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Author Topic: Washington State & Homosexuality  (Read 22041 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 03, 2006, 07:54:09 PM »

   Following the lead of 16 other states, Washington will no longer tolerate anti-gay discrimination in housing, employment, insurance and lending. On January 17, the equal rights bill passed in the Senate 25-23, with Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) signing in approval.   
  Spokane’s electorate previously approved a similar ordinance preventing anti-gay discrimination. The Community Colleges of Spokane has upheld this ordinance as part of its code of conduct and now will follow the new state law.   
   Non-profit religious groups and businesses under eight employees will be exempt from the new law. Nonetheless, Washington Republicans are opposed on largely religious grounds.
      Sen. Bill Finkbeiner (R-Kirkland) voted alone among his GOP colleagues in favor of the anti-discrimination bill. Finkbeiner said he feels it’s wrong to discriminate based upon “who their heart chooses to love.” 
   Anti-tax crusader Tim Eyman promised to place a repealing measure on the ballot. If Eyman receives enough signatures by June 7, Washington voters will decide whether the bill should remain law.
   Many believe that the new law, in defending equal rights for gays, will pave the way for same-sex marriage. Maggie Hall, an SFCC student who identifies herself as bisexual, hopes that this will be the case.
   “If they say that (same-sex partners) can’t marry, that’s also a form of discrimination,” Hall said. “If they love their partner, they should be able to have the benefits of being married.”
   The Washington State Supreme Court may soon overturn the state’s Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. Opponents of the act are now likely to argue that same-sex marriage should be included under anti-discrimination.
    On the campus of SFCC, there are already protections for gay students and faculty. CCS’s official policy forbids any form of discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation.
   Barbara Williamson, advisor of The Alliance, advocates on behalf of students who feel they’ve been unfairly treated for their sexual preference. By presiding over our school’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning) support group, Williamson has learned the proper methods in how students may lodge complaints.       
   Williamson said she chose to teach at SFCC because of its rules on sexual orientation. She supports the existing policy so that no student may be afraid to attend school for who they are. 
 “All students deserve equal access to an educational facility,” Williamson said. “What (the policy) does say is that as an institution, we value all people.”
   Even with SFCC’s anti-discrimination policy, violations still occur. Williamson recalls that The Alliance has a hard time keeping flyers up without them being torn down or vandalized. Furthermore, she claims to have received several angry phone calls merely for The Alliance’s sexual preferences.
   Carol Green is Vice President of Student and Administrative Services. She is the one to contact in case any student feels threatened by another student for their sexual orientation.     
   Green feels strongly that sexual orientation should be included under the school’s anti-discrimination policy.
  “If they discriminated based on sexual orientation, I would choose not to work here,” Green said. “Even if homosexuality were a lifestyle choice, I fail to see how discriminating against it would be any different from discrimination against one’s religious preference.”
    Green provides assurance that gays and lesbians are protected on our campus.
   “SFCC does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including sexual orientation,”
 Green said. “If any incident were to occur, we investigate any complaints and take appropriate action.”
   Greg Stevens is the Chief Human Resources Officer of Community Colleges of Spokane. Stevens is responsible for enforcing the school’s policy in case any student feels harassed or discriminated against by an instructor or staff member.
    Stevens is also accountable for protecting employees of CCS from anti-gay discrimination. Human Resources provides the materials necessary to educate the CCS staff regarding the anti-discrimination policy,
   “We have a supervisory training element,” Stevens said. “We issue a payroll stuffer on a regular basis on the policy and how to report violations.”
     
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2006, 12:33:04 AM »

Ultimately, this new law is nothing more than the greatest commandment of Christ.
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2006, 01:05:05 AM »

This seems to be an issue of special importance to you Matthew.  Trying to tell us something? 
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2006, 01:25:18 AM »

Equal rights for all people is nothing more than upholding the golden rule. Are you trying to tell us something?
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2006, 01:37:46 AM »

Equal rights for all people is nothing more than upholding the golden rule. Are you trying to tell us something?
Firstly, I don't think Nektarios' post says he was against equal rights for all people.
Secondly, "Equal rights" =/="the Golden Rule". The Golden Rule does not say "give everyone equal rights", it says "do unto others as you would have others do unto you." The unbaptized do not have equal rights in the Church as the baptized- are you saying that this contradicts the Golden Rule?
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2006, 01:40:45 AM »

Secondly, "Equal rights" =/="the Golden Rule". The Golden Rule does not say "give everyone equal rights", it says "do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

Do not discriminate against others as you would have them not discriminate against you.

The unbaptized do not have equal rights in the Church as the baptized- are you saying that this contradicts the Golden Rule?

We are not speaking of the Church, which has a specific exemption for being a non-profit religious group, but the public realm. Do you believe that people should be fired from their jobs for coming out as gay?
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2006, 02:04:45 AM »

Do not discriminate against others as you would have them not discriminate against you.
Must be the Aramaic version Wink

We are not speaking of the Church, which has a specific exemption for being a non-profit religious group, but the public realm.
Interesting...."we are not speaking of the Church" and yet your argument is based on one of her teachings....which you say should be applied outside the Church, but not within it.....
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2006, 02:07:21 AM »

I would say that the job description of being an Orthodox priest includes that he not be openly gay. My bus driver or college instructor, however, should not be discriminated against based on his sexual preference.
Again, if you applied the golden rule to this issue, it would be a non-issue.
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2006, 02:07:44 AM »

 ÃƒÆ’‚  I don't believe people should be fired from their jobs for coming out as gay- unless gayness itself seriously undermines the group's values. (Why should an Orthodox parish be forced to support an openly gay priest, for example?) However, who could possibly deny that a stable heterosexual couple can perpetuate a healthy society in ways that even stable homosexual couples can't? Stable homosexual couples are ultimately "dead ends" for a society. Why shouldn't the State encourage self-perpetuating unions without openly discriminating against other types of "family units"?
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2006, 02:12:35 AM »

(Why should an Orthodox parish be forced to support an openly gay priest, for example?)

There is a specific exemption for religious groups.

Why should a person be fired from his job for a private matter which in no way effects his job performance?
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2006, 02:13:19 AM »

I would say that the job description of being an Orthodox priest includes that he not be openly gay. My bus driver or college instructor, however, should not be discriminated against based on his sexual preference.
Again, if you applied the golden rule to this issue, it would be a non-issue.
If we apply your version of the Golden Rule which is:
Do not discriminate against others as you would have them not discriminate against you.
then the job description of an Orthodox Priest you suggest is discrimination.
I am not opposed to civil equal rights- I'm all for them...All I am saying is that you cannot use the Golden Rule to support it.

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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2006, 02:15:45 AM »

then the job description of an Orthodox Priest you suggest is discrimination.

Would you agree that there is a difference between a non-profit religious group and a for-profit company?

I am not opposed to civil equal rights- I'm all for them...All I am saying is that you cannot use the Golden Rule to support it.

Again, not discriminating against others is part of doing unto them as you would have them do unto you. Do you want people to discriminate against you for being a heterosexual Orthodox male?
Think about it.
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2006, 02:18:51 AM »

Would you agree that there is a difference between a non-profit religious group and a for-profit company?
Why yes, I discriminate between them. Wink

Again, not discriminating against others is part of doing unto them as you would have them do unto you. Do you want people to discriminate against you for being a heterosexual Orthodox male?
They do discriminate against me for being a hetrosexual male, even in my own Church.....they won't let me become a Nun! Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2006, 02:20:30 AM »

This is a serious matter, there is no need to kid around. How is it not a great injustice when gays are denied jobs and housing merely for who they choose to love?
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2006, 02:32:15 AM »

This is a serious matter, there is no need to kid around.
Humour is a very adult way of dealing with difficult issues. What I am saying, is that for an Orthodox Christian, the Law is Love, not "Anti-discrimination". It is not enough for us to do the right thing, we have to do the right thing for the right reason. Anti-discriminaqtion legislation is the wrong reason to behave with Love and Compassion towards gay people. The right reason is because Christ commanded us to Love them.
I just see an inherent danger in your approach which will see the eventual overturning of this legislation. Remember the anti-segregation movement and what it acheived? Well, I've recently seen even Orthodox Christians on this forum posting opinions against anti-racism. The reason is, IMHO, because Anti-discrimination against blacks is viewed as something other than the commandment to Love.
It is not the Golden Rule you should be using. It is the Greatest Commandment which surpassed even the Two Great Commandments.
"Love your neighbour as yourself" has been superceeded for us Christians by an even greater (and more demanding) Commanment:
"Love one another as I have loved you."
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2006, 02:36:15 AM »

Anti-discriminaqtion legislation is the wrong reason to behave with Love and Compassion towards gay people.

Would you agree that this legislation should be enforced?

"Love one another as I have loved you."

With how they choose to treat gay people, it is often hard to believe that conservatives actually love them.
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2006, 02:49:51 AM »

This is a serious matter, there is no need to kid around. How is it not a great injustice when gays are denied jobs and housing merely for who they choose to love?

 ÃƒÆ’‚  Justice is defined as the quality of being just or righteous. There is nothing, from an Orthodox Christian perspective, just/ righteous in homosexual relationships (or fornicating, or adulterous ones). So, to deny homosexual/ fornicating/ adulterous couples certain things as couples IS just/ righteous because it corresponds with the only true measure of justice/ righteousness (God's).
 ÃƒÆ’‚  They can still get housing together as room-mates in our secular society but why is it JUST to give them such rights/accomodations when even from a purely secular sense their narcissism only weakens society?
 ÃƒÆ’‚ Of course, in a Christian society, a host of other arguments might be adduced to show why a Homosexual/ Fornicator/ Adulterer ought not to be a teacher/ etc. but I am sure you could infer the reasoning stemming from those suppositions without me belaboring the obvious.....  the arguments advanced above hint at the rationale from a purely secular vantage point well-enough............

 In Christ,
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2006, 02:52:37 AM »

Would you agree that this legislation should be enforced?

   First, we must decide what type of society we want- the answer to that question depends on this one..........

With how they choose to treat gay people, it is often hard to believe that conservatives actually love them.

  Amen, amen, and amen! Conservatives all too often come across as not loving the sinner.....AS OFTEN as the liberal comes across as not caring about the sin............
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2006, 02:56:52 AM »

Would you agree that this legislation should be enforced?
I'm saddened that we even need to legislate for it.

With how they choose to treat gay people, it is often hard to believe that conservatives actually love them.
Our Lord's commandment to Love extends also to loving the "conservatives". If people could just love each other because they are people, and not because of what they believe, whether "liberal" or "conservative" or "capitalist" or "communist" or "buddhist" or "christian", the world might be a better place, and the United States might just be a bit more united than it seems to be right now.
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2006, 03:01:26 AM »

So, to deny homosexual/ fornicating/ adulterous couples certain things as couples IS just/ righteous because it corresponds with the only true measure of justice/ righteousness (God's).
 

Why would it be just to deny somone a job based on their sexual orientation? Remember, a little empathy would goes a long way.

�� the arguments advanced above hint at the rationale from a purely secular vantage point well-enough............

From a purely Christian vantage point, in following the specific commandments of Christ, we are not to be intolerant nor hateful nor discriminatory against gays nor anyone.
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« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2006, 04:16:46 AM »

Why would it be just to deny somone a job based on their sexual orientation? Remember, a little empathy would goes a long way.

But we are not talking abotu a job now, but marriage - which only exists between a man and a woman.
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« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2006, 06:07:39 AM »

even from a purely secular sense their narcissism only weakens society?
 

 Huh I'm not sure this is a "purely secular" belief. Nor a belief based on real experience. How exactly are gay couples "narcissistic" as compared to straight couples? Do unmarried straight people co-habitating also weaken society from "a purely secular" point of view?
I would say that intolerance of our fellow citizens as people has a vastly more weakening effect on the fabric of society.
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« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2006, 06:41:19 AM »

Do unmarried straight people co-habitating also weaken society from "a purely secular" point of view?

Are you referring to monastics?
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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2006, 07:48:36 AM »

Are you referring to monastics?
No, actually (although an interesting point!)
I was actually thinking of my neighbours who have lived together for over 30 years and are unmarried with 3 children and two grandchildren. I just don't see how they have weakened society from a secular point of view. And if they haven't weakened society, why would a gay couple? I may consider sex outside marriage or sex between people of the same gender a sin, but I can't say that "even from a purely secular sense" they weaken society by what they are doing. The only thing that weakens society is when people in a society turn against one another.
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« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2006, 09:27:57 AM »

Huh I'm not sure this is a "purely secular" belief. Nor a belief based on real experience. How exactly are gay couples "narcissistic" as compared to straight couples? Do unmarried straight people co-habitating also weaken society from "a purely secular" point of view?
I would say that intolerance of our fellow citizens as people has a vastly more weakening effect on the fabric of society.

   Yes, unmarried straight couples also weaken society. They may be a more accurate icon of healthy married couples since they have a greater resemblance to the prototype, but they still weaken it even if only by example. Societies are stronger when they have stable families with strong "old-fashioned" values and these families actually produce a next generation of citizens. Unmarried couples lower the societal standard by bad example and make "living in sin" less shocking and more acceptable. Real experience shows us that multitudes of unwed mothers and absent fathers is not good for society. Gay couples lower societal standards by example too and have the additional negative that they cannot produce a next generation to replenish (strengthen) society.
   Yes, intolerance also weakens society. Intolerance of the idea that traditional values form the bedrock of any culture can be devastating, for example.
   Ultimately, I don't think liberals understand tolerance very well. One can only be truly tolerant of something if he truly disagrees with it. Most liberals I have met are "tolerant" of homosexuals (as an example) simply because the spirit of the times has taught them that every man is an island and what we do only affects ourselves and homosexuality (or any other sin) really isn't a big deal. This is not tolerance, this is acceptance. I, as a conservative, disagree vehemently with homosexuality and believe that its public equivocation with traditional marriage would be a horrible thing for society. Yet, I have no desire to hurt or harm or persecute them in any way. I tolerate homosexuals without sanctioning them. And I care for them and would call them to repentance- and would not remove the reminder that their lifestyle is a deviation which is reflected in both civil and Divine law.
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« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2006, 02:26:01 PM »

Gay couples lower societal standards by example too and have the additional negative that they cannot produce a next generation to replenish (strengthen) society.

This has long been a classic argument against homosexuality, the entire 'Be fruitful and multiply' argument. But the same arguments could be used against monasticism, celibacy, and even heterosexual marriages where one member is impotent. It is an argument from an outdated judaic concept that is logically inconsistant and incompatable with our Christian understanding of love and relationships. Furthermore, with modern science it actually could be possible for two women (or even one woman by herself) to reproduce, though I'm guessing you'd say that this is 'contrary to nature' as well, for no other reason than the fact that before this age of scientific advancement we have been too ignorant to understand the science of genetics and reproduction.

Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality are primarially based on a lack of understanding of sexuality and the human psychology combined with outdated notions of ritual uncleanness, the same ritual uncleanness that prohibits you from eating pork or a having swiss cheese on your ruben sandwhich, or places numerous restrictions on women to ensure the dominance of clearly insecure men. Restrictions on homosexuality, observing from a psychological perspective, reflect little more than further insecurity about the sexual orientation of the ruling men of the day...alot like victorian England.

In the end we should follow the example of our Lord and be loving and understanding to our neighbours, realizing that God created some people homosexual by nature, we should not condemn them to a life of celibacy any more than we should condemn the impotent to a life of celibacy, it is not right to deny to others that which we are not willing to deny ourselves. The church in the 21st century should take note of the lessens of the Enlightenment and modern scientific andvancements and understandings about human psychology, and be loving and understanding to all humanity, rejecting outdated and discriminatory practices based on archaic notions of ritual uncleanness. There is no place for such hateful behaviour in the Orthodox Church and I would suggest that those who want to participate in it go join the The Westboro Baptist Church ( http://www.godhatesfags.com/ )

'Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.'
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« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2006, 03:03:13 PM »

Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality are primarially based on a lack of understanding of sexuality and the human psychology combined with outdated notions of ritual uncleanness, the same ritual uncleanness that prohibits you from eating pork or a having swiss cheese on your ruben sandwhich, or places numerous restrictions on women to ensure the dominance of clearly insecure men.

Agreed. I just think that they are disugusting perverts, it has nothing to do with religion for me.
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« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2006, 04:01:04 PM »

Agreed. I just think that they are disugusting perverts, it has nothing to do with religion for me.

I can agree with that sentiment, but I see no reason why disgusting should be equated with immoral. Be honest about your personal prejudices, dont try to cover them up and make excuses for them using mythology or religion.
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« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2006, 06:47:02 PM »

Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality are primarially based on a lack of understanding of sexuality and the human psychology combined with outdated notions of ritual uncleanness, the same ritual uncleanness that prohibits you from eating pork or a having swiss cheese on your ruben sandwhich, or places numerous restrictions on women to ensure the dominance of clearly insecure men. Restrictions on homosexuality, observing from a psychological perspective, reflect little more than further insecurity about the sexual orientation of the ruling men of the day...alot like victorian England.

In the end we should follow the example of our Lord and be loving and understanding to our neighbours, realizing that God created some people homosexual by nature, we should not condemn them to a life of celibacy any more than we should condemn the impotent to a life of celibacy, it is not right to deny to others that which we are not willing to deny ourselves. The church in the 21st century should take note of the lessens of the Enlightenment and modern scientific andvancements and understandings about human psychology, and be loving and understanding to all humanity, rejecting outdated and discriminatory practices based on archaic notions of ritual uncleanness. There is no place for such hateful behaviour in the Orthodox Church and I would suggest that those who want to participate in it go join the The Westboro Baptist Church ( http://www.godhatesfags.com/ )

'Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.'

I'm sorry, I just can't see how God can have a lack of understanding of anything.

God does not create sin.
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« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2006, 07:05:58 PM »

I'm sorry, I just can't see how God can have a lack of understanding of anything.

God does not have a lack of understanding, but sinful men who made these religious taboos and sinful men who interpret the will of God can, and often do, have a lack of understanding.

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God does not create sin.

Yet modern science has taught us God creates people with homosexual tendencies, provided you believe God has the role of creator of humanity...hmmmm...

And yet you argue that it is somehow unnatural and immoral...what kind of a perverse and sadistic god would do such a things a create something and at the same time condemn it? Is this the God of Love that Christians claim to serve?

But please, by all means, I invite you to solve this dilemma for me, if you can.
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« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2006, 07:35:03 PM »

GiC-

   The Truth as we have recieved it is very simple and compassionate and loving while remainng just and righteous. Orthodox Christian morality is clear and easy to know. It does not come from the Enlightenment or modern science's philosophical pre-suppositions. Our stand on different moral issues comes from revelation and the historic teaching of the Church through divinely revealed Scripture and Spirit-preserved Holy Tradition. If some heretical group loses the Orthodox balance on a subject like homosexuality by squeezing out the compassion while retaining a call to repentance, how does that invalidate the Fathers' teachings? If modern science determines homosexuality is a genetic predisposition how does that change what God Himself has revealed as right and wrong? It merely shows that the Fall can express itself even on a cellular level.
   As for the suggestion that Orthodox Christians who hold the historic teachings of the Church regarding  homosexuality should join the hateful organization you mentioned: it is an offensive suggestion and shows either a lack of understanding  of the Orthodox position or an inability to have an intelligent disagreement without demonizing the opposition with ridiculous caricatures.
       
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« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2006, 07:41:20 PM »

God does not have a lack of understanding, but sinful men who made these religious taboos and sinful men who interpret the will of God can, and often do, have a lack of understanding.

Yet modern science has taught us God creates people with homosexual tendencies, provided you believe God has the role of creator of humanity...hmmmm...

And yet you argue that it is somehow unnatural and immoral...what kind of a perverse and sadistic god would do such a things a create something and at the same time condemn it? Is this the God of Love that Christians claim to serve?

But please, by all means, I invite you to solve this dilemma for me, if you can.

   And pedophiliacs? Really, does the Church teach that everything God created is running as it should
or was there a Fall from this perfection that affects each of us with, among other things, predispositions to certain sins?..............You could solve the dilemna yourself if you wanted to............

In Christ,
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« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2006, 07:53:44 PM »

Oh come on, David! Your'e surely not going to accuse GiC of being a "liberal"!
Simplistic answers are for Protestant simpletons, not Orthodox Christians.
This may surprise you, but there are Orthodox Christians who disagree with your approach.
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« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2006, 07:55:19 PM »

A liberal is nothing more than a person who upholds liberty. I fail to see how is became a dirty word.
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« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2006, 08:13:13 PM »

A liberal is nothing more than a person who upholds liberty. I fail to see how is became a dirty word.

If you really believe this, I have a wonderful bridge in London to sell you...

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« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2006, 08:17:25 PM »

"Liberal" and "conservative" have nothing to do with it.
I find myself in the (very unusual) position of sharing GiC's sentiment here. Whenever the issue of same-gender attraction comes up, everyone seems to have a simple, stock-standard answer....It just doesn't work in a real world with real people. Yes, homosexual acts are a sin, but no more a sin than fornication. Yet someone on this thread even went on to suggest that fornication is more an "icon" of marriage! So somehow, they think that a grievous sin resembles a Sacred Mystery of the Church!
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« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2006, 08:19:30 PM »

Oh come on, David! Your'e surely not going to accuse GiC of being a "liberal"!
Simplistic answers are for Protestant simpletons, not Orthodox Christians.
This may surprise you, but there are Orthodox Christians who disagree with your approach.

