Skip to comments.The Christian Confronted by Homosexuality
Posted on 08/22/2003 3:50:32 PM PDT by Vindiciae Contra TyrannoSCOTUS
The title of our paper comprises two terms. On the one hand we have the word "Christian," and on the other that of "homosexuality." What holds these terms together is the verb "confronts." Before coming to terms with our subject, which will above all deal with the Bible's reaching on the age-old phenomenon of homosexuality, it is necessary briefly to say a few words on the expression "Christian." This will be the object of our introduction.
What can today be the meaning of the expression "Christian" at a time when under that expression are affirmed the most contrary spiritual and doctrinal positions? If, in a still relatively recent past, Christians defining themselves within strongly distinctive denominational institutions, had a certain facility in sending one another dogmatic anathemas, today the situation is very different. The vertical barriers between Christian denominations have largely fallen with as result considerable doctrinal and spiritual confusion. If the term "Christian" has become a vague expression, the same trend is to be seen - as a result of the spread of the ecumenical mentality - of the very sense of identity of the various Christian denominations. Today one no longer really knows what it means to be " Reformed," or "Lutheran," or even "Evangelical." Everywhere one observes a loss of denominational identity. It has even become difficult for a practicing Roman Catholic (despite the fact that the exercise of the Magisterium has, to some extent, been maintained) to know what can be the precise content of the faith he claims to profess. This can, for example, clearly be gathered from the highly ambivalent text resulting from the discussions between Roman Catholics and Lutherans on the doctrine of justification. The same can be said of the agreements signed between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics in the same areas. Such examples could easily be multiplied. All parties to these dialogues seem to be at a loss as to their own denominational identity. Nevertheless it must be admitted that the Roman Church, in spite of the great confusion today in its midst, still maintains - at least with regard to a part of its hierarchy - a certain persistence in its traditional theological diplomacy aiming at attracting as many lost brothers as possible to the bosom of Mother Church.
For those who wish to confess themselves Christians in a more or less coherent manner, this difficult quest for their true identity is aggravated by the powerful syncretistic movement, which in the last ten years has so vigorously replaced ecumenicalism. Such confusions render the treatment of our subject difficult. For on the question we are examining the greatest of confusions is to be found among those who claim to be Christians. To speak only of my country, Switzerland, it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to make up one's mind in a precise and coherent fashion on what constitutes the homosexual phenomenon by basing oneself on the affirmations of all those who claim to be Christians. To realise the extreme variety and even blatant contradictions between the various positions which claim to be Christian on the subject of homosexuality, it is only necessary to consider the various "Christian" declarations made with regard to the Gay Pride held in the traditionally Catholic and conservative canton of Valais in the summer of 2001. The Catholic Bishop of Sion, after having lit the bonfire by calling this homosexual manifestation a "diabolical temptation" rapidly retreated under the violent pressure of the media and the main political parties largely won over to the themes defended by the homosexual lobby. He maintained his opposition in theory while proclaiming to all who could hear the great tolerance of the Church with regard to the rights of minority groups. The Protestant Church of the canton of Valais (which calls itself "Reformed"), faithful in this to its moral and doctrinal pluralism, hastened to open its doors to a homosexual celebration. Evangelicals (whether charismatic or not) shone as usual by their lack of engagement, at least as far as what can be observed. The only Christian vigourous and highly visible opposition to this manifestation came from young laymen close to the Roman Catholic traditionalist movement founded by Mgr Lefebvre at the Saint Pie X Seminary in Ecône. They considered this Gay Pride as an offense to God and a serious danger for the young people of their region, particularly as the explicit aim of the manifestation was to demand the introduction of "homosexual education" into the public schools of this canton. It is interesting that these traditionalists were joined in their protest against this public exposure of a perverse life-style by a little group of Christians, members of the small Evangelical Baptist Church of Sion whose anti-Catholic Reformed positions are well known in the canton.
How can we recover our bearings in such confusion? Where is one to place the truly Christian point of view? For we remain convinced that on this particular ethical question - the importance and significance of the homosexual phenomenon - there without doubt exists a specific and precise (that is non-equivocal) Christian position in conformity to the clear, unchangeable and infallible teachings of the Bible. How then are we to discern such a doctrinal position in the confusion engendered by the great variety of opinions all claiming to represent an authentic Christian stand point.
It is evident that in the limits of this conference we cannot hope to answer such a question exhaustively. But, in order to make our purpose of our remarks on this difficult and delicate subject understood, a few additional remarks are necessary.
What do we mean by the word "Christian" which figures in our title? What in fact is this "Christianity" we claim as ours? We are here forced to distinguish between what we call "the historical Christian faith" and what, for want of a better expression, we must call "modern Christianity." The distinction to which we here draw your attention is no longer that of a vertical (or confessional) differentiation between the different branches of the Church Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, etc.), but a horizontal demarcation which passes through all the elements of which the universal Church is composed. Within every Christian denomination you will find (this in a great variety of proportions) the presence of partisans of the Historic Christian Faith and adherents of its "modern" version. How are we then to distinguish the historical faith from its modern version?
