Over at the blog “Apologia” I’ve been debating self-described Christian apologist Eric. The discussion has ranged over a wide spectrum, which was surprising given that Eric’s original post said he was sick of debating atheists.
Still, a few issues were passed over for lack of time, so I though I might pick them up here.
At one point in the discussion Eric made the comment
“It’s obvious to anyone who reads the Gospels that Jesus considered homosexuality to be a sin.”
This stopped me in my in my tracks for a moment, because it should be obvious to anyone who reads the Gospels that Jesus had precisely nothing to say about homosexuality.
Zero. Zip. Nada. Not a word.
And yet strangely, Eric’s view is very common. For so many Christians in the world today homosexuality is Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to the nebulous field of “sexual immorality”.
And this is despite the fact that Jesus himself, the man supposedly at the centre of their religion, didn’t think it was important enough to mention.
Further damaging the Christian position is that the most common biblical quote thrown around (you know . . . “homosexuality is an abomination”) is from the Old Testament; that bit of the Bible that Christians mostly ignore.
Supposedly Christians are all about the New Testament. Or they’re supposed to be. That’s where Jesus came along and did away with all the old laws. This is, for example, why Christians don’t eat kosher.
But back to the Old Testament.
In the same section in which homosexuality is denounced we also have prohibitions against wearing clothes made from two different types of material (Lev 19:19), cutting the hair at the sides of your head (Lev 19:27) and sleeping with a menstruating woman (Lev 18:19 and 20:18).
These other things are obviously no longer important. But for some reason, homosexuality is an exception.
So what about the New Testament?
There are four references in the New Testament which could be regarded as relating to homosexuality. These were all made by Paul, the guy who took control of the nascent church after Christ’s death (and alleged resurrection) and in my mind, royally screwed up the humanist message Jesus was trying to deliver.
Each of these references is no more than a throw-away remark put in as a sideline to a different point he was making. None of them are decisive condemnations, and there’s a nice summary here (from a Christian website) of why they shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Modern Christianity’s obsession with and bigotry against homosexuals is one of the main causes of continued discrimination in our culture. The passing of the noxious Proposition 8 in California (largely because the Christian community mobilised to support it) is just the most recent example.
The sooner this attitude is seen as the irrelevant cultural relic that it is, and the sooner it’s recognised that even those who propound it have no reason to do so, even within their own doctrine, then the better off we’ll all be.