Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Bible as a Weapon

This post is for all the people out there, who for religious reasons believe homosexuality to be a sin. I respect people of faith, and on the whole I believe having a stong faith in God and his teaching's is a postive thing. My issue is not with God or his followers, it's with the idea that his teachings and the bible have never been misinterperted or misused.

Many religious people these days, cling steadfastly to their bibles pointing to a few passages in it as an all out condemnation of gays and homosexuality. My problem with this is two-fold. First off, the bible was not written in English. It has been translated many times over, and biblical scholars have argued for years as to what particular phrases and words truly meant in the historical context of biblical times. Could God have been condemning homosexuality in the bible? Sure. Is that an absolute, fact? No, it's not.

The second problem I have with the use of the bible as a weapon to condemn gays, is that it has been brandished in the past and used as a tool to justify some rather unsavory causes; such as slavery, keeping women from voting or working, racism, and anti-semitisim. Lest we forget, biblical quotes and "the word of God," have been misinterpeted and misused for centuries, by people just as positive as todays religious, that they knew what God thought.

In closing I would like to ask one, simple question of my religious readers, if it were proven that gay people are born that way, and do not choose to be gay, would you still view homosexuality as a sin? I realize that, although scientific research is leaning towards this conclusion, it has not been proven yet. I'm asking this as a hypothetical, because I'm curious and because I believe that most religious arguments condemning homosexuality would be moot if people understood homosexuality is not a choice.


Blogger Charles said...

That homosexuality is not a choice hasn't yet been proven, although I think one is genetically 'inclined' to be one way or the other. I do not think one is unable to desist, however. In other words, we may be genetically inclined to a lot of things, but we still have choices to make .. will we, won't we. For those who believe homosexuality is condemned by God, it wouldn't make a difference if it is proven that homosexuals are 'made that way.' Unless, 'made that way' means they have no choice, really, really difficult to prove. I am not an evangelical Christian and don't get too hung up on this issue, but I know folks who really do.

10/10/2005 2:27 AM  
Blogger dieselfire said...

I've read the Bible and I've read the Quran. There's nothing specifically mentioned that one can't be a "homosexual". Heck, read the bible carefully, it's full of innuendoes.

I personally don't hate gays or lesbians. It's still personality that counts. Sexuality is a person's choice.

10/10/2005 6:05 AM  
Blogger JJ said...

I think that understanding that being gay is not a 'choice' (the reason I put that in quotes is because I think most reasonable people would not believe that we actually made the decision to be gay, they merely believe that the 'condition' is reversable) might alleviate some of the tension, and the hatred that is lashed out at us... however, the 'true believers' -- the ones who are sure and certain that the Bible condemns homosexual behavior are not likely to change their minds whether or not they are convinced of a genetic cause of homosexuality. The idea being that we are all 'sinners', but we have a choice about whether or not to commit a sin.

I, as you know, as still wrestling this out, but I believe that that would be the conclusion of most reasonable fundamentalist Christians (if there is such a thing!)

10/10/2005 2:38 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Thanks for the comments guys, & gals. I guess my reasoning for thinking that if people knew homosexuality wasn't a choice they'd be less likely to condemn it is possibly wishful thinking. To me however it seems logical to think that if gays are born gay then God intended for there to be homosexuality and why would he make people homosexual if he thought acting on homosexual feelings were wrong? The other point I'd like to make is that being gay is not about having had same sex, sexual partners. I knew I was gay long before I ever acted on any of my feelings, and even if I never had I'd still be gay. I think a lot of straight people don't get that. It's like a straight thirteen year old virgin, they've never had sex, but they know they're straight, because it's a part of who they are. J.J. I know you can relate to what I'm saying. Anyway it's an interesting discussion.

10/10/2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger Orikinla Osinachi. said...

I don't need the Holy Bible to tell me that homosexuality is not a way of life, but a sickness suffered by gays.

I had a friend who was gay and he knew it was not normal to be gay. He admitted that he was sick and needed help. He was very honest until he died last year.

Whosoever does not understand the Holy Bible needs help too.

10/10/2005 6:19 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Orikinla, You think homosexuality is a sickness, and I think ignorance is a disease. Thanks for your comment.

10/11/2005 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was reading through this post, and it made me think a bit about how people assume that their understanding of scripture is the end all be all answer straight from god himself!

I don't agree with Orikinla personally, but it brought some logical questions that I ask all the time: Who gets to decide that they have the right interpretation of the Bible? I would think that most people that truly follow their religion would practice some sort of humility, modesty, and have some realization that they are human and therefore fallible and that their analysis may also be flawed. Secondly is somebody that appears to be arrogantly throwing scripture at another person to condemn, really practicing the principles of their spirituality? And my last question being, Aren’t people who demonstrate that kind of religiousness discrediting themselves by their statements and actions in the first place?

Sorry if I got off the subject here, it just made me think….

10/11/2005 9:25 AM  
Blogger natalie said...

well said, Charles...
here's a good read...

10/12/2005 9:04 AM  
Blogger Leo said...

You make some great points and ask valid questions. Thanks for your input.

10/12/2005 2:08 PM  
Anonymous theoldbill said...

one of the problems facing Christians [especially those who have limited personal contact with glbt folk] is that our English translations often have an anti-homosexual biasl I've got a rather lengly post on this on my blog - but I did want to draw folks attention to one bright spot on the bible-translation landscape. It's called Good as New, a translation led by a British baptist, where he adds a footnote to his positive translation of the problematic Romans 1:26-27.

Here's the footnote:
These verses have been shamefully used as a basis for the discomforting of those with a same-sex orientation. Undoubtedly Paul had uppermost in his mind the callous exploitation associated with the sex-trade centred in his day in the pagan temples. he was not addressing the issue of loving same-sex relationships. Our translation strives to refocus on Paul's concern with the ill treatment of one human being by another, of which sexual abuse is one example, the persecution of minorities another.

There's more on this particular translation - and also some stuff related to bible translation on a recent post - invite anyone interested to check it out.

10/13/2005 11:29 PM  
Blogger el said...

I personally do not see that anything the scientific community says on this matter will sway the opinion of the Catholic church. Other churches... I have no idea. I have to say that jj is wrong on one part, sin is not seen as part of human nature. We were born in God's image and sin only came with Adam and Eve eating that apple. That is why the church sees homosexuality as more of a defect or illness. If the church saw that it is part of ones nature to have sexual relations with the same sex, then it would not be a sin. A sin is an action which takes one further from God. Aquinas refered to them as fomes or kindeling. If they are repeated the fomes will burn the soul. The church sees that any sexual relationship outside of marriage as sinful, and those of the same sex cannot be married under the church.

I have no reason to go condemn another. I have my own sins and they weigh no less than any others. I simply respect the stance of the church.

10/14/2005 2:20 AM  
Blogger Leo said...

Theoldbill, Good points, thanks. El, I respect your opinions and I do understand your faith in the Church. If I was heterosexual, I might respect the Church's stance on homosexuality as well, because I wouldn't have any reason to question it. Kind of like it's easier for me to respect the Church's stance on divorce since it simply doesn't affect me. One question for you, do you see any hypocisy by the church, in the idea that if gays are born gay it would still be a sin to act on homosexuality since as you said sex outside of marriage is a sin, and we cannot marry in the Church?

I can really appreciate what you're saying though, because it is what I was taught too. As for the sin being a part of human nature, I don't believe it is, but since Adam & Eve the Church does teach that we are born with original sin, which is cleansed from us at baptism. Thanks a lot for your thoughts.

10/14/2005 3:58 PM  

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