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Matthew Vines on "anti-gay" passages in the Bible


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Paul has no concept of same sex love because the concept does not EXIST in his time and place. There is no model of consensual, same sex coupling in the ancient Greek or Jewish world. Philo is describing PEDERASTY and catamites as they existed in the ancient world. Pederasty by it's very definition is a relationship of inequality, dominance, and humiliation. Catamites were connected to ritual cults of prostitution. Nero was bisexual and practiced incest. The behavior of Nero, the practice of pederasty, and the existence of catamites in the ancient world that Paul was familiar with cannot be equated with mutually consenting adults cherishing each other as life partners, pledging life long sexual fidelity, and sharing each others burdens in the 21st century.

Edited to add ritual prostitution to the list of practices in the ancient world that Paul would be familiar with.

Granted that Philo's statement at least includes pederasty, given his reference to "love of boys". But I note that he says that at least some of the participants "desired" to feminise themselves, ie he portrays an element of choice. Likewise other historians portrayal of the practise have mentioned aspects such as the giving of gifts and kisses. Although the accounts from historians often refer to shame at being the submissive partner if that partner was mature, they dont tend to portray the situation as generally coercive or humiliating. It sounds like there were sincerely loving cases.

Does Plato’s 'Symposium' not include a model of consensual, same sex coupling in the ancient Greco-Roman world? In that document, the comic Aristophanes is quoted about male-male relationships: “they continue with one another throughout life … desiring to join together and to be fused into a single entity … and to become one person from two†Quite a number of other documents of that era refer to same-sex relationships without any hint that those involved where catamites or a relationship of pederasty, including that sifra I mentioned earlier.

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Guest Anonymous

Granted that Philo's statement at least includes pederasty, given his reference to "love of boys". But I note that he says that at least some of the participants "desired" to feminise themselves, ie he portrays an element of choice. Likewise other historians portrayal of the practise have mentioned aspects such as the giving of gifts and kisses. Although the accounts from historians often refer to shame at being the submissive partner if that partner was mature, they dont tend to portray the situation as generally coercive or humiliating. It sounds like there were sincerely loving cases.

Does Plato’s 'Symposium' not include a model of consensual, same sex coupling in the ancient Greco-Roman world? In that document, the comic Aristophanes is quoted about male-male relationships: “they continue with one another throughout life … desiring to join together and to be fused into a single entity … and to become one person from two†Quite a number of other documents of that era refer to same-sex relationships without any hint that those involved where catamites or a relationship of pederasty, including that sifra I mentioned earlier.

Are you suggesting that these things preclude pederasty? If so, I'm putting on my worried face.

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Actually you didn't really discuss the slavery issue, because as I pointed out, if you loved your others as you love yourself, you would help them without enslaving them. You cannot enslave someone while at the same time loving them as you love yourself. So the Bible contradicts itself.

So someone on the internet disagrees with you. That is why you are here. His disagreeing with you doesn't end up hurting anyone, yet you go so far to say that he isn't really a Christian and isn't living a Christian lifestyle if they are gay, get married, and have sex. While at the same time you are refusing to take Luke 3:11 literally in your own life for no apparent reason besides, "I just don't feel like it". Disobeying that verse actually does hurt people, yet you are all wrapped up on proving something that hurts no one is a sin. I think your priorities might be a little off.

Yes I see your point about the slavery. Wise words.

I regards to Luke 3:11, Ive never yet come across anyone who owns no shirt, but if I do, yes Im happy to give them one. I have given away clothes to charities though, so although I do still have more than one shirt, I dont think Ive violated that that verse. It would be quite difficult to hold down a good job if you only own one shirt, so I suggest that the verse is actually saying to share with those who have nothing, rather than saying that one shirt is the maximum a Christian should own.

The Matthew Vines presentation is important, in part because the Bible indicates that it's very important to distinguish false teachers from good teachers and false doctrine from valid doctrine, especially in regards to the topic of sex (Matthew 7:15-20, 2 Peter 2, Revelation 2:20 etc). Im not saying that there are not more important things, but despite that, this is still important from a Christian point of view.

