Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We are Born Again at the Resurrection not when we're Saved

The casual terminology of saying we are Born Again when we're Saved is a misunderstanding of John 3.  Doesn't mean I think everyone who uses it understands Salvation incorrectly, it just means we need to clear up some terminology.

Before I explain this view, I want to distance myself from certain others teaching this same thing but tying it into other bad ideas.

Some over emphasize the use of the word "Spirit" in John 3 to support viewing the Resurrection as only Spiritual and not a physical Bodily Resurrection.  That is Gnostic Heresy.

And some try to connect their denial of Eternal Security.  I don't base my Belief in Eternal Security on the verses about being Born Again, or Born of God, or any of that.  That's Calvinism not true Eternal Security.  I base it on the verses in John 3 about "Whosoever Believeth on him shall not Perish but have eternal life", it's not Eternal if it can be lost.  And other verses showing that even the seemingly proffering Christians who are damned are all those who NEVER knew Him.  And how none shall pluck them out of His hand.  And 1 Corinthians 3:15 showing that at the Bema Judgment there will be people who's works are burnt up but are still saved.

Since the moment we Believe is the conception not birth, they'll point out that sometimes babies miscarry.  A child Begotten of God cannot miscarry.  I think the Man-Child of Revelation 12 can represent The Church and individual Believers as much as it does Jesus himself.  We are the Body of Christ and also promised to "rule the Nations with a Rod of Iron".  Satan wants to prevent the Child from being Born, which is why he accuses us when we Sin.  But it is impossible for him to succeed.  The Man-Child is then Raptured, same Greek word as in 1 Thessalonians 4, which is when we are Resurrected.

We are already Begotten of God

1 Peter 1:3 says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead".  Begotten is a word that refers to conception, not to birth.

1 Peter 1:23 is mistranslated in the KJV "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."  The Greek text here does not use the same word used describing the Born Again concept elsewhere, it should read begotten again, Peter's instead using the same word he used in verse 3.  The two Greek words are similar but distinct.  This is not based on Alexandrian manuscripts, I'm using the Textus Receptus.

We are God's Children already just as a parent considers a baby still in the womb their child already.  But Son of God as a technical term applies when we're completely redeemed in the Resurrection, like how it applies to Angels and to Adam before The Fall.

Romans 8:16-21 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

We are fully the Children of God when we are free from The Curse of Genesis 3, which is what Romans 8 is all about.

James 1:18 "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."  "First Fruits" is a term linked to the Resurrection, that's why Jesus Resurrection was on the Feast of First Fruits.

1 John uses various forms of the same root that the word for born and begat come from, that the Strongs all label one word, and how the KJV renders it can cause confusion.

1 John 3:9 is correct in the KJV, it's abused by those trying to say a Believer cannot Sin.  But this same Epistle John explains we Lie if we say we do not Sin.

1 John 4:7 it should read begotten, it's showing how anyone following the Biblical Law of Love is saved and knows God.

1 John 5:1 is also correct.  John 5:4 should be Begotten, everyone who's Saved has Overcome the World in once sense according to John.  But that can be distinct from Overcoming to the End.  1 John 5:18 is also correct, but what it means is also abused, but it shows the distinction between being Born and Begotten.

In John 3 itself Jesus says that those who are Born Again are those who can see The Kingdom.  To say that is true of Believers already takes what he means a lot less literally.  When we are Resurrected we will no longer be limited to our current 3 dimensional perception.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Calvinists think Free Will somehow contradicts the Sovereignty of God

Let me make myself clear.

God can override our Free Will, he can make us all do what he wants, he can force us to accept Jesus.

But he chooses not to, he wants everyone to come to him, but he would prefer to accept as his Children only those who want to be his Children.

It has nothing to do with the Sovereignty of God.

Calvinists are a lot like many Atheists and others who reject Christianity all together.  They think in order for God to be Sovereign then what does happen must be what he wants to happen.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Teaching Men not to Rape

Among those conservatives who choose to object to modern Feminism and it's talk about "Rape Culture", the most popular argument is taking offense at the notion that men need to be "Taught not to Rape", that it's somehow insulting to men to suggest Rape in inherent in them.

It's most amusing to me when I see people who are Evangelical Christians do this.  Because among the arguments we make when attempting to explain the doctrine of Original Sin (the true Biblical doctrine, not what it means to Catholics or Calvinists), will be to ask parents if they needed to teach their children to lie or steal?  The answer is no, they had to teach them not to lie and not to steal.

Rape is also part of the Sin nature, and not all forms of it are obvious.  Many men, as surprising as this may seem, have trouble comprehending that it's wrong to have sex with a woman who's passed out.

