<

Does the Old Testament Condemn Homosexuality? (2 of 2)

Did Jesus exist?Last time we looked at the Sodom and Gomorrah story. Let’s move on to the book of Leviticus.

You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22).

Sounds pretty damning, but the word “abomination” also describes eating forbidden food (Deut. 14:3), sacrificing blemished animals (Deut. 17:1), performing divination and similar magic (Deut. 18:12), and women wearing men’s clothing (Deut. 22:5). Clearly, these are ritual abominations.

Mary Douglas makes sense out of the confusing purity laws in Leviticus, where things are clean or unclean seemingly arbitrarily. She argues that clean things are proper members of their category. A proper fish has fins and scales, so that makes it an abomination to eat improper sea animals like clams and shrimp. A proper land animal—one that is part of civilized society—is cloven hoofed and cud chewing like a cow or goat. To be clean, any animal or wild game must share these characteristics—hence no rabbits (not cloven hoofed) or pigs (not cud chewers). “Unclean” means “imperfect members of its class.”

A sacrifice must be a perfect animal, hence no blemishes. A priest must be a perfect man, hence he can’t be blind or lame. Don’t mix seeds in a field; don’t mix textiles in a garment.

Homosexuality fits easily into this taxonomy—proper sex is man with woman, so man/man or man/animal sex is explicitly forbidden. But it’s ritually forbidden, not forbidden because of any innate harm.

Here’s another popular bludgeon:

If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves (Lev. 20:13).

First, note that this again is nothing more than ritual abomination.

Second, note the punishment. Don’t point to the Bible to identify the crime but then ignore its penalty. Do modern Christians truly think that the appropriate response to male homosexuality is death?

Third, note what else this chapter demands: unclean animals can’t be eaten (20:25), exile for a couple that has sex during the woman’s period (:18), death to spiritual mediums (:27), death for adultery (:10), and death for anyone who curses his father or mother (:9). It comes as a package of out-of-date tribal customs—with what justification can one select the anti-homosexual verse and ignore the rest?

If Jesus was the once-and-for-all sacrifice that did away with the need for the Old Testament ritual laws (Heb. 7:11–12 and 8:6–13), then get rid of them all.

God said, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you” (Gen. 17:7). Verses like this would saddle Christians with all the Old Testament customs, from the sacrifices to the crazy stuff like genocide that they’d like to distance themselves from, and they’ll say that they apply to Jews only. Fair enough—then stop cherry picking Old Testament passages if the Old Testament doesn’t apply to you.

This selective reading reminds me of Rev. O’Neal Dozier, in the news because he’s a Rick Santorum backer, saying that homosexuality is the “paramount of sins” and that it is “something so nasty and disgusting that it makes God want to vomit.” My first impulse to this energetic condemnation is to wonder if Haggard’s Law applies, but more to the point, why is homosexuality at the top of the list? Why should it be any worse than any other “abomination” such as eating shrimp, telling a fortune, or a woman wearing pants? (Unless, of course, Rev. Dozier is simply using the Bible as a sock puppet to have it speak his opinions.)

Apologists like Dozier who say that the Bible is clear in its rejection of homosexuality won’t say the same thing about the Bible’s support for genocide, slavery, and polygamy. They’ll say, “Okay, slow down and let me tell you why the surface reading isn’t correct.” The predicament for today’s Christian is the clash between modern morality and the warlike culture of the early Jews.

A common response to God’s embarrassing actions in the Old Testament is to say that he is mysterious and inscrutable to our simple human minds. But then these same Christians will contradict themselves and say with certainty that God is against homosexuality, abortion, and taxes.

We at least are largely in agreement on where the problems lie, but apologists who pick and choose which commandments must be taken literally are beating the copper of the Bible against the anvil of their faith. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t the Bible speak for itself? Why is the atheist the one interpreting the Bible literally?

Or if the Bible is simply the sock puppet used to give an argument credibility, I’d appreciate Christians dropping the middleman, admitting that their beliefs come from their innate moral sense, and defending them.

Morality is doing what is right regardless of what we are told.
Religious dogma is doing what we are told regardless of what is right.
— Unknown

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Related posts:

Related links:

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Retro

    But it’s ritually forbidden, not forbidden because of any innate harm.

    Excellent point Bob. The vast majority of the laws in the OT have nothing at all to do with morality. Working on the Sabbath isn’t morally wrong if it doesn’t harm anyone, but it was forbidden simply to make the Israelites distinct from the neighboring tribes. It’s the same thing as an American singing the Star Spangled Banner, (the only real difference is that US law doesn’t demand people who don’t sing to be stoned to death.)