 ÃƒÆ’‚ It does not surprise me when fellow Orthodox disagree with me on a host of subjects (e.g. politics). It does surprise me when they disagree on basic Orthodox Christian morality and how we can know what is right and wrong.
 ÃƒÆ’‚ It is sometimes hard to find the Church's historic teachings on certain peripheral subjects; it is not hard to do so with basic morality and dogma.
 ÃƒÆ’‚ If an Orthodox Christian strives to know these things through Scripture, the Fathers, the consistent teaching of the Church throughout the ages he is seeking the simple truth, not simplistic answers. Right and wrong is found in revelation, not test tubes and centrifuges. And I am not sure how this became my approach- I didn't make it up.......

Pax, Brother
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« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2006, 08:32:27 PM »

Yet someone on this thread even went on to suggest that fornication is more an "icon" of marriage! So somehow, they think that a grievous sin resembles a Sacred Mystery of the Church!


Oi!

Ps 56:5:  "All day they twist my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil."

Forgive me if my words offended you- the point was that although both are serious sins, one is a greater deviation in type if not in kind from the other.
 

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« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2006, 08:36:56 PM »

David,
No one on this thread has disagreed with your view of the sinful nature of homosexual sex. What I disagree with is your approach as to how to apply this in our Western societies in the 21st century, and how the Church can best minister to those who find themselves in the unenviable position of being same-sex attracted.
If we take the Orthodox view, then passions are not sins in themselves. The non-Orthodox view is that passions themselves are sinful. If we approach this issue from the non-Orthodox view, then we create untold psychological suffering for those who find themselves attracted to the same sex. If we approach this issue from the Orthodox view of passions, then we may be able to offer an understanding and hope to people who find themselves same-sex attracted which may allow them to seek theosis. If we punish people by discriminating against them simply because they have a particular passion, then we have closed the doors of salvation to them- and consequently, to ourselves.
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« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2006, 08:47:11 PM »

Ps 56:5:  "All day they twist my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil."

Forgive me if my words offended you- the point was that although both are serious sins, one is a greater deviation in type if not in kind from the other. 

Methinks we should be leery of nitpicking to this degree; in classifying sin, we get very close to attempting to exert power over it, which is something we do not have, only God does.  Anyway, when you do start to make multi-level distinctions of sin, the process goes to the extreme and we get strict classifications - as found in the Latin Church.
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« Reply #40 on: February 04, 2006, 08:50:52 PM »

the point was that although both are serious sins, one is a greater deviation in type if not in kind from the other.
David,
Fornication and marriage, by definition, are complete opposites both in type and kind.
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« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2006, 09:07:18 PM »

   I am glad we're all on the same page as far as the sinfulness of homosexuality is concerned........I was on the verge of replying to the reponses to my latest post but I realized I was falling into the basic internet trap of the never-ending nitpicking of one anothers' posts. It would be better if we could get off the ground floor of a thread like this and actually get somewhere with the conversation.........
  Granted, homosexuality is a sin and the people who suffer from this need to be brought to healing and repentance through a loving Christian witness- how would you go about that?
  Are you thinking of an independent ministry like "Exodus" I think it is called or parish support groups, pastoral workshops for confessors.......the only approach I think I put forward earlier was not wanting to change existing law to give the appearance of sanctioning immorality. That is something NOT to do, what is something positive that could be done?
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« Reply #42 on: February 04, 2006, 09:11:56 PM »

If you really believe this, I have a wonderful bridge in London to sell you...

"‘By definition’, Maurice Cranston rightly pointed out, ‘a liberal is a man who believes in liberty’ (Cranston, 459). In two different ways, liberals accord liberty primacy as a political value. First, liberals have typically maintained that humans are naturally in ‘a State of perfect Freedom to order their Actions…as they think fit…without asking leave, or depending on the Will of any other Man’ (Locke, 1960 [1689]: 287). Mill too argued that
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« Reply #43 on: February 04, 2006, 09:14:33 PM »

The Truth as we have recieved it is very simple and compassionate and loving while remainng just and righteous. Orthodox Christian morality is clear and easy to know. It does not come from the Enlightenment or modern science's philosophical pre-suppositions.

It doesn't come from philosophical pre-supposistions? First of all many of the fathers who you are so fond of bring up would disagree with you (e.g. St. Clement of Alexandria). Second am I to believe that truths that have been revealed to us by science or philosophy, by the mind and logic which God has given us, are to be dismissed without consideration? It must be nice to be able to excuse yourself from moral responsibilities and the difficulities associated with being a moral person by simply quoting dogmas and decrees, no matter how distant they are from what we know from experience to be true. Concerning Justice, I shall quote St. Isaac the Syrian, 'Never say that God is just. If he were just you would be in hell. Rely only on His injustice which is mercy, love and forgiveness.'

Quote
Our stand on different moral issues comes from revelation and the historic teaching of the Church through divinely revealed Scripture and Spirit-preserved Holy Tradition. If some heretical group loses the Orthodox balance on a subject like homosexuality by squeezing out the compassion while retaining a call to repentance, how does that invalidate the Fathers' teachings?

If some new-coming heretical group (i.e. Christianity) ignores the Law of god on a subject like eating pork how does that invalidate the Levitical Law that was Given by God and handed down by the Priests, Prophets, and Rabbis?

Quote
If modern science determines homosexuality is a genetic predisposition how does that change what God Himself has revealed as right and wrong? It merely shows that the Fall can express itself even on a cellular level.

WOW, this is amongst the most radical versions of Orginal Sin I have heard, our very biology is changed by the fall and our sinful biology is inherited from father to son...doesn't sound very Orthodox to me. And about God revealing it to be wrong, I fear I dont see that, unfortunately God doesn't come down and talk to me, I only see sinful men condemning something that they are Ignorant of and clearly feel threatened by, just like the opressive restrictions ment to make women second class citizens in society. This is the fear, pride, arrogance, and hatred of sinful men...NOT the Love of the All-Merciful God. I have left calvinism and renounced that heresy, so please dont use legalistic arguments stemming from Anselmian Blood Atonement to try to defend a notion of a ruthless and vengful God, I've heard them all, and quite frankly they're pagan.

Quote
As for the suggestion that Orthodox Christians who hold the historic teachings of the Church regarding  homosexuality should join the hateful organization you mentioned: it is an offensive suggestion and shows either a lack of understanding  of the Orthodox position or an inability to have an intelligent disagreement without demonizing the opposition with ridiculous caricatures.

You have presented arguments for your posistion based on a legalistic God, that has more concern for upholding ancient texts than for the souls of his creation; a God that desires not all to be saved, but would actively condemn to everlasting hell one of his creatures that both Loves and Serves him for living a life that is consonant with the Nature God gave him. I fear I do not see a substantive difference between the posistion you espouse and the posistion of the Westboro Baptist Church...the only differences are in emphasis and degrees of severity.

And pedophiliacs? Really, does the Church teach that everything God created is running as it should
or was there a Fall from this perfection that affects each of us with, among other things, predispositions to certain sins?..............You could solve the dilemna yourself if you wanted to............

I dont know that the problem is as easy to solve as you suggest, in Ancient Greece a form of Pedophilia was not only Culturally Acceptable, but often expected. Perhaps our objections to this act which I would clearly describe as disgusting (along with homosexuality), are not some absolute moral standards as you claim, but rather cultural standards, that are relative to the society and place...perhaps the only universal moral standard we can uphold is the one that our Lord gave us in relation to our conduct with our neighbours...'Love they Neighbour as thyself.'
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« Reply #44 on: February 04, 2006, 09:15:02 PM »

   I am glad we're all on the same page as far as the sinfulness of homosexuality is concerned

Homosexuality may be a sin but in a free, democratic and secular society, work-place discrimination and hate crimes should not be tolerated. Furthermore, given that arguments against civil marriage for homosexuals ultimately boil down to purely religious reasons, the separation of church and state should forbid such a restriction on marriage.
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« Reply #45 on: February 04, 2006, 09:16:57 PM »

Fornication and marriage, by definition, are complete opposites both in type and kind.

Good point, to quote the 26th canon of St. Basil, 'Fornication is not matrimony, but is not even the beginning of matrimony. So that if it be possible to separate persons joined in fornication, this would be the best course to take. But if they insist upon marriage at all costs, let them pay the penalty for fornication, and let them have their way, lest anything should happen that is still worse.'

Of course even St. Basil allows for pastoral considerations, knowing the person is more important than the law, but the point is that Fornication and Marriage have nothing in common.
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« Reply #46 on: February 04, 2006, 09:21:53 PM »

  Granted, homosexuality is a sin and the people who suffer from this need to be brought to healing and repentance through a loving Christian witness- how would you go about that?   

I think we can agree that homosexual acts are sinful; if homosexuality implies the performance of homosexual acts, then we are agreed.  But if we're going to say that attraction to members of the same sex (in a non-lustful way) is sinful, then there's another thing: while all lust is sinful, whether directed at animals, members of the Homo sapiens sapiens who are of the opposite sex, or of the same sex, attraction is not sinful, even if directed at the same sex.  It is problematic insofar as it has no physical outlets that are appropriate, i.e. there is not even a remote possibility in the Church of physically manifesting that attraction.  BUt this does not make it sinful - if it is controlled, and the energy is refocused to God and prayer, then it has positive outlets.  This should be the focus of Orthodox teaching: how can those who cannot engage in physical love (i.e. all the unmarried, whether hetero- or homo-sexual) focus and channel their energies of attraction and lust towards divine purposes, such as study, prayer, scripture, worship, etc.
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« Reply #47 on: February 04, 2006, 09:22:23 PM »

Quote
realizing that God created some people homosexual by nature...
Ummm....no.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #48 on: February 04, 2006, 09:25:56 PM »

Ummm....no.  Roll Eyes

It is hard to imagine that people just wake up one morning and decide they are attracted to the same sex. If homosexuality were not a choice and assuming that God does exist then one could say that God makes people gay.
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« Reply #49 on: February 04, 2006, 09:27:41 PM »

Homosexuality may be a sin but in a free, democratic and secular society, work-place discrimination and hate crimes should not be tolerated. Furthermore, given that arguments against civil marriage for homosexuals ultimately boil down to purely religious reasons, the separation of church and state should forbid such a restriction on marriage.   

Well, from a purely secular standpoint, there is no reason to deny a homosexual couple the full rights of a married couple, unless the constitution/s (national and state) are amended to reflect such prohibitions.  But we as Orthodox, while allowing the secular government to operate in its realm and while dutifully doing those duties to it that do not interfere with the core of our morality ("give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's), it does not mean that when we vote we should separate our morality from our civics.  While not descriminating against homosexuals, giving homosexual couples the rights of married couples promotes the image of a broken home, just as common law marriages do.  Just as we shouldn't permit spousal-priviledges to live-in boy/girlfriends who are trading genetic material with their significant-others, so we shouldn't permit those living in the image of an incomplete family from enjoying the protections and benefits fit only for the complete family.
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« Reply #50 on: February 04, 2006, 09:31:22 PM »

It is hard to imagine that people just wake up one morning and decide they are attracted to the same sex. If homosexuality were not a choice and assuming that God does exist then one could say that God makes people gay.

But making such statement raises one up to a level where they have insight into the motives and actions of God.  You don't think we're at that level, do you?
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« Reply #51 on: February 04, 2006, 09:34:32 PM »

Well, from a purely secular standpoint, there is no reason to deny a homosexual couple the full rights of a married couple, unless the constitution/s (national and state) are amended to reflect such prohibitions.¦nbsp;

Would it be right to amend the Constitution for a religious reason?

But we as Orthodox, while allowing the secular government to operate in its realm and while dutifully doing those duties to it that do not interfere with the core of our morality

How would it interfere with our morality if the state granted gay unions? Our Church would not be forced to recognize their marriage nor perform gay weddings. Again, in a free and democratic society, there must be more than purely religious reasons to forbid gay marriage.
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« Reply #52 on: February 04, 2006, 09:36:24 PM »

But making such statement raises one up to a level where they have insight into the motives and actions of God.  You don't think we're at that level, do you?

Do you think a just God would damn people to hell for what they were born to be?
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« Reply #53 on: February 04, 2006, 09:44:50 PM »

It is hard to imagine that people just wake up one morning and decide they are attracted to the same sex.
Hmmm....I don't recall saying that..  But I guess an analogy would be for one to wake up one day and decide he's an alcoholic.
 
Quote
If homosexuality were not a choice and assuming that God does exist then one could say that God makes people gay.
Homosexuality is not biologically determined, although there may be biological factors that predispose one to ultimately become "oriented" that way. Ultimately, however, it's a learned behavior.
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« Reply #54 on: February 04, 2006, 09:45:45 PM »

Do you think a just God would damn people to hell for what they were born to be?
Matthew (and Doubting Thomas),
The Orthodox view of sin is that it is an illness requiring threapy, and the Orthodox view of passion is that it is a condition which needs to be managed and controlled rather than allowed to control us.
People are born with Diabetes Melitus- should it not be managed with insulin and diet simply because being Diabetic is what they were "born" to be?
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« Reply #55 on: February 04, 2006, 09:47:32 PM »

it's a learned behavior.

From what and whom?
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« Reply #56 on: February 04, 2006, 09:49:11 PM »

From what and whom?
"From what and whom" is any complex learned behavior learned from? Cool

If Homosexuality were completely biologically determined then there would be a 100% concordance rate of it among monozygotic twins.  However the rate (based on studies of 10,000 plus sets of twins) is only around 33%.  In other words, if one twin is gay there's only one-third change that other--who shares exactly the same genes--would be gay also.  So what ever role biology may play, it's certainly not the whole picture.

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« Reply #57 on: February 04, 2006, 09:49:29 PM »

Do you think a just God would damn people to hell for what they were born to be?
¦nbsp; This is a purely protestant notion.God gives us the free will to accept or deny him. If one is condemned to hell, it is because of the choices we make in this life.
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« Reply #58 on: February 04, 2006, 09:50:12 PM »

People are born with Diabetes Melitus- should it not be managed with insulin and diet simply because being Diabetic is what they were "born" to be?

Are people damned to hell for being diabetic? The hypothalamus is the part of the brain which controls sexual desires. Humans with an enlarged hypothalamus are more likely to be attracted to the same sex. If God didn't want people to be gay, why have this design flaw?
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« Reply #59 on: February 04, 2006, 09:51:02 PM »

¦nbsp; This is a purely protestant notion.God gives us the free will to accept or deny him. If one is condemned to hell, it is because of the chooses we make in this life.

Think about this - Would God damn me to hell for having brown hair?
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« Reply #60 on: February 04, 2006, 09:54:09 PM »

Are people damned to hell for being diabetic?
No, but should they not treat their condition and manage it, and be assisted to do so? I think you missed my point.
The Church should be a hospital for the passions, not leave people to spiritually die as a result of them.
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« Reply #61 on: February 04, 2006, 09:54:24 PM »

Think about this - Would God damn me to hell for having brown hair?
What does that have to do with ANYTHING, Matthew?
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« Reply #62 on: February 04, 2006, 09:59:29 PM »

Are people damned to hell for being diabetic? The hypothalamus is the part of the brain which controls sexual desires. Humans with an enlarged hypothalamus are more likely to be attracted to the same sex. If God didn't want people to be gay, why have this design flaw?
Key phrase is "more likely".  Having an enlarged hypothalamus is certainly not causative.  Plus, given the plasticity of the brain/CNS, structures (and neural connections) can become enlarged and reinforced by thoughts and behaviors.  This is basic first year med school knowledge.  So it really is a "chicken and the egg" kind of question.
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« Reply #63 on: February 04, 2006, 10:03:51 PM »

To be honest Matthew your arguments have grown so weak recently , it seems as if you are some kind of automatron. Come on man, my 13 year old is far more persuasive when it come to debates and making his point.
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« Reply #64 on: February 04, 2006, 10:09:06 PM »

If God didn't want people to be gay, why have this design flaw?

Firstly, where did I say that God never allowed the possibility of same sex attraction? And secondly, by this view, Diabetes Melitus is also a "design flaw" allowed by God.

You, Doubting Thomas and Mo all seem to be missing the point. The Orthodox view is that same-sex attraction is a passion (whether genetically determined or not), and that passions are not in themselves sinful. We wont "go to hell" because we have passions. But we are called to master our passions and control them. If we can teach gay people this Orthodox view instead of pushing the protestant view that same sex attraction (and all passions) are sinful and must be wiped out (which is impossible according to the Fathers), but instead, present the Orthodox position that the passions must be managed and transformed, we may actually get somewhere.

"Without temptation, no one is saved."- St. Anthony the Great.
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« Reply #65 on: February 04, 2006, 10:22:01 PM »

and Mo all seem to be missing the point.
"
t.
 ÃƒÆ’‚      Hey homey , I just posted on this one. I know you can`t resist , but don`t slam me before it`s due.
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« Reply #66 on: February 04, 2006, 10:25:39 PM »

It is hard to imagine that people just wake up one morning and decide they are attracted to the same sex. If homosexuality were not a choice and assuming that God does exist then one could say that God makes people gay.

Homosexual tendencies grow from childhood, and may not reach a height until later, and it may appear to be overnight.
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« Reply #67 on: February 04, 2006, 10:27:47 PM »

...all seem to be missing the point. ...

"Without temptation, no one is saved."- St. Anthony the Great.

Excellent post! I agree completely.
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« Reply #68 on: February 04, 2006, 10:29:45 PM »

t.
 ÃƒÆ’¯Â¿Â½  �  �  Hey homey , I just posted on this one. I know you can`t resist , but don`t slam me before it`s due.

Sorry mate (the Australian word for "homey"), but I understood from your post that you were saying that same-sex attraction was a conscious choice and therefore inherently sinful. Forgive me if I misunderstood.
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« Reply #69 on: February 04, 2006, 10:36:24 PM »

Excellent post! I agree completely.

Good grief! First GiC, and now you? What's wrong with me?!!! Cheesy
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« Reply #70 on: February 04, 2006, 10:39:19 PM »

Sorry mate (the Australian word for "homey"), but I understood from your post that you were saying that same-sex attraction was a conscious choice and therefore inherently sinful. Forgive me if I misunderstood.
¦nbsp; George .. You and I spend far to much time arguing. Forgive me for my many, many offences against you.
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« Reply #71 on: February 04, 2006, 10:51:18 PM »

�  George ..despite our differences, you and I spend far to much time arguing. Forgive me for my many, many offences against you.
God forgives, and so do I.
And forgive me for my offences against you.
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« Reply #72 on: February 04, 2006, 10:55:55 PM »

What does that have to do with ANYTHING, Matthew?

If homosexuality is an inborn physical and personality trait, one could not justly condemn a person for having it.
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« Reply #73 on: February 04, 2006, 10:58:52 PM »

Firstly, where did I say that God never allowed the possibility of same sex attraction?

What we are speaking of is whether or not people are born with the tendency to feel attracted to the same sex. Why would God create same-sex attraction if He did not intend on people to act on it?
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« Reply #74 on: February 04, 2006, 11:01:53 PM »

What we are speaking of is whether or not people are born with the tendency to feel attracted to the same sex.
No Matthew, that's what you are speaking of. What the Church says is that it doesn't matter whether people are born with it or not, it is still a passion.
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« Reply #75 on: February 04, 2006, 11:04:08 PM »

To be honest Matthew your arguments have grown so weak recently , it seems as if you are some kind of automatron. Come on man, my 13 year old is far more persuasive when it come to debates and making his point.

Does the truth need its own argument?
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« Reply #76 on: February 04, 2006, 11:08:22 PM »

Would it be right to amend the Constitution for a religious reason?

In a system of a democratic republic (I'm speaking of the ideal, and not of a particular nation for which debate is banned in this forum) the people have the right to determine whether or not the Constitution can be amended for religious reasons, when they vote on it in referrendum.  One cannot and should not apply restrictions on the motivations of the electorate, for it undermines the very fabric of the system of democratic voting.

How would it interfere with our morality if the state granted gay unions? Our Church would not be forced to recognize their marriage nor perform gay weddings. Again, in a free and democratic society, there must be more than purely religious reasons to forbid gay marriage.   

What interferes with our morality is the belief that one can personally separate their beliefs from their action in the secular sphere.  You are right that for elected officials there must be more than purely religious reasons to forbid gay marriage, but not for the electorate; if they elect a judge whose platform is religious adherence, then that is their mandate; if they vote in referrendum for a constitutional amendment, then it is the will of the people, which is the only inviolate piece of the democratic system.
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« Reply #77 on: February 04, 2006, 11:14:34 PM »

One cannot and should not apply restrictions on the motivations of the electorate, for it undermines the very fabric of the system of democratic voting.

Then we might as well throw the establishment clause and the freedom of religion it protects out the window. The reason for having a Constitutional Republic is to protect the minority from the tyrrany of the majority.

What interferes with our morality is the belief that one can personally separate their beliefs from their action in the secular sphere. 

Are you arguing that people should be able to deny gays jobs and opportunities for advancement merely for their sexual preference?
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« Reply #78 on: February 04, 2006, 11:22:08 PM »

Do you think a just God would damn people to hell for what they were born to be?

My statement was basically saying your claim that "one could say that God makes people gay" is too much of a stretch; unless there is concrete proof that God makes people gay, don't even postulate it.
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« Reply #79 on: February 04, 2006, 11:26:45 PM »

My statement was basically saying your claim that "one could say that God makes people gay" is too much of a stretch; unless there is concrete proof that God makes people gay, don't even postulate it.

If we are speaking of the scientific evidence, without allowing personal bias, would the preponderance of evidence favor that homosexuality is an inborn personality trait? 
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« Reply #80 on: February 04, 2006, 11:35:53 PM »

Then we might as well throw the establishment clause and the freedom of religion it protects out the window. The reason for having a Constitutional Republic is to protect the minority from the tyrrany of the majority.   

And the establishment clause was designed to protect the States from the Federal Government establishing a religion that conficted or suppressed the state religion.  Even after the adoption of the Federal Constitution there was a legal establishment of state religion.

