The Word “Homosexual” Does Not Appear In The Bible [Pre-1946]

The Word “Homosexual” Does Not Appear In The Bible [Pre-1946] June 5, 2018

As I prepare for an online debate on the topic “Is It A Sin To Be Gay?” I realized something profound: No Christians could have possibly debated this topic previous to 1946 because their Bibles didn’t contain the word “Homosexual” before that.

It’s true.

Go look at 1 Corinthians 6:9 in your King James Bible and you’ll see this:

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakos], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [arsenoikotai]…”

But if you read that same verse in any modern English translation published after 1946 you’ll read something very different, for example:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality…” 

What happened?

Well, according to researcher Kathy V. Baldock:

“The intention of the RSV team and publishers was to create a version of the Bible that was more readable and accessible in its updated language. As the translation team labored throughout the years, they based their work mainly on the King James Version (1611), the ERV (1885), and the American Standard Version (1901).

However…”During the 1930s and 1940s, the time when the RSV team was doing their work over a fifteen years span, it was during a time in medical professions and in the culture where people still did not understand what same-sex attractions even meant. There were burgeoning theories, but it was seen as a mystery, then as a pathology, and a mental illness.”

“Specifically regarding 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the translation team relied mainly upon a fairly recent translation of arsenokoitai and malakos as catamite and sodomite, respectively, that had appeared in the Moffat Bible (1925). James Moffatt, a Scottish theologian, was a member of the RSV translation team, and second in seniority to Dr. Weigle.

“Those two words, although still problematic in the Moffatt translation, were actually somewhat more reflective of the actual meaning of arsenokoitai and malakos than “homosexual.”

[Note: The same problem occurs when you look at 1 Timothy 1:10]

So, here’s the deal: Today, most Christians in America are reading modern English translations that have since carried over this mistake of translating the words “malakos” and “arsenokoitai” as “Homosexuality”.

This is a mistake.

Prior to 1946, no Christian had a Bible with the word “Homosexuality” printed in it. This means that no Christians were debating whether or not someone could be a homosexual Christian or not. Why? Because their Bibles didn’t condemn homosexuality.

As New Testament scholar David Bentley Hart points out in his commentary on 1 Corinthians 6:9:

“A man who is malakos is either “soft” – in any number of senses: self-indulgent, dainty, cowardly…physically weak – or “gentle” – in various largely benign senses: delicate, mild, etc. Some translators of the New Testament take it here to mean the passive partner in male homoerotic acts, but that is an unwarranted supposition.

“Precisely what an arsenokoites is has long been a matter of speculation and argument. Literally, it means a man who “beds” – that is, “couples with” – “males.” But, there is no evidence of its use before Paul’s text.

“…It would not mean “homosexual” in the modern sense of a person of a specific erotic disposition, for the simple reason that the ancient world possessed no comparable concept of a specifically homoerotic sexual identity; it would refer to a particular sexual behavior, but we cannot say exactly which one.”

Bentley Hart goes on to mention that the Clementine Vulgate interprets the word “arsenokoitai” as those who use male concubines [prostitutes] and that Luther’s German Bible interprets the word as referring to paedophiles.

Further, he says:

“My guess at the proper connotation of the word is based simply upon the reality that in the first century the most common and readily available form of male homoerotic sexual activity was a master’s or patron’s exploitation of young male slaves.”

So, when we read the word “Homosexuality” in our English New Testament Bibles, we need to remember that this is not what Paul had in mind when he wrote those words that are – today – translated as such.

What he meant, most likely, was either those who sexually abuse young boys, or those who engaged in pagan temple sex rituals.

What’s more, when Paul used the term “malakos” – which simply means “effeminate” – he was referring to men who shaved their beards or grew long hair, or who otherwise acted in a manner that could be culturally interpreted as being “unmanly.”

But, hopefully, none of us today would agree with Paul’s conviction that a man who shaves his beard or has long hair will not enter the Kingdom of God. Rather, we should place that statement in the same basket with a few of Paul’s other statements [in the very same Corinthian epistle] that women should cover their heads when they pray or that everyone should greet one another with a holy kiss. These are cultural norms that Paul could ask those first century Corinthians to observe, but that we, living in the 21st Century, are free to disregard.

If we do this for head-coverings and holy kisses, we should feel no shame doing so for men who shave their beards or wear long hair.

[For more on this, read “The Abomination of a Close Shave”]

The bottom line is this: We have made this issue – homosexuality – one of the main tenets of the Christian faith. As if Jesus and the Apostles did little more than argue the subject day and night. [Of course, they never mention it at all].

But, because of this distortion of the Gospel by modern American Christians, many actually believe that they cannot preach the Gospel because they are being persecuted whenever they speak out against homosexuality. They point to legislation that forbids hate speech against the LGBTQ community and quake with fear because they believe this means that very soon Bibles will be confiscated and pastors arrested in the pulpits for “preaching the Word of God” or “standing for the truth of the Gospel.”

Even though the Christian church has been preaching and living out the Gospel for nearly 2,000 years without mentioning homosexuality specifically. [With a few exceptions along the way, of course].

