Answering “A Christian’s Response to Homosexuality”

From http://lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/a-christians-response-to-homosexuality/

There are three passages in the Old Testament (Gen. 19: 1-13; Lev 18:22; 20:13) and three in the New Testament (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; I Tim. 1:10) that have traditionally been read as prohibiting homosexuality.

In this post, I will look up each of these passages and give my own response, followed by a general conclusion at the end. Like I have made clear in my post Why I am an Atheist: Secular Morality vs. Divine Command, I do not give any credence whatsoever to Biblical authority on anything much less morality. However, given that I am interested in what Christians believe due to my early immersion in the religion, and the fact that these controversies are affecting people’s lives even today, I feel a desire to respond.

Gen. 19: 1-13: I see no prohibition about homosexuality here. Maybe only a prohibition about allowing guests who have entered your home to be gang raped by a mob. But then, Lot seems to have little scruple about sending his virgin daughters out to be raped instead (I guess he felt he would have to send out someone?) I see this not as a message to modern Christians that homosexuality is immoral, but a message to everyone today that the morality in the Bible is just plain twisted.

Lev 18:22: This is an Old Testament law against male homosexuality (it says “do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman”) though I notice it says nothing about lesbians.  Couched right between the rules against adultery and bestiality.

Lev 20:13: Essential the same as Lev 18:22, but with slightly different wording. And followed by specific instructions not to sleep with animals, see their siblings naked, or “take” their brother’s wife (Though wasn’t there a rule requiring the brother to sleep with his deceased brothers widow so the deceased brother would have an heir? I’ll have to look that up later…).

Rom. 1:26-27: Really not sure how to interpret this one. It sounds like it says God made people gay because they were degenerate sinners? I just have to quote the whole passage here… I remember this passage from Bible quizzing, but come to think about it I’m not even sure who Paul is talking about, unless it is just people who don’t believe in what he is preaching. But that doesn’t make much sense because being an unbeliever does not cause one to be attracted to members of the same sex. It sounds like just an inflammatory rant against those who didn’t believe his message. Not only are the disbelievers gay, but also they lack all natural affection, and are generally evil.

1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

And it also seems strange that Paul would condemn homosexuality as “unnatural” when he also said that the “natural man” was evil.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Paul lists below those who will not “inherit the kingdom of God” (presumed to mean, these people don’t go to heaven? The phrase “kingdom of God” is not really defined very well anywhere in the Bible.)  Besides, what does it mean “effeminate”? Some people have translated this as “homosexual” but I have to wonder if this is due to their own prejudice more than what the word actually means. Perhaps an “effeminate” man doesn’t fit into the clear-cut gender roles required by Paul’s Christianity? Similarly, I don’t get what “abusers of themselves with mankind” is supposed to mean either and if this has anything to do with homosexuality or not. I’ve heard masturbation referred to as “self-abuse” but I see it as no such thing. Could Paul’s ickyness towards sex be what is really being revealed here?

6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

I Tim. 1:10: Meh, pretty much more of the same…lumping gays (I guess) in with sinners, murderers, and menstealers (??).

1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

From what I can see here, it looks like the Old Testament law prohibited homosexuality, along with other abominations like the eating of shellfish (Leviticus 11:9-12) and the wearing of mixed fibers (Leviticus 19:19). These laws should be irrelevant to the modern Christian since they are supposedly no longer under the Old Testament law. Or so I have heard. As for the New Testament passages (All coming from the same person in fact, assuming that letters to Timothy are not forgeries as suspected by many scholars.) I don’t see much here besides Paul’s distaste towards sex, especially when coupled with his admonition to his followers that it is better for them to be celibate and not to marry. (1 Corinthians 7)

In conclusion, regarding gay marriage, I see nothing in the Bible prohibiting it at least for modern-day Christians who are supposedly no longer “under the law” as Paul put it. I see assumptions but no declarations that marriage is between men and women. Though if you really look at the Bible, this “one man, one woman” notion is scarcely to be found. Also there is nothing saying that other sexual “sinners” like fornicators or adulterers should be restricted from marrying or doing anything else really. Regarding Paul’s libelous lumping in homosexuals with murderers, liars, and other sorts of seedy people, I only see his own prejudice and ever more reason why notions of “Biblical authority” should be tossed into the historical trash-bin of really bad ideas.

EDIT: I have been trying very hard not to edit posts after I have already published, because I always seem to think of one more thing to say after I have published. But it’s a point I have to make:

NONE of these passages that speak badly of homosexuals or lumps gayness in with murder and lying has anything to do with Jesus, or was attributed to Jesus. They were all either Old Testament passages or were written (or at least attributed) to Paul, who never met Jesus in the flesh and only made a very untestable claim to have had a vision of Jesus. 