Are you arguing that people should be able to deny gays jobs and opportunities for advancement merely for their sexual preference?   

I would argue that the government has little place to restrict what private business do in their hiring practices; I think the market and economics will punish them enough.
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« Reply #81 on: February 04, 2006, 11:36:45 PM »

If we are speaking of the scientific evidence, without allowing personal bias, would the preponderance of evidence favor that homosexuality is an inborn personality trait? 

Well, if you can refute what Doubting Thomas posted earlier, then maybe; but until then, there has been a statement with evidence that homosexuality cannot be classified as an inborn personality trait.
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« Reply #82 on: February 04, 2006, 11:49:04 PM »

I would argue that the government has little place to restrict what private business do in their hiring practices; I think the market and economics will punish them enough.

Then we might as well forget that the civil rights movement ever happened.
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« Reply #83 on: February 04, 2006, 11:52:38 PM »

Well, if you can refute what Doubting Thomas posted earlier, then maybe; but until then, there has been a statement with evidence that homosexuality cannot be classified as an inborn personality trait.

The first line of evidence that we must consider is how often and in how many species that homosexuality occurs in nature:

The Natural "Crime Against Nature"
A Brief Survey of Homosexual Behaviors In Animals
http://www.bidstrup.com/sodomy.htm
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« Reply #84 on: February 04, 2006, 11:54:15 PM »

The civil rights movement's biggest victories were in the areas of desegregating institutions of learning (which receive federal funds), publicly-operated systems (like public transport) and the government in general.  Statements like "we might as well forget" are useless in that this is impossible; my statement was made with the civil-rights movement and its reprecussions being a prerequisite.  The civil rights movement has gotten us to a point where my idea is possible, since it raised public awareness and changed general public opinion to the point where racism (and sexism, to a lesser degree) are not as socially acceptable as they were back then.
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« Reply #85 on: February 04, 2006, 11:56:54 PM »

The Natural "Crime Against Nature"
A Brief Survey of Homosexual Behaviors In Animals
http://www.bidstrup.com/sodomy.htm

As an Orthodox Christian who believes at least in the spiritual authority of scripture, you cannot make comparisons between the human species and the rest of the animal kingdom.  What you do need to address are the two claims, one being that genetics cannot be used to prove homosexuality as a biological predisposition because of the lack of complete 1:1 correlation in identical twins; and the fact that enlarged hypothalimus does not necessitate homosexuality.
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« Reply #86 on: February 05, 2006, 12:05:52 AM »

The civil rights movement has gotten us to a point where my idea is possible, since it raised public awareness and changed general public opinion to the point where racism (and sexism, to a lesser degree) are not as socially acceptable as they were back then.

What good are civil rights without a government that will protect them?
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« Reply #87 on: February 05, 2006, 12:08:20 AM »

As an Orthodox Christian who believes at least in the spiritual authority of scripture, you cannot make comparisons between the human species and the rest of the animal kingdom.  What you do need to address are the two claims, one being that genetics cannot be used to prove homosexuality as a biological predisposition because of the lack of complete 1:1 correlation in identical twins; and the fact that enlarged hypothalimus does not necessitate homosexuality.
I think we are getting hung up on the nature/nurture issue too much, as though the question of whether same-sex attraction is a passion or not depends on this. It doesn't depend on this. Alcoholism is also a passion (yes, cleveland, I'm afraid it is!) but if an alcoholic stops drinking for the rest of their life, they have conquered their passion instead of letting it conquer them. And although there is some evidence that there is a genetic predisposition towards increasing the chances of becoming alcoholic, genetics alone cannot determine who will or will not become alcoholic.
And the question of whether God makes people gay or not is also moot. We Orthodox hold that we are the result of generativity, not creation. Our soul does not come into being out of nothing, but is generated from the souls of both our parents, just as our genetic code is. So God didn't "make me", my parents did, and their parents made them, and their parents made them and so on all the way back to Adam and Eve who alone were originally created by God. So who I am is a result of of who all my ancestors were before me, and my particular passions are a result of the same. What I choose to do with this is entirely up to me- and of course, my knowledge and understanding of this.
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« Reply #88 on: February 05, 2006, 12:09:24 AM »

I'm not going to respond to Matthew's continued posts on Civil Rights - this is totally off topic; you should be building up your arguments on human sexuality using the countless experiments and studies that have manipulated animal genetics (specifically fruit flies, according to GiC) that have successfully changed the sexual orientation of said animals (specifically fruit flies, according to GiC).
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« Reply #89 on: February 05, 2006, 12:10:59 AM »

{ASIDE}

Alcoholism is also a passion (yes, cleveland, I'm afraid it is!) but if an alcoholic stops drinking for the rest of their life, they have conquered their passion instead of letting it conquer them.

Coming from the deposed Archbishop of Stoli, I find the note interesting; I will never deny that alchoholism is a passion, and fortunately I suffer very little from it.

{/ASIDE}
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« Reply #90 on: February 05, 2006, 12:19:40 AM »

As an Orthodox Christian who believes at least in the spiritual authority of scripture, you cannot make comparisons between the human species and the rest of the animal kingdom. 

If homosexuality is natural in the animal kingdom, why would it be 'unnatural' in the human species?

What you do need to address are the two claims, one being that genetics cannot be used to prove homosexuality as a biological predisposition because of the lack of complete 1:1 correlation in identical twins; and the fact that enlarged hypothalimus does not necessitate homosexuality.

"A study of gay sheep appears to confirm the controversial suggestion that there is a biological basis for sexual preference.

The work shows that rams that prefer male sexual partners had small but distinct differences in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, when compared with rams that preferred to mate with ewes.

Kay Larkin and colleagues from Oregon Health and Science University found the difference was in a particular region of the hypothalamus - the preoptic nucleus. The region is generally almost twice as large in rams as in ewes. But in gay rams its size was almost identical to that in "straight" females.

The hypothalamus is known to control sex hormone release and many types of sexual behaviour. Several other parts of the hypothalamus showed consistent sex differences in size, but only this specific region showed differences that correlated with sexual preference.

The differences are almost identical to those identified by the neuroscientist Simon LeVay in his studies of the brains of gay men. His work has always been considered controversial, partly because the brains he studied were mostly from men who had died of AIDS. So it was not clear whether the differences were related to the disease or to sexual preferences."
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn3008

Even if homosexuality were a lifestyle choice, discriminating against it would be no different from discriminating against one's religious preference. In a free and democratic society, neither form of discrimination should be tolerated.

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« Reply #91 on: February 05, 2006, 12:26:13 AM »

If homosexuality is natural in the animal kingdom, why would it be 'unnatural' in the human species?

Cannibalism is natural in certain species of the animal kingdom; abandonment of young is natural in certain species of the animal kingdom.  Growing no visible genitalia is natural in certain species of the animal kingdom.  Growing tails is natural in much of the animal kingdom.

Meanwhile, free thought and the ability to strive towards abstract goals is natural to humans, why not to the rest of the animal kingdom?
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« Reply #92 on: February 05, 2006, 12:32:40 AM »

Cannibalism is natural in certain species of the animal kingdom; abandonment of young is natural in certain species of the animal kingdom.�  Growing no visible genitalia is natural in certain species of the animal kingdom.�  Growing tails is natural in much of the animal kingdom.

One must not forget that in the human species, the proponderance of evidence would support that homosexuality is not a choice. We must remember that we are talking about human beings who feel very strongly about who they are.
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« Reply #93 on: February 05, 2006, 12:34:55 AM »

So put all the evidence out there!  Making the claim "homosexuality is genetic in animals, so it must be in humans, and there is evidence" doesn't help you.  One poster posted evidence to support his claim based on research dealing with humans; you have responded with research supporting the claim for animals.  Produce evidence/research that supports your claim for humans.
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« Reply #94 on: February 05, 2006, 12:35:33 AM »

If homosexuality is natural in the animal kingdom, why would it be 'unnatural' in the human species?
Humans are supposed to rise above the level of beasts (sadly, they often fail). In the Orthodox view, "unnatural" ("contra-physein" or "against nature") means created things behaving contrary to the "logoi" , the nature and the purpose for which they were created. All illness, therefore, is "contra-physein" (against nature) for humans. All sin is against nature for humans. It is foreign to human nature. Even the demons are not evil by nature- they have twisted their created nature and chosen to behave contrary to it. If homosexual attraction is viewed as a distortion of nature, it does not make it sinful, it simply means that sexually acting on it is.
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« Reply #95 on: February 05, 2006, 12:52:45 AM »

So put all the evidence out there!�  Making the claim "homosexuality is genetic in animals, so it must be in humans, and there is evidence" doesn't help you.� 

This evidence is readily available but I believe you are missing the point. Even if homosexuality were a choice, it still would be wrong to discriminate based upon sexual orientation. Would you want someone to discriminate against you for being an Orthodox Christian?
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« Reply #96 on: February 05, 2006, 01:04:12 AM »

This evidence is readily available but I believe you are missing the point. Even if homosexuality were a choice, it still would be wrong to discriminate based upon sexual orientation. Would you want someone to discriminate against you for being an Orthodox Christian?   

The problem is that it is difficult to discern "the point" amongst your posts.  That's just my problem.

No, I don't think people should be "discriminated" against for their sexual orientation.  But along the same lines I don't think they should be "empowered" to continue in a state that I find morally reprehensible.  I wouldn't personally discriminate against one for having homosexual attraction; but for continuing in a state of homosexual physical relationships, I will use the same discernment as I would with heterosexual couples living in extramarital affair: don't judge them, but don't empower them to continue in their state.
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« Reply #97 on: February 05, 2006, 01:08:53 AM »

But along the same lines I don't think they should be "empowered" to continue in a state that I find morally reprehensible.�� 

You believe that gays should be denied jobs, housing and protection against hate crimes for their lifestyle choice? Is there some reason why your personal moral objection should supercede the rights of the homosexual? Are you able to defend the notion that religion should be enforced as law in a secular society?
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« Reply #98 on: February 05, 2006, 01:18:01 AM »

You believe that gays should be denied jobs, housing and protection against hate crimes for their lifestyle choice? Is there some reason why your personal moral objection should supercede the rights of the homosexual? Are you able to defend the notion that religion should be enforced as law in a secular society?

denying housing, jobs, and protection against hate crimes would be defined as discrimination; I said I am not in favor of discrimination.  allowing gay marriage and spousal rights would be empowerment, especially since they are rights that are currently not provided, but even if they were, would not be essential to the continued existence and would be rather superflouous (despite the rhetoric to the contrary).

Religion can be enforced as law in secular society if the people so wish.  If the masses vote on an amendment to the Constitution of the US that would make Catholicism the state religion, and if it passed, it would be the law of the land.  If the masses vote within the state to ban gay marriage, then the result will stand as legally binding within the state unless one can prove within court that it violates the establishment clause (which is a far stretch).

I never claimed that ANYTHING YOU LISTED ABOVE should supercede the rights of the individual; you have successfully placed figments of your imagination into my mouth.  go and find where I claim that gays should be denied housing, jobs, or protection against hate crimes.

(Did I mention I like big fonts?)
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« Reply #99 on: February 05, 2006, 01:21:59 AM »

You believe that gays should be denied jobs, housing and protection against hate crimes for their lifestyle choice?

Is it biological or is it a lifestyle of choice, choose one and stick with it (may I suggest biological (look up the fruit flies...really, I mean it...it's an example of changing sexual orientation by changing a gene, cause and effect, good science...here look at this site http://www.skeptictank.org/gaygene.htm and don't forget, google is your friend), which implies created, which implies deliberate act of God, which means you can make an argument from divine attributes...then stick to that point supplying scientific studies and patristic quotes where appropriate...it's not that difficult)...I would post myself this evening (I basically laid the argument out), but I'm tired and dont feel like filling in the details, perhaps tomorrow after Church...so why dont you try to give it a go until then?
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« Reply #100 on: February 05, 2006, 01:23:47 AM »

Is it biological or is it a lifestyle of choice, choose one and stick with it (may I suggest biological (look up the fruit flies...really, I mean it...it's an example of changing sexual orientation by changing a gene, cause and effect, good science...here look at this site http://www.skeptictank.org/gaygene.htm and don't forget, google is your friend), which implies created, which implies deliberate act of God, which means you can make an argument from divine attributes...then stick to that point supplying scientific studies and patristic quotes where appropriate...it's not that difficult)...I would post myself this evening (I basically laid the argument out), but I'm tired and dont feel like filling in the details, perhaps tomorrow after Church...so why dont you try to give it a go until then? 

Geez... why don't you just lay out the plans for a perfectly rational, evidence-based argument on sexuality for the board to see... oh, wait, you have!
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« Reply #101 on: February 05, 2006, 01:24:27 AM »

Religion can be enforced as law in secular society if the people so wish. 

If the majority voted to ban Orthodox Christians from practicing their faith, would you support it?
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« Reply #102 on: February 05, 2006, 01:25:41 AM »

Continue to build up your straw man, my friend.  I will help you burn it, in order to end it's misery.

On that note, I'm going to exit for the evening.
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« Reply #103 on: February 05, 2006, 01:29:23 AM »

Is it biological or is it a lifestyle of choice, choose one and stick with it

Whether or not homosexual desire is an inborn trait, it is a choice to act upon it. However, there is no reason why gays should be given less love, respect and liberty for how they choose to live.
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« Reply #104 on: February 05, 2006, 01:33:43 AM »

Whether or not homosexual desire is an inborn trait, it is a choice to act upon it. However, there is no reason why gays should be given less love, respect and liberty for how they choose to live.

You're missing the entire point, the question you have to ask and present is why would a perfect and all-loving God delibrately create a defect in his creation that will result in either their suffering or condemnation...is God a God of misery and suffering? Is he a sadistic God who creates some for the purpose of being damned, and takes pleasure in their damnation, as the Calvinists would have us believe? Come on, surely you can do better than 'let's just all get along' for your arguments here  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #105 on: February 05, 2006, 01:46:05 AM »

However, there is no reason why gays should be given less love, respect and liberty for how they choose to live.
Love and respect- absolutely! But surely you can see the dilemma for the Orthodox Church and her members when it comes to "liberty"?  Surely you can see that she has a duty to warn that "liberty" can be used in ways which make us slaves (to our passions).
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« Reply #106 on: February 05, 2006, 01:55:41 AM »

You're missing the entire point, the question you have to ask and present is why would a perfect and all-loving God delibrately create a defect in his creation that will result in either their suffering or condemnation...is God a God of misery and suffering?

Without any personal bias, where would you say the preponderance of scientific evidences lies on this one?
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« Reply #107 on: February 05, 2006, 01:57:57 AM »

Love and respect- absolutely! But surely you can see the dilemma for the Orthodox Church and her members when it comes to "liberty"?  Surely you can see that she has a duty to warn that "liberty" can be used in ways which make us slaves (to our passions).

I don't think that religious arguments will work on this one. What matters is what rights should be protected in a secular society.
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« Reply #108 on: February 05, 2006, 02:00:26 AM »

What matters is what rights should be protected in a secular society.
What about the right to hold a religious opinion in a secular society? Or does "secular society" deny people the right to religious beliefs?
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« Reply #109 on: February 05, 2006, 02:22:53 AM »

Well Matthew....what do you say? Should everyone in a secular society be forced to opine the same ay, even if it is contrary to their religious beliefs? Should everyone be forced to support an issue even if in good conscience they cannot? Isn't that totalitarianism?
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« Reply #110 on: February 05, 2006, 04:16:55 AM »

What about the right to hold a religious opinion in a secular society? Or does "secular society" deny people the right to religious beliefs?

There is a difference between holding a personal opinion and using it to discriminate or commit acts of hate.
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« Reply #111 on: February 05, 2006, 04:17:44 AM »

I was reading the local gay newspaper in the student lounge and the janitor walked up to me and said, "Do you still write for that?" and then I said, "No, I write for the Communicator."
That was kind of awkward... Smiley
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« Reply #112 on: February 05, 2006, 04:21:50 AM »

There is a difference between holding a personal opinion and using it to discriminate or commit acts of hate.

But those who hold a personal opinion, say about legalizing "gay unions" are going to vote a certain way in referendums about them aren't they? This is not an act of hate is it? Yet it will have an effect on society. Should they not be permitted to vote this way because of their religious beliefs?
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« Reply #113 on: February 05, 2006, 04:38:03 AM »

But those who hold a personal opinion, say about legalizing "gay unions" are going to vote a certain way in referendums about them aren't they? This is not an act of hate is it? Yet it will have an effect on society. Should they not be permitted to vote this way because of their religious beliefs?

Given that marriage is a fundamentally religious institution, the state should stay out of marriage entirely. The state should grant civil unions to both gay and straight couples but allow religious groups to decide whether or not they should perform gay weddings.
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« Reply #114 on: February 05, 2006, 05:00:25 AM »

The state should grant civil unions to both gay and straight couples but allow religious groups to decide whether or not they should perform gay weddings.
The state "should" ? ? ? What sort of state is this? It is certainly not a democracy. What about those who disagree on religious grounds? Should they not not be permitted to vote in a plebecite to decide what the state "should" do?
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« Reply #115 on: February 05, 2006, 05:21:37 AM »

Think about what I am saying. Supporters of gay civil unions claim that they would be granted the same rights as married couples. If that is true, why not have civil unions be the standard for both gay and straight couples? Marriage, as a religious institution, is not something the state should be involved in.
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« Reply #116 on: February 05, 2006, 05:39:16 AM »

Matthew,
I think you need to listen to what you are saying:

if:
Marriage, as a religious institution, is not something the state should be involved in.

Then why would gay people want to:
be granted the same rights as married couples.

And why should the state be involved?
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« Reply #117 on: February 05, 2006, 05:40:53 AM »

Civil unions would be a purely secular institution, marriage would remain a religious one as it should be.
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« Reply #118 on: February 05, 2006, 05:04:47 PM »

Matthew,

Quote
This is a serious matter, there is no need to kid around. How is it not a great injustice when gays are denied jobs and housing merely for who they choose to love?

While on a certain level I could understand (though not necessarily agree with or sympathize with) the position that a secular government should forbid making things like "sexual preference" de facto conditions of employment, I'm a little curious as to why you (apparently an Oriental-Orthodox Christian) are utilizing the jingoistic language/sloganeering of the "gay rights" lobby (ex. "who they choose to love")...

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« Reply #119 on: February 05, 2006, 05:18:00 PM »

Matthew,

Quote
With how they choose to treat gay people, it is often hard to believe that conservatives actually love them.

While there is perhaps some truth in this, I think how one appraises the situation depends alot upon how one interprets homosexuality as a behaviour.

For example, if one believes it is essentially a "third" type of gender, and just as much a part of God's will as marriage, then that will effect how one interpret the "treatment" of homosexuals.

OTOH, if one believes (as I'm inclined to) that it is a sort of illness of the soul (which may be in part, much like alcoholism, "helped" by genetic factors, at least in some cases), then this will cause one to interpret things differently.

Quote
Why would it be just to deny somone a job based on their sexual orientation? Remember, a little empathy would goes a long way.

In general, I don't think such sins should be an issue unless they cause problems for the business directly or indirectly, anymore than someone being addicted to pornography or a habitual fornicator should be an issue of employment.

However, I don't agree with extending "couples rights" to homosexuals anymore than I agree in extending them to cohabitating fornicators (though sadly this is also quite common in the west, such as in my own country.)

Quote
From a purely Christian vantage point, in following the specific commandments of Christ, we are not to be intolerant nor hateful nor discriminatory against gays nor anyone.

Be careful now.  While secular folks might abuse language like this, a Christian ought not to.  "Tolerance" has nothing to do with loving anyone, nor does "descriminating".  In fact, it is precisely because we have rational minds that we "descriminate" - it's called making distinctions.

Christ also said "go and sin no more", and that those who do not accept the admonishment of the Church are to be expelled from Her and regarded as "pagans and tax-collectors", which for His Palestinian-Jew audience would have had a very clear and obvious meaning (as it will to those who read the Holy Scriptures in context.)

IOW, "tolerance" or a "not descriminating" do not have the same meaning or importance to Christians as they will to egalitarian secularists.

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« Reply #120 on: February 05, 2006, 05:41:49 PM »

GreekisChristian,

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It is an argument from an outdated judaic concept that is logically inconsistant and incompatable with our Christian understanding of love and relationships. Furthermore, with modern science it actually could be possible for two women (or even one woman by herself) to reproduce, though I'm guessing you'd say that this is 'contrary to nature' as well, for no other reason than the fact that before this age of scientific advancement we have been too ignorant to understand the science of genetics and reproduction.

While I'm all for reading the Holy Scriptures and Church Fathers in context, I don't think this is what you're doing here at all.  I'm also hoping these are simply your private opinions, and do not reflect what they teach at Holy Cross on topics like this.

Men and women were made for each other - there is a dynamic there which does not exist in homosexual "unions".  In the marriage bond, between the male and female, there is a revelation about the relationship between God and man.

Is this to say that all marriages are fond, healthy reflections of this iconography?  Of course not, no more so than man as the Icon of God is guaranteed (apart from grace) to manifest the likeness of God.  However, the potential for that revelation is there - and it is not so with homosexuals.

Quote
Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality are primarially based on a lack of understanding of sexuality and the human psychology combined with outdated notions of ritual uncleanness, the same ritual uncleanness that prohibits you from eating pork or a having swiss cheese on your ruben sandwhich, or places numerous restrictions on women to ensure the dominance of clearly insecure men.

Or we can actually give the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt, and consider that there is an import here which worldy eyes cannot help but gloss over.

