Take a Stand and Know Why You Believe What You Believe


Last night, I read a post on Facebook from John Shore pointing to this petition on change.org for Christians to standup and affirm that begin gay is no more immoral than being straight. I honestly love how John Shore stands up for his convictions. The world might be a better place if that happened instead of people looking down and compromising what they feel is right.

I think people should support John Shore on this. If you truly feel that there is no immorality difference between the two orientations, then by all means stand up and say so. I wish Mr. Shore would have quantified what morality system this was based on, but knowing his stance on issues and his previous writings, I would say it was based upon society’s standard and not that of the Bible.

This is where we get into a tricky issue. The Pew Forum has released new studies that show public opinion towards homosexuality is steadily changing to be for the idea instead of against it. This is a huge change for those who are gay and should indicate that one day public policy will in fact support their stance.

 

So what happens if you think it is wrong? Outside of being deemed a bigot or hate-mongerer that is.

I say you should be able to share your opinion. Not really should be able to, but you really need to share it. Not to oppress someone or deny them of any rights, but to get the conversation going as to why.

A recent movement, probably due to blogs and the ability of getting information and opinions out to the public with relative ease, is the analysis on if the Bible truly speaks out against homosexuality based on current understandings. The research is really pretty interesting and I can honestly see why some people are changing how they feel about homosexuality.

I did a previous post over the Bible and Homosexuality that you can read where I addressed the assumptions that when the bible spoke out against it, it simply meant sex with men who were temple prostitutes. I can see how a person would rationalize it that way, but the problem I am finding is the number of Christians who refuse to do the research on their own if they have questions. Why not read the sources and see if that makes sense or is there more to the story?

Christians are afraid of talking about their beliefs because it seems like they have no basis for them outside of what they were told to believe. How do you have faith in something that you cannot back up with something besides “so and so told me it was wrong.”

Be careful though, because if you speak up, you will be challenged. You will be asked why you want to deny someone equal rights to love or that you are being judgmental. It is always fun to see how someone will take other portions out of context to criticize and belittle you while accusing you of not understanding the context of the bible over this issue.

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14 Comments

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Religion

14 responses to “Take a Stand and Know Why You Believe What You Believe

  1. Yes, I fully agree that if you think homosexuality is wrong that you should be able to share your opinion. But you should also be able to exegetically support your stance as well — otherwise it’s just hot air.

    As long as you are suggesting to your readers “Why not read the sources [of some who believe the Bible does NOT call homosexuality a sin] and see if that makes sense or is there more to the story,” I provide the link below for your reader’s reading pleasure.

    For starters, I would particularly recommend the following posts which I trut you’ll find most relevant:

    “Genesis 19: What Were the Real Sins of Sodom?
    “Leviticus 18: What Was the Abomination?”
    “Romans 1: What Was Paul Ranting About?”
    “Romans 2: Paul’s Bait and Switch”
    “Genesis 1: Turning the Creation Story into an Anti-Gay Treatise”
    “Why No One in the Biblical World Had a Word for Homosexuality”
    “Exegesis: Not For the Faint in Heart”

    (Links to these and more may be found by simply clicking the link below and then selecting the “Archives” page.)

    -Alex Haiken
    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  2. I agree Alex. I think the posts that you have listed are a good place for people to start out and look at some well laid out arguments for the support of homosexuality, under its current incarnation of course. Once people have finished reading your arguments for homosexuality, then they can begin to do the research to see how homosexuality was addressed in the Ancient Near Eastern societies to see if your argument matches up with what occurs in writing.

    * Law codes in the ancient Near East – including those of Urukagina (2375 B.C.), Ur-Nammu (2100 B.C.), Eshnunna (1750 B.C.), and Hammurabi (1726 B.C.) – virtually ignore homosexual acts.4 Vern Bullough notes that these law codes had a great influence on later law codes, were intended to deal with specific deeds (not general moral principles), and seem not to have been observed in all cases or at all times.5 The Hittites, who flourished in eastern Anatolia (Turkey) and Syria ca. 1700-700 B.C., had one law that stated, “If a man violates his son, it is a capital crime” (section 189c). The same judgment was declared on father-daughter incest and mother-son incest.6 As Hittitologist Harry Hoffner, Jr., observed, “a man who sodomized his son is guilty of urkel [illegal intercourse] because the partner is his son, not because they are of the same sex.” Later, he added, “[I]t would appear that homosexuality was not outlawed among the Hittites.”

