Don't Blame It on the Bible


#1

(moved from World News category, which was my error!)

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No, this is not a Michael Caine beach flick from the Eighties.
I don't know my bible details nearly as well as many of you here on CAF so I wanted to ask your thoughts:

I read this today in The Huffington Post--the columnist is Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., a professor of biblical interpretation at the New York Theological Seminary and former professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and Payne Theological Seminary.

Do you think there anything correct in what he says in this article regarding the biblical passages and what they mean?
He lists many references in both the Old and New Testaments.
I understand different religions interpret bible passages in different ways, so wanted to check how y'all see it and if any agree with the professor or not.

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Don't Blame It on the Bible**

Most Americans who oppose gay rights and same-sex marriage justify their opposition by turning to the Bible. But does the Bible really oppose homosexuality? You'd be surprised....

(here's the link for the article)
huffingtonpost.com/obery-m-hendricks-jr-phd/dont-blame-it-on-the-bible_b_2884094.html

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#2

As a general rule, don't take anything about religion form huffington post seriously, their writers show a level of bias generally reserved for political campaigning.

As to the article, it's a load of bull.

The Bible explicitly condemns homosexual behavior. The number of times it does it is immaterial, it only needs to say it once. It condemns homosexuality as a violation of natural law, which it is; this is also why the condemnation carries through the New Testament, unlike certain others (such as eating pork). Homosexual acts are incapable of producing life, therefore they act against the natural purpose of sexual intercourse, and are considered selfish because they are not unitive, but rather are focused on self-gratification. In essence, they are no better than masturbation.

He goes on to try to construe Paul's words into something they are not. It is explicitly clear that he is referencing homosexual acts; the nature of those acts (consenting or not) is not what makes them disordered, as he tries to claim; it is the act itself that is disordered. He also tries to use wordplay to make unnatural mean "unnatural to heterosexuals." This type of wordplay is very common among homosexualists, because its the only way they can make their lifestyle appear anything close to "natural." Unnatural means exactly what it says, it is against nature. The nature of sexuality is geared towards procreation; hence, sexual acts which are not geared towards procreation are in violation of the natural order and therefore Unnatural (the true meaning of the word).

His fourth point is the most worthless of all. "Jesus didn't talk about it, so that must mean it's ok." To be perfectly honest, this claim is so offensive I find it almost impossible to maintain a level head long enough to reply to it. Christ didn't talk about it because in his time, they though that homosexual acts could ever be considered "natural" was as far out of their minds as the orbit of the Pluto. It was a non-issue; there was no reason for him to talk about it because EVERYONE KNEW IT THROUGH THE EXERCISE OF THEIR MOST BASIC REASONING SKILLS. Christ knew things would come up that he hadn't addressed, which is specifically why he gave us the Church and has the Holy Spirit guide us to the fullness of truth. I hope, with all my heart, that you understand why this is such a bad argument for anything -period.-

Next up, he tries to use OT examples of "alternate marriages" to make it "ok" this is, again, bollox. Abraham's actions (as with most of those he referenced) occurred prior to God giving us the Ten Commandments. He also completely fails to acknowledge the circumstances surrounding any of these examples, which makes his points pretty much meaningless. He also, again, makes the mistake of saying "because Jesus didn't condemn it, we shouldn't either".

...and don't get me started on the comments of that article... people will wear all kinds of blinders when confronted with the Truth; all we can do is pray they open their eyes.

Here is an excellent and brief discourse on the Biblical evidence: Homosexuality


#3

My response was deleted, but I will say again. None of the cultures in Israel or around it in the Levant, Mesopotamia, or Egypt seemed to have viewed homosexuality as a normal or acceptable way of life. The Egyptians even believed in a specific demon that punished pederasty, the predominant form of homosexuality in the ancient world.

I find it highly unlikely that a culture which condemned homosexuality would have produced scriptures which held the view that it was okay. This seems like certain Christian sects and secular groups grasping at whatever flims evidence they can find.


#4

First, it is important to recognize that the peoples of biblical antiquity had no idea of homosexuality as identity, orientation or lifestyle. The term "homosexuality" was not even coined until the latter half of the 19th century. In fact, the first use of "homosexual" or its cognate in any biblical translation in any language did not occur until 1946 with the Revised Standard Version.

Is he denying that the original Greek used in the New Testament verses regarding homosexual practice, do not mean a man who goes to bed with other men?

