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Biblical Contrasts ..

April 12th 2010 02:58
Perception and opinions - how they change over time thank goodness!

Biblical Stoning

In herradio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

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4 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Spring-Heeled Jack

April 12th 2010 07:41
Cue predictable line about 'using discretion in the interpretation of the Bible'. In other words, choose to believe what suits your own views and discard the rest. Sometimes I honestly can't decide if religion is too fundamentalist or not fundamentalist enough. At least followers would be more predictable if they simply did what was written down, rather than all this chopping and changing. But then, how would they reconcile half of these things with the vehement assertion that 'Thou shalt not kill'?

Comment by sumaya rahman

April 12th 2010 15:43
OMG.........some pretty awesome stuff........

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 12th 2010 23:25
It doesn't matter how many times I see this speech/letter (or similar), it never gets old. I will always love it.

Comment by Humble Pie

April 18th 2010 09:31
It appears some people should probably check Snopes more often... Link

This "letter" has been circulating around for at least 6 years online, often as a joke, as seen here, at other times as anti-religious propaganda.

Ah, amusing as the letter is, there are a few things that a lot of people overlook when trying to twist Old Testament verses to throw out the entire Bible.

First of all there is Acts 10:11-16. In it, Peter was specifically told by God that what God has cleansed is no longer impure (or common). Several of the animals in the vision were considered by Old Testament standards to be impure and sinful to eat, yet God tells Peter to kill and eat. Now, the reason that this section in the New Testament is overlooked often, is that many think it only applies to food. But the scripture does not say 'what food God hath cleansed, that call not thou common', it says "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common". When Christ died on the cross, he died for all sins, once and for all. That is not to say that there are no more sins, but that they are forgiven. In the OT, a sin that was considered an abomination was not to be forgiven, and considered an immediate ticket to hell. With Christ's death, this not need be so. With true repentance, all sins are forgiven, if the person is truly repentant, not merely seeking to avoid punishment.

=====Acts 10: 11-16=====
"11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven."

Secondly, there is 1 Corinthians 8: 4-13. Here the Church at Corinth is being told that certain things formerly seen as sin, such as the eating of meat intended for pagan idols in this case, is of no evil in and of itself. After all, the idol is false, and there is no god but God, though many claim otherwise. However, it also says not to eat the meat around other believers if it causes another weaker brother or sister to stumble and sin. What could be the reason not to eat it if it is not a sin? Why would a weaker brother or sister stumble if it is not a sin to eat the meat? The issue here is not the object, but rather the individual. Specifically, the intent and belief of the individual as they eat the meat, or commit another act that causes them to stumble.

=====1 Corinthians 8: 4-13=====
"4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."

Although there are other verses on this subject, these two suffice for the issues at hand in most of this letter. The intent of the individual in question (or individuals) is chief in determining if it is a sin or not. Although some other individuals may stumble because they may feel homosexuality is wrong due to homophobia, homosexuality is not necessarily a sin if the couple are exclusive to one another, and are seriously happy together. However, others may sin by committing violence or saying ill things, or other sinful acts because their intent is to harm or shame said couple. In such a case, some who are more reasonable might simply ask the couple to take their affection to another location, where the person in question might feel less uncomfortable, or to at least delay overt affection while in their presence. While this may solve the problem temporarily, it would be better to speak and discuss with the uncomfortable person about their discomfort and see if a compromise can be reached that satisfies all parties involved more amicably than merely driving homosexuals away when they feel affectionate. If a homosexual couple finds themselves unwelcome in an area, they might try to solve the problem, or they can shake the dust off their feet and continue elsewhere, rather than antagonizing (even unintentionally) those who are not as firm in their own walk, and more prone to pointing out the speck in others' eyes rather than pulling out their own plank. While I myself have no leanings towards homosexual relations, I am at least strong enough in my own walk to be friends and co-workers with some and not to feel uncomfortable around them. I am not perfect, and I do stumble on my walk more often than I can recount, but I continue to stand back up again and keep trying.

And, with regard to Spring-Heeled Jack's comment: 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' also falls under the headway of intent. If one wishes to cause harm to another and murder someone in cold blood or for revenge, then they have sinned because their intent was to do harm. For someone who is in war, almost every soldier I have known does not want to kill their enemy if possible. They would rather capture a surrendered enemy than not. When most do kill an enemy soldier the first time, it is more often than not in self-defense. The same goes for police officers in the line of duty. They typically do not go for a headshot when firing. They are trained to go for the central mass, but more often than not they don't kill someone with a single shot. Many die due to bleeding or shock, or other injuries sustained while trying to either resist arrest, or trying to attack an officer.

The best explanation I have heard of the differences between Old Testament and New Testament nuances is an analogy of a fence. If a person has a child who is too young not to walk out into traffic, a fence keeps the child within the bounds of the yard due to a strict enforcement. It doesn't matter if the child lost their ball over the fence, or someone called them from the other side of it to play. They would be unable to leave the yard without help at such an age. The laws of the Old Testament are rigid and not based on intent, but rather actions. If you violated a law, you sinned, plain and simple. You stumbled and failed a lot trying not to break the laws, but so long as you didn't actually kill someone, you could still picture doing it in your mind and be alright. In the New Testament, the fence was removed. Now the child is a teen and can go out of the yard when they wish. They can cross the street to greet old friends, they can visit the neighbors, etc. If the teen goes out of the yard to cause mischief, their intent was the sin, not the act of leaving the yard. Now, if you have murdered someone in your heart, pictured them dead in your head, your intent is foul, and you have sinned. To imagine it for a brief moment is a temptation, but to throw the thought aside is not to give in. Thoughts may come at random, but dwelling on a thought, toying with ideas, that is intent. Drawing up plans for robbing a bank, even if you get caught, is still the intent to rob one. If you were to destroy the plans and never attempt them, then you have realized the error of your intent, and have worked to resolve it. Asking for forgiveness should follow, and the intent is washed away in God's eyes as if you never had drew up the plans.

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