A response to Ms Catherine Lim

Read this interesting post from Ms Catherine Lim today on the Aware saga:

http://catherinelim.sg/2009/05/06/fallout-of-the-aware-saga-a-letter-to-concerned-parents/ 

And she wrote the following paragraph…

Homosexuality is NOT an abnormality, an illness, an aberration, an evil, an abomination in the eyes of God, etc. This is probably the single most important fact to keep in mind. The research work of scientists such as behavioral psychologists, evolutionary biologists, genetics biologists and neuroscientists has shown that there is probably a genetic component for sexual orientation, but how nature interplays with nurture to affect the individual’s development is not fully understood. Indeed, as parents, you are first-hand witnesses of the mysterious workings of both forces. Your children, despite a common family background, often behave differently from each other, and turn out differently, pointing to the power of nature; at the same time, their personality and behaviour can be guided and shaped by you, pointing to the power of nurture. Hence this knowledge and understanding should make you cast off whatever strong feelings, (including the ugh reaction), which you may have against homosexuality, since it is no more than the natural product of a combination of complex forces, as are personality, character, intelligence, musical talent, etc.

 

So I replied in the comments:

Well, that’s true from your point of view, Ms Lim.

But just one request – please do not speak on behalf of God, because the Bible is clear on his stand against the act of homosexuality.

What is a fact to you, is not a fact to Bible-believers. We can all accept or reject different opinions, but do let people decide the facts for themselves.

Ian

PS: I write this bit after getting my first comment from “poppy”, which was copied from the same posting on Ms Lim’s blog post.

Firstly, all I’m asking Ms Lim is for a balanced read where she can state her opinions but not impose them as facts on the general audience. She is a respected writer, yet this article is not grounded in “fact”, but opinions. She doesn’t even know what are the contents of the sex education curriculum in question, but is willing to recommend it based on her assumptions.

Secondly, I just wish non-believers would stop throwing selected Bible quotes at Christians and taking them out of context at the same time. I certainly won’t take some secular scientific study on homosexuality and twist it to suit my own agenda. It’s like taking a paragraph from any book just to prove your point. But you need to know the historical and religious context of a quote before you can even use it. I sometimes see Christians take verses out of context and I get furious when that happens.

Thirdly, if you don’t post comments with your real name, I’ll just delete your post. Why? Because I appreciate an open dialogue with real people, not pseudonyms.

Fourth, quit trying to make me angry with deliberately barbed comments. I’ll just frustrate you by not responding the way you want me to – ie. get into a shouting match or get personal with you. That’s not objective debating, but immature heckling.

15 Replies to “A response to Ms Catherine Lim”

  1. From THE WEST WING “The Midterms”

    BARTLET
    Forgive me, Dr. Jacobs. Are you an M.D.?

    JENNA JACOBS
    Ph.D.

    BARTLET
    A Ph.D.?

    JENNA JACOBS
    Yes, sir.

    BARTLET
    In Psychology?

    JENNA JACOBS
    No sir.

    BARTLET
    Theology?

    JENNA JACOBS
    No.

    BARTLET
    Social work?

    JENNA JACOBS
    I have a Ph.D. in English Literature.

    BARTLET
    I’m asking, ’cause on your show, people call in for advice and you go by the name of Dr. Jacobs on your show. And I didn’t know if maybe your listeners were confused by that, and assumed you had advanced training in Psychology, Theology, or health care.

    JENNA JACOBS
    I don’t believe they are confused, no sir.

    BARTLET
    Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.

    JENNA JACOBS
    I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.

    BARTLET
    Yes, it does. Leviticus.

    JENNA JACOBS
    18:22

    BARTLET
    Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here.

    I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, and always clears the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

    While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, LeoO McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath, Exodus 35:2, clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?

    Here’s one that’s really important, ’cause we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes us unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

    Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side?

    Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

    ==

  2. And to that I’ll reply the same as I did to another commentator “b.h. wolf” on Ms. Lim’s post.

    There’s a common misconception by non-believers that Christians have to live and die by the many many laws of Leviticus….

    PS: Why doesn’t anyone in that thread use their real name?

    ———-

    Hi b.h. wolf,

    With regards to your query, the answer lies in that Leviticus is part of the Old Testament, and is written for Israelites before Christ came to earth.

    In Acts 15, the New Testament, the Pharisees claimed that non-Jews had to follow laws of the Old Testament (like the one you’re referring to), and hence be circumcised if they were to worship the same God as the Jews.

    The apostle Peter said: “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them (non-Jews) by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

    The “yoke” that the Jews could not bear were the heavy laws of the Old Testament that had been superceded by the coming of Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice for sin. We are not saved by our acts, but our acceptance of Christ as our saviour by faith alone. This does not mean that we can disregard all laws and do whatever we want, but many Jewish practices and rituals described in the Old Testament were no longer relevant for believers from about 2000 years ago.

