Are homosexual relations sinful?

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Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #1

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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Post #21

Post by Wootah »

Nothing could further miss the mark (which is the best definition of sin) than not seeing where the penis is meant to go during sex.

For me, if asked, it's just an unwillingness to be told to believe up is down. To be brave enough to say the emperor has no clothes on.

But that doesn't mean shouting from the rooftops but being willing to give an answer when asked.
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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #22

Post by Menotu »

[Replying to post 1 by Mithrae]

So what if they are? Why does that matter to anyone other than the people in the relationship? Aren't they free to sin (or not)? Free will and all, right?
If one person is free to think this or that is a sin, aren't others free to think it not?
Who right or wrong doesn't matter on this earth. And that's all we have proof that we have: the here and now.
Voice an opinion all we want. But it's not my job to force a belief or way of life on to another. They are adults. They have to answer for their own actions.

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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #23

Post by 2ndRateMind »

Divine Insight wrote: Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:35 pm Never mind homosexual relationships. Many people, like myself, never entered into any covenant with any invisible Gods concerning any potential behavior at all. Therefore by "Covenant Theory" it would be impossible for me to sin at all since I never agreed to anything.
Presumably you are law-abiding citizen. (I like to think the best of everyone!) Did you make, or even explicitly, individually, agree to any of the laws you keep? I may be wrong, but I doubt it. So it is with believing Christians. For them, abiding by God's (allegéd) covenants brings far more (psychological) benefits even than keeping the laws of the nation-states of the world, and such benefits testify that God is keeping His side of the bargain.

Best wishes, 2RM.
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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #24

Post by 2ndRateMind »

Hi all. It seems Catholicism doesn't like my position on this, but can't find any arguments to refute it:
You have been suspended from the forum until June 30, 2020, 12:00pm.
The offending passage?
I would argue that homosexuality is not just a matter of thought, word, and deed, but goes right to the heart of the being. ie., it is not just an epistemelogical or moral matter, but an ontological one. That is just the way some people are, the way God made them, doubtless for purposes we can only guess at.
So, for example, I am a heterosexual. I find women attractive, not only physically and sexually, but also mentally. That is the way I am. I cannot conceive of any other way I might be. But doubtless if I was a homosexual, I would find men attractive, physically, sexually and mentally, and be similarly unable in that conception. That is the way they are. I see no reason to condemn them to celibacy, and pander to ancient prejudice, just because the people they find attractive are different to the people I find attractive. I really think we need to right a wrong millenia old, and get this debate behind us as soon as possible.

Best wishes, 2RM.

PS. If you disagree with me on this trajectory, I suggest you get hold of a copy of 'The Naked Civil Servant' by Quentin Crisp, and read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the (brutally honest) testimony. And if you are young and male, and exploring your sexuality, this book will help you determine whether you are straight or gay, or someplace between.
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Post #25

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:36 pmRe: Are homosexual relations sinful?
Assuming the OP is asking about SEXUAL relations then yes, biblically sex (sexual intercourse, sexual activity) between people of the same biological sex, is sinful. Such actions are deemed displeasing to the Creator and unacceptable for a member of the Christian congregation.



JEHOVAHS WTINESS


HOMOSEXUALITY [INDEX]

Image

CHRISTIAN LAW
Does the bible condemn homosexuals or homosexual activity? (sexual intercourse/sexual contact)?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 40#p994140

Does the bible condemn homosexuality (GENDER issues)?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 30#p979130

Is homosexuality "natural"?
viewtopic.php?p=1015585#p1015585

Where in the NT are homosexual acts condemned?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 83#p994483

Were Paul's references to "homosexual practices" alluding to temple prostitution?
viewtopic.php?p=1016747#p1016747

WHY does God prohibit homosexual acts?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 94#p994394

Who should decide if an action is good or bad?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 97#p993397

Are homosexual acts moral or immoral?
viewtopic.php?p=993397#p993397

Do Jehovah's Witnesses judge homosexual?
viewtopic.php?p=993341#p993341


TREATMENT
Does the God of the bible treat homosexuals unjustly?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 21#p926621

Does DOES classifying homosexual acts as sinful equate to hating gays or encouraging mistreatement?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 94#p995694

Is the prohibition of certain sexual behaviours HATEFUL?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 50#p993650

Do Jehovahs Witness illustrations never appeal to people in the LBGQ community?
viewtopic.php?p=960771#p960771

Was Jesus secretly gay?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 77#p768477


THE "OLD TESTAMENT"


Should Christians repudiate the biblical laws calling for
the execution of those guilty of performing homosexual acts?

http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 78#p994278

Do Jehovahs Witnesses support the death penalty for homosexuals?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 61#p993261

Why do Christians wear MIXED FABRICS and eat SEAFOOD yet prohibit homosexual acts ?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 72#p996772

Since many believe "Old Testament" law has been abolished, does this mean God now APPRROVES of homosexual acts?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 41#p993341

Did David and Jonathan have a homosexual relationship?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 03#p710603
To learn more please go to other posts related to...

