DISCLAIMER: The blog author does not in any way hate or socially discriminate against homosexual persons or their civic rights.
In the following post, he merely points out the Scriptural basis for the rejection of homosexual behaviour in Conservative mainstream Christianity. Modern socio-cultural issues related to the issue are not adressed here.
The blog author also fully supports the civil rights of each person of any religion, lifestyle or politics to practise his or her beliefs without infringing on the rights and freedoms of others.
However, he draws the line at churches, groups or individuals that make the claim of homosexuality being permitted or condoned by the Bible and Christianity – as they are in essence saying that every other church (which follows the traditional, mainstream and Scripturally-backed belief that homosexuality is a sin) IS WRONG, MISGUIDED AND HATEFULLY DISCRIMINATORY. This borders on libel and slander.
Although the blog author may not ‘understand’ the feelings and real-life challenges faced by homosexual persons, the following post does not make any claim to do so – the discussion that follows focuses only on Bible Scripture, of which the blog author believes that his understanding is adequate and correct in the case of the citations below.
OLD TESTAMENT – LAWS OF MOSES
- The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom - both young and old – surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens - Genesis 19:1,4,5,24. The story of Sodom from which we get the word sodomy (i.e. ass-banditry).
And yes, I am aware of the argument that “Sodom’s sin was about not showing hospitality, not about homosexuality”. See excerpt from this article in response:
Citing Mark Jordan’s The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, Kristof states as fact that “it was only in the 11th century that theologians began to condemn homosexuality as sodomy.” The true facts are that, long before the 11th century, a number of early Jewish and Christian writers picked up on the male-male sexual activity of the Sodomites as inherently degrading. In the 1st century (A.D.) alone, one can cite among others: Philo, Josephus, and, some critics to the contrary, Jude 7 and 2 Peter 2:6-10 (on the last two texts go here, pp. 10-13, or here, section V.). Ezekiel, back in the 6th century B.C., knew the Holiness Code (Leviticus 17-24), or a precursor document, and interpreted the Sodom story in part through the lens of the absolute Levitical prohibitions against male-male intercourse (18:22; 20:13). When Ezekiel 16:49-50 describes the sin of Sodom as “not aiding the poor and needy” and “committing an abomination,” it refers to two different offenses, as the list of vices in Ezekiel 18:12 makes clear when it distinguishes these two phrases.
The Deuteronomistic History (Joshua through 2 Kings), another work of the 6th century B.C., contains a parallel story to the story of Sodom; namely, the Levite at Gibeah (Judges 19:22-25). There can be little doubt that the male-male dimension of the threatened sexual activity factored prominently in the Deuteronomistic Historian’s indictment of the residents of Gibeah, given his apparent revulsion elsewhere in the History for the consensual homoerotic associations of the qedeshim (literally, “consecrated ones”), cult figures who sometimes served as the passive receptive partners in male-male intercourse.
Finally, to assume that the narrator of Genesis 19 would have been favorably disposed to an act of consensual male-male intercourse is absurd in view of ancient Near Eastern texts that held in low repute men who willingly consented to be penetrated by other men.
Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. – 1st Kings 14:22,24
The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD – to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah. – 2 Kings 23:3, 7
It’s quite clear that for millennia, from the foundations of monotheistic worship of YHWH all the way up to modern conservative Judaism and Christianity, homosexuality has been SEVERELY frowned upon.
But in response to these very clear prohibitions, certain parties will argue that these 3000-year old laws are outdated and obsolete.
After all, modern Christians don’t follow the other laws such as not eating shellfish, observing the Sabbath on Saturday or stoning disobedient sons. (Explanation of why not can be found in this post.)
So why the particular discrimination against homosexuality when pork chop eaters get a free pass?
Let’s take a look at the New Testament then, which is where Christians get their doctrine…
NEW TESTAMENT – LETTERS OF PAUL
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. – Romans 1:26-27
Ah, but even here there are protests…
Certain groups again will object that fundamentalist, conservative, bigotedly anti-homosexual groups incorrectly translate those words of Paul. They contend that what he really objects to are not general homosexuals, but male prostitutes in the service of pagan worship that were previously mentioned in 1st and 2nd Kings above. They go even to the point of sueing Bibles for ‘discrimination’ against homosexuals.
Though frankly, how doing something that the pagans were detested by God for doing can ever be considered acceptable and holy before God is a mystery to me.
And also, if the word rendered ‘homosexuals’ actually means ‘male prostitutes’, then why does 1st Corinthians 6 list BOTH TERMS side by side as separate sins? And how does this explain away all the various terms used to describe homosexual acts, such as a ‘man lying with a man’ in the earlier OT examples?
But rational and logical objections to overturning 2000 years of accepted theology and doctrine aside, where does this leave us if both Moses and Paul are disbelieved?
Why, there is only…
THE MAN HIMSELF – JESUS CHRIST
Let’s now look at some words quoted directly from Jesus:
Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” - Matthew 19:5-6
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” - Mark 10:6-9
Waitaminnit… There’s nary a mention of male-male or female-female action there. What am I going on about by invoking the Appeal to Jesus argument?
But take a closer look at what Jesus is saying in Matthew 5. He is proclaiming the same stand which truly conservative Christians hold today – that any sexual contact outside of marriage, whether full penetration or ‘just looking/touching’, is a sin in God’s eyes. Even intentionally thinking naughty thoughts is a no-no bad thing.