Perhaps many "Traditional" Christians think since they're teaching their kids not to have sex outside marriage at all that Rape isn't an issue then.

1. Rape can happen within marriage. Some Bible verses may get misused to justify/deny marital rape by making it seem one spouse is obligated to fulfill the needs of the other.  But none of that makes it right to force yourself on someone who doesn't want to right now.  And since the Torah has laws against lying with your wife while she's menstruating, it certainly knows people can't simply have sex on demand.

2. I've argued elsewhere forcing an overly strict moral standard on people can wind up leading to them abandoning trying to be moral altogether.  Especially if on sexual morality your teaching children based on an imaginary Bible verse that masturbation is somehow worse then prostitution.

So no matter how legalistic you are, at least begin your lessons on Sexual Morality by explaining that the worst Sexual Sin is Rape.  Mainly because it's more then a Sexual Sin, it's a violation of someone's personal Liberty.  And so any sexual act that is fully and unambiguously consensual would be preferable.

I will say it would be helpful to rephrase "Teach people not to Rape" because women can rape also, The Bible even records an example with Lot's daughters.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Free Will before Pelegus

Since Calvinists like to claim the doctrine of Free Will was invented by Pelegus.

100-165 AD, Justin Martyr: “God, wishing men and angels to follow his will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall certainly be punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably (wicked), but not because God created them so. So if they repent all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God.” (Dialogue CXLi)

100-165 AD, Justin Martyr: “We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is in our own power. For if it be predestinated that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise or the other to be blamed. Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions—whatever they may be.” (First Apology ch.43)

[About the year 180, Gnostic, Florinus, affirmed that God is the author of sin, which notion was rejected by Ireneaus, who published a discourse entitled: “God, not the Author of Sin.” Florinus’ doctrine reappeared in another form later in Manichaeism, and was always considered to be a dangerous heresy by the early fathers of the church.]

130-200 AD, Irenaeus: “This expression, ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God...And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice...If then it were not in our power to do or not to do these things, what reason had the apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give us counsel to do some things and to abstain from others?” (Against Heresies XXXVII, Book 4, Ch. 37)

150-190 AD, Athenagoras: “men...have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice (for you would not either honor the good or punish the bad; unless vice and virtue were in their own power, and some are diligent in the matters entrusted to them, and others faithless)...” (Embassy for Christians XXIV)

150-200 AD, Clement of Alexandria: “Neither praise nor condemnation, neither rewards nor punishments, are right if the soul does not have the power of choice and avoidance, if evil is involuntary.” (Miscellanies, book 1, ch.1)

154-222 AD, Bardaisan of Syria: “How is it that God did not so make us that we should not sin and incur condemnation? —if man had been made so, he would not have belonged to himself but would have been the instrument of him that moved him...And how in that case, would man differ from a harp, on which another plays; or from a ship, which another guides: where the praise and the blame reside in the hand of the performer or the steersman...they being only instruments made for the use of him in whom is the skill? But God, in His benignity, chose not so to make man; but by freedom He exalted him above many of His creatures.” (Fragments)

155-225 AD, Tertullian: “I find, then, that man was by God constituted free, master of his own will and power; indicating the presence of God’s image and likeness in him by nothing so well as by this constitution of his nature.” (Against Marcion, Book II ch.5)

185-254 AD, Origin: “This also is clearly defined in the teaching of the church that every rational soul is possessed of free-will and volition.” (De Principiis, Preface)

185-254 AD, Origin: “There are, indeed, innumerable passages in the Scriptures which establish with exceeding clearness the existence of freedom of will.” (De Principiis, Book 3, ch.1)

250-300 AD, Archelaus: “There can be no doubt that every individual, in using his own proper power of will, may shape his course in whatever direction he chooses.” (Disputation with Manes, secs.32, 33)

260-315 AD, Methodius: “Those [pagans] who decide that man does not have free will, but say that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate, are guilty of impiety toward God Himself, making Him out to be the cause and author of human evils.” (The Banquet of the Ten Virgins, discourse 8, chapter 16)

312-386 AD, Cyril of Jerusalem: “The soul is self-governed: and though the Devil can suggest, he has not the power to compel against the will. He pictures to thee the thought of fornication: if thou wilt, thou rejectest. For if thou wert a fornicator by necessity then for what cause did God prepare hell? If thou wert a doer of righteousness by nature and not by will, wherefore did God prepare crowns of ineffable glory? The sheep is gentle, but never was it crowned for its gentleness; since its gentle quality belongs to it not from choice but by nature.” (Lecture IV 18)