SEX, SIN and ...HOMOSEXUALITY

FURTHER READING What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102016128
Last edited by JehovahsWitness on Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:34 pm, edited 9 times in total.
INDEX: More bible based ANSWERS
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 81#p826681


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Re:

Post #26

Post by Mithrae »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:31 am Assuming the OP is asking about SEXUAL relations then yes, biblically sex (sexual intercourse, sexual activity) between people of the same biological sex, is sinful. Such actions are deemed displeasing to the Creator and unacceptable for a member of the Christian congregation.
Is it also "displeasing to the Creator" for a woman to teach a man or to speak in a gathering of believers (rather than being quiet and submissive 'as the law says' 1 Cor. 14:34-35, 2 Tim. 2:11-15)?

Of course there are biblical proof texts against homosexual relations, just as there are biblical proof texts against men with long hair or proof texts in favour of circumcision and even slavery. The question isn't really what the jumble of collected religious writings claimed (by others, mostly not by itself!) to be the "word of God" says - it says all sorts of funny and scary things - but what believers want to believe. Which bits do they want to emphasize, and which bits do they want to downplay?

Seems there's a pretty coherent way of looking at things - I would say even more coherent than the narrow bibliolatry which Paul himself seemingly rejected - in which, yes, Paul was simply wrong about some stuff... but as one of the
huge upsides there's no longer any theological or social need for perceived unloving or condescending attitudes towards the natural expression of homosexual affections (or towards women, for that matter). Hesitancy to relinquish traditional dogmas might have been understandable a century ago, but perhaps these days we can infer that it is more a case of just wanting to believe that it's sinful.
Last edited by Mithrae on Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Re:

Post #27

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:06 am
JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:31 am Assuming the OP is asking about SEXUAL relations then yes, biblically sex (sexual intercourse, sexual activity) between people of the same biological sex, is sinful. Such actions are deemed displeasing to the Creator and unacceptable for a member of the Christian congregation.
Is it also "displeasing to the Creator" for a woman to teach a man or to speak in a gathering of believers (rather than being quiet and submissive 'as the law says' 1 Cor. 14:34-35, 2 Tim. 2:11-15)?
Emphasis MINE

Yes. For more details see my earlier post HERE
viewtopic.php?p=952470#p952470




Mithrae wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:06 am
Of course there are biblical proof texts against homosexual relations, just as there are biblical proof texts against men with long hair or proof texts in favour of circumcision and even slavery.
Yes, that is true. For more details see my earlier post HERE


Mithrae wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:06 am Which bits do they want to emphasize, and which bits do they want to downplay?

Well I can only speak as one of Jehovahs Witnesses. If by "downplay" you mean ignore or belittle then we don't "downplay" any part if the bible, we believe all 66 books of the bible canon are inspired of God. We do not howver believe Christians are under any part of the Mosaic law.



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CHRISTIANITY, THE MOSIAC LAW and ...SABBATH KEEPING
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http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 81#p826681


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Re: Re:

Post #28

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Mithrae wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:06 am...there's no longer any theological or social need for perceived unloving or condescending attitudes towards the natural expression of homosexual affections ...
One cannot control or police other people's perceptions. One might perceive an attitude as being {quote} "unloving or condescending" even if that is not the case.

As one of Jehovahs Witnesses I dont believe pointing out what the bible says about homosexual practises is "unloving or condescending" at all, quite the contrary. Telling someone the truth is a loving act as Jesus said the "truth will set you free" not least from spiritually harmful ideas and practises. So if someone believes something is true its not unloving to share that. Further, I dont believe a heterosexual is "superior " to a homosexual, we are all of us sinners, and regardless of our sexual orientation* anyone that truly wishes to submit to bible standards can do so with divine help.
[*] There's no such thing as "homosexual affections". Affection is defined as - "a feeling of liking and caring for someone or something : tender attachment : fondness..." So affection is basically a feeling of love which is essentially identical whether the object of our affection is male or female (or genderless). If a homosexual has effecftion for his child its not called "homosexual affection" it's just affection, no different than if a hetrosexual has affection his child. (... or brother or mother....or pet). One may or may not be sexually attracted to the object of ones affection.

To learn more please go to other posts related to...

HOMOSEXUALITY, HOMOPHOBIA and ...BIBLICAL PROHIBITIONS
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Last edited by JehovahsWitness on Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 81#p826681


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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #29

Post by 2ndRateMind »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:31 am
Mithrae wrote: Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:36 pmRe: Are homosexual relations sinful?
Assuming the OP is asking about SEXUAL relations then yes, biblically sex (sexual intercourse, sexual activity) between people of the same biological sex, is sinful. Such actions are deemed displeasing to the Creator and unacceptable for a member of the Christian congregation.
Does the bible condemn homosexuals or homosexual activity? (sexual intercourse/sexual contact)?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 40#p994140

Does the bible condemn homosexuality?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 30#p979130

...

