Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Is it wrong to do something that only does harm to yourself (eg. suicide, certain sexual sins such as lust or adulterous/homosexual desires, certain instances of stealing, etc.)? - EssayAbode

Is it wrong to do something that only does harm to yourself (eg. suicide, certain sexual sins such as lust or adulterous/homosexual desires, certain instances of stealing, etc.)?

Is it wrong to do something that only does harm to yourself (eg. suicide, certain sexual sins such as lust or adulterous/homosexual desires, certain instances of stealing, etc.)? Explain why or why not using concepts from the course. (50-100 wrds) 



When you’re writing an argumentative essay, you need to convey more than just your opinion to be convincing. Even the strongest position won’t persuade your reader if it is not structured properly, is not reinforced with solid reasoning, and doesn’t adequately explain why your argument should be believed.

Good argumentative essays have a straightforward structure that makes the argument easy for readers to follow: introduction, main argument paragraphs, and conclusion.


 Start the essay with a topic sentence (which acts like a title) and flow smoothly throughout this first paragraph, ending with the overall point you’re trying to make in your paper (ie. your thesis). Your intro paragraph should contain your thesis statement, preferably as the last sentence.

 Ensure your essay’s topic sentence (and the intro paragraph itself) sets the trajectory for your essay. ‘Beginning of time’ statements do not set a good trajectory for essays.

 Make your thesis statement clear and concise. Clarity is a virtue in argumentative essays.

 Between your topic sentence and thesis, you may want to raise a problem that your thesis offers a solution to or helps solve. Alternatively, you may introduce background information that helps introduce your argument.

Three Ways to Write a Thesis Statement

 Turn your topic into a question and then answer it. Oftentimes, an essay prompt from the assignment instructions provides a central question. If it doesn’t, you can create a question yourself. Either write this question separate from your essay (and only include it in your outline) or insert it directly into your introduction. For example, you could pose the question, “What is the best way to judge a book?” Your answer would be your thesis: “In this essay, I shall argue that a book should be judged by its cover.” This method works well not only because it creates interest in the mind of your reader, but also because it forces your hand as a writer by prompting you to state a thesis.

 State the opposing view and prepare to refute it. Another thesis technique is to incorporate an opposing view into your thesis statement: “Despite the old adage insisting you should never judge a book by its cover, I will instead show why a cover is actually a very good way for bookstores to judge a book.” This method is useful because it immediately draws a contrast, which helps make the thesis seem clearer.

 Briefly outline your main points. In this final technique, you may choose to state your overall claim and explain briefly how you intend to back it up. For example, “In this essay, I will argue that cover text design, book color, and image layout are features important to customers and are therefore one of the first ways bookstores should judge


a book.” This method gives your readers a preview of your entire argument and at the same time helps to keep you on track.

Main Argument/Body Paragraphs

 A typical argumentative essay has three or more main body paragraphs that explain the reasons why your reader should believe your thesis.

 The main rule of paragraph development is that each paragraph should have one controlling idea (ie. a main point). Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence. In the topic sentence, signal to your reader this main point or controlling idea.

 It’s often good to make each paragraph a separate premise, or claim. Consider brainstorming all the reasons your reader should accept your thesis, and then choose only the strongest reasons as premises. A weak premise (paragraph) will make the entire argument seem weak. Weak premises are those that do not provide solid, convincing support for your thesis.

Making Use of Objections

 Arguments that consider an opposing point of view and defeat it demonstrate intellectual sophistication. It can also be a useful technique to help make your argument more convincing.

 One method is to begin with the words “Some might argue.” If you state an objection, remember that you must present a reply. The reply then becomes another reason that supports your thesis. When replying, you may need to use a contrasting word (however, yet, while, etc. ) to signal your change in voice.

 It is unlikely that your reader is interested in hearing weak objections that are easily demolished. Weak objections only reflect poorly on your argument. The stronger the objection (provided you succeed in your reply), the stronger your argument will be.

Conclusion Paragraph

 Your final paragraph should restate your thesis and summarize your argument. Ensure that you have a conclusion paragraph and that it is at least three sentences long (the minimum for a paragraph).

 Don’t introduce new information in your conclusion.  Restate your thesis without repeating yourself verbatim. You may also choose to pick an

insight or two you’ve made along the way that bears repeating in order to summarize your argument.



