The Bible was written by people who interpreted the teachings of Christ based upon their frame of reference. The events happened years before - the people who wrote it were not there. Many of the 'anti' aspects were a reaction to the excesses of Roman society, not neccessarily what had been preached by Jesus. It's the gospels 'according to....'
Also, lest we forget, there were 12 apostles - not 4. The men who created the modern bible selected those 4. Anyway, it is wrong to interpet the bible literally IMO. It is appropriate to learn the lessons - do unto others as you would have done to yourself, he who has not sinned may cast the 1st stone, etc. However, I, personally believe that it's incorrect to take it literally since the Bible was written during a time of upheaval and change which does not neccessarily apply to modern times.
Thomas doubted, but he brought Christianity into Syria.
BTW, did you know that Christianity was the dominent religion in the Middle East and started declining DURING the Crusades? The Crusaders lumped the Arab Christians and slaughtered them as Muslims. Today, they are caught in the cross fire between the East that considers them Muslim by sight and their neighbors who are aware of them as Christians. Definitely, oversimplifying, but just a couple of notes I picked up from reading the recent edition of National Geographic magazine. Here's a link to the article.
If you consider the 3 dominant single God religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islamism - they have many basic teachings in common. Respect for a single God, belief in acts of charity, respect for life, etc. Each religion formed at a divergent time based upon whether the follower believed if a particular person was a prophet or a messiah. The symbolic acts may differ, but the base teachings are the same.
All religions have their extremists who believe they are performing acts in the name of God - the Saudi's who declared jiihad, Tim McVeigh who bombed the building in Oklahoma City, KKK, the Arab Christians who bombed a bus of Palestinian refugeess [thus triggering the Lebanese Civil War], the anti-abortionists who kill doctors, etc.
Since the 10 Commandments were given to Moses, a Jew, why are they considered 'Christian' values?
BTW, I prefer to consider myself agnostic - I believe there is a God, but I don't believe in organized religion, which SOME hide behind the symbols (praying, attending services regularly, etc.) while not living the important details....
Minusaramadad from Arctaroon
So if the bible is not to be taken literally, then what to make of it declaring homosexuality to be an abomination? As an Objectivist-oriented (read your Ayn Rand) individualist, I regard homophobia to be the real abomination. No one is saying you have to approve of it (homosexuality). But so long as it is between consenting adults, how is it any of your or my or indeed the government's business?
If you've ever worked on a Sunday, ate shellfish or wore two different kinds of fabric (all of which the bible declares to be an abomination), then you would have to prove how those actions are negligible, or else I'll dismiss your virdict on homosexuality as an example of you citing only those passages of the bible that coincide with your predispositions.
I say legalize gay marriage. And replace "In God We Trust" on U.S. coins and currency with "Who Is John Galt?"
heyang - In his infinite wisdom and rush to get the oil, Bush's initial bombardment of Iraq was in the Christian section of Baghdad. 'Nuff said?
John King - I am not a bible scholar nor do I think there are many who are, but the word abomination is not an old hebraic word according to one who is a bible scholar. However, the bible in English is not literal, but actually fancied up to the taste of English royalty. A grain of salt helps you to get through it, if you keep your blood pressure down.
Originally Posted by John King
I don't think it is any of my business. As for the government, it's about legal rights and recognition. Is it semantics? Marriage vs Civil Union? Would calling any legal partnership [that is not sanctified in a religious ceremony] a civil union - either homosexual or heterosexual - resolve the issue of Propositon 8?
My parents got married in City Hall, neither being religious. They say they are married. Technically, marriage is considered a sacrament by the church - so, are they married or are they in a civil union?
Very good points on marriage. Are couples who are married outside of their churches, i.e., civil marriages, are the marriages valid? If two ladies get married outside of their churches why would they not be considered as married?
Originally Posted by heyang
Some churches do not recognize marriage in a civil ceremony. Princess Grace of Monaco (and Hollywood) had a civil marriage (for the State) and a religious marriage for the Church.
This has to happen in most European countries (except the UK). The Church ceremony is the glitzy one but the actual legal one is the civil one. Often in european countries the couple will go to the town hall first for the legal wedding and then move on to the Church.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
I have known weddings in South America where the legal wedding takes place the day before in smart suits and the church ceremony being the one with the big white dress etc on teh following day.
I think it makes sense. In our case, our rabbi did not have the Justice of the Peace certification, so the next day we went to the city hall to get married legally. We celebrate the anniversary based on the Jewish ceremony.
BTW, Russia has a weird hybrid - the church actually WILL NOT marry you until you get a state marriage. A friend of mine ran into that situation - her fiance was married years and years prior, he did not keep in touch with his estranged wife, and could not find her to get his divorce from her (getting a divorce with one of the parties absent take a lot longer). They were expecting a child, and what they really cared about was the church wedding, but the Russian Orthodox Church wouldn't marry them until they had that state certificate. He finally got the divorce (his ex still wasn't found!), they managed to get the state wedding and got their church wedding in a week or so before their baby arrived.
All that legal Civil Marriage mentioned above makes sense. So why not same sex marriage, if it doesn't involve god or religion?