Friday, June 17, 2011

Homosexuality and the Old Testament

The following is my response to a supporter of same sex relationships. My text is in Red, hers is in black.

We don't know each other but I recently came across a post of yours that shared your views on gay marriage. While I strongly believe you are entitled to your opinion, I wanted to chat with you (Christian to Christian) about why my opinion differs from yours. I am a strong believer in God and I know that his ultimate nope for us is that we follow a lifestyle based around being kind to everyone. However, I find the true problem with Christianity comes with our modern interpretation of the Bible. We seem to have a very selective when it comes to what passages we follow in the Bible.

A view that gay marriage is unacceptable is not an opinion.  I do not understand why a Christian would ever be accepting of homosexual relationships, especially since the Christian and Jewish religions were always constant voices against sexual immorality.  The term “modern interpretation” is incorrect, since this is the consistent interpretation throughout the ages, and this is the view of the early Church Father. The interpretation dismisses the passages relating to homosexuality as being simply “abusive relationships” or similar is the modern view, and would never have been seen as reasonable a few decades ago.

For example, one passage reads "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” Child abuse is (thankfully) illegal throughout the country. Why is it that we do not insist on beating our children just because a book says it will make us happy?
Psalm 137:9

First of all, this is a Psalm—so it is poetry and the Psalms frequently use hyperbole, no child abuse/infanticide is being endorsed here, though It is mentioned.  A Jewish Professor I discussed this passage with says the Psalmist is trying to say “oh how I wish we could do to you what you have done to us." This can be seen with the prior verse:

“O Daughter of Babylon, who is destined to be plundered, praiseworthy is he who repays you your recompense that you have done to us.”

 The writer was saying their enemies should see how it feels to have this done to them! Though the Israelites never  did this savage act of cruelty to others, though Chaldeans did it to them.  Regardless, I do not see how this verse is useful for your case as this is found in poetry, whereas the prohibitions and condemnations of homosexuality are found in plain texts in the Torah and writings of St Paul.

Also, (I apologize for the language) another passage reads "No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord." We do not believe that anyone who has been unfortunate enough to sustain a groin injury is a sinner, do we?
Deuteronomy 23:1

It is not saying they are a sinner, it is simply stating they are not to be in the assembly of the Lord. Jewish commentator Rashi explains the Assembly of the Lord refers to marrying an Israelite woman.  A person absolutely incapable of reproduction (ie whose sexual organs are missing or damaged to the point of being incapable of the marital act).

Now to analyze portions of the Bible that are often used to condemn homosexuality...

Leviticus 18:22:
"You shall not lie with a male as those who lie with a female; it is an abomination."

Leviticus 20:13:
"If a man lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and they shall surely be put to death."

Both of these verses refer not to homosexuals but to heterosexuals who took part in the baal fertility rituals in order to guarantee good crops and healthy flocks. No hint at sexual orientation or homosexuality is even implied. The word abomination in Leviticus was used for anything that was considered to be religiously unclean or associated with idol worship.

Leviticus is simply referring to an act—it does not refer to heterosexuals or homosexuals—it is ANY man that does these acts.  Why should we interpret it in respect to Ba’al? The very next verse also condemns bestiality, dare we say that is perfectly acceptable as long as it is not done as part of some Ba’al cult rite? Furthermore, 1 Timothy 1:10 alludes to the Torah as being made for lawless, and lists homosexuals as among those. 

The use of Leviticus to condemn and reject homosexuals is obviously a hypocritical selective use of the Bible against gays and lesbians. Nobody today tries to keep the laws in Leviticus.Leviticus 12:1-8 declares that a woman is unclean for 33 days after giving birth to a boy and for 66 days after giving birth to a girl and goes on to demand that certain animals must be offered as a burnt offering and a sin offering for cleansing. Nobody today who claims to be a Christian tries to keep these laws, and few people even know about them! Why do you think that most people don't know about them? Leviticus 18:19 forbids a husband from having sex with his wife during her menstrual period. Leviticus 19:19 forbids mixed breeding of various kinds of cattle, sowing various kinds of seeds in your field or wearing "a garment made from two kinds of material mixed together." Leviticus 19:27 demands that "you shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard." The next verse forbids "tattoo marks on yourself." Most people do not even know that these laws are in the Bible and are demanded equally with all the others.

First of all, Christians traditionally are forbidden from observing Mosaic Law. Homosexuality though was condemned from the time of Genesis and to the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, among other verses. Christ was the final sin offering, so it is sinful to make another.  They do not know about it either because they do not know the bible, or by the fact we live under the New Covenant with the New Law, as Hebrews 8 says.

Sorry for the long message. I just want us to live in a loving world, one that God would approve of. I hope you take this into consideration. Remember though, above all else, be kind to all. Hatred and cruelty are the two biggest sins of all. Thank you and God bless!

None of this addressed the new testament verses prohibiting homosexuality. God never approved of homosexual acts, or adultery.  Condemning homosexuality Is not cruelty—it is telling people the truth and telling them what God hates.  God hates all sin, ones of sexual nature are especially hateful.

Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.-Romans 1:26-27

Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.-1 Corinthians 6:9-10

We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.-1 Timothy 1:8-11

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More on KJV Screw ups

KJV Blunders

Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Though “eastward” is a possible translation of the Hebrew word mikedem מִקֶּדֶם .  It is not, however, the accurate rendering here, the verse is actually saying the Garden was planted BEFOREHAND.  Beforehand, or ancient are also ways to translate the word.  For instance the KJV of Psalm 74:12 says: . “For God [is] my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” Old here is the same exact word in Genesis 2:8. The KJV has no footnote for the possibility of “beforehand” or “of old” in Genesis 2:8. Older bibles such as the Latin Vulgate render the word “a principio” meaning, beginning or beforehand; the  Greek Septuagint has ἀνατολὰς meaning “eastward.” Jewish scholar Rashi in his commentary states the Garden was in the East, however, he used a Jewish midrash to state this, not the plain reading of the text p’shat. Strong’s has two entries for the word, one for “east” and one for  “of old.”

Exodus 3:22: But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

Exodus 11:2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.

Exodus 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

Exodus 12:36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them [such things as they required]. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

Though borrow is a completely legitimate way of translating the Hebrew word v'shaolah, in context it cannot be right because it would mean God is telling the Israelites to "borrow" stuff with the intent of never returning it, that is stealing. Some atheists even point out this verse to show how the Bible is "contradictory" because God would be telling people to steal in Exodus 3:22, and not to steal in Exodus 20.  The same word is used in Exodus 13:14 with the meaning of asking a question: “And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What [is] this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:” The word is found in Strongs H7592 with the meaning “A primitive root; to inquire; by implication to request; by extension to demand: - ask (counsel, on), beg, borrow, lay to charge, consult, demand, desire, X earnestly, enquire, + greet, obtain leave, lend, pray, request, require, + salute, X straitly, X surely, wish.” The Latin Vulgate uses postulabit/postulet meaning to ask, demand, claim, require, request, desire. The Greek Septuagint has αἰτήσει / αἰτησάτω