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See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3194620.stm
SeeAlso their Biblical analysis (this analysis seems to make the ProGayBishop case very weak) : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3205727.stm

Rapidly-written rebuttal/rant of/against Gareth Williams('s position):

"without reference to the ideals of love..." -- I can't square his criticism of the "conservative approach" with the teachings of Jesus in the gospels. Sounds humanistic but not Christian. Though there are inclusive and universal things in there too.

"Two thousand years on we know so much more about makes us human."
i.e. two thousand years of white-supremacy, patriarchy and empire-building have clearly enriched us to the point where we know better than the founders of the Christian faith. And we "know" so much more - but postmodernism suggests the our knowledge is irrelevant, doesn't it?

"moden human psychology etc." -- but there are dissenting views amongst those who self-define as psychologists (e.g. http://www.narth.com ).

"We know that sexuality is hard-wired into our genes..." -- defeatist determinism - the philosophy of the 20th century. How about reading scripture in a way that challenges contempary thinking instead of compromising!

"Sadly, many will hide behind the authority of the Bible to vent some very homophobic statements"...so shall we give into their game by being passive-agressive about it?

"To say that is ok to be gay, but not ok to be gay and a priest ..." - well i agree, but the politics of religious organisations means that to stay together the public figures have to be more conservative than lay people - there is a New Testament basis for this too (a pastor must be a husband of only one wife, ruling out lots of people - who were socially-acceptable in their day - from being pastors and serving God in that way). (And is this "gay" meaning self-identify as gay, or feeling homosexual desires, or participating in homoerotic situations, or being in a life-long relationship with someone of the same sex? I haven't seen any appreciation of this kind of subtlety in the debate, and have only really seen aggressive, morally-naive positions being taken by the lesbigay christian campaigners)

"To be a priest is to be the full human being that God has made you to be." -- what? no sin? no 'total depravity?' None of 'the heart is desperately wicked?' Why is no room allowed for there to be flaws in one's character? Being a priest (the word comes from 'presbyter' or 'elder') means being more thoughtful, more wise, etc. which are certainly 'full' ideas, but also being more obedient (more conforming) to God. The Christian path is a narrow one, and the leaders better not stray! The priesthood can represent gays by including gays - those who have homosexual backgrounds (geneticially, socially, etc) Pederasty was practised in the culture in which christianity spread and developed - did this mean that it had to be institutionalised so that those who practised it could be represented?

Moreover the idea of priesthood represeting humanity is a fallacy -- "priest" in the sense of "elder" is not a representative of the church of the species. "Priest" in the sense of Moses and Aaron were representatives; the Levites were an institution that carried out representation; but that was all leading up to Christ, who is the ultimate Priest. There are no Levitic priests in Biblical Christianity, and in fact the church (as in everyone who's believed in Jesus) is part of the "royal priesthood". The letter to the Hebrews explains all this. I can pray to God, and my priest is Jesus. I can intercede on behalf of anyone, through Christ. Other Christians can do the same for me. Consequently, gay Christians, in whatever sense (I accept people can be wrong but still be Christians and be accepted by God!) are already represented by Christ and can themselves represent others through Christ.

And ... everyone's favourite rep, Adam, was condemned, and inclusion in Adam is inclusion in Original Sin. That's the end of the wonderful ideal fulsome comprehensive absolute inclusiveness. To be human, (in so far as it is to be 'in Adam,') is to be a sinner.

"...the irony of it all....38 men dressed in purple dresses..." -- well if you don't want to be an anglican then don't be one -- the modern suit and tie isn't Gospel after all ;-)

A united church with disagreeing people is always going to be ... a challenge.

I think the danger in this debate is that actual people who feel they are homosexual might become political tokens :-(

Oh, and I don't think a mass secession by largely-evangelical 3rd world branches would be a disaster -- I don't agree that there needs to be a body like the Anglican communion, especially in today's church where a plurality of denominations are accepted. Baptist churches are independent but are typically members of associations. There is no need for hierarchy, but plenty of need for love, respect and clear communication.

Should you use a set of rules as a strict law, or should you abide by the spirit of those rules?
Damn.  I can't find a way to say it that doesn't reveal my blatant bias.

A code set down two millennia ago (some much older, some slightly more recent) or abiding by the spirit of the code, adapting to reality and trying your best to honour its spirit?  Whilst I admire anyone able to obey a strict honour code, I also recognise that it dooms them to a long-term defeat and am also worried about people gaming the code.
Also, of course, why is it ok to eat shrimp but not to have homosexual bishops?  [Not the most authoritative reference perhaps]  Hypocrites.  (And I guess my whole stance on religion kinda skews my view further...)

Oh, well done on the above, by the way - without reading the article you are rebutting I can't tell whether you are pro or anti ;)  But you do seem to be being long winded and attacking wholly tangential points.  (Um, who cares what priest used to mean?  People know who is being referred to now.)  {reads}  Ah - you're rebutting both sides.  Good show.


