Monday, March 19, 2007

Exploring and Exploding:"The Myths of Homosexuality" What does the Bible say? Pt.3

Conservative Christians would allow that to pass since its in the old testament. My critics would say surely paul talks about it with hope to sustian their prejudices.
Unlike Christ who was not so much concern what people do in their bedrooms, this sex obsess, and all his life single self-proclaim apostle loves to dictate about it. But claims to not want to put restrictions on you, how hypocritical of you paul?
Any way lets check out his letter to the Romans and see what it says:

ROMANS 1:26, 27

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

This is the only "text of terror" that throws women into the mix. Even conservative Christians must admit that the key verses in Leviticus are written to and about men.
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 18:22

It makes no sense that this verse be directed to women - a woman shall not lie with a man as a woman lies with a woman? See, it just doesn't have the same pseudo-logical ring to it. These verses were written to men, about men.

Lesbianism would be completely off the hook were it not for the misinterpretation of Romans 1:26. When taken in context the gist of this verse mutates considerably.

The whole natural concept is a scientific concept. Paul saw it as a charcteristic for
example: Even paul thinks God act Unnatuarally, in Roman 11:24 he says or describes this.

Romans 1 is similar to the chapters in Leviticus in the sense that Paul's chidings are sandwiched between admonitions against idolatry.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Romans 1:18-23

And ending with,
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient… Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
Romans 1:28, 32

Wait, where's that part about the "lesbians"? Oh, this is verse 24, addressed presumably to members of the congregation who are not "homosexuals" or "lesbians," in other words "straight" people

If it is assumed that these verses refer to all same sex relations then one is left to explain "the natural use of the woman." What is "the natural use of woman?" Is it to make babies? What of women who cannot, or do not, make babies? Have these also changed their "natural use?" Is it therefore a sin for a woman not to have babies?

Is "the natural use of women" the extinguishment of the burning lust of men? Do women exist to quell the lust and violence of angry raping mobs? Do they exist to satiate the unfettered lust of men, whether willingly or not?

Or do women exist to love and be loved? If this is the answer then the verses here have nothing to do with homosexually but with the dishonoring of bodies whether male or female, straight or gay

Some bibical scholars agree that paul does not separate hetersexuals and homosexuals.
So it's not fully clear what he means. He critizes the gentiles to make the jews feels good about themselves, then critizes them later in the letter in Rom. 2.1.

1 TIMOTHY 1:9-10, 1 CORINTHIANS 6:9,10

"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;"
1 Timothy 1: 9,10

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
1 Corinthians 6:9,10

Again we have a situation where the verses are written specifically to, and about, men. How can a woman defile herself "with mankind" unless there is some sort of inequitable circumstance that is exploited? She can sell herself to a man, she can extort sex from a man, but these are not the definitions that conservative Christians assign to the phrase in 1 Timothy 6:9, "them that defile themselves with mankind." For conservative Christians this means the vividly imagined hot male-on-male action.

We have the same problem with 1 Corinthians 6:9, for do we prohibit women from being effeminate? No, we want women to be "feminate," or "feminine," which is the sloppy contemporary reading of this term. The Greek term is malakos. The term is used two times in the Gospels, Jesus speaking here,

"But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft [malakos] raiment? behold, they that wear soft [malakos] clothing are in kings' houses."
Matthew 11:8

"But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft [malakos] raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts."
Luke 7:25

In both instances the term malakos is used in a disdainful manner to describe the soft and delicate existence of those in the royal court.

If we are to assume that the entire Bible is written to both men and women, and not just to men, to later be passed down to their property, women, then we cannot accept that malakos means homosexual, or effeminate.


The phrase "for them that defile themselves with mankind" is translated from the Greek term arsenokoites. This term appears two times in two verses, those listed above. The definition of the term is not clear. It is constructed from two words, arrhen, or arsen, meaning a male, a man, a child, or a man child (boy); and koite, meaning bed. koite appears four times in four verses in the Second Testament:

"And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed [koite]; I cannot rise and give thee."
Luke 11:*

"And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived [koite] by one, even by our father Isaac;"
Romans 9:10

"Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering [koite] and wantonness, not in strife and envying."
Romans 13:13

"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed [koite] undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."
Hebrew 13:4

The first verse suggests a bed, with no sexual connotations. The last three verses suggest a more sexual connotation, in a very heterosexual sense.

So it might seem that adding arseno to koites could mean hot male-on-male action as imagined by conservative Christians, or it could mean men who rape or exploit men, or men who rape boys. (Why should we assume that society would be any more interested back then in men that rape girls than it is now?) Taken with the immediately subsequent criminal "menstealers," this makes better sense. It makes better sense unless one is invested in the Bible being against hot male-on-male action as imagined by the conservative Christian, and not for justice, as in admonitions against the rape and kidnapping of men, boys, and perhaps, we might hope, at some future date, women.

