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Question: Homosexuality comes up frequenbtly on Orthodox forums because..
Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet. - 19 (26.8%)
Since drunkeness, adultery, theft and dishonesty have been eradicated it's the only sin left to fight - 10 (14.1%)
Apparently most Orthodox Christians have lots of gay family, friends and associates - 7 (9.9%)
Orthodox forums attract a lot of self torturing closet cases and men with doubts about thier own masculinity - 20 (28.2%)
Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet. - 15 (21.1%)
Total Voters: 71

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Author Topic: Yet Another Gay Marriage Thread  (Read 69050 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 08, 2002, 10:45:08 AM »

Greetings, all:

I sent a message to anastasios earlier on the question of how Orthodox understand the issue of homosexuality.  I cite the substance of that message:

"Due to the debate which broke out briefly on the topic of the ikon, that is, the issue of homosexuality, I became interested in the Orthodox Church's position on that topic.  I came most recently from the ultraliberal ECUSA and their open acceptance of non-celibate gays and lesbians.  So this issue is more than interesting to me.  I don't want to jump back into the fire, so to speak.

"But I am also sensitive to the polarized emotions this topic can bring forth.  That is why I'm positing my question to you.

"Does the Orthodox Church differentiate between 'orientation' and behavior?  I assume it condemns homosexual behavior, but what is the view of the Church on those who understand themselves to be "oriented" toward same sex sexual attractions?  Does it believe such attractions can be 'healed'?  Or does it understand them to be constitutive but by grace able to be controlled along the moral norms set out in Scripture and the Tradition?"

To this anastasios replied [deleting some introductory comments]:

"The short answer is this: the Orthodox have consistently viewed sin as a darkening of the nous (the reasoning function of the soul; usually translated as 'mind' but encompasing more that that).  So any sin is due to a darkening of the nous.  Of course this is not an excuse, but rather an explanation of the 'how'.

"A nous can be purified, and so perhaps the homosexual orientation can be cured.  But that is not up to anyone to discuss outside of confession; it is no one's business.  If someone is a public sinner acting on his urges, then he is condemned, but to have the orientation itself is not sinful, but rather a product of the fallen state and darkened nous."

[Deleting the closing.]

He then added a clarification in a separate message [deleting greeting]:

"Yes you may post your question and my reply, as long as you add, 'This is my personal opinion and what I understand the Orthodox Church to teach; if I am wrong on any point please correct me.' as I don't want to represent myself as an official spokesman."

[Deleting the closing.]

So, I would like to post my question and anastasios' initial reply to the board for comment.

I understand that this is an issue around which many emotions and passions swirl.  I would prefer to keep this in the realm of theology and doctrine (though practice is implied of course).  If inflammatory comments and ad hominem attacks can be avoided, it would greatly aid this inquirer in his seeking out Orthodoxy.

To reveal my "agenda": I was raised in a very conservative group of churches who did not differentiate between "orientation" and behavior, to have the orientation was to be guilty of the behavior.  More recently I have been part of the Episcopal Church whose position is rather well known, I'm sure.

I'm seeking to know what the Orthodox Church teaches and believes, particularly in theological, anthropological and doctrinal terms.

Thank you (he says nervously).
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2002, 10:54:22 AM »

My two kopecks: Here
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2002, 11:33:49 AM »


For all the available sites regarding the Orthodox Catholic view on homosexuality access the following -

http://search.tserkovnost.org/index.php

Type in the word homosexuality in the 'search' block and point and click on 'go'.  This will bring up all the sites on the internet that deal with the issue of  'homosexuality' and there are quite a few.

Also you can use this tserkovnost search engine to search for Orthodox info on any subject matter.

Orthodoc
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2002, 01:49:27 PM »

The Orthodox Church believes that homosexual acts and thoughts are absolutely wrong (just like non-marital heterosexual acts and thoughts are absolutely wrong). Any sins in this regard have to be confessed and repented of, and it has to be admitted that they are wrong. It must also be confessed that homosexuality in itself is wrong: the orientation itself is wrong. An Orthodox Christian should never be caught using the excuse "Well God made me this way". In this way, the Priest does not forgive someone who thinks their homosexuality is ok, but he does forgive someone who admits that their orientation is not the way things should be and the Priest will give them communion. A homosexual, then, must constantly ask God to transform him and heal him; he must ask constantly in prayer for this.

To most westerners, this sounds downright cruel, I imagine. Yet this is the witness of Israel, the Church. There are many examples of someone being "born" a certain way, but nevertheless asking God repeatedly to change them. The Theotokos was born only because of such prayers and constant seeking of God's grace. Most people today would not look forward to a possible lifetime of asking God to forgive them for something-- but we all do that in Orthodoxy. Our entire lives, until our last breath, is a struggle against evil. There are no "I was born this way" cop-outs in Orthodoxy. Having said this, I hope it is seen that "homosexuals" are no less people (and certainly no less Christians) than lustful heterosexuals, gossiping teenagers, or anyone else. We all have our sins, and we all need to deal with our sins.

Orthodoxy doesn't care only for the outward man: it doesn't just want to stop the outward acts of sin (actions). Orthodoxy--and certainly God--wants to pull out the sinful root (orientation) from the person's soul, so that they may better seek and serve our Lord. Is this not what our Lord taught while he was here on earth? Murder is wrong, but so is its internal causes (e.g., hate). Adultery is wrong, but so is its internal causes (e.g., lust). It is not enough for the Christian to not commit adultery and murder: they must also try as best they can to take lust and hate from their soul. And that, even if society would say "you were born to look at other women, to explore with them, to experiment". If something is wrong, we need to take all the steps we can (sacraments, prayer, bible reading, asceticism, church attendance, and especially vigilance) to make it right.

