Category Archives: God

Homosexuality and the Bible

homosexuality

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. Circa 1191.

It remains unclear as to why this is such a volatile subject today. Scripture is clearly against homosexuality. It has not changed since its writing a millennium ago, and it will be the same centuries from now. There is no gray area. It is specific and it is clear. It’s discussed in both Old [Leviticus 20:13, Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22], and New Testaments [Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10]. If someone doesn’t believe or follow scriptural teachings, they can simply elect to ignore it [Revelation 22:11].

Yet, this very subject sends many in the Western world into a frenzy of unbridled and unhinged hatred, bordering insanity, and far too many Christians into apology. The only thing Christians should apologize for is allowing the modern world to dictate what their belief should be.

For a movement, such as the pro-gay movement, which is supposed to be all about liberation and empowerment, it is apparently peopled by those so fragile and delicate as to be offended by others simply stating they don’t understand it, or they support “traditional marriage.” It is ridiculous that so much of society is so dependent upon permission from others for their own lifestyles. It is likewise absurd that so many adults are really so easily offended (by anyone perceived as remotely anti-gay), when we sexualize our children as soon as they enter school. The bizarrely disproportioned priorities are just one symptom of a highly secularized society.

It’s apparently permissible for scripture to take a firm stance against heterosexual fornication and adultery [Leviticus 18:20, Deuteronomy 22:22, 1 Corinthians 5:1, Proverbs 6:32, Exodus 20:14, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40], but if you happen to engage in such behavior with someone of the same gender, it’s somehow supposed to be different. Modern society is a fine display of the wavering, the lukewarm, and often the foolish.

Homosexuality during biblical times was not widely practiced, which is why it doesn’t have a great deal of attention. It’s often just included with most other behavior forms considered “sexual deviancy.” While practiced since ancient times, it was always rare until modern times. The Native Americans of the Southeastern United States had no word for or concept of sodomy until Europeans came. Despite laws against homosexuality in America from its early days, no notable events happened until around 1903 when a bathhouse raid was conducted in New York City.

Popular culture wants to mainstream the practice for a number of reasons. The most obvious being that “pro-gay” is a boon for both businesses and politicians. Businesses see a number of financial and PR benefits for making such declarations. A variety of sources has reported on the blatant commercialization of homosexuality for some time. This article from NBC business in 2012, Insight Business, and this doesn’t count the tremendous number of “pro-gay” and “anti-gay” content out there featuring businesses that do or don’t support gay marriage.

It harkens back to the 1960s when so many stores ran “now serving colored,” signs. Companies that come out as “pro-gay” It should be a shame for our society to return to such exploitative tactics. Politicians know voters are divided on the issue and it’s a common ruse to distract from much more pressing matters.

As with many aspects of life, and certainly most of what scripture cautions us against, homosexuality is a high-risk lifestyle [http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/]. Scripture certainly doesn’t stop with homosexuality, it also speaks against incest [Leviticus 20:12, 1 Corinthians 5:1, Deuteronomy 27:20-23 ], polygamy [Leviticus 20:14, Deuteronomy 17:17, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Kings 11:3, Matthew 19:4-6, Leviticus 18:18], prostitution [Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Leviticus 19:29, 1 Corinthians 6:15, Proverbs 23:27-28], and child abuse [Luke 17:2, Mark 9:42, Ephesians 6:4].

Heterosexual failings are no better or worse than homosexual failings, which is often lost today. Adultery and fornication both go against laws God made and both are unnatural institutions. Is homosexuality an abomination according to scripture? Yes, it is.

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” -Leviticus 20:13

It should also be stressed that is not the only abomination in the bible:

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” -Proverbs 6:16-19

 

 

Modern Science Fails in the Creation Argument: Stereotypes

stereotypes

The Basilica del Pilar Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. Built in 1754.

The polarizing argument of creation vs. evolution has divided society for over a century. A discussion with such an extended history deserves more than a single article. It deserves a thorough investigation through a series of relevant works.

One of the most astounding aspects of the creation vs. evolution argument is the extent with which science will go to force its beliefs on the individual, while claiming to have confidence in its beliefs. It’s usually after accusing those with a faith of being the same way. This is truly a time when all religions should unite in supporting creation as a viable theory in the education system, but human differences usually make that a moot point. Instead, more churches, temples, and synagogues embrace the ideology behind what is really an incredibly dubious theory.

