Monday, May 2, 2005

Why Does God Hate Me So?

One of the saddest things I have to deal with personally in my walk with God is when I see religion/faith being used for tragic purposes. This is not a new thing; it has occurred throughout history. Organised religion has been used to justify slavery, suppress women, encouraged wars, oppress homosexuals and other minorities and so on.

The title above is a question asked by a gay person at DailyKos. He describes the emotional turmoil in this childhood, driven from his abusive family and home and forced to live on the streets. The horror of it all, physical and emotional, is unimaginable. But in his heart, he is still searching for God and working out his sexuality. And so he asks, "Why does God hate me so? And can I still be a liberal and believe in God?"

The reason why he asks that is because the Religious Right, well, claim to be religious and seem to be have a monopoly on faith. And I replied to his thread, "Yes, sure you can. I am a liberal because I'm a Christian who believes Jesus' teachings directly contradicts with so many things that the Religious Right believes in. If I don't have the faith, I wouldn't even be bothering taking a leftist stance in many things and be in much trouble with friends etc. It's really a pain, sometimes...:)" I put a smiley face to laugh it off, but it's painful nonetheless. I've lost friends before because of my leftish leanings such as my objections against prevailing attitudes to gay people. Losing friends because of an idea is not something easy to take. What's worse is that I know this won't end anytime soon.
Feed the poor and thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, blessed are the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful, the persecuted, eat with the outcasts and criminals, prevent a public execution by drawing in the sand, pray in private, do yourself up while fasting so that others don't know you're fasting, don't boast while confessing, don't be a hypocrite, don't be arrogant, easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich person to enter heaven, don't just call my name and forget everything else that needs to be done, be compassionate, heal the sick, love your enemy, offer the other when someone hits one cheek, donate anonymously to charities, love your neighbour as you love yourself.
These are revolutionary ideas, even by today's standards. This sort of value system is in direct contrast to prevailing ideas; in fact, a person holding such views would be seriously disadvantaged. That's why I think Christ is a liberal. He is progressive in his views, doesn't necessarily believe in the status quo, if those views need to be changed.

But more importantly, the overriding motivation for being a liberal is love. Love your neighbour. Without such a love, there's no point in being a liberal. I wonder what Christ would do if he meets a gay person. I think probably he'll have dinner with the guy, and treat him the same like any other human being. He'll also probably love the gay guy like he loves any of us. Sometimes I imagine an imaginary gay person in my mind and I tell the guy, "Look, it'd be so much easier for me if I didn't have to speak up for you. Do you know that?" But then, if I don't speak up, I can't sleep at night.

So yes, I blame God sometimes for that. But what is encouraging is silently looking at gay people whom I personally know are living difficult, oppressed lives, and seeing they are actually living out a better testimony compared to some folks who call themselves Christians. I know God would be proud.

A couple of years ago, I watched an episode of Queer As Folk which had a lovely conversation between a few gay friends. Emmett is going off to a church program that aims to help him get rid of his homosexual inclinations. The rest are sending him off.
Ted: We wanted to let you know that we still love you. Maybe not as much as Jesus... but almost. And we're going to miss you.
Michael: Especially the way you dance with your hands above your head, and your Liza impersonation. That's the way I'll always remember you.
Emmett: Thanks. But I don't think God appreciates it quite as much as you do.
Ted: I think God appreciates it even more. Because he created you in His image. At least, that's what I was always taught. And since God is love, and God doesn't make any mistakes, then you must be exactly the way He wants you to be. The way He intended you to be. And that goes for every person, every planet, every mountain, every grain of sand, every song. Every tear. And every faggot. We're all His, Emmett. He loves us all.
Amen to that.

12 comments:

Victoria said...

God doesn't make mistakes but humans make mistakes... so its not god to blame of our lives but us to blame.

