The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Same-sex relationships


Hi James,

I know that’s what jesus says but it doesn’t alter the fact that the Pharisees would have been shouting that the plain black and white wording of scripture said she must die by stoning. I have thought about this many times before and in the context of the point I am illustrating I wholeheartedly feel that the exhortation to sin no more is irrelevant.

All the best.


HI T.J.,
Glad to hear from you! Hope you are recovering well. The sentiment that you expressed precisely captures mine as well. I look forward to your contributions. Peace be with you as well, Bobx1


Hi Jeff and James!

As I’ve argued in a paper on this site, I find that Jesus is presented as one who sometimes challenged what Scripture said, certainly in terms of what Israel’s exegetes understandably thought it clearly demanded. Of course, it needn’t follow from his rejection of its’ call for an adulterer’s execution that he rejected the interpretation that adultery was a sin.


Hi Bobx1

I don’t think I’m making the point that Jesus did or didn’t think the adultery was a sin (and by extension I’m not trying to say that Jesus would condone homosexuality) I’m just pointing out that applying a ruling just because ‘the bible says so’ without thought as to the context and humanity of the ones ‘sinning’ (of course from my perspective neither of them are sinning although adultery causes pain to all sides - that’s different to sin).

Another lighter case in point. After my parents died I grew my hair down to about my waist. I was 17 at the time and this was probably some teeenage rebellious streak (remember I had no one to rebel against as I lived alone). I was attending a Plymouth Brethren chapel at the time and I remember a big elders meeting was called because a female member of the chapel (herself no more than 17 or 18) wanted me put ‘out of fellowship’ because Paul said in a couple of verses out of the whole of scripture that it was a shame for a man to have long hair and that nature itself teaches this (of course if nature itself taught that then women’s hair would grow long while men’s hair would only grow so far - like a short-haired dog’s coat - though I presume nature here means human nature not mother nature). So I was asked to leave - nobody brought up scriptures concerning care for the widows and orphans (of which I was one and seemed to be more important to God than sacrificing animals).

So I do feel my attempt to illustrate just the attitude of looking up the relevant scripture without thinking to apply to a situation is being hijacked into something else (do you think if the same woman was dragged before Jesus a second time he’d have displayed a 70 times 7 attitude or would he have turned to the Pharisees and said 'Hey boys! are you ready to ROCK! ?). :smiley:


Hi Jeff,

Yes, While I took you and James to be making different points, I took you to be saying that just citing a text is a lousy way of determining what we should do, and I realized that your point was not to pronounce on Jesus’ view of adultery.
My point was that my paper on Jesus’ approach is very supportive of your observation.

In my view, your hair story is a pathetic but perfect illustration of the problem. So I must admit that I can’t picture Jesus stoning the woman no matter how many times the Pharisees brought her. I’m smitten with a Jesus who would have been in the Pharisee’s face every time :exclamation: .


Thanks Bob

And I would like to be smitten with that same Jesus (or even by him) :cry:



Hi Roofus I will try to answer coherently but I’m not really very good at that :smiley:

For me it has to all be relative and contextual - if I oppose something I consider undesirable, I am not doing so from any moral high ground but because I reason that not displaying that behaviour is more desirable than displaying it (whether in myself or others) either for my own sense of well being or for the good of the community which sustains me. I look to the fact that most of the animal kingdom and humans back through their early hominid ancestors got on pretty well for the most part (which is why we’re still here - the animals without any kind of moral compass we can detect - so ‘morality’ can be seen in creatures who ‘don’t know right from wrong’).

I confess that I don’t understand the Christian approach which is ‘if there is no absolute standard outside of myself then I can never stand up against anything because I have no moral authority to do so’. For me the moral maze that is self consciousness is something I have to work at along with the rest of secular society - it’s hard - it has lots of grey areas - it means I have to weigh up and think and wrestle with ‘fuzzy logic’ - but it doesn’t mean I go to a book written by Stone Age through to Iron age people and look up a ‘ready reckoner’ of who or what I should support and what I should oppose.

Here’s a question in return:

Is good and bad independent of God? In other words does God decide what is sin and what it is not or are these things true regardless of God?

If the former then whatever God says goes (even if we don’t agree) and is another form of relativism with just 1 being (can’t say 1 person because there are 1, 2 or 3 of those depending on your point of view :smiley: ) being the arbiter of right and wrong (I’m thinking ethnic cleansing of Canaanites and other peoples wiped out to a man, woman and child).

If the latter then I don’t need God for these things because they are not contingent on him (I know Jason - everything HAS to be contingent on the big I.F. that’s the Independent Fact folks - or to put it scripturally ‘in whom we live and move and have our being’).

