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A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What Do I Believe About Homosexuality?

“What do you mean, you ‘don’t believe in homosexuality?’ It’s not like the Easter Bunny, your belief isn’t necessary.” ~ Lea DeLaria.

I wonder how a person who has been a Christian for almost 30 years goes from believing that the Bible says, “ homosexuality is a sin,” to being a supporter for gay rights. I can’t wait to see the post. Oh but, it is my story and I need to write it first. Actually, by this time I’ll be done. Yes, I’m crazy!! There is so much information that I could write a thesis, but posts don’t allow for that. As a result, I will be more general.

I am not your “typical” Christian, an evangelical fundamentalist Christian which is what you see most on television. What I see and hear in the media makes me very angry as I do not believe that what they do and say are part of what a Christianity is to me. They are often very judgmental, condemning and hurtful which is directly against what I believe we as Christians are called to do. (funny, I’m being judgmental by that statement) We are called to love.

Matthew 22:36-40 says, “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’” This verse is also in the old testament in Deuteronomy 6:5.

Another issue that comes to mind is that in relation to many things including homosexuality are the verses in Galatians 5:19-22. “Now the deed of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these of which I forewarn you just as those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

What I hear and see the church do is often condemning and hateful and not fruitful. I know that the first part also is part of the reason that homosexuality is considered a sin that will cause a person not to inherit the kingdom of God. (That is also why we have Jesus…long story). I will address the issue of sin later. I just wanted to address what most people see in the media and what the Bible actually says. Please keep in mind that we are in the process of becoming more like Jesus. So, I’ve never ever had a problem with loving versus condemnation as an issue within myself.
These are some of the statements and words that I found from Christians and non-Christians in relation to homosexuality: “God hates homosexuals,” “You can't be a Christian if you are gay,” “God hates fags,” “God hates gays,” “Gays are an abomination to God,” “Gays equal AIDS,” “Fag church,” “Fags will go to hell,” “Homosexuality is evil,” “All gays should be castrated,” “I don’t believe in homosexuality,” “Homosexuality is an abomination to God,” and reference to homosexuals being demonized, diseased, disordered, degenerates, etc.
“You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.” ~ George Michael, “Kissing a Fool”

“The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.” ~ Lynn Lavner [six admonishments are not true, but what is used against homosexuality by most Christians.]

For many years, my stance on homosexuality was basically to repeat back what the church told me, but something in the back of my mind couldn’t reconcile this issue. And, that was/is not my normal way of being. I also have friends and family who are homosexual and the same sex marriage issue has exploded in the United States. I have almost always questioned everything the church has said and have had to find satisfactory answers for myself; otherwise, it does not become my faith or belief. For me, this means that several things need to agree together, such as, what the Bible says, what my experiences are, and who I know God to be in my life and must agree with the original Greek and Hebrew and within the context of the culture in which the Bible was written.

With the issue of homosexuality, it has always bothered me as to how the church approached it especially as the above statements do not sound like the character of God at all. So, for the past two years, I have been researching both sides of the argument using the internet, several books which I will list at the end and interviewing people on both sides of the argument including people who have been involved in ministries to transform homosexuals into heterosexuals.

Most of what I have found is that those who condemn homosexuality use a literal interpretation of the Bible which does not account for the word “homosexual” not being used as a word until 1892. The Greek words used in the verses against homosexuality refer to such things as rape, power differential, orgies, adultery, cultural issues, sodomy and polygamy. As a culture they did not have an “idea” of homosexuality and it was not a word that they used, it is a modern day translation. In the verses that they use sodomy and homosexuality it is generally in reference to rape or that it was against the law because it was making a man like a woman, who was subservient. Remember, the culture highly relied on a patriarchal system and wives and daughters were possessions. Male superiority had to be maintained.

According to the book Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers, “you shall not lie with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). The Hebrew word ‘toevah,’ translated as “abomination,” refers here to something that makes a person ritually unclean, such as intercourse with a woman while she is menstruating. Ritual purity was considered necessary to distinguish the Israelites from their pagan neighbors.” Matthew 15 refers to the purity of one’s heart. Matthew 5 refers to Jesus fulfilling the Law.


