Is Lesbianism OK?

In the ongoing debate – some would say war – surrounding gay rights the two major contenders in America are the followers of the Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and the LGBT Community, with various other Conservatives and Liberal acting as adjuncts and proxies to these two groups for a plethora of often unrelated reasons.

The religious people are against our society both officially sanctioning and condoning – as oppose to tolerating – a lifestyle that is considered sinful by their faiths. They cite their holy books (the Bible, Qur’an and Torah respectively) regularly to explain their points.

From the Bible

Leviticus 18:22 – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”

Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man lies with a man as one lies 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.”

1 Corinthians 6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind ”

From the Qur’an

Sura 7 (Al-Araf) – “You lust after men instead of women. Truly, you are a degenerate people.”

Sura 26 (Ash-Shuara) – “Will you fornicate with males and leave your wives whom Allah has created for you? Surely you are great transgressors.”

From the Torah

Leviticus 18:22 – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is an abhorrence.”

Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man lies with a male as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to deaththeir bloodguilt is upon them”

This repeated focus on specifically male homosexuality throughout the Abrahamic holy books brings an odd – and I’m sure offensive to some – question to my mind:

Is Lesbianism permissible under the tenets of the Abrahamic faiths?

I can easily, as shown above, find multiple passages in the Bible, Qu’ran and Torah that specifically condemn male homosexuality, but I can’t seem to find any verses, sura or pasuk that denounce homosexuality without any male-specific reference.

Beautiful loving lesbian girls kissing each other very romantically

Would God smile or frown upon this?

If these holy books are the incontrovertible an incontestable word of God as many fundamentalists assert, where does that leave the adherents of these faiths when it comes to lesbians? If there is no specific stricture in verse, sura or pasuk that condemns lesbians, are these fundamentalists contravening the Word of their God by denouncing lesbians alongside male homosexuals?

As I said, it’s an odd question but I believe it to be an intriguing one for the fundamentalists to ponder.

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27 Responses to “Is Lesbianism OK?”

  1. Moriah Says:

    Hey Jonolan,

    I only initially read halfway through your post before I was going to suggest that the verses you chose, while being pertinent, are not the ones I’d go to when looking at the issues of homosexuality and what God has to say about love and intended purpose for us in expressing love, etc. in the Judeo/Christian context. The passages I would chose wouldn’t be above or replace what you quoted, but you’re specifically look at law verses given to humanity after a turning away from God’s intended way with humanity, and I think there needs to be a holistic understanding of what the Judeo/Christian sciptures lay out about what God says about our sexuality.

    Far too many “Christians” (only God knows a person’s heart but I do question many who claim to be “Christian” here in the US) totally miss the boat on this “debate” and error on the side of absolute lack of love or understanding that it grieves me deeply.

    The issue isn’t whether or not someone is engaging in homosexual behavior – the issue is a relationship with God and where we’re finding our fulfillment and worth and value.

    The argument as I see it is that God created humanity and creation as we know it; his intended purpose was for one man and one women to join together as one flesh and that their union would be a glimpse of what kind of relationship God wants with us (Genesis 2 and elsewhere mentioned in Scripture – Ephesians 5 talks about how a marriage relationship between one man and one woman is a small glimpse of Jesus’ relationship with the “church” – all believers who trust in him rather than themselves). Paul in the New Testament talks about it, as well, in other places. But brokenness (“sin”) entered creation and so the story of humanity is one full of people turning away from God’s intended ways for us (but because he loves us he gives us that freedom to chose to follow him or to not be under his leadership) and because of the ways we have hurt each other or experienced hurt, and carry out evil, we find ourselves embracing ways of life that isn’t in our best interest. God designed us and said the best for us is one man, one woman, for life. When we go out of that design, the argument is we face some natural consequences to that, either in the present now or in the eternal scheme of things. All sin, i.e. turning away from God, doing things our way instead of his way, separates us from him because by definition he is holy and he is just and he cannot allow “sin” (or “soul sickness” or brokenness or evil) in his presence (because he is by definition, 100% morally pure) but by his immense love, he provided a solution to our sin issues in our lives that keep us from him – offering us the possibility for a restored relationship with him, and that solution is the work Jesus did on the cross.