The essential question concerns the attitude of the "believer" with regard to the Bible. - Is the Bible - the Jewish Tanak (known to us by the name of the Old Testament) and the Apostolic Witness (what we call the New Testament) - truly the inspired and infallible Word of God, and as such the final authority for the teaching and practice of the Christian faith? - Or is the Jewish and Christian Bible only a human word, no doubt spiritually and morally useful and an inspiration for our thoughts and actions but which, as is the case for all human endeavors, necessarily fallible? In this case it is in no way a norm for all men, in every place and at all times.
This question of final authority is at the heart of every faith, even of the faith we have called "modern Christianity," where the locus of authority is placed in man's reason and in his feelings. Is this authority merely human, as is the case with the "modern" version of the Christian faith? Will it then have an exclusively "rational," "scientific," " experimental," in brief "critical" attitude to divine Revelation, to the Bible? Or is the authority of the Tanak and of the Apostolic Witness recognized as fully divine, as the historical Christian faith maintains? With the latter position, the final authority with regard to faith and works, to intelligence and action, is inscribed in the very detail of the verbal texture of Holy Scripture. This is the faith of Eastern Orthodoxy (with John Chrysostom and Justin Popovitch, for example), of Roman Catholicism (with Thomas Aquinas and Pius X, for example), of Protestantism (with John Calvin and Cornelius van Til, for example) and of the Evangelical movement (with John Bunyan and Louis Gaussen, for example). All, in spite of their evident differences, firmly hold, in conformity with the teachings of Holy Scripture, to the infallible divine authority of the Bible.
We present here four tests which will allow us to distinguish the historical Christian faith (which we confess is ours) from that which we consider its modern travesty:
It is to this task of biblical discernment that we shall now turn. I: Homosexuality examined from the perspective of the structures of creation
I: Homosexuality examined from the perspective of the structures of creation
It is not possible to speak correctly of the redemption of morality without first considering the structures of reality established by God in the beginning for the whole of that reality established by God which we call nature, or the universe and which the New Testament calls the world, the cosmos. It is one of the principal purposes of the first two chapters of the book of Genesis to describe God's majestic unfolding of this simultaneously cosmic and human order. It is only after having established the foundations of such a creational biblical metaphysics that one can construct a truly biblical ethic and a coherent doctrine of redemption.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void;
And darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
From preexisting nothing - ex nihilo - God sovereignly creates all spiritual reality (the heaven) and the all physical reality (the earth). But the earth was unformed and void of all creatures. That is to say that the universe came into existence by divine fiat. It did not have its definitive form, nor was it peopled by God's creatures. It was the divine work of the six days for God to complete his creation, to perfect it, to finish the work begun2. During these six days God ordered and peopled the earth. This was a work of progressive differentiation. Light is separated from darkness. A space - the firmament-atmosphere - separates the waters below, the primeval ocean, from the waters in the clouds. Then the earth is separated from the waters to form the continents and the oceans. On this earth freed from the primeval ocean, God causes plants to grow, each plant reproducing itself according to the divinely established stability of its species. Then in the firmament, in the heaven God places the stars, the sun and the moon, each in his proper position. Then God peoples the seas with water creatures and the heaven with birds, all firmly established in their particular essence, each reproducing itself according to its species. Finally on the sixth day God shapes all the animals from the earth fashioning them so as to reproduce each and everyone according to its species. God's creative acts culminate in the creation of man, the very image of God, as the crowning gift of the whole creation. God's ultimate creative act was that of woman.
If I have briefly described the creation week, labour by which God, by stable and progressive steps, gradually differentiates his original creation. These first two chapters of the Bible give us a concrete description of the divine categories from which the creation was ordered. These categories have the very same stability as the Word which brought them into existence. This creational order, this order of nature, does not change, cannot change until that day when it will be entirely renewed in the new creation. Here, in the first two chapters of Genesis, we have the metaphysical foundations of the created order. If the original order of the universe has been profoundly affected by the cosmic effects of man's sin, this pristine order has nonetheless not been abolished. In its essence, the created order has in no way been shaken by the effects of man's fall. This is what God himself affirms in oracles given to the prophet Jeremiah:
Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light for the day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereon roar. The Lord of hosts is his name.
If these ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever (Jeremiah 31:35-36)3.
These words remind us of the promises God made to Noah after the Flood:
And the Lord smelled a sweet savoir; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground anymore for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:21-22).
God thus categorically affirms the stability of his creation, of that order which we have just seen was established by him during the six days during which were created the heaven and the earth and all that they contain. And this divine order established by God for the whole universe includes the distinction of essence, the substantial difference, fundamental to the very existence of the human species, between man and woman.
Here is how our founding text deals with this question:
And God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:26-27).
This account of God's ultimate creative act is placed at the end of the sixth day. It is completed in the second chapter of Genesis by the detailed account of the creation of woman.
And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast in the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said: This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:19-23).
