Sunday, January 3, 2010

Homosexuality and the Bible

I am not sure of this, but I feel somewhat safe saying that people who think homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so, have not read much of the Bible.  Either that, or they simply pick and choose what they will follow and what they will ignore, which says a lot about their belief in the so called "literal truth" of the Bible.  What I am sure of are the numerous conversations I have had with a large number of Christians who are not aware of what else the Christian god directs people to do in the very same chapter which discusses homosexuality.

Leviticus 20:13 says, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.  They must be put to death; their blood will be on their heads."

This is the verse Christians point to as proof that homosexuality is immoral.  What I find interesting is how passionate they are about the first sentence, but just ignore the second sentence as if it isn't there.  However the second sentence is quite clear.  "They must be put to death..."   Must.  There is no room for equivocation or ambiguity here.  Must.  However, do Christians follow this?  Well, very few if any in America do today, because our morality evolves, grows and changes.  It gets better with time.  Of course, things were far worse for gay people in America in the past than they are now.  In other parts of the world, some cultures are continuing the take the second sentence quite literally.  I feel safe saying that our present day morality in America is far better than the morality of the god in the Bible, who seems to possess an unquenchable thirst for human blood, from what is written in the rest of Leviticus and the rest of the Bible.  Here is more of what god says in Leviticus 20:

Leviticus 20:5 says that if a man breaks god's law, not only will he be punished, but so will his family.  Our society has come a long way from punishing children for the crimes of their parents, but apparently the Christian god has not, as he and his rules are unchanging.

Leviticus 20:9:  "If anyone curses his father and mother, he must be put to death."  Well following this sure would be a quick way to wipe out the human race.  If this is true, god sure did screw up adolescents.  I think most teenagers curse their parents at one time or another.  Teenagers who do this are pretty normal.  I'm not saying cursing your parents is right.  I'm saying it's not abnormal or atypical.

Leviticus 20:10  "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death".

Here's an interesting one:  Leviticus 20:14  "If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked.  Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you."  Here, god isn't out for his usual rivers of human blood, but specifically wants the offenders burned alive.  Now I know the one-two punch of polygamy and possible incest must really piss god off, but burning people alive for it?  That is quite harsh by our contemporary standards of punishment.  I'm also curious why the act of burning people alive prevents "wickedness" from being among the other people, outside of a deterrant.  There are other verses in this chapter as well, talking about god's obsessive preoccupation and micromanagement of the sex lives of his children.

Leviticus 20:15  "If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal."  Here's another example of god not only punishing the offender, but the victim.  So if an animal is raped by some demented and apparently sexually desperate person, the animal is to be killed as well.  As if being raped isn't bad enough.  There's compassion for you. 

Leviticus 20:27 tells people to stone psychics to death.  Now I think con artists like James Van Praagh and John Edward are manipulative scum, but stoning/torturing them to death seems a little harsh.

My point here is that I don't see the Christians who treat gay people as less than human following these other rules of god, so why pick on homosexuals?

I'll finish by saying that my best friend is gay.  He has been my best friend for over fifteen years.  He is without a doubt the kindest, most caring, and compassionate person I've ever met and I feel so very lucky and honored to have him for a friend.  I believe there is no Christian god or any gods for that matter, but if such a homophobic and bigoted god did exist, I'd want nothing to do with it.


  1. *REPOSTED FROM BRET, January 6, 2010 9:04 AM:

    This article shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity - a misunderstanding also shared by many Christians. All old testament laws are no longer in effect. The purpose of the old covenant was to demonstrate to man that he was incapable of living according to the law. The purpose of the old testament being read in this day and age is the same. The new covenant took place when Jesus was sacrificed. That sacrafice attoned for all sin past, present and future. People no longer have to follow the law of the old testament, they are to live under one law in a sense, which is the law of love. In other words, rather than just abiding by a large set of rules, they are to do their best to love god and love other people - something much harder to do actually. Your article was not really about homosexuality but rather it pointed out many requirements of the law under the old covenant. It should also be noted that some people percieve that there are rules/requirements listed in the new testament such as the covering of heads, women barred from speaking in church, etc. These are not laws, these are guidelines to a specific church written at a specific time when they needed to solve specific problems. This is true of many of the letters of Paul. In summary all the laws and punishments of the old testament are no longer in effect and anyone who claims they are shows a fundamental lack of understanding of Christian theology.

  2. Bret: As usual, I'll respond to your points in the order you wrote them.

    I am aware that there are many Christians who agree with what you said in your comments here. I am also aware that there are many Christians who do not, as you rightfully pointed out. Further, I am also aware that with over thirty thousand different denominations within Christianity, each with different beliefs and emphases, there is no clear consensus about what the Christian god really wants and expects of people.

    For example, some Christians think individual acceptance of Jesus as their savior is necessary for salvation and some do not. Some Christians think the Muslim god Allah is the same god as their god and some do not. Some think god actively intervenes in the world when people pray and some do not. Some think there is a hell and some do not. Some think good works matter and some do not. Some think Atheists go to heaven and some do not. And finally, one of my favorites, some think god is male and some do not, which incidentally always made me wonder what god would need a penis for.

    I know for a fact that there are Christians who would say that you are the one who doesn't understand Christianity, the Bible or god. I've heard these Christians say that they believe all of god's laws are perfect and do not change with time. Personally, I think that if a god did exist and following its rules were important to it, the god would clarify for the human race what its real expectations were, especially if there is a hell where people go in the afterlife for not following the rules. One of my questions for Christians is since the Bible says so many different and often contradictory things, how do you know your interpretation of the Bible is correct? You don't have to personally answer that, but it is a question I ask sometimes and it is a valid question. As expected, I get many different answers.

