Is The Bibles View Cruel
What about people who have homosexual inclinations? Were they born that way? If so, would it not be cruel to say that it is wrong for them to act on their desires?
The Bible does not comment on the biology of homosexuality, although it acknowledges that some human traits are deeply ingrained. Still, the Bible says that certain conductincluding homosexual acts
How To Please God Despite Having Same
The Bible says: Dont be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. To kill wrong desires, which lead to wrong actions, you need to control your thinking. If you regularly fill your mind with wholesome thoughts, you can more readily dismiss wrong desires. While you may struggle greatly at first, it can become easier. God promises to help you to be made new in the force actuating your mind.Ephesians 4:22-24.
The same struggle is faced by millions with heterosexual desires who wish to conform to the Bibles standards. For example, those who are single with little prospect of marriage or who are married to a partner who is unable to function sexually choose to control their sexual urges despite any temptations they might face. They are able to live happily, and those with same-sex urges can do so as well if they truly want to please God.Deuteronomy 30:19.
God Is The Highest Authority
Our personalities, inclinations, reactions, orientations, viewpoints, opinions etc. are complex. Some of these are hardwired in our genes, whereas others are influenced by our environment, circumstances, education, upbringing, and other factors.
Societies, cultures and norms are continuously changing and evolving, but God and His Word and the Spirit in the Word remain unchanged. When God specifically forbade homosexual activity and other sexual immorality, it wasnt because He was unenlightened, naïve, or intolerant. The law was given because people had strayed from His original purpose and blessing. What was immoral by Gods standards then has not become moral today just because the majority tolerates and accepts it.
We are fortunate in this day and age that human rights and freedoms have been in focus, clamping down on oppression, abuse and injustice. Every person has the right to choose their own faith, outlook on life and way of life, and that must be respected. However, if we want to live as believing Christians, Gods Word cannot be ignored. The Bible gives us many promises, but also conditions, for a good and happy life. God is our Creator, and it is only His will, as expressed in the Bible, that is unchanging and perfect in time and eternity.
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Jewish And Christian Criticisms Of Same
This cultural approach is alien to us, so hard to accept. But Jewish criticisms of male same-sex activity in Roman times assumed that one of the participants would be a boy pederasty. Heres an example from Philo, who lived about the same time as Paul, and like Paul was Jewish.
And let the man who is devoted to the love of boys submit to the same punishment, since he pursues that pleasure which is contrary to nature
Philo, Special Laws 3.39
The earliest Christians also attacked pederasty as something routinely accepted by society but rejected by the Church. The earliest interpretation of Romans 1:26-27 that we have assumes that Paul is talking about pederasty:
For those who have set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure, who do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations These adulterers and pederasts defame the eunuchs and the once-married
Athenagoras, Apology 34.
And this assumption carries on through the first few centuries of the church. Writer after writer condemns pederasty, calling it child corruption 6).
This, then, is the background to the world of the New Testament. It was a world where a freeborn man was expected to demonstrate his masculinity and dominance through intercourse with his wife, his slaves and prostitutes, whether the slaves or prostitutes were male or female.
Thentheres Leviticus : 22 Mosaic Law Prohibitions And Leviticus : 13 Mosaic Punishments For Violating Mosaic Law:
The ridiculousness of using Leviticus to condemn ANYTHING is simply in looking at what in the world the Book of Leviticus condemns.
Rules in the Bible were always tied to some sort of reasoning. In the case of this gay sex prohibition, a consistent thread in early Judeo-Christian understanding was that semen alone was considered unclean, because sex was ONLY meant to be procreative.
Check out what God does to Onan when he ejaculates outside of a woman in Genesis 38.
In the same passages where gay sex is condemned and punished, so is eating shrimp, crop co-mingling, eating rabbit, wearing linen and wool at the same time, and eating raw meat. So if youâre going to be a Biblical literalist, you might as well start sewing your own clothes and becoming a vegetarian.
Epistle to the Romans 1:2627 :
For this reason , God gave them up to passions of dishonor for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error.
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Modern Arguments About Etymology
There is an argument that Scripture does not contain the word homosexuality and that God is not opposed to men or women having sex with consenting members of the same sex. The word zakar in Hebrew can refer to any male, including human and animal, but also to boys.