I believe its not wrong to love gay people but i believe we can't accept their actions.. yes we can welcome them into your homes... but they can't go on living a life of sin i.e. continue to be homosexuals. what is sin? sin is the act of not doing what God wants. i dun believe God created homosexuals. he created man and woman. we can love them but if we accept who they are, then we're compromising the word. we can accept who ppl are, eg. people's character but living a life of homosexuality is not one of it. like in John 8. where the woman was caught in adultery and the law was to stone the woman. but Jesus said, " if anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone" he then said "has no one condemned you? so neither so, Go now and LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN." God loves her but not her actions (i.e. life of sin).

u can also see in sodom and gomorrah.... God destroyed that city because "the outcry is so great that their sin so grievous" (gen 18 & 19)

Yes God is a god of love.. but he is also a god of wrath and a holy God, "holy holy is the lord god almighty (rev 4:8). he despise SIN. we are asked to flee from sin and live a righteous life (2 tim 2:22, 1 tim 6:11, 2 cor 6:14-18)

see also 1 cor 6 - it said the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord for our body is the temple of the HOly SPirit.

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1pe3:12)

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (eph 4:22-24)

so God is a God of Love but he doesn't accept our actions. i've no objection to homosexuals but i object their actions.

jeffyen said...

I'd agree with most of the things you point out, except for one thing. That homosexuality, in the context of natural homosexuality between two consenting adults in a relationship lived out in love, support and integrity, is actually a sin.

I know there are few NT and OT passages which are often used to argue against this, but I've gone through them, and I don't really see the relevance, in terms of context and intention, and the bigger picture. So I guess it's good to agree to disagree.

Incidently, I feel that the story about Sodom and Gomorrah isn't really a warning about this sort of homosexuality (it's not actually stated.) Instead, it's a warning about 'pride, surfeit of food and prosperous ease, did not aid the poor and needy, haughty, and did abominable things' Eze. 16:49.

VIV said...

Victoria: you really have to expand your horizons. If it is not possible (due to limitations of your intellect) then you will just have to accept my criticism & Jeff's opinion as something that is BEYOND your rationality.

Jeff: I agree with you completely that Christ's teachings have been totally misrepresented, misinterpreted and misunderstood. And why not? Ever played Broken Telephone before - for over 2000 years? Not surprising that the Sodom story got interpreted differently by Victoria from you, Jeff. But then, who cares? Everybody likes to believe their own version of a story, esp if they WERE NOT THERE to witness the facts.

Sin is a concept that has no truth. It only works in the human realm of existence to control society and individual behavior. Stories should be taken with a big dose of scepticism before being believed as gospel truths.

I really feel sorry for gays, they not only have to put up with stigma from ordinary people, they still have to put up with the widespread rumour that they will burn in hell.

jeffyen said...

wah Vivien, a bit strong lah...:) I don't think it's beyond any body's rationality to understand things. It's a continuous effort to examine and re-examine our beliefs. I know Vic's heart is in the right place, so that's good...

Victoria said...

jeff yup ur true bout ezekiel. it does say ths sin's of sodom was a warning about 'pride, surfeit of food and prosperous ease, did not aid the poor and needy, haughty, and did abominable things.' this was said because during that time when ezekiel was written it was during when the Jews were exiled to babylon coz during that time lots of people were lost, and poor so ezekiel was reminding the Jews of God's faithfulness and not care about the poor but shower love to them as God showered love to us all. so yes one part of the destruction of sodom and gomorrah was not giving to the poor and needy.

but sodom and gomorrah's destruction extends further as it says in Jude 1:7 "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."

it also says in gen 19:4-5 "Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom--both young and old--surrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." i think this is very self explanatory.

more scriptures can also be seen of God's wrath against homosexuals, lev 20:13, 1 Cor 6:9, Romans 1:26-32.

another comment on natural homosexuals... to me i dun believe in natural homosexuals... because God made us in his image. what u mean by image.. physical? yes and it also includes such characteristics as "righteousness and holiness" (Eph 4:24) and "knowledge" (Col 3:10). Believers are to be "conformed to the likeness" of Christ (Ro 8:29) and will someday be "like him" (1Jn 3:2).


we can voice out our opinions in anything but in everything when it comes to God we have turn to His Word and seek Him for the truth.

I dun despise homosexual because who am i to judge them... only GOd.

it was because of sin that CHrist came to die for our sins so we can have eternal life with Him.

jeffyen said...

In Genesis 19, is homosexuality really the issue, or is it about something else?

