Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

#Gay Marriage: Who says you can’t have religious symbols? The Law

Wed 20 February 2013, 12:29pm

Oh dear. When Stephen told Arlene the truth about Gay Marriage. [She needs to get an upgrade for that religion as civil law App - Ed]

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Comments (97)

  1. Antain Mac Lochlainn (profile) says:

    Far be it from me to defend Arlene Foster, but I thought that Stephen’s point was a strange one. He said something like ‘an atheist hetrosexual couple can have a religious ceremony but a Christian gay couple can’t.’
    But why would an atheist couple want such a thing? I think the implications for adoption are a much more serious issue, but they were hardly mentioned.

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  2. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    I think he meant that the civil ceremony is fine if you are atheist, since it is written with exactly you in mind. Arlene’s weakness was not understanding that a civil partnership ceremony bans any form of religious expression.

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  3. At the risk of being pedantic, what if you are a heterosexual couple, who reject the institution of marriage (religious or civil)?

    No civil partnership options are available to deal with parenting, pensions or inheritance…

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  4. ‘an atheist hetrosexual couple can have a religious ceremony but a Christian gay couple can’t.

    This one puzzles me a bit.

    I fully understand atheist heterosexual and homosexual couples taking part in a civil partnership. I also understand a Christian heterosexual couple having a religious ceremony but I can’t understand “Christian” gay couples taking part in a religious ceremony.

    I can’t speak for Protestant faiths but the Catholic Church is very clear, you can’t be a Catholic and have a “gay marriage”. Now from my thinking if you are sincere in calling yourself a Catholic you wouldn’t even be looking for a gay religious ceremony in the first place so the entire point would be moot.

    People bandy about terms like Catholic, Christian, Protestant etc very casually but surely at the heart of it all those terms only apply if you believe in and uphold the tenants of that faith. It’s not a pick and mix.

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  5. son of sam (profile) says:

    I know it’s slightly off thread but where was the S D L P representative on the Spotlight panel last night?Who exactly does Bernadette Mc Aliskey represent apart from herself?Is this the B B C’s idea of balance?

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  6. BarneyT (profile) says:

    I tend to agree Chris. I posted another article some time back on this subject suggesting that the original patent on marriage and its constituent parts belonged to the Christian Church. That is just how they roll. Its their club and their rules surely.

    Clearly the Church is out of date, but they have this wee thing called the Bible, which prevents them in many ways from moving forward on this matter. If they do accept gay marriage, they cease to be in many ways.

    You could argue that the Church has to change its stance on this issue, but does this sort of belief not in part define the Church. My view is that it should stay within the Church and be prevented from bleeding into society, as we surelty now all know that you are born gay or not…and perhaps somewhere in between?

    Surely if you are gay, you should reject the Church (until they modernise) and come up with your own form of blessing, backed legally through the civil ceremony.

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  7. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    It may be that clear cut in the Catholic church, but the Protestant communion is a much open market place where different congregations can shift weight on different parts of scripture.

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  8. Mick

    I always found that part interesting considering their alleged adherence to Sola Scriptura. That said on this issue how would you put no weight at all on a issue that, to my mind, is made very clear in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Genesis, Kings, Isaiah, Romans, Corinthians, Timothy, Peter and Jude.

    I would be genuinely interested in hearing how someone could square all that.

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  9. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    I think you square it by distinguishing between the demands of the state for religious freedom and the demands of the church over your own conscience, no?

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  10. Mick

    I am talking specifically about those homosexual couples seeking a religious ceremony, a Christian ceremony.

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  11. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    Last time I checked Christian churches were all free to join. They simply ask that you subscribe to their teachings.

    Now the working truth of many of those teachings are within the individual, so if you happen to be a Catholic yet use contraception or a fundamental Protestant who has doubts about every single syllable of the Bible being the word of God you can still go along and bluff your way so to speak.

    However arriving at church as one half of a same sex couple might prove challenging should you be asked how you roll vis-a-vis mainstream Christian teaching.

    The established churches do not hold the copyright on Christianity, despite what they may think. Witness the myriad of new ‘church’ groups, including ‘house churches’. A Gay Christian may find a place where they are both comfortable and accepted but, for the foreseeable future, it may not be in one of those large stone edifices that appear across the landscape.

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  12. GEF (profile) says:

    Like some of our posters I likewise cannot get my head around why two Gay Atheists would want a religious marriage anyway. Furthermore some “Quaker meetings” the “Unitarian Church” & “Reform Judaism” support Gay Marriage.
    So if they want a religious marriage they know were to go.

    But for those who support Gay Rights like the GP MLA to try and force other main branches of Christianity to follow suit against their wishes is becoming more like “Monty Python Flying Circus”
    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D7-2jLLMdEBw&sa=U&ei=U98kUczKDsOw0QXvn4CYDw&ved=0CCAQtwIwAQ&usg=AFQjCNHJup1SjajuQkt4fs3qgAQKBD6poQ

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  13. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Chris. (Add the book of Revelation.)

    Where should I get if I demanded to be a unionist Irish republican?

    You can’t have your Christian cake and reject the central document of the Christian faith.

    If an Irish republican wants to join his local NI Conservative Party and work for the republican cause inside that party, he will be asked not to join. That doesn’t make the people who ask him not to join Hibernophobes.

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  14. David

    An Irish Republican looking to join the NI Conservative Party either isn’t an Irish Republican or else he isn’t a NI Conservative.

    You can’t be both both for the Union and the Republic anymore than you can, in my book, be a Catholic/Christian and a supporter of Gay Marriage.

    Everyone is entitled to their view but everyone should be honest about the labels they use when expressing that view.

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  15. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    We know the issues of religious ceremonies and symbols for homosexual marriage will have implications for the Christian churches well for now at least.

    However when this inevitability ends up at the European court of human rights as we all know it will. They will have to obey the rulings when they are told that they must marry a homosexual couple using religious ceremonies and symbols.

    It will be Islam, that will be the issue, and it will be their camel in room that will cause all the problems for homosexual marriage!!!

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  16. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    I would also have always taken the view thatgay people should simply leave the church and, if they wished, form their own sect,as has happened throughout history.
    However someone pointed out on a related thread, that many gay people may have grown up within a particular religion and have deeply held beliefs perhaps even before discovering their own sexuality. Not so easy to walk away.
    It must be quite a wrench to be told that you are not quite as welcome as you thought you were. And because of something you have no choice in, anymore than you choose the colour of your skin.

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  17. BarneyT (profile) says:

    Sadly in this case babyface, the sexual discovery means two things. They have to keep quiet or leave their church. It presently run contrary to Church doctrine.

    There are other religions that will welcome them and perhaps offer more to this section of our community, who in themselves are reflective of our community…more so than the church itself

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  18. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Agree 100%, Chris (3.19 pm).

    ArdoyneUnionist, if what you envisage comes to pass, Biblically based churches will stop conducting marriage ceremonies, and all wedding ceremonies will become civil affairs. Many members of Biblically based churches already accept that they cannot be proprietors of guest-houses.

    Islam brings an interesting term into the equation. Some of the most vociferous activists in this or that department employ a pitiably craven formula when you mention Islam.

    They say, “That’s different.”

    Babyface, I accept what you’re saying about a ‘wrench’, but a similar wrench comes to people who have to leave their congregation because they have resolved to live in adultery, or because they are no longer able to believe in resurrection.

    A political party consists of ‘idem sentientes de republica’. A church congregation consists of ‘idem sentientes de ecclesia’. If you’re a vegetarian, you don’t queue up at the burger stall.

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  19. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Sorry, I got busy. Yes, I uderstand that. But you can distinguish between your duties as a law maker (and protector of religious freedoms) and your membership of a church.

    Stephen can make a pretty black and white argument that such freedoms are curtailed under the status quo, but that churches could not be forced to accept Gay marriage if they did not want it.

    I think Arlene may have problem in that regard since the Anglican communion has a tendency to be ‘unreliable’ in that regard and visit all kinds of moral dilemmas on their own parishes and dioceses that some of their more conservative members would rather did not happen.