    No rationale Christian claims he is wholly perfect, without sin, because we continue our struggle with sin just like everyone else. I dare not even dare claim to be a staunch Christian but I try my best in God’s eyes. And we believe the grace of God helps us overcome sin ultimately.

    So I do like my shellfish, only with char kuay teow though.

    Cheers,

    Ian

  3. Hi Ian, it’s me.

    I’d like to think that I’ve got a more balanced perspective than usual because I’m an apostate Christian, and still go to church regularly to support my Christian wife despite my unwavering apostasy. That doesn’t automatically make me an all-seeing expert, but I do know my bible better than some practising Christians while also having formal grounding in secular philosophy.

    I find the so-called gospel of grace, which frees modern Christians from some of the more problematic laws of the Old Testament, somewhat problematic. It’s a bit of a cop-out, while making God seem unfair to those who lived in the world of the Old Testament.

    Common teleological justifications for God not being very lenient on these old-timers include the need to demonstrate man’s inability to justify his worth under the Law and his consequent need for grace. The argument that God exists outside the flow of time and could have intervened with grace before Christ’s birth is countered by the fixed eschatological scheme that starts with Adam, has Christ presaged by Joshua and Melchizedek, and ends with the millennial battle against Satan. It’s viewed as a necessary progression. We exist within time, unlike God, and hence can only experience salvation within the framework of time.

    However, none of this gets around the fact that if God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, he must then have known that Lucifer would fall, etc. If he knew all that, and this world and its recorded history was the best compromise he could come up with, how does that reflect upon his various omni-attributes? Moreover, if we also assume that god is All Good, then how could he stomach anything less than a perfect solution devoid of suffering? Various modern theologians like Alvin Platinga have proposed various workarounds for this, but none of them comprehensively resolve these basic problems.

    Obviously, we’re entering turgid theological territory not everyone can relate to, but my point is that, as I see it, there are some very fundamental problems with the gospel of grace. This therefore means that I don’t think Christians can pick and choose which biblical laws to follow without running into problems of consistency, because the gospel of grace is the only solution and as I’ve already argued, I don’t think it holds up to scrutiny.

    However, you and I are in clear agreement when it comes to the Bible’s stance on homosexuality – it’s unequivocally condemned, which is one of the reasons for my continued apostasy.

    I actually bothered to wade through Aware’s manual for sex education trainers and don’t have a problem with any of it.

    In case anyone’s wondering why a straight man’s bothered with gay rights, I’ll paraphrase John Donne by pointing out that no man’s an island, and I therefore never ask who the bell’s tolling for; I know it tolls for me.

  4. I’m glad you found my comment interesting enough to spawn a new post 🙂 I just skimmed through it and am definitely looking forward to digesting it properly tonight after I take my nose off the office grindstone.

  5. The MOE just issued a press release, and here’s point #2:

    2. MOE and the schools do not promote alternative lifestyles to our students. MOE’s framework for sexuality education reflects the mainstream views and values of Singapore society, where the social norm consists of the married heterosexual family unit.

    So, it seems that the PAP believe that whether or not homosexuality is abnormal, criminal, an evil, an illness, yada yada, it is not the social norm in Singapore, period.

    Wow, wow, wow. Strong words from the gahmen. Let’s see how the homosexuals respond to this one.

  6. Since what makes a Christian a Christian is the following of Christ and a the belief he died for your absolution I would like to see where Christ says Homosexuality is wrong? And I am not talking about the Letters of Paul where he claims Jesus said something, or where he states his beliefs but the actual chapter and verse where Jesus condemns homosexuality.

    If all you are relying on is Leviticus then aren’t you picking a choosing from a book that your own beliefs tells you is “the word” and without error?

  7. Hi Indiana

    No, you won’t find Jesus being directly quoted on it.

    But the apostles further expound on Jesus’ teachings in their books like Romans and Corinthians, and Christians believe all the text of the Bible is God-inspired.

    So still within the New Testament context, God’s stand on the issue is clear to everyone through Jesus and his apostles.

    Hope that clarifies the matter, cheers.

    Ian

  8. One thing that has always irked me about the Bible is how much disproportionate emphasis and weight is placed on the teachings of Paul. T
    The bible documents more of Paul’s teachings than any of the other apostles.
    And calling Paul an apostle is a stretch at best, seeing how his encounter on the road to Damascus is highly dubious. think about it – the other 12 (11 – minus Judas?) had daily contact and direct access to the Messiah for how many years? and yet they play a lesser role than Paul, who never even met Christ in earthly form.
    In fact, the direct teachings of Christ himself are seemingly less emphasized than Paul’s. In particular, when it comes to homosexuality, there is no recorded opinion of Christ about it. Only Paul’s rants. If it was such a huge issue to Christ, you’d think He’d say something about it when He was on earth,or through his direct disciples, instead of through some proxy who never knew Him in person.

  9. Guys, thanks for your comments and thoughts. Reminder to please use your real name.

    From the next post onwards, I’ll have to remove any post that uses pseudonyms.

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