"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life?  What is written in the Law? he replied. How do you read it?'  He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'" (NIV: Luke10: 25-27).  To attempt to follow biblical morality as a code alone, whether strictly or loosely is doomed to failure and, more importantly, is to miss the point.  If following a code was enough, there would be no need for the New Testament after all, we could indeed be saved by abstaining from homosexuality and shrimps (and a few more little things...).  Let's get that straight before plunging into any other argument.

The point therefore of a code is to tell us which things do please God, so that we may please him, and all the feeling it's natural or pleasurable or whatever doesn't tell us whether it is pleasing to him or not.  Revenge feels very natural and pleasing after all, and we're told not to do that, to give just one example.

That doesn't mean God's oblivious to whether or not we have pleasure and joy.  A reason we need instruction on how to follow him rather than whatever our own desires may be is that, as our designer, God knows which of those things we desire is /really/ good for us, rather than seeming so at the time.  The frequently-used parent-child analogy of the Bible gives rise to a good example here, the parent trying to persuade a rebellious toddler to wear its coat as it goes out on a snowy day.  The child doesn't understand about the connection between its coat and keeping warm, it just wants to do its own thing.  But no-one would say the parent was responsible if they didn't make the child wear the coat!  Or to change the analogy to a CompSci one for all the Wikizens, each human being is the user of their body.  But who knows better how a computer programme works, the user or the programmer?

Having established why some form of external control is needed to please God, we come to the nature of these controls.  Some are valid eternally, others for a specific people, place and/or time.  If Vitenka wants to understand the issue about the shrimps rather than merely hanging onto it as a reason to give to any evangelist he comes across, then he will quickly discover that there are several places in the New Testament where the food laws (and very specifically the food ones) are shown no longer necessary, and certainly unnecessary for Christians not coming from a Jewish background.  This is why food laws are not a divisive issue in the way that homosexuality is.  Homosexuality is not an issue that comes up much in the New Testament, but where it does it's fairly clear that the writers saw it as wrong.

Does that necessarily mean God saw it as wrong?
That's another point of disagreement.  I left it phrased like that to try to avoid getting into an entirely different argument.  I'm not currently trying to argue the point, merely show how the argument hangs together and is self-consistent.  MJ
That sounds very like 'arguing the point' to me. In what way are you not in fact arguing the point by showing the argument hangs together? Do you just want to avoid having to justify any handwaves?
I want to avoid getting back into an argument that MoonShadow and I have had going since I don't know when without any satisfactory conclusion and to which no conclusion seems imminent.  When I am not so manically busy, maybe, but I don';t have the time at the moment.  It takes up a lot of day and my supervisor starts complaining.
Might it be an idea, if you don't want to get into it, to actually not get into it, even if baited?
Nup - he's got time to get into this argument, because it is (slightly) fresh, but not time to get back into the old (extremely rambling) argument.  And he's refusing (so far) to rise to your (somewhat inneffective) bait.  --Vitenka (Swiping for him)

The argument thus becomes one, as previously noted, of ones understanding on the nature of the Bible.  I'm not going to start on that now, because I don't have the time to spend all day wiki-arguing with MoonShadow about it.  But what I do hope from this is to show that arguing against the acceptance of homosexuality need not arise from bigotry.  The cause of those that do that are not helped by the number that do argue it from bigotry, and although I am certainly on the conservative's side in this argument, I do have the uncomfortable feeling that there's all too much truth in the throwaway line in the cartoon strip  Vitenka linked for us, that an issue that is not personal to many of us is an easy target.  It's too easy to forget that the issue is painful for those who do have to wrestle with it, and the current slagging match cannot be helping - some of the blame for how it's presented must lie with the media, but by no means all.

I'm not sure how to start addressing Bobacus' swipes at the 'Anglican' part of the page title...

OK - so the bible itself admits that it is open to alteration and improvement (which is a good thing)  And anyway should not be adhered to as a code of law (which, again, is a gvery good thing.)

Accepting this viewpoint, what is the possible argument against, well, anything that they want changed?  I think a lot of the tension in the situation is due to a "Why would there possibly be a problem?" mentaility due to local acceptance coming up against a brick wall of "We have never done it that way and we never will."  If there's anything in this 'debate' beyond that, please enlighten?

(Oh, and has anyone got a better regularly broken prohibition then?  I only picked that one from the comic I linked.  Which, I point out, was from this same debate three years ago.)


(PeterTaylor) There's a lot of relevant answer in the off-topic stuff in ChristianGospel which could possibly be refactored along with Ethics/Christian to something like ChristianityAndLaw?.

Sexuality/LimitsOnSexuality - the last time this debate happened; read that first so you don't repeat what's been said
See also: Sexuality | ReligionMatters

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