Entirely normal theology here

The Church of England called for the practice to be outlawed last year and this week “warmly welcomed” the government’s proposed ban. However, 351 of its UK churches are members of the Evangelical Alliance, an influential group with more than 4,000 members from different denominations. As part of its “resources for church leaders”, the group states that “homoerotic sexual activity without repentance” is an offence worthy of “church discipline” and that churches should welcome sexually active gay people, but only “in the expectation that they will come in due course to see the need to be transformed”.

It adds: “We welcome and support the work of those . . . who responsibly seek to help Christians who experience same-sex attraction. This help will involve counsel and support to live a chaste life and, as part of this process, some may seek and experience changes in the strength or direction of their same-sex attractions.”

The urge to sin exists, the struggle is not to give in to it.

Sure, one can disagree about what is a sin but that’s to miss the point. You don’t have to believe as they do but you really must let them believe as they do.

69 comments on “Entirely normal theology here

  1. Not for much longer.

    As someone else said on the internet, about Chick-fil-a, if the Left is outraged by the idea of Christians selling chicken, what won’t they be outraged by? What part of the economy or society do they think is acceptable to leave the Right?

  2. Such practices often claim that a person can become gay because of trauma in their past

    This is true though.

  3. an offence worthy of “church discipline”

    Sounds like an appeal to specialist interests: “I’ve been a very naughty boy and need church discipline”.

  4. These will be the evangelicals that are getting good attendances while the others are in decline.

    I don’t believe in this stuff, but if you’re an organisation you should be about something, whether you’re the CofE, the Campaign for Real Ale, ISIS, the KKK or NAMBLA. You should be standing for something and against power, whether that’s large breweries selling keg beer or the infidels.

  5. What is Jesus reported as saying about poovery?

    I suspect ‘nothing’. Still, if he had said something I doubt that the topic would have been mentioned in Sunday school.

  6. The banning of therapies to cure homosexuality would leave some unfortunates unable to ask for help they want. I can also foresee the prosecution of a psychiatrist who treats someone acutely anxious about their homosexuality.

    I don’t mind if the person next to me in the pew on Sunday is homosexual. I don’t see their sexual preference as a sin, though it is a disorder of human sexuality (much as myopia is a disorder of vision) and so may well be amenable to cure or remedy. Aspects of the gay lifestyle can be a sin, but that’s true of the heterosexual lifestyle, too. The problem with Evangelicals is that they tend to be authoritarian, intolerant and dogmatic – the Taliban of the C of E, if you like – and they tend to overlook Christ’s remark that only those without sin should cast the first stone…

  7. Steve – “This is true though.”

    It is the basis of pretty much all Talking Cures, whatever ACT-UP has bullied the APA into denying, because it formed the basis of Freud’s views on sexuality.

  8. Theophrastus – “I don’t see their sexual preference as a sin”

    Yes, why should you put the views of the Doctors of the Church and other intellectual giants before whatever trash you heard on Trish last week? Someone once said that if someone looks at their wife with lust in their heart they are committing a sin. But not, it seems, if they look at the choir boys in Theo-world.

    “The problem with Evangelicals is that they tend to be authoritarian, intolerant and dogmatic – the Taliban of the C of E, if you like – and they tend to overlook Christ’s remark that only those without sin should cast the first stone…”

    You can be a right self-righteous snobbish bore sometimes. Yes, the dreadful Evangelicals. They actually believe in God. How common!

    The comparison with the Taliban is vile and should be beneath any decent person. They are not calling for Gays to be thrown off buildings. They do not want to shoot women for talking to their boy friends. They simply want to affirm what we all know – homosexuality is wrong.

  9. @ dearieme
    Homosexuality wasn’t a subject of debate in first century Palestine so there is no record that I have seen of anyone asking Jesus about it. I haven’t seen any record of someone asking Jesus whether cannibalism was OK, either.
    Whether there was life after death and you should stone adulteresses to death were subjects of debate and he was asked about them.

  10. @ SMFS
    Theophrastus is right – if a chaste celibate person is tempted by the attractiveness of a person of the same sex and resists the temptation, that is *not* a sin.
    Regrettably, believing in God is no longer sufficiently common in England.

  11. They tend to quote the book of Leviticus. So far I haven’t met anyone who follows the entire book in full and applies it in their life. Those that do can tell others about what should and should not be done, everyone else is wanting to apply what they don’t practice themselves.

  12. “Theophrastus is right – if a chaste celibate person is tempted by the attractiveness of a person of the same sex and resists the temptation, that is *not* a sin.”

    Matthew 5:27-28

    You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    But while we have some Biblical experts on the line, perhaps someone could explain to me what’s going on in Matthew 19:3-12, where a discussion of divorce takes a somewhat … umm … unexpected turn at the end?

    Is this celibacy he’s talking about, and if so, what could “so born from their mother’s womb” possibly be referring to?

  13. Leave Theo alone SMFS–he has enough to worry about with BluLabour circling the drain. A “rabble” indeed–what did Jesus say about first stones Theo?

