe that Christ was God...that heretics should be killed; that you must not resist evil;...that you should lend to all who ask, and that one who does not provide for his own household is worse than an infidel."
    I have given about a third of the passage.
    Ingersoll could have added: that prayers are to be made to Mary the intercessor, but that all such prayers are to be damned as idolatry; that a Christian must be a pacifist and noncombatant, but then again a Christian is justified if he serves in his country's military; that God is on our side/their side/no one's side; that adherence to the Law is done away with, but every 'jot and tittle' is still in force; that God commanded circumcision forever and ever as a sign of faith, but that no man must be circumcised; that we should have prayer in the public sphere, but you should do your praying in private.
    An omniscient and infallible God, holding all the wisdom in creation, could not inspire, create, or preserve a written message that people could follow with consistency and intelligibility.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post

    What it comes down to, even the most sincere believers who use the Bible to justify their actions, happily disregard any scripture that prohibits something that is a social norm.
    In his essay 'Superstition', Robert Ingersoll provided a long list of the ways Bible believers have made a spectacle of themselves over the centuries, claiming support for contradictory positions. Here is an edited version of this passage:
    "Millions of men have wasted their lives in the study of this book -- in trying to harmonize contradictions and the explain the obscure and seemingly absurd...Probably no two of its readers have agreed as to its meaning...By the same book they proved that nearly everybody is to be lost, and that all are to be saved; that slavery is a divine institution, and that all men should be free; that polygamy is right, and that no man should have more than one wife; that the powers that be are ordained by God, and that the people have a right to overturn and destroy the powers that be; that all the actions of men were predestined -- preordained from eternity, and yet that man is free; that all the heathen will be lost; that all the heathen will be saved...that there is no salvation without baptism; that baptism is useless; that you must believe in the Trinity; that it is sufficient to believe in God; that you must believe that a Hebrew peasant was God; that at the same time he was half man, that he was of the blood of David through his supposed father Joseph, who was not his father, and that it is not necessary to believe that Christ was God...that heretics should be killed; that you must not resist evil;...that you should lend to all who ask, and that one who does not provide for his own household is worse than an infidel."
    I have given about a third of the passage.
    Ingersoll could have added: that prayers are to be made to Mary the intercessor, but that all such prayers are to be damned as idolatry; that a Christian must be a pacifist and noncombatant, but then again a Christian is justified if he serves in his country's military; that God is on our side/their side/no one's side; that adherence to the Law is done away with, but every 'jot and tittle' is still in force; that God commanded circumcision forever and ever as a sign of faith, but that no man must be circumcised; that we should have prayer in the public sphere, but you should do your praying in private.
    An omniscient and infallible God, holding all the wisdom in creation, could not inspire, create, or preserve a written message that people could follow with consistency and intelligibility.
    Are you arguing that there is never a correct answer in any of these disputes, simply because there is disagreement? Yes, perhaps it would be convenient (albeit boring and patronizing) if we had direct access to the mind of a Perfect Being, and They simply resolved all of our social, philosophical, and theological disputes for us without our having to work for it. But given that this is obviously not the case, what is our next step?

    I know for a fact that Robert Ingersoll was not such a fool as to imagine the religion was the true cause of these disputes. He was an agnostic, like myself, and had a much more nuanced view on the position of any given person in their society, and the complex role religion plays in that relationship.

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    "Never a correct answer"? Sometimes that's true. Sometimes it's a subjective matter. But that's a side issue, isn't it. The thrust of Ingersoll's passage is the incoherence of scripture and the incoherence of the orthodoxies he looked at.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    "Never a correct answer"? Sometimes that's true. Sometimes it's a subjective matter. But that's a side issue, isn't it. The thrust of Ingersoll's passage is the incoherence of scripture and the incoherence of the orthodoxies he looked at.
    Ingersoll was skeptical of all orthodoxies. A good man.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    "Never a correct answer"? Sometimes that's true. Sometimes it's a subjective matter. But that's a side issue, isn't it. The thrust of Ingersoll's passage is the incoherence of scripture and the incoherence of the orthodoxies he looked at.
    Ingersoll was skeptical of all orthodoxies. A good man.
    Yup. And, unlike many of my atheist friends, I don't have a problem with cherry picking from the Bible. the Bible is deeply ingrained in American culture, especially Southern culture. I am just annoyed when those who believe in the Bible literally try to make sense out of all the conflicting passages.

    There are some things in the NT that are pretty much in line with much of Humanist philosophy. I just think there are much better books to read then the Bible. Plus I think I read most of it when I was a child. It was mostly boring for me.

    While much of the Humanist philosophy is very idealistic, it's a decent philosophy to try and live by, and it's fine to cherry pick that philosophy as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Are you arguing that there is never a correct answer in any of these disputes, simply because there is disagreement? Yes, perhaps it would be convenient (albeit boring and patronizing) if we had direct access to the mind of a Perfect Being, and They simply resolved all of our social, philosophical, and theological disputes for us without our having to work for it. But given that this is obviously not the case, what is our next step?
    No, there is no correct answer because it is clearly fiction. It's like asking [/I]who is Tom Bombadil, really[/I]? It is a simply a huge waste of time to expend much energy in trying to reconcile it, unless it is simply your hobby. Then go ahead, I enjoy reading about these things. But to take it seriously as any sort of guide to our social or philosophical disputes? Pure madness.

