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Humanist to Church: Drop Bible as Moral Guide


Authored by Dr. Michael Brown Guest Blogger | Tuesday, May 2, 2017 @ 11:50 AM

Humanist to Church: Drop Bible as Moral Guide / Humanist stumbles in his defense of openly gay United Methodist bishop Karen Oliveto.

What is lacking is the understanding of human beings (including Naff), which is exactly why we need God’s Word.- Dr. Michael Brown

A Huffington Post Humanist Urges the Church to Stop Using the Bible as a Moral Guide. It’s one thing when a humanist attacks the Bible. That’s expected. It’s another thing when a humanist attacks a Christian denomination for using the Bible as a moral guide. But that’s exactly what humanist author Clay Farris Naff did on the Huffington Post on April 29th.

Naff was upset that the highest court of the Methodist Church struck down the consecration of Bishop Karen Oliveto, since her only infraction was being married to another woman. How, he wondered, could the church punish her for love?

He writes, “To anyone free of ancient prejudices, the injustice of condemning Oliveto is plain. How can love be wrong? How can love enfolded in commitment and fidelity be wrong?”

The answers are simple and self-evident. Love is not always right, even when it’s “enfolded in commitment and fidelity.”

A father may love his adult daughter in a romantic way, but that doesn’t make the relationship right. Twin brothers in their 30s may love each other in a sexual way, but that doesn’t make their sexual activity right. A man who no longer loves his wife may now love his female co-worker, but that doesn’t make his adultery right.

It’s possible, of course, that Naff has no problem with consensual adult incest or with adultery. And maybe he has no issue with polygamy or polyamory. But as a thinking man (which he clearly is), he should be able to understand that conservatives have reasons other than “ancient prejudices” for opposing gay marriage. After all, there were ancient cultures that celebrated homosexuality, yet they still recognized marriage as male-female only.

That’s because marriage has had a specific function and purpose through the millennia, and it’s not just “ancient prejudices” that cause many of us to reject its redefinition. Or is it only prejudice that believes God designed men for women and women for men? Or is it only bigotry that believes it’s best for a child to have a mom and dad?

Naff asks, “What possible harm can her marriage cause? Not even the claim of setting a ‘bad’ example holds water. People do not choose their spouses on the example set by clergy. If they did, there’d be no Catholic children, and poor, sultry Elizabeth Taylor could never have married even once.”

Actually, many people do follow the examples set by their leaders (including clergy). As for Naff’s argument regarding Catholicism, wouldn’t he argue that the sins of some pedophile priests have been especially heinous, because they are looked to as religious leaders?

Of course, I’m not comparing Oliveto’s “marriage” to her partner to a priest abusing boys. I’m simply saying that clergy have a special responsibility to set good examples. Their bad examples have a wider, ripple effect.

Naff then focuses on the Bible itself, using the same hackneyed, pro-gay arguments that have been refuted time and again. (For example, he claims that Paul’s categorical prohibition against male and female homosexual practice in Romans 1 is merely “a tirade about some unnamed people who turned their backs on God and indulged in, er, Roman-style orgies”).

Not only so, but he seems oblivious to the idea that, when Methodist leaders speak about “Christian teaching” on homosexuality, they do not refer exclusively to the Bible. They’re speaking in general about the unanimous teaching of virtually all branches of Christianity for nearly 2,000 years. And they’re speaking in particular about the clear teachings of the Methodist Church throughout its history.

But this is not important for Naff, since he feels there’s a much deeper problem with the Methodist Church: hypocrisy. Why, he wonders, does the Church not ban divorce the way it bans homosexual practice?

The answer is that, according to Scripture, there are some legitimate causes for divorce, and these are recognized by the Methodist Church. It is the question of remarriage that is in question, but that’s a question he fails to ask. (He could have made a better argument had he addressed that question.)

Either way, Naff isn’t calling for a church ban on divorce. Instead, he explains, “I am trying to help you see that the Bible may be many things — historical treasure, poetical comfort, and sacred scripture — but as a moral guide, it is hopeless. Some claim to follow its commands literally, but they deceive themselves. No one can do so, for the Bible is a hodgepodge of contradictions and morally obscure or outrageous injunctions.”

So, it’s fine if we take the Bible to be “sacred scripture,” as long as we realize that it’s “a hodgepodge of contradictions and morally obscure or outrageous injunctions,” not to mention “hopeless” as “a moral guide.”

Thanks but no thanks.