  14. SMFS – Yarp on the talking cures. Personally, I’ve no idea if they work or not, but it’s interesting that the justification often proferred for banning supposed Gay-Away therapies is that they allegedly don’t work.

    Because it’s a dishonest argument. Might as well ban homeopathy, Chinese medicine, and renewable energy if it’s about preventing woo.

    The real reason for the Tatchelly indignation, and the Church of England should be honest for a change, is that these folks HIV-positively approve of rear admiralty.

    Now, personally I don’t care if a grown chap likes to lip synch to Abba tunes while engaging in homosexual conga lines, but I don’t think it’s a wonderful and amazing lifestyle that needs to be celebrated either. Just as I’m fine with grown-ups doing lines of coke off a hooker’s hooters, but not in front of the children please.

    Unfortunately it seems our only two feasible options are either mandatory applause of anything and everything the gays get up to – including proselytizing to kids with “drag queen” storytimes and the like – or being the sort of horrible, sexually repressive bastards our Victorian ancestors were (or our bearded friends are). Guess which option the Conservative Party has chosen?

    We’ve tried liberalism, but it turns out not enough people actually believe in live-and-let-live to make it sustainable.

  15. @NiV
    @Steve

    Yep. Was eunuchs.
    Even says it right there in the passage.


    11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    That’s (ironically) the NIV version – New International Version.
    Other translations may differ and be less clear.

  16. “.. and they tend to overlook Christ’s remark that only those without sin should cast the first stone…”

    He also instructed the woman to: ” go, and sin no more.”

    IoW, you can only gain forgiveness by:

    a) Repenting of the sin.
    b) Stop committing the sin.

    Christianity is not easy, it’s difficult.

  17. “NiV – pretty sure Jesus was talking about eunuchs

    Yep. Was eunuchs.”

    So Jesus didn’t forget even you NiV.

  18. “NiV – pretty sure Jesus was talking about eunuchs.”

    You are? Origen argued otherwise. https://people.well.com/user/aquarius/origen-matthew.htm

    Are parables to be taken literally or figuratively, and if literally, what about the third category? Those “which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake”? This is often interpreted as the basis for priests’ and monks’ vows of abstinence – should they be taking it more literally?

  19. SMFS

    “…the views of the Doctors of the Church…”

    The Angelic Doctor says homosexuality is a sin because it doesn’t involve the possibility of conception. Note, he doesn’t say it is intrinsically sinful: it is sinful because it doesn’t allow the possibility of certain consequences – ie conception. (Apart from a few geriatrics in the Vatican, does anyone still believe that contraception is a sin? Do you?)

    St Augustine and St Jerome both condemned the “sins of Sodom”, though they were not precise about the meaning of the phrase. The early Fathers — eg Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, Basil the Great, not to mention the Didache – condemned pederasty, effeminacy and fornication, but not homosexuality as such.

    “Someone once said that if someone looks at their wife with lust in their heart they are committing a sin.”

    Christ said a woman, not your wife. Arguably, he was condemning the thought of adultery, not desire in marriage. Theologians often distinguish between Counsels of Perfection (of which avoiding lustful thoughts is one) and the necessary minimum for salvation. Even the saints were tempted by sexual lusts. Besides, the C of E has always taught that the enjoyment of sex within marriage is a divine gift. You left-footers are still stuck with Augustine’s manichean and neo-platonic distaste for the flesh.

    “But not, it seems, if they look at the choir boys in Theo-world.”

    *sigh* Pederasty is a crime and a sin. And the vast majority of gays are not kiddy-fiddlers.

    “You can be a right self-righteous snobbish bore sometimes.”

    Are you perhaps projecting your own self-description there?

    “Yes, the dreadful Evangelicals. They actually believe in God. How common!”

    My objection to (many) Evangelicals is their dogmatism and intolerance, and that they don’t grasp that Christ preached forgiveness and an awareness that we are all sinners. I don’t think belief in God is common at all. But your crazed rhetorical distortions of my position are very common, indeed.

  20. @ Chernyy_Drakon
    One reason why I prefer the NEB/REB to NIV is that it is a translation into English, not American, but the major one is that NEB is actually a lot better.
    The REB translation covers both eunuchs and those, like Roman Catholic clergy, monks and nuns, who have “renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven

  21. @ Steve
    Not *just* eunuchs – read the NEB or REB
    “For while some are incapable of marriage because they were born so, or were made so by men, there are others who have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven”

  22. @ NiV
    Someone who looks at a woman to lust after her is NOT resisting temptation.
    For Pete’s sake, why not read what I wrote?

  23. @ NiV
    Sometimes I despair of Americans – you don’t have to make yourself a eunuch to renounce marriage.

  24. The left will, of course, condemn this minority of Christians for their belief that gays ought to be persuaded to change their ways.

    Wonder what the left has to say about Islam’s views on gays?

  25. “Someone who looks at a woman to lust after her is NOT resisting temptation.
    For Pete’s sake, why not read what I wrote?”