It is agreed though, that this isn't a matter for public discussion regarding particular persons. This is an issue between the person in question, their Priest, and God. If we do start catching word of something like this (through indirect sources) we should "stop up our ears," we don't need to be hearing about other people's sins unless they are telling us about them because they are seeking help or because they are helping us with a struggle of a similar nature.


EDIT: Just wanted to say that the above, of course, is only my understanding, and I would never claim to be infallible, or even have a great degree of assurance that I am right. The above is just how I've understood the Orthodox stand on sin in general, and I here applied it to the subject at hand. I'm sorry if it was offensive; I pray if it offended, I was not wrong in what I said.

EDIT: As I thought more about it, I realise that a lot written in this post is confusing. For example, someone might think that I believe infertility to be a sin based on how I used the example of Anna and Joachim. I really only used it as an example of not giving up and seeking the overturning of the way someone had been "born" through God's grace. There are other things, I realise. Sorry for the confusion.

EDIT: Upon further reflection, I realise that this is something I should have kept my mouth shut about  :-  I posted it now though so I'll leave it up.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2002, 03:00:06 PM by Slave of Christ » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2002, 11:12:59 PM »

The following is from the OrthodoxyToday.org site  (I thought it appropriate to this discussion):

Dr. Charles Socarides argues that the unreflective acceptance of homosexual behavior by medical professionals has had devastating consequences for individuals and society.



The Erosion of Heterosexuality

Charles W. Socarides
Homosexuality cannot create a society or keep one going for very long. It operates against the cohesive elements of society. The sexes are driven in opposite directions, and no society can long endure when either the child is neglected or the sexes war with each other. Those who reinforce the disintegrating elements in our society will get no thanks from future generations.

A significant portion of society today holds the belief that homosexuality is a normal form of sexual behavior different from, but equal to, that of heterosexuality. Many religious leaders, public officials, educators, social and mental health agencies--including those at the highest level of government, departments of psychiatry and psychology, and mental health clinics--have been taken in by a wide spread sexual egalitarianism and by accusations of being undemocratic or prejudiced if they do not accept certain assertions that are thrust upon them, as if they were deprived of all intellectual capacity to judge and reason.

This revolutionary change in our sexual mores and customs has been ushered in by a single act of considerable consequence: The removal of homosexuality from the category of aberrancy by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. It is, furthermore, a fateful consequence of our disregard for established psychoanalytic knowledge of human sexual behavior.

This act was naively perceived by many psychiatrists as the "simple" elimination of a scientific diagnosis in order to correct injustices. In reality, it created injustices for the homosexual and his family, as it belied the truth and prevented the homosexual from seeking and receiving help. At the social, group, and community level, it proved to be the opening phase of a two-phase sexual radicalization; the second phase being the raising of homosexuality to the level of an alternative lifestyle--an acceptable psychosexual institution--alongside heterosexuality as a prevailing norm of behavior.

The motivating force behind this movement was the wish to protect the homosexual against injustices and persecution. This could have been legitimately effected by the demand for equal rights for the homosexual, a demand arising from the humanitarian philosophy so deeply embedded in our humanistic science. Instead, the false step of removing homosexuality from our manual was substituted. This amounted to a full approval of homosexuality and an encouragement to aberrancy by those who should have known better, both in the scientific sense and in the sense of the social consequences of such removal.

To many American psychiatrists, this action remains a chilling reminder that if scientific principles are not fought for they can be lost--a disillusioning warning that unless we make no exceptions to science, we are subject to the snares of political factionalism and to the propagation of untruths to an unsuspecting and uninformed public, to the rest of the medical profession, and to the behavioral sciences.

The devastating clinical fallout from this decision was yet to follow. Those who would prefer to retain homosexuality as a valid diagnosis have been essentially silenced in lectures, meetings, and publications; a silencing that originates both within our association and from other sources as well. Political parties and religious leaders have been utilized to reinforce this silence. The press has been influenced in addition to the electronic media. Television and movies promote homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and censor movies that might show homosexuality as a disorder. Homosexual sex education has entered our schools and colleges; pro-gay activists--homosexual or otherwise--portray their way of life as normal and as "American as apple pie," while intimidating those with different views.

In essence, this movement has accomplished what every other society, with rare exceptions, would have trembled to tamper with: a revision of the basic code and concept of life and biology, that men and women normally mate with those of the opposite sex and not with each other. This psychiatric nonsense and social recklessness bring with it many individual tragedies, as men and women who no longer appreciate their own appropriate sexual roles create confusion in the very young for generations to come. Gender identity disturbance is bound to increase, and more true homosexual deviations result as parents distort the maleness or femaleness of their infants and children.

Young men and women with relatively minor sexual fears are led with equanimity by some psychiatrists and non-medical counselors into a self despising pattern and lifestyle. Adolescents, nearly all of whom experience some degree of uncertainty as to sexual identity, are discouraged from assuming that one form of gender identity is preferable to another. Those persons who already have a homosexual problem are discouraged from finding their way out of self destructive fantasy, discouraged from learning to accept themselves as male or female.

The forces allied against heterosexuality are formidable and unrelenting. Charges of being "undemocratic," "cruel and inhuman," or "irresponsible, homophobic, and prejudiced," are leveled at those who would question the normality of homosexuality. These accusations are then reinforced by the media and motion pictures, and render the ordinary citizen who disapproves of such practices (as well as faint-hearted members of the psychiatric and psychological professions) mute before their onslaught.

