Conservative Christianity’s Thorn – LGBT

The Conservative Christian, the literalist, have some serious problems with homosexuality. For them, it is a sin, always was a sin, and that ain’t changing. They find themselves at odds with this new movement to allow gay people equal rights in free countries. This is an issue they have been heralding for some 10 years or so…I got a feeling they are going to lose this one.

My problem with the literalist/Conservative is the scripture is not the issue, their prejudice is. I think scripture functions as smoke-screen for another arguement ‘natural desires’…or sex. The problem most of these Christians are haivng is not a biblical one (this is their justification tactic) but an imagery one. These Christians are imaging what LGBT people do behind closed doors in the privacy of their own homes and this attaches an emotional element for them (some type of disgust). The wrestling is actually going on with an imagery in their head about what type of sex these people are having and not about scripture.

I will agree – scripture blatantly says in Leviticus about punishing people for actions that seem ‘gay’…I have read the passages and on first glace I see the determination made by literalists. However, those passages are 3000 years old in a culture and time much different than ours – how can one be sure their interpretation is accurate to the context of the writing? Not everyone takes those passages without much thought and look into them…and they require some serious time to learn about.

Firstly, they are laws. They are found in the Torah and to be used by judges to determine cases. There are no recorded cases of someone being tried for being ‘gay’ in Judaism history (which I find interesting)…which makes the scriptures somewhat suspect to what they mean. Are they tied to something else – this action of intimacy? Is it about worshipping other gods? Is it about demeaning another person? Is it about adultery? What exactly is the ‘crime’?

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

The truth is Judaism does not deny these 2 scriptures talk about gay relations between ‘men’ as problematic via the law (women are exempt – let that be noted). But what is key is to understand the terms used in these passages.

Much attention has been given to the word “abomination” (to’evah in Hebrew). Though the terminology seems callous, the same word is used in Deuteronomy 14:3 in reference to forbidden animals. Several traditional sources temper the harshness of the “abomination” by citing the lack of procreative potential as the reason for the abominable nature of the homosexual act” (Steven Greenberg)

The term abomination seems harsh but may in fact not be so harsh as we imagine…it can be an abomination in the sense of it’s lack of full potential casuing some ‘awe’ (ie: cannot procreate). In the same way changed termininology about how what we call people with mental disabilities, which were once recorded as being ‘retarded’.

The Leviticus verses also imply that it is the act of homosexual sex, not the homosexual person, that is abhorred” (Steven Greenberg). Kind of a ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ for it’s time period.

The essence of this denate comes down to looking at a law and interpreting as such. Christians do not accept the law, at least most don’t, so this is of no concern to them one iota (these verses). However, the intent of the law was to something that was ‘unnatural’…and I can see this for someone ‘straight’. Even the sexual act is not the most natural (whether male ot female) and this does not seem like the original intention of our body parts. However, how can one follow a law if they do not have the ability to do so? For straight people it is un-natural to be ‘gay’…but also to be ‘gay’ it is un-natural to be ‘straight’. This is where the law meets it’s problem, asking something from someone that they cannot give (ie: biology).

So although the law prohibits homosexual behavior, this behavior is relating to straight people and how they would propose to use their bodies ‘un-naturally’ (which does happen, ie: an orgy). But we cannot ask someone that is actually ‘gay’ to not be ‘gay’…biologically this is not possible and is asking more than what they were created as. So either the mistake is on God, or on us…I tend to lean in our direction everytime.  

Conservatives/literalist, drop this arguement on the law which you obviously have no clue how to look at nor take the time to…and I only covered breif notes on this issue in this blog. Admit, it because you’re straight – your thought of what they ‘do’ is what bothers you, not neccesarily a ‘law’ you both reject and have no use for.

31 thoughts on “Conservative Christianity’s Thorn – LGBT

  1. “So although the law prohibits homosexual behavior, this behavior is relating to straight people and how they would propose to use their bodies ‘un-naturally’”

    Nice.

    Also, in relation to homosexuality being an abomination in Lev. etc. If I were a betting man I’d put money on those verses in Lev. being connected with previous commands to “be fruitful and multiply.” God made particular promises to Abraham that were premised on growth. Israel was to be fruitful and multiply so they could become the nation that God would use (the nation which, as it turns out, would continually fail). Perhaps this is why “spilling your seed” on the ground resulted in death (Gen. 38:8-10). And so, males laying with males was counter to being fruitful and multiplying. Which leads one to ask the question today, “how much more do we need to be fruitful and multiply?”

    • Very good insights. The logic is very good. It is easy to see how your insights relate the entire Law (Torah) strictly to the Jewish social world and not anything approaching a realistic “spiritual” existence (whatever this means – who knows). If the spiritual is totally in the realm of only the spirit then there is no need at all for social laws (the Torah) that regulate physical behaviours. Thus the spiritual realm, if it truly existed, would never need authoritarian demands regarding individual behaviour – this is the role of the judicial law. Gayness makes no difference in the spiritual but Jt* has correctly pointed how this flaw in the Law would make a difference in the Jewish social life 5,000 years in the past.