    A lot of people would interpret “tempted by the attractiveness of” as “lust”. I don’t think it was obvious from what you wrote that you was making a distinction. ‘Tempted’ to do what?

    I can try to guess what people mean (‘chaste, celibate’ suggests a certain context), but as you can see, sometimes I guess wrong.

    “Sometimes I despair of Americans – you don’t have to make yourself a eunuch to renounce marriage.”

    It says nothing at all about renouncing marriage – eunuchs are specified in all three cases. Check the Greek.
    http://biblehub.com/text/matthew/19-12.htm

    The literal meaning is “make eunuchs of themselves” – the stuff about renouncing marriage is somebody’s re-interpretation.

  26. @Steve, July 7, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Such practices often claim that a person can become gay because of trauma in their past

    This is true though.

    +1

    That the government should bow down towards such authoritarianism is the real crime, though. Gay conversion therapy, as its opponents call it, has made the lives of thousands of people happier: that is indisputable.

    I spoke to one chap who had considered himself gay for much of his twenties and thirties, was uncomfortable about it, and is now straight and happy (get over it!).

    Ian, a healthcare professional, was abused by an older male as a ten-year-old child. He later felt confused over his feelings towards other men, estranged from the commonly held view in the working-class area in which he grew up that men who displayed their emotions and felt affectionate towards other men weren’t quite right, were probably queer.

    A clever bloke, he did a bit of research. Eventually he contacted a Christian counsellor who, through a series of 45-minute telephone conversations, enabled him to understand that his feelings towards other men were neither abnormal nor an indication that he was homosexual. Ian isn’t a Christian. ‘I was a little bit suspicious at first,’ he said, of his counsellor, ‘but it didn’t put me off.’ Ian was not browbeaten with Christian commandments, he was not bullied. He just talked to a counsellor and as a consequence his life has immeasurably improved.

    Nobody is suggesting that all gay people might benefit from conversion therapy. Nobody is questioning the right of gay people to live happily, free from discrimination, and to enjoy their lives the same as the rest of us. And yet because some gay people — the lobbyists, largely paid for by you and me — are so shriekingly intolerant of any views which differ from their own that they wish to make these against the law. You may remember the debate a few years back about gay marriage — and Stonewall saying that if people don’t agree with gay marriage then they should probably avoid getting married to a gay man. They thought that was the clincher in the argument. Well, OK, Stonewall — if you don’t agree with gay conversion therapy, then don’t sign up for gay conversion therapy.

  27. If the state is prepared to condone cutting the cocks of mentally ill men who think they are women, why on earth would it want to ban dubious ‘therapists’ who claim they can cure gays?

  28. “He later felt confused over his feelings towards other men, estranged from the commonly held view in the working-class area in which he grew up that men who displayed their emotions and felt affectionate towards other men weren’t quite right, were probably queer.”

    Umm. If you define behaviour like displaying emotions and feeling affection towards men as “gay”, then sure, people can be persuaded not to be “gay”. Seems like this is a disagreement over definitions, then.

    Although it would appear that the counsellor’s response was to tell him he wasn’t gay and never had been, rather than a ‘conversion’ per se. That his working class community were using the usual bullshit ‘macho’ definition of the word as an insult for anyone not following their social norms. That’s how it reads to me, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

    But if that’s the sort of success its practitioners are citing…

  29. I expect most of these Anglicans are from the African parts of the Church. Given the dissonance that results from having to condemn black people for ‘homophobia’, it doesn’t tend to be given a high profile.

  30. Theo – does anyone still believe that contraception is a sin?

    I do. I’m a terrible hypocrite I s’pose, but I agree with the logic and the emotion behind the traditional Christian view. Put it this way: we’ve seen the fruits of the sexual revolution, and they’re heartbreaking. A lot of people, particularly women, are going to die alone and full of regrets.

    Ultimately, what is sin? I think it was Paul who told us that the wages of sin is death. Contraception turns every shag into a little death, and will kill our nation if present birth rate trends continue. Is that not sin? It doesn’t feel like virtue. It seems to me that things which run counter to the tribe’s survival are inherently immoral. YMMV.

    Chernyy_Drakon – NiV/NIV…. hmmm…

    john 77 – Yes, but I reckon it was the eunuchs that caught NiV’s eye

    NiV – Are parables to be taken literally or figuratively

    Who says it’s a parable? I’m no theologician – I preferred playing cards in the common room to R.E. – but that passage has none of the hallmarks of Jesus’ parables.

    Pcar – Ian, a healthcare professional, was abused by an older male as a ten-year-old child.

    This seems to be very common among gay men. For example, Milo Yiannopoulos has spoken about his formative experiences with a predatory homosexual Catholic priest.

    I think there might be two types of gay men: those who were born that way, and those whose sexuality was twisted during childhood. This makes me exceedingly suspicious of the recent fad of encouraging children to encounter or emulate “drag queens”, i.e. gay guys who dress up as sexually provocative women and constantly talk about fucking.

