Posted by: maboulette | May 16, 2011

USING THE BIBLE AS A WEAPON

British Library Add. MS 59874 Ethiopian Bible ...

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I take offense at the Bible being used as a weapon as it seems to be happening with increasing frequency in today’s society. I take offense especially as it is being used in the ongoing debate over same sex marriage or homosexuality itself.

We live in a country that embraces freedom of religion as one of its founding principles. Even if you think homosexuality is against your religion, you have no right to persecute or discriminate against homosexuals or any group of people nor deny them any basic rights that other groups enjoy in this country. But it happens over and over again usually by some fundamentalist Christian holding a Bible in hand while spouting extremely un-Christian verbiage. I am frankly sickened by this narrow-mindedness. Granting a class of people freedom from harassment is not equal to condoning their lifestyle. And granting a class of people a basic human right is not going to bring God‘s wrath upon our country. God’s wrath is more apt to come raining down on those who spread hatred in the name of Christianity.

In regards to Christianity and the Bible: Homosexuality does not appear in the gospels, nor in Acts or Revelation. Jesus is never once quoted as condemning it. It appears only in the epistolary literature and then only three times (I Cor., Romans, I Tim.). 

If those who paraphrase the English translation of the Bible would care to learn more about the history of the times during which the Bible was written in, you would find some very interesting things. In I Corinthians   6:9, Paul uses only the Greek words “malakos” and “arsenokoital”. In the 1st century Greco-Roman world in which Paul was a Roman citizen, “malakos” was used to describe a “call-boy” in a pederastic relationship for money and “arsenokoital” was the older men who paid malakos for sex. In I Timothy 1:10 the words used again by Paul are “pornol”, arsenokoital”, and “andrapodistal”. These three words meant male prostitute, user of a male prostitute and sex slave dealer. The point here is that in the 1st century Greco-Roman world, homosexuality was almost exclusively pederastic – older men seducing boys – either forcibly, with money or by taking advantage of the youthful naiveté. This is the specific form of sex that Paul spoke against. The gay lifestyle today is not as it was in that society, so Paul’s words can be interpreted as being invalid today. The context is simply not the same.

There is not space enough here for a complete discussion of Romans 1:26-27 but for anyone interested in further research many would recommend the book “The New Testament and Homosexuality” by Robin Scroggs.

What Paul said about homosexuality is much less relevant than what Jesus said about loving your neighbor (including your enemy) as yourself.

As for the Old Testament, research into the story of Sodom and Gomorrah reveals that it is a story about rape and defiance of God, not a condemnation of homosexuality. Leviticus does make a statement against male homosexuality but this is in a list along with many other ethical laws of that society which have since been discarded – including Lev 19:13, which states that all laborers must be paid daily (some of us would appreciate that law today, although I doubt if most business accounting offices would find it appealing).

Continuing to use the Bible as a weapon does not draw people to God. Perhaps this explains why recent surveys have shown Americans leaving organized religion in ever increasing numbers. In the end, we are all just human beings and there is certainly no cause for arrogance on any of our parts.

We are all equal in the eyes of God but many Christians who say they believe this on Sunday can’t seem to be able to practice this during the rest of the week!


Responses

  1. […] Read more… […]

  2. Do you realize the irony / hypocrisy of you using the Bible as a weapon to attack your opponents? Every claim you make about how others should behave is no different than what they are doing — only you want to disarm them of the Bible because they disagree with you. That isn’t very Christian.

    “Leviticus does make a statement against male homosexuality but this is in a list along with many other ethical laws of that society which have since been discarded ”

    How about the passages that come before an after Lev. 18:22 — are you saying that laws about killing your kids are outdated (oops — bad example — so many pro-legalized abortion “Christians” out there!) and that sex with animals is OK? Not to mention all the other sex acts in Lev. 18. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

    Also note the beginning and ending of Lev. 18: Warnings not to be like the Canaanites. God was not holding the Canaanites to the Israelite laws, but to universal, transcendent morals.

    Re. Sodom – if you want to be fully informed on the topic, I encourage you to do a word search on “Sodom” and note what Peter and Jude have to say about it.

    “In regards to Christianity and the Bible: Homosexuality does not appear in the gospels, nor in Acts or Revelation. Jesus is never once quoted as condemning it. It appears only in the epistolary literature and then only three times (I Cor., Romans, I Tim.). ”

    But Christians know that Jesus is God and that the whole book is his word. Quote of him in the “red letters” are no more authoritative than the rest of the book.

    Also, Jesus did reiterate that God’s plan for marriage is one man and one woman for life. The Bible could not be more clear: 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms. 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman. 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children). 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

  3. This is an excellent resource that addresses many myths about pro-gay theology — http://www.narth.com/docs/dallas.html . The author is a former gay who was part of a pro-gay church. That isn’t what makes him right, but he does know his subject matter well. I encourage open-minded people to read it to ensure they have heard the best arguments on both sides of the issue.

  4. So, MAB, I guess I am confused. Are you saying that the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ARE NOT

    • the devine word of God?

      • Do I believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the divine word of God? Not after they has been translated numerous times and the Catholic Church has picked and pasted together what they wanted the Church to believe.

  5. I am not a Catholic and won’t defend them, but contrary to popular opinion they did not edit the Gospels (or any other books). Even skeptics who analyze ancient texts for a living will concede that we know what the originals said to 99.5% accuracy.

    When we find literally thousands of partial and full manuscripts throughout the world that all give you orthodox Christianity (despite various misspellings, word placements, etc.), we can be sure of what the originals said. The Gospels and the other books of the New Testament were quoted extensively by church leaders hundreds of years while Christianity was still being persecuted, which is more reason to believe they weren’t altered.

    For example, look at the footnotes in nearly any Bible for the story of the women caught in adultery (John 8). They’ll tell you that the passage was not in the earliest manuscripts. There are only a couple other examples like that, and they don’t change any church doctrines. It shows that the system works and we can know what was in the originals.

    I just encourage everyone to actually read the Gospels (and the rest of the Bible) carefully and come to their own conclusions.

    Peace,
    Neil

    • Am I to believe that a God powerful enough to create the entire world and everything in it is incapable of keeping His love letter to mankind intact over a period of a mere 5000 years or so? Sounds pretty easy to me if you’re God. I wonder how many hairs I have on my head?

  6. First, Jesus offended people.
    As Christians, it’s also our job to offend people.

    Second, the Bible IS a weapon : For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing unsunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    Third, you can twist scripture any way you want to say anything you really want. Example: Slave owners in the south in the United States in the 1700-1800’s using the Bible to justify slavery.

    Do you want TRUTH or do you want to justify whatever you want? That is the question WE ALL need to ask ourselves.

  7. I also might suggest you go back a little further in Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 1. He certainly isn’t saying ‘un-natural’ acts are okay with God. Homosexuality is sin, no worse or least worse than any other sin mankind commits against an all sovereign, loving God. He puts a penalty against ALL sins, not just homosexuality. We ALL stand guilty as charged and without the shed blood of Jesus Christ we ALL stand guilty. ALL, not just some! Romans is a great book! You should sit down and actually read it.

  8. Steve, that’s a good point about Romans 1. While it clearly teaches that homosexual behavior is a significant example of rebellion against God’s created order, some people grandstand on that particular sin because it isn’t a temptation for them. But they need to keep reading to the end of the chapter to note all the sins they are guilty of as well:

    25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural 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 indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

  9. […] Using the Bible As a Weapon (maboulette.wordpress.com) […]

  10. Reblogged this on As My World Turns and commented:

    I wrote this post 5 years ago – and I hoped we would be more tolerant by now.


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