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Jack E. Jett Interview: Anderson Reiterates “All Gays Are Predators”, Bible Was Written In English

Jim Burroway

August 31st, 2009

It’s in three parts. The interview starts out with Anderson’s complaints about President Barack Obama, whom  Anderson has been asking God to smite and send to hell. He’s not too fond of Bush and Cheney either. Anderson also discusses why men should pisseth standing up.

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Toward the end of part one (at about 8:40), the conversation turns to Anderson’s statement that all gay people are predators and molesters.

Jack E. Jett: You think that all gay people are child molesters and predators. Is that correct?

Steven Anderson: Yes.

Jett: Okay. And you say this because all the gay people you had come in contact with have tried to either seduce your or seduce your children?

Anderson: No, no that’s not really the right quote. Here’s where I get that belief. First of all, Leviticus 20:13 says that if man also lies with mankind as he lies with a woman, even both of them have committed an abomination, their blood shall be upon them. So God put the death penalty on homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13. It’s reiterated again in Romans chapter one in the New Testament.

And as far as believing that they’re all pedophiles and predators, it’s not… obviously I’ve come in contact with gay people constantly, and I didn’t… obviously every single one of them I came in contact with I didn’t witness them trying to molest or trying to rape. But what I said was that there are three stories in the Bible that involve homosexuals, and in all three stories they’re trying to rape and abuse people against their will. Also there are other verses in the Bible like Habakkuk 2:!5 … [Begin part 2] … where the Bible insinuates that the gays will try to use alcohol to molest or rape someone against their will. And then I said that the gays I’ve known, like that I actually knew as far as some that were in my extended family for example, or that I went to school with, were always trying to molest or recruit others to their lifestyle.

Obviously I’ve come into contact briefly with people out in public. Obviously every single one of them I didn’t witness doing this, because they’re doing it behind closed doors. But I’m saying I’ve been exposed to a lot of it. I’ve seen…

Jett: Have you ever had a gay man come on to you?

Anderson: Well you know I actually have. When I was a teenager, I remember there were actually gays in the Christian school, believe it or not. And they would try to come on to everybody. And you know they were in the closet, but it was real obvious what they were doing . Later on they came out of the closet. And I’ve seen it in my personal life. I’ve seen it in the news — and you’ve got to admit that in the news it’s constantly little boys being molested. I mean, it’s every day in Phoenix, it’s in the news, let alone nationwide.

After returning from a commercial break, Jack E. Jett gave a shout out to BTB readers acknowledging the questions you left for him to ask.They got into interpretation at about 8:00 in part 2:

Jett: How do you know it’s not you that’s out of synch instead of the rest of the world that’s out of synch?

Anderson: I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who believes this way. Give me a break. There are tons of people who believe. I”m just the one who’s vocal about it. And the thing is, the way that I know is because that’s what the Bible says, people talk all about interpreting the bible. You know, if I’m speaking a foreign language, I”m going to call an interpreter. But you know the Bible’s written in English and it’s pretty clear what it says. I don’t know how else you can interpret it when God says that if a man sleeps with another man, he should be put to death in Leviticus 20:13. I’m not sure how anyone else can interpret that any differently.

Jett: It also says you shouldn’t be eating shellfish. We’ve got a question from someone who went to Red Lobster last night and said that they had a lot of shrimp and should they be put to death? It also says in the Bible you shouldn’t be eating figs. There’s three quotes in the Bible about eating figs. Now here’s a little bit of history for you and if you read your Bible you should know. Did you know that King James himself was gay?

Hello?

The interview continues in Part 3:

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Anderson: Yes, I’m sorry, you cut out on me again. But I heard you talk about the different… the food restrictions…  It’s so clear in the Bible, if people don’t understand the Bible, that’s not my fault. The Bible makes it very clear in Genesis chapter nine that every single animal was okay for people to eat in Genesis nine, no matter what the animal. During the time of Moses and the tabernacle and the Mosaic Law, God gave them dietary restrictions that ended with the coming of Jesus Christ and that’s described in Hebrews chapter nine. And so those were the symbolic things that were …. the food, the washing, the animal sacrifices, that were very clearly stated in the Bible that were for a temporary time.