    So really…the question isn’t about whether or not homosexuality or x, y, z is right or wrong; the question is about our relationship with God. He has laid out some things for his creation about the ways we work best…and when we deviate from that, we live with the consequences of our choices. He gives us that freedom, but he also lets us know how he intended us to be, how we best operate, etc.

    Anyway, I get upset over this discussion at other self-professed Christians because many seem to totally miss the point. They focus on dos and don’ts and miss the point – that really, all of this is about where we stand with God, the one who created us. We get caught up in questions about sexuality and morality instead of being caught up in the greater question – where do we stand with God?

    I argue that God’s best for us, as he has laid it out, is one man, one woman, and for sexual expression to be enjoyed in a marriage relationship; by that argument (which I would proffer is laid out in Scripture when one canvasses it), anything else would fall under not living in God’s plan for us and choosing to do things our way. That includes premarital sex, extramarital sex, and not meeting your spouses sexual needs, too (1 Cor. 7). That also includes things like lying and envy and unthankfulness; selfishness, eating too much chocolate when I’m stressed ;), etc. Anything that keeps us from focusing on Jesus and what he’s done for us and from God’s two greatest commandments – to love him with all of our heart, soul and mind and to love others like ourselves – is “sin.” And God in his great love and care provided us for a way to have a restored relationship with Him that was originally severed when we chose our way over God’s way.

    Anyway, all of that to say this is a complicated subject that needs to be handled carefully and with love and respect and far too often, those who may be sincere miss the point in my humble opinion or get stuck on the dos and don’ts and forget the whole reason why God sent Jesus and why Jesus laid down his life for us – to restore us to new life, a vibrant relationship with God and the freedom he has given us.

    We were meant to enjoy each other sexually within the framework God intended us to enjoy each other – and God has laid out some boundaries for us like a Father lays out boundaries for his child – don’t touch the stove, it’s hot; don’t go out into the street or you could get hit, etc…it’s like a fireplace – the fire is amazing but outside the fireplace…it can lead to burning and hurt and pain when it’s not enjoyed as God meant it to be enjoyed or we don’t get to enjoy it fully as God created it to be enjoyed – we miss out.

    Anyway, sadly due to Christians’ response or lack of thoughtful response and treatment of these types of questions, Christianity in the US gets a bad rap and oftentimes, because of the lack of love or even a careful handling of Scripture, it is deserved. My argument would be that to just say that because God mentions homosexuality a few times in Scripture, to hone on that totally misses the whole point of the entire Bible’s message and God’s message to humanity and does a great disservice to the good news that Jesus brought for us – that He came to preach the good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1 and elsewhere in Scripture).

    So much more to be said and I’m just one woman still parsing the tough questions and issues, and I recognize that this is only a cursory response, but the hard questions that are posed to Christians need to be answered. As to your specific question, “[A]re these fundamentalists contravening the Word of their God by denouncing lesbians alongside male homosexuals?” — I hope I’ve provided a bit of an answer – their manner of handling this and their focus may be off in my opinion, and I would argue is not Biblical oftentimes (most times that I’ve heard it or seen it) in how they address it, but the Biblical support is there for saying that all forms of sexual partaking – both straight and homosexual – that is outside of God’s intended, created use of sexual expression for our pleasure and enjoyment is “sin” and keeps us from a right relationship with God (“sin” being when we insist on our own way and not trusting God that he knows what is best for us). And so the question about sexuality and what God thinks about sex as whole or specific expressions of it (lesbianism, etc) needs to be expanded and broadened and understood on a much deeper level.

    God desires so much more for us and when we focus on sexuality as the end-all, be-all, it’s like we’re missing out. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis

    My two cents. 😉

  2. RS Says:

    There’s nothing odd with such question.

