Posts Tagged ‘ Homosexuality ’

Research on faith and internalized homonegativity

I am posting on behalf of William Skelton.

Your participation in a research project is requested. This study is seeking Gay men and Lesbian women, 18 years of age with either previous or current experience with Christian religion or spirituality. Although many of you are not Gay or Lesbian, you do have connections with individuals who are eligible for this study. Please, take a moment to forward this to your friends or if you are eligible take the survey. The title of the study is “The relationship Between Faith Maturity Development and Internalized Homonegativity”. The study is seeking information that will be useful in the fields of Psychology of Human Sexuality and the Psychology of Religion. The aims of the research are to examine internalized homonegativity and faith maturity. If you decide to participate in this research, you will be asked to do the following: Answer the questions on the following scales as appropriate: Reactions to Homosexuality Scale, the Lesbian Internalized Homonegativity Scale, the Faith Maturity Scale, and a Demographics Scale. The questionnaire is estimated to take no more than 30 minutes to complete.

http://www.psychsurveys.org/williamskelton/ihandfm
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the study or your participation in the study, you may contact me, William Skelton by email at william.skelton@mymail.barry.edu.

Advertisements

No General Homosexual Prohibition in the Bible

Rev Earl Thames, in his letter to the Editor, states that Jesus Wasn’t Mum on Homosexuality (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120121/cleisure/cleisure2.html) in response to Henry Morgan’s letter, Jesus Mum on Gays, So Why Aren’t We? (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120118/letters/letters8.html). I decided to write a response and submit it. It seems the papers don’t like my writings so I haven’t been published in awhile, if they decide to publish me this time, I’ll be sure to tell you.

 

Below is my response.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

 

In the debate over homosexuality, many read into Scripture what is not there, interpreting it to suit their message.

 

Rev. Thames and others assert that Christ referred to homosexuality generally, but the only way to justify such reference is to take Biblical passages out of context.

 

The sin of homosexuality referred to in Leviticus is not homosexuality in general as many would love us to blindly believe. The literal translation of the prohibition in Leviticus states: ‘And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman. It is an abomination’, the statement seems to condemn all forms of male same sex intercourse. This is where reading Scripture in context comes in play. The verses in Leviticus where written at a time when the children of Israel were in danger of falling to idolatry from the cultures of Egypt and Canaan.

Within the context that the ‘homosexual’ prohibition in Leviticus was written, it was in the idolatrous culture of Egypt and/or Canaan for men to have sexual intercourse with male priests as an act of worship. Women did not play part in this type of cultic worship practice, which explains why they are not mentioned.

 

Fornication, be it homosexual or heterosexual forms part of sexual immorality. However not all homosexuals are fornicators; committed monogamous relationships, which do not require the sanction of a state/country law, but are acceptable in God’s sight exist between homosexuals.

 

The condemnation of homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27 again refer to the practice within the context of idolatry. Furthermore verse 25 tells us why God did what He did in verse 26, yet it is often excluded from the quotation of the Romans prohibition.

 

The prohibitions against homosexuality do not operate in a vacuum, nor are they general. In almost all instances it is within the context of idolatry. Homosexuals are not condemned because they are homosexuals; rather, they like heterosexuals are sinners until they come into the fold of God.

 

It is time the Christian church stop misinterpreting and misrepresenting the Word of God and using it to keep persons out of the Kingdom of God, in Jeremiah 23: 1 and 2 we are told; “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!”“…Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done”.

What really was the sin of Sodom?

This was written by a friend of mine, and I’m posting this for her.

***********************************************************************************

Christian or not (especially in a Jamaican context), we’ve heard repeatedly that homosexuality is wrong because God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (hence the term Sodomite). But is that really the honest interpretation we should get out of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Many persons believe that the cities were destroyed because of an attempt by the men to have sex with two apparently male angels.

Pastor Romell D. Weekly, in his article Why Did God Really Destroy Sodom & Gomorrah?[1], tells us that Genesis 19 tells us the circumstances surrounding the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but not actually why God decided to destroy the cities.

I’ve noticed that with many passages of Scripture that have been misinterpreted it’s usually because people chose to read only the passage that directly speaks to the point they’re trying to prove. Having said that, let us look at the passages before the recording in Genesis 19. Genesis 18 tells us why God decided to destroy the cities.

Genesis 18:16-33

New International Version (NIV)

 

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[a] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.[b]23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[c] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Note that nowhere in the passage it is stated that the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was because of homosexuality. Instead if we turn to Ezekiel 16 we are told what the sin of the cities was.