Let's look at the story again. God sends two angels to visit Lot who stayed at the town Sodom. Lot invites them in as his guests. Too bad the bad people around town got wind of this, and the mob gathered outside demanded to know them. [KJV, Hebrew: yadah] This word can mean a lot of things, in most cases, it means to know, to make an acquintance. It can also mean know in a sexual sense. Anyway, Lot pleads with the mob, and even offers his daughters as hostages, 'do whatever you want with them', he says. Why would Lot do this? It's because he'd rather protect his guests than to hand them over to the mob.

A parallel of this story is seen in Judges 19:16, where again, another protagonist welcomes foreign tourists into his house as his guests, washes their feet and takes care of them. A mob again visits, demanding to know them. Again, the guy offers his concubine to pacify them. This time, it gets worse. The mob gets to know [same Hebrew word: yadah] the woman, and rapes her throughout the night until morning.

If the logic is that the Sodom story is condemning homosexuality per se, by the same token, we also need to say that heterosexual sex should also be condemned after reading the Judges story. (Which I don't think we'll do!) But the Judges story is not about heterosexual behaviour, it's about rape! Similarly for the Sodom story, it's about armed assault, forced entry and rape. I don't think the sexual issue here is one of homosexuality, but of forced sex, of rape.

Jude 1:7 refers to Sodom's two sins. The first one is sexual immorality [Greek Ekporneuo: to go whoring]. The second is 'going after strange flesh' [KJV; Greek: Heteros (another, not of the same kind), Sarx (flesh). What is this strange flesh? It probably refers to the fact the mob is looking to sexually assault the guests, who were really angels.

Lastly, Christ also refers to Sodom. What's the context? It's gross violation of hospitality, 'If the house you visit doesn't welcome you, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house...it shall be more tolerable on judgement day for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town...' Matthew 10:15

1 Corinthians 6:9 refers to male prostitutes [Greek: pornos, male prostitute from the word pernemi, to sell.] I'd agree that prostitution is bad, whether it's heterosexual or homosexual.

Maybe I'll talk about Leveticus next time...quite a long story :)

Useful tools: Greek, English, Greek-Hebrew-English Bible

Maximus Kuseikos said...

While I have read the whole Bible from the first page of the Genesis to the last page of the Apocalypse, too long has passed since I finished reading St. John's last words to be able to engage in a biblical contest with obviously expert readers. I will therefore state my mind based on what I remember and what I know of Christianity.

1. Jesus Christ, in John 8, in fact protects a woman who is caught in adultery. Jesus Christ is, according to Christian Theology, God himself. Maybe this concept is a bit fuzzy for some believers. God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are ONE and THREE, they are the SAME BEING although in three different forms. Jesus is God. Jesus is the Son of God and also the Father at the same time. This is important because he, as God, protects a woman who is committing a sin from other humans: other humans do not have the right to judge her. Then Jesus tells the woman to leave her life of sin. This is not a command, it is not an order. It is not written in capital letters in the Gospel, while you have written it in capitals to make it seem like an order. Jesus didn't give orders to anyone: she is free to choose, this is the concept at the basis of the Christian religion. If she wants to continue with her life of sin she can very well do it: humans cannot judge her. In case she has to be judged, it will be up to God and not to humans to take a decision about her life. In fact Jesus also tells a rich man "if you want to come with me you must leave your wealth and follow me" and the rich man says "no". Jesus doesn't force him to follow him, nor anyone else does. And Jesus says "It is easier for a camel to pass through the hole of a nail than for a rich man to enter Heaven. This is impossibility for humans but in the Kingdom of God everything is possible". So, the rich man is *FREE* to choose to follow Jesus or not. He makes his choice and no one can force him to do otherwise. ESPECIALLY NOT OTHER FOLLOWERS OF JESUS. What do we learn from this?
We learn what Jesus says: we must not watch the sins of others but we must mind our own, because our own sins are much larger and much more serious than those of the others. "Don't judge, and you won't be judged." This is the Word of Jesus.