That kind of “sacred scripture” is neither sacred nor scripture. Why anyone would take comfort in its words and find guidance for life if, in fact, the Bible is what Naff describes it to be?

After launching a few more (weak) salvos against the Scriptures, Naff writes, “Look at the Bible with fresh eyes, and you’ll find the record of ancient peoples who, lacking any police force, detectives, or proper jails, did their best to construct rules for getting along with each other and used the fear of God to enforce them. Look even closer and you’ll find that those in power often bent the rules in their favor. I suppose God might have wanted the people to heap silver, gold, and fatted calves on their priests, exempt them from any real work, and give them a retirement plan (Numbers 7 – 8), but I find it more likely that the priests themselves heard the Word of God that way.”

Put another way, this is not the Word of God, so don’t treat it as the Word of God.

Instead, Naff states, “I’ve shown that the United Methodist Church is interpreting the Bible to privilege the heterosexual majority while sanctimoniously applying ancient ‘laws’ in a questionable way to Bishop Oliveto. But more important, I hope I’ve shown that Methodists, and all other religionists, would do well abandon the effort to apply scriptural codes to contemporary life. Draw inspiration, by all means, but recognize that the hard work of thinking through right and wrong remains a moral duty for us all.”

In truth, Naff did not prove his points at all, let alone demonstrate them in such fashion that Methodist leaders should feel beholden to follow his counsel. But it is not merely Naff’s attack on the Bible that falls short. It’s his logic that falls short as well, since, if he is right in his description of the Bible, there’s no reason for the Methodist Church (or any church) to exist. There’s not even a reason for a single synagogue to be found on the planet if what we call sacred Scripture is merely a compendium of human ideas, many of them flawed, and none of them perfectly inspired.

In short, if Jesus is not the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead, Christians are believing lies. End of subject. And if the Torah was not given by God through Moses, Jews are believing lies. That’s all that needs to be said.

Not only so, but if the Bible is not a moral guide, it cannot be a spiritual guide, since it purports to tell us who God is and what He requires from us, His creation.

I do understand Naff’s concerns about religious fundamentalism, which he has articulated elsewhere. But he fails to understand that:

1) the Bible’s moral witness is quite coherent when studied holistically and in-depth;

2) scholars have answers for the questions he has raised, along with many more; and

3) there are solid reasons, both practical and moral, to stand against homosexual “marriage.”

What is lacking, then, is not the inspiration of Scripture or the wisdom of Scripture or the moral authority of Scripture. What is lacking is the understanding of human beings (including Naff), which is exactly why we need God’s Word.

Human reasoning alone will always fail us. God’s Word will never fail. 

Dr. Michael Brown Guest Blogger, Distinguished Author, Speaker and Christian Apologist More Articles

Kenyan Politician: If Obama Brings ‘Gay Agenda, We Will Tell Him to Shut Up and Go Home’


waving flagBy Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2015

Leftist Giant called Tyranny
With the American and Kenyan flags behind him, then-Sen. Barack Obama speaks to students at University of Nairobi, Monday, Aug. 28, 2006. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – When he visits his father’s homeland in Africa later this month, President Obama is expected to run into vocal opposition over his administration’s high-profile promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

Obama’s trip to Kenya, his first as president, is scheduled to take place four weeks after the White House was bathed in rainbow colors to mark the U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring that same-sex marriage is a right.

At a small pro-family demonstration at the parliament in Nairobi Monday, organized by the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, participants called on the American president not to raise the subject during his visit.

“It is important for us as Kenyans to know that the U.S. is not God,” local media quoted evangelical Bishop Mark Kariuki as saying, adding that Obama should not use the visit to “talk about the gay issue.”

Irungu Kangata, a lawmaker in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) party, was blunter: “We are telling Mr. Obama when he comes to Kenya this month and he tries to bring the abortion agenda, the gay agenda, we shall tell him to shut up and go home.”

According to The Standard of Nairobi, Kangata said Kenyans would demonstrate against Obama over the issue during his visit. Kenya’s The Daily Nation quoted several other lawmakers’ views on the matter. “Anybody who tries to come and preach to this country that they should allow homosexuality, I think he’s totally lost,” said TNA lawmaker Jamleck Kamau. “And I would also like to add, our son from the U.S., Barack Obama, when he comes here, to simply avoid that topic completely,” added Kamau, “because Kenyans will not be happy with him if he comes to bring the issue of homosexuality in this country.”Picture1

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“Liberal thoughts are being entertained in some countries under the guise of human rights,” the speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi, told an Anglican Church congregation. “We must be vigilant and guard against it. We must lead an upright society and not allow obnoxious behavior as we have a responsibility to protect our children.”tyrants

Rose Mitaru, one of 47 female lawmakers representing counties across the country, said that allowing same-sex marriage in Kenya would open “floodgates of evil synonymous with the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.”