      I just want to add, since this is terribly outdated material (the Torah) then why does anybody, outside of religious Jewish believers, accept it as anything other than what it is and what we have already stated it to be: an irreparable relic of a time long gone – no longer needing to be re-interpreted for a modern world that is radically different than the Epoch of the Torah.

  2. “I just want to add, since this is terribly outdated material (the Torah) then why does anybody, outside of religious Jewish believers, accept it as anything other than what it is and what we have already stated it to be: an irreparable relic of a time long gone – no longer needing to be re-interpreted for a modern world that is radically different than the Epoch of the Torah.”

    Erm, well I think this is problematic. I don’t want to get sidetracked here but if what you’ve said is true and the Torah is nothing more than “terribly outdated material” then I’m afraid that the man hanging on a cross in your little display picture doesn’t make sense. Jesus only makes sense in the context of the Jewish narrative for it was this narrative that he ruptured.

    • Actually the little man in the picture is Che Guevara and he is hung on the cross of “Capital.” He is dying for the sins of all of us all capitalist slaves in the West, etc. A very subversive image and a wonderful painting that speaks volumes about the fetishistic role of the cross imagery in the modern world – but that is another topic.

  3. “So although the law prohibits homosexual behavior, this behavior is relating to straight people and how they would propose to use their bodies ‘un-naturally’”

    So are we then going to address items such as pedophilia, polygamy, and incest in the times of Torah specifically in relation to the morality of 2010? Probably not, that may be too literalist. Should we get into this topic at all since we know that most marriages between men and very young girls were permitted and were normalized in all cultures at that time (would not be permitted today), also marriage between relatives, and of course good old multiple wives. Are these also abominations for straight people in the Torah?

    Kind of useless to put our modern moral stamp on social teachings in a book that is thousands of years old, but also works logistically in the reverse: should never put the morals of a book that is thousands of years old on the morals of the modern world. Both are moot.

  4. “well my point still remains that the Hebraic story is of huge importance.”

    To whom exactly? Certainly not to the majority of the 6+ billions peoples on the Earth today, or even those that died in that past 5,000 years of human existence that had never read or even heard a single word from the Torah. Then to whom is the Torah speaking and to whom is it relevant (even today)? The answer is obvious: the Torah speaks expressly to the community of people that wrote it and then socialized it into their behaviours (even thoughts). Thus, is the Torah an Eternal and universal book full of morals for all humanity from the beginning of time to the end of our ages, no.

    Then it stands to reason that its laws are not sacred and can be challenged by all that understand its scope of authority; especially by non-believers that are still being judged by its moral values.

    • When I wrote that comment what I meant to say was that “the Hebraic story is of huge importance for understanding the story of Christ.” And this, I would argue IS important for everyone that is living, has ever lived and will ever lived. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that everyone realizes this. I’m arguing from a very specific standpoint and I’m not naive enough to think I’m arguing objectively. So I think it’s true that this mysterious figure revealed as Christ Jesus is unspeakably important for all of creation through all time. And, if this Christ cannot be understood apart from the Hebraic scriptures then it goes without saying that they are important because *it’s all the same story*.

      “Then to whom is the Torah speaking and to whom is it relevant (even today)? The answer is obvious: the Torah speaks expressly to the community of people that wrote it and then socialized it into their behaviours (even thoughts).”

      This is partially true but it’s incomplete. For the scriptures *claim* not only to speak about the history of one specific people but to the history of all people. Now it should be noted that I’m speaking rather broadly here. I’m not arguing that the laws found in the Torah apply to everyone everywhere. In fact, I’m not even sure that’s the point of Torah (different topic all-together).

      “Thus, is the Torah an Eternal and universal book full of morals for all humanity from the beginning of time to the end of our ages, no.”

      You’re absolutely right and I would not disagree. In fact, to reduce the Torah (or, more broadly, the Bible) to such a thing is to miss the point entirely as far as I can tell.

      “Then it stands to reason that its laws are not sacred and can be challenged by all that understand its scope of authority; especially by non-believers that are still being judged by its moral values.”

      This may or may not be fair but it certainly doesn’t follow from what you’ve said. Besides, there’s a lot of ambiguity here. What do we mean by words like “sacred”, “challenged” and “understand”? If it’s any consolation, I don’t believe the laws in the Torah are written in stone (pun-intended). I believe that the very nature of the scriptures demands that we wrestle with them over time and in community.

      Anyways, we’re far off the LGBT trail…sorry!