E X P O S I N G T H E ‘ G AY ’ T H E O L O G Y






B L0 4 F0 1

lthough the leading Christian churches in the United States continue to view homosexual behavior as outside the realm of appropriate Christian conduct,

revisionist scholars within their respective communions cont- inue a campaign to re-interpret or ignore biblical teaching regarding homosexuality. Exposing the faulty reasoning behind the gay hermeneutic, The Bible, The Church, and Homosexuality demonstrates how homosexuality is unambiguously found wanting by Scripture and tradition.

TIMOTHY J . DAILEY is Senior Fellow in the Center for Marriage and Family Studies at the Family Research Council. His study is based upon his doctoral dissertation, completed at Marquette University.

family research council tony perkins, president

801 g street nw washington, dc 20001





E X P O S I N G T H E ‘ G AY ’ T H E O L O G Y

The Bible, the Church, and Homosexuality: Exposing the ‘Gay’ Theology by Timothy J. Dailey © 2004 by the Family Research Council All rights reserved.

Scripture passages identified as NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture passages identified as NIV are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by the International Bible Society.

Family Research Council 801 G Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Printed in the United States of America. Design by Amanda Swinghamer Cover photo by Mark Haskew




Genesis 19: The Sodom Story Judges 19: The Outrage of Gibeah Leviticus 18 and 20: The Mosaic Law Deuteronomy 23: Cultic Prostitution 1 Samuel 18 and 2 Samuel 1: David and Jonathan


Romans 1: Unnatural Sexual Relations 1 Corinthians 6: Male Prostitutes and Sodomites


Confusing the Moral and Ceremonial Law Did St. Paul Understand ‘Sexual Orientation’?


The Importance of Objective Standards Genesis 1: The Created Order Jesus and Homosexuality The Theological Symbolism of Marriage


Boswell’s Argument Exposed The Witness of the Early Church Other Historical Testimony The Wisdom of the Judeo-Christian Ethic

Appendix: Where the Churches Stand on Homosexuality Notes



1 3 4 5 6


9 10


15 17


22 22 24 24


27 30 30 31

33 39

The assault on marriage and the family in the United States has been carried on in a number of fronts: the courts, the world of academia, and the Hollywood entertainment industry. Yet the weakening of the institution of marriage by the push to normalize adultery, divorce, and homosexuality has also proceeded in a cultural sphere where many Americans would least expect it—in the nation’s religious institutions. While the Jewish and Catholic traditions have witnessed their share of the struggle, recent debates over homosexuality in the major Protestant communions may represent the most contentious arena in which the struggle over marriage has been waged. While the Family Research Council exists to engage the world of public policy and uphold marriage in the civil realm of culture, it is aware of the struggles for marriage and the family in religious institutions that claim the allegiance of millions of Americans. Although the Family Research Council does not seek to thrust itself into ecclesiastical or theological controversies, it recognizes that the controversies over homosexuality in the churches reflect deeper struggles in American society. The effort to persuade theologians, clergy, and ecclesiastical governing bodies of the moral legitimacy of homosexual conduct has not been carried out in a vacuum. The forces against marriage know that, if they succeed in this realm, they will have achieved a cultural triumph that is more strategic than any political or legal battle they might win in the civil courts or in Washington, D.C. At least for now, these efforts to “revise” the historic teaching of the churches have not succeeded. None of the eight largest Christian churches in the United States has given her blessing to homosexuality. Only the United Church of Christ, which defers the issue to regional associations and local congregations, and the Episcopal Church, whose position is ambiguous, appear to be faltering. As outlined in the appendix, most of the major denominations have remained resilient under tremendous pressure; they have explicitly judged homosexual behavior as outside the realm of appropriate Christian conduct. Nevertheless, the battles continue, as those who favor homosexuality seem unwilling to concede any ground, at times defying biblical, theological, and constitutional standards of their respective denominations.