That doesn’t mean we can just take out all of God’s laws and just throw them out just because they come from the Old Testament. Plus, Romans chapter one and the book of Jude reiterate, and also Second Peter chapter two, reiterate the death penalty for homosexuals and reiterate that it’s an abomination in the New Testament.

Jett: Did you know King James himself was gay?

Anderson: That’s not true. That’s the propaganda that’s been stated. There are historians who try to say he was. I’ve read many biographies of King James where they had whole chapters disproving the fact that he was gay, and it was not even a Christian historian. It was just a secular historian.

Jett: Why would it be necessary for a Bible to disprove someone was gay, if he wasn’t gay? Why do you need to disprove it?

Anderson: Do you want to try to call me back because I can’t hear a word you’re saying. I’m really sorry.

And so he hung up. Jack and the others in the studio noted that no one else was having problems with the phone system. (I’d have to confirm that when I was on the program a few weeks ago, their phones were exceptionally clear — more clear than many other radio interviews I’ve done over the phone.)

Comments

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Ken in Riverside
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

But you know the Bible’s written in English and it’s pretty clear what it says.

Nuff said.

Christopher Waldrop
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who believes this way. Give me a break. There are tons of people who believe. I’m just the one who’s vocal about it.

Is he saying he’s the only one who’s vocal about it? Give me a break! I think we can add megalomania to the collection of this guy’s mental problems if he thinks he’s the only one out there spewing such crazy beliefs. He just happens to be one who’s got a forum and has grabbed some momentary attention.

Richard W. Fitch
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

I don’t know how else you can interpret it when God says that if a man sleeps with another man, he should be put to death in Leviticus 20:13. I’m not sure how anyone else can interpret that any differently.

Since Anderson doesn’t have any formal education, he can’t be expected to know that even Jewish experts in OT Hebrew find it difficult to make a definitive translation of this very passage. The original lacks the context which would have been apparent to the intended first audience. The implied context has been assumed the worship of Moloch and other ‘foreign’ gods in sexual acts with males/boys/men attired as the goddesses of those beliefs. Ultimately, it is based on the belief that no ‘seed’ should be spent except ‘on fertile ground’. Hence, even masturbation is an abomination, an act which makes one ritually unclean — Pastor Steve, have you EVER masturbated?

Priya Lynn
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Anderson lied when he said “the animal sacrifices, that were very clearly stated in the Bible that were for a temporary time.”.

In fact it was just the opposite, it is stated in the bible that these were to be carried out forever:

Leviticus 7:28-36

Rebecca
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

For the record, Anderson’s comments about dietary restrictions vs. prohibitions on homosexuality are false.

Genesis 9 does say that all living things shall be as meat, but the Mosaic law is nowhere stated to be temporary. The contradiction only proves that the Bible was compiled by multiple authors, as we clear-headed people already know.

Hebrews 9 refers to the temple, not to ordinary kashrut – even the loopy far-right Truthnet interprets it this way.

Romans 1 is a terrible example, because in Romans 1, God punishes straight people for idolatry by making them have sex with others of the same sex.

The passage in Jude refers to “strange flesh” and is universally taken to mean non-human flesh, i.e. the angels who visited Sodom.

2 Peter 2 doesn’t say a word on homosexuality or gay sex.

fannie
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

“But you know the Bible’s written in English and it’s pretty clear what it says.”

LOL!

If his earlier diatribes didn’t already discredit him, this statement surely did.

William
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Who was it that once said, “The King James Version was good enough for St Paul, so it’s good enough for me”?

Rebecca
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Oh, as for his other passages: Habakkuk 2:5 indicates nothing of the kind, and Leviticus 20:13 is the only passage indicating the death penalty for men who have sex with men. (Lev 18:22 doesn’t.)

I’m surprised he left out 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 – both condemn arsenokoitai (arsen = man, not arse; koitai = coitus).

Priya Lynn
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Rebecca, Romans 1:31-32 also indicates the death penalty for men who have sex with men.