The rules of the Torah regarding "clean" and "unclean" actually have nothing to do with hygiene or sanitation.  Rather they have to do with impressing upon the Israelites the existance of clear distinctions, the most significant being the complete lack of analogy between God's "essence" and the creation (His "holiness").  Some of these distinctions from the Torah ritual have simply a typological/eschatological significance (in that they prefigure the mysteries of the New Testament), others a practical one (most specifically, the seperatness of the frail Jews from their paganistic neighbours - a good many of their laws having the purpose of making intermixing with said heathen impossible), yet some do have a moral significance.  The Church still reverantly reads the Old Testament for these reasons, and gets something from studying all of these matters since they all in some wise (some less directly than others, obviously) still have significance for the Church.

What is or is not of moral significance is something the Church has long been well aware of, and is reflected in the New Testament itself.  Homosexuality is one of those "moral matters" (see the first chapter of St.Paul's epistle to the Romans.)

Quote
In the end we should follow the example of our Lord and be loving and understanding to our neighbours, realizing that God created some people homosexual by nature, we should not condemn them to a life of celibacy any more than we should condemn the impotent to a life of celibacy, it is not right to deny to others that which we are not willing to deny ourselves.

What you overlook here, is that even if people are "homosexual by nature" (which is debatable - I'm not adverse to saying genetic factors can play a role, but this is as of yet undetermined) that this is any more "natural" than death is "natural."  In other words, your line of reasoning here would be sound if we ignored the tragedy of the ancestral sin, and it's fallout.  If there is in fact a genetically determined "homosexual" inclination, it is no more "natural" or "God's will" than a child being born with down's syndrome or missing a limb.  The corruption of human genes is a fallout of our mortality and it's obvious corruptibility.

Quote
There is no place for such hateful behaviour in the Orthodox Church and I would suggest that those who want to participate in it go join the The Westboro Baptist Church ( http://www.godhatesfags.com/ )

While I agree with your statement about "hateful behaviour" (though I doubt we would agree on just how this ought to be defined), I am quite certain your ideas are not Orthodox, and would suggest that those who want to hold to such ideas go join their local Episcopal church (http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/)
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« Reply #121 on: February 05, 2006, 05:52:16 PM »

George,

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No one on this thread has disagreed with your view of the sinful nature of homosexual sex.

Hold up...if that is the case, it was stated in the most confusing and obscure way I can possibly imagine.

- Biblical prohibitions are man made (even though the Scriptures clearly say they come from God) and are rooted in human prejudice

- "In the end we should follow the example of our Lord and be loving and understanding to our neighbours, realizing that God created some people homosexual by nature, we should not condemn them to a life of celibacy any more than we should condemn the impotent to a life of celibacy, it is not right to deny to others that which we are not willing to deny ourselves." (GiC here)

- "Restrictions on homosexuality, observing from a psychological perspective, reflect little more than further insecurity about the sexual orientation of the ruling men of the day...alot like victorian England" (same as above, emphasis mine)

And I (or anyone else) is supposed to gather that this amounts to saying anything but believing homosexual "relations" are "natural" and not in fact sins, save in the minds of backward medievals?

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« Reply #122 on: February 05, 2006, 07:00:08 PM »

While I'm all for reading the Holy Scriptures and Church Fathers in context, I don't think this is what you're doing here at all.

It's nice that you dont think that's what I'm doing...but I do think that's what I'm doing...perhaps you could offer me something more convincing than your opinion?

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I'm also hoping these are simply your private opinions, and do not reflect what they teach at Holy Cross on topics like this.

What does it matter? The person or institution is irrelevant to the debate, address the issues at hand.

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Men and women were made for each other - there is a dynamic there which does not exist in homosexual "unions". In the marriage bond, between the male and female, there is a revelation about the relationship between God and man.

How do you know this? Do you have experiences with both types of relationships and the means to compare? And even if one has, who's to say simply because they didn't sense this 'dynamic' that it's not there in other same-sex relationships? Again, dont just try quoting 'facts' that you made up, offer some real evidence from a psychological, scientific, philosophical, anthropological, etc. perspective.

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Is this to say that all marriages are fond, healthy reflections of this iconography? Of course not, no more so than man as the Icon of God is guaranteed (apart from grace) to manifest the likeness of God. However, the potential for that revelation is there - and it is not so with homosexuals.

Again, how do you know it's not so with homosexual relationships, you're stating as fact the very issues that are being disputed in this thread without offering support, it's nice that you want to share your opinion but how about supporting it?

Now, considering that all this you posted above was in response to my making the argument that procreation is not an essential element of life/relationships, I fear I am unclear of your posistion on this particular element of our debate...but as you did not actually try to undermine my point I am going to assume you agree thus far, though as it has not yet been clarified I will attempt to limit the use of this point in my arguments in the remainder of this response.

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Or we can actually give the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt, and consider that there is an import here which worldy eyes cannot help but gloss over.

Sounds like the central argument of my opponent last time I debated the Flat Earth Society, who knows maybe this is just one big practical joke by God who reveals everything to us in some ancient text, then messes with the obervable scientific world just for a good laugh...If so I wont be too disappointed, I could really get along with a God like that Wink

The fact of the matter is that the Scriptures have been given the benifit of the doubt, even to the point that overwhelming amounts of biological/genetic/psychological evidence pointing to the fact that sexuality is genetically determined, and not a life-style choice as many religions have been saying for thousands of years, have been disregarded in ongoing political discussions on the matter. However, there comes a point when a rational person must ask if there is any doubt to give the benifit of?

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The rules of the Torah regarding "clean" and "unclean" actually have nothing to do with hygiene or sanitation.

Well, some do, like the prohibition on eating pork probably had to do with the unsanitory conditions in which pigs were raised, butchered, and the meat was stored. While others are more cultural and ceremonial restrictions.

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Rather they have to do with impressing upon the Israelites the existance of clear distinctions, the most significant being the complete lack of analogy between God's "essence" and the creation (His "holiness"). Some of these distinctions from the Torah ritual have simply a typological/eschatological significance (in that they prefigure the mysteries of the New Testament), others a practical one (most specifically, the seperatness of the frail Jews from their paganistic neighbours - a good many of their laws having the purpose of making intermixing with said heathen impossible), yet some do have a moral significance.

Nice fairly accurate description of a typical understanding of the concept of uncleanness in the Old Testament within the School of Antioch (though they would have been interpreted otherwise by the scholars of the chatecical School of Alexandria). But why should I classify homosexuality with moral issues, perhaps it should be classified with leprosy, not as sinful but rather as a medical (or biological) condition that the Jews were unfamiliar with and felt threatened by; the latter because of their lack of understanding of medicine and treatments and the latter by their lack of understanding of genetics, but neither inherently sinful. Furthermore, we no longer apply concepts of ritual uncleanness to our lives and religion, so why should be make an exception in this particular case? Why are the cultural taboos against homosexuality somehow more authoritive than the cultural taboos against pork? If you're going to argue one, at least be consistant and argue the other.

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The Church still reverantly reads the Old Testament for these reasons, and gets something from studying all of these matters since they all in some wise (some less directly than others, obviously) still have significance for the Church.

And I'm not saying that we do otherwise, the Old Testament has many significant theological, cultural, and historical points. But what I am saying is that we have a consistant approach to the Old Testament, and not pick and choose the parts we like and dislike.

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What is or is not of moral significance is something the Church has long been well aware of, and is reflected in the New Testament itself. Homosexuality is one of those "moral matters" (see the first chapter of St.Paul's epistle to the Romans.)

You're still picking and choosing what you like and dislike and the fact that you are using the New Testament to justify your arguments is not an improvement. Are you to suggest that something that was clearly regarded as immoral in the Old Testament (e.g. eating pork) is somehow no longer immoral? Is the God of the New Testament to be viewed as inconsonant with the God of the Old Testament as the Gnostics taught? I suggest that the solution to this dilemma is to understand the historical and cultural context of both the Old and the New Testament, to understand that these restrictions are cultural and not some divine decree that was written in the heavens, immutable for all time. A cultural restriction that applies to both the writers of the Old and New Testaments.

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What you overlook here, is that even if people are "homosexual by nature" (which is debatable - I'm not adverse to saying genetic factors can play a role, but this is as of yet undetermined) that this is any more "natural" than death is "natural."

First of all it is determined that genetics causes homosexuality. Go back and look at that fruit fly article that I posted last night, scientists change a gene, insect becomes homosexual...The page also has other articles that give further evidence of genetic influence on sexuality, to deny or even dispute genetic causality is to willingly disregard scientific research for no better reason than that it does nto support your posistion. Now, with that said, the experiment also demonstrated that being around the homosexual flies caused heterosexual flies to act in a homosexual manner, but the fact that ALL homosexuality is not genetic is not significant to my argument, only the fact that SOME is, and that point has overwhelming scientific support.

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In other words, your line of reasoning here would be sound if we ignored the tragedy of the ancestral sin, and it's fallout. If there is in fact a genetically determined "homosexual" inclination, it is no more "natural" or "God's will" than a child being born with down's syndrome or missing a limb. The corruption of human genes is a fallout of our mortality and it's obvious corruptibility.

Is missing a limb or having down's syndrome a sin? If you're going to condemn homosexuality, which in many cases is genetically determined, logically shouldn't you condemn people with other genetic 'imperfections,' perhaps we could even eliminate them in order to keep the human bloodline pure and free of these deformities. Now an argument could be made by analogy that since we condemn the cutting off of one's limb without reason as self-murder a heterosexual man who acts in a homosexual manner could be condemned by going against their nature, but if we take this argument to its logical conclusion we must also admit that a man who is genetically homosexual should be condemned for entering into a heterosexual relatinship, as such a relationship would be against his nature.

Ultimately all these arguments are based on a fallacy, the Gnostic assumption that the biological has been corrupted, and that we must ascend beyond flesh and unite ourselves with God in spirit. This is not the teaching of the Orthodox, we insist on the goodness and purity of God's creation, even if it is to be regarded as deformed by human standards (what humans?), this is why we await a bodily resurrection, not just a resurrection of the souls as several Gnostic sects claimed.

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I am quite certain your ideas are not Orthodox,

Well, with all due respect, as we can see above you have not yet demonstrated this point. So again, it's private opinion and pure speculation.

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and would suggest that those who want to hold to such ideas go join their local Episcopal church (http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/)

I happen to like the Orthodox services, though I do look forward to the day when we can once again be administratively united with our spiritual brethren in the Anglican Communion.
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« Reply #123 on: February 05, 2006, 07:10:58 PM »

GiC,

Before proceeding, I'd like to know whether or not you believe homosexual acts to be sinful or not?  I just want to be clear where you stand.

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« Reply #124 on: February 05, 2006, 07:44:51 PM »

I don't know who else is a citizen of the "liberal state" of Washington, but I am and no one asked me about my feelings on this legislation!  The people didn't vote on it and the main support would probably come from Seattleites in "latte land."
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« Reply #125 on: February 05, 2006, 09:51:46 PM »

Before proceeding, I'd like to know whether or not you believe homosexual acts to be sinful or not?  I just want to be clear where you stand.

The posistion that I am advocating should be quite clear from my previous posts, as I can not see them as cryptic in nature. However, let's focus on the arguments at hand.
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« Reply #126 on: February 06, 2006, 02:18:15 AM »

I'm a little curious as to why you (apparently an Oriental-Orthodox Christian) are utilizing the jingoistic language/sloganeering of the "gay rights" lobby (ex. "who they choose to love")...
I don't think this is anyone's business but Matthew's, God's and his Confessor's. If Matthew is gay, that's his affair, if he is not, that's his affair also. And might I add that there is something very inane about suggesting someone is gay simply because of how they talk....
My English friend has a T-shirt which says: "I'm not gay, I'm British!"
At any rate, it's none of your business.
And I bet you Pounds to Pennies your "gaydar" has failed with multiple other posters on this board- I know mine has!
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« Reply #127 on: February 06, 2006, 02:35:23 AM »

Well, this is quite an enlightening discussion.

After reading, though not thoroughly, the posts here, I think ozgeorge deserves some attention for his excellent posts on the view of homosexuality.

I'm quite troubled by some people here who "seem" to advocate that because God allowed genetic predispositions to homosexuality, that homosexuality is not a sin.  This actually goes back to my days when I was worried about the purely allegorical interpretation of the Bible, who Bishop Spong seems to misuse and abuse this beautiful spiritual tool on cases in homosexuality.

We forget that, as Holy Fathers have agreed, that once man fell into corruption, man's will also was corrupted.  St. Maximus the Confessor calls this will a "gnomic will."  Whether or not this comes from genetics does not and should not matter and I don't think it contradicts Orthodox doctrine of "Original Sin."  Therefore, all men (and women) are born with a certain predisposition to sin, ANY SIN.  The argument made here unfortunately blindly is that when God allowed a certain predisposition to "wrong" for someone to be born with, God thus allows these wrongs, ergo they are not sins.  We forget that the human race in this world is a messed up race (as Fr. Thomas Hopko said in an interview).  It is a race filled with diseases, and as our dear brother George kept pounding in this useless argument is that the Church of Christ is a hospital.  People come with all kinds of spiritual diseases, whether it be homosexual predispositions (or uncontrollable heterosexual perverseness) or gambling or alcoholism or even something so seemingly simple, yet rather extremely dangerous, as pride.  I'm worried that some people seem to follow a "semi-Pellagianism" belief, whereas our free will gives us salvation, our free will with a predisposition to homosexuality should allow us salvation nonetheless if we choose to act upon this desire.  That I think is dangerous to the highest degree in the history of Christianity, and truly a devil's snare.

One other thing.  God did not create predispositions.  Man created them on Himself, as much as he created death after the Fall.

God bless you all.  Forgive me if I have offended.

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« Reply #128 on: February 06, 2006, 04:33:36 AM »

Hold up...if that is the case, it was stated in the most confusing and obscure way I can possibly imagine.
Augustine,
GiC has not said anything contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church on this matter. Here's why I think so:

- Biblical prohibitions are man made (even though the Scriptures clearly say they come from God) and are rooted in human prejudice
I think you need to study the scriptures in the light of the Fathers. St. John Chrysostom was particularly "anti-gay", yet even he points out the distinction St. Paul makes in Romans 1:27 between
1) same sex attraction and "burning with lust" for the same sex:
2) the desire (homosexual orientation) and the act (homosexual sex),
Quote from: St. John Chrysostom Homily on Romans
And reflect too how significantly he uses his words. For he does not say that they were enamoured of, and lusted after one another, but, "they burned in their lust one toward another." You see that the whole of desire comes of an exorbitancy which endureth not to abide within its proper limits. For everything which transgresseth the laws by God appointed, lusteth after monstrous things and not those which be customary. For as many oftentimes having left the desire of food get to feed upon earth and small stones, and others being possessed by excessive thirst often long even for mire, thus these also ran into this ebullition of lawless love. But if you say, and whence came this intensity of lust? It was from the desertion of God: and whence is the desertion of God? from the lawlessness of them that left Him; "men with men working that which is unseemly." Do not, he means, because you have heard that they burned, suppose that the evil was only in desire. For the greater part of it came of their luxuriousness, which also kindled into flame their lust. And this is why he did not say being swept along or being overtaken, an expression he uses elsewhere; but what? working. They made a business of the sin, and not only a business, but even one zealously followed up. And he called it not lust, but that which is unseemly, and that properly For they both dishonored nature, and trampled on the laws.
Source: http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF1-11/npnf1-11-68.htm#TopOfPage

- "In the end we should follow the example of our Lord and be loving and understanding to our neighbours, realizing that God created some people homosexual by nature, we should not condemn them to a life of celibacy any more than we should condemn the impotent to a life of celibacy, it is not right to deny to others that which we are not willing to deny ourselves." (GiC here)
GiC has not given anything here but Our Lor'd command that we do not pass judgement on people or condemn them. What we believe about homosexual acts is one thing, passing judgement on others and condemning them is not our perogative. If they do not share our Faith, if they are not in the Church, passing judgement on them and condemning them is not going to help anyone. Instead, let's focus our energy on how we can help and show compassion towards those gay people who have made the courageous decision to enter the Church and thus abstain from sex.

- "Restrictions on homosexuality, observing from a psychological perspective, reflect little more than further insecurity about the sexual orientation of the ruling men of the day...alot like victorian England" (same as above, emphasis mine)
I understand this to be referring to homosexual orientation. And as a qualified mental health practitioner, I would have to fully agree with it. No man in our culture would be permitted to enter a Church wearing a skirt, because of the implications, but what if he's a scotsman? A kilt is a skirt with a tartan pattern on it. Wearing a skirt doesn't "automatically" make a man gay- it's culturally relative.

And I (or anyone else) is supposed to gather that this amounts to saying anything but believing homosexual "relations" are "natural" and not in fact sins, save in the minds of backward medievals?
By looking with the eyes of Compassion Our Lord gives us, and not through the eyes of prejudice we have inherited in our fallen state.
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« Reply #129 on: February 06, 2006, 05:43:19 AM »

I think you need to study the scriptures in the light of the Fathers. St. John Chrysostom was particularly "anti-gay", yet even he points out the distinction St. Paul makes in Romans 1:27 between
1) same sex attraction and "burning with lust" for the same sex:
2) the desire (homosexual orientation) and the act (homosexual sex)

Sorry to jump in during a conversation, but I have a question about this. How would a person be "homosexually oriented" if he/she did not entertain, and therefore succomb, to the logismoi? It seems here as if the two positions ("orientation" vs. the act iself) are not very different, for one that has submitted to the logismoi has already decided to follow with action, though simply at a later time.
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« Reply #130 on: February 06, 2006, 06:31:42 AM »

Sorry to jump in during a conversation, but I have a question about this. How would a person be "homosexually oriented" if he/she did not entertain, and therefore succomb, to the logismoi? It seems here as if the two positions ("orientation" vs. the act iself) are not very different, for one that has submitted to the logismoi has already decided to follow with action, though simply at a later time.

Homosexuality (for the nine thousand, six hundred and forty seventh time), is a passion.....just like Alcoholism is a passion. One doesn't have to "succumb" to alcoholic thoughts to be an alcoholic, do they?
Those of us who are Orthodox know that the hardest thing in our spirituality is guarding the heart. Not everyone has mastered this (I know I haven't). Not everyone has read the Philokalia and the advice it gives to help in this matter. So we are not in a position to judge anyone as having "succumbed" to their passionate thoughts. Firstly, we don't know if they have enternained the these thoughts, and secondly, it is not ours to judge their culpability even if they have.
God and God alone knows the secrets of all hearts, and God and God alone knows who is culpable for entertaining thoughts and who is not.
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« Reply #131 on: February 06, 2006, 06:42:44 AM »

It is good to make the distinction between the temptation and both obsession / action; the temptation itself is not sinful, since all are tempted (even the Lord).  But dwelling on the temptation, or acting upon it, IS. 

Now George, I hope that you are right about GiC making the differentiation between the act and the temptation/passion, because I don't see it expressed explicitly in his posts.  Maybe it is just me, I am a bit tired (it is early here on the l-east coast of the US).
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« Reply #132 on: February 06, 2006, 06:46:58 AM »

Homosexuality (for the nine thousand, six hundred and forty seventh time), is a passion.....just like Alcoholism is a passion. One doesn't have to "succumb" to alcoholic thoughts to be an alcoholic, do they?
Those of us who are Orthodox know that the hardest thing in our spirituality is guarding the heart. Not everyone has mastered this (I know I haven't). Not everyone has read the Philokalia and the advice it gives to help in this matter. So we are not in a position to judge anyone as having "succumbed" to their passionate thoughts. Firstly, we don't know if the have enternained the these thoughts, and secondly, it is not ours to judge.
God and God alone knows the secrets of all hearts, and God and God alone knows who is culpable for entertaining thoughts and who is not.

I am confused by the line "One doesn't have to "succumb" to alcoholic thoughts to be an alcoholic." Is that not exactly what being an alcoholic is? One isn't an alcoholic just because a demon tempts him/her with that passion, but because he/she -gives into- that passion. (I have a feeling I am missing something Tongue)
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« Reply #133 on: February 06, 2006, 06:54:30 AM »

I am confused by the line "One doesn't have to "succumb" to alcoholic thoughts to be an alcoholic." Is that not exactly what being an alcoholic is? One isn't an alcoholic just because a demon tempts him/her with that passion, but because he/she -gives into- that passion. (I have a feeling I am missing something Tongue)

AA would disagree with you Wink An alcoholic who wishes to recover has no choice but to abstain. "Controlled drinking" doesn't work- it's been tried, even with medication to reduce cravings. There is a drug used to treat alcoholism as a last resort called "Antabuse". This daily medication reacts violently with any ethanol (even the traces found in wine vinegar) to cause nausea and vomiting, palpitations, malaise and often requiring hospitalisation. Those who take it are alcoholics, even though they don't drink. And they take Antabuse because they are alcoholic, so that they don't drink.
See: http://www.mentalhealth.com/drug/p30-a02.html
"Alcoholic" means "addicted to alcohol", not "alcohol drinker". Whether they drink or not, they are addicted, and they are addicted whether they are thinking about drinking or not. If they do start drinking, the horrible self-destructive behaviour begins. Until then, they have to deal with the temptation to drink.
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« Reply #134 on: February 06, 2006, 07:11:27 AM »

Wouldn't children with FAS be classified as alchoholic, since many of them would become addicted/are addicted the moment they pass out of the womb?  Just looking for clarification - this is not one of my strong subjects.
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« Reply #135 on: February 06, 2006, 07:16:53 AM »

AA would disagree with you Wink An alcoholic who wishes to recover has no choice but to abstain. "Controlled drinking" doesn't work- it's been tried, even with medication to reduce cravings. There is a drug used to treat alcoholism as a last resort called "Antabuse". This daily medication reacts violently with any ethanol (even the traces found in wine vinegar) to cause nausea and vomiting, palpitations, malise and often requiring hospitalisation. Those who take it are alcoholics, even though they don't drink. And they take Antabuse because they are alcoholic, so that they don't drink.
See: http://www.mentalhealth.com/drug/p30-a02.html
"Alcoholic" means "addicted to alcohol", not "alcohol drinker". Whether they drink or not, they are addicted.