    * Two laws from a Middle Assyrian code, from Assur (12th century B.C. but probably copies or extensions of earlier laws going back to at least the 15th century B.C.8), also mention homosexuality. They speak of a “seignior,” someone of high social rank in the community, and his “neighbor,” someone of equal social status who lived in the vicinity.9 Later scholars simply view these laws as applying to any Assyrian man.10 Table A, paragraph 19 reads (translated by Theophile Meek): “If a seignior [an Assyrian man] started a rumor against his neighbor [another citizen living nearby] in private, saying, ‘People have lain repeatedly with him,’ or he said to him in a brawl in the presence of (other) people, ‘People have lain repeatedly with you; I will prosecute you,’ since he is not able to prosecute (him) (and) did not prosecute (him), they shall flog that seignior fifty (times) with staves (and) he shall do the work of the king for one full month; they shall castrate him [lit. ‘shall cut off’] and he shall also pay one talent of lead.”11 Harsh punishment was often decreed in ancient times, e.g. in this law code including death and cutting off ears, noses, lips and fingers (Cf. A,5,9,12). The meaning of igadimus (“shall cut off”) is ambiguous and has also been translated as “he shall be cut off” from the community (G.R. Driver and J.C. Miles, 1935) and “they shall cut off” his beard or hair as a form of branding (Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, gadamu, G, 8)12 The preceding prohibition (A,18) in this law code deals with false (or unproven) rumors spread about a man’s wife sleeping around (like a prostitute); and its wording and punishment are very similar to A,19, except there is no “cutting off” and less blows are specified. In both cases, the lord’s reputation was at stake in the face of a grave slur that had been circulated against him.

    * Table A, paragraph 20 deals with a physical act done, not just a rumor: “If a seignior [an Assyrian man] lay with his neighbor [another citizen], when they have prosecuted him (and) convicted him [the first citizen], they shall lie with him (and) turn him into a eunuch.”14 This describes a situation where a man has forced sex upon a local resident or business partner, who then has the option of bringing a charge against him. Noticeably, the perpetrator is punished while the victim is not; so the crime here is rape. Homosexuality itself is not condemned, nor looked upon as immoral or disordered. Anyone could visit a prostitute or lay with another male, as long as false rumors or forced sex were not involved with another Assyrian male. Still, both of these laws suggest that for a male to take the submissive woman’s role in same-sex intercourse was looked down upon as shameful and despised.

    * Both Zimri-lin (king of Mari) and Hammurabi (king of Babylon) had male lovers, which the queen of Zimri-lin mentions matter-of-factly in a letter. The Almanac of Incantations contained prayers favoring on an equal basis the love of a man for a woman, of a woman for a man, and of a man for man.

    * Gilgamesh, king of Uruk (called Ereck in Gen 10:10), is described as “most handsome.” But because he is two-thirds god and one-third human, he distresses the citizens of Uruk with his insatiable sexual appetite and boundless energy. So the gods create a companion for him, named Enkidu, a wild, hairy man with “long tresses like those of a woman.” After a prostitute is sent to tame and train Eniku, who also is “handsome … just like a god,” he is brought into Uruk, where he meets Gilgamesh. Meanwhile Gilgamesh has had two dreams, one of a falling star and the second of a mighty axe, toward which he feels strangely attracted. His mother explains, “A mighty comrade will come to you … [and] like a wife you’ll love him, caress and embrace him” (Tablet I)…When he refuses, enraged, she persuades the gods to release the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh. However, Enkidu grabs hold of the animal’s tail, while Gilgamesh thrusts in his knife and slays the great beast (Tablet VI). But the gods are now angry that their great bull has been killed, and so they decide that one of the heroes must die, namely Enkidu. And so Enkidu grows weak and dies (Tablet VII). Gilgamesh, beside himself with grief, covers the face of his friend “like a bride,” tears out his curly hair in clumps, rips off his fine clothes, and mourns inconsolably over the loss of his friend (Tablet VIII).

    The problem with Christians arguing for homosexuality is they have either the argument that it did not occur in ancient civilizations as it does today, which we can see is false, or that it did occur and was considered normal so it should be seen as normal today, by passing the Levitcal laws saying to not practice the ways of those cultures who were around them and banned same sex practices. I copied these from a gay Christian who like you wants to support the stance on homosexuality, but wanted to show how it was accepted back then and should be accepted now.