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So you don't actually take that verse literally? Because it would cramp your lifestyle if you did? And you agree that the Bible contradicts itself when it comes to slavery?

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What about Matthew 19:21? Is that another verse that doesn't need to be taken literally? How do you pick and choose what should be taken literally and what shouldn't?

Or Matthew 6:19? Do you have bank accounts and anything that you value and have stored away? Jesus said not to do that.

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Are you suggesting that these things preclude pederasty? If so, I'm putting on my worried face.

Im not sure if I grasp what you are asking. Id say that pederasty of that era included gifts and kisses on occasion and choice, and same-sex relationships between males of more similar ages likely also included gifts and kisses on occasion and choice. IE Im just saying that at least some of those same-sex relationships would be characterised as being loving same-sex relationships.

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Im not sure if I grasp what you are asking. Id say that pederasty of that era included gifts and kisses on occasion, and same-sex relationships between males of more similar ages likely also included gifts and kisses on occasion. IE Im just saying that at least some of those same-sex relationships were probably loving.

:o :shock:

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Maybe I am lost, but the "loving relationships" Australian is talking about are between an adult and a child, correct? Or am I way off here?

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Guest Anonymous

Im not sure if I grasp what you are asking. Id say that pederasty of that era included gifts and kisses on occasion, and same-sex relationships between males of more similar ages likely also included gifts and kisses on occasion. IE Im just saying that at least some of those same-sex relationships were probably loving.

I am asking this: In your mind, does it stop being pederasty with the exchange of kisses and gifts? Does the desire to 'feminise themselves' negate pederasty? Basically, does the fundamentally unequal power relation stop existing if there is some charade of romance, or a suggestion of 'choice'?

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Maybe I am lost, but the "loving relationships" Australian is talking about are between an adult and a child, correct? Or am I way off here?

Or perhaps australian is using the common homophobic argument that all homosexuals are pedophiles. That's certainly not a new one. And I wouldn't be surprised if he thought something so ridiculous. But it also seems like he really is saying the relationships between an adult and child were in fact "loving" :shock: Which is the most disturbing thing

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And you agree that the Bible contradicts itself when it comes to slavery?

Yes, I think you have identified an angle on slavery which could be considered a contradiction. It's not the only one in the Bible. And with any document as large as the Bible you are going to find things that can be viewed as contradictory. This is because often we human beings make blanket statements, but we still expect there to be exceptions to those statements. EG we can all agree with the principle that "it's kind to feed a hungry person", right? But what if a person has an illness that makes them feel hungry no matter how much they have eaten? There may be another principle which says to "take care of the sick". In this example, the second principle contradicts the first, but they are both reasonable principles in general.

So you don't actually take that verse literally? Because it would cramp your lifestyle if you did? ...

What about Matthew 19:21? Is that another verse that doesn't need to be taken literally? How do you pick and choose what should be taken literally and what shouldn't?

Or Matthew 6:19? Do you have bank accounts and anything that you value and have stored away? Jesus said not to do that.

No, Im saying that only having one shirt sounds impractical, and so I assume it was not meant to be taken completely literally. If the first Christians only owned one shirt each, surely that would have been a topic of great interest and historians would have recorded non-christians laughing at them for being shirtless in winter on washing days while they washed their sole shirt. If the Bible really teaches that a Christian should only own one shirt, then yes I think Christians should follow that teaching. But I dont think that's what it's really meaning.

There are quite a few verses that even the most fundamentalist Christians do not take literally, for much the same reason, ie that it sounds unlikely that the verse was intended to be taken literally. Deciding on which verses to take literally is not always clear-cut, hence different church groups vary a little (or a lot, at times) on their doctrines. But this seems off the topic of this thread...

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Free Jinger never stays on topic, no worries there...