2. You say you don't believe that God made homosexuals. First of all, I wonder who you think you are to tell God what He can or cannot create. Are we really so proud to believe that we *know* what God has created? We thought God had created only one planet, Earth, and instead God created many. We believed that God created only one sun and instead every star is a sun. We believed that God put us in the center of the universe and that the universe has only nine circles, and instead God created an infinite universe with infinite worlds and infinite galaxies. God's creation is immensely larger than our puny little minds can conceive, and still we go around saying "God didn't create this". Pride is the sin God punished when humans built the tower of Babel. Humans don't know the mind of God and cannot tell God what he can or cannot create. Homosexuals say they never "chose" to be such, they are just attracted by the same sex. So it's something they have no choice with: it's something with their natural being, some people think it might be a disease and even so, diseases are created by God (and sometimes sent to men to see if they deserve Heaven, like he did with Job). Some chimps (Bonobo Chimps to be precise) also have homosexuality. This means that homosexuality exists in other species, in nature itself. Who else can create it if not God? If homosexuality, which is natural and appears in the natural world, wasn't created by God, who else created it? If it is evil, than it must have been created by Satan. By Satan does not have the power to create, because only God creates, Satan destroys His creation. So only God can be the Creator of Homosexuality.
Therefore, if God has made homosexuals, it cannot be a sin to be what God meant you to be. Is it a sin to be handicapped? is it a sin to have red hair or blue eyes or black skin? Has Jesus ever said that homosexuals are sinners?
Who are we to tell God what is a sin and what is not a sin? Only God can judge, and He will do it when He sees fit, not when we tell him to do it.

3. The belief that homosexuality is a sin is recent in Christian history. The early Christians celebrated weddings between homosexuals. You can check the early history of the Church to verify my word. Only during the Middle Ages the Theologians decided that homosexuality had become a sin. God never said it.

It will be a great day when humans will stop judging others, telling others what to do, and invoke God's word to disguise what's just their deficiency in accepting the vastity of their God's creation.
Mind your own sins, and let others live their life the way they want, like Jesus always did.

jeffyen said...

Wow maximus, this is really something. I haven't considered it the way you did for point (1). Worth a second look...

Samantha said...

I guess the first issue you all don't seem to grasp is that we as Christians, have to LOVE THE SINNER BUT NOT THE SIN. You all seem to believe Victoria, in particular, is condemning gays. But that's not how it is... she did say we should accept the homosexual but she also said its the sin of homosexuality that we should not accept. God is a Holy God, besides being a God of love, mercy and grace. This truth is something alot of Christians today neglect to mention. The Holy Wrath of God is to be feared.

You all talk about how Jesus mixed around with tax collectors and prostitutues when He was on earth, and they claim that He would in present day situation also mix around with gays. That may be true... Christ's love transcends our sin. But to go as far as to say that He would ignore their sin is very wrong! It says in the Bible that even our righteousness are considered as filthy rags in the sight of God... what more our sin?! God would and could never accept our sin. He is too Holy and Righteous a God to accept our sin. So much so that when in Isaiah6, Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets in the Bible, had to face God, he declared "Holy Holy Holy" and "woe is me" and fell at God's feet! Similarly, in Revelation 1:17, when John, the apostle Jesus dearly loved, saw the majesty and glory of God, he "fell at Hid feet as dead". Our God Jehovah is not a God to be trifled with, or to mock. He is a Holy God Who can not come into contact with sin.

The next thing you all are erroneous in is to do with interpreting the Bible. You all think that the Bible can be subjected to relative interpretation.. which means that you think you can explain or interpret it any way they please. Dr Stephen Tong always asserts that TRUTH CANNOT BE RELATIVE. TRUTH IS ABSOLUTE or else it can't be the truth. The Bible is obviously the truth. How then can we interpret IT however we choose to? What we have to do is humbly pray and plead with God to illumine us. Which is why God sent us His Holy Spirit... to illumine and guide us in the TRUTH. The Holy Spirit can never contradict Himself-- He can't illumine someone to truth A and illumine someone else to contradicting truth B at the same time; someone is definitely wrong.