Well I said at the outset I’m not good at explaining but that’s the best I can do :smiley:



Good thoughts and questions! As I said, I agree that proof-texting morality is a problematic exercise, and thus I too struggle with gray areas. Yet I wouldn’t put it that on their own, “human beings got on pretty well.” Maybe I’m a glass half-empy kind of guy, but when you mention ethnic cleansing, and I recall the unprecedented carnages of the 20th century, it strikes me that our “moral compass” all too often functions horrifically.

Having conceded that knowing and proof-texting God’s morality is challenging at best and ‘fuzziness’ is inevitable, could it still be coherent to hold that what ‘God’ affirms is ultimately what is “good,” but that what God would endorse is not arbitrary, but in accord with the nature of all things, such that you (being formed in his image) would be on proper ground to “weigh up and think and wrestle” concerning what is good?

Again, our difference may be semantic, but it strikes me that ‘prophets’ e.g. opposed something that they perceived as an evil violation of the “good of the community” and which for them the ultimate reality of God would oppose. Why shouldn’t they then assume that in boldly standing against say child-sacrifice, that they were on “high moral ground” and opposing “sin”?

My theist bias that our existence is not best ultimately explained as accidental, but rather as purposeful, may be what encourages me to give serious attention to what may be revealed in God’s supposed spokesman and revelation and thus be influenced to reorient my moral compass, even though I am in agreement with you that its’ nature does not mean that I can suspend the kind of reasoning and wrestling with the whole picture as you also are committed to doing, and our moral conclusions would probably be very similar.


Wow, it’s really refreshing to see such a “hot” topic being discussed so civilly. I’ve really enjoyed reading through the thread and intend to go back and read some more and check out some of the links and references. Would also love to find that thread on the law of jubilee (having a heard time imagining how a forum geared toward UR would would not JUMP all over that one :smiley: ). Would like to touch more on the passage that T.J. brought up concerning some of Paul’s admonitions about “the woman” but am not sure I could do it justice here, in relation to this particular topic, though I will say that I think that the marriage relationship between “Adam and Eve” was meant to demonstrate a spiritual truth, to reveal the relationship between “Christ and the church” and in that scenario we all (regardless of gender) fall under “Eve” (“the woman”). So we need to take that into consideration when it comes to God telling Eve “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” and Paul saying things like “I suffer not a woman to teach nor usurp authority over the man… for Adam was first form, then Eve”.

Paul clearly understood who “Eve” presented and he was not talking about “women” and “men” after a carnal truth. :wink: And we need not be either married or heterosexual for the spiritual truth that is represented, allegorically, by the marriage relationship to be true.

So I think that unless we understand “the spirit” of the word and “the spiritual things” to which the marriage relationship points, we aught to be very careful about how we “use” the story of Adam to Eve to teach things about gender issues or even marriage issues, especially if we are attempting to make demands are “biblical truths” by taking these things much further than they are intended to be taken.

And that’s my (less eloquently spoken) 2 cents … for what it’s worth :mrgreen:


If anybody is interested, I discussed “adam and eve, not adam and steve” in my blog a while back: … narrative/


Regarding Romans 1, see … ppies.html

  • Pat


Thanks for posting Pat. Unfortunately, due to a slight glitch in a recent upgrade your post didn’t come up on “Active Topics” when you posted it. I’ve now fixed the problem and am just commenting to make it appear in the “Active Topics”. Sorry about that.


The more I think about this thread, the stranger it seems to me that Tom Talbott never actually answered my question.

At first I thought perhaps he was avoiding controversy. Any answer he gives could provoke criticism. But… since when is Tom shy and afraid to voice controversial opinions?

Maybe he doesn’t have firm opinions on the topic. But why didn’t he just say that?

In any case, I still wish the best for Tom.

  • Pat



I can’t know, but suspect your guess is right. I took Tom’s jocular “complicated” to reflect 1. he knows many questions are hard to sort out and he isn’t convinced of a dogmatic condemnation of homosexuality, and/or 2. he isn’t motivated to put energy into a controversy tangential to his foci, and in his busyness didn’t even get back to acknowledge his deficit on this.


Sally is genetically male but physiologically and psychologically female. She is married to Frank. Is this a gay marriage? If instead Sally married Jill, would this be a straight marriage?

Robin has both male and female genitals, but feels like a girl. Her parents want her to have surgery to make her a boy. Would that be right or wrong?

Bob is genetically and physiologically male, but psychologically female. Should he have therapy to change his brain, or should he have surgery to change his body?

I sometimes wonder whether the world would be a better place if we all minded our own business. I love the bit where Paul says, “Who are you to judge another man’s servant?” I think we need to encourage one another to seek God’s face, to love him with all our hearts. If we all spent our energy doing this, I suspect most of the problems that vex us would simply evaporate away.


