Monday, October 24, 2005

Homosexuality in the Bible

There's a ton of resources out there on homosexuality and the Bible. They all say similar things - some say it's a sin because of the "clobber passages" while others say it's not a sin because of the "clobber passages". There are books and essays and research papers and web sites and it gets pretty tiring sometimes to read the same things over and over again. Few times have I come across a resource that I found refreshingly concise.

After reading Justin Cannon's paper called "The Bible, Christianity, and Homosexuality", there were some of the same things that I had already read before from other sources. Yet, there were many other things that I hadn't and also things that he phrased in such a way that made sense. What I really liked about Justin's paper was that he was incredibly concise and to the point. I loved that I didn't have to read through a ton of content to figure out the point he was trying to make. I know that I said before that i'd make a side by side comparison of differing perspectives - it'll come, I haven't forgotten.

In the mean time, if you are someone who is either trying to explore this issue for yourself, researching this issue out of concern for a gay friend or family member, or have already read so much out there that you can practically write a book on the subject yourself, I would recommend giving Justin's paper a read. I'd be interested to hear about what people think about it, especially from those who have believed that homosexuality (in the modern context) is wrong.

4 comments:

JJ said...

One of the things he mentioned that I can't believe I hadn't thought of was that Sodom was going to be destroyed before the whole gang rape thing. It's so obvious, but it just hadn't occured to me. Not that I've ever thought that this story was relevant to the argument, but still.

Also, I liked how he used the whole Bible. People I've talked to (who aren't gay and are Side B... or maybe even Side X) have critisized many of the arguments because all they do is argue against specific verses, not look at the whole of Scripture, and Justin does that. I thought it was pretty cool.

Ron said...

Eric,

I know it has been a while, but I wanted to stop by and say hello. I have always admired your honesty and maturity regarding this subject. I would love for you to stop by my blog and leave a note; I left it for a while, and when you read the post you will see why. However, there is a dear brother in the Lord who was very encouraging and convinced me that I should not stop because of some of the immaturity and irresponsibility I have seen. I will not be a part of any of that. I will, however, strive to develop fellowship with others who are earnestly seeking, and I am convinced that you are one of those. Look forward to hearing from you.

Elizabeth said...

Wow. Amazing. I found your journal through JJ and i'm so glad I did! I read the entire article and I was just amazed by how detailed this was! I want you to know that I put the link of every journal that I own that others can read and I might even email it to my parents...

It's rather hard to argue all thsoe things, i'm sure people will find ways because as said in Dogma, beliefs are hard to change...that was highly paraphrased by the way, so much that I didn't bother to put quotes around it. But i'm rather curious to see what things will argue with. But thank you very much for the link and the insight. Hopefully it will open someone's eyes. Even if it's only one person, I'd feel like by spreading this paper, i'd feel like i'm making a difference! And you know what, some people will never allow their eyes to be opened but we can have these articles/papers that expose their arguments as the crocks that they are!

Thank you and God bless! God bless you and the person who wrote that paper!

Genius said...

Passage I: The Sodom Account (Genesis 19:1-9)
This is interesting as one often sees the argument that the term refers to "know" i.e. that they wished to interrogate (probably with force) the people. This of course is a weak argument in the context of Genesis as a whole and the rest of the passage.
The argument in the article that it is homosexual rape that is the problem is correct but noting that does not fully neutralize the argument as the linked site says
"Genesis 19, by itself, does not explicitly and specifically condemn homosexual relations per se. A Biblical ethic concerning same sex relations cannot be based on this passage alone. Nevertheless, we can see here illustrated narratively what is elsewhere taught directly: homosexuality is wrong, homosexuality is of one piece with a complex nexus of behaviors and desires that are wrong and of which we are all guilty, and God through his covenant has mercy on sinful people like you and me."

This conclusion comes from the fact that homosexuality is appearing in a negative context - it is not proof but it is implied by that that it is seen negatively. In the same way that someone might say "you are an Asian [insert bad word in here]!" implies that the speaker views both the former and the later categories as bad. This conclusion of course is pending further information because if it was shown that the bible approved of homosexual relations then that would mean we would have to take him other interpretation.

Passage II: 1 Timothy 1:8-10"
This passage seems to refer centrally to the concept of slavery but that doesn’t stop the fact that it also contains the concept of male/male sex. Again we have no clear refutation or support for the point.

Passage III: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

This seems to imply 1) effeminate men 2) masculine men the former being seen as a "male prostitute"
This seems to be very much the way it would have been seen by a person 2000 years ago who was not a participant as a series of more wealthy dominant people with friends who took the role of their women.
Thus the submissive man might be termed a male prostitute just like one might crassly term a woman a whore or a gold digger.
Of course there is also the possibility that it was a specific attack on temple prostitution but that is quite a specific thing. Again it seems to beg the question if homosexuality is approved of surely one would feel the need to explain it a bit more - i.e. under what circumstances (egg marriage) it is allowed. If it is not approved of and it is seen as a common sin then there is no need if it is not approved of and it is a major sin/abomination there is more need but not as much as in the first case (I would have thought).

Passage IV: Romans 1:24-27
I think this is harder to argue. His quote from peter Gomes is
"But what is clear is that what is ‘unnatural’ is the one behaving after the manner of the other”"
Personally I don’t see the world as full of gays and straight people I think we can say quite safely that it is a continuum. So it doesn’t sound likely you would have a law that tells a person to act according to one or other nature depending on which is natural. And if it just means "act as you feel" that is contradictory to the whole spirit of the passage. Thus I tend towards it being shameful in that it is adultery and an orgy but it also seems it was noteworthy that it was male male. I guess that is a noticeable change/landmark but so it could be a measure of the depravity as opposed to depravity in itself but that seems again to be stretching the analysis.

Passage V: The Creation Narrative (Genesis 1-2)

Again the question is why are not such relations noteworthy? Surely a few might get mention. Maybe they are....

Passage VI: Leviticus 18:22
I am not sure if there was a concrete enough answer to this to address. He seems to be arguing the passage is not applicable anymore. I guess that is a possible argument to anything.

The problem is that basically every narrative, law, proverb, exhortation, metaphor, and piece of poetry in the Hebrew Bible having anything to do with sexual relations presupposes a male-female prerequisite.

I asume from the fact that I cant find much else critical of gays that there are basically no other mentions in the bible. I thought there was some mention of anal sex in relation to sperm. But no one mentions it so I asume that was an argument in error made by someone.

Anyway maybe that can start some thoughts.