The counteraction for such forces is the knowledge that heterosexuality has self-evident, adaptive value. Man is not only a sexual animal, but a care-bonding, group-bonding, and child-rearing animal. The male-female design is taught to the child from birth and culturally ingrained through the marital order. The male-female design is thus perpetually maintained and it is only overwhelming fear or man's false pride and misdirected individual enterprise that can disturb or divert it.

Dr. Charles W. Socarides is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He is president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

Copyright ¬ 1995-2002 NARTH A Non-Profit Psychoanalytic, Educational Organization Dedicated to Research, Therapy and Prevention of Homosexuality


The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), founded in 1992, is composed of psychoanalysts, psychoanalytically-informed psychologists, certified social workers, and other behavioral scientists, as well as laymen in fields such as law, religion, and education.

This data file/document is the sole property of NARTH, It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file and/or document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright (C) 1995-1997 NARTH) and this Copyright/Reproduction Limitations notice.


This data file/document may not be used without the permission of NARTH for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold.

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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2004, 11:03:23 PM »

I have always been taught that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality, and whenever anyone talks about "sodomy" it is very clear what they refer to.

Well, I haven't read a lot of the Bible lately, so I thought I'd do some reading. I started with Genesis, and when I came to the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and started to think about the sin of Sodom and if it really was what I have always been told it was.

Genesis, Chapter 19 reads:


1 And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of the city. And seeing them, he rose up and went to meet them: and worshipped prostrate to the ground.

2 And said: I beseech you, my lords, turn in to the house of your servant, and lodge there: wash your feet, and in the morning you shall go on your way. And they said: No, but we will abide in the street.

3 He pressed them very much to turn in unto him: and when they were come into his house, he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate:

4 But before they went to bed, the men of the city beset the house, both young and old, all the people together.

5 And they called Lot, and said to him: Where are the men that came in to thee at night? bring them out hither, that we may know them:

6 Lot went out to them, and shut the door after him, and said:

7 Do not so, I beseech you, my brethren, do not commit this evil.

8 I have two daughters who, as yet, have not known man; I will bring them out to you, and abuse you them as it shall please you, so that you do no evil to these men, because they are come in under the shadow of my roof.

9 But they said: Get thee back thither. And again: Thou camest in, said they, as a stranger, was it to be a judge? therefore we will afflict thee more than them. And they pressed very violently upon Lot: and they were even at the point of breaking open the doors.

10 And behold the men put out their hand, and drew in Lot unto them, and shut the door.

11 And them, that were without, they struck with blindness from the least to the greatest, so that they could not find the door.

12 And they said to Lot: Hast thou here any of thine? son in law, or sons, or daughters, all that are thine bring them out of this city:

13 For we will destroy this place, because their cry is grown loud before the Lord, who hath sent us to destroy them.

It is not clear what the mob wanted to:

- Gang rape the angels. This was a common technique by which men, particularly enemies,  were humiliated in that society.  

- Engage in consensual homosexual sex with the angels: This is the interpretation of the NIV translators. They wrote very clearly that the intent was to "have sex with them."

- Interrogate them. They may have been concerned that the strangers were spies who were sent to the city to determine its defensive fortifications. Sodom was a tiny fortress in the barren wasteland south of the Dead Sea. The only strangers that the people of Sodom ever saw were enemy tribes who wanted to destroy and take over their valuable fortress and the trade routes that it protected.

- Attack them physically.  

From the context, it is obvious that the mood of the mob was not friendly. Lot may have thought that they had sex on their minds, because he offered his virgin daughters as an attempt to please the mob. Some Christian interpreters maintain that all of the men in the city were present in the mob, and that all were homosexual. Lot would certainly have known this, for he was a resident of the city. If they were all gay, then he would hardly have made a gift of his daughters to be raped; the mob would have had no sexual interest in women.

However, this is all speculation. If Genesis was the only place in the Bible that mentioned the story of Sodom, I could easily agree that the sin of Sodom very well could have been Homosexuality, however the sin of Sodom is mentioned elsewhere.....

According to Isaiah (Chapter 1) the Sin of Sodom was a lack of Social Justice:

7 Your land is desolate, your cities are burnt with fire: your country strangers devour before your face, and it shall be desolate as when wasted by enemies.

8 And the daughter of Sion shall be left as a covert in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and as a city that is laid waste.

9 Except the Lord of hosts had left us seed, we had been as Sodom, and we should have been like to Gomorrha.

10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, give ear to the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrha.

11 To what purpose do you offer me the multitude of your victims, saith the Lord? I am full, I desire not holocausts of rams, and fat of fatlings, and blood of calves, and lambs, and buck goats.

12 When you came to appear before me, who required these things at your hands, that you should walk in my courts?

13 Offer sacrifice no more in vain: incense is an abomination to me. The new moons, and the sabbaths and other festivals I will not abide, your assemblies are wicked.

14 My soul hateth your new moons, and your solemnities: they are become troublesome to me, I am weary of bearing them.

15 And when you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away my eyes from you: and when you multiply prayer, I will not hear: for your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes, cease to do perversely,

17 Learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow.

Ezekiel (Chapter 16) described the sin of Sodom as disregard for the poor:

49 Behold this was the iniquity of Sodom thy sister, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance, and the idleness of her, and of her daughters: and they did not put forth their hand to the needy, and the poor.