    It’s a common sense for me, homosexual is forbidden in Quran, why should lesbianism be allowed ?
    The fact is Muslim women are not allowed to show their private parts to other women (not only to men!). If i invite some female friends at home, i must receive them in proper dress (with hijab on). By using this logic we could think it’s forbiden even just showing or see, and surely NOT to more than that. This is the hadith : ‘Abd al-Rahman, the son of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, reported from his father: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: “A man should not see the private parts of another man, and a woman should not see the private parts of another woman, and a man should not lie with another man under one covering, and a woman should not lie with another woman under one covering. (Translation of Sahih Muslim, The Book of Menstruation (Kitab Al-Haid), Book 003, Number 0667)”

    This surah could relate to this subject :If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or God ordain for them some (other) way. (The Noble Quran, 4:15)”

    Quran (4)(17). Allah accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.
    (If the lesbian woman or women repent, then she or they would be set free.)

    Salaam

  3. jonolan Says:

    Moriah,

    You have an interesting take on the matter at hand, one that I think many people could benefit from considering. I – if I’m interpreting it right – idea the you believe your God set forth guidelines of what is the best framework to work within to be righteous, while not categorically denying of righteousness being achievable outside of that framework.

    As for the passages I cited, that was based on two interrelated reason. Firstly, each and all of them are the verses, sura, or pasuk that the various sects use to denounce homosexuality. Secondly, I strove to find explicit prohibitions, which meant the Law passages.

    RS,

    Assalamu Alaikum

    You raise a point that would be almost prosaic to a modern Muslim, and one that I did not touch upon. I freely and consciously chose to ignore the hadith completely in favor of only citing the words of the Qu’ran.

    This is because – as I am led to understand – only the Qu’ran is the Word; the hadith are commentary and extrapolation from Muhammad’s (pbuh) words and deeds after or separately from the Qu’ran. I tried to stick with what is acknowledged by Muslims as the incontrovertible an incontestable word of Allah.

    And the world intruded and I realized that the content and extent of the hadith are in contention between Sunni and Shiite. I didn’t want to go down that route in this post.

    I considered sura 4 (An-Nisa) 17, but felt it was to broad and vague. To my mind it didn’t include a specific injunction against lesbianism, only lewd behavior. Without a separate sura defining lesbianism as inherently lewd, I wasn’t – as a quite minor scholar if even that – willing to assert that leap from lesbianism to lewdness.

    Salaam

  4. Moriah Says:

    Jonolan,

    Ahh…to answer in an email or go off on a possible tangent?…feel free to delete since my response is not exactly on topic…but since you raised a point that doesn’t exactly reflect my view, I thought I should respond here within the thread…

    [Y]ou believe your God set forth guidelines of what is the best framework to work within to be righteous, while not categorically denying of righteousness being achievable outside of that framework.

    Well, that raises a whole other discussion regarding truth, absolutes, worldviews, logical consistencies, whether two separate worldviews could in conjunction be true at the same time, or if the law of non-contradiction demands that either Christianity be true or other worldviews be true and not both simultaneously.

    Does reality allow for a “both/and” or does it demand an “either/or” framework? So the questions you raise implicitly get at the underlying worldviews of life before the question of which god(s)-claims are true and which god(s)-claims are false. What I do argue is that there is one reality, that absolute truth does exist, and that therefore, one must examine closely the truth claims each worldview sets forth – now which worldview system and which truth claims adhere to reality is subject to examination and testing, and I would suggest everyone should do so and consistently check their beliefs – do the facts and claims check out?

    With regard to righteousness, and I am mindful here of what I am implicitly stating, but I also must remain faithful to my beliefs for integrity’s sake, if I believe that an ultimate, supreme being exists (God) and he’s laid forth the instructions or manual for all humanity (i.e. how to live righteously, in right relationship with him, as the creator), then, categorically, if he’s laid out the rules for righteousness, it would necessarily demand that logically (due to the law of non-contradiction, etc.), other competing viewpoints or lines of thought must false. Elsewise, he is false. It’s an either/or situation.

    So to answer your question in a nut shell, I believe no one can be righteous apart from God, and his solution for our striving for righteousness but failure to achieve it is Jesus and the work he did when he laid down his life and rose again from the dead. I believe that apart from the righteousness God imparts to us through Jesus’ work on the cross, “all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.” I know this personally – the best I can do falls so short of the glory and righteousness of God. On my own merit, by my own effort, I cannot achieve righteousness…and God said that while our best efforts are like dirty rags, we are made righteous through his son, Jesus, so for myself, for the Biblical worldview, for all other worldviews, I’d argue none of us can achieve righteousness on our own because that’s how God has laid things out in our world. And thus we need God’s solution.

