Are biblical laws about homosexuality eternal?

Johnny - posted on 08/01/2011 ( 29 moms have responded )

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The most intense and accepted arguments against homosexuality generally stem from religious beliefs. In the western world in which most of us reside it is Christianity that makes the loudest atguments agaist homosexuality based on biblical text. Could these arguments be misinformed?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-el...

"The prohibition in the Bible applies only so long as male homosexual acts are perceived to be offensive."

Please bother to read the actual article before posting your opinion. Or at least have some knowledge of the argument being made by its authors. Otherwise you will simply appear as an idiot.

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Becky - posted on 08/05/2011

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Very interesting article. I was recently in a debate about homosexuality with some people I went to a very conservative Christian bording school with, and one of the former students (who happens to be a college professor), pointed out that the word "abomination" is actually translated as "ritually unclean." That would put homosexual acts on the same level as a woman with her period, according to Leviticus. A woman with her period was not sinning, but she also could not enter the temple during that time. Anyway, it was interesting to me because when you hear the word "abomination" it always seems to have a connotation of being so horrible and evil, but it's really not.
I believe that the Old Testament was written largely as a history of the Jewish people, and the laws given in the OT were laws given specifically to the Jewish people. Many of them were intended to separate them and make them stand out from the people around them, as God`s chosen people. So if homosexuality were rampant in the cultures around them, then avoiding homosexuality would separate them from those cultures. While I do believe the 10 commandments are universal (many of them are just good common sense), I don`t believe that the majority of laws laid out in the books of Moses are. My life would be a WHOLE lot different if they were! Yikes! I couldn`t leave the house when I had my period! So, all that to say that yes, I could buy the premise of this article, that the laws could change over time. Goodness knows there aren`t many OT laws that we still abide by!
Also, not related to the article, but, I have a hard time fathoming that God could create a group of people who are genetically a particular way (in this case, attracted to people of the same sex) and then just say that those people, are by their very nature, sinning and won`t get into heaven unless they deny their genetic make-up. That`s like saying a black person won`t get into heaven unless they find a way to make themselves white. I think we`ve gotten past that view! I hope!!!!

[deleted account]

"trying to understand something that we aren't supposed to understand. God gave us his commands. We are to listen and obey."

I'm sorry, I find that concept incredibly repellent. Don't question. Don't think. Just obey.

I know that isn't necessarily what you're saying but that's the way that particular argument always sounds.

[deleted account]

Of course they're culturally based. The entire book is culturally based.This is why most people dont' think it's ok to stone your non-virgin daughters anymore. We've evolved our thinking or at least most of us have.

Johnny - posted on 08/04/2011

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I would agree that it is an opinion piece, just as anything to do with any sort of literary assessment or translation is. I just find it interesting that a learned assessment of the bible from one group could be rejected and dismissed so quickly without much regard to its possible veracity. I am not suggesting that all translations & beliefs be dismissed, but that some consideration might be given to why we are more comfortable accepting some translations as opposed to others. To me it seems that people are only comfortable with it as long as it meets their pre-conceived culturally-based notions of what is right and wrong. It is not so much that people are really following the concept that "God's law is God's law" but that they are looking for those laws to meet with their own prejudices & ideas. It is ironic that those who may insist that God's law is eternal may be relying on a mistaken notion from their holy book that simply allows for them to maintain their own comfort rather than accepting God's Laws as they may have been intended.

Rosie - posted on 08/04/2011

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so you don't think the author of the OP said anything that made sense? you don't think is any credence to it at all for the new testiment? why do people believe gods law is what their pastor told them, why not look at other ways? i'd also like to point out that god/jesus never once said anything about homosexuality in the NT. paul did. do you follow pauls law? all of them?

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Johnny - posted on 08/05/2011

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The difference is that I do not believe in god nor do I actually accept that the bible is the path to truth. So for me, it is simply a philisophical debate about a belief system just like any other I might have about any other way of thinking such as Buddhism or Confucianism or Communism. If I was a believer, I suppose I could consider it church. But for me, it's just another philisophical debate.

I would agree though that it is not logical to change one's thinking simply based on what one group of scholars says about an issue. It would just be nice if it appeared that people were willing to challenge their own prejudices and entertain the possibility that they may not be correct about what the bible is saying.

Nikki - posted on 08/05/2011

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I agree with you Johnny. But I am not one of those sheep who believes anything a clergyman tells me. I have called pastors out on their sermons on more than one occasion. Debate is healthy in reinforcing beliefs. But someone trying to say that because one piece goes against th norm and pushes the envelope in a logical way, is no better than the sheep , they are just follwing a different wolf.

I believe that many things are outlined in the Bible as to how we should do things, I follow many of them, the one that I struggle with I make an effort to remind myself of them everyday. It is a personal journey for everyone, and the great thing about it is that you have free will to choose what you believe. Unlike other cultures where you participate in rituals or ceremonies because you are required to, Christianity allows the freedom to worship how one chooses. The Bible say where two or three are gathered, God is there and it is considered to be fellowship and "church" for lack of a better term. Discussion is healthy. So, for all intensive purposes this discussion (since it is biblically based) could be considered church and fellowship. Just a thought to ponder.