Whereas Jeremiah (Chapter 23) saw the sin of Sodom as general immorality:

14 And I have seen the likeness of adulterers, and the way of lying in the prophets of Jerusalem: and they strengthened the hands of the wicked, that no man should return from his evil doings, they are all become unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrha.

Deuteronomy Chapter 29 gives the reason why Sodom and the other cities were destroyed, homosexuality is not listed:

23 Burning it with brimstone, and the heat of salt, so that it cannot be sown any more, nor any green thing grow therein, after the example of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, Adama and Seboim, which the Lord destroyed in his wrath and indignation:

24 And all the nations shall say: Why hath the Lord done thus to this land? what meaneth this exceeding great heat of his wrath?

25 And they shall answer: Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, which he made with their fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt:

26 And they have served strange gods, and adored them, whom they knew not, and for whom they had not been assigned:

27 Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this volume:

28 And he hath cast them out of their land, in anger and in wrath, and in very great indignation, and hath thrown them into a strange land, as it is seen this day.

Now the epistle of Jude does say "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (7 KJV). But there is no hint of homosexuality: "strange flesh" hardly suggests homoeroticism. Some have stated that the Jewish tradition to which Jude alludes was a legend that the women of Sodom had intercourse with the angles.

It seems from my limited study on this issue, there isn't a scirptural basis for the idea of the sin of Sodom specificaly being homosexuality. I am not saying that Scripture isn't clear about homosexual acts being sinful, this is very obvious in St. Paul's Epistles and Leviticus, but honestly it doesn't seem as if the sin of Sodom was homosexuality.

Now, I have no idea what the Fathers had to say on the sin of Sodom, and I would be glad to know, and there could be some where in the Bible where homosexuality is said to be the sin of Sodom, if so please correct me!

Once again, I am not saying homosexuality is ok and isn't condemned in the Bible, I just don't think there is any reason to think the sin of Sodom was specificaly homosexuality, but I could be totally off, I welcome any and all corrections!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2004, 11:29:34 PM by Ben » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2004, 12:12:46 AM »


It is not clear what the mob wanted to:

- Gang rape the angels. This was a common technique by which men, particularly enemies,  were humiliated in that society.  

- Engage in consensual homosexual sex with the angels: This is the interpretation of the NIV translators. They wrote very clearly that the intent was to "have sex with them."

- Interrogate them. They may have been concerned that the strangers were spies who were sent to the city to determine its defensive fortifications. Sodom was a tiny fortress in the barren wasteland south of the Dead Sea. The only strangers that the people of Sodom ever saw were enemy tribes who wanted to destroy and take over their valuable fortress and the trade routes that it protected.

- Attack them physically.  


Well, it does say that the mob wanted to "know" them, so its basis must be some kinda sexual.  As for the rest, I'm usually not one to throw my own interpretation on what the Bible says, but perhaps there was just a general sinfullness of the people; their hostility obviously seen from the first mention of the mob trying to assault the angels.  

Otherwise, I dunno.  If I'm off-base, please do tell.
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2004, 12:40:11 AM »

Well, it does say that the mob wanted to "know" them, so its basis must be some kinda sexual.  As for the rest, I'm usually not one to throw my own interpretation on what the Bible says, but perhaps there was just a general sinfullness of the people; their hostility obviously seen from the first mention of the mob trying to assault the angels.  

Otherwise, I dunno.  If I'm off-base, please do tell.

You are totally correct that it does say "know". I would be interested to know what the original Hebrew says. And I agree that the general wickedness and sinfullness is what provoked God to destroy Sodom and the other cities, and I highly doubt homosexuality was the main sin of Sodom or even a sin of sodom, but hey I could be off-base too!
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2004, 08:53:53 AM »

St. John Chrysostom (Patrologia Graeca Vol. 54 pg. 400-...) explains that it was sexual perversion. Also in the epistle of Jude (1:7), “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to fornication and sexual perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. “

Also, the root of this evil is gluttony and pride as prophet Jezekiel says: “Moreover, this was the sin of thy sister Sodom, pride: she and her daughters lived in pleasure, in fullness of bread and in abundance: this belonged to her and her daughters, and they helped not the hand of the poor and needy.” (Sept: Jez. 16:49)
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2004, 11:16:24 AM »

From the Genesis passage, I think it is clear that the sin of Sodom was sexual immorality, particularly homosexuality.  This has also been the traditional interpretation of the Church, as well as of the Roman Catholics and other groups.  

Lot may have thought that they had sex on their minds, because he offered his virgin daughters as an attempt to please the mob. Some Christian interpreters maintain that all of the men in the city were present in the mob, and that all were homosexual. Lot would certainly have known this, for he was a resident of the city. If they were all gay, then he would hardly have made a gift of his daughters to be raped; the mob would have had no sexual interest in women.

I don't think they have to be gay.  They can be bisexual.  In the specific case cited in Genesis, they were after Lot's guests, but that doesn't mean they were gay and had no interest in women: they could just be perverts in general.  But because the case is specifically homosexual, this is how it has been interpreted.  

Quote
However, this is all speculation. If Genesis was the only place in the Bible that mentioned the story of Sodom, I could easily agree that the sin of Sodom very well could have been Homosexuality, however the sin of Sodom is mentioned elsewhere.....

According to Isaiah (Chapter 1) the Sin of Sodom was a lack of Social Justice:

Read the passage again carefully, especially v. 9.  It doesn't say that the sin of Sodom was a lack of social justice.  If I'm reading it correctly, it is comparing the situation with the people of Israel with Sodom, and how if the Lord hadn't shown mercy, they could've been as Sodom.  