Then look at Matthew 19 and Mark 10. Here Jesus says that marriage, as ordained by God Himself, is between a man and a woman.
And no, in the Hebrew and Greek, ‘wife’ always means ‘woman’ and never refers to the submissive male partner in a homosexual relationship. Contextual references here and here.
Jesus’ words echo the original marriage ordination by God when He first created Eve to be Adam’s spouse in Genesis 2 (see later on below), and this is further echoed by Paul who repeats the same words in 1st Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:31.
Dig even deeper into those verses – Jesus says ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate’. In context, He was directly referring to the act of divorce, which desecrates the holy union of marriage.
But isn’t that also what homosexual pairings do? Replace God’s original plan for male-female marriage? Separate the traditional, God-ordained marriage institution by taking it apart it, to be put back together according to liberal humanist principles of relative morality?
So here we find the dilemma for homosexual pairings – The Biblical example only permits sexual contact within the marriage context, and the marriage context only permits man-woman pairings.
Therefore, any sexual contact between two males – or two females – is considered adultery in God’s eyes.
By contrast, a male having sexual contact with a female would also be adultery, unless the two were married – but following Biblical principle, two males or two females cannot be joined in holy matrimony before God’s sight.
Remember too that Jesus was a great social reformer of the time. Even liberals and nonChristians agree so, taking Him as a societal rebel (though usually selectively excluding His accompanying Judaistic Monotheism background and His call to personal sacrifice and holiness).
Jesus overturned the prevailing social-religious-cultural norms of discriminating on the basis of gender, race, social standing and physical condition.
He taught by word and example that all people are equal in the eyes of God – equally loved, and equally forgiven if they simply accept His offer of redemption.
So here is the crux of the investigation: If Jesus was such a thorough reformer, why didn’t He make any mention of accepting homosexuality as well?
Instead, he uttered specific words that were specifically in line with the standard views of the time - heterosexual relationships only, within marriage only.
If Jesus was really supportive and accepting of homosexuality as certain parties argue, wouldn’t Matthew 19 and Mark 10 have been the perfect chance for Him to make known God the Father’s will?
But nope, not a peep from Jesus about demolishing prevailing 1st-Century era sexual-behaviour prejudices.
Could it be that Jesus DID NOT consider homosexuality to be holy and acceptable in God’s eyes? And thus, intentionally did not overturn the disapproving traditional attitudes towards homosexuality?
And if He did not update or correct the traditional Judaistic views on a certain matter, then we must assume that Jesus intended for those matters to remain in the status quo even after the move from Law to Grace.
Jesus taught that all people are equally loved and forgiven in the eyes of God – but He never condoned sin of any sort. Instead, He calls us to ‘Leave your life of sin’ if we want to genuinely follow Him.
AND FROM THE BIG MAN IN THE SKY…
With His words about ‘becoming one flesh’, Jesus echoes God’s original plan when He first created humankind:
As the meme goes, ‘God made them Adam and Eve… Not Adam and Steve.’
If God originally intended homosexuality to be the perfect, sinless plan, then why did He not just make all life of one gender? (Or for that matter, three or four genders?) Or with both sets of ‘equipment’ on each body?
And before you get into that ‘permitted because of the hardness of your heart’ argument stolen from Jesus’ words on divorce, God’s plans did not get thrown out the heavenly window with the Fall of Man:
How can two men or two women ‘be fruitful, increase in number and multiply on the earth’ when they cannot even propagate their genes (which as many pro-homosexual groups contend are the SOLE factor influencing sexual preference)?
Or if God’s original plan was for homosexuals to fill the earth, then why did He not design men to be able to procreate with men?
The above is an example of an idiotic plan for filling the earth with a certain species, one that any fool can see is doomed to cause extinction within a single generation.
And note that as the Hyper-Intelligent Designer who carefully planned out the entire universe and all life (at least, as fundamentalist Christians believe), God is not an idiot.
And if God intentionally designed humans to be homosexual, then why, of all things, would he design men in such a way that the most intimate act of love would have to involve sticking one’s most sensitive member into another’s orifice that is used for expelling filthy, smelly faeces out, not letting things in???
Not to mention to un-intelligent design mistake of the rectal walls being thin and easily torn by insertion of any objects, leading to bleeding and thus to the HIV infection rate being highest among gay men (60 times greater than for the general population) and 72% of HIV infections among 27,455 surveyed males being caused by homosexual encounters?
And that’s not delving into the lack of intentional biological design that allows penetration in the case of two women attempting actual intercourse.
Christianity is not the lovey-lovey, nicey-accepty, let’s-just-all-be-friends religion that shallow modern culture makes it out to be. (It is very lovey-nicey-accepty-friendy, but just not in the way modern culture wants it to be.)
Christianity is a relationship with a God who tells the factual truth then way it is – whether you like it or not, your opinion does not change reality.
And according to God’s word aka the Bible, the reality is that homosexuality is a sin-warped perversion of God’s original perfect plan.
That’s the way I see it, and from my exegesis and hermeneutics of the Bible above, that’s the way it is. (You can check out a more official analysis at Bible.org.)
Comments and arguments are welcome.
PS. See also this excellent piece by Prof. Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon and this one by Prof. Kevin Lewis on the Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality, in particular as a refutation of the Newsweek propaganda about the Bible being pro-gay marriage.