Monday, August 21, 2006

Homosexuality & the Bible: The Truth, Part 4:
The Words of Christ

To read earlier parts of this series, please click on the following links:

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 1:
Sodom & Gomorrah

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 2:
Levitical Law

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 3:
David & Jonathan

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 4:
The Words of Christ

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 5:
Paul's Letter to the Romans

So in the course of time and space, Christianity always comes down to one thing: The words of the God of Christianity. You know, the words that appear
red in your bible? (I always thought that added a nice splash of color myself on those boring Sunday mornings, wearing a tie and wondering why preachers were always so long-winded...) Now, I will ask you, dear reader, if you aren't already in a seated position with a safety belt in place and a working knowledge of all emergency exits in your immediate vicinity, I ask you now to take a moment and prepare, for the next group of words may come as a bit of a shock; dare I say, these words may be distressing to your very being.

Are you ready?


JESUS NEVER SAID
ONE WORD ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY.

NOT ONE
SINGLE
WORD


Reader? Are you still there?
But, dear reader, you ask, "How can this be? Isn't this the single greatest threat to God's church? Isn't this the one single issue that churches rally around and state as the one thing that could bring America to her knees? Destroy marriage? Create hell on earth?!? How could he say nothing?!?" (This is the point where Tom should say I should tone down the anti-fundie rhetoric in the hopes of reaching a greater reading audience that won't be turned away by my obvious hang-ups and complaint about the fundies... But I just don't feel my posts would have the same--charm?--otherwise...)

Now, dear reader, yes, this is truth. Jesus never said a single word. But let's take a moment to look at a few passages that this man did say (as recorded in the bible, not aired on the nightly news... as Jesus decided to come to earth before mass media and digital recording, which speaks only slightly about his ill-timed coming to spread the word of his message...) that fundies like to use as an argument against homosexuality, shall we? And of course, in keeping with tradition in this series, please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments, for nothing is censored here.
Passage 1:

Matthew 18: 15-20
"If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."
Now, if you ask me, this is a bit of a stretch. Not only is there no reference to homosexuality, there's no reference to heterosexuals either. It is simply a "guide," as it were, for how church members (I'm assuming?) should deal with someone there having a disagreement with. More specifically, though, Jesus says, "If one sins against you." This is a personal matter, something someone has done against you. This is not saying "If someone does something you don't like, do such-and-such." It is saying "If so-and-so has _______ (stolen; cheated; lied; raped; murdered; thrown rocks) you, then do such-and-such." If you study any part of Jesus life in the bible, you will notice he is all about personal relationships. And he is saying if someone has personally sinned against you, this is what you do. The words in the original Greek are "adelphos hamartano eis se," or, better translated, "Brother actively sinning against you." Greek is a very specific language, down to tense. This is in reference to an "active" sin, or, an ongoing issue or problem between you and your brother. Jesus is not saying "Be all up in one another's business and make sure your cribs in the hood ain't happenin'." He's saying, if you got an issue, confront your brother about it. Tell him what's on your mind. If he won't listen to you, find others who have observed this behavior against you as well, and confront him together. If he's still being an ignoramus, then go to your spiritual leader, enlist his help in dealing with your perceived issue between you and your brother. Then if he still won't recognize the issue, treat him like a, in Jesus words, "a Gentile or a tax collector." Another note of interest, Jesus was nice to tax collectors and Gentiles. So, in the end, if you are to follow Jesus words and example, if you can't resolve your issue... Treat him not like your brother, for he is no longer, according to Jesus, but neither do you shun him or kick him out of your life. At least, that's not how Jesus treated the tax collectors and Gentiles. He even made Matthew (ahem... a tax collector) one of his disciples...

Interesting to say the least, don't you think? So not only can you not use this passage against a homosexual Christian (and yes, they do exist) for a homosexual is not actively sinning against you (unless he's trying to bed you and you're not gay; or he's raping/raped you; or, I dunno, something else actively...), but you also can't use it as justification for shunning and looking down on a homosexual person (or, really, any type of person you simply don't like...) Any questions?
Passage 2:

Matthew 19:3-12
Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?" He answered, "Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?" He said to them, "It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery."

His disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."
Okay, I'm going to take a leap here. I think--I think--Jesus may be talking about divorce. Anybody agree with me?

Fundies use this passage to say, "See? Jesus says one man, one woman! Not Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve!" (Can I just say for the record that I hate that phrase and wish someone would come up with a new rhyme? Let's show some creativity, people!) Okay, so, how else was the supposed sky god supposed to populate the earth? I think we all know man and woman and sex equal baby. But, again, not what the passage is even remotely talking about. Dare I point out, Jesus is actually speaking about the real, ignored, and largely untalked about threat to traditional marriage. DIVORCE.