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  20. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    David
    “…a similar wrench comes to people who have to leave their congregation because they have resolved to live in adultery, or because they are no longer able to believe in resurrection.”
    True enough,but unless you are taking the position that gay people choose to be gay, then homosexuality is different from vegetarianism or adultery, in that respect.
    Onewonders why God would make people so gay then tell them it is not acceptable.”
    I don’t think the issue will go away so I foresee some kind of split in the future.
    BarneyT
    I suppose there are those who think the church should come to the community and those who think the community should come to the church.
    Thank God I’m a heathen.

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  21. “Sorry, I got busy. Yes, I uderstand that. But you can distinguish between your duties as a law maker (and protector of religious freedoms) and your membership of a church.”

    Mick

    Not when they are both linked and you are being asked to compromise both. The debate on secular “gay marriage” is an entirely different debate than arguing for a religious element for that secular service.

    You can’t have freedom of religion when lawmakers demand that religions stay out of secular affairs and then they believe in their arrogance that the secular sphere can use religious trappings for their own ends.

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  22. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, babyface. I’m glad we’re having a cool-headed discussion with no “press-button-A” responses.

    The Christian position on why God makes people able to do things which he forbids is based on a belief in the Fall. Many of us are aware of at least one proclivity that we must not indulge, and of course all proclivities are not erotic!

    If single-issue politics is boring, single-issue negative Christianity misrepresents God. The Lord Jesus told some of his highly religious listeners that they would be judged more severely than the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Quite a few people have been encouraged to become heathens by proponents of the blasphemous idea that God hates certain persons. A Christian like me will probably enrage you by saying that anyone who runs away in disgust from all-negative religion is displaying part of the image of God in man.

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  23. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    Many of us are aware of at least one proclivity that we must not indulge, and of course all proclivities are not erotic!

    I take it, David, that you intended to write , “…of course not all proclivities are erotic. ”

    But what do you mean by “proclivities” ? I am assuming you intend a tendency to human weaknesses, character defects, “sin “, transgressions of biblical or Church law and such. Would I be correct in that assumption ?

    “He has a proclivity towards farting loudly in church. ” That sort of thing.

    The Chicago pathologist, F. Gonzalez Crussi is very good on the nature of things erotic in his lovely little tome with the rather appropriate title, On the Nature of Things Erotic and will certainly provide intelligent, wildly scholarly and delightfully witty directions to proclivities we had thus far failed to pursue. (Speaking for myself only here it goes without saying.)

    One fellow once complained to me that it was outrageously unfair that the Church accepted murderers into its ranks or permitted them to remain but would not tolerate the marriage of those of the same sex. He was unimpressed by my response that murder was not blessed or encouraged, but rather forbidden and he was asking that homosexual acts, which were forbidden, should be blessed and celebrated. He countered by claiming that homosexuality was natural (“a bit like murder in that regard, ” I thought, but did not say) and therefore Godly. “But the Church does not agree, ” says I.

    ” But, that’s my point, ” says he, ” it should !”

    “I’m going home,” says I.

    And I did.

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  24. ThomasPaine (profile) says:

    David Crookes,

    “Quite a few people have been encouraged to become heathens by proponents of the blasphemous idea that God hates certain persons.”

    Read your Bible. Your god does hate certain peoples. He orders their utter destruction when he fancies it. Your god is full of hatred, not to mention jealousy and incredible deception and lies.

    Babyface

    “One wonders why God would make people so gay then tell them it is not acceptable.”

    Well, whether we are gay or not, he makes us all born sick and commands us to be well. Of course we can only become well if we choose to become slaves to him, praise him at every turn and accept him as our lord and saviour.

    Sadomasochism at it’s purist.

    As for Arlene, she’s just another in a long line of unionist politicians who absolutely refuses to leave their belief of a mythical evil dictator in the sky at the door when it comes to doing her job.

    She’d be in her element representing Texas in Congress one would think, representing the Republican Party (hmm) of course.

    She argued last night that homosexuals have equality through civil union. No Arlene, equality would not be preventing one group of people doing the same as another group of people simply because of their sexual orientation.

    Once more Northern Ireland is left looking like the backward shambles of a people we are. What gives Arlene, or the DUP, or Stormont, or any government the right to refuse two people in love of marriage? Because they read 2000 year old writings by Bronze Age Palestinians and didn’t have the intelligence to laugh at the fictional horror story?

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  25. Zig70 (profile) says:

    You can be a Catholic and gay, just not a perfect one, though who is?
    I would say COI and Roman churches are more liberal compared to evangelical churches (could be wrong) and I don’t think leaving is the answer. You can murder someone and feel more welcome in church than if you are gay and Christian attitudes fall very short of humble. I can understand why you would be gay and want to get married in church if you have been brought up with a strong faith but you can’t always get what you want. We live in a very self indulgent society. Society has a lot to gain from procreation and the effort to appease other couplings isn’t worth the expense.

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  26. I confess to being a bit confused here by the constant referral to gay people wanting a “church” marriage. That is not being proposed is it? I thought that churches or mosques or temples would not be forced to marry a homosexual couple if they didn’t want to, and that all or most people, including homosexuals, agreed with that.?

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  27. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    David
    I will try to keep my rage at bay. I find your gentle answers do turneth away my wrath.
    When you talk about the Fall and I suppose original sin, I have to ask if you are saying that homosexuality is simply a proclivity to be avoided, like gluttony say.
    Taking that position would of course make it impossible to consider gay marriage as acceptable. But you never made clear if you view it as a proclivity we should strive to avoid, or whether you believe it is a fundamental part of some peoples makeup.
    It is hard to accept a God that would program someone’s DNA in such a way and then tell them not to act on it.
    I read something recently about the difficulty of believing in a God less tolerant than we are.
    How can we be more forgiving than God?

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  28. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    I was under the impression that the bible teaches we are all conceived in sin, that all sex is sin. I also understand that marriage is a wonderful celebration of two people committing to each other, and in the Protestant Church it is not even a sacrament.

    No one seems to argue this point so I assume I am incorrect!

    Church represented, at least in the past ‘community’ and marriage was an act which took place within the community, and essentially as a stabilizing force. Marriage in a church, to me, is an extension of that community tradition.

    David in response to “Quite a few people have been encouraged to become heathens by proponents of the blasphemous idea that God hates certain persons. A Christian like me will probably enrage you by saying that anyone who runs away in disgust from all-negative religion is displaying part of the image of God in man.”

    I would say ‘not at all’ I mostly agree. I simply see no reflection of ‘Good’ in church. I have found a humanist based institution where I see a greater reflection of the fundamentals of Jesus’ teachings than I have ever encountered in church!

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  29. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    ThomasPaine
    “No Arlene, equality would not be preventing one group of people doing the same as another group of people simply because of their sexual orientation.”
    I don’t see how we can prevent people worshipping their God of choice. And if they believe that means gay people are excluded from certain aspects, namely marriage,well it is their club and their rules.
    However we can point out how harsh it seems and how it lacks internal logic.
    Society should not discriminate, but we can’t prevent religions from doing so.
    Which is why church and state should be separate..

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  30. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    Sorry, to clarify I mean if all sex is a sin why the obsession condemning gay marriage? – which is the uniting of two people seeking to commit to each other and to the community in which they live? Why are we not refusing marriage to those who do not obey to other bible no-nos….I’m not going to be trite enough to list them, but I wore pearls on the day I got married and I’m fairly sure that was a sin too? right? Is the church really in a position to turn folks away who, whatever the motive, want to come to the church.

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  31. UserAinm (profile) says:

    No church would be forced to marry gay couples, the law merely allows for those that would wish to. So can all our believer buddies stop clutching their pearls.

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  32. Rossbrown (profile) says:

    I don’t see how people can find this difficult to understand. Many gay people also consider themselves Christian. People may disagree with their interpretation of Christian teaching but doesnt disagreement a feature of all religion.

    See – http://www.changingattitudeireland.org

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  33. Rossbrown (profile) says:

    sorry that should read… doesnt disagreement feature in all religions

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  34. “You can murder someone and feel more welcome in church than if you are gay and Christian attitudes fall very short of humble”

    zig

    It’s true that in the Catholic/Christian world murder and homosexual activity are considered a sin but you are not being fair in your comparision.

    If someone commits a murder and then repents that murder they would be welcomed back into their faith as confession and forgiveness is very high on the agenda. That said what you are suggesting would only be similar if the murderer said that to him murdering people was natural and as such the Church should change its stance on murder being a sin.

