|The Bible On Homosexuality's Equivalency
||[May. 23rd, 2012|04:58 pm]
There's a popular picture going around Facebook and other sources right now that has someone showing a tattoo with Leviticus' prohibition of homosexuality--the irony being, of course, that Leviticus also prohibits tattoos. This suddenly made me realize that even the folks who point stuff out like this miss a much broader point, and that in a way both sides of the argument are missing something critical in the context of the passages.
As examples, I take four passages about homosexuality from the Bible, two from the Old Testament and two from the New, to illustrate my point. Here they are:
Leviticus 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."
Leviticus 20:13: "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them."
1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."
Romans 1:26-27: "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."
Seems pretty cut and dried, doesn't it? The problem is that if you just quote these passages, you're actually taking them out of context in a way. Because none exist in isolation, and they weren't intended to be quoted in such an isolated way. (In fact chapters and verses in the Bible didn't even exist until the Middle Ages--all the text was written together without such artificial breaks.) So what does that mean?
Paul's passages are a great examples. Look at them again: In Corinthians he insists that "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers" will inherit the Kingdom of God. In Romans 1:28-30 he adds "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
In other words, all of these are considered equal offenses.
Paul doesn't say "If you gossip three times a day, you might be risking the Kingdom of Heaven". He doesn't say "Homosexuality is horrible, but envy you might be able to slide by with". No, what he's saying is that homosexuality, envy, murder, greed, insolence, arrogance, boasting, drunkenness, reviling, being unloving and unmerciful are all one and the same to God. Being unloving and unmerciful are as much sins worthy of death as homosexuality.
You politicians out there, you may want to pay attention to that last bit.
If you consider homosexuality to be the pit of evil, then so are the gossips and the boastful. If you think that gossip isn't so bad...well, then, neither is homosexuality.
What this all boils down to for me is that one way or another, a lot of self-righteous people out there are going to be surprised when they wind up in the same afterlife as gays.