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doubtingthomas
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« on: January 22, 2012, 08:46:01 PM »

Hello,

Well on my continued journey toward Orthodoxy, I had an interesting conversation with a friend which has caused me some doubt.

He was asking me about God. He asked why I believe in God/Allah/YHWH if the God of the Hebrews had at once commanded His followers to kill homosexuals, I myself being gay:

"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." [Lev 20:13]

My friend asked me "If you were a Hebrew at the time, would you have killed a friend if he told you 'I had sex with another man?" The only answer I could give was yes because, if I were a Hebrew at the time, I would have to follow all of these laws. My friend then asked if I believe having a monogamous relationship with another man constitutes murder, and if I thought Jesus would support killing someone who had sex with a man. I said no. His final question was why would I support a god who appeared to be a hypocrite since Jesus clearly declared He did not come to abolish the Law.

My only answer for my friend was that God's ways are above our ways. What appears to a human as hypocrisy is God actually bringing us to the conclusion He intends. A human estimation of God being a hypocrite is a human passing judgement on something more perfect than Him which is not possible for a creation to do.

Nevertheless this response seemed like an excuse to him. My friend was very polite about this though and I respect the opportunity his point(s) are giving me to further question my faith. So, is God a hypocrite? Or did I just paint Him that way in this conversation based on my personal responses?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 08:48:36 PM by doubtingthomas » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2012, 09:08:51 PM »


God can be whatever He wishes to be...and can do and say whatever He wishes to do or say.

Who are we to judge God? 

God has never condoned homosexuality, neither in the OT nor the NT.  Just because you believe that Christ wouldn't condone killing someone who is sinning, doesn't mean that person isn't killing themselves, by distancing themselves from God.

Risking ones very soul and eternal salvation is far worse than being put to physical death.

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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2012, 09:14:43 PM »

Hello,

Well on my continued journey toward Orthodoxy, I had an interesting conversation with a friend which has caused me some doubt.

He was asking me about God. He asked why I believe in God/Allah/YHWH if the God of the Hebrews had at once commanded His followers to kill homosexuals, I myself being gay:

"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." [Lev 20:13]

My friend asked me "If you were a Hebrew at the time, would you have killed a friend if he told you 'I had sex with another man?" The only answer I could give was yes because, if I were a Hebrew at the time, I would have to follow all of these laws.
....
What if you were Hebrew today?
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2012, 09:20:45 PM »

Hello,

Well on my continued journey toward Orthodoxy, I had an interesting conversation with a friend which has caused me some doubt.

He was asking me about God. He asked why I believe in God/Allah/YHWH if the God of the Hebrews had at once commanded His followers to kill homosexuals, I myself being gay:

"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." [Lev 20:13]

My friend asked me "If you were a Hebrew at the time, would you have killed a friend if he told you 'I had sex with another man?" The only answer I could give was yes because, if I were a Hebrew at the time, I would have to follow all of these laws. My friend then asked if I believe having a monogamous relationship with another man constitutes murder, and if I thought Jesus would support killing someone who had sex with a man. I said no. His final question was why would I support a god who appeared to be a hypocrite since Jesus clearly declared He did not come to abolish the Law.

My only answer for my friend was that God's ways are above our ways. What appears to a human as hypocrisy is God actually bringing us to the conclusion He intends. A human estimation of God being a hypocrite is a human passing judgement on something more perfect than Him which is not possible for a creation to do.

Nevertheless this response seemed like an excuse to him. My friend was very polite about this though and I respect the opportunity his point(s) are giving me to further question my faith. So, is God a hypocrite? Or did I just paint Him that way in this conversation based on my personal responses?


The ways of the Hebrews were times of primitive behavior and ignorance.  And yet the laws at the time were still quite a long ways ahead against other laws of savages that lived around them.  Nevertheless, the Hebrew people didn't even know proper theology or belief in God, and it was necessary to even lay down the law that they shouldn't worship any gods.

The Law also signified that all sin leads to death.  If you're not harsh with a primitive people, then the Law will be nothing.  The Law solidified this idea that all would die anyway due to falling short to the glory of God, some more than others. 