    NiV again – But if that’s the sort of success its practitioners are citing

    Could also be a placebo effect. I’ve no idea if this stuff “works” or not, but surely if grown ups want to try therapy it’s up to them? Nobody gets upset about reiki.

    But as MC points out, apparently it’s ok to get your sausage skinned and turned inside-out, but not for troubled people to have a conversation about their unwanted feelings.

  31. “Homosexuality wasn’t a subject of debate in first century Palestine so there is no record that I have seen of anyone asking Jesus about it.”

    So why do the churches invent attitudes to impose on his followers? What sort of demented bastards were those Doctors of the Church chappies?

  32. Steve

    “…we’ve seen the fruits of the sexual revolution, and they’re heartbreaking. A lot of people, particularly women, are going to die alone and full of regrets.”

    Contraception might have been a necessary condition for the sexual revolution, but it certainly was not a sufficient condition. Other influences were in play.

    The cat ladies will die out, but the next generation of women may well learn from their mistakes. Freedom is often abused at first, and then more responsible behaviour can develop.

    “Contraception turns every shag into a little death, and will kill our nation if present birth rate trends continue. Is that not sin? It doesn’t feel like virtue. It seems to me that things which run counter to the tribe’s survival are inherently immoral.”

    Contraception will not kill the nation. But immigration certainly will, unless it is ended and voluntary repatriation begun. Socialism, feminism, trans-genderism, eco-freakery, abortion (almost) on demand and an array of other decadent influences are likely to finish the process. A bit of bum-sex by chaps who often make useful contributions to society isn’t going to be a factor, though.

  33. “Yes, but I reckon it was the eunuchs that caught NiV’s eye”

    I was curious whether Jesus actually had said anything about homosexuality, and did a quick search. This passage was cited by one article, although I don’t think it was by an expert as they repeated the common but disputed story about Origen.

    There appeared to be common agreement that the third category of eunuchs was not to be taken literally, and the word “eunuch” was being used to mean something else – probably celibacy. (It may be the closest Greek translation for the Aramaic “m’haym-ne”, as some suggest – one trusted as a guard because they have no desire for women.) In the context of answering the disciples’ question about not marrying, it seemed to make more sense to be talking about a more general category than actual ‘eunuchs’ in the modern sense. And Origen clearly thought the first two categories could well be figurative, too. It seemed plausible.

    But I don’t know. Having only just come across it, I don’t know if there is a well-known refutation I’ve not discovered, which is why I phrased it as a question. We clearly have a few people here who *have* been taught some serious theology, even if I don’t always agree with everything they say. I thought it was worth asking – it was a genuine question.

    “Could also be a placebo effect. I’ve no idea if this stuff “works” or not, but surely if grown ups want to try therapy it’s up to them? Nobody gets upset about reiki.”

    In this case, I don’t see any effect at all. But regarding grown-ups, yes, I agree. If it’s with freely-given informed consent, it’s up to them.

    But I have to point out that there are plenty of people who get very angry about alternative medicine, too! Did you ever read Carl Sagan on the subject?

  34. Theophrastus – “The Angelic Doctor says homosexuality is a sin because it doesn’t involve the possibility of conception. Note, he doesn’t say it is intrinsically sinful”

    He doesn’t say that gravity keeps us firmly attached to the Earth either. Some things used to be so obvious they did not need spelling out.

    “St Augustine and St Jerome both condemned the “sins of Sodom”, though they were not precise about the meaning of the phrase.”

    So you are going with the NIV line that texts do not mean what it clearly means? Yes, it is a mystery what 2000 years of Christian tradition has uniformly meant by the sins of Sodom. Perhaps it was not offering a proper cup of tea?

    “Christ said a woman, not your wife.”

    Saint Pope John Paul II then.

    “Besides, the C of E has always taught that the enjoyment of sex within marriage is a divine gift. You left-footers are still stuck with Augustine’s manichean and neo-platonic distaste for the flesh.”

    I do not know what that “you” is doing there but the C of E’s theology, such as it is, is entirely derivative. They have never come up with an idea that is not Catholic or, in a small number of cases mostly in the past, from some European Protestant. The idea of sex within marriage being a divine gift being entirely Catholic.

    “*sigh* Pederasty is a crime and a sin. And the vast majority of gays are not kiddy-fiddlers.”

    I didn’t say having sex with them. I said desiring them. The vast majority of Gays? Are you sure? Most probably do not get the chance. But as I often point out the Gay community is more than happy to welcome kiddie fiddlers as their own.

    “My objection to (many) Evangelicals is their dogmatism and intolerance, and that they don’t grasp that Christ preached forgiveness and an awareness that we are all sinners.”

    Sure. They spend all their time reading the Bible but they have no idea what it says. This is not my experience of Anglican Evangelicals. Who aren’t that Evangelical as a rule.

    “I don’t think belief in God is common at all. But your crazed rhetorical distortions of my position are very common, indeed.”

    I have not distorted your position at all. You are simply occupying NIV’s chair give or take twenty years. You are evolving. Not towards Christianity.

    You are seriously attacking the Evangelicals’ belief in God?