Vivienwon's theory about the broken telephone thing is so obviously wrong! We're talking God's Word and the Holy Spirit's illumination here. Can the Holy Spirit's guidance be subject to mistakes and misinterpretations? He is God Himself and makes no mistakes. When faced with a different interpretation of the Bible, what we have to do is come back to God's Word, and as my papa always says, the main gist or principle of the Bible. We have to pray and ask God to show us, and study the Bible to see if the new interpretation contradicts what we already know of God's Word and character. We can not just look at excerpts and interpret these as individual truths or doctrines. Strictly speaking, the entire Bible was written by GOD Himself, through various men of GOD in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It will and can never go wrong! (2Timothy3:16) Notice that Vivienwon does not quote Scipture. On what basis is she then saying that Victoria is wrong and Jeff is right? Also, it is evident Vivienwon does not even believe in the validity of the Bible. She mocks the stories in fact, and to her, the truth that sinners will burn in hell is but a widespread rumour. In light of this, we do not have to bother about her at all or argue with her. Why? Because our sole authority for everything we say and believe in is THE WORD OF GOD, the revealed BIBLE. Since she does not believe in it, what more is there to say?

I find the things Jeff says very strange. I seriously wonder what his theology is. He claims that a person holding the revolutionary views of Jesus would be disadvantaged. That is not true! Jesus came to give us the truth... His views are the truth. And the Bible tells us the TRUTH SETS US FREE! They would never disadvantage us. A simple real life example illustrates this. When Christianity was spread to Europe, Europe prospered and became civilised. When it later was brought to America, America also prospered and became civilised. Of course, Christianity was misused and became a tool for slave trading, and other wicked stuff like that, but the main thing is... the principles Christ teaches only frees us! It will never subjugate us! And it will never ever disadvantage us. Our God loves us... how can He let us be at a disadvantage?!

Next, his quote from the show "Queer as folk" and his approval of it disturbs me. "And since God is love, and God doesn't make any mistakes, then you must be exactly the way He wants you to be. The way He intended you to be." As Victoria later said, the mistake is NOT GOD'S! God is love and God does not make any mistakes, but He also did not create men to be homosexuals! Becoming a homosexual is man's own mistake and sin! In Genesis, God created Adam and Eve, both clearly heterosexual. "Male and female created He them." Not 'gay and lesbian created He them'! It is man's total depravity and sinful and wicked nature that made them become homosexuals against God's Will! God did create the men that later become homosexuals. But He did not create homosexuals per se. it is these men that chose to become homosexuals themselves. God would not endorse by creating then later condemn them.

Later on in the thread, there was a sort of dispute over the meaning of the word "know" as used in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah. I think that is actually a non-issue. "Know" is clearly used in the sexual intercourse sense because it is used with the word "carnally" in verse 4, and in verse 5, Lot states that his daughters "have not known a man". Perceptibly, the word "know" here is sexually connotated. It means to know a person by having sexual intercourse! It is so self-evident! For the case of Ezekial 16:49, Victoria is right again... the context of that passage is Israel's captivity and her seeking gods other than the One True Jehovah God! Moreover, in verse 50, the word "abominations" is used.

Furthermore, Jeff believes we should condemn heterosexual sex as well?! That is what i gathered from his rebuttal. Heterosexual Sex itself is NOT what we condemn! It is sex with multiple, or even more than one partner that we condemn! God said to Adam and Eve to multiply the earth... would He promote then condemn sex? It is man's sin of having more than one partner, who is not one's spouse, that we should condemn!

Maximus Kuseikos proclaims that Christ never ordered anyone to do anything and he rebukes Victoria for putting "leave ur life of sin" in capital letters. I think he is missing the point... she was not trying to say that Jesus was ordering the adulteress, she put the phrase in caps for emphasis. Anyways, who says Jesus never ordered us to do anything? What about John 13:34 or John 14:31 or John 15:12 where Jesus gave us new commandments?

On his subject of free will, and being allowed to do as we please, i would just like to share with you all some things i learnt from a recent sermon of Dr Stephen Tong's. In James1:14, it is very clear that we sin when we are "drawn away from our own desires and enticed." It is our fault we sin; we are responsible for it. Yet God created us with free will. It is precisely because of this free will we have that we are precious beings, and not animals. We are created in God's own image! BUT with this free will also comes GOD'S WORD which guides us in our freedom. We can't just claim that we have free will and say we can do ANYTHING we want! Which is what Maximus seems to be suggesting. Anyways, man being man, we nonetheless choose our own selfish desires over God's dictates, and this is when sin springs forth. Dr Tong gave us this progression to elucidate the point further--- he asserts that self-centredness breeds freely doing our own will rather than God's which then breeds self-destruction. Therefore, if we were to just do whatever we choose to as Maximus suggests we do, we are on a dangerous path headed towards self-destruction and death!

