home
RSS
My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?
June 21st, 2011
10:10 AM ET

My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and those who disagree just haven’t read their Bibles closely enough.

Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.

I don’t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”

Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless and universal and the other as culturally relative.

I also don’t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition.

But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy in 390 A.D. — merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be equally worthwhile endeavors — he was deemed a heretic and excommunicated from the church.

How does that sit with “family values” activism today?

Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin has noted that today’s "pro-family" activism, despite its pretense to be representing traditional Christian values, would have been considered “heresy” for most of the church’s history.

The community opposed to gay marriage has also departed from the Christian tradition on another issue at the heart of its social agenda: abortion.

Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception.

Although he admitted some uncertainty on the matter, the hugely influential 4th and 5th century Christian thinker Saint Augustine wrote, “it could not be said that there was a living soul in [a] body” if it is “not yet endowed with senses.”

Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology, argued: “before the body has organs in any way whatever, it cannot be receptive of the soul.”

American evangelicals, meanwhile, widely opposed the idea that life begins at conception until the 1970s, with some even advocating looser abortion laws based on their reading of the Bible before then.

It won’t do to oppose gay marriage because it’s not traditional while advocating other positions that are not traditional.

And then there’s the topic of divorce. Although there is only one uncontested reference to same-sex relations in the New Testament, divorce is condemned throughout, both by Jesus and Paul. To quote Jesus from the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”

A possible exception is made only for unfaithfulness.

The community most opposed to gay marriage usually reads these condemnations very leniently. A 2007 issue of Christianity Today, for example, featured a story on its cover about divorce that concluded that Christians should permit divorce for “adultery,” “emotional and physical neglect” and “abandonment and abuse.”

The author emphasizes how impractical it would be to apply a strict interpretation of Jesus on this matter: “It is difficult to believe the Bible can be as impractical as this interpretation implies.”

Indeed it is.

On the other hand, it’s not at all difficult for a community of Christian leaders, who are almost exclusively white, heterosexual men, to advocate interpretations that can be very impractical for a historically oppressed minority to which they do not belong – homosexuals.

Whether the topic is hair length, celibacy, when life begins, or divorce, time and again, the leaders most opposed to gay marriage have demonstrated an incredible willingness to consider nuances and complicating considerations when their own interests are at stake.

Since graduating from seminary, I no longer identify with the evangelical community of my youth. The community gave me many fond memories and sound values but it also taught me to take the very human perspectives of its leaders and attribute them to God.

So let’s stop the charade and be honest.

Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

soundoff (6,474 Responses)
  1. Rob from Minnesota

    Observer, I just wanted to thank you for the other day. We may not see eye to eye on somethings but we cab still be cordial to each other.
    Now, having said that, you mentioned that same gender realations as a minority. I agree that we should not discriminate. But with this mentality then our choices would make us who we are. Now, I know that you say they are born this way, to them it is what they are. Here is an example. We all have to eat. But if I lack the self control and over eat I get fat. Should I be discriminated against because I can't control myself. Airplane seats are to small they say. Is this now a race of people because of a choice. What we do in the bed room is a choice. The alternative is abstinence. That is why 1 Cor.: 7-9 paul says if you cannot control the flesh then marry. It is not an easy solution. But if it is from our God than following Him never will be. If we spent as much time on our knees in prayer seeking the Father than we do arguing about this we would find the answers. Duet. 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • LOL

      The experts in psychology disagree with you and have shown that being gay is not a choice. Gays and lesbians deserve the same happiness as you do, they have the right to be in loving partnerships married before God. They deserve the right to have family's, just like in your example fat people deserve the right to have families. Just like you deserve the right to have a family. Gays are not second class citizens. Oh and by the way in case you dont' know studies comparing groups of children raised by ho-mos-exual and by heteros-exual parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in four critical areas: their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, and popularity with friends. It is also important to realize that a parent's s-exual orientation does not indicate their children's.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • LinCA

      @Rob from Minnesota

      You said "I agree that we should not discriminate. But with this mentality then our choices would make us who we are. Now, I know that you say they are born this way, to them it is what they are. Here is an example. We all have to eat. But if I lack the self control and over eat I get fat. Should I be discriminated against because I can't control myself. Airplane seats are to small they say. Is this now a race of people because of a choice. What we do in the bed room is a choice."

      Your analogy is wrong. Overeating is a recognized disorder. There are serious health risks to excess consumption. There are also treatments for this disorder that actually improve the quality of life.

      Also, while there is a stigma associated with being fat, a lot of accommodations are made in US society for those that are. It's been a while since I've seen a ballot measure aimed at discriminating fat people. I don't see any church picketing funerals to protest over eaters.

      There are quite a few fat christians. If you feel so strongly about fat people, you should kick those fatties out of your church.

      You said "The alternative is abstinence. That is why 1 Cor.: 7-9 paul says if you cannot control the flesh then marry. It is not an easy solution. But if it is from our God than following Him never will be. If we spent as much time on our knees in prayer seeking the Father than we do arguing about this we would find the answers. Duet. 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

      Abstinence (of anything) is an option for those that consider the practice (whatever that practice is) wrong. You don't get to determine what's wrong for anybody but yourself. Based on your religion, you get to determine only for yourself what you do, or don't do. Your religion doesn't apply to anyone else.

      You can quote scripture until the cows come home, but it won't make a difference. Your bible means nothing to anyone who doesn't subscribe to your particular flavor of religion.

      Anyone who tries to restrict same sex marriage based on their religion, is a bigot.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Rob from Minnesota

      LOL, I appreciate your argument. I don't believe that two men or women can't raise a healthy child. happens all the time. children can adapt to almost any situation. Most people in this country agree with your position. I however do not believe that the bible says it is ok. Under God, to bless a union, it is to be a man and a woman. Expert psychologist are still trying to figure out the Lords creation. To be honest there have been a lot of miss diagnost cases that have caused severe damage by these experts. What it all boils down to is. I hope for all your sakes that I am misinterpeting the bible. I would never intentionally try to hurt any of you. I just Love the Lord and don't what to see anyone go to the dark place. I hope that you will not lash out at me as I am only an observer as well.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • LOL

      The experts used 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that ho-mos-exuality, in and itself, is not as-sociated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems.

      “I hope for all your sakes that I am misinterpeting the bible.”

      You are because what the bible states is wrong is male prosti-tution, ra-pe and idolatry not what we now know about gays. Time to pick up a history book so you understand the culture the time the bible was written.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Rob from minnesota

    Wow

    August 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Rob from minnesota

      they wont put my comments in. Why?

      August 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Observer

      Rob,

      Look for "naughty" words for real or hidden accidentally in others. Look especially for words containing "s3x", etc.

      August 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • LinCA

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
      arse
      bastard
      bitch
      cock
      coon
      cum
      cunt
      douche
      effing
      fag
      ftw
      fuck
      homo
      horny
      jackass
      jap
      jism
      kooch
      nipple
      orgy
      pis
      porn
      poo
      prick
      rape
      sex
      shit
      slut
      snatch
      spic
      tit
      twat
      vag
      whore
      wtf

      To fix that you can break up the word by putting an extra character in, like consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      August 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Observer

      LinCA,

      Okay. I'm impressed. So how did you beat the system?

      August 2, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Rob from Minnesota

      Observer, Thanks

      August 3, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • LinCA

      @Observer

      The comment board allows some HTML text formatting tags (so far I've only found the ones for bold and italics to work). The tags themselves won't print but they can be used to fool the automated censoring.

      So, typing "consti<b></b>tution" will print as "constitution" and
      "<b>bold</b>" prints as "bold" and
      "<i>italics</i>" prints as "italics"

      August 3, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  3. AvdBerg

    “By posting our comments we learned that all the dialogue was controlled by a number of people who supported their views with personal attacks and insults, which was made possible by those that had their fingers on the buttons at CNN.”