    It might seem odd to bring in all of this to answer your question but for me, I believe we have to; the worldview question, the question about why the Judeo/Christian God would give the Law, why some Christians would compartmentalize the Scriptures and not look at all of the story, from creation to the end…really misses the boat on this and does a disservice to those sincerely asking what Christianity has to say on issues of sexuality, on issues of poverty, on all issues in life. I’d argue we need to look at these things holistically. 🙂 Anyway. Two more cents for you. 🙂

    I love coming to your blog; always have me thinking. The more I parse, the more I sharpen my own thinking and beliefs. Thanks!

  5. jonolan Says:

    I have a few questions by way of clarification and by way of contextualizing your response with this post:

    1 – Can a homosexual, male or female, achieve your God’s aims while actively practicing homosexuality? Does engaging in homosexuality make it harder to do so, or does it make it impossible to do so?

    2 – Does a holistic view of scripture supersede specific injunctions found in the Bible?

    3 – If a specific injunction against a behavior is not found within the Law, can that behavior be inherently wrong? That is of course assuming we – humanity – haven’t come up with a heretofore unreferenced vileness.

  6. RS Says:

    Salaam,

    I admire your understanding about islam, it seems that you have studied it, and it embarrase me if i have less effort than you.

    “only the Quran is the Word; the hadith are commentary and extrapolation from Muhammads (pbuh) words and deeds after or separately from the Quran. I tried to stick with what is acknowledged by Muslims as the incontrovertible an incontestable word of Allah.”

    It is true the words in hadiths are from Muhammad SAW, but the essense of it are from Allah. That’s is why Muslims must stick to the hadiths, beside the Quran, as per Muhammad SAW’s last message when he was asked by the companion on how to live safely after his left, he (SAW) answered, “hold steadfast to Quran and Sunnah”.
    At least that valid to all sunni Muslims and i guess to some little part of shia too).

    “I considered sura 4 (An-Nisa) 17, but felt it was to broad and vague.”
    It is also true, but islam is the religion of logic, as Muslims must think based on Quran to discover more about this life that may implied in its words. To my understanding, what important to note is one law don’t contradict other law. That’s why in this case, i don’t try to find any room to justify things that inharmonious with the nature.

    Wassalam

  7. jonolan Says:

    RS,

    Alhamdulillah Ala Salama

    As an outsider – Wathani – I naturally have a different perspective of the role of the hadith. They seem to be the words and actions of Muhammad (pbuh) and not necessarily the Word of Allah. It’s seems that The Prophet on occasion contradicted the Qu’ran. Abasa:1-10, At-Tahrm :1-3, and Al-Anfl :67-68 all describe incidents where he was chastised by his God for that.

    Logic and interpretation are needful though, or at least I believe that they are. I doubt that mortal words can literally describe to true meanings of any Divine law or stricture; we humans are too limited for that.

  8. RS Says:

    In my understanding, Sunnah = the sayings and all the habits of Muhammad SAW during his prophet life (the way he eat, drink, socialize, marriages, etc) and all of these things were noted by the companions, the compilation of these notes are called Hadith. The wording of Hadiths were that of Muhammad SAW, but it were inspired by Allah through various way (dreams, etc).

    In doing something, Muhammad didn’t use his own nafs (ego). The surahs you bring forth (surah Abasa and surah Al-Anfal) were the examples when he acted based on his own nafs and NOT inspired by Allah, but soon after it, he got warned from Allah, that’s why this verses were revealed. Those cases were the exception, it was a khilaf.

    “Logic and interpretation are needful though, or at least I believe that they are. I doubt that mortal words can literally describe to true meanings of any Divine law or stricture; we humans are too limited for that.”

    I understand what you mean. I prefer not to comment about it in this occasion.

