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Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, Feb 13, 2007.

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  1. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Well, it is if they try to appeal to Leviticus, as the questioner suggested. Obviously one's retort will vary depending on what their arguments are in the first place!
     
  2. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    Most christians I have seen arguing on the internet for the immorality or sinfulness of homosexuality tend to start out with the OT laws as their reason, and only once that futility has been pointed out a number of times do they turn to Paul (or 'Paul') who, as just demonstrated, is equally futile to turn to.

    I just participated in another thread where oral sex is considered sinful by one of the participants. Is there any biblical backing for this?
     
  3. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Actually, there are a number of places in the Bible that condemn fornication - ie sex outside of marriage. And saying that the Bible condemns a bunch of stuff doesn't help, even Jesus preached against sexual sin as it was understood. And for the first nearly 2000 years of Christianity homosexual behavior was synonymous with fornication because the idea of same sex marriage is a very recent one.
     
  4. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    The point is that if you're going to quote a book/author in the bible for clearly showing that A is wrong then you should also accept that it says B is wrong.

    As for the 'fornication' - I assume you mean sex outside of marriage being considered a sin. Since people can just get married there is no problem there. Most ministers here take this position. Again, referring to tradition isn't going to do you any good because there are a lot of other traditions in the bible that are no longer followed today, while new ones have sprung into existence.
     
  5. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Right, but my point is that the idea of people of the same sex being able to marry each other in a manner just as valid as that between two people of the opposite sex, is a very recent one.
     
  6. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    Marriage has changed a lot during history..
     
  7. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Yes, but it has no matter what form it has taken, been between a man and a woman. I once made a really long post talking about that.
     
  8. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    That is my experience too.

    It's worth pointing out that the obsession on the part of some modern Christians with homosexuality is a very modern thing. For comparison: I know of only one Christian text from the Middle Ages on the subject of homosexuality - the famous Liber Gomorrhianus by Peter Damian. And in that book, Peter Damian doesn't actually attack homosexuality per se. He's writing about homosexuality in monasteries, which he condemns at enormous length. In fact if he's to be believed then eleventh-century monasteries operated something like Old Compton Street. But at no point does he actually argue that homosexuality is intrinsically wrong for everyone. He probably would have thought that if you'd asked him about it, but he doesn't say it. Why? Because people in those days didn't care very much about the subject.

    Not that I know of!

    I don't think there is any text in the Bible that condemns sex outside marriage. I know there are a couple of passages in the New Testament that attack "fornication" - but the word that is commonly translated "fornication" there is actually "porneia", which simply means non-specific sexual immorality. And indeed there are some passages, such as parts of the book of Ruth, which seem implicitly to commend sex outside marriage.

    Again, the obsession on the part of some Christians with sex outside marriage is a modern thing. I know of only one ancient Christian author who said that sex outside marriage is wrong, and that's Clement of Alexandria. But he also said that it's wrong to have sex before dinner, that it's wrong to ask other people to pour the bath water over you, and that it's wrong to laugh too much (this is all in his Paedagogus). In other words, he was describing the sort of lifestyle he believed to be fitting for a Christian, rather than laying down hard and fast moral laws.

    In the Middle Ages, people weren't bothered about sex outside marriage much at all. For people on the lower rungs of society, marriage would rarely have occurred at all - people would just start living together and call themselves husband and wife without going through any ceremony. Think of Abelard and Heloise (and he was a theologian), or just read Chaucer. The same is true of the Renaissance and early modern period - just read Shakespeare. Enormous amounts of naughtiness without the slightest indication that it's wrong. Or read Boswell, talking about his activities with prostitutes by night and discussions about theology with Johnson by day.

    The traditional Christian view, in late antiquity and the Middle Ages alike, was that sex in general was (not wrong, but) a basically bad idea. Marriage was regarded as acceptable but a lower state than remaining single. Married Christians in late antiquity often lived together chastely, or even separated and became monks or nuns, because they thought that sex, even inside marriage, was to be discouraged. This remained the prevailing attitude for many centuries, but I think it tended to be restricted to more zealous people. In early modern times, this attitude became particularly associated with the Puritans, and I believe that they are the ones who really made the distinction between sex inside marriage (acceptable) and outside it (unacceptable). The enormous influence that Puritanism had, both in its own right (especially in America) and as an influence upon Pietism and Evangelicalism (especially in Europe), helped to spread this view. The result was that by the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the notion that sex outside marriage is wrong had become very widespread and increasingly mainstream. It was of course subsequently an important element of "Victorian values". Modern evangelicalism and allied movements retain it. So, today, the view that sex outside marriage is wrong is especially dominant among evangelicals and fundamentalists, and also Asian Christians (because of the influence of Confucianism). But it's really a modern development within Christianity and one that, although no doubt it always existed to some degree, was far less important in the past. Which is why there are plenty of Christians today who also eschew it. This is especially so among theological liberals and on continental Europe, where evangelicalism has never been very popular. There are even Christian swingers.
     