I do not know the theoretical or theological arguments of same sex marriage, pre marital sex or extramarrital sex. I have read only parts of this topic so I may not be understanding it all. I do see many types of hell created in peoples lives every day by all of these. Kids lives destroyed, some aspects beyond remedy until eternity, When you see the empty shatered look of a girl or boy who has been raped it absolutly breaks your heart, marriages destroyed, lives destroyed, wholes strings of generations living in hellish chaos. I see great destruction created by selfish views and uses of our sexuality. These hells are all around me every day. I struggle daily to try and communicate wholeness and truth and healing to kids one of the greatest hinderences to this is our culturess increadably selfish view of sex. Sex is something awsom and wonderful, a great gift, but when you make it about your needs and your satisfaction it becomes as destructive as meth or herowin. I was exosed to pornography by a foolish step father when I was thirteen and had to get rid of totaly wronge Ideas of women as a married adult. Back in the eighties a gay friend of mine went out and got AIDS on purpous so he could have sex with out woriying about it, he died a terrible death. Another gay friend of mine was raped by his priest in his teens, his views of God and life were as far as I knew him irrapearably destroyed. My uncle was into free love in the eighties, after repenting of his selfish life style marrying and adopting two children he died of AIDS. One of my ex students is going to prison for prettty much life for kidnaping and raping three girls. I meet teen age girls constantly who are corrageously raising children on their own because of the selfish, out of controle and unrestrained sexual desires of the girl herself and a teenage boy. Both boys and girls who do not know how to love because they only know the phisical manifistation of it. It is an increadably serious topic. If I am to intence about it I am sorry, I have come to know the love of God and I know this breaks his heart. If someone is walking in the spirit, walking in love they will walk away from selfish sexual views and practices it is not easy because of our cultural illness but it can be done in the love of God.


Well said, Dave.


Same-sex relationships create “many types of hell” that you see “every day”? Of course, that’s vague and inconsistent with the experiences of many other people.

Also, I’m not sure why you’re bringing up getting AIDS on purpose, rape, pornography, etc. The topic is whether same-sex relationships are ever morally permissible.

I’m a member of the Gay Christian Network (, where there are widely varying views on all sorts of topics, including this one. Some people are on Side A, which means they believe that God approves of same-sex intimacy as much as he approves of opposite-sex intimacy (with actual sex allowed at least within the context of a life-long relationship). Other people are Side B, which means they believe that all gays are called to celibacy; they believe that same-sex eroticism is always wrong. Other people are unsure. Many of the members are straight. Many are gay. Many are bisexual. Many are unsure.

Here’s a more precise way of looking at the question:

  1. Opposite-sex pairs have sex because it strengthens and expresses their emotional bonds (when emotional bonds are present).

  2. Opposite-sex pairs also have sex without much of an emotional bond simply because sex is, in a word, amazing: It’s very pleasurable/ enjoyable and reduces anxiety and depression.

1 and 2 also apply to same-sex pairs.

Sex is important for most (or at least many) people, and understandably so. We crave sex physically and psychologically, and we’re supposed to crave sex. Sex isn’t dirty. And not just “sex” (i.e. not just penetration), but also the whole spectrum of sexuality and intimacy: Hanging out with people that give us gut-butterflies, holding hands, kissing, cuddling, caressing, and yes… genital stimulation and orgasms.

I feel like some Side-A folks sometimes downplay the importance of sexuality/intimacy to avoid looking like sex-obsessed deviants. But it’s simple: The importance of sexuality among heterosexuals and opposite-sex pairs is akin to the importance of it among homosexuals and same-sex pairs. Most OS-relationships need at least some sexuality to keep both persons happy, and ditto for SS-relationships.

Yes, some people can have happy lives even while they’re committed to celibacy. But others can’t, and there’s no shame in that. In my opinion, celibacy is not ideal or healthy for everybody. As a Side-A person, I believe that God approves of sexuality among same-sex couples, at least in the case of life-long (i.e. married) couples.

*You may be wondering how people can be Side A and Christian. ** Earlier I recommended three reading materials on that question. I’ll mention them again now:

First, the 2008 book “Thou Shalt Not Love” by the anthropologist Patrick Chapman: … 0971468621

Second, the following essay by the founder of GCN:

Third, the 2003 book “A Question of Truth” by the (now-deceased) Dominican Priest Gareth Moore: … 0826459498

Aside from those, I’ve written a few essays on the topic. Here’s my essay on Romans 1: … iting.html

(I don’t remember how to put links in the texts! haha)

Best wishes

  • Pat

P.S * Many GCN members wonder how people can be both Christian and Universalists! :wink: GCN members often make the standard one-liner objections to Universalism without delving into much depth. And some people here have made standard objections to same-sex relationships without going into much depth. I encourage members of both sites to explore the other site as well.


Hi Buddy, you’re very welcome! And thanks for the wonderful compliment :slight_smile:


  • Pat