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What exactly does the Bible say about homosexuality?

(222 Posts)
beansmum Tue 15-Jul-08 21:09:53

And why do some Christians make such a big deal out of it when Jesus didn't mention it at all?

It is kind of on my mind at the moment because of a comment the woman preaching on Sunday made about 'truth not tolerance', standing up for the 'truth' and not just trying to 'hug everyone and tell them they are ok'.

beansmum Tue 15-Jul-08 21:14:21

and actually, if it is such a terrible sin, why didn't Jesus mention it?

Smithagain Tue 15-Jul-08 21:19:10

Am posting and running. But if you're seriously interested, there's a very useful article on (Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement). Look under the link "But the Bible ..."

I found it when I was faced with actually deciding what I think about the issue (am a Christian and work closely with a gay man who likes to debate wink.

And I'd like to hear everyone's answer to your send question, too. (Whispers - I think it's because he didn't think it was all that important ...)

Smithagain Tue 15-Jul-08 21:19:40

doh - "second" question, not "send" question

artichokes Tue 15-Jul-08 21:20:50

I have no idea why it has become such a key issue for the church when it is not a key issue in the Bible.

The Bible makes very few specific references to homosexuality and where it does it is not so much condemnatory as suggestive that procreation is important. This Guardian article references more specific quotes.

I think alot of conservative christians refer to bible passages that promote heterosexuality as evidence that is the Christian way of life. Passages such as Genesis "Be fruitful, and multiply, ..." or Genesis "The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh'...For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh."

MrsThierryHenry Tue 15-Jul-08 21:23:23

Hmmm...there are specific verses in the New Testament (sorry, I forget where but I can try and find them if you like) which refer to homosexual relationships in very negative terms. Christians who are firmly anti-gay tend to say that this is unequivocal evidence that God is anti-gay. Christians who are firmly pro-gay tend to say that these verses refer to people who are not genuinely gay, just trying it out. As for me - I don't know and I really ought to research it more thoroughly.

However, the thing that we know Jesus did make a big deal out of, and repeatedly so, was that above all else we should love one another. He says it again and again and again, as do the other New Testament writers. It makes me SO annoyed when Christians place love after law. I think you should present this thought to the woman who gave that sermon and ask her why she has chosen not to place love above and before everything else we do. For goodness' sake, if Jesus could open his loving and welcoming arms to a prostitute, then why not be loving and accepting of a gay person? He didn't say 'I'll love you if you stop selling your body' now, did he?

So glad to see that people like you actually bother to think about what you're being taught on a Sunday - I'd love to find some more like-minded Christians around here!

AMumInScotland Tue 15-Jul-08 21:25:11

This site summarises the verses in the Bible which are relevant.

MrsThierryHenry Tue 15-Jul-08 21:25:36

Artichokes - haven't read your Guardian article but I'd be wary of anything they wrote about any often seems to be quite biased, missing out information which contradicts the point they're trying to make (yes, that sounds like some conservative Christians, too! wink).

LongLiveGreenElizabeth Tue 15-Jul-08 21:26:51

All it shows is that the geezers what wrote the bible were misogynists and homophobes. OK, not all bad.. they wanted to live a good life and spread the message of love and peace, but they were unable to prevent themselves from injecting a little bit of bigotry.

Any story gets a little twist from the story teller each time it is re-told.

MrsThierryHenry Tue 15-Jul-08 21:28:08

Thanks Smith and AMum - you've provided useful references for me as well as the OP!

beansmum Tue 15-Jul-08 21:34:26

Thanks! Will go away and read all those links. I don't know why I am still going to this church, but at least it makes me seriously think through what I believe.

Spidermama Tue 15-Jul-08 21:45:19

Thanks so much for this thread beansmum. I've been rolling this over in my mind too. Great Observer article artichoke. Summarises well. I knew about what Paul said which was in his letter to the Corinthians but tbh Paul has written a great deal I can't quite relate to.

Mrstheirryhenri you put it very well. Of course love should triumph over all and shame on those who put petty prejudice over and above the importance of love.

princessofpower Tue 15-Jul-08 21:46:46

Message withdrawn

MrsThierryHenry Tue 15-Jul-08 23:17:16

Spidermama - thanks!

Princess, you're right, it's a complicated document and so should be approached as such. It does nobody any good to regard it in purely simplistic terms. After all, life is complex so why should the Bible not reflect that complexity?

As for sacrificing pigeons, that's news to me...!

princessofpower Wed 16-Jul-08 00:36:41

Message withdrawn

cornflakegirl Wed 16-Jul-08 00:44:34

I'm a christian. I'm not anti-gay (my sister is gay). From a purely rational perspective, I can't see any difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals. But I do believe that the bible is God speaking, and I do believe that the bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong.

The verse that I just can't get around is Romans 1:26-27. I've yet to see an analysis of this verse that convinces me that gay sex isn't against God's design for us. And I've looked hard.

I think that the reason that Jesus didn't talk about it is probably two-fold. Firstly, that it wasn't that much of a thing for the (Jewish) people he was talking to. (It was an issue for the gentiles who became christians, which is why Paul does address it.) Secondly, it really isn't that important. I'm guessing that in terms of damage done, pride, jealousy, gossiping are worse sins.