  35. Theophrastus – “Apart from a few geriatrics in the Vatican, does anyone still believe that contraception is a sin? Do you?”

    I am not religious so the issue of sin does not come up. I do think that the Catholics were 100% right in understanding and diagnosing the problem. As I have said before, reading Humanae Vitae is like reading a prophesy. Whatever else the celibate old Italians in the Vatican knew, they knew how society would turn out once contraception was widely used.

    The Anglicans only accepted limited contraception use in 1930. So pretty much you are well down the path to NiVhood. Or at least you have no theological basis for not agreeing with him. It is just a matter of time.

  36. Theophrastus – “Contraception will not kill the nation. But immigration certainly will, unless it is ended and voluntary repatriation begun.”

    How much do you want the population to shrink by then?
    We don’t have birth rate above 2 in Britain, haven’t for quite some time. That’s with immigration.
    Without immigration we’d have a smaller birth rate and declining population.
    An ageing, declining population requiring overall more care over time.
    I don’t know what the birth rate is without immigrants but if its low enough the population of the country can go rapidly down while the demands on the time of the physically able younger people goes up.

    Or you could simply force women to have more kids. Even against their will.
    Is that better for you?

  37. Cards on the table, practicing Evangelical Anglican here (although not really an Anglican, more a Baptist at heart).

    I think the theology on this is very straightforward, and requires almost no references to Leviticus.

    1)The only place for sex is in a marriage between a man and a woman. (I think it’s also clear that in a marriage it should be only one man, and at the least, it’s also strongly recommended to only be one woman).

    2)All other sexual relationships are therefore sinful – be they fornication, adultery, homosexual, beastiality etc.

    3)All humans are fallen and sinful by nature. This means that in different ways we all think and do things which are sinful – be that hatred, lust, greed, bitterness etc.

    4)God in his redeeming love sent his Son to die in the place of sinners. By taking their punishment, all those who repent and trust in him can be forgiven and restored to a relationship with God – including eternal life with him.

    5)Those who follow Jesus will be tempted in many ways – and as our old, sinful natures aren’t conquered (yet) there will be occasions when we sin.

    6)To be tempted is not sinful – but to act on those temptations is – including mentally “exploring” those temptations.

    None of this is particularly radical – it’s only really in the past 10 years this has become even slightly controversial.

  38. Theo – Contraception will not kill the nation.

    Probably not on its own. But as a package deal, with industrial-scale abortion, delayed marriage, etc.? It’s possible, even likely on current trends. I’d like to think we’ll pull out of the babyless death spiral, but I reckon we need to recognise the death spiral first. Other countries are doing something about it.

    But immigration certainly will, unless it is ended and voluntary repatriation begun.

    Involuntary is fine too. No particular reason why we need to be nice about this – the Left certainly wasn’t when they let them in.

    Socialism, feminism, trans-genderism, eco-freakery, abortion (almost) on demand and an array of other decadent influences are likely to finish the process.

    The Weimar strategy, yarp. I don’t think it’ll lead to a shouty bloke with a toothbrush moustache, but it’ll lead to something. Something probably not very pleasing to the Guardian.

    A bit of bum-sex by chaps who often make useful contributions to society isn’t going to be a factor, though.

    It’s one of those little regrets of modern life that we can’t be grown ups living in a grown up society that’s at ease with itself anymore – aside some odd, blokey internet haunts like Tim’s place.

    So the Gay Question: either you think it’s amazingly wonderful that some guys like casual, anonymous, chem-fuelled bumsex, or you’re a Christofascist bigot. Thems your choices in 2018.

    I like and admire a lot of poofters. Some of our finest men have been bum pirates. I also look up to other exceptional people who happen to be lushes, drug-fuelled geniuses, or Welsh. Nobody’s perfect.

    It’s old hat that the love that daren’t speak its name became the love that won’t shut the fuck up. But now it’s the love that insists on screaming in your face, brainwashing your kids, and getting you kicked out of society unless you throw it parades and pretend it’s a magical blessing.

    I don’t blame the normal gayers, but we are where we are. Perhaps tolerating people who make their own bumhole the centre of their identity was a bad move.

    NiV – Did you ever read Carl Sagan on the subject?

    God, no. I did read a couple of his books, including his off-putting sci fi novel CONTACT. He was a weird guy, probably the first high priest of the cult we now call SCIENCE!

    I’m a bit tired and medicated to go into that as much as I’d like. I’m not surprised he took umbrage at witchy woo, partly because he was selling his own competing brand of mid-20th c. SCIENCE! woo, and partly because SCIENCE! is a jealous, passive-aggressive, fedora-wearing deity that’s the first to make socially awkward remarks about people praying for dead children or whatever.

    Feynman always struck me as much smarter and more in touch with reality, as well as not being a total dork.

  39. Theophrastus – “A bit of bum-sex by chaps who often make useful contributions to society isn’t going to be a factor, though.”

