Thinking out loud….(part 1)

The post directly under this one was written by a friend, Howard, whom
I respect even though his thoughts on certain things are quite contrary
to mine. Nonetheless I felt that I wanted some input from someone who
I know to be religious and also who has enough knowledge to point
towards scripture, without falling into the pit-trap of denounciation
without anything to back it up. Thank you Howard, but heres my kick
towards religion. Don’t take it personally, I will only be voicing views
and opinions and they are not in any way aimed towards you but rather
towards the concept of religion.

Lets start.

Christianity is what most westerners are used to, and also in our society
the most common to use to denounciate homosexuality. Fine. Sweden is
mostly comprised of lutherans, since that is the common church of state
here so I am afraid thats the standpoint I will have to take, I do not personally
have enough on my feet regarding different aspects such as catholicism
to voice an opinion.

Now, heres a direct quote from Rev. Michael S. Piazza :

Nowhere does the Bible actually address the idea of persons being lesbian or gay. The statements are, without exception, directed to certain homosexual acts. Early writers had no understanding of homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. That truth is a relatively recent discovery. The biblical authors were referring to homosexual acts performed by persons they assumed were heterosexuals.

Something commonly used to show God’s reluctance about homosexuality
is Genesis 19:1-29, the story of sodom and Gomorrah, In the story, two angels, in the form of men,
are sent to the home of Lot in Sodom. While they are there, the men of the city “both young and old,
surrounded the house – everyone without exception” and demanded that the visitors be brought out
“so that we might know them.” (Genesis 19: 4-5)

Lot begged the men to leave his guests alone and take his daughters instead.
The men of the city became angry and stormed the door. As a result, they
were all struck blind by the angels.

There are several problems with the traditional interpretation of this passage.
Whether or not the intent of the men of Sodom was sexual, the inhospitality and
injustice coming from the mob, and that generally characterized the community, were
“the sin of Sodom.” (Ezekial 16:49-50, Isaiah 13:19, Jeremiah 49:18; 50:40)

Jesus himself refers to the inhospitality of Sodom. (Luke 10:10-13) If the men were indeed
homosexuals, then why would Lot offer them his daughters? What is threatened here is rape.
The significant point, then, is that all rape is considered horrible by God. The story deserves
another reading.

So, still, we have not seen the scripture where homosexuality is a sin punishable by
prosection, assault and so on. Interresting huh?

Now, heres another part of the same article:

Jesus did a great deal to change many social customs and ideas. He elevated the position of women, and, ultimately, they were his best and most faithful disciples. He did this by example and by commandments that were absolutely inclusive of the rights of all people. Yet, in the name of the Christ whose love encompassed all, the Church has been the most homophobic of all institutions. This should not be surprising when we realize that the Church is still the largest institution which is primarily racially segregated.

The final, and central, message of the New Testament is that ALL persons are loved by God so much that God’s Son was sent as a means of redemption from a disease by which we are all afflicted. The cure for this disease cannot be found in any set of actions. Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality is redemptive. God’s love through Christ was given to all people.

Note. ALL PEOPLE. Isn’t homosexuals people too? Do they deserve the constant scorn of
the society and be projected the guilt that they “should be normal” ? I certainly hope not.

The parts in the bible that has been taken as the strongest suppor to abhor homosexuality
has been Paul’s statements.

Paul’s statement in Romans 1:18-32 has been taken as the strongest New Testament
rejection of homosexuality. He is concerned about the influence of the pagan culture
on the Roman Christians. After giving a detailed description of a world that “exchanged
the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the
Creator,” he continues, “Therefore, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their
women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also
abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lusts for one another.
Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due
penalty of their perversion.”

A complete reading of these passages, in their original context, clearly shows that what Paul was actually referring to was homosexual temple prostitution, which was performed by various cults (though far more cults used heterosexual prostitution). Again, Paul is not referring to same-sex love, and he clearly has no concept of persons for whom this lifestyle is “natural.”

I will end the quoting with this little quote:

If they are excluded from the life of the Christian community, who, then, will tell them of
God’s inclusive love and of Jesus’ reconciling death? Are they left to assume that God is so
narrow-minded as to exclude them for something over which they have no control and
for a choice they did not make? When will the Church finally be brave enough to say with
Paul, “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female,  gay or straight?
God has enough love for all!

Yes, that is it. God has enough love for all. At least that was what I was taught
the few times I set my foot inside a church. Should that all encompassing
love exclude some people who happens to fall in LOVE with someone of the
same gender? I think not. My own ideas here is that if you are trying to exclude
these people, you are going against what Jesus himself preached. And wouldn’t
that make you into someone who thinks he knows better then Christ? And
in doing so, aren’t you committing a sin greater then loving someone of the
same gender?

Note here that I am not discussing promiscuity, because neither I, the bible or
preachers support that. But what is accepted by christians seems to vary on
wich congregation you ask. Heres a wikipedia excerpt:

Views critical of homosexuality

Many Christians believe that marriage is defined by the union of a man and a woman, and that any sexual act outside of the marriage relationship is inherently sinful. In addition, some Christians interpret biblical verses on homosexuality to mean that the heterosexual family was created by God and that same-sex relationships contradict God’s design for marriage and violate His will. Christians who oppose homosexual behavior sometimes contend that same-gender sexual activity is unnatural. The Association of Politically Active Christians says that it subverts God’s creative intent for human sexuality.

