Misinterpretation: The Bible and Homosexuality

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Lex, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Lex

    Lex
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    Homosexuality and the Bible by Walter Wink

    It basically shows why we've misinterpreted the Bible when we try to call homosexuality sinful.

    A good dear RELIGIOUS Friend sent me this. It is not light reading.

    The debate over homosexuality is a remarkable opportunity, because it raises in an especially acute way how we interpret the Bible, not in this case only, but in numerous others as well. The real issue here, then, is not simply homosexuality, but how Scripture informs our lives today.
     
  2. viking1

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    Very interesting read.
     
  3. fortiesfun

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    Great article, putting in context many of the most complicated passages in the Bible. This is a great service to those of us who are both gay and Christian. Thanks Lex. (Love the new ink, btw.)
     
  4. RideRocket

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    Lex - great article. It certainly illustrates some of the disparities of what 'we' pick and choose to believe.
     
  5. JustAsking

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    Lex,
    Thanks so much for bringing this here. I had come to undersnand almost all of the references to homosexuality in the Bible in the say way this author has, but I still had trouble with Paul's passages in Romans. I have been looking for a way to get some traction on them, because I have come to see Romans as the axis around which all Grace-centered Christianity revolves.

    That placed me in an awkward spot in regard to his references to homosexuality in the early part of the letter. This thing you found is the first glimmer of a better interpretation for me. I need to look into this some more. Thanks again.
     
  6. tripod

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    The Romans were a decadent society... any passage in the Bible might be only a reaction to some of the decadence perpetrated by the the Plebians and Patricians at the time, that is just my thoughts... Although the Old Testament was written in the time of the Greeks though... I will check out that link, it sounds really cool!!!!!!
     
  7. Ed69

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    8. Semen and menstrual blood rendered all who touched them unclean (Lev. 15:16-24). Intercourse rendered one unclean until sundown; menstruation rendered the woman unclean for seven days. Today most people would regard semen and menstrual fluid as completely natural and only at times "messy," not "unclean."

    I know what Lex's reason for posting this was but..........My wife and I got busted for oral sex,the church elders were just sickened that she would put my dick in her mouth and let me shoot my load in her mouth!What would they say about all the wet dreams and messy sheets that happened when I was a boy?How about the times we've had anal sex with her on her cycle?I think the bible is great as a guide but nothing more.Thanks for posting this Lex,lots of good pionts to think about!
     
  8. HazelGod

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    On top of that is the more universal repugnance heterosexuals tend to feel for acts and orientations foreign to them. (Left-handedness has evoked something of the same response in many cultures.)

    This passage is interesting to me as a postulate for several reasons. I'm curious to know why an academic chooses such inflexible terminology for what amounts to an unsubstantiated assertion? Seriously...universal? And why ascribe what is essentially a human quality (unease or fear of the unknown/unfamiliar) specifically to heterosexuals as though they are some special category to which this only applies?

    As an aside, I've always been mystified with the superstitions surrounding left-handedness and the left in general. It was so pervasive in Roman culture, that the Latin word for "left side" (sinister) was also used to mean "unlucky."
     
  9. madame_zora

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    "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them."


    Such an act was regarded as an "abomination" for several reasons. The Hebrew prescientific understanding was that male semen contained the whole of nascent life. With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was assumed that the woman provided only the incubating space. Hence the spilling of semen for any nonprocreative purpose--in coitus interruptus (Gen. 38:1-11), male homosexual acts, or male masturbation--was considered tantamount to abortion or murder. (Female homosexual acts were consequently not so seriously regarded, and are not mentioned at all in the Old Testament (but see Rom. 1:26). One can appreciate how a tribe struggling to populate a country in which its people were outnumbered would value procreation highly, but such values are rendered questionable in a world facing uncontrolled overpopulation.


    Like so many of the laws of yore, it is an assumption based on ignorance. In short- they believed something that wasn't true at all, and made laws based on that misinformation. This is nothing new, we all know that early xians thought the world was flat based on a Biblical reference to the "four corners of the world".

    Let's get a grip, people. Are there things we can learn from the Bible? sure, but if what we learn is how to reject science and reality on favor of mythology and ignorance, then we are responsible for that decision. Who really takes the word of the ignorant over the educated? Who would ask a fourth-grader for a definitive answer in astrophysics?

    It is abundantly obvious that societies had changed dramatically between the OT and NT, so why then is it such a problem to grasp that OUR society would have different needs from its moral codes, these two THOUSAND years later? This author takes us to task for picking and choosing what we believe from the Bible, which EVERYONE who is an xian does, without taking into account that in OUR society, there is no longer a need to promote population. In fact, quite the reverse, we are trying to limit population! To refuse to acknowledge this obvious fact is to further the spread of ignorance, misjudgement, and basic mythology.

    Pardon me while I go hug a fag.
     
  10. Lex

    Lex
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    Challenging your convictions is hard work and heavy lifting.

    I admire each of you who attempts to consider changing your opinions when presented with additional information.