    I would think the evidence is strongly to the contrary. There are slippery slopes out there, and once you accept that it is valid, even important, to define yourself by sex that excludes procreation, you are well down that slippery slope to NiVhood. You cannot make a case for why NiV is wrong once you grant that first step.

    I would think that all healthy societies have something in common – they stress the importance of children and they disapprove (not too strongly) of homosexuality. We should learn from history.

  40. Aside from the amateur theologians on this site getting their kicks out of proving that homosexuality is OK or it ain’t, on the level of heart, mind or balls, the real issue would appear to be who has the right to dictate what the religion dictates.

    I was in grad school years ago with a Korean guy just off the boat who didn’t speak English very well at first. I asked him what he thought of Sun Myung Moon. In his halting English he said that he was “very ashamed” of the spectacle that Moon presented, but then he said, “but it is religion, and in religion, if he says it, it is right!” I agreed.

    I’m not a Christian, so frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn. But if the political structure of the Church of England is such that the Church (does that mean the Archbishop of Canterbury and his minions?) is allowed to dictate such a policy, then the dissenting congregations ought to either obey or leave and start their own church. And if the governance is such that the Church does not have that right, then the Church should stop pushing their dictum, no?

    Of course, there is the problem that maybe the Church does have that right but is tiptoeing around so as not to lose the dissenting congregations. But then, that is economics, not theology.

  41. “then the dissenting congregations ought to either obey or leave and start their own church”

    This is well and truly on its way now,and probably has got to the point of no return. The GAFCON movement (representing the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide) has basically just issued a motion telling the Archbishop of Canterbury to either throw out the apostates, or they will leave. In the UK, they’ve already established a parallel body to the Church of England, called “the Anglican Mission In England (AMIE)”. At the moment AMIE is mainly new church plants established from CoE churches, but it’s fairly clear that a number of those planting churches are so exasperated by the current situation in the CoE, they themselves are on the brink of jumping ship. One has to remember that most of the big and growing Anglican churches are Evangelical, so this is going to have a fairly disproportionate effect on the CoE.

  42. Steve: A lot of people, particularly women, are going to die alone and full of regrets.

    Well perhaps not all of them and not quite alone because they will write agonized columns for the guardian.

  43. SMFS

    “He doesn’t say that gravity keeps us firmly attached to the Earth either.”

    Aquinas didn’t say that because he didn’t have the concept of gravity (only weight). So he couldn’t formulate the thought or the utterance. He goes into great detail on all sorts of matters, so it is reasonable to conclude that he gave us his full views on homosexuality. (By the way, he also said that abortion was not a sin before ensoulment which occurred at the quickening of the foetus.)

    “I said desiring them. The vast majority of Gays? Are you sure? Most probably do not get the chance. But as I often point out the Gay community is more than happy to welcome kiddie fiddlers as their own.”

    There’s no evidence that interest in kiddy-fiddling is any more prevalent in the homosexual population than it is in the heterosexual population. Or do you have scientific and peer reviewed evidence to the contrary?

    “I would think that all healthy societies have something in common – they stress the importance of children and they disapprove (not too strongly) of homosexuality. We should learn from history.”

    On that, at least, we can agree.

  44. Theophrastus – “The Angelic Doctor says homosexuality is a sin because it doesn’t involve the possibility of conception. Note, he doesn’t say it is intrinsically sinful: it is sinful because it doesn’t allow the possibility of certain consequences”

    This comes up again so let me point out what I should have pointed out earlier – this is a grossly mistaken and offensive reading of what Aquinas has to say. Of course he says that homosexuals acts are wrong because they are inherently sinful. They are contrary to Natural Law. This is more important for Aquinas than it sounds because he argues, following from Aristotle, that happiness, that is salvation, can only be achieved through alignment with the Natural Law. Hence homosexual acts are *always* inherently sinful.

    “Aquinas didn’t say that because he didn’t have the concept of gravity (only weight).”

    He did not have the concept of a homosexual either but you continue to claim he did.

    “He goes into great detail on all sorts of matters, so it is reasonable to conclude that he gave us his full views on homosexuality.”

    And he is very clear.

    “(By the way, he also said that abortion was not a sin before ensoulment which occurred at the quickening of the foetus.)”

    Quote him. Because I am pretty sure you will find that he did not. A lot of Christian theologians follow Aristotle, but still condemned abortion – Augustine for instance.

    “There’s no evidence that interest in kiddy-fiddling is any more prevalent in the homosexual population than it is in the heterosexual population.”

    Yes there is. Actually. It is one of these politically correct topics that is now hard to publish. But paedophiles are far more likely to be homosexual than their numbers say they should be.

    And as I said, the homosexual community welcomes kiddie fiddlers as long as Normals do not notice. No one complains about, say, Pasolini.

  45. In 2012 about 6% of the population of the United Kingdom regularly attended church, with the average age of attendees being 51; in contrast, in 1980, 11% had regularly attended, with an average age of 37. It is predicted that by 2020 attendance will be around 4%, with an average age of 56. This decline in church attendance has forced many churches to close down across the United Kingdom, with the Church of England alone closing 1,500 churches between 1969 and 2002.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_Kingdom#Attendance

  46. Peter S. Shenkin said:
    “the dissenting congregations ought to either obey or leave and start their own church”

    The problem is entryism and the ownership of assets.