This booklet therefore aims to encourage Americans who want to respond intelligently to the push to sanction homosexuality within their churches. To do that, conservatives need to understand both the strategy and argument of those who seek to revise or redefine historic Christian teaching regarding homosexuality. Called “revisionists,” these scholar-activists advance the notion that homosexuality is an issue over which people of good will can differ. Or they claim that there is no “clear answer” to the issue. Then they recommend, under the rubric of “fairness,” that churches appoint task forces to study the issue. Once the “studies” begin, the revisionists claim that biblical passages that proscribe homosexual acts do not actually refer to homosexuality; they at most only condemn an “abusive” form of homosexuality. Or they may concede that Scripture condemns homosexuality, but then argue that the biblical writers are only reflecting “culturally conditioned” moral beliefs of a pre-scientific culture. As these arguments fail to persuade, a final ploy is an appeal to an overarching theological ethic—such as the presence of “love,” “commitment,” “mutuality,”—that allegedly trumps explicit moral imperatives and justifies homosexual relationships. As this booklet documents, this line of reasoning is faulty to the core. Rather than being a divine “gift” that needs to be celebrated, homosexuality is unambiguously found wanting by Scripture and tradition. While a minority of voices may say otherwise, they do not represent the broad consensus shared by Christians in Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant communities throughout history. This booklet reinforces that wise and universal judgment. To the degree the following pages help traditionalists maintain their ground, it will be deemed successful. The present study is arranged with chapters that assess the biblical, historical, and theological arguments used to justify homosexual behavior. Each chapter presents a summary of homosexual arguments, which is followed by counter- arguments presenting the traditional view. Readers who want a more comprehensive treatment should refer to Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000). Dr. Gagnon, an associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, answers many questions not addressed by the present study.

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Interpreting the Old Testament

G E N E S I S 1 9 : T H E S O D O M S TO RY

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with [yada’] them.” Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept [yada’] with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.—Genesis 19:4–9 (NIV)

Revisionist scholars advance novel interpretations of Genesis 19 to suggest that the sin of Sodom was something other than homosexuality. As early as 1955, the Anglican priest Derrick Sherwin Bailey suggested the theory, used by many homosexual activists today, that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality, not homosexuality. Bailey based his argument on the King James Version, which states in verse 5 that the men of Sodom demanded that Lot bring out his visitors “that we may know them.” In Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition, Bailey suggested that the opposition to homosexuality in the Christian tradition was based upon a mistranslation of the Hebrew word yada’, translated “to know.”1 According to Bailey, yada’ does not refer to the desire of the Sodomites to have sexual relations with Lot’s angelic visitors, who the inhabitants of the city apparently mistake for men. Rather, the Sodomites merely intended to “get acquainted with” and to “examine the credentials” of Lot’s visitors. To support this interpretation, Bailey incorrectly points out that of the 943 occurrences of yada’ in the Old Testament, in only 10 (there are actually at least 15) is the word used to refer to sexual intercourse. Sodom’s sin, concludes Bailey, consisted of the men of the city reacting with violence to Lot’s refusal, thus causing a “breach [of] the rules of hospitality.”2 Other revisionists argue that the offense committed by the men of Sodom was their intention to commit homosexual rape. Peter J. Gomes of Harvard Divinity School states:


T H E B I B L E , T H E C H U R C H , A N D H O M O S E X UA L I T Y I N T E R P R E T I N G T H E O L D T E S TA M E N T

The attempted homosexual rape of the angels at Lot’s door, while vivid and distasteful, is hardly the subject of the story or the cause of the punishment. . . . Homosexual rape is never to be condoned; it is indeed, like heterosexual rape, an abomination before God. This instance of attempted homosexual rape, however, does not invalidate all homosexuals or all homosexual activity.3