This argument about what is, or is not, a sin is a distraction. Worse, it’s an unnecessary pivot from loving others as Christ has loved us to pursue the condemnation of a certain group of people who deserve nothing but love and acceptance.

The Gospel is that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s sins against them.” [2 Cor. 5:19]

We have been given this ministry of reconciliation. What have we done with it?

LISTEN: Keith Giles debates “Is Homosexuality A Sin?” on G220 Radio:

**

Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the forthcoming “Jesus Unbound: How the Bible Keeps Us From Hearing the Word of God”, available July 4th, 2018.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

Please, join me at one of these upcoming events:

*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>

*Crucifying Our Politics with Keith Giles on June 24 in Cleveland, OH. Register here>

BONUS: Unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more on my Patreon page.

 

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  • Bible thumpers do love their KJV. Little do they know his nickname was “Queen James.” Yep, he was a flamer, lol. On a more serious note, good article. I’d bring in the context of Romans 1 & 2 and the use of the vocative in 2:1. The LGBTQ movement and gay marriage may have had some minor precedence in ancient times but the Bible talks about something quite different than what we see today. IMO it follows a similar trajectory to male superiority over women in scripture. Purely cultural and irrelevant today. Christians need to focus on the broader themes of inclusivity, love and non judgemental behaviors.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    The standard reference work in the field is: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Second Edition (Univ. of Chicago Press), also known as the Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich Dictionary (or BAGD).

    According to the BAGD, the word arsenokoites means: “a male who practices homosexuality, pederast, sodomite.” (p. 109)

    According to the BAGD, the word malakos means: “men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.” (p. 488)

    You should read this: Why No One in the Biblical World Had a Word for Homosexuality http://bereansdesk.blogspot.com/2013/09/biblical-word-for-homosexuality.html

    And you should listen to this, too: Sexual Identity Podcast http://www.placefortruth.org/blog/sexual-identity-podcast

  • ashpenaz

    Evangelicals were also pro-choice up until the 70s. And there is also no word for abortion in Scripture. When God talks about ending a pregnancy, He’s the one doing it–either by ripping the unborn out of the womb or having a priest force a woman to drink a potion to cause a miscarriage. So much for inerrancy. 🙁

  • Or: so much for a consistent biblical stand against abortion.

  • How confident are we in the definition of “arsenokoites”? As I understand it, we have so few uses of it that the definition is uncertain.

  • soter phile

    Robert Gagnon has done extensive work – both biblically & in the Hellenistic context. It’s very clear.

    Here’s one of Gagnon’s relatively brief responses on his website, particularly about these two greek words & the last few decades of biblical scholarship, if you are willing to actually engage the scholarship:
    http://robgagnon.net/RespHarwoodPorter.htm

    But Keith knows that & chooses to ignore it. Note well Keith’s own blog entry here from when Gagnon took him on directly:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/keithgiles/2018/05/my-response-to-robert-gagnon/

    Keith quotes Robert Gagnon’s statements on these passages (full of thorough-going scholarship refuting claims like those found in the above article) and then Keith gives no substantive response to the scholarship (only mocking Gagnon for being a scholar? as if being a peer-reviewed scholar was a basis for *dismissing* scholarship).

  • soter phile

    The modern term “homosexual” was not coined until the 1800s.
    But does anyone think homosexuality didn’t exist before the 1800s?
    MLK didn’t use the term “stay woke” either. Does anyone think that implies he wasn’t?

    No, it is clear that arsokenoitai & malakoi are the ancient Greek equivalent for dominant & submissive partners.
    The scholarship is plentiful for any who will read it (or even just a decent review of it).

  • ashpenaz

    The Bible also clearly teaches that ensoulment begins with the first breath–remember Adam? So the idea the abortion is the murder of a full-fledged human is not Biblical. That doesn’t mean it isn’t sinful, it just isn’t murder.

  • soter phile

    you said: “…but the Bible talks about something quite different than what we see today.”
    Here’s Robert Gagnon citing pro-LGBT scholars who directly refute your position.
    ************************
    “Even William Loader, a NT scholar who is thoroughly supportive of homosexual relationships and who has written more on sexual ethics in early Judaism and Christianity than anyone in modern times acknowledges that “It is inconceivable that [Paul] would approve of any same-sex acts” and that Rom 1:26-27 “included, but [was] by no means limited to exploitative pederasty,” “sexual abuse of male slaves,” or “same-sex acts … performed within idolatrous ritual contexts” (The New Testament on Sexuality [Eerdmans, 2012], 322, 325).

    “Similarly, Bernadette Brooten, a self-identified lesbian and a NT scholar who wrote a major work on lesbianism in antiquity, has stated: “I see Paul as condemning all forms of homoeroticism as the unnatural acts of people who had turned away from God” (Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism [University of Chicago Press, 1996], 244).

    “So too “gay” historian Louis Crompton, though expressing sympathy for the claim that “Paul’s words were not directed at ‘bona fide’ homosexuals in committed relationships,” soberly acknowledges that “such a reading, however well-intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical. Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstance. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian” (Homosexuality and Civilization [Harvard University Press, 2003], 114).

  • Tim Steele

    Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13).