So the Pharisees (this group of guys who thought they were hot shit and knew all there was to know about the Torah back in the day) said, "Hey, let us test your knowledge. What are the reasons, if any, a man can get a divorce?"

And J.C., he isn't having any of this, so he goes to the basics of the Torah, the creation story in which the sky god said, "And the two shall become one flesh." End of story, J.C. says, except, of course, for "unchastity." Greek is "porneia." (Hmm, why does that word sound vaguely familiar?) Illicit sexual intercourse, in layman's terms. Most everyone reads this as "adultery," but that definition leads much to be desired, doesn't it? The problems of dealing with a dead language, I suppose. Strong's Concordance lists a whole slew of possible meanings, among them "homosexuality, adultery, intercourse with animals" and on and on. Of course, this pretty much means, culturally, a Jewish man back in the day could divorce his wife for pretty much anything he didn't think was "kosher" (pardon he pun...) Pretty much, and stay with me here, since there was no such thing as "gay marriage" back then (though plenty of homosexual relationships back in that day and time), and the discussion was strictly within the confines of talking about divorce and marriage, it is actually hard, within the actual context of the passage, to construe this as "proof" or "doctrine" against a homosexual or their relationships. It actually speaks volumes, though, about what the doctrine of the followers of literal interpretation and truth about marriage and divorce should be in today's fundamentalist churches. And one have only to follow the links in my post about being a glutton for punishment to see some key truths about where the highest divorce rates in the country are--the Bible Belt.

But, back to the passage. It continues, than, with the disciples in an aside with Jesus, saying, "Well, is we can't divorce our women, even for something like 'porneia,' should we even bother getting married?" (Brave men, these disciples. So afraid of their womenfolk, they won't even consider marriage without their escape plan of divorce in place...) And Jesus at first says, "Yes, this is a hard pill to swallow." But it's the next batch of words that are truly interesting. He says, "For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can." The Greek word for "eunuchs" is eunouchos, and the main meaning for this isn't "one without balls," believe it or not, although the word has the same root as what we know today as "eunuchs." It's primary meaning in the Greek was "a bed keeper, bed guard, superintendent of the bedchamber, chamberlain." Almost like "the man in charge of the chastity belt," wouldn't you say? :) So what are we to guess from this definition is Jesus' meaning? That men who guard their beds are better off? Jesus is clearly referencing men who give up marriage for a variety of reasons. Some are just that way ("eunuchs who have been so from birth"; could this possibly have meaning for transgendered, homosexual, and hermaphrodite-type persons? Jesus would be seeming to say that some people could not become married and be one flesh due to being that way from birth; not a choice; genetically predisposed, perhaps?), some are made that way by other eunuchs ("eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others"; also perhaps a reference to homosexual persons, who forgo the marriage "to be made one flesh" by choice, and live a lifestyle free from such constraints?), and then monks and nuns and other types of spiritual leaders (made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven; one of the main passages [as well as some of Paul's letters] for the Catholic church's prohibition against their priests and nuns marrying; also speaking about people who forego the marriage bed, but for a higher purpose beyond earthly pursuits and desires). Any way you slice this, Jesus is basically saying "If you get married, you have really no reason to divorce; but if you choose not to marry, here are a variety of reasons why people do so." He's not saying you must get married, and he's also not saying the only reason not to get married is to become a monk. He seems to be acknowledging a whole score of persons and individuals for whom marriage is not only not an option ("who have been so from birth"), but others who choose not to marry for whatever reason, and those that simply forgo marriage to pursue a more spiritual life. And then, and this is the clincher, he says, "Let anyone accept this who can."

Should I repeat that? "Let anyone accept this who can." In Greek, "dunamai choreo choreo," or, in layman's terms, "For those that can comprehend this idea, let them be open to it." I shit you not. That is the most accurate way of putting it I can. Jesus is saying, "Keep an open mind. Marriage isn't for everyone." And culturally, marriage in Jesus' day meant "one man, one woman" as a homosexual relationship wasn't thought of in terms of "marriage" and "civil union." One simply has to look at Part 3 of our series to see that is was viewed, at least in David and Jonathan's case, as a covenant that surpassed what a man and woman could share together.

Ironically, in the very next verse is when Jesus is having the children come to him, you recall? When the disciples try to keep the kids from reaching him? And Jesus replies, "Suffer the children to come unto me." Might the disciples have been thinking, "No! No! Don't let the kids up here! Look at what we're talking about! Sex, marriage, divorce, alternate lifestyles! Keep the kids back!"