CONTEXT DETERMINES MEANING. While the arguments of Bailey and Gomes may sound impressive, they are seriously flawed. Bailey’s statistics are of little use in translating words in a particular context, as context determines meaning. The Sodom story leaves little doubt that the Sodomites were intent upon having sexual relations with Lot’s visitors. The word yada’ is used twice in the passage; in the second occurrence Bailey even concedes yada’ refers to sexual relations even though it contradicts his own “statistical” theory. When Lot offers his two daughters who have “never slept with [yada’] a man,” the word has an unambiguous sexual meaning. This constitutes strong contextual evidence that the first occurrence, where the men of Sodom seek to “know” the angels, also has a sexual meaning. This interpretation is so compelling that even revisionist scholar Robin Scroggs concludes that “it seems to me difficult to deny the sexual intent of the Sodomites. I still believe the traditional interpretation to be correct.”4 In addition to defying the context, the “inhospitality” argument defies logic: If the men of Sodom were only interested in “examining the credentials” of Lot’s visitors, Lot would have had no reason to shut the door defensively or to appeal to them not to do “this wicked thing.” That their demands were sexual is clear by Lot’s offering his two virgin daughters to the men, adding, “and you can do what you like with them.” Other passages confirm the sexual depravity of Sodom. Ezekiel 16:49–50 condemns the men of Sodom, stating that “they . . . did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it” (NRSV). The Hebrew word “abomination” is to’ebah, which signifies the gravest moral censure possible in the Hebrew language. Nowhere in the Old Testament is inhospitality listed as an abomination, as is homosexual behavior (see Leviticus 18:22). In addition, the Book of Jude in the New Testament states that Sodom and Gomorrah “gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire” (v. 7, NIV). Gomes’s theory is equally problematic. The initial intent of the Sodomites was not rape, but to have sexual relations with Lot’s visitors. In what may have been the debauched ancient equivalent of “let’s party!” the men of the city called out to Lot: “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with [yada’] them.” It was only after the Sodomites were rebuffed that they became violent. The rampant homosexuality of the men of Sodom constituted


T H E B I B L E , T H E C H U R C H , A N D H O M O S E X UA L I T Y I N T E R P R E T I N G T H E O L D T E S TA M E N T

a primary reason for the city’s judgment, as indicated by the Lord to Abraham: “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin!” (Genesis 18:20). The fact that the men of Sodom were intent upon having homosexual relations with Lot’s visitors, even to the point of force, does not reduce their crime to merely the use of force.

J U D G E S 1 9 : T H E O U T R AG E AT G I B E A H

While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.” The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this disgraceful thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don’t do such a disgraceful thing. But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.—Judges 19:22–26 (NIV)

The story of the rape of the Levite’s concubine bears stark resemblance to the actions of the townsmen at Sodom. As with the Sodom story, revisionist scholars typically deny any sexual intent on the part of the men of Gibeah. Bailey questions the sexual interpretation of the Hebrew word nebalah in the passage, claiming that “the reference to ‘folly’ (in our translation “disgraceful thing”) need be nothing more than a rhetorical addition designed to emphasize the deplorable lack of courtesy shown by the Gibeathites towards the visitor.”5 As support, he cites 1 Samuel 25:25 where nebalah is rendered “inhospitable churlishness” in some translations. As at Sodom, the men of the city demand that the visitor be brought out so that they might “have sex with” (yada’) him. The translation yada’, “have sex with,” removes any ambiguity caused by the circumlocution, “to know them.” Nebalah also has sexual connotations. In redefining this term, Bailey ignores his own “statistical argument,” for the majority of occurrences of nebalah in the Hebrew Bible refer to sexual offenses, a fact that Bailey himself admits.6 The use of this term confirms that the issue is not one of hospitality but rather the desire of the men to have homosexual relations with the Levite. In another parallel to the Sodom story, the story of Gibeah recounts the unchivalrous offering of women to the townsmen in a desperate attempt to prevent the outrage of homosexual relations compounded by violence.

TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION CONFIRMED. That the outrage at Gibeah involved homosexuality can scarcely be denied. Even revisionist scholar Harold I. Haas, notes:


T H E B I B L E , T H E C H U R C H , A N D H O M O S E X UA L I T Y I N T E R P R E T I N G T H E O L D T E S TA M E N T

“No one seems to make much of this event for understanding the Sodom story, but it surely suggests a sexual rather than a social customs interpretation of so close a parallel as the Sodom story.”7 Similarly, David L. Bartlett, writing in Homosexuality and the Christian Faith, concludes:

It takes special imaginative power to believe, as Bailey does, that what the men of Gibeah were after was the acquaintance of the visiting men, or that the old man offered his virgin daughter as the other’s concubine only to protect his rights of hospitality.8

To the contrary, the Gibeah passage confirms the sexual interpretation of the Sodom story in several key aspects. The textual evidence from the two stories indicates that those cities were inhabited by men so sexually depraved that they were prepared sexually to violate not only males, which they evidently preferred, but whomever was made available to them.

