Editor's note: Daniel A. Helminiak, who was ordained a priest in Rome, is a theologian, psychotherapist and author of “What the Bible Really Says about homosexuality" and books on contemporary spirituality. He is a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.
By Daniel A. Helminiak, Special to CNN
President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, like blood in the water, has conservative sharks circling for a kill. In a nation that touts separation of religion and government, religious-based arguments command this battle. Lurking beneath anti-gay forays, you inevitably find religion and, above all, the Bible.
We now face religious jingoism, the imposition of personal beliefs on the whole pluralistic society. Worse still, these beliefs are irrational, just a fiction of blind conviction. Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.
In the past 60 years, we have learned more about sex, by far, than in preceding millennia. Is it likely that an ancient people, who thought the male was the basic biological model and the world flat, understood homosexuality as we do today? Could they have even addressed the questions about homosexuality that we grapple with today? Of course not.
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Hard evidence supports this commonsensical expectation. Taken on its own terms, read in the original languages, placed back into its historical context, the Bible is ho-hum on homosexuality, unless – as with heterosexuality – injustice and abuse are involved.
That, in fact, was the case among the Sodomites (Genesis 19), whose experience is frequently cited by modern anti-gay critics. The Sodomites wanted to rape the visitors whom Lot, the one just man in the city, welcomed in hospitality for the night.
The Bible itself is lucid on the sin of Sodom: pride, lack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49); hatred of strangers and cruelty to guests (Wisdom 19:13); arrogance (Sirach/Ecclesiaticus 16:8); evildoing, injustice, oppression of the widow and orphan (Isaiah 1:17); adultery (in those days, the use of another man’s property), and lying (Jeremiah 23:12).
But nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom. That intended gang rape only expressed the greater sin, condemned in the Bible from cover to cover: hatred, injustice, cruelty, lack of concern for others. Hence, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31); and “By this will they know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
How inverted these values have become! In the name of Jesus, evangelicals and Catholic bishops make sex the Christian litmus test and are willing to sacrifice the social safety net in return.
The longest biblical passage on male-male sex is Romans 1:26-27: "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another."
The Greek term para physin has been translated unnatural; it should read atypical or unusual. In the technical sense, yes, the Stoic philosophers did use para physin to mean unnatural, but this term also had a widespread popular meaning. It is this latter meaning that informs Paul's writing. It carries no ethical condemnation.
Compare the passage on male-male sex to Romans 11:24. There, Paul applies the term para physin to God. God grafted the Gentiles into the Jewish people, a wild branch into a cultivated vine. Not your standard practice! An unusual thing to do — atypical, nothing more. The anti-gay "unnatural" hullabaloo rests on a mistranslation.
Besides, Paul used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable (1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor — for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.
In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: "God gave them up … to impurity."
But Jesus taught lucidly that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is purity of heart.
“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,” reads Matthew 15. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”
Or again, Jesus taught, “Everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus rejected the purity requirements of the Jewish Law.
In calling it unclean, Paul was not condemning male-male sex. He had terms to express condemnation. Before and after his section on sex, he used truly condemnatory terms: godless, evil, wicked or unjust, not to be done. But he never used ethical terms around that issue of sex.
As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers.
The Bible’s Song of Songs is a paean to romantic love with no mention of children or a married couple. Jesus never mentioned same-sex behaviors, although he did heal the “servant” — pais, a Greek term for male lover — of the Roman Centurion.
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Paul discouraged marriage because he believed the world would soon end. Still, he encouraged people with sexual needs to marry, and he never linked sex and procreation.
Were God-given reason to prevail, rather than knee-jerk religion, we would not be having a heated debate over gay marriage. “Liberty and justice for all,” marvel at the diversity of creation, welcome for one another: these, alas, are true biblical values.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel A. Helminiak.
If there is no God, any arguments against the Bible are mute! Why are you so angry and envious of Christians? Is it because Christianity has led to your freedom to speak that way?
The word you were looking for is 'moot', not 'mute'. Get an education.
rational secularism is what gave us rights such as speech, association and press. The Bible did its level best to supress every single one. For centuries the vatican tried to control education, ensuring everyone but their priests was illiterate.
The Vatican not CHRIST ohhh I forgot how man can manipulate something for his personal interests.
There IS A GOD, and every prson will meet Him when they die, wanna take your chances????
You said, "There IS A GOD, and every prson will meet Him when they die, wanna take your chances????"
Pascal's wager again.
So you believe just to hedge your bets? Do you really think that an all-knowing god will be fooled by your little ruse?
You may also want to look into all other religions. There have been some pretty vicious gods invented by man. Most don't look favorable upon people not believing in them. Better make sure to get on their good side, too.