Rebecca
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn – I was making a distinction between “is worthy of death” and “shall be put to death.” Another passage that makes a distinction is Deut 17:6, which requires two witnesses! It doesn’t really matter, though, you’re right.

AJD
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Every sound that comes out of this guy’s mouth offers further proof that he’s a nutcase. I hope the SPLC and the Secret Service are keeping a close watch on him.

Jack E. Jett
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

I just want to state for the record that our phone system was working fine.
Trust me, I tested it well prior to the interview as I have gone through this scenario before with Joe the Plumber.

We tried to phone him back several times and his phone was busy.

Thanks again to all the Jim and the Box Turtle gang for submitting some great questions. I wish I could have got to them all.

The printout on my 35 year old gaydar..says Pastor Steve Anderson is a
closet bottom who fantasizes about watersports.

The irony is that the only men that have ever come on to him have been other Christians.

Candace
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Actually Leviticus never condemns homosexuality or homogenital acts as sinful: it says “a man shall not lie the lyings of a woman with a man.”

It says only that the man who “lies the lyings of a woman” (the penetrated sex partner) violates a Jewish cultural taboo. It says nothing at all about the top or lesbians.

An abomination is a ritual taboo, not a sin.

The last time I looked, I wasn’t a prehistoric Jew and don’t think I should be subject to their cultural rules.

As for New Testament discourse on homosexuaity, Paul only says that straight men went so crazy in their idol-worshipping rebellion against God that they turned to homogenital acts…. as much a sin for them as if a homosexual turned to hetero sex in some kind of worship of idols.

It’s all right there, in the original English.

Alan
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

I wonder if it’s a good idea to give extremists like this the attention.

Perhaps the resulting derision will end up helping to defeat their cause. But I wonder if the additional attention might instead encourage fellow nutjobs to join him. Or perhaps allow his views to come closer to the mainstream.

Alex
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

“It’s all right there, in the original English.”

Too funny, Candace! LOL

David C.
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Although I realize that “Pastor” Anderson is not particularly drawn to scholarship, he should nevertheless read more scholarly treatments of the life of King James before making pronouncements about the king’s proclivities:

King James and Letters of Homoerotic Desire

Timothy Kincaid
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

But you know the Bible’s written in English and it’s pretty clear what it says.

Anderson is undereducated and ignorant. But I don’t think he’s trying to say that the Bible was originally written in English.

What I think he’s saying is that his Bible is in English and it’s just plain as day what it says. He assumes – as many undereducated religious folk have been known to do – that translation of written texts is literal. He’s probably not bilingual so his impression is likely that words mean the same thing in any language.

If you truly think that word-for-word translation of ancient texts can be made without any necessity for understanding context or idiom, then to you it’s all “pretty clear”.

His problem isn’t that his facts are wrong about the original language of the Bible; rather, his problem is that he lacks the training and intellectual capacity for complex thought or nuance. He thinks like a child.

Jack E. Jett
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Alan

You bring up a valid point that my friends question me about everyday.

KZ
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Anderson says people are shocked about the stuff he says.

Well duh. Many people know what is written in the bible. However, some of the Old Testament laws are ignored. Prohibitions on certain clothing, laws regarding mildew, the selling of children into slavery, executing disobedient children, planting a field with two different crops, etc. People are shocked because they find it difficult to take the bible so literally given that it was written over a millenium ago. Times have changed, Mr. Anderson.

Jim Burroway
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

Re:

I wonder if it’s a good idea to give extremists like this the attention.

I think one problem we have to confront head-on is this widespread belief that pretending extremists like this don’t exist or aren’t important will somehow make them go away or lessen their impact on the broader culture.

If there’s anything we should have learned by now by looking at how extremists have hijacked the health care debate with false allegations of “death panels” and pulling the plug on grandma — an allegation as outrageous as any that have been thrown at the LGBT community — is that we ignore wackos at our great peril.

Aaron
August 31st, 2009 | LINK

“Rebecca, Romans 1:31-32 also indicates the death penalty for men who have sex with men.”