    *Hugs Zora*
     
  11. prepstudinsc

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    How did your church elders know you were having oral sex? There are just some things church leaders don't need to know!


     
  12. Full_Phil

    Full_Phil New Member

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    History is written by the winners, and the Bible is history. What was first written was subsequently edited/translated by future church leaders either according to their own agendas or in order to eliminate concepts deemed heretical at their time. I hold everything in the Bible in that context, still finding solace in many places in it.
     
  13. scanjock8

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    As a gay Episcopalian, my .02:

    We are all children of God.

    God gave us intellect to interpert the Bible.
     
  14. Lex

    Lex
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    Apparently, not all of us got enough of that intellect, though, Scan.
     
  15. JustAsking

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    I think this is what is meant by the term, "The Living Word". I think "understanding" should be measured by rate of change rather than static certainty.
     
  16. Lex

    Lex
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    Were you a pastor, I've a feeling I could attend your church.

    You and Freddie, especially, JA, inspire me and give me hope.
     
  17. Vestigial

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    It is uncertainty that affords us such luxuries, is it not?

    I've written countless replies to this topic, each to be scrapped and archived for my own personal study. Those interested may message me, otherwise... why follow word from the naysayers that don't even follow it themselves?

    (And last I checked, the Bible was a historical paper. That little scrap of data may be useful to both the intellectual and perceptive alike.)
     
  18. Freddie53

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    Excellent article. I appreciate the fact that the author did not dispute some of those passages, but rather explained how they came to be written.

    A point that I firmly believe was not covered in enough detail in the article. The Bible is a RECORD of man's relationship to God. While the author hinted all the way through the article this point. I think it needs to be stated even more strongly. The Bible is sacred. By this I mean the Bible has very much meaning. One must interpret the Bible in light of the culture of the time a particular passage was written.

    Throughout the Bible God is reaching down to his people. Do they ever get it completely right? No. Neither do we. One thing the Bible makes abundantly clear is that humans are incapable of perfection on their own. We have to consider this when we read what the ancient writers and people then believed.

    The point that the author did make clear was that we have to look for the eternal truths that are there in the Bible. The ones that are woven throughout the Bible and are applicable to every culture in every time. The short list includes love, integrity, forgiveness, restored relationship between man and God. And the list goes on.

    One issue in the article I want to add to is the affect of fundamentalism on all of this. Fundamentalists choose what to believe, find random Scripture verses to support their view, declare these views as inerrant meaning that there is no error to these views and demand that all other Christians subscribe to their theology and then make their beliefs part of our legal system. I wanted to add my two cents and make the case even stronger than the author did. The author was nice about it. I am not.

    About Paul and that passage from Romans: Paul apparently was a bishop over these new churches. The letters he wrote to them covered problems that were happening then those particular churches at that time. It would be like a bishop suggesting to a church that they not have the dance in the fellowship hall because the church was divided about it and by moving the dance to a non church setting would prevent the church from internal destruction. The bishop in this case is not condemning dancing, but trying to save a church congregation. Some of Paul's writings are just that: suggestions to help a particular church cope with factions within a certain church.

    I don't have the expertise that this author has. But I have read in other sources and believe that Paul was condemning straight men having sex with other men and prostitution within the church. In those days male prostitutes were very common. I gathered from this article that this author has this same personal belief.

    One point of the New Testament is God's desire to bring all people and that means all people into a perfect relationship with God. And the Bible talks of a time when there is peace, love, and total perfection. What a love story.

    I know not all are going to read that article. Some won't even read this comparatively short post. But the article is the most scholarly definitive article I have read concerning this issue. And....the author is United Methodist! So am I. Sadly I must admit our church is divided over this issue.

    The time will come though when people will look back and condemn fundamentalism just like we now condemn slavery. Sadly I probably won't live long enough to see this happen.
     
  19. DC_DEEP

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    Thanks for the link, Lex. I have never gotten a good answer when I ask questions such as, "why is one prohibition in Leviticus still valid, and all the others are not?"

    And that reminds me, I need to post a biblical question in another thread...
     
  20. JustAsking

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    Freddie,
    I have missed your beautifully constructed postings. Yes, I think I understand the significance of Paul's letters being interpreted as him dealing with individual issues at particular churches. But Romans is unusual in that it is a defininte position statement on his theology of Grace that he could be writing to anyone. In the early part, he lists homosexuality along with other things he is presenting as evidence of man's depraved condition. So I consider it in a different light than Paul's admonishment in another letter about women speaking out in church.

    The good news, is that this thread has given me a new way to look at this particular passage, which I felt was the one remaining one that couldn't be easily explained explained away.

    Vestigial, Great to see you here again. I have missed your nonlinear postings.

    Lex,
    Thanks for the comment. No, I am not a Pastor and neither do I play one on TV. I do listen to my Pastor, however. You can find more hope in the fact that stuff like this is preached every Sunday in my church even though it is a country church deep into the Ohioan Red State zone. Most of what I say here is well within the Lutheran tent. My comment about the value of evolving undertanding vs static certainty is a well developed Lutheran notion. I can't take credit for it.
     
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