Still somewhat confused. I'm not saying controlled drinking does or doesn't work, but that the outward actions are effects of an inward decision. As I understand it, it is this decision, formed habitually, which defines an addiction (specifically, "The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something"). Whether or not the person gets to act upon the decision can be affected by a number of factors (hence addiction without action), but the outward acts do not change the previously made decision. (It almost seems that we are saying the same thing in different ways, but I am not absolutely sure yet, so let me know if I'm full of nonesense or not!)
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« Reply #136 on: February 06, 2006, 07:20:09 AM »

Wouldn't children with FAS be classified as alchoholic, since many of them would become addicted/are addicted the moment they pass out of the womb?  Just looking for clarification - this is not one of my strong subjects.

I think it would be different for infants. For instance, we don't say they're "addicted to crying" even though they do it all the time. I'm not sure if they've developed the ability to be addicted. This is more a question of infantile will/accountability than anything.
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« Reply #137 on: February 06, 2006, 07:22:10 AM »

Wouldn't children with FAS be classified as alchoholic, since many of them would become addicted/are addicted the moment they pass out of the womb?  Just looking for clarification - this is not one of my strong subjects.
Pregnant women who are heroin addicted are automatically placed on the Methadone program here in Australia. Methadone is a long acting synthetic opiate which basically does the same thing as heroin but over a longer time (24 hours as compared to the 4-6 hours heroin lasts). The point is, it's clean, it doesn't involve injection (and associated infection risk), and above all, prevents the mother going into withdrawal which places the pregnancy at risk. Methadone crosses the placenta, so the foetus receives it, however studies have shown no long term effects from this. However, when the child is born, it begins to go into opiate withdrawal within 24hours due to having become addicted to it's mothers methadone. The newborns are placed in neonatal intensive care units and given gradually reducing doses of morphine (another opiate) to prevent abrupt withdrawal. So yes, these infants are addicted to opiates. And we sureley can't accuse them of "succumbing" to evil thoughts now, can we! Cheesy
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« Reply #138 on: February 06, 2006, 07:28:20 AM »

I think it would be different for infants. For instance, we don't say they're "addicted to crying" even though they do it all the time. I'm not sure if they've developed the ability to be addicted. This is more a question of infantile will/accountability than anything.
The definition of "addiction" is somewhat of a moral one. A somewhat abbreviated definition of an addictive behaviour is one which is undertaken at the expense of the functionality your life. It the behaviour is repeated, you find it difficult to stop, and it interferes with your life, then you're addicted. However, this also describes Olympic atheletes who often train up to 6-8 hours daily, and this interferes with their socialisation. They have a repeated behaviour with reduces their social functionality, and yet we don't call it "addiction" or seek to treat it.
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« Reply #139 on: February 06, 2006, 07:29:49 AM »

So yes, these infants are addicted to opiates. And we sureley can't accuse them of "succumbing" to evil thoughts now, can we! Cheesy

Hopefuly this will further clarify what I'm saying, but I'd seperate "addiction" and "dependence" here. Babies are dependent on air, and if they don't breathe, they can die (of course). However, they are not "addicted" to it. I see addiction more as the decision, and dependence as the effect.
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« Reply #140 on: February 06, 2006, 07:30:46 AM »

it is this decision, formed habitually, which defines an addiction (specifically, "The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something").
Since when is "compulsion" a "decision"?
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« Reply #141 on: February 06, 2006, 07:32:52 AM »

The definition of "addiction" is somewhat of a moral one. A somewhat abbreviated definition of an addictive behaviour is one which is undertaken at the expense of the functionality your life. It the behaviour is repeated, you find it difficult to stop, and it interferes with your life, then you're addicted. However, this also describes Olympic atheletes who often train up to 6-8 hours daily, and this interferes with their socialisation. They have a repeated behaviour with reduces their social functionality, and yet we don't call it "addiction" or seek to treat it.

But here you're not applying the full definition you just gave. If they don't "find it difficult to stop," then they are not addicted. (I would use a slightly different definition, but I can largely agree with the one you presented)
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« Reply #142 on: February 06, 2006, 07:34:17 AM »

Since when is "compulsion" a "decision"?

That was actually from a dictonary. I (personally) wouldn't call compulsion a decision at all, though.  Smiley
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« Reply #143 on: February 06, 2006, 07:36:41 AM »

That was actually from a dictonary. I (personally) wouldn't call compulsion a decision at all, though.  Smiley
Neither would I.....that's my whole point.
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« Reply #144 on: February 06, 2006, 07:38:39 AM »

Neither would I.....that's my whole point.

So we're saying the same thing?
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« Reply #145 on: February 06, 2006, 07:39:47 AM »

So we're saying the same thing?
I think you are saying the same thing as I without realising it. Cheesy
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« Reply #146 on: February 06, 2006, 07:49:15 AM »

I think you are saying the same thing as I without realising it. Cheesy

Ah, ok. Thanks for all of the clarification and discussion. I at first mistook your position due to my silliness, but I think now I'm clear! Let me know if this is -not- what you believe:

Homosexuality is a passion that can (and should) be overcome like other passions. Through all of it, no one should judge the person.

(And actually, I have found I agree with you quite often. I've been observing the trend for some time, and I still haven't broken it yet!  Tongue)
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« Reply #147 on: February 06, 2006, 07:53:32 AM »

Homosexuality is a passion that can (and should) be overcome like other passions. Through all of it, no one should judge the person.

<Darth Vader>"The force is strong with this one...."</Darth Vader> Cheesy

Yep! You got it!
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« Reply #148 on: February 06, 2006, 07:57:56 AM »

<Darth Vader>"The force is strong with this one...."</Darth Vader> Cheesy

Yep! You got it!

Then I agree 100%. That has been my position, though with somewhat different wording, as we saw! Well, my little aside is over, so carry on with the previous discussion. It's 5 AM here, so I'm going to drop shortly. Thanks again, and goodnight!  Smiley
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« Reply #149 on: February 06, 2006, 08:01:43 AM »

Goodnight! But remember, young Jedi, the only way to "overcome" our passions is to transform them. The passions are like wild horses that need to be tamed, saddled and directed instead of being permitted to stampede and trample us. But if we think we can "kill" or "eliminate" them, we are sadly mistaken.
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« Reply #150 on: February 06, 2006, 09:19:38 AM »

GreekisChristian,

Quote
The posistion that I am advocating should be quite clear from my previous posts, as I can not see them as cryptic in nature. However, let's focus on the arguments at hand.

Ok, so you believe fallen passions drawing one to homosexual activities are the "will of God" in the sense they are "natural", and that it is "cruel" to expect those who have such same-sex attraction to remain chaste.

If that is not your meaning, then the problem lies with your choice of words since that is the only meaning I could get out of them.

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« Reply #151 on: February 06, 2006, 09:41:10 AM »

George,

Quote
don't think this is anyone's business but Matthew's, God's and his Confessor's. If Matthew is gay, that's his affair, if he is not, that's his affair also. And might I add that there is something very inane about suggesting someone is gay simply because of how they talk....

Read what I wrote - where did I suggest Matthew is a homosexual?  That hadn't even occured to me, especially since he goes on and on about his "girl problems".  My confusion is why he was indulging pinko-speak which only obfuscates these matters - IOW being a Christian yet employing the false categories of atheists (practical and formally so).

Quote
At any rate, it's none of your business.

At any rate, I couldn't possibly care less if he were a homosexual - that wasn't my point.

...as for GiC's "confusing" contribution to this discussion...

Quote
GiC has not said anything contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church on this matter.

What he meant only he can clarify - what he wrote is (unfortunatly) pretty clear.

Quote
1) same sex attraction and "burning with lust" for the same sex:
2) the desire (homosexual orientation) and the act (homosexual sex),

I'm begining to think that you and I may be involved in two slightly (but significantly) different discussions here.  I don't believe simply having an inclination toward certain sins is itself sinful - I've actually said the opposite when addressing this topic before in another thread.  So you and I are on the same page here.

My problem is with GiC's apparent winking at homosexual acts, and his clear insistance that should a homosexual disposition be at all a result of genetic factors it would be "God's will" and "natural".  That's absurd; such abherations in fallen man (who is corruptible - errors/bad mutations are part of this...unless cancer, huntington's disease, and a genetic disposition to alcoholism are also "God's will") are part of the tragedy of our mortality, not part of human nature as originally constituted.

Quote
GiC has not given anything here but Our Lor'd command that we do not pass judgement on people or condemn them. What we believe about homosexual acts is one thing, passing judgement on others and condemning them is not our perogative.

No dice George - go back and read what he wrote.  He wasn't talking about passing judgements and "condemning" in that sense - the context he used the word "condemn" indicated the act of "us" having the expectation that someone victim to homosexual attraction will live a celibate life.  He is also making a comparison between "impotence" (I'm guessing he means this in the sense of infertility rather than someone in need of some Viagra) and homosexual acts which is very unfortunate - there is no equivelence between the two, since as St.John Chrysostom teaches, married expressions of sexuality have a value ("two become one") even when children do not result.

Quote
Instead, let's focus our energy on how we can help and show compassion towards those gay people who have made the courageous decision to enter the Church and thus abstain from sex.

I wholeheartedly agree with this - you obviously have not read my thoughts on this topic before.  My difficulty is not with this, but with certain ideas that GiC has expressed which strike me as being very much at odds with what I was taught and have read from Orthodox Christian sources.

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« Reply #152 on: February 06, 2006, 10:01:37 AM »

Ok, so you believe fallen passions drawing one to homosexual activities are the "will of God" in the sense they are "natural", and that it is "cruel" to expect those who have such same-sex attraction to remain chaste.

If that is not your meaning, then the problem lies with your choice of words since that is the only meaning I could get out of them.

Rather than starting from the beginning of the discussing again and requiring me to re-make all the arguments I have already made on this board, which would be a pointless exercise in futility, why don't you address the points that I had made in my response to you, provided you are capable of doing so, rather than going off and providing more unsubstantiated opinions.
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« Reply #153 on: February 06, 2006, 12:42:21 PM »

Dear GiC,

To tell you the truth brother, I also had the same vibe about your arguments as did Augustine and Cleveland.  Perhaps we are all misunderstanding you.  If you can just clearly state where you stand on the issue because apparently you were not so clear to me.

Do you agree that the act of homosexuality (not the desire) is a sin?

God bless.

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« Reply #154 on: February 06, 2006, 01:30:02 PM »

Dear GiC,

To tell you the truth brother, I also had the same vibe about your arguments as did Augustine and Cleveland.  Perhaps we are all misunderstanding you.  If you can just clearly state where you stand on the issue because apparently you were not so clear to me.

Do you agree that the act of homosexuality (not the desire) is a sin?

Roll Eyes By Jove, I though I had been quite clear in my argument what do you think I ment by this statement:

Quote
In the end we should follow the example of our Lord and be loving and understanding to our neighbours, realizing that God created some people homosexual by nature, we should not condemn them to a life of celibacy any more than we should condemn the impotent to a life of celibacy, it is not right to deny to others that which we are not willing to deny ourselves.

That is not a cryptic statement, so for the record I am arguing that homosexuality is not contrary to some natural law, that the prohibitions against it are cultural in nature, and that the condemnation of homosexuality and the Love of Christ are inconsonant. Do I need to sign and date this and get it notarized or something?

However, though this should be self-evident from my arguments above, the reason I have avoided making such a statement is because I fear it will only set the debate back. Next I get to hear that such and such said this and such and such said that, which I've already explained is cultural conditioning, and brought up the issue of creation and biology, etc., etc. So I said it before and I'll say it again, let's focus on the arguments at hand, and not repeat the whole thing for those unwilling to go back and read the entire thread.
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« Reply #155 on: February 06, 2006, 01:58:52 PM »

Dear GiC,

Forgive me for not arguing what the OP wanted.  But I find your post troubling.  I am assuming that you believe that the act as much as the desire is justifiable and thus not sinful.

One problem you make in that post is that you assume God "created" man homosexual.  God did not do that.  I mentioned before that man created this upon himself, just as man created death upon himself.  God does not create death.

All I wanted for you is to answer a simple question, not to requote what I've already read, which I'm hoping I'm misreading.

God bless.

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« Reply #156 on: February 06, 2006, 03:08:18 PM »

Quote
That is not a cryptic statement, so for the record I am arguing that homosexuality is not contrary to some natural law, that the prohibitions against it are cultural in nature, and that the condemnation of homosexuality and the Love of Christ are inconsonant. Do I need to sign and date this and get it notarized or something?

No, but an examination of the relevant Biblical passages (Rom. 1:26-27, etc.) would be interesting. Every authority that Christians hold to (patristics, scripture, reason, church, etc.) has for over three thousands years condemned homosexual acts in the strongest language. That's quite a chorus of witnesses for a Christian to stand against. Considering that you have apparently confused and concerned many here, why don't you give a fuller explanation? If it was cultural and should change... fine, you know what, I'm definatley willing to listen to an explanation of this. I'm even ready to accept what you're saying if it makes sense.
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« Reply #157 on: February 06, 2006, 03:29:03 PM »

I always love how 3000 years+ of tradition becomes neglible and "cultural" and on the same par with the past 40 years of liberalism.

Homosexual sex wasn't considered wrong in Greek pagan culture. So if when the Hebrews with their anti-homosexual beliefs came on the scene, and St Paul with his anti-cultural liberation ideas was rejecting that which was not essential to the Gospel, why would he have not allowed homosexuality if it were indeed simply cultural?

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« Reply #158 on: February 06, 2006, 03:39:16 PM »

LOL (while kicking myself), how did I know this would happen? I answer the question and the debate which was relatively well developed goes straight back to the beginning...is it that difficult to go back and read the thread and pick up on the debate where it was? I guess I have to go back and rehash the arguments after I get out of class and get back to my room. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #159 on: February 06, 2006, 04:47:59 PM »

One problem you make in that post is that you assume God "created" man homosexual.  God did not do that.  I mentioned before that man created this upon himself, just as man created death upon himself.  God does not create death.

What do you mean God did not create death? In a spiritual sense this may be true, but he certainly created it in a biological sense. Before the fall, taking the story literally, if Adam were to eat an apple and toss the core on the ground, would it not die? And through its death a new tree may be formed (though certainly not from every seed, not enough resources and that would be a mess, weakening all trees involved). In fact John 12:24 says 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.' It should be most evident that death, and new life spring from it, was an integral part of the Creation of the world. Furthermore, does not scripture say that the very day Adam or Eve were to eat of the fruit they would surely die, well did they die on that day, YES, they separated themselves from God through their disobedience, they died a death...but their biological death wasn't for centuries later. God did create biological death, he created all of the creation we see around us, all people and animals are his creation and they are 'good' there is no corruption of matter as the Gnostics taught. And thus with homosexuality, though misinterpreted in the past as a 'lifestyle choice' but we now realize it is genetic, we must realize that these people were deliberately created like this, and it is not some Gnostic corruption of created matter, we are resurrected with our bodies, they are not a corrupted and unclean shell to leave behind.

Quote
All I wanted for you is to answer a simple question, not to requote what I've already read, which I'm hoping I'm misreading.

Ok, let's try again,

For the record I am arguing that homosexuality (desire, inclination, act, nature, people, biology, genes, choice, lifestyle, etc., etc.) is not contrary to some natural law, that the prohibitions against it are cultural in nature, and that the condemnation of homosexuality and the Love of Christ are inconsonant.

Will that work? (and also for the official record, 'I am not and have never been a member of the Communist party. I do not and have not adhered to the tenets of the Communist party')

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« Reply #160 on: February 06, 2006, 05:28:44 PM »

I think, GiC, what you are saying depends on whether God in fact created homosexuality, i.e. that it was part of the plan. I don't know. But in my heart of hearts I know that congenital disorders and inherited diseases were not part of His plan. Yes, He permits them, but they weren't in the original blueprint.
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« Reply #161 on: February 06, 2006, 05:33:53 PM »

Quote
And thus with homosexuality, though misinterpreted in the past as a 'lifestyle choice' but we now realize it is genetic...
Who is this "we"?  I'm really curious, since the evidence shows that among monozygotic twins there is only a 38% concordance rate of homosexuality among monozygotic male twins (30% among female twins).  What this means is that if one twin is "gay", then there is only a 38% chance for his identical twin (who has exactly the same genes) being "gay".  (Conversely, the identical twin is more than likely not to be "gay").  In other words, if homosexuality was strictly inborn and soley genetic (ie like eye color) then there would be a 100% concordance rate.  So the facts indicate that whatever limited role genetics may play, they aren't the "whole show".  Other factors--including upbringing and environment and reinforced behaviors/compulsions--are also involved.
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« Reply #162 on: February 06, 2006, 05:39:51 PM »

No, but an examination of the relevant Biblical passages (Rom. 1:26-27, etc.) would be interesting. Every authority that Christians hold to (patristics, scripture, reason, church, etc.) has for over three thousands years condemned homosexual acts in the strongest language. That's quite a chorus of witnesses for a Christian to stand against. Considering that you have apparently confused and concerned many here, why don't you give a fuller explanation? If it was cultural and should change... fine, you know what, I'm definatley willing to listen to an explanation of this. I'm even ready to accept what you're saying if it makes sense.

Also in the history of the Judeo-Christian tradition we have supported slavery, relegated women to the posistion of second-class citizens, and have condoned genocide (Number 21:34-35, Joshua 10:40, 1 Samuel 15:3,18, Jeremiah 50:21, Hosea 13:16), to say nothing of the several scientific inaccuries that have been advocated by the Church in the past (and an incorrect understanding of homosexual behavour could certainly be classified as this).

As for the argument that the prohibitions are ones of ritual uncleanness, it should be noted that even the very word used to describe homosexuality in the new testament, ακαθαρτος, means uncleanness. Furthermore, in Leviticus 5:3 we read 'Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.' Which likewise lends creedence to the fact that homosexuality was regarded as unclean and part of the ritual cleanness laws of the Jews.

But these arn't the only cultural reasons for the prohibitions against homosexuality, the Jews, like the Greeks (who while supporting pedophilia and homosexual acts with slaves severely condemned homosexual acts between citizens), condemned homosexuality on account of viewing it as degrading to a man. These misogynistic cultures viewed passiveness in sexual intercourse as a symbol of inferiority and this perverted view of masculine dominance would translate to viewing men who were passive in sex as women, that is to say as less than human (that is to say less than a citizen, specifically amongst the Greeks) and worthy of death (for denying their masculine nature, specifically amongst the Jews, though execution for such actions was not unheard of amongst the Greeks).
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« Reply #163 on: February 06, 2006, 06:12:41 PM »

What do you mean God did not create death? In a spiritual sense this may be true, but he certainly created it in a biological sense. Before the fall, taking the story literally, if Adam were to eat an apple and toss the core on the ground, would it not die? And through its death a new tree may be formed (though certainly not from every seed, not enough resources and that would be a mess, weakening all trees involved). In fact John 12:24 says 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.' It should be most evident that death, and new life spring from it, was an integral part of the Creation of the world. Furthermore, does not scripture say that the very day Adam or Eve were to eat of the fruit they would surely die, well did they die on that day, YES, they separated themselves from God through their disobedience, they died a death...but their biological death wasn't for centuries later. God did create biological death, he created all of the creation we see around us, all people and animals are his creation and they are 'good' there is no corruption of matter as the Gnostics taught. And thus with homosexuality, though misinterpreted in the past as a 'lifestyle choice' but we now realize it is genetic, we must realize that these people were deliberately created like this, and it is not some Gnostic corruption of created matter, we are resurrected with our bodies, they are not a corrupted and unclean shell to leave behind.

I do not disagree with you that there are two types of death, but centuries later (if taken literally), something happened that wasn't supposed to happen in Paradise (Garden of Eden if taken literally), i.e. bodily death.  In our spiritual unity with God, we transcended our own nature.  But after we disobeyed, we partook of the nature of the world to which even bodily harm continued.  We even were from then on born to have a predisposition towards sin.  God did not create this predisposition, neither did He create death for us, nor even whatever that is genetically inherited to predispose certain actions.  Did not St. Antonious say "Without temptations, we cannot be saved"?

Death when taken in the context of humanity is different than taking it in context of the world.  We as humans are called to TRANSCEND our own inherently "corrupt" nature, as St. Athanasius brilliantly describes it in his book "On the Incarnation."  The rest of the world was "corrupt" (in comparison to man), only man received the grace of incorruption.  Thus, after the Fall, we participated in the death and other natural processes (including chromosomal changes) of animals.

Consider George's argument:

Quote
I think, GiC, what you are saying depends on whether God in fact created homosexuality, i.e. that it was part of the plan. I don't know. But in my heart of hearts I know that congenital disorders and inherited diseases were not part of His plan. Yes, He permits them, but they weren't in the original blueprint

In addition, there has been the case of uncontrollable anger or alcoholism that also has genetic origins.  Can we say God is so sadistic in creating anger and alcoholism for man?  Should we allow violence or the dangerous consumption of alcohol?

We must differentiation between being a "sinner" and born in "sin" as a predisposition, and being a sinner as choice of act.  We all agree that when St. Paul says we are all born in sin, it does not mean we are born guilty, but simply corrupt.  If one is born in homosexuality, he is not guilty of sin, but fights it.  It is the "thorn in the flesh" if you will like that which St. Paul struggled against.