And now I will go back to my intention to make no further edits to posts after publishing.

12 thoughts on “Answering “A Christian’s Response to Homosexuality”

  1. In the following passages, Jesus tells us about marriage in the NT:

    ¶The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath ajoined together, let not man put asunder. Matthew 19: 3 – 6

    Jesus discusses marriage and is speaking plainly that a man will leave his mother and father, join his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Jesus makes it clear that this is marriage. He doesn’t clarify that two men will be joined together or two women will become one flesh. He is quite specific.

  2. Frankly.. while we’re on the topic, as an atheist, you really wouldn’t be the person to advise anyone seeking to be in God’s will according to the bible, would you? I mean, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter which is why I came by, but you don’t believe in God, the bible, or following Jesus Christ, do you? So why on earth would a homosexual who was interested in being “right with God” or marrying under acceptable religious tradition, give credence to what you’re suggesting here in this post? This makes no sense. You get what I’m saying? It’s almost funny in a way, but really it’s not..

    (lil sigh) I gotta go. Be back later perhaps, duty (my kidlet) calls.

  3. I was writing really quickly above due to having to take care of something, but just wanted to add this last thing to your posting here.

    We have basically come to a place in this discussion on my blog where it seems clear to me and to most of the other Christians that there is no real way to find agreement when one does not subscribe to, hold in respect, or believe the bible.

    When a Christian bases their lifestyle and beliefs around a text which they believe is inspired by God, despite the attempts to tamper with and reinterpret it, etc., they are going to hold firmly to what is written there. Under this premise, homosexuality is clarified in the NT as “sin.” It is clear that this sin is arrived at through idolatry and apparently God gives one over to this kind of lust, and essentially that’s that, unless one repents of all of their sins, and begins life anew in Jesus Christ.

    At that point, my feeling is that God will deal with each Christian, and the sin that they cannot overcome, personally in His own way, because He knows our hearts as only He can.

    This is pretty much my take on the matter so hope that helped to clarify where I’m at on the topic.

  4. “We have basically come to a place in this discussion on my blog where it seems clear to me and to most of the other Christians that there is no real way to find agreement when one does not subscribe to, hold in respect, or believe the bible.”

    Thank you! We have come to a very important understanding here. The restrictions on homosexuality are totally religious and have no sort of rational secular basis at all. You see, despite the fact that I would love to convince you that my position is right, it is not your personal belief or the belief of any other religious person that I am really concerned about. You are welcome to personally believe whatever you wish on homosexuality or any other topic. Even thought I would think it very sad, a Christian with your beliefs on homosexuality who realized that they are homosexual may choose to therefore be celibate or try to behave as a heterosexual according to their own religious beliefs. However, this belief has no place at all in the secular law of this country, and no one has a right to enforce this belief on the general populace of the United States, including it’s homosexual citizens, who do not hold the belief that homosexuality is a sin.

    The fact that some Christians such as yourself believe that gays should not be allowed to marry, even if this is absolutely what the Bible says, has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not gay marriage should be legally recognized by the United States of America. It just like the Catholic Church can choose not to recognize the marriage of someone who was previously divorced, it cannot stop the United States from recognizing that marriage. Do you understand what I mean?

  5. “Frankly.. while we’re on the topic, as an atheist, you really wouldn’t be the person to advise anyone seeking to be in God’s will according to the bible, would you? I mean, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter which is why I came by, but you don’t believe in God, the bible, or following Jesus Christ, do you? So why on earth would a homosexual who was interested in being “right with God” or marrying under acceptable religious tradition, give credence to what you’re suggesting here in this post? This makes no sense. You get what I’m saying? It’s almost funny in a way, but really it’s not..”

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt here, and not assume you are saying that only believers in Christianity have any right or business commenting on Christian belief. I grew up immersed in Christianity growing up, and considered it a precious part of my identity right up though my teen years. I was fascinated and maybe even a bit obsessed with theology and with right belief then, and that did not change when I determined that I no longer believed any of it. If I have a concern about a relationship with anything (besides my friends and family) it is with reality and with truth. It is incredibly important to me that my beliefs match the reality about the world as closely as possible, even if I will likely always be wrong about a lot of things (since I will never be all-knowing). At least some Christians I know would consider my search for the truth to be just as good as seeking after God, even though I believe in no such literal being. This is why I choose the title The Skeptical Seeker for my blog.