    Wassalam

  9. The Hostess Says:

    Greetings Jonolan,
    Glad to see you back on The Outskirts debating…thought I’d bring in another religion for you. Some say it’s more of a philosophy, but it’s my personal belief that they all are if you really look hard and individualize it to your life and introspective path.
    For me personally as a Buddhist and a lesbian I hold these beliefs:
    Buddhism is most concerned with whether an action is helpful, based on good intentions, and freedom from harm and there are 5 precepts (different from rules) one is “Do not indulge in sexual misconduct”
    From these two ideas…I follow my path. I have chosen a relationship with a woman. I have been in this relationship for over 12 years. I will try my best to honor this relationship, and through this path I will hopefully grow spiritually.
    As always you make me think and reflect-and that is good.
    The Hostess

  10. jonolan Says:

    Welcome, Hostess! It’s great that you stopped by.

    LOL You might as well bring in Buddhism; it’ll fit in right in with the discussions at hand 😉 And on that note:

    As the 3rd Precept from the Dharmapada, “Do not indulge in sexual misconduct” is the one of the Five Precepts that is most grounded in the mortal world , it is the one that is most – IMHO – open to debate for that very reason.

    Most of Buddha’s teachings regarding sexual content was meant to avoid disharmony within the family and and disharmony between the family and their society. By that standard whether or not any form of homosexuality was “sexual misconduct” would in part be determined by the prevailing attitudes of the participants’ culture.

    I supposed that if I followed that logic further along I would have to make the assertion that lesbianism in America is OK for the “legally” single, but to attempt to marry or become a Domestic Partner with your lover would be “sexual misconduct” because it would cause disharmony between your family and a large swath of American society.

  11. The Hostess Says:

    Hard for any religion to distance itself from the society in which it is practiced. (debate over women priests and birth control among Catholics, gay priests in the Episcopal church)
    I agree with you on that account, but for me and my understanding of the Buddha’s teachings it is not for society to dictate my path or heart. The people I admire within different churches (my girlfriend’s aunt is a nun-whom I have a great deal of admiration) have the same attitude. Look within, not to others for your faith.
    It is by quieting my mind and and listening to my Buddha nature-spirit, soul (whatever Western religion equates) within that dictates what are my “skillful” or “unskillful” actions.
    I sit with a group of Shambhala Buddhists and really don’t know who is gay and who is straight. In discussions about the precepts we are all in agreement that whomever we choose to spend out life with, we honor them and the relationship-for me this means no promiscuity. Bring to the relationship, truth, communication and love. With both our families truth and communication and love have given us great in-laws and no disharmony. They just want their daughters/sisters to be happy…and we wish the same for them.
    American society?, well, homosexuality is only one of the ideals that I probably disagree with people about. I’m a feminist, Democrat, and can’t stand country music, so I’m always out of tune with someone…
    Thanks for the post and reply!!

  12. jonolan Says:

    Well, your choices certainly aren’t going to bother me personally. The only time I’ve ever been “bothered” about a woman being a lesbian was when I was attracted to her. 😉

    My response to your comment was an attempt to apply the same “fundamental” style of Buddhist scripture to lesbianism as I had the Abrahamic faiths’ scriptures.

  13. The Hostess Says:

    Growing up in a Presbyterian household, I find myself doing the same thing…I will always have that Abrahamic base. I like the “bothered” comment-have a couple of guy friends that give me that compliment-everyone likes to be liked…
    oh…will add, one of the things that brought me to Buddhism is the lack of “right and wrong-Reward and punishment”. Abrahamic faiths are seeped in this. Buddhism is much more a situation of here are some things…see if they help…see if they suit your path. Not do this/don’t do that.

  14. jonolan Says:

    Hostess,

    Your experiences with Buddhism sound like they’ve been limited to sa?gha in the US and possibly Europe. If you go to the East, you’ll find they’re more “absolute” or “fundamentalist” in their teachings. It’s less about “see if this works for you” and more about “this is what works. If it doesn’t suit you, you’re wrong inside.”

    Of course this phenomenon may be due to Buddhism being more entrenched in the East. The institutionalizing of any philosophy of spiritual cosmology seems to do a certain sort of harm to its adherents’ outlook. Not surprisingly to my mind, this harm seem to be the same no matter what the philosophy or religion is.

