Speaking Against Spiritual Abuse, a Gay Communication Leader Comes Out

Thanks, @timteichman.

I appreciate this erudite response.


a) The debates about the authenticity of the Pastoral Letters are longstanding ones, and the question of which side has the greater weight, at this point, depends on with whom one speaks. I would not be credible making a statement, here.

b) You’d agree, because you’re a reasonable man, the idea the scriptures do not have authority in the way 2 Timothy describes is both untenable and counterintuitive to Christians, on the face of it.

c) You’d also probably agree the Bible doesn’t seem vague on the question of whether homosexual practice is God-blessed. You’d at least agree, to a Christian, and from a Christian point of view, this is not even close.


Thanks, @NY_G_PA2:

In addition to my previous response, I think my response to Tim may suffice, here.


I admit to being a bit off-topic here, as I did not set out to comment on the topic of human sexuality.

To me, the more interesting and fundamental question is what weight should be afforded to any particular Bible text.

My basic point being that since neither god nor Jesus penned any book personally, everything ever written by anyone, including everything in the Bible, must be considered in the larger context of what makes sense and feels best from a humanitarian or humanistic point of view.

This concept scares people of a religious bent, however, as they do not know what to make of a secular work which seems to resonate with the divine spark inside themselves but which doesn’t have the word “Holy” in the title!

That is, if a psychology text book says homosexuality is not evil or is perfectly normal, this seems to make sense from an “all men are created equal” perspective but it doesn’t jive with other “holy” memory verses which explicitly insist that just the opposite is the case. And since such people do not trust or even believe that they have a reliable internal guidance system, they go running to people who claim to be god’s agents here on earth and who are almost invariably looking to make a buck, start a cult, or both.

What happens after that is, as they say, human history and almost always involves the supposedly divinely sanctioned and age-old traditions of bullying and gay bashing.

(And see how I twisted that around and sorta got back on-topic again!?!?)



Well, if you mean by confirmed, “does science know the specific genetic basis for same-sex attraction?,” then no, science has not accomplished that. On the other hand, science has provided ample evidence that there is a genetic basis for same-sex attraction. In fact, as I have said before, as a geneticist, it would be surprising if some set of genetic conditions did not exist that predisposes a person to be attracted to one’s own sex. Just because geneticists cannot show how genetic conditions can be the cause of same-sex attraction does not mean geneticists cannot provide evidence that genetics is a cause. You can read more precisely what I have written on this in the past here: https://spectrummagazine.org/news/2020/there-more-human-sexuality-xx-and-xy

I don’t have the time for a detailed response to this, but my reasoning on why there is nothing morally wrong with same-sex sexual behavior is covered in the above mentioned article, and more specifically in this one: https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/02/11/review-chris-meyers-moral-defense-homosexuality

I don’t hold with this. Although the Bible clearly speaks about inappropriate sexual behavior in various ways, it never once addresses same-sex sexual behavior in a committed, monogamous relationship context. Even one of the supposed most solid of all clobber texts does not address this issue, and I explicate this thoroughly here: https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2021/paul-same-sex-sexual-relationships-romans

None of the other clobber texts hold much water either when scrutinized carefully. I suggest reading this and the book of which it is a review: https://spectrummagazine.org/arts-essays/2020/when-scripture-meets-life-book-review-unclobber Unclobber is an excellent book.

Which just goes to show the terrible double standard under which we operate when it comes to sexual “sins.” At the very least we should leave married same-sex couples alone just as much as we leave heterosexual couples alone. And suspected extramarital or premarital sexual relations, whether same-sex or heterosexual, should be left for the actors themselves to deal with, and anonymous letters should never play a part in church discipline.


Except 2 Timothy wasn’t Paul, but an imposter.

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Please check my edit.

In other words, I don’t think people who want to believe what the text says will be in any way concerned with the identity of the writer.

I don’t think I understand how your response relates to the post you replied to - or much at all. I’ve tried and tried to parse it, but I just can’t quite get there. It seems like you left out some words or need more punctuation or something.

God did write the Ten Commandments, according to the Bible.

Meanwhile, though Christ did not author any biblical text, the New Testament contains four biographies of His life and ideas, all written shortly after His reported ascension.

This is an awesomely high level of focus, for that era, on a relatively unknown itinerant preacher, particularly one who dies such an ignominious death. It’s incredibly odd such documents should exist.

That doesn’t even follow. :smile:

If you say so. :slightly_smiling_face:

If you say so!



So, then, to talk about “a genetic basis for same-sex attraction” is premature and unscientific, correct?

Thanks for the link.

However, you admit yours, here, is not a scientific conclusion — one you can offer based on your experience as a geneticist — nor can it be, but it is, instead, your opinion, and a personal one, at best, correct?

The Bible doesn’t address stealing in the context of a large crime family, either, or kidnapping when the victim’s parents are your next-door neighbors.

When the Bible utters a command, it tends to be cut-and-dried. If there is an exception, the Bible tends to state the exception.

In other words, the Bible is an eerily transcendent document, with a far-reaching, deeply hypertextual epistemology.