  5. “Sacred” is not the appropriate word, you are correct, ‘divine’ is the appropriate word. Put ‘divine’ in the sentence and it is appropriate, since if you are a non-believer (I am) then you should not have to be held accountable to any message(s) that claim divinity. And it would be incorrect to claim that the Torah is a secularist tradition because it is not. In comparison, the ideas of Confucius are in no way ‘divine’ but purely social-judicial. It would be an error to take Confucius out of his Chinese context and then place him in a different cultural context for 2010; and so it is with the Torah and the New Testament since these are Jewish writings meant for Jewish communities, which afterward spread by aid of Roman Imperialism, to Europe and the colonized world (where we come into the equation).

    “Challenged” by those that are both in the community (Jewish) and those outside (Gentile/Goy). Challenged in its truth, in its relevance, in its ideas, in its historical accuracy, in its morality, etc.

    “Understand” in the sense that its authority and scope only pertains to the Jewish community, i.e., – it is their traditional values and ideals which no one disputes is their own right to claim and uphold in 2010. But it should not be made mandatory to all peoples, no matter if Christianity did subvert traditional Judaism and then establish itself as a hegemonic Idea in North America and all the colonies.

    Not off topic, this all relates directly to gay and lesbian secularists that have no belief in Judaism and or Christianity but are still judged in society based on Judaism and Christian morals, taboos, etc. We know for a truth it is the religious elements in modern politics that steadfastly uphold a hardline anti-gay stance; which goes back to their ideology which in turn stems directly from their theology. Not off topic in any way

    • “It would be an error to take Confucius out of his Chinese context and then place him in a different cultural context for 2010; and so it is with the Torah and the New Testament since these are Jewish writings meant for Jewish communities, which afterward spread by aid of Roman Imperialism, to Europe and the colonized world (where we come into the equation).”

      The difference is that the Judeo-Christian narrative/scriptures do not claim to be *only* for a particular community but claim to be true for all of creation. The narrative of creation, fall, redemption and new creation speaks not to a particular community, but to all of creation itself.

      • You are correct in the inference that Christianity has been an imperialistic religion (creating its own faith-empire); this is obvious. We also see how Islam has been equally imperialistic for several hundreds of years. Also correct that the entire Biblical account does claim a universality, an Eternal message, and direct divine inspiration – but it was originally intended for Jewish eyes only and this is the main point and where the logic of the 2 children becomes skewed.

        The main problem in the Christian-Islam universal logic comes with its parent: Judaism was not a conversion-based religion and it was only meant to influence Jewish life. But its 2 eldest children have subverted this communal message and they have been ruthless in their imperialism in the past centuries, up to the present.

        The imperialistic part of the children relies on the subversion of the original thoughts of communal-Judaism in order to apply to all humanity: by way of the universal Messiah and/or the Prophet.

        Sadly ironic that both children have consciously tried to eradicate their parent at different times in history.

  6. The difference is that the Judeo-Christian narrative/scriptures do not claim to be *only* for a particular community but claim to be true for all of creation. The narrative of creation, fall, redemption and new creation speaks not to a particular community, but to all of creation itself. (jt*)

    I’m not so sure that the Judeo-Christian narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation are speaking to all of creation. I think the people who are ardent belivers and followers of christianity may think the scritpures apply to all of humanity and creation, but they would be misguided.

    Wouldn’t this logic then equally apply to all of the world’s religions. I could easily make the claim that the Islamic scritures, Mormon scriptures, First Nations beliefs, ancient Egyptian religions, Roman/greek gods, Norse religions, druids, african religions, buddhism, jedi, and every other religon, also speak about the human condition and apply to all of creation?

  7. Wouldn’t this logic then equally apply to all of the world’s religions. I could easily make the claim that the Islamic scritures, Mormon scriptures, First Nations beliefs, ancient Egyptian religions, Roman/greek gods, Norse religions, druids, african religions, buddhism, jedi, and every other religon, also speak about the human condition and apply to all of creation?(Wilfred)

    They probably do, afterall, most of the people who wrote these things thought they were the only one’s on this lovely planet. Surprise, surprise when they found out they werent. 😉

  8. “So although the law prohibits homosexual behavior, this behavior is relating to straight people” svs

    I don’t agree with this. This is just a way to make the bible sound like a non-offensive book or that it didn’t mean to sound offensive, it just has to be interpreted the right way.

    So the laws only applied to straight, non pig eating, non snake talking, nomadic, non interracial marrying, non killing except when decreed by god, non adulterous, non coveting people. So if you are any of those, then the bible applies and you are a sinner.

    The bible says what it says. It is a backwards and out of date series of books, written not by the top minds of the day but by shepherds, fishermen, bigoted and superstitious men.

  9. “The bible says what it says. It is a backwards and out of date series of books, written not by the top minds of the day but by shepherds, fishermen, bigoted and superstitious men.” (Wolf)

    Let’s get some facts straight:

    (a) The bible is not one single book, never has been. It is a series of 39 or 66 books that cover a wide range of topics and time periods.