    BTW, since it takes more work to throw stones than it does to pick up sticks, shouldn’t stoning a man to death on the Sabbath be a more sinful act than the original offense? (Numbers 15:32-36)

    Why should it be any worse than any other “abomination” such as eating shrimp, telling a fortune, or a woman wearing pants?

    I severely hope an apologist will explain this to us, enquiring minds want to know.

    Shouldn’t the Bible speak for itself?

    You would think a timeless, all-knowing, all-powerful God would also be a good author, and could have written a better book that would be just as true now as it was when it was written.

  • Bob Calvan

    All breaking of God’s laws are sin, and all deserve death.. It is not that hard to understand.. God is Holy, His laws are Holy. If one picks up sticks on the Sabbath ( under the theocracy of that time) one is put to death..Not for the act of picking up sticks. but for disobeying God.. There are many different covenants in the OT and NT ..But sins against God’s laws to not go unpunished, God is just.

    Homosexuality is a sin, always has been and always will be..As we can see in the OT and the NT

    Romans 1

    “… Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for [p]a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [r]unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing ndecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

    And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper…”

    1 Corinthians 6:9
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Bob C:

      all deserve death.. It is not that hard to understand.

      I gotta disagree with you there. Sure we’re imperfect, like God made us. Why do we deserve death for being the way God made us? Sounds like something noble rather than death-worthy to me.

      If one picks up sticks on the Sabbath ( under the theocracy of that time) one is put to death.

      What about now? Would you demand the death penalty for that today? And if you reject this archaic rule, be consistent and reject them all, including the ritual prohibition against homosexuality.

      Homosexuality is a sin, always has been and always will be..As we can see in the OT and the NT

      Hey, bro–ya gotta respond to the argument. Simply repeating your position doesn’t help. I’ve provided new information with this post–either agree with me or specifically tell me where I’ve gotten it wrong.

      Romans 1

      Yeah, the NT will get dealt with shortly.

      “… Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity

      God did what?? Does that mean that they wouldn’t have “sinned” without God’s action? If so, why blame them?

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob C:

    all deserve death.. It is not that hard to understand.

    Bob S

    1.” I gotta disagree with you there. Sure we’re imperfect, like God made us. Why do we deserve death for being the way God made us? Sounds like something noble rather than death-worthy to me…”

    False assumption ( as usual another misrepresentation of Christianity ) we are all under the federal headship of Adam. That is why men die from our sin nature.

    If one picks up sticks on the Sabbath ( under the theocracy of that time) one is put to death.

    2. ” What about now? Would you demand the death penalty for that today? And if you reject this archaic rule, be consistent and reject them all, including the ritual prohibition against homosexuality.

    As I said there are different covenants and dispensations. We are no longer under the Mosaic covenant and under a theocracy.. We are under a new covenant ( Heb). Your assumed ritual prohibition against Homosexuality is absurd..OT and NT are in perfect harmony ..Homosexuality is and always will be a sin. As we are told In 1 Corn..No Homosexual will inherit the kingdom of God. Unless the Homosexual repents of his sin and abstains from it, as so many have done. They have bowed the knee to Christ and follow Christ.

    Homosexuality is a sin, always has been and always will be..As we can see in the OT and the NT

    3. ” Hey, bro–ya gotta respond to the argument. Simply repeating your position doesn’t help. I’ve provided new information with this post–either agree with me or specifically tell me where I’ve gotten it wrong…”

    You got it wrong!

    4. “Yeah, the NT will get dealt with shortly..”

    Why bother we have all heard and know what you are going to say..As you have yet failed to come up with a new argument..You will spout Barry Lynn’s argument ..That he tried on Dr. James White on their debate. Barry got so destroyed that he threatened to sue Dr. White if he allowed the debate to be published.. Dr. White has the debate available to the public in spite of Barry Lynn’s screaming about it. Of course I do not blame Barry as he got destroyed.. Rev Barry Lynn tried all the Atheist arguments in the OT and NT..But it does not work against a Greek Scholar and Theologian..

    5.“… Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity

    “God did what?? Does that mean that they wouldn’t have “sinned” without God’s action? If so, why blame them?”

    Nope God restrained their evil and let them sink to the level they desire, which includes homosexuality..A very depraved un-natural perverted sin.

    • Retro

      Dr. White has the debate available to the public in spite of Barry Lynn’s screaming about it.

      Yeah, it’s made available for MONEY. Why does God and all His followers always seem to need money?