FURTHER READING What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102016128
Hmmm. An assertion, even if followed by a list of links, doth not a valid and sound philosophical argument make. I suggest you post what you think, referencing appropriately to support your position. Then we might all think you have some clue as to what you are talking about. You might want to start your next contribution to this thread with words like: 'Homosexuality is sinful because...' or even: 'Scripture says homosexuality is sinful because...'

Finally, who deemed homosexuality displeasing to God the creator? I doubt very much it was Him, or He would have created differently. I think it far more likely the scriptures represent the wisdom and the prejudices of their age, and that God loves us all unconditionally, straight or gay.

Best of wishes, 2RM.
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Re: Are homosexual relations sinful?

Post #30

Post by bluegreenearth »

I've posted on this topic before but have never received a convincing explanation for the following observation:

If we presume the Christian God exists for the sake of this argument, it can be abductively inferred from the various interpretations of the Biblical texts that the reason an omnibenevolent God declared particular patterns of immoral behavior such as murder and adultery to be sinful within the context of the described accounts is because such behaviors serve in opposition to the flourishing of God's people. Accordingly, it should be reasonable to expect the prohibition of homosexual relations to have the same justification behind its implementation. However, rather than aligning with this Biblical trajectory towards the flourishing of God's people, the prohibition against homosexual relations between consenting adults has only ever been demonstrated to cause objective harm to God's people on average. As such, since the language from the specified scriptures which are commonly referenced in regards to the prohibition of homosexuality is extremely ambiguous and imprecise, wouldn't it be more reasonable to conclude that it was most likely based on an early misinterpretation of the Biblical texts by fallible church fathers? Otherwise, what is the logical justification for continuing to defend the traditional interpretation of those specified scriptures given the negative impacts that consistently precipitate from its application and the fact that there are other equally plausible alternative theological interpretations which would accommodate a less myopic approach towards homosexual relations between consenting adults?

Many Christians attempt to attribute homosexuality to “the fall” and suggest such people are born with original sin from which they must repent just like everyone else. Then, they proceed to assert God’s right to pass negative judgement against homosexual people who submit to their sinful nature. The equivocation is that heterosexuals must equally resist their innate sinful desires just as much as homosexual people should. However, the claim implies a minority of people are arbitrarily born with not only the burden of original sin ascribed to every human being but also an additional burden obtained in the form of involuntary homosexual attraction. Meanwhile, people fortunate enough to be born as heterosexuals are given the ability to conditionally act on their innate sexual desires through religiously sanctioned marriage. At the same time, compulsory celibacy is demanded from those people whose instinctive sexual preference is for their same biological gender. We are told that God labels it a “sin” when homosexual people practice intimate sexual bonding in committed monogamous relationships with the individuals whom they romantically love but labels it “holy matrimony” when the exact same practice occurs between heterosexual couples. Is such illogical and unnecessarily prejudicial reasoning consistent with most Christian's understanding of God's internal nature?

If the burden of original sin is equally applied to all people in the eyes of God, then from where does the homosexual community receive their added burden? Some Christians propose (rather disgustingly) that the unequal distribution of homosexual attributes in the population is akin to the unequal distribution of disabilities which all resulted from Adam & Eve bringing sin into the world. The idea being that, in the same way God is blameless when a minority of people are born with a disability, God is also not to blame for a minority of people who are born with a homosexual orientation. The problem with such a perspective (apart from falsely equivocating homosexuality with a disability) is it ignores the fact that, while original sin is blamed for the existence of disabilities, it is not (or at least no longer) considered a sin to live as a disabled person.

So, even if there were unquestionable Biblical support for the traditional Christian view that God condemns all forms of homosexual relations, such a conclusion would depict God as an arbitrary and capricious deity based on what is demonstrable about the nature of sexual orientation. After all, why should an asexual deity care one way or the other about the sexual practices of a few consenting adults in a population where the majority of people are already producing a sufficient number of offspring to ensure their survival as a species? If no logical justification can be identified, then is there a theological justification for God to slap the "sin" label on homosexual relations? Obviously, there is nothing fundamental about homosexual relations that inhibits homosexuals from embracing a theistic perspective. So, what other theological reason could the Christian God possibly have for objecting to homosexual relations between consenting adults? Wouldn't an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God have no logical or theological reason for opposing the private and consensual sexual practices of consenting human adults unless there was some tangible reason to do so? If all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving are among the essential attributes of the Christian God, then it shouldn’t be unreasonable to expect such a being to provide Christians with a justification for establishing a prohibition against homosexual relations between consenting adults. So, does a reasonable justification exist or is the Christian God arbitrary and capricious?

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