    (b) These books span the time periods of mythological earliest history to 1750 BC to 150 AD. The movementts include Nomadic lifestyle, to mini-kingdoms, to the Torah, to Judges, to Kings, to Prophets, to a messianic movement in Christianity.

    The books do reveal a progression and movement in theology, beliefs, cultural motifs, and ritual changes. The bible, as a whole, can be said to be as much about the certainty of ideas and the change of those same idea into different time periods. Torah still exists, the way it is lived has changed.

    I also think you make a huge mistake in thinking this generation and its ‘top minds’ are somehow better than those nomads, sheperds, holy men, and fishermen. I actually think it’s a complete farce. Let’s compare any of the things in the bible with the current world (and govt’s) we live in (from your examples):

    (a) Food laws and kosher…have actually been found to be quite healthy for their time periods (and even to this day). Pigs are quite dirty creatures and will eat anything; shellfish is found (especially now) to be containing metals – namely mercury.

    However, let’s compare that with our actual food market in the West. We eat a corn based diet that is killing us (making us obese; causing diabetes). We eat animals that eat their own flesh via feeding them their own parts in their feed. We eat genetically engineered cows, chicken, and pigs that are pumped full with hormones (and anti-biotics) while they lives they cannot possible enjoy in factory farms that are severely over-crowded. Our food is causing us to be less resistant to disease since we eat so much antibodies. Our fish have levels of mercury and other metals (and they are depleting at an amazing rate). We have mono-cultures that are destroying the soil and making more desertification. This list can literally go on and on.

    I mean if I had a choice, and kosher was more available and affordable, I would hop on that train. Our food is killing us.

    (b) Genocide and wars – biblically, according to any of the best records, they fought with swords, spears, mini cannons, and would likely find the death toll quite low as compared to our current wars (maybe 20,000 could die in a whole war). The bible does mention genocide, as far as those events being accurate is another thing, but we see that type of warfare.

    Are we any better? 7 genocides have occured on this planet since Hitler’s Germany. Sudan was just a few years back. I know we wouldn’t do that in the West…wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are no better than colonization tactics for new territory (call those our Canaans). The most severe wars in human history have occured in the 20th century – one war even had a death toll of 60 million people (WW2)…very humane. We now have the weapons to utterly destory humanity 7 times over – if not via bombs then chemically engineered viruses and biological weapons. If I were to simply go by the record of the 20th century – I would we are at least 100 times worse than any ancestors that ever lived on this planet.

    (c) By all measures of the lives the people of the bible lived – it was very in touch with nature and survived off it. They did not have industrialization so their communities were self sustaining and they needed one another to keep their livelihoods going. It’s really not until King David that city life becomes a bigger alternative…but even then…pretty sustainable living still occurs.

    Our record on the environment in the last 300 years will eventually end this planet as we know it if a change does not occur. The ozone is gone, global warming is happening, more severe weather is occuring with the climate change, we continue to use fossil fuels that destroy the environment, we are destroying good eco-systems and not replacing them, how many species have went extinct under our watch?

    (d) Morality on marriage and adultery. The bible is quite clear adultery is not allowed. Marriage as taught by Jesus is seems to be about monogamy, however the Tanakh has a variety of examples multiple marriage, incest, monogamy, concubines, etc. Very questionable but also kernels of enlightenment.

    Let’s fast forward to our smart and great society – in the West. Marriage is a 50-50 proposition at best – and the fact is most people will marry at least twice. Adultery is the leading cause of divorce in the West, and most every couple will have this occur to them in some manner or another. People are having sex at a younger age, in fact teenage pregnancy has practically went through roof from the 60’s until now (even with birth control). The unbelievable thing is, none of this even raises an eyebrow in our sex crazed culture, this is the norm and expected. How are we any better than any biblical culture? We look more like Sodom, and if we could pay to have sex with ‘angels’ – we likely would.

    (e) Coveting, very clear in the bible – not from your neighbor and not for his hard earned stuff. Basically, wanting more (greed) is covered under this injunction.

    This is clearly where we fall off the map as compared to these humble people of yesteryear. We are the most greedy people on the planet – the West. We are the one’s killing this planet in the name of ‘growth’ and ‘expansion’. We depleted oil resources. We made ‘slavery’ okay in other countries via child labor. We are depleting the resources of other 3rd world countries so we can enjoy cheaper and cheaper goods. We allowed companies to get to their size, where they cannot be questioned and practically function as mini-states on this planet. We live in a society that has 5% of the people owning 95% of the wealth. There is no moral compass for greed in this country – none.

    I mean, all those things I mention and more are actually happening…and you wanna complain about biblical ethics. I mean, the bible is at least offering a standard to bounce most of these ideas off of…and is actually the least of your problems globally and locally.

  10. I mean, if the bible is such a horrendous moral compass, explain my life? I only came into contact with these teachings as of 1992 (17 years old). What has happened in the next 18 years.