Christ became incarnate when the people finally had a capacity to think in much advanced levels.  In this manner, He came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it.  He took the penalty of death of the Law and of Nature herself and destroyed it by His own death.  He fulfilled the Law by going further.  It is said an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.  Now that you are more mature, and you're no longer primitive, love your neighbor.  It is said that you should stone an adulteress or kill an abominable man, but now, think about your sins and if you are without them, then go ahead and cast the first stone.  Before, you carried a certain discipline of eating clean foods and avoiding unclean animals, but now all things God created are now seen as clean because Christ took away all uncleanliness.  Before, you circumcised yourselves and became part of Abraham's covenant.  Now, circumcise away your sins, and be baptized into Christ's Church.  Fulfillment is not an abolishing of the Law, but taking the Law a step further.  Before, it was about judging sins.  Now it's about improving oneself.  Before it's about avoiding sins.  Now it's about doing good unto others.  Before it's about hating sins.  Now it's about loving the sinner.

If God was to reveal to humanity in its primitive state this message, no one would receive Him.  Christ came at the right time that the Law might be fulfilled in Him, so that people may be ready to receive Him, and not just receive Him, but to be in communion with Him.  The message goes hand in hand with His incarnation.  And this Law is not just the written Laws of the Jews, but even the Law that is in the heart of the Gentiles, for they know that there exists in human morality a Principle, a Logos, and this Logos is Christ.  Therefore, if in the spirit of the law, one understands there is a Way in Life to seek Truth, Christ came to say that He is the Way, Truth, and Life.  He it is whom the Law, Nature, Morality, etc. point to as the source of all, and the advancement for all.  And here's the kicker:  we've still yet to advance to much further levels of understanding and growth.

Therefore, you can't compare today's humanity to the ones given by the Old Testament.  These humans were primitive in thought, and were always rebelling against God anyway at times.  They had their ups, but more so their downs, and the stories in the OT shows the failure of the Hebrew to even at least consider the spirit of their own Law.  And if you think about it, sometimes it's in failure where Hebrew people were forced to "grow up" in their thought levels, and it was in a time of Roman Imperial subduing where Christ showed up.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 09:33:51 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2012, 09:30:00 PM »

Hello,

Well on my continued journey toward Orthodoxy, I had an interesting conversation with a friend which has caused me some doubt.

He was asking me about God. He asked why I believe in God/Allah/YHWH if the God of the Hebrews had at once commanded His followers to kill homosexuals, I myself being gay:

"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." [Lev 20:13]

My friend asked me "If you were a Hebrew at the time, would you have killed a friend if he told you 'I had sex with another man?" The only answer I could give was yes because, if I were a Hebrew at the time, I would have to follow all of these laws. My friend then asked if I believe having a monogamous relationship with another man constitutes murder, and if I thought Jesus would support killing someone who had sex with a man. I said no. His final question was why would I support a god who appeared to be a hypocrite since Jesus clearly declared He did not come to abolish the Law.

My only answer for my friend was that God's ways are above our ways. What appears to a human as hypocrisy is God actually bringing us to the conclusion He intends. A human estimation of God being a hypocrite is a human passing judgement on something more perfect than Him which is not possible for a creation to do.

Nevertheless this response seemed like an excuse to him. My friend was very polite about this though and I respect the opportunity his point(s) are giving me to further question my faith. So, is God a hypocrite? Or did I just paint Him that way in this conversation based on my personal responses?


If you read Leviticus, I think the next line says something or other about killing your children if they disobey you.  God didn't write the OT (or NT) and a historical context in that regard should be considered when reading it.  It's obvious when reading the OT compared with the NT that there is a striking difference.  It's not because God changed; he doesn't, it's really because of the times, politics, region, etc..

I don't have the names of the resources with me but there are several articles and books that discuss homosexuality and Orthodoxy which may be helpful to you.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 09:31:47 PM by Hamartolos » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2012, 09:40:47 PM »

Hello,

Well on my continued journey toward Orthodoxy, I had an interesting conversation with a friend which has caused me some doubt.