    This is a complete and outright lie and you call yourself Christians. The problem is you don’t understand technology. CNN has nothing to do with it but ordinary people that can see through your deception and understand you are nothing more than two prejudice bigoted people who refuse to understand the truth about gays and lesbians today.

    “The comments by people with opposing views were either blocked and some replies were presented in a most demeaning manner and was sometimes even accompanied with foul language.”

    SO WHAT – it’s called freedom of speech in America.

    “On a few occasions we even had our website that we referred to in our comments, changed to a website that promoted a so-called Gay Christian church. Obviously, these changes could have only been made by CNN employees”

    Another LIE, you are not Christians with your constant lying and that is why you are nothing more than a self serving person trying to sell your propaganda of distorted truths. The user names and emails on this forum are not locked down so you can sign in as anyone you want. In addition, a word filter blocks emails from posting if certain words are detected in the content and a list has been circulating on this blog. I have had my handle stolen several times but it has nothing to do with CNN employees, which is why they haven’t bothered to respond to your NONSENSE.

    “If you are able to understand the inside workings of the Belief Blog and look through all the deceit, there is a strong possibility that they even could be CNN Moderators, who control the buttons of the dialogue.”
    NO CNN is not controlling this, it’s the people on here playing games with you and also clicking the report abuse link because you are posting lies!

    “The churches may have had a hidden agenda in dealing with the s-exual abuse by their clergy but it is our view that CNN's hidden agenda, along with other media outlets, far exceeds anything that portrays the religious agenda, which is to withhold the truth from the people.”

    Oh, please you’re seeing things and reading into this to promote and use propaganda to sell your site and book. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    “While posting several messages on the Blog for the article 'Gay Marriage foes twist Bible' we learned on July 14, 2011 that a few individuals used our ident-ity to post messages referring visitors to their website http://www.gaychristian101.com under our User Name. The messages therefore were a total distortion of the principals and teachings of our Ministry.”

    Oh poor babies, well guess what gaychristians10l has just as much right to show their side of the story too. You are even unwilling to look at the truths about gays, you are trying to tell people it’s still a choice, which it is not the experts in science and psychology has proven that!

    “CNN obviously does not realize that Ident-ity Theft and the use of someone's name is a Criminal Offense and the individuals responsible should be held accountable for their actions.”

    They are handle names when you log in you don’t own the rights to them and it’s NOT CNN responsibility you saps.

    “It is our hope that CNN will implement immediate changes, in order that there can be an honest and open dialogue about the issues and articles that are posted.”

    It’s been an open dialogue but posting your website for your own agenda is a joke. What you want is for people to agree with your distorted versions of the truth so you can continue to justify your prejudice and hatred toward a minority group. You are nothing more than a bunch of self serving lost souls controlled by Satan himself.

    Yeah....I stole your handle and I don't work for CNN – SUE ME!

    August 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Observer

      AvdBerg,
      "people who supported their views with personal attacks and insults"

      That exactly sums you up. Look at all the attacks and insults in your statements above. You have made FALSE accusations like that I had sabotaged your website. "Lying lips are an abomination unto the Lord". Hypocrisy is something you don't understand at all. Just keep ignoring your own abominations and pick on other people's abominations.

      No one has tried to stop any comment you have made, including the outright FALSE ACCUSATIONS, as long as you don't use CNN to peddle your book and cult website. Comment don't advertize. This is not QVC. Don't trash CNN and then use it for free advertizing. There isn't any integrity in doing that. TRY to make an effort to be fair and honest; Jesus would be impressed then.

      August 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • LOL

      They see the faults in CNN because those are the same faults they have, their seeing the speck in CNN"s eye but are totally oblivious to the log in theirs. The issue is you are making judgments about people you refuse to hear the truth about, being gay is NOT a choice.Human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, s-exual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior s-exual experience. Psychologists do not consider s-exual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

      August 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  4. Reagan80

    I guess CNN has taken to publishing the gyrations of young men trying to exorcise their own demons.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • LOL

      Actually its more like trying to educated the ignorant so they understand the truth about gays. Human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, s-exual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior s-exual experience. Psychologists do not consider s-exual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed. 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that ho-mos-exuality, in and itself, is not as-sociated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems. Ho-mos-exuality was once thought to be a mental illness because mental health professionals and society had biased information. Studies comparing groups of children raised by ho-mos-exual and by heteros-exual parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in four critical areas: their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, and popularity with friends. It is also important to realize that a parent's s-exual orientation does not indicate their children's.

      By the way did you notice this part “because mental health professionals and society had biased information.” That includes the Christian community.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Expert

      And I guess Reagan80 is a mindless bigot who assumes everyone who supports gay rights is gay.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  5. Brian

    People, pastors such as the author rely on the ignorance of the audience by giving us tidbits of what the Bible states. Not putting into full context of what audience a certain Book of the Bible was written to. WIthout that information, one could be very mislead, and worse regergitate what they heard, by saying the Bible says "such and such". Relying on a man proclaiming to be educated in what scripture says. Mr. Dudley states gives us 1 Corinthians 11:14-15, but look at the full context of what Paul is telling us. Go back to the beginning of Chapter 11. Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians, it starts off about head coverings, as was the practice by Jews, the Corinthians started a similar practice. Paul was addressing an issue. There are many warning of false teachers throughout the Bible. If you want to know what God said, skip the middle man, preachers, arm chair Christians and go to the source. THE BIBLE. Scripture may have been penned by man, but it was inspired by God, the true author of our Salvation. There are many flaws in what Mr. Dudley writes, maybe he is relying on CNN has a more atheistic audience, less knowledgable than say another website?? I don't know for sure.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Yeah forget history and what was happening to that time period, take the bible literally and get it wrong. You are so narrow minded that you have to believe your spew of nonsense so you don't have to face that fact that you're nothing but a prejudice narrow minded bigot. Good luck with that on the other side you pathetic reason for a human being.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  6. CG

    To say that all Christians are hypocrites in regards to our stance on ho*mos*exuality is a false statement. We stand firmly on the word of God. Now while many believe the Bible is confusing in regards to this matter, to state that Christians in general are singling out this matter so we can hide our sin is a bold face lie. Nobody is perfect. We understand that. But from a Christian perspective, there is no excuse for ho*mos*exuality as there is not excuse for fornication, divorce (except for the cause of unfaithfulness), or nay other sin. To say that we are singling out one sin of so many is singling out Christians for their true values and what they believe in.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Observer

      Christian hypocrites jumped all over the story here about gay marriage, but ignored a story at the same time about hetero fidelity. All hypocrisy.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • YeahRight

      CG the problem with your argument is that you are not in this century with the truth about gays and lesbians. It's interesting that you leave the truth of the decade out in your argument. Typical Christians....I don't hear or see the truth of the here and now.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  7. Zach

    Thanks for addressing my argument from Genesis 2!

    August 1, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Zach

      And by the way, it is clear that Observer and LOL have never actually studied the Bible. And Walter, you have just performed the greatest hermeneutical gymnastics I have ever seen. I hope the Rev. and Dr. next to your name are jokes.

      August 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • LOL

      "And by the way, it is clear that Observer and LOL have never actually studied the Bible."

      Actually your the one who hasn't studied it. Your problem is that we don't agree with you then you have to throw insults since you don't actually have a real argument with facts to back up your prejudices. . LOL!

      August 1, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Observer

      Zach,

      If you ACTUALLY studied the Bible you'd know there is more in support of abortion than against it.

      August 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Zach

      Where does the Bible support abortion? The Bible clearly condemns the the taking of innocent life (murder), and an embryo is considered a human being (Psalm 139:16 "Your eyes saw my unformed substance." The Hebrew is literally "embryo"). You are going to have to argue against one of these premises.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Expert

      Zach, now you're just making stuff up. The Hebrew word is embryo? Really? The word "embryo" did not even exist when that verse was written. You need to spend less time on the internet and more time doing your homework for your high-school history class.