So it is impracticle to take a verse about helping the poor literally, but totally practical to tell people who are gay that they should never have sex? You are assuming that it is easy for a gay person to not fall in love and have sex. Which would be harder for you, living with one shirt or never, ever being able to fall in love and have sex?

And if the Bible contradicts itself, how in the world can we even try to take it literally?

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Maybe I am lost, but the "loving relationships" Australian is talking about are between an adult and a child, correct? Or am I way off here?

Im not saying that pederastic relationships are okay. Im responding to an earlier post that claimed that sex between males during first century Greco-Roman culture was never within a loving relationship. Irrespective of whether those pederastic relationships were immoral or not, or sinful or not, it seems to me that some of them were a form of loving relationship.

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Im not saying that pederastic relationships are okay. Im responding to an earlier post that claimed that sex between males during first century Greco-Roman culture was never within a loving relationship. Irrespective of whether those pederastic relationships were immoral or not, or sinful or not, it seems to me that some of them were a form of loving relationship.

So you are saying that a sexual relationship between an adult and a child can be a "loving relastionship". Well I think you are right up there with non-Duggar Josiah in being one of the most fucked up people who have ever shown up here. He was okay with slavery because of the Bible and wanted to stone gay people to death because of the Bible.

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I am asking this: In your mind, does it stop being pederasty with the exchange of kisses and gifts? Does the desire to 'feminise themselves' negate pederasty?

Well, that's not black and white is it. Pederasty tends to be defined as "a sexual relationship between a man and a boy". In ancient times sometimes one of the two dressed as a girl and even was castrated. Even when that happened, biologically they were both still male, so I guess it's largely still pederasty. And I dont think gifts and kisses changes whether it is pederasty.

Basically, does the fundamentally unequal power relation stop existing if there is some charade of romance, or a suggestion of 'choice'?

Well, much like a cougar relationship, or a relationship with pre-nuptual contract, a relationship can have a potential power inequality, but if one participant is not exploiting the other, if they both enter the relationship willingly, and it's mutually beneficial, it can be a very loving one. Im not saying pederast relationships are moral, but I am saying it sounds like they were at least sometimes loving. Ive seen people of quite different ages voluntarily enter a relationship and although it seemed odd, there was no coercion, it has been loving and it's what they both wanted. That happens.

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Guest Anonymous

So when I left yesterday australian was holding the line on gay people being sinners who sin way worse than he does. When I check in here this morning he's moved on to engaging in pedophilia apologetics? :shock:

I see he's woefully ignorant of the Bible when it comes to issues that don't involve his pet cause of being better than everyone else. That's a shocking development we've never seen before, except for about two hundred times. His personal philosophy certainly seems to be: The Bible is to be taken literally when I say so. (But not when taking it literally would inconvenience me in any way. Then it's not to be taken literally at all.)

He never did address the non-consensual sex question or answer why he thinks he's so qualified to be the ultimate authority on what God thinks about gay people.

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Guest Anonymous

Wow, so your defense in court is: 'the fourteen-year-old was flirting with me, Your Honour.' I was right to put my worried face on!

Additionally, I want to address this totally false statement from page 1:

Well, basically all Christians consider eating shrimp to be fine. Why? Because Jesus said (EG in Matthew chapter 15) that no particular types of food are sinful to eat. There are some Christians who say that the old law against mixed fibres remains in place (EG http://www.eternalgod.org/qapdf/7246) and there are other Christians who say it no longer applies (EG http://bible.org/article/homosexual-theology). But many commentators note that mixing animal-based and plant-based fibres offers little practical benefit and isnt something that producers of quality clothing tend to do anyway.

I've found an utterly gorgeous, $800 designer dress in blended silk and linen. Will you buy it for me?

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Who was the crazy blogger that actually followed those verses that Australian claims are just too impractical to follow? Even her children couldn't "store up treasures", they had to donate their money to charity or something like that.

