Joined: Mar. 2007
|What about stoning to death people who commit adultery?|
Well, certainly I don't condone stoning.
sigh....those dratted OT law codes. I've addressed this in the past as well, so I'll post it here for kicks:
|Below you will find quotes from Josh in regard to the OT laws. I’ve pulled them from three different threads. He has obviously given this subject a lot of thought, and it is indeed a troubling issue for many Christians.|
| "I reject a God given to malicious tricks, so there can't be a conflict between what Moses wrote in the Torah and what is written in the world around us."|
"The process of accepting particular religious evidence is different from scientific evidence. Christians don't keep kosher, almost no one rejects clothes made from two forms of cloth on religious grounds, slavery is considered immoral, despite the fact that the Bible has no problem with slavery. I try to think about the Tao Te Ching, and Buddha's teachings are a powerful source of inspiration, but no one accepts every line of religious evidence as equal."
"How we pick and choose is driven by our ability to integrate a particular teaching with our understanding of the world around us and what we believe the broad religious message to be. Slavery was acceptable because a Chosen People could set itself apart from other peoples in a way that modern humans, linked by a common ancestor, culture, and world, cannot. Cotton/wool blends are comfortable in the summer. Kosher laws are a hassle."
"It's the same reason that homosexuality is a heinous sin because of what the Bible says, but eating pork is OK, despite what the Bible says."
"It's convenient for religious authoritarians to use some Bible passages for their purposes, but others are inconvenient. Clothes made of two kinds of fibers are comfortable, and planting two kinds of crops in one field is handy. Leaving fields fallow one year in seven would be expensive. Forgiving all debts every 50th year would be a pain in the neck."
"It's silly to denigrate your opponents' morality. I think it's immoral to deny basic legal protections to any loving, consenting couple. That's an "extreme" position, but it's moral. Just a different morality from some other people's."
OK, Jeremy, I’m keeping my promise here. I wanted to take some time with this as it is a touchy subject for many people.
First I’m going to share an excerpt from the Emmy-winning show The West Wing.
The president of the United States, played by Martin Sheen, is shown twisting the host of a religious radio talk show into an intellectual pretzel.
The scene is the White House, at a meeting with broadcasters. When the religious radio host affirms that the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, the president explodes with sarcasm:
“Yes it does!” he shouts. “Leviticus 18:22.”
“I wanted to ask you a couple of questions,” he says, beginning his interrogation. “I’m interested in selling my daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7 . . . what would be a good price for her?
“While thinking about that, can I ask you another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it OK to call the police?”
Now on a roll, the president steams on triumphantly. “Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?
“Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side?"
“Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?”
He then sneeringly refers to Bible-believers as “the monthly meeting of the ignorant tight-a** club.” The ensuing silence is deafening. The religious radio host has been verbally chastised into silent submission, her beliefs on homosexuality and the Bible exposed as intellectually absurd and morally bigoted.
Had the president of the United States really demonstrated that the Bible was out of date? Should it indeed be relegated to the scrap heap of history? Do the very Scriptures that condemn homosexuality also give praise to slavery? If so, then how can a Christian today use Scripture to assert that homosexuality is sinful?
I think some people are very uncomfortable when they think they are being told how to live. It is much easier to try to find holes in God’s message so that we can eliminate the laws He asks us to keep. What I think people tend to forget is that God is our creator (through creation or TE - doesn’t matter). He knows what is best for our body because He was the one who created it. He made us and knows what kind of lifestyle will make us happy, healthier people. In OT history, God gave Moses many of the laws to protect them from the affects of sin. Kind of like a guidelines handbook. This would include eating, drinking, clothing, ceremonies, rituals etc. etc. Remember that they were a nomadic desert community for many years. Things would apply to them that would never be considered in the modern world of convenience. Many of these laws were done away with in the New testament with the death and resurrection of Jesus. He was the fulfillment of the law, thus many of those “guidelines for early Israel” do not play any part in what is going on today with Christianity. Now let me expand on that thought.....
Some of those OT laws seem a bit bizarre to us today, but when written (approx. 3,500 yrs. ago), I’m sure these laws had significant application. It is interesting the insight that the Israelites had in regard to quarantine, waste disposal, sterilization, etc. For example:
1. When the Black Plague was killing much of Europe prior to the Renaissance, desperate nations turned to the church for guidance. Returning to the Old Testament laws of Mosses, they instituted principles practiced by the Israelites for diseases like leprosy, handling of the dead and waste disposal.
2. A Biblical insight not understood until late 1800’s is the principle of basic sterilization (washing hands and clothing). Guidelines for washing are stressed in handling of the dead (Num 19). Basic purification practices (some ceremonial) and control of contamination were also specified for many other items including: “unclean” food (Lev 11:29-40), childbirth (Lev 12), bodily discharges (Lev 15) and infection (Lev 13). Even with ceremonial sacrifice and offerings, disease protection was controlled by thorough burning and washing (eg. Lev 6:8-13).