    I’m biased though; my sect – such as it is – forbids full-time clergy.

  15. The Hostess Says:

    The “wrong inside” is possibly your Western interpretation of Buddhism. Often Westerners have to label “wrong and right”, but this is not true teachings from the Buddha. I have yet to meet a Dharma teacher willing to say that there is something “wrong or right”. In sitting with teachers from the East, they also say look within-they do not judge what is right or wrong. Buddhism is not about absolutes. It is about moving away from such attachments and allowing acceptance to alleviate suffering. I try not to become too entrenched in the society’s view of the religion…I stay with the source…Buddha.

  16. jonolan Says:

    “The wrong inside is possibly your Western interpretation of Buddhism.”

    Umm…No. It was my interpretation of the behavior and rhetoric of Buddhists in Thailand, China, and Japan. It seems quite a few – personal experience, so I might have had just a bad sample – of the samgha who are well established in those areas exhibit the same sort of “we’re right” attitudes as found in well established churches in the West.

    In other words, I was commenting on the behavior of some people, not on Buddha’s teachings. Please! let none of us hold the Gods overly accountable for their worshipers’ actions and misdeeds.

  17. The Hostess Says:

    Did you talk to Buddhists or Buddhist teachers? Did you practice Buddhism there?
    I think the old adage “a minute to learn a lifetime to practice” is appropriate here. Unless you yourself practice a form of Buddhism, I still regard your comments as looking from the outside (you yourself said “my interpretation”).
    Buddhism will not label a path of Christianity as wrong…or a path of Buddhism is right…there are only skillful and unskillful actions.
    For me, Buddhism will be the more skillful pathway…with a hope of ending samsara. I look within for guidance…my own Buddha nature. There is no external God, only teachers such as the Buddha and the Dalai Lama, the Dharma, and the Sanga.
    Again…no right or wrong. These are Western ideas.

  18. jonolan Says:

    Yes, I talked with Buddhist teachers. I took advantage of my time in those countries to study about Buddhism as part of my ongoing curiosity about philosophy and theology. Let us just say that the larger schools & temples had a less than “inclusive” attitude in regards to Buddhism vs. other paths.

    I think the communication issue we’re having is that I’m speaking of people and you’re speaking of Buddhism. Just as many Abrahamic churches fail to fully follow their God’s teachings, so do some Buddhist schools. I think it stems from being “institutionalized.”

  19. MoriahJoy Says:

    Hi Jonolan,

    I have a few questions by way of clarification and by way of contextualizing your response with this post:

    1 – Can a homosexual, male or female, achieve your God’s aims while actively practicing homosexuality? Does engaging in homosexuality make it harder to do so, or does it make it impossible to do so?

    I’m not sure I understand this question clearly. If we define “my God’s aims” (though I’d protest personalizing it like that, as he/she is either God or isn’t God and it isn’t up for me to decide – what is up for consideration is whether or not I follow him/her) as being to know him/her as God and to live in a right relationship with him/her as the creator and sustainor of humanity, then anyone, regardless of behavior/sexual practices, can come into that right relationship with God. However, if you’d define “my God’s aims” else wise, I might have a different answer.

    If you were to say the Judeo/Christian God’s intentions for humanity when he created the world, I’d argue he originally intended the order of things to be one man, one woman, according to both design and Scripture, not based upon my opinion or preferences. But the world is far from how he created it to be.

    I’m not going to play semantics; God teaches that all sin separates us from him and homosexuality is one of the sins listed among a myriad of others; therefore, it, too, separates us from him – why it’s so often singled out and harped upon by the Christian “Right” just angers me. The whole point is we all need Jesus, period. Not that God is some sort of God who doesn’t want us to enjoy life or enjoy sexuality, etc. or has it out for a specific group of people.