    From what I see of it as an outsider, the CofE, like many organisations, seems to be mostly run by people who can bear to sit through interminable committee meetings.

    They had a church that believed, and said, that people shouldn’t do X. A few people took control of it and changed it so that they no longer say that you shouldn’t do X, indeed they no longer seem to think that you shouldn’t do X, and it’s most of the way to saying that you mustn’t say that you shouldn’t do X.

    If the people who still think that you shouldn’t do X leave, they’ve lost the assets and organisation of the church that, because of a few people at the top, no longer believes what was its established belief when they joined.

    If the people who believe that it’s fine and dandy to do X had the courage of their convictions, it’s them that would have set up their own church, not the ones who believe what the church had always believed.

    But the Left generally seem to be better at taking over institutions that have already been built up by people they despise, rather than setting up their own.

  47. TMB – Well perhaps not all of them and not quite alone because they will write agonized columns for the guardian.

    Truth in jest. How much of current wave feminism is a reaction to the horribly disappointing consequences of the sexual revolution? I’m guessing a lot.

    The girls were sold “liberation”, but were delivered a grimy cavalcade of pump-n-dumps that leave them bitter, cynical, and childless in their 30’s. Even the ones who eventually snag a husband tend to be permanently jaded from their prior sexploits, with biological clocks two seconds from winding down. The explosion of IVF – painful, difficult and expensive – only barely helps, and adds a host of new medical problems we don’t yet know how to deal with.

    What are we gonna do with all the geriatric catladies with noone to care for them? They can’t all write for the Guardian and Dr Shipman has retired.

  48. Steve said:
    “Dr Shipman has retired”

    Don’t worry, it seems the NHS still provides. The initial numbers suggest that the woman doctor in Gosport killed more old people even than he did.

  49. So people can choose whether they’re a man or woman, but their sexual orientation is so hard-wired trying to persuade someone they’re not gay ought to be outlawed? Right.

  50. NiV – “In 2012 about 6% of the population of the United Kingdom regularly attended church”

    So you’re saying there about a thousand times more regular Church go-ers than Transsexuals?

    Yet for some reason no one seem able to shut the f**K up about the freak show.

  51. John 77:”Homosexuality wasn’t a subject of debate in first century Palestine so there is no record that I have seen of anyone asking Jesus about it.”

    Really? The Jews in that era had *quite* a lot to say about common Roman and Greek practices revolving around homosexual practices.
    Hint: it wasn’t friendly, or tolerant…

    Good chance Jesus simply wasn’t asked because he *certainly* wasn’t expected to “do as the Romans do”….

  52. “the dissenting congregations ought to either obey or leave and start their own church”

    One issue with that is that it only serves the people already inside the church. One of the reasons for the change is that the existing views are becoming less popular in society with younger people (so it is claimed) and that as a result attendance is declining. The question for the hierarchy, of course, is whether attendance is declining because older traditionalists are leaving in disgust, or because younger progressives are no longer joining as often out of disgust. Although perhaps a better question is: if people stop believing, wouldn’t it be more honest to simply shut down, rather than chase after public opinion like a greasy politician whoring their principles for votes?

    That might of course be unfair – I expect a lot of the hierarchy pushing for change genuinely believe tolerance is closer to God’s will, in the same sort of way that Christians generally think the NT is closer to God than the OT. But bureaucrats being as they are, they can’t help but keep one eye on the cashflow and the future of their profession.

    “So people can choose whether they’re a man or woman, but their sexual orientation is so hard-wired trying to persuade someone they’re not gay ought to be outlawed? Right.”

    No, they’re both hard-wired. It’s just that the easiest way to find out what gender a person’s brain is is to ask them.

    “So you’re saying there about a thousand times more regular Church go-ers than Transsexuals?”

    About 5 times more than there are gender dysphorics.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X13007532

  53. No, they’re both hard-wired.

    Hard-wired is normally a term used for something which cannot be changed. Only in NiV world, people who transition are also hard wired.

  54. “Hard-wired is normally a term used for something which cannot be changed. Only in NiV world, people who transition are also hard wired.”

    That’s right. There are lots of different concepts that come under the general heading of ‘sex’ or ‘gender’. ‘Transitioning’ is referring to ‘gender roles’ – which is about how you interact with the rest of society. That’s stuff like what pronouns you use, how you dress or talk, and which toilets you use.

    So someone like Bruce Jenner has a female brain (‘gender’), male genitals (‘sex’) and male gender role (‘Olympic athlete’). He/she transitions to Caitlyn Jenner with female brain (‘gender’), male genitals (‘sex’) and female gender role (‘Vanity Fair model’). They can then also undergo SRS, changing to female brain (‘gender’), female (appearing) genitals (‘sex’) and female gender role (‘Vanity Fair model’).