      I guess Augustine and Aquinas just didn't read that verse in the Bible LOL

      August 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Zach

      Hey Expert, the Hebrew word is golem and it means "formless substance" or "embryo." Of course the word embryo wasn't around when the Psalm was written- that's what it means in English though. I'd tell you to look it up in a Hebrew lexicon, but you probably don't have one sitting on your shelf like I do. Quit acting like you know what you're talking about when you don't. And Augustine and Aquinas never supported abortion. If you guys knew anything about the early church, you'd know that the church was a strong opponent of Roman infanticide.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Observer

      Zach,

      The Bible NEVER mentions abortion. Just like most issues, everyone picks and chooses what they WANT to believe.

      Exodus 21 says that if someone is fighting and causes a miscarriage, the penalty is a FINE for killing the baby, but it would be death if the mother died. Definitely not the same value for a life.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Expert

      The idea that the word translates "embryo" is complete nonsense–and no past theologian interpreted the verse that way–and only reinforces the author's point that evangelicals (and I'm sure your "concordance" was published by a right-wing evangelical press) happily manipulate the Bible to make it say what they want it to. The idea that the Bible says life begins at conception was not widespread among Christians until the 1980s, shortly after the religious right began.

      Being against infanticide does not mean being against abortion, and as others have pointed out, Augustine and Aquinas only opposed abortion before "formation" because they opposed contraception, not because they thought it involved taking a life.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • SecularBelief

      A formless substance could be jelly,could it not?
      Interpretations of different words change according to the concept they are placed in and the age during which the word was created so to come up with your own conclusion with or without the help of a lexicon,dictionary or whatever...

      August 2, 2011 at 5:24 am |
    • Al

      Nobody even knows who wrote thje Psalms ! Someone asked me if I had a Pastor and I said no , have no animals to put there .....

      August 2, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  8. Zach

    Why do so many people think it's okay to twist what the Bible says? Oh yeah- they give into the culture (this is called "worldliness" by the way). The Bible is EXTREMELY CLEAR on issues of marriage and se*xuality. The relationship is supposed to be exclusive and it is between a man and a woman. Genesis 2 is quite clear on God's design. Two men can't reproduce together nor can two women- and that is the basis of all this.

    Yes divorce is sin outside of cases of adultery (Matthew 19) and desertion (1 Corinthians 7). Most Christians who say hom*omse*xuality is a sin are not saying divorce or any other sin is okay. Ho*mos*exuality gets singled out because it is becoming more acceptable in the culture. Nobody had to talk about this 50 years ago in America. Of course there are other sins that need to be singled out in our culture: idolatry, divorce, fornication, adultery, abortion, etc. People should quit complaining when the church is doing its job by proclaiming the truth of God's Word when it is being opposed in the culture.

    If you don't like what the Bible says when it calls h*omos*exuality sinful and immoral, then you are rejecting the God of the Bible. So if you want to be a Christian, quit being a wuss and stand up for the Word of God in a culture that despises it.

    August 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Observer

      Zach,

      Speaking of God's word, do you support Jesus when he said that people should not divorce except for adultery?

      No divorces for people, yes or no?

      August 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Zach

      I just said what I thought. Divorce is always against God's design of life-long marriage. And divorce is sin except for the innocent party in cases of adultery and desertion. I agree with Jesus. But so you know, Jesus leaves out the "exception clause" in Mark and Luke. The exceptions of adultery and desertion are assumed by Jesus in Mark and Luke, and Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7 make these cases explicit. Are you trying to bait me into something here?

      August 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Observer

      Zach,
      This whole article is about HYPOCRISY. If Christians ACTUALLY cared about sins, they would be on here trashing the FAR FAR GREATER number of Christians who commit the Ten Commandment sin of adultery by remarrying. Why aren't you taking on that MUCH BIGGER problem than gay marriage?

      As far as abortion goes, the Bible offers more support for abortion than against it. It's just another example of pick and choose what you want to make an issue out of. That's the whole point of Dudley's comments.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • LOL

      "Two men can't reproduce together nor can two women- and that is the basis of all this. "

      No it's not because there are infertile people in this world so their sinning if they can't reproduce that is a very lame argument. What about older people they can't reproduce so if they want to get married later in life they can't based on your poor logic. God created mankind – that is also stated in the bible which you are conveniently leaving out. What God is condemning in the bible is male proti-itution, ra-pe and idolatry not ho-mo-s-exualty as we know and understand it today.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • LOL

      "If you don't like what the Bible says when it calls h*omos*exuality sinful and immoral, then you are rejecting the God of the Bible."

      That's why there are now churches that accept gays and lesbians and there are gay and lesbian clergy too. You're only trying to justify your personal prejudice and hatred nothing more. Science and psychologist today have shown that what we knew about gays in the past was based on bias and prejudice information, it's time to stop the hate.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Rev. Dr. Walter

      S*exual issues are tearing our churches apart today as never before. The issue of ho*mos*exuality threatens to fracture whole denominations, as the issue of slavery did a hundred and fifty years ago. We naturally turn to the Bible for guidance, and find ourselves mired in interpretative quicksand. Is the Bible able to speak to our confusion on this issue?
      The debate over ho*mos*exuality is a remarkable opportunity, because it raises in an especially acute way how we interpret the Bible, not in this case only, but in numerous others as well. The real issue here, then, is not simply ho*mos*exuality, but how Scripture informs our lives today.
      Some pa*ssages that have been advanced as pertinent to the issue of ho*mos*exuality are, in fact, irrelevant. One is the attempted gang rap*e in Sodom (Gen. 19:1-29). That was a case of ostensibly heteros*exual males intent on humiliating strangers by treating them “like women,” thus demasculinizing them. (This is also the case in a similar account in Judges 19-21.) Their brutal behavior has nothing to do with the problem of whether genuine love expressed between consenting adults of the same s*ex is legitimate or not. Likewise Deut. 23:17-18 must be pruned from the list, since it most likely refers to a heteros*exual prosti*tute involved in Canaanite fertility rites that have infiltrated Jewish worship; the King James Version inaccurately labeled him a “sodomite.”
      Several other texts are ambiguous. It is not clear whether 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10 refer to the “pa*ssive” and “active” partners in ho*mos*exual relationships, or to ho*mos*exual and heteros*exual male prosti*tutes. In short, it is unclear whether the issue is ho*mos*exuality alone, or promiscuity and “s*ex-for-hire.”
      Unequivocal Condemnations
      Putting these texts to the side, we are left with three references, all of which unequivocally condemn ho*mos*exual behavior. Lev. 18:22 states the principle: “You [masculine] shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (NRSV). The second (Lev. 20:13) adds the penalty: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
      Such an act was regarded as an “abomination” for several reasons. The Hebrew prescientific understanding was that male semen contained the whole of nascent life. With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was a*ssumed that the woman provided only the incubating space. Hence the spilling of semen for any nonprocreative purpose–in coitus interruptus (Gen. 38:1-11), male ho*mos*exual acts, or male masturbation–was considered tantamount to abortion or murder. (Female ho*mos*exual acts were consequently not so seriously regarded, and are not mentioned at all in the Old Testament (but see Rom. 1:26). One can appreciate how a tribe struggling to populate a country in which its people were outnumbered would value procreation highly, but such values are rendered questionable in a world facing uncontrolled overpopulation.
      In addition, when a man acted like a woman s*exually, male dignity was compromised. It was a degradation, not only in regard to himself, but for every other male. The patriarchalism of Hebrew culture shows its hand in the very formulation of the commandment, since no similar stricture was formulated to forbid ho*mos*exual acts between females. And the repugnance felt toward ho*mos*exuality was not just that it was deemed unnatural but also that it was considered unJewish, representing yet one more incursion of pagan civilization into Jewish life. On top of that is the more universal repugnance heteros*exuals tend to feel for acts and orientations foreign to them. (Left-handedness has evoked something of the same response in many cultures.)
      Whatever the rationale for their formulation, however, the texts leave no room for maneuvering. Persons committing ho*mos*exual acts are to be executed. This is the unambiguous command of Scripture. The meaning is clear: anyone who wishes to base his or her beliefs on the witness of the Old Testament must be completely consistent and demand the death penalty for everyone who performs ho*mos*exual acts. (That may seem extreme, but there actually are some Christians urging this very thing today.) It is unlikely that any American court will ever again condemn a ho*mos*exual to death, even though Scripture clearly commands it.
      Old Testament texts have to be weighed against the New. Consequently, Paul’s unambiguous condemnation of ho*mos*exual behavior in Rom. 1:26-27 must be the centerpiece of any discussion.
      For this reason God gave them up to degrading pa*ssions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with pa*ssion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
      No doubt Paul was unaware of the distinction between s*exual orientation, over which one has apparently very little choice, and s*exual behavior, over which one does. He seemed to a*ssume that those whom he condemned were heteros*exuals who were acting contrary to nature, “leaving,” “giving up,” or “exchanging” their regular s*exual orientation for that which was foreign to them. Paul knew nothing of the modern psychos*exual understanding of ho*mos*exuals as persons whose orientation is fixed early in life, or perhaps even genetically in some cases. For such persons, having heteros*exual relations would be acting contrary to nature, “leaving,” “giving up” or “exchanging” their natural s*exual orientation for one that was unnatural to them.
      In other words, Paul really thought that those whose behavior he condemned were “straight,” and that they were behaving in ways that were unnatural to them. Paul believed that everyone was straight. He had no concept of ho*mos*exual orientation. The idea was not available in his world. There are people that are genuinely ho*mos*exual by nature (whether genetically or as a result of upbringing no one really knows, and it is irrelevant). For such a person it would be acting contrary to nature to have s*exual relations with a person of the opposite s*ex.
      Likewise, the relationships Paul describes are heavy with lust; they are not relationships between consenting adults who are committed to each other as faithfully and with as much integrity as any heteros*exual couple. That was something Paul simply could not envision. Some people a*ssume today that venereal disease and AIDS are divine punishment for ho*mos*exual behavior; we know it as a risk involved in promiscuity of every stripe, ho*mos*exual and heteros*exual. In fact, the vast majority of people with AIDS the world around are heteros*exuals. We can scarcely label AIDS a divine punishment, since nonpromiscuous lesbians are at almost no risk.
      And Paul believes that ho*mos*exual behavior is contrary to nature, whereas we have learned that it is manifested by a wide variety of species, especially (but not solely) under the pressure of overpopulation. It would appear then to be a quite natural mechanism for preserving species. We cannot, of course, decide human ethical conduct solely on the basis of animal behavior or the human sciences, but Paul here is arguing from nature, as he himself says, and new knowledge of what is “natural” is therefore relevant to the case.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Al