Yes, sin is a relative subject to many people. Everyone claims to have their own views on what constitutes sin and what does not. Every culture has their own norms for sin. Which is why we have to go back to the WORD of GOD for answers. Besides, deep down inside, a person's conscience will rebuke one when one chooses to sin. We can't disregard our conscience when one day we are judged by God. We can't tell God "Hey, why judge me? My whole community does the exact same thing! We all sleep around, we all rob and murder, we all etc etc"! God will ask us, "What does my WORD say about this? What does your conscience tell u?"

Finally, he claims that the early Church endorsed and allowed gay marriages. But he didn't provide any reference for that assertion. In all the many books and internet articles i've read of the early Church, and believe me, i have read Church history through thrice already, i HAVE NOT COME ACROSS ANY SUCH INFORMATION! Besides, there were cults and false doctrines and apostasies prevalent in those days! How can he be sure that the real, orthodox Church of God endorsed such wickedness?! God does not contradict Himself and His people obey Him. Jesus said that His sheep hear and know His Voice. If they are really of His fold, they would not disobey Him!

He also said something bout animals or monkeys being homosexually prone. It has always been my principle not to let Science prove the Bible but to believe God's Word entirely no matter how impossible it may seem. As my papa always told us during our teacher training classes, scientists often think they are very smart and try to disprove the Bible, only to find out years later that they themselves were wrong and the Bible was right all along! We have to believe firmly in the Bible and not be shaken by some silly scientific report or finding.

I would like to say more about Jeff's views on Christ's teachings being "liberal" as he puts it. I believe being "liberal" and being "revolutionary" or "paradoxiacal" should not be confused. Diction used is very important. I think it was CS Lewis who said Jesus was the most paradoxical Person that ever lived. That is true. But that does not mean Jesus is liberal! However, i don't think i am enough authority to say much else about this topic. I hope my papa would be able to help me out on this one.

Lastly, i believe that when a person becomes a Christian he would know the truth, and this truth would set him free! Free from sin! Free from the clutches of death and sin! A gay can become a Christian... it would be great if he does! The angels rejoice over it. There is no sin above what God can forgive and all sins will be forgiven except the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And being gay is not any more abominable than being say a murderer or even being a liar. Because as long as we sin, we miss the mark and can never go to God---we are all equally condemned. What is most important is that we acknowledge this sin and go back to God. It is most pitiful if we as Christians continue telling a gay he is not living in sin and allow him to continue his lifestyle. We never allow him to see his need for God and we are as much to blame for his condemnation. A GAY CAN BECOME A CHRISTIAN BUT a Christian, a true child of GOD's, can NEVER become a gay.

Victoria is doing a good job contending for her faith, hope she doesn't lose heart. Alot of people today misinterpret God's Word in their own way and arrogantly think that they are right. At the same time, alot of people also only see God's love and mercy and grace and forget His hatred for sin, His wrath, His Holiness and Righteouness. They mislead people as a result. We need to pray and contend for our Faith and be good soldiers of ChRist!

jeffyen said...

Hi samantha, first of all I need to thank you for taking the time to write. I don't have the opportunity to respond to your long post right now, but I assure you that I will when I clear my assignments. :)

Some of the things you mentioned are not what I intended, like maybe I didn't make myself clear. Others, I know where you're coming from, but I don't necessarily agree with the assumptions that are used.

But nonetheless, I'll reply to this when I get the chance (probably the last day of this month) and can offer a reply worthy of the time you spent writing your post. Thanks again...

jeffyen said...

Samantha, there are some points that I'm not replying because you address it to the others. But I'll try my best to answer those points that I think I'm able to.


... its the sin of homosexuality that we should not accept. God is a Holy God, besides being a God of love, mercy and grace. This truth is something alot of Christians today neglect to mention. The Holy Wrath of God is to be feared.

I agree with the sin part. However, my main argument is that natural homosexuality is not a sin, or at least, I don't see the Bible saying it's so.