This text establishes the fundamental metaphysical distinctions our argument requires. First is affirmed the fundamental distinction between man and animals, for Adam cannot recognize in any of the animals brought before him one capable of being his helpmeet, of corresponding truly to his own nature. In spite of certain similarities man belongs to a completely different order from animals. The woman, drawn from his side is truly similar to him, his helpmeet, and by this fact created in his resemblance. Very literally the woman is bone of man's bones, flesh of his flesh. The very name Adam gives to the wife God brings to him brings out at one and the same time their essential unity and the radical difference which separates them. As a male man is here called Isch; as a female the woman is called Ischa. We know that in Biblical thinking the very act of giving a name manifests not only the authority of the one who names over what he names, but even more strongly declares the very nature of the object defined by the name given it. Thus Adam in recognizing in Eve his very counterpart, affirms both their resemblance and their difference. He affirms the permanent unity of the human race of the human species whose every member is created in the image and resemblance of God, and declares the essential difference between man and woman, their essential distinction, their blessed complementarity. The divine account of the creation of the woman continues:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
This text contains a foundational metaphysical affirmation. It defines once and for all the creational order, the order of nature as regards man and woman and the relations they must cultivate. The detachment of the husband from his parents and his attachment to his wife have as purpose that they be together constituted one flesh. This signifies the conjugal union, both physical and human, but also the natural fruit of this union, the child which will normally be begotten from that carnal act. We now know in the most decisive manner that the child is constituted in one flesh of the genes of his father and his mother. In a sense he is his father and his mother. That is why honouring them is such a blessing to him. We understand here much more clearly why it is so criminal (and contrary to nature) for man to come to separate what God himself has united. Man in leaving his father and his mother establishes a new home, a new institution. The woman moves from the authority of her father to that of her husband, from paternal to conjugal protection. It is here that one finds established the definitive order between man and wife, the essence, the very substance of the immutable created relation between man and woman.
These reflections on the created order help us better to understand the precise nature of sin. The Bible defines sin in a number of ways: missing the goal established by God, is one; another is to abandon oneself to impurity, to anything contrary to God's holiness; still another, better known, is any act of disobedience to God's commands. An essential aspect of sin, one which we do not sufficiently consider, is that of rejecting God's order, of choosing the disorder which issues out of the disordered imagination of man rather than submission to the divinely established order of creation. The apostle Paul refers to this when he writes to the Corinthian Christians:
For God is not the order of confusion [or disorder], but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints (1 Corinthians 14:33).
With this remark we are closing in on the subject of our conference. For the text of Genesis does not say:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his husband; and they shall be one flesh.
Nor does it affirm:
Therefore shall a woman leave her father and her mother, and shall cleave unto her wife; and they shall be one flesh.
Yet this is what pretended by those who not only defend the error of considering homosexuality as a normal and legitimate form of human love but in addition that such a relation should be recognized institutionally as a legal form of "marriage." With such an inversion of the created order we have to do with a disorder concerning nature itself, a perverse act committed against the original order of creation. Before being a sin, homosexuality is an act against nature, an act of revolt which raises its head against the order of creation itself and, in the final count, against the One who conceived this order and created it, the Lord God Almighty, Creator of the heaven and the earth and all they contain. II. Homosexuality examined in the light of the Torah, the Jewish Law
II. Homosexuality examined in the light of the Torah, the Jewish Law
With this perspective in mind, the legislation concerning homosexuality contained in the Torah becomes much more comprehensible. These drastic laws aim at repressing acts which are explicitly directed against the order of creation, acts which subvert the order at the very base of human happiness and social peace. With this kind of disorder we do not have to do with ordinary sins, like theft or even adultery, noxious actions which manifest their capacity for harm within the order of creation, but with acts which aim at subverting the created order itself.
What is homosexuality? How are we to define this disorder? The regarded Greg Bahnsen, all too early taken from the eminent place that should have been his in God's Church, in his excellent book Homosexuality a Biblical View, gives the following definition which we will make our own of the word "homosexual":
(...) the general term homosexual will be used here for any person, male or female (thus including lesbians), who engage in sexual relations with members of the same sex or who desire to do so. Homosexuality is an affectional attraction to, or active sexual relation with, a person of the same sex4.
Before examining the demands of the Mosaic law, analogous revelation of the Eternal law, of God's own thought, and perfect echo of the Natural law inscribed in the conscience of all men, we must say a word concerning those who suffer from homosexual temptations, whether they be men or women. We must carefully distinguish those who are simply subject to such temptations from others who abandon themselves to their fantasies and, even more, from those engage in homosexual acts and become homosexual activists, fanatic propagators of the world wide gay revolution. Homosexual temptation is not in itself a sin as long as one does not abandon oneself to one's inner lusts and satisfy them with others. The Christian, as well as the non-Christian, can fight such tendencies and as witness those who have struggles with them and come out of their narcissistic hell, one can be victorious in such a battle. Far from judging men and women struggling against such temptations, our Churches should rather do all they can to come to their aid. We can be very thankful that here and there we can find groups of Christians who give their time and energy to helping men and women who, in considerable moral distress, struggle against such temptations5. With regard to those homosexuals who openly practice their vice and strive to foist it on society at large as a normal expression of human sexuality, appropriate measures must be found to render their actions ineffectual. No doubt, by the grace of God, such perverted men and women can also escape from this vicious circle but this will require of them true repentance, a lasting change in their lifestyle and a complete abandonment of that perverse ideology which was up to then the justification of their wretched lives. The blood of Jesus Christ, his pardon acquired for sinners at the cross, is fully sufficient to cleanse anyone form the worst sin.
