January 03, 2007

The Bible on Homosexuality

Sighsnootles posted this on WonderCafe.ca and I think it is a great summation of the Bible's stance on Homosexuality.

Genesis 19: 1-28 - The ancient story of Sodom and Gomorrah

first of all, i want to say that the common reaction to this story ticks me off right from the get go... the fact that lot was going to send out his two daughters to be gang raped by an angry mob, and nobody has a problem with this?!?!? anyways, i digress....

there a few errors in the translation from the hebrew scriptures to the english version we have now that i feel are pretty major to the interpretation... the word that has been translated as intercourse is 'yada', which means 'get to know'. had the author of this scripture wanted to say that the mob wanted to have sexual intercourse with lots visitors, he probably would have used the word 'shakab'. this word denotes sexual activity. the word 'yada' appears in the hebrew scriptures over 900 times, and in every other context is used as meaning to get acquainted with someone. yet, in this particular passage, it somehow was changed to mean 'intercourse'.

therefore, that entire passage should read something more like this... 'where are the mortals who came here tonight?? bring them out here so that we may get acquainted with them.'

now, if you look at it again, there are a few other problems as well... for the story to be a condemnation of homosexuality, the ENTIRE CITY must have been homosexual. this is impossible, but even if it were true, why on earth would lot have sent his DAUGHTERS out to a homosexual male mob??? it states that lots daughters were virgins, and we know that sacrificing virgins was something very common in pagan idol worship. and we also know that lot lived in a pagan city.

elsewhere in the bible, sodom is refered to again, in ezekiel 16...
"Look! This is what proved to be the error of Sodom your sister: Pride, sufficiency of bread and the carefreeness of keeping undisturbed were what happened to belong to her and her dependent towns, and the hand of the afflicted one and the poor one she did not strengthen. And they continued to be haughty and to carry on a detestable thing before me, and I finally removed them, just as I saw fit"

the hebrew word that was translated as 'detestable thing' is towebah, and this word literally translates out as 'to commit idol worship'.

therefore, the problem of sodom and gamorrah isn't homosexuality at all. the sin commited here is idol worship.

Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13

leviticus is an interesting book. if you look at the context of the time it was writeen, the isrealites were living in a real 'get out there and multiply' kind of time... they were the chosen ones, so they had a duty to be really fertile. therefore, even masturbation was a HUGE sin.
leviticus is also part of the 'mosaic law', which also forbade haircuts, shaving, and wearing clothing with blended fibres, among other things. the law was such that if you broke one law, then you were guilty of breaking them all.

so, for us to use the leviticus passages to condemn homosexuality, we would also be equally condemning people who shave and get their hair cut.

we allow people who shave and get their hair cut to get married, accept sacraments, and share equally in our church, so it doesn't make ANY sense whatsoever to forbid equality to homosexuals based on the levitical text.
Romans 1:26-27
1 Cor. 6: 9-11
1 Tim. 1:9-11

i've discussed this one on another thread, but basically, the words that translated out as homosexual or 'men who lie with men' in these texts were 'arsenokoites' and 'malakos'.

arsenokoites litterally means 'lift bed', but bible scholars now believe that at the time, it was used to denote a male temple prostitute. malakos litterally translates out as 'spineless', or coward.

now, in my 'new american bible for catholics', there is an asterisk by the term 'homosexual' in these particular passages, which states...

'the term translated as 'practicing homosexuals' refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with boy prostitutes, i.e.boys or young men who were kept for the purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the greco-roman world.'

therefore, i'd suggest that the texts above are a condemnation of pedophilia, prostitution, promiscuity, and idolatry, and not at all a condemnation of a consensual, committed homosexual relationship.

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