The next thing you all are erroneous in is to do with interpreting the Bible. You all think that the Bible can be subjected to relative interpretation.. which means that you think you can explain or interpret it any way they please. Dr Stephen Tong always asserts that TRUTH CANNOT BE RELATIVE. TRUTH IS ABSOLUTE or else it can't be the truth. The Bible is obviously the truth. How then can we interpret IT however we choose to? What we have to do is humbly pray and plead with God to illumine us. Which is why God sent us His Holy Spirit... to illumine and guide us in the TRUTH. The Holy Spirit can never contradict Himself-- He can't illumine someone to truth A and illumine someone else to contradicting truth B at the same time; someone is definitely wrong.

Yet again, I agree with you that there is an objective truth. The issue is: who's Truth is the real, objective truth? Is it yours, mine, your pastor's or someone else's? I think there are around 300 denominations in the US. Why are there so many? If there is one objective truth, surely one is enough? One observation is on emphasis: different denominations stress on different things. Some variations are even greater, for example, Catholics. All of them cannot be totally right at the same time. They do differ on interpretations, emphasis, and context. All of them sincerely claim that the Holy Spirit helps them to interpret scripture. I would claim the same thing myself. But not all of us can be right. We make mistakes. Personally, I don't have a problem with this. It would be unreasonable to expect everyone to agree on everything, all the time. Just like you, I'm trying to discern what the Spirit is trying to say. We are on the same side. We want to find out the Truth.

I find the things Jeff says very strange. I seriously wonder what his theology is. He claims that a person holding the revolutionary views of Jesus would be disadvantaged. That is not true! Jesus came to give us the truth... His views are the truth. And the Bible tells us the TRUTH SETS US FREE! They would never disadvantage us. A simple real life example illustrates this. When Christianity was spread to Europe, Europe prospered and became civilised. When it later was brought to America, America also prospered and became civilised. Of course, Christianity was misused and became a tool for slave trading, and other wicked stuff like that, but the main thing is... the principles Christ teaches only frees us! It will never subjugate us! And it will never ever disadvantage us. Our God loves us... how can He let us be at a disadvantage?!

:) Yeah, I wasn't clear. What I mean is that it's very very very difficult to be a good person in today's world. The Dark Side is always beckoning. He would be disadvantaged in the sense that he would be persecuted (The Beatitudes). He would be hard pressed to compromise in his integrity and his convictions. Yes, ultimately it leads to Life, but there's no question in my mind that he will suffer for it. The second analogy to 'civilisation spreading to Europe'...uh... I think it's quite inappropriate here. :) I won't be proud of a 'civilisations' that 'destroy' other civilisations as can be seen in Australia, US, Latin America etc. It's very dangerous to believe that this 'civilisation' is actually a good thing. This 'moral superiority' perspective/slippery slope can lead to very bad things like discrimination or even genocide (on the extreme end) etc.


Next, his quote from the show "Queer as folk" and his approval of it disturbs me. "And since God is love, and God doesn't make any mistakes, then you must be exactly the way He wants you to be. The way He intended you to be." As Victoria later said, the mistake is NOT GOD'S! God is love and God does not make any mistakes, but He also did not create men to be homosexuals! Becoming a homosexual is man's own mistake and sin! In Genesis, God created Adam and Eve, both clearly heterosexual. "Male and female created He them." Not 'gay and lesbian created He them'! It is man's total depravity and sinful and wicked nature that made them become homosexuals against God's Will! God did create the men that later become homosexuals. But He did not create homosexuals per se. it is these men that chose to become homosexuals themselves. God would not endorse by creating then later condemn them.

OK, I think we're getting close to the crux of the matter. How do we know that it's not God's perfect will to create homosexuals? Just because Adam and Eve are not homosexuals, there's no reason to believe that He can't have created homosexuals. Did the Bible ever mention that God created humans with 1 leg or people with hunchbacks? I don't think Adam and Eve had 1 leg or they were hunchbacks. But clearly, there're people in this world who have 1 leg and are hunchbacked! And yes, I do think God created all of them too. I think what I'm trying to say here is too often, we become arrogant and limit God to do certain things. This idea is really not new. In older times, we don't believe that God could have made the Earth go around the Sun because that just goes against everything that the Bible stood for. Today we know better. And is the Bible compromised? I really don't think so. It's not the Bible's fault that we interpret some things in a certain way. And sometimes, we do interpret it wrongly, and it costs life. People are burnt at the stake for this sort of thing. The first theologian and scholar to give us an English version of the New Testament, Tyndale, was strangled and burnt at the stake because he was considered heretic.

