bible study

So Does the Bible Ban Gay Relationships? Or Gay Prostitution?

The Gay Christians Network, founded by Justin Lee in 2001, has a pretty excellent YouTube video series about, uh, gay Christians. It tackles questions like “Can you be gay and Christian?” and “Is homosexuality an abomination?” Above, in a new clip, Justin tackles the on-going debate over whether the Bible actually forbids gay relationships, there in Corinthians 6:9.

Even if you’re not a religious scholar, or have been lax in flipping through the Holy Book of late, it’s a pretty good primer on where the current back and forth stands. (And namely, that you should conclude it stands wherever your own beliefs do.)

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  • gayllama

    In any case, the Bible also says that it’s acceptable to beat your disobedient children and wives (note the plural), rape women in cities you conquer, and commit genocide when god says it’s okay. So anyone in their right mind shouldn’t be paying attention to it anyway.

  • Shade

    Well they are referring to temple “prostitution” which was sex as religious ritual. Why Christians get to judge other religions’ practices is beyond me.

  • icarlee

    I love trying to explain the bible to people. Homophobes love to get caught up on two or three passages, and then interpret them in the wrong context. Idiots!

  • Nicholas

    Soulforce. “What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say About Homosexuality”. The best five minutes I’ve ever read on paper. Hands down. Changed my life. Explains the passages that touch upon homosexuality in an honest, insightful way.

    Everyone should read it. It’s available as a PDF. Google it or go to Soulforce’s website.

  • Joseph

    That rational, intelligent people would have to debate this at all is utterly ridiculous.

  • Matt

    Can we just throw that book away, please?

  • Wade MacMorrighan

    I have been saying for YEARS that the Bible should be interpreted based upon the context in accord with the time and cultures that wrote it. In Leviticus, in particular, we recount various religious prohibitions, alongside that whole “man shall not lie with man” bit. So, then, what should we make of that? First off, the writers were monotheists attempting to speak to their fellow polytheists* because, one of the practices they railed against was ritual prostitution involving man-on-man action in the cults of Inanna, Ishtar, Athirat, and even Aphrodite! THIS is what that passage is about…

    * Until the destruction of the Temple, the ancient Jews were widely polytheistic, and continued to worship a Mother Goddess despite official proscriptions against such views.

  • B

    No. 2 · Shade wrote, “Well they are referring to temple ‘prostitution’ which was sex as religious ritual. Why Christians get to judge other religions’ practices is beyond me.” … the video really didn’t do that. Instead, it was about the translation difficulties associated with a Greek word that Paul apparently coined and that is very hard to translate, so they went through various translations and the issues with them.

    What it boils down to is that nobody really knows what Paul meant.

    My guess is that Paul coined to term with the intention of being vague. He possibly wanted to discourage “inappropriate” sexual behavior of some sort, but there was probably some disagreement about what was inappropriate (depending on the local culture), so allowing the locals to read into it what they wanted to see would avoid a negative reaction. If you have two camps squabbling, a vague term can be interpreted by both to be consistent with their opinions, so being vague means you don’t make enemies. Also, he seemed to have some sexual hangups of his own, so he might have coined a word to serve as a euphemism due to his personal discomfort.

    Remember too that it took a long time for a letter to be delivered, and you couldn’t just make a telephone call to ask for a clarification, so you had to be careful about what you wrote.

  • Tallskin

    By even debating this you/we are giving this awful book credence and treating it (its genocide and its homophobia) with respect.

    To paraphrase Richard Dawkins:

    The God of the bible is the most unpleasant character in all FICTION: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

    WHO gives a fuck what this evil book says?

  • Vince

    The bible potentially mentions homosexuality only a handful of times, and possibly doesn’t even mention lesbianism. Thousands of times, it admonishes heterosexuals for their heterosexual excesses. Sounds like god loves lesbians, and has a much bigger problem with heteros than homos.