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  35. Rossbrown

    What people consider themselves is neither here nor there. I have friends who think they are great singers but they haven’t a note in their heads.

    Self perception does not equate to truth.

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  36. Framer (profile) says:

    SDLP probably declined to offer anyone for the programme.
    What would big Al have said on gay marriage that matched the party’s impeccable equality, in every department, all day policy?

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  37. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks a lot, Rory (6.44 pm). I actually DID mean that not all proclivities are erotic. Some terribly devout people are completely obsessed with the procreative faculties: but there are other areas of sin. Think of a nasty, bad-tempered, self-important and very religious man who for more than twenty years makes his home a hell for his wife and children. What is that man going to say on the day of judgment. “At least I wasn’t gay.”? Get real. His sin is away up there on the Richter scale.

    While comparisons are odorous, your example of ecclesial flatulence strikes me as representing more an accomplishment than a proclivity! When I say ‘proclivity’, I mean a tendency to commit acts that God says are wrong. I may procline towards a passionate affair with my colleague’s supermodel wife. Whether or not she is up for it (she’d be pretty sad if she was), I must not go down that road. Same goes for gross materialist greed, and for the regular indulgence of my own bad temper.

    I’m going to watch a funny film now, so I’ll get back to other interlocutors later on.

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  38. gaygael (profile) says:

    Look everybody. This is very very simple. There are many reasons for the equality argument around equal marriage but I don’t think that is the thrust of this thread. So I will explain the religious freedom element with a very direct and comparable analogy.

    The state wants to legislate for divorce. Faith group A says never, it will undermine marriage. faith group B says this is a good thing as they wish to remarry divorcees. Faith group C says not now, but is in the midst of an internal discussion. The state says that no faith group will be compelled to recognise or marry divorcees. faith group A still says no.

    Replace divorce with same sex marriage and that’s how simple it is.

    No group will be compelled, and those that wish to will.
    Quakers, liberal and Reform Judaism, metropolitan church, and numerous non subscribing faith groups wish to conduct same sex marriages.

    Why should any other faith group that disagrees and won’t be compelled force others to operate by their tenants of faith?
    That would belike the Catholic Church being able to dictate to all other faiths according to their understanding of marriage and its non recognition of divorce.

    Its really really that exceptionally simple.

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  39. David Crookes (profile) says:

    What-ho, ThomasPaine (7.20 pm). An excess of earnestness, even in the discussion of moral issues, can lead one to say ridiculous things.

    You allude to persons who “read 2000 year old writings by Bronze Age Palestinians and didn’t have the intelligence to laugh at the fictional horror story”. That makes you more intelligent than Isaac Newton. Pardon the rest of us for being mildly amused.

    Of course the real joke is the Bronze Age bit. Sisera had nine hundred iron chariots, and that was away back in the book of Judges!

    By characterizing Christianity as ‘sadomasochism at its purest’, you suggest that you’re not much of an expert in either department. Of course I may be wrong. In Biblical times a man’s name could often tell you a lot. Many thanks for your posting.

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  40. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks again, babyface. Let me repeat a little of what I said to Rory. When I say ‘proclivity’, I mean a tendency to commit acts that God says are wrong. I may procline towards an adulterous affair with another man’s wife. Whether or not she is up for it, I must not go down that road. The same goes for material greed, and for a refusal to control my own bad temper.

    Christians like myself believe that the Fall and not God put things in the human bloodstream along with mortality. Any discussion of this matter soon becomes a discussion of free will. Who wants a creation of robotically sinless senior prefects? No, thanks! The present tension between choosable good and evil will be replaced in the next life by a tension between different and choosable forms of good.

    Let me not dodge the logical implication of what I’ve been saying. Suppose that I myself am completely crazed with a wrongful affection for my neighbour’s wife. Suppose also that one of my male colleagues is completely crazed with a wrongful affection for the said lady’s husband. If we are Christians, neither of us may translate our affection into acts.

    Nietzsche once said that the ideal Christian was a castrate. He was wrong. God doesn’t excise dark and dangerous energies: he transmutes them. Of course we have to let him. Transmutation may be a slow process. There are no magic wands about grown-up Christianity.

    Nonetheless there is a wonderful magic about transmuted dark energy becoming the basis either of phenomenal works of art, or of lives of selfless charity. At the time, to the sufferer, a grand passion may appear to be the most important thing in the world: but the whole world is much better off in the long term for its transformation. Sorry if I have offended you by clumsy expression.

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  41. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    gaygael
    I think your analogy makes sense as far as it goes. But surely the issue is that those who are members of faith group A and happen to be gay want to have a religious ceremony or at least some religious trappings at their civil ceremony.
    They don’t want to go join faith group B, they prefer the sermons they get in faith group A.
    So what do they do? Set up faith group X or stay in faith group A and try to change it?

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  42. ThomasPaine (profile) says:

    David, you can deflect all you want, but you stated:

    “Quite a few people have been encouraged to become heathens by proponents of the blasphemous idea that God hates certain persons.”

    And I attacked that statement. It is quite frankly moronic in the extreme. You just have to read the Bible, which is supposed to be a pretty ‘pro-god’ piece of literature.

    Now, I am not surprised you don’t want to discuss your blatant lies. (Or as you would call it, your interpretation of scripture) Christians rarely do. But that won’t stop me and anyone from with half a brain from pointing out the obvious.

    The obvious in this situation is that homosexuals, even in this day and age, are being prevented equality because of idiots who continue to believe in a mythical, lying, evil, jealous, genocidal dictator who continually displays his hatred in a book which is supposed to show him in a good light.

    The thing is, this would all be funny if it didn’t still lead to direct discrimination in today’s society. It would be funny there are still morons who read the Bible and believe it. It would be funnier still that these morons read the Bible and actually want it to be true.

    Leaving aside the mayhem and destruction Christianity (and other religions of course) has caused for thousands of years – most of it can soon be forgiven and looked upon as unenlightened and stupid people trying to make sense of their existence and doing what their social superiors told them – but the fact it is still the cause for discrimination today is disgusting.

    Unfortunately, the denying of homosexuals the exact same rights as heterosexuals is just one such discrimination that lingers on in the first world. (Christianity and religion in general discriminates a lot more and is a lot more vulgar in the third world)

    At least the Commons put that right in England and Wales. Alas, we in Northern Ireland are governed by parties explicitly tied to the Free Presbyterian Church. I’m just thankful the Shinners and Stoops aren’t so tied to the Roman Catholic Church.

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  43. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    ThomasPaine
    “The obvious in this situation is that homosexuals, even in this day and age, are being prevented equality because of idiots who continue to believe in a mythical, lying, evil, jealous, genocidal dictator who continually displays his hatred in a book which is supposed to show him in a good light.”
    Surely the homosexuals wanting a religious element to their union must also believe in this mythical lying evil jealous genocidal dictator, and must also be idiots?
    Explain that..

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  44. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Many thanks for your posting, Jane (8.02)! Yes. Many persons who presently don’t believe in God are able to live lives which in several departments are useful, unselfish, and rather jolly.

    An existentialist philosopher who decides to do his helpful best in what he honestly reckons to be an absurd world is displaying something of the image of God in man.

    Religion breeds atheism. The following imaginary tale exemplifies a common phenomenon. You have two colleagues. One is religious, and the other is an atheist.

    The religious one is a trouble-making poisonous reptile who wouldn’t tell you if she noticed that you’d left your car-lights on.

    The atheist is great crack, fun to be with, and would drive you to Dublin Airport at a moment’s notice if your car wouldn’t start.

    I’m a part-time preacher, so I have to tell the truth about the world as I have seen it.

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  45. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Hello again, ThomasPaine. You say, “Alas, we in Northern Ireland are governed by parties explicitly tied to the Free Presbyterian Church.”

    Please name at least two of them, and cite explicit statements of the FPC connection from the constitutions of the two or more parties to which you have referred.

    For the rest, babyface has said it all.

    An overuse of hyperbole tends to weaken the overall effect of one’s language. In certain circumstances it may be better to disagree urbanely with a man’s view than to say that his view is quite frankly moronic in the extreme. But thanks for your posting.

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  46. Chris Gaskin

    I can’t understand “Christian” gay couples taking part in a religious ceremony.