TNA lawmaker Cecily Mbarire urged the government to reject any foreign aid tied to efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.

On Sunday, Deputy President William Ruto delivered a church sermon in Nairobi in which he said homosexuality was “against the plan of God.”  “God did not create man and woman so that men would marry men and women marry women,” The Daily Nation quoted him as saying. “Those who want to engage in those businesses, they can do it in their countries, and they can do it wherever it is they want. In Kenya, we will stand firm.”Picture1

White House press secretary Josh Earnest indicated Monday that Obama would not avoid the topic during his visit. “We have been clear that when the president travels around the world, he does not hesitate to raise concerns about human rights,” he told a press briefing, in response to a question on the Kenyan criticism.

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“I’m confident the president will not hesitate to make clear that the protection of basic universal human rights in Kenya is also a priority and consistent with the values that we hold dear here in the United States of America,” Earnest said.More Evidence

‘Everybody has to be treated equally’

Obama is scheduled to visit Kenya later this month to open the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an Obama initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, particularly in Muslim societies. He will then visit Ethiopia for bilateral and African Union meetings. It will be his fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa during his presidency.

Homosexuality is frowned on in many African countries, both Christian and Muslim. The Obama administration’s State Department has made promotion of LGBT issues a foreign policy priority.Imperial President Obama

Obama’s last visit to the continent coincided with the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, and the LGBT question came up during a joint press appearance with Senegalese President Macky Sall. Asked about the issue of homosexuality in Africa, Obama said he believed that “every country, every group of people, every religion have different customs, different traditions.” “But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally,” he said. “I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort. That’s my personal view.”tyrants

In his response, Sall said Senegal was not ready to change to decriminalize homosexuality, and that countries should respect each other’s choices. He also said Senegal “does not discriminate in terms of inalienable rights of the human being.”

According to data compiled by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), same-sex sexual acts are illegal in 76 countries around the world, 36 of them in Africa.

In May 2014, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which reports to the African Union, passed a resolution calling on African countries to “end all acts of violence and abuse … including those targeting persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identities, ensuring proper investigation and diligent prosecution of perpetrators, and establishing judicial procedures responsive to the needs of victims.”More forced

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VIDEO: Hillary Explodes at NPR Radio When Questioned About Homosexual Marriage Flip-Flop


http://www.tpnn.com/2014/06/13/video-hillary-explodes-at-npr-radio-when-questioned-about-homosexual-marriage-flip-flop/

June 13, 2014 By

HILLARY 
Hillary Clinton seemingly cannot stand the heat of being asked tough questions, not even being able to handle follow-up questions by Hillary-friendly, government funded, NPR radio.

Hillary blew up at NPR radio host Terry Gross this week when asked about her flip-flop (or is it “evolving?) stance on homosexual marriage, telling the host she was “playing with my words.”

“Would you say your view evolved since the 90s, or that the American public evolved, allowing you to state your real view?” asked radio host Terry Gross, referring to Clinton’s previous support for traditional marriage.

Clinton, being evasive as Clintons tend to do, gave the strange response, “I think I’m an American, I think that we have all evolved, and it’s been one of the fastest, most sweeping transformations that I’m aware of.”

Gross then insinuated that Clinton arrived late to the homosexual marriage party, an accusation that lit the volatile former Obama Secretary of State up.

“I understand,” Gross said, “but a lot of people believed in it already back in the nineties. A lot of people already supported gay marriage.”

“To be fair Terry, not that many,” Clinton said sounding irritated. “Were there activists who were ahead of their time? Well that was true in every human rights and civil rights movement but the vast majority of Americans were just waking up to this issue.”

Clinton continued to avoid directly answering Gross’s question, using deflection tactics with answers like, “Somebody is always first, Terry. Somebody is always out front, and thank goodness they are. “

Finally, the hot-tempered Clinton blew up at the host, attempting to turn the tables on the NPR host, saying, “I have to say, I think you are being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue.”

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Hillary ClintonVOTE 02

 

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