Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Let's (re)read the Bible

Here's a story glistening with plot devices of sex, religion, ancient history, mystery and contemporary controversy. And note: I proved myself wrong on a religious note, however that leads to a larger inquiry that warrants intellectual exploration...

Recently, a conversation (without coffee) arose over homosexuality and the Bible. Those of you know I've never much embraced church or religion, let alone the practice of Scripture in my life. While that is gradually changing with age and marriage and the eventual start of a family, I remain a skeptic at heart - the journalist inside.

Anyhow, a friend made the comment about not wanting any homosexual males near her son. Rational: the Bible forbids this type of activity; it's wrong. I disagreed, and we debated the issue for a good hour or so, but in doing so my curiosity intensified. So, research ensued. A Google search of words "homosexuality," "Bible," and "forbid" revealed 353,000 results.
After reviewing a dozen or so, here's the one I found the most informative: an article by a Biblical interpretation professor at the Auburn Theological Society in NYC. His point: Yes, the Bible condems homosexuality - "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." -- Lev.18:22

Ok then. However, author points out that our attitude toward Scripture has changed numerous times throughout history and we must JUDGE FOR OURSELVES. The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct. For example, the Bible sanctioned slavery and nowhere attacks it as unjust. Are we prepared to argue that slavery today is biblically justified? What about prostitution, polygamy, levirate marriage, sex with slaves, treatment of women as property, marriage to 11-year old girls? All were allowed then, but are condemned now by modern society. How is we can be this selective on which Biblical sexual mores to follow?

Personally, aside from Bible readings, I don't agree that homosexuality is morally wrong. Do what you want, just don't push it off on me. Not interested. I'm not promoting or favoring this sexual orientation, but people shouldn't be shunned and ashamed by their sexual orientation. If parents teach their children this is wrong, and forbid it to be around their children because it's so wrong, what happens if and when those parents face that conversation with their own child. Do they then disown that child, or have tolerance - going against what they'd taught?

My view is that society is creating a larger problem. By condeming this activity, we're creating a whole chaotic world of psychological issues for children who face these issues. These kids grow up thinking it's wrong, and they're damaged goods, and have to suppress feelings and desire and pretend to be someone they're not. Get married to the opposite sex. Have great children of their own. Then, one day down the road as an adult, that person is caught having a homosexual relationship, or is arrested for downloading pornography on that front. Or molesting. Hey, ask the priests and ministers about that one.

What ever happened to tolerance????? Apparently, it's not in the common versions of the Bible, and hardly promoted. Is that practical to our modern society? I don't mean to speak heresy here, but c'mon.... It's a bunch of stories by then-reporters, who (if they're like any other writer who's ever existed) has made mistakes on something - misspelled a word, got someone's name wrong, misunderstood something that was said. Who's to say that hasn't happened at some level here? It's just a consideration to keep in mind as we read this Scripture and take it word for word, preaching to our children. Faith is one thing. Yes, I believe there's a Higher Power and life of some sort after death. Possibilities exist, and that brings me more hope than anything. But faith shouldn't hold a denominational stake, an "or else" clause in it. That's not faith.... It's more akin to blackmailing the soul.

Now endeth the lesson... Let debate and criticism ensue...

No comments: