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Old 12-21-2006, 09:28 AM   #2851 (permalink)
Me llamo Marijan
 
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Default A few thoughts on sin and why the house of cards called organised religion fell apart

Here's a simple example on why Christianity does more damage than good. I was raised a catholic and the fear of God was put into me at an early age. When I was boy and just started discovering my sexuality, it didn't occur to me that what I was doing may be wrong. I was happy and carefree. Then I started going to confession ( as a normal part of my christian development ) and suddenly the priests started telling me that what I was doing was wrong. The cure for my wicked ways? Say 5 Hail Mary's and all shall be well. The idea that masturbation was wrong, dirty and sinful had now been planted in my mind. But how can anyone go against their sexuality? Naturally it is mission impossible and therefore I and many other christian boys and girls were destined for years of guilt and shame ahead of us. For what purpose? How does masturbation endanger your soul?

From a logical standpoint, most of the religious rules and commandments stem from certain social necesseties. "Thou shall not kill" is an easy one, if everyone was allowed to kill other people on a whim, society couldn't function and anarchy would prevail. But are we not, in fact, as human beings, with death being the ultimate scare factor, already sensitised enough that taking a life is wrong? Is an atheist more likely to kill simply because he/she is not affraid of eternal damnation? I think not. Not nowdays anyway.

Wouldn't it be fair to say that religious rules were needed because humanity wasn't able to organise itself accordingly without it? Now we have laws, courts, jails and all other elements of an organised society more or less separated from religion. And we function fairly well. A criminal is less likely to commit a crime if you threaten him/her with a life sentence that with an elusive idea of hell.

Also, the prevailing factor on why there are fewer and fewer people in churches nowdays is because the standard of living is now much better than say, 100 years ago. Life is a lot better, therefore, we don't need to put all our hopes in the afterlife as the ultimate comfort-thought ( if life is hell, at least heaven avaits us ).

So back to the starting point, what is the purpose of condemning masturbation? What is the logic behind it? One can perhapse use the same logic as with the obsession with material goods; it detters you from your spiritual life. But how can 30 minutes of one day prevent you from contemplating the unknown? Are there some other logical answers I'm not aware of? If so, enlighten me.

The idea of redemption through confession ( which, if I'm not mistaken, was one of the main reasons why Martin Luther rebelled against the Catholic church ) is where the house of cards starts to dissipate. Even if you claim that forgiveness can only be obtained through true remorse and a genuine promise that you will try not to commit the sin again, can you not do that by yourself? Why is a mediator necessary? Priest are only human after all, and we have learned by now that not every priest is a good and pious person. So if we go to the same priest all of our lives, and he turns out to be just as big of a sinner as we are ( if not worse ), does that mean our sins have not been forgiven? And if they are, how can such a person give us clemency?

What about mortal sins? If we confess them, God will not factor them in when we finally meet Him? If I confess a murder and am trully sorry for it, will I be on the same plane as a nun or someone else that has lived their lives according to scripture?

What about those people who have not heard the word of God, some primitive cultures in a remote region of the Amazon for instance? Will they go to hell simply because they were not privvy to the teachings of Christ? If I recall correctly, the Catholic Church has now abandoned the idea of Limbo.

Let me touch on some other paradoxes that The Church has a lot of difficulty explaining. The idea of original sin. We are, if you haven't heard, full of sin even at birth. What happens to a child that hasn't had the good fortune to be arround a priest on the moment of his/her death? The Catholic Church also recently decided that Mary was without original sin, she was concieved and given birth to in a very human fashion, but unlike the rest of us, this elusive idea of "original sin" has bypassed her in some way. They decided it, so it must be so. So what is this "original sin" they talk about? If sex inside marriage ( with the intent of making a child ) is not sinful, why are we sinful at birth? We are still paying for what Adam and Eve did? Can we do nothing right?!

Last edited by adidasss; 12-21-2006 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:29 AM   #2852 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by oojay View Post
What were their views on heaven/hell/afterlife?
Very similar to Buddism.
That you are doomed to return to earth until you tap into the divine spirit inside us all.
In short we are all a part of the higher God...one and the same, but we have to see the truth to be released. We are God.

Gnostics also believed it was a sin to have children.
Dooming spirits to an earthly existance.

Jesus was Gnostic...he spoke in parables only Gnostics would understand.
The Church sexed it up for the massses and the rest is history (according to Gnostic belief)
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:29 AM   #2853 (permalink)
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Default Part two of this epic tale

And now the issue of homosexuality, at which I'm affraid, it all fell apart.
In Christianity, sex is sinful if it is not intended for procreation. Therefore, masturbation is sinful, so is sex with a condom ( hence a couple of million dead in Africa, woops! ), anal sex and so forth. If you read the Bible ( as I'm sure, many righteous "christians" did not ), you will see that there are no direct condemnations of homosexuality, and certainly not by Jesus.

Here are some very interesting thoughts from whosoever.org on the passages of the Bible that supposedly condemn homosexuality and are often used by homophobes to justify their hate:

Quote:
Genesis 19 describes how two angels visited Sodom and were welcomed into Lot's house. The men of the city gathered around the house and demanded that Lot send the visitors to the mob so that they might know the angels. [The Hebrew verb yada (to know) is ambiguous. It appears 943 times in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). In only about a dozen of these cases does it refers to sexual activity; it is not clear whether the mob wanted to rape the angels or to meet with them, and perhaps attack them physically. From the context, it is obvious that their mood was not friendly]. Lot refused, but offered his two virgin daughters to be heterosexually raped if that would appease the mob. The offer was declined. God decided to destroy the city because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. The angels urged Lot and his family to flee and to not look back. Unfortunately, Lot's wife looked the wrong way, so God killed her because of her curiosity.

God was apparently not critical of Lot for offering his two daughters to be raped. However, God was angry at the other inhabitants of the town. He destroyed Sodom with fire and brimstone (sulfur). He presumably killed all of the men in the mob, their wives and other adults, as well as children, infants, newborns, etc. It is unclear from these few verses whether God demolished the city because the citizens:

were uncharitable and abusive to strangers
wanted to rape people
engaged in homosexual acts.
The Church has traditionally accepted the third explanation. In fact, the term sodomy which means anal intercourse is derived from the name of the city, Sodom. But the first explanation is clearly the correct one. As recorded in Matthew 10:14-15 and Luke 10:7-16, Jesus implied that the sin of the people of Sodom was to be inhospitable to strangers. In Ezekeiel 16:48-50, God states clearly that he destroyed Sodom's sins because of their pride, their excess of food while the poor and needy suffered, and worshiped many idols; sexual activity is not even mentioned.

NOWHERE in the Scriptures does it say that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexual sex. Even if the specific point of the story was concerning a sexual matter, rather than hospitality, the issue is rape not homosexuality. Jesus claimed the issue was simply one of showing hospitality to strangers (Luke 10:12). How ironic that those who discriminate against homosexuals seem to be the true practitioners of the sin of Sodom.
Quote:
Leviticus 18:22 states: "Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination." The term abomination (to'ebah) is a religious term, usually reserved for use against idolatry; it does not mean a moral evil. The verse seems to refer to temple prostitution, which was a common practice in the rest of the Middle East at that time. Qadesh referred to male religious prostitutes. (See the discussion of Deuteronomy)

Leviticus 20:13 states: "If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they should surely be put to death....". The passage is surrounded by prohibitions against incest, bestiality, adultery and intercourse during a woman's period. But this verse is the only one in the series which uses the religious term abomination; it seems also to be directed against temple prostitution.