    Christian in inverted commas. So we aren’t real Christians? Keep it classy, Chris. By the way, I think the word you were looking for is ‘tenets’ not ‘tenants’.

    BarneyT

    I posted another article some time back on this subject suggesting that the original patent on marriage and its constituent parts belonged to the Christian Church. That is just how they roll. Its their club and their rules surely.

    Who said the original patent on marriage belonged to the Christian Church? As, er, the Bible records it, marriage was around for a long time before Christianity. Pharaohs got married. Roman Emperors got married. Sometimes, like Jewish patriarchs, they got married to more than one person but then 1 Timothy 3 makes clear that wasn’t unheard of in the apostolic Church either. And, as the 1988 Lambeth Conference resolution on polygamy makes equally clear, it’s not unheard of in contemporary mainstream Christianity in some parts of the world.

    Muslims get married. Jews get married. Atheists get married. The Christian Church does not have a patent on it.

    they have this wee thing called the Bible, which prevents them in many ways from moving forward on this matter

    It prevented them from moving forward on slavery for a long time as well. Fortunately Christianity isn’t the same thing as Biblical literalism.

    David Crookes

    You can’t have your Christian cake and reject the central document of the Christian faith.

    Who says I’m rejecting it? I don’t think it’s a law textbook. The Pentateuch aside, it was never intended to be read as a law textbook. Nobody read it as a law textbook until the Reformation, and only a minority of Protestants since.

    As I’m sure you’re aware large chunks of St. Paul are dedicated to arguing that the law has been abolished, and salvation through the law is impossible because all of us will inevitably fail to keep it.

    I presume we can all agree that the bits of the Pentateuch that explain the arrangements under which selling one’s daughter into slavery is permissible aren’t “God’s law”. I would like to think that went for the bit about killing gay men caught in flagrante delicto but I wouldn’t presume too much on that score, unfortunately.

    I’m really fed up with people bashing me over the head with the Bible on this issue. Presumably, a couple of hundred years ago you’d have been bashing runaway slaves over the head with quotes from the same Pauline letters and the same bits of the Old Testament. If you think Christianity is about dissecting Scripture like a Pharisee to create a tick list for you to verify you’re in God’s good books, you need to read the Bible.

    ArdoyneUnionist

    However when this inevitability ends up at the European court of human rights as we all know it will. They will have to obey the rulings when they are told that they must marry a homosexual couple using religious ceremonies and symbols.

    Sacremongering red herring. The Roman Catholic Church does not remarry divorcees even though we have civil divorce and remarriage. No court has ever forced it to. Using stupid red herrings just shows you, and anti-gay campaigners more generally, have no good arguments against marriage equality.

    babyface finlayson

    I would also have always taken the view thatgay people should simply leave the church and, if they wished, form their own sect,as has happened throughout history.

    Why should I leave the Church? It’s not asking me to leave and I see no reason to go. The bit of it I happen to belong to, at denominational level at least, is profoundly wrong on this issue but that won’t last for much longer. The Churches, all of them, have been profoundly wrong about many things in the past before changing their minds, and as a believing Christian I have no doubt they will continue to be wrong about many things until the second coming.

    Why leave when I can help lead the change? Because on this issue, the direction of travel is pretty clear. By the way, thanks for the plug for Changing Attitude Rossbrown – I’m it’s Vice Chair.

    The Church of England will be marrying same-sex couples by 2025, and it won’t take the courts or parliament to force it to. The Church of Ireland will take a bit longer, but I’m not sure all that much longer, given the enormous generational differences in attitude on this issue.

    Steve Chalke’s volte face into supporting marriage equality in both civil law and the church is a big canary in the coal mine showing us where British Evangelicalism will be on this issue very soon; those winds will drift across the Irish Sea. Non Evangelical Protestantism in GB is solidly gay affirming anyway and, of course, Anglican Catholicism has always been queered up to the eyeballs.

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  47. Gerry

    Not meant as personal I’m just struggling to understand how you claim to have an adherence to a faith whose main point of reference is totally opposed to the lifestyle you choose to lead.

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  48. In this discussion there has been the odd point starting “God says …”

    How do we know? Don’t we require scientific proof of the existence of a god before we can use that argument? As far as I know, the only churches that makes scientifically testable claims are the spiritualists. For the rest, it could be no more than a delusion, dreamed up to justify the oppression of others.

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  49. Alias (profile) says:

    The secular case against gay marriage is that burden of proof is on homosexuals to show that allowing them to marry would be beneficial to society. The state subsidies marriage and it does so to promote the common good via propagation of new citizens. For example, marriage couples receive tax allowances from the state and a deceased person’s spouse may collect their pension, etc. Why should taxpayers subsidise people who cannot meet their side of the social contract of marriage? True, it can be claimed that there is no law against sterile people marrying but they are simply a statistical quirk, whereas homosexuals are a group who directly challenge the reproductive purpose of marriage and undermine the case for the state subsidising it. Homosexuals have yet to meet that burden. We know there is something in it for them but what is in it for the rest of us who will pay more taxes to subside them?

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  50. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    Hmm, Alias you might want to ask that to the nice lesbian married couple across the street from me with their 2 year old son. No, you’ve probably guessed right, I don’t live in Northern Ireland anymore! But even a childless, homosexual, committed couple represent, to me at least, stability, investment in each other and therefore in the community in which they chose to live. Nothing to fear, nothing to see, nothing to concern yourself about. But hey if they ARE childless they’re likely to be paying over their fair share in taxes to subsidize hetrosexual couples ‘legitimately’ produced offspring…..

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  51. Viridiplantae (profile) says:

    Jane Madill

    There’s a man across the street from me who says that gays can never get married no matter what the government says. He’s quite the subversive. Once when I saw him with a box of Jaffa Cakes and asked him for a biscuit he was quite insistent that they were cakes, a flagrant act of rebellion against the authority of the government, judiciary and HMRC and their promotion of equality between Jaffa Cakes and Bourbon Creams. He’s a nasty bigot, thinking that those who like a Jaffa Cake with their Darjeeling should pay their fair share towards roads, hospitals and orphanages for buying such a luxurious comestible, just as he thinks that gays should pay inheritance tax on the same terms as unmarried people, and like he thinks marriage is just about children. Unlike with his wife, gay sex to him is all just about base pleasure, rather like a Burton’s Wagon Wheel (with it’s commensurate VAT rating). Apart from all that though he’s the salt of the earth and he’s nothing to concern yourself about.

    As the House of Commons have now created gay marriage where once there were only civil partnerships perhaps they could turn their hand to some other important social questions such as whether a tomato is officially a fruit or a vegetable or what the official government recommended value of pi should be. Such things should not be left to unaccountable, unelected people like Susie Dent, who might not believe in equality and human rights like the government. “Fruitarians” who indulge in a Blaby Special should not be judged as lesser people than those who don’t, and the government should see to it that such hate speech is, if not eliminated, then at least viewed as unacceptable by all right thinking people (or is it the other way round, I can’t remember?).

    We trust that celebrity chefs will follow the style guide correctly concerning tomatoes in all BBC programmes, just as they will refer to Elton’s future husband David Furnish as such and not as a mere partner. Chef’s are the experts, not scientists with their evidence, or priests with their smelly (metal) balls, just as the expert on nature, nurture and homosexuality was not Iris Robinson, or even Alfred Kinsey, but rather Adolf Hitler (the only thing he ever got right strangely, apart from fox hunting). Yes scientists may have found genes, hormones and brain structures that predispose to being a murderer, even a thief, and none at all yet that predispose to being gay, but why should that prevent politicians from “doing the science bit” when discussing legislation concerning this issue? After all Davina McCall got away with it in dubious shampoo adverts.

    Sexy, cool people on TV and in the movies say they were born gay. People who spend time writing footnoted countervailing points in edit wars on Wikipedia are fat smelly nerds, still live with their parents, play World of Warcraft (like Breivik), and are probably members of the BNP who don’t like smelly foreign food as well as not liking gays, unlike the true experts such as Lady Gaga, who is forever reading scientific journals on her tour bus during three hour costume changes. What happened to Iris Robinson clearly shows the dangers of watching too much GodTV and not enough MTV, but perhaps she was born that way (or maybe it was the Maybelline and it’s neuropeptides).

