“Why Uphold the OT Laws Against Homosexuality When We Don’t Observe the Rest of It?”

I don’t know how to answer this powerful argument against continuing to condemn homosexuality when we don’t observe the rest of the Old Testament laws. I got this in an email and now I’m just confused. Can you help?

Laura Schlessinger dispenses sex advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that as an observant Orthodox Jew homosexuality is to her an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned in any circumstance.

 Dear Dr. Laura,

 Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your radio show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

 I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific Bible laws and how to follow them.

 a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors bitch to the zoning people. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. What do you think would be a fair price for her? She’s 18 and starting college. Will the slave buyer be required to continue to pay for her education by law?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence and threaten to call Human Resources.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify?

Why can’t I own Canadians? Is there something wrong with them due to the weather?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should this be a neighborhood improvement project? What is a good day to start? Should we begin with small stones? Kind of lead up to it?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. I mean, a shrimp just isn’t the same as a you-know-what. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? Would contact lenses fall within some exception?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die? The Mafia once took out Albert Anastasia in a barbershop, but I’m not Catholic; is this ecumenical thing a sign that it’s ok?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging. Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

 

The “big picture” behind the argument about condemning homosexuality as an archaic, Old Testament rule can be understood by the fact that there are different kinds of laws in the Old Testament. Civil and ceremonial laws, such as those concerning religious sacrifices and penalties for unacceptable societal behaviors, were time-bound and limited to the people of Israel. They are no longer in force for a variety of reasons: first, all the OT sacrifices and ceremonies were given as a foreshadowing of the Messiah’s ministry and of His death, burial and resurrection. They are no longer necessary because they were the preparation for the Reality that has come. Second, the civil laws pertained to a nation of people who no longer exist. (The current nation of Israel is a political one, not the same as the group of OT people God called to follow Him alone as their Ruler.)

Moral laws, such the Ten Commandments and all the laws constraining sexual immorality, are not time-bound because they are rooted in the character of God. Time and culture changes do not affect the importance of not worshiping any false Gods because God is the only true God; of not murdering because every person is made in the image of God; of being honest because God is truth; of not stealing because God wants us to trust HIM to meet our needs instead of taking what we want; of being faithful to one’s spouse because God is faithful. And none of the Old Testament laws concerning sexual morality changed in the New Testament because they, too, are based on the character of God as pure and holy. It is always sinful to have sex with someone you’re not married to, regardless of gender.

The scriptural prohibition against homosexuality is further underscored by what Paul reveals as the purpose of sex in marriage in Ephesians 5: sexual intercourse between husband and wife is an earthly picture of the spiritual union of two very different, very other beings—Christ and His bride, the Church. Sexual coupling of two same-gendered people can never reflect the deep spiritual significance of sex. Instead, it is really about pursuing pleasure, and pleasure is not the primary purpose of sex (despite our culture’s views). But that’s another topic.

This distinction between civil/ceremonial laws and moral laws is seen in just about any family with healthy boundaries. When our sons were small, we had rules about “no TV before homework is done” and “don’t leave your bicycle in the driveway.” Those rules were time-bound, not timeless, because they were appropriate only for their growing-up years. We don’t have those rules anymore because they are both adults, out of the house and in their own homes now. But we still have character-based expectations that they be responsible, honest, respectful, and kind. Those “rules” won’t change because they are a different kind from the training rules they grew up with.

I hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

P.S. I have seen this purported letter to Dr. Laura before (by someone who obviously thinks himself very clever). I think it’s interesting that Dr. Laura is no longer an orthodox Jew. She is still a God-follower, though. And her views on homosexuality haven’t changed because, for the most part, she has a biblical worldview.

© 2007 Probe Ministries


Can People Do the Right Things Out of Compassion and Not Because of a Moral Law?

I have a question about moral law. Everyone knows what pain feels like and everyone knows what sorrow feels like, etc., so isn’t it possible for humans to not want to cause others to feel these things because they know how it feels to themselves and not necessarily because of a moral law?

Thanks for your note. You asked a good question.