I’m sorry but this is incorrect, while it is possible that Paul was referring to the homosexual activity described, he was almost certainly referring to the idolatry that is, in fact, the primary focus of the passage. Under Old Testament law idolatry was punishable by death (Deuteronomy 17:2-7).

Love and Peace.

toujoursdan
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

I agree with Aaron. There is definitely a cause-and-effect relationship between the worship of idols described in verses 23 and 25 and the resulting unnatural behaviour. It seems to be almost a duplicate of the passage in the Apocryphal book of Wisdom, including the sin list at the end.

For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them was the corruption of life, for neither have they existed from the beginning nor will they exist for ever. Afterward it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God, but they live in great strife due to ignorance, and they call such great evils peace. For whether they kill children in their initiations, or celebrate secret mysteries, or hold frenzied revels with strange customs, they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure, but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery, and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury, confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors, pollution of souls, sex perversion, disorder in marriage, adultery, and debauchery.

(Wis 14:12-31)

Also, the Romans passage doesn’t say that these people should receive death. It says that they “received [past tense] in themselves the due penalty for their error”, which may be all the bad things in the sin list (Romans 1:29-31). But in any case, it is pretty vague.

If you read a bit about the Cybele/Attis cult of ancient Rome, where their priests castrated themselves and crossdressed to transcend gender and then serviced both male and female clients in ecstatic ceremonies, you’ll find that it could well be a reference to this. This cult was one of the most prominent religions in the Roman Empire in the 1st Century. If so, it isn’t even a reference to same sex acts but genderbending cult prostitution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybele

Mortanius
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

—Anderson: …First of all, Leviticus 20:13 says that if man also lies with mankind as he lies with a woman, even both of them have committed an abomination, their blood shall be upon them. So God put the death penalty on homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13.—

But later he clearly puts his interpretation and changes “Mankind” to “man” not even (or pehaps fully) realizing he is changing the meaning of what was suppose to be plain as day English. LOL

—I don’t know how else you can interpret it when God says that if a man sleeps with another man, he should be put to death in Leviticus 20:13. I’m not sure how anyone else can interpret that any differently.—

I could read it as a man who sleeps with everybody under the sun, aka “slut” as he would with a “single person” perhaps telling each sexual person he loves them as he would a life partner is a liar and put to death. As stated this passage is difficult enough in the original language (well English of course LOL) Oh y ema l is lo ing cnnectio I think it s bad *click

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Aaron and Toujourdan, you’re entitled to your opinion on Romans 1:31-32. You’re wrong, but your entitled to your opinion.

When you need elaborate stories to explain something away, you know you’re on shakey ground. Atheists don’t have a vested interest in the meaning of the bible, so they are more objective. To religious people the bible is an authority so they have a whole lot invested in what they want it to mean, this overrides the clear meaning of the words in this case. I am confident that virtually no objective person would agree with you. For Jim’s sake I’ll define objective as a person who hasn’t been influenced by christian dogma prior to reading and who isn’t a devotee of christianity or some competing religion.

Timothy Kincaid
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Steven Anderson: “But you know the Bible’s written in English and it’s pretty clear what it says. I don’t know how else you can interpret it…

Priya Lynn: “…the clear meaning of the words…

Isn’t it interesting how much evangelical atheists who have a driving motivation to discredit scripture and evangelical conservative Christians who seek to impose their theology on others have in common?

Both think that they are the objective ones and both think that their reading of Scripture is obvious and clear. And both think that anyone who disagrees is deluded and a danger to society.

R Holmes
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

I’m an atheist too and so have no emotional need to make the Bble gay-friendly. However, the fact is that mature textual interpretation requires an understanding of matters such as the language used in the text and the cultural context in which it was written.

If you’re a specialist in New Testament Greek and 1st century Mediterranean culture, then I’ll give some credence to your telling Aaron and Toujourdan that they’re wrong. However, if your view is based merely on the fact that their interpretation is not what a cursory reading of an English translation of the verses suggests to you, then it might be wiser for you to hesitate before dismissing their interpretation so breezily.