      Bilble also says sun revolves around the earth

      August 2, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • myweightinwords

      If you're going to be a Christian that stands up for God's word, could you please take an equal stand on all things?

      I expect this to mean that you will begin stoning your disobedient children, meting out justice per the Old Testament codes of conduct, banning all shellfish and pork, regulating the garments that you wear so that you do not mix fabrics (sorry, no synthetics for you), never working on Saturday, etc (I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture)...

      And while you're at it? If you believe same gender marriage is wrong, don't have one. If you think having an abortion is wrong, don't have one. If you believe that s-ex before marriage is wrong, don't do it. But you have no business telling me what to think.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  9. Observer

    Rob,
    Matthew 19:6 "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.". Those are the words of Jesus.

    So why are you on here picking on gay marriage when there are FAR FAR more Christians who disobey Jesus about marriage?

    Any answer other than pick and choose hypocrisy?

    August 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Rob from Minnesota

      Observer, yes, you are right.(Sadly) I will not and can not argue that fact. There is a lot of hipocrisy in the church. There is a lot of judgement and condemnation there too. But that does not change the truth. If I were here to tell you that I am perfect in my life. I would also be a liar. I am not here to cast judgement. It is not my job. But understand that the Lord is clear on this. As with all sin. yes the Lord says that the only reason for divorce is adultery and that is only if you cannot get over and forgive the person. if your husband is beating you than leave him. Of course, that makes sense right. But that does not mean divorce. But, you must not remarry. I am not saying it would be easy, but understand if you enter into a relationship. The way God wants and not the way we do nowadays. Truly both of you love the Lord and spend time ( alot of time) together without intercourse confusing things. A true courtship. Then you would see a real marriage. Unfortunately, we twist things and say the bible is out of date and out of context. Hogwash, Human nature has been the same since we were created. We manipulate lie and steal even as children,to get what we want. That is something we are not taught. It is our fallen nature. We are taught, to be restrained, from these things by our parents. the bible is the only thing that is restraining mankind and we must protect it. Gaurd it, as it is truly Gods treasure to us.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Observer

      Rob,
      I commend you for your honesty. We see far too little of that on these blogs from all sides.

      As long as you (and everyone else) is just picking and choosing from the Bible, why not choose the Golden Rule that almost everyone will agree with? At this VERY MOMENT, gays are risking (and sometimes losing) their lives in the police, fire departments, and the military for ALL of us. How can anyone sit in safety in front of their computers and be such INGRATES that they feel those heroes are not worthy of the same rights they have?

      August 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • LOL

      “Human nature has been the same since we were created.”

      That includes gays. Scientists today agree that s-exual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, s-exual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's s-exuality.

      August 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  10. Rob from Minnesota

    Tina, You seem to have put a lot of thought into your comments and I appreciate that. Explain to me Gen 2:24 and 1 corinthians 7:9. If this is natural than the bible would not say a man will leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Marriage is between a man and a woman. To procreate our species. It is also a gift. Women complete men it is just that simple. Where I lack my wife fills and vice versa. We are"one flesh" . Paul says in 1corinthians 7:9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. This is why marriage is the issue. We should not engage in intercourse same or not outside of marriage its a sin.

    August 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Katende

      Even animals have and will never reach that stage, but Man who is above all has gone that far. This is just a materal of time for God to come in. Many fearous and un explained things are going around you who think that you know more, but you have not realised that this a hand of God due to your obid..... Wait more is to come........ til you will know that He is..

      August 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Rev. Dr. Walter

      The crux of the matter, it seems to me, is simply that the Bible has no s*ex*ual ethic. There is no Biblical s*ex ethic. Instead, it exhibits a variety of s*ex*ual mores, some of which changed over the thousand year span of biblical history. Mores are unreflective customs accepted by a given community. Many of the practices that the Bible prohibits, we allow, and many that it allows, we prohibit. The Bible knows only a love ethic, which is constantly being brought to bear on whatever s*ex*ual mores are dominant in any given country, or culture, or period.

      The very notion of a “s*ex ethic” reflects the materialism and spli*tness of modern life, in which we increasingly define our ident*ity s*ex*ually. S*ex*uality cannot be separated off from the rest of life. No s*ex act is “ethical” in and of itself, without reference to the rest of a person’s life, the patterns of the culture, the special circ*umstances faced, and the will of God. What we have are simply s*ex*ual mores, which change, sometimes with startling rapidity, creating bewildering dilemmas. Just within one lifetime we have witnessed the shift from the ideal of preserving one’s vir*ginity until marriage, to couples living together for several years before getting married. The response of many Christians is merely to long for the hypocrisies of an earlier era.

      I agree that rules and norms are necessary; that is what s*ex*ual mores are. But rules and norms also tend to be impressed into the service of the Domination System, and to serve as a form of crowd control rather than to enhance the fullness of human potential. So we must critique the s*ex*ual mores of any given time and clime by the love ethic exemplified by Jesus. Defining such a love ethic is not complicated. It is non-exploitative (hence no s*ex*ual exploitation of children, no using of another to their loss), it does not dominate (hence *no patriarchal treatment of women as chattel), it is responsible, mutual, caring, and loving. August*ine already dealt with this in his inspired phrase, “Love God, and do as you please.”

