Are homosexual relations sinful?

Debating issues regarding sexuality

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Mithrae
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Are homosexual relations sinful?

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Post by Mithrae »

In Australia we're currently enduring a postal vote about gay marriage, and the Christian rhetoric which has inevitably been cropping up has reminded me of some thoughts I'd initially had back in 2006.
  • Tuesday, 9 May 2006
    It occurs to me that Christianity may very well have the wrong end of the stick in their view of God. If nothing else, surely what the old testament and the gospels teach us is that God is a covenant God. Jesus said that his blood was the blood of the new covenant; looking back, the Mosaic law is described as the old covenant; he made covenants also with Abraham and David. Perhaps we should not think of God as one who simply sits in the clouds handing out laws. Rather, he is a God who makes covenants with his people; fellowship in return for blessing. . . .

    With the people of Israel God made two covenants. The first was at Sinai, beginning with the ten commandments covering chapters 20 to 23 of Exodus. These are almost exclusively commandments of worship for God and social justice amongst the Israelites, with very little about sacrifical specifications or ritual purity. Chapter 24 describes the confirmation of this covenant and the people's agreement to abide by the terms written within the 'book of the covenant.' The second covenant was made in the lands east of the Jordan River, before Moses died and the people crossed over (Deuteronomy 29:1), and covers chapters 5 to 28 of Deuteronomy (with the earlier chapters being the preamble). Laws concerning such things as legal cases, the king, cities of refuge and warfare regulations (chapters 17 to 20) make it clear that this is essentially the constitution of the new nation of Israel.
The bible does not say that God gave any rules or commandments at all to Adam and Eve, except the bit about the tree; and similarly, Jeremiah clearly states that the new covenant to come would be "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt" (Jer. 31:31). In commenting on that passage the author of Hebrews writes "In that he says, “A new covenant,� he has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13).

How can it be that at one time it was "sinful" to sow a field with two kinds of seed, or wear a garment made of two kinds of cloth (Leviticus 19:19), yet Christians now would almost universally consider these to be silly and outdated concepts? Why did commands like that exist in the first place? I believe they were intended to ingrain into the Israelite people the concept of their separateness from the nations around them, to reinforce and strengthen their own national identity. But then, that same kind of practical purpose seems to obviously underlie the prohibition against same-sex relations too (or the exclusion of anyone who'd suffered genital injuries in Deut. 23:1): A small nation surrounded by enemies would likely need all its people breeding to maintain its strength. Crude and even cruel though those laws may have been, at least we might be able to glean a worthy intention behind them.

But the Christian concept of "sin" as it is usually expressed seems to be utterly blind to the fact that these were part of a covenant - an agreement - between God and Israel, one which the author of Hebrews declared to be obsolete. And according to Jeremiah the new covenant is not to be found in letters of stone or ink in a book; instead "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor or a man his brother, saying 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest" (Jer. 31:31-34). (See also my earlier thread Did apostles think they were writing the 'word of God'?)

Likewise Paul - though he himself remained hung up on homosexuality - captures the more individual nature of the New Agreement perfectly, even as he downplays the everlasting covenant of circumcision:
  • Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. . . .
    13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.� 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.


    Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’�
    12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.
Have Christians got the wrong idea of "sin"?

And if the essence of God's will is simply that "You shall love your neighbour as yourself," as Paul says, isn't homosexuality one of the most obvious examples in which freedom in Christ replaces the situational rules of Israel?

An example in fact where Christian attitudes often seem to be almost the opposite of love?

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #211

Post by Miles »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:15 am
Miles wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:30 pm In light of our current moral attitude toward slavery (it aint nice, and it's against the law) what related passage sheds light on (justifies, I would suppose) Exodus 21:20-21, Exodus 21:20-21, which says:

“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money."
Are you asking me a question? There was no question mark {?} In your post so I had to read it twice to understand. If you are indeed asking my opinion I imagine you have not read my earlier posts on this passage*.
Yeah, it is a question but with a typo. :(


JehovahsWitness wrote:
* "shed light on"/ understand =/= justify
Okay, then. . . .

What related passage sheds light on (helps us understand) Exodus 21:20-21, which says:

“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money"?


Because as it stands the bible does say slave owners are allowed to beat their slaves to death as long as they don't die within a day or two.



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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #212

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Miles wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:06 pm
“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money"?