These passages are part of the Jewish Holiness Code which also:

permits polygamy
prohibits sexual intercourse when a woman has her period,
bans tattoos
prohibits eating rare meat
bans wearing clothes that are made from a blend of textiles
prohibits cross-breeding livestock
bans sowing a field with mixed seed
prohibits eating pigs, rabbits, or some forms of seafood
requires Saturday to be reserved as the Sabbath
Churches have abandoned the Holiness Code; it is no longer binding on modern-day Christians. They can wear tattoos, eat shrimp, wear polyester-cotton blends and engage in temple prostitution without violating this particular section of the Bible. Although this code is obsolete for Christians, many clergy still focus on those passages which deal with homosexuality
Quote:
Deuteronomy 23:17 states (in the King James Version) "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel . This is an "error" by the authors of the KJV. In this passage, the actual word that is being translated is "qadesh" which means "holy one" or "someone set apart for a holy purpose." In this case the word is referring to people who commit ritual acts of prostitution in order to honor their deity. The clearest translation of this concept would simply be "temple or ritual prostitute". For example, Deuteronomy 23:17 should be translated thusly: "There shall be no ritual prostitute of the daughters of Israel, or a ritual prostitute of the sons of Israel". Any translation which translates qadesh as pervert or sodomite is blatantly mistranslating. An example which shows this clearly is found in the New King James version which translates qadesh in its male form as 'perverted one' but translates qadesh in its female form as 'ritual harlot', both should be 'ritual harlot or prostitute!'

Last edited by adidasss; 12-21-2006 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:32 AM   #2854 (permalink)
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Default Part three ( the epic journey through Christianity continues )

Still with me?

Quote:
Judges 19 describes an event much like that at Sodom. This time, an unnamed Levite visited the town of Gibeah with his slaves and concubine. He met an old farmer and was made welcome. A gang of men appeared and demanded that the old man send out the Levite that they might homosexually rape or assault him. (It is again not clear what the precise meaning of the verb to know was). The old man argued that they should not abuse the visitor. He offered to give them both the Levite's concubine and his own virgin daughter to be heterosexually raped. The mob accepted the former, raped her all night and finally killed her. The Levite sliced up her body into 12 pieces and sent one to each of the tribes of Israel. This triggered a war between the inhabitants of Gibeah and the Israelites during which tens of thousands died. There was no condemnation against the Levite for sacrificing his concubine, or for committing an indignity to a body. Judges 20:5 emphasizes that the aim of the mob was to kill the stranger - the ultimate act of inhospitality. It appears that these passages condemn abusive treatment of visitors. If they actually refer to homosexual activity, then they condemn homosexual rape; they have nothing at all to say about consentual homosexual relationships
Quote:
I Kings 14:24 and 15:12 again refer to temple prostitution. The original word qadesh is mistranslated as sodomite (homosexual) in the King James Version, but as male prostitute, male cult prostitutes, and male shrine prostitutes in more accurate versions. As mentioned before, there is little evidence that homosexuality was involved. Again, the text has nothing to say about consentual homosexual relationships
Quote:
ROMANS 1:24-27

This passage has been used by some Christians to make an issue over how "unrighteous" and sinful homosexuals are. In fact, it has been used to support the view that AIDS is the "penalty of their error which was due." What is fascinating about this kind of application is that it is totally at odds with what, I believe, Paul was really saying. IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND THE POINT OF ROMANS CHAPTER ONE YOU MUST READ ROMANS CHAPTERS ONE THROUGH THREE. The outline is as follows:

I. The Gospel is for EVERYONE, Jews and Gentiles. (1:16)

II. Why? Because God's wrath is against ALL unrighteousness. (verse 18).

II. The Gentiles need the Gospel. (1:28-32) The examples of their "uncleanness" include idolatry and homosexual acts which are either connected to or resulting from idolatry.

III. But the Jews are just as unrighteous as the Gentiles. (2:3)

IV. "All have sinned" and are "justified (made right with God) FREELY by God's grace (unearned love) through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ." (3:23-24)

While Paul is certainly not favorable toward the homosexual acts that he is writing about it is interesting to note that Paul classifies them "unclean" which is not necessarily a "moral" precept. (According to the Holiness Code lobsters and shrimp are "unclean" also.) He may be pointing out that though the Jews are different than the Gentiles in that they are ritually "clean" (according to the Old Covenant) they are still just as much in need of the grace of the New Covenant.

