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  •  Does the bible really condemn homosexuality? (25+ / 0-)

    The answer really isn't at all simple. Does Leviticus condemn all same-sex sexual activity? Or does it condemn activity involving the ritual homosexual acts that were part of the practice of certain religions in Canaan? Or does it condemn only male-male anal intercourse? Or perhaps only if that activity is performed lying down? Or does it condemn same-sex sexual activity only for people who are typically heterosexual? All of those have been put forward as possible explanations of the most problematic portions of the Old Testament (and the "sin" of Sodom & Gomorrah was lack of hospitality, rather than same-sex sexual acts).

    The Old Testament was composed in Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic; translations are inexact and have taken place continually over the course of time. Using biblical cites to condemn behaviors, "life styles" or what-have-you is truly problematic since it isn't clear whether the translations are correct nor is it necessarily clear what the authors of the original text actually had in mind.

    •  Homosexuality was a common practice in the Roman (4+ / 0-)

      military and culture. The Jews hated the Romans, so their prohibitions (Paul also condemned it) could have had a lot to do with that.

      •  Paul condemned anyone who gave a shit about (11+ / 0-)

        anyone else, didn't he?  I don't think we should take his condemnations too seriously.

        •  Paul was really into his congregations, not so (0+ / 0-)

          much people in general.  I think he really did care about them, but he was missing the point.

          Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

          by ZedMont on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 01:18:36 PM PDT

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          •  Well, he cared about them enough to tell women (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pasadena beggar, laurnj, Smoh

            to shut up, to tell men it was better that they not marry and should only marry to fuck, etc.  I think there were quite a few points the asshole missed.

            •  I didn't say I agreed with what he said, just that (1+ / 0-)
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              he did care about the people in his congregations.  Don't remember his ever counseling anyone about homosexual behavior, but he did point out that some folks engaging in heterosexual adultery and incest needed to straighten up.

              While he eventually ministered only to gentiles, he never forgot the poor of the Jerusalem church.  Everywhere he went, he collected money to take back to Jerusalem.

              One thing you have to realize about Paul is, not everything the bible says about him is true.  For example, Paul telling women to shut up only appears in the book of Acts, written by the same unknown author that wrote the gospel of Luke.  

              In Paul's own personal letters, his attitude toward women is 180 degrees from what is attributed to him in Acts.  Women had prominent places in his congregations, and it's obvious from his writing that he had great respect for women.

              I'm not happy with Paul, because he transformed Jesus from a kind and caring humanist into a Cosmic God-Man, and that is the genesis of the hate and hypocrisy among SOME Christians today.  But from what I have read about him, I think Paul was sincere in his beliefs and really wanted to help people.

              Luke, on the other hand, was written by the same sort of revisionist who in modern times has come up with the "prosperity gospel" which completely contradicts the teachings of Jesus.

              Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

              by ZedMont on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 01:46:22 PM PDT

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      •  That's not absolutely correct (11+ / 0-)

        Roman attitudes towards homosexuality tended to vary over time.  Besides which, I'm fairly sure Leviticus predates the Roman occupation of Israel.  What's more, saying Jews hated the Romans would depend largely on where those Jews lived.  Those living in Jerusalem probably did hate the Romans as occupiers and as exploiters.  Jews living in Alexandria or Rome probably had a rather different opinion since they wouldn't have faced the same sort of conditions.

        "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

        by Quanta on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:30:25 AM PDT

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      •  Jewish views of homosexuality... (11+ / 0-)

        would not have been influenced by the Romans, who came along several hundred years after the Old Testament was composed.

      •  St. Paul condemned all "sexual immorality" (10+ / 0-)

        not just homosexuality. What he did not do is create a hierarchy of sexual sins. He told the church in Corinth that incest, adultery, prostitution, whoremongering, homosexuality, and anything outside marital sex as spelled out in the Torah were all sexually immoral acts they were not to engage in (I Corinithian 5 and 6). But in the very same sentence where he admonishes them for condoning sexual immorality among their members he adds idolaters, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.

        Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9-10, NIV)
        Most Christians I know are totally unaware that the only hierarchy of sin taught in the New Testament is this: (1) Murder. That's the absolute worst. (2) Refusal to help the poor, the sick, the suffering, travelers and those in need. That's the second worst after murder. (3) Acts of physical violence. It ranks right there with refusal to give aid. (4)  Idolatry. (5) Everything else.

        "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

        by Involuntary Exile on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:45:51 AM PDT

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        •  Most Christians are not into Judaism enough to (5+ / 0-)

          understand their own religion.  Paul was first and foremost a Jew - a Pharisee.

          Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

          by ZedMont on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 01:20:38 PM PDT

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        •  Nope. You are wrong. (4+ / 0-)

          Saul of Tarsus did not condemn homosexuality.

          The I Corinthians passage you site includes two Koine Greek terms that folks like to try and translate as homosexual acts ... malakos and arsenokoites. Malakos simply means "soft." It was used to describe the clothing that the Roman elite of the time wore. Arsenokoites is apparently a word that Saul of Tarsus made up. No one knows what he meant by it. However, it was interpreted to mean masturbation in the early Catholic Church. It does not mean male on male homosexual acts (or, any other homosexual acts).

          •  Are you disputing the New International Version (0+ / 0-)

            translation cited? If so, please provide your translation of the cited verses from the Greek. I don't read Greek myself, but being Orthodox I know several clerics and scholars who do. I could consult further with them and an interlinear Greek/English translation, though I'm quite certain they'd agree with the New International Version translation cited.

            Additionally, the translation makes sense in context. In this particular chapter and the one preceding Paul was admonishing the Church in Corinth for condoning sexual immorality among certain of its members and goes through a whole litany of immoral acts and why they are immoral. "Men who have sex with men" was just one in the list. As a matter of fact, the sexually immoral act that spurred the admonishment was  " A man is sleeping with his father’s wife." (I Corinthians 5:1)

            My whole point was that St. Paul did not create a hierarchy of sexual sin. He preached that all sexual activity outside of marriage and not in keeping with the teachings of the Torah was sexually immoral. Even if we directly disagree with Paul's view it is perfectly consistent with his having been a Pharisee. Your interpretation, however, makes no sense given the context of the entirety of the admonishment.

            "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

            by Involuntary Exile on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 06:11:22 PM PDT

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            •  I gave you the Koine Greek words in my post. (1+ / 0-)
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              Wee Mama

              And, yes, I am stating that that version of the Bible is a mistranslation if it states "men having sex with men" (although, I doubt it says that, because I have NEVER read a version of the Bible that says that -- and, I've read many). And, that verse is simply a list. There is NO context in a list.

              Sexual immorality is a vague term. It does NOT include homosexuality. Usually when a version of the Bible states "sexual immorality," it comes from the Greek term "pornos." It has to do with prostitution (like temple prostitution). It does NOT mean homosexuality.

              •  Doubt what you wish, I quoted precisely (0+ / 0-)

                the New International Version translation of the Bible, I Corinthians 6:9-10 which you can read for yourself  here. You may be unfamiliar with it, but it's the translation I prefer to quote from, as opposed to the King James Version, because it uses contemporary English and is easy for those unaccustomed to reading the Bible to understand.

                Regarding context, I stated that the context was the entire chapter the verses were taken from and the chapter immediately preceding. That would be all of Chapters 5 and 6. That is the context. You may read them for yourself. If you don't like the New international Version, pick another. The site I directed you to has twenty different translation plus parallel and interlinear translations. Pick the one you like.

                I believe your dispute here is really with St. Paul and his teachings. You don't like them. You don't have to like them. But they are what they are, and thousands of theologians and scholars over nearly two millennia agree as to what they are. I'm not breaking any new ground here, you are. Burden of proof is on you.

                "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                by Involuntary Exile on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 09:09:19 PM PDT

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                •  Nope! (0+ / 0-)

                  As I stated, you are clearly wrong. You have not stated anything that I and many others (who also agree with me) have not heard before. The so called "scholars" that you speak of do not have any idea about what homosexuality actually is (a sexual orientation) or our modern understanding of such.