347-407 AD, John Chrysostom: “All is in God’s power, but so that our free-will is not lost...it depends therefore on us and on Him. We must first choose the good, and then He adds what belongs to Him. He does not precede our willing, that our free-will may not suffer. But when we have chosen, then He affords us much help...It is ours to choose beforehand and to will, but God’s to perfect and bring to the end.” (On Hebrews, Homily 12)

But I base my doctrine on Scripture no the Church Fathers.  I will doing a post dedicated to refuting Calvinism in the future.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Plato, Augustine, and Traditional Christianity

We are used to thinking of Calvinism and Catholicism as adversaries.  Catholics like to define all Protestants (and Evangelicals who they don't consider distinct) based on Calvinism, calling it "Reformed Theology".  And Calvinists too like to see themselves as the only true full rebels from Popery and label belief in Free Will as inherently Catholic.

However the truth is Catholicism and Calvinism are two sides of the same coin.  That coin being Augustine, and the mint in which it was forged was Plato.

Calvinists are among the Protestants who in my view made a serious mistake by only rejecting about 1000 years worth of institutionalized error, and choose to prop up the "Early Church Fathers" as authoritative just as much as the Catholic Church does.  And they may indeed in some areas agree with what those early fathers originally taught more then Catholic dogma does.  But I still feel the early fathers were just as guilty of following the doctrine of the Nicolatians.  Some I agree with more then others but none I consider authoritative.

Pretty much all of the major doctrinal issues Evangelicals have with Catholicism have their roots in Augustine's teachings.  He may not have been the first to teach any of them but he played a major role is refining and popularizing them long before the Vatican really formalized any.  His main gripe with the Pelegians was their rejection of Infant Baptism.  On Mary he affirmed that the Virgin Mary "conceived as virgin, gave birth as virgin and stayed virgin forever". (Augustine of Hippo, De Sancta Virginitate, 18).

Calvin was quite open about how much he drew on Augustine.  “Further, Augustine is so much at one with me that, if I wished to write a confession of my faith, it would abundantly satisfy me to quote wholesale from his writings.”  (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.63).

Augustine originally believed in premillennialism, namely that Christ would establish a literal 1,000-year kingdom prior to the general resurrection, but later rejected the belief, viewing it as carnal. He was the first theologian to expound a systematic doctrine of amillennialism, although some theologians and Christian historians believe his position was closer to that of modern postmillennialists. The medieval Catholic church built its system of eschatology on Augustinian amillennialism, where Christ rules the earth spiritually through his triumphant church, (Blomberg, Craig L. (2006). From Pentecost to Patmos. Apollos. p. 519.).  Dominionism follows the same basic error.  At the Reformation, theologians such as John Calvin accepted amillennialism.  Augustine is also credited with being the father of the Catholic notion of Purgatory, though the gist of that he borrowed from Tertullian, the first Church Father to write in Latin.

Augustine was also the first to try and reconcile Christianity with Evolution.
In Augustine's De Genesi contra Manich├Žos, on Genesis he says: "To suppose that God formed man from the dust with bodily hands is very childish. ...God neither formed man with bodily hands nor did he breathe upon him with throat and lips." Augustine suggests in other work his theory of the later development of insects out of carrion, and the adoption of the old emanation or evolution theory, showing that "certain very small animals may not have been created on the fifth and sixth days, but may have originated later from putrefying matter." Concerning Augustine's De Trinitate (On the Trinity), White wrote that Augustine "...develops at length the view that in the creation of living beings there was something like a growth—that God is the ultimate author, but works through secondary causes; and finally argues that certain substances are endowed by God with the power of producing certain classes of plants and animals."(White 1922, p. 53)
Augustine is also a major factor in developing the prudish attitudes towards sexual morality of "traditional" Christianity I have spent much time on this blog objecting to.  While by no means the first to hold such views, he majorly popularized them.  He even goes further with it then most modern Evangelicals or Catholics will at least admit to going.  Stating outright it is a Sin to enjoy sex, even between a Husband and Wife for the purpose of reproduction.  He also committed the error of thinking Sodom's main Sin was their sexual preferences.

None of this means I consider Augustine wrong on everything, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Like Ron Paul I wish more American Christians would follow his Just War principle.  And I'm certainly not questioning his Salvation.  But since he's also put a lot of Bad Fruit into Christian history, I feel we should examine his roots.

Augustine had been before he converted to mainstream Christianity a follower of Manicheism, a form of Gnosticism.  And one that believed quite strongly in both Determinism (Predestination) and that the flesh is inherently evil.  Like other Gnostic sects it rejected the Old Testament.  Whether or not they were among those that believed the Old Testament God to be an Evil Demiurge I'm unsure.  But it seems Augustine's preference was for just rejecting the Old Testament narrative altogether.