      As I said there are different covenants and dispensations. We are no longer under the Mosaic covenant and under a theocracy..

      So God has changed what is lawful and the punishments? What was all that talk in the OT about it being an everlasting covenant? What’s all this talk we hear about God being unchanging? I guess God couldn’t get it right the first time, so He had to keep changing it to make it better? Doesn’t sound like absolute morality to me.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Yeah, it’s made available for MONEY.

        :-) I wonder why Bob C. omitted that part.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      If one picks up sticks on the Sabbath ( under the theocracy of that time) one is put to death.

      Yeah, I get it. That’s what the Bible says. I’m simply saying that anyone who hasn’t surrendered his (God given?) mental capacity knows that that’s nuts. If you just want to believe this stuff just ’cause it feels good, that’s fine, but don’t pretend that there’s any logic behind it.

      We are no longer under the Mosaic covenant and under a theocracy.. We are under a new covenant ( Heb).

      Good. If the ritual abominations no longer count, then don’t count them! If they’re gone, then don’t pretend that the OT supports your prejudice.

      Your assumed ritual prohibition against Homosexuality is absurd.

      If you’re saying that the Bible is absurd, I’ll agree. If you’re saying that I’m misreading the Bible, nope, I don’t think so.

      Homosexuality is and always will be a sin.

      Thus sayeth Bob Calvan!

      (That’s good enough for me.)

      Homosexuality is a sin, always has been and always will be.

      I’m imagining you stamping your little feet as you say this. “It’s a sin! It’s a sin!”

      Y’know, you could sit at the big table. (But you’ll have to use evidence to make your arguments if you do so.)

      You got it wrong!

      Ah, thanks. That makes clear where my error was.

      As you have yet failed to come up with a new argument.

      Ok then. Should be easy for you to fire back with a good argument. What have you got?

    • Retro

      Bob Calvan wrote:

      Nope God restrained their evil and let them sink to the level they desire, which includes homosexuality..A very depraved un-natural perverted sin.

      What do you do with verses such as Ezekiel 20:25-26?

      So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live; I defiled them through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD.’

      According to this, God didn’t merely “let them sink to the level they desired”, but He PURPOSELY gave them statutes that were not good. God made His laws impossible to live by. God purposely had them sacrifice their firstborn children in order to horrify them.

  • Pingback: Does the Old Testament Condemn Homosexuality? | Cross Examined

  • RandomFunction2

    To Bob S,

    Remember that in the Old Testament, and even more so in the Torah, there is no clear distinction between ethics and ritual. All this is seen as God’s absolute will, and to break any purity law is as serious as breaking a law that today we would call moral.

    But I do suspect that the one who made all those purity laws had obsessional-compulsive disorders. The same holds true of the one who wrote the Koran, but that’s another story.

  • Bob Calvan

    To Retro and Bob S

    Dr. White has the debate available to the public in spite of Barry Lynn’s screaming about it.

    Yeah, it’s made available for MONEY. Why does God and all His followers always seem to need money?

    As I said there are different covenants and dispensations. We are no longer under the Mosaic covenant and under a theocracy..

    Reply ↓
    Bob Seidensticker on March 12, 2012 at 11:26 pm said:
    Yeah, it’s made available for MONEY.

    I wonder why Bob C. omitted that part.

    Yes, All MP3 debates cost between $1.50 to $ 4.00.. (WOW! Almost as much as a star bucks coffee) To help cover the costs of traveling to the debates, hotel fee’s and production..These debaters use there projectors and sound recording equipment..And most do not get money for the debates, Sometimes there is a offering from the audience and the two debaters split the money. Bob if you need $2.00 for the MP3 of James White and Barry Lynn I will sent you a check..

    Here are some good debates from the Atheist vs. Christian on the existence of God. You can also see how much the Atheist is charging for these debates on there websites. Also maybe U-tube may have them for free..I do know lots of James White’s debates are on u-tube for free.

    1. Dan Barker vs. Paul Manata ( this is a free download) Not good for Barker’s side. In fact Bob would you like to debate Paul Manata?

    2. Dan Barker vs. James White ( two debates) one on Is Jesus Myth and the other on does the Triune God exist, Also not good for Barker’s side. Especially when Barker tried ( what Bob tried) the absurdity that Christianity was copied by other religions and gods.. Barker wished he never went there..