    Now when looking at exegesis as opposed to eisegesis, I have shown documented proof that supports that homosexuality was practiced in ancient cultures, outside of pagan practices and not limited to pedestry. Nor was it simply a man having sex when a woman was not around or simply an act of dominance.

    • You said: “The problem with Christians arguing for homosexuality is they have either the argument that it did not occur in ancient civilizations as it does today… or that it did occur and was considered normal…”

      Me: I’m afraid you absolutely wrong on this one. This is not just the “argument” of Christians who have learned that when the few passages that generally get appealed to in this debate are examined more closely and in context the traditional “antigay” positions simply do not hold up to scrutiny. It is also the position of virtually every historian and classicist who has published scholarly material on the ancient cultures of these periods and of the the professors teaching about these periods at the university level.

      You also very much need to define who the “they” are that you reference who considered these acts or rituals “normal.” The “they” were the pagans who practiced these cult rituals in their bids to seek fertility. Fertility was highly prized in Ancient times in ways that are completely foreign to our modern thinking. Fact is their lives literally depended on it. As a result of the great value placed on fertility, pagan religions of the day were replete with practices believed to appease the fertility gods of the day and thereby win them the blessing of fertility: fertility of the land in the form of rains to ensure and boost crop production, fertility in the way of life through pregnancy and birth, fertility for the reproduction of their livestock, and so on. Israel’s survival hinged on fertility. Baal was a god of fertility. This meant that Baal and all other fertility “gods” were the power behind the rain and the dew. And with rainfall levels unreliable, famine was always a real possibility.

      One of the most prominent and pervasive themes weaving its way through virtually every single book of the Bible is that of paganism and the constant call to turn from it. We find a continuous call to turn from the worshiping of the false or pagan gods of the day and to turn instead to the one true living God, Yahweh. In connection with the call to turn from worshiping pagan gods is the admonition in the Bible to turn from participating in a myriad of pagan rituals or practices. Both the OT and NT spend page after page condemning these pagan cult practices. But most of us have no idea what these practices were. Miss this and you miss one of the central themes of the Bible.

      Sorry, but my posts as listed above stand as published. Let your readers do their research.

      -Alex Haiken
      http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  3. My use of “they” was a continuance of the subject Christians, since I was trying to show that there are two main camps of Christians that support homosexuality. One group supports your position that it only refers to homosexuality in a pagan ritual, temple prostitutes. The other group of Christians have the stance that homosexuality was a normal part of life, outside of the pagan rituals. I fully agree that there were male and transgendered temple prostitutes that people sought as part of a pagan ritual. Now I know other people and groups, outside of Christianity, support homosexuality.

    It is from these scholars that I was made aware of how homosexuality has existed in its current form that we know today. There have been deviations, where it has taken a role in pagan practices as well as allowed for young boys to be used to fulfill sexual desires of older men, but those aside, there has been documented accounts of men in a loving relationship from the earliest accounts of civilization. For you to limit the reference of homosexuality in the Bible to only events of paganism is like making the accusation that incest was only forbidden in the Bible when done in a pagan act.

    Your posts and our past discussions seem to want to limit homosexuality to either pagan rituals, a show of dominance or force made by conquering victors, or men who wanted sex while away from women so they sought young men who resembled females. My stance is that you are truly discounting any form of a loving relationship between two men, which has been documented throughout time. Maybe you are rejecting these accounts because they do not support your position, I am not sure. What I am sure of is that homosexuality, in its current form, is not new to this civilization or these times and has existed for ages.

    I do not expect you to change what you have written. I know your position has helped you come to peace with being a gay male and to change would once again put you in conflict with the Word of God.

    • You said: “It is from these scholars that I was made aware of how homosexuality has existed in its current form that we know today.”

      Therein lies the rub, my brother. To quote the Harper’s Bible Dictionary, which certainly is by no means has any bias toward supporting what I’ve been telling you all along:

      The Harper’s Bible Dictionary says of homosexuality: “A WORD FOR WHICH THERE IS NO SPECIFIC EQUIVALENT IN THE HEBREW OLD TESTAMENT OR THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, SINCE THE CONCEPT ITSELF AS WELL AS THE ENGLISH WORD ORIGINATED ONLY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.”

      You can read whatever suits your fancy into the biblical texts, but I can assure you that your resources are not very resourceful.