What does the law of Moses say of this question? We shall now examine the teaching on this matter contained in chapters 18 and 20 of the book of Leviticus. After forbidding different forms of incest and sexual relations during a woman's period, we read the following injunctions.
I am the Lord.
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination.
Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith; neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie thereto; it is a confusion.
These laws receive the following commentary:
Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you; and the land is defiled; therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation nor any stranger that sojourneth among you. For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you and the land is defiled. That the land spew not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
Therefore shall ye deep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein; I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 18:21-30).
In the 20th chapter of the same book we read:
And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death their blood shall be upon them.
And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness; they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you (Leviticus 20:10-16).
So much for the book of Leviticus.
Let us now consider the teaching of the book of Deuteronomy on some other infringements of the statutes on sexual offenses. These laws make us understand the great importance the Jewish Torah accorded to the protection of marriage and to the preservation of the purity of conjugal relations.
If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman so shalt thou put evil away from Israel.
If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife; so that thou shalt put away evil from among you.
But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only tat lay with her shall die; but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death; for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter. For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days (Deuteronomy 22:22-29).
The book of Exodus gives the following precisions concerning the last case:
And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins (Exodus 22:16-17).
These different laws on sexual offenses are the careful enumeration of case laws, that is the application to particular cases, of the seventh commandment:
Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18).
We see in these cases how God in his legislation given to Israel is concerned with the particulars of the application of the law. It is clear then, for example, a young couple in love who sleep together by imprudence or excess of passion is treated very differently from the adulterous lovers who destroy the sacred divine covenant of marriage, or those who not only defy God's law, but the order of nature itself by sleeping with persons of the same sex, or even with animals. For the first there is the obligation to marriage, with the payment by the bridegroom of the dowry this entails; for the latter, the death penalty.
Let us now briefly consider what the statutes from the book of Leviticus teach us concerning homosexual relations.
But for Israel a close bond exists between human behaviour and the fertility of the land. When the people obey God's laws, God blesses the land, and it bears abundantly. But if the people defile themselves by immoral, particularly sexual, practices such as the former inhabitants of the land practised, they will defile the land. The land will become so nauseated by such behaviour that it will vomit out its inhabitants. It is God himself who will administer the emetic causing the land to vomit out its inhabitants. Only by getting rid of that which is making it sick can the land recover8.
Let us take a comparison drawn from modern medicine. When an organ is grafted from a living organism to another the phenomenon of incompatibility and rejection is often observed. The organism cannot bear this intruder and rejects it. In a similar way the creation defends itself, that is defends the organic order (this includes the moral dimension of this order) which God has given it, and rejects those people who drastically infringe the cosmic order established by the Creator. How does this happen? Often by the self destruction of a society that tolerates such perverse practices. It is clear that a society that tolerates the systematic destruction of the biblically normative family, a foundational structure of any society, cannot long hope to survive. It is simply not possible to maintain a society (or anything else for that matter) when one goes against the very rules which constitute it. It is, for example, perfectly clear that a society largely constituted of male and female homosexuals cannot reproduce itself physically. That parody of normal sexuality, practised between persons of the same sex, is by nature sterile. One of the causes of the demographic crisis which strikes a short-term fatal blow at modern industrial societies the world over, can without difficulty be assigned to the general toleration found in these nations of those perverse sexual practices so vigorously repressed by the Jewish laws we are examining9.
Prior to the rise of modernity everyone shared the common conviction that the first and most decisive standard for determining norms of conduct in the whole realm of human action must be nature: what man and things are "by nature" is what determines norms for good and evil. Moreover, the phrase "by nature" basically meant: by virtue of having been created, by virtue of one's being a creature10.
Contrary to the positions defended by hyper-modern philosophers or theologians such as Roger Garaudy or Jurgen Moltmann - in this they are worthy disciples of Jean-Jacques Rousseau - human liberty does not start from zero, is not provoked by man's actions ex nihilo. This view of human freedom has in fact a much older origin; it dates from the fall of man, Adam's will to determine as from zero, that is by himself alone and in opposition to God and to the order of nature, the founding categories of good and evil. The modern notion of freedom is but a philosophical rehash of original sin. Moltmann and Garaudy, as typical moderns, seek freely to determine by themselves the difference between good and evil. In this they refuse to consider the existence of God, the manifestation of his revealed will in Scripture and the order of the universe which witnesses in such a clear fashion to the ordering action of its Creator. In answering this modern position, Pieper goes on:
In reality everything that we do of our own responsibility, whether or not we are Christians, can be set into motion at all only on the basis of this fundamental presupposition: that both world and human beings called into existence by virtue of their creatureliness. Moreover, from just that same presupposition - our reality as creatures - we are presented with the standard, the boundaries, the norm for our decisions, decisions which are not drawn "from nothing", but are decisions of the creature, as a creature11.