  • DebbyJane65

    Homosexuality is in the Bible. the word “Gay” is not in the Bible. Both in the Old Testament and New Testament, the Bible calls homosexual behavior sin. We must be careful to condemn only the practice and not the people. In today’s permissive society, it is easy to tolerate some immoral behavior while being outraged at others. We must not participate or condone immoral behavior. God expects his followers to have high standards. The Bible specifically calls homosexuality sin: Lev 18:22-29, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Timothy 1:9-11, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Those who commit homosexual acts are not to be feared, ridiculed, or hated. The Church should be a haven of forgiveness and healing for repented homosexuals without compromising its stance against homosexual behavior. Sexual sin destroys physically and spiritually. God can fulfill loneliness and desires with himself. God wants to protect us from hurting ourselves and others. Even if sexual immorality is acceptable and popular in today’s culture; God created sex to be a beautiful and essential ingredient of marriage for a man and a woman only. Immoral sex always hurts someone. It hurts God because of the desire to go your own way; it hurts others because it violates the marriage commitment necessary to a relationship; it often damages your body with disease; and it deeply affects your personality. Your body belongs to God; you must not violate his standards for living a wholesome life of Godliness. Humans are of dust and spirit. Our physical bodies affect us spiritually. Sexual immorality is always before us, in movies and television; is shown as normal and a joyful part of life. It is not without consequences; and is always destructive. Christians are free to be all we can be; but we are not free from God. Sexual temptations are difficult to withstand because they appeal to our natural desires that God has given us; marriage of a man and a woman is God’s way to satisfy our natural desires. When you identify yourself with a label and participate in a group that is labeled; you can expect opinions and critics. Actually, your identity is that you are a child of God. You belong to God. You belong to God’s family. Your sexual preference is not to be your primary identity and focus. Your identity and focus is of God and for God forever.

  • SteveJF

    The other possibility is that the Bible is a book of myths and legends, not to be taken as truth.

  • Sarah Franz

    I assume this means you follow all levitical laws, including not eating shellfish or wearing clothing made of more than one kind of material?

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    It appears you did not read the article. No language the the bible was originally written in has a word for homosexuality. What you are referring to are mistranslations so your argument is invalid.

  • Michael M

    The word “Trinity” doesn’t exist in the Bible either…. but I digress….

    We get this impression that if Jesus didn’t say something specific about homosexuality in the gospels, we think He didn’t say it at all, but we forget Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are still unified as one God, therefore, when the Lord speaks to Moses beginning in Leviticus 18:1, that is Jesus talking as well (and that means right up to Leviticus 18:22). When the Holy Spirit speaks through the apostles in the epistles, it is still from the same Godhead where the Father and Son agree. We should never forget that Christ is God the Son, therefore, anything in our sacred scriptures is from Jesus, including anything pertaining to homosexual relations.

    Jesus also made himself clear in Matthew 19:4-6, and Mark 10:6-9, as well as His countless remarks against sexual immorality. How does a gay person define sexual immorality, and by what standard? Jesus said if we love Him, we will follow His commands… that includes the command to not commit adultery. So how do gays reconcile their sexuality with respect to the 7th commandment? How do they reconcile their sexuality with respects to Matthew 5:27-32 and Mark 9:43-48…?

    There’s also lots of verses on the topic of fornication, and every one of these passages condemns the practice. The Greek word for fornication is πορνεία (porneía), and it occurs twenty-five times in the New Testament. The word porneía is a broad term referring to sexual immorality of any type. Scripture uses the word porneía in regard to the temptation to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage: “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality (porneías), each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” (1 Cor. 7:2) Paul doesn’t say, “each man should have his own committed partner, and each woman her own committed partner.” The sexual immorality to which Paul is referring here happens when sex occurs outside of the marital union.

  • bayhuntr

    Dominant and submissive, interesting terms, you do realize that it’s not an accurate term? The average gay man is attracted to a masculine partner, Who is attracted to a masculine partner. They’re not straight men being gay. Gay men don’t lie with gay man as women, they lie with gay men as men.
    What people need to deal with before they start telling gays what to do, they need to figure out why God would create people to fall in love with each other and make lives with each other and then say it’s a sin, maybe God is reasonable and has commonsense, and you all are just wrong.

  • SAMUEL ARTHUR

    Sometimes the truth (the two Greek words clearly modify each other) is as clear as day!

  • SAMUEL ARTHUR

    “Fall in love” is not sacrosanct, people fall in love with animals, food, habits, themselves.

  • SAMUEL ARTHUR

    There’s a distinction between the categories, one confirmed in the NT as abolished, the other as ongoing.

  • DebbyJane65

    Article read. Sexual immorality is in the bible from beginning to end. Homosexuality is one of many immoralities. Pointing out sin is not a distraction, but rather a must.

  • DebbyJane65

    Sexual immorality is in the bible from beginning to end. Homosexuality is one of the immoralities.

  • Ed Selby

    And when one approaches the Bible like this, these semantic arguments don’t mean anything to our modern lives.

  • Ed Selby

    but that was the old testament – jesus changed all of that (except, of course, the parts that he didn’t which vary depending on your particular political and/or social leanings)

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    Most of the prohibitions against sex are involving rape, cheating and lying. remember God made Adam and eve naked and said it was good. It was the tree of knowledge that taught them to be ashamed.