He was asking me about God. He asked why I believe in God/Allah/YHWH if the God of the Hebrews had at once commanded His followers to kill homosexuals, I myself being gay:

"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." [Lev 20:13]

My friend asked me "If you were a Hebrew at the time, would you have killed a friend if he told you 'I had sex with another man?" The only answer I could give was yes because, if I were a Hebrew at the time, I would have to follow all of these laws. My friend then asked if I believe having a monogamous relationship with another man constitutes murder, and if I thought Jesus would support killing someone who had sex with a man. I said no. His final question was why would I support a god who appeared to be a hypocrite since Jesus clearly declared He did not come to abolish the Law.

My only answer for my friend was that God's ways are above our ways. What appears to a human as hypocrisy is God actually bringing us to the conclusion He intends. A human estimation of God being a hypocrite is a human passing judgement on something more perfect than Him which is not possible for a creation to do.

Nevertheless this response seemed like an excuse to him. My friend was very polite about this though and I respect the opportunity his point(s) are giving me to further question my faith. So, is God a hypocrite? Or did I just paint Him that way in this conversation based on my personal responses?


The ways of the Hebrews were times of primitive behavior and ignorance.  And yet the laws at the time were still quite a long ways ahead against other laws of savages that lived around them.  Nevertheless, the Hebrew people didn't even know proper theology or belief in God, and it was necessary to even lay down the law that they shouldn't worship any gods.

The Law also signified that all sin leads to death.  If you're not harsh with a primitive people, then the Law will be nothing.  The Law solidified this idea that all would die anyway due to falling short to the glory of God, some more than others.  

Christ became incarnate when the people finally had a capacity to think in much advanced levels.  In this manner, He came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it.  He took the penalty of death of the Law and of Nature herself and destroyed it by His own death.  He fulfilled the Law by going further.  It is said an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.  Now that you are more mature, and you're no longer primitive, love your neighbor.  It is said that you should stone an adulteress or kill an abominable man, but now, think about your sins and if you are without them, then go ahead and cast the first stone.  Before, you carried a certain discipline of eating clean foods and avoiding unclean animals, but now all things God created are now seen as clean because Christ took away all uncleanliness.  Before, you circumcised yourselves and became part of Abraham's covenant.  Now, circumcise away your sins, and be baptized into Christ's Church.  Fulfillment is not an abolishing of the Law, but taking the Law a step further.  Before, it was about judging sins.  Now it's about improving oneself.  Before it's about avoiding sins.  Now it's about doing good unto others.  Before it's about hating sins.  Now it's about loving the sinner.

If God was to reveal to humanity in its primitive state this message, no one would receive Him.  Christ came at the right time that the Law might be fulfilled in Him, so that people may be ready to receive Him, and not just receive Him, but to be in communion with Him.  The message goes hand in hand with His incarnation.  And this Law is not just the written Laws of the Jews, but even the Law that is in the heart of the Gentiles, for they know that there exists in human morality a Principle, a Logos, and this Logos is Christ.  Therefore, if in the spirit of the law, one understands there is a Way in Life to seek Truth, Christ came to say that He is the Way, Truth, and Life.  He it is whom the Law, Nature, Morality, etc. point to as the source of all, and the advancement for all.  And here's the kicker:  we've still yet to advance to much further levels of understanding and growth.

Brilliant, Mina. I think that doubtingthomas' friend might be seeing the Old Law as somehow dictated word for word by God, and because of that the system had to be perfect/infallible, (or as Christians we should see it that way, at least) rather than something fallible that would be perfected; when the time was right, as you say. While we are still working on the perfecting to those much greater levels of understanding and growth you speak of; still working these old laws out of the system to reach the perfect Love of Christ in our acceptance of certain sins and sinners; it doesn't mean that God at any time was a hypocrite. It just means that we as humans, and even we as a community of believers, have only been able to take infantile steps into maturity.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 10:03:41 PM by Riddikulus » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2012, 11:10:58 PM »

Hello,

Well on my continued journey toward Orthodoxy, I had an interesting conversation with a friend which has caused me some doubt.

He was asking me about God. He asked why I believe in God/Allah/YHWH if the God of the Hebrews had at once commanded His followers to kill homosexuals, I myself being gay:

"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." [Lev 20:13]

My friend asked me "If you were a Hebrew at the time, would you have killed a friend if he told you 'I had sex with another man?" The only answer I could give was yes because, if I were a Hebrew at the time, I would have to follow all of these laws. My friend then asked if I believe having a monogamous relationship with another man constitutes murder, and if I thought Jesus would support killing someone who had sex with a man. I said no. His final question was why would I support a god who appeared to be a hypocrite since Jesus clearly declared He did not come to abolish the Law.