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Yawn.

R Holmes
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Yeah – I think your response pretty much says it all.

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

R Holmes, you’re rather amusing. If I’m
a specialist in New Testament Greek and 1st century Mediterranean culture then you’ll give me some credence, but as to Arran and Tourjourdan, you’ll give them a pass on having such qualifications. Your bias couldn’t be much more blatent.

Ken in Riverside
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Priya, do you speak any language other than English?

David C.
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Yes, Priya, do you speak any other languages besides English? I freely admit that I don’t, though I can almost read Spanish and German. I certainly cannot read or speak ancient Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew and must depend on scholars for my understanding of sacred and secular texts written in these and other languages.

Scott P.
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

It’s beginning to feel like “gang-up on Priya time” in this thread.

Didn’t realize that we each have to have various degrees in each and every subject in order to express an opinion, even if that opinion is just s contradiction of the beliefs or opinions of other posters.

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Yes David, that’s important to know as we all know Arran, Tojourdan, and R Holmes are all specialists in New Testament Greek and 1st century Mediterranean culture – that’s why their opinions are superior to mine.

David C.
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

It’s beginning to feel like “gang-up on Priya time” in this thread.—Scott P.

Umm, no, at least that’s not my intent.

Yes David, that’s important to know as we all know Arran, Tojourdan, and R Holmes are all specialists in New Testament Greek and 1st century Mediterranean culture – that’s why their opinions are superior to mine.—Priya Lynn

No, I was not intending to imply that. You appeared to be very informed about scripture and I was wondering if you had at some point been on a track towards biblical scholarship or a student of ancient history.

I will admit to according more respect to an informed opinion on any subject, but as in all endeavors of scholarship and inquiry, controversy surrounds many fine points and sometimes all we have are plain and unvarnished opinions, most of which are approximately equal in value.

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

David, this reminds me of a similar time when I debated some point of the bible with a preacher. He couldn’t give me any succinct reasons why the words didn’t mean what they plainly seemed to, and yet he insisted they didn’t. He suggested I spend several years studying the bible, read a variety of books on the topic, and then I’d understand why the words meant the opposite of what they said. That was rather amusing. It hadn’t occurred to him that if you have to spend years rationalizing the beliefs you prefered, if it took that much effort to believe your prejudices, that perhaps there was something wrong with your interpretation in the first place.

Ken in Riverside
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn never misses an opportunity to challenge religious people’s views. Unfortunately for her, she very easily and very often betrays how little she has challenged her own views and thus fails to accomplish her goal of saving her readers from the dangers of religion.

Timothy Kincaid
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

It hadn’t occurred to him that if you have to spend years rationalizing the beliefs you prefered, if it took that much effort to believe your prejudices, that perhaps there was something wrong with your interpretation in the first place.

Yes, indeed.

I find that to be true of evangelical fundamentalist Christians and evangelical fundamentalist atheists alike.

As for me… I’ll weigh the advice of those who understand the language, context, and culture.

David C.
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

It hadn’t occurred to him that if you have to spend years rationalizing the beliefs you prefered, if it took that much effort to believe your prejudices, that perhaps there was something wrong with your interpretation in the first place.—Priya Lynn

Well, it certainly seems rational to question a belief in something written a very long time ago by individuals that lived in cultures very different from our own especially when we aren’t entirely sure we know what was originally penned in the first place.

To me, all the debate about subtle interpretations of ancient texts would not be near as controversial and loaded if those interpretations were not tied to complex belief systems.

Believers have come to justify the holding of a belief because that belief is part of a larger system of beliefs: adherents often do not consider individual tenants but accept all components of the system as equally valid. For large systems, this might require some rather complicated logic to keep consistent, and most followers are not ready to do that much work. Authorities, of course, make it their job to rationalize all the parts of their systems.

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Ken, what you’re ignorant of is that I used to be a christian myself and accepted all those christian views. I did challenge my beliefs and that’s why I’m now an atheist.

Timothy said “As for me… I’ll weigh the advice of those who understand the language, context, and culture”.