And again, Jesus was having none of it. Radical guy, regardless of whether he was god or not.
I have not heard of any other passages of Jesus used to defend the "Homosexuality is evil," but perhaps you have? E-mail or let me know of any other passages in the gospels fundies have used against you, and we will dispel them here for the lies and half-truths they are! Until next time, Part 5 will deal with Paul's letters, and the passages used there.

Thanks for stopping by!

20 comments:

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
becket said...

You may want to throw away the version of the Bible that you use - it is totally defective. God said over and over that homosexuality is a sin. You can twist the truth by saying that Jesusnever said it was sin, but lets be real Jesus is God incarnate, so He really did say it is sin for men to have sex with men and women to have sex with women. You may want to check out the following passages and see what the One True God says about your lifestyle: Genesis 19:1-13.......Leviticus 18:22.........Romans 1:26-27....1 Corinthians 6:9. After you do that, then you may want to look in the back under forgiveness and see what verses are listed that prove that God forgives ALL sins if we turn from them.
No matter how you spin it, according to the Bible, being homosexual is a sin. Either you believe the Bible or you dont. From what I can read on your blog, i am guessing you dont, so why use it in trying to justify your lifestyle? Be either hot or cold - not lukewarm about your belief - ifyou deny God most of the time, you may as well go ahead and deny Him all the time -
It is pretty hypocritical for you to say you dont believe, yet you continually use the Bible to justify your actions.

Jason Hughes said...

Hmm, Becket, who do you sound like? Let me think, let me think... Is this Adam? Huh, if so, miracles do happen!

Anywho, listen up, and listen good, cause I'm only going to appeal to your better sense just this one:

I am in no way "justifying" my actions. I am simply pointing out that the weapon used by fundamentalists to "denouce" homosexuality is used falsely, wrongly, and ill-factually, as well as out of context. For me to take your "holy book" and point out your taking out of context, your misuse, and your hypocrisy and show it for what it is isn't "justifying" anything--it's pointing out the truths you don't want to face up to. Read the rest of the series for your so-called "god's word" in Genesis and Leviticus...

I'm not here to chage your mind--I'm here to let other people who have been beaten bloody with your holy book that there's more than one way to skin a cat--and most times, in such a way that the cat gets to live and you get a nice cat-fur purse to go out clubbing with...

This isn't "spin." This is simply another way to look at it.

Jesus was not god. Sorry, I know that makes you feel vulnerable, scared, and in need of something larger than yourself to blame and to take resonsibility and explanation for yourself, but that's just the way I see it.

You are more than welcome to believe it is so. Many of my readers do!

It is not hypocrisy to point out the fallacies of your weapon against my "lifestyle." It would be if I professed a belief in the Christian God and then went out and murdered someone. Would it be hypocrisy for you, as a Christian, to study the Koran? No. And it is not hypocrisy to study this ancient man-made book that so many use as a tool of hate and show why they couldn't figure out what it said if their lives depended on it (and sadly, many believe their lives do depend on it...)

It is not hypocrisy to "know thine enemy" and study what your book actually says about the things you say it says (when it doesn't...)... That, my friend, would be your hypocrisy...

Tell you what, you keep asking your sky god for forgiveness and hope for the miracle that will never come, and I'll keep pointing out why the things fundies say and what their holy book actually says as well as the things fundies do are hypocritical, okay?

One need not believe in Mother Goose to read her stories and study the larger morals and truths in them, any more than one need to profess a belief in the sky god when reading his supposed book...

You lose, thanks for playing. Try again, Becket.

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
becket said...

Jason,
I find it quite sad that you have such a hate for the God who created you. You can blaspheme God and hate Him, but it doesnt change His existence and the fact that He controlls the universe. So, I guess it's you who loses, but you wont get another chance to play. Hope you change your mind.

Jason Hughes said...

Darkmind: For the Homosexuality & the Bible series, I have been using the NKJV, though typically I tend to use the KJV (of course, the most error prone in translation issues, but also the one most fundies subscribe to as the ultimate English bible authority)...

Becket, becket, becket... It's hard to hate something that doesn't exist, wouldn't you say? I hate a lot of "his" fundie followers and their poinsonous mindset, but I don't waste my time hating your sky god... Now you on the other hand, I also wouldn't say I hate you, but your mindset I find despicable and hateful. And while I could argue the finer points til I'm blue in the face, you would still only claim to see it as an "Even though you don't love him, he loves you" scenario... (FYI, this is the point where I roll my eyes in your general direction...)

