prisonchaplain

Would you give up your life for your faith?

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In the past decade a controversy arose within the field of psychology.  Therapists, through the APA, agreed that treatments intended to change patients’ sexual orientation were ineffective and unethical.  Spurring this conclusion was a sense of collective shame that part of the profession’s history had been the declaration that same-sex attraction was, indeed, something to be corrected.

 Along comes Dr. Throckmorton, of Grove City College, PA, proposing a different approach. He provided standard therapies to gay Christian men, who wished to shunt their desires, and remain celibate, as a way of carrying out their faith convictions. The professor developed a frame work for such treatment, and, with a good deal of concern, presented it to the APA for approval.  Much to the surprise and opposition of many psychologists, his proposal was accepted.  To reporters and opponents, Dr. Judith Glassgold, a high official in the APA, who led the task force that evaluated Dr. Throckmorton’s framework, stated that for some people faith was more important than whom they went to bed with.

 It may surprise many that Christians will forgo sex for God, but our reality—our history—is that we are sometimes called upon to give up life itself.  King David declared in his most well-known Psalm: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  Peter, according to church tradition, insisted on being crucified upside down, saying he was unworthy to be killed as his Lord was.  Paul stated the principle so well:  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

 Why this willingness to surrender life’s pleasures—and even life itself?  When we die we meet God! Steven, Christianity’s first martyr, as he was being stoned to death, declared: 56"Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

 It is not that we want to die. However, Jesus insisted that: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  When I embraced the Christian life, I gave up my own. The day I die—whether by old age or by an unbeliever’s violent opposition—I shall receive the victor’s crown. 

See original posting at:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-religion-more-important-than-life-tommy-ellis?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish

 

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Thanks PC, that was helpful to me. I think most Christians hope to be willing to die for our faith - if it came to that. I love how you connected that to the idea that we must also live for our faith, even when doing so may be a sacrifice to us.

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https://www.lds.org/manual/book-of-mormon-teacher-manual/chapter-28-alma-23-29?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/manual/primary-5-doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history/lesson-27-the-saints-are-expelled-from-jackson-county?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/two-apostles-testify-of-christ-in-hong-kong?lang=eng

There were a few phrases that I scanned before reading the OP through.  It placed in my mind a fairly obvious contradiction for so many Christians.

  1. Homosexuality is wrong and needs to be corrected.
  2. Fornication is wrong, but everybody does it.  So it's ok.

Is homosexuality more wrong than heterosexual fornication?  Should there be treatment for such heterosexual behavior?

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Well.  Growing up Catholic... celibacy is celebrated and is a mantle of holiness.
As a Catholic, I used to think... martyrdom is silly.  There's a lot of things I can do for my faith alive than I can do dead.  Now that I'm LDS, I learned that there are lot of things still do after death.  So, I guess it becomes - if one's choice is to live and cause people and oneself to leap farther from Christ or to die, then martyrdom is not such a bad thing, I guess.

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

Is homosexuality more wrong than heterosexual fornication?

I think fornication is fornication.  They are both wrong.  

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3 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I think fornication is fornication.  They are both wrong.  

I think so too.

The point is that so many have a big problem with gay marriage and homosexual activity at all.  But many of the same people think nothing of engaging in heterosexual fornication.  We cannot laugh at honor and then be shocked when we find traitors in our midst.

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I recently witnessed two religious leaders who had been suspended due to moral failures that fell short of outright fornication/adultery restored.  Their area of failure was described as "inappropriate emotional relationships."  For these two the restoration process was two-year's long, and involved intense spiritual counseling.

Most would, on a gut level, say that what they had done was "lesser" than adultery or homosexual activity. Nevertheless, neither was bitter towards the church, or God. They were remorseful and humbled.

The world cannot understand.  In response to my statement "If an unbeliever kills me," one comment at linkedin was, "Aren't you being harsh and judgmental to call anyone an unbeliever?"  We have a long history of being persecuted and misunderstood, so with the help of our Sovereign, 'We got this.'

Edited by prisonchaplain

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31 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I recently witnessed two religious leaders who had been suspended due to moral failures

How often is any "disciplinary action" applied to a layperson?

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Church members who have moral failures will often have to step down from public ministry roles (worship team, teacher, etc.). They will likely be asked to undergo counseling.  If they are unrepentant, their membership could be revoked.  In cases where the member had a very public role in the church, s/he may need to publicly repent.  Leadership is held to a higher standard, which seems proper.

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2 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I think fornication is fornication.  They are both wrong.

Forcible violation of a woman is called rape. In today's weird society, a drunk frat boy bedding a drunk sorority chick is also called rape. Both are called "rape", but they are quite obviously of very different degrees of awfulness (feminist theory notwithstanding).

I cannot give a convincing argument that homosexual fornication is worse or more spiritually damaging or more sinful in God's eyes than heterosexual fornication. But it feels that way to me. I remain profoundly unconvinced by those who argue that both are called "fornication", so therefore are essentially equal.