In addition, you seem to like to make a connection between this and women's rights, slavery, and genocide (Biblical genocide is a topic I am personally struggling with, although Deut. 7 seems to show that Moses and Joshua may have not done God's will after all.).  We have to understand that the Devil clouds up our understandings with emotions of other things that go on in this messed up world, and you have to be careful that these emotions don't cloud up the pivotal and crucial understanding of the difference between genetic predispositions and spiritual decisions.  The "godhatesfags" website is certainly condemnable, but that's no excuse to excuse homosexual acts.  I believe a big mistake in the history of Christianity is setting bad examples, and surely this website has done just that.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #164 on: February 06, 2006, 06:18:14 PM »

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Also in the history of the Judeo-Christian tradition we have supported slavery, relegated women to the posistion of second-class citizens, and have condoned genocide (Number 21:34-35, Joshua 10:40, 1 Samuel 15:3,18, Jeremiah 50:21, Hosea 13:16), to say nothing of the several scientific inaccuries that have been advocated by the Church in the past (and an incorrect understanding of homosexual behavour could certainly be classified as this).

That there are changing moral understandings I do not dispute (though I would not consider your slavery example a good one since I think it is comparing apples to oranges); nonetheless, what I've not seen is proof, or even strong evidence, that 1) homosexuality is genetic, and 2) that homosexuality being genetic somehow lets people off the hook. I would also question the way you are phrasing things when it comes to homosexual acts in the ancient world, for while the ancients thought it was too demeaning for male citizens of equal rank to have homosexual relations with each other (ie. penetrate each other, though they didn't much care about female homosexuality), it was still considered ok to pleasure each other with hands, and also ok to reach ejaculation through stimulating Mr. winky in between the thighs of another man. Homosexuality was not just a problem for slaves. Maybe you can ask Socrates about this when you get to the afterlife, according to Plato he had first-hand experience.

In any event, cultural change is not something that happens overnight. Look, I've changed my views on a number of things over the past year, and in fact am quite open to what you are saying, regardless of how combative the above sounds. I just need to hear from you persuasive arguments for what you are saying, rather than repeating two unproven statements: that it's genetic and therefore it is ok. ¦nbsp;

I changed my view on contraception, and a couple other issues, exactly because I came to believe that, whatever certain early Church Fathers might have thought, their beliefs were not (for various reasons) applicable to today. I am not asking you to give infallible proof for your belief, just enough evidence to tip the scales. Because certainly, if you are right then your position is more compassionate. But you haven't shown, to my satisfaction anyway, that you are right and that former Christians were wrong in this instance.

If this post makes you throw you hands up in the air and say "I already answered that!" then instead of assuming that others just don't get it, maybe it's time to start questioning whether you aren't quite as good a communicator or rhetorician as you thought, since I don't seem to be the only one who is grappling to understand your reasoning Wink
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« Reply #165 on: February 06, 2006, 06:32:43 PM »

Who is this "we"?¦nbsp; I'm really curious, since the evidence shows that among monozygotic twins there is only a 38% concordance rate of homosexuality among monozygotic male twins (30% among female twins).¦nbsp; What this means is that if one twin is "gay", then there is only a 38% chance for his identical twin (who has exactly the same genes) being "gay".¦nbsp; (Conversely, the identical twin is more than likely not to be "gay").¦nbsp; In other words, if homosexuality was strictly inborn and soley genetic (ie like eye color) then there would be a 100% concordance rate.¦nbsp; So the facts indicate that whatever limited role genetics may play, they aren't the "whole show".¦nbsp; Other factors--including upbringing and environment and reinforced behaviors/compulsions--are also involved.

First off, I dont know where you're getting your numbers from, but here are the ones I found with academic references (and all the studies I found on the subject had numbers that were more comprable to these than the ones you posted)

Bailey and Pillard (1991): occurrence of homosexuality among brothers
   52% of identical (monozygotic) twins of homosexual men were likewise homosexual
   22% of fraternal (dizygotic) twins were likewise homosexual
   11% of adoptive brothers of homosexual men were likewise homosexual
J.M. Bailey and R.C. Pillard, “A genetic study of male sexual orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 48:1089-1096, December 1991.

Bailey and Pillard (1993): occurrence of homosexuality among sisters
   48% of identical (monozygotic) twins of homosexual women were likewise homosexual (lesbian)
   16% of fraternal (dizygotic) twins were likewise homosexual
   6% of adoptive sisters of homosexual women were likewise homosexual
Bailey, J. M. and D. S. Benishay (1993), “Familial Aggregation of Female Sexual Orientation,” American Journal of Psychiatry 150(2): 272-277.

An approximate 50% chance that the identical twin of a homosexual person will likewise be homosexual is quite telling and points towards a genetic correlation, especially since only roughly half that number (less amongst women) of fraternal twins, who share similar conditions in development, even in the womb, to identical twins, but are genetically different (though, of course, related), comparing this to a number amongst adoptive siblings that is comprable to the national average). The fact that the correlation is not 100% does not necessarily present a problem, research amongst human sexuality researchers and the predominate opinion seems to be that while homosexuality is genetic, enviromental factors can cause this gene to remain dormant or suppressed in roughly half the people who possess it as the article I posted the other day (http://www.skeptictank.org/gaygene.htm) implies. That story mentions that heterosexual furit flies in a homosexual 'society' would eventually act homosexual, thus it is logical to assume the converse is true as well.
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« Reply #166 on: February 06, 2006, 07:07:14 PM »

I recommend Narth.com. Yesm.

GiC, you quote statistics from J.M Bailey to prove that homosexuality is genetic and therefore normal, but the funny is, J.M Bailey's books have been labeled "Hate Crime" against the gay community,  because Bailey says homosexulaity is partly biological, it is by no means "Normal". And this coming from an agnostic, describes homosexuality as an "evolutionary error". Quite, quite different from your conclusions.

I highly recommend his book "The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism ". Great read, but he goes overboard sometimes, very polemical at points.

Also, as a resident of Washington state, I can say I was against this initiative. One only needs to walk the streets of Seattle to see why you wouldn't want these kind of homosexuals in the workplace: Dog collars, passing out strap-on dildo party ads to the public and on light poles, barbading our cars in the church parking lot with anti-Christian slander (being the oh so tolerant and loving, and peaceful and NORMAL people that they are),walking eachother around on leashes, dressed in dominatrix leather, etc. Don't believe me, take a trip to Seattle sometime. And they do it in the tourist section of the city, which discourages people from coming back.....

See I have no problem with them being in the workplace. Really I don't. Its just that they wont act normal in the workplace. They'll come in with fishnets, leather boots, chains collars, etc, and when an employer says something, whats gonna happen? The gay employee will say hes "just expressing himself as a gay man" and if the employer goes further, boom, court case. If a homosexual man or woman can act proper and civilized in the work place,fine I don't care. Its just seeing their actions on the street, you can sorta guess whats coming........


In XC,
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« Reply #167 on: February 06, 2006, 10:26:34 PM »

First off, I dont know where you're getting your numbers from...
From a study with a much larger sample size than the one done by Baily and Pillard*.  It was a later study involving 14000+ twins done at the University of Queensland in Austrailia.  Again, those numbers were 38% for males and 30% for females.
(Source: Bailey, JM; Dunne,MP; Martin,NG (2000): Genetic and Environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. J. Pers. Social Psychology 78, 524-536.)
So whether the concordance rate is 30% (which is much closer to the facts) or 50%, the point is the same:  Homosexuality, though perhaps influenced to an extent by the genes, is not determined by one's genes.  The influence of environmental factors especially shouldn't be overlooked as monozygotic twins raised together generally share a very similar upbringing.  This shared upbringing is therefore a confounding factor in both studies--the actual concordance rates are probably even lower.

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« Reply #168 on: February 07, 2006, 03:11:07 AM »


Also, as a resident of Washington state, I can say I was against this initiative. One only needs to walk the streets of Seattle to see why you wouldn't want these kind of homosexuals in the workplace: Dog collars, passing out strap-on dildo party ads to the public and on light poles, barbading our cars in the church parking lot with anti-Christian slander (being the oh so tolerant and loving, and peaceful and NORMAL people that they are),walking eachother around on leashes, dressed in dominatrix leather, etc. Don't believe me, take a trip to Seattle sometime. And they do it in the tourist section of the city, which discourages people from coming back.....

See I have no problem with them being in the workplace. Really I don't. Its just that they wont act normal in the workplace. They'll come in with fishnets, leather boots, chains collars, etc, and when an employer says something, whats gonna happen? The gay employee will say hes "just expressing himself as a gay man" and if the employer goes further, boom, court case. If a homosexual man or woman can act proper and civilized in the work place,fine I don't care. Its just seeing their actions on the street, you can sorta guess whats coming........


In XC,
Justinian
I live in the Seattle area too, and I have definitely seen gays dressed/behaving like you described, but it's hardly all of them and it's wrong  to stereotype gays like that.  There are plenty of gay men who don't dress strangely, who don't slander Christians, and there are even some who in fact are Christian and want to repent of that sin(including me).  So please don't say that gays can't act "normal", most of them are quite normal. Gays in Capital Hill are among the most extreme. 
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« Reply #169 on: February 07, 2006, 05:12:06 AM »

I live in the Seattle area too, and I have definitely seen gays dressed/behaving like you described, but it's hardly all of them and it's wrong¦nbsp; to stereotype gays like that.¦nbsp; There are plenty of gay men who don't dress strangely, who don't slander Christians, and there are even some who in fact are Christian and want to repent of that sin(including me).¦nbsp; So please don't say that gays can't act "normal", most of them are quite normal. Gays in Capital Hill are among the most extreme.¦nbsp;

Oh oh, do not take me wrong brother, I am only discussing the Seattle gays, which you can mostly agree make up the heavy percentage of the Washington homosexual community. I know many gays , the minority of which, will go and act like normal Joes in the washington workplace. But what I am saying is the Seattle "were here, were queer" gays are gonna use this to start their usual s**t.

I guess what Im saying is that I was against the initiative on the basis that it was too simple-minded on how far "tolerance in the workplace" should go. Gays working and getting calls from their boyfriend for lunch, I dont care, thats their life, not mine. But one of the Capitol Hill gang strolling in with panty hoes and a whip, and then the employer says something, well theres gonna be a big fiasco on Kiro 13 the next day.

The Seattle gays as a majority are not pushing for just merely "tolerance and love". One only needs to read the Seattle gay periodicals and magazines (Have you ever read The Stranger, zebu?) that they want a complete eradication of anything that resembles being "anti-gay" which Orthodox theology would come into the crosshairs.

In XC,

Justinian
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« Reply #170 on: February 07, 2006, 11:11:34 AM »

Wow, GiC, I never would have expected you to support the "God made me gay" idea!

Tendencies may be one thing...I will tell you that I have them myself!  But I don't think that's the same as thinking God made me a homosexual or intends for me to be that way.
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« Reply #171 on: February 07, 2006, 12:15:32 PM »

GiC,

I'll try to keep this as brief as possible.

Old Law, "Cleaness"

You're still labouring under the error that the concept of "clean/unclean" under the Old Law is more or less equivelent to the modern notion of hygiene.  This is mistaken.  Take for example Leviticus 13:9-13...

Quote
9 "When a man is afflicted with leprosy, he shall be brought to the priest; 10 and the priest shall make an examination, and if there is a white swelling in the skin, which has turned the hair white, and there is quick raw flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic leprosy in the skin of his body, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean; he shall not shut him up, for he is unclean. 12 And if the leprosy breaks out in the skin, so that the leprosy covers all the skin of the diseased person from head to foot, so far as the priest can see, 13 then the priest shall make an examination, and if the leprosy has covered all his body, he shall pronounce him clean of the disease; it has all turned white, and he is clean." (Leviticus 13:9-13)

Now, how on earth is a man who is partially leprous "unclean" while one who is absolutely covered in it "clean"?  Simple - to be "clean" is not a question of hygeine here, but a ritual one.  IOW "purity" in the Old Law did not concern hygiene, but purity in the sense of "being true" and distinct - like we would say of a man who is "true blue" or as some would say of a dog (that it's motives are "pure" - unmixed, lack false pretense.)

The Old Law sought to impose upon a people who were a hair away from being satanic barbarians like their neighbours a mindset capable of making true distinctions and cleaving to the most important distinction of all - that God is not the creation, or in essence anything like His creation.  In fact that is the meaning of "holiness" - kodesh, to be distinct and set apart.

While much of this Law was a temporary pedagogue intended to form the people with a sledge hammer as it were, it undeniable contains ontological truths and not simply typological ones, relating  to the God-constituted nature of man and what is needful for his salvation.  Examples of this would be the prohibitions of idolatry and the following of foreign gods, or the abhorance of murder - and according to the Holy Fathers, the wrongness and contra-natural sin of sodomy.

Fallen Nature

Your interpretation of the consequences of the ancestral sin is contrary to the sense of Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Fathers.  I can see why you like Origenism (or as you veil this preference, "Alexandrian theology" - though I'm sure many of the Copts who frequent this forum would find your using of this term to describe what you espouse to be incredibly offensive) - but alas, he was (rightly) condemned as a heretic and his conclusions rejected by the mind of the Church, hence, the manifest mind of Christ.

Death was not God's intention for mankind - yet (as St.Athanasios teaches in On the Incarnation) such corruption and perishing is inherently part of what happens when men move away from God.  While the Saint appears to leave open the interpretation that corruption/death of some sort exists in the rest of the creation, this was not was intended for mankind.  This sentiment can be found in any Holy Father (ex. St.Basil) who deals with this topic even briefly - and it is evidenced in the fact that the major fact of the Redeemer's feat was to overcome physical death and rise with a glorified humanity.  And while this glorified humanity (which the Saints will inherit at the Last Judgement) certainly superceeds what man possessed in Eden, it is a testimony that Christ "undid" something which only began with Adam's tresspass in mankind - the fact of suffering and dying.

This truth (that humanity's natural state is one free from death and suffering, not simply spiritually but physically) is evidenced in the lives of the Saints and in their relics - their experiences of theoria show a taste of what a human nature free from corruption is like (ex. St.Simeo Stylites, who would simply "quit" needing the things we ordinary associate with human frailty, or St.Seraphim of Sarov who incessantly prayed for 1000 days and nights upon a rock near his hermitage - a feat impossible to a man bound by death and what comes with this).  The idea that such is impossible, or could never have been possible for man (as the Scriptures teach) is simply thinly disguised atheism.

Death being the culmination of our corruptability, obviously lesser forms have a part in this.  This is precisely why the mystery of Anointing the sick (as well as Holy Baptism in many cases) so often brings not only consolation to the soul, but physicial healing - because of the relationship between sin (whether it be the first sin or our own personal sins) and death.

Cells in the body reproduce - and because of the previously mentioned corruption (which did not exist in the first man in Paradise), it is hardly surprising that this process of replication goes wrong.  Hence arise all manner of genetic disorders and this is precisely the cause of cancer.  These are no more the will of God for mankind than man's mortality in general is.  If it is in fact the case that people who turn out to be homosexuals have certain genetic triggers which encourage this form of attraction, then this is no more the "will of God" (the God Who made man and woman for each other in Paradise - male and female, masculine and feminine, day and night, sky and seas, etc.) than a child being born blind, a bloodline prone to alcholism, etc.

You accuse me of putting forward a "view of God" which would involve Him being cruel - yet it is you who seems to believe He is the originator of retarded children and cancer wards...obviously a schitzophrenic "god", since it is supposedly the same Lord Who wept at seeing Lazarus' tomb, or who "had compassion upon the multitude".

Gnosticism

As for the alleged "gnosticism" of my perspective, such a charge only shows your ignorance of both Orthodox Christianity and the various gnostic sects of antiquity.  About the only connection the gnostics have with this conversation, is to your tacit approval of sodomy (though to be fair to the gnostics, only certain of their sects approved of this kind of behaviour - some of them were downright puritanical).

Old Law is "Cultural" and Man-made and filled with human prejudice

What you continually ignore in your appraisal of the Old Law is it's provisional nature - and that in many respects it is a comprimise.  In reality, the perfection taught by Christ is of a far higher order.

Thus, the Old Law tolerates a great deal the Church does not (ex. divorce on demand, polygamy, etc., etc.)  And while to an extent this applies to slavery, not wholly and entirely - strictly speaking, "owning slaves" is not inherently immoral (and I'd love to see you demonstrate otherwise).  However, the truth is that such practices are prone to inviting immorality, and this is why the general tide of Christian history has been a move away from the ownership of slaves.  As for other atheistical red-herrings like the slaying of the Canaanites, consider the following - while God never intended death for mankind, there is a reason why it is tied to sin; for an immortality of sinning is worse than dying.  Also while the same Lord is not vindictive, He does chastise out of love - even to the point of bringing men to death.  And bearing this in mind, there is little difference between God using a hoarde of Hebrews and a torrent of water to bring the demise of men.

These and your other objections relating to the "obvious" human origin of the Old Law lack substance and are not without adequate explanation.

Of shellfish and sodomites

The dietary prohibitions of the Old Law were for both psychological and practical purposes.  Psychologically, they pertain to the concept of "purity" as I previously discussed - for example, every animal forbidden for consumption by the Israelites was somehow "strange" in that it was "mixed" (ex. rabbits who chew their cud like a cow, but have paws like a predator; the same goes for Torah prohibitions against the wearing of blended fabrics, marrying unassimilated foreigners, etc.)  And the practical end these taboos collectively served is obvious - they made it next to impossible for any Israelite observing them to get mixed up in the thinking and ways of the pagans, but to remain as a literally separate people (and this is why to this day, those Jews who observe halakah rigorously will invariably choose to live in de facto ghettos - within short walking distance of a synagogue, not having to deal with "impure" people, unable to so much as eat their food, "dressing funny", etc.)

IOW. it was not all a bunch of stupid taboos; it did serve a purpose.  However, it was a purpose fulfilled and superceeded by the grace of the New Testament, which is far stronger than the evil of this world and as such includes the calling not to live away from the heathen, but to transform him into a son of God.

And as previously indicated, many of the Torah laws did have a moral/ethnical content.  Not "buggering thy neighbour" was among them.

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« Reply #172 on: February 07, 2006, 01:31:11 PM »

I do not disagree with you that there are two types of death, but centuries later (if taken literally), something happened that wasn't supposed to happen in Paradise (Garden of Eden if taken literally), i.e. bodily death.

But the death that was talked about in Genesis that was non-existant prior to the consumption of the forbidden fruit Occured on the very day that the fruit was consumed, not centuries later, thus we must assume that the death that is refered to is a spiritual death, not a biological one, it seems quite reasonable to believe that there was biological death (consider what Christ said about the grain), and if we look at this from a more objective scientific perspective and the role of evolution in the creation of the Earth, there can be no doubt about a biological death.

Quote
In our spiritual unity with God, we transcended our own nature. But after we disobeyed, we partook of the nature of the world to which even bodily harm continued. We even were from then on born to have a predisposition towards sin. God did not create this predisposition, neither did He create death for us, nor even whatever that is genetically inherited to predispose certain actions. Did not St. Antonious say "Without temptations, we cannot be saved"?

Death when taken in the context of humanity is different than taking it in context of the world.¦nbsp; We as humans are called to TRANSCEND our own inherently "corrupt" nature, as St. Athanasius brilliantly describes it in his book "On the Incarnation." The rest of the world was "corrupt" (in comparison to man), only man received the grace of incorruption. Thus, after the Fall, we participated in the death and other natural processes (including chromosomal changes) of animals.

Wait a second, this is clearly Gnostic, the world, the material, the bodily, is all Good, not evil or corrupt, this is what is taught in the story of the creation, to say otherwise is an affront to the Goodness of God, the Bodily Resurrection, and his dignity as a creator.

Quote
In addition, there has been the case of uncontrollable anger or alcoholism that also has genetic origins.¦nbsp; Can we say God is so sadistic in creating anger and alcoholism for man?¦nbsp; Should we allow violence or the dangerous consumption of alcohol?

We must differentiation between being a "sinner" and born in "sin" as a predisposition, and being a sinner as choice of act. We all agree that when St. Paul says we are all born in sin, it does not mean we are born guilty, but simply corrupt. If one is born in homosexuality, he is not guilty of sin, but fights it.¦nbsp; It is the "thorn in the flesh" if you will like that which St. Paul struggled against.

There are other conditions that are biological in nature and that we would regard as socially unacceptable, but to compare an act of love with an act of violence is somewhat disconcerting. While the fact that homosexuality is biological is certainly significant, what is likewise significant from a moral perspective is that it is not inconsonant with the notion of Love, whereas something like anger is. The difficulity with the condemnation of homosexuality as immoral is that there is not any clearly harmful element to it, unless you view the lack of procreation to be a harmful and wrong, but then monasticism and celibacy must be condemned on the same grounds. Furthermore, while a genetic predisposistion towards anger or alcoholism should in no way be viewed as a corruption of the body, homosexuality is yet fundamentally different, it is a genetically predetermined manner in which one should love, not in which one should hate or be destructive...it is a genetic predisposistion that is consonant with our moral theology, if not with the letter of some archaic laws on ritual uncleanness.

Quote
In addition, you seem to like to make a connection between this and women's rights, slavery, and genocide (Biblical genocide is a topic I am personally struggling with, although Deut. 7 seems to show that Moses and Joshua may have not done God's will after all.). We have to understand that the Devil clouds up our understandings with emotions of other things that go on in this messed up world, and you have to be careful that these emotions don't cloud up the pivotal and crucial understanding of the difference between genetic predispositions and spiritual decisions.