The bible says you can stone your children as well. Who cares what is said in a book of myths from the bronze age. Lets all grow up and build the just city together for all of us to live a better life!
Face facts. Most kids deserve it. And so do their parents for having them before the age of 20. Idiots.
If you believe God created us (I do) then He made us to work in a specific and beauitiful way. If you mess with that natural process, your asking for trouble... and look! we've got trouble!
You are delusional.
Leviticus 20:13 Amplified If a man lies with a male as if he were a woman,both men have committed an offense(something perverse,unnatural,abhorrent,and detestable);they shall surely be put to death;their blood shall be upon them.
leviticus 20:19 For every child that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.
Please read the rest of Leviticus. It is absolutely crazy.
You apparently did not read the article. The bible has been translated several times...incorrectly. This scholarly priest is attempting to clarify meanings that people have added to the bible.
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
10% of all mammals and birds are gay. Why? If they weren't their populations would explode. Evolutionists can find no mechanical cause and effect explanation for this. Absence such secular proof, God becomes the default explanation.
I can think of another source besides God for this reason, but I won't get into it here.
Unless you cite it, it's equivalent to nothing
CNN aka The COMMUNIST NEWS NETWORK "reporting" on theology...
LOL !!! LOL !!!
When you are so far to the right you make mussolini look like a moderate, centrist news agencies DO seem leftist. But thats your problem, not the media.
The bible and religion on a whole are ways of controlling people. To me the bible is a nice tale.
I hate to inform you, but there are millions of democrats, socialists, etc. that do claim to be Christian (like myself). I believe that republicans are on a path to hell with their beliefs in being self-serving, not helping the poor, being racist/judgemental, and threatening violence for anyone that does not believe the way they do. Jesus did not approve of the "ultra religious" and self-serving people that used the church/God for their own gain. Please refer to the bible for any other questions or concerns.
The passages in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are actually about Israel. And that is just for starters on this article.
I know what the goddamn bible says. No one wants to read that garbage.
your upset because you know its right.
Your grammar sucks dick.
And so do you.
I want to read it !! ; )
Careful how you use the Lords name in Vain, young man who has much that can be taken away so quickly by the same Lord who could condemn you.... Be shaken, be awaken and be moved....
The Word of God is Perfect, Infallible and Absolute Truth. It is the light in darkness. It is the final authority of ALL creation. God's Wisdom exceeds that of man's foolishness. Therefore, no, I'd rather have the Wisdom and Understanding of God compared to man's foolishness any day.
So you're a bigot and incapable of thinking for yourself...kudos little one...time to grow up and leave your imaginary friend behind.
What makes the Bible infallible?
you make a lot of claims, but do not support one of them.
you still have the foolishness of man, you just have the foolishness of iron age man
I can accept that you believe the word of "God" is infallible. OK, Let's say we give you that. The real question is that all the books of the Bible – and even saying "the" Bible is incorrect, because there are at least hundreds of different versions – were written by hundreds of human beings, who absolutely are, without question, fallible. How can you know for certain that mistakes were not made? How can you know for certain that some of the writers didn't have hidden motives or agendas? How do you know why certain rulers throughout history decided to include some Christian texts in the Bible while leaving out others that are just as legitimate? The problem is that there is no such thing as the "Bible." The stories that make up the book you refer to were written by humans, edited by humans, and translated by humans. I believe that God gave me the ability to think for myself, and when something doesn't make any sense, I question it. I believe that God would want it this way.
So, when your child talks back to you, do you have your child put to death? THAT is the word of the Bible. If you dont do that, then your previous comment was a LIE. (Which is also against the Bible, making you even more guilty)
Fairy tale is a theory called big bag, that says all where created from an very small point (1cm) and then when it exploded all the universe as we know it was born... Fairy tale is a theory called evolution that says you and me somehow where apes at some point of our existance and then by an unexplicable mechanism we "adapted" and then "evolved" with no intervention other than nature... So PLEASE do not talk about fairy tales, just make your choice.. Science is not the truth!!M
TRUTHPREVAILES gives the perfect example of two people, one wanting to direct their lives under God and the other directing their lives under Man. Look how they talk (write), one explains how he wants to believe never giving an example of his belief's, the other (man worshiper) showing exactly what he believes even going as far as to demean and criticize the god worshipper of his belief's. Boy would this earth be a lot better if all man worshippers just disappeared off the face of this planet.
@email@example.com: Better to believe in something that can be proven to exist (ie; man), than something that can't be (ie; god). The belief is damaging if it impedes on equal rights.
We belive what we live, it's impossible to understand with the mind the matters of the spirit, I prefer to "evolve" into a more spiritual being rater into a more recional one, but well that is just me. The earth will be a better place when every person turn their hearts to God.