Let's look at some of the verses in this section:

Verse 27b "And receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due". Is Paul here saying that those who committed homosexual acts were punished in some physical way...as in venereal disease? Or could "uncleanness," being cut off from the Old Hebrew Covenant, be the penalty of the Gentile's error?

28 "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to adebased mind, to do those things which are not fitting..." People often take this to mean one of the following things:

Since homosexuals didn't retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind.
Since the Gentiles were idolatrous God gave them over to a debased mind of homosexuality. However, I believe that Paul was saying the following:
"Since the Gentiles did not retain God in their knowledge God gave them over to a debased mind. The debased mind is NOT homosexuality but a mind that is centered on unrighteousness, hence the listing of what the Gentile mind is full of in verse 29.
29-32 This list of "unrighteousness" is being applied to all Gentiles, not Gentiles that commit homosexual sex acts. It is the Gentiles "who are worthy of death." These verses are really just an exposition of verse 18.
26-27 Another interesting point to consider is that people often use verses 26-27 to prove that Paul used an argument from "nature" to prove that homosexual activity was wrong. However that kind of usage of the word "nature" is highly unlikely as Paul usually uses the word "nature" or "natural" to mean not what "Mother Nature" does but instead he means "the previously accepted common usage". Nature is not a great teacher about ethics and humans are nowhere called in scripture to emulate it. What is more, homosexual activity DOES go on in the animal world.
It must be remembered also that Paul was referring to homosexual ACTS, not homosexuals. AND NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HOMOSEXUAL ACTS PAUL WAS TALKING ABOUT... NO ONE KNOWS THE BACKGROUND... We must ask ourselves "what type of homosexual acts was Paul talking about?" Was he talking exclusively about homosexual acts connected with idolatry? (Perhaps that was the only kind of homosexual activity he was familiar with.) Was he talking about pederasty? Was he talking about homosexual acts committed with slaves? Was he talking about people of heterosexual orientation committing homosexual acts? Just exactly what type of homosexual acts was he concerned with? Do people have the Right to just ASSUME that these verses were a blanket condemnation of homosexual sex in every context?
In my personal opinion Paul was referring to same sex sexual acts committed in idolatrous worship by people he regarded as heterosexual. Even the most conservative theologian can only give their opinion as to what type of same sex acts Paul was referring to. No one can state that God clearly condemns all homosexuality activity based upon these verses. It is just too vague.

As for me, based on the context of Paul's writing in Romans chapters 1-3 I choose to believe that God's New Covenant of grace embraces those who believe in Jesus; being a Jew doesn't make you better than a Gentile; being a heterosexual doesn't make you any better than a homosexual. Romans chapters one through three strike at the very heart of self-righteous pride. It is amazing that some Christians continue to lord their own sense of righteousness over ***s and lesbians as if their heterosexual sex acts make them somehow better, or less in need of grace. We are all in need of grace and we ALL have that grace in Jesus Christ.
Quote:
I Cor 6:9 Paul lists a many activities that will prevent people from inheriting the Kingdom of God. One has been variously translated as effeminate, homosexuals, or sexual perverts. The original Greek text reads malakoi arsenokoitai. The first word means soft; the meaning of the second word has been lost. [For further discussion of arsenokoitai visit Dr. Rembert Truluck's site.] It was once used to refer to a male temple prostitute (as in the verses from the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament described above). The early Church interpreted the phrase as referring to people of soft morals; i.e. unethical. From the time of Martin Luther, it was interpreted as referring to masturbation . More recently, it has been translated as referring to homosexuals . Each Translator seem to take whatever activity that their society particularly disapproves of and use it in this verse
Quote:
Tim 1:9 again refers to malakoi arsenokoitai which has been variously translated as homosexuals, sexual perverts etc. Again, the original meaning of the text as been lost.
Quote:
Jude 7 refers to the people of Sodom as "giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh". Strange flesh has been variously translated as perverted sensuality, unnatural lust, lust of men for other men, and perversion. Again, it is unclear what is being referred to here. Some biblical scholars interpret this as referring to an ancient Jewish legend that the women of Sodom engaged in sexual intercourse with angels.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:33 AM   #2855 (permalink)
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Default Part four ( conclusion )