John Hartley, in his recent Commentary on the book of Leviticus from which we have just quoted, indicates the necessarily creational - and thus never autonomous - structure which acts as an inescapable framework - whatever arrogant men may pretend - of every human action:
The cosmology of the Old Testament [in our view the true cosmology] places barriers between the divine realm and the human realm and between the human realm and the animal realm; any mixing of these barriers is considered unnatural, a confusion. The confusion is both of species and of social roles12.
We could indicate many hierarchical categories drawn from the creational order - husband-wife, old-young, masters-servants, elders-church members, teachers-students, officers-soldiers, sovereign-people, etc. - whose ignorance, through the idolatrous abuse of the mathematical notion of "equality," leads us all frequently to commit this sin of confusion. The well known anthropologist Mary Douglas, in her classic study of impurity, gives us a remarkable analysis of this biblical principle which demands of us that we conform our actions to the order defined by these original categories, first principles we can without error consider as defining "the original metaphysical order", the unshakeable cosmological order of all reality as it came forth from God's hands at the conclusion of the six days of creation, order that still stands today. Mary Douglas writes in her classic study Purity and Danger:
The use of the word "perversion" [used sometimes to translate the word "confusion" we are here studying] is a highly significant mistranslation. The original in Hebrew is tebhel, which means "mixture" or "confusion." [...] We can conclude that plenitude or perfection is typical of holiness. It also requires that individuals conform to their class and that no confusion be found between distinct groups of objects. [...] Holiness extends, according to other precepts, to species and categories. Hybrids and other confusions are thus abominations.
This shows us, among other things, the intrinsic impurity of the theory of evolution and of all forms of equalitarianism, which produce, in the fields of biology and social organization, all kinds of mixtures and, as a result, utter confusion between species and social categories. Mary Douglas continues:
To be holy means to distinguish carefully between the categories of creation, that is to formulate correct definitions, that is to be capable of discrimination and order. In this way all the rules relative to sexual morality are examples of holiness. Incest and adultery [and a fortiori homosexuality and bestiality] (Leviticus 18:6-20) are the very opposite of holiness, as they go against order. Morality is thus in no way opposed to holiness, but the latter consists more in the separation of what must needs be separated than in the protection of the rights of husbands and brothers13.
She adds elsewhere,
[...] if what is impure is that which is not in its proper place, then we must examine it from the point of view of the reality of order. What is impure, what is "dirty" is that thing which cannot be included if one wishes to maintain a particular order14.
From this discussion we can see that, according to the teaching of the Torah and following the metaphysical, moral and judicial definitions provided by the law of Israel, this sin, this metaphysical disorder, this moral and social disorder which is the nature of homosexuality, merits the death penalty; that it will lead the nations who tolerate it to extinction for the very soil will spew them forth; that it is a horror, an abomination in the eyes of God; and, finally, that it is a confusion which sets the very order of nature topsy-turvy, muddling and disrupting the creational categories themselves. It is this last aspect that led Francis Schaeffer to characterise homosexuality (as is the case also for feminism) as being above all an intellectual, a philosophical disorder. He clearly perceived that this moral perversion is first of all a perversion in thinking, a confusion of terms, a categorical incoherence, a disorder of the mind with disastrous consequences. The homosexual plague is the rotten fruit of the whole of modern philosophy: first nominalist with Ockham, subjectivist with Descartes, idealist with Kant, dialectic with Hegel and finally existentialist with Sartre. Based on this perverse philosophical tradition, this epidemic of the homosexual lifestyle, is the consequence, on the one hand of the separation, at the heart of modern culture, between Science and Metaphysics and, on the other, of the chasm between modern philosophy - a war with Metaphysics and Theology - and every thought of the Creator.
This is clearly brought out by the apostle Paul in his definitive analysis he makes of the homosexual phenomenon. Thus the very movement of our argument leads us naturally to examine what the New Testament has to say on our subject and, in particular, to the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Christian Church in Rome. III. Homosexuality as seen by the Saint Paul, Doctor of Israel and Apostle to the Gentiles
III. Homosexuality as seen by the Saint Paul, Doctor of Israel and Apostle to the Gentiles
We read the following text in the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves, who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. Being filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, malicious-ness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity: whisperers; backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affections, implacable, unmerciful.
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:18-32).
We find ourselves here in front of a text which, we might say, founds the structures of the theological and metaphysical history of fallen man. In this history of sin the question before us, that of the significance of male and female homosexuality, finds a choice place. Our text teaches us that this particular moral phenomenon cannot be considered outside the general history of sin, apart from the history of the relations of the holy and just God with a humanity which has voluntarily turned away from him. It is clear that we shall not here undertake the detailed study of so rich a text but simply try briefly to indicate its fundamental orientations and decisive axes, so as to permit us better to understand the place of homosexuality in the history of the relations of God with men. 1. In the beginning God 2. After original goodness, sin and the fall of man
1. In the beginning God
2. After original goodness, sin and the fall of man
But their true condition is very different from that which, in their arrogance, they imagine to be theirs. Their intellectual and categorical emancipation from God's own thoughts has plunged them in darkness. Their heart has thus been deprived of that divine light, the Logos by which all things were made, in which they subsist and towards which they tend, which illuminates all things, the Creator's intelligence. In their unfathomable spiritual blindness, deprived of God's light, they have given themselves over to idols. Having replaced the divine creational categories by their own vain thoughts they replace the living God, Creator of heaven and earth, with mere creatures, corruptible man, birds, animals and reptiles.