Quote
Ezekiel (Chapter 16) described the sin of Sodom as disregard for the poor:

49 Behold this was the iniquity of Sodom thy sister, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance, and the idleness of her, and of her daughters: and they did not put forth their hand to the needy, and the poor.

Big chapter, but here's some more:

48 As I live, says the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them, when I saw it. 51 Sama'ria has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations which you have committed.

I don't think the passage from Ezekiel necessarily takes the traditional understanding of the sin of Sodom out of the picture.  We know from Leviticus that what is traditionally understood as the "sin of Sodom" is "an abomination".  

To what extent does a lavish life encourage/fuel sexual immorality?  That is an interesting tangent to consider in order to explore this passage.  

It is interesting that even in the Gospels, Our Lord uses Sodom and Gomorrah as an example, comparing the people of His time who wouldn't listen to Him to the Sodomites, saying the latter will have an easier time at the Day of Judgement than those of His time who had the great grace of hearing Him with their own ears, and seeing Him with their own eyes and still reject His message, the Gospel.  Perhaps the passage from Ezekiel is also being used in such a fashion.  "You're even worse than Sodom, because you've heard the word of the Lord, and you reject it", or something like that.    

Quote
Whereas Jeremiah (Chapter 23) saw the sin of Sodom as general immorality:

I don't think "general immorality" does not imply homosexuality/sexual perversion.  I would say Western civilisation is plagued by general immorality, and sexual immorality is a good part of that.  

Quote
Deuteronomy Chapter 29 gives the reason why Sodom and the other cities were destroyed, homosexuality is not listed:

Once again, I don't think this is talking about Sodom, but about Israel, Sodom being used as an example.  

Quote
Now the epistle of Jude does say "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (7 KJV). But there is no hint of homosexuality: "strange flesh" hardly suggests homoeroticism. Some have stated that the Jewish tradition to which Jude alludes was a legend that the women of Sodom had intercourse with the angles.

How come "strange flesh" cannot suggest homoeroticism?  Men aren't equipped for sexual intercourse with other men, except by a perverted interpretation of how sex works (and I will refrain from being graphic, but I think you know what I'm getting at).  "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind"...what is not "strange" about that?  I notice that you quoted from the KJV (don't know if your other citations are from that version).  There are words in there which don't have the same meaning now that they had then, even if it looks like the same word.  Perhaps "strange" means something else in this context?  Have you looked at other translations of this passage?  For instance, the RSV translates it as "unnatural lust".
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2004, 12:05:22 PM »

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I don't think they have to be gay.  They can be bisexual.  In the specific case cited in Genesis, they were after Lot's guests, but that doesn't mean they were gay and had no interest in women: they could just be perverts in general.  But because the case is specifically homosexual, this is how it has been interpreted.

I think the whole discussion of "gay" or "straight" or "bisexual" in general is misguided, but particularly so in the discussion of what happened in Sodom.

Buggery is not a consequence of an ingrained sexual identity that should be treated (or spoken about) as a third gender.   While it is true that there are those who have this as a vice (bad habit) and also suffer from varying degrees of misogyny and/or gynophobia, it's also obvious that in modern times there is quite a lot of pressure within the so called "gay-community" to force those struggling with this vice into a straight jacket of artificial identity ("you are gay"), when the truth is their situation (particularly if it's someone still confused about "sexual identity" issues) is probably not that simple.

Looking at the ancient historical record of many civilizations, it appears that in some places the popularity of buggery was such that it exceeded (proportionately) the ridiculous/unfounded statistic of the homosexualist-activist groups of "10%" (all of which is allegedly the result of genetics/heredity, btw.)  It is also quite clear that in most of those situations, that the men indulging in such things would be classified by our modern definitions as "bisexual".

The truth of course, is that it's just a question of sensuality run amock, with a godless lack of abhorence for sin.  One need only look in the prison system in the United States to see this.

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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2004, 12:37:20 PM »

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I don't think they have to be gay.  They can be bisexual.


Quote
I think the whole discussion of "gay" or "straight" or "bisexual" in general is misguided, but particularly so in the discussion of what happened in Sodom.

Buggery is not a consequence of an ingrained sexual identity that should be treated (or spoken about) as a third gender.  While it is true that there are those who have this as a vice (bad habit) and also suffer from varying degrees of misogyny and/or gynophobia, it's also obvious that in modern times there is quite a lot of pressure within the so called "gay-community" to force those struggling with this vice into a straight jacket of artificial identity ("you are gay"), when the truth is their situation (particularly if it's someone still confused about "sexual identity" issues) is probably not that simple.

I *think* what Mor was getting at is simply that they were having every perverted kind of sex available, with both men and women. The cultural identity that is now attached to the term "bisexual" or any of the terms is not what is being discussed (I don't think). Furthermore, the literal meaning of the word "bisexual," if you just look at the word, is probably something to the effect of "sexually desiring (something which alone is a sin, no matter who the object is) 2 ("bi") sexes," not the modern definition that involves emotions and all of that sexual psychological mumbo jumbo.

Mor, do correct me if I'v misinterpreted what you said. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2004, 12:54:55 PM »

I don't disagree with anyone here.  I agree with Augustine's view that "gay" and "bisexual" as we understand them are not things that can be applied to a discussion about Sodom and had some hesitancy to use those terms in my post, but figured I'd stick with the terms Ben was using, thinking it'd be clearer.  As far as how I used them, I used them specifically with their sexual meanings in mind (e.g., bisexual = someone who engages in sexual relations of some sort with both sexes).  

