Another Facebook Meme that Should be Destroyed
Wow. Just wow. So many things wrong with this graphic. So many problems and inconsistencies of thought. . . . So many half-truths and misrepresentations. . . .
Let’s just start left and travel right. A word of warning — this is longer than my average blog post because it covers a variety of topics related to same-sex marriage. It’s approaching 1800 words and I cut quite a bit of material out. Be warned as you travel below the fold. . . .
Jesus Never Uttered a Word About Same-Sex Relationships
This is the worst argument ever.
I’m sure that even the most ardent skeptic would reason that Jesus thought of rape as a serious sin. Yet, amazingly enough, Jesus never said anything about rape either. So, by that reckoning, I guess rape is perfectly fine?
What did Jesus say relevant to marriage?
Jesus affirmed traditional marriage. Man joins to woman; the two become one flesh. This bond is unbreakable. There is no divorce.
Jesus may or may not have directly spoke of homosexuality. But as he affirmed the traditional marriage model, we can assume that he would not have supported gay marriage.
The OT also Says It’s Sinful to Do Some Ridiculous Things
Several examples are given: eating pork and shellfish, and wearing clothes of mixed fabrics. Here is a new phrase for digestion: progressive revelation. It means that new revelation can supersede previous revelation.
God can place a law into effect at one time for a specific reason, and then once the specific reason no longer applies, that law is no longer in force. Before I proceed, I will dispense with the error that this means God changed his mind.
In Ohio, anyone operating a motor vehicle approaching someone on horseback must slow down or stop when signaled to do so by the rider. I’m sure that made more sense when it was first passed, when the unpaved streets were shared by cars and horse-drawn carriages. But it doesn’t apply nowadays, or applies very little.
With that in mind, let’s look at the three divisions of the Mosaic Law, the Law’s place in modern Christianity, and see what still makes sense for us to hold to.
The first tier is Jewish dietary and ceremonial laws, which were effected to set the Jews apart as a holy people. They are no longer in effect because the Savior has come and he sets us apart from the rest of the world. We need not worry about ceremonial laws, therefore.
Christ himself dispensed with the dietary laws during his earthly ministry (Mt 15:1-20). It isn’t the food or rituals that makes one clean or unclean; it is the condition of your heart before God. So dietary laws are no longer necessary.
The second tier is cultural norms, which were in place in a specific time and a specific place where they made sense. No one is going to put a fence around his roof in this day and age, no matter how committed a Christian or a Jew he is. However, he can follow the spirit of this law by putting a parapet around his balcony, because that’s the closest analogous structure to the ancient roof in modern architecture. We can obey the spirit of the cultural norms if we can draw a universal principle from them, but we need not be bound the strict letter.
Read Galatians 3:15-27. I’m not making this interpretation up! The Law was only ever intended to be temporary; to show us our need for a Savior.
The third tier of the Mosaic Law is universal moral precepts. We expect those laws to remain in force. The are, after all, universal. We do not expect the enforcement penalties to be in effect, however, since the legal code of Leviticus and Deuteronomy was only aimed at the nation of Israel. As they breached those agreements, a new covenant became necessary. One that was superior. One that depended not on men, but on God (see Heb 7-9).
Obvious next question: how do you know what is still in force? If we are allowed to eat shellfish, why aren’t we allowed to engage in homosexual acts? The answer is context.
The OT prohibitions on homosexuality are found with other sexual sins. The NT takes a dim view on all sexual sins (see 1 Cor 5:9-13, 6:18-20; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5; 1 The 4:1-8 — among many other passages), not specifically homosexuality. So we would expect homosexuality to still be sinful, since it is listed among sexual sins.
Original Language of the NT Refers to Male Prostitution, Molestation, or Promiscuity
Interestingly, you’ll find out that the apostle Paul chose the words he did to avoid this confusion. But, the vast majority of the readers on the Internet don’t know koine Greek and won’t run a simple Google search to find out if the scholarship backs this notion up. Therefore, it confuses modern readers, however clear it may have been to ancient ones.