  • Kathy Baldock

    Sometimes. But not in this case. Their meaning as currently translated in many Bible versions is CATEGORICALLY wrong. It is not a difficult conclusion to arrive at when one does the work; I have.

    I come from conservative evangelicalism and decided to risk being wrong about what I understood to be true.

  • Kathy Baldock

    You might be wrong.

    http://bit.ly/UTMonTRP

  • Patrick Harris

    You obviously aren’t Catholic. The Douay-Rheims (D-R) Bible (1609 A.D.) that was published two years before the Authorized Version (or KJV) states: “nor liers with mankind.” The New Testament portion was first published in 1582. D-R is translated from the Latin Vulgate (410 A.D) which states: “neque masculorum concubitores” (nor males who lie with each other).

  • Patrick Harris

    But Catholics believe in the Bible and tradition. The Didache (teaching of the Apostles, c. 150) states: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.” This also appears in the non-scriptural Epistle of St. Barnabus (c. 96-190) and Epistle to Diognetus (c. 170-310) and the Apologeticum (197) by Tertullian. It is referenced in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph 2271.

  • Uh huh. And you have the “ordeal of bitter water” in Numbers 5. Sounds to me like no reluctance to abortion in some circumstances.

  • Patrick Harris

    Leviticus 18 also bans marital relations with your cousin, father, mother, sister, aunt, uncle, step-mom, step-sister, step-daughter, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, granddaughter-in-law, neighbor’s wife, and animals (“a heinous crime,” signifying the shamefulness and baseness of this abominable sin). Also, burning babies/children as an offering to the false god Moloch.

  • Patrick Harris

    “But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” – Matthew 11:24

  • Patrick Harris

    “For as the body is one, and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink. For the body also is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were the eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him. And if they all were one member, where would be the body? But now there are many members indeed, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand: I need not thy help; nor again the head to the feet: I have no need of you. Yea, much more those that seem to be the more feeble members of the body, are more necessary” – 1 Corinthians 12:12-22

  • Patrick Harris

    “Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.” – Deuteronomy 30:19

  • How does this rebut my point? In the first place, only a modern interpretation could see this as an anti-abortion stance. And second, Numbers 5 shows that abortion was just fine in certain circumstances.

  • Kevin Courtney

    Hey rocket scientist, Abortion wasn’t legal till Roe V Wade so it wasn’t even on the radar.

  • Kevin Courtney

    I’ll interrupt you for a moment but I and most people I know don’t use the King James so put that in your hash pipe and smoke it. I’d rather not see a person go to Hell so I won’t approve of a behavior that the Bible has always called a self destructive sin.

  • Kevin Courtney

    Prove that life began without any outside help. Prove it!

  • Kevin Courtney

    It’s called scholarship. Prove that life began in a primordial soup, go ahead? We’re waiting.

  • I have no proof of abiogenesis. Indeed, science has no proof of anything.

    Nor did I ask for proof for this definition. Someone seems overly sensitive.

  • Kevin Courtney

    God is absolute and doesn’t reason with man in the sense that he gives in to our corrupted thinking. He reasons to get us to see His way.

  • Kevin Courtney

    So, is Homosexuality a birth defect? Is it a learned behavior, such as the result of molestation as a child or is it an evolutionary anomaly? The left all believe that they are intellectually superior so I often ask those questions but since they simply approve of the lifestyle because it’s just part of the overall decadence of their culture, they can’t give me an answer without name calling. But if you have the guts to try to answer what homosexuality really is, give it a shot. I’ll give it an honest read.

  • Kathy Baldock

    I may not be “intellectually superior,” but I do have a well reasoned and researched response, and bonus, all you have to do is listen. http://bit.ly/MythofPinkandBlue

  • Kathy Baldock

    You have neglected to add the rest of the phrase “as with womankind.” Context. The Bible was written thru the lens of patriarchy and the supremacy of men over women. To treat a man as if he were a women socially and sexually was the ultimate in demeaning and abasing him.

    I hope you would admit that certainly the role, status and worth of woman has been somewhat elevated over the last 3400 years since Leviticus.

    Try this explanation on for reasonableness: http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/leviticus-18-20-say-sex-behavior/

  • ashpenaz
  • P. McCoy

    Lots of heterosexuals engage in anal sex too ; you need to know that Fort Dietrich created the Aids virus as a weapon of genocide. Alexander the Great didn’t perish because he had Gay sex.

  • P. McCoy

    There is nothing more decadent than claiming Racial Supremacy and Christians have been playing that game for ages.

  • P. McCoy

    The average peasant couldn’t understand Latin; Eastern Orthodox translated the Bible from Greek to Slavonic so at least the peasants could attempt to comprehend.

  • otrotierra

    Also the bible does not specifically mention dark-complected men depositing their issue into the rectums of goats, or undocumented immigrants having threesomes. Quick to judge we should not be!

    #ThingsJesusneversaid

  • otrotierra

    Yes, Kirk, my friend. The bible nowhere says that dark-complected men like me cannot, for example, deposit their issue into other men’s rectums if fully consensual. Just look at the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his male lover! Would Jesus not have said something about their relationship if it was wrong?