I wish it wasn't such an issue today. It gets in the way of people hearing about Jesus. But as christians we need to challenge the ways in which sinful practices become ingrained in our lives. Materialism that puts our priorities in the wrong place. Selfishness that means workers in the developing world can't afford to send their kids to school, so we can have cheap coffee and tshirts. So many things, and homosexual sex is just one. But when people are claiming that it isn't a sin, it's hard for it not to become a big issue.

cornflakegirl Wed 16-Jul-08 00:51:08

@ Mrs TH: "He didn't say 'I'll love you if you stop selling your body' now, did he?"

He didn't - but he did say "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:11)

I think that generally, thoughtful christians don't condemn gay people. (I'm not talking about the horribly misguided and scared people who hold up "God hates fags" banners and the like.) But if I love my christian brother or sister, how can I in good conscience say to them "Go now and continue in your sin"?

cornflakegirl Wed 16-Jul-08 00:56:30

Just to clarify my post of 00:44:34 - I don't believe that the bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong. I believe that it teaches that homosexual sex is wrong. I know for a lot of people the distinction seems petty. But I have so much respect for gay christians who battle to remain celibate because they believe that is God's will for them, so I wanted to correct my inaccurate language.

seeker Wed 16-Jul-08 06:12:41

Just so long as while you're telling gay people to "sin no more" you remind yourself about not wearing mixed fibre clothing, not eating shellfish, not touching menstruating women and under no circumstances having a milkshake with your Mcdonalds!

princessofpower Wed 16-Jul-08 09:30:18

Message withdrawn

beansmum Wed 16-Jul-08 11:28:58

cornflakegirl - I spent literally hours last night reading all sorts of stuff about this and am not at all convinced that the Bible has anything much to say about loving homosexual partnerships (I have to say that if it did it would just make me think that the Bible is wrong, not that homosexual behaviour is wrong).

As for Romans 1

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In 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.

I kind of take it to mean that it would be wrong for us to go against our nature. i.e. for a heterosexual person it would be sinful to have a homosexual relationship, I suppose because it wouldn't be based on love. A homosexual person in a loving relationship wouldn't be going against their nature and so the passage wouldn't apply to them. I don't think sex between two men in the context of a long term relationship is indecent, that part of the passage could refer to other sexual acts outside of a relationship. Also, it says men abandoned natural relationships with women, which suggests that the men involved were actually straight and therefore going against their nature.

That's what I think anyway! As I said, I am not at all unbiased.

Spidermama Wed 16-Jul-08 11:39:18

And this was said within the context of Pauls letters to the Corinthians so could be seen as a comment on the Roman way.

I just can't help feeling that if it were in any way important, Jesus would, at some point during his three years of travelling around preaching, have mentioned it once. And he didn't. So that's good enough for me.

Although the gospel is closest to what we have as God's word and the teachings of Jesus, it's writtn by men. Individual men, even Paul et al, are NOT God.

I take issue with anything in the bible which appears to be contrary the overriding and most important message of all. LOVING each other. This is what I'll strive to do above all else.

AMumInScotland Wed 16-Jul-08 11:50:03

My take on the Romans passage is that it can be taken to mean that the people involved were straight and were going against their nature, and/or that their activity was sinful because it was done in a lustful way rather than as part of a relationship. So it's not a clearcut statement that all loving sexual same-sex relationships are fundamentally wrong. They can be wrong if they are based only on lust, same as straight relationships, but they don't have to be wrong.

But, I'm also not unbiased on this one, because I don't want to completely thow out any NT passages but find the usual interpretation incompatible with what my conscience tells me.

CarGirl Wed 16-Jul-08 11:50:26

My understanding from what I have studied for myself as well as being taught is that bible clearly states that fornification is wrong (ie any/all sex outside of marriage) the only "marriage" mentioned in the bible is of a union between a man & a woman (& god).

So hetro sex outside of marriage is just as unacceptable to God as to homo sex because they are both equally sexually impure and come with spiritual consequences (which is different to most other kinds of sin and why many churches make a "big deal" about sexual sin).

So the only question is can you be gay and be true to your faith/in close relationship with God if you continue to have homosexual sex (ie actively decide that you are going to have sex whether in a relationship with a partner or not).

In some ways I would say yes you can still be a spirit filled christian, deny the teaching of the bible to yourself etc however in other ways I'd say spiritually there are going to be consequences if there is sexual impurity in your life whether it be sex outside of marriage, pornography etc etc etc

If a church goes on and on about gays and not about sex outside of marriage then they've completely missed the point about what the bible says about God's sexual plan for us.

beansmum Wed 16-Jul-08 12:00:38

the Bible doesn't mention gay marriage, so it doesn't say it is wrong. We do a lot of things that aren't mentioned, things that aren't mentioned simply because they didn't exist.

And off on a slight tangent, doens't Jesus say if you divorce someone and marry again you will be committing adultery? but Christians so it all the time without too much fuss being made.

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