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Homosexuality and the Bible
The following e-mails are commenting on the items on homosexuality listed at Ethics: Homosexuality. The e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
>I would not dream of accusing you of being homophobic, as I think it is a word that has become somewhat meaningless due to overuse by various fanatics. I do, however, disagree with your opinion of how sure we can be of what the scriptures say. I would like you to consider some other arguments against the idea that God has condemned homosexual behavior.<
In my articles and personally I have carefully exegeted the relevant passages. And it is on the basis of that study that I voice my opinions.
> When arguing for the inerrancy of the bible you have listed a great many places in the bible where it is said "this is the word of God". But how do we know what should be considered scripture and what should not? Not every book claims to be part of scripture. And would it not be true that a false work could falsely claim to be the word of God? There does not appear to be any holy power that prevents people from writing false works that claim to be the truth.<
But there is the teaching that ALL Scripture is inspired by God (2Tim 3:16). And the 66 books of the Bible are considered to be Scripture by all churches.
> Also being a "Saint" does not necessarily mean that everything that person has said or written is the word of God.<
But God would have providentially caused that only the inspired utterances are included in Scripture.
> Could not some (or even all?) of Paul's writings be his personal opinions and not revealed truth?<
No, as they would never have been accepted as Scripture if they were.
> Additionally it seems from my reading of history that Emperor Constantine choose some if not all of the manuscripts that eventually became the bible. For someone like myself it is very difficult to have faith in a written work that is likely to have been created for political reasons rather than faith.<
I don't know what you have been reading, but Constantine had nothing to do whatsoever with the choosing of the canon. He was involved at the Council of Nicea, but that concerned a totally different matter.
The canon was chosen by the consensus of the churches of the early centuries. 20 of the 27 NT books were accepted without question. The seven that were debated were eventually accepted by recognized criteria used to determine what was canon and what was not, such as: was it written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle? Does it agree with what has already been revealed? Is it universally known and accepted by at least some churches in all areas? Books that were rejected did not meet these criteria.
Furthermore, God was providentially overseeing the process so that the books He wanted in the Bible we included, and the ones He did not, were excluded.
> My second nit to pick is that if we were to rely only on those accepted gospels of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) there is no condemnation of homosexuality. If this was something of critical importance to God would not he have said it while he was on earth? Since he did not might it not be reasonable to regard the passages against homosexuality in the old testament in the same light as that of those on dietary laws?<
Given the OT condemnations of homosexuality, there was not widespread and "open" homosexual conduct among Jews in Israel, and it was to Jews that Jesus focused His ministry. So it would have been irrelevant for Him to have discussed the matter.
However, there was widespread and open practice of homosexuality among Gentiles. So when the Gospel reached these lands, then homosexuality had to be addressed. So it is simply the historical background that tells us why homosexuality is not mentioned by Jesus but is by Paul, the "apostle to the Gentiles."
> Also in your argument of equating homosexual urges with urges to commit premarital sex I think you make an error. The difference is that heterosexuals have a way to make sexual union permissible through marriage.<
But marriage is not open to all heterosexuals for a variety of personal reasons. But they are still required to refrain from sexual activity.
> The situation homosexuals are left with in this is one of catch-22. Only a male and a female may be married, there can be no sex outside of marriage, therefore all sex is forbidden to homosexuals. I question that a loving God would forbid pleasure that does not harm another person. There is a distinct difference (in my opinion) between consensual acts that do no harm to others and things like adultery which will hurt the betrayed partner or between persons unable to give informed consent.<
As you say, this is your opinion. But as a Christian I look to what God says in His Word to decide what is moral and what is not.
> It is true that these arguments are hardly persuasive to someone that is sure of what he believes in. But on the other hand the claims that Bible is true because it says it is in the text is hardly proof to someone of a questioning or skeptical nature. Especially since it seems that in many of these opinions a conclusion is arrived at first and then the evidence is studded to support that.
The only question is if one accepts the entire Bible as the Word of God. If one does, then the teaching of it on homosexuality is clear.
The famous twin study is often cited to "prove" that homosexuality is not inborn or genetic. However this is not exactly what it says. The study found that there is only around a 50-60% chance of both of a pair of identical twins being gay. This does not mean it is not genetic in nature. A gene causing diabetes has been identified, but only about 70% of the people that have the gene get diabetes. Genetics is not the whole of inborn conditions.
This is supported by additional facts studies have turned up. There appears to be a 20-25% chance of both fraternal twins being gay. And about 10-15% for brothers of gay men. In the general population being gay is found in about 3-8% of the general population.
So what does all this mean? It means that it is likely that being gay is partially influenced by environmental factors like hormone levels in the womb. Further a person must have the right set of genes to be influenced by this environmental factor as shown by the increase for identical twins. (Were it purely hormonal I would expect to see the identical twin numbers not much higher than the fraternal ones.) If we presume identical hormone levels for identical twins and do some back of the envelope equations it comes out as about a 30-36% chance of a man being gay even if he has the theoretical "gay gene(s)."
The study does not prove anything either way on if a person's sexuality can be changed after birth or if it could be a partially socialized thing. Though it seems the preponderance of evidence shows for the majority it is a unchangeable trait that they are born with.
All this shows is that some have more of a predisposition towards being homosexual than others. The same would be true in regards to being overweight. Some have a harder time not becoming overweight than others, but it can and is done. But one must first want and see the need to overcome the predisposition. And in the case of homosexuality, many have done so. See the many Christian Web sites on homosexuality for stories of ex-homosexuals: Ethics Sites.
> I check you site every once is awhile to see if any new stuff is on there. And of course I have to comment. I do not expect a response with you hand having problems, but I will be praying for you.
First I'm taking a class on logic this semester and saw many areas of faulty reasoning in the guy with the KJV only viewpoint [see NT Greek: An Unknown Tongue]. Which you already knew.
About the homosexuality I agree with you the evidence shows that it is not genetic or if one identical twin was guy then the other would have to be. I learned that in Pyschology. But even if people were born gayit is no excuse for homosexual activity. I was born a sinner does that mean it is OK for me to sin. I have heterosexual desires but since I am not married it is a sin to have sex. Everyone must learn to control their desires and have their behavior follow God's commands and not or desires. We are all born with sinful natures it does not excuse our sins.
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