But Strongs concordance indicates that zakar, as used in Leviticus 18:22 above, refers to sodomy, a term not reserved for acts of child sexual abuse or rape but also consensual acts between adults.
Arsenokoitai is Greek for men having sex with other men. And there is no real other interpretation that makes the best sense of the evidence both in the early Christian literature and especially in the Old Testament.
Kevin DeYoung explains that Paul, a scholar and former Pharisee, coined the term. If Paul had been referring to men forcing boys to have sex, then he could have used the word biazó for violent force to denote a difference between consensual and non-consensual sex. He did not.
Seek The Intended Meaning Of The Bible
And so I must begin with an interpretive word.
When I taught principles of biblical interpretation at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I often told my students, The Bible can never mean what it never meant. We must seek the intended meaning of the text as understood in its original context.
I also said often, The only word God is obligated to bless is his word. What matters to us today is not my opinions or yours, but Gods.
Such a position is not held universally on this subject.
For instance, Dr. Walter Wink states in his thoughtful booklet, Homosexuality and the Bible, Where the Bible mentions homosexual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct .
Dr. Wink then compares homosexuality to the issue of slavery: he argues that the Bible condones slavery, states that the Bible was wrong on that subject, and concludes that it is equally wrong on the issue before us .
I greatly respect Dr. Winks enormous contributions to New Testament studies, especially on the subjects of spiritual warfare and nonviolence. But I could not disagree more strongly with his assertion, The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct.
For my purposes, the only question well seek to answer is: What does the Bible intend to teach on this subject?
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Homosexuality In The New Testament: Romans : 26
The first is Romans 1:26-27: 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.
At first reading, Paul seems clearly to consider homosexual activity to be unbiblical. But there is another way to interpret the passage, suggested by those who support homosexuality as a biblical lifestyle.
In their reading, Paul is addressing the issue of heterosexual men and women who choose homosexual activity, which is unnatural for them. If this is true, Pauls statement bears no relevance to those who consider themselves homosexual by innate or natural orientation.
Is such an interpretation the most objective way to read the text?
No, for two reasons.
First, Paul describes homosexual acts themselves as shameful lusts , indecent acts, and perversion . To suggest that his descriptions relate only to the decision to engage in such activity by heterosexuals is to strain the Greek syntax beyond its meaning.
One can conclude that Paul was wrong, that homosexual orientation can be natural and its sexual expression therefore natural relations. But one cannot argue on the basis of this text that homosexuality is biblical, for Pauls scriptural words clearly state the opposite.
God Will Not Let You Be Tempted Beyond What You Are Able
All people meet trials and difficulties in life, both in their physical circumstances and in their spiritual life. Not living according to ones innate homosexual orientation can require a huge sacrifice. But God blesses those who live wholly for Him. Nobody who has truly given up everything to serve God will regret it. He only wants the best for us.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Even though Gods Word may appear radical, God also loves each sinner, no matter who they are, what their background is, or what they have done. He loves each one of us more than we can comprehend. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the price for our sins, and has shown us the way of escape.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30.
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Historical And Cultural Issues
Many commentators have argued that the references to homosexuality in the New Testament, or the Bible in general, have to be understood in their proper historical context. Indeed, most interpreters come to the text with a preconceived notion of what the Bible has to say about normative sexual behaviors, influencing subsequent interpretations. For example, William Walker says that the very notion of homosexuality is essentially a modern concept that would simply have been unintelligible to the New Testament writers. The word homosexuality and the concept of sexual orientation as being separate from ones perceived masculinity or femininity did not take shape until the 19th century. Moreover, although some ancient Romans discussed congenital inclinations to unconventional sexual activities such as homosexuality, this classification fails to correspond to a modern psychological, biological and genetic distinction between homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual orientations. However, according to Gagnon, the concept of homosexual orientation was not wholly unknown in the Greco-Roman milieu. Moreover, he asserts that there is absolutely no evidence that modern orientation theory would have had any impact on Paul changing his strong negative valuation of homosexual practice.
Tragedy Of The Tribe Of Benjamin
This is a very difficult story in the Bible. Be warned, that if you read it, it has more horror, death, and tragedy than most movies that Hollywood puts out. It is very graphic in places. At its root though is an event where a group of men from the tribe of Benjamin attempt to homosexually rape a Levitical priest. The end result is that most of the men of the Jewish tribe of Benjamin are wiped out.