    I went back to school, which I dropped out of at 16, to graduate at the top of my class and nominated valedictorian. I think I recieved 4 scholarships at that point in time. Went to Bible College for 4 years and graduated with a Bachelor of Theology. After that I went to the U of R to finish a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Paid my dues doing 2 years of steady jobs to get enough experience to apply for better paying gigs. In the past 5 years I have managed to celebrate 10 years with the same woman, own a new vehicle, but a house, start my Master’s (this fall), and basically have plenty of input into my Aboriginal community.

    I mean, if I am being selective about the things I have learned from the teachings – pretty good selection I would say?

  11. “I mean, if the bible is such a horrendous moral compass, explain my life? I only came into contact with these teachings as of 1992 (17 years old). What has happened in the next 18 years.” (SVS)

    So then it was the Bible and its morals that caused you to become the person that you are? I will have to remember that. So then it was Biblical morals that gave you a good sound mind (not your genetics), gave you a work ethic in the capitalist marketplace (not the demands of the market itself), gave you the love and devotion to appreciate another human being (not the innate desire to couple to a person to whom you are attracted), gave you the income to buy a nice new material hunk of aluminum (not the money from your work-wage), and gave you a communal identity (not based on your ethnicity).

    It is also noticeably ironic (maybe hypocritical) that you will defend the inherent goods and moral teachings of the Bible with upmost mental ability and with protective self-righteousness, but you are not a ‘fundamentalist’ believer. And you do not take the moral teachings of the Bible as literals – but that is not what you have just described in relation to your own experience. You are a literalist in relation to the moral principles of the Bible but not the message?

    Maybe you need to rethink your own definitions of what ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘literalist’ actually are. In your last two posts you have fit the description of ‘fundamentalist-literalist’ with enthusiasm and emphasis – in regard to your defensive anger of its moral universality and in relation to the power of the literal moral traditions that you have internalized into your identity.

  12. “So then it was Biblical morals that gave you a good sound mind (not your genetics)?”

    Easy answer is ‘no’. Genes do neccesarily mean you will be smart or dumb…thats not how genes work. Oh sure you may have proclivities (even personality) to certain things but no genetic make-up can explain what someone does or doesn’t do with their life. So no, my genes played the only pivotal role they needed to, they were the dna make-up I ‘could’ work from. Maybe one could see that as limiting as well.

    “gave you a work ethic in the capitalist marketplace (not the demands of the market itself)” (Johnny)

    Environment plays it’s part – I agree 100%…I am nothing without experience. However to think demand made me is not exactly the case either. Demand is only part of the environment and I can choose to understand or not to, and many ‘choose’ to not participate. I could of as easily choose not to (as I did when I was 16 and dropped out). The marketplace is outside the individual as well, it cannot change the inner mentality of a person nor is it claiming to.

  13. “gave you the love and devotion to appreciate another human being (not the innate desire to couple to a person to whom you are attracted)” (Johnny)

    The bible does not ‘create’ emotions – so no the teachings themselves played no role in that aspect of my life. However, the teachings did give me a social paradigm to keep those emotions in check (regarding relationships). I choose to love whom I choose to love, however since adultery is not an option I can lay on the table..it helps with regards to which choices to make and to guard myself against such incidences.

    “gave you the income to buy a nice new material hunk of aluminum (not the money from your work-wage)” (Johnny)

    I had to do that – via action of course…however this is neither the realm of a set of books/teachings either. I, however, used the social/ethical paradigm to help make concerned choices of discipine and to which avenues I would choose as ‘work’. I could be hustling dope right now for all we know if I hadn’t made the choices I did when I was younger to get educated. The teachings work in the realm of perspective…and hard/honest work is one directive.

    “gave you a communal identity (not based on your ethnicity)” (Johnny)

    It obviously doesn’t do that either – however one of the core principles of the faith is ‘community’. I learned a lot from the teachings to understand aspects of what a community really is, and what roles one can play in that community. This has helped to shape the type of stuff I lend my influence to within my own community in Regina.

    “You are a literalist in relation to the moral principles of the Bible but not the message?” (Johnny)

    You really need to read what I write and then critque based on what is actually said.

    (a) Everyone is a fundamentalist to some degree (which is what I did say)…in that they have basic fundamental principles by which they live. I de-cry fundamentalism as it is know played out in extreme religious circles (which I called ‘fanatics’).

    (b) Since I say I follow ‘the teachings’ which have real world applications I am a literalist? Do I have to literally follow parables even though they are obvious allegory? Do I literally follow a Psalm or can I inspired by the lyrics? Many things Jesus taught are done by way of ‘proverbs’…which are neat little sayings to ‘inspire’ – do I have to be literal about all of that? Literature takes many forms, the bible is literature and I read it as such – with all it’s subtle nuances.