What we must also understand from these examples is the fact that not everything in scripture is infallible, there were clearly cultural and social influences on a wide spectrum of issues, and some of these things have to be reconsidered in the light of what we have learned as a culture and society in the 3000 years since these prohibitions were first made. We cannot ignore the lessons our society learned through the enlightenment and into the modern age, nor should we view them as somehow less the will and guidance of God simply because they occured in a more recent age.
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« Reply #173 on: February 07, 2006, 02:51:19 PM »

Dear GiC,

Quote
But the death that was talked about in Genesis that was non-existant prior to the consumption of the forbidden fruit Occured on the very day that the fruit was consumed, not centuries later, thus we must assume that the death that is refered to is a spiritual death, not a biological one, it seems quite reasonable to believe that there was biological death (consider what Christ said about the grain), and if we look at this from a more objective scientific perspective and the role of evolution in the creation of the Earth, there can be no doubt about a biological death.

Do we not also believe that in the end of days, we will be reunited with our bodies?  What does this mean?  It means that not only will we have conquered spiritual death (which Christ conquered immediately), but also bodily death in the end of days (which Christ also conquered by virtue of the Resurrection).  On an evolutionary basis, living beings do in fact die.  But the human race is different from the rest of the world.  Surely, we did evolve from the world, but God added the spiritual side in us to be different from the world, and we messed up and went back to the world.

Quote
Wait a second, this is clearly Gnostic, the world, the material, the bodily, is all Good, not evil or corrupt, this is what is taught in the story of the creation, to say otherwise is an affront to the Goodness of God, the Bodily Resurrection, and his dignity as a creator.

You misunderstand me.  I put reference to St. Athanasius' "On the Incarnation."  In it, he teaches us that all creation was created out of nothing, and yet all creation are susceptible to "nothingness" (even Angels are corrupt by nature, yet incorrupt in union with God).  Sin is evil, and evil and corruption is "non-existence."  Thus, since we are nothing by nature, we are corrupt and evil by nature.  It is only in unity with God that we are incorrupt.  God is good and the source of our existence.  If we seperate from Him, we are thus evil and susceptible to non-existence.  Man who was spiritually united with the Divine Image, the Logos Himself, transcended the nature of animals, being different from the rest of the world and put in Paradise (the Garden of Eden).  Man in complete union with God was thus above his physical nature, while his whole human nature was nourished by God Himself.

I am not saying man's body is a cage that traps the soul.  I am saying that man's body has the capability of spiritual life and communion with the spirit and with God, and thus we transcend and are different from animalistic nature.  St. Paul encourages this as well in Scripture.  He is not a gnostic as well.

Thus, I contend that when God placed us in Paradise and separated us from the world, biological death and natural processes could not rule over us.  We were continually energized by God Himself.  Once we disobeyed, we were put back into the world, and our human nature was corrupted from what it SHOULD have been.

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There are other conditions that are biological in nature and that we would regard as socially unacceptable, but to compare an act of love with an act of violence is somewhat disconcerting. While the fact that homosexuality is biological is certainly significant, what is likewise significant from a moral perspective is that it is not inconsonant with the notion of Love, whereas something like anger is.

One must ask where does one cross the line?  Science is one thing that characterizes our physical realities, but the spiritual realm has no place in science.  With a good conscience, one cannot say homosexuality is right.  If rage can be controlled spiritually even if genetical, so can homosexuality, for the Bible (and Holy Tradition) is clear about both rage and homosexuality as evil, against God's commands.  In addition, polygamy/polyandry and beastiality can also be forms of love as well.  In essence, scientifically, nothing is wrong with polygamy, but spiritually, God groans against it.  Beastiality likewise.  We all love our pets, but is it right to consummate our love sexually with them?  No harm is done on a scientific basis, but our human nature as a whole, including the spirit, does not agree with this.  I'm sorry for the graphics, but it makes one think where does one cross the line?  For consistency's sake, let us not become fooled by Satan's tricks on "loving" one another in different ways.

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What we must also understand from these examples is the fact that not everything in scripture is infallible, there were clearly cultural and social influences on a wide spectrum of issues, and some of these things have to be reconsidered in the light of what we have learned as a culture and society in the 3000 years since these prohibitions were first made. We cannot ignore the lessons our society learned through the enlightenment and into the modern age, nor should we view them as somehow less the will and guidance of God simply because they occured in a more recent age.

I wish to go over some of the things that you mentioned such as slavery and women's rights with you, but doing so would take us much much much further away from the topic.  What I do know is that the world is a confusing world.  We are growing more pluralistic, more subjective in morals, and more open to agnostic feelings.  Because of enlightenment, people also reject any form of religion, and have hardened their hearts to spiritual interpretations, which in and of itself is infallible.  If the Bible in inerrant in anything, it's spiritual, and this spiritual includes the moral.  Thus, sodomy which is clearly condemned carries an automatic condemnation to homosexual actions (in fact, sodomy in and of itself is considered unhealthy, and it shows that there are even limits in heterosexual relations).

May I add a contemplation I once had, a personal spiritual enlightenment after questioning whether homosexual acts are wrong or not:

We always find God being called a "He."  One may wonder whether that came out of a sexist society (and probably so), but then God permitted Himself to be given a masculine pronoun, even though He is neither masculine or feminine.  We then have a long time tradition of calling earth "Mother" Earth (she is in fact a mother considering we take some of our essence from her).  Then we also see the people of Israel and Judah.  Both Israel and Judah were men, but when one reads some of the prophecies, these two nations are also given the feminine pronouns.

Christ also became "man" and not "woman."  Why?  To show spiritually a tradition that blesses the reciprocal relationship between God and man.  Thus, we have the Church, our own Mother (and in a mystical sense, we are the Church as well.)  The Church is the bride of Christ, who is the bridegroom.  We all know that.  We in this world are all "she's" who are called to be deified to unite with God the "He."  This justifies male priesthood in a mystical sense, not that we are sexist, but God gave us roles to exemplify our relationship with God (today's society tries to force "political correctness," which clouds up their thoughts and never considered this interpretation of seemingly "sexist" Biblical and Orthodox traditional manners.  And these things all stem from Protestants who have no sacraments and thus gave birth to society's morals in "political correctness.").  At the same time, just as women bear and give birth (men do NOT bear and give birth, which shows roles that God ordained yet again in creation), so does the Church give birth to Christians through the womb of the baptismal font.  All this teaches and reveals to us the reciprocal nature of our relationship with God.  Homosexuality contradicts this, and in no way shows this reciprocal nature.  We have decreased love to a level that Orthodox Christianity does not reveal to us.

I agree one should not argue that homosexuals cannot give birth, for then we are indirectly condemning monasticism and celibacy.  But monasticism and celibacy has more in common with heterosexual marriage relationships.  Both show the imitation of reciprocity that make us all icons of God, and thus by grace deified.  Both are ordained such that we become more so Images of God.  One is a physical relationship teaching us the spiritual relationship with God, and one is a spiritual relationship directly with God, practicing heavenly exercises on earth.

God bless.

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« Reply #174 on: February 07, 2006, 04:38:42 PM »

There are other conditions that are biological in nature and that we would regard as socially unacceptable, but to compare an act of love with an act of violence is somewhat disconcerting. While the fact that homosexuality is biological is certainly significant, what is likewise significant from a moral perspective is that it is not inconsonant with the notion of Love, whereas something like anger is.

I agree GiC, that Love is never wrong, nor is ever against the Gospel commandments. Like all of us, gay people are called to Love. And I don't even condemn "eros" as compared with "agape". One cannot come to "agape" without first experiencing "eros", and this includes even "platonic" friendships. So the fact that gay people experience eros for the same sex is not in itself wrong- we all have to experience it before we can experience agape. The problem is, fornication. In accordance with the Divine Commandments, marriage is only for a male and female couple, and any sex outside of this, no matter how much it is an expression of Love, is still fornication. So gay and lesbian people find themselves in the unenviable position that if they seek to express their Love sexually, they have no choice but to do so through fornication- which is not "society's fault" since the Laws regarding marriage come from God. Love is NEVER wrong, but how we choose to express or act on it can be.
I think you are coming from a very compassionate position, and I applaud this, but when even gay Orthodox Christians disagree with your approach (as two have on this thread), I think you need to review it.
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« Reply #175 on: February 07, 2006, 05:31:09 PM »

If this post makes you throw you hands up in the air and say "I already answered that!" then instead of assuming that others just don't get it, maybe it's time to start questioning whether you aren't quite as good a communicator or rhetorician as you thought, since I don't seem to be the only one who is grappling to understand your reasoning Wink

Well, you do have to admit that I'm fighting an uphill battle defending homosexuality on an orthodox message board. Wink Hopefully my arguments will become more convincing as the debate progresses, then again maybe not, but I do acknowledge that I'm fighting 3000 years of established custom.
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« Reply #176 on: February 07, 2006, 05:46:27 PM »

From a study with a much larger sample size than the one done by Baily and Pillard*.  It was a later study involving 14000+ twins done at the University of Queensland in Austrailia.  Again, those numbers were 38% for males and 30% for females.
(Source: Bailey, JM; Dunne,MP; Martin,NG (2000): Genetic and Environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. J. Pers. Social Psychology 78, 524-536.)
So whether the concordance rate is 30% (which is much closer to the facts) or 50%, the point is the same:  Homosexuality, though perhaps influenced to an extent by the genes, is not determined by one's genes.  The influence of environmental factors especially shouldn't be overlooked as monozygotic twins raised together generally share a very similar upbringing.  This shared upbringing is therefore a confounding factor in both studies--the actual concordance rates are probably even lower.

I hadn't come accross that study, but even with those numbers, it doesn't really matter...50% or 40%...as far as the significance of such numbers, the fact that they are so much higher than the possibility that two adopted brothers (a control group) would be homosexual is what is notable, as well as the fact that it's as much as twice as high as fraternal twins which should have enviromental factors in life that are quite comprable to that of identical twins. Furthermore, this doesn't prevent it from being genetic, the mere fact that there is a statistically notable difference implies that there is some genetic link, from what I've been able to gather reading scientific studies on the matter the overwhelming majority of scientists who research human sexuality are of the opinion that it is genetic, but enviromental factors (very early on in life, perhaps even in the womb) determine whether this gene will activate or remain dormant. It should also be noted that from what I know of these studies, for formal classification of 'homosexual' one must select that they are either 'mostly' or 'exclusively' homosexual, this would mean that someone who might be genetically homosexual but because of enviromental circumstances (our culture and society is strongly heterosexual -- see fruit fly study I referenced) they are either 'bisexual' or 'mostly heterosexual,' and since they answer as such they would not be recorded amongst the relevant percentages.
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« Reply #177 on: February 07, 2006, 06:35:30 PM »

I'll try to keep this as brief as possible.

That's good, and forgive me if I leave something out, but responses seem to be building up and I would like to address all of them, it seems that I've hit a nerve on this board Grin

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You're still labouring under the error that the concept of "clean/unclean" under the Old Law is more or less equivelent to the modern notion of hygiene. ¦nbsp;This is mistaken. ¦nbsp;Take for example Leviticus 13:9-13...

Not exclusively, but there were certain parts of the law that actually did have practical applications of hygene, any anthropologist should be able to tell you that laws regulating the eating of meat or requiring the washing of hands were based in their primitive knowledge of hygene, as with your leporacy example this might have evolved to fit some philosophical idea that was later developed and some examples come from who knows where, I'm sure there was a cultural reason for most such regulations (but perhaps not all, some might truly have been random or as a result to a later developed cultural philosophy that was extended to absurdity) at the time, but many are lost to history.

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While much of this Law was a temporary pedagogue intended to form the people with a sledge hammer as it were, it undeniable contains ontological truths and not simply typological ones, relating ¦nbsp;to the God-constituted nature of man and what is needful for his salvation.

I'd say they are mostly allegorical, neither typological nor ontological, but there are certainly a few elements of typology and even ontology in the Old Testament.

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Your interpretation of the consequences of the ancestral sin is contrary to the sense of Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Fathers. ¦nbsp;I can see why you like Origenism (or as you veil this preference, "Alexandrian theology" - though I'm sure many of the Copts who frequent this forum would find your using of this term to describe what you espouse to be incredibly offensive) - but alas, he was (rightly) condemned as a heretic and his conclusions rejected by the mind of the Church, hence, the manifest mind of Christ.

Actually I rarely reference Origen, though I believe him to be one of the Greatest Theologians in the History of the Church, and should mandatory reading before anyone is allowed to discuss theology, using him in a debate is quite problematic, accordingly I will quote SAINT Clement of Alexandria, SAINT Gregory of Nyssa, SAINT Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, etc...I hope that makes you happy. As far as what the copts think of my opinions about the School of Alexandria, it should be noted that alot happened between A.D. 300 and 450...Sts. Athanasios and Cyril are great scholars and theologians in their own right, but they did not exceede their teachers, and afterwards as the Coptic church ceased to be an academic centre of the Empire and became instead a persecuted Church, I fear their theology suffered greatly, and they never again produced theologians of the same caliber...before anyone jumps on me for this, I'll say the same thing about the Eastern Orthodox, we haven't had many great theologians since A.D. 1000, and certainly not since A.D. 1453.

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Death was not God's intention for mankind - yet (as St.Athanasios teaches in On the Incarnation) such corruption and perishing is inherently part of what happens when men move away from God. ¦nbsp;While the Saint appears to leave open the interpretation that corruption/death of some sort exists in the rest of the creation, this was not was intended for mankind. ¦nbsp;This sentiment can be found in any Holy Father (ex. St.Basil) who deals with this topic even briefly - and it is evidenced in the fact that the major fact of the Redeemer's feat was to overcome physical death and rise with a glorified humanity. ¦nbsp;And while this glorified humanity (which the Saints will inherit at the Last Judgement) certainly superceeds what man possessed in Eden, it is a testimony that Christ "undid" something which only began with Adam's tresspass in mankind - the fact of suffering and dying.

While I will buy that there is no suffering before the fall, I will not buy that there was no death, all will return to the One from which they emanate, there is the necessity of a physical death and rebirth for man to reach the fullness of his humanity. But of course, all this is allegory, we all know that the actual creation of humanity was via biological evolution, which always includes death along with mutation, crossover, survival of the fittest, etc. So while the creation story offers us a rich theological tradition, it is not very helpful when discussing biology.

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You accuse me of putting forward a "view of God" which would involve Him being cruel - yet it is you who seems to believe He is the originator of retarded children and cancer wards...obviously a schitzophrenic "god", since it is supposedly the same Lord Who wept at seeing Lazarus' tomb, or who "had compassion upon the multitude".

Temporary suffering, yes, but I dont believe he's going to condemn anyone's immortal soul for not having the correct biology, or for not resisting their biology, as you seem to believe...of course I've rarely seen retarded children suffering, usually it is those around them that it is hardest on, and who knows perhaps it's a gift that will keep them childlike, that will keep them from the truly soul damning sins, making them amongst the greatest in the kingdom of God...maybe we have it wrong and it's ourselves who got the 'short end of the stick' so to say.

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As for the alleged "gnosticism" of my perspective, such a charge only shows your ignorance of both Orthodox Christianity and the various gnostic sects of antiquity. ¦nbsp;About the only connection the gnostics have with this conversation, is to your tacit approval of sodomy (though to be fair to the gnostics, only certain of their sects approved of this kind of behaviour - some of them were downright puritanical).

I didn't accuse you of having a Gnostic morality, only of having a Gnostic theology...dichotomy between old and new testament, the corruption of matter, etc.

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What you continually ignore in your appraisal of the Old Law is it's provisional nature - and that in many respects it is a comprimise. ¦nbsp;In reality, the perfection taught by Christ is of a far higher order...

In many places the Old Testament and New are incompatable, different moral requirements different expectations different prohibitions, if we are to take seriously the idea that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New are the same, we have no choice but to realize that much of scripture, both Old and New Testament, was not written by the hand of God, but rather is a human text with varying degrees of inspiration, and often heavily influenced by the culture and the ethos of the day. The Idea that in the Old Testament but refeused to in the New is to establish a change in the Godhead, from a God that once allowed immorality, but punished nominal offences with draconian severity, but now is more forgiving but allows no immorality. One cannot reasonably compare the Old and New Testaments without taking culture into account.

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These and your other objections relating to the "obvious" human origin of the Old Law lack substance and are not without adequate explanation.

Above, plus Occam's Razor.

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IOW. it was not all a bunch of stupid taboos;

Yes it was, as any anthropologist should be able to tell you.
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« Reply #178 on: February 07, 2006, 07:40:45 PM »

Do we not also believe that in the end of days, we will be reunited with our bodies?  What does this mean?  It means that not only will we have conquered spiritual death (which Christ conquered immediately), but also bodily death in the end of days (which Christ also conquered by virtue of the Resurrection).  On an evolutionary basis, living beings do in fact die.  But the human race is different from the rest of the world.  Surely, we did evolve from the world, but God added the spiritual side in us to be different from the world, and we messed up and went back to the world.

From a scientific point of view I question your view that we somehow stopped to die biologically. I simply do not see such an assumption as necessary for our theology and it creates far too many problems scientifically.

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You misunderstand me.  I put reference to St. Athanasius' "On the Incarnation."  In it, he teaches us that all creation was created out of nothing, and yet all creation are susceptible to "nothingness" (even Angels are corrupt by nature, yet incorrupt in union with God).  Sin is evil, and evil and corruption is "non-existence."  Thus, since we are nothing by nature, we are corrupt and evil by nature.  It is only in unity with God that we are incorrupt...

This implication is amongst the problems I have with the concept of creatio ex nihilo, it is a corollary of something existing outside of God, infact it's almost the establishement of 'nothingness' as another god, a gnostic dualism between God and the anti-god, existance and non-existance, substance and nothingness. But in reality both are in the realm of God, as indeed all things are, God is both existance and non-existance, substance and nothingness. Thus the term creatio ex deo, but since nothingness is created by God we can still legitimately say creatio ex nihilo, just so long as we dont understand the nihilo to be part of the deo, and not independent from it.

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I am not saying man's body is a cage that traps the soul.  I am saying that man's body has the capability of spiritual life and communion with the spirit and with God, and thus we transcend and are different from animalistic nature.  St. Paul encourages this as well in Scripture.  He is not a gnostic as well.

This I can agree with, but then why would something that is a created part of one's body, an even more so a part of one's nature, and not only that but an act of love that is part of one's nature if the body is capable of spiritual life as  you suggest, be wrong and sinful? What is inherent in the essence of homosexuality that makes it sinful? For what theological reasons is it immoral?

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One must ask where does one cross the line?  Science is one thing that characterizes our physical realities, but the spiritual realm has no place in science.  With a good conscience, one cannot say homosexuality is right.

In light of our enlightened understanding of the world that we have gained over the past few hundred years, why can noone in good conscience say that homosexuality is right? I'm sure that many say it is acceptable without having ulterior motives.

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If rage can be controlled spiritually even if genetical, so can homosexuality, for the Bible (and Holy Tradition) is clear about both rage and homosexuality as evil, against God's commands.

Of course people can control their impulses, but why should they be forced to? Why should people be forced to live a life of celibacy, why should they be forced to live their life alone, for no better reason than the type of relationship they were genetically programmed for, the type of relationship that is in their very nature, was taboo in some culture 3000 years ago? How is there any justice or morality to such a system? How can it be the one established by a perfect all-merciful and all-loving God? How is such a legal code consonant with His Nature?

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I wish to go over some of the things that you mentioned such as slavery and women's rights with you, but doing so would take us much much much further away from the topic.

Fair enough, I'm already spending far more time responding to this topic than I would like to.

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What I do know is that the world is a confusing world.  We are growing more pluralistic, more subjective in morals, and more open to agnostic feelings.  Because of enlightenment, people also reject any form of religion, and have hardened their hearts to spiritual interpretations, which in and of itself is infallible.

Perhaps the reason that religion is loosing its influence is not because people no longer need spirituality (infact many studies show just the opposite), perhaps it is because religions insist on maintaining ancient cultural customs that are at odds with our collective human experience today, perhaps if religion focused more on the spiritual only and less on the cultural laws and regulations, it would once again become relevant to the population. A principle of biological evolution might apply here, evolve or die.

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I agree one should not argue that homosexuals cannot give birth, for then we are indirectly condemning monasticism and celibacy.  But monasticism and celibacy has more in common with heterosexual marriage relationships.  Both show the imitation of reciprocity that make us all icons of God, and thus by grace deified.  Both are ordained such that we become more so Images of God.  One is a physical relationship teaching us the spiritual relationship with God, and one is a spiritual relationship directly with God, practicing heavenly exercises on earth.

Why can't a homosexual relationship 'show the imitation of reciprocity that make us all icons of God'? Surely gender cannot have a significance beyond typology in a theological context, as there is neither male nor female in Christ.
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« Reply #179 on: February 07, 2006, 07:45:03 PM »

I agree GiC, that Love is never wrong, nor is ever against the Gospel commandments. Like all of us, gay people are called to Love. And I don't even condemn "eros" as compared with "agape". One cannot come to "agape" without first experiencing "eros", and this includes even "platonic" friendships. So the fact that gay people experience eros for the same sex is not in itself wrong- we all have to experience it before we can experience agape. The problem is, fornication. In accordance with the Divine Commandments, marriage is only for a male and female couple, and any sex outside of this, no matter how much it is an expression of Love, is still fornication. So gay and lesbian people find themselves in the unenviable position that if they seek to express their Love sexually, they have no choice but to do so through fornication- which is not "society's fault" since the Laws regarding marriage come from God. Love is NEVER wrong, but how we choose to express or act on it can be.
I think you are coming from a very compassionate position, and I applaud this, but when even gay Orthodox Christians disagree with your approach (as two have on this thread), I think you need to review it.