  • otrotierra

    Yes! The man I was servicing at my favorite glory hole yesterday is a married man! Says he is heterosexual and only deposits his male juice into my mouth because I am better than his wife is.

  • I think it is good to remind ourselves from time to time that Biblical sexuality, as well as much of everyday customs, centered around purity laws, viewing everything in life as clean or unclean. In the NT we are shown a new paradigm. Jesus was more interested in the “inside of the cup” than the “outside of the cup.” The vision Peter had about unclean animals was not about “eating.” It was about excepting the “others,” the Gentiles, previously seen as “unclean,” but now declared “clean” by God.
    The broad takeaway is that we are now free from the legalism of clean and unclean and now under the law of love. The trajectory of scripture leans toward the grace of inclusion, not exclusion. That being the case there is no reason to believe God doesn’t love Gays as much as heterosexuals, and that the principals of egalitarian, consensual, loving sex do not apply equally.

  • otrotierra

    Kirk: a fraudulent Disqus account has again been created to impersonate and harass me across multiple comment sections beginning with Sojourners. This is the fifth fraudulent account to impersonate me.

    My account, opened in 2011, has 4,595 comments with 13,589 upvotes. The fraud’s account, opened yesterday, is set to private and has 20 comments.

  • otrotierra

    Note to Keith Giles: a fraudulent Disqus account has again been created to impersonate and harass me across multiple comment sections beginning with Sojourners. This is the fifth fraudulent account to impersonate me.

    My account, opened in 2011, has 4,595 comments with 13,589 upvotes. The fraud’s account, opened yesterday, is set to private and has 20 comments. Thank you in advance for moderating your comment section.

  • Sorry to hear. But I will know if it’s you or not. Trust me. Reminds me of the time I left negative feedback on an eBay buyer who won my auction then backed out. He used my email to spam me with over 300 porn solicitations. Then he used fictitious accounts to block a number of my auctions and leave bad feedback. Took about 3 months to get it all cleared up with eBay.

  • otrotierra

    Yikes. That’s pretty extreme. In my case, the abuser first surfaced at RedLetterChristians and took advantage of the fact that the moderator regularly sides with trolls, and mistakes moderating with bullying. The abuser then migrated over to Sojourners where the comment sections are rarely moderated. Sorry to hear about your three-month drama. So until Disqus or Sojourners takes action, the best way to distinquish me from the fraud is to click on my profile. The abuser can steal my name and avatar, but can’t take my comment history and upvote record. Evangelicals sure are earning their reputations.

  • Yes, you can’t expect such ancient perspectives to square with contemporary morality. For example, I am not the first to point out that when Paul uses slavery as a metaphor for the Christian’s relationship to God, this is an analogy that could only have been made by someone who was culturally desensitized to the physical, sexual, and psychological abuses inherent in the institution of slavery. Christians inherited this slave analogy from Paul. I don’t fault Paul particularly for this; he was like most Roman citizens of his time. I only see it as another aspect of the cultural blindness that makes Paul’s writings on slavery archaic, facile, and philosophically irrelevant today.

  • soter phile

    Those are not my terms. It is the underlying meaning for the two Greek terms in view – and to be blunt, in terms of the physiological reality of sex, they are not incorrect.

    It’s anachronistic to demand a modern term be found on the lips of ancients.
    It’s ethnocentric to assume they simply weren’t as sophisticated as we are on this (especially when there’s literary evidence to the contrary; e.g., Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes’ Speech, 400 years before the NT).

    Your argument here about how God created fails to account for the Fall. If someone is born with a genetic disposition to alcoholism, for example, Christians don’t say “that’s just how God made him” as if that is something to be celebrated. Instead, it is yet another example (like greed or self-centeredness) that humanity is broken since the Fall.

  • soter phile

    that is a very different argument from the one advanced in the blog entry above.
    the author there still ostensibly wants to regard the Bible as authoritative (in some sense).
    if one is merely dismissing the bible as culturally conditioned, however, the same could be said of it all… as will be said of our own views in a few years… (that’s a self-defeating argument.)

    however, worthy of note:
    a) that’s rather ethnocentric (basically “they’re not as sophisticated as us today”, despite many evidences to the contrary)
    b) the Bible is still finding adherents across the world 2000 years after it was written. how much of our best thinking today will still be relevant in 100 years, much less 2 millennia?
    c) Christianity is the only major religion that has found almost equal (roughly 20% of its worldwide adherents) representation on each of the five most populous continents. (By comparision, most of the other major religions are primarily found on about 1.5 continents: basically where it originated and one other.)

    In other words, Christianity has transcended individual culture unlike any other human movement and continues to enjoy global acceptance today – despite your claim that it is irrelevant & archaic.

    Hopefully that gives us some humility before we dismiss out-of-hand the most read, most scrutinized book in history.

  • Yes, it is a different argument than that advanced by the blog.

