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Feature: Flaws in the Matthew Vines Video

This page replaces my original post on Matthew Vines’ video. But at this stage, the original post and comments remain as they were.

Early in 2012, a youtube video began circulating through cyberspace and then was featured in news reports (some accused of being unbalanced), claiming to demonstrate that the Bible ultimately supports homosexuality and same-sex marriage, even for Christians. The video is found in various locations, including here http://matthewvines.tumblr.com . Many who view the presentation, including sceptical Christians, seem to be swayed into accepting the reasoning as legitimate. The arguments within the video are apparently not new, and are very similar to previous summaries, eg from Bruce Lowe a decade earlier, and to Five Uneasy Pieces – a book released just one month before the video was made. (The presenter has subsequently been criticised for saying that his approach of promoting a theology of homosexual relations not being sinful, is new. It’s not a new). Theologians such as Robert Gagnon have reportedly said that the arguments were refuted years prior to the filming.

So is the presentation as balanced and reliable as it seems? It’s long – over an hour, so a quality refutation needs to be long too, as per the following sections of critical analysis. I conclude that there are significant flaws in the presenter’s logic and theology, and that the content of the presentation is contradicted by leading Biblical scholarship, by historical records and by modern sociology.

The illusion of knowledge

Below are my responses to the presentation, broken down into 13 sections -


1. No, this isnt Uneducated, Unchristian Hatred

2. How Matthew Vines Misrepresents Homosexuality

3. Why Matthew Vines’ Assessment of Being Alone, is Cherry-picking

4. How Matthew Vines Misinterprets the Parable of the Fruit

5. How Matthew Vines Undervalues Homosexuals

6. How Matthew Vines Oversimplifies Whether the Old Testament Laws Remain Valid

7. Something Matthew Vines Got Right

8. How Matthew Vines Misrepresents Ancient Understandings of Homosexuality

9. How Matthew Vines Misinterprets Romans 1

10. How Matthew Vines Whitewashes 1 Corinthians 6:9

11. How Matthew Vines Appears Inconsistent in his Interpretation of 1 Timothy 1:10

12. How Matthew Vines Conclusions Are Flawed

13. Responses from others, to Matthew Vines’ presentation


4 Comments on “Feature: Flaws in the Matthew Vines Video”

  1. kirksroom says:

    It amazes me that you take so much time out to tear apart the arguments of a man who has done you no harm and is only trying to justify his right to feel and act on the same feelings that any woman is allowed to under your holybook that was written so long ago it goes without seeing not everything in it can apply to the present day.

    I am a rational Agnostic, and I believe if there is any God he wouldn’t want people to judge each other for having the same romantic desires as the other sex that do not hurt anyone and contrary to your beloved Doctor’s points, if it is irrational for God to allow homosexuality to be taken as wrong in the Bible for years if he did approve of it, then surely it must be irrational for God to have allowed homosexuality to exist at all if he did not approve of it!

    You spend so much time discussing homosexuality in the Bible, but at the same time you make me (one who could never be attracted to that of my own gender) dying to punch you in the face, which surely must violate every non-violence, “love your enemies” passage.

    The one point I agree with you on is that the Bible would have said something positive about homosexual couples if God approved of them. This shows, in my opinion, that the book is simply a product of man and that too many holy-books and faiths exist throughout history to put so much stock in this individual one. If there is an afterlife it is likely nothing that has been described in man’s attempts to give the world meaning and surely has nothing to do with the Christian ideals.

    There is probably good to be found in the Bible and it can make people improve, but not the way you utilize it. From a rational, logical and humanistic perspective, such anti-homosexuality ideas in the book should be ignored and focused on more moral long-lasting messages that can be applied to our times.

    There may be little point in me commenting here since we obviously have such different opinions. Nevertheless I will not apologize for them for I feel they are infinitely more moral than yours. George Carlin said Christians have a problem with logic. This was a cruel, judgmental statement but I do believe in thinking logically, ethically, and humanistically in any case. If the Christian bible does not support that I can think of no reason why I should support it. All your arguments rely on the Bible being innately right so it would be interesting to see why I must feel so.

    • stasisonline says:

      Kirksroom, thanks for your feedback, and raising interesting questions.