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  52. Viridiplantae,

    I haven’t seen you post before but that is very witty.

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  53. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Gerry. You say,

    “Roman Emperors got married.”

    Correct. In 65 AD the emperor Nero married a man.

    Later you say,

    “Presumably, a couple of hundred years ago you’d have been bashing runaway slaves over the head with quotes from the same Pauline letters and the same bits of the Old Testament.”

    Here is the point at which a cool-headed and rational discussion descended into irrational presumption.

    You continue,

    “Why should I leave the Church?…..The bit of it I happen to belong to, at denominational level at least, is profoundly wrong on this issue…..”

    I get it. The church doesn’t make the rules. You do.

    (What a liberating doctrine! I think I’ll go and play nine holes of golf with a hockey stick. If the club stewards complain, I’ll explain that they are profoundly wrong.)

    Finally you mention S Chalke, the unofficial chaplain to ‘Hello!’ magazine, and the Mr Obsessive Sex-Talk of the evangelly world. I wonder how many thousands he will lead in his train. Mr Chalke’s chief end, to use the language of the catechism, is to get public attention for himself. Most evangelical Christians are heartily sick of him.

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  54. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    Things were getting a wee bit hairy there for a moment what with tomatoes of disputed denomination and (undersized?) Wagon Wheels and whatnot. Trust old Alias to come to the rescue then and put things into their proper (lovely word that, “proper” – what, Alias ?) pigeonholes.

    As with tomatoes you see, it is not really about whether they are fruit or vegetable. Tomatoes are botanically classified as fruit although tend to be classified as vegetables for culinary purposes – and for display purposes by greengrocers (God ! I am so tempted to stick in an apostrophe there.) However the legal definition of tomato as vegetable has no application to its true botanical classification but rather only that, for purposes of customs duties payable upon vegetables imported into the USA, tomatoes are, because of the mistaken common assumption, to be regarded as vegetables.

    Doesn’t mean a tomato is a vegetable really, you understand. Just that it’s gotta stump up the old taxes just as a spud or a rutabaga or a zucchini – that’s a courgette in old money – has to do if it wants to get eaten in a Parma ham sandwich in Poughkeepsie and not squashed into a sauce in Piedmont.

    Where was I ? Oh yes. Taxes. It’s all about taxes. At least according to Alias who is very tetchy on the subject of taxes. Or at least insofar as it applies to the wealthy being taxed, when as every good, true son of King John knows, it is the poor who are supposed to bear the burden of taxation.

    These gay fellows only want to get married so they can have tax breaks available to married couples. Now, in the UK at least (whatever of lying teasers emanating from the front ranks of the Tory administration) the allowances available in this regard are available only to those (man and wife) couples where one or other of the partners was born before 6th April 1935 or, to any couple entering into marriage or civil partnership after 5 December 2005 where one of the partners was born before 6 April 1935 ( jeez! that even lets me out.) And all this just might result in a tax saving of between £296 and £770 in a current year. Not much of an incentive to cosy up to an octogenarian (or one soon to be) I would have thought. But then I suppose there are some who will do absolutely anything to save a penny on income tax. Still and all, playing Hide the Salami with say, Somerset Maugham, just to save a fiver a week…

    Put it this way… “I don’t think so, Alias.”

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  55. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    David
    I assume the funny film you were watching was ‘Life of Brian’. Hope you enjoyed it!
    As you are still giving examples of proclivities I am beginning to feel that you do indeed see homosexuality as a proclivity, implying choice, or even as a dark energy to be transmuted.
    Are we in gay cure territory here as championed by Iris?
    Gerry Lynch
    I did go on to acknowledge that leaving your church is not an easy thing to do.
    You seem confident that the Church of Ireland is wrong about this, but that is simply your preferred interpretation and you could equally be wrong. Is there no definitive truth?
    Incidentally they, and you, may be wrong about that second coming too. Don’t hold your breath!

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  56. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    I wonder if Gerry Adams’ gay teddy is planning a civil ceremony anytime soon?

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  57. Chris Gaskin and this probably goes for David Crookes and babyface finalyson as well.

    Homosexuality is mentioned in Scripture five times – twice in the Levitical holiness code (one of which references suggests I should be put to death), one deeply confusing reference in St. Paul where he suggests that homosexuality develops as a result of worshipping statues of animals (see 2 Peter 3:15-16), and two separate but indentical references to μαλακοι and ἀρσενοκοιται, also in Paul. Nobody really knows what these terms mean and in any case, they are part of lists which also say that liars (100% of the population) and adulterers will never inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus says anyone who has ever looked at a woman lustfully is an adulterer, so that’s 100% of hetero- and bisexual men as well. If you accept Paul’s view that salvation can only come through grace by faith, and not by works, that actually hangs together quite nicely. And we haven’t even touched on the question of what St. Paul might mean when he speaks of ‘inheriting the kingdom of God’.

    That’s it. That’s your total case from Scripture. Jesus is never recorded as mentioning the issue once (although he did heal the Centurion’s pais), and nor is homosexuality once mentioned in the general epistles, Wisdom literature, Old or New Testament prophecy or Old Testament history literature.

    Claiming that Scripture is ‘totally opposed’ to homosexuality simply isn’t correct. The Scriptural case in favour of slavery and in favour of beating children is much stronger, another good reason for taking the majority Christian opinion over the past 2000 years and not believing Scripture is either a law textbook or in a literally inerrant sense “the Word of God” (itself an understanding that can only be held by ignoring the prologue of John’s Gospel). I wonder if David, in particular, can explain why he’s opposed to slavery, or indeed, if he is actually opposed to slavery given that he seems so strong on the sola scriptura stuff.

    As for Chris, as a doctrinally conservative Roman Catholic he needs to brush up on what his Church actually teaches about Scripture – it must be read in conjunction with the tradition of the Church, human reason and the Magisterium. As a classical Anglican, my position isn’t so different except we don’t, thankfully, have a Magisterium. The reason part of the tripod has now tipped dramatically towards accepting same-sex relationships intended to be faithful and lifelong, and is tipping pretty dramatically towards calling them marriage.

    The case from reason: put simply, Christian homophobia screws up people’s lives. Talk to the people who work on the gay helplines in Northern Ireland and ask them about the sort of situations they regularly deal with where people have been utterly psychologically screwed up by their churches and often end up damaging other people as a result.

    I would suggest you all read Jeremy Marks’ excellent “Exchanging The Truth Of God For A Lie”. He tried, at great personal cost, to be a good, “Scripturally compliant”, gay Evangelical, got married to a woman with both of them clear that this would help him ‘turn straight’, spent 20 years trying to help other people to do the same and then realised – it didn’t work. The only people who emerged from the process in any sense healthy as individuals and with their faith intact were those who worked out quicker than he did that the whole thing was bunk, settled down with a man in a loving relationship, and tried their best to be faithful Christians in that context. It’s a moving and powerful testimony.

    babyface tells me that I might be wrong. To live is a Christian is to live not only with the possiblity that one might be wrong, but the assurance that one is and will be wrong many times. Christianity is not about downloading Jesus’ special magic tick list so you can cross off the boxes and be sure you’re getting to heaven. As for the second coming, I would posit it’s not likely to come when politically powerful spiritual charlatans in the world’s wealthiest and most powerful country are making a fortune writing books like the Left Behind series, inciting their country to military aggression in the process. But the whole point of Jesus’ warnings on the subject are to say – you’ll never know when it’s going to happen; be ready at all times.

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  58. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, babyface, I’m no expert here, but I’d beware of the word ‘cure’ as much as AA do. The point is what we DO. (When is a man ‘cured’ of all desire for close encounters with beautiful women?)

    Let me cast a bit of Christian morality in secular terms so as not to offend the theophobes. If I have a strong proclivity to steal tomatoes from local greengroceries, I stay away from greengroceries, and I don’t sit about all day thinking about tomatoes. I go to the gym, and read good fiction, and make crude furniture, and watch Chumley the Walrus, with whom you can regale your soul on YouTube. Laughter has to be part of any moral medicine. A great deal of what Christians call ‘sin’ is bound up with taking oneself far too seriously. And now you know where my filmic tastes lie…..