Nikki - posted on 08/04/2011

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Not attacked by you Johnny. I feel people do get their skirts a bit ruffled though..

I believe that the piece you posted is just as much an opinion piece as any other. Things are always lost in translation. That happens, but to say that is reason to dismiss all translations and beliefs is a little out there.

The hebrew word for spouse was translated as companion by English scholars when they were doing the KJV. Also, why leave all Hebrew names in their original pronunciation but the name of Jesus. Why not leave it Yeshua. (loosely translated also as Joshua, it is an alternative spelling) You can't disect every tranlation made over the years.

Johnny - posted on 08/04/2011

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We do not believe that it is okay to distort Scripture to please human motives. (2 Peter 3:16)

This is rather the point. These biblical scholars are suggesting that the scripture has been distorted as the original meaning of the word used in Hebrew was not correctly interpreted. If this were about an issue which people were less judgemental about than homosexuality, there would not be any controversy.

Rosie - posted on 08/04/2011

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i wasn't attacking, i was merely picking your brain:) i'm just wondering why people always choose to believe what their pastor has said based off of someone elses interpretation of the bible. why do you have to go with that interpretation? what harm will come to you if you think outside the box a little?

Johnny - posted on 08/04/2011

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I fail to see where in this thread you have been "attacked". Questioned yes, but attacked?

Johnny - posted on 08/04/2011

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Nikki, you do not think it is at all possible that errors have been made in the way words or word meanings have been translated from the bible that have misinformed followers of the intent. If the original meaning written down was a specific way, then someone made an error when interpreting, then would it not be correct to remedy that error by following the original intent of the writer. If the bible is "God breathed" then would it not be important follow the original intent? Should the word of the bible not supercede the word of pastors and interpretors of the bible? These people are attempting to more accurately interprete the word of the bible according to its original meaning, not to change it.

Nikki - posted on 08/04/2011

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I didn't respond to get attacked.

I contradicted something in the piece quoted at the beginning of the post.

I did not take the time to copy and paste exactly the sentence that I thought should be read.

Also, just to clarify my response to the original question:

We do not believe that it is okay to distort Scripture to please human motives. (2 Peter 3:16)

And I don't believe the way I do because of a pastor. I have actually read it and come to my own conclusions.

Nikki - posted on 08/04/2011

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It is an opinion piece Dyan. The scriptures are referenced though. and yes i read them both. The author of the article referenced in the post said that the Bible only referenced male homosexual acts. I posted the other link to show that to be false. Personally I believe you will be judged by God in the end so I don't need to waste my time trying. But as far as whether I believe God's law is eternal or if it changes according to culture, God's law is law. And before anyone begins referencing a bunch of OT laws, the New Covenant was made with the blood of Christ and it supercedes those laws.

Rosie - posted on 08/04/2011

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did you even read the article nikki? btw the whole part on the bottom of your article is pure crap.

Johnny - posted on 08/03/2011

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"There is nothing else, there is no in between. It is or it isnt - that is it. I think there are worse sins that need to be cracked down on, than homosexuality --- there is murders, rapes, theft, dishonesty, adultery; there is famine, poor, sicknesses in this world -- why is something so minor being the biggest worry???? i just dont get it.."

It shouldn't be. It should be between each individual, themselves and their beliefs/god/philosophy. Unfortunately many people seem to think that it is somehow the most horrible of sins deserving of efforts to legislate against and control other with. You do not see these people going after all the other listed sins (as you said, far more terrible) with the same vigor that the pursue homosexuality. I can not remember a time when I heard someone seek to legislate against adultery in my lifetime. The hypocrisy is astounding. But it is there and many pursue their belief in the sinful nature of homosexuality with great effort. It requires focus and constant vigilence to question and battle this. I agree that our time would really be better spent on efforts to stop things that are actually harming other humans, like poverty, famine & war.

[deleted account]

"is that now you can be forgiven for your sins - whereas in the old you were either damned strait to hell, or went directly to heaven"

That's a very innaccurate representation of the OT Hebrew teachings.

Jennifer - posted on 08/02/2011

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Well, first, I don't buy the argument, but it really doesn't mean that much to me. The new testament changed all the laws from the old. "The new law I give to you is this, 'love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind', and the second is like the first 'love your neighbor as yourself'" Jesus proved that he changed the law by saving the adulteress from being stoned. Paul taught this in almost every book he wrote. The laws were given so we could see that as humans, we could never live up to them, not so we could beat other people up with them! I don't really care what they say about being gay, I've broken way too may commandments to throw any rocks!