    “In your last two posts you have fit the description of ‘fundamentalist-literalist’ with enthusiasm and emphasis – in regard to your defensive anger of its moral universality…” (Johnny)

    If this is true (of me)…and I admit I am emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually tied to these ideals…couldn’t the same be said for you or Wolf concerning atheism and these mythological diatribes you both spin about ‘how horrendous the bible is’?

    Here is Wolf’s claim ” It is a backwards and out of date series of books, written not by the top minds of the day but by shepherds, fishermen, bigoted and superstitious men.”. I answered that question of superiority by pointing the finger back at Western secularism and what it is offering.

    I guess I would like this answered, if I didn’t use this ethical paradigm offered by the bible – which one do you suppose I choose from our secular framework around us? Note: you cannot say science, science is not concerned with ‘ethics’ or ‘morality’ but the pursuit of science alone. So, which one is a good paradigm and based on what set of principles to help determine ‘good and evil’?

  14. “Genes do neccesarily mean you will be smart or dumb…thats not how genes work.” (SVS)

    Yes, that is the obvious truth for those born without debilitating brain diseases/disorders (but millions are); but you are not in direct inheritance of a serious brain disease. But what I actually said was that you have a ‘good sound mind’ which means that it is a mind that is not diseased and afflicted – many of such afflictions can be related to genetics. “Smartness” (as you call it) then can be a direct case of genetics in many millions of instances. But I believe that the word you are looking for is education and not ‘smartness.’ Genetics do not equate to being educated and having knowledge but that was not my argument at all.

    “The marketplace is outside the individual as well, it cannot change the inner mentality of a person nor is it claiming to.” (SVS)

    Sorry for the Marx Lesson but here we go:

    The market is the individual! Including labour (relates to production), to consumers (relates to supply and demand), and to ownership (means and mode of production). The market did not spontaneously emerge in Western societies from an ‘invisible hand’ rather it was systemically implemented according to the roles that individuals fulfilled in the process. In truth, there is no capitalist marketplace if you do not have: 1) individual labourers, 2) owners of labour power that will sell their labour to capital, 3) owners of capital that will buy/rent individual labour and, 4) consumers that spend their own wages on the commodities/products made by those labourers.

    “However to think demand made me is not exactly the case either.” (SVS)

    Demand made you a waged-labourer! You receive a wage from your boss, do you not? Then, you are a labourer that must sell his labour power in a marketplace (like all of us) in order to live a comfortable life, a middle working-class life, or even a lower-class life.

    In the marketplace you are met by a bureaucratic manager (correct?) who decides on the amount of individual labour they need to get the job done (whatever it is), and voila there you appear with your ‘labour power’ to sell (in hand with your nice resume); but of course you compete with several others exactly like you who happen to lose-out because the demand has been filled. Nevertheless, the demand has created you as an individual “waged-labour” and you are playing your role, as we all have to.

    Everybody participates in, and is socially configured by, the capitalistic mode of production and marketplace in Canada in 2010; but to varying degrees (begrudgingly, willingly, or unsuspectingly). Capital is produced by the physical control of production (i.e., means and mode of production) and workers do not have that control over capital. So yes, you too are the embodiment of commodified labour (as we all are) and you need to be in order to subsist from day to day – which thanks to your sound mind and education you may do better than others in 2010.

    Biblical morality played no part in any of your status as a waged-worker and certainly not as an educated worker. The market did this for you and it did so without your approval or detraction. It presupposed that you, or someone like you, was out there and they needed a job. But the job that was for you demanded that you first need a university education; or else you would still be working at a convenience store or a Wal-Mart. You filled that demand whether you care to see it or not. We all do.

  15. “I mean, all those things I mention and more are actually happening…and you wanna complain about biblical ethics. I mean, the bible is at least offering a standard to bounce most of these ideas off of…and is actually the least of your problems globally and locally.” SVS

    I’m not taking about biblical ethics, your original argument was that homosexual behavior was only a sin to people who are born heterosexuals. I was making the point that the bible doesn’t say that. It is a nice interpretation to make the bible still sound like a good book while letting homosexuals still be homosexuals with out sin.

    In your argument, the only sinners are the heterosexuals who practice homosexual sex, to me is like saying, the only sinners are the people who are born not to talk to snakes and yet do and then fall into sin. The bible is for people who do not eat pigs naturally and then do and fall into sin. It is for the people who born not to commit adultery and then do.

    The bible, in my opinion, was not written with people who had that clarity of thought or intention. When they said “man shall not lie with man” it was pretty clear they are talking about homosexual acts for everyone. Were they thinking, about reproductive rights, maybe but I doubt it. Were they talking about AIDS or sexually transmitted disease, maybe but I doubt it. It is as you said originally, they were not comfortable with the sexual act and were personally “grossed out” and call it a sin. It was an emotional based law.