Ozgeorge,

First off, I have to say that I think you have presented the best argument for your cause yet. However, I do have a few questions about it, or more specifically one question: Why must we maintain the historical-cultural definition of marriage as between only a man and a woman? Why can't marriage be expanded to be more inclusive? Why are we unable recognize the difficult posistion of people with homosexual tendencies, and in mercy and love allow them a context in which they can fulfill their desire for an intimate relationship, just as we allow heterosexual couples? Surely an all-loving and all-merciful God would not condemn such an act of mercy and compassion.
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« Reply #180 on: February 07, 2006, 08:26:47 PM »

Oh oh, do not take me wrong brother, I am only discussing the Seattle gays, which you can mostly agree make up the heavy percentage of the Washington homosexual community. I know many gays , the minority of which, will go and act like normal Joes in the washington workplace. But what I am saying is the Seattle "were here, were queer" gays are gonna use this to start their usual s**t.

I guess what Im saying is that I was against the initiative on the basis that it was too simple-minded on how far "tolerance in the workplace" should go. Gays working and getting calls from their boyfriend for lunch, I dont care, thats their life, not mine. But one of the Capitol Hill gang strolling in with panty hoes and a whip, and then the employer says something, well theres gonna be a big fiasco on Kiro 13 the next day.

The Seattle gays as a majority are not pushing for just merely "tolerance and love". One only needs to read the Seattle gay periodicals and magazines (Have you ever read The Stranger, zebu?) that they want a complete eradication of anything that resembles being "anti-gay" which Orthodox theology would come into the crosshairs.

In XC,

Justinian

Well, I think what you are describing is really Capitol Hill gays.  Seattle is filled with gays, and most of them you wouldn't know it just by looking at them.  It's really in Capitol Hill only that they do crazy things like walk each other on leashes and such.  Though I know what you mean about the signs for sex parties up all over the city, but for the record, a lot of those are straight orgies as well(Btw, a strap-on is used by a woman on a man or two women on each other, not a man on a man...men have no need for that). 

I do agree many of them hate Christianity because it is "anti-gay", and if it were up to a lot of them, the Church would be gone.  However, everyone should be treated with love.  There are many promiscuous straight people who hate the Christianity, yet nobody is saying they should be discriminated against.  I am just really bothered by the double standard(and I'm not talking so much about you Justinian as people in general).  Nobody is out there campaigning to stop straight people from having sex before marriage, or starting threads on internet forums about how men who cheat on their wives should be denied jobs.

Yes, I have read the Stranger.  It is not a gay newspaper.  It is an "alternative" newspaper, which includes many straight people seeking sexually deviant things in its personal ads, and many rants written by heterosexuals on how Christianity=evil. 
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« Reply #181 on: February 07, 2006, 09:12:25 PM »

Oh oh, do not take me wrong brother, I am only discussing the Seattle gays, which you can mostly agree make up the heavy percentage of the Washington homosexual community. I know many gays , the minority of which, will go and act like normal Joes in the washington workplace. But what I am saying is the Seattle "were here, were queer" gays are gonna use this to start their usual s**t.

I guess what Im saying is that I was against the initiative on the basis that it was too simple-minded on how far "tolerance in the workplace" should go. Gays working and getting calls from their boyfriend for lunch, I dont care, thats their life, not mine. But one of the Capitol Hill gang strolling in with panty hoes and a whip, and then the employer says something, well theres gonna be a big fiasco on Kiro 13 the next day.

The Seattle gays as a majority are not pushing for just merely "tolerance and love". One only needs to read the Seattle gay periodicals and magazines (Have you ever read The Stranger, zebu?) that they want a complete eradication of anything that resembles being "anti-gay" which Orthodox theology would come into the crosshairs.

In XC,

Justinian


Unless Seattle is somehow different than everywhere else I've lived (Austin, Denver, Salt Lake, and Los Angeles) I think you'll find the opposite of what you said. The overwhelming majority are not the flamboyant types you see in pictures of gay pride parades in the Castro district of San Francisco. I'm guessing from your statement you don't have any gay friends and your aren't really around any. If you were, I think you would find they are pretty much like anyone else, going about their normal, boring lives.

And I'm not really sure what "s***" gays are supposed to always be starting. So they stand against legislation to deny them equal rights. Who is really starting the "s***" there? They didn't initiate the laws, only wanting equal rights. What is so bad about that?
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« Reply #182 on: February 07, 2006, 10:01:00 PM »

OK

I think we are getting way off topic here which was originally about Washington State passing anti-gay discrimination laws. This thread has gotten seedy and vulgar. Furthermore, Matthew777, I have been a fan of your posts in the past but now think you are merely posting to get a rise out of people on this site and that is wrong.
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« Reply #183 on: February 08, 2006, 12:22:09 AM »

Dear GiC,

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From a scientific point of view I question your view that we somehow stopped to die biologically. I simply do not see such an assumption as necessary for our theology and it creates far too many problems scientifically.

My dear brother, I say this not because of science, but because of faith.  Science has no way in proving or disproving the spiritual realm of our beings.  I am simply upholding the Holy Fathers' teachings on the spiritual realm, and what it does in addition to the physical realm.  This is all philosophical/idealogical thinking.

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This implication is amongst the problems I have with the concept of creatio ex nihilo, it is a corollary of something existing outside of God, infact it's almost the establishement of 'nothingness' as another god, a gnostic dualism between God and the anti-god, existance and non-existance, substance and nothingness. But in reality both are in the realm of God, as indeed all things are, God is both existance and non-existance, substance and nothingness. Thus the term creatio ex deo, but since nothingness is created by God we can still legitimately say creatio ex nihilo, just so long as we dont understand the nihilo to be part of the deo, and not independent from it.

I guess we'll have to save this for another discussion.  On a small note, I have no problem with creatio ex nihilo since God is infinite.  I don't believe it's gnostic dualism (and I did mention these ideas stem from St. Athanasius, i.e. they're not my own).

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This I can agree with, but then why would something that is a created part of one's body, an even more so a part of one's nature, and not only that but an act of love that is part of one's nature if the body is capable of spiritual life as  you suggest, be wrong and sinful? What is inherent in the essence of homosexuality that makes it sinful? For what theological reasons is it immoral?

I am a huge believer that when God says something that is clearly wrong, I can't ignore this.  Sooner or later we find ourselves thinking whether God really exists in giving us moral rules to follow.  I personally believe that we as limited minds cannot make decisions on our own, but God does (in the spiritual/conscience matter).  I only wish to do God's will that has been handed to us for two millenia (I'm not going to argue about before that).

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In light of our enlightened understanding of the world that we have gained over the past few hundred years, why can noone in good conscience say that homosexuality is right? I'm sure that many say it is acceptable without having ulterior motives.

I personally cannot in good conscience because this is one of God's taboos.  If God has always permitted it, no one would be debating this today.  And homosexuality is not something new.  I'm sure St. Paul struggled with homosexuals in Corinth as well, and I'm sure they seemed to justify it as much as society is today.  I do not question God's taboo on homosexuality as much as beastiality or polygamy/polyandry.  I also do not question the limitations in pre-marital relations as well, which today society may look at as "archaic."  And yet beautiful stories of love that I do not deny stem from these pre-marital relations, but I still cannot in good conscience contradict my Lord's moral rules.

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Of course people can control their impulses, but why should they be forced to? Why should people be forced to live a life of celibacy, why should they be forced to live their life alone, for no better reason than the type of relationship they were genetically programmed for, the type of relationship that is in their very nature, was taboo in some culture 3000 years ago? How is there any justice or morality to such a system? How can it be the one established by a perfect all-merciful and all-loving God? How is such a legal code consonant with His Nature?

I don't think they have to be forced to live alone.  If they have to force themselves, then they will with the help of God's grace.  In fact, I hear of stories of people who are happy with God's grace helping them to control their desires, and perhaps even get married into a heterosexual relationship, something that may have seemed impossible with God.  A perfect all-merciful and all-loving God heals corrupt nature.

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Perhaps the reason that religion is loosing its influence is not because people no longer need spirituality (infact many studies show just the opposite), perhaps it is because religions insist on maintaining ancient cultural customs that are at odds with our collective human experience today, perhaps if religion focused more on the spiritual only and less on the cultural laws and regulations, it would once again become relevant to the population. A principle of biological evolution might apply here, evolve or die.

Many different people with many different beliefs first look to their own personal views and try to believe in a God that couldn't possibly believe in things opposite their views.  It's the new "pagan" of this generation.  Yes, people need spirituality, but people make their own "gods" these days.  I've had enlightening debates with people that really widened my mind.  One such example is a man who believes that God is not a personal God who is good or bad, but something unexplainable who just created the laws of science, and he opens the possibility that the laws of science itself can be God, and that there's really no true purpose in this world except to live life to its fullest.  Another one believes in a God who is above religion, and believes all religions are paths to God in a way that people intend to please God, which matters the most.  What I learned from these experiences is that people make a God that is an image of themselves these days, and not conform their image to the Divine One Himself.  That is why it is easy to confuse yourself these days connecting what is moral and what is scientifically harmless.  Again, I say that it is scientifically harmless for polygamous relationships, but the God the Holy Spirit inspiring the Holy Fathers (and interestingly a glimpse of the OT itself) have spoken against it.

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Why can't a homosexual relationship 'show the imitation of reciprocity that make us all icons of God'? Surely gender cannot have a significance beyond typology in a theological context, as there is neither male nor female in Christ.

I believe that creation tells us a story of the spiritual realm, and perhaps may teach us spiritual lessons.  I believe homosexuality only creates more agnostics in this world on the doctrines of Christianity, and perhaps teaches us not to conform to society as is happening today.  God who is uncreated is different, far more different from creation.  St. Paul always encouraged ladies to cover their heads because man is the head of woman just as Christ is the head of the Church (or the Father as the fountainhead of the Son).  I find nothing wrong with a woman uncovering her head, but God inspiring St. Paul said to cover it.  Man and woman are both created equal, but in this world, we walk on a stage.  We have roles, and we, in love to our God and His will, imitate God's relationship with us.  Gender differences reiterate the differences between God and creation, although both man and woman are created equal whereas we are not equal with God.  And yet we can become equal by grace, as Christ became incarnate for our chance to be.  The Bible teaches that a woman is a companion to man, his right hand, perhaps, jokingly, the neck that turns the head of man (My Big Fat Greek Wedding).  We also learn that by ceaseless prayers to God and our collective intercessions along with the intercessions of the saints as One Church, the Bride of Christ, God can do what is in our favors, i.e. our prayers have an effect.  We would not be praying in vain.  We could be in fact the neck that turns the head of Christ, just as the Theotokos wanted Christ to make wine.

Man can still love man, but not in a sexual relationship.  I do not believe homosexuals should avoid other men or be on his own, unless he personally feels it necessary (sometimes I've met heterosexual men who do not deserve a "clean" wife, but would rather be celibate for their "perverse" history).  He should be encouraged to see men and to have somewhat of a brotherly love, a spiritual connection as well.  But consummation of love occurs only between one man and one woman, as God has taught us for centuries, and not just any man or woman, but married together under the sacraments of the Church.

Dear aserb,

While we might be a little off topic, I feel this is a very important topic, and I am glad we are having this discussion.  But I agree that we need to be less vulgar.

God bless.

Mina
« Last Edit: February 08, 2006, 12:30:06 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #184 on: February 08, 2006, 01:55:34 AM »

Well, GiC's posts have long been idiosyncratic, with their wanna-be Greekness and embrace of the heresy of the trilinguals. But in these latest posts he has gone tremendously astray. Here he makes an irrational turn towards embracing the same Western culture he's often condemned, he goes against the Church's firm Tradition on homosexuality for no other reason than personal opinion, and he would seek to undo the firm and steady respect for the Truth for which thousands of people (myself included) anually come from compromised and modernist Protestant denominations. If he is tolerated here, this is no longer a respectable discussion forum for Orthodox. I'm leaving.
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« Reply #185 on: February 08, 2006, 02:00:08 AM »

Well, GiC's posts have long been idiosyncratic, with their wanna-be Greekness and embrace of the heresy of the trilinguals. But in these latest posts he has gone tremendously astray. Here he makes an irrational turn towards embracing the same Western culture he's often condemned, he goes against the Church's firm Tradition on homosexuality for no other reason than personal opinion, and he would seek to undo the firm and steady respect for the Truth for which thousands of people (myself included) anually come from compromised and modernist Protestant denominations. If he is tolerated here, this is no longer a respectable discussion forum for Orthodox. I'm leaving.

How do you mean "if he's tolerated here?"  If he makes posts and can be refuted that's one thing; I'm not going to call the lynch mob, though.  And I doubt his position will be adopted by the majority on the board.  But it's the hallmark of a free society with free speech that the statistical-outlyers are permitted to speak as much as the majority; the challenge is for you to change the way he thinks through rational/theological arguments, since he is 100% never swayed by emotional ones.
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« Reply #186 on: February 08, 2006, 03:34:26 AM »

I'm sorry I made one mistake in my post:

Quote
I believe homosexuality only creates more agnostics in this world on the doctrines of Christianity, and perhaps teaches us not to conform to society as is happening today.

It should be read:

I believe justifying homosexuality only creates more agnostics in this world on the doctrines of Christianity, and perhaps refusing homosexuality teaches us not to conform to society as is happening today.

God bless.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2006, 03:34:47 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #187 on: February 08, 2006, 06:57:33 AM »

Well, GiC's posts have long been idiosyncratic, with their wanna-be Greekness and embrace of the heresy of the trilinguals. But in these latest posts he has gone tremendously astray. Here he makes an irrational turn towards embracing the same Western culture he's often condemned, he goes against the Church's firm Tradition on homosexuality for no other reason than personal opinion, and he would seek to undo the firm and steady respect for the Truth for which thousands of people (myself included) anually come from compromised and modernist Protestant denominations. If he is tolerated here, this is no longer a respectable discussion forum for Orthodox. I'm leaving.
Firstly, I don't think anyone should behave like the "Thought Police" out of 1984. Unless we are able to discuss things without silencing people, we are no better than the Fascists of Nazi Germany or the Soviets of Communist Russia, or the governments which "disappear" people in Latin America. These questions need answers, and hopefully we can explore them to some degree here. The Church is not going to fall apart because GiC is asking some questions and sees a moral dilemma. I have disagreed with GiC on numerous occassions on this board, but you know what, I have the deepest respect for him as a poster precisely because he doesn't just shoot his mouth off- he thinks things through. He's never presented an argument against mine that I don't have a hell of a time being able to respond to. I'm sorry you have had the experiences of Protestantism that you did, but if we don't allow dialogue about this issue in the Orthodox Church, then the only answer we will ever have about the Church's position on this will be "because we say so"- which is exactley what cults and sects say. The Church has 2000 years of wisdom to impart- can't we explore it together in dialogue? You said it yourself- GiC is merely presenting his opinion. You know my opinion , and the opinion of everyone else on this thread, so surely you can see that it took great courage for GiC to express his opinion here. If you can't accept that GiC has thought this through and sees a genuine dilemma for himself, then at least respect the courage he has shown in voicing it here.
First off, I have to say that I think you have presented the best argument for your cause yet. However, I do have a few questions about it, or more specifically one question: Why must we maintain the historical-cultural definition of marriage as between only a man and a woman? Why can't marriage be expanded to be more inclusive? Why are we unable recognize the difficult position of people with homosexual tendencies, and in mercy and love allow them a context in which they can fulfill their desire for an intimate relationship, just as we allow heterosexual couples? Surely an all-loving and all-merciful God would not condemn such an act of mercy and compassion.
Is it merely an "historical/cultural definition of marriage" that we are dealing with here?  I'm not sure that we can put morals about sexual intercourse on the same level as women covering their heads in Church. The limits of marriage have been delineated in Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, and involves a Mysterion of the Church, so (although I may be wrong) I'd say the only way this could change is through an Oecumenical Synod. And yes, what the Church binds on Earth is bound in Heaven, and what the Church loosens on Earth is loosened in Heaven, but I just don't see it happening. And I don't see it happening because as far as the Church is concerned, the limits of marriage have been set by God and re-inforced by Christ:
 "And He answered and said unto them: Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? " (Matthew 19:4-5.) Christ, our God, here expresses the "original plan". With the Fall, homosexuality is introduced, which is a passion- a very strong passion, but still a passion. I do not doubt that Our Lord has infinite compassion for those who suffer from this passion, nor do I doubt that Christ is able to (excuse the pun) "write straight with crooked lines", by which I mean, assist the person through Grace to harness and bridle the passion so that it can be put to good use. What I do doubt is that His intention is that this should be the only passion which the person should completely surrender to and allow to manifest in an unbridled way by expressing itself sexually. If this is not the case with the passions of vainglory, pride, aquisitiveness, lust....etc....why should the passion of homosexuality be an exception? If our monastics have taught us anything, it is the fact that Love, (even eros), does not have to be expressed sexually. Our Lord, interestingly, after talking about marriage in Matthew 19 (quoted above) says:
"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matthew 19:12)
We know that monastics "have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake", but who are the "eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb"? Who is born that is not able to have sexual intercourse? And even if this is not homosexuals (but I think Our Lord did include them here), even so, He blessed those who abstained from even lawful sexual intercourse "for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven." Does this show a lack of compassion in Christ, or does it show the Wisdom of higher things? I think the latter.
And from a pastoral perspective, don't you think it may be cruel to give a 'hope' that the Church may change it's position on homosexual sex given the Holy Tradition on this issue, and the unlikelihood of the Church extending the definition of marriage?
The fact is, the Church did have a rite for creating a spiritual union between two people of the same sex, the Adelphopoiia ("Brother making"). In this rite, two people became "Spiritual Brothers" (as opposed to "Blood Brothers" which the Church opposed). In Greek, they were called "Cross-brothers" (because they exchanged their baptisimal crosses as part of the Rite). The Adelphopoiia in no way, endorsed homosexual sex however. It was simply the Church blessing a deep mutual friendship. However, the rite was banned in the 19th century. Perhaps the re-introduction of this rite may offer some people the opportunity to have lifelong friendships blessed so they don't feel so alone, and perhaps coould be used as a way to help gay people bridle their passion and put it to good use, however, if it were to be introduced, I'm afraid that in the current climate around this issue, it would likely be construed as a "gay marriage", which it isn't. 
I don't know what the Church may do in the future, however, I do know (as do you) what the Church teaches in the Present, and this is all we have to go on. We should not give people false hope of the Church's moral teaching changing.
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« Reply #188 on: February 08, 2006, 12:41:24 PM »

I think I'll have to clarify something in my post Smiley

Quoting from George:

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I'm not sure that we can put morals about sexual intercourse on the same level as women covering their heads in Church.

You are right.  I meant to put this in the context of the roles we play on the stage of our mission to salvation, where we must follow the teachings of the Church that never change.  Perhaps it's better to put morals on the same level as pre-marital "intimate" relationships (not necessarily sexual).

Quote
The fact is, the Church did have a rite for creating a spiritual union between two people of the same sex, the Adelphopoiia ("Brother making"). In this rite, two people became "Spiritual Brothers" (as opposed to "Blood Brothers" which the Church opposed). In Greek, they were called "Cross-brothers" (because they exchanged their baptisimal crosses as part of the Rite). The Adelphopoiia in no way, endorsed homosexual sex however. It was simply the Church blessing a deep mutual friendship. However, the rite was banned in the 19th century. Perhaps the re-introduction of this rite may offer some people the opportunity to have lifelong friendships blessed so they don't feel so alone, and perhaps coould be used as a way to help gay people bridle their passion and put it to good use, however, if it were to be introduced, I'm afraid that in the current climate around this issue, it would likely be construed as a "gay marriage", which it isn't.

Wow...I never knew this.  But I support the idea that this can help people with such passions.  I believe though people will not construe it as "gay marriage," but rather "misconstrue" it.  I find nothing wrong with re-establishing this rite, especially with the needs of today's society in this issue.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #189 on: February 08, 2006, 01:07:09 PM »

Well, GiC's posts have long been idiosyncratic, with their wanna-be Greekness and embrace of the heresy of the trilinguals. But in these latest posts he has gone tremendously astray. Here he makes an irrational turn towards embracing the same Western culture he's often condemned, he goes against the Church's firm Tradition on homosexuality for no other reason than personal opinion, and he would seek to undo the firm and steady respect for the Truth for which thousands of people (myself included) anually come from compromised and modernist Protestant denominations. If he is tolerated here, this is no longer a respectable discussion forum for Orthodox. I'm leaving.

I don't think that is fair. GiC states his opinion and defends them instead of the "post and run" approach he could take. His opinions may differ from yours, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be able to voice them here. If you feel he is in error, explain why. No one here has exactly the same positions on everything, and we can learn from others with different view points.

I don't know him or anything about him other than what we read on his posts, but I have seen a number of statements from others about him I would consider personal attacks. I'm surprised he isn't the one declaring this isn't a respectable discussion forum and leaving.
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« Reply #190 on: February 09, 2006, 01:32:41 PM »

GiC,

Some further thoughts on this topic.

Authority of Holy Writ

While I believe your take on "allegorical exegesis" is incorrect (nor do I think it's fair to compare it to the approach of the Alexandrian Fathers - since their perspective did not involve turning the Old Testament into an a-historical "sacred myth"), in some ways what you say goes well beyond this.  For even if we were to allow that the Bible is simply a pious allegory, this would do nothing to the moral import of said allegory.  Yet you're pretty clear, that you believe on many matters, the Old Testament (or at least significant parts of it) is simply wrong, and is simply the product of an ancient culture.

Honestly, I'm hard pressed to see how this view of the Old Testament is in anywise different than how I view a pagan work like the Bhagavad Gita - only quasi-historical, and in so far as it's moral/spiritual content is concerned, it's a "mixed bag" (much like how anything human beings come up with is - a little good, a little ba