    God wants something better for us than what we often chose for ourselves, be it homosexual or heterosexual relationships that are outside of his bounds and metes…so the question becomes what is sin and why does it even matter? God says engaging in homosexuality or heterosexuality, except for the confines of marriage, is “sin.” That’s not in question in terms of what Scripture lays out. But so is lust, envy, greed, gluttony, not taking care of the poor, etc. – Jesus said if you hated anyone in your heart or lusted, you were condemned by the law, you were a sinner. My guess is no one can claim to never have lied or lusted once. So we’re all in need of getting things right with God. Can sinners achieve anything on their own? No. So I guess I just have a fundamental problem with the question itself…for it presupposes quite a bit. We’d need to have a much longer discussion to really get at the crux of the matter.

    This whole debate…about behavior misses the point about the heart. And I really think God cares about our heart and our response to him. We can get caught up on all these dos or don’ts, but the truth of the matter is we’re all sinners, period, in need of saving from our sin. So I cannot begin to address the questions people have about homosexuality (or any other moral issue) without understanding it in the greater context of worldviews. For from our worldview stems our beliefs and from our beliefs stems our actions. When we talk about homosexuality (or any other moral behavior), we’re discussing at the “action” level; I prefer to keep the discussions at the worldview/belief levels because I think that’s where God is most concerned. The other stuff matters but not until the bigger questions have been dealt with.

    2 – Does a holistic view of scripture supersede specific injunctions found in the Bible?

    Again, clarification needed. Are you asking if what I presented as more “holistic” supersedes the law verses you gave? No. They are both relevant and equally valid but the law must be understood within the whole, not taken out of context as so many Christians are apt to do.:(

    Also, anything I say can and should be tested against reality/logic. I’m fallible, as I’d argue all human beings are. But I firmly believe in pursing the Truth, in testing all beliefs, in facing the strongest objections to a belief and changing beliefs if necessary for integrity’s sake. 🙂 So. Yeah. 🙂 This is the stuff of life.

    3 – If a specific injunction against a behavior is not found within the Law, can that behavior be inherently wrong?

    Yes. I’ll have to look up the verses for you (I believe they are in Romans – I’m terrible with memorization), but according to a Biblical worldview, we are guilty under the “law” for things we’ve done and things we have not even know we have done, as well as for thing we have not done that we should have done (i.e. not taking care of the poor, etc.). “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” comes to mind as an elementary example. If absolute truth exists and there is a moral code that stems from the very character and nature of God and we exist within that reality, whether we acknowledge that God or that moral code, then we are subject to the “laws” he has prescribed and laid out. The purpose of the law is like a mirror – to point us to our need for God. I’d argue the whole point is whether or not we are dependent upon him and recognize his leadership over our lives or choose to live our own, bearing the consequences both now (broken relationships: war, adultery, poverty, racism, human trafficking, etc.) and eternally (separation from God).

    These conversations are difficult to have in short amounts of time; even more difficult online; even more difficult in comment threads. 😉 But the questions are questions worthy of being answered.

  20. MoriahJoy Says:

    I’m not able to edit my comment – realized too late I didn’t put all of your quotes in italics…whoops.

  21. jonolan Says:

    On point 1 – I meant essentially “[sic] as being to know him/her as God and to live in a right relationship with him/her as the creator and sustainor of humanity.”

    On point 2 – I was in fact “asking if what I presented as more holistic supersedes the law verses you gave?”

    On point 3 – I think your views on this fit consistently with the rest of views on the teaching in the Bible as expressed in your comments here. After reading your comments on 1 and 2, I could just about guess that this would be your response 🙂

    Am I correct in deducing that your beliefs hold that homosexuality is – or likely is – a sin in the eyes of God, but hardly an insurmountable one. Sort of a case of it being just one more cross that some bear along their road, and not nearly as bad of thing as so many other actions and/or inaction are.

  22. MoriahJoy Says:

    On point 3 – I think your views on this fit consistently with the rest of views on the teaching in the Bible as expressed in your comments here. After reading your comments on 1 and 2, I could just about guess that this would be your response 🙂

    Am I correct in deducing that your beliefs hold that homosexuality is – or likely is – a sin in the eyes of God, but hardly an insurmountable one. Sort of a case of it being just one more cross that some bear along their road, and not nearly as bad of thing as so many other actions and/or inaction are.

