[eDebate] RE: God and homosexuality
Thu May 20 20:13:39 CDT 2004
I'll try to address this in order. You are right, Genesis 2:24 does say a man and a woman. However, the fact that Jacob had two wives and is considered an extremely important patriarch in both the Jewish and Christian traditions, and the fact that G-d never got mad at Jacob for this, suggests that it was, at least at that time, acceptable to G-d for polygamous relationships to exist. Also, the later passage you quote seems to suggest that divorce is basically adultery, but that has never been Jewish law and I doubt very many Christians would support that view anymore either. Remember that I don't believe any of the New Testament stuff, so talking about Jesus in response to what I say isn't appropriate really. Divorce is and has always been acceptable to Jews as far as I know.
Next is the argument that values don't change over time. Of course they do, and that's as they should. If the Bible is to be believed literally, G-d made a mistake with the Great Flood and apologized to Noah and made a pledge that He wouldn't do that again! That's not an all-knowing and never-mistaken deity but rather one just as fallible as we are. That's the Jewish G-d anyway, maybe the Christian one is more perfect. Also, in older times womyn were considered inferior to men, which is in fact a value judgement. The Christian Bible even says so straight out! That has been remedied, and I think that is as it should be.
Next is the claim that I said Christians disregarded all Old Testament laws. Not so, they just pick and choose which ones to follow. As I said before, Christians don't follow the dietary laws laid out in Leviticus, and I don't think Jesus ever specifically said not to. Why pick the law on homosexuality to follow? And, in the Jewish tradition no one is born in sin nor is it inevitable that people will. So I really don't understand what that has to do with anything. Claiming that sin is inevitable violates the doctrine of free will completely, as everyone has a choice all the time whether to do the right thing or not.
Oh yeah, the animal sacrifice in the Old Testament is not in fact indicative of Jesus in any way, it was a sin offering just like gentile sin offerings of the time. Jews take responsibility for their actions and so do not ask someone else to die for them.
Finally, I agree that desire does not imply legitimacy or lack of sinfulness. But the G-d that I worship is one of love, and anything that makes the world a better place would get a stamp of approval. When two people love each other and wish to ritualize and make permanent their relationship, often with the intent of having or adopting children, that is an unqualifiedly good thing that makes the world happier.
Steve Trask <trasksteve at hotmail.com> wrote:
>Ok, minor things first. Leaving aside the question of the existence of
>G-d, G-d did not in fact create marriage as a monogamous relationship, but
>rather a polygamous one in which one man married several wives and could
>sleep with the wives' servants if he so chose. Only later did this
>relationship become one man and one woman.
I do not think this is necessarily correct. You are correct that in the Old
Testament there are many examples of people engaging in polygamous
relationships, but there is never any specific endorsement of those
practices. In Genesis 2:24 is says, "24 For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one
flesh." this seems to indicate to me that God's purpose since the
insitution of marriage at the time of creation was for it to be a monogomous
insitution. And from a Christian perspective in the New Testament, Jesus
further clarifies this passage when he says, ""Moses permitted a man to
write a certificate of divorce and send her away." 5"It was because your
hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. 6"But at the
beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 7'For this reason
a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8and
the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.
9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." 10When they
were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11He
answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits
adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another
man, she commits adultery." This seems to indicate that marriage is to be
limited to one partner and having more than one partner is adultery except
after death of the partner.
>I am from the Jewish tradition, not Christian, so I don't really know what
>the New Testament says about a lot of things. However, the Biblical
>injunctions against homosexuality come from Leviticus 18:22, at least
>that's the only place I found them. The verse is pretty specific- "Do not
>lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence." However,
>there are lots of things in both the Old and New Testaments that have been
>found to be outdated and I believe this to be one of them. Judaism has
>always found that traditions and values change over time, that's why there
>is a multi-volume set of commentary on commentary on commentary on the
>Torah. Modern Judaism, at least outside of the Orthodox community, is
>accepting of homosexuality as the way people are. Homosexuality is not a
>sin because it is not a choice but an integral part of who a human being
>is, while committing a sin implies choice to do evil over good.
I do not think that there is any evidence that homosexuality is genetically
determined. I have no doubt that social or environmental factors can
influence homosexuality, but I do not think that makes it morally
acceptable. The idea that traditions and values change over time concerns
me a little and seems to be inconsistent with a belief in God. If God is an
all knowing transcendent being that reveals himself to the world through the
scriptures, why should the moral law need to change? That would seem to be
an indication that God messed up, which does not seem possible with an all
knowing and perfect God.
>Also, most Christians disregard most of the rules of the Old Testament,
>including the dietary laws, by claiming that the New Testament overrules
>that. Since Jesus does not say anything against homosexuality, why would
>Christians go back to the Old Testament for that rule? Why not ignore it
>like they do most other Old Testament rules?
Christians do not disregard the Old Testament law. They see Christ as being
a fulfillment of the Old Testament law. For example, traditions in the
Jewish law like animal sacrafice were a symbol for the future blood
sacrafice that would come through the atonement of Christ for the sins of
the world on the cross. Therefore, animal sacrafice was no longer necessary
because Christ was a fulfillment of that tradition. In regard to the
elements of the moral law, Christians do not see Christ as abolishing these
either. For example, it says in the old testament "thou shall not steal."
Christians still believe that it is wrong to steal. However, they also
believe that it is inevitable that everyone because of the sin condition
will violate the law, and therefore, will be deserving of punishment for
violation of the law. The justification provided by Jesus Christ is
necessary for salvation because Christ took the penalty for the sins of the
world upon himself by dying on the cross. Therefore, the moral law still
stands, but there is salvation through Christ for all who inevitably violate
>Another thing. If G-d does in fact exist and did in fact create people "in
>His image", why would he allow homosexuals to exist? The fact that some
>people are attracted to others of the same gender would suggest that G-d
>does not in fact find that idea offensive.
God did create all people in his image. But he did not create people to be
Gay. As I stated above, I do not think homosexuality is genetically
determined. The fact that some people are attracted to people of the same
gender definitely does not prove that homosexuality is acceptable. There
are many things that people have a desire to do. Some people desire to
commit adultery, some people desire to rob banks, and some people desire to
lie. This desire to sin is a product of the sin condition. The mere fact
that people desire to engage in immoral acts does not mean that God is
endorsing the immoral acts.
>Just a few thoughts,
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