Veronica - posted on 08/02/2011

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Whether this is 100 a.d. or 2011 --- God's law never changes. His most important law? Believe in my son Jesus, for you must go through the Son to get to me. Simple as that. Love one another. Forgive and ask for forgiveness. End of story. Belief, Love, Repent. The new testament is the new covenant the Lord gave us - Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross erased all of our sins. I was explained that while we are in sin, God does not 'see' us -- so when we repent and ask for forgiveness he 'sees' us again. When we accept Christ in our life - he sees us through Christ. Sin and things against the Lord are still the same as they were in the new and old testament - there are no inconsistancies -- the difference in the old vs. the new - is that now you can be forgiven for your sins - whereas in the old you were either damned strait to hell, or went directly to heaven. In Romans it does mention homosexuality being out there, that it is wrong -- HOWEVER - the Lord states that we are not to judge it. (here let me find this vs.) (and i believe it speaks of homosexuality in revelations as well...) I will post this much - and be back to post those passages. I personally people are reading too much into the bible and trying to understand something that we aren't supposed to understand. God gave us his commands. We are to listen and obey. Believe and repent. Love one another. There is nothing else, there is no in between. It is or it isnt - that is it. I think there are worse sins that need to be cracked down on, than homosexuality --- there is murders, rapes, theft, dishonesty, adultery; there is famine, poor, sicknesses in this world -- why is something so minor being the biggest worry???? i just dont get it..

Johnny - posted on 08/02/2011

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Marina, the authors address that very point and dismiss it for the same reasons.

I know that many here either do not have faith in the bible at all, and most of those who believe do not choose to apply it literallly, word for word, to daily life. However, most of the reasoning behind the continued battles against homosexuals and lack of equal rights being granted are as a result of those who clearly do choose to take the bible as a literal diviner of modern laws. Those people are not open to the idea of cultural relativism as it relates to their holy book. However this article suggests that this very cultural relativism that they like to decry may well actually be present in the very holy book that they are choosing to take literally and whose interpretations they are choosing to force onto society as a whole.

As for people who can not be bothered to care about the equal rights and respect of others, that is a rather sad commentary on oneself. I suppose you should be thankful that others in the past who have fought for and supported into law the civil & equal rights we now enjoy as women did not take the same cavalier attitude.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/02/2011

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There are contradictions left and right in the bible. That is what happens when first of all, things are translated from language to language for thousands of years, and secondly, well...and the most important point, it was written by biased men.

Ok, just to say something about the point "men do not lay with men the same as women" (obviously not a direct quote, to lazy) and how it says nothing about women. Yes, the scholar was right, they can not lay with men and women the same...well duh...no vagina. But they do indeed have an anus, and I think that is what it is referring to....penetration. I of course don't regard the bible with much thought other than interesting stories, so I don't fall under the ideals behind it. Just saying, that is what the translation would mean to me.

The great thing is, we all have different perspectives...the downfall....different perspectives decipher it into law.

[deleted account]

Condemning a homosexual based on religion according to christian belief, is condemning yourself""".Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."" Take a lesson from your own book is all i got to say. :)

Minnie - posted on 08/02/2011

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There are quite a lot of things contraindicated against in the Bible that are of a cultural nature. Women not being able to cut their hair for example. Many of these things that were 'abominations' were labeled so because of the practices in pagan temples at the time. Certain activities of a ritualistic nature weren't putting God first.

Veronica - posted on 08/01/2011

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Im unsure of how I feel about this article - id have to reread it and think upon it a bit -- however, with that said - i guess i just am not making a big deal out of it - and honestly dont have time to sit here and wonder whether someone else is leading their life right or wrong - its not up to me to make that decision or judge them. I have my own soul, my husband and children's souls to worry about than sit here and try to worry about everyone else's around me. I dont think it is even up to us to understand these things - the Lord created this world and everything in it, and his laws -- its his job to judge, not mine. ive completely changed my veiws on sooo many things in life, and this is one thing that has no importance to me as to whether homo is right or wrong -- its not affecting me - and when/if it does i will cross that bridge when i get there. and for the record, im not saying that i dont care to the point of idiocy -- its just not that big a deal for me to sit here and get bent out of shape about.

Jaime - posted on 08/01/2011

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"-- in which case the law may change as people's perceptions change?"

This is the question/statement that stood out to me when reading the article and it sums up my feelings about the Bible as a whole. I think that as people's perceptions of events change, the Bible changes. The examples used by the author definitely support such a supposition, so I think that the arguments made by Christianity are undoubtedly misinformed...not to mention an interpretation of a seriously ancient point of view.

[deleted account]

I learned a new word/phrase: to'ebah. Meaning "offensive".

I do believe that those who take the bible literally word for word jsut simply cannot broaden and expand their own thinking in regard to acceptance. I honestly have no problem with peopel strong in their faith. However, when that strong faith blinds peopel to see outside the words onteh page, then I have issues and the only reason why is becasue this type of hatred and vogitry for homosexuality is taught, learned, and passed down from generation to generation and children are raised with blinders on. It's OK to accept someone with a physical deformrity, yet not OK to accept a gay couple? This article was an interested read. Thanks!

Krista - posted on 08/01/2011

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What a fascinating article -- very thought-provoking! It really does lend some credence to the school of thought that says that many of the "rules" in the Bible were simply reflections of the cultural mores of the time in which they were written.

Rosie - posted on 08/01/2011

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those who want to continue to disapprove of homosexuals will do so no matter what argument they are faced with.
i completely agree with the authors statements though. it's interesting to see people actually study the bible like that. i'd like to see more of that instead of people just listening to what their pastor has told them.

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