    Exactly. 🙂 Pretty much, in layman’s terms, we’re all screwed because we sin all the time according to God’s standards and the framework of reality, whether or not it’s intentional or not, so to harp on one sin (homosexuality or whatever it is) instead of looking at the much bigger issue, our relationship and standing with a holy, just and loving God, creator of all, who has provided a solution to the mess we’ve created (“mess” as evidenced by the brokenness and evil in this world), well…that just misses the mark and does a disservice to the good news Jesus brings to us – that it’s not about anything we can do but it’s all about the work He has already done for us.

    I abhor legalism; and while I believe there is absolute truth, right and wrong, and a God to whom we will all answer one day, I think God cares most about our direct response to Him and the question of who He is – and while I believe a Biblical worldview, when understood and worked out, is logically consistent and true to the nature of our world and the reality we all live in, the question is a matter of the heart first, behavior second. It’s what I love about following Jesus – the sin problem is solved not because of anything I do but rather all because of what God did on the cross. It’s not about right behavior first, about dos and don’ts, or about being “good enough” to obtain salvation or the favor of God…and that is one thing that separates Jesus’ claims from the other world religions I’ve studied – we can do nothing to merit God’s favor or earn or attain righteousness; that’s why Jesus raises the bar (saying if you’ve lusted, you’ve committed adultery, if you’ve hated, you’ve committed murder, etc.) to get across the point that there’s nothing we can do to achieve holiness/righteousness but that it all rests on what God did for us.

  23. JC Lamont Says:

    To answer your question:

    Romans 1:26 Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.

    The next verse talks about men, but please understand that Paul was addressing Christians here — accusing them of being hypocrites becuase they felt holy in condmening gay people!

    Paul continues: You may think you can condmen such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself…Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Rom 2:1-4)

    From the Torah/Old Tetament (Ezekiel 18:23): Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says Yahweh. Of course Not! I want them to turn from thier wicked ways and live.

    The church/Christians have done a terrible job of exemplyfying God/Christ’s love, but that doesn’t change the fact that God/Christ is love, and is patient, and doesn’t desire to punish anyone, regardless of how many Christians spout off “you will burn in hell” messages.

    I wish I knew the answer. I wish I could smack Christians upside down the head or crack open thier brains and make them read the Bible as it was written, not with thier holier-than-thou, I have the right to judge you interpretations. But I’m just a girl in Philly who actually reads it (and loves it) and can only do my meager part.

  24. jonolan Says:

    JC Lamont,

    The KJV version of Romans 1:26 is:

    “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.”

    The NIV versions of Romans 1:26:

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

    The ASV version of Romans 1:26 is:

    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature.”

    These all seemed a little vague to me. There are a lot of “unnatural” passions and lusts that are still heterosexual – and that doesn’t even include sex-toys and such.

    I’ve found no version of the Bible that has the passage as you quoted it. What version is it from?

    As for some of the modern Christians’ reactions to homosexuals, I’m in agreement with you. Many of them seem to have very well assimilated the laws of the Old Testament and the admonishments contained within the New Testament without equally well assimilating the overriding message of the new Covenant between them and their God.

  25. JC Lamont Says:

    You specifically asked if Lesbianism was permissible under the tenets of the Abrahamic faiths?

    The verse in mind says women left what is natural for the unnatural, and men also left what is natural (sex with a woman) for what is unnatural (sex with a man). It’s pretty clear what’s being talked about here — even if the verse doesn’t go into detail. Come on, we’re talking about a translation that says “So Adam knew his wife and she bore a son…..”

    To answer your other question, I use the New Living Translation (NLT). It’s the easiest, most accurate to read. The most accurate to read is NASB (New American Standard – that’s the one I use for personal study).

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  26. JC Lamont Says:

    My last comment probably didn’t make much sense.

    The NLT is the most accurate of easy-to-read contemporary translations.

    The NASB is the most accurate Heberew/Greek to English translation (except for the KJV-only crowd who believes the 1611 translators were guided by the Holy Spirit).

    Sorry if there was confusion. 🙂

  27. Deanna Says:

    Jonolan, thank you for pointing me over here. Very interesting discussion (and I know I’m 6 months late to it.)

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