      -Alex Haiken
      http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  4. Oh, I see. It is like incest. The word did not exist back then, so even though we know what it means and can draw correlations to specific behaviors and actions, it is not sinful as it was not a word that was in use at that time. I guess abortion would not be seen as sinful either.

    Thank you for the clarification.

    • You said: “Oh, I see. It is like incest. The word did not exist back then, so even though we know what it means and can draw correlations to specific behaviors and actions, it is not sinful as it was not a word that was in use at that time. I guess abortion would not be seen as sinful either. Thank you for the clarification.”

      Me: Wrong again, bro. Go back and read what Harper’s Bible Dictionary said again: It did not say that only the WORD DID NOT EXIST back then. It said the CONCEPT ITSELF DID NOT EXIST. I suppose you think that every Bible dictionary as well as the myriad of other biblical, historic and theological sources that say what I’ve telling you all along are involved in a massive conspiracy to try and make you look bad.

      -Alex Haiken
      http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  5. So what concept did not exist? We have the story of Gilgamesh who had a male lover who was closer than a friend and when he died he mourned him like a wife. Are you saying that gay couples today do not have that level of emotion or commitment to their lovers/partners?

    I do not think there is any conspiracy that is trying to make me look bad. I think there are many people with good intentions that are ignoring or blatantly dismissing documented cases throughout time where a same sex relationship existed which mirrored the current concept of what a loving same sex couple is like.

    I just showed you that the concept, from a story which predates the bible, existed. You can continue to ignore it all you want. There are many historical references that do not choose to ignore the facts and show that the idea and concept of homosexuality is not new to civilized people.

    • It stand to reason you’re going to get upset when we apply the common-sense rules of biblical exegesis to passages of Scripture and some of your long-held and cherished doctrines became challenged. But if you refuse to pay attention to the world in which the Bible was written your understanding will continue to be misunderstanding.

      Fact is even what you know of as “heterosexuality” and “love” was very different in biblical times. Let’s take a brief look at how differently things are for us than they were for our biblical ancestors, shall we?

      MARRIAGE:

      “Marriage” for us commonly refers to an exchange of vows between bride and groom, symbolized by a ring, in a church or government building, with a clerical or governmental official presiding. In patriarchal biblical culture, marriage commonly involved an arrangement in which the groom’s father literally “purchased” the bride from her father, perhaps, accompanied by a banquet (e.g. Genesis 24; John 2). Marriage in Ancient times was about ownership.

      ADULTERY:

      In connection with this, “adultery” in the patriarchal culture of the Bible most commonly refers to a property offense against the husband, not a betrayal of one’s spouse. Since no vows were exchanged, there was no infidelity. And “divorce,” since marriage was not a concern of state or church, involved at most a simple unilateral written statement (almost always from the male), not our often complicated legal process involving both parties, with lawyers and judges.

      In Hebrew law, adultery is defined as a man’s having intercourse with a woman married or betrothed to another. The male who commits adultery does not violate his own marriage, but that of the woman and her husband. Adultery was a property-related matter.

      ROMANTIC LOVE:

      Even “romantic love” as we know it today did not exist in Bible times. Romantic love as we understand it did not come into being until the Middle Ages, which is precisely why this period is referred to as the “Romance Period.” The concept of “falling in love” would have been completely foreign to anyone in ancient times. Few Christian theologians before the 12th century made any references to what is today called “falling in love” and the phenomenon would seem to have been completely unknown to Jesus and his followers and to most of the church until the rise of what is loosely termed “courtly love” in the 12th century. The Greek work for romantic love does not occur anywhere in the NT.

      Among no group of people would concepts of romantic love parallel to those common today have been the operative factors in arranging marriage. “Love” between husband and wife was something expected to develop as a consequence of marriage, not to occasion it. It consisted of fair treatment, respect and mutual consideration and often corresponded more to paternal affections in the pre-modern world. Age differences between husbands and wives may have contributed to that.

      INFIDELITY:

      For you and I, a married person, man or woman, commits adultery by having sex outside of the marriage. The offense is infidelity, betrayal of a trust or commitment, and it is against one’s husband or wife. It is a personal offense. In ancient Israel, adultery was an offense only against the husband; it was an unlawful use of his property, his woman, his wife. More than a personal offense, it involved a financial loss: the man had paid his wife’s father a bridal price for her, and her ability to bear children was important to the expansion of his family, i.e. the increase of his property.