Regardless, it is imperative to keep this argument in its place. Science is more to blame to creating the modern-day fervor than religion. Science would have us believe that our opinion on origins defines everything about us. For the majority of individuals, this kind of belief has no influence on any part of life. You will not get a better job by accepting evolution. You will not lose your job, education, status, or financial stability for accepting a creation theory, unless perhaps you are a scientist. Accepting the evolution theory will not magically transform a high school dropout into a neurosurgeon.

Science’s primary weakness is the reliance on ignorant stereotypes. Stereotypes should be beneath any intellectual field, not saturate it. Science likes to pretend that Christianity is synonymous with ignorance, even when they are aware Copernicus, Kepler, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Max Planck, George Washington Carver, Louis Pasteur, Emanuel Swedenborg, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Boyle, and Nikola Tesla were all Christian. Those are just a few of the greatest minds in history, who also had faith.

The narrow-mindedness of modern science is likely the only reason why we haven’t had a life-changing invention in decades. There has been no equivalent discovery of a miracle drug like penicillin since its inception. The advent of internet and cellular telephones were nothing more than improved technologies developed during World War II. Those concepts were developed by such minds as Tesla and Edison long before that.

Science has reduced itself from a field that focused on developing knowledge of our natural and biological world, to a field of intolerance and bigotry. It is a world of “flat-earthers” who seek more to accuse others of the same, than to improve itself. Apparently, whether you believe in creation or evolution takes precedence over curing cancer, finding new water sources, improving the world’s food stores, or any other positive contribution.

There was never previously a competition between science and religion, because science was not a religion. The two usually complemented one another. A seemingly “magic” transformation occurred during the Twentieth Century that destroyed this previous harmony. Suddenly, there’s a competition between two subjects, which should be nothing alike.

Science once said, “Question everything.” Perhaps the better question for today would be, “Question only what we question.”

Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

bad things

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia. Established in 1561.

This question has caused more Christians to stumble than nearly any other. So why would a loving deity allow any hardship at all to befall his adoring worshipers? Does God let bad things happen? As with most quandaries, the answer is never as simple as the question.

Adults are more like children today than they ever have been. Everything is taken personally, intensely, and irrationally. We can’t express emotion in church, but we scream, hyperventilate, panic, and display extreme fanaticism at the first celebrity sighting or sports event. We can’t donate to worthy causes, but we can throw money away on entertainment.

Far too many of us have spiritual lives that are just as inconsistent. We want a relationship with God, without a relationship. God is just supposed to make himself invisible until we’re ready to talk to him. We can’t mention him to friends, family, or acquaintances because they might think something we don’t want.

We want to know all about him, so long as we don’t have to read his word. We want to display our morality without having morals. God should conform to what we consider polite, or politically correct.

We are hardly “adoring worshippers.” We are fair-weather friends who ignore God during times of prosperity, but desperately look for him at the first sign of trouble. Too many Christians believe God will take away the consequences of their own choices and bad decisions, and if he doesn’t, they’ll just get miffed at him or stop believing in him. That’s called “pouting.”

We discuss the beauty, majesty, regality, and tranquility of nature, but blame God for her temper. Because of this mind-set, people believe God should grant wishes. He should completely alter the world he’s created to accommodate what we want. He should stop the weather, stop the clock, and perform astounding feats that ensure no one suffers for anything. In short, humans want heaven on earth. They want a place free of poverty, disease, disaster, decay, and any other negative. Scripture is very clear that life here on earth will not be heaven.

In reality, we live in a universally unfair world. In order to create a survivable atmosphere and environments where humans and animals can survive, it must be exactly as it is. The food chain must be in place. We are in flesh, the same as animals, and we suffer from disease, just like animals. The weakest are most likely to suffer in the human world, just as in the animal world. Such an environment also requires changing weather systems. That system entails natural fluctuations, including extreme changes. So, essentially, the complaint is that our world is inhabitable and livable. God indeed created the planet for us to survive.