While your nice black-and-white world may work for you, it doesn't pan out in reality, and that's something you should learn before it's too late...

Feel free, though, to continue to stop by leaving your thougts and comments...

becket said...

Well, at least you got one thing right - even if you dont love Him, he loves you. Go ahead and let your eyes roll for a minute............................................now, that said, you have no idea as to my true mindset, so it is best not to ASSume. I do see things in black and white - because they are - there are absolutes in this world whether you believe it or not. One of those absolutes is God. I am sure you believe that you evolved from some monkey somewhere (and reading your blog, i have to wonder if its true). I am sure that you think that the earth is an accident caused by a sonic boom or something crazy like that. But think about it - do those theories (which are completely flawed, by the way) really make any sense? No, you know they dont. Saying the world is an accident is like saying "ants make cars" - no sense! You keep on spewing lies about the Truth and see how happy you are - maybe you will see what is real Truth someday and change your heart. I hope so, I truly do (even though I am a bit - alot sarcastic, I dont want to see anyone spend eternity in hell - eternal burning, weeping, eailing, gnashing of teeth - its all true).. .....dont find out the hard way.
And puleeze, dont talk til your blue in the face - you really dont have that much of interest to say and I cant imagine anyone looking good with a blue face.

Jason Hughes said...

Holy hannah! It looks like Becket has a sense of humor!!! Wonders will never cease!

You said: I do see things in black and white - because they are - there are absolutes in this world whether you believe it or not. One of those absolutes is God.
Yes, there are absolutes. God's existing is certainly not one of them, otherwise there would never be any discussion about what he may or may not be, whther he may or may not exist, and so on and so forth. Absolutes are like, "There is a sun." "I am human." or "Gravity does this." They have been tested, retested, challenged, and not found wanting. Saying god exists is not an absolute, just a fantasy that many hold, some for good reason, others for not-so-good reasons, and it simply boils down to opinion whether you're willing to admit it or not. That said...

You said: I am sure you believe that you evolved from some monkey somewhere (and reading your blog, i have to wonder if its true).
No. We are descended from a common primate ancestor, so you don't have to wonder if I'm descended from a monkey--I'm not. But we share an ancestor. Your misperception of this evolutionary fact (and it is a tested, proven scientific fact) makes me think you haven't even bothered to consider studying even remotely what evolution is and what it explains and doesn't explain... But you still have time...

You said: I am sure that you think that the earth is an accident caused by a sonic boom or something crazy like that.
Hmm, yes, that is one of the working theories scientists are looking into. Have you heard the latest scientific craze? "String Theory"? It holds many possibilities for explaining our solar system and universe... But you'd rather your sky god said, "I need something to fill all this space with... Hmm, let's see, some planets? Oh, shiny things, shiny thing!!! Make stars, yeah, that's the stuff!" I'll digress on this for now, though. :)

You said: But think about it - do those theories (which are completely flawed, by the way) really make any sense? No, you know they dont.
So, you're saying your imaginary friend in the clouds makes more sense than chemical reactions, flying objects, multidimensional csmic explosions, and chance = a few billion years? I'm thinking you failed Earth Science class in high school... Yeah, you may need to be on medication--or you recently have been, I'm guessing...

You said:Saying the world is an accident is like saying "ants make cars" - no sense!
Okay, your analogy holds no logical attempt at being an analogy... I have scientists, working theories, models, hypothesees, years and years of study and trial and error, not to mention math out the ass proving these things and testing these thinogs on a daily basis, and the best you can boil it down to is "Ants make cars"??? Go to your local community college and ask for a course in similies and analogies... You could benefit greatly... Not to mention all the wondrous things you could learn just be being around all those different types of people! :)

You said: You keep on spewing lies about the Truth and see how happy you are - maybe you will see what is real Truth someday and change your heart.
Ah, yes, the old "You must be unhappy because you bitch" thoery... Strike Two, try again. I'm beginning to wonder if it really isn't the fundies who are angry and like to project that onto others the first chance they get at a dissenting (dare I say, logically opposing?) viewpoint...

You said: I hope so, I truly do (even though I am a bit - alot sarcastic, I dont want to see anyone spend eternity in hell - eternal burning, weeping, eailing, gnashing of teeth - its all true).. .....dont find out the hard way.
Hmm, so far, you haven't disappointed with where I think your mindset is... Do try to be a little more--creative? Is that the word I really want to use here? Let me say "evolved," if only to piss you off a tiny bit--evolved in your "This is the ultimate eternal damnation" storyline... That plots been so redone and rehashed, I dare say I'm surprised that the whole "God's gonna break his promise about the flooding" thing hasn't resurfaced by now...