Today we should speak of intellectual idols, of philosophical, cultural, scientific, technical and political idolatry. Today we have to do with sophisticated conceptual systems elaborated as from man's first revolt against the original categories established by God to order his creation. In the modern world the systematized idolatry produced by this intellectual revolt has led to the creation of world, and artificial social and political order (in fact a systematized disorder) , structurally opposed to God. This fossilised system holds us prisoners of artificial, anti-natural, immoral and impious structures, and inversed order from which the very thinking of God has been systematically excluded. 3. Man's morally disordered condition fruit of his categorical disorder and of the idolatry which it inevitably entails
3. Man's morally disordered condition fruit of his categorical disorder and of the idolatry which it inevitably entails
Then God's judgment manifests itself on such men. He abandons them to their own schemes and gives them over to the impurity of their sinful hearts. They no longer know how to separate purity from impurity, holiness from profanity, good from evil according to the divine categories of the created order. God abandons them to disorder, to shameful passions which not only break God's commandments, expression of God's holy nature and image of the order of creation. But, having replaced the truth of God with lies, they are given up to all sorts of false categories of their own invention. In the end, like those politicians who make a pretence of governing us, they can no longer distinguish their right hand from their left. 4. Homosexuality, culmination of a long process of intellectual disorder, of impiety and of immorality
4. Homosexuality, culmination of a long process of intellectual disorder, of impiety and of immorality
This homosexualisation of the texture of society is the fruit of a long process by which a culture loses its theological, moral and metaphysical categories. This loss of intellectual order projects itself in the disappearance of order in the society at large. The respect of the creational order is replaced by what bears a striking likeness to social, political and cultural anarchy. For the perfected cosmos as it issued forth from the fashioning hands of God, in all its goodness and beauty at the close of the sixth day of creation, is substituted what strongly resembles chaos. Al things fall to pieces, everything loses its original order, all things fossilize into the fraudulent pretended order of antinomian, mechanical, life stifling totalitarian systems. This is the "death in the city" of Francis Shaeffer, the "city of the dead "of Jan Marejko's technocosmos, the "culture of death" of John Paul II. We are not here simply confronted by the immorality of man's revolt against God's commandments, nor by an amoral indifference to divine laws. But here we have to do with fixed disorder, the anti-natural structure of a homosexual society which is blindly hurtling towards God's inescapable judgment. And we observe that the issue of such disorder, the culmination of such a growth in evil is not simply the result of the free choice of men. It is, in the final resort, the effect the direct intervention of God who, in his sovereign judgment, precipitates a society which willfully rejects him, more and more rapidly on the slippery slope of its eternal damnation. On this toboggan we no longer perceive those landmarks which formerly guided men. For men have gradually effaced from the range of their vision, not only the moral distinctions of God's laws, but also (and this is even more damaging) all those first categories which are the very foundations of the order of creation. Man's revolt here culminates in a labour of de-creation.
When men (and women!) who hold authority in the Church of God - as it is the case with the successor in Calvin's chair in Geneva, the woman Moderator of the famous Société des Pasteurs, Madame Isabelle Graesslé - come publicly to defend in the name of the Christian faith such homosexual and lesbian practices, they place themselves voluntarily under that solemn condemnation with which the text of the Epistle to the Romans we have been considering, closes:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:18-32).
God's people have always been confronted by the phenomenon of homosexuality. This was as true for the Church of the Old Testament as that of the New, for that of the Church of the Apostles and Fathers as for the Church of our day. For, as the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us, we find ourselves today more advanced in the history of salvation than were our forefathers, that is closer to the day of judgment (Hebrews 10:25). But we must today come to confront something new: the fossilization, the hardening, what we must call the institutionalization of evil. This was unknown to our fathers, even in the most corrupt periods of human history15. What I am specifically thinking of here is what is called in France the PACS, bastard legislation instituting pretended "marriages" between persons of the same sex, judicial absurdity which our Swiss legislators also seek to impose on us16.
Such a situation places before the Church of Jesus Christ the most serious responsibilities: the Truth of God, whether it be with regard to Creation, the Law or the Gospel, must today (as in the past) be proclaimed clearly and audibly, but in particular in such a manner as to answer the specific challenges of this time.
This is what, with the help of God and your patience, I have attempted before you this evening.
Lausanne, 6th of April in the year of the Lord, 2002
1. Sébastien, Ne deviens pas gay, tu finiras triste. Témoignage, François-Xavier Guibert, Paris 1998. See the following books for a realistic description of the homosexual movement and the lifestyle it promotes : Paul Cameron, The Gay Nineties. What the Empirical Evidence Reveals About Homosexuality, Adroit Press, P.O. Box 680365, Franklin, Tennessee 37068, 1993 et Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika. Homosexuality and the Nazi Party, Founders Publishing Corporation, Box 20307, Keizer, Oregon 97307, 1995.