EZEKIEL 16:49-50

New International Version (NIV)

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God tells us that the sins of Sodom were:

  1. Arrogance
  2. Gluttony
  3. Haughtiness
  4. Not helping (unconcerned with) the poor and needy
  5. Abundance of idleness
  6. Committing detestable things

God gave us the sins which led to his decision to destroy the cities.

Now, the 6th sin; committing detestable things is ambiguous and can be the cause for the assumption of homosexuality. But this is erroneous. Jumping to conclusions and forcing one interpretation on an ambiguous text does not honour the word of God.

We need to look in other places in Scripture for guidance on how to work with this ambiguous sin; this is following the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture.

Pastor Weekly states that in Jude we find a qualification of the term ‘detestable things’ (NIV) or ‘abomination’ (KJV)

JUDE 1:7

New International Version (NIV)

7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

 

King James Version (KJV)

 7Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

It is in this passage that we get the first distinct mention that one of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah is of a sexual nature. Pastor Weekly goes on to say:

It says that they gave themselves over to fornication, and pursued “strange flesh”. “Fornication” in this passage is the word ekporneuo, which is derived from the word porneuo, which is an umbrella term that is often translated “prostitute”, but which refers more simply to sexual immorality, in general. Think of how we might call a person a “whore” today because he/she is sexually promiscuous, not necessarily because he/she sells the body sexually

They went after “strange flesh”. Once again, we have a fairly generic, ambiguous term that people associate with homosexuality. But why do they associate it with homosexuality? Does the verse indicate homosexual activity? No. It’s associated with homosexuality because that’s how people interpret the intentions of the townsmen in the destruction narrative (Gen. 19). The problem is that that interpretation is grossly inaccurate—a conclusion explained in detail in another study.

So we now begin to question what does Scripture mean by the term ‘strange flesh’? In the same passage of Jude we find that explanation.

JUDE 1:6-9

New International Version (NIV)

6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

 8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Each verse deals with interaction between angels and humans. Reading Jude 1:7 in context, can we really come to an interpretation that verse 7 refers to homosexuals?

Pastor Weekly concludes:

the “strange flesh” that the Sodomites were pursuing sexually wasn’t strange in that it belonged to other men. It was strange in that it belong to another (an other) created kind—that of angels. And before we make the mistake of believing that angels don’t have flesh since they are spiritual entities, let’s remember a few things.

  1. 1.     The angels who sinned in the days of Noah certainly had flesh, in that they were able to copulate and have hybrid children with human women.
  2. 2.     The apostle Paul specifically tells us that angels are able to take human form and interact with humans (Heb. 13:2).
  3. 3.     There are multiple examples in Scripture of angels taking human form, including those of Noah’s day (Point 1), those mentioned by Paul (Point 2), and those who visited Abraham in Gen. 18 (the same ones who later carried out God’s judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah in ch. 19).

To be certain we’re clear Pastor Weekly points out that:

Bestiality was the sexual sin of the Sodomites, not homosexuality. God destroyed them for precisely the same reason He destroyed the world during the days of Noah. They were a wicked people and they committed abomination (Ez. 16:49-50), pursuing sexual activity with angel-beings (beings of another created kind). Interestingly, these very two ingredients were contained within the culture of Noah’s day.

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.  [5]  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Genesis 6:4-5

Notice that the giants (Hebrew: Nephilim) were not simply genetic anomalies. They were the hybrid offspring of human women and angels. Yet, verse 4 expressly states that these Nephilim were in the earth “in those days, and also after that…” If they were in the earth after the time of the Flood, that means that these human/angel liasons did not end with the destruction of the old world. Even post-Flood, there were times when angels and humans copulated and had hybrid offspring.

Two aprocryphal books—though not considered inspired by most Protestant Christians—indicate that giants (Nephilim) were in Sodom prior to its destruction (Ecclesiasticus 16:7-9, Book of Jubilees 20:5). If this was the case, it certainly correlates with Jude’s accusation that they pursued angelic flesh, as well as Ezekiel’s prophetic word that they “committed abomination” before God.

So, in concluding lets go over the list God gave regarding the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

  1. Arrogance
  2. Gluttony
  3. Haughtiness
  4. Not helping (unconcerned with) the poor and needy
  5. Abundance of idleness
  6. Committing detestable things

Nowhere in this list is homosexuality specifically mentioned, and upon looking at the passages that give light to the context of the one ambiguity there is still no mention of homosexuality.

The notion that the destruction story of Sodom and Gomorrah pertains to homosexuality, is an erroneous one, imposed upon the Biblical text by persons jumping to conclusion by reading the Bible at face value rather than actually studying Scripture, and by persons imposing their interpretation on the text.


[1] Why Did God Really Destroy Sodom & Gomorrah?

(http://gaychristianfellowship.com/articles.php?aid=1011)