One of the biggest struggles inside and outside of Christianity, is the interpretation of the Bible. Every sect of Christianity has its own favored ‘version’ of interpretation. Even when it comes down to looking at the original word in Greek or Hebrew, there are differences of translation and interpretation. And given that written Hebrew relies on dots and other symbols to include vowels, there could be some question if the word was translated correctly in the first place.
That’s part of the reason why different sects choose specific translations of the Bible. They tend to pick the translation that most closely aligns with their doctrine.
This particular Christian man has done a reasonably deep study of the appropriate passages (although, I believe there are other passages in both the Old and New Testaments that also weigh in on this matter).
But, it’s all still just based on interpretation. Some Christians may well believe or can be persuaded to believe that what he says is the correct translation of these specific passages.
I do agree with him on one point. When dealing with a translation of an ancient text, you MUST take into account the cultural context of the text.
However, I strongly disagree with one of his claims in regards to the cultural context of the Bible. He claims that almost all homosexual activity in the ancient world was older male/young male, with the older man also having a wife. This concept allows for there to be a “different” reason for the Biblical writers to have an issue with homosexuality – i.e. lust-fullness and adultery.
I do agree that male homosexuality was fully acceptable to the Greeks and Romans. But, I disagree that it was primarily of a type that would be considered molestation in our current context. I’m not denying that that kind of relationship did not happen in the ancient world, I simply don’t see any historical proof that makes homosexuality primarily a molestation relationship. There is art that shows this kind of relationship, but there is a lot of depictions of all sorts of relationships from the era. And you can see discussions of “peer companions” (i.e. homosexual relationships between equal partners) in many of the Greek and Latin philosopher writings.
The reality in this situation is that each person has to deal with their conscience in their own way. They are the ones who have to justify their choices when they come face to face with the Divine.
Personally, I think the verses that are most important in this case are:
- Matthew 7:1-6:
- Mark 12:13-17
- Mark 12:28-34
- Mark 12:38-40
- Luke 9:23-26
The sad thing to this is that I’m sure there are quite a few Christians out there that will quote Shakespeare by saying, “Even the Devil can quote Scripture.” (found in the Merchant of Venice) implying that I must be taking the above out of context.
People, I studied the Bible for YEARS as a believer. I didn’t become Wiccan until I was in my 20s. I know DAMNED well that the Bible must be studied in context. Not just in context with the rest of the BIble, but in context to the culture of the time. I’m not taking ANY of these out of context.
The reality is that in the BIble (if you believe it is the inspired Word of God) it states VERY clearly in many different ways that you CANNOT and SHOULD not force anyone else to walk the path you do. In fact, as seen above, it states that doing so is “casting pearls before swine.” Everyone’s choices are between themselves and the Divine. You CANNOT and SHOULD not judge others for their sins, but love them.
The hate and vitriol I am seeing (and have seen all of my life) does NOT reflect the BIble I was taught, and *I* was raised in an extremely conservative form of Lutheranism. To tell you just how conservative, Michelle Bachman was part of this same group before she considered it to be “too controversial” for a politician such as herself.