    I’m not sure what you find self-defeating about the fact that societal norms change through the millenia.

    a) You consider opposition to slavery “ethnocentric”?
    b) You can find tidbits of universal wisdom in many ancient religious and philosophical texts: the bible, the Tao Te Ching, the Nicomachean Ethics, etc. There are discoveries and theoretical constructs from nearly every age that have had lasting value, including today (Stephen Hawking will still be relevant in ages to come).
    c) I never claimed that Christianity is irrelevant and archaic. Of course, in practice, it is about as divided and diverse in interpretation as possible. Self-proclaimed Christians include people as ethically diverse as Billy Graham, Adolph Hitler, and the many Popes throughout history. The practice of slavery is archaic; but unfortunately not irrelevant since human trafficking remains an evil to be stamped out today. It is, at least, almost universally condemned today.

    I do try to practice humility in many arenas; but you’ve provided nothing nothing to inspire it.

  • Prove that I wasn’t descended from fairies. Prove it!
    Prove that Zeus isn’t the god of thunder. Prove it!
    Prove that St. George didn’t slay a dragon. Prove it!

    Sorry, there’s nothing logical about that approach.

  • Actually, homosexuality is a natural social interaction that has been documented in about 500 species as well as humans. It’s no more anomalous than being left-handed.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    What does “outside help” mean?

  • bayhuntr

    You don’t want to put definitions on ancient man but yet you follow ancient man… OK.
    As I described, the terms are incorrect, it just doesn’t fit your personal needs.
    The same could be said, if you’re born with a genetic disposition to follow false gods, blah blah blah. There are successful treatment for alcoholism, there isn’t for indoctrination, or if there is it’s extremely hard when you’re immersed in a culture that is dominated by that genetic defect. Now comparing the “conditions” of homosexuality, alcohol, and religion, only one of those does not inherently harm society and them self. Two Young monogamous people that fall in love and stay committed for their whole life, cause no harm anyone. Religion alcoholism quite often does. Careful about what your hypocrisy calls for, you might find yourself rounded up by another religion claiming you’re sick.

  • bayhuntr

    Evangelical types seem to have this problem, you’re confusing animal abuse with love. When I use the term “fall in love” when talking about relationships, we’re talking about consensual love. You might think that shotgun feels love for you, it doesn’t, no matter how much you love it. The same goes for your dog the sheep in your backyard.

  • bayhuntr

    And there lies the problem, you have a god that is absolute and fraud men claiming they know what he’s talking about. You’re like the weak link in a chain telling the link next to it that it’s weak. Your part of the chain dude you’re not God.

  • Nica

    Sodom’s sin concerned the desire to gang-bang guests, thereby violating the rules of hospitality.

  • James

    Nonsense. There is a word for liars.

  • James

    Just listen to yourselves. You do not believe in a Righteous Jesus. You believe in yourselves as the righteous ones, disregarding the Redeemers Words and His Workers that saw and heard.!! The owner of this site is no more a Believer than most of you! You pervert logic and justify evil! Demonize the good and celebrate evil as a freedom FROM decency and sanctification. I would be ashamed of the rhetoric used on this site and the author who uses Jesus as an excuse to INDULGE in his own self-righteousness at the cost of losing the eternal gift of Salvation and causing ignorance to prevail in the name of a GURU(Site owner), not Jesus. The person is perverting the gospel………..No excuse!

  • James

    You are a fool!

  • James

    A Believer would not do that. Someone of your ilk..WOULD

  • James

    Man with man is in scripture. Deal with it and humble yourself

  • James

    Debbie, of course you are right and Righteous because you have accepted the grace of God through Jesus..salvation in Faith in His works.. Most of these characters have not. They have heard and rejected the Gospel of Jesus and His teachings…Walk away and dust your feet off! Look at comments of some. Reprobate minds…Bless you..

  • James

    Discerning a spirit is essential! You’re vulgar!..Is that judging? No..Observing!

  • RobertGman

    It is pretty explicit that Paul taught, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:11) The Bible teaches you cannot simultaneously be in a same-sex relationship and be “in Christ.” Period. Anyone claiming salvation and rejecting this important Biblical mandate is not one of the Lord’s sheep. Without Christ, they are deceived.

  • Thomas Gross

    The problem with this article is that it starts off incorrectly. It reads as if the acts of homosexuality did not exist simply because the appellation did not exist. Using the same logic, the first known use of the word ‘intercourse’ according to Miriam Webster is said to have been around the 15th century. Does that mean that no one talked about sexual intercourse before then? Even if there was no word ‘homosexual’ to describe same sex acts and attraction, nevertheless, they existed. And whatever they were called in that day, they were an abomination to God at that time, and they are still abominable in God’s sight because He did not make a woman to be sexual with a woman, nor did He make a man to be sexual with a man – and the preponderance of evidence as it relates to physical biology can certainly argue in favor of that.
    That said, I might also add the word of the Apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 7:2:

    “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” KJV

    No one can avoid the sin of fornication except through sexual relations with their marital spouse of the opposite sex.

    The loss of the wonderful gift of eternal life is a terrible price to pay if we choose to bend God’s instructions to us so that we can futilely attempt to justify the satisfaction of our own evil desires.

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    We don’t worship Paul. Jesus” word overrules Paul’s

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    It was destroyed because they acted like conservative Christians
    Ezekiel 16:48-50 King James Version (KJV)
    48 As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.
    49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
    50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    Not unless you follow ALL the laws in Leviticus.

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    ALIENS!

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    Show us what Jesus said about Homosexuality.

