This is long and I regret nothing.
This is long and I regret nothing.
Let’s start at the beginning. In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and earth (Gen. 1:1). Alright, maybe we won’t go that far back.
In Genesis 19 we find the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. To be…
Is it so hard for you to read something in a different light? I’m not saying I know everything. Am I confident in what I stated? Yes, and I know that I could have gone into more detail.
The question of hermeneutics is a tricky one, I will fully admit that. Until quite recently, the plain literal reading of the text was seen as the inferior message of divine truth than the deeper spiritual readings one finds in patristic and medieval literature. There was also a sense that, in some ways, the literal expression could be the complete opposite of the true, theological reading of the text. Augustine’s interpretation of Genesis is a good example of this.
These readings could be endlessly inventive and creative; the restraint put upon the readings wasn’t be the text itself (it could not do that) but by exterior authority: the Church. As a Catholic, I take tradition as normative.
So, you’re admitting that God didn’t say this, but man. Thing to keep in mind. Also, traditions don’t mean that it’s perfect the way it is. That’s not a valid argument. To blindly follow is ridiculous. If it were tradition to get a tattoo of a monkey on your arm, wouldn’t you think it ridiculous? So, why when it’s something else that you admitted man made up, is it so important to keep the way it is?
To ask someone to read these texts in a different light is a hurdle for this particular issue; one would not only have to overcome the literal meaning (which isn’t the problem), but also the entire history of biblical interpretation up until the past 50 years or so.
To be perfectly honest, the idea that we should just scrap those traditions introduces a very dangerous precedent. If we jettison traditional Christian sexual ethics, how can we be sure that our theology concerning the helping of the poor, or infinite and unqualified forgiveness by God, or Christ as God is correct? Those doctrines derived in large part by Scriptural readings can also, by your own interpretation, be given a different reading in order to bring them more into line with, say, Ayn Rand or John Shelby Spong. The question is, why would we endorse such readings? So that’s the question I pose to you: why should we jettison the sexual teachings, but not the others?
It’s astounding to me, though, that a slight paradigm shift is so volatile to your beliefs.
Of course it is, because the way the Bible will be read according to your sketch throws the entire project of Christian interpretation into grave doubt. How many other doctrines can we revise through disingenuous readings because we simply want to? By your standard: all of them.
And who’s to say that we shouldn’t? To me, a former Christian, it is appalling that we’re expected to read everything critically except the Bible. The Bible is not exempt from criticism, and to imply that it is just because it’s a holy text is astounding. We can’t critically read something, ask questions, because of something someone more than one hundred years ago decided? I’m sorry, I don’t believe that. Otherwise, we might as well have “Gullible” written all over our features.
As it were, the difference of friendships versus relationships lies in this: How are Mary and Elizabeth described as compared to Ruth and Naomi? At the very least, I’m saying that these people were bisexual. As we know, David did go on to lust after another woman, committed adultery, had her husband killed specifically so he could get with that. I’m not asking you to believe that he didn’t like to bone women, but rather showing that it’s not too hard to believe that he was into men as well.
David could have been a lot of things. Ok, thought experiment. Let’s say David was gay (which isn’t the problematic aspect of this) and engaged in sexual relations with another man (which is the problematic aspect of this). How does that, in any way, give credence to the idea that homosexual acts are sanctioned by the Bible? It would be a fallacy to assert that simply because someone in the Bible does something, it’s rendered as ethical.
Ethics and the Bible has no standing here if we’re talking Old Testament. Get back to me tomorrow when I’m not tired and cranky and I’ll go through ethics in the Old Testament. Hint: It involves paying someone’s dad because you raped her and now you have to marry her, and how could that not be horribly traumatic?
Romans 1:24-27 states “24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
And you’re right. One of the things that Sodom was burnt to the ground for was, in fact, bestiality! Wow, if that’s not something I’d call sexually depraved, I don’t know what is. Shameful lusts? If a woman lusts over a man, it was seen as shameful. Women weren’t supposed to have a libido. As a matter of fact, the only woman we read of as actually wanting to have sex is in Song of Solomon. Other than that, only men wanted to have sex. I’m sorry, but that’s not right either. Or how about rape? That’s not sexually depraved? Just like I’m not going to convince you, you’re not going to convince me.