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9 minutes ago, Vort said:

I remain profoundly unconvinced by those who argue that both are called "fornication", so therefore are essentially equal.

Were you just hyperbolizing?  Or do you stand by this as is, literally?

That is not to say that I necessarily say they are "perfectly" equal.  But they are both beyond a certain line where I'd say they are both very serious.  And after a certain level of seriousness, how much do we pick at which is more serious than the other?  Hence, I don't see how people can be so profoundly against homosexual acts and "think nothing" of engaging in non-marital heterosexual intercourse.

Are there differences?  Certainly.  But on a level of seriousness of transgressing God's law, I'd say they're both "very serious".

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"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (Mathew 5:29-30).

 

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3 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Were you just hyperbolizing?  Or do you stand by this as is, literally?

Literal.

4 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

That is not to say that I necessarily say they are "perfectly" equal.  But they are both beyond a certain line where I'd say they are both very serious.  And after a certain level of seriousness, how much do we pick at which is more serious than the other?  ...Are there differences?  Certainly.  But on a level of seriousness of transgressing God's law, I'd say they're both "very serious".

I agree, at least in the sense that I think it's silly to rank the "badness" of various sins. I think this almost reflexively when I hear someone say, for example, that "sex sin is next to murder in seriousness". "Sex sin" covers an awful lot of ground. Do we honestly want to suggest that masturbation, or viewing pornography, or even having sex with one's girlfriend is a more profound evil than torturing another person for the joy of watching him writhe, or beating the crap out of your little brother just because you want to?

But the above argument actually points up very well that even when we're talking about "grave" sins, some are simply far worse than others. If every sin that scores over a 25 on the Sin Scale® is defined as a "very grave sin", does that mean a 26-level sin is essentially equivalent to a 10,000-level sin? I think not.

9 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Hence, I don't see how people can be so profoundly against homosexual acts and "think nothing" of engaging in non-marital heterosexual intercourse.

Of course, I never even suggested that I "think nothing" of fornication. I said that calling Act A "fornication" and also calling Act B "fornication", and then saying, "Hey, look, they're both fornication, and thus essentially equivalent" is not at all cogent.

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22 minutes ago, Vort said:

Literal.

I agree, at least in the sense that I think it's silly to rank the "badness" of various sins. I think this almost reflexively when I hear someone say, for example, that "sex sin is next to murder in seriousness". "Sex sin" covers an awful lot of ground. Do we honestly want to suggest that masturbation, or viewing pornography, or even having sex with one's girlfriend is a more profound evil than torturing another person for the joy of watching him writhe, or beating the crap out of your little brother just because you want to?

But the above argument actually points up very well that even when we're talking about "grave" sins, some are simply far worse than others. If every sin that scores over a 25 on the Sin Scale® is defined as a "very grave sin", does that mean a 26-level sin is essentially equivalent to a 10,000-level sin? I think not.

Of course, I never even suggested that I "think nothing" of fornication. I said that calling Act A "fornication" and also calling Act B "fornication", and then saying, "Hey, look, they're both fornication, and thus essentially equivalent" is not at all cogent.

I get what you're saying here Vort.

And if I may put in my 2 centavos worth.

The reason that homosex is by some degree graver than hetrosex outside of marriage is because of the harder path of repentance needed to correct the course.  In heterosex, the marital covenant - a desired path, even a necessary path - is a path to repentance without the need to break off the physical relationship.  Therefore, even as heterosex outside of marriage is a path to darkness, at least it fulfills the commandment to be fruitful and the way forward is clearer - marry or stop the physical relationshp.  Homosex, on the other hand, has only one path to repentance - and that is to break off the physical relationship outright.  Homosex has no way forward.

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54 minutes ago, Vort said:

Literal.

I agree, at least in the sense that I think it's silly to rank the "badness" of various sins. I think this almost reflexively when I hear someone say, for example, that "sex sin is next to murder in seriousness". "Sex sin" covers an awful lot of ground. Do we honestly want to suggest that masturbation, or viewing pornography, or even having sex with one's girlfriend is a more profound evil than torturing another person for the joy of watching him writhe, or beating the crap out of your little brother just because you want to?

But the above argument actually points up very well that even when we're talking about "grave" sins, some are simply far worse than others. If every sin that scores over a 25 on the Sin Scale® is defined as a "very grave sin", does that mean a 26-level sin is essentially equivalent to a 10,000-level sin? I think not.

Of course, I never even suggested that I "think nothing" of fornication. I said that calling Act A "fornication" and also calling Act B "fornication", and then saying, "Hey, look, they're both fornication, and thus essentially equivalent" is not at all cogent.

Sin Scale®  -- I like it.

No, I didn't mean to imply that you did "think nothing" of it.  I was trying to steer it back to my first post where I found it curious that many do.