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  59. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    Viridiplantae sorry for setting you off there, I’m afraid I was trying to express my ethical viewpoint as closer to that of Felix Adler’s Ethical Manifold than any notions promoted by your popular culture pals from the pages of Women’s Own.

    But never mind. Have a nice slice of Ballymena Biscuit. or is it Bun?

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  60. “As for Chris, as a doctrinally conservative Roman Catholic he needs to brush up on what his Church actually teaches about Scripture – it must be read in conjunction with the tradition of the Church, human reason and the Magisterium”

    Gerry, I placed more emphasis on the bible due to not knowing if you were Catholic or not,as I was looking for a genuine insight into how someone claims to be both Christian and Gay. The bible is a somewhat uniting factor between Christians.

    I’m well aware of Church teaching regarding the bible and thankfully in conjuction with tradition, human reason and the Magisterium there is no conflict whatsoever.

    I

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  61. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Many thanks, Gerry. Five times? No.

    The dark enigma of Genesis 9. 18-27 is encoded in 400 Hebrew gematria.

    18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. 19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. 20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

    Four questions occur to a vigilant reader.

    1. Why does the author bother to say in verse 18 that Ham ‘is the father of Canaan’? (Canaan is Ham’s FOURTH son, according to Genesis 10. 6.)

    2. Why does the author bother to call Ham ‘the father of Canaan’ in verse 22?

    3. Why does the author say ‘his younger son’ in verse 24, rather than ‘Ham’? (Noah had TWO younger sons.)

    4. Why does Noah rename Ham ‘Canaan’ in verse 25?

    We have to do here with an encryoted piece of history. Ham, whose name is spelled Cheth-mem, is the inventor of a new SIN. Noah, whose name is spelled Nun-cheth, curses his son and gives him such a new NAME as will express what he ‘had done unto’ his father (see verse 24). So shameful is Ham’s deed that it is veiled in cryptogram. What Ham did involved something much worse than an indecorous act of spectation. Ham’s new name ‘Canaan’ [כנען = 20 + 50 + 70 + 50] adds up to 190, and 190 is the gematric value of ‘Cheth-mem knew Nun-cheth’ (נח ידע חם: cheth-mem yodh-daleth-ayin nun-cheth = [48 + 84 + 58]).

    ‘The father of Canaan’ in verses 18 and 22 is really the inventor of a new practice who boasts about his invention. (In Genesis 4. 21-22, Jubal is called the ‘father’ of instrumental musicians, and Tubal-cain is called the ‘father’ of metalworkers.) After telling his two brothers about what he has done, the unrepentant Ham goes on to name one of his own sons ‘Canaan’.

    The phrase rendered ‘the father of Canaan’ (אבי כנען: see verses 18 and 22) has a gematric value of 203, while the phrase rendered ‘his younger son’ (בנו הקטן: see verse 24) has a gematric value of 222. Notice that 203 and 222 add up to 425. Then add up the fifth and sixth Hebrew words of Genesis 14. 11 (סדם ועמרה = Sodom and Gomorrah). The two words are spelled samekh-daleth-mem wau-ayin-mem-resh-he.

    Like Poe’s story ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, which very few critics understand…..

    [Although, as boys, we had been even intimate associates, yet I really knew little of my friend.

    We painted and read together; or I listened, as if in a dream, to the wild improvisations of his speaking guitar. And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy admitted me more unreservedly into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.

    I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. Yet I should fail in any attempt to convey an idea of the exact character of the studies, or of the occupations, in which he involved me, or led me the way.]

    …..the tale of Ham and Noah may be read at two levels. Ham’s spectative act is all that young readers need to know about. Older readers can be trusted to perceive the full truth.

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  62. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Gerry
    “babyface tells me that I might be wrong. To live is a Christian is to live not only with the possiblity that one might be wrong, but the assurance that one is and will be wrong many times. ”
    That is true for all of us, not just Christians.
    I was not trying to suggest you are wrong in your lifestyle, simply that you might be wrong in your prediction regarding the church and its attitude to gay marriage.
    If you are proved right do you predict an exodus of more traditional believers to the evangelical branches?
    I suppose I always thought scripture was not on your side in this, but maybe you lay more emphasis on the case from reason as you cite.
    By the way I wish you well in this. It is a long time since I stopped believing in any God but I still find it interesting.

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  63. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    One thing that bugs me about the gay marriage debate has more to do with gay divorce. How many judges are likely to admit the don’t comprehend homosexuality or see why gay marriage is ordained by the state to be monogamous and life-long? Is it not wrong for a judge who hasn’t such an understanding to preside at a divorce proceeding for a homosexual couple?

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  64. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    I see ‘David Crookes’ and ‘Judge Not’ have the same Jewish Gematria value of 1006. At least according to an online calculator…
    Just sayin’ like.

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  65. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Jane, I fear you.

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  66. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    haha! no need, David!

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  67. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I find that people who spend a lot of time talking or writing about what other people do in the privacy of their own homes (well, usually) fundamentally creepy. It’s a prurient, prying, gossipy sort of personality who critically evaluates the sexual proclivities of others and obsesses about them to the extent that he or she feels that such things need to be regulated or controlled (once by the law, these days mostly by religion).

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  68. OK, David, that is probably the most bizarre piece of eisegesis I have ever read, and living in Northern Ireland, I’ve come across plenty.

    All the more appropriate that you cite the story of Ham in doing so, because never in the history of Christianity has any part of the Bible been put to such disgraceful misuse as the mythological story of the Curse of Ham.

    Ham’s descendents are cursed to be the “servants of servants”; convenient to the Hebrews as they colonised the Holy Land, fought wars with the Canaanites who had been there originally and took them as slaves. And that is, to answer your question, pretty obviously why the author of the text singles out Canaan once again as Ham’s son – after all Hebrew tribespeople weren’t taking too many descendents of Ham’s other sons like Mizraim (Egyptians) as slaves, were they?

    Just as the original text was written to imply God’s blessing on enslaving Canaanites, so it has been used against other groups down the millennia. Interestingly, it was Muslims who first noticed that among Ham’s sons cursed to be slaves was Cush, or Ethiopia. The East African slave trade has a long history, and that made sense to early Arab slavers as God had cursed Ethiopians to be slaves (they weren’t so interested in noticing that Egyptians and Libyans were also, according to Genesis, descendents of Ham). That story then made its way into Christian Europe through the Iberian Jewish community, at which point Europeans decided that if Ethiopians were cursed by God to be slaves, so were all black skinned peoples.

    During the bitterest years of the Reformation, which coincidentally happened at the same time as the explosion of the Atlantic slave trade, one thing that Catholics and Protestants alike could agree on was that Genesis 9:25-27 legitimised the keeping of black people as slaves. It was obvious to everyone, just at it had been obvious to European Christians a few centuries earlier that the descendents of Ham had instead migrated to Europe and become the ancestors of serfs. As the slavery debate raged in the United States in the mid 19th Century, bible believing Evangelicals railed that the story of Ham made it clear that God endorsed the keeping of Africans as slaves, and that abolitionism was unChristian.

    All the more interesting that you still haven’t explained why you’re opposed to slavery (if in fact you are) given that Scripture is nowhere critical of it.

    As for that crazy Bible Code stuff you’re pulling with gematric values of selectively chosen words, even if I suspend my critical faculties for a second and pretend that it has any validity, so what? Another isolated reference, this time taken in the context of mythological Stone Age patriarchs who were big into slavery, and polygamy, and sexual abuse of barely pubescent girls. What’s your point?

    If that is serious study of Scripture, then so is Dan Brown.

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  69. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks for laughing, Jane. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. That’s in the Bible.

    I was going to comment on the Greek word αρσενοκοιται that Gerry cited, but I want to look up something about the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, so I’ll repair to my study in the hope that you haven’t assigned a Borgesian golem to assassinate me there.

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  70. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    Die gedanken sind frei…. ;)

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  71. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin
    “I find that people who spend a lot of time talking or writing about what other people do in the privacy of their own homes (well, usually) fundamentally creepy.”
    True enough.But the issue is about marriage which is a public declaration and is surely a valid topic for debate?

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  72. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    True enough.But the issue is about marriage which is a public declaration and is surely a valid topic for debate?

    It certainly is. But the bible passages being discussed here don’t talk about marriage equality.