      Our moral task, then, is to apply Jesus’ love ethic to whatever s*ex*ual mores are prevalent in a given culture. This doesn’t mean everything goes. It means that everything is to be critiqued by Jesus’ love commandment. We might address younger teens, not with laws and commandments whose violation is a sin, but rather with the sad experiences of so many of our own children who find too much early s*ex*ual intimacy overwhelming, and who react by voluntary celibacy and even the refusal to date. We can offer reasons, not empty and unenforceable orders. We can challenge both gays and straights to question their behaviors in the light of love and the requirements of fidelity, honesty, responsibility, and genuine concern for the best interests of the other and of society as a whole.

      Christian morality, after all, is not a iron chast*ity belt for repressing urges, but a way of expressing the integrity of our relationship with God. It is the attempt to discover a manner of living that is consistent with who God created us to be. For those of same-s*ex orientation, as for heteros*ex*uals, being moral means rejecting s*ex*ual mores that viol*ate their own integrity and that of others, and attempting to discover what it would mean to live by the love ethic of Jesus.

      Morton Kelsey goes so far as to argue that ho*mos*ex*ual orientation has nothing to do with morality, any more than left-handedness. It is simply the way some people’s s*ex*uality is configured. Morality enters the picture when that predisposition is enacted. If we saw it as a God-given gift to those for whom it is normal, we could get beyond the acrimony and brutality that have so often characterized the unchristian behavior of Christians toward gays.

      Approached from the point of view of love rather than that of law, the issue is at once transformed. Now the question is not “What is permitted?” but rather “What does it mean to love my ho*mos*ex*ual neighbor?” Approached from the point of view of faith rather than works, the question ceases to be “What const*itutes a breach of divine law in the s*ex*ual realm?” and becomes instead “What const*itutes integrity before the God revealed in the cosmic lover, Jesus Christ?” Approached from the point of view of the Spirit rather than the letter, the question ceases to be “What does Scripture command?” and becomes “What is the Word that the Spirit speaks to the churches now, in the light of Scripture, tradition, theology, and, yes, psychology, genetics, anthropology, and biology?” We can’t continue to build ethics on the basis of bad science.

      In a little-remembered statement, Jesus said, “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57 NRSV). Such sovereign freedom strikes terror in the hearts of many Christians; they would rather be under law and be told what is right. Yet Paul himself echoes Jesus’ sentiment when he says, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!” (1 Cor. 6:3 RSV). The last thing Paul would want is for people to respond to his ethical advice as a new law engraved on tablets of stone. He is himself trying to “judge for himself what is right.” If now new evidence is in on the phenomenon of ho*mos*ex*uality, are we not obligated–no, free–to re-evaluate the whole issue in the light of all the available data and decide what is right, under God, for ourselves? Is this not the radical freedom for obedience in which the gospel establishes us?

      Where the Bible mentions ho*mos*ex*ual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct. The Bible sanctioned sl*avery as well, and nowhere attacked it as unjust. Are we prepared to argue today that sl*avery is biblically justified? One hundred and fifty years ago, when the debate over sl*avery was rag*ing, the Bible seemed to be clearly on the sl*aveholders’ side. Abolitionists were hard pressed to justify their opposition to sl*avery on biblical grounds. Yet today, if you were to ask Christians in the South whether the Bible sanctions sl*avery, virtually everyone would agree that it does not. How do we account for such a monumental shift?

      What happened is that the churches were finally driven to penetrate beyond the legal tenor of Scripture to an even deeper tenor, articulated by Israel out of the experience of the Exodus and the prophets and brought to sublime embodiment in Jesus’ identification with harlots, tax collectors, the diseased and maimed and outcast and poor. It is that God sides with the powerless. God liberates the oppressed. God suffers with the suffering and groans toward the reconciliation of all things. In the light of that supernal compas*sion, whatever our position on gays, the gospel’s imperative to love, care for, and be identified with their sufferings is unmistakably clear.

      In the same way, women are pressing us to acknowledge the s*exism and patriarchalism that pervades Scripture and has alienated so many women from the church. The way out, however, is not to deny the s*exism in Scripture, but to develop an interpretive theory that judges even Scripture in the light of the revelation in Jesus. What Jesus gives us is a critique of domination in all its forms, a critique that can be turned on the Bible itself. The Bible thus contains the principles of its own correction. We are freed from bibliolatry, the worship of the Bible. It is restored to its proper place as witness to the Word of God. And that word is a Person, not a book.

      With the interpretive grid provided by a critique of domination, we are able to filter out the s*exism, patriarchalism, violence, and ho*mophob-ia that are very much a part of the Bible, thus liberating it to reveal to us in fresh ways the inbreaking, in our time, of God’s domination-free order.

      An Appeal for Tolerance

      What most saddens me in this whole raucous debate in the churches is how sub-Christian most of it has been. It is characteristic of our time that the issues most difficult to as*sess, and which have generated the greatest degree of animosity, are issues on which the Bible can be interpreted as supporting either side. I am referring to abortion and ho*mos*ex*uality.

      We need to take a few steps back and be honest with ourselves. I am deeply convinced of the rightness of what I have said in this essay. But I must acknowledge that it is not an air tight case. You can find weaknesses in it, just as I can in others’. The truth is, we are not given unequivocal guidance in either area, abortion or ho*mos*ex*uality.

      Rather than tearing at each others’s throats, therefore, we should humbly admit our limitations. How do I know I am correctly interpreting God’s word for us today? How do you? Wouldn’t it be wiser for Christians to lower the decibels by 95 percent and quietly present our beliefs, knowing full well that we might be wrong?

      I know of a couple, both well known Christian authors in their own right, who have both spoken out on the issue of ho*mos*ex*uality. She supports gays, pas*sionately; he opposes their behavior, strenuously. So far as I can tell, this couple still enjoy each other’s company, eat at the same table, and, for all I know, sleep in the same bed.

      We in the church need to get our priorities straight. We have not reached a consensus about who is right on the issue of ho*mos*ex*uality. But what is clear, utterly clear, is that we are commanded to love one another. Love not just our gay sisters and brothers who are often sitting beside us, unacknowledged, in church, but all of us who are involved in this debate. These are issues about which we should amiably agree to disagree. We don’t have to tear whole denominations to shreds in order to air our differences on this point. If that couple I mentioned can continue to embrace across this divide, surely we can do so as well.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  11. nwatcher

    You went to divinity school and studied the Bible and still claim that the Apostle Paul was responsible for those words? If the Bilble was inspired by God, that would mean the "authors" of all the books of the Bible were just recording what God wanted people to know. In other words – God said it – not some person 2000 or more years ago.

    If the Bible was not God's doing then who cares what it says about anything? You really have no choice: either the Bible is the Word of God and is completely true or none of it has any relevance to how we choose to live our lives. People will waste time trying to vote out the parts they don't like to be more tolerant and accepting of sin – but to what end?

    August 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • huh

      So do you stone your child when they curse at you? Do you wear clothing that is made of multiple fibers? Do you eat shrimp? Do you have long hair, do you trim your beard? Do you allow women to talk in Church? Etc...etc...etc... there are many aspects of the Bible that today's Christians don't follow because they have put the scriptures into historical context to get the true meaning of what is written, that is reading comprehension 101.

      August 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Tina

      For years, many doc*uments have described the mistranslation of the Bible into English from the original Hebrew and Koine (ancient Greek) New*Testament writings. Issues of incorrect translation concern many areas, such as: the word "virgin" (Isaiah 7:14); the name "Yahweh" (YHWH); descriptions of angels; the term "Sons of God"; and incorrectly translating forbidden s*exual practices.

      There are several pas*sages often mistranslated as forbidding ho*mos*exual activity; however, those Bible pas*sages can be correctly translated by considering many aspects of the Bible, as a whole: literal translation, rarity, priorities, sanity*test and reality*test.