Rogers further states, “the sin of Sodom is mentioned several times elsewhere in the Bible, but never in connection with homosexual acts. In the Old Testament references to Sodom, the sins of wealth, indifference to the poor, general wickedness and [refusal of hospitality for travelers who were often subjected to rape if no one was hospitable. Rape was the ultimate humiliation especially for men.] In the New Testament, when Jesus referred to the sin of Sodom, as recorded in Luke 10:20 and Matthew 10:15, he was passing judgment on cities that refused hospitality to his traveling disciples. A focus on the supposed homosexual aspect of the Sodom story comes only later, in nonbiblical literature, influenced by Greek philosophy, and also in the Muslim Qur’an.”

Rogers also points out that, “the definition of ‘sodomy’ has changed over time. In the Middle Ages it referred to any form of sexual expression that was not open to procreation. Then it focused on anal intercourse. Until the twentieth century, such sexual expression was viewed as wrong and often made illegal, whether by heterosexual or homosexual couples. Then, the law was narrowed in the United States to apply only to homosexuals.” So for me, I do not see God viewing homosexuality as a sin. The Bible actually, from the original versions, do not refer to homosexuality. Also, in the more modern day translations it is a very miniscule part of the Bible.
Many of the Christian arguments against homosexuality assume that it is a choice of a life style. What I am finding is that it is a very new area of research. The “opposition” mostly, take the Bible literally, passages are taken out of context of time and culture, they don't go back to the original Hebrew or Greek and they make the assumption that it is a choice. Most of the research is finding genetic components bodily differences and brain differences. However, it is still in it’s infancy of research and research needs to become more reproducible and have a larger participant count. So, scientific evidence seems inconclusive. But, for me, after what I have seen, read, talked with homosexuals and mental health professionals, I do not believe that it is a choice. It would be like forcing a left-handed person to write right-handed. They might be able to do it, but it wouldn’t be true to who they are.

Also, if it were a choice why would anyone want to put themselves through the prejudice from others and more significantly the tremendous emotional turmoil and, at times, excruciating pain that one goes through when they are exploring their sexual identity. It is a gut wrenching process to accept oneself as being gay and every homosexual has to go through this process and if they say that they never experienced that they are either in fooling themselves or are in denial.

“I don’t think homosexuality is a choice. Society forces you to think it’s a choice, but in fact, it’s in one’s nature. The choice is whether one expresses one’s nature truthfully or spends the rest of one’s life lying about it.”
~ Marlo Thomas

6 comments:

Dr. Deb said...

The bible was written before the field of true hard science was created. So it must be hard for some to believe. But the evidence is right there. Solid, undeniable evidence.

Clueless said...

Dr. Deb,

Thank you for your wise comment. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

Evan said...

How I wish those who claim to take the Bible literally would - by looking at how the New Testament interprets the Old Testament/TaNaK.

The way that the Old Testament is used in the New is far from literal sometimes.

I also wish they would be consistent and take it all literally. I have yet to see the mega churches which say they take the Bible literally striving for equal income worldwide amongst Christians - the clear teaching of Paul in 2 Corinthians.

And I would love to see them take seriously Jesus statement that, The sabbath was made to serve [people] not [people] the sabbath. I would like to remind the fundamentalists that the sabbath command is part of the 10 commandments (the 'moral law' not the ritual law blah blah blah).

Sorry, I'm ranting.

Clueless said...

Evan,

Don't apologize from ranting. Rant and comment as much as you want. It has good thoughtful content. I too have lots to say about evangelical fundamentalist churches. I look at most mega churches as cults. Blindly following a leader.

Tiffany Haley Project said...

Hello,

I want to adress that I am not agreeing or disagreeing with your post b/c I am a homosexual christian who is not active in the gay life style right now b/c I am searching and on a journey to figure out the answers as well... I want to ask your opinion on this scripture in the bible

(26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In 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.)

You can read it in its context here
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1&version=NIV

I would really like to hear your thoughts and feed back on this

Tiffany from: www.storiesandconfessions.com

Clueless said...

In the verse Romans 1:26, Paul is actually using unnatuaral in the same way that you would use unconventional. In that time, it was "not natural" which in that time they did not really have a concept of homosexuality. The conventional concept was used in the context of the Jewish purity laws. I hope that helps.

Check out these links:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibc.htm

http://www.gaychristian101.com/Romans-1.html

http://www.covenantnetwork.org/bible/JBR-Nat%20Law.pdf

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/jan/07/bible-and-homosexuality/

Blessings,
CC

Please feel free to comment or email me.

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