                  As I stated above, the Koine Greek words in I Corinthians 6:9-10 do NOT mean homosexuality or the sex that gay couples have as an expression of that love. They * might* have to do with temple prostitution which is condemned many times in the Torah (and, also in the NT). However, no one today really knows because Saul of Tarsus apparently created a new Koine Greek term (arsenokoites) which had not been used before. There is not enough context for us to know what he meant. And, most modern scholars agree with me. The other word (malakos) simply meant soft. It was interpreted in the KJV to mean effeminate. The Roman idea of what was effeminate is not what ours is. It's a bad translation anyway, because that would mean that most women would not inherit the kingdom of G-d. That's ridiculous.

                  I don't care what the NIV says. It's a lousy translation of that passage. And, you have NO idea what you are even talking about with regard to context. See my post below about the temple of Aphrodite.

                  I have plenty of issues with Saul of Tarsus (such as his misogyny), but this is NOT one of them.

            •  Temple of Aphrodite (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wee Mama, hamletta, Cassandra Waites

              By the way, the temple of Aphrodite was in Corinth. All manner of prostitution, sex, and orgies occurred there (in worship to this pagan goddess). This is what Saul of Tarsus was admonishing them for (among other things). This has nothing to do with our understanding of homosexuality or loving and committed same sex relationships.

              •  He was Paul when he began his missionary work, (0+ / 0-)

                not Saul. He changed his name after his conversion. I get that you're no fan, but really, why be churlish over his name change?

                Regarding your claim about what Paul was admonishing the church for, you are incorrect and it only takes a quick reading of chapters 5 and 6 to prove. I recommend anyone interested read for themselves which they can do here.

                "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                by Involuntary Exile on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:34:47 PM PDT

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                •  Actually, he didn't change his name. (0+ / 0-)

                  People at the time regularly used different forms of their names when conversing in different languages.

                  He would have been Saul when conversing in Aramaic and Hebrew as a young religious student in Jerusalem and even later on when talking in those languages among Christians. Out of the country and in mixed audiences, where Greek was the dominant tongue, he would have been Paul.

                  Same as Simon's nickname Cephas became Peter. Same as Jesus only bore that name in Greek-contexts and is still Yeshua to Christians who preserve the Hebrew and Aramaic original name forms for various reasons.

                  It was less a change of name and more a change of environment.

                •  Nope! (0+ / 0-)

                  The context with which you speak of is ridiculous BECAUSE they had No idea what homosexuality was back then. The concept of homosexuality did not even exist until the 19th century, although Jesus may have had some insight when He spoke of "born eunuchs" in Matthew 19:12.

                •  Chapters 5 and 6. (0+ / 0-)

                  Those chapters only mention "sexual immorality," which is a very vague term. It does NOT include homosexuality (as I stated before). It also mentions adultery (a man sleeping with his father's wife). I do not see what this has to do with homosexuality. It's heterosexual immorality (adultery ... one of the big Ten).

    •  A Greek scholar told me (4+ / 0-)

      the word translated as "homosexual" in Victorian times was actually the word for slave trader.

      The concept of a variation of sexuality didn't exist in Biblical times.

      They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

      by 1864 House on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:40:43 AM PDT

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      •  What are you basing that last statement on? (0+ / 0-)
        •  Based on... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          librarisingnsf, laurnj, Wee Mama

          a class taught by a Biblical history professor, ordained Presbyterian minister who is also fluent in Greek. He said gay sex was just considered another sex act; there was not a word in that time that described a homosexual orientation. There was a word (and I'm sorry, but I'm not able to remember it) that described a long-term same sex relationship that could have been used in the Biblical exhortations against male-male sex, but it was not. The word used was the one used for someone who trafficked in slaves.

          So, in essence, in Biblical times, you might have same-sex sexual relations, but it was something you did, not who you were.

          They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

          by 1864 House on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 03:06:54 PM PDT

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    •  THIS!!! ^^^ (1+ / 0-)
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    •  no, it does not (1+ / 0-)
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      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 03:55:44 PM PDT

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