And when you have a randomly sampled survey of 1000 non-religious specialists in New Testament Greek and 1st century Mediterranean culture that shows the majority of them agree with your interpretation you’ll have something – but not until then.

Aaron
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

@Priya Lynn

I wasn’t trying to say that Paul didn’t have a negative attitude toward homosexuality. As an ex-pharisee he almost certainly did (not to say that this attitude makes committed homosexual relationships wrong, but that’s another debate). I was merely pointing out that Paul’s reference to capital punishment could just as easily be applied to the theme of idolatry which is in the passage. It could also be applied, though this is less likely, to the sin of disobedience to parents found in verse 30.

I of course respect you’re opinion, but my own analysis of the text would suggest that idolatry, not homosexual sex, is the primary focus of the text. I am not an authority, however, and I acknowledge that.

Unlike the good Pastor Anderson, however, I will be getting my Masters in Divinity before I open my big mouth in front of a congregation.

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Aaron, as I read it, the reference to capital punishment applies to all the behaviors previously mentioned. It does not say it refers to any one in particular, nor does it single out any to say it does not refer to them. Therefore I’d say the most reasonable interpretation is that it refers to all.

Ken in Riverside
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

@Priya, you’re right to point out that I didn’t know about your personal religious history. But the information is not surprising. I frequently encounter people who only see black-and-white in regards to religion. This is the fundamentalist mode of viewing the world. When those people leave religion they still see things as black-and-white (some argue that its an expression of personality).

The fact that you and I agree on the conclusion (god doesn’t exist; religion is the opiate of the masses) doesn’t diminish the repulsion to fundamentalist thinking.

When you need elaborate stories to explain something away, you know you’re on shakey ground.

This is what prompted me to ask if you had any foreign language knowledge. Many of us do. Every single one us knows how frequently one encounters words/expressions which have no equivalent in the target language. This is neither elaborate nor explaining anything away. It’s not a subjective opinion, it’s objective fact. And there you continue to say:

Atheists don’t have a vested interest in the meaning of the bible, so they are more objective

ORLY? LRN 2 OBJECTIVE

Aaron
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

You make a very good point. All of the behaviors mentioned are either directly mentioned under Mosaic Law as worthy of death, or are the result one of those behaviors. I would also say that all of those behaviors that Paul takes offense to are the result of the idolatry mentioned at the beginning of the passage, including the homosexual sex mentioned. This is in agreement with the commonly accepted fact that Rome, which the letter was addressed to, was the capitol of the pagan belief systems which the Biblical authors considered idolatrous.

If your in agreement, then I think we make fine hermeneutical team!

Aaron
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

*@ Priya Lynn*

Priya Lynn
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Ken said “Every single one us knows how frequently one encounters words/expressions which have no equivalent in the target language. This is neither elaborate nor explaining anything away.”.

Ken, you imply that this is the case with the passage from Romans, but you have not made any argument to back up your assertion. I am well aware that sometimes there are words/expressions which have no equivalent in the target language, although I’d hardly characterize this as a frequent occurrence. Much more frequent is that words/expressions do have equivalents in another language, and failing that a number of different words almost always can explain a word for which there is no direct equivalent.

To suggest “there’s no direct translation” as an excuse for every passage one wants to mean something different from what seems immediately apparent is rather lame and unlikely.

Ken in Riverside
September 1st, 2009 | LINK

Ken, you imply that this is the case with the passage from Romans, but you have not made any argument to back up your assertion.

Actually I wasn’t speaking to any passage directly. I’m happy that you acknowledge that what the English Bible says may not be the author’s original meaning. I think that was a part of your argument that I was missing.

But since you brought up the whole assertion-without-supporting-argument thing, let’s recap this thread. Your assertion:

Rebecca, Romans 1:31-32 also indicates the death penalty for men who have sex with men.

Aaron’s argument against your assertion

toujoursdan’s argument against your assertion

Your argument:

Aaron and Toujourdan, you’re entitled to your opinion on Romans 1:31-32. You’re wrong, but your entitled to your opinion.

R Holmes’ inquiry into the nature of your conviction

Your response:

Yawn.