The statements you call clobber texts are deemed so because of the force with which they outlaw homosexual acts; they are not ambiguous on this subject. They do not tip-toe around it.

It seems plausible, then, if the force of these commands were negated by, as you call it, “a committed, monogamous relationship context,” this would have been mentioned, or hinted at, at least once, in the Bible, in a similar act of directness.

That this is not the case may indicate there is no such thing, as it pertains to such actions. It certainly indicates any such caveat is probably man-made and self-imposed.

I did better than that: I watched Dr. Sean McDowell’s conversation with Colby Martin about the author’s ideas in LGBTQ Relationships and the Bible:

I was unimpressed. I didn’t come away from the conversation thinking, “This is a person whose book I want to read,” and not because I disagree with his position. A compellingly-voiced position, thoughtful and responsive, could have moved me. At one point, Martin even jokingly admits he “drives people nuts…because I really don’t answer questions as directly as people” would want. Needless to say, I found this absolutely hilarious. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I felt the same way after listening to Alicia Johnston’s arguments, both on Adventist Voices and Advent Next: There’s no there there.


a) This is a failure in people, not one in the Bible, or in God.

b) I’m not clear why you’ve put the word sins in quotation marks. It reads as though you don’t think the things we are discussing are sins.

Why did you put the word sins in quotation marks?

What does the Bible deem sexually sinful?

I’m not clear, based on what we’ve been discussing, how you’ve leaped to this conclusion.

Same-sex couples are verböten according to the SDA interpretation of the Bible. Given this, why would SDAs treat “married” same-sex couples as they do married ones? This doesn’t follow.

This is not tenable. @Harry_Elliott and I had a fairly extensive exchange, last year, after he suggested the church should “butt out” in these matters.

What he suggested, and you have, is not workable for reasons that should be obvious, and which I lay out there.


Thanks, @timteichman.

I apologize for being unclear, and appreciate you saying I was.

I’ll try to restate:

You raised the question of the Pauline controversies, as it pertains to his letters. Many scholars have debates about the authenticity of certain chapters, or books, by Paul, based on given criteria. Indeed, most of your response focused on this matter.

This was not the focus of my response to Bruce, at all. I could have raised any biblical text, whatsoever. I merely cited 2 Tim. because it makes a compact statement about scriptural authority and authenticity.

• So, in my first statement…

a) The debates about the authenticity of the Pastoral Letters are longstanding ones, and the question of which side has the greater weight, at this point, depends on with whom one speaks. I would not be credible making a statement, here.

…I acknowledged the scholarly controversy, but admitted it was beyond my ability to referee or decide, and that no one would believe me, were I to do so.

• In my 2nd statement…

b) You’d agree, because you’re a reasonable man, the idea the scriptures do not have authority in the way 2 Timothy describes is both untenable and counterintuitive to Christians, on the face of it.

… I said, despite the controversies you outline, average Christians hold the Bible to be authoritative. That is, they do not read the Scriptures the way scholars do.

In other words, to those Christians, the authenticity of 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 is not based in, or denied by, these scholarly disagreements. It is a self-evident truth, based on those Christians’ experience with the rest of the Bible. The rest of the Bible reads in a way, to them, that makes 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 credible.

• Finally, in my 3rd statement…

c) You’d also probably agree the Bible doesn’t seem vague on the question of whether homosexual practice is God-blessed. You’d at least agree, to a Christian, and from a Christian point of view, this is not even close.

…I re-addressed the issue of the biblical position on homosexual practice, urging the Bible is not vague on this topic. This was the subject about which I was speaking, when both you, and Bruce, responded, specifically, to my statements about 2 Timothy.

That is, I welcome any response to anything I have written. So, I responded to your statements, as I was best able, but particularly in terms of how I wrote my original posts.



So one can prove the text by the text!?

Not really…not even if you and god say so.

I’m convinced that at least one point you made to @bness is correct, however.

Setting the issue of homosexuality aside-again…please-there is no scientific basis for the claim that any human behavior has a genetic component. Such assertions are based on flawed research of identical twins separated at birth and the fact that they coincidentally have been found to have much in common.

In other words, science has never shown any causal link or physical mechanism to explain how little strands of DNA can have any effect on the brain or dictate how the resultant organism thinks and acts.

There’s an old saying that when one’s only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To my mind, this is analogous to the current mindset of genetics where everything is all about our genes. But I personally will not be surprised if it is one day firmly established that human nurture is a much more compelling force than the simpler mechanisms of inherited nature in explaining the propensities of any individual person.

That said, if you want to condemn a person for either the way he was raised or the fact that genetics dictates that he has six fingers instead of five, you’re free to do so.

However, I think reason compels you to admit that you have only hearsay testimony and/or circumstantial evidence to show that your judgements in the matter are identical to those of Jesus or that your personal prejudices are indeed god’s will.

Statements deprived of context or worse using them willfully outside the context in which they are written is a falsehood. Our high calling demands that we be honest and truthful and not headstrong in promoting willful ignorance as a virtue. We can no longer say we are ignorant of context as much has been revealed in these matters.

It is very troubling that the level of thinking described demands that one ignore the cultural context and mindset of the original writer. This level of thinking is the cause of great evil and suffering that has occurred through the ages.