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13 minutes ago, zil said:

PC: Would you give up your life for your faith?

Dude in the "soft seats": No, but I would for my seat.

:hmmm:

Does this have to do with NightSG's thread about the seats?  That was jacked up.

Edited by Guest

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12 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

 I love how you connected that to the idea that we must also live for our faith, even when doing so may be a sacrifice to us.

Yes, I think this is the kind of "dying for your religion" that we are most likely to face: Sacrificing the life we may want for the life God wants us to live. Not physically dying for your religion, but living for it. Much harder I think in the long term. For example, the father who does a job he hates for decades in order to provide for his family. Or a spouse caring for years for an ailing spouse, giving up many things they could otherwise do. Or a mother giving up a career etc for her young kids.

Quote

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

The Greek word here is "philos," which means friends. But by extension it can mean associates, companions, or loved ones.

Quote

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. "

The OP gave this already, but I love it

Edited by tesuji

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Yes, men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace.

Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life.

Sacrifice is truly the crowning test of the gospel. Men are tried and tested in this mortal probation to see if they will put first in their lives the kingdom of God. (See Matt. 6:33.) To gain eternal life, they must be willing, if called upon, to sacrifice all things for the gospel.

Ezra Taft Benson, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1988/12/jesus-christ-gifts-and-expectations?lang=eng

 

Edited by tesuji

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32 minutes ago, zil said:

PC: Would you give up your life for your faith?

Dude in the "soft seats": No, but I would for my seat.

:hmmm:

This is funny. Sometimes it's even real.

As for me, I--by the strength, equipping, and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to gird me--would give my life for my faith. There is no hubris or bravado in that. Without God's support, I'd likely you give you my faith and my seat. 

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Guest LiterateParakeet
3 hours ago, Vort said:

Forcible violation of a woman is called rape. In today's weird society, a drunk frat boy bedding a drunk sorority chick is also called rape. Both are called "rape", but they are quite obviously of very different degrees of awfulness . . .

Vort, Ive made myself a personal rule not to discuss rape on this forum. As it is not a topic I can be detached about.

I'm with Carb about the rest. We know it's not a sin to be a homosexual, only to act on those feelings. Therefore, in my mind, regardless of your orientation, fornication is fornication. Though I did think Anatess made a compelling argument.

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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As always I intend to bring something else to this table.  Most think of giving their lives for something as a willingness to die for it.  I very much and strongly, disagree, I think it is how we live that has more to do with what we give our life for than how we die.  How we live can reflect choices that extend for years by how we live but how we die can be measured a single choice that takes place in a matter of just a few seconds.

 

As to faith in Christ.  I would make the statement that going to church on Sunday will no more make a person a “Christian” than sleeping in a garage will make a person a Ford or Chevy.  It is my personal observation that most that claim faith in Christ exhibit more faith in a particular religious sect than they do in the Christ.  They think their faith to be tied to their church is their faith in Christ.  For myself I would put aside my LDS faith in a heartbeat if I could find a better example of Christ and his covenants in some other religion.  Keep in mind – I am not talking about superior doctrine – but rather covenant.  I believe it is by covenant that we identify ourselves to Christ and not so much by doctrine.

 

The Traveler

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21 minutes ago, Traveler said:

As always I intend to bring something else to this table.  Most think of giving their lives for something as a willingness to die for it.  I very much and strongly, disagree, I think it is how we live that has more to do with what we give our life for than how we die.  How we live can reflect choices that extend for years by how we live but how we die can be measured a single choice that takes place in a matter of just a few seconds.

 

As to faith in Christ.  I would make the statement that going to church on Sunday will no more make a person a “Christian” than sleeping in a garage will make a person a Ford or Chevy.  It is my personal observation that most that claim faith in Christ exhibit more faith in a particular religious sect than they do in the Christ.  They think their faith to be tied to their church is their faith in Christ.  For myself I would put aside my LDS faith in a heartbeat if I could find a better example of Christ and his covenants in some other religion.  Keep in mind – I am not talking about superior doctrine – but rather covenant.  I believe it is by covenant that we identify ourselves to Christ and not so much by doctrine.

 

The Traveler

I disagree with this fully.

The first paragraph:  How we die is not just a matter of a just a few seconds.  Nobody willingly dies from one second of decision.  Not even suicide.  How we live can reflect choices that extend for years by how we live AND how we die.

The second paragraph:  I left the Catholic Church to get baptized LDS.  That wasn't a decision that was "in a heartbeat".  Rather, my FAITH IN CHRIST led me to be a devout Catholic as that was where my testimony of Christ led me.  I got baptized LDS even as I was already baptized Catholic because of my FAITH IN CHRIST that leads me to my testimony in the power of the Priesthood of the LDS Church instituted by Christ.  That is not something that can be put aside in a heartbeat as it is part and parcel - an important part, even - of my Faith in Christ.

Edited by anatess2

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