3. In the 1840’s the tragedy of non-scientific, non-Biblical medical practices was poignantly uncovered by Viennese Doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis. In his obstetrics ward he noticed an unusually high death rate of Women examined by teachers and students. The daily practice was to perform autopsies on the dead in the morning and later (without washing) give pelvic exams to new patients. A new practice of thorough washing after autopsies was instituted by the doctor. But it was greeted by sharp ridicule and disdain from his colleagues. Although deaths dropped sharply, Semmelweis’ contract was not renewed. Upon his leaving, washing stopped and deaths again sharply increased. Guidelines within the Bible were not recognized until 1865 by Joseph Lister, an honored scientist and a Christian.
Likewise we have the Agricultural Insights:
The Bible indicates God added an important insight by commanding the Israelites to “give the land a rest every seventh year” Lev 25:4 Today, the need to replenish soil with nutrients by crop rotation and the principle of “fallow” (resting the land) is well known. Although the Leviticus command was written about 1500 BC, the first evidence of the practice (other than Israel) was by the Romans about 200 BC. And it’s conceivable Rome learned of the practice from Israel.
Likewise, the Creator God knows that planting two types of seeds together would not yield a plentiful harvest. Incidentally the Israelites, by following these laws, were practicing excellent crop husbandry. In other words, the soil/crops were being rotated to prevent the soil from becoming sterile; “zapping the nutrients”.
In regard to slavery, I believe it was permitted in the Bible because of sin in the world. It existed before the Jews were formed as a nation and it existed after Israel was conquered. Slavery, like divorce, is not preferred by God. Instead, it was allowed. You must remember that even though the Israelite slaves were treated very harshly by the Egyptians, the Bible gave many rights and privileges to slaves. So, even though it isn’t the best way to deal with people, because God has allowed man freedom, slavery then exists. God instructed the Israelites to treat them properly. Some references to this are Exodus 10:10, 21:2, 21:20, and Leviticus 22:11. Remember also, that in modern times; that is, after the Civil War when emancipation was granted to numerous slaves the majority of them chose to remain with their masters on the plantation. So who knows what the situation was in Israel at the time.
In regard to wool & linen: (Deut. 22:11 & Lev. 19:19) In Hebrew, this forbidden mixture is called “shatnez” pronounced shot-nezz. It is an acronym for “combed, spun and woven”, which describes the stages in processing fabric: combing the raw fiber, spinning fibers into thread, and weaving the threads into cloth. (Kevin, forgive me but I am showing off...... do you like it! hee hee har har - I’m just kidding - I’m not even sure if that’s right.
Any whoooo....the only way I understand this is that, again, God is either issuing some sort of protection for His people or there is some meaning behind it that we are not aware of. The Old Testament does not explain the reason for shatnez and this would appear to be a law whose logic is not evident. (kind of like the forbidden eating of pork).
Here is the clincher in regard to the laws. Many of the laws and the sacrificial offerings were dispelled after the death of Christ. He was in essence the sacrificial lamb. There are many verses referring to this change in the “Law (or Covenant)”. Jesus broke bread describing it as his body - “broken” for the world. Likewise after supper, referring to the 3rd cup of wine (redemption cup) Jesus called it the NEW COVENANT in his blood... poured out for many.
Now, on to homosexuality.....
There were “sexual perversions” mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. These perversions are considered especially harmful. First Corinthians 6:18 says, “All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” Romans 1:26-27 says, “Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men...” Romans 1:28-32 goes on further...
These passages still ring out loud and clear in the New Testament, after the death & resurrection of Christ. They were considered perversions. Who would know best the consequences of same sex unions? God of course. Consequences would include, but are not limited to: disease and deterioration of the family (consider the aids epidemic). There has never been a civilization that has embraced homosexuality as a normal function. Tolerated? Yes. Accepted into mainstream life? Never. (even pagan Rome did not embrace it.)
OK, having said that, how do we treat homosexuals? With as much kindness & respect as we would anyone else. We love the person, but not the sin. It’s kind of like the alcoholic - we love the person but not the problem.
Josh, I’m certainly not perfect, and I’ve done many things that I don’t even care to discuss. Let’s just say that some of the stuff I’ve done is no better than the sin of homosexuality. My late teens through my 20’s were quite interesting. I was a bit of a wild child. But, I can say with all confidence, once I started living the way God intended for me to live, things all fell into place.
I have a cousin-in-law who died from aids about 12 years ago, so I know the heartache that the lifestyle can cause for families. I have 3 other cousins that are gay, and I treat them like anyone else. I’m to chicken shit to tell them they should consider a different lifestyle. I wonder sometimes if I should, because I know it’s wrong and I already have one cousin who has died from aids.
Hmm... what to do.
Anyway, I know you didn’t want to wade through this much stuff, but I hate it when a issue like this is brought up and someone supplies a pat little answer without much explanation. So there you have it....... maybe to much information. Hope some of it made sense.
HTH....probably won't, but at least it will give you something else to bitch at me about.
"Evolution is a creationism and just as illogical [as] the other pantheistic creation myths" -forastero