Many people who convert from one religion to another still bring the baggage of their old Religion with them.  And this does include some Christians after getting Saved.  Most who don't go over the top trying to be the opposite of how they were before, and will still bring all kinds of ideas with them.  What evidence is there Augustine brought Gnostic baggage with him?  Some I think is already apparent but there is more.

The main thing that kept him from fully embracing mainstream Christianity was his dislike of the Old Testament characterization of an Emotional God who in some areas changes.  It was Ambrose convincing him that those Emotions could be allegorized away that converted him.

Gnosticism was among many Philosophical traditions influenced either directly or indirectly by Plato.  Even Philosophical traditions that predicated themselves on rejecting (at least some of) Plato (like the Epicureans) were still influenced by him (for example Epicurus shared Plato's distaste for Homosexuality).  Aristotle, Plato's most notorious direct pupil, also broke with Plato in many areas while agreeing in others.

The various descendants of Plato often disagreed with each other.  Plotinus, the founder of Neo-Platonism, spent much time attacking the Gnostics, even though he was more similar to the Gnostics then some other Platonists like the Stoics.

Plato in Timaeus originates the idea of the Demiurge.  A "creator deity" of sorts, but not truly, he merely rearranged and refashioned preexisting chaotic matter.  To the Gnostics the Demiurge was an Evil god responsible for cursing humanity with fleshly bodies.  Many Gnostics who presented themselves as a form of Christianity identified the Demiurge with the God of the Old Testament, and believed Jesus wasn't that God but a higher deity.  But that isn't the only rout to twist Christianity into being Gnostic.

Augustine fully admits to being ok with adopting some of those pagan Philosophical ideas into "Traditional" Christianity.

Augustine writes: “Moreover, if those who are called philosophers, and especially the Platonists, have said aught that is true and in harmony with our faith, we are not only not to shrink from it, but to claim it for our own use from those who have unlawful possession of it. For, as the Egyptians had not only the idols and heavy burdens which the people of Israel hated and fled from, but also vessels and ornaments of gold and silver, and garments, which the same people when going out of Egypt appropriated to themselves, designing them for a better use, not doing this on their own authority, but by the command of God, the Egyptians themselves, in their ignorance, providing them with things which they themselves were not making a good use of; in the same way all branches of heathen learning have not only false and superstitious fancies and heavy burdens of unnecessary toil, which every one of us, when going out under the leadership of Christ from the fellowship of the heathen, ought to abhor and avoid; but they contain also liberal instruction which is better adapted to the use of the truth, and some most excellent precepts of morality; and some truths in regard even to the worship of the One God are found among them. Now these are, so to speak, their gold and silver, which they did not create themselves, but dug out of the mines of God’s providence which are everywhere scattered abroad, and are perversely and unlawfully prostituting to the worship of devils. These, therefore, the Christian, when he separates himself in spirit from the miserable fellowship of these men, ought to take away from them, and to devote to their proper use in preaching the gospel. Their garments, also, that is, human institutions such as are adapted to that intercourse with men which is indispensable in this life, we must take and turn to a Christian use.” (On Christian Doctrine, Book 2, Chapter 40, Section 60).  

Augustine adds: “But they gave their gold and their silver and their garments to the people of God as they were going out of Egypt, not knowing how the things they gave would be turned to the service of Christ. For what was done at the time of the exodus was no doubt a type prefiguring what happens now.”  (On Christian Doctrine, Book 2, Chapter 40, Section 61).

Augustine is forgetting that that Gold was used to make the Golden Calf.

Augustine is not the only means by which Gnostic and/or Platonic ideas entered the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Many of the Greek Church fathers felt comfortable drawing on Greek writings to appeal to their Greek flocks.  Justin Martyr claimed that Socrates and Plato were "unknowing Christians" and the Alexandrian Bishops are also an interesting case.  In fact I don't know of an example of an Early Church Father who's writings have survived who was hostile to Plato.

Philo of Alexandria was a Hellenized Jew who adopted much of Platonism into his writings.  Christians have from very early on liked to cherry pick certain teachings of his to make him sound almost Christian, he did happen to like some of the same key Greek words John did, but those are the same words the Gnostics also liked, like Logos.  He is also credited with being the first to interpret the Sin of Sodom as being Homosexuality.  Though whether or not he meant all Homosexual acts are a Sin is debatable. 

There is also Valentinus, who followed a different brand of Gnosticism, and was prominent in Rome around 100-160 AD.  According to Tertulian he almost became Bishop of Rome.

Bob Hill explains: “The Manichaeans stressed rational inquiry over authority. Augustine agreed with this method of ascertaining truth. The Manichaeans disliked the Old Testament because it revealed an angry emotional God. ... The Manichaeans believed God could not be mutable and retain his perfection. Augustine accepted this rationalistic philosophy as true and attempted to prove this doctrine with Scripture.”

