Friday, June 3, 2011

A Different Point of View: Christianity and Homosexuality

Okay. So this may step on some toes, but honestly I don't care. I have a different POV on the subject of homosexuality and the bible. Politically you can consider me middle of the road. I'm not far right or left on all things. I don't think one side is always right on everything. I used to lean far right on a lot of things, until I opened my mind more and started thinking more for myself. My personal views towards the inerrancy of the bible and the concept of homosexuality leans more towards the liberal side. In the end: only one being knows the truth, and that is God.

And for those of us (general us) heterosexuals who sit around and say "it's just not natural..." How do you (general you) know? Are YOU a homosexual? How do you honestly know how they feel inside? Ask just about anyone who is gay, and mostly they will tell you they would not CHOOSE that lifestyle if it were simply a choice -  they wouldn't choose it because of all the ridicule and hatred that is spread towards them because of it. I know when I get to heaven and face God's judgment, I don't want to be judged as being hateful, judgmental, or an oppressor.

And how can Christians sit around and preach all this love and non-judgment, and then sit there and openly judge someone who is gay, calling them unnatural? Teaching about focusing on our personal walk with God - keeping sin out of our own lives, and not worrying about what others are doing and how that effects their own lives with God... does that not apply to homosexual people? I think it should apply to everyone despite their differences.

We have become so "religious" and "indoctrinated."And you'll excuse me if I walk away from the doctrine of the church... a group of overly religious people who have separated into so many different denominations because they can't agree to disagree on the issues. Is that really what God wants of us? Personally, I think we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Honestly, when comparing liberal and conservative views several years ago, I would have just sneered at their view and said they can't possibly be right. But now I look at it, and their more open minded approach shows more of the love of Christ than the conservative POV, in my honest opinion. Conservatives focus so much on the condemnation of these people. Did it ever occur to them that one, we shouldn't take these passages so literal, and two, it really could be a mistranslation?

The original bible - the inspired word of God - is written in another language. It was transcribed by man to begin with, so there is always room for MAN'S error. God is the only perfect being, and he did not physically write those pages himself. And then it was translated by man into how many different versions? (We go back to the concept of split denominations... they keep re-translating the bible into a version that better fits their doctrine.)

Every religion on this planet was created by man. Every holy book was written by man. I believe that we cannot literally take it word for word, verse by verse, as a rule book.

Lets look at the difference between conservative and liberal views on the subject:


Conservatives often use the New International Version (NIV) or King James Version (KJV) versions of the Bible, although the popularity of the New King James Version (NKJV) and English Standard Version (ESV) translations is growing rapidly. They generally interpret passages literally, and believe that Paul was inspired by God to write epistles which were inerrant.  The KJV condemns "abusers of themselves with mankind", which criticizes male-male intercourse. However, the NIV appears to go well beyond the content of the original Greek by attacking "homosexual offenders" -- that is, both gay males and lesbians.  Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Christians generally believe that this verse condemns all homosexual activity. They view it as valid today as it was in the first century CE. Verse 6:11 seems to imply that once gays and lesbians become saved, then they will no longer wish to engage in homosexual activities. They will presumably become heterosexuals.

From a forum on homosexuality and the Bible in the Philadelphia Inqurier: 
bulletA. Mohler: 'I believe it explicitly relates to homosexuality. It has been understood that way in the Christian Church from the earliest era.'
bulletT. Crater: 'It [malakoi] can have a meaning that's not carnal. But the way it's used -- it's embedded in the same context with adultery -- it's pretty clear what the meaning is...A hallmark of Evangelicals is that we take a literal, normal, face-value interpretation of the Bible. Some people attempt to keep some form of Christianity and hold on to homosexuality, too. It leads to strange interpretations of the Bible.'

Liberals generally do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. They believe that Paul was writing from his own knowledge and experience. Further, they often believe that only some of the epistles attributed to Paul were actually written by him; they regard other epistles as later forgeries. During the 1st century CE, even an educated person like Paul would know very little about human sexuality, compared to present-day sexuality researchers.

bulletJ. Nelson: 'Paul used the Greek word malakoi. They translate it as effeminate and so on. It could mean that; it might not. It can mean soft. Paul was a Jewish theologian. Someone from a Jewish background would consider that behavior unacceptable. Many Greeks did not.'
bulletD. Bartlett: 'There's considerable debate over what the Greek words mean. We just don't know. I've read most of the debate, and I don't know.'
bulletK. Stendahl: 'When people come to me -- deeply Christian people -- and say, 'This is the way I am created. This is how God made me, how He makes me feel love,' I have to respect that. We know many things people [like Paul] did not know at that time. One should read the Bible with some kind of reason.' 

About "malakoi:"

The original Greek text describes the two behaviors as "malakoi" (malakoi). -- some sources quote "malakee" -- and "arsenokoitai" (arsenokoitai).

"Malakoi" is translated in both Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25 as "soft" (KJV) or as "fine" (NIV) in references to clothing. It could also mean "loose" or "pliable," as in the phrase "loose morals," implying "unethical behavior." In the early Christian church, the words were interpreted by some as referring to persons who are pliable, easily influenced, without courage or stability. Non-Biblical writings of the era used the world to refer to lazy men, men who cannot handle hard work, and cowards.
[John] Wesley's Bible Notes defines "Malakoi" as those:
"Who live in an easy, indolent way; taking up no cross, enduring no hardship. But how is this? These good-natured, harmless people are ranked with idolaters and sodomites! We may learn hence, that we are never secure from the greatest sins, till we guard against those which are thought the least; nor, indeed, till we think no sin is little, since every one is a step toward hell." 
One knowledgeable but anonymous reviewer of our web site said that "Malakoi" really means:
 "... men not working or advancing ideas so as to concern themselves with love only. Not working for the good of the whole....Our present culture has all sorts of connotations associated with the word 'effeminate' that simply don't apply [to Paul's era]."
It would seem that the word "effeminate" can only be regarded as a mistranslation.

About "arsenokoitai:"

This word appears to have been coined by Paul himself.  The first use of the word is found in his epistles. Its precise meaning is unknown. 


  1. Hi, just recently came across your site. There's a book called Paul Among the People that deals with what exactly Paul is talking about in these passages in relation to when these words are used in other classical references as well as other things like "sorcerers", "revelers" etc. It's pretty eye opening to understanding the culture Paul is speaking to.

    My blog is Manifest Blog if you're interested.

  2. Thanks for the link to the book - I may have to read this one. :) And I followed your blog.