Monday, November 13, 2006

Gay?

Over lunch the other day, a business associate made the profound statement that "The Bible has a clear policy of respecting life." That's a statement (and social, religious and emotional position) with which I absolutely agree.

However, he couldn't seem to let well-enough alone and, a few moments further into the conversation, he continued, "Anyone who can read English can decipher that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality."

When I finally stopped choking with laughter, I accused him of really opening a can of worms with that statement! (And, there went the previous statement about respecting life …)

I asked about his reference to “the Bible” (the original texts of which were written in simple, archaic language that had a limited vocabulary and absolutely no technological sophistication)… Vulgate? Septuagint? King James? Catholic? New American? New Revised Standard? New International? Beck? (they aren’t the same, you know).

Since we’re Protestants, I suggested we stick with King James (the most common non-Catholic) version. It is a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation. And THAT only got it up to 16th Century English (in which, for instance, the simple word “let” originally meant “prevent” - the exact opposite of its modern meaning of “allow” - and the apostrophe didn’t even exist, because it was invented in the 17th Century)… which is a far cry from modern “American” English. The third translation step occurred when James struck a bargain with the Vatican to consolidate his British throne both politically and religiously. Part of that bargain -- besides creating the Anglican Church -- included James bearing the cost of translating the Vulgate (Latin bible) into English. James sent soldiers into the streets to find anyone who could -- or even claimed to -- read Latin (no test or confirmation of literacy was conducted!), and the lucky finalists were sealed in a dungeon. They were promised release as soon as the project was completed. No editorial efforts were made to oversee the accuracy of the translation. That does not lead sane people to conclude that errors were studiously avoided …

He had begun with the Old Testament, which (it must be remembered) was provided to and for a nomadic, tribal people who were in constant danger of dying out as a society.

Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind…"

The problem is with "mankind" in this sentence. The original ancient word did not refer to males in general … it very specifically referred only to victims of pederasty. The proper 21st Century English translation is more accurately and understandably, "Do not lie with male sex slaves…" That is exactly what the ancient Hebrews understood it to mean. Nothing more.

Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death…"

Again, the same problem exists here with the improper translation into the word "mankind," but there's a bit more. At the time Leviticus was prepared, anything (and everything) that endangered the tribes was a capital crime, punishable by death. And failure to procreate (and thus provide the society with needed additional "manpower") was seen by rabbis - who were themselves required to marry - as a serious endangerment. The death sentence was called for on that basis, rather than on a sexual basis.

I had to remind him that the bible was not originally written in English, and it doesn’t “clearly condemn” homosexuality. At least, not as we know it today. In the original manuscripts, every single word -- in Hebrew and Greek -- that referenced same-gender sexual activity (“malokoi,” “pornoi,” “arsenokoitai’” etc … every word, without exception!) applied only to pederasty … sexual slavery, and in particular young male sexual slavery. That is precisely what every member of the original audience who read and heard the first teaching/preaching actually understood.

Of course, every civilized person and society, world-wide, now (rightly) condemns such slavery as absolutely unacceptable.

But the original biblical manuscripts do not in any way address -- not one word about -- the issue of what we 21st Century denizens now call “homosexuality” (the conscious, consensual relationship between two adults). You see, during the era in which the bible was first set to written form, there was no such thing for scripture to address … prior to that era, the last society that formally condoned same-sex adult relationships was the ancient Greek city of Sparta (whose motivations were primarily military), and that society had disappeared from the face of the earth about 700 years before the bible was reduced to writing.

Now, understand that I did NOT say the bible condones homosexuality … I simply deny that the bible specifically and actively condemns it by name. Actually, the bible -- like Jesus Himself -- is simply but completely silent on that specific matter.

Of course, the antiquated 16th Century English into which the old manuscripts were translated is not much help. And Paul, who wrote the New Testament’s references to same gender sex, had a guilt-ridden attitude that certainly didn't clear the waters, either. His anti-feminine advice to all heterosexuals was to willfully ignore God’s specific intentions -- a stance that, on any subject, is a remarkably dangerous thing to do -- and to only marry if you couldn’t avoid hell in any other manner. Hopefully, humanity has progressed past that closed-minded outlook (after all, we've had two millennia in which to do so).

It is each person’s responsibility to obtain as much understanding from scripture as is possible, so your “take” on the issue of homosexuality is your own to decide. But don’t misread what the bible actually says (and certainly don't ignore what it originally meant) when making your choices. Use some intelligence to augment your religious fervor.

3 Comments:

Blogger Rudy Wellsand said...

NICE SITE! While I'm not commenting on the homosexual angle in this, you may be interested in the following.

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY READ "CODES" RIGHT OUT OF YOUR OWN BIBLE, that CONTROL your Destiny?

See the "Chosen"Code and "Color" Code; VISIT: http://quadcode.blogspot.com ! Save or Print it to study.

HAVE A MUCH MORE BRILLIANT DAY!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Minister said...

Respectfully sir, the Bible does indeed speak of this topic. It is true the "word" homosexuality is no in the Bible. However I point your attention to:
Old Testament:

Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind it is abomination."

Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."


New Testament:
Romans 1:24-32


Sex is God's idea and its purpose is not only for procreation, but also for recreation and the development of a deep relationship between man and woman. Nothing is wrong or dirty about sex when it is engaged in the bonds of marriage as the Lord commanded in the Bible. However, when perversions are committed inside the marriage relationship, this can be sinful also. God made man and woman and brought them together "face to face." Oral sex is of homosexual origin that replaces the normal "face to face" relationship God intended in a marriage. The Bible describes the sex act in Song of Solomon Chapter 4. In this chapter it speaks of this "face to face" relationship by describing looking into his lover's eyes and kissing his lover's lips and fondling his lover's breasts. Oral sex is not normal or natural as it is an unclean act.

I concede that the word "homosexual" is not literally translated in the Bible. However, there are example after example related to the "perversive" acts that is at the root of homosexuality.

God loves everyone. He detests sin. There is no beating around the bush on this subject.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Ron Simpson said...

Although Brian "minister" is my bests friend, we often disagree. The bible has often been quoted, misqouted and abused as a source of "fact" about the word of God. God gave us freewill and the brains to use or misuse it. I will live my life as I feel it is best led. I will not let a pile of corrupted translations of religious dogma used to keep ancient people in line as a guidepost for my life. If God does not like it, He can tell me himself.

4:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home