Christian objections to homosexual behavior are often based upon interpretations of the Bible. Some Christians note that the book of Leviticus contains prohibitions against male-male sexuality. Some Biblical scholars interpret Genesis 19:5 as indicating that homosexual behavior led to the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.[17][21] Other Biblical passages that address the issue of homosexuality include Romans 1, I Corinthians 6:8-10, and Jude 1:7; the relevant portion of Romans 1 reads as follows:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men … For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:18a, 21-27)

Christian author and counselor Joe Dallas notes that the Biblical passages relating to homosexual behavior uniformly prohibit that behavior. Exodus International and others take the view that I Corinthians 6:9-11 offers Christian believers freedom from the sin of homosexual behavior.

Conservative Christians argue that there were denunciations of homosexuality in the writings of the early Christian era. In response to the claim that such passages have been mistranslated due to certain obscure words whose meanings are unclear, conservatives point out that many passages use commonplace words whose meanings are well-known, such as the passage from the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea which condemns “the union of women with women and men with men”, or St. Cyprian‘s denunciation of “men with frenzied lusts rushing upon men”. They are critical of the views that early Christians and Biblical figures had same-sex relationships. Conservatives claim that neither the Bible nor ancient Jewish law records such unions and that the term “son-in-law” at the heart of the Jonathan and David dispute could be used symbolically rather than literally.

In response to claims that even the medieval Church tolerated homosexuality, some cite documents such as the “Summa Theologica“, the cornerstone summary of doctrine in that era, which contains passages denouncing “copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female” (ST: II:II: Q154: Art.11). It is argued that such passages use commonplace terms which are neither obscure nor in dispute.

In response to those who say that the Bible and early/medieval saints condemned homosexuality only due to a misconception that homosexual relationships could not be stable and committed, conservatives counter that this is not the form of sex which God had designed – meaning that the issue here is not “commitment”, but rather God’s purpose for sex: to be practiced as a sacred and good gift in a specific context, i.e., marriage between one man and one woman. According to that position, any deviations from that context are wrong, homosexual or not. Thus homosexuality is condemned along with bestiality, promiscuity, polygamy, extra-marital affairs, and sex outside of marriage. Some Christians not in the Reformation tradition point out that sources such as St. Hildegard’s visions quote God as condemning certain forms of sexual intercourse both in same-sex relationships and also when they are practiced by a husband and wife, to the same conclusion as stated above.

Conservative Christian scholars believe that the original texts must be translated by abiding by the standard definitions of ancient words as defined both by previous generations of scholars and by the people who lived close to the time periods in which the original languages were in active use, such as the early Church Fathers and ancient Christian writers (see examples of their interpretations above).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies … must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” As an alternative to a school-sponsored Day of Silence supporting homosexuality, conservative Christians organized a Golden Rule Initiative, where they passed out cards saying “As a follower of Christ, I believe that all people are created in the image of God and therefore deserve love and respect.” Some Christians who oppose homosexual behavior have formed organizations that encourage and assist those Christians who seek to overcome same-sex attraction. Exodus International is one such organization. A major ally of Exodus International is Focus on the Family, which sponsors the Love Won Out ministry. One study has shown that 34.3% of participants in such groups self-reported significant change in their sexual attractions.

Views favorable to homosexuality

Liberal Christians believe that Biblical passages have been mistranslated or that these passages do not refer to LGBT orientation as currently understood

Liberal Christian scholars, like conservative Christian scholars, accept earlier versions of the Bible in Hebrew or Greek. However, within these early Bibles there are many terms that liberals have interpreted differently to previous generations of scholars. They are concerned with copying errors, forgery, and biases among the translators of later Bibles. They consider some verses such as those supporting slavery or the inferior treatment of women as not being valid today, and against the will of God present in the context of the Bible. They cite these issues when arguing for a change in theological views on sexual relationships to what they claim is an earlier view. They differentiate among various sexual practices, treating rape, prostitution, or temple sex rituals as immoral and those within committed relationships as positive regardless of sexual orientation. They view certain verses, which they believe refer only to homosexual rape, as not relevant to consensual homosexual relationships.
Some believe that a number of early Christians entered into homosexual relationships, citing the views of John Boswell, or even claim that Biblical figures were homosexual couples, Biblical injunctions against sexual relationships between members of the same sex notwithstanding. Often cited are Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, Daniel and the court official Ashpenaz, and, most famously, David and King Saul‘s son Jonathan.[31]

Writings of later periods deploring homosexuality are discounted by many liberal Christians. They claim that such opinions were formed upon flawed Biblical translations caused by human error or the personal bias of translators.

Modern gay Christian leader Justin R. Cannon promotes what he calls “Inclusive Orthodoxy” (not to be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Church). He explains on his ministry website: “Inclusive Orthodoxy is the belief that the Church can and must be inclusive of LGBT individuals without sacrificing the Gospel and the Apostolic teachings of the Christian faith.” Cannon’s ministry takes a unique approach quite distinct from modern liberal Christians, yet which still supports homosexual relations. His ministry affirms the divine inspiration of the Bible, the authority of Tradition, and claims “…that there is a place within the full life and ministry of the Christian Church for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians, both those who are called to lifelong celibacy and those who are partnered.”

Interresting reading? Well, I will do a little summary later on , and really, I apologize
for the LOOOOOONG post, but it is a heavy subject. This is by no means the last I
write on this topic, in fact, i feel this is incomplete, but you will have to wait a while