 “Augustine agreed with the Manichaeans that a mutable God was totally unacceptable. In this conflict between the Platonic doctrine of immutability and the literal interpretation of Scriptures, what had to change? Augustine’s answer was that the literal interpretation of Scripture had to change. For Augustine the plain narratives of Scripture had to be reinterpreted by spiritual or allegorical methods to agree with his philosophical presuppositions. The Manichaeans believed the Old Testament revealed a God who was mutable or could repent. Since the Platonists believed that God was immutable this idea of God repenting was a source of ridicule for the Church. Augustine was so embarrassed by these arguments that he chose to reinterpret Scripture rather than refute the Platonic philosophy.” (Calvinism Unmasked, chapter 2).

Even many modern Catholics and Protestants are unashamed of their Greek Philosophical influences.

Webster Tarply, is a fellow Conspiracy Theorist who's research I find helpful.  He is regardless a devout Catholic, who condemns the Protestant Reformation for "rejecting Plato in favor of Aristotle".  He's talking about the Politics mainly which confuses me because he seems to have the Politics of Plato and Aristotle switched around.

Plato's Republic was the original Communist Utopia (and I suspect a strong influence on Thomas Moore's (who advocated Freedom of Speech yet burned 6 Protestants at The Stake) Utopia).  Aristotle directly criticized the Communism of The Republic.  Republic was the hypothetical Communsit Utopia while Laws was the Socialist/Statist system he actually intended to implement.  Not unlike how Socialism and Communism relate today.  It recommends laws restricting every area of life.  Including laws against "excessive wealth" making it not a Free Market system at all.  Aristotle was by no means Libertarian, but his views were much closer to what being a "Republic" means to modern Americans.

I've also seen Plato and Aristotle quoted by Christians on WVCY as supporting their call for Censorship of Rock and other Secular Music. 

People are often mistakenly led to believe Plato was a pro Same-Sex love author because of the Homoerotisism in his Dialogues.  But only one character generally in each Dialogue represents Plato's own views (and that character is presented as the wisest).  usually this is "Socrates", but in The Laws it's the unnamed Athenian.  In Aristotle's critique of Laws he refers to this person as Socrates, which has caused some scholars think he wasn't originally unnamed.

Although the character "Socrates" concedes the supreme status of chaste love between males, any positive statements about homosexual sex all come from the less wise characters, never from "Socrates" himself. On the contrary, the wise character is confronted with a society in which same-sex sexuality is prevalent, and wishes to find ways to discredit it with an aim to abolishing it altogether. If Plato's work has a lot of seemingly positive ancient characterizations of homosexuality, that is only because those positive characterizations were current in his world. They are the starting point from which Plato wishes to lead his followers and his society into exclusive heterosexuality in marriage.

The original definition of "Platonic Love" was not how it's commonly used today, love that isn't romantic or sexual.  It was originally Plato's ideal of Love that was Romantic and maybe even Erotic to a certain extent but ultimately Chaste, no sex or at least no orgasm, and certainly no penetration.

In the Republic, the Laws, and his other works, Plato sought to devise a system of education that would promote what he considered to be the qualities of an ideal man: wisdom, justice, temperance, and courage. Sexuality was fundamentally dangerous and antithetical to his project, so he said, because it was characterized by mental frenzy as opposed to rationality (Republic 403) and because sexual acts failed to teach courage to one partner (the passive) and temperance to the other (the active) (Laws 836). The only justification for sexuality to exist at all was for procreation. Therefore, all sexuality outside of marriage should be forbidden by law (Laws 838-9). "If only that were possible!" he laments (Laws 835). Getting everyone to agree to this moral code would be difficult, but once it was established it would perpetuate itself, if only all people could somehow be prevented from ever contradicting or denying it (Laws 838). He offers various potential means for establishing the acceptance of such a moral code, including telling children at an impressionable age that non-marital sex is hated by God (Laws 838), that abstinence from sex represents a victory even more glorious than any athletic or military victory, and that failure to be abstinent is ugly and makes you lower than the animals (Laws 840). He also suggests requiring that people hide their sexual practice, so that the sight of some people enjoying sex would not become an enticement to others (Laws 841). Finally, one could simply enact a law forbidding all homosexual sex and all sex outside of marriage or concubinage (Laws 841).

Two books on the subject of Homophobia originating with Plato are Classical Origins of Modern Homophobia by Robert H. Allen and Plato or Paul?: The Origins of Western Homophobia by Theodore W., Jr. Jennings.