  16. “I was making the point that the bible doesn’t say that. It is a nice interpretation to make the bible still sound like a good book while letting homosexuals still be homosexuals with out sin” (Wolf)

    Then I think your claim is unfounded. My claim is based on the research of others, including Steven Greenberg, a gay rabbinic Orthodox Jew, Soulforce (Mel White – former Evangelical), and my own basic research into this area for the past 2 years at least. I don’t think I am coming to this issue with little to no background.

    Problem is all you want to see is what is on that page, make it relevant to now as ‘is’ (literalism) and not pay homage to context – whether literary or cultural. Thus you can freely make the claim “When they said “man shall not lie with man” it was pretty clear they are talking about homosexual acts for everyone”.

    (a) There is no word for homosexuality in the bible; this is a term of the late 1800’s. So the exact way we use this term today could not have been how they understood that term then. Homosexuality, as an actual term, does not appear in the bible.

    (b) The way gay relationships function in this era are also quite unique. We have life long married partners who are just as committed as any straight couple. The question is, do any of the passages in Leviticus or Romans even address this? No.

    (c) Biologically, we now know that being gay may be a chemical adjustment in an individual, maybe even genetic? Should this not be accounted for since this may mean someone is being asked to follow a law (Torah – Leviticus) they cannot. Judaism has taken this into account and has started marrying gay people in many of their circles. And they should take this into account, the more we know the more we don’t ‘ignore’.

    (d) The first Adam was created ‘androgynous’ according to Steven Greenberg. Adam was created male and female in chapter 1 of Genesis (according to an older rabbinic source). God is also non-sex (not male or female). There is belief that if someone is born into one of these scenarios, androgyny or being gay, that it is not the core issues of the bible – and I agree…namely if God is non-sex.

    (e) God created them male and female, in chapter 2 of Genesis, and this is where the marriage idea comes from. However, in the 2 become 1 scenario there are 3 aspects (sex, children, and committment). Gay people may not be able to have sex like straight people, thus would be unreproductive, they sure as I am married can have committment with another person. Even this is represented in the act of marriage (2 become 1 idea).

    (f) Woman are not represented in those 2 Leviticus passages at all…thus there was no injunction versus females being gay (ever in Judaism). If this were to cover all aspects of being gay, why are women completely ignored? We can argue status of the times, but nothing, not even in the prophets ever comes up about it.

    (g) Their are 2 passages on homosexuality in the whole Tanakh, that’s it. Even within Leviticus it is less than 1% of topics covered. Within rabbinic writings we don’t find people being tried for being ‘gay’. Over the whole scope of the Tanakh (39 books) nothing is ever mentioned again on this topic, in fact, one would have to guess this was not an issue.

    (h) Their are examples of close companionships between same sex people in the Tanakh. Jonathan and David had one of those relationships. Ruth and Orpah had a very close connection as well. None of these means they were gay relations, but the bible didn’t shy away from this closeness.

    (i) It seems clear with the Paul passage he is referring to the worship of certain Roman gods (usually female deities). The whole of chapter 1 seems to be about this ‘idolatry’ and how in this worship they were entering depravity.

    (j) Christians are not subject to the Leviticus laws, only to the Noahide laws (which are 7)…and none of the Noahide laws prohibit ‘being gay’. In fact, the Noahide laws push Gentiles to follow their countries laws and keep them. In Canada, gay marriage is allowed. I have no other legal commandment asking me to go against that law as a Gentile.

    Judaism and Christianity both freely admit the injunctions are against homosexuality at this point in time, but that is also changing with the more we know about human biology and the more we learn about the history behind these passages. Things change, even if you refuse to see that within the Tanakh or even the NT. They didn’t stop because the bible became canonized.

    There is a lot more to this story than you would think. But what you will need to respect is ‘things change’ and so do laws – Torah is law and it can also change. And as a Christian I am like 10 years ahead of whole countries, including America, and was talking about this topic prior to gay marriage in Canada (which I approved of – 2002).

    Because unlike most people I know, I have a plethora of gay friends and one my wife’s best friends growing up was ‘gay’…this was a personal issue for me since 1999. So on a personal level, I needed to look into it to find out what was being taught on this idea…I came to this conclusion in 11 years (mainly in the last 2 to 3). However, prior to that I supported gay rights and equality for gay people in society.

  17. my belief is that most of the opposition to the homosexual’s rights in Canada and probably the world comes from religion. There are probably other groups of conservatives who oppose gay rights in Canada, but I would suspect that most of the opposition comes from religion. I would assume that Steven Greenberg or Mel White are the radical outsiders and not the normal christian or Jewish thinker.

    Being an atheist, I do not care much for what the bible says. To me the books are useless and are interesting to read but not to be taken seriously.

    I support gay rights on the fact that all humans deserve basic rights. Whom a person loves and has sex with is not the Gov’ts, churches, or my business.