      VIRGINITY:

      Why was virginity prior to marriage important in Ancient times? Virginity was only an issue for the woman. Marriage and child bearing determined lines of ownership and inheritance in the patriarchal family. Property was passed on to the male children. Unlike the Romans, the Israelites did not recognize adoption as the basis for inheritance. It was important that the child born of man’s woman be his legitimate heir. But if someone else had sex with a man’s wife and she later had a child, whose child would it be? To what property would the child be entitled? There was no DNA testing. Having sex with someone else’s woman could cause serious financial and social problems. Similarly, if man’s new bride was not a virgin, how sure could he be that a child born through her was his own? A “used” woman was of no value to anyone.

      When attempting to properly interpret the Bible we have to be very careful about reading our own contemporary concerns and personal prejudices into texts removed from their social context.” This, of course, is “Exegesis 101″.

      MALE-TO-MALE INTERCOURSE

      During biblical times men (and the kings) of conquered tribes were sometimes raped by the invading army as the ultimate symbol of defeat and humiliation. Homosexual rape was a way for victors to accentuate the subjection of captive enemies and foes and a way of humiliating visitors and strangers. If we miss this we not only miss what was going on in the renowned Sodom and Gomorrah passage, but we also miss the meaning in such passages as 1 Samuel 31:4 and 1 Chronicles 10:4 where Saul, gravely wounded by the Philistines, instructs his armor-bearer to “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me.” Do you think these soldiers were all what you call “homosexual?”

      SEX VS. POLITICS

      There is a famous picture from Greece that celebrates the victory of the Athenians over the Persians in 460 B.C. In the picture a Greek soldier with erect penis in hand approaches from the rear a distressed, defeated Persian soldier who is bent over waiting to be raped by the Greek. The picture was intended to show, through the imagery of male-to-male sexual intercourse, that the Greeks now dominate the submissive Persians. This picture was not pornography; it was politics. In myth, law, treaties, monuments, and pottery decorations, political and military domination was often conventionally symbolized by sexual domination between men.

      There was no parity between the sexes are there is today. The status of women was no higher than that of slaves. Women “owned” their wives like property. THIS IS WHY JESUS’ TREATMENT OF WOMEN, HIS RESPECT FOR THEM AND THE NT COMMANDMENTS TO LOVE YOUR WIVES WAS SO REVOLUTIONARY. We totally miss how incredibly revolutionary this was in our post women’s liberation culture and society. The status of women in Bible times was not much higher than that of slaves. Women, like slaves, were PROPERTY. There was no word for romantic love until the 15th century. It was disgraceful for a man to be treated as a woman and be penetrated. All this is just the tip of the iceberg. Wherein then do you then read all of this “homosexual relationship” stuff into ancient texts?

      What you are doing is the height of eisegesis (i.e., reading one’s own contemporary understandings and personal prejudices back into the Bible and putting into the text something never intended by the author). THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE’RE TO AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!! Instead, we’re supposed to be doing exegesis (i.e., reading out from the Bible what the original writers were saying and getting out of the text what is truly there in the first place).

      This is why Harper’s Bible Dictionary says of homosexuality: “A WORD FOR WHICH THERE IS NO SPECIFIC EQUIVALENT IN THE HEBREW OLD TESTAMENT OR THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, SINCE THE CONCEPT ITSELF AS WELL AS THE ENGLISH WORD ORIGINATED ONLY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.”

      -Alex Haiken
      http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  6. Oops, I typed too fast above! I, of course, meant to say: Men “owned” their wives like property — not women “owned” their wives like property.

    -Alex Haiken
    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  7. First, I want to apologize for some of the previous posts. The tone was sarcastic and disrespectful and that is not how I want to act.

    Second, I am glad you brought up eisegesis, because your comment seems based on it. Due to the value of women in that day, having a value in society based more on property, you are assigning an emotionless relationship between husband and wife that there is no proof of and thus acting on an assumption of your view of society.

    In the Bible, when Sarah dies, we see Abraham going to mourn and weep for her. This is not an act one does for their sheep, but for someone they love and are emotionally connected to. When the servant goes to find a wife for Isaac, love is not the basis of the union at first, but Isaac saw her and then loved her after they were married. Jacob served Laban for 14 years in order to be able to marry the woman that he loved.