I don't think we need to appeal to the US prison system in order to see sensuality run amock with a godless lack of abhorrence for sin, unless there is something I'm missing.  It's pretty active in "free" Western societies, which I think are the closest modern equivalent to Sodom and Gomorrah in some respects, and which I had in mind when I brought up Western civilisation in my earlier post.
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2004, 08:10:38 PM »

Also pertaining to this passage, does anyone have an idea on why Lot offered his virgin daughters to the mob?  I find this disgusting, and it sounds horrendous.  How is offering your virgin daughters as a form of sexual appeasement any better than the sin of sodomy?  It seems so cowardly.... i.e., "don't do anything to me or the men here, but feel free to rape my daughters."  I just find that foul.

Am I totally misinterpreting this?  I've never found an explanation of this one, and am wondering if anyone else ever has.  I bet this passage would be even tougher for me if I had daughters of my own.
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2004, 08:49:10 PM »

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Also pertaining to this passage, does anyone have an idea on why Lot offered his virgin daughters to the mob?  I find this disgusting, and it sounds horrendous.  How is offering your virgin daughters as a form of sexual appeasement any better than the sin of sodomy?  It seems so cowardly.... i.e., "don't do anything to me or the men here, but feel free to rape my daughters."  I just find that foul.

I'm glad you brought this up Gregory, because I have always wondered about this myself and felt the exact same way as you.

Can anyone provide some insight on this?

In Christ,
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« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2004, 11:42:58 PM »

Thank you everyone for your imput!

I agree with Gregory and Arystarcus, I have always thought that the fact Lot offered his Virgin daughters to be raped by the men was horrid, and just as bad as "sodomy". I am at a loss how Lot could chastize the crowd for wanting the angels, but at the same time offer his daughters to them!
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« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2004, 12:58:36 AM »

I am at a loss how Lot could chastize the crowd for wanting the angels, but at the same time offer his daughters to them!

Hey, Lot was no saint himself at the time -- relatively speaking, yes, he was more morally aware than those around him, but he did choose to live there in the first place!

Add the fact that, in those days, daughters (and women in general) were seen as much less valuable/important...basically, they were property.  Perhaps, in Lot's mind, he was choosing the "lesser of two evils," as he knew the men were from God and just did the first thing that came to his mind.

So...there's no excuse for what he did -- nowhere in Scripture or the Fathers, I don't think, provides as much -- yet it could just be an explanation...trying to do the right thing in a very, very wrong way.
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2004, 04:34:53 PM »

You are totally correct that it does say "know". I would be interested to know what the original Hebrew says.

The Hebrew does not really contain many surprises, or much that would lend toward a different translation than those cited:

19:5:  "Wayyikra'u 'el-Lot wayyo'mru l'o, ''Ayyeh ha 'anashim 'asher-b'ou 'eleykha?  Hotsiim 'eleynu wned`ah 'otam.'"

The verb, "ned`ah," is the nifal form of ydh, that is, a refexive construction of the verb most frequently translated as "to know."  It is, of course, the same verb used throughout the geneologies in Genesis to indicate sexual intercourse.  It does not have the sense of "Getting to know you," in a merely casual way.  :-";"xx
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2004, 01:12:47 AM »

Hmmm would the be the same "know" used in the Gospels regarding Mary and Joseph? If so, that pretty much disproves Mary's perpetual Virginity.
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2004, 04:52:41 AM »

Ben, it has been stated elsewhere that when Matthew says Joseph "knew her not until she gave birth" does not imply he "knew her" afterward.
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2004, 10:42:52 AM »

Right.  Matthew 1:24 states that Joseph "ouk eginosken aftin eos ou eteken yion . . .," ("did not know her [until] she had born a son").  Ginosko is used here as an equivalent to the Hebrew ydh, just as it is consistently used in place of ydh in the LXX translation of Genesis, in places where it clearly has to do with sexual intercourse (e.g., Gen 4:1, 17).

But, as Errach reminds us, the Greek, eos, denotes duration, but does not imply anything about subsequent events, unlike English "until."  The sentence could as well be translated, "[Joseph] did not know her during the period leading up to her bearing a son."  The emphasis, then, being on excluding any possibility of Joseph's being the genetic father, but implying nothing about whether sexual relations occurred after that period.
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2004, 07:30:15 PM »

To "piggyback" on what ambrosemzv said:

Other uses of eos ("until") in the NT and Septuagint:

When King David dances in the street and his wife (whose name escapes me) berates him, she is cursed by God, and the Scripture says she "had no children eos the day of her death."  Obviously she didn't have kids on her deathbed.

Christ said in St. Matt's gospel that He'd be with us eos the end of the age...will He not be with us after that?

St. Paul encourages *someone* he writes to (can you tell I'm too lazy to go look these up?) to continue in prayer and reading Scripture eos he comes to see him/them.  He obviously wouldn't want them to stop after he came.

So Mary and Joseph didn't know each other eos Christ came...we can see this does NOT mean they did so afterwards.
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« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2004, 06:47:47 AM »

Or to explain further, someone sent me this:

...The Fathers have explained beyond any doubt that "until" in the Greek, as used in this passage, does NOT necessarily imply that Joseph knew her *after* the birth of Christ, as some wrongly suggest. The same word is used, for example, in the verse "Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age."  Are we to understand this to say that Christ will be with us *until* the end of the age, but that He will leave us *after* the end of the age?  Certainly not!