My only answer for my friend was that God's ways are above our ways. What appears to a human as hypocrisy is God actually bringing us to the conclusion He intends. A human estimation of God being a hypocrite is a human passing judgement on something more perfect than Him which is not possible for a creation to do.

Nevertheless this response seemed like an excuse to him. My friend was very polite about this though and I respect the opportunity his point(s) are giving me to further question my faith. So, is God a hypocrite? Or did I just paint Him that way in this conversation based on my personal responses?


The ways of the Hebrews were times of primitive behavior and ignorance.  And yet the laws at the time were still quite a long ways ahead against other laws of savages that lived around them.  Nevertheless, the Hebrew people didn't even know proper theology or belief in God, and it was necessary to even lay down the law that they shouldn't worship any gods.

The Law also signified that all sin leads to death.  If you're not harsh with a primitive people, then the Law will be nothing.  The Law solidified this idea that all would die anyway due to falling short to the glory of God, some more than others. 

Christ became incarnate when the people finally had a capacity to think in much advanced levels.  In this manner, He came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it.  He took the penalty of death of the Law and of Nature herself and destroyed it by His own death.  He fulfilled the Law by going further.  It is said an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.  Now that you are more mature, and you're no longer primitive, love your neighbor.  It is said that you should stone an adulteress or kill an abominable man, but now, think about your sins and if you are without them, then go ahead and cast the first stone.  Before, you carried a certain discipline of eating clean foods and avoiding unclean animals, but now all things God created are now seen as clean because Christ took away all uncleanliness.  Before, you circumcised yourselves and became part of Abraham's covenant.  Now, circumcise away your sins, and be baptized into Christ's Church.  Fulfillment is not an abolishing of the Law, but taking the Law a step further.  Before, it was about judging sins.  Now it's about improving oneself.  Before it's about avoiding sins.  Now it's about doing good unto others.  Before it's about hating sins.  Now it's about loving the sinner.

If God was to reveal to humanity in its primitive state this message, no one would receive Him.  Christ came at the right time that the Law might be fulfilled in Him, so that people may be ready to receive Him, and not just receive Him, but to be in communion with Him.  The message goes hand in hand with His incarnation.  And this Law is not just the written Laws of the Jews, but even the Law that is in the heart of the Gentiles, for they know that there exists in human morality a Principle, a Logos, and this Logos is Christ.  Therefore, if in the spirit of the law, one understands there is a Way in Life to seek Truth, Christ came to say that He is the Way, Truth, and Life.  He it is whom the Law, Nature, Morality, etc. point to as the source of all, and the advancement for all.  And here's the kicker:  we've still yet to advance to much further levels of understanding and growth.

Therefore, you can't compare today's humanity to the ones given by the Old Testament.  These humans were primitive in thought, and were always rebelling against God anyway at times.  They had their ups, but more so their downs, and the stories in the OT shows the failure of the Hebrew to even at least consider the spirit of their own Law.  And if you think about it, sometimes it's in failure where Hebrew people were forced to "grow up" in their thought levels, and it was in a time of Roman Imperial subduing where Christ showed up.

doubtingthomas, thanks for asking such a great question.  It brought to light a few things about OT vs NT revelation that I hadn't considered much.

Mina, well said.  Can you recommend some reading on the subject?  I would like to explore this a little deeper.  Thanks.
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2012, 11:51:58 PM »

Hi KBN1,

This has been an issue for me for years ever since I thought about this.  And I continually meditate and continue to learn.

One of the first things that helped me how to interpret the Scriptures was Origen's "Philokalia," which gave me a glimpse into the understanding that some things in the Old Testament just because they're Law doesn't mean they're literally to be followed, and in fact, some make no sense.  Nevertheless, this wasn't a satisfactory point for many of the things that happened in the Old Testament.