The only items commonly ascribed to God are horrible. Miracles are attributed to modern medicine, modern science, or some other third party. When wonderful things happen in the workplace, it’s attributed to the individual. Peace is the product of diplomacy and mutual commitment. Prosperity is the product of sound financial policies.

So, yes, God allows the world to continue and for that, humanity should be thankful.

 Scripture:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” -Isaiah 43:2

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” -Psalm 91:11

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” -Joshua 1:5

The Trinity

 

trinity

The Aachen Cathedral is in Germany. This beautiful structure began in 805.

This area of Christianity seems to be most confusing for non-believers, and even some believers. What is the “Trinity?” Is it an exercise in paganism? Polytheism? This is actually a simple term that is needlessly complicated by humans. It does not actually imply or suggest three separate deities.

This scriptural support refers to the Trinity, all the way back to Genesis:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” -Genesis 1:26

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” -Matthew 3:16-17

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19

“I and the Father are one.” -John 10:30

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26

These are just a few instances where the Trinity is mentioned. In scholarly, or seminary, terms the three create the “Godhead,” which is what Christians worship. There is only one.

For the sake of simplification, consider the human body. It contains a brain, heart, and lungs. The body can’t really function without all three parts. Does this mean there are three humans?

A giant oak has three primary areas: the branch system, trunk system, and root system. All three are necessary for proper function. Does that make it three trees?

The Father oversees the universe, the Son advocates for humanity, and the Holy Spirit indwells the human body as a “helper,” according to Christ’s own words [John 14:26 ].

 

Conviction

conviction

Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, England. The old structure was founded in the 7th Century.

This term is most common for its legal ramifications. In simple terms, a conviction is a successful prosecution in a court of law. When you are convicted, the court has decided you are indeed guilty for the crime you’ve been accused of committing.

In spiritual terms, “conviction” carries much of the same meaning. This is used to describe an innate sense of guilt or culpability. Both non-believers, and former believers, can endure these feelings of guilt or negativity when reminded of their current spiritual state.

Many seemingly intelligent people go into irrational fits of rage when faced with anything religious, be it a message or simply a religious icon. One thing is certain, any glimpse or hint of the spiritual sends them into an outright panic. Many of these same individuals can develop what appears to be outright hysteria just from glimpsing a plaque of the Ten Commandments.

One recent example of this is the irrational and unwarranted backlash is regarding a film titled God’s Not Dead.

Note: This is not a film review and does not contain spoilers (but many of the reviews do). Likewise, it is not an endorsement for the film which none at the Scholar of Christ has viewed. It is cited exclusively because of the tone and animosity in the reviews at the IMDB website.

The reviews are perfect examples of rampant spiritual conviction.

First and foremost, the title is God’s Not Dead, which alone implies the film will be about the belief in God. This also implies it is written by those who believe in God. We can read such a title, and know with relative certainty it will be a spiritual movie related to Christianity, as the title does not use Allah, Vishnu, or Buddha. We do not assume it is a film about terrorists, natural disasters, secret agents, fraternity exploits, ghosts, vampires, or the drama surrounding lost loves. Evidently, the title said something altogether different for many of those viewers.

The irate reviews are typical, citing everything from, “they’re using a straw man argument,” to “it’s religious propaganda!” It is no surprise at all because desperate people (who’ve taken Debate 101) usually try to throw around miscellaneous logical fallacy accusations to the point that any opposition is unable to reply in any way. This is, in essence, a “cheating” technique used to silence opposition.

This is to be expected when people face a “God” who is not the modern, celebrity version. Those in the secular world today want God to be a politically correct conformist.  Religion is a hobby, not practiced for any other reason than to make one feel good about oneself. They don’t want to acknowledge any faith that might have commandments or guidelines. Many people today don’t even like to read God’s word, instead they envision a god who bends and bows to their arbitrary whims.

Christians have been portrayed as everything from stupid, to downright evil, for decades, and yet when a movie emerges that reverses the roles, many go ballistic for no other reason than the production has broken the status quo. They were convicted by watching the film, and their often-bizarre reaction is proof. In most of the reviews, the usual movie qualities aren’t reviewed at all. Not the acting, writing, script, effects, setting, or production, it was simply the message that went against the grain of what is typical.