2. On this fundamental question of the divine unfolding of the universe in the six days of creationsee see the following two essential books: Oliva Blanchette, The Perfection of the Universe According to Aquinas, a Teleolgical Cosmology, Pennsylvania State Univiversity Press, University Park, 1992 and Norman Kretzman, The Metaphysics of Creation. Aquinas's Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles II, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001.
3. See further in the same book,
Thus saith the Lord: If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth. Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them (Jeremiah 33: 25-26).
4. Greg Bahnsen. Homosexuality a Biblical View, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1978, p. 5.
5. Gérard J. M. van den Aardweg, The Battle for Normality. A Guide for (Self-) Therapy For Homosexualtiy, Ignatius, San Francisco, 1977.
6. Roland de Vaux, Les Institutions de l'Ancien Testament, Cerf, Paris, 1989, Tome I, ch. 10.
7. No doubt, many analogies are justifiable (e.g., Eph. 3:15, where "all fatherhoods" in the universe are derivative of God's Fatherhood). When God Himself employs analogies, there is sufficient warrant to embrace them and teach from them (in context, of course!). As Bavinck taught, all things in nature are revelational of Him (but only as a pale, finite analogue that utterly fails to exhaust the truth behind the Archetype). However, the Fatherhood of God the Father and the Sonship of Jesus Christ, God the Son, speak clearly to the divinely established (but incomparably other) relation between the Trinitarian family and the created family. See, for a brilliant treatment of this subject, Francis Nigel Lee, Communist Eschatology, Nutley, 1974, p. 687-688.
8. John E. Hartley, Leviticus, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 4, Word Books, Dallas, 1992, p. 298.
9. See, among many other studies, Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, VII. The Seventh Commandment, Presbyterian and Reformed, Philadelphia, 1973, pp. 333-447. Pitrim A. Sorokin, The American Sex Revolution, Porter Sargent Publisher, Boston, 1956; Pierre Chaunu et Georges Suffert, La peste blanche, Gallimard, Paris, 1976.
10. Josef Pieper, The Concept of Sin, St. Augustine's Press, South Bend, Indiana, 2001, p. 36.
11. Josef Pieper, Ibidem, p. 40-41.
12. John E. Hartley, op. cit., p. 298.
13. We quote from the French translation (which we have retranslated), for this is the only text available to us. Mary Douglas, De la souillure. Essai sur les notions de pollution et de tabou, François Maspero, Paris, 1971, pp. 72-73.
14. Ibidem, p. 59.
15. Jacques Bichot et Denis Lensel, Les autoroutes du mal. Les structures déviantes dans la société moderne, Presses de la Renaissance, Paris, 2001.
16. See the Réponse de l'Association vaudoise de parents chrétiens à la consultation fédérale sur la situation juridique des couples homosexuels en droit suisse, which was sent by the AVPC to our federal authorities in a recent governmental consultation of concerned bodies on this question.
Jean-Marc Berthoud was born in Wepener, South Africa, in 1939 from Swiss French-speaking missionary parents to Lesotho. He is a father of five children, has three grandchildren and was educated in Johannesburg at the University of the Witwatersrand (B.A. Hons) and at the Sorbonne and the University of London (Postgraduate studies). He is also an author of numerous books and articles on theology, ethics, philosophy and history. Jean-Marc Berthoud currently is participating in the project of the republication of the Works of Pierre Viret, XVIth century Reformer, collegue and friend of John Calvin. He directs a review and a collection of books with a leading publisher, preaches regularly, runs a bookshop and presides a Christian parents association.
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How then are we to discern such a doctrinal position in the confusion engendered by the great variety of opinions all claiming to represent an authentic Christian stand point.
How can we recover our bearings in such confusion? Where is one to place the truly Christian point of view?
We present here four tests which will allow us to distinguish the historical Christian faith (which we confess is ours) from that which we consider its modern travesty
Christianity is not what it used to be. The liberal views on homsexuality are just one symptom of much that has changed over the years within the Christian church(es).
How can one be sure that his particular brand of Christianity is is the right one? The historical argument is an interesting one, but at what point did Christian churches begin to deviate from the truth? Many "modern" churches would probably be unrecognziable to the "hellfire and damnation" preachers of the 1800s. Were they right and we wrong? Where do you draw the line?
Christianity is not what it used to be. The liberal views on homsexuality are just one symptom of much that has changed over the years within the Christian church(es).
Postmodernists and homosexual activists have made a serious effort to remold public opinion regarding homosexual behavior. In a basic sense, these efforts are intended to show that the Biblical texts from which Western culture has derived its concepts of homosexuality have been misunderstood. They attribute these misunderstandings to inaccurate translations and the confusion of modern commentators on the substance of what the writers of the Bible actually meant when they discussed homosexual behavior, or what the Bible calls "sodomy."
Fortunately, a significant number of writings by patriarchs of the faith and other early commentators express in forthright and unambiguous terms personal views of same-sex sexual behavior. The following commentaries reflect these views: Concerned Women for America - Patriarchs of the Christian Faith, ...
