Abstract This essay seeks to definitively answer if contents from the Holy Bible condemn Homosexuality. Within the essay is a clear definition of homosexuality and the debate between Conservative Christians and Liberal Christians about the answer. Biblical verses and passages are analyzed from a Conservative and Liberal point of view, including Genesis 1:27-28 (the passage concerning God’s command to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply”), and Genesis 19 (the passage surrounding a possibly homosexual intimacy offense attempt before God destroyed the city of Sodom).
Isaiah 1, Jeremiah 23:14 and Ezekiel 16:49-50 are analyzed from a Liberal point of view in support of the Liberal claim that an accurate interpretation of Genesis 19 does not present text in clear and convincing condemnation of homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 and Romans 1:26-27 are analyzed to give support to the Conservative claim that homosexuality is condemned within biblical text. Overall, it is concluded that the Holy Bible while it doesn’t condemn homosexuality in as many places as Conservatives argue, does however condemn it in selected places. Essay
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Homosexuality is defined as a person’s sexual attraction to people of his own gender. To many people, its practice is considered a crime, a sin against society and the higher power they choose to believe in and worship. There is a significant minority of “religious” people (adamant believers who practice a particular religion) who will claim that it is morally acceptable for a person to be a homosexual. Not only will they protest it, but they will condemn the homosexual to a life of spiritual damnation, which will be followed by eternal suffering once physical death on earth has occurred.
The complexity of some religions is that even though believers are taught on one hand, in one way or another to treat each other impartially and with unconditional love, they are compelled on the other to openly protest homosexuality and its offenders. Christianity is a prime example of a religion in which its believers as a whole condemn homosexuality. Although there are Christians who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle, they are in the minority.
Many pastors, deacons, and ministers preach that homosexuality is an abominable sin, which its participators choose to practice just like anyone can choose to practice any other sin such as gluttony, wrath, or slothfulness. Preachers use the Holy Bible as a resource to back up their claim against it. In modern days, their argument can be considered valid. If you look in modern day text, you can find passages within the biblical books which can be used as evidence arguing against homosexuality. Many believers who look up to preachers for spiritual guidance accept the argument and therefore condemn the practice.
However, modern day skeptics and critics who advocate for the acceptance of homosexuals in society argue that the Holy Bible itself doesn’t make any clear and convincing arguments against homosexuality. They critique the interpretation of the passages as well as the translation of the books from its original Hebrew hieroglyphics. In fact, they argue that the resource of Christian life in actuality condones it. The argument of whether the Holy Bible condemns homosexuality may be divided into how the bible is interpreted and which translation or version is read to be interpreted.
Perhaps the earliest passage used by Conservative Christians was Genesis 1:27-28 in which God commands Adam and Eve to mate and reproduce so that their offspring can help in taking care of the earth. The King James Version: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (KJV 1) The New International Version: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ” (NIV 7-8) The term “Be fruitful and multiply” had become so popular over time, that many subsequent versions of the Holy Bible had duplicated the text, ncluding but not limited to the American Standard Version, the Amplified Bible, the Darby Translation, and the English Standard Version. Conservatives interpret that God created two people of different genders for the purposes of reproducing. The order and the ability by God to have children and populate the world with more humans can only be performed between a man and a woman. Two women cannot reproduce offspring, and neither can two men. Inferably, God’s intent for marriage was only to be between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage was not a part of God’s plan and therefore should not or ever be legalized.
Common Liberal Christians believe that the whole chapter of Genesis is a myth of a Babylonian Pegan priest’s imagination that should not be taken seriously, because it is not a genuine account of the origins of man. They argue that events like the creation of man as well as other events including the flood at the time of Noah that decimated nearly the whole human race, the command of genocides of entire villages of people, and laws requiring the death stoning of non-virgin wives, homosexuals and minority religion participators were written by authors who had an agenda of promoting their own belief systems.
For example, at the time the passages were acceptably originated, ancient Hebrews were part of a small country which was continually being attacked by neighboring tribes. The order to marry a spouse of the opposite gender and produce gender may have been manufactured and credited to God as a creative way to encourage people in order to help the Hebrews combat the attacks against them. If Genesis 1:28 were followed to the utmost potential, the earth’s population might reach uncontrollable proportions, raising pollution, and lowering the overall quality of life.