    Transgender and cisgender generally refer to whether gender and sex are *different* or the *same*, with gender being used as the core definition of male/female and the sex used to modify it, but this has a difficulty in practical use because the gender is not always known, only the gender role. So in practice ‘transgender’ is used by society to mean someone living with a different gender role to their birth sex. Before anyone knew about Bruce, it would only have been polite to call him ‘he’, even though she knew that she was a ‘she’ on the inside.

    If common usage defines meaning, then this is arguably the more reliable meaning. But if the speaker’s intention defines meaning, then it’s as I described above.

    ‘Transitioning’ usually refers to a change of gender role – how you present yourself to society. But it’s more a case of people finding out about the person inside, rather than a change to what they are.

    The semantics, if you examine them closely, are complicated! But it’s pretty easy to use in practice – you use their gender role, but just think of it as their gender.

  55. Sorry – slight correction. That should have been “Transgender and cisgender generally refer to whether gender and birth-sex are *different* or the *same*,”

  56. ‘Transitioning’ is referring to ‘gender roles’ – which is about how you interact with the rest of society.

    So people’s gender is fixed from birth – hard-wired – and can’t be changed, just as somebody’s sexuality can’t be changed. This is good, because it’s pretty much how every sane person views gender.

    And “transitioning” is simply how one chooses to interact with the rest of the world – something not necessarily related to his or her unalterable gender. There is not actually a transition of gender, merely a gender role. I suspect most readers on here would agree with that, too.

  57. That’s right. I can’t say whether most readers here would agree with it, though. I certainly get an argument every time I try to explain!

  58. @NiV, July 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    …But if that’s the sort of success its practitioners are citing…

    1. It was Rod Liddle citing his recipient aquaintance, not a/the practitioner

    2. “that sort of success” is exactly why banning is wrong, intolerant and totalitarian.

    Chap confused & unhappy, seeks talking therapy. After therapy, feels not confused and happy.

    I see only positives. ymmv

  59. @ Grikath
    Do you understand the word “debate”?
    There was no debate about homosexuality in 1st Century Palestine. While some of us may think that the worst sin of Sodom was breach of the universal law (it applied in all middle-eastern religions) of hospitality (there is a nor-quite-parallel incident in Judges), sodomy remained a by-word for evil, not only in Judea but also in most of the surrounding areas. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was generally attributed to sodomy. No-one would dare argue in favour of Sodomy.
    I just cannot imagine anyone asking Joshua bar-Joseph, a prophet famed for a faithful and radical interpretation of the words of “I AM”, whether sodomy was acceptable.

  60. “There was no debate about homosexuality in 1st Century Palestine.”

    Were the Romans not occupying Palestine at this time? Or are you just saying that it wasn’t a ‘debate’?

  61. @ NiV
    I am saying there wasn’t a debate, because no Jew was going to argue in favour.
    Maybe I should have said “among the indigenous inhabitants of 1st Century Palestine” but you can see perfectly well what I mean from the last paragraph of my immediately previous post.

  62. “Were the Romans not occupying Palestine at this time?”

    Mostly but not entirely: Galilee was not part of the Empire at the time of Big J. It was a client kingdom. Hence the yarns you see about J being annoyed about Roman soldiers lording it over Nazareth when he was growing up are mere ignorant fiction.

    But then much (Most? Damn near all?) of what Christians believe is bollocks anyway.

  63. @ dearieme
    The only yarn about Jesus growing up takes place in Judea.
    Pretty much all of what non-Christians believe that Christians believe is bollocks.

  64. “I am saying there wasn’t a debate, because no Jew was going to argue in favour.”

    But the Romans would. And there would presumably be ‘debate’ between Romans and Jews on the subject of law and morality.

    “Maybe I should have said “among the indigenous inhabitants of 1st Century Palestine””

    You mean, maybe Grikath should have? I thought there were examples of Jesus talking to Romans – is there any reason that they could not have asked the question?

    Given the way Jesus got into trouble for associating with publicans and prostitutes, which the Jews also disapproved of, it sounds like a plausible extension of the same principle. (And the lesson would presumably have been the same – they’re sinners, but you can only convert them if you treat them with kindness and love.)

    In fact, given that in Roman times there were such things as male prostitutes to serve that sort of interest, and the Romans were probably good customers to the local prostitutes, it’s not impossible that there were a few in the crowd. Isn’t that an image to conjure with? 🙂

  65. @ NiV
    “Publicans and sinners” in the King James Bible means “tax-collectors and sinners” in modern English.
    There are no passages that describe Jesus associating with prostitutes, but several that refer to him approaching or being approached by lepers. The only incident mentioning a prostitute has critics saying “if he is a Prophet he should know (supernaturally) that the woman kneeling at his feet whom he has never seen before lives an immoral life.”
    There are only a couple of examples of Jesus talking to Romans, both of them after his arrest. If you are thinking about the Centurion’s servant, then I need to remind you that the Centurion did not feel able to approach Jesus himself but pleaded with some Jewish elders to speak to Jesus on his behalf.

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