Biblical ignorance is an epidemic in the United States. A recent study quoted by Dr. Peter Gomes in The Good Book found that 38 percent of Americans polled were certain the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus’ death. Ten percent believed Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles.
This same kind of biblical ignorance is all too present around the topic of homosexuality. Often people who love and trust God’s Word have never given careful and prayerful attention to what the Bible does or doesn’t say about homosexuality.
Leviticus 18:22 reads: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination.” A similar verse occurs two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13: “A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed.” On the surface, these words could leave you feeling rather uneasy, especially if you are gay. There’s something everyone needs to understand…
Leviticus is a holiness code written 3,000 years ago. This code includes many outdated sexual laws. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig (football). So what’s a holiness code? It’s a list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time. In this case, the code was written for priests only, and its primary intent was to set the priests of Israel over and against priests of other cultures.
I’m convinced those passages say nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today. Here’s why. Consider this single Bible passage that was used for centuries to condemn masturbation:
“He spilled his seed on the ground… And the thing which Onan did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also” (Genesis 38:9-10).
For Jewish writers of Scripture, a man sleeping with another man was an abomination. But it was also an abomination (and one worthy of death) to masturbate or even to interrupt coitus (to halt sex with your spouse before ejaculation as an act of birth control). Why were these sexual practices considered abominations by Scripture writers in these ancient times?
Because the Hebrew pre-scientific understanding was that the male semen contained the whole of life. With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was assumed that the man’s sperm contained the whole child and that the woman provided only the incubating space. Therefore, the spilling of semen without possibility of having a child was considered murder. The Jews were a small tribe struggling to populate a country. They were outnumbered by their enemy. You can see why these ancient people felt it was an abomination to risk “wasting” even a single child. But the passage says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.
I understand the fear and discomfort that comes along with changing your view on something you’ve believed and been taught your entire life. I also know how those teachings not only impact your belief, but your personal opinion (belief and opinion can be too different things). And I understand that once you accept homosexuality as a damnable trespass, you’re likely always going to feel that way, even if Jesus himself came down and said it was alright. Personal opinions and convictions which were cultivated in childhood as a result of misinformation being perpetuated by biblical literalists are very powerful. So I understand that it doesn’t matter what biblical and historical truths I display in front of you, you believe what you choose to believe and you will choose to believe whatever is most comfortable and familiar.
In the end, taking scripture out of context to support your bias is reprehensible. And this is coming from an atheist lol.
I WANNA TALK TO YOU MAN! What's your Kik?
kik = aidenaintcool