Recently, I've been listening to Presbyteria Dr. Eugenia Constantinou's podcasts "Search the Scriptures" since I have been quite busy and not reading much.  But considering how the Church fathers teach certain passages and constantly talk about the primitive nature of Israel, it never really hit home until Presbyteria talked about how we shouldn't judge humanity's actions based on today's standards (when talking about the issue of marrying "sisters" in very early history of humanity), as we are a more primitive and advanced peoples, and we are judged based on our knowledge and understanding of our times.  Furthermore, I found this quote by St. Gregory Nazienzen posted by Asteriktos in another thread that really gave me a revelation of the understanding of these OT passages:


Quote
To this I may compare the case of Theology except that it proceeds the reverse way. For in the case by which I have illustrated it the change is made by successive subtractions; whereas here perfection is reached by additions. For the matter stands thus. The Old Testament proclaimed the Father openly, and the Son more obscurely. The New manifested the Son, and suggested the Deity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit Himself dwells among us, and supplies us with a clearer demonstration of Himself. For it was not safe, when the Godhead of the Father was not yet acknowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son; nor when that of the Son was not yet received to burden us further (if I may use so bold an expression) with the Holy Ghost; lest perhaps people might, like men loaded with food beyond their strength, and presenting eyes as yet too weak to bear it to the sun's light, risk the loss even of that which was within the reach of their powers; but that by gradual additions, and, as David says, Goings up, and advances and progress from glory to glory, the Light of the Trinity might shine upon the more illuminated. For this reason it was, I think, that He gradually came to dwell in the Disciples, measuring Himself out to them according to their capacity to receive Him, at the beginning of the Gospel, after the Passion, after the Ascension, making perfect their powers, being breathed upon them, and appearing in fiery tongues. And indeed it is little by little that He is declared by Jesus, as you will learn for yourself if you will read more carefully. I will ask the Father, He says, and He will send you another Comforter, even the spirit of Truth. This He said that He might not seem to be a rival God, or to make His discourses to them by another authority. Again, He shall send Him, but it is in My Name. He leaves out the I will ask, but He keeps the Shall send, then again, I will send,—His own dignity. Then shall come, the authority of the Spirit.

You see lights breaking upon us, gradually; and the order of Theology, which it is better for us to keep, neither proclaiming things too suddenly, nor yet keeping them hidden to the end. For the former course would be unscientific, the latter atheistical; and the former would be calculated to startle outsiders, the latter to alienate our own people. I will add another point to what I have said; one which may readily have come into the mind of some others, but which I think a fruit of my own thought. Our Saviour had some things which, He said, could not be borne at that time by His disciples (though they were filled with many teachings), perhaps for the reasons I have mentioned; and therefore they were hidden. And again He said that all things should be taught us by the Spirit when He should come to dwell amongst us. Of these things one, I take it, was the Deity of the Spirit Himself, made clear later on when such knowledge should be seasonable and capable of being received after our Saviour's restoration, when it would no longer be received with incredulity because of its marvellous character. For what greater thing than this did either He promise, or the Spirit teach. If indeed anything is to be considered great and worthy of the Majesty of God, which was either promised or taught.

--St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 31.26-27 (aka the Fifth Theological Oration)


It really truly makes a difference to really think about how primitive people were at that time and how things were dealt with differently, and God is not an imposer on peoples, but works with the people, that people may come to understand God better and better generation upon generation.

So what is the final recommendation?  Deeper Bible study, especially of the Old Testament passages.  I haven't come across any author that truly puts it together as I have, but if anyone else knows of any other author that seems to agree with my sentiments, that would be wonderful to add to my reading list.

And of course, I'm continuing to learn more and more as I develop a deeper knowledge of these things.  It takes patience and enduring trust and faith in Christ's revelations, because in the end, I still am convinced Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life despite the doubts I may have suffered through in the past.
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2012, 12:02:45 AM »

Thanks so much!
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2012, 01:40:54 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Let God be whomever He wants, that is entirely His business, all we can do is react,  the question is do we bow or do we flinch?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 01:45:10 AM »

minasoliman owns.

Seriously edifying posts throughout. I have always believed Christ came at the perfect time in human history, God really couldn't have timed it better.

I also want to thank Ortho_cat for helping me out 2 years ago about the primitvness of man in the OT. Why I never pondered the concept, I don't know but he helped me get through a bulk of issues I had with the OT.
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