Homosexuality and the Bible

In the fall of 2017, I went to a talk at school called Homosexuality and The Christian. It was a small informal thing in the student union, held by a resident director. She talked from personal experience, saying that she had close friends and family members who were gay. She went on about how to deal with “same-sex attraction” as a Christian, reiterating the views of a Christianity-homosexuality scholar named Matt Yarhouse. I believe that he ultimately advocates for celibacy if one is same-sex attracted and it disobeys one’s religion, and he suggests that one can find companionship with friends and in the church, and of course, in Jesus Christ himself. She tried to turn the struggles of the gay Christian into a positive thing because the concrete wrongness of “sexual sin” helps people to clearly recognize their “brokenness”, which shows them how much they need Jesus and allows him to pull them closer.

To me, there is a lot wrong with her conclusion, but in this first talk on Christianity and homosexuality, at least the speaker tried to use people’s real-life struggles and experiences to reach her conclusions and give advice. This week, however, there was another talk on the topic, called The Bible and Homosexuality–except this one was a presentation by a theologian with a seminary doctorate, and it went on for almost two hours to a packed lecture hall. This presentation, rather than trying to reconcile those with “same-sex attraction” and a religion that prohibits them from acting on their desires, he took all of his teachings from the bible–and he interpreted any verses he could find on the topic to fit his agenda. I found myself angry that this man’s entire view of homosexuality is shaped by this ancient rule book and not on how it actually affects people’s lives and relationships.

Being both straight and an atheist, I felt a bit out of place at yet another talk on Christianity and homosexuality, but since I was there out of a mix of curiosity and a hope to acquire some blog content, with a notebook and pen in hand, I felt almost like a reporter. Here are some snippets of the five pages of notes that I jotted down throughout the talk:

  1. Mark 10:6 and Matthew 19:4 (“God created them male and female”) were presented as the “Key Jesus Sex Texts”–it was already off to a weird start.
  2. Genesis 7:15-16 (the animals entering into the ark in pairs) were twisted up enough for him to interpret it as homosexuality being unnatural.
  3. “What you do sexually matters to God.” (direct quote from the speaker)
  4. Your dog doesn’t have to abide well by sexual ethics because it wasn’t made in the image of God, but since you were, you do have to have sexual ethics. (Which brings us to wonder why we would base any sexual ethics off of the verse from #2, if none of those animals on the ark were made in the image of God either)
  5. Homosexual relationships are worse than polygamy and incest because they attack the bible’s foundation of genders, which is found in the verses under #1.
  6. *insert super long list of bible verses that could be interpreted to be anti-gay here*
  7. Heaven is exponentially better than sex so just wait for your whole life without sex and you will get heaven (I get further into this in my post on Pascal’s Wager)
  8. Apparently, Paul said that those who have sex other than a married man and woman don’t inherit the kingdom of God, a.k.a. don’t go to heaven, a.k.a. if you have gay or premarital sex you will burn in hell for all eternity.
  9. To paraphrase from the speaker: “I don’t hate gays, Jesus hates gays.”
  10. Jesus obviously didn’t talk directly about homosexuality because the Jews weren’t gay. (I can’t help but interject with why this is wrong on so many levels. First of all, there must have been some gay Jews in biblical times. And Jesus is supposed to be omnipotent, so wouldn’t he know that? And more importantly, was the bible, according to Christians and this speaker, not meant to be a life guide for every human being to ever walk the earth, so even if this wasn’t an issue in their culture, Jesus surely would have known that homosexuality would eventually be a thing that so many Christians struggle with, so he could have bothered including it in his teachings?)
  11. Genesis 2:21-23 says four times, the speaker emphasized, that Eve was taken out of Adam’s rib, which he interpreted to mean that man and woman are two complementary halves of a sexual whole.
  12. To echo the speaker from last semester: if you’re “same-sex attracted”, you should turn to the church for companionship because you are lonely.
  13. Even if you are gay, God might give you one person of the opposite sex that you’re attracted to. After all, the speaker said, as a straight man, he isn’t attracted to all females, only his own wife.
  14. Same sex marriage for men doesn’t make you feel fully male, and God already made you fully male, and you are denying it.
  15. Finally, if an unbeliever asks why homosexuality is wrong even on a secular basis, the speaker suggests using analogies. Ask, “Do you approve of polygamy or incest (given that the incestuous relationship doesn’t lead to children)? Why not?” (Here I can’t help but mention that his religion says the entire planet was populated from incest, twice, but to answer his question. . . I don’t know what my approval of other people’s relationships has got to do with it. Just because it’s weird or not culturally acceptable doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And it definitely doesn’t make it my business. And what do polygamy and incest have to do with homosexuality anyways?)

Homosexuality is a topic that, while I have several post ideas on it, I’ve never written on until now. It’s obviously not something I’m an expert in, and it doesn’t influence my own life very much, but I think that religion’s influence over gay rights and the bible’s restriction from modern day people living a happy life is so unfair. I also think that I see a lot of similarities between the atheist and gay communities, most notably our tendency to hide in and later come out of our closets. So this is the beginning of me speaking up on the injustice that religion imposes on yet another unassuming group of innocent people.