Eloquently put. The Theotokos' perpetual virginity has been essentially put down as dogma, has been explained by the Fathers and should, I suppose, be a non-negotiable for Orthodox belief.
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« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2006, 09:53:37 PM »

I apologize for, and take back, everything I said on this thread. What an idiot I was! But you already knew that Wink
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« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2006, 10:23:12 PM »

I think that, as Christians, we should be more concerned with social justice than what people do with their wee-wees.

Peace.
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« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2006, 10:26:09 PM »

I think that, as Christians, we should be more concerned with social justice than what people do with their wee-wees.

You dont know how disturbing it is to hear a grown man refer to that particular part of anatomy as a, and I quote, 'wee-wee.'
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« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2006, 10:28:51 PM »

You dont know how disturbing it is to hear a grown man refer to that particular part of anatomy as a, and I quote, 'wee-wee.'

LOL..
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« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2006, 12:39:10 AM »

You dont know how disturbing it is to hear a grown man refer to that particular part of anatomy as a, and I quote, 'wee-wee.'

It's even more disturbing that moral extremists would forbid consenting adults from deciding for themselves what to do in their own bedrooms.

Peace.
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« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2006, 11:11:36 AM »

Greetings in Christ M777,
Do you not hold the Bible and the Father's teachings against homosexuality as sinful or am I misunderstanding your statement?  Please explain your comment in light of the above context for this slow to understand sinner.

God Bless,
T
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« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2006, 11:18:33 AM »

I think that, as Christians, we should be more concerned with social justice than what people do with their wee-wees.

Peace.

No, I'm afraid the Church is not to be concerned primarily with social justice at all.  That is one of the huge mistakes of our time, thinking that we can solve our own problems and become better by working on social justice issues.  The problem is not with society!  That is merely the symptom of the real problem which is deep within our souls.  Change must be at the core of our individual hearts, not in social matters.  It is a grave deception.  We cannot change the world unless we change ourselves first, and God is the prime mover toward that end.  Feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, being compassionate and all manner of other social issues and goals can only come after this.  It's what the Church calls "giving alms" and it is an outgrowth of spiritual maturity and struggle, something we do as we are already being changed by Grace.  It is not our primary goal.

Sorry, didn't mean to offend but that's a pet peeve of mine.
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« Reply #30 on: June 21, 2006, 11:37:52 AM »

It's even more disturbing that moral extremists would forbid consenting adults from deciding for themselves what to do in their own bedrooms.

Peace.

I can appreciate this point of view but unfortunately what one does in private has an effect on what one does in public. I believe this was the whole point Jesus was making when he articulated 'sin' as having it's source within our 'thoughts' and not merely the domain of our 'actions'.

Honestly I believe the Buddhists do a better job of articulating this but the model is quite clear in Christianity as well. There are actions which are simply harmful to society and society is more than a bunch of individuals. One could make the argument that honestly there are no individual actions at all. We are all interdependent with one another and our environment. Privacy is a lack of recognizing this interdependence over the desires of the individual but like I said Buddhism does a much better job making this case than Christianity.

Peace.
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« Reply #31 on: June 21, 2006, 05:43:47 PM »

I think that, as Christians, we should be more concerned with social justice than what people do with their wee-wees.

Peace.
Speak for yourself, dont have the arrogance to tell Christians what they should be concerned about. You know full well Christians have a moral code which is very concerned with what people do with their 'wee-wees'.  You seem to be an apologist for sinful behaviour based on your own innovative liberal philosophy.  Dont confuse this with Christian morality.
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« Reply #32 on: June 21, 2006, 05:45:06 PM »

No, I'm afraid the Church is not to be concerned primarily with social justice at all.ÂÂ  That is one of the huge mistakes of our time, thinking that we can solve our own problems and become better by working on social justice issues.ÂÂ  The problem is not with society!ÂÂ  That is merely the symptom of the real problem which is deep within our souls.ÂÂ  Change must be at the core of our individual hearts, not in social matters.ÂÂ  It is a grave deception.ÂÂ  We cannot change the world unless we change ourselves first, and God is the prime mover toward that end.ÂÂ  Feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, being compassionate and all manner of other social issues and goals can only come after this.ÂÂ  It's what the Church calls "giving alms" and it is an outgrowth of spiritual maturity and struggle, something we do as we are already being changed by Grace.ÂÂ  It is not our primary goal.

Sorry, didn't mean to offend but that's a pet peeve of mine.
Spot on!
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« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2006, 06:31:26 PM »

Quote
You know full well Christians have a moral code which is very concerned with what people do with their 'wee-wees'.

Is Christianity concerned with what "people" do or what an individual does?  Or more precisely, isn't one's own chastity what matters opposed to keeping track of others?
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« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2006, 06:45:04 PM »

Greetings in Christ M777,
Do you not hold the Bible and the Father's teachings against homosexuality as sinful or am I misunderstanding your statement?ÂÂ  Please explain your comment in light of the above context for this slow to understand sinner.

God Bless,
T

Homosexuality is no different from any other sin, it is something that must be confessed rather than falsely accepted within the Church. But in terms of the world at large, however, we must recognize that we do live in a secular society and that the Church nor the state has any power to enforce Biblical law.

Peace.
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« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2006, 06:46:55 PM »

No, I'm afraid the Church is not to be concerned primarily with social justice at all.ÂÂ

Have you read the Beatitudes? I understand your point but I think we can do both at the same time, and that they both help the other.

Peace.
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« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2006, 06:49:42 PM »

You seem to be an apologist for sinful behaviour based on your own innovative liberal philosophy.ÂÂ  

What innovative liberal philosophy do you speak of?
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« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2006, 06:50:13 PM »

Have you read the Beatitudes?