      Literal Translation* . In the New Testament, the two verses 1 Corinthians 6:9 & 1 Timothy 1:10 are often mistranslated as condemning ho*mos*exuality in English Bibles (but not in the Roman Latin Vulgate Bible or the 1545 German Bible of Martin Luther). Mistranslation is based on two ancient Greek words "malakoi" & "ar*senokoitai" (Greek letters "AR*SENOKOITAI " literally, "male*beds"), which was a new word used by Paul (Saul) at the time and not a common term for ho*mo*s*exuality. Because Paul was speaking in a religious context, the word "ar*senokoitai" has been translated as referring to male*pimps or customers in temple prosti*tution, a common practice in so*called pagan rituals widespread in Temple Cult worship of the time. [The minor term "malakoi" (used to describe "soft" clothing) is non*s*exual and has been translated as "effeminate" (KJV), although others state "weaklings" or "morally weak, lazy" men.]

      Rarity of Words* . The ancient Greek word "ar*senokoitai" occurs in only those 2 verses, 1 Corinthians 6:9 & 1 Timothy 1:10. Logically, if ho*mos*exuality were considered a sin, there should be many verses about it, and the word "ar*senokoitai" would occur more than twice if it had referred to a major issue, such as ho*mos*exuality; the rarity of the word fits the logical translation: the word "ar*senokoitai" refers to the rare practice of temple prosti*tution, not general ho*mos*exuality. (See: 73 references to ar*senokoit* found in TLG E Feb/2000, ) Yet, precisely because the word is so rare and had no formal definition, the word "ar*senokoitai" is crucial in fostering misinterpretation of the Bible: a more common word could not be so easily redefined.

      Priorities * . The verses in the Bible follow certain priorities: for example, the words "adultery" or "adulteress/adulterer" (Greek "moixoi" ) occur 47 times in the King James Version; however, the word "ar*senokoitai" occurs only 2 times, and the common terms of that time period about ho*mos*exual activity are not mentioned in the Bible at all (such as man*boy pairing, Greek "erastes*eromenos"). Condemning ho*mos*exuality in Biblical times was not an issue, not a priority, at all.

      A Sanity* Test * . Since adultery & adulterer are mentioned 47 times in the King James Version, it could be expected that a sin would be mentioned many times in the Bible: the condemnation of lying/liars occurs over 70 times ("liar" 21 times, "false witness" 19, "lying" lips/tongues 31 times); murder is prohibited 35+ times ("murderer" 20 etc.); and stealing is condemned 73+ times ("steal" 23 times, "thief/robber" 50+, except stealing for food: Proverbs 6:30 "Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry." [KJV]). However, the common terms (used in those days) to describe ho*mos*exual activity are not even mentioned. It doesn't make sense to translate a few rare words & phrases as condemning ho*mos*exuality, when specific sins are mentioned many times in the Bible**it simply doesn't pas*s a sanity*test.

      A Reality* Test * . During the time period of 1 Corinthians 6:9 & 1 Timothy^ 1:10,:the word "ar*senokoitai" occurred in only a few religious writings, such as a later text describing Adam deceived to have s*ex with serpent*god Naas. The erotic literature of the period never used the word "ar*senokoitai" but used other ancient Greek terms ("erastes*eromenos": man*boy pairing) to describe ho*mos*exual practices, and those Greek terms were never mentioned in the Greek texts of the Bible. To try to re*interpret & translate other Bible verses into condemning those specific (unnamed) acts is just not realistic**it doesn't pas*s a reality*test ("reality_check"). The translation of the ancient Greek New Testament must fit the language & cultures of the time period. The translation must match the reality of that era.

      Old*Testament Literal Translation * . The infamous verse Leviticus 20:13, often used to condemn ho*mos*exuality, is about a married*man with another male, in the "marriage*bed" as with his wife. See the Latinized Greek for Leviticus 20:13 below:

      Kai hos an koimEthE meta ar*senos koitEn
      gunaikos, bdelugma epoiEsan amphoteroi;
      thanatousthwsan, enoichoi eisin." [Lev 20:13 in Greek Septuagint LXX].

      The translation of the Greek term 'gunaikos' is interpreted to mean: wife. Hence, the verse actually forbids male*male adultery, pertaining only to a married man.

      Similarly, for Leviticus 18:22, the wording of the original Hebrew is very different from the KJV form:

      "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind:
      it is abomination." [Leviticus 18:22, King James Version]

      However, the original Hebrew for Leviticus 18:22 reveals a different 3rd meaning:

      We*et*zakar lo' tishkav mishkevey 'ishshah" [Lev 18:22 Hebrew, Latinized]
      ("And*with a*male NOT lie*down in beds*of a*woman") [Lev 18:22 literal translation]

      So, the Hebrew Leviticus 18:22 mentions: someone + a male + a woman; hence, a forbidden 3*way.

      Those 2 infamous Leviticus verses actually mention other women or wives, rather than male*male relationships, as is often the misinterpretation & mistranslation.

      When many aspects of Biblical issues are considered, there is no textual basis for misinterpreting & mistranslating Bible verses to condemn ho*mos*exuality: the original Hebrew & Greek texts of the Bible do not condemn ho*mos*exuality at all, and so, ho*mos*exuality should not be considered a sin by today's society.

      Finally, the question arises: In 1611, did the Bible translators/scribes for King James purposely mistranslate Bible verses into English because they had intensely resented King James, with his open ho*mos*exuality & various male lovers? The answer might never be known.

      In the new book: A Gathering of Angels by Larry Dean.Hamilton, several incidents of God's approval are described in detail, including several spiritual events similar to visions. Note: That book is a true story, not a hypothetical religious sermon, but rather an accurate description of some astounding ways in which God actually works His plan. In:A Gathering of Angels, the author describes many real*life events in vivid detail as they happened, so there was too little room for ideology, and that book contains very few Bible quotations. The book is, in essence, a detailed secret revelation of divine approval for same*s*ex love.

      A Gathering of Angels (by Larry Dean.Hamilton) describes actual spiritual events in modern times, and those incidents match the teachings from the original texts of the Bible, before the King James.Version mistranslated some verses to condemn ho*mos*exuality.

      Addendum * . Many of the English*language Bibles have been mistranslated to condemn ho*mos*exuality, not only the 1611 King James Version. Below is a list of several English Bibles along with the phrase that translates the ancient Greek word "ar*senokoitai" (1 Corinthians 6:9), which many scholars now believe means "male*pimps" or "molesters." Note the year of each Bible & its translation of "ar*senokoitai":

      * King_James_Version (KJV 1611) "abusers of themselves with mankind"
      * Wycliffe_New_Testament (WYC 2001) "they that do lechery with men"
      * American_Standard_Version (ASV 1901) "abusers of themselves with men"
      * New_Life (NLV1969) "people who do s*ex sins with their own s*ex"
      * 21st_Century_KJV (KJ21 1994) "abusers of themselves with mankind"
      * New_American_Standard (NASB 1995) "nor effeminate, nor ho*mos*exuals"
      * New_International_Version (NIV 1984) "ho*mos*exual offenders"
      * Amplified_Bible (1987) "nor those who participate in ho*mos*exuality"
      * Darby_Translation (public domain) "nor who abuse themselves with men"
      * Young's_Literal_Translation "nor effeminate, nor sod*omites"
      * New_Living_Translation (NLT^ 1996) "male prosti*tutes, ho*mos*exuals"
      * Contemporary_English_Version (1995) "behaves like a ho*mos*exual"
      Holman_Christian_Standard (HCSB 2003) "male prosti*tutes, ho*mos*exuals"

      Whereas the original Greek text of 1 Corinthians 6:9 apparently condemns cult male*pimps and child*molesters, it has been perverted in many English Bibles to condemn all ho*mos*exual behavior.

