Friday, June 02, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
I do not believe God will condemn practicing homosexuals, or people with homosexual inclinations, to hell.
In general I believe this because I don’t think what the Bible talks about is the same thing as a loving monogamous homosexual relationship. Those who surrounded God’s people in the Old Testament tended to employ sex as a part of worship of fertility gods and goddesses, so that type of sex was idolatry. Paul was surrounded by a Grecco/Roman culture, and…considering that the first phrase I learned in my current study of ancient Greek was "Kalos o pais esti" (beautiful is the boy), which is a phrase that is found on hundreds of pots given to Greek boys by their adult lovers, it is safe to say he was surrounded by a very specific type of homosexuality, Pedophilia. What I am saying is that the sexual acts God condemns are not the current sexual acts (or state of being for that matter) of homosexuals.
Let’s look at this is more detail. In every case in which the Bible seems to condemn homosexuality it is never the case. Let us walk through the verses.
- Genesis 19, Sodom. Raping angels is a no no (as is being raped by Angels, see Genesis 6 and my comments on Leviticus), further if one is to follow this story for its morals then one needs to offer their children up to be raped (same with Judges 19).
- Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 both deal with ritual purity, as does most of the book. Ritual purity tends to involve contact between holy and mortal (hence a Levite gets zapped for touching the Arc, and also why early Judaism viewed Genesis 6, the coupling of the "sons of God and the daughters of men" as "the fall" not Genesis 4) and powers of life and death such as semen and menstrual blood. Other examples of abominations include women wearing trousers and the eating of shrimp, buzzards, and "crawling things." What is especially troubling about these verses is Leviticus 20:13, which calls for killing of him who "lies with a male as with a woman."
- Romans 1: 26-27. Let’s look at what Paul was condemning, Bacchanalia or some such sexual-religious ritual. Read in context Paul is talking about worship. These, I presume former, Christians have switched from worshiping God to worshiping in a Pagan temple. They are punished for this in mid-Bacchanal, by having sex with people that they would not normally have sex with. In other words heterosexual ex-Christians go against their sexual orientation while blissed out on drugs, booze, fasting, and pagan ritual and have sex with people of the same sex.
- Corinthians 6:9 and 1st Timothy 1:10. If Paul wanted to refer to homosexuals in these verses he would have referred talked about "Paiderasste" but he didn’t he made up his own word "Arsenokoita," or literally manbed. To figure out what a manbed is it is best to look at 1st Timothy, since the manbed is put into a list with several other types of people, "immoral people" and "kidnapers." So what do "immoral people, manbeds, and kidnapers" have in common? Well, immoral people could perhaps be better-translated "male prostitutes" (the Septuagint uses this Greek word for male prostitutes). So Paul seems to be condemning male prostitutes, johns, and pimps.
Now, I have to say in all honesty I don’t know if Paul or Jesus (who I must mention says nothing about homosexuality) would condemn modern homosexuality. If Jesus or Paul were to be taken to the LGBTQ meeting at the University of Oregon, I have a feeling they may not react extremely well to the surroundings. After all they were both Jews from a very specific time and space, and though Jesus was and is God, he "emptied himself," (Philippians 2:7) and was in fact a Jewish dude in a specific time and place. Frankly, I believe if a pre-resurrection Jesus showed up in church and saw us worshiping him as YHVH he’d take offense (the resurrected Jesus on the other hand, is cool with it).
I must also admit my attitude toward homosexuals is shaped by my experiences as well as by scripture. After the Matthew Shephard murder I was introduced to one of his gay friends, the brother of a councilor at University of Wyoming High School Summer Institute. He was both Gay and a good Lutheran man. When I went to University of Oregon I met a plethora of homosexual people, many of them stereotypically flamboyant, some not. Two of them stick out in my mind. One was a guy in a creative writing class I was in, he was a bit pretentious, but no more an abomination than Leviticus’ "rock badger." The other was a lady about my mother’s age, who I had many a religious studies classes with. She had a loving partner and was a Calvinist, but was alienated from both her family and her church because of her sexual orientation. She believed, and I assume still believes, quite strongly in God. To her in Christ there is "no male or female," means God accepts her too.
All this said, I will admit in humbleness, that I could be wrong. Judah could be right; my understanding of homosexuality could simply be "the modern human view" instead of God’s. After all homosexuals who have sex outside of marriage do have sex outside of marriage. Perhaps, with me the Word of God has landed amongst the thorns of this world. I do not believe so, but it is possible.