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So you are saying that a sexual relationship between an adult and a child can be a "loving relastionship". Well I think you are right up there with non-Duggar Josiah in being one of the most fucked up people who have ever shown up here. He was okay with slavery because of the Bible and wanted to stone gay people to death because of the Bible.

Im saying that some of those relationships seemed to be more loving than exploitative. Im not saying it was a truly healthy love, but it does seem that there was cases where they they were authentically caring towards for each other. Characterising ancient pederasty as between "adult and child" or "man and boy" can be misleading. I dont think it refers to a child of any age. As Wikipedia defines it; "Pederasty ... is a (usually erotic) relationship between a young man and a pubescent boy outside his immediate family."

On reflection, I should not have said that pederastic relationships can be loving relationships. I know that statement is going to be misconstrued. But at the same time, I dont think we can conclude that those relationships were never "loving", because that would seem to incorrectly imply that they were not caring or that they were always unhappy.

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Wiki also says the age range was usually 12-17. So you are saying an adult having a relationship with a 12-17 year old isn't always exploitiative? And that these relationships aren't any different than two CONSENTING ADULTS who want to get married and start a family?

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Guest Anonymous
Characterising ancient pederasty as between "adult and child" or "man and boy" can be misleading.

What, exactly, is misleading about it? It seems like a technically accurate description to me.

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So it is impracticle to take a verse about helping the poor literally, but totally practical to tell people who are gay that they should never have sex? You are assuming that it is easy for a gay person to not fall in love and have sex. Which would be harder for you, living with one shirt or never, ever being able to fall in love and have sex?

Well is it about helping the poor, or is it about limiting the number of shirts you own to only one. I think those are two different things.

I think having only one shirt would be harder than never having a sexual relationship. But there is a point of distinction. The passage about giving away a second shirt occurs only once in the Bible, rather than multiple times from different angles.

And if the Bible contradicts itself, how in the world can we even try to take it literally?

Well few argue that the Bible should be taken fully literally. Christians tend to encourage interpreting it seriously, sensibly, and generally literally rather than completely literally.

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The storing up treasures verse could also be taken to collecting clothing that you don't need. Do you have treasure here on earth, things that you don't need that are stored?

Are you married? If you are, you are saying that you would be okay with never ever having sex again? That refraining from sex wouldn't be impractical at all?

So if the Bible shouldn't be taken fully literal, why should we take those couple of verses about gay sex as literal?

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So when I left yesterday australian was holding the line on gay people being sinners who sin way worse than he does. When I check in here this morning he's moved on to engaging in pedophilia apologetics? :shock:

Im not saying that pedophilia is ok. Rather Im disputing the claim that the pederastic relationships of the Greco-Roman 1st century were always absent of love. Hitler was probably loving towards his mistress. That doesnt mean it was not sinful for him to have mistress, or do the other bad-arse stuff he did.

I see he's woefully ignorant of the Bible when it comes to issues that don't involve his pet cause of being better than everyone else. That's a shocking development we've never seen before, except for about two hundred times. His personal philosophy certainly seems to be: The Bible is to be taken literally when I say so. (But not when taking it literally would inconvenience me in any way. Then it's not to be taken literally at all.)

My pet cause is not being better than everyone else. I have never claimed or implied that, and Ive disclaimed it several times in this thread. I have followed inconvenient Bible policies many times. Many, many times.

He never did address the non-consensual sex question or answer why he thinks he's so qualified to be the ultimate authority on what God thinks about gay people.

Sorry for not getting back to the non-consensual sex question. I think it was a reference from the Old Testament? Well in light of the New Testament instruction for a husband to love his wife like Christ loves the church (Eph 5:25), I think that rules out non-consensual sex. I realise that some Christians of past eras have disagreed with me, but I think they got too caught up in cultural sexism and didnt give due regard to Eph 5:25. I dont think Im the ultimate authority on what God thinks about gay people. But even if im not the ultimate authority, I think it's ok to voice my contrasting opinion to what Matthew Vines says at the start of this thread. Otherwise you only get one side of the story.

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