What did the bible really say about homosexuality?
This article is the unabridged, full analysis that lead to the ‘Christian Friendly’ video “Does God Really Hate Fags?”, but unlike the video, we give you a lot more ground for ‘biblical self-defense’. You can see the video here
Today I’d like to take you through the six passages that Christians rely on as ‘biblical proof’ that homosexuality is wrong.
Don’t worry – I have God on my side.
You remember Lot; he was in the book of Genesis – the only nice guy in the town of Sodom. One night two angels rocked into Sodom saying, “Dudes you guys suck”, but the locals hated them. Lot took them and sheltered them from an angry mob. Presumably the mob had fire, pitch forks and so on.
Christians latch onto:
And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men, which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Eventually Sodom would be destroyed by God’s fury, lot would be ordered by God to leave Sodom and not look back. Lot and his virgin daughters were saved but lot’s wife had the audacity to give into her curiosity and turned around to see what was going on, and was turned into a pillar of salt.
The lesson most homophobic Christians read into this story is that Sodom was destroyed for a high prevalence of homosexuality.
Of course, there is also the intimation that one shouldn’t ask questions, lest they be turned into a condiment.
What they tend to leave out in the Sunday school version is verse 8, where Lot offers his two virgin daughters to the mob to be pack-raped.
They also tend to ignore verses 30 through 38 where Lots daughters got the man plastered, and had an incestuous orgy that resulted in two kids. That’s right, Lot got drunk and had a threesome with his daughters.
Seriously, look it up.
Ok – so the evangelicals like to hold up this picture of Iron-age morality as evidence that their imaginary sky bully come sugar daddy opposes those icky gays, but sex with your children is blessed…
Anyway, I guess we could start debunking this myth at the verb “to know”, which in Hewbrew is yada.
Yada appears in the Old Testament 943 times; it means to meet aggressively, to beat the crap out of, to have forced sex with, or to rape. It only carries these sex-crime connotations 12 times.
Yep, 12 out of 943.
In fairness there is about a 1% chance that “So that we may know them” could have meant that the mob wanted to rape the angels.
If only we had a source that homo-hating Christians would consider. Oh that’s right, we do!
According to Deuteronomy 29:23, Isaiah 1:9, Jeremiah 23:14, Lamentations 4:6, Ezekiel 16:49-50, Amos 4:11, Zephaniah 2:9, Matthew 10:15, Luke 10:12, Luke 17:29, Romans 9:29, Jude verse 7 and Revelation 11:8 the story of Sodom and Gomorrah actually condemns inhospitality and idolatry, not homosexuality. In fact Jesus himself makes it clear in Luke 10-12 that the sin of Sodom was xenophobia.
Sometimes the more erudite among the God Botherers will bring up Judges 19, which tells a similar story to that of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Judges 25 makes it clear that the story is actually about a mob killing a stranger.
So there you have it the bible itself tells us that Sodom wasn’t destroyed because of homos. According to the bible, Sodom’s sinners faced the wrath of God because of their pride, their greed while the poor and needy suffered, and because they worshiped many idols; sexual activity is not even mentioned by God. It isn’t until we get into the bits of the bible interpreting the story of Sodom that sex rates a mention.
Sorry to let the truth get in the way of evangelical homophobia.
That’s one down; let’s move onto Leviticus.
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Wow, that’s pretty hard-core. I know what you’re thinking: however will James get out of this cul-du-sac of scripture?
Fear not: logic and reason are with me.
Yes, I know, those are unfamiliar words for the faithful; feel free to take a moment to look them up in the dictionary.
Leviticus documents the Jewish Holiness Code which also:permits polygamy
- prohibits sexual intercourse when a woman has her period,
- bans tattoos
- prohibits eating rare meat
- bans wearing clothes that are made from a blend of textiles
- prohibits cross-breeding livestock
- bans sowing a field with mixed seed
- prohibits eating pigs, rabbits, or some forms of seafood
- requires Saturday to be reserved as the Sabbath
Churches have long-since abandoned the Holiness Code, which they kind of had to do so they could rent out church halls, own designer lap dogs, enjoy a decent steak as well as wear modern clothing without violating the Bible.
I’m serious – eating a rare steak is a sin. But there again most of my fellow gays think the ‘fashions’ in many churches are a crime against humanity, but one thing at a time.
Homo-hating Christians like to thump on about the Holiness Code where homos are concerned. Let’s examine the logic of the original text.
Women were property in the Iron-age Hebrew culture. If a man was penetrated in sexual intercourse he was being degraded. The problem wasn’t that this was a homosexual act; no it was that a MAN was treated like a WOMAN.
Of course, this doesn’t really help bottoms, drag queens, those with gender identity issues and those of you with a sub/dom relationship, but don’t worry I’m about to cover that.
Even if Evangelical homophobes don’t accept my logic about the man being treated as a woman thing, and to be fair logic isn’t their strong point, the Jewish Holiness Code outlined in Leviticus was rescinded when Christ died.
Romans 7:1-6 pretty much eliminates the entire Old Testament from being used to justify prejudice, thanks St Paul!
See, I told the bottoms that they needn’t worry.
And with that 3 of our six anti-homo passages bite the dust.
Just as an aside, if the bible is the inspired and inerrant word of god, how can the Old Testament be, subject to revision or you know, rescinded my a messiah?
Anyway – this is a good point to move onto Romans. (after the jump)
It’s widely accepted that Romans was written about 34 years after Christ died, and it’s a letter from a guy called Paul, to the fledging Christian cult in Rome.