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    Um no! Islam has done the same thing

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    If society had any issues with it there would be a word for it. So why did God wait so long to tell his people it was wrong?

  • RobertGman

    Sure, I agree. However, Jesus didn’t speak on the subject, so we have no word from Him that overrules Paul. Therefore, we listen to Paul where Jesus is silent.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Does ‘cannibalism’ appear in the bible anywhere? Seriously.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    BRILLIANT! ALIENS ALL THE WAY UP… DOWN… SPACE IS WEIRD!

  • William Tyndale

    Romans Chapter 1

  • Thomas Gross

    Genesis 2:21-22: a woman was made to be a companion for a man at CREATION.
    21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. NASU

    The physical biology makes sense, right? Else he would not have told them to “be fruitful and multiply.” There is no possibility for same-sex couples to accomplish procreation exclusively with each other. That should be enough evidence alone. Later on according to Genesis chapter 19, He judged five cities for same-sex immoral behavior. In Leviticus 18:22, since people tend to defy appropriate behavior (sin) unless told better, He clarified His intent for exclusive male/female relationships by informing us that same-sex sex is abominable (meaning, He hates it).

    22 ‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. NASU

    So is that early enough for you? And He informed us without using the word “homosexual.” The sexual acts are repulsive to Him. So, is homosexual behavior so important that it is worth forfeiting the eternal life of supreme bliss that He has otherwise made available to all of us through Jesus the Messiah?

  • Knayt

    It hasn’t, really – it’s found through Asia (concentrated in the middle east and southeast) and Africa (mostly in the north), while being far less common elsewhere, while also splashing up in Spain in particular. On a totally coincidental note, the Ummayad dynasty invaded northern Africa and crossed into Spain, the move into central asia lines up remarkably well with the later positioning of Turkish cultures after they gained power in the extant Islamic world, and then the shipping routes and seaward expansion from the Arabian peninsula and outlying areas happen to line up remarkably well with where Islam is found in Southeast Asia.

    Meanwhile the places Christianity is found line up remarkably well with Roman territories, then the subsequent colonies of colonial European powers. It’s almost like there’s specific historical circumstances that explain the propagation of Christianity (and other religions), and the spread on more continents is more indicative of the success of colonial powers than successful transcendence of individual cultures unlike any other human movement. This also better explains the balkanization into a bunch of different denominations, the location of specific denominations (e.g. the Byzantine empire as a political structure mapping well to Orthodox belief systems), than the transcendant movement hypothesis, which would suggest a lot more unity.

  • Some of this i agree with, particularly about catamite and sodomite being more reflective, even if problematic.

    However, we have additional resources to expand on the little Paul did write about effeminacy and its relation to queerness.

    We have it Philo of Alexandria, who despite being jewish, had a similar background as Paul, was educated and wrote in greek, and was doing the same thing with the old laws, that Paul was doing with Christ’s covenant – applying them to Greek society and culture. This was written in roughly the same era, region and vernacular as Paul when he wrote 1 Corinthians. It’s also compatible with Paul (with the exception in how Jewish law expresses transgression through direct punishment rather than sorting members of a kingdom)

    Philo [translated by F.H. Colson, Philo, Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1954]

    The Special Laws

    I. 324-325 [referring to Deuteronomy 23:1]

    But while the law stands pre-eminent in enjoining fellowship and humanity, it preserves the high position and dignity of both virtues by not allowing anyone whose state is incurable to take refuge with them, but bidding him avaunt and keep his distance. Thus, knowing that in assemblies there are not a few worthless persons who steal their way in and remain unobserved in the large numbers which surround them, it guards against this danger by precluding all the unworthy from entering the holy congregation. It begins with the men who belie their sex and are affected with effemination, who debase the currency of nature and violate it by assuming the passions and the outward form of licentious women. For it expels those whose generative organs are fractured or mutilated, who husband the flower of their youthful bloom, lest it should quickly wither, and restamp the masculine cast into a feminine form.

    III. 37-42 [referring to Leviticus 18:22, 20:13]

    Much graver than the above is another evil, which has ramped its way into the cities, namely pederasty. In former days the very mention of it was a great disgrace, but now it is a matter of boasting not only to the active but to the passive partners, who habituate themselves to endure the disease of effemination, let both body and soul run to waste, and leave no ember of their male sex-nature to smoulder. Mark how conspicuously they braid and adorn the hair of their heads, and how they scrub and paint their faces with cosmetics and pigments and the like, and smother themselves with fragrant unguents. For of all such embellishments, used by all who deck themselves out to wear a comely appearance, fragrance is the most seductive. In fact the transformation of the male nature to the female is practised by them as an art and does not raise a blush. These persons are rightly judged worthy of death by those who obey the law which ordains that the man-woman who debases the sterling coin of nature should perish unavenged, suffered not to live for a day or even an hour, as a disgrace to himself, his house, his native land and the whole human race. And the lover of such may be assured that he is subject to the same penalty. He pursues an unnatural pleasure and does his best to render cities desolate and uninhabited by destroying the means of procreation. Furthermore he sees no harm in becoming a tutor and instructor in the grievous vices of unmanliness and effeminacy by prolonging the bloom of the young and emasculating the flower of their prime, which should rightly be trained to strength and robustness. Finally, like a bad husbandman he lets the deep-soiled and fruitful fields lie sterile, by taking steps to keep them from bearing, while he spends his labour night and day on soil from which no growth at all can be expected. The reason is, I think, to be found in the prizes awarded in many nations to licentiousness and effeminacy. Certainly you may see these hybrids of man and woman continually strutting about through the thick of the market, heading the processions at the feasts, appointed to serve as unholy ministers of holy things, leading the mysteries and initiations and celebrating the rites of Demeter. Those of them who by way of heightening still further their youthful beauty have desired to be completely changed into women and gone on to mutilate their genital organs, are clad in purple like signal benefactors of their native lands, and march in front escorted by a bodyguard, attracting the attention of those who meet them. But if such indignation as our lawgiver felt was directed against those who do not shrink from such conduct, if they were cut off without condonation as public enemies, each of them a curse and a pollution of his country, many others would be found to take the warning. For relentless punishment of criminals already condemned acts as a considerable check on those who are eager to practise the like.