Liberals believe that the passages do not truly reflect the actions or guidance of God and that they should not be used as part of an argument for or against same-sex marriage or the practice of homosexuality. The Story of Sodom and Gomorra as written in Genesis 19 has been cited commonly as an anti-homosexuality passage in the Holy Bible. According to the story, two angels who were following along with God visited the city of Sodom, which recently experienced warfare and was probably forestalling some more. Lot, who allowed the angels into his home, was warned that God was pset with the residents’ wickedness and wanted to destroy the city of Sodom. Citizens from Sodom gathered around Lot’s house and demanded of him to send the angels to them so that they could get to “know” the angels. Lot refused because he sensed evil intent, but offered his virgin daughters instead. The offer was denied. The angels blinded some of the mob and told Lot and his family to flee and not look back. In the words of R. Albert Mohler: “The Genesis passage is very clear, that the sin of Sodom that brought on the destruction of the city was indeed linked to homosexuality. “
Conservative Christians strictly interpret the passage as God being outraged that the mob wanted to engage in homosexual activity with the angels as the reason he wanted to destroy the city and its residents. A conservative tract publisher, Jack T. Chick created a tract entitled “Birds and the Bees,” describing the biblical events at Sodom and Gomorra: “God gave us a true picture of the gay lifestyle in the Bible. Centuries ago, there were four cities under the control of Satan and his devils. The worst city was Sodom. These Sodomites worshipped Satan, were possessed with devils and they hated God.
Their stink reached heaven and God was fed up with them. He planned to destroy them to keep their filthy lifestyle from spreading…. As soon as they got Lot and his family out of Sodom, God fire-bombed the cities and turned them into ashes. Today, those same kind of people are back, but now they’re called ‘Gays! ‘” According to them, it is inferred that the angels are male and the mob was mostly if not totally made up of men who wanted to engage in homosexual intimacy, which explains why they denied an offer to be sexually intimate with two virgin females.
The homosexual offense in combination with other sins outraged God enough that he consequently destroyed the city. God made his decision accordingly with his knowledge of the past, present, and future intentions of the citizens of the cities he destroyed. Inge Anderson: “Saying that the last recorded acts of the Sodomites ??? the demands for same-gender sex ??? are proof that they were destroyed for homosexuality is like saying that a condemned man cursing his guards on the way to his execution is being executed for cursing the guards.
Sodom was judged worthy of destruction before the incident with Lot and the angels. ” From the point of view of Liberal Christians, God’s decision to kill all of the residents of Sodom was already made before the angels had arrived. The conflict between Lot and the mob being the mere reason why God destroyed the cities is a ludicrous one that should not be believed. As Conservative Christians seemed more willing to accept and argue that the mob was all male, Liberal Christians critique the biblical passage as ambiguous on the matter.
The King James Version (Genesis 19:4-5): “But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: and they called unto Lot and said unto him, where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. ” (KJV 11) The New International Version (Genesis 19:4-5): “Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom ??? both young and old ??? surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight?
Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them. ” (NIV 34) While the first part of the King James Version of Genesis 19:4 refers to the mob group inferably as men but then implying in the second part that it could’ve been made up as women and children as well, the New International Version implies bluntly that the mob was made up of all men. The original Hebrew phrase which was translated for the passage “Anshei ha’ir, anshei S’dom” has two possible meanings: one meaning “men of the city, even the men of Sodom” and “the people of the city, the people of Sodom. With this fact, it gives credence to an argument that homophobic translators purposefully used the translation making the mob all male for their purpose in biblically condemning homosexuality for generations to come. The translational ambiguity continues in the next verse as the last part of the King James Version translation has written “that we may know them” and the New International Version translation has written “that we can have sex with them. ” This is because the phrases stem from the Hebrew verb “ya, da. ” “Ya, da” is commonly translated to mean “know. ” Often times, it means “to know a fact. However, in several cases it noticeably refers to sexual activity, generally a man “knowing” a woman and impregnating her because of it. Inferably, from a more liberal standpoint, because of the ambiguity of the word “ya, da” and its true contextual meaning in Genesis 19:5, it cannot be stated for sure whether or not the mob wanted to get sexually intimate with the angels. Even if they did, the more Conservative claim of the city of Sodom ultimately being destroyed because of a homosexual offense attempt of a mob onto the angels is not logical and cannot be considered valid.