    Stories of love and emotional connection are not limited to the Bible and it is unwise to assume that there was not an emotional connection between husband and wife simply because of how a bride was chosen or how women were viewed. These types of relationships are still practiced today in parts of the world, and there are stories from these women that tell of their love for their husband and stories of the men loving their wives.

    The same can be said between two men who were in a relationship. The story of Gilgamesh tells of love and the pain of loss when his male lover was killed. This was not the case of a lesser that he dominated, but someone that was cared about. I t is wrong for you to assume that all cases of male on male sex were either a sign of dominance or simply rape. We see laws from that time period that forbid rape of a male by another male and forbid false accusation of sex, in the same sense of a woman being accused of cheating, but there are no laws forbidding male on male intercourse. This is one of the differences found in Hebrew culture.

    You really need to step back and do further research on the fact that emotional connections did exist in these relationships. Just because the courtship period between now and then, and only in certain parts of the world, has changed, does not mean that people were not capable of love or dedication. We know the negative emotions existed from various writings, so it would purely be speculation to think that the positive emotions did not exist.

    I understand that believing this supports your position, but I honestly feel you are assuming too much on ancient cultures that can be disproven by the literature and laws of those times.

  8. You said: “You are assigning an emotionless relationship between husband and wife that there is no proof of and thus acting on an assumption of your view of society.”

    Me: Let’s be careful about misrepresenting my words, shall we? What I said was: among no group of people would concepts of romantic love parallel to those common today have been the operative factors in arranging marriage. “Love” between husband and wife was something expected to develop as a consequence of marriage, not to occasion it. Stop reading your own 21st century culture back into the biblical texts of Abraham and Sarah!

    I said their ‘love” consisted of fair treatment, respect and mutual consideration and often corresponded more to paternal affections in the pre-modern world. Age differences between husbands and wives may have contributed to that. I didn’t say people did not have emotions. Stop twisting my words!

    It may well take time to get used to seeing this in ancient writings — and none of us assimilates this notion on the first pass — but like it or not, this understanding operates in biblical interpretation.

    Women indeed were about the equivalent in social status to that of slaves in ancient times. If you don’t think that they were purchased as virtual property then you’re living on the good ship lollipop. Worse than that, you’re guilty of the height of eisegesis, i.e., reading your 21st century culture back into their ancient culture.

    Try this as an illustration: Think of the film “Fiddler on the Roof” for a moment. The story centers on a father searching for appropriate husbands for his three eldest daughters. In a break of tradition and culture, his daughters refuse to accept the wishes of their father; instead each daughter in turn wants him to bend tradition and culture to permit her to marry the man that she loves. The idea of forsaking tradition and culture to allow one to select one’s own mate based on “love” (let alone consider the prospect of dating someone) was unheard of in their culture — and this was the early 20th century which was centuries after the times of the Bible!!! As the father wrestles with his daughter’s requests to bend tradition in exasperation, he recounts to his own wife in song: “The first time I met you was on our wedding day.”

    So where is all of this “romantic love” that you’re talking about? It simply didn’t exist. Marriages were arranged for modality of power.

    There was absolutely no parity between men and women as there is today. If you actually thing, as you inferred, that this was not the reality that existed in ancient times, think for just a moment of what marriages are like in many Islamic cultures today. Today in places in the world, they are still living like they did in ancient times. In many Islamic cultures today, women have zero rights. They are by and large not treated fairly, respectfully, and are for all intents and purposes the “property” of their husbands. They can literally be beaten or put to death for disobedience.

    We have today living examples in parts of our world a taste of what ancient biblical culture was like. This is not theory or conjecture — it is fact!

    Because one of the worst things you could do in biblical times was to treat a man like a woman and penetrate him (you couldn’t treat him any lower), this is precisely why men and kings of conquered tribes were often raped by the invading army as the ultimate symbol of defeat and humiliation. This was a way for victors to accentuate the subjection of captive enemies and foes and a way of humiliating visitors and strangers.

    If you insist on denying that this is historical fact, then again, you are living on the good ship lollipop. Why do you think the strangers in the renowned Sodom and Gomorrah passage were going to brutally rape the men in the city? Because they were homosexual? Nope!

    Why do you think in 1 Samuel 31:4 and 1 Chronicles 10:4 where Saul, gravely wounded by the Philistines, instructs his armor-bearer to “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me?” Because the soldiers were all “homosexual?” Nope!

