Justifying Anti-homosexual Attitudes with the Bible
Recently, I've seen a few broadcasts in which Christians claim that homosexuality is a sin because it says so in the Bible. So let's see what the Bible says.
Do not eat pork. ["Hey! I thought this was about homosexuals!?" It is. Later.]
- Leviticus 11:4-7 "But you shall not eat...the pig, which does indeed have hoofs and is cloven-footed, but does not chew the cud."
- Isaiah 65:2-4 "I have stretched out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, Who...provoke me continually...Eating swine's flesh.... These things enkindle my wrath, a fire that burns all the day."
- Isaiah 66:17 "...they who eat swine's flesh, loathsome things and mice, shall all perish with their deeds and their thoughts, says the Lord."
Do you eat pork? If so, sounds like you'll burn in Hell.
And what does the Bible say about homosexual activity?
- Leviticus 18:22 "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination."
- Leviticus 20:13 "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death..."
- Romans 1:23-27 "...they...exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man...Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females..."1
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "...neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodmoites...will inherit the kingdom of God."
[One note: I don't think there's any particular reference to homosexuality in the Gospels. I wonder why?]
Well, at least the first two sound pretty clear. Just as clear as the prohibition against eating pork. What else does the Bible say? I ran across many interesting passages while researching this; here's a few:
Leviticus 20:9 "Anyone who curses his father or mother shall be put to death." I don't know exactly what is meant by curse, but if everybody who cursed their parents as we normally think of it were put to death, we wouldn't have to be concerned about overpopulation.
Leviticus 20:10 "If a man commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death." Today, adultery is not punishable by death; only the most extreme religious sect would think this was a good idea; we consider it barbaric. Does that mean that Christians must revert to this behavior? I don't think so. What does Jesus have to say?
In John 8:4-7, it says, "They said to him [Jesus], 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery...Moses commanded us to stone such women'...[He] said to them, 'Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone.'" So here Jesus is saying to disregard the law of Moses. In other cases, he says to follow it, and in others he says that it's insufficient and we have to do better. What can we conclude from this? It seems that we have to continually examine the situation and try to do what's right. Very ambiguous; I suppose God not only gave us commandments, He gave us a brain to figure out what they really mean.
Leviticus 19:19 "...do not breed any of your domestic animals with others of a different species; do not sow a field of yours with two different kinds of seed; and do not put on a garment woven with two different kinds of thread." How many farms grow one crop? (If they do, it's for economic reasons, I'm sure of that.) How many of us wear clothes with one kind of thread?
The bottom line is, nobody completely lives up to what's in the Bible if for no other reason than it is simply not possible. A truly literal interpretation of the Old Testament will condemn everyone to Hell. Even just following some of the things that Jesus said to do will send you to Hell, because they contradict the Old Testament. So using the Bible as a reason to condemn homosexuality is, at best, picking and choosing what you prefer. At worst it's trying to twist the word of God to support personal hatreds and prejudices. Remember the two great commandments: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind...The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39) If you eat pork, would you want somebody yelling, "God hates pig-eaters! Burn in Hell!"? I doubt it. Yet that's exactly what homosexuals hear from "Christians".
1 This passage fascinates me. It seems to be saying that God forced people to give in to their passions. What happened to free will? And if sin is willful disobedience against God, is what happened a sin?