Furthermore, Jeff believes we should condemn heterosexual sex as well?! That is what i gathered from his rebuttal. Heterosexual Sex itself is NOT what we condemn! It is sex with multiple, or even more than one partner that we condemn! God said to Adam and Eve to multiply the earth... would He promote then condemn sex? It is man's sin of having more than one partner, who is not one's spouse, that we should condemn!

OK, I think that you've misinterpreted my argument. What I meant was: IF we were to condemn homosexuality in the Sodom story, we also need to condemn heterosexuality in the other Judges story. We can't pick one and leave the other unattended. However, what I'm arguing is that no, we shouldn't do that, because both stories are not about homosexuality or heterosexuality. It's really about rape! In the second story, it's actually rape and murder. The concubine later died in the morning.

He also said something bout animals or monkeys being homosexually prone. It has always been my principle not to let Science prove the Bible but to believe God's Word entirely no matter how impossible it may seem. As my papa always told us during our teacher training classes, scientists often think they are very smart and try to disprove the Bible, only to find out years later that they themselves were wrong and the Bible was right all along! We have to believe firmly in the Bible and not be shaken by some silly scientific report or finding.

Science has no business in proving or disproving the aspects of the Bible that deals with articles of faith. Science, as a tool, is irrelevant/not good enough, in that regard. However, sometimes, science does illuminate our interpretations of the Bible. For example, it would be unreasonable to think of creation as something that happened in 6 days, using our often used definition of day as 24 hours. So, it's more likely that the Creation story is a metaphor. So, science can do things like that.

I would like to say more about Jeff's views on Christ's teachings being "liberal" as he puts it. I believe being "liberal" and being "revolutionary" or "paradoxiacal" should not be confused. Diction used is very important. I think it was CS Lewis who said Jesus was the most paradoxical Person that ever lived. That is true. But that does not mean Jesus is liberal! However, i don't think i am enough authority to say much else about this topic. I hope my papa would be able to help me out on this one.

Yeah, I guess you're right in the sense that it's confusing. I used 'liberal' in the US political sense, to constrast with fundamentalists.

Lastly, i believe that when a person becomes a Christian he would know the truth, and this truth would set him free! Free from sin! Free from the clutches of death and sin! A gay can become a Christian... it would be great if he does! The angels rejoice over it. There is no sin above what God can forgive and all sins will be forgiven except the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And being gay is not any more abominable than being say a murderer or even being a liar. Because as long as we sin, we miss the mark and can never go to God---we are all equally condemned. What is most important is that we acknowledge this sin and go back to God. It is most pitiful if we as Christians continue telling a gay he is not living in sin and allow him to continue his lifestyle. We never allow him to see his need for God and we are as much to blame for his condemnation. A GAY CAN BECOME A CHRISTIAN BUT a Christian, a true child of GOD's, can NEVER become a gay.

I absolutely agree that the Truth shall set us free. And again, I'd disagree at this point in time that natural homosexuality or people with hunchbacks are sinful people. I could very well be wrong. At this time though, reading only the arguments from the Bible, I just don't see that this is the intent of the writers of the Bible. It's very easy to take verses and slot them into convenient pigeon holes. I think context is very imporant. There are many things in the Bible that would directly contradict our sense of moral values. For example, just a few decades ago, people argued from the Bible that it's not good to marry someone with a different skin colour (Loving vs. Virginia). There are just many things that can be used wrongly, like killing enemies in wartime indescriminately, subjugating women, keeping slaves legitimately etc. These are all in the Bible. So, I think we must be wise and discerning when interpreting verses. It's not easy, but I think it's a worthwhile endeavour. The Truth shall set us free. :)

The Student said...

Leviticus 18:22
"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is an abomination".

'As one lies with a woman'
The 'one' here can refer to either a man or a woman but we should take it as a man since it is the normal thing to do.

Thus, 'lying with a man' in this case must mean a man sleeping with another man and having gay sex and the bible critises it as an abomination.

Now, isn't it a clear signal that homosexuality is clearly and strongly prohibited?

The seriousness of the offence is later driven home at Leviticus 20:13 where it is ordered that the offending parties are to be put to death.