    Wives often encouraged husbands to employ slaves (of either gender) for sexual release. Gender, age, class, social standing, and in some cases citizenship, set limitations on the range of acceptable forms of sexual expressions for each individual. With few exceptions, the higher one’s social status the more restrictions would apply to sexual acts, and the fewer to sexual partners. A wealthy and powerful adult male citizen, for example, at the top of the status hierarchy, could penetrate any other person without loss of social status (although a dispute might arise if the other party was the wife or child of another citizen).

    The attitude of Antony, the Roman general under Julius Caesar (83-30 BC) on the subject of heterosexual relations is typical of Roman males and sums up what I’ve been telling you and what you are unable or simply refuse to grasp. In a letter to Augustus, who, like Antony himself, was married at the time, he asked: “Can it matter where or in whom you put it?”

    But for the same male to be penetrated — by anyone — would incur disrespect if it were known, and might even subject him to loss of social privilege. By contrast, although a slave (or even freedman) would lose no status for being penetrated by someone more powerful, he might suffer greatly (a slave could forfeit his life) if he penetrated a citizen. The restrictions on the sexual behavior of adult males were not the result of prejudice against homosexuality: the same man could penetrate as many men as he wished without incurring any stigma.

    The code of propriety was related to gender. Penetration and power were associated with the prerogatives of the ruling male elite; surrendering to penetration was a symbolic abrogation of power and authority — but in a way that posed a polarity of domination-subjection, not heterosexual-homosexual.

    Again, It may well take time to get used to seeing this in ancient writings — and none of us assimilates this notion on the first pass — but like it or not, this understanding operates in biblical interpretation. The fact remains, if you want to interpret the biblical text responsibly you’re going to have to learn something about the culture of the day or your understanding will continue to be misunderstanding.

    -Alex Haiken
    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  9. You: The attitude of Antony, the Roman general under Julius Caesar (83-30 BC) on the subject of heterosexual relations is typical of Roman males and sums up what I’ve been telling you and what you are unable or simply refuse to grasp. In a letter to Augustus, who, like Antony himself, was married at the time, he asked: “Can it matter where or in whom you put it?”

    Me: You are totally blowing pass references that predate this by thousands of years that do not support your idea of just put it anywhere and describe a “loving” and sexual relationship between two men. You fail to respond to the laws that predate this quote by thousands of years that forbid a man from raping another man but allow same sex relationships to exist. There are many references out there that do not fit into your model of what life was like back then.

    On the same passage on Homosexuality in Harper’s, it says:
    That the female and male cultic prostitution proscribed in Deut. 23:17-18 involved homosexuality is doubtful. It is difficult to understand how homosexual prostitution could have had any symbolic function in the Canaanite fertility religion, against the practices of which this legislation was directed. The same may be said of the cultic prostitution mentioned elsewhere (e.g., 1 Kings 14:22-24).

    It does not seem that Harper’s supports your position on homosexuality being an integral part fertility practices. I understand your desire to try and theologically bully those who disagree with you position, but even those that you reference do not fully support your stance.

    Do not be so short sighted that you miss the historical facts that homosexuality, or rather a loving and mutually respected sexual relationship between two men, did exist. We can argue the technicalities on if both men were able to choose the relationship, but the fact is out there that two men have loved each other on a level equal with that of man and wife prior to the current civilization.

    It seems as if we are at an impasse since we do not agree and you are unwilling to look at proof that contradicts your stance. I truly wish you the best in your endeavors.

  10. What prey tell is the “proof that contradicts [my] stance” that you speak so gallantly of? This is not “my” stance, dear boy. It is the position of virtually every credible historicist and classicist that has published scholarly material on these periods of time and the position of every professor that teaches on these periods of time on a university level. Your argument is not with me, it’s with all of these scholars.

    As a result of the many archeological discoveries of the 20th century, our ability to do sound exegesis on the biblical text has increased exponentially. In fact, today we know more about the Bible than any previous time in history, including even in later biblical times. Responsible Bible students know we need to allow this information to inform our understanding of the text.

    Now you can sit there with your fingers in your ear and say, “Don’t confuse me with the facts because my mind is already made up!” But these are the facts. As you said in your original post, let the readers read my posts and examine the available information and evaluate for themselves, just as you encouraged them to do.

    -Alex Haiken
    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

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