How can one be sure that his particular brand of Christianity is is the right one?
The 'law/works' and 'grace/faith' issues must be resolved in a manner that is most consistent with all the Biblical data. Scripture
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16 cf Psalm 19:7; John 17:17; Revelation 22:18,19)
Study To Show Thyself Approved Unto God (2 Tim. 2:15)
"Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa. 1:18).
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.Acts 17:11
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God but not according to knowledge. Romans 10:1-4
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7: 16
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12
neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." (Mark 7:8)
"and why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3)
"thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that." (Mark 7:13)
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I also unto thee, that thou art Peter (Petros = a small moveable stone), and upon this rock (Petra = as a foundation unmoveable) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:15-18
The historical argument is an interesting one, but at what point did Christian churches begin to deviate from the truth? Many "modern" churches would probably be unrecognziable to the "hellfire and damnation" preachers of the 1800s. Were they right and we wrong? Where do you draw the line?
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Timothy 4:1
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Luke 17: 26
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 2 Peter 2
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude4
Institutes of the Christian ReligionJohn Calvin (1540). Calvin's magnum opus. The most celebrated American historian, George Bancroft, called Calvin "the father of America," and added: "He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty." To John Calvin and the Genevan theologians, President John Adams credited a great deal of the impetus for religious liberty (Adams, WORKS, VI:313). This document includes a justification for rebellion to tyrants by subordinate government officials; this particular justification was at the root of the Dutch, English, and American Revolutions. Also (A Footnote to the Political Theory of John Adams Vindiciae contra ... )
The entire 8 volumes of Schaff's History of the Christian Church has been converted to electronic format and is now available on CD-ROM. Although Schaff's work is in the public domain Schaff's History of the Christian Church Vol VII
It is sad to see what is happening/has happened to "traditional" Christianity over the years. In the name of "tolerance" and "love," we have opened wide the door to perversions (both of the truth and otherwise). Brings to mind the New Testament scripture which warns:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)
Obviously, the transformation from "historical Christianity" to "its modern travesty" did not occur overnight. But far too many of today's churches seem to have lost their bearings and are driven about by political correctness or the latest fad. I don't think that is what the Lord had in mind for those who claim his name.
He clearly perceived that this moral perversion is first of all a perversion in thinking, a confusion of terms, a categorical incoherence, a disorder of the mind with disastrous consequences. The homosexual plague is the rotten fruit of the whole of modern philosophy: first nominalist with Ockham, subjectivist with Descartes, idealist with Kant, dialectic with Hegel and finally existentialist with Sartre. Based on this perverse philosophical tradition, this epidemic of the homosexual lifestyle, is the consequence, on the one hand of the separation, at the heart of modern culture, between Science and Metaphysics and, on the other, of the chasm between modern philosophy - a war with Metaphysics and Theology - and every thought of the Creator.
In the Vedic understanding, the concept of "Dharma" is very significant. In creation, everything has its "dharma" or its intrinsic nature, which nature is inseparable from duty. One could say that the dharma of water is wetness (even ice is wet when it melts, fog or steam is wet when it touches you), the dharma of the sun is its heat and light. To perform sex acts which are forbidden (and the same ones are forbidden in the Vedas, since such moral absolutes are coming from God wherever they are found) is to act against one's dharma as a human man or human woman. It is against nature, and against one's moral duty, one's duty to God to behave as He wants one to.
The highest dharma is called "Sanatan Dharma" - sanatan meaning "eternal". This is the duty and eternal nature of the soul to be united with God in love, as a husband and wife, or child and parent are united - maintaining individuality but oneness in love and will. When a person strives for this eternal dharma, the other dharmas of the world are considered less important, but only in the sense that one needn't spend one's whole life doing them, one is forbidden to act against even the "creation" dharmas unless absolutely necessary. Example: If a person becomes a hermit, seeking a life of meditation and prayer in solitude or a monastery, they are absolved from the duties of family. Doesn't mean they can go off and create a new sexual relationship or be a fake in order to escape responsibility.
Today, many (HINO - Hindus in name only) Hindus teach that you can do "anything" and reach God - even BE God. These kinds of bogus philosophies are entirely against the essence and particulars of the Vedas.
In the Vedic understanding, the concept of "Dharma" is very significant. In creation, everything has its "dharma" or its intrinsic nature, which nature is inseparable from duty .To perform sex acts which are forbidden (and the same ones are forbidden in the Vedas, since such moral absolutes are coming from God wherever they are found) is to act against one's dharma as a human man or human woman. It is against nature, and against one's moral duty, one's duty to God to behave as He wants one to.
Romans 2:14-15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Exactly so. The Vedas further explain that God, in addition to His eternal existence in His spiritual Kingdom, is also in everyone's heart during their sojurn in the world of birth and death - and He is the source of the conscience, and the eternal law which is written in the core of everyone's heart. That is why His rules apply to everyone - even atheists, and why homosexuals will never be at peace even if they silence everyone who disagrees with or disapproves of their actions.
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