An Honest Reading of the Bible: The Positive

Bible-in-lightLast week I covered every possible negative reference to same-sex relations in the Bible that I know of. Nobody has challenged me with any other passages yet. Today, I will analyze possible positive references.

Please keep in mind that these articles aren’t necessarily presenting anything as the correct interpretation, only a possible interpretation from an honest reading, one that isn’t affected by a subjective view based on the modern world. My intent is to prove that Christians can read the Bible honestly, without twisting anything, and come to the conclusion that same-sex relationships and marriage, at the very least, are morally fine. This is not intended to change the minds of people who think it is wrong, only to show that there’s no need to attack or condemn anyone who thinks it isn’t wrong. And that those who see nothing wrong with it are not necessarily “deceived” or “twisting the Bible” or “anti-God”.

Also, you cannot assume the following passages could not possibly be about gay people, simply because “the Bible condemns gayness”, because that would be basing your interpretation on an assumption that may not be true. Your opponents do not believe that the Bible condemns it, thus the argument means nothing to them.

An honest reading of the Bible reveals several possible references to gay relationships. Perhaps the best known is the story of David and Jonathan. While there certainly isn’t sufficient evidence to say that they were in a relationship much like a modern-day gay couple, neither is there sufficient evidence to say that they definitely were not. But it is really something for David, who loved and married many women, to say that he loved Jonathan more than any of them. On their first meeting, Jonathan gave David his clothes and most treasured possessions–because he loved him as his own soul. Their souls were “bound together”, the sort of wording that is very often used to describe marriage. For further analysis of David and Jonathan, including Saul’s apparent reference to Jonathan’s sexual love for David, see this link.

In the New Testament, there was a Roman Centurion who had a “beloved slave” who fell sick, and he sought out Jesus to heal the boy. The word he used to refer to this young slave was the common Greek term for male slaves used for sexual gratification. Although the word was also sometimes used to refer to a young male slave in general, the love he expresses for the boy, and the lengths he went to in order to heal him, suggest that the beloved slave was his lover. Click here for a more detailed analysis.

The final case I will mention is that of the eunuch. There has been some contention over what, exactly, a eunuch was. However, there is wide consensus even among many anti-LGBT theologians that in ancient times, many eunuchs were in fact gay men. Jesus acknowledged this when he said that there are some eunuchs made so by men, and some who were born eunuchs. A simple way of defining the concept of a eunuch is twofold: a man incapable of reproducing, and a man incapable of experiencing sexual desire for a woman. If the second statement is true, the former may not be, but it was definitely important to the definition for the man to have no interest in sex with women. A look into the ancient customs of eunuchs and how they were perceived reveals that they were, quite often, known as men who were attracted to other men, instead of women, and/or engaged in same-sex activity. I recently stumbled across an extensively researched paper on eunuchs.

Considering the context, Jesus’s reference to eunuchs seems to be talking about people who are exceptions from the “divinely appointed construct of marriage between a man and a woman” he mentions a few verses earlier (Matthew 19:4-5). The disciples propose that perhaps it is better for a man not to marry, and Jesus says “this teaching is not for everyone…there are eunuchs.” Thus implying that the teaching of a man cleaving to a woman is only for men who want to marry women. Perhaps, if he were here today, he would add that a gay couple should also be faithful to each other. Of course, he didn’t say anything about that because at the time there was no cultural concept of same-sex marriage, and also the context of his statements was all about men marrying women and divorcing them. His words about eunuchs are an acknowledgement that not all men desire to marry women, and that is okay.

These are, to me, the most convincing possible examples of support for gay people and relationships. Are these interpretations absolute truth? Maybe not. But they’re possibly true, and that’s important. Our minds are limited, so assuming that you know what is absolute truth is a useless and potentially blinding way of thinking. We know of many conflicting possible truths, and have no way to prove without a doubt which one is correct. The best course of action, and one that I think is well-supported by the Bible, is to follow what you honestly believe to be true, but accept that you may be wrong and that others believe differently.

Who are you to judge the servant of another? It is before his master that he will stand or fall. If nothing else, Romans 14 provides you with a good way to approach people who disagree, regardless of who is right or what the absolute truth is.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “An Honest Reading of the Bible: The Positive

  1. …all of which is just bantering. If you can disregard any outmoded, seemingly silly edicts of the Bible, you can honestly dismiss them all. You know, shake the dust off your, um, er, sandals. If you can, as you so rightly pointed out, ignore the suffering and hunger of children, and Christ’s mandate to love your neighbor as yourself, then you can ignore the sin of homosexuality; well, seriously, aren’t we all just cherry-picking here? There isn’t a way to put a positive take on Biblical injunctions against homosexuality any more than you can put a positive spin on its mandates advocating the oppression of women. (And frankly that approach assumes some sort of common ground — and rational ability and effort — over which things are overtly ridiculous enough to warrant ignoring.) And that has ALWAYS been the problem, because what you choose to obey is always, always, always related to what you already believe is godly and proper.) It is clear that writing centuries after Jesus’ death, the authors were influenced by their biases and cultural heritage of the times. They disdain women absolutely. They disdain homosexuality quite clearly. Instead of fighting the fight using their terms, redefine the debate altogether, in secular terms. As long as God is on their side, — and there is always something that says he is — you can’t win, because all the love care and forgiveness stuff just contradicts their bias. The issue then isn’t which Biblical interpretation to espouse, it’s whether or not ANYONE’s Bible should be dictating our secular laws. The answer to that is resoundingly — dare I say it, LOGICALLY — hell, no!

    Like

    • Damn right.

      This pair of articles was written on behalf of queer Christians to the people harassing them in the name of religion, to make the point that their own scriptures do not provide adequate justification for their claims of “absolute truth”, much less any good reason for their efforts to oppress and manipulate us queer people into complying with their demands.

      I have no use for the bible now, except making obnoxious Christians shut up when they realize how deeply familiar I am with it and their teachings. This article was written shortly before I admitted to myself that I was no longer a Christian, so it is merely a step along my journey to secular humanism, documented for all to see.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s