      Similarly, Deuteronomy 23:17 is often mistranslated, about the prohibition against ritual temple cult/shrine prosti*tution, specifically by either the "daughters" or "sons" of Irsael, by mistranslating the Hebrew word "qadesh" to be "sod*omite" or "pervert" etc. For instance in the Amplified Bible, the verse of Deuteronomy 23:17 reads:
      "There shall be no cult prosti*tute among the daughters of Israel, neither
      shall there be a cult prosti*tute (a sod*omite) among the sons of Israel." [Deut 23:17]

      The Hebrew text contains no word for "sod*omite" but uses the male & female forms of the same word "qadesh" ("holy one") referring to either a male or a female holy s*ex*slave in the shrine ritual.

      Proper translation of Bible texts requires cultural knowledge of the time period, including pagan temple/shrine rituals of cult prosti*tution & also knowledge of same*s*ex relationships during the period.

      August 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  12. Steve

    You interpret these texts out of context, my friend. In Romans 1, Paul is speaking of how people worship the creature over the Creater - in essence, they commit idolatry with certain sins and inherently trade their relationship with God for those passions. 1 Corinthians is speaking of the proper way in which to traditionally dress for prayer. There is no penalty involved in the context because its merely an infraction against a minor tradition. The gravity of the two contexts are far different than you let on. Hmm.

    August 1, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Observer

      Steve,

      "The gravity of the two contexts are far different than you let on."

      So let's decide which sins are more important by using the pick and choose method. This is exactly what the author's point is.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Rob from Minnesota

      1corinthians 6:9-10. Is a must read for this subject. It says do not be deceived. Also 1peter4:1-2. As Christ suffered we must also suffer. By denying ourselves of the sins of man. This sins maybe the burden in life that these individuals must carry. Are you going to chose sin over God? That is something I ask myself everyday. Am I living according to His will and not my own. And yes a Lot of so called Christians do not partake in self examination. That is the only way we can go in Christ. And share the good news that our sins can be forgiven through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
      s

      August 1, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • LOL

      Rob I hope you realize that science and psychology experts have shown that gays are born gay. Being gay is not a sin because they are a creation from God. The prejudice and bias that has been handed down for centuries towards this minority group is appalling. No where in the Bible does God condemn the loving saved gay relationship. God does condemn male prost-itution, ra-pe and idolatry.

      August 1, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Rob from Minnesota

      LOL, I am not taking 1Corinthians6:9-10 out of context. That is the Truth like it or not. Science and pyschologist may be right that people are born that way, Idon't know. 1Peter4:1-2 simply states that we must fight our human fleshly disires. Keep in mind that the Bible is not for the lost. But I will not sit back and allow believers or non believers use the Lords word to fulfill their own agendas. I care about all the people of this cursed world that we live in. I will not judge you.That is up to our Lord when our time has come. But the words in 1corinthians6:9-10 are irrefutable. Luke 9:23-24 Jesus says that any who would follow him must deny themselves and take up their crosses daily. To save your life in Christ you must first lose it. It is unmistakeable what the Lord our God talks about time and time again. I in my own life have my cross, And I pray to the Lord, that He gives me strength, that I will live my life not the way I want. But the way He wants me to live. This is what the argument is about. I am not intolerant of the way you want to live your life. I hope the people of this blog understand that. Just don't try to justify your actions by using the bible. If you wish to live that way that is your choice. That is our free will. To live for Him or not.

      August 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • LOL

      “But the words in 1corinthians6:9-10 are irrefutable.’

      That’s why the word ho-mo-se-xual was added later to that Scripture and was never referenced in that way in the past..

      By the way congratulations you just did exactly what the author is talking about, you’re using the bible to justify your point of view and prejudice since you ‘re to lazy to do your research on the subject otherwise you would have know the word was added later to Cor. LOL!

      August 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • kdub

      WOW......the article is extremely sad, including the authors and "professed" theologians he is quoting and using for argument sake. The comments from readers are extremely sick.

      At the end of the day, If you believe in God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, then please read and obtain the knowledge for yourself. But please keep in mind, (not sure what book, chapter and verse), but the Bible tells us that the TRUTH in His word will only be revealed to those who truly believe and are following him in the first place. Those reading it just to find an argument, will not understand (and they will even argue that).

      Pick and choose if you like. Follow traditions, follow God. Follow "your own understanding". Which one matters. When it's all said and done, what have I lost by living my life, as best as I can, according to the Bible? Keep in mind, that I am not perfect, and will not be able to perfectly adhere to all of the teachings of the Bible. However, I tried. On the other hand, if you make a conscious decision to not follow what you have read, or heard, you have to ask yourself the questions, "am I prepared to suffer the consequences of my decision". With that said, let's stop arguing. If I'm right, I go to heaven, you go to hell. If I'm wrong, ........uhm, who cares, right?

      August 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • J.W

      I have read that the term ho-mo-se-xual was actually never used until like the 1600's, and that when it is used in the Bible the actual word meant men lying with young boys

      August 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The comments from readers are extremely sick. "

      That's including you sick-o!

      August 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Dingo

    The Bible is composed of the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps one should read both testaments starting with Leviticus Chapter 18. Verse 22 is pretty clear cut.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Observer

      You've missed the point. This is all about hypocrisy. This is about how Christians just pick and choose the sins they want to make an issue of and then ignor the rest.

      Should all sins in the Bible related to hetero relations be followed? Yes or no?

      August 1, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • LinCA

      @Dingo

      You said "The Bible is composed of the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps one should read both testaments starting with Leviticus Chapter 18. Verse 22 is pretty clear cut."

      You say that as if you think it means anything. I'll let you in in a little secret; it doesn't.

      If you want to live your life according to that rag, you're welcome to it. Just as you are free to get your life lessons from Penthouse magazine, or anywhere else. But, just because you swear by it, that doesn't mean that it applies to anyone else. It only means that you are limited in what you can do.

      Keep your garbage out of everyone else's life.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  14. D5146

    Read Leviticus 18:22.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • LOL

      You realize Christians today don't have to follow Leviticus because it was meant for Jews.

      You also forgot all of these and you are doing exactly what the author was stating picking and choosing to justify your personal prejudice. LOL!

      ----Breaking Any of The Lord’s Commandments (4:2)

      ----Not Speaking Up To Testify As A Witness (5:1)

      ----Touching an Unclean Thing (5:2)

      ---- Eating Blood (17:10-12)

      ----Making Idols of Cast Metal (19:4)

      ----Stealing (19:11)

      ----Lying (19:11)

      ----Showing Bias or Prejudice In Court (19:15)

      ---- Making Cuts or Tattoos On Your Body (19:28)

      ---–Turning To Spirits or Fortune Tellers (19:31)

      ---– Do not wear clothing of different kinds of material (19:19)

      ---– Do not cut your hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.( 19:27)

      ---–When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born.( 19:33

      ---–The woman he (a man) marries must be a virgin. He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman (19:33)

      August 1, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • D5146

      to understand what Paul and other writers of the N.T. were using as their referance one must also study thw O.T. I am not or never pretend to know all that the bible teaches. The writer dose clam
      this and to leave this passage out make his arugment incomplete.

      August 1, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Really

      The background of Leviticus is important to understand. The people are being told not to act like the "pagans". This is also the format Paul uses in Romans. "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." These words occur solely in the Holiness Code of Leviticus, a ritual manual for Israel's priests. This prohibition of supposedly ho*mos*exual acts follows after the prohibition of the idolatrous s*exuality of worshipping Molech, whose cult included male cult prost*itutes and bestiality. Lev 18 is specifically designed to distinguish the Jews from the pagans who worshipped the multiple gods of fertility cults. It also is included with other Mosaic laws such as required killing kids who curse their parents, the death penalty for picking up sticks or doing other work on the Sabbath, and under the law, slave-beating was a protected legal right!

      Almost no early Christian writers appealed to Leviticus as authority against ho*mos*exual acts. Those few that did, exercised extreme selectivity in selecting which Leviticus laws to say are legitimate for Christians and which are not, whatever suited their personal prejudice. It was clearly not their respect for the law which created their hostility to ho*mos*exuality but their hostility to ho*mos*exuality which led them to retain a few pas*sages from a law code largely discarded. Most of Leviticus is simply not appropriate for Christians. We no longer make animal sacrifices to God as commanded in Leviticus. Most of us eat shrimp and lobster which is forbidden. Many people eat that unclean animal the pig. How many are guilty of rounding off the hair on their temples and marring the edges of their beard (Lev 27)? Jesus set aside all of these obsessive-compulsive purity laws and gave the commandment of love.