If you are incapable of forming an opinion on this without the use of the buybull, then you are incapable of free thought. The APA has done numerous studies on this that are updated within the last 20 years, not 2000 years (the last time the buybull was updated). You can opt to live in the 21st century or stay stuck 2 millenniums back but you will not change the fact that being gay is natural and you will not change the fact that the world will move forward regardless of your bigoted views. You want respect and the ability to speak freely, then do the right moral thing and give that respect to everyone.
If your child turned to you today and wanted to introduce you to his/her same gender partner, would you disown them or would you be open to them?
All anyone wants in this world is equal rights and regardless of belief, se.xual orientation, color or disbelief...everyone deserves the same rights.
It really is time, the buybull was left out of decisions of such a controversial issue and time people started to live in the 21st century.
I choose to belive what the Bible says as well, don't mind if any one thinks I am uncapable of "thinking by myself", my choice, my life, what would I want to think like you for example? Are you offering me eternal life as well? Anything to offer at all???
Sure, I'll offer you eternal life. In fact, I'll offer you and your entire family eternal life. Does offering you a better deal make what I say more accurate?
@Gfrce: You failed to see the questions asked. If your belief impedes on the basic rights of others, then it is wrong. Your god does not exist to the best of any SCIENTIFIC STUDY and regardless of how braindead you wish to remain, science will always trump your delusion.
Science is as accurate as a fairy tale as well, some people defend science as it was an"absolute truth", science disrespects me, thinks I am stupid, tries to make me think that there was a big bang (prove it) and that I am an evolution accident (prove it), all of this BIG issues cannot be proved by science, they are theoriesband are still to be proved, even scientists are still debating this to this day, so then is science a any "panacea" to all of our questions??? Don't think so....
Rather than inculcating our children with the primary-color simple Sunday school legends and myths most people do, might I suggest the following ten comandments to enable them to think for themselves.
1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars get frightened when you want to "look under the hood".
5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.
I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any religion or other supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.
Very nicely stated......
If being Gay is a sin, How come so many christians have gay children? Riddle me that one Batman?!?!?!
They are being punished
@IEH: Punished for what? Being born that way?
Satan attacks a preacher by attacking the ones the preacher loves to try and break him down...
The "PARENTS" are being punished NUMB-nuts. Read your own question.
To all who say nothing in Bible is true scientist once said silver back gorillas were legend,the platypus a fake,giant squid a drunk sailors take,black holes were laughed and a few decades ago they only believed.there was one galaxy ours how.stupid do we think they were
The problem with your statement is that science endeavors to prove itself wrong thereby discovering the truth. Religion requires ignorance and adherence to doctrine and alleged "truths" without question.
Can you provide names of scientists and their published statements for the claims you make?
The people that wrote the bible thought the world was flat and the center of the universe. Your logic does not work
Science has been at times as wrong as man
No I can't but I can't name give teachers from homeschool .except Ms Winston adv biology teacher read a book about science dogma 1994 favorite class 99 avg for the year love science just can be wrong like man wait scientist are men or women
Yep, and the bible has been proven wrong for centuries. And everyday science proves even more of it wrong. Thanks for bringing that up!
Yes except when the Bible is wrong (and it is wrong about a great many things) it can't change to include the newly discovered information. Only science can be updated in this way.
"few decades ago they only believed.there was one galaxy ours "
Please do tell what scientist(s) believes this.
The problem with sience is that it is half true and half fairy tale, no one can prove the Big Bang for example, it is a bunch of half trues, evolution? How come no animal has evolvedb in the last 3,000 years? Weird, "science" IS THE RELIGION of many of the people writing here, beleiving a bounch of "science dogmas", the bad thing is that they cannot prove this, so I will choose to follow the path to God. I do not believe in "science" when it comes to BIG themes such as creation and evolution.
@Gfrce: Can you provide evidence that your god exists? The fact that you depend on a book written 2000 years ago for your guidance in this world, proves that you are incapable of thinking for yourself. Imaginary friends are meant to be left behind with your childhood. I'm not sure why your parents are not supervising your internet usage since you do have have the intellect to be on here by yourself.
Science doesn't provide answers to creation. The Big Bang or Standard Cosmological Model is just that...a model.. just like a weather map is a model used to predict the weather. It accurately describes the motions of galaxies in the universe to make predictions about the past and future states of the cosmos. Your grasp of science is pitiful and so you have no business making observations about it.