Furthermore, the offer Lot made to hand his virgin daughters over to the mob to have their way with them is evidence that the mob might not have been made up of gay men. As a resident of Sodom, if Lot knew the mob as a large group of gay men, he most likely would’ve known not to offer his daughters to them, but offer to them his daughers’ fiancees, which in the culture was legally permissible because since they were engaged to his daughters, Lot’s future son-in-laws were under his authority.
From the Liberal Christian point of view, the fact that Lot offered up his daughters to be raped in effort to spare the angels show that the mob was probably not made up of gay men. Other facts to support the argument include biblical references criticizing the male Sodomites of abandoning orphans and widows, and the fact that both of Lot’s daughters were engaged to be married to males, neither of which that would be possible if all male Sodomites were gay. According to Liberal Christians, there are numerous biblical passages that can be used as evidence proving that homosexuality is not a sin.
The King James Version (Isaiah 1:4-9, 14-20): “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
Your country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except for the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah…Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: through your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (KJV 437) The New International Version (Isaiah 1:4-9, 14-20): “Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness ??? only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil. Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons, like a city under siege.
Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah …Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts, my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. ‘ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. ” (NIV 1013) In this passage of Isaiah, of the deemed detestable sins and also referring to he Sodom and Gomorra passages, homosexuality is not mentioned as one of them. The King James Version (Jeremiah 23:14): “I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. ” (KJV 487) The New International Version (Jeremiah 23:14): “And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: they commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah. ” (NIV 1155) The King James Version (Ezekiel 16:49-50): “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. (KJV 525) The New International Version (Ezekiel 16:49-50) “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. ” (NIV 1240) These biblical verses can be used to support the Liberal Christian standpoint in defense of homosexuality because of several detestable sins accredited to God’s decision to destroy the city of Sodom, homosexuality was not one of sins mentioned as many Conservative Christians have claimed.
The original Hebrew within the original Genesis 19 passage used to support the Conservatives’ textual evidence against it can from a Liberal standpoint be considered ambiguous, but not absolutely clear and convincing. Conservative Christians have also used biblical evidence from both the Old and New Testaments to support their argument against the practice. Three of the most commonly used passages are Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, and Romans 1:26-27, which most clearly refers to homosexual behavior by men and woman. The King James Version (Leviticus 18:22): “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (KJV 83) The New International Version (Leviticus 18:22): “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. ” (NIV 168) The King James Version (Leviticus 20:13): “If a man also lie with a mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. ” (KJV 84) The New International Version (Leviticus 20:13): “If a man lies with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (NIV 170) The King James Version (Romans 1:26-27): “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. ” (KJV 109) The New International Version (Romans 1: 26-27): “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. ” (NIV 1709) Many Evangelical Christian writers have spoken against homosexual behavior with condemnation using this passage as biblical support. David Griffiths: “One of the consequences of refusing God’s plan for life is homosexual activity which is condemned by the Scriptures, and is contrary to the gospel. Dave Armstrong: “The contrast is between natural and unnatural, and also between heterosexual and homosexual sex. Paul is not merely saying that the ‘inflamed passions’ are what is sinful, but the very concept and practice of homosexual relations, which goes against nature. The documented medical consequences of engaging in such unnatural and unhealthy sexual practices bear this out. Since it is “unnatural” for men to be sexually with men and women with women, according to the Apostle, he describes the sexual acts as ‘shameless’ and ‘error. There is no qualification here for things like rape or promiscuity or uncommitted, manipulative sex…St. Paul makes an argument from nature. He is saying that the very notion of homosexuality is disordered and unnatural. ” In conclusion, it can be stated that the Holy Bible does condemn homosexuality. In the latest biblical verses mentioned are clear words from the text in both old and recent translations that express the practice as abominable and in defiance to God’s order. Even hough not all the verses used by Conservative Christians should weigh as heavily as evidence from original Hebrew words and phrases show, there are a few places in the Holy Bible which clearly condemn the practice of homosexuality. Bibliography Barker, Kenneth, ed. The NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Zondervan Publishing House. 1995. Holy Bible. Grand Rapids, MI, USA: World Publishing. 1989. “What the Bible Says about Homosexuality. ” <http://www. religioustolerance. org/hom_bibl. htm#chr> 4 October 2006.