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  73. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Comrade
    True again.
    I suppose once you get into seeking the blessing of any church you are going to come onto questions of personal morality. That is what they do after all.

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  74. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Well, well. A little controversy shows up what we really are. Last night a good-humoured bit of banter between two contributors who cordially disagree with one another preceded, if it did not actually generate, the following viperish paragraph from Comrade Stalin.

    “I find that people who spend a lot of time talking or writing about what other people do in the privacy of their own homes (well, usually) fundamentally creepy. It’s a prurient, prying, gossipy sort of personality who critically evaluates the sexual proclivities of others and obsesses about them to the extent that he or she feels that such things need to be regulated or controlled (once by the law, these days mostly by religion).”

    Creepy? That first non-sentence would make my old sparring instructor’s flesh creep. When Ulster Press Centre and ayeYerMa want to tell me that I’m talking nonsense, they identify me by name. I respect them for doing so. But unspecified “people”? It may help if I translate the whole paragraph into simple English.

    “I don’t like you, Dennis the Menace,” said Matilda.

    In a later posting Comrade Stalin refers to “the Bible passages being discussed”. Why that craven-hearted passive? Discussed by whom? By Gerry? Oh, no.

    Let me address every contributor for a moment. You and I may disagree about some fundamental moral issue. If we are unable to disagree robustly, genially, and urbanely, we don’t belong on a grown-up blog, and we should certainly not clutter up that blog with creepy emotional postings. Three months ago I thought that certain “people” might come to play an important part in the creation of a new genial Ireland. I was wrong. If a new genial Ireland ever comes into being, it will be without these “people”, if not in spite of them.

    Nothing in the constitution of Slugger states either that we must all be clever secularized liberals, or that we must employ a special tone of hallowed solemnity when we’re talking about the G-word. My experience of clever secularized liberals is that they don’t play fair. Even on Slugger. If I used the N-word they would start a thermonucliear war, but some of them use the F-word without compunction in front of lady readers, and some of them stud their postings with hideous blasphemies.

    At their worst, even when the topic gives them no reason to do so, they try to whip up hatred against the creationist community. Their wonderful scrupulous sensitivities extend only in one direction.

    Some Sluggerites of both ‘sorts’ espouse a Biblical morality, as I do. Why have they kept quiet? Because they don’t want to be pelted with stupid phobe-words. Deciding to contribute to this thread is a bit like agreeing to mud-wrestle with Stacy Keibler. You know it’s going to be messy.

    Now let us all be friends, and carry on our discussion in a cool-headed manner. Gerry, I’ll try to get back to you later with both fists.

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  75. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    Deciding to contribute to Slugger is a bit like agreeing to mud-wrestle with Stacy Keibler…”

    You wish, David, you wish !

    …it’s going to be messy.”

    We sure hope so or else we want our money back.

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  76. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Rory, but I’ll be working without pay in a spirit of the merest altruism.

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  77. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    David, I read your views about clever secularized liberals with interest. (I’m still dwelling on whether to be hurt by that or not given that we seem to have had quite a jolly discussion and I’m certainly, by your definition, a secularized liberal. Maybe I’m just not clever enough. )

    I would be very careful about dismissing all members of a group (and I appreciate that you at least say ‘my experience’ and not ‘all’) – It’s rather like saying ‘all Americans are loud’ – no, no they’re not, you just hear the loud ones.

    I think it an unfortunate trait of human nature that we feel a need to join a camp wholesale and dig our heals in ‘certainty’ when we feel under threat, and what better instant gratification than to lob an insult at the other camp? Call it minority complex perhaps, how else can it that I hear almost word for word the same charges leveled against ‘conservative Christians’ concerning what we as ‘liberals’ dare to say?

    There are clearly no conclusions to this thread but I think this is where I step down (unless someone really bothers me!). The views are so polarized that common ground is in very short supply, and so mud slinging takes place of real discussion.

    Anyway, I’m off to hop in the shower with Stacey….

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  78. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Many thanks for that urbane response, Jane. You help to refine with a jeweller’s hammer what I bashed out with a sledgehammer. Yes, of course: some ‘conservative Christians’ are awful. Please don’t ‘step down’! The common ground is our common humanity.

    This is a great site for letting your hair down. There are some persons whom I feel constrained not to mention in the pulpit.

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  79. Jane Madill (profile) says:

    oh not step down, step down, just step down from this thread, I’ll be back and equally opinionated on other threads I’m sure! BTW, fantasy Stacy’s now asking me if I’m certain it was a preacher who started it…

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  80. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Now that is entertaining intercourse! Good job!

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  81. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    David, I wasn’t aiming at you with my comment (although I’m sorry you’ve taken it that way), it’s a general observation which applies to religious and non-religious people, but mainly certain kinds of religious people in this context.

    I’m afraid any time I hear evangelicals using the word “morality” it’s usually when they’re passing judgment on something to do with sex. There’s a long list of ” immoral” things going on right now that anyone could name; yet this is the one they focus on.

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  82. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin, I have misunderstood you, so let me apologize heartily and ask your pardon. Yes. It sickens me when highly religious people work themselves into a frenzy about some relation of the three-letter S-word, and then fail to see anything sinful about a life of selfish nastiness, or about a so-called preemptive war based on lies and a greed for oil.

    I hope you can forgive the rather pompous blast that I sent in your direction earlier today. Many thanks for your posting.

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  83. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    That’s very honourable of you David. No apology necessary. I may have been a tad guilty of the broad brush thing.

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  84. Yellowford (profile) says:

    Get a room.

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  85. Yellowford – The name of one of Hugh O’Neill’s victories.

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  86. David Crookes (profile) says:

    The caption competition is on another thread.

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  87. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    Can we please desist from all this pointless sidetracking and get back to the meat of the discussion ?

    That’s better. Now, about this Stacy Keibler mud-wrestling thingy…

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  88. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Rory. Sorry I can’t address the matter at present. My shower has broken down, so I’m heading over to Jane’s.

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  89. I see introducing a bit of Scripture into the debate has got the Bible-thumpers and wannabe Pontiffs scattering for cover.

    Matthew 11:19 – “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” Jesus celebrated both abundance of life as well as austerity. Life is for living.

    It really scares me what happens to people who are 100% gay but can’t get out of this scary misreading of Scripture, which means they think they’ll go to a literally painful eternity if they fall in love and settle down with someone of their own sex. I meet people who come from that world and none of them speak well of it. This stuff really messes people up. Sorry.

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  90. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Scattering for cover? No, Gerry, we’re all having a great time. Life is for living, as you say. I’ll talk to you tomorrow about your slavery posting.

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  91. Yellowford (profile) says:

    Mister Joe,
    coincidentally yes. Just glad to see two posters who i enjoy a great deal get over their disagreement so honorably.

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  92. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Sorry to be late in reply, Gerry, I was wrestling with the linguistic problem which was recently posed by Becky Alister.

    You say, “OK, David, that is probably the most bizarre piece of eisegesis I have ever read…..” At another point you say, “As for that crazy Bible Code stuff you’re pulling with gematric values of selectively chosen words…..” In closing, you say, “If that is serious study of Scripture, then so is Dan Brown.”

    Let’s begin by putting your Smart Posey Word “eisegesis” in the bin. What I sent you was an explication. If you find gematric explication bizarre and crazy, it must be because you are less familiar than Jane Madill with the pertinent literature. Gematria is mainstream. In 2009 the late D L Christensen’s commentary on Nahum appeared in the Anchor Yale Bible series, published by Yale University Press. In the course of his monumental commentary Prof. Christensen alluded to “400 gematria” and “22 gematria”, using two terms that I myself created years ago. I was delighted that he used these two terms without ascription. You don’t get more mainstream than that.

    Anyone who can equate serious gematric explication with the folly of Michael Drosnin and the fiction of Dan Brown is not on the ball. There is no place in a cool-headed scholarly discussion for partisan forensic slurs.

    Or for petulant verbal hysterics:

    “Another isolated reference, this time taken in the context of mythological Stone Age patriarchs who were big into slavery, and polygamy, and sexual abuse of barely pubescent girls. What’s your point?”

    Or for bizarre tautologies, like “selectively chosen words”. (Can you have UNselectively chosen words?) I don’t “choose” the Hebrew words which I highlight. By protruding from the text, they choose themselves, as any literary critic will acknowledge.