You said: And puleeze, dont talk til your blue in the face - you really dont have that much of interest to say and I cant imagine anyone looking good with a blue face.
If I don't have that many interesting things to say, why do you keep coming back? And, PS? Don't mention the blue-face thing to the martians when they arrive... you may inadvertently start an instellar war, and then you'd really be praying for a rapture!

becket said...

Okay, you have written a book here and I dont really need to reply to all of it - most of it is crap anyway. But let me say that yes I do have a sense of humor, most Christians that I know do. All your "proven" theories can easily be disproven when you look at the correct data and not idiotic darwinian data - and I'm sure that I need not remind you of darwin's final hypothesis -of course, you already know about it......you seem to think you know all. Also, while I am here, let me assure you that I graduated summa cum laude from a well-known private college and I have run into more than one person with your skewed view. Sometimes our sins cause us to be blinded to the truth - you are blinded to the truth.
Now, as for trying to "piss" me off - it is going to take alot more than an atheist like you to do that - I am not easily "pissed".
Also, you mentioned that if I was so disinterested in what you have to say, then I would not come back - you are right about that and I wont - its a waste of time, which is why I will not rebutt any of your so called theories or conclusions with the truth. Believe your little lies, live your little lies, and when Jesus raptures the church - remember that you can still be saved. I have a feeling you will be a believer then.

Jason Hughes said...

Then have a nice life, Becket...

You believe your lies, and I'll believe mine...

Dar said...

Well that was certainly fun reading!

Jason Hughes said...

:)

Yeah, I thought it was kind of fun, too, but then Becket decided he didn't want to play anymore, so I guess I have to respect his wishes...

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jason Hughes said...

They do seem to have that silly pattern, don't they?

I wish it was always this entertaining, but it does get kind of old after a while...

As I said, I'm hoping they kind of evolve in their arguments...

terriamachine said...

Another good job with this one... though in your rants with becket you did say some things that are not quite up to par, but we'll chalk that up to a "heat of the moment" or a "just having some fun" type thing, as your post proper was quite well done. And for all the ranting and raving, you just might be a xian after all. JC is a radical dude interested in personal relationships, and I think he'd find you quite a cool cat. And I think you'd feel the same way, too... especially after you've discovered him running right along beside you AWAY from the pharisees like becket who are out to kill you... and him.

Ergo said...

"JC is a radical dude interested in personal relationships, and I think he'd find you quite a cool cat."

At first, when I read that I thought Terriamachine was trying to hook you up with some guy named "JC"! Lol!

Well, this place has gotten crazy lately!

Oh, and this is so profound, so insightful, so meaningful. It's a classic quote! Love it!:

"there's more than one way to skin a cat--and most times, in such a way that the cat gets to live and you get a nice cat-fur purse to go out clubbing with..."

;)

terriamachine said...

Not setting him up with anyone... I'm thinking he's pretty happy with the guy he has... The idea I was getting at is similar to the day I realized I might be a muslim and don't know it--or a buddhist without realizing it. (Spiritual Genius by Winifred Gallagher is the book from which this idea came from.) The great spiritual thinkers and teachers of humanity are all alike in many ways; of course, they are different in many ways, too--else we wouldn't have such religious fragmentation. It's sad, though, that this religious fragmentation spills over into the spiritual realm, where I believe there is more unity. Spiritually, there exists a lot of common ground, and religion comes along and fucks it all up. That's why we all need to die, to get past all these hang-ups. And we will, once we stop realizing it's not about us.

terriamachine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
beepbeepitsme said...

I agree that Jesus does not mention homosexuality as being a sin. The four Gospels contain no specific statement by Jesus against homosexual behaviour.

Where homosexuality is mentioned in the new testament, it is the words of Paul which condemn homosexuality. But the New Testament, in the writings of Paul, does not single out homosexual behaviour as any worse than heterosexual immorality.

The old testament says that homosexuality is a sin, but then it also says that eating shellfish is a sin.

What would jesus say? My guess is that jesus could have been gay himself.

beepbeepitsme said...

I agree that Jesus does not mention homosexuality as being a sin. The four Gospels contain no specific statement by Jesus against homosexual behaviour.

Where homosexuality is mentioned in the new testament, it is the words of Paul which condemn homosexuality. But the New Testament, in the writings of Paul, does not single out homosexual behaviour as any worse than heterosexual immorality.

The old testament says that homosexuality is a sin, but then it also says that eating shellfish is a sin.

What would jesus say? My guess is that jesus could have been gay himself.