The standard bearers of the Three Angels message must eschew this level of thinking and instead be faithful to its principles. Failing this one misrepresents the gospel and the very character of God becoming an agent of the enemy of souls.

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I thought that your claims — i.e., neither Christ not God (The Father?) wrote the Bible — was based on the claims the text, itself, makes about its authorship. I was responding in kind.

If you are not, then on what basis are you saying that neither God, nor Jesus wrote the Bible, or any part of it?

Also, no, one cannot prove the text by the next. But neither can one disprove the text by another text.


Thanks, @David1.

My position is the Bible forbids homosexual acts. Indeed, I would add that, within traditional Christianity, this has been, and remains, clearer, than, perhaps, any other prohibition.

Indeed, I would also argue, and have, that the importation of the “committed, monogamous relationship” standard, rather than disproving this, probably proves it, because this wholly anachronistic formulation appears nowhere in scripture.

Now, I could be entirely wrong and incorrect. This would leave two options. Either:

a) The Bible approves of homosexual acts, or

b) The Bible does not address homosexual acts.

Your sage counsel notwithstanding, which would you say it is, please?


No, I admit no such thing. The scientific consensus is that same-sex attraction is, to a significant degree, at least, rooted in genetics. That is the scientific consensus, not my personal opinion.

Don’t make me laugh.

All I can say is that you need to do a little more detailed Bible study. Read Unclobber and get back to me. And watching on YouTube video on the topic is not better than reading the book, I’m sorry. Just because you are impervious to the evidence from good theological arguments, does not mean you are right.

An uncritical use of the Bible also supports slavery as an institution, but I very much doubt you would advocate for a return to slavery.

I’ll let you ponder that.

A rather complicated topic at best, and I do not have the time to say more than that. It is not as cut and dried as you imply.

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The reply you make is non-sequitur.

Merely doubling down and refusing to understand the context and intent of a writer is folly.

Only because traditional interpretation has meshed so very well with people’s repugnance for same-sex sexual relations. Just because something has long been interpreted a certain way does not make that the correct interpretation. It just means that in the mind of many tradition trumps careful study of the issue. You might ant to take seriously what @David1 has suggested and interpret the clobber texts in a more culturally grounded context, including actually looking at the words used in the original language and not just the English translations, which can often be misleading.

Okay, then, by your reasoning heterosexual sexual relations should not be judged on this basis either. Thus, heterosexual relations are okay both within and outside of a monogamous relationships? Interesting.

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Well, yes and no. Even if disregarding the authorship debate, it’s rather simple to understand that when the letters that now included in the NT were first written, there was no NT and those that wrote the letters didn’t think of them as scripture.

This is basic church history, with no scholarly debates involved. That noted, I suspect that the average Christian hasn’t even thought to consider such things. Bart Ehrman has noted in several of his lectures that a significant percentage of his college students - those interested enough to enroll in one of his intro to biblical history courses (!) - think that the bible dropped out of the sky - in English! They’ve just never even considered how it has come to us. So, yea.

Oh, I see. Well, some comments:

  • There are a great many things that the bible seems to state clearly, but that clarity is bolstered by traditional expectations and as a result of translation from the source into English (in my case), causing subtly to be lost, meanings to change, and in ways that make assumptions easy to make.
  • There are a great many guidelines similar to the clobber text commonly used to support an anti-homosexual stance - Leviticus 18:22 - which we blithely ignore. For example, “Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.”
  • There are also rules in the same chapter of Leviticus that are commonly ignored in the bible. They state “No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.” and “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.", but the heroes of the bible did this all the time. Abraham married his 1/2 sister, for example. Never-mind the creation and flood stories, where I guess the sons and daughters of Adam and Even and Noah and his wife all went at it - since there was no one else around to pro-create with.
  • And then there’s the classic text everyone like to use, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” But, actually, this is one of those cases where what we think it says is neither what is says or what it meant at the time. There’s quite a bit of evidence for making that assertion. Here are two sources which cover the case as I understand it:


So, basically I don’t agree that it’s not even close. Many Christians - uneducated in their own bibles, and especially fundamentalists - probably think that. But - based on a closer reading - they’re simply wrong.

Also, commenting @bness 's post, just below, if you’re interested in brains and the sort of things that can impact how they work, including genetics, developmental stages pre-birth, and a lot about how they work in general, then this book by Patricia Churchland about how brains work might blow your…, um, brain:


It positively redirected some of my negative attitudes towards others, I think making me a kinder person. Certainly I’m more accepting of different types of people than I used to be. Much of what we are, we are born with and can’t really change.

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Not to say that all geneticists agree completely, but most recognize behavior is affected by genetics, so I am not sure what you are quibbling with. All that aside, it ultimately doesn’t matter, since same-sex relations are not morally wrong anyway. The only reason I share the genetic angle is for those who feel it is important that such behavior is a normal outcome of genetics and development.

Keep in mind that saying genetics is partly responsible for such outcomes does not mean that such outcomes are completely genetically determined. As with almost any trait, and with behavioral traits even more so, the outcomes are a complex interplay of genetics and environment.


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