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 recompense of their error which was meet.
In this verse context matters – Paul lived in Greece at a time when most people were members of “Idol Worshiping” cults. If you read the first three chapters of romans, you start to realize that the list of things he is talking about all relate to idol worship.
Some of these cults involved a circle-jerk as part of the ritual.
Remember what the Bible says about worshiping idols? It’s bad and the reason Sodom was destroyed. Paul argues that all the bad stuff that happened to these cults was because they were involved in idol worship.
In other words this verse isn’t prohibition; it’s illustration. Paul is making a point about how bad idol worshiping cults are and he is using the circle-jerk as an example of worship to their false god.
Apparently buggering the occasional altar boy followed by a systematic cover-up is fine, though…
Don’t believe me?
If you read from Romans 1:1 all the way through to romans verse 32 Paul is clearly describing a group of people who turned away from people preaching your one true God. This whole section is written in past tense about people who opted to continue their ‘idol worshipping’.
And, if you’re not willing to concede yet there is also Romans 3:23-24 – everyone falls short of God’s plan and everyone is forgiven through God’s unearned love, automatically. Romans 4:16 guarantees this universal love and forgiveness for everyone and if you needed another guarantor, you’ve got Jesus himself underwriting this in Romans 4:25.
Mind you, ‘justification’ as it’s called is basically the fundamental disagreement between Catholics and Protestants.
And that water is a little too deep for me to wade into, so since I’ve clearly made the case that Romans doesn’t work as a prohibition, shall we move onto Corinthians?
Corinthians was another letter written by Paul. And, the passage in question here is
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
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,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
You guys really take this stuff seriously? I mean I hate a floppy handshake as much as the next man, and those ‘swishy’ faggy guys are soooo annoying.
If only he returned my calls.
Corinthians was written in ancient Greek. The word “effeminent” in the King James Bible was originally “malakois arsenokoitai” in the Greek manuscript. There was no term for homosexual orientation in ancient Greece. But there were lots of terms to describe homoerotic sex. Malakois arsenokitai wasn’t one of those terms.
And the “effeminate” part has been translated differently over time. The early church translated it as ‘soft ethics’, you know ‘unethical’, like the way the Catholic Church collaborated with the Nazi regime in order to protect it’s German holdings…
Speaking of Germany, Martin Luther (the founder of the renowned party-people church) translated malakois arsenokoitai to mean masturbators, and somewhere along the way it became homosexuals. But in that context “malakois arsenokoitai” referred to that idol-worshiping circle-jerk Paul mentioned in his last letter.
So here I think even the most hardened fundamentalist would concede that man has changed the meaning of this one over time – and that this one comes from man, not from God.
And this leads us nicely into Timothy – yet another letter written by Paul
1 Timothy 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
What is it with this guy and writing letters about circle-jerks?
Here Paul is talking about temple prostitutes – you know, young men in the church that could ‘know’ before or during the ritual. Once again in the ancient Greek, Paul uses Malakois arsenokitai – which started out being translated as ‘soft ethics’ and somewhere became ‘male bed’, so if you’re being fair we should just agree that this is another translation that has shifted over time.
Oh, and before you start on me about Jude verse 7, and “going after strange flesh” you should remember that Lots visitors were not men, they were ANGELS!
Yes, shagging an Angel would be pretty strange, but not homosexual, unless of course you were an Angel, in which case it wouldn’t be strange…
Faith is the antithesis of reason: in order to have faith one needs to suspend their questions and doubts – it is the deliberate suspension of thought. What people seem to forget is that unlike being gay, Faith is, by definition, an act of will and therefore a choice.
Unfortunately people take this choice too far and try to impose it on others. They selectively quote six phrases from over one million, ignoring the historical context, and all the other passages that change the meaning of those quotes dramatically. Then they claim it as the incontrovertible ‘word of god’.
Certainty is great, but knowledge is better.
All I am asking of you is that you read for yourself and think for yourself.
The New Testament mentions of homosexual conduct were only from one guy – Paul, the life-long bachelor who kept many young male apprentices. And, the three times he mentions it; he is clearly discussing idol-worshipping rituals that involve circle jerks.
You know, like the football team’s locker room in high school…
And here it is – the fundamental problem with this whole video is that I’ve assumed homo-hating evangelicals read the bible and then went “Oh, I’d better hate the homos”, but we all know that this isn’t true.
In our hearts we all know that the hate came first, probably out of a need to feel morally superior to others, and these “Christians” then scoured the bible, cherry picking verses to support their hatred. Do you know what they found?
Six whole passages amid roughly 31,000 verses.
I would have thought that a Christian would have spent time trying to understand the bible rather than scanning it for ‘proof’ that their prejudices are valid.
Did it never strike them as odd that God mirrors all of their hatred?
The same way Enron used accounting regulations to hide their deficits; Evangelicals wilfully misinterpret, twist, and take these six passages out of context so they ignore the lessons of Christ.
Do you know what Christ himself is reported to have said about homosexuality?
Surely if the bible is the roadmap to life our evangelical friends claim it to be, you’d think God’s emissary have at least mentioned it?
If these six passages were the smoking gun that evangelicals claim them to be they would stand up to logical analysis, critical thought and the context.
I respectfully submit that homophobes have done what they claim atheists do: take parts of the bible out of their historical and literary context to forward an agenda.
This blog entry is the unabridged, full analysis that lead to the ‘Christian Friendly’ video “Does God Really Hate Fags?”, but unlike the video, this entry covers a lot more ground for ‘biblical self-defense’. You can see the video here