I shall copy the part of Laws in question here.
CLEINIAS: What is this, Stranger, that you are saying? For we do not as yet understand your meaning.
ATHENIAN: Very likely; I will endeavour to explain myself more clearly. When I came to the subject of education, I beheld young men and maidens holding friendly intercourse with one another. And there naturally arose in my mind a sort of apprehension—I could not help thinking how one is to deal with a city in which youths and maidens are well nurtured, and have nothing to do, and are not undergoing the excessive and servile toils which extinguish wantonness, and whose only cares during their whole life are sacrifices and festivals and dances. How, in such a state as this, will they abstain from desires which thrust many a man and woman into perdition; and from which reason, assuming the functions of law, commands them to abstain? The ordinances already made may possibly get the better of most of these desires; the prohibition of excessive wealth is a very considerable gain in the direction of temperance, and the whole education of our youth imposes a law of moderation on them; moreover, the eye of the rulers is required always to watch over the young, and never to lose sight of them; and these provisions do, as far as human means can effect anything, exercise a regulating influence upon the desires in general. But how can we take precautions against the unnatural loves of either sex, from which innumerable evils have come upon individuals and cities? How shall we devise a remedy and way of escape out of so great a danger? Truly, Cleinias, here is a difficulty. In many ways Crete and Lacedaemon furnish a great help to those who make peculiar laws; but in the matter of love, as we are alone, I must confess that they are quite against us. For if any one following nature should lay down the law which existed before the days of Laius, and denounce these lusts as contrary to nature, adducing the animals as a proof that such unions were monstrous, he might prove his point, but he would be wholly at variance with the custom of your states. Further, they are repugnant to a principle which we say that a legislator should always observe; for we are always enquiring which of our enactments tends to virtue and which not. And suppose we grant that these loves are accounted by law to the honourable, or at least not disgraceful, in what degree will they contribute to virtue? Will such passions implant in the soul of him who is seduced the habit of courage, or in the soul of the seducer the principle of temperance? Who will ever believe this? or rather, who will not blame the effeminacy of him who yields to pleasures and is unable to hold out against them? Will not all men censure as womanly him who imitates the woman? And who would ever think of establishing such a practice by law? certainly no one who had in his mind the image of true law. How can we prove that what I am saying is true? He who would rightly consider these matters must see the nature of friendship and desire, and of these so-called loves, for they are of two kinds, and out of the two arises a third kind, having the same name; and this similarity of name causes all the difficulty and obscurity.
CLEINIAS: How is that?
ATHENIAN: Dear is the like in virtue to the like, and the equal to the equal; dear also, though unlike, is he who has abundance to him who is in want. And when either of these friendships becomes excessive, we term the excess love.
CLEINIAS: Very true.
ATHENIAN: The friendship which arises from contraries is horrible and coarse, and has often no tie of communion; but that which arises from likeness is gentle, and has a tie of communion which lasts through life. As to the mixed sort which is made up of them both, there is, first of all, a difficulty in determining what he who is possessed by this third love desires; moreover, he is drawn different ways, and is in doubt between the two principles; the one exhorting him to enjoy the beauty of youth, and the other forbidding him. For the one is a lover of the body, and hungers after beauty, like ripe fruit, and would fain satisfy himself without any regard to the character of the beloved; the other holds the desire of the body to be a secondary matter, and looking rather than loving and with his soul desiring the soul of the other in a becoming manner, regards the satisfaction of the bodily love as wantonness; he reverences and respects temperance and courage and magnanimity and wisdom, and wishes to live chastely with the chaste object of his affection. Now the sort of love which is made up of the other two is that which we have described as the third. Seeing then that there are these three sorts of love, ought the law to prohibit and forbid them all to exist among us? Is it not rather clear that we should wish to have in the state the love which is of virtue and which desires the beloved youth to be the best possible; and the other two, if possible, we should hinder? What do you say, friend Megillus?
MEGILLUS: I think, Stranger, that you are perfectly right in what you have been now saying.
Athenian: I knew well, my friend, that I should obtain your assent, which I accept, and therefore have no need to analyze your custom any further. Cleinias shall be prevailed upon to give me his assent at some other time. Enough of this; and now let us proceed to the laws.
MEGILLUS: Very good.
ATHENIAN: Upon reflection I see a way of imposing the law, which, in one respect, is easy, but, in another, is of the utmost difficulty.
MEGILLUS: What do you mean?
ATHENIAN: We are all aware that most men, in spite of their lawless natures, are very strictly and precisely restrained from intercourse with the fair, and this is not at all against their will, but entirely with their will.
MEGILLUS: When do you mean?
ATHENIAN: When any one has a brother or sister who is fair; and about a son or daughter the same unwritten law holds, and is a most perfect safeguard, so that no open or secret connexion ever takes place between them. Nor does the thought of such a thing ever enter at all into the minds of most of them.
MEGILLUS: Very true.
ATHENIAN: Does not a little word extinguish all pleasures of that sort?
MEGILLUS: What word?
ATHENIAN: The declaration that they are unholy, hated of God, and most infamous; and is not the reason of this that no one has ever said the opposite, but every one from his earliest childhood has heard men speaking in the same manner about them always and everywhere, whether in comedy or in the graver language of tragedy? When the poet introduces on the stage a Thyestes or an Oedipus, or a Macareus having secret intercourse with his sister, he represents him, when found out, ready to kill himself as the penalty of his sin.
MEGILLUS: You are very right in saying that tradition, if no breath of opposition ever assails it, has a marvellous power.
ATHENIAN: Am I not also right in saying that the legislator who wants to master any of the passions which master man may easily know how to subdue them? He will consecrate the tradition of their evil character among all, slaves and freemen, women and children, throughout the city: that will be the surest foundation of the law which he can make.
MEGILLUS: Yes; but will he ever succeed in making all mankind use the same language about them?