My primary argument against using any of the previous verses, taken in context, to condemn loving same sex relations, is that this view ignores the actual sins of rape and sexual abuse for the specious payoff of gay bashing. One can hold onto this ideal, as if with a monkey's paw, only if one refuses to acknowledge the rape and exploitation of women as a sin against God, nature, and humanity. Therefore, Biblically-sanctioned gay bashing is a sin against all women, because women cannot enjoy the full protection of the law of God and man if she is seen as merely incidental to the stories used to condemn homosexuals, instead of as a valuable human being, a victim in violent and sinful human exploitation.

1 comment:

The Captain said...

In I Corinthians 6, Paul, exasperated with the Corinthians, some of whom apparently believe themselves to have entered a spiritually exalted state in which the moral rules of their old existence no longer apply to them (cf. I Cor. 4:8, 5:1-2, 8:1-9), confronts them with a blunt rhetorical question: "Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?" He then gives an illustrative list of the sorts of persons he means: "fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, malakoi, arsenokoitai, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers."

I have left the terms pertinent to the present issue untranslated, because their translation has been disputed. The word malakoi is not a technical term meaning "homosexuals" (no such term existed either in Greek or in Hebrew), but it appears often in Hellenistic Greek as pejorative slang to describe the "passive" partners-often young boys-in homosexual activity. The word, arsenokoitai., is not found in any extant Greek text earlier than I Corinthians. Some scholars have suggested that its meaning is uncertain, but Robin Scroggs has shown that the word is a translation of the Hebrew mishkav zakur ("lying with the male), derived directly from Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 and used in rabbinic texts to refer to homosexual intercourse. The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) of Leviticus 20:13 reads, "Whoever lies with a man as with a woman [meta arsenos koiten gynaikos], they have both done an abomination." This is almost certainly the idiom from which the noun arsenokoitai was coined. Thus, Paul's use of the term presupposes and reaffirms the holiness code's condemnation of homosexual acts. This is not a controversial point in Paul's argument; the letter gives no evidence that anyone at Corinth was arguing for the acceptance of same-sex erotic activity. Paul simply assumes that his readers will share his conviction that those who indulge in homosexual activity are "wrongdoers" (adikoi, literally "unrighteous"), along with other sorts of offenders in his list.

In I Corinthians 6:11, Paul asserts that the sinful behaviors catalogued in the vice list were formerly practiced by some of the Corinthians. Now, however, since Paul's correspondents have been transferred into the sphere of Christ's lordship, they ought to have left these practices behind: "This is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." The remainder of the chapter, then (I Cor. 6:12-20), counsels the Corinthians to glorify God in their bodies, because they belong now to God and no longer to themselves.

The I Timothy passage includes arsenokoitai in a list of "the lawless and disobedient" whose behavior is specified in a vice list that includes everything from lying to slave-trading to murdering one's parent, under the rubric of actions "contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel."

One other possibly relevant passage is the apostolic decree of Acts 15:28-29, which rules that Gentile converts to the new Christian movement must observe a list of minimal purity prohibitions in order to have fellowship with the predominantly Jewish early church.

If, as seems likely, these stipulations are based on the purity regulations of Leviticus 17: 1-18:30, then they might well include all the sexual transgressions enumerated in Leviticus 18:6-30, including homosexual intercourse. This suggestion about the Old Testament background for Acts 15:28-29 is probable, but not certain.

The most crucial text for Christian ethic concerning homosexuality remains Romans 1, because this is the only passage in the New Testament that explains the condemnation of homosexual behavior in an explicitly theological context. The substance of Paul's exposition begins with a programmatic declaration in 1:16-17: the gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, `The one who is righteous will live by faith.'" The gospel is not merely a moral or philosophical teaching that hearers may accept or reject as they choose; it is rather the eschatological instrument which God is working out in the world.

Paul is undertaking in his own way to "justify the ways of God to men" by proclaiming that the righteousness of God (dikaiosyne theou) is now definitively manifest in the gospel. As a demonstration of his righteousness, God has "put forward" Jesus Christ, precisely in order "to prove at the present time that he himself (i.e. God) is righteous" (Rom. 3:25-26). For Paul, the gospel that proclaims God's justice is also a power, "the power of God for salvation" reaching out graciously to deliver humanity from bondage to sin and death.

The genius of Paul's analysis lies in his refusal to posit a catalog of sins as the cause of human alienation from God. Instead, he delves to the root: all other depravities follow from the radical rebellion of the creature against the Creator (1:24-31). In order to make his accusation stick, Paul has to claim that these human beings are actually in rebellion against God, not merely ignorant of him. The way in which the argument is framed here is crucial: ignorance is the consequence of humanity's primal rebellion. Because human beings did not acknowledge God, "they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened." The passage is not merely a polemical denunciation of selected pagan vices; it is a diagnosis of the human condition. The diseased behavior detailed in verses 24-31 is symptomatic of the one sickness of humanity as a whole. Because they have turned away from God, "all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin." The aim of Romans 1 is not to teach a code of sexual ethics; nor is the passage a warning of God's judgment against those who are guilty of particular sins. Rather, Paul is offering a diagnosis of the disordered human condition: he adduces the fact of widespread homosexual behavior as evidence that human beings are indeed in rebellion against their creator. Homosexuality, then, is not a provocation of "the wrath of God" (Rom. 1:18); rather, it is a consequence of God's decision to "give up" rebellious creatures to follow their own futile thinking and desires.