I think your reasoning would work with someone who has a tender conscience and doesn’t want others to hurt. But we all know there are people who don’t care whether others hurt. So while the motivation to not want to hurt others could prevent you and like-minded people from doing others harm, others who don’t have that motivation will have no constraints. And, I have to add, if the typically tender-hearted person has a day when he or she doesn’t care, what will be his/her motivation to do good? If someone responds that it doesn’t matter what a person feels like, that it’s good to not make others suffer, then we’re back with a moral law again.

A fixed moral law, grounded in the nature and will of God, taught in Scripture, and reflected in His universe, provides an objective standard against which we can measure our actions, regardless of our personal motivations.

Thanks again for writing. Write again with other questions, if you like. Or if you think my answer isn’t correct, write back and we’ll talk about it!

Rick Wade

© 2007 Probe Ministries


“Evidence for God’s Existence? I Think Not!”

I have just read your article on the existence of God. There are SO many mistakes (and assumptions) you have made that I don’t know where to begin:

A “Just Right” Universe?

Of course our planet is ‘just right’ to sustain life. If it were not we would not be here! There are billions and billions of galaxies, each galaxy has billions of stars, and each star has many planets. So although the chances of life occurring are slim, because there are so many opportunities for it to occur, the chances are that it will almost definitely occur somewhere.

The Nagging Itch of “Ought”

This is to do with moral values. Not Christian values, but just plain humanitarian moral values. We know that in order to survive, social chaos is a bad thing. We don’t need a Supernatural all knowing God to tell us this. Common sense tells us to do to others what you would like them to do to you. Do you seriously believe that without God it is impossible to make moral judgements in the interests of mankind? Don’t forget that although we evolved from apes, evolution itself is driven by natural selection, genes that enable us to survive live, and those that don’t die. Obviously murdering, stealing, cheating etc, will increase the odds of that happening to you. Therefore it is not in a species’ interests to have these characteristics, therefore they die out. We have evolved moral values, they were not bestowed upon us by some god!

Evidence of Design Implies a Designer

Have you not never heard of evolution? Evolution is the non-random development of species through time, through random mutations in its DNA. That means that if it mutates in a bad way, the creature dies. If the mutation is beneficial to its survival then it lives and passes it ‘new’ genes on to the next generation. The process can take millions of years to evolve simple self replicating molecules (which can and do occur) into a diverse range of species. And hence give the appearance of design.

The Reliability of the Bible

HA!

Reliable and Bible are not two words I use together in a sentence very often! The Bible is full of holes and contradictions, it is the most inconsistent book I have ever read. If you don’t believe me have a look at the enclosed text file!

Jesus: The Ultimate Evidence

Jesus? The only evidence that can be found to suggest that he even existed. Is yes… in the Bible! Which insistently was written by unknown authors over 150 years after he (supposedly) died. It was also written in a different language than Jesus himself would have spoken!

Thank you for writing. You asked no questions, but only made statements which show me that you have not done much research, but you do have strong opinions. Therefore, I will not attempt to answer your comments since I am sure your time is as valuable as mine, and I doubt that you’re interested in anything that would contradict your opinions.

I did look at your list of contradictions, and they do not trouble me at all since there is a rational explanation for them. The majority of them are like the contradiction my children experienced when my husband called me “Sue” and they called me “Mommy.”

But thank you for writing.

In closing, you might want to consider Pascal’s wager: Either Christianity is true or it’s false. If you bet that it’s true, and you believe in God and submit to Him, then if it IS true, you’ve gained God, heaven, and everything else. If it’s false, you’ve lost nothing, but you’ve had a good life marked by peace and the illusion that ultimately, everything makes sense. If you bet that Christianity is not true, and it’s false, you’ve lost nothing. But if you bet that it’s false, and it turns out to be true, you’ve lost everything and you spend eternity in hell.

Quite a wager. . . and every one of us makes it, either consciously or unconsciously.

So, _____, since you haven’t checked into the things you confidently assert are true (for example: your statement that there is no extra-biblical evidence for the existence of Jesus. Check out the historian Josephus), are you willing to bet your life and your eternity that you’re right?