There is strong evidence that arsenokoitēs used by Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 means a man who goes to bed with other men

Scholars on the Greek word arsenokoitēs

James B De Young's commentary

tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj3h.pdf

David E Malick writes

it is significant that of all the terms available in the Greek language, Paul chose a compound from the Septuagint that in the broadest sense described men lying with men as they would lie with women

biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/homosexuality_corinthians6.pdf

Charles H H Scobie writes in The Ways of Our God: An approach to Biblical Theology

it clearly echoes the Greek of Lev 18:22 and 20:13 in the LXX (arsen = "male," and koite = "bed"), so that arsenokoitēs literally means "one who goes to bed with a male"

Gunther Haas writes in Hermeneutical Issues In The Use Of The Bible To Justify The Acceptance Of Homosexual Practice

an examination of the biblical passages from linguistic, historical and ethical-theological perspectives fails to support the revisionist ethic and reinforces the traditional Christian teaching that homosexual practice is morally wrong

I believe that Hays is correct in holding that arsenokoitēs refers to a man who engages in same-sex intercourse (Hays 1997, 97). The term is a compound of the words for “male” (arsēn) and “bed” (koitē) and thus could naturally be taken to mean a man who goes to bed with other men. True the meaning of a compound word does not necessarily add up to the sum of its parts (Martin 119). But in this case I believe the evidence suggests that it does. In the Greek version of the two Leviticus passages that condemn male homosexuality (Lev 18:22; 20:13) a man is not to lie with a male as with a woman each text contains both the words arsēn and koitē. First Cor 6:9-10 simply classifies homosexuality as a moral sin that finally keeps one out of the kingdom of God.

Source: Dan O Via and Robert A J Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views

Scholars on the Greek word malakoi used in 1 Corinthians 6:9

Most translators render it as “effeminates” or “catamites,” implying receptive anal homosexuality – or use a less precise term like sodomite or homosexual

Source: The Construction of Homosexuality by David F Greenberg, page 212

In general there is broad (but not unanimous) agreement that μαλακοί in 1 Cor 6:9–10 denotes “the passive … partner … in male homosexual relations

Source: The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A commentary on the Greek text’, New International Greek Testament Commentary by Anthony C Thiselton

Most commentators and translators continue to understand these terms as references to passive and active partners in male homosexual intercourse

Source: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Blandstra and Verhey, volume 4, page 437


#5

Ironically it never answers that question conclusively.

Seriously? Romans 1:26-27 wasn't conclusive enough?


#6

Lots of assertions nothing to back it up.

It seems like he is trying to say that, if you are homosexual then homosexual relations are fine and natural, and the bible only condemns homosexual acts when they are committed between heterosexual people?

I particularly enjoyed this little gem:rolleyes:. huffingtonpost.com/obery-m-hendricks-jr-phd/dont-blame-it-on-the-bible_b_2884094.html

That's why he calls their passions "unnatural," because they are doing what is unnatural for them as heterosexuals; for gay people, on the other hand, sexual intimacy with members of their own gender is not unnatural, it is purely natural.

But that very reasoning isn't even logical. He says that Paul or indeed anyone back then really classified people as homosexual as an orientation. Thus wouldn't it be logical that Paul was condemning the all acts of sex with those of the same gender, because he did not perceive the world in the heterosexual/homosexual paradigm, but rather a world in which we are responsible for our actions? Ah revisionist history, gotta love it.


#7

It is interesting that the Bible never condemns lesbian relationships outright. While I understand that the Church is not sola scriptura, it is nevertheless weird to me that something that is so fervently condemned today (and that existed back then) would not have been dealt with in the Bible. Granted, lesbianism is now more out in the open than it would have been in that culture, but it was happening plenty elsewhere. Was Jesus not aware of that? Why wouldn't it be mentioned?


#8

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:7, topic:319316"]
It is interesting that the Bible never condemns lesbian relationships outright. While I understand that the Church is not sola scriptura, it is nevertheless weird to me that something that is so fervently condemned today (and that existed back then) would not have been dealt with in the Bible. Granted, lesbianism is now more out in the open than it would have been in that culture, but it was happening plenty elsewhere. Was Jesus not aware of that? Why wouldn't it be mentioned?

[/quote]

Lesbian relationships are condemned in Romans 1:26. Read verse 27 for context for the first verse

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual 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 shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.


#9

[quote="_Abyssinia, post:4, topic:319316"]
Is he denying that the original Greek used in the New Testament verses regarding homosexual practice, do not mean a man who goes to bed with other men?

There is strong evidence that arsenokoitēs used by Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 means a man who goes to bed with other men

Scholars on the Greek word arsenokoitēs

James B De Young's commentary

[/quote]

I looked for a mention of 1 Timothy but I think he ignored it.


#10

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