Two Greek words are used to refer to homosexuality in the NT. The first is malakos, which means “soft.” The second is a clever invention, arsenokoites. It refers to a strong arm in the marriage bed. It seems to me that Paul is using those terms to condemn both partners in a voluntary homosexual act — the ancient equivalent of modern slang “top” and “bottom.”
And that’s what the language professors seem to think as well. We can rest assured that these words aren’t discussing any form of prostitution or temple ritual. Paul has homosexual acts in view here.
Paul Said Women Should be Silent and Never Assume Authority Over a Man
First of all, Paul never said that women should be silent in church. This was a rhetorical device. Read the entire passage:
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Cor 14:33b-35)
It would be interesting if Paul was quoting their own idea to them and then rebuking them because the practice was lame.
Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order. (1 Cor 14:36-40)
And there’s the rebuke.
The point is not that women should be silent. Paul says to not forbid anyone to speak prophetically or in tongues. Instead, he insists that whomever speaks will do so in order. And orderly worship is, in fact, the context of this entire section.
As for a woman never assuming authority over a man, that’s only a problem to secular culture. Paul reaches back to the beginning, drawing his argument that the man was deceived through the woman. Because of that, God commanded that the woman be in submission to the man for all things spiritual.
This is complementarianism — that men are designed by God for specific duties and women are designed by God for other duties. Though each can do the other’s duties, it is to the detriment of the church. This isn’t popular in our culture, and viewed by many (even Christians such as Rachel Held Evans, one of the loudest egalitarian voices in the church) as misogyny, or hate-disguised-as-religion.
But one can’t get around the command of Scripture, and the support of the Genesis narrative. Let’s not confuse “offends my sensibilities” with “wrong.”
“God Didn’t Make Adam & Steve” Only Worked When the Population Was Zero
This is a disguised appeal to consequences — God merely set up the system that way in the beginning because there would be no human race otherwise. Now that breeding isn’t a problem, we can redefine things our way.
This, of course, presumes consequentialist ethics over deontological ethics. Meaning, do we behave ethically due only to consequences (consequentialism), or is there a specific duty to behave ethically (deontology)? Obviously, as one who believes in objective moral values, I believe that ethics stem from specific duties. Utilitarian ethics — from which consequentialism is derived — do not satisfy anyone because they fail to find any underlying reason for something to be “right” or “wrong,” and (as illustrated here) they can change “right” and “wrong” situationally.
The Bible Defines Marriage in Reprehensible Ways
Let’s ask ourselves if these “reprehensible marriages” have anything in common with one another.
They do — all are between men and women.
Even if these represented the ideal marriage as given by God (which they most emphatically do not), they still fail the author’s purpose because each has at least one member of each gender involved — not a homosexual union is listed among them. All show a man joining to a woman, and they become one flesh (Gen 2:24). The traditional marriage model, even if our sensibilities get shocked by other factors.
Referring to the above section on the Mosaic Law and its place with the modern Christian, remember that the Mosaic Law was effected in a specific time and a specific place and is no longer in force because the conditions that necessitated it no longer apply. We live under grace, without the law.
That gives two reasons that this is one giant red herring, a rabbit trail that I have no desire to keep chasing. JP Holding has a great YouTube series on all of the examples listed in this graphic (and a few more).
Most points made on the chart break down to this:
- The Bible says X.
- X is wrong.
- Therefore, the Bible is also wrong about homosexuality.
That is not an argument. That is a fallacy.
The Bible might be wrong about some positions its opponents ascribe to it, but that alone doesn’t make it wrong about homosexuality. Evaluate the Bible’s case against homosexuality on its own merit, not based on what else you perceive the Bible to be wrong about. To argue in this fashion is ad hominem.
Additional Coverage on this Meme
Several other Christians have posted on this already. I didn’t know that, since this unusually lengthy post evolved over the last week. But I found other Christian responses and I wanted to highlight them:
- “Going Against the Flow” by Nick Peters of Deeper Waters
- “So You Still Think Homosexuality is a Sin?” by Marc Barnes of BadCatholic
- “So You Still Think Homosexuality is a Sin?” by TurretinFan
- “How the Bible Defines Marriage” also by TurretinFan
- Coverage on the August 16th edition of The Dividing Line by James White