Quote:
In summary:

homosexual activity in the temple by male prostitutes is clearly prohibited by the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).
homosexual activity in general may have been prohibited at the time by the Holiness Code, but that code is no longer binding on Christians today.
St. Paul considered at least some male and female homosexual acts to be forbidden, but it is unclear precisely which acts are included. He may have been referring to temple prostitution, or to people who are not innately ***, lesbian or bisexual engaging in homosexual acts. One should note that Paul also condemned women preaching (1 Cor 14:34) or wearing gold or pearls (1 Tim 2:11). He also accepted and did not condemn the institution of slavery. Some Christians feel that his writings are not a useful guide for ethics and morals in the 20th Century.
Jesus made many hundreds of statements regarding belief and behaviour. However He never mentioned homosexuality.
There are two Biblical same-sex relationships (one between two women, the other two men) reported in the Bible in a positive light. They appear to have progressed well beyond friendship. They were likely homosexual affairs, although not necessarily sexually active relationships:
+ Ruth 1:16, 2:10-11 between Ruth and Naomi
+ 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 1 Samuel 20:41-42 and 2 Samuel 1:25-26 between David and Jonathan. (Some translations of the Bible distort the original Hebrew text, particularly of 1 Samuel 20)
It is the subject of endless debate whether St. Paul's prohibition of at least some homosexual acts was:
+ for the people in the vicinity of the Mediterranean during the 1st Century CE, or
+ for all people, forever.
One can argue that the ancient Israelites were surrounded by warlike tribes. Their fertility was very important if the group was to survive. The early Christian church was also surrounded by enemies. Homosexuals tend to have few children; thus their presence would be met with opposition. At the end of the 20th Century, conditions are the exact opposite; we are threatened by our excessive fertility. Perhaps Paul's criticism of homosexuality is no longer valid, like his various prohibitions against women's behaviour.
That's it, all the passages that supposedly condemn homosexuality, and can, if you have bothered to read it, be refuted very easily.

When someone tells you love is wrong, that you are sinful even if you haven't hurt anybody...they stop making sense on all fronts, and you stop listening.

Last edited by adidasss; 12-21-2006 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:34 AM   #2856 (permalink)
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:39 AM   #2857 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by right-track View Post
Very similar to Buddism.
That you are doomed to return to earth until you tap into the divine spirit inside us all.
In short we are all a part of the higher God...one and the same, but we have to see the truth to be released. We are God.

Gnostics also believed it was a sin to have children.
Dooming spirits to an earthly existance.

Jesus was Gnostic...he spoke in parables only Gnostics would understand.
The Church sexed it up for the massses and the rest is history (according to Gnostic belief)
I dont believe Jesus was gnostic. While no one can be sure (since that was so long ago), its taking the word of the church vs. the word of the gnostics, and it seems that the church's viewpoint is a bit more believable.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:41 AM   #2858 (permalink)
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I dont believe Jesus was gnostic. While no one can be sure (since that was so long ago), its taking the word of the church vs. the word of the gnostics, and it seems that the church's viewpoint is a bit more believable.
But for the politics at the time...the present day church would be Gnostic.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:44 AM   #2859 (permalink)
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But for the politics at the time...the present day church would be Gnostic.
Are you referring to the Catholic church I assume?
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:49 AM   #2860 (permalink)
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Are you referring to the Catholic church I assume?
Yes. They established themselves at the expense of the Gnostics, who they treated as heretics.
Burnt their books and killed there followers.
Until the Nag Hammadi scrolls were found there was little known about Gnostic belief. http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html



Edit: Kudos to adidasss for one of the most comprehensive and intelligent posts I've ever seen on these boards.
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