Peace.
You mean this?


(The Beatitudes)
3rd Antiphon

In Thy kingdom remember us, O Lord, * when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, * for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
           [In 12 verses]
Blessed are they that mourn, * for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, * for they shall inherit the earth.
           [In 10 verses]
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, * for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, * for they shall obtain mercy.
           [In 8 verses]
Blessed are the pure in heart, * for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, * for they shall be called the sons of God.
           [In 6 verses]
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, * for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, * and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, * for great is your reward in the heavens.
Glory to the Father, * and to the Son, * and to the Holy Spirit.
Both now and ever, * and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.
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« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2006, 06:53:11 PM »

Yes, exactly. The heart of the Christian faith is the Sermon on the Mount, it's an instruction of what to do more than what not to do.
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« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2006, 07:01:38 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=48.msg125204#msg125204 date=1150929086]
Is Christianity concerned with what "people" do or what an individual does?ÂÂ  Or more precisely, isn't one's own chastity what matters opposed to keeping track of others?
[/quote]

I used to say "Hey, if their not bothering me directly, I dont care." But Lord, they are trying to FORCE homosexuality on people these days. Just a week ago or so, I was sitting waiting for the rain to come, and across from me were two gay men making out. Ok I guess it is discrminative because if it were a heterosexual couple, It wouldnt bother me as much. But my point is that this "sin" is becoming normal today. When my kids are growing up, they will be offered the "option" to like guys or girls. My kid will be heterosexual, but seeing as how both orientations are normal by society, he could chose the genetically/biologically wrong one. Now that scares me.
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« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2006, 07:26:52 PM »

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I used to say "Hey, if their not bothering me directly, I dont care." But Lord, they are trying to FORCE homosexuality on people these days. Just a week ago or so, I was sitting waiting for the rain to come, and across from me were two gay men making out. Ok I guess it is discrminative because if it were a heterosexual couple, It wouldnt bother me as much. But my point is that this "sin" is becoming normal today. When my kids are growing up, they will be offered the "option" to like guys or girls. My kid will be heterosexual, but seeing as how both orientations are normal by society, he could chose the genetically/biologically wrong one. Now that scares me.

I think in both the teachings of Elder Paisios the Athonite and Saint Silouan the Athonite the point is made that one must first heal himself, as a member of the Church in order to benefit the church as a whole and even beyond the Church.  While loudly proclaiming the Orthodox belief on homosexuality and that they are sinners may inspire a sense of righteousness, it will also likely lead to their complete alienation from Christianity.  I'm not saying that we should sell out our beliefs, only that we'll more easily show others the love of Christ with honey rather than vinegar. 

Here is a quote from Elder Amphilochios from Patmos (the metropolitan in your Church bearing that name was named after him at his tonsuring by Fr. Justin Popović):

"The words of preachers today have the effect of throwing turpentine on a fire.  The poor and unlettered laity have been abandoned and now don't listen.  They need to see good workds and lives of Christian love... they need to feel their brother is co-suffering in their pain.  Only through love for them and through philanthropic works will we manage to bring our brethren close to Christ." 
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Sloga
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« Reply #41 on: June 21, 2006, 08:22:27 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=48.msg125216#msg125216 date=1150932412]
only that we'll more easily show others the love of Christ with honey rather than vinegar.ÂÂ  
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Or more precisely, isn't one's own chastity what matters opposed to keeping track of others?


In an honest way, those two acts cannot be done at the same time perfectly. You need to balance them. How can I help a sinner when my sins alone need help?

Likewise, theoretically, I have a hard time worrying about my sins, telling myself to not steal, lie and even involve myself in Sodomy, but then to extend my hand to one who does, would sort of be hypocritical towards myself. Although I DO understand that by what you said, it does not mean to encourage their acts, but to love them, I need to condome those acts at the same time.

But generally, I do agree with you. I think it's hard to deal with this issue, particularily the ones deeply and directly involved, but society has just given up and let them do their thing, thinking it wont backfire in the future, which I think is a grave mistake.
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Христе Боже, Распети и Свети!

"In the history of the human race there have been three principal falls: that of Adam, that of Judas, and that of the pope." Saint Justin Popovic
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« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2006, 08:25:25 PM »

 ÃƒÆ’‚  Isn't disagreeing over whether to influence society for Christ and the Church vs. doing all one can to become more like Christ in daily living unnecesarily making distinctions? This doesn't seem to be an either/or issue within Orthodoxy but a both/and. It is like when Christ said,"These things you ought to have done without leaving the other undone........"

Rd. David
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« Reply #43 on: June 22, 2006, 06:07:17 AM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=48.msg125204#msg125204 date=1150929086]
Is Christianity concerned with what "people" do or what an individual does?ÂÂ  Or more precisely, isn't one's own chastity what matters opposed to keeping track of others?
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I was referring to the Orthodox view of how an individual should behave primarily.  I just found it ridiculous that Matthew should claim that Christians should have no view on controlling their bodily urges.
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« Reply #44 on: June 22, 2006, 06:19:24 AM »

What innovative liberal philosophy do you speak of?
The one where you claim that Christianity is 'an instruction of what to do more than what not to do'.  This is just meaningless verbal acrobatics.  If you are not doing something, such as commiting sin, this also could be phrased as doing something, ie avoiding temptation. 
Secondly this thread is to with the Orthodox Christian position on homosexuality.  To claim that there is no Christian position on what 'people do with their wee wees' is ludicrous. 
 
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