Homosexuality: From It's a Sin to Christian Gay Rights Supporter ~ Part II of V
Posted Oct 13 2009 10:01pm
“The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.” ~ Lynn Lavner [six admonishments are not true, but what is used against homosexuality by most Christians.]
What began my journey? For many years, my stance on homosexuality was basically to repeat back what the church told me, but something in the back of my mind couldn’t reconcile this issue. And, that was/is not my normal way of being. I also have friends and family who are homosexual and the same sex marriage issue has exploded in the United States. I have almost always questioned everything the church has said and have had to find satisfactory answers for myself; otherwise, it does not become my faith or belief. For me, this means that several things need to agree together, such as, what the Bible says, what my experiences are, and who I know God to be in my life and must agree with the original Greek and Hebrew and within the context of the culture in which the Bible was written.
With the issue of homosexuality, it has always bothered me as to how the church approached it especially as the above statements do not sound like the character of God at all. So, for the past two years, I have been researching both sides of the argument using the internet, several books which I will list at the end and interviewing people on both sides of the argument including people who have been involved in ministries to transform homosexuals into heterosexuals.
Most of what I have found is that those who condemn homosexuality use a literal interpretation of the Bible which does not account for the word “homosexual” not being used as a word until 1892. The Greek words used in the verses against homosexuality refer to such things as rape, power differential, orgies, adultery, cultural issues, sodomy and polygamy. As a culture they did not have an “idea” of homosexuality and it was not a word that they used, it is a modern day translation. In the verses that they use sodomy and homosexuality it is generally in reference to rape or that it was against the law because it was making a man like a woman, who was subservient. Remember, the culture highly relied on a patriarchal system and wives and daughters were possessions. Male superiority had to be maintained.
According to the book Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers, “you shall not lie with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). The Hebrew word ‘ toevah,’ translated as “abomination,” refers here to something that makes a person ritually unclean, such as intercourse with a woman while she is menstruating. Ritual purity was considered necessary to distinguish the Israelites fromtheir pagan neighbors.” Matthew 15 refers to the purity of one’s heart. Matthew 5 refers to Jesus fulfilling the Law.
Rogers further states, “the sin of Sodom is mentioned several times elsewhere in the Bible, but never in connection with homosexual acts. In the Old Testament references to Sodom, the sins of wealth, indifference to the poor, general wickedness and [refusal of hospitality for travelers who were often subjected to rape if no one was hospitable. Rape was the ultimate humiliation especially for men.] In the New Testament, when Jesus referred to the sin of Sodom, as recorded in Luke 10:20 and Matthew 10:15, he was passing judgment on cities that refused hospitality to his traveling disciples. A focus on the supposed homosexual aspect of the Sodom story comes only later, in nonbiblical literature, influenced by Greek philosophy, and also in the Muslim Qur’an.”
Rogers also points out that, “the definition of ‘sodomy’ has changed over time. In the Middle Ages it referred to any form of sexual expression that was not open to procreation. Then it focused on anal intercourse. Until the twentieth century, such sexual expression was viewed as wrong and often made illegal, whether by heterosexual or homosexual couples. Then, the law was narrowed in the United States to apply only to homosexuals.” So for me, I do not see God viewing homosexuality as a sin. The Bible actually, from the original versions, do not refer to homosexuality. Also, in the more modern day translations it is a very miniscule part of the Bible.
Many of the Christian arguments against homosexuality assume that it is a choice of a life style. What I am finding is that it is a very new area of research. The “opposition” mostly, take the Bible literally, passages are taken out of context of time and culture, they don't go back to the original Hebrew or Greek and they make the assumption that it is a choice. Most of the research is finding genetic components bodily differences and brain differences. However, it is still in it’s infancy of research and research needs to become more reproducible and have a larger participant count. So, scientific evidence seems inconclusive. But, for me, after what I have seen, read, talked with homosexuals and mental health professionals, I do not believe that it is a choice. It would be like forcing a left-handed person to write right-handed. They might be able to do it, but it wouldn’t be true to who they are.
Also, if it were a choice why would anyone want to put themselves through the prejudice from others and more significantly the tremendous emotional turmoil and, at times, excruciating pain that one goes through when they are exploring their sexual identity. It is a gut wrenching process to accept oneself as being gay and every homosexual has to go through this process and if they say that they never experienced that they are either in fooling themselves or are in denial.
I want to touch on some of the history of how homosexuals have been treated some of which appalled me or was quite disturbing…Look for it tomorrow.
“I don’t think homosexuality is a choice. Society forces you to think it’s a choice, but in fact, it’s in one’s nature. The choice is whether one expresses one’s nature truthfully or spends the rest of one’s life lying about it.” ~ Marlo Thomas