Priya Lynn
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Ken, the words of the Romans passage are clear and plain, they speak for themselves. I don’t need an elaborate explanation to support that.

Priya Lynn
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

I said “Ken, you imply that this is the case with the passage from Romans, but you have not made any argument to back up your assertion.”

Ken said “Actually I wasn’t speaking to any passage directly.”.

In that case it was nonsensical for you to bring this up and belabour it.

Priya Lynn
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Ken said “Actually I wasn’t speaking to any passage directly.”

I find that rather dishonest, you previously said “Every single one us knows how frequently one encounters words/expressions which have no equivalent in the target language. This is neither elaborate nor explaining anything away.”

Your last sentence in that quote refers to my criticism of Aaron’s and Toujourdan’s interpretation of the Romans quote. You were attempting to dismiss my criticism of their interpretation by claiming words/expression have no equivalent in the target language. It isn’t rational that you weren’t speaking to this passage directly and as previously stated if you weren’t there would have been no reason for you to bring this up in the first place.

Priya Lynn
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Sorry for not getting this all in one post, but points keep occurring to me after I’ve posted.

As to Ken’s complaint that I didn’t address R Holmes “inquiry into the nature of my conviction”, why would I? It was irrelevant. R Holmes suggested my viewpoint was invalid unless I met a very high standard, a standard he did not hold Aaron or ToujourDan to in defending their viewpoint. That kind of double standard is preposterous and that Ken wants to defend it shows that rationality goes right over his head.

Ken in Riverside
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

I re-assert that I wasn’t speaking to any specific passage.

I’ll accept your criticism that it was nonsensical for me to bring it up. We can differ on our reasoning as to why.

Timothy Kincaid
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Ken, the words of the Romans passage are clear and plain…

Priya Lynn’s problem is that she is trying to argue the words in a book without considering the culture, time, or place in which the book was written. And by culture, I’m not simply discussing Rome and Jews.

The epistle to the Romans was a product of very specific people, the early Christian Church, and a reflection of their views, beliefs, and teachings. To understand it, one must see it in context of those views, beliefs and teachings. If the “plain words” are not consistent with the context of the belief struture of those writing it and those to whom it was written, then they probably aren’t as “plain” as one might believe.

If one reads the whole of the Christian writings at this time, then one knows that Paul (the likely author) was not endorsing the death penalty for any sin. Understanding the beliefs of the early church would lead one to know that the underlying core principle of their faith was that the relationship between sin, sacrifice, and penalty had changed. No longer was death God’s required penalty for sin.

Actually, they believed the opposite: that while every person was a sinner of some sort and deserving of death and eternal torture for their sins, God had chosen to forgive their sins instead. And that the death of their leader, Jesus, was the death for all sins of all people for all time.

Taking but a small selection of scripture and finding within it a doctrine that is contradicted by the whole of the belief structure is not going to demonstrate to the world that one is wiser or more educated or more astute than anyone else. Rather, it shows ignorance and confusion.

I think Priya Lynn, as an atheist, would be better served by attacking the actual teachings and beliefs of her most hated foe, Christianity, rather than attacking imaginary beliefs or cherry-picking scriptures to denounce. And she would also be better served by recalling that the Bible was a product of a culture, time, and place.

Priya Lynn
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Uh-huh, riiiight Timothy. See Timothy your problem is that you think the belief structures of any particular version of christianity are consistent with what the bible says – they frequently are not. The fact that such dogma has changed over time while the bible has remained the same is proof of this.

You’ve touched on one such major problem with Christian dogma versus what the bible says – the murder of Jesus was supposed to forgive the sins of all mankind, however, according to christian dogma, it hasn’t. People are still supposed to be born with original sin (the absurd idea that we inherit the guilt of our ancient ancestors) and condemned to hell as babies if they die before “accepting” Jesus. If as adults people commit the sin of not imagining that they’ve accepted Jesus as dominant over them they are also condemned to eternal torture – their sins obviously haven’t been forgiven.