ATHENIAN: A good objection; but was I not just now saying that I had a way to make men use natural love and abstain from unnatural, not intentionally destroying the seeds of human increase, or sowing them in stony places, in which they will take no root; and that I would command them to abstain too from any female field of increase in which that which is sown is not likely to grow? Now if a law to this effect could only be made perpetual, and gain an authority such as already prevents intercourse of parents and children—such a law, extending to other sensual desires, and conquering them, would be the source of ten thousand blessings. For, in the first place, moderation is the appointment of nature, and deters men from all frenzy and madness of love, and from all adulteries and immoderate use of meats and drinks, and makes them good friends to their own wives. And innumerable other benefits would result if such a law could only be enforced. I can imagine some lusty youth who is standing by, and who, on hearing this enactment, declares in scurrilous terms that we are making foolish and impossible laws, and fills the world with his outcry. And therefore I said that I knew a way of enacting and perpetuating such a law, which was very easy in one respect, but in another most difficult. There is no difficulty in seeing that such a law is possible, and in what way; for, as I was saying, the ordinance once consecrated would master the soul of every man, and terrify him into obedience. But matters have now come to such a pass that even then the desired result seems as if it could not be attained, just as the continuance of an entire state in the practice of common meals is also deemed impossible. And although this latter is partly disproven by the fact of their existence among you, still even in your cities the common meals of women would be regarded as unnatural and impossible. I was thinking of the rebelliousness of the human heart when I said that the permanent establishment of these things is very difficult.
MEGILLUS: Very true.
ATHENIAN: Shall I try and find some sort of persuasive argument which will prove to you that such enactments are possible, and not beyond human nature?
CLEINIAS: By all means.
ATHENIAN: Is a man more likely to abstain from the pleasures of love and to do what he is bidden about them, when his body is in a good condition, or when he is in an ill condition, and out of training?
CLEINIAS: He will be far more temperate when he is in training.
ATHENIAN: And have we not heard of Iccus of Tarentum, who, with a view to the Olympic and other contests, in his zeal for his art, and also because he was of a manly and temperate disposition, never had any connexion with a woman or a youth during the whole time of his training? And the same is said of Crison and Astylus and Diopompus and many others; and yet, Cleinias, they were far worse educated in their minds than your and my citizens, and in their bodies far more lusty.
CLEINIAS: No doubt this fact has been often affirmed positively by the ancients of these athletes.
ATHENIAN: And had they the courage to abstain from what is ordinarily deemed a pleasure for the sake of a victory in wrestling, running, and the like; and shall our young men be incapable of a similar endurance for the sake of a much nobler victory, which is the noblest of all, as from their youth upwards we will tell them, charming them, as we hope, into the belief of this by tales and sayings and songs?
CLEINIAS: Of what victory are you speaking?
ATHENIAN: Of the victory over pleasure, which if they win, they will live happily; or if they are conquered, the reverse of happily. And, further, may we not suppose that the fear of impiety will enable them to master that which other inferior people have mastered?
CLEINIAS: I dare say.
ATHENIAN: And since we have reached this point in our legislation, and have fallen into a difficulty by reason of the vices of mankind, I affirm that our ordinance should simply run in the following terms: Our citizens ought not to fall below the nature of birds and beasts in general, who are born in great multitudes, and yet remain until the age for procreation virgin and unmarried, but when they have reached the proper time of life are coupled, male and female, and lovingly pair together, and live the rest of their lives in holiness and innocence, abiding firmly in their original compact: surely, we will say to them, you should be better than the animals. But if they are corrupted by the other Hellenes and the common practice of barbarians, and they see with their eyes and hear with their ears of the so-called free love everywhere prevailing among them, and they themselves are not able to get the better of the temptation, the guardians of the law, exercising the functions of lawgivers, shall devise a second law against them.
CLEINIAS: And what law would you advise them to pass if this one failed?
ATHENIAN: Clearly, Cleinias, the one which would naturally follow.
CLEINIAS: What is that?
ATHENIAN: Our citizens should not allow pleasures to strengthen with indulgence, but should by toil divert the aliment and exuberance of them into other parts of the body; and this will happen if no immodesty be allowed in the practice of love. Then they will be ashamed of frequent intercourse, and they will find pleasure, if seldom enjoyed, to be a less imperious mistress. They should not be found out doing anything of the sort. Concealment shall be honourable, and sanctioned by custom and made law by unwritten prescription; on the other hand, to be detected shall be esteemed dishonourable, but not, to abstain wholly. In this way there will be a second legal standard of honourable and dishonourable, involving a second notion of right. Three principles will comprehend all those corrupt natures whom we call inferior to themselves, and who form but one class, and will compel them not to transgress.
CLEINIAS: What are they?
ATHENIAN: The principle of piety, the love of honour, and the desire of beauty, not in the body but in the soul. These are, perhaps, romantic aspirations; but they are the noblest of aspirations, if they could only be realised in all states, and, God willing, in the matter of love we may be able to enforce one of two things—either that no one shall venture to touch any person of the freeborn or noble class except his wedded wife, or sow the unconsecrated and bastard seed among harlots, or in barren and unnatural lusts; or at least we may abolish altogether the connection of men with men; and as to women, if any man has to do with any but those who come into his house duly married by sacred rites, whether they be bought or acquired in any other way, and he offends publicly in the face of all mankind, we shall be right in enacting that he be deprived of civic honours and privileges, and be deemed to be, as he truly is, a stranger. Let this law, then, whether it is one, or ought rather to be called two, be laid down respecting love in general, and the intercourse of the sexes which arises out of the desires, whether rightly or wrongly indulged.
There is speculation that Plato's ideas on Sexual Morality and many other things came from Zoroastrianism.  Manicheism drew even more on Zoroastrianism having developed in Persia (modern Iran) for much of it's history.  Zoroastrianism is often called the first Monotheistic religion (by those who teach the deception that Judaism wasn't always Monotheistic) but it's really Dualisim.  It's Satan figure and God figure are equal, unlike in the Abrahamic Faiths.