    Now let me advert to your importunate questions about what I think of slavery. These questions have no place on the thread. I don’t ask you what you think of ‘The Greek Slave’ by Hiram Powers, and I don’t ask you to say whether Paris Hilton or Silvana Koch-Mehrin would be a better subject for a modern remake of that sublime statue. But here goes. I hate slavery, including the low-paid wage slavery which I see at close quarters every day. I’m glad to know that some of the chief abolitionists were Christians. It revolts me to realize that many professing Christians once supported the retention of slavery, much as it revolts me to know that many professing Christians support those who break the law in the name of a flag or an Orange banner.

    Why did it take so long for Biblical principles to filter into the minds of people who were proud to obey certain Biblical precepts? I don’t know. Evangelical Christians who think get their faith tested when they read the Bible. Leaving aside the massacres in the Old Testament, I’ll give you one example. A man gathers sticks on the Sabbath day, and is stoned to death. Aaron makes the golden calf, and gets a telling-off.

    Pietistic people often accept everything without thinking. The rest of us have to wrestle. Many thanks for your posting, Gerry.

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  93. UserAinm (profile) says:

    David Crookes,

    Gerry is an ex-Malachian like myself, and I am always proud to see him taking on a good debate here or elsewhere. He is in a better position to take you to task on scripture and the interpretation thereof, or not as the case may be.

    As for gematria, I’m going to be honest here it was a new one on me. I looked up the wikipedia page (I know hardly a fair or thorough way to assess or refute an argument but like I say it’s new to me), were I wishing to poke holes in the idea that Chai/18 is a lucky number for Jews I might mention a fairly bad kicking I got off some Combat18 gentlemen who were (and I’m not associating the whole club with this just for the record, the club were great and couldn’t do more to help) returning through my mothers neighbourhood after a Crues/Cliftonville match. Not a football fan myself I didn’t know the match was on but cela. Anyway C18 as I found out is 1=Adolf and 8=Hitler, not I would imagine a number that would sit well as a lucky number in a Hebrew based number system, or am I wrong?

    Anyhow David, I’ve read your contributions over a number of threads and found them mostly entertaining, educated and written in an off the cuff manner that is engaging to read.

    I have to ask you a few questions though because you strike me as a guy that will do his best to shoot straight.

    Do you accept that marriage as a concept/contract has existed since before the bible?

    Do you accept that marriage as a contract went through many variations before the old testament and then more before the new testament?

    Do you accept that marriage in the length of time that such a construct has existed has changed for the better? Specifically in Western society that women are free to marry and aren’t a bargaining chip in livestock deals or tribal difficulties?

    Does this not therefore mean that marriage is a word, a term which has changed with society and will likely change in the future?

    So can we not now take the next step in celebrating how the word marriage has changed and extend it to our gay brothers and sisters?

    The reluctance to do so has always confused me. I’m straight and married to the love of my life a lady on whom I would never cheat but I live in a world that marriage and fidelity is becoming old hat. Surely we should be promoting marriage where we can whether it’s same sex couples or not?

    And if I’m proud to be married why shouldn’t my gay brothers and sisters be able to say the exact same thing? Not civilly joined, married.

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  94. David Crookes (profile) says:

    UserAinm, I have to thank you for your skilfully crafted posting, for the trouble that you’ve taken to find out about gematria, and for the kind things that you say, but I find it hard to thank you for setting me a serious exam-paper with the following rubric. CANDIDATES MUST BARE THEIR CREDAL SOULS BY ANSWERING ALL EIGHT QUESTIONS. Since you don’t number your questions, I’ll copy them and answer them one at a time.

    “Do you accept that marriage as a concept/contract has existed since before the Bible?”

    Yes, if you mean before any of the Biblical books were written. No, if you mean before the series of events which the Bible records.

    “Do you accept that marriage as a contract went through many variations before the Old Testament and then more before the New Testament?”

    No, if you mean before the series of events which the Old Testament records. Yes, to a certain extent, if you mean before any of the Old Testament books were written. (Variation came early in history. While Adam was the first monogamist, his great-great-great-great-grandson Lamech was the first polygamist.) What the last seven words of your question mean I’m not sure. Do they relate to the intertestamental period, and do they apply to all humanity?

    “Do you accept that marriage in the length of time that such a construct has existed has changed for the better? Specifically in Western society that women are free to marry and aren’t a bargaining chip in livestock deals or tribal difficulties?”

    I can’t answer the first bit, since I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of marriage throughout the ancient world. Neither does anyone else. Surviving written sources allow us to know only so much. As for the second bit. yes! Not all that long ago I spent some time in part of West Africa. I still can’t get used to the idea that arranged marriage is the norm in that part of the continent. The norms of patriarchal times, like arranged marriage and levirate marriage, bemuse me. But I get some comfort from noting that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all marrried to stunners.

    “Does this not therefore mean that marriage is a word, a term which has changed with society and will likely change in the future?”

    To what does your word “this” refer? To the fact that women are free to marry, and so on? If so, my answer is: yes, it doesn’t. The nature of the institution has changed to some extent over time: but as a Christian I can’t see the word or term encompassing anything other than a settled relationship between a man and a woman.

    “So can we not now take the next step in celebrating how the word marriage has changed and extend it to our gay brothers and sisters?”

    Yes, we can not. What you call “the next step” is a giant step for humanity which takes it away from Biblical morality into a different kind of world.

    “Surely we should be promoting marriage where we can whether it’s same sex couples or not?”

    A Christian who espouses Biblical morality, as I do, is unable to describe the union of a same-sex couple as marriage.

    “And if I’m proud to be married why shouldn’t my gay brothers and sisters be able to say the exact same thing? Not civilly joined, married.”

    They are free to say whatever they please, but a Christian who espouses Biblical morality is unable to regard two members of the same sex as being married.

    I’ve said all that I’m going to say on the present thread. As a rule, evangelical Christians are happy to field questions about what the Biblical text says, one at a time. The danger with “Do you accept” questions is that they accord an unnecessary prominence to the person who is being questioned. That person may go on to receive irrelevant follow-up questions from other posters. (Does he seriously not believe in evolution? How old does he think the earth is? And so on. And so on.)

    There you are, UserAinm. By your leave, I shall now take my afternoon tea. The thought of having to wrestle with two ex-Malachians is enough to make even an Instonian tremble. I’d sooner take my chances with Combat18.

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  95. UserAinm (profile) says:

    David,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply, your answers are as honest and straight forward as I’d hoped. I disagree obviously but very much enjoyed reading them.

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  96. David Crookes (profile) says:

    UserAinm, my penultimate paragraph sounds to me now as if it was written by a querulous old sufferer from gout! Bless you for that genial response,

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  97. Why did it take so long for Biblical principles to filter into the minds of people who were proud to obey certain Biblical precepts?

    And this is precisely my point about homosexuality. You’re sure homosexuality is a sin despite the damage that attitude transparently causes to people, and despite the hypocrisy underlying it: Ulster Evangelicals would do well not to get too smug about Keith O’Brien. At least he didn’t lure a woman into a sham marriage to cover up for himself.

    I think collectively, you’ve fallen into the trap of not seeing the wood for the trees. Are three isolated proof quotes, none of which actually refer to a lifelong same-sex relationship, really a significant Scriptural case against same-sex romantic love? The scriptural case for slavery is stronger than the scriptural case against homosexuality, at least if we confine our reading to narrow proof texts.

    Indeed, the whole view of Scripture as a magic holiness code with which to accept or reject people is at odds with Christ’s life as narrated in the Gospels. It also ends up being a bit Pharisaical.

    I don’t know. Evangelical Christians who think get their faith tested when they read the Bible. Leaving aside the massacres in the Old Testament, I’ll give you one example. A man gathers sticks on the Sabbath day, and is stoned to death. Aaron makes the golden calf, and gets a telling-off.

    There are more fundamental problems than that with the conventional Evangelical reading of Scripture; contradictions between the Gospels in their accounts of the Nativity and Holy Week, for starters. These are only the central events in history from a Christian perspective; if history/law textbook consistency was important in understanding Scripture, don’t you think God might have inspired a text that actually supported that reading of it.

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