      I accept that from your point of view, it may seem that Vines is doing no harm. But this is not the case from all points of view. What if you were gay and Christian, and you believed what Vines says. Maybe as a gay person you might then start a relationship with another gay person. And then some time later you come to realise that you had been mislead by Vines. If you were a real Christian, you would then have to go through the heartache of separation. That’s harmful. And from the conservative Christian point of view, following Vines’ teachings means you would be in sin. Sin brings God’s judgement. More harm. And engaging in gay sex brings a higher risk of HIV and other STIs. Yet more harm.

      I agree with you that God “wouldn’t want people to judge each other for having the same romantic desires as the other sex”. God opposes judgemental attitudes. And personally I dont think that homosexual desires are chosen so I dont think that homosexual inclinations are sinful. But I do think that homosexual sex is sinful. It’s not simple, huh. Maybe this page might better explain it:
      http://stasisonline.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/misunderstandings-by-gays/

      Im curious about why are you amazed that I have taken so much time out to refute Vines arguments, but not surprised that Vines has taken so much time out to refute the arguments of historic Christianity? Why is it okay for him, but not for me?

      You wrote “surely it must be irrational for God to have allowed homosexuality to exist at all if he did not approve of it!” I see your logic there. But then the same could be said about numerous things; violence, poverty, murder. Why does God allow things that He does not approve of. It’s a good question, to which I actually dont know the answer. Some suggest that evil exists largely because God wants us to have free will. But as far as I know, that is just a theory.

      • kirksroom says:

        I will give you credit for one thing: you are polite, very logical and think more about why you believe what you believe than many of those who share your beliefs.

        And you do say something worth considering in that homosexual sex can result in harmful diseases. I would argue that sex education classes should stop ducking and frowning on the idea of sex before marriage altogether or just give solid advice on preventing STDs in homosexual intercourse so that they can learn the proper precautions to take.

        I also am glad that you finally spelled out your core belief here: “I do think that homosexual sex is sinful.” I have just 2 questions in light of this:

        If any person, Christian or otherwise, regularly engages in homosexual sex and refuses to repent for it or consider it a sin, will they be condemned to hell?

        Do you believe there is a reason why homosexual sex is sinful, or this is another unanswerable question? (I will note you inadvertently demolished one of your beloved Dr. Brown’s strongest arguments: that God would not have allowed humans to take the Bible to mean something it so obviously doesn’t.)

      • stasisonline says:

        Thanks for your continuing feedback, Kirksroom. I do appreciate it.

        My belief that homosexual sex is sinful, was spelt out in my very first post on this blog, and multiple times since. It’s certainly not a belief that I hide. I hope readers of the blog will notice my stance on that fairly quickly.

        The question of what criteria will condemn someone to hell is not entirely simple. In the Bible, we see Jesus telling a criminal that has been sentenced to death, that he will not go to hell (Luke 23:43), presumably due to his faith. Salvation (with in part means not going to hell) is presented in the Bible as being determined basically according to faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, someone who has sincere faith in Christ, is likely going to align their behaviour with God’s will. Blatant ongoing turning from God’s will is a indicator of lack of faith, and lack of salvation. I dont want to give the all-too-frequent right wing impression that only people who have abortions and gay sex will go to hell. The Bible implies that contrary to what Hollywood promotes, few people make it to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). The section of the Bible that I think most directly answers your question, has been translated into various wordings in English. The version that I think is clearest is as follows; “do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). So I think that those who engage in homosexual sex are condemned. But please note, so are many people, including those who are greedy!

        I think Christians have gotten themselves into trouble by trying to answer why homosexual sex is sinful. My reply to the question at this point is “I dont know why”. Some Christians ramble on about the philosophy of gender complementarity or whether the plumbing fits, but at the end of the day, Im not aware of a clear and definite Biblical reason why it’s sinful. In the Old Testament, it’s referred to as ‘abomination’, but I dont think we are told why. We are told that the normative pattern is to follow Adam and Eve, and then Jesus came along and suggested that the valid alternative to this is to live the life of a eunuch (Matthew 19), which I interpret to mean celibacy.

        I think Dr Brown was saying that the dominant belief of Christendom in regards to whether homosexual sex is sinful, since Jesus, has been that it is sinful, and I think Dr Brown was saying it seems very unlikely that God would allow Christendom to have been so broadly wrong on that, across so many millennia. I think Dr Brown makes a good point about that. Are you saying that I inadvertently demolished that point? Where did I do so?


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