Another theory is Plato got it from the Pathagoreans.  The strict reproductive sex only morality Laws sought to codify does seem consistent with the cosmology laid out by the title character in Timaeus who was a Pathagorean.  Timaeus is also the main Platonic text that was drawn on by the Gnostics in forming their cosmology.

The primary work taken to label Plato as approving of Same-Sex love is Symposium.  Symposium is one of his early works while Republic, Timaeus, Critias and Laws are much later works.  Thus some have suggested that Plato's view of Homosexuality changed at some point, perhaps as a result of encountering Pathagorens in Italy, like Robert H. Allen.

But I also think Symposium is being a bit satirical, the drunk pretentious partiers wax poetical about male-male love (and it even includes in Aristophanes speech the only positive statement about female same-sex love from a male Greek writer) when it's an abstract.  But at the end once someone starts actually trying to get laid it shows it's trues color (in Plato's eyes) as being embarrassing and demeaning.

Diodorus Sicilus was another Philosophically minded Ancient Greek who wrote against Homosexuality.  In his History, 32.10.9.3.

Pagan Roman culture was very socially conservative, contrary to our popular modern stereotypes.  And Ovid, an important Roman poet of the first century BC argued that Homosexuality was unnatural in his Metamorphosis 9.758.  Also from Ovid, Ars Amatoria 2.683–684; Pollini, "Warren Cup," p. 36.

All the accusations of homosexual activity leveled against the "Decadent" Emperors come down to us from Senatorial class sources that wanted to make those Emperors look bad.  Suetonius was essentially an Ancient Tabloid reporter.  Juvenal's second Satire also links Homosexuality to what he saw as wrong with the Rome of his day.

There are websites out there attempting to say Epicureanism was "Hedonistic" this is never based on any actual quote of Epicurus about sexuality.  They are unaware of quotes like "Sexual intercourse never did anyone any good and it is fortunate if it does no harm."  Lucretius was an Epicurean who was a major influence on Rome.  The Epicureans were the chief promoting the ancient equivalent of the Theory of Evolution.  They were naturalists and materialists, and the NT allusions to them practically treat them as the Greek equivalents to the Sadducees.