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    The use of the phrase "clearly stated" in the discourse of religious conservatives/atheists discussing the Bible is always interesting to me. It's a bit like seeing the phrase "authentic" on the marquee of an ethnic restaurant. It's not just likely that whatever follows is probably untrue; it's damn near certain that what follows will not be true. Carrier is true to form, saying variations on the term "clearly" so many times in the article that it starts to lose whatever meaning it might have had simply through repetition. And yet, none of the things he describes as being so incredibly "clear" actually are, and as usual he trots out many outright lies to support his interpretation of the text. I mean, the Bible states plenty of things clearly. Love your neighbor. Don't eat shellfish. Saul was a bad king. Jesus turned water into wine. If you need to take a field shit, bring a trowel. None of these things are controversial. Why? Because all of them are, in fact, very clearly stated. So clearly stated, in fact, that no one bothers to describe them as very clearly stated. It would be redundant and rhetorically meaningless to describe any of those things as "clearly stated", just as a Mexican restaurant in downtown Durango doesn't need to describe its menu as "authentic"; the word only has rhetorical value .

    Naturally, neither of his primary points concern things that are clearly stated in the text. Clear statements about the status of homoseuality and abortion would look like the following:

    "Homosexuality is forbidden."

    or

    "Homosexuality is permissible."


    "Abortion is permissible."

    or

    "Abortion is forbidden"

    It seems to me that if it takes you several thousand words of argument to try and make your point, and vast numbers of people continue to disagree with it when you are done, then your argument may be right, but your presentation of it is not very honest from the outset, as whatever else your point may be, it obviously is not clearly stated in the text.

    To be honest, if someone is asking permission to invlaidate my marriage or deny me the right to an abortion on the sole basis of a religious text, I think the standard of evidence should be pretty high that the text does, at least, actually say what my interlocutor is claiming that it does. If there's any dispute as to what the text says or means, I really don't think it is a good idea to base laws on it until the ambiguity is resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    The use of the phrase "clearly stated" in the discourse of religious conservatives/atheists discussing the Bible is always interesting to me. It's a bit like seeing the phrase "authentic" on the marquee of an ethnic restaurant. It's not just likely that whatever follows is probably untrue; it's damn near certain that what follows will not be true. Carrier is true to form, saying variations on the term "clearly" so many times in the article that it starts to lose whatever meaning it might have had simply through repetition. And yet, none of the things he describes as being so incredibly "clear" actually are, and as usual he trots out many outright lies to support his interpretation of the text. I mean, the Bible states plenty of things clearly. Love your neighbor. Don't eat shellfish. Saul was a bad king. Jesus turned water into wine. If you need to take a field shit, bring a trowel. None of these things are controversial. Why? Because all of them are, in fact, very clearly stated. So clearly stated, in fact, that no one bothers to describe them as very clearly stated. It would be redundant and rhetorically meaningless to describe any of those things as "clearly stated", just as a Mexican restaurant in downtown Durango doesn't need to describe its menu as "authentic"; the word only has rhetorical value .

    Naturally, neither of his primary points concern things that are clearly stated in the text. Clear statements about the status of homoseuality and abortion would look like the following:

    "Homosexuality is forbidden."

    or

    "Homosexuality is permissible."


    "Abortion is permissible."

    or

    "Abortion is forbidden"

    It seems to me that if it takes you several thousand words of argument to try and make your point, and vast numbers of people continue to disagree with it when you are done, then your argument may be right, but your presentation of it is not very honest from the outset, as whatever else your point may be, it obviously is not clearly stated in the text.

    To be honest, if someone is asking permission to invlaidate my marriage or deny me the right to an abortion on the sole basis of a religious text, I think the standard of evidence should be pretty high that the text does, at least, actually say what my interlocutor is claiming that it does. If there's any dispute as to what the text says or means, I really don't think it is a good idea to base laws on it until the ambiguity is resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.
    It would be nice if it were so clear cut, but if it were, we would be left to argue over the definition of homosexuality and abortion. Neither terms are obvious. Is homosexuality only physical acts between persons of the same sex, or does this include emotional attachments which remain non sexual. This doesn't get us close to the problem of defining which physical acts cross the line.

    One of the more predictable elements of human society is our laziness. This means we don't go to the trouble of creating rules and taboos when there's no threat. Another predictable element is our stubbornness. This means the taboos and rules stick around long after the threat has vanished from our lives. Not every society faced the same threats, so homosexuality is taboo in some, and not in others. Some societies threw unwanted babies(girls and deformed boys) off a cliff. Sacred is, as sacred does.

    My curiosity makes me wonder, what was the threat that homosexuality posed? Human morality and moral codes are based upon insuring the survival of the group, in the environment they face. Human survival depends upon the cooperation of the group. The needs and desires of the individual are secondary. It would be a very long time before human society raised their standard of living to the point a luxury like individuality could be supported.

    So, the question remains, why was homosexuality seen as a threat? In my limited circle of friends, I know several homosexuals who have children, so that's one idea that doesn't hold water.

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