    To me, it makes no difference if Old Testament laws are no longer in effect. The notion that a god would EVER put any of the laws I wrote about into effect is horrific. Telling parents to stone disobedient children to death? That is monsterously evil. All children disobey their parents. It is normal for children to test limits and boundaries. To expect otherwise is completely unrealistic. It is never acceptable for adults to be physically abusive to children, to say nothing of torturing children to death.

    Further, what is the point of “demonstrating to man that he was incapable of living according to the law”? If the Christian god is all knowing and all powerful, why set people up for failure by making rules which the god knew people would not be able to live up to, before the universe was created? Setting someone up for failure is not a good and moral act. In other words, if a god decided the punishment for not following certain rules would be an eternal afterlife in hell and the god knew in advance that humans would not follow its rules, then that god is evil.

    As for "Jesus' sacrifice", I think I sufficiently commented on that in my article, "Thoughts on the Christian God", which I would suggest you read if you haven't yet. It does a good job of explaining some thoughts I have which I feel are important about the Christian god, Jesus, and Jesus being crucified.

    For the record, I think it is moral and right to love other people, knowing it is hard to practice at times. For me, believing and living this has nothing to do with any belief in a god; it is simply the moral and right thing to do. Morality can and does exist outside of a belief in a deity.

  3. *REPOSTED FROM BRET, January 12, 2010 11:41 AM

    All valid questions, but outside of the point I was making. "To me, it makes no difference if Old Testament laws are no longer in effect." The entire point of my comment has nothing to do with beleiving or justifying god's methodology or arguing for his morality or his existence. My comment simply defined what a Christian beleives in the same way someone could define what a Hindu or Muslim believes. There are sects, denomiations and off-shoots of all the major religions. When one defines what a religion believes, one uses traditionaly accepted doctorines regardless of all the off-shoots and denominations. What I wrote is the (emphasis on "the") summary of the Bible. My comment was not much different than looking up a definition of Christianity. Are you picking on Christianity? Rhetorical question. While there have been many twists and turns of the church over the centuries, I think on a definitive level, Christian or non-Christian theologians or religious scholars would accept that on a whole, I have stated a core belief of Christianity. To beleive that one should practice old testament law would be defined as Judiasm. While I reject evolution, I understand the what proponents of evolution believe. You reject Christianity, but do you understand what a Christian believes? Anyone can open the Yellow Pages and see there are differences in belief, but I think most of the seminaries in the world teach what I have written. I also think that qualifies my statements as generally accepted.

    I understand you are making arguments against Christianity. The points you made in your response to my original coment would make a much better article than citing fringe Christians. You called into question why god would do certain things - questions that are hard to answer. Calling into question statements by ignorant people claiming to be Christians does no damage to Christianity nor does it further your arugment.

  4. Bret:

    I apologize if I missed the point of your comment and/or did not respond effectively. I was making an effort to respond to the different points you made in your comments. I agree with you that I do think there are main points that most Christians believe in, such as the belief that a god exists and that Jesus existed. Let me try to refocus us back to this article. This article is directed towards the belief that homosexuality is somehow wrong or immoral, which is a belief that many, but not all, Christians hold. I think that if most Christians believed that "Old Testament laws" were no longer in effect, there would not be the present struggle over whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry. The fact that this conflict does exist today is proof that many Christians do believe Old Testament laws are still valid.

  5. *REPOSTED FROM DOC, January 17, 2010 4:09 PM

    My question for Bret is which Christians?: Catholics? Mormons? Jehovahs Witnesses? Baptists? Seventh Day Adventists? Pentecostals?Think about what you are saying when you say that your ominiscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity at one time "allowed" stoning, burning and an eye for an eye, then changed its mind. This omnipotent being then didn't just make its new rules known to a random jew (as it did with moses) it apparently thought it necessary to send a man to and extraordinarily cruel torture and death to get its message out.
    The laws from Leviticus supposedly come from the mouth of God. But what any thinking person can read from them is that they come from the mouths of Men, men fearful of things that they don't understand. The fact that they have changed (tempered) over time just illuminates this.

  6. Doc:

    Well said. Morality evolves over time just as living things do and we have clear evidence of both. The Bible is a Bronze Age text and the morality of that time is reflected in the character of the god.

    Regardless, even if there was some concrete evidence of the existence of the Christian god, I would in no way be a Christian, because of the actions of the god as described in the Bible.

    Lastly, I really wish that people who assert that their interpretation of the Bible is correct would offer evidence to support their position.


    Wow, I was amazed at Bret’s responses. It goes to show that people have their personal slant to their own religion. I have heard that the old testament is no longer followed as a whole, but it certainly is a picking and choosing of topics by the religious groups. Being gay wouldn’t even be an issue if the old testament was truly discarded. I certainly don’t think the hatred gays receive is in our heads. I think people believe their beliefs and it is hard for them to understand that other’s beliefs can be so negative. The Taliban is about hatred, harm, and death to anyone that is an unbeliever, and I think the gentle religious look at them and think they really don’t believe that, that it is the fringe or crazies that believe that. I understand that Bret doesn’t feel that way about gay people, but there many that still do feel that way.

  8. CK:

    Yes. To this date, I have never had anyone give me a reason they oppose homosexuality except religious.