Posts tagged ‘morality’
Way back in the beginnings of d-C (yea, March of this year), Roopster posted some troubling examples of what Jesus thinks about family values. Whether it was his youthfully pious mischievousness (Luke 2), his insensitive treatment of a man’s dead father (Luke 9), his over-the-top hyperboles on hate (Luke 14:26), or his inability to reconcile the institution of the family with service to God (Matthew 10:34-36, Luke 18:29-30, Matthew 23:9), Jesus didn’t seem as enthusiastic about family values as Focus on the Family and others lead us to believe.
I feel we should maybe, due to a slightly larger contributor and reader base, revisit that topic a little bit. It does seem awfully important in today’s politics, among other places, to distinguish oneself as a “family-values” proponent. Of course, this isn’t limited to the Christian Right: Muslims, Mormons, Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and other such religious groups all somehow believe their flavour of faith champions family values. I haven’t read too much of the The Book of Mormon yet, but it doesn’t take very long into the Tanakh or Koran to get the head scratching. When it comes to “family values,” it is rather surprising that the topic isn’t swept under the rug in embarrassment.
Of course when Focus on the Family and the Religious Right speaks about “family values,” the focus is rather limited to an oddball arrangement of minor issues that are blown up to make it seem like they are “[affirming] the Bible’s far-reaching impact on religion, culture and history…”
I have a confession to make. I am a red-blooded, heterosexual male. Like most men, I love attractive women. I have never had what I would consider homosexual temptations, or any other attractions to the male gender. I know only a couple openly gay men, I don’t understand the lifestyle or mindset of the gay man, and I cannot conceive of how any man could be sexually attracted to any other man. I just don’t get it.
But that is not my confession.
My confession is, even when I was a Christian, I did not condemn homosexuality. Yes, I knew what the Bible said, and I remember how all my former pastors told us to ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’. I know that by and large Christians view homosexuality as major sin, and I was expected to agree with God on this issue and condemn it just as he did. But the truth of it is, I just never cared about that. I never told any of my fellow Christians at the time, but I am now telling you, the random internet surfer. As a Christian, homosexuality just never bothered me. Nope. Never did.
I looked at it like this. Jesus, when asked by a lawyer, basically summed up the entirety of the Mosaic Law into two basic, simple commands…
Heather, a frequent commentor on this site, once made the following comment to one of my articles:
“…another thing I’ve found interesting about conservative Christianity in general — discouraging members from reading books that promote opposing viewpoints. Or just reading books on those opposing viewpoints that are written by conservative Christianity.”
So several months ago when Heather made this comment, I put my memory cap on, and I sat about thinking about what books I have been discouraged from reading, what movies I was discouraged from watching, etc. I tried to remember everything that I was explicitly warned about by clergy or my parents, for strictly religious reasons. Were they trying to protect me? Were they trying to hide something from me? Were they trying to keep me from falling into sin, or challenge God with questions?
I published a long list about 7 months ago on my old website, and I thought I would re-publish them here. Maybe some of the readers here can relate to this.
When I was a very young boy I was told, by either the church or my mother, to dispense of, not watch, or pay no heed to the following items:…
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when [men] shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all kind of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven… You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:10-14a)
It could be argued that this is the beginning of the Christian persecution complex – or at least the reason for it. Of course, the early church had plenty of “valid” reasons to be persecuted – their core beliefs were directly opposed to the established Jewish community from which they arose and, furthermore, the early Christians, especially of the Pauline variety, were downright treasonous in the eyes of the Caesar-worship of the time. These beliefs had little to do with morality, and everything to do with loyalty. Martyrdom – not the kamikaze murderous kind of present extremism – became an increasingly noble cause. In the time of Ignatius – writing in the late 1st century, possibly predating some canonical gospels and pseudo-Pauline epistles – martyrdom was perhaps the single greatest act of faith that a Christian could show (see Ignatius’ letter to the Romans). It was, after all, the ultimate act of following Christ…
Well I have a bit of a confession to make to this website…I have been struggling as of late as to what to contribute (especially since traffic has exploded the past couple weeks). During my time on the sidelines, I have enjoyed reading the various posts and people’s reactions to them. I admit that I have not jumped in as frequently as I once did due to an upcoming move I am preparing for.
It was during my time on the outskirts of this forum that I began to ponder the (for lack of a more sensitive term) “point” of agnostic/atheist websites such as de-conversion. Now this is not meant to be an insult, but maybe more of a sociological question and hypothesis. To do a comprehensive study on the posts of this blog would take a substantial amount of time. However, in my informal examination, I came to a few conclusions…
I find it interesting that Christians, many of who believe the Bible to be the Word of God, so quickly divorce themselves from the Old Testament. It allows them to conveniently ignore many actions by YHWH including genocides, the condoning of rape and slavery, killings and other acts of evil. It also allows them to ignore some very strange laws.
As pj11 stated on another thread:
I’m not going to rehash the OT issue. It’s been asked ad nauseum on this site and answered (not just by me, but by theologians over hundreds of years!). The Law has been superseded. If you want to have a productive dialogue about the morality of the Bible and how it relates to our lives today, let’s stick to the NT.
The New Testament attempted to show us a new and improved version of YHWH. However, old habits are sometimes hard to break…