    Anyway, all the bible says about homosexuality is “if you are a man who DOES have sex with another man, then you need to fast and pray for a few days before you humbly return to our temple with your coinpurse”. English translations say “it is an abomination” and make it sound like a serious moral failure, but really, the bible just said you would become “ritually unclean”. There was a cleansing ritual for that.

    The real problem was that rival pagan temples provided private time with male and female “junior priests” in return for a few coins. Xtian priests wanted those coins, period. They wrote the bible, and they weren’t above inventing commandments that kept their feed trough full. Notice that homosexuality isn’t mentioned in any version of the ten commandments.

  • Jerry Priori

    God is just pretend. Who cares what the bible has to say about anything? Can’t we just grow up as a species and stop treating fairy-tales as if they were true?

  • Afonzo

    @ Tallskin- I care what it says because it’s helped me quite a bit in life. If you haven’t read the Bible (I don’t know if you or have not), making a statement like that makes you just as ignorant as a homophobe. There’s a lot more to it than pulling out a verse here there.

    Anyone else can call it fiction all you want, it doesn’t change what it is to me.

  • Tallskin

    Afonzo: “If you haven’t read the Bible (I don’t know if you or have not), making a statement like that makes you just as ignorant as a homophobe.

    Of course I’ve read the fucking evil book. I’ve also read the equally evil koran. I have to admit to not having read the torah, or the sikh ‘holy’ texts. But hey, who cares? Why quibble over silliness?

    I find the bible mostly nonsensical being mostly a list of lineages of who married who and who descended from who. And what the fuck is the evil story of the demented arsehole Abraham who was prepared to sacrifice his son on the orders of vicious sky demon who, it turns out, was just having a larf ! Great morality there, eh?

    And I would say don’t be a fuckwit in comparing my disdain for the bible with homophobes, but that would be rude to fuckwits.

  • Baxter

    Yes, the Bible does say that homosexuality is bad. It says a lot of things are bad. A lot of those things were deemed bad because the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and Persians did them and the Hebrews didn’t exactly get along with those empires. And a lot of those things aren’t actually considered bad by modern Christians, Jews, or Muslims.

    It should also be noted that all the “gay=bad” stuff in the Bible is either in the Old Testament or the Epistles: Jesus never said anything about the subject one way or another, which suggests that it wasn’t exactly on the top of his list of things that needed fixing.

  • ChicagoJimmy

    Perhaps we should take responsibility for our own lives. It seems religious people keep wanting to give their lives over to god, to trust in him to lead them in the right path, to let god deal with all their worries. That logic would leave us with all our problems unresolved and our lives directionless.

    The Greeks and Romans worshiped an assortment of gods. The Incas and Mayans worshiped the sun and sacrificed people for the glory of god. Native Americans worshiped spirits in the form of animals. The list goes on and on.

    When you folks figure out why you don’t believe in the gods these civilizations worshiped, you’ll figure out why you can stop believing in the latest version.

  • B

    No. 9 · Tallskin wrote, “By even debating this you/we are giving this awful book credence and treating it (its genocide and its homophobia) with respect.”

    On the contrary, pointing out that the homophobia is the result of translation issues is a more effective tactic than trying to get deeply religious people to become atheists, assuming the goal is to get the really rabid ones to shut up.

    BTW, most of the last half of the “New Testament” is due to Paul – its a collection of letters he sent to various Christian sects. What Paul was trying to do was to create a common theology that they would all accept. It’s kind of like getting the tea party people, the “birthers”, and various other bizarre right-wing fringe groups to form a more or less unified group in which all of them feel comfortable (and maybe donate a few bucks). The early Christian sects had all sorts of beliefs, in some cases each crazier than the last, and unifying them into something manageable was not a trivial task. Obviously some outliers would have to go (some Christian sects had 30 gods), but all of them would have stayed marginalized if they continued to act like the “Judean Liberation Front” arguing with “The People’s Liberation Front of Judea” (to use a funny example from “The Life of Brian”).

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