  18. I haven’t been too involved in this discussion lately but I think the following quote from Wilfred is problematic:

    “I support gay rights on the fact that all humans deserve basic rights. Whom a person loves and has sex with is not the Gov’ts, churches, or my business.”

    To begin with, I’m not sure you’re on the right track associating sex with “basic rights”. That aside, I don’t think this is an argument you’d be willing to carry through to it’s full extent (i.e. What if a person “loves and has sex” with a family member? What if a person “loves and has sex” with minors? What if a person “loves and has sex” with their dog? Are these good and abundant expressions of sexuality?).

  19. “my belief is that most of the opposition to the homosexual’s rights in Canada and probably the world comes from religion” (Wolf)

    That’s not true…faiths in this country and in America make up ‘minority’ opinions. Politics is calling the shots on this issue in America, namely the right vs. the left. That all being said, there has to be lots of non-religious people also opposing gay rights to some degree.

  20. Just thought I’d bring up something comparable to the biblical texts (as far as being aged) – treaties in Canada (from 1872 and onwards). Should treaties change or not?

    I was just talking with someone about this and they mentioned how we (as Indian people in Canada) get paid $5.00 based on the treaty contract from 1876. That has not changed in some 134 years although $5.00 on 1876 was likely worth like a $1000.00 in today’s society. Some would say modernize the treaty (including me) while others stick to a very literal translation.

    Now although the literal translation is $5.00, the intent financial compensation for the exchange of land…and that land is worth more now than previously. So do we follow intent or literal translation?

    The idea of hunting and fishing rights, do we follow intent (provision of livelihood) or literal translation (basic hunting and fishing rights)? Fact is, less than 50% of First Nations people actually hunt or fish…a good 50% and higher get their personal sustenance from grocery stores (other people hunted/fished for us). The literal is used here in the treaties although it is clear the intent was for First Nations people to be able to ‘provide’ sustenance to their communities.

    Or should we just scrap a useless 134 old document that has fallen out of touch with basic economic realities around us?

    This is extremely comparable to the biblical texts – in the sense of ‘modernization’. I can’t think of a single First Nations person that would scrap the treaties because of their ‘date’. But I can think of quite a few others proposing such ideas.

    The biblical texts are ‘dated’…admitted. However, does ‘date’ make something meaningless? Can something be modernized?

  21. i love how eating shrimp and wearing mixed fibers are also called abominations, but we never hear anything about those… oy vey! good stuff and good discussion.

  22. Even without religion, you will have groups of people denying others some basic right. That is human nature. I know people like to look at altruism as the way, but it is an exception and not the rule. Religion is not to blame for society, people are.

    As for mixed fiber and shellfish, they didn’t make it into the second part. =D

  23. I will present a very Zizekian point on the matter, since we are somewhat of a deadlock. One side claiming that the literal words (what other kinds are there?) of the ‘Tanakh’ do not mean what they say due to the change of language and social life; and these words can be better re-presented to a modern world if tied into the morality of the present day. And the other side that states that the ‘Book’ and its moral thoughts are out of date and should only be replicated by its communal or religious believers as they best see fit.

    Here is my Zizekian interpretation on the topic: forget what the words are saying in the Bible, or Tanakh or any writings in the religion, and look at the present actions displayed by the believers and proponents of the religion; i.e., the totality of the religious body and not just reformists or orthodox groups. Words are mere symbols in print and the language used (not the vernacular) can easily become a social mask with no teeth and/or actual implementation behind it. But action is undeniable and it will tell the “truth” about the honesty of the words that are at its foundation.

    Thus some observations remain and are easily answered: 1) how many religious proponents are themselves openly gay and what is the majority reaction to those that are? 2) how many religious leaders actively support gay rights – at an equal level to those of non-gay peoples? 3) Can a gay person become a leader in the organization/body?, etc.

    The actions of the orthodox are obvious, as are those of the reformists. But what of those in the congregational-middle (that may sway the actions and the arguments)? In many religious groups these three will congregate together every week in one way or another. So then as a ‘body’ what is their consensus-action? This is the true representation of the religion.

    The popular sentiment in liberal society is: ‘change attitudes and then actions will follow’ – the problem is that attitudes are subjective and may never change in a lifetime but actions are objective and are often easier to curb in a social group. Thus we should say: change actions and the attitudes will follow!

  24. “In many religious groups these three will congregate together every week in one way or another. So then as a ‘body’ what is their consensus-action? This is the true representation of the religion” (Johnny)

    I agree, the representation of the whole community is the truest aspect of what a ‘faith’ means. I really like this viewpoint to be honest.

    I would also point out many people do not attend church and are still following a ‘faith’ (in fact most of the people I blog with are in this category). So even though churches may be behind the time (which I think is due to institutionalization of religion) it does neccesarily mean Christainity as a ‘whole’ will remain that way. Many of us are trying to see lots of things changed, so we speak out regularily.

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