      Regarding the Leviticus reference to toevah being false translated and having nothing to do with ho*mos*exuality: A further evidence of this is toevah is used throughout the OT to designate those Jewish sins which involve ethnic contamination or idolatry and very frequently occurs as part of the stock phrase "toevah ha-goyim" "the uncleanness of the Gentiles" (e.g., 2 (4) Kings 16:3).
      The significance of toevah become clear when your realize the other Hebrew word "zimah" could have been used – if that was what the authors intended. Zimah means, not what is objectionable for religious or cultural reasons, but what is wrong in itself. It means an injustice, a sin. For example, in condemnation of temple prost*itutes involving idolatry, "toevah" is employed (e.g. 1 (3) Kings 14:24), while in prohibitions of prost*itution in general a different word "zimah," appears (e.g. Lev. 19:29). Often but yes, not always, "toevah" specifically means "idol" (E.g., Isa. 44:19; Ezek 7:20, 16:36; Jer. 16:18; cf. Deut. 7:25-26).
      Clearly, then, Leviticus does not say that a man to lie with man is wrong or a sin. Rather, it is a ritual violation, an "uncleanness"; it is something "dirty" ritualistically. Lev 18 is specifically designed to distinguish the Jews from the pagans among whom they had been living, or would live, as its opening remark make clear – "After the doings of the land of Egypt, .....etc and the prohibition of supposedly ho*mos*exual acts follows immediately upon a prohibition of idolatrous s*exuality (the female temple prost*itutes worshipping the pagan fertility gods) (often mistranslated fornication but a obvious mistranslation in the proper context).

      This conclusion finds further support in the Septuagint where the toevah is translated with the Greek word "bdelygma". Fully consistent with the Hebrew, the Greek bdelygma means a ritual impurity. Once again, other Greek words were available, like "anomia", meaning a violation of law or a wrong or a sin. That word could have been used to translate toevah. In fact, in some cases anomia was used to translate toevah- when the offense in question was not just a ritual impurity but also a real wrong of an injustice, like offering child sacrifice or having s*ex with another man's wife, in violation of his property rights. The Greek translators could have used anomia; they used bdelygma.

      Evidently, the Jews of that pre-Christian era simply did not understand Leviticus to forbid male-male s*ex because it is wrong in itself. They understood Leviticus to forbid male-male s*ex because it offended ancient Jewish sensitivities: it was dirty and Canaanite-like, it was unjewish. And that is exactly how they translated the Hebrew text into Greek before Christ. It makes no statement about the morality of ho*mos*exual acts as such. In today's society similar unclean acts might include picking ones nose, burping or pas*sing gas.

      I think its not that useful to get all hung up on Lev cleanliness codes which made meat eating and matching of fibers just as terrible sins. The NT is more significant for Christians following Christ instead of Jews trying to follow the OT rituals to be accepted by God. Jesus said not a word even mistranslated about ho*mos*exuality.

      August 1, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  15. jen

    I guess God just destroyed Sodom for the fun of it? Not because it disgusted him and went totally against HIS plan for marrying and family? This guy needs to read the whole Bible and grow up. He has a lot to learn. Sorry for you that you went to seminary. Sorry that the gay teachers there got to you. READ YOUR BIBLE, GUY!

    August 1, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Observer

      Jen,

      It's YOU who needs to read the Bible. What did the Bible say was "the sin of Sodom and her daughters"?

      August 1, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • LOL

      You're the one that has a lot to learn like first the definition of sodomy it's the an-al or oral co-pulation with a member of the opposite se-x. Oh that's right why would Lot offer his daughters up to a bunch of gay guys...duh. Then when you factor in the fact that the angels in the house wouldn't have consented it's called ra-pe! You are the one that needs a lesson in reading comprehension skills.

      August 1, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  16. NotSo

    I am a Christian and will never understand why other Christians must put another group down just to make their transgressions seem "not as bad"? Let us never forget these few facts:
    The Southern Baptists were convinced that the Bible taught that God had divinely sanctioned slavery and defended slavery then later used it in support of segregation through the 1960s.
    The Bible has been used to give men the position of authority in marriage, society and government with women in submissive roles without the right to vote in the USA until the1920s.
    Hitler had the support of both the Catholic and Protestant churches during the support the Nazi Third Reich and the Holocaust during the 1940s.
    The Bible has been used to oppose medical science, to condemn interracial marriage, to execute women as witches, and to support the Ku Klux Klan.
    Now the Christians have no one left to hate but the gay and lesbian community. Stop the hate and learn to live along side one another. Hate and oppression only beads more hate and oppression. Shakespeare said: "Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."

    August 1, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  17. RokVet

    I thought married was a biblical concept stemming from the 3 Abrahamic religions. It seems that a lot a gay rights activist seem to forget this. I think they should call it civil unions. Not gay marriage. It sounds so...well you know...gay!

    August 1, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • LOL

      This is about equal civil rights can you imagine what would have happened if we had said to the African Americans you can have the same rights but we are going to call it something different. That's NOT equality and this is not what our country was founded on.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • LinCA

      @RokVet

      You said "I thought married was a biblical concept stemming from the 3 Abrahamic religions."

      That appears to be a very common mistake. Marriage may also be a biblical concept, but that is irrelevant in the discussion about same sex marriage.

      You said "It seems that a lot a gay rights activist seem to forget this. I think they should call it civil unions. Not gay marriage. It sounds so...well you know...gay!"

      It appears that a lot of religious bigots forget that their religion does not apply to anyone else. Whatever your religion prohibits or condemns is something you should refrain from doing. It doesn't in any way limit what others can or should do.

      Your religion is despicable and evil. It is hateful and immoral. Keep your perverted life style and religious agenda out of my life.

      August 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  18. Zach

    I can't even post my response because this thing filters too much!

    August 1, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Zach

      This guy completely forgets to mention that Genesis 2 clearly teaches that God's design for marriage is between one man and one woman. H*omo*s*exuality is implicitly immoral just from this, though Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 5 clearly condemn the practice. This guy can rant about abortion and divorce, but they really have nothing to do with the issue. The Bible is quite clear in it condemnation of the practice. If you don't like what it says, well then that's your problem.

      August 1, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Observer

      Zach,
      Jesus said no one should divorce except for adultery.

      Do you support that or pick and choose not to?

      August 1, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • LOL

      Zach time to pick up a history book, what is being condemned is male prost-itution, ra-pe and idolatry, it has nothing to do with how we now understand gays and lesbians. People like you only quote those scriptures to justify their own prejudice because they are to lazy to understand the truth of this issues. God created gays, they are born this way, it's not a mental illness, it's not a choice and it can't be voluntarily changed.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Zach

      @LOL: I really hope you are not serious. But I think you might be...

      August 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Observer

      Zach,
      Jesus said no one should divorce except for adultery.

      Do you support that or is it PICK and CHOOSE the sins you want to pick on others for?

      August 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  19. Joom

    Mr. Dudley, Please understand that Christian tradition IS NOT the Word of God. The Word of God takes precedence over Christian tradition... each and every time... on each and every subject... whether it is in agreement with our human feelings or not.

    Simply put, God made the world, He sets the rules (whether we understand them or not), whether we like it or not, end of story,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Observer

      Not exactly. Everyone just PICKS and CHOOSES which Bible rules they will follow and ignor the others. That's the point here.

      August 1, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  20. Chelsea

    @Zach:
    Translation: "I don't have an actual argument against this, so I just claim it has fallacies without actually stating what those fallacies are, and that makes my arguemnt look legitimate"
    Got it.

    August 1, 2011 at 12:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.