Sky and telescope magazine I have a subscription
Why do scientist you biblical names for real things like the earth and stars
Gfrse: How does the possibility of a creator (as in a being that creates) morph into the certainty of a god (as in a being that judges humans)? It seems you are saying something along the lines of 'The universe is incredibly complex and beautiful, therefore Jesus died for the sins of man". Welcome to the non-sequitor's club. We may not make sense, but we like pizza
BamaDaniel: Were you home schooled? It shows....
wow the people that wrote the bible thought the earth waS flat...........perhaps people should star reading from the begging of the book
I have my own opinion, my brain tells me to follow The Bible, my heart as well, I choose to depend on a book written 6,000 years ago (not 2,000), It has changed my life, so, that is the only proof I need, I need no science to tell me it's truth, I have my own, I have experienced peace from the inside out, I love the stars and the Universe and my theory is that the Big Bang is true, it matches with the biblical descrption of the Creation of the Universe, so then maybe sience will find Godbas well. Peace to all of you.
Remember what the author of this article said. "This is my take" It doesn't mean its right.
Isaiah 5;18 "Woe to those who drag their sins behind them like a bullock (fn. ' with cords of falsehood') on a rope"
" 5:20 "They say that what is right is wrong,and what is wrong is right..." The Living Bible
Agreed! A man's ways is right in his own eyes.
"A man's ways are right in his eyes"
so is a man's god
You two dimwits are doing exactly the same thing. The only difference is he's got logic, reason, historical context and extensive study on his side, while you two have your faith in the very narrow interpretation of the bible you were told is the only interpretation (I can only assume you were taught this as children, thus you accept it as ancient and unshakable fact). He wins.
@BamaDanial Maybe if you typed in proper English and punctuation I could understand what you are going on about. Also, what were you trying to say about languages? While Aramaic was the common spoken language, Koine Greek was the language of commerce and the language that most of the New Testament was written in.
What wild animals are born gay
H.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l. / T.r.a.n.s.g.e.n.d.e.r Behavior Observed in 478 Species
Name them .joxer I speak American yes NT was translated to Greek years ago Paul was a Roman I doubt he originally wrote in Greek .
BamaDaniel, when did you choose to be heterose.xual?
Mallard Ducks, American Bison, Bonobo, Bottlenose Dolphins just to name a few. American is not a language by the way. Most of the new testament was written in Greek, not translated. Paul being a Roman means he would be most likely to either have his letters written in either Latin or Greek and since Greek was the more dominant language in area around Israel, his letters were more likely to have been written in Greek. You need to research things before you post.
None. The gay community was hoping for a couple of penguins but it didn't pan out.
Well said, Martog.
Pay no mind to the manly beliefs in the Bible or any other ancient book look at the similarities in beliefs that's where you will find the truth
Your religion will NEVER BE for me
Get over it
I beloved on nature dummy I have a creator and he don't kill babys
Believe .I hate predictive text
What's my religion
Fetuses aren't babies anymore than eggs are chickens. And your God was responsible for many infant deaths...heck he even commanded it by having all the first born males of Egypt marked for death. And proved his incompetence by missing Moses.
@BamaDaniel: Did you make it past grade 3?
It's funny how this so called researcher totally missed the second chapter of Genesis where it CLEARLY talks of what God created and the purpose of why he created a woman to be a man's mate NOT a man and a man or a woman or a woman. PLEASE, if you have so much to say about the Bible, you should be smart enough to read it!
GENESIS 2:18-25 (King James Version)
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
You have to be a fool to take this fairy tale seriously in the first place. This is the 21st century. Wake up and smell the coffee.
but some people like fairy-tails
This is the very reason why there should be a separation of state and religion. You are now assuming that every individual in this country is a Christian or believes in the Bible.
@Trice: We know about the buybull and dismiss it as the fairy tales it is. The fact that you wish to quote it is only proof of your inability to think for yourself.
Like the college educated people digging up Bible facts daily Solomons copper mine has been found so has gath home of Goliath.by people with degrees
BamaDaniel@ So what? We know the Jewish people are real, but it doesn't automatically make everything in the Bible true. What kind of moronic logic are you using?
The bible is a fairy tail – myths and nothing more. Its nonsense! Grow up!
Do you seriously believe this nonsense?
The whole Adam and Eve story is nothing more than a romanticized fairytale. If you literally believe that the first woman was "magically" created by a single rib from a man then you must also be naive enough to believe in the tooth-fairy and Santa Claus. Learn some critical thinking and basic biology instead of blindly accepting ancient fairytales as truths.
The copper mine has a rather wide range of possible dates. And archeologists have NOT said that it MUST be of King Solomon's days. That's just selective reading on your part. There is no firm record of Solomon's days, so dating the mine to a particular period would STILL not tell you it was Solomon's. Your brain has played a trick on a very gullible YOU.
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.