  9. CCA

    CCA Chieftain

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    I'm sorry if thsi has been asked but I have a question:

    "What is your opinion of Liberation Theology?"
     
  10. Atticus

    Atticus Chieftain Retired Moderator

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    Not to dispute what you're saying, but isn't that a bad example? If I remember correctly, Abelard was castrated and Heloise sent to monastery, or did it happen for some other reason?
     
  11. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I quite like it. Now the official position from Rome on Liberation Theology is that it goes too far when it says that God is on the side of one social class to the exclusion of others, because such a claim limits God. That seems a reasonable concern to me. But I think the church would do well to be a bit more open to the views of the South American liberation theologians. Obviously Christianity is naturally politically fairly left of centre anyway; I think that you get inevitable distortions when people try to drag it to the right or too far to the left.

    That wasn't for the initial affair, though. Heloise's uncle sent the thugs around to castrate Abelard because he believed that Abelard, having married Heloise, was neglecting her.

     
  12. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    How much of a point is that? The concept of marriage for love is a fairly novel one, that still doesn't exist in many parts of the world. Polygamy has been popular on several occasions through history. All sorts of traditions come and go. If you argued homosexual marriage through history two points would get in the way, but not always at the same time: 1) What would the practical purpose be? Marriage is/was a useful contract for financial reasons and/or practical reasons which wouldn't be present in the society structure at that time for two men or women. 2) People wouldn't believe that two people of the same gender could love each other the same way as those of the opposite gender.

    Plotinus, when did the catholic church begin performing marriage ceremonies? I read that for centuries they preferred to stay out of it as it was not really considered church domain..
     
  13. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    It is an extremely important point. Marriage has not just been about economics either. And even if it were, historically two people of the same gender would have been just as suitable for marriage, yet you don't see anyone even considering the idea until about a couple decades ago.
     
  14. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    It's an important point to you, maybe because your religious doctrine says it is so. It's not a valid point to me, and I'm explaining why. I don't want to derail this thread though.

    Marriage is a very practical arrangement. Having children meant/means having someone to look after you when you got older. Continuing the heir is/was a matter of great importance. And having many wives meant even better conditions for the male -> more power, more prestige, more offspring.

    In this part of the world today where marriage is a matter of love, and children are not necessarily of interest, the concept of marriage has a new content. What is truly groundbreaking is not the notion of same gender people being married, it's that marriage is no longer tied to the aforementioned structures. The freeing of the individual from the very hard rules of society is the groundbreaking part, having people of the same gender take advantage of that the same way everyone else do is simply a natural consequence.
     
  15. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Actually, I am not sure that you understand where I am coming from. My religion says certain things about marriage, and to me that is what matters; but taking a broader sociological view, I do not deny that same sex marriages can be just as valid in the eyes of society as opposite sex marriages. And in the sociological sense, marriage belongs first to the individual and second to society, but not really to the church (unless the people involved so choose) or the state. My arguments have been academic; I am not trying to argue that same sex marriage is wrong (I believe it is because I believe God says it is, but as I said that has nothing to do with society) just to explain why others view it as wrong.
     
  16. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    Yes, but those who view it as wrong are always bringing up arguments that relate to the old content; those of children being the purpose of marriage and so on. Those arguments are moot in this part of the world now, and that is what is revolutionary. People in this part of the world who oppose homosexual marriage do so out of personal convictions (typically prejudice) and only then do they look for reasons to back them up, be they of a no longer existing society or rooted in religion.

    Anyway, I'm interested in learning about when the catholic church adopted marriage as a ceremony and at what time it was considered necessary for everyone to get the church's approval.
     
  17. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    Actually, the specific LDS prohibitions on the matter have nothing to do with what earlier Christians said, although they of course can believe what they want.
     
  18. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    Mormonism tends to align quite well with the puritan school of thought when it comes to sexuality, doesn't it? No masturbation, no sex outside marriage, homosexuality is sin, etc..
     
  19. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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  20. ironduck

    ironduck Chieftain

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    Just that you said that the mormon rules have nothing to do with what previous christians said. I've yet to come across a religion that somehow existed in a vacuum. The sexual doctrines in mormonism seem right out of the time they were created in, not surprisingly.
     
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