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IS ROMANS 1 ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY?

ServantsofGrace.org, 5/29/13, “Is Romans 1 About Homosexuality?” [Excerpts]: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves....For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

Pretty clear, eh? “Not so,” say some advocates of homosexuality. They argue that Paul is not talking about homosexuality in these passages. The mention of homosexuality in this case is a reference to that which accompanied idolatrous worship. Often those making these arguments make it a point to read Romans 1 in the context. If we do, they say, we will clearly see that Paul’s concern is with idolatry and not with homosexuality.

And you know what? They have a point…[Paul’s] point in 1:18-23 is that God created mankind to worship and serve Him....We have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”

Paul’s point is that creation was not formed to worship creation. We are not made to worship and serve the like. Idolatry does just this, it makes us worship things that are creaturely, just like ourselves. God designed us to worship that which is outside ourselves. Idolatry causes us to essentially worship a mirror.

So those who teach that this passage is not fundamentally about condemning homosexuality are correct. Paul’s main point is not about homosexuality. It is about the consequences of idolatry. But that doesn’t mean that it has nothing to say about homosexuality.

He uses homosexuality because it is a fitting illustration for idolatry. In answering this question, Tom Schreiner says, “Probably because it functions as the best illustration of that which is unnatural in the sexual sphere.” In other words, Paul focuses on homosexuality because it is a tremendous illustration of his point.

Homosexuality is the natural progression of idolatry. It is a picture of our idolatrous exchange of worshipping the Other and choosing to worship that which looks just like us. When we’ve bought the lie that creature is more important than the Creator, such a view is the result. Homosexuality is the natural progression of thinking that is unnatural.

(http://servantsofgrace.org/2013/05/29/is-romans-1-about-homosexuality/)

HOW A SCIENTIFIC FIELD CAN COLLAPSE

Evolution News and Views, 5/8/13, “How a Scientific Field Can Collapse: The Case of Psychiatry” [Excerpts]: Psychology has long struggled to be considered scientific, given the checkered history of its eccentric pioneers, like Freud and Jung. Each of the contradictory theories emerging from psychology has struggled to do better at prediction or explanation than the “folk psychology” ordinary people use to gauge the motivations and behaviors of their fellow human beings. And the recent cases of outright fraud among some of social psychology’s leading lights (examples in the New York Times and Nature) have made the field suspect, some would say a laughingstock as science.

Psychiatry, though, was supposed to be better. Its practitioners had to earn an MD. It had a widely accepted, peer-reviewed guidebook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by its professional society, the American Psychiatric Association. With its focus on observable symptoms, presumably rooted in biology, it had all the trappings of science. The things being said about psychiatry now, though, on the eve of publication of its latest upgrade, the DSM-5, are revealing it to be a science in crisis—if it ever was a science at all.

DSM-5, [which came] out on May 22, is the latest edition of the official diagnostic “bible” for psychiatrists that had its genesis in 1952. DSM-5 removes some diagnoses, like Asperger’s syndrome, reclassifies others, and adds a number of new conditions that are, to most of us, just weird: like “Skin Picking Disorder,” “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo,” and “Compulsive Hoarding.” What about the new “Hypersexual Disorder”? Are psychiatrists just giving excuses for irresponsible behavior? Is psychiatry “cutting nature at its joints” or just manufacturing artificial pigeonholes?

According to Nick Craddock, professor of psychiatry at Cardiff University, also writing for New Scientist [says], “Not since Freud’s pseudoscientific theories early last century has psychiatry claimed any broad theoretical basis for making sense of our normal and abnormal feelings, thinking and social behaviours—the complexities at the heart of being human.” In other words, psychiatry never made it to scientific status in the first place. Its claims remain “atheoretical,” he believes, even though he is optimistic its day will come.

David Dobbs’s review in Nature of Gary Greenberg’s new book, The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, is the most devastating critique of psychiatry as a science. Dobbs writes under the headline: “Psychiatry: a very sad story.” He notes that a century ago, psychiatrists considered “masturbatory insanity” and “wedding night psychosis” as mental illnesses. That those categories were dropped and new ones added in the interim suggests psychiatry lacks scientific footing, and instead evolves according to cultural norms. Yet the APA vigorously defends DSM-5, partly because it relies on sales for revenue. Greenberg is not just an outsider. He participated in a clinical trial. “The process proved so convoluted that he wanted to apologize to one patient for the ‘inadequacy, the pointlessness, the sheer idiocy of the exercise,’” Dobbs writes.

(http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/05/how_a_scientifi071931.html)

IRAN HAULS OFF CHRISTIAN PASTOR, SHUTS CHURCH

FoxNews.com, 5/28/13, “Iran hauls off Christian pastor, shuts down church in new sweep” [Excerpts]: Government agents shut down Iran’s largest Persian-language Pentecostal church Monday, just one week after one of its pastors was arrested and hauled away midway through a worship service.

“These incidents appear to be an attempt to stop worship services from being conducted in Farsi, the language of the majority of Iranians,” [the AOG general superintendent said.] “Services are allowed in Armenian, a minority language that most Iranians do not speak or even understand.”

Christian groups fear a further erosion of what little tolerance of religious diversity has existed in Iran. Some estimates place the number of Iranian Christians, many of them converts from Islam, at about 100,000, in a nation of 75 million.

(http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/05/28/new-christian-pastor-detained-church-closed-in-iran/)

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