Because as it stands the bible does say slave owners are allowed to beat their slaves to death as long as they don't die within a day or two.


Where does it mention permission?
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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #213

Post by Miles »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:40 am
Miles wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:06 pm
“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money"?

Because as it stands the bible does say slave owners are allowed to beat their slaves to death as long as they don't die within a day or two.

Where does it mention permission?
First and last word on the subject ;):

Obviously not with that specific word of course, :roll: but the words and structure of the verse are such that they reveal god permits it.


Have a nice evening.


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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #214

Post by nobspeople »

Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:40 am
Miles wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:06 pm
“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money"?

Because as it stands the bible does say slave owners are allowed to beat their slaves to death as long as they don't die within a day or two.

Where does it mention permission?
First and last word on the subject ;):

Obviously not with that specific word of course, :roll: but the words and structure of the verse are such that they reveal god permits it.


Have a nice evening.


.
Seems to me if God was against something he wouldn't have allowed it to be spoken about so positively (in other words, not condemning it) in his autobiography (he's said to be all about love and that's all over the bible, right?).
But we will make excuses as to why it's there, saving face for the believer and their god. And they're ok with that. Which is astonishing to me, but par for the course I guess.
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #215

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am First and last word on the subject

I think that would be best for you if it is.


Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:40 am


Where does it mention permission?
Obviously not with that specific word of course ...
Thank you for that admission.
Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
... the words and structure of the verse are such that they reveal god permits it.
Possibly in your imagination but there is certainly nothing in the words or the "structure" that amounts to permission to beat anyone slave or freeman. What we do have is the sanctions imposed for a particular action.

Arguments from silence make for flimsy argumentation: Your Honor, I noticed there was a law against running over my neighbour, so I took that To be permission to run over his dog.
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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #216

Post by nobspeople »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:14 pm
Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am First and last word on the subject

I think that would be best for you if it is.


Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:40 am


Where does it mention permission?
Obviously not with that specific word of course ...
Thank you for that admission.
Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
... the words and structure of the verse are such that they reveal god permits it.
Possibly in your imagination but there is certainly nothing in the words or the "structure" that amounts to permission to beat anyone slave or freeman. What we do have is the sanctions imposed for a particular action.

Arguments from silence make for flimsy argumentation: Your Honor, I noticed there was a law against running over my neighbour, so I took that To be permission to run over his dog.
Funny enough, while I agree with you, specifically, the fact that it was spoken of and not condemned by God, to me, says enough that, at the very least, God as 'OK with it. If not, I would suspect God would have said something to the fact of "this doesn't matter because you shouldn't have slaves anyway".
So I guess, like most everything in the bible, it's open for interpretation depending on what one wants to try to justify.
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #217

Post by Clownboat »

nobspeople wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:22 pm
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:14 pm
Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am First and last word on the subject

I think that would be best for you if it is.


Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:40 am


Where does it mention permission?
Obviously not with that specific word of course ...
Thank you for that admission.
Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
... the words and structure of the verse are such that they reveal god permits it.
Possibly in your imagination but there is certainly nothing in the words or the "structure" that amounts to permission to beat anyone slave or freeman. What we do have is the sanctions imposed for a particular action.

Arguments from silence make for flimsy argumentation: Your Honor, I noticed there was a law against running over my neighbour, so I took that To be permission to run over his dog.
Funny enough, while I agree with you, specifically, the fact that it was spoken of and not condemned by God, to me, says enough that, at the very least, God as 'OK with it. If not, I would suspect God would have said something to the fact of "this doesn't matter because you shouldn't have slaves anyway".
So I guess, like most everything in the bible, it's open for interpretation depending on what one wants to try to justify.
And when the Bible can be made to say just about anything, it really does start to lose meaning.
No longer should people be justified in commiting evils 'because the Bible (or their preferred holy book)' IMO.

We should be held accountable for our actions, not justified to own other humans because 'religion'. Owning others as property as the Bible describes is evil IMO. Many religious people disagree it seems. Perhaps that is why religion is still growing in 3rd world countries. Education, I believe is setting the world free from religions. Unfortunately for many, it is coming too late.
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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #218

Post by nobspeople »

Clownboat wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:30 pm
nobspeople wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:22 pm
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:14 pm
Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am First and last word on the subject

I think that would be best for you if it is.


Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:40 am


Where does it mention permission?
Obviously not with that specific word of course ...
Thank you for that admission.
Miles wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:52 am
... the words and structure of the verse are such that they reveal god permits it.
Possibly in your imagination but there is certainly nothing in the words or the "structure" that amounts to permission to beat anyone slave or freeman. What we do have is the sanctions imposed for a particular action.

Arguments from silence make for flimsy argumentation: Your Honor, I noticed there was a law against running over my neighbour, so I took that To be permission to run over his dog.
Funny enough, while I agree with you, specifically, the fact that it was spoken of and not condemned by God, to me, says enough that, at the very least, God as 'OK with it. If not, I would suspect God would have said something to the fact of "this doesn't matter because you shouldn't have slaves anyway".
So I guess, like most everything in the bible, it's open for interpretation depending on what one wants to try to justify.
And when the Bible can be made to say just about anything, it really does start to lose meaning.
No longer should people be justified in commiting evils 'because the Bible (or their preferred holy book)' IMO.

We should be held accountable for our actions, not justified to own other humans because 'religion'. Owning others as property as the Bible describes is evil IMO. Many religious people disagree it seems. Perhaps that is why religion is still growing in 3rd world countries. Education, I believe is setting the world free from religions. Unfortunately for many, it is coming too late.
The bolded section is important IMO. It shows why religious groups want silliness (IMO anyway) like creationism taught along side science as scientifically supported possibility. The last 5 or so years the USA has seen how its education has failed itself and failed miserably. Not always because of poor teachers (but some of the time that's the case) but because 1) schools are being less about education and more about day care for kids with little to no manners and respect and 2) who wants to go and teach rude kids and run the risk for being shot at of miserable pay?
I hope I'm wrong but I'm starting to think we've seen the apex of intellectual people in this world - it's all down hill from here.
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #219

Post by Miles »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:09 am
Miles wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:04 pm...JWs treat sexual orientation as if it was a chosen part of the homosexual's identity
How does one treat a sexual orientation? Sexual orientation is simply a feeling, one can't interact with someone else's feelings any more than one can walk up to jealous and offer to buy it a coffee.
Actually, sexual orientation is "an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people."* So it's a bit more than a simple feeling.

* source

Feelings, views, hopes and desires are all interior to a person, so treatment (acts) are with the person that has those feelings not with the feelings themselves. Sexual orientation cannot exist outside of the person himself.
Jehovah's Witness ...
  • (a) treat all people with love and respect including homosexuals.

    (b) view engaging in homosexual ACTS (intercourse, sexual contact) as a choice. A choice their god demands be terminated by killing each of the parties involved if they are males---evidently practicing lesbians get a bye here.

    (c) view homosexuality ( sexual or romantic attraction to others of one's same biological sex) as evidence of human imperfection and not necessarily a conscious choice*


* Sexuality is complex and the scientific community is divided as to the degree same sex attraction is genetically driven; Jehovahs Witnesses avoid becoming embroiled in that debate.
As well they should.


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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #220

Post by AgnosticBoy »

Miles wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:35 pm
Actually, sexual orientation is "an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people."* So it's a bit more than a simple feeling.

* source
I agree that sexual orientation is not a simple feeling but I disagree that it is immutable. Some Christians tend to explain it in terms of a simple behavior because it's easier to bring in moral responsibility ("it's a choice"). Some in the LGBT crowd don't help the situation when they try to go as far as they can to root homosexuality in biology (e.g. "born this way").

Sexual orientation may be immutable for some people, but not for all, especially when it comes to women. There's no evidence that we can voluntarily change our sexual orientation, but that doesn't mean it can't be changed. You can have change without choice.
Sexual fluidity, in short, means your sexual orientation isn’t permanently fixed.

Yes, everyone has an underlying orientation — asexual, pansexual, or heterosexual, for example. Yet there’s room for it to expand a little, based on your experiences and current situation.

It can help to think of orientation as a spectrum that includes people of all genders. Sexually fluid people tend to experience attractions at different points along the spectrum as they go through life.

He goes on to say people sometimes interpret fluidity as confusion, or betrayal of an allegiance to a specific community.

“As a result of the stigma around fleeting same-sex attraction and consequences for that ‘betrayal,’ normal feelings of love and sex and curiosity often get swept under the rug, where the limits of Western societal norms keep them hidden,” explains Zogg.
Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/sexua ... definition
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