An essay donated by a visitor to this website
marriage, and homosexuality
I come from a conservative religious organization, the
. I've also been struggling with the reality of
for years. I have to say that
overall, and based on my research, the Watchtower Society has been stellar
at examining the original language texts, approaching them without the fog
of centuries-old tradition, and coming to reasonable conclusions about
matters. Yes, they've made mistakes, but unlike other organizations that
cling to dogma, the Governing Body of the Witnesses are willing to change
their views, and have done so numerous times over the years. I think their
stance on the basics of the Bible
wants to be worshipped are correct: they've
discarded unscriptural views on immortality of the soul, idolatry, the
(though one of your writers
seems to not know this), the clergy/laity division,
separation of Church and State
(they shun politics and don't try to push
their views through legislation), abstaining from all forms of violence and
warfare, etc., and in the process have won numerous court cases for freedom
of speech. That they also take their time to speak to their neighbors about
the hope in the Bible is admirable.
One area that I now see they may have missed the boat on is
s. Their view is that celibacy is
the only option for men and women who suffer from same-sex attraction, just
as abstinence is the only option for alcoholics. Your website presents some
excellent alternate views of scripture and even translation (in regards to
Paul's use of arsenokotai
new understandings of those so-called "clobber"
which appear at first glance to unequivocally condemn
homosexuality. And you've presented these within the context of the Bible
(allowing it to translate itself) without the typical broad condemnation of
the Bible as the sole work of men and inapplicable to today. I wish these
alternate views were more readily known because I think they make a lot of
sense, and have convinced me that within the context of marriage
consensual and loving same-sex unions may not, in fact, be condemned by God.
This was a huge revelation and took me some time to process. Unfortunately,
due to the climate of conservatism on this issue in my congregation and in
the country as a whole, it's not something I'll be broadcasting to the whole
world, and that is unfortunate because I think more people should be made of
abreast of this. But it's great to know it's out there, and a valid way of
looking at these scriptures. The reasonings you postulate for each 'clobber'
verse aren't a stretch, and in fact, are very similar to the type of
reasoning the Watchtower Society uses to discuss fundamental Bible truths
that the rest of Christendom doesn't seem to get because they're stuck in
traditional viewpoints (e.g., that man "is" a soul, and doesn't have a soul,
as shown in Genesis. That death is akin to sleep without dreams, as shown in
the ninth chapter of Ecclesiastes. That "hell" is a translation of 'sheol'
the common grave of mankind which everyone goes to.)
I questioned why, if in fact God doesn't condemn consensual
, does he allow the continuation
of this error. The answer that occurred to me is that it's been left
ambiguous intentionally. And human nature may be the root cause of it.
Overall, we need guidelines. When the family unit dissolves, society begins
to break down and decay. We see the evidence of this throughout history.
Speaking primarily within the context of opposite-sex relationships, under
tremendous stresses, men and women, despite being married or in committed
relationships, are under sometimes daily temptation to cheat. The reality
is that, depending on the availability, many succumb, and to disastrous
consequences. Humans are sexual beings by nature, and I've always held that
on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being straight and 10 being gay, only some are at
either end of the spectrum entirely. Now wipe away the stigma of same-sex
coupling, and after some years, the playing field has broadened to include
the possibility of same-sex coupling. How much quicker does society break
down when both sexes are of potential sexual interest to those individuals
within the 3 to 8 range?
In other words, perhaps the concealment of God's stance on same-sex
relationships has been permitted -- despite the harm it's done to some
individuals -- to protect society as a whole from a greater evil. It's in
no one's best interest to live in a world in which anything goes
and there are no moral standards because society has fallen into dissipated,
I intend to live my personal life discreetly, but happily, feeling that God
at least does not condemn me for it. But nor is it my place to shock or
flaunt my personal decisions in the faces of people who cannot or haven't
yet come to the same realization. But if and when I meet others struggling
with the same issues, I'll direct them to your website and tell them that
it's up to their consciences what to accept on this matter. And at least,
they'll see that there is a legitimate alternative viewpoint that doesn't
eschew belief in God or the Bible.
Thanks again for posting this information, and in such a balanced way!
Perhaps you're playing a role in disseminating a concealed truth about God's
word, and I'm certainly grateful for it.
Originally posted: 2008-SEP-28
Latest update: 2008-SEP-28
Author: The author has asked to remain anonymous, presumably to avoid being