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Pascal’s wager? You are asking me to believe in God, just in case he is real! If that has to be my reason, then I am not really believing in him, am I? I look at the evidence, if it convinces me then I will believe, if it does not, then I do not believe. Going by Pascal’s wager I would have to then subscribe to every earthly religion going, (just in case) their god happens to be true, regardless of any evidence! This of course is not feasible.

Asking me why I don’t believe in God is like being asked why I don’t believe that a giant invisible pink unicorn called Dodo created the universe! While it is possible, I see no reason to assume so. . .

Let me ask you a question:

I have done nothing wrong. I lead a good fulfilling life, I am certainly not ‘evil’ just because I don’t hold a strong belief in any god(s).

If you were god, as in creator of the universe and all life etc, would you condemn me to burn in hell for all eternity simply for not believing in you?

I have done nothing wrong.

By whose standards? Yours, or God’s? Even by yours, you’re telling me you have never lied, have never done anything that fell short of your own standards of how people should treat each other, have never done anything you needed to say “I’m sorry” for?

If you were god, as in creator of the universe and all life etc, would you
condemn me to burn in hell for all eternity simply for not believing in you?

No, _____, YOU would be condemning yourself.

Look at it this way. You are an astronaut and you are doing a spacewalk. You decide you don’t like NASA’s ridiculous restrictions about wearing a bulky space suit and staying tethered to the space shuttle, so you decide you’re going to be your own boss and not submit to them. You break the tether and take off your space suit.

Is NASA condemning you to die from lack of oxygen and the freezing cold of space? No. . .they are the source of life to you out there in space. They’re the ones keeping you alive as long as you stay connected to their technology. YOU would be condemning yourself to die.

God doesn’t condemn anyone to a hell separated from Him for eternity. He did everything in His power to make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him. But He does not override our choices, and if you choose to cut yourself off from the only source of life, then you are condemning yourself to eternal death. It’s your choice, not God’s.

You may not want to believe in God, _____, but that doesn’t stop me from praying that He will reveal Himself to you in such a personal and intimate way that you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is there and He loves you more than you can imagine.

Sue

He did everything in His power to make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him. But He does not override our choices, and if you choose to cut yourself off from
the only source of life, then you are condemning yourself to eternal death.

You are contradicting yourself. God, as you define him is all powerful. Therefore nothing is beyond his ability! Right?

Therefore there is plenty that he could do (if he existed) that would convince me of his existence. For example if he appeared in a puff of smoke and perform a few miracles, etc. I might just believe him. However, I am forced to rely on evidence such as the Bible! Which to me is not very convincing! On top of this, I am faced with another dilemma, there are other religions, preaching their own beliefs, which are all just as equally feasible as yours! This is why I remain unconvinced!

You are contradicting yourself. God, as you define him is all powerful.
Therefore nothing is beyond his ability! Right?

No, that’s not true. God cannot contradict Himself. For example, He cannot create a boulder so big He can’t move it. He can’t create a round square. Those sorts of things are logical contradictions. God is logical.

Therefore there is plenty that he could do (if he existed) that would convince me of his existence. For example if he appeared in a puff of smoke
and perform a few miracles, etc. I might just believe him.

You know what? You could come up with any number of hoops for Him to jump through and still not believe. The problem isn’t that the evidence isn’t good enough, _____. The problem is a heart that refuses to accept the evidence that’s already been given. You and Carl Sagan have a lot in common.

Even mentally disabled children can see the evidence of God’s existence and believe in Him. The problem isn’t intellect; it’s a heart issue.

However, I am forced to rely on evidence such as the Bible! Which to me is not very convincing! On top of this, I am faced with another dilemma, there are other religions, preaching their own beliefs, which are all just as equally feasible as yours! This is why I remain unconvinced!

Only on the surface. No other religions explain reality as well as Christianity, but again, until you truly examine them all with an unbiased eye, and not dismiss them unexamined, it will remain a heart issue.

And that’s why I pray for you.

Your friend,

Sue

© December 2000 Probe Ministries