The big picture is where it is placed in the book of Judges. Judges starts out with everything going fine as the new Israel is being created as a nation. The more that the book progresses, the more the people get away from God and following the Law of Moses. The end state is a rise of homosexual practice that causes a localized civil war among the tribes of Israel. Again, we see the idea that homosexuality in a society arises when a nation moves away from God and that judgement will follow.
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When The Plain Meaning Of Scripture Can Trip Us Up
In many areas, the past is like the present. Humans havent changed much in 2,000 years. We still get angry, fall in love, like to play, show off, gossip, tell jokes and so on.
But in some areas the changes from ancient Roman culture to todays western cultures have been immense, and the cultural understanding of sexuality is one of them.
When we think about sexuality, we usually think about who youre attracted to: someone of the opposite gender, or your own.
So, if I tell you, Keith is homosexual, you expect him to be attracted to other men, perhaps to be in relationship with one of them, perhaps to have a man as a partner.
And so you open your Bible, and read 1 Corinthians 6:9, and see a reference to homosexual offenders or homosexual perverts . You read Romans 1:27, and note the reference to men committing indecent acts with other men. And it seems that the plain meaning of scripture is staring you in the face.
But youre not comparing like with like.
How different was the ancient Roman approach to understanding sexuality from ours? Completely.
What About The Separation Of Church And State
Another book we will be covering is the controversial book, Correct, Not Politically Correct, by Dr. Frank Turek.
When confronted with the conundrum of calling something right or wrong, Turek notes that churches and the Bible ALSO teach that murder, rape, and child abuse are wrong, but one does NOT say that laws prohibiting such acts are a violation of the separation of church and state.
If the government could not pass laws consistent with church or biblical teachings, then all criminal laws would have to be overturned because they are ALL in some way consistent with at least one of the Ten Commandments.
Furthermore, as Turek notes, some churches actually support same-sex marriage, so if there is a strict separation of church and state, then I suppose we also must remove any pro-same-sex laws as well, according to this rationale.
Here is Frank Turek’s HIGHLY ACTIVE page, where he goes to colleges and universities, and is challenged with some of the most difficult apologetics questions college students face today:
There is no scholar who can, in good conscience, tell us that the Bible is silent on its position on homosexuality, or worse, that it actually encourages such behavior.
Some people do NOT want Christians legislating morality, but ALL laws legislate morality.
THINK ABOUT IT – do not ALL laws legislate some type of morality?
The question is not whether or not we can legislate morality but, Whose morality should we legislate?
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Reason Six: The Biblical Passages Typically Used To Condemn Lgb Relationships Are Not Talking About Lgb Relationships:
While Im not trying to sound like a Biblical scholar or know-it-all, it irks me how blind so many Christians are to the historical context of the stories from the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures which are typically used to condemn gay people and the fact of being gay.
Below are the some facts about the Biblical time periods, in which the Clobber Passages were written. These texts are typically interpreted as saying: The Bible clearly states that being gay is a sin. Take note, as you might learn something new about Biblical ambiguities in the Scripture.
Why do I call these passages âridiculously-usedâ? Check out these passages :
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The Ancient Roman Understanding Of Sexuality
Take a typical, happily married man, who is a master of his household .
This man could, and often would, besides having intercourse with his wife, also rape his male and female slaves, rape boys, and sleep with prostitutes, and neither his masculinity nor his sexuality, nor his honour, would be in question at all.
In ancient Rome, sexuality wasnt defined by which gender you had sex with, or who you were attracted to, but whether you were the dominant, active, penetrating partner, or the submissive, passive one.
So long as a freeborn man was the dominant partner, little else mattered so long as you werent sleeping with someone elses wife or daughter slaves and prostitutes didnt count.
Sexuality was not tied to orientation or gender, but to action and power. Not who you were with but what you were doing.
To be the active, penetrating partner was to be virile and manly. To be a passive partner was to be weak and effeminate irrespective of gender.
In particular, and most alien to our culture, pederasty thats intercourse with boys by men was commonplace and not sanctioned either legally or socially it was simply part of everyday life.
An ancient Romans masculinity could be demonstrated to others by aggressive sex with a slave, whether a boy or a woman. Boys were seen as equally as desirable as women until the boys started to grow a beard, when they became off-limits .
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