The term “unnatural” is often used in the historical context of this time period as referring to homosexuality. It isn’t about bestiality per se, though it would be included in it.
As for pais (which, as a former language major, I always think of country first, and the other, ancient Greek definitions second), you’re right. It could mean any number of things. The fact that Luke tells the same story, and uses a different word means absolutely nothing. The fact that this is someone who asked to heal someone who wasn’t in the family means nothing.
That is plainly not what I said. I just said that the thought that it refers to the Centurion’s gay lover is a huge stretch, not backed up by either the linguistic roots, the context of Roman sexual ethics (if he was the Centurion’s gay lover, it wouldn’t be a nice, loving relationship like you would imagine. It would be much more analogous the status of male prisoners in the penal system than an affection relationship; one only has to see how the Romans viewed sexual activity vs. passivity and social standing to see that).
And if he was gay, surely Jesus would have turned him away. Except he wouldn’t have anyways. Jesus accepted everyone. He loved everyone. The woman that no one would talk to who needed oil? He talked to and cared for.
Absolutely He did. No sin is beyond Christ’s ability to heal. My friend, when she was on her way to converting last year into the Catholic Church, heard a sermon on Christ’s interaction with the woman at the well, putting into context that she had been abandoned by all her “husbands”. Christ comes, asks for water (which is very key; Christ usually does not receive such things, but gives them. Water is very symbolic), and stays in that village for a few days, because Christ would not and never leave her like her husbands had done.
The woman who was unclean and not allowed in churches? He talked to and cared for. Why is it so hard to believe that maybe, just this once, us gays are mentioned in the Bible?
Orthodox Christian belief does not mandate some sort of exclusion of gays from God’s love. That would be heresy. We’re all broken, we’re all fucked up in a million different ways. Our repentance is God’s way of stitching us back together.
And yet I know at least three people who are gay and Christian. God didn’t “stitch them back together” and make them straight. He didn’t “make them whole” or any of that stuff that people say God is supposed to do. That makes me think that maybe, yeah, we’re born this way.
I have friends who have panic attacks when they think of stepping in a church now that they’re out because they’re afraid of being told they’re going to hell. This isn’t some past tense stuff. This is very present.
If one reads the Gospels, one is struck by Christ’s apparent affection for those outcasts of society who take refuge and livelihood in various sins. Prostitutes, tax collectors (think less an IRS guy and more of a Mafia enforcer), pagan Roman soldiers (who he appears to be quite fond of). The list goes on.
Oh, and he apparently really enjoys the company of fishermen.
If there was someone in a homosexual relationship, would Christ go to them? Absolutely, no doubt in my mind. Would he affirm the moral rightness of such a relationship? No. Scripture does not support that, nor does the entire history of Christian belief support it.
I’m not sure what Jesus you were taught about, but mine didn’t pass judgement on anyone.
Do Christians have to ask forgiveness for the way they treated homosexuals in the past? Yes. Christians have, for far too long, singled out them in completely unacceptable ways.
Deadly. The word you’re looking for is deadly.
But Christians cannot, in good faith, affirm the moral rightness of homosexual acts.
You believe in God. He gave you a brain. He also gave me one. The fact is, He gives us tools. Ever hear the saying “God helps those who help themselves”? I’m helping myself. I’m taking something I was taught and looking at it in a different, more critical, and possibly more accepting way. I don’t know if I’m right, but neither do you. The difference is one of us is believing a blind faith whereas the other is actively trying to figure out different ways of looking at things. The church has killed hundreds, if not thousands, of my brothers and sisters that are gay. They did so by telling them that they’re lesser human beings because they’re attracted to people of the same sex. That is to say, they did so through inaction. They did so through fear. They did so by doing the complete opposite of what Jesus said, which was love everyone. I’m trying to save lives. I’ve left the church because of this. I’m trying to help those who want to be part of the church but also want to be accepted look at things in a different light. I’m trying to be a beacon of hope, that maybe we’re all wrong. Who can tell? You can’t, not until you’re dead, and neither can I.