19 Replies to “Homosexuality and the Bible”

  1. As a straight Christian with gay Pagan friends I’m always cautious before jumping into these waters. For starters, there is a lot of sub par Christian teaching out there that fails to take the context in which the biblical texts were written into account. Many of the condemnations of homosexuality in the bible refer to pedastry, homosexual rape, or temple prostitution, which is lightyears apart from same sex marriage. Nevertheless, when its all said and done i do find it hard to reconcile homosexual sex with the bible. But, that being said, a don’t find many heterosexual marriages stand up to biblical scrutiny either, especially if we’re looking at it through a Christ-centred lens. I think therefore we should be very way of casting the first stone, and remember it’s the faithfulness and forgiveness of Jesus that we should be putting forward, not our own self-righteousness. https://curiouschristian.blog/2014/05/06/double-standards-in-christian-ethics/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m a straight Christian, and I really appreciate your “outsider” opinion on the topic of non-heterosexuality and Christianity. It’s easy for people who follow a certain religion or belief to forget that other belief sets exist and matter. I’m starting to delve deeper into the topic myself, and I’m realizing that I have a lot to learn and a long way to go in order to develop any well-founded opinions on the whole subject.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice post CA. For any interested readers of yours, here is my rebuttal to the whole “the Bible hates gays” thing.

    I think it can be helpful to know the arguments if only to try to broaden evangelical minds (and it has persuaded both friends of mine and strangers) but also provide comfort (however “misplaced” one might feel it is) to those Christians who may be depressed or suicidal on account of this sort of non-logic. ❤

    https://thebookofamos.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/what-the-bible-doesnt-say-about-gay-people/

    Best wishes from the UK,
    HLA

    Like

  4. I’ve wanted to write on this topic but never exactly sure where to start. Though this is basically sad the backflips being used in their arguments. Like seriously. I’m cringing… Let’s just remember the bible seems to be obsessed with sex here and there and loves to seemingly micromanage it…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah Christians. it seems like they have always had an issue with gay people though their tactics have changed. Before: Gay people are an abomination. Now: We love you too, but just don’t be gay, OK?
    I also find it disturbing that they seem to interpret everything sexually at your talks, not exactly sure why, can’t place my finger on it…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We were talking about your number 10 point earlier. To preface I’m gay and have been with the same man for 25+ years.

    That said we posited that once mankind moved from agrarian to community gay people have existed. Even in the hunter/gatherer phase I bet there were gay people too.

    And gay people existed in native American populations too – they didn’t make a big deal of it. It took European invasion and settlement for the whole anti-gay thing to kick in.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. In some American Indian tribes the homosexual was considered a special being, and treated as a shaman. Homosexuals dominate the ancient arts, philosophy, music, mathematics…and no one ever recoiled in horror, it was what it was. It took a good stiff dose of Bible to show people the abomination that dwelt in their midst. Sadly. Easy to forget the cultures that existed before Judaism and Christianity.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m no longer a Christian, but this verse immediately came to mind

    Matthew 7:1-2, RSV:
    Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

    Of course, as a whole, few believers live according to this scripture. IOW, “I’m right, you’re wrong” tends to be the standard in the Christian world.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The subject of homosexuality is a very difficult one for Christians, and most of us are still debating it. Most of what you heard at that talk is pretty stupid and not good biblical interpretation, and there are plenty of people at high levels in the church who disagree with it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. @angloaristotelian:
      —The subject of homosexuality is a very difficult one for Christians—

      The two subjects are related because of biblical prohibitions. One on the basis of the Sodom and Gomorrah tales, and also because those relationships cannot produce offspring. As if that were man’s only goal in life!.

      I think that many, probably most, straight people dislike homosexuality. Not homosexual PERSONS, which is not the same thing. I do not feel physically attracted to other men, but I may appreciate them as my (in-law) relative, neighbor, colleague. Of course, I suppose that straight women take the same attitude as to lesbians.

      What I am particularly appalled at, is the nefarious, mistaken but unshaken religious indoctrination that homosexuality is a choice. This seems to be one of the fatal consequences of the concept that we have free will.

      Just wanted to say that this is a difficult matter not only for Christans and other believers, And to complicate things even more, there is this, not so ancient, phenomenon of bisexuality…

      .-

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Most Christians disagree over practically everything when it comes to their religion, and especially anything to do with sex. However mass debating is something they seem willing to indulge in at the drop of a hat. Or the drop of some article of clothing, at any rate.

      Like

  9. What on earth? Did he literally say, “I don’t hate gays, Jesus hates gays?”

    That’s definitely not the God I serve. “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

    I don’t even want to know what that theologian was smoking. I think you hit the nail on the head. It sounds like he was taking Bible verses and used those to fit his own agenda.

    I think the best saying to use here would be “Hate the sin, and not the sinner.” Dear lord. It’s no wonder a lot of people are coming away salty or bitter about Christianity if people hear lectures like that. I know I would be too.

    And… that’s definitely not what Paul said. One of the only verses that currently come to my head as I’m writing this is that Paul said about sex is “If they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it’s better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1st Corinthians 7:9) Sin doesn’t have a hierarchy. If you’ve sinned, then you’ve sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Period. It can be fixed if you believe in your heart and proclaim with your mouth that you believe Jesus came down to die for you and you accept him as your savior. But it’s a cover-all blanket. There aren’t any hidden fees in the Jesus insurance. XD

    Liked by 3 people

  10. It is about control on at least two levels. If they can control even the most basic instincts, they can control the whole you. If you allow them to control the most personal part of you they have you for ever else too. I believe it originated with Abraham and Muhammad trying to control sexual dominance, food, and territory. Very similar to our close evolutionarily compadres…the ape.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Thanks for that list.

    It suggests that almost everything in the Bible about homosexuality isn’t actually in the Bible. Rather, it is people playing the construal game — attempting to construe biblical passages as being about homosexuality.

    The real core of Christianity as we see it (and as distinct from the teachings of Jesus) has to do with giving people a guilt trip due to their sex drive. And it is used as a way to control people. So I guess they see homosexuality as a threat to this means of exerting control.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, I would have walked out of that talk…or probably punched someone on the face. Glad to see the deranged ways others use to put people down. And I applaud your restraint and courage to sit through all that.

    Liked by 2 people

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