    3. Dan Barker vs. Doug Wilson.. Barker got crushed on this one.

    4. Eddie Tabash vs. the late brilliant Dr Greg Bahnsen. This was truly sad for Eddie Tabash.

    5. “The Great Debate” Dr. Gordon Stein vs. Dr. Greg Bahnsen..This was the worst showing for the Atheist side..Gordon Stein got blind sided, And was reduced to absurdity.

    All the above Christian debaters use presuppositional arguments for the existence of God.. Not like William Lane Craig .

    Hope that helps.

    • Retro

      You can also see how much the Atheist is charging for these debates on there websites.

      I have yet to pay for any debates that are made available by atheists. Dan Barker, for example, has debates available for free on his website.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Bob C:

      In fact Bob would you like to debate Paul Manata?

      Sure! Try to arrange this. I love to debate Christian apologists.

      Why do you ask? Is Manata particularly formidable?

      Barker wished he never went there..

      Bold talk! Now give us some particulars to bolster your case. Why is the idea that Christianity could’ve been inspired by precedents in other religions a weak argument?

      Barker got crushed on this one … This was truly sad for Eddie Tabash … This was the worst showing for the Atheist side

      And yet more unconvincing bluster. Support your argument or keep the empty claims to yourself.

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro said:

    ” So God has changed what is lawful and the punishments? What was all that talk in the OT about it being an everlasting covenant? What’s all this talk we hear about God being unchanging? I guess God couldn’t get it right the first time, so He had to keep changing it to make it better? Doesn’t sound like absolute morality to me..”

    Nope, God never changes. In the Old covenant God picked Israel for His chosen people. God gave His law to Israel. And created a theocracy. God used Israel many times to execute His holy judgment against idolaters. And the Old covenant was a foreshadow of the coming messiah. Who is revealed in the New covenant..Read Hebrews a few times for a full revelation of the two covenants. The reincarnate Christ appeared many times in the Old Covenant. From the beginning in Genesis chap 3. we see the first prophecy of Jesus Christ. In the New Covenant God extends His grace to the gentiles with the fulfillment of all the OT promises in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. God’s absolute Morals have never changed..But in the New covenant we have a grace period where God gathers the rest of His elect ( Abrahams seed; not physical but spiritual from the Old covenant). And when God calls His last child, then the Judgment. Where those in Christ from both covenants receive eternal life with Christ. And the rest receive the wrath of God for eternity.

    • Retro

      God’s absolute Morals have never changed..But in the New covenant we have a grace period…

      “Dispensations” and “grace” are two words that are used to cover over the fact that God has changed His morality.

      If you still want to argue this, explain why you don’t follow the OT laws and punishments anymore. Why doesn’t God command His followers to kill anymore? (Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad God has grown up a little and no longer commands His followers to kill infidels.)

      …and I guess it’s a pointless conversation since you would consider ANYTHING God does, no matter how horrific, would be moral…

      • Bob Seidensticker

        It’s curious how an everlasting covenant didn’t really last all that long. Maybe the same is true for the current covenant.

  • Bob Calvan

    I have yet to pay for any debates that are made available by atheists. Dan Barker, for example, has debates available for free on his website.

    Great then listen for free on Dan’s website.

    Does he list the one’s I mentioned?

    1. Dan Barker vs. Paul Manata ( this is a free download) Not good for Barker’s side. In fact Bob would you like to debate Paul Manata?

    2. Dan Barker vs. James White ( two debates) one on Is Jesus Myth and the other on does the Triune God exist, Also not good for Barker’s side. Especially when Barker tried ( what Bob tried) the absurdity that Christianity was copied by other religions and gods.. Barker wished he never went there..

    3. Dan Barker vs. Doug Wilson.. Barker got crushed on this one.

    • Retro

      Dan Barker vs. Paul Manata ( this is a free download) Not good for Barker’s side.

      Is this the one where they debate: “Is Atheism or Christianity more Rational?”

      As I get time over the next few days, I’ll listen to this debate and let you know what I think.

  • Bob Calvan

    As I get time over the next few days, I’ll listen to this debate and let you know what I think.

    Retro OK let me know

  • Pingback: What Does the New Testament Say about Homosexuality? | Cross Examined

  • Pingback: ‘Iysh Shall Not Lay With Zakar Part 2: A response from Rabbi Mark Biltz | The Reign Group

  • Pingback: Homosexuality v. Christianity | Cross Examined

  • Pingback: Same Sex Unions | Current Opinions of News

  • Pingback: Old Testament Slavery—Not so Bad? | Cross Examined

  • Pingback: Why Does the Bible Have No Recipe for Soap?

  • Pingback: Old Testament Slavery—Not so Bad?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X