And the the idea that everyone is a sinner and deserves death and eternal torture for their sins…step back for a moment and be objective. The idea is reprehensible and if you’re honest you’ll admit it. Don’t you agree that the punishment should fit the crime? A finite crime doesn’t deserve an infinite punishment, now does it. According to Christian dogma as long as Hitler repented of his sins before he died and imagined that he wanted Jesus to be dominant over him he’d be rewarded with eternal happiness. In the meantime, an atheist that devoted his life to helping others, who simply didn’t find enough evidence to support a belief in Jesus, he’s rewared with eternal torture. And yet your god is just and loving….Puhleeeze.

Timothy, if you think my most hated foe is christianity, you’re sadly mistaken. My most hated foes are those who harm those who harm no one – such as the anti-gays.

Timothy said “she would also be better served by recalling that the Bible was a product of a culture, time, and place.”.

Once again, you’re mistaken – I’ve never forgotten that, its apparent every time I hear the bigotry of primitive bronze age goat-herders that’s recorded in the bible. Clearly it has nothing to do with a omniscient, timeless being of love and justice.

Priya Lynn
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

I should add that given that the bible is a product of that culture, time and place, the passage in Romans is much more consistent with the idea that gays are deserving of death than it is with the idea that its not.

Jim Burroway
September 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Okay, so now once again a thread has been hijacked into a debate on what Christians believe, with non-Christians/former Christians asserting the arrogance of speaking on behalf of all legitimate Christian interpretation and against the interpretations of believing Christians themselves. I think we’ve had about enough of that.

Christians are quite capable of speaking for themselves on what they believe and the many thousands of ways they interpret a single line of Scripture. They don’t need an outsider to do that for them — especially one who insists that the outsider’s view is the only one that is reasonable or valid.

This web site IS NOT about the superiority of an atheist’s views of the correct interpretation of a scripture held sacred by others who hold a belief system the atheist has disavowed. In the same vein, if a Christian were trying to claim that atheists believe something that atheists themselves dispute, I would object to that as well. Frankly, I can find nothing more ludicrous and arrogant than insisting on one single Christian interpretation by a non-Christian is they only one that’s valid. It would be like insisting that only a Republican can read the Democratic Party platform and accurately define Democratic positions, or vice versa. That kind of logic just about makes my head explode.

This argument is going nowhere except around in circles. It’s time for a cooling off period and a change in subject.

And to get back to what our web site is all about, I encourage everyone to read this. If it’s something you don’t agree with, that’s fine. But it guides what I and the other authors do here, and it’s the basis behind our comments policy, which unfortunately cannot cover every conceivable instance. But I think the spirit of the comments policy, as well as the letter of the Mission and Principles apply here.

toujoursdan
September 3rd, 2009 | LINK

You can’t read Scripture or any other document without considering the cultural and rhetorical context of the passage. The writer wrote out of a particular culture/time/worldview to an audience in a particular culture/time/worldview. Taking that into account isn’t “explaining away” anything.

Secondly, just because something seems clear in English doesn’t mean it is. Everyone carries their own agenda into scripture. There are no unbiased people.

In the U.S. we even employ a court system to determine what laws written in English mean and how they are to be applied. We have had huge political fights over what one sentence means in the Second Amendment in the Constitution. If legal text written in English only 200 years ago needs that kind of interpretation, rhetorical text written in Koine Greek 2000 years ago certainly does.

Richard W. Fitch
September 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Kudos to Jim and toujoursdan. Over the past few days I spent a few hours online and at the public library examining various commentaries on the passages that have been batted around here for the past couple of weeks. There is definitely no uniform consensus but the statements that have been made by those of us who claim some form of identity as Christian are well within the spectrum of available scholarship. Since I agree it is time to drop the polemics, I will leave just a general observation from the newly released book by Bishop Spong, “Eternal Life: A New Vision”. “Anger never rises out of genuine commitment; it is always a product of threatened security.(p.3)”

Priya Lynn
September 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Yeah, right, Richard, you agree its time to drop the polemics after you’ve had your say. What part of “It’s time for a cooling off period and a change in subject” did you and Toujoursdan not get?

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