L E V I T I C U S 1 8 A N D 2 0 : T H E M O S A I C L AW

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.—Leviticus 18:22 (NRSV) If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.—Leviticus 20:13 (NRSV)

Another exegetical argument put forth by revisionists maintains that Leviticus condemns only homosexual behavior that is associated with idolatry. James Nelson sets forth this notion in Christianity and Crisis: “In these passages acts are condemned not because of some intrinsic aberration but because of their association with idolatry (particularly, in the sexual references, to Canaanite idolatry).”9 No evidence suggests, however, that the Leviticus text limits the condemnation of homosexuality to that occurring only in an idolatrous context. Leviticus addresses homosexual acts in general: A comparison of texts from Deuteronomy and Leviticus indicates that Deuteronomy is concerned with sacred sodomy, while Leviticus is concerned with civil sodomy. The technical terms for female [qedeshah] and male [qadesh] cultic prostitution are absent in the Leviticus condemnation. Instead, the text includes an unambiguous and generic description of the homosexual act: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.” Other passages specifically address ritual homosexuality. Deuteronomy 23:17, for example, specifically addresses ritual homosexual prostitution that was common to Canaanite religion: “None of the daughters of Israel shall be a temple prostitute [qedeshah]; none of the sons of Israel shall be a temple prostitute [qadesh].” That qadesh refers to homosexual and not heterosexual prostitution is indicated by the rendering of the word in the Septuagint. In 1 Kings 22:46, qadesh is translated by the


T H E B I B L E , T H E C H U R C H , A N D H O M O S E X UA L I T Y I N T E R P R E T I N G T H E O L D T E S TA M E N T

Greek word endiellagmenos: “one who has changed his nature.” Bailey states that “the endiellagmenos may be either one who has altered his nature by becoming a homosexual pervert, or one who has been transformed by apostasy from a worshipper of Yahweh into a servant of idols”10 Revisionists ignore, however, that the two possibilities are not mutually exclusive, and are, in fact, intrinsically connected, as Israel’s adoption of Canaanite idolatry entailed both spiritual and moral apostasy. By contrast, Leviticus does not limit its condemnation to that of homosexuality in a ritual context; no mitigating circumstances are mentioned that would permit such behavior, such as within the context of a “loving, committed relationship.” Bailey himself is forced to conclude: “It is hardly open to doubt that both the laws in Leviticus relate to ordinary homosexual acts between men, and not to ritual or other acts performed in the name of religion.”11 The revisionist argument leads to a logical impasse: If homosexuality is to be condemned only when practiced in an idolatrous context, then the same is true for the other prohibited behaviors listed in the immediate passage. As Michael Ukleja writes: “To hold to such a distinction, one would have to conclude that adultery was not morally wrong (18:20), child sacrifice had no moral implications (18:21), and that nothing is inherently evil with bestiality (18:23).”12

D E U T E RO N O M Y 2 3 : C U LT I C P RO S T I T U T I O N

None of the daughters of Israel shall be a temple prostitute [qedeshah]; none of the sons of Israel shall be a temple prostitute [qadesh]. You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute into the house of the Lord your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are abhorrent to the Lord your God. —Deuteronomy 23:17–18 (NRSV)

Despite the rendering of qadesh as “Sodomite” in some translations, revisionists deny that the term refers to a male homosexual. They view the qadesh as the male counterpart of the female qedeshah: As the qedeshah solicits intercourse with males, the qadesh engages in ritual intercourse with the female devotees of the temple. Thus if qadesh does not refer to homosexual practices, it is irrelevant to the discussion. Since either qadesh or qedeshah occur only eight times in the Hebrew text, a degree of uncertainty remains concerning the meaning of the terms. The ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, however, indicates that qadesh engaged in homosexual conduct. The Septuagint uses several words to translate qadesh, but of special interest is endiellagmenos, used, as already noted, in 1 Kings 22:46. In this passage the Hebrew qadesh is translated endiellagmenos, “one who has changed his nature.” In addition, the eminent biblical scholar, S. R. Driver, while commenting on cultic prostitution in Deuteronomy 23:17–18, relates endiellagmenos to Deuteronomy 22:5, which states: “A woman shall not wear a man’s apparel, nor shall a man put


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