    This is an accurate context for 1 Corinthians 6:9-12

  • it’s irrelevant biblically.

  • Steven Waling

    No there really isn’t. That was just something invented by fundies to justify first slavery than homophobia.

  • bayhuntr

    And yet belief in Omnipotent gods seems to be totally dependent on Geopolitical movements. Maybe impuissant gods would be the better term.

  • Go away, imposter asshole.

  • bayhuntr

    Through history hasn’t Christianity simply barowed from other believes and cultures to keep itself relevant? Christmas and Easter are not Christian holidays they were pagan holidays. In other words, Christianity has changed over times to fit in. As science has proven things wrong Christians lets those believes fade into the past, most of Christians.
    The concept of homosexuality didn’t exist 2000 years ago, they generally believed that some heterosexuals chose to have sex with men. Evangelicals pushed that nonsense until 30 years ago, some still do it today.
    I wonder if the real reason Christianity has lasted so long, is do to it being more pliable. Mormonism used to deny black people access to the Temple and their top heaven, they changed as opposed to fighting the US government, now that concept is unheard of in their religion.
    Radical religion and a free society are incompatible. People that claim America was founded on Christianity, are just liars, our third president wasn’t even Christian, something that could never happen today in this nation. Our founders were more interested in freedom.

  • Well, i wouldn’t disagree that Christianity has vastly changed and adapted throughout history. Concepts of homosexuality have changed as well, but I’m not sure why you think Christians have only “pushed” the nonsense against homosexuality for 30 years. Sodomy laws go back for centuries in both Christian and Muslim countries.

  • bayhuntr

    That is my time frame and I grew up around Christians, not Muslims. To your point, yes, you are right, religion had pushed lies and nonsense, throughout human history.
    Sodomy… lots of homosexuals never do sodomy, and lots of hetrosexuals do. It’s not about sodomy.
    Also, are you sure religion was claiming homosexuality, not the practice, but the orientation, was a choice, centuries ago? How about that homosexuals can never be happy? How about that homosexuals are all pedophiles? How about homosexuals can’t love, only lust? How about thier average lifespan is only 42?
    Lots of modern lies pushing the suicide rate of gay kids through ceiling.

  • You are right that Christians (and societies) have not always historically viewed homosexuality in the same nuanced ways that we do today (historians debate whether exclusive homosexual relationships were ever viewed as equivalent to heterosexual relationships in ancient societies – or whether “orientations” were ever noted). But sodomy laws historically have been used primarily against male same-sex sexual relationships. The sexual part of a relationship is certainly not all there is to a relationship (I agree), but it is the part of the relationship that has historically been targeted by laws and taboos.

  • schitlipz

    sodomy, duh. The word sodomy has always been linked to homosexual behaviours. Disgusting buggers.

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    Have you actually looked at all the times Jesus countered Paul’s ideas and told him that he was wrong?
    This was the time when Romans 1 charge homosexuality was common and if Jesus didn’t say anything about it he must not have thought it important enough to talk about

  • Henry Chris Larsen

    Actually what it’s talking about is rape and sexual abuse

  • DebbyJane65

    Those subjects (rape and sexual abuse) are also in the Bible (and are irrelevant in this discussion). Leviticus 18:22 and 1Corinthians 6:9-10 are two references of homosexuality. Holiness was designed by God….you cannot get around it by detestable living. Homosexuality brings shame to God. It is a perverse deviation. It is evil corruption. In our sin-tolerable society of this fallen world, God does not tolerate this perverse behavior.

  • Exodus forbids harming the LIFE in the womb, and prescribes eye-for-eye, life-for-life, punishment of anyone who transgresses the la against harming the nefesh(life) in the womb.

  • And Numbers gives the recipe for a potion that will cause an abortion if a man’s wife is carrying another man’s baby.

    Finding a consistent high regard for life in the Old Testament is difficult.

  • Tom

    That title is disingenuous. The word ‘homosexual’ didn’t exist until the mid 19th century. And before that point, there were other words and phrases that meant much the same thing. EG in the King James; “abusers of themselves with mankind”. Given that in those times “self abuse” meant masturbation, the King James term does seem to have sexual connotations.