    Regarding this particular post, I was interested in the verses you listed, since I’ve never really done a study of what the Bible says on homosexuality in particular before. Very interesting…

    Besides, my concern about homosexuality has nothing to do with a “right relationship with God” whatever that may mean to you. I am concerned about religious beliefs being written into our secular law and imposed on people that do not hold those religious beliefs. People’s rights are being withheld because of the beliefs of people and politicians who think homosexuality is a sin. Especially as a non-believer regarding all of the religions, the idea of religious codes being written into the law of my home country scares the shit out of me (for lack of a better word). So yes, I do care deeply about this issue.

  6. Okay.. I think I understand a lot better now where you’re coming from. I think I was confused about that. I understand your position and in some aspects actually agree with it.

    I don’t want anyone trampling upon yours or my constitutional rights. I guess you and I and others who think as you do are just having difficulty in deciphering what those rights are exactly and where to draw the line.

    I no more desire a dominionist governmening body than an anti-theist one. If secular meant true freedom, I think I would be more inclined to back it, but these days secular means anything but. Secular seems to imply anti-theism these days and that scares me.

    I didn’t mean to infer that only a Christian could have an opinion about the bible. I was trying to clarify that I can’t see an atheist encouraging someone with a same sex sexual orientation to decipher or interpret the bible from a positive slant, or positive understanding of where God is coming from on this issue, point of view. Most atheists don’t exactly like or approve of the god of the bible, you know? That’s all I meant.

    (That’s stereotyping, of course, and I’m sorry for that; it’s really hard to stop doing that, but I am trying).

  7. Pingback: Responding to Answering A Christian’s Response | Random Ntrygg

  8. You said:

    The fact that some Christians such as yourself believe that gays should not be allowed to marry, even if this is absolutely what the Bible says, has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not gay marriage should be legally recognized by the United States of America. It just like the Catholic Church can choose not to recognize the marriage of someone who was previously divorced, it cannot stop the United States from recognizing that marriage. Do you understand what I mean?

    My point of view is:

    My reasoning behind not supporting gay marriage is absolutely not connected to what the bible says about homosexuality. I’m a strong proponent of marriage as a concept, defined exactly as it’s been defined for quite literally years. I don’t want to see marriage re-defined.

    I am concerned that once that door is opened by homosexuals and we allow them to begin marrying and claiming their civil rights, we must then open that door very, very wide and include the incestuous, boy and man groups, man and beast, polygamous groups, and perhaps even Pete and his blow up doll will want to marry. Where do we draw the line?

    I draw the line now at heterosexual union between a woman and a man, which has always been marriage. I don’t want to redefine this, stretch that meaning, or open up a door to include numerous other groups that are eventually going to make a mockery of the concept of marriage and essentially destroy it entirely. I’m very much against redefining marriage for these reasons.

  9. “I do not give any credence whatsoever to Biblical authority on anything.”

    That is refreshingly blunt and I may have to use that from now on, if you don’t mind.

    This isn’t my argument, but I can’t help responding to the previous comment, “we must then open that door very, very wide and include the incestuous, boy and man groups, man and beast, polygamous groups, and perhaps even Pete and his blow up doll will want to marry. Where do we draw the line?”

    This is Christian arrogance at its extreme. Two gay people are just as human as two straight people. To equate a homosexual with a blow-up doll or an animal is the same thing as saying a black person is sub-human. By the way, since some states allow gay marriage, fill me in on how many people are in court fighting for their right to marry an animal or an inanimate object. By your, uh, logic, the courts would be inundated. They are not.

  10. Seriously “oldancestor” perhaps catch up on my blog and you’ll see how many. There’s a man attempting to marry a doll already in the news. The polygamous are now being helped by gay rights activists to prepare to challenge for their civil rights to marry. Do you think people are stupid? Do you actually believe we don’t get what’s occurring in front of our very eyes?

    The “family” is under assault, as are family values. The country is going down the drain thanks to the secular morality America has been embracing. Anyway, yes, there is a concern and a slippery slope leading directly to hell on earth.

    No, I’m not comparing gays to the incestuous, the man and beast partnerships, and the other foul examples. I’m merely saying that by offering alternative couplings their “civil rights,” we cannot play favorites and only offer these to gays. Everybody has to be allowed to marry.

    I think not.

    • LOL A doll, really? I can’t even imagine how the rights and privileges of marriage would apply to an inanimate object. I would have to inquire further into the motivations of anyone who would want to ‘marry’ an object to find out exactly what it is they are trying to accomplish…. Why not draw the line at consentual adult humans who wish to enter into a lifelong (ideally) commited relationship? As the study sited in the video I referenced with Al Frankin, homosexual couples can have perfectly decent families too.

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