An essay in four parts donated by Anthony Ashford
Part 1 of 4: Why Christians should
same-sex relationships. Reason 6.
Reason six: The biblical passages typically used to "condemn" LGB relationships are NOT talking about LGB relationships:
While I'm 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, 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," the texts typically used to say "The Bible clearly states that being gay is a sin," take place. Take note, as you might learn something new about Biblical ambiguities in the Scripture.
Why do I call these passages “ridiculously-used”? Check out these passages from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and Christian Scriptures (New Testament):
Genesis 2: 19-25 “Adam and Eve:”
“In the beginning, God made Adam and EVE, not Adam and Steve, nor Eve and Jane.” Anti-gay Christian ministers have used this as a crux to propagate the myth that homosexuality is "unnatural."
While the Bible in Genesis tells us that God made “male and female,” does this really mean that all males and all females need to end up with opposite sex partners?
When talking about "what's natural," in the beginning, the first humans did not wear prescription glasses to see, use wheelchairs to get around, or attach prosthetic limbs to enhance mobility. Are all of those aspects of humanity "unnatural"?
Many translations say that God makes Adam a “suitable helper/companion.” While Adam already had all the animals of the world under his dominion, God saw that Adam was alone and he needed a “suitable” helper, who just so happened to be first lady Eve.
Relating this to our own lives, so many of us are surrounded by many “helpers” and “companions,” but, only a few, maybe one, are truly suitable to aid and comfort a person throughout his or her life. People who are gay or lesbian maybe surrounded by heterosexual mates who are perfectly “adequate” helpers, but the “suitable helper and companion” that God has made for them is not a person of the opposite sex. Plus, if gay people are not meant to be with their “suitable helper/companions,” are they meant to be alone, without a helper? I believe God would say “no,” according to Genesis 2: 18.
Genesis 19: 1-13 “Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction:”
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Basically, God says that He's going to destroy cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, if two angels cannot find any good people within the towns. Once the angels arrive, a kind man named Lot invites these angels into his home and entertains them. This angers the cities' men, and the men rallied outside of Lot's home, wishing to do "perverse actions" to these male angels. Moments later, the two cities are destroyed by fiery rain.
Many anti-gay Christian ministers use this passage to say that this is an example of God’s wrath against homosexuality...as if the men of Sodom were all gay, and all trying to "be gay with" these male angels.
Historians and sociologists tell us that gang rape was a very common form of brutal humiliation of the subjects, in the ancient Western world. The Sodomite men did not come to Lot’s house to have monogamous, committed, loving relationships with the male angels residing there. They came to rape these angels.
Also, MULTIPLE parts of the Bible (Luke 10: 10-13; Isaiah 19: 13-14; Jeremiah 23: 14; Ezekiel 16: 49; Zephaniah 2: 8-11) tell us that God despised the greed and their wickedness toward outsiders as their sin, not that fact that men wanted to “have sex” with men.
THEN…there’s Leviticus 18:22 “Mosaic Law Prohibitions” and
Leviticus 20:13 “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 ejacuates 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 you’re gonna be a Biblical literalist, you might as well start sewing your own clothes and becoming a vegetarian.
Three passages from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament):
Taking a look at the first passage, the most oft quoted one from anti-gay Christian ministers, many people forget that the word “natural” has two definitions:
- “Scientifically meant to happen, or following nature’s course,” and
- “Normal, expected, or common.”
How do we know which definition Paul is using here? Later on in the Book of Romans, Paul writes that God acted “contrary to nature,” and what he means isn’t that God acted “immorally or against nature’s course,” but rather that God acted “unexpectedly.”
Understanding this, and the fact that no one could truly know whether Paul really knows what is scientifically innate and what is not, Paul calls these relationships “uncustomary” and “uncommon.”
Jesus did many “uncommon” things in his time. One of which was initiating a conversation with a Samaritan woman, which was “uncommon,” because Jews never spoke to Samaritans, and Jews never spoke to other people’s women. Surely, we cannot think that just because something is “uncommon” that it is “evil.”
Next, the words that Paul uses in almost all translations in the place of “relations” and “lusts” (“passions,” “affections,” “desires,” “sex”) really denote that what’s really talking about are not loving, committed relationships between members of the same-sex, but just selfish sexually-gratifying lusts. Any man of God wouldn’t stand for God’s people “rocking out with their cocks out” just for the hell of it, and that’s who the subjects of God’s disdain were, not people seeking love in same-sex relationships.
While newer translations used the word “homosexual,” what it comes down to is a tragic loss of translation of two key Greek words, “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi.” If most Biblical interpreters weren’t
pacifists, there’d be all-out war between them on the meanings of these words. The explanation that I prefer comes from Biblical scholar D. B. Martin, that “arsenokoitai,” due to its context clues, has something to do with sexual exploitation, like prostitution, not sexual orientation, like homosexuality.