Tagged: The Bible on Homosexuality

Unnatural Relations, Adam and Steve, Marriage, Anatomy, and Evolution

This post will be a bit fragmented.  I chose to look at the specific texts in the Bible as the main part of the debate, because for me the Bible is authoritative. This post will quickly touch on some of the other regularly-repeated arguments on either side.  Some are more about general themes that are claimed to be in the Bible, and some are more driven by science.

The Natural Argument

This is the most frequent one that I hear from the Side A part of the debate. Sexual orientation is natural, so how can you say that it is wrong if God made it that way? To me this is missing the point. At least within Christian theology, we acknowledge that humans are both image-bearers of God (good) and broken (bad). This argument tends to rely on the fact that if it’s natural then it must be good, which could be scarily applied to other things like anger, greed, drug addictions, etc. No, the Side A proponents don’t make those kind of extensions themselves, and that is my point: they seem to make a bit of a special case of sexual orientation saying that, well obviously it comes from the good nature of humanity and not the bad.  

Due Penalty for Homosexuality

This is the last for me to look at of the six texts in the Bible that arguably condemn homosexuality.So far, at least for me, the other five haven’t really held any weight as an actual argument for the sinfulness of homosexuality: Sodom is clearly stated to have been punished for their injustices, not for homosexuality as often claimed; it would be unfair to treat homosexuality in the Levitical Holiness Code as absolute law for all time while not doing the same for the rest of that code; and there are serious translational issues with the two other New Testament texts found in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy.  That leaves one text, and to me it carries the most weight of any of them, so let’s look at that here:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error

Arsenokoites

So far I’ve looked at the three biblical passages that arguably condemn homosexuality: first the story of Sodom and then the instances of homosexuality in the Levitical law code. The real heart of the debate lies in the three texts which appear in the New Testament, and whether or not they really do condemn homosexual activity as sinful. I’ll leave the text in Romans for my next post, but here are the two others:

9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT)

9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching.  

The Impurity of Homosexuality

Back a few posts when I gave a bit of perspective on the homosexuality debate, I mentioned that there are all of 6 texts at most that can be used to speak of homosexual activity as a sin. One was the story of Sodom, which I looked at in my last post. I showed that whether or not they were also punished for homosexuality there is no evidence of that and in fact the only biblical evidence is that they were punished for greed. The next two verses that speak to the issue come from the Leviticus Holiness Code:

22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. (Leviticus 18:22 NIV)

13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13 NIV)

Sodom and Gomorrah

The Real Sin of Sodom

A lot of you have probably heard of Sodom. In a fairly graphic story in Genesis 19, God destroys Sodom as well as Gomorrah because of its sin. From the other end of it, we get our word sodomy from this city. The reasons for this come out of this section in Genesis 19:

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” (Genesis 19:4-5 NIV)

Therefore, those on Side B and Side X would say, the sin was that all the men of Sodom were gay, thus warranting God’s wrath.  Some groups that I would have no qualm calling hate groups would take that far enough to say that we also have the right as Christians to carry out wrathful judgement against gays and lesbians.  Others wouldn’t be as extreme and would say that yes, it was Sodom’s sin, and God does punish that, but that doesn’t mean we are supposed to.

Bible

Perspective on the Homosexuality Debate

In my opinion, there is one clearly ridiculous part of the homosexuality debate, particularly as found in the political arguing in the United States. The most commonly mentioned sin in the Bible is idolatry. The second is greed, at over 3000 verses, and you could easily argue that greed is just a form of idolatry. Nations are regularly judged in the Old Testament because of their greed, including Sodom (contrary to the usual claim that they were killed for being gay – see my next post). How many verses are there about homosexuality? At most 6: 3 Old Testament and 3 New. And I do mean at most because I will question if that’s really what they’re saying, but for the sake of this post I’ll assume that they are actually referring to homosexuality in general. So we have a ratio in the Bible of 3000:6, or 500 verses on greed for every 1 on homosexuality.

The Sides of the Homosexuality Debate

By way of introduction to some more posts about the homosexuality debate, it’s time for a strictly definitional post. When talking about how Christians respond to questions of homosexuality, there are three basic positions.

Side A

According to those of Side A, God blesses LGBT union as much as any male-female union. Both the state and the church should thus do likewise. Homosexuality is not a sin, neither in behaviour or in orientation, and in fact many would say it should even be celebrated as an example of some of the beautiful diversity that God has gifted this earth with. This is a position more likely to be encountered in the Protestant mainline but there are still many Pentecostals, Catholics, and even evangelicals who fall in this category even if the official statements of their denomination do not.