Hi Everyone … Sorry I have been away for alittle bit. This time of the year just gets soo hard and I have been under the pump with doing some work. I am really excited about 2012 and I hope that I will have some interesting announcements soon …
Anyway for today … yes I have chosen another controversial topic (… waiting for the hate comments & emails). And again I will state clearly … I am not a lesbian. Yes I do have gay and lesbian friends but I am interested in this issue as I think it is an area of Australian life where we are denying people their human rights … and if you want a great stimulus package for the economy that would cost nothing to the budget … allowing for gay marriage would be a great one
Anyway I digress … Another one of the things I hate about the discussion on gay marriage (as opposed to the things I hate relating to the legal stuff around the definition of marriage … please see earlier post) … is when the bible is used as a reason for or against gay marriage. Yes … I am a Christian and proud to be so. But I am also a historian. The bible is a historical text and alot of when you read it must be taken within the historical context. I disagree with the notion that in the Old Testament it says it is bad so … OK no gay marriage. Firstly … while I think we are generally a Christian society … we celebrate and acknowledge other faiths … and don’t develop our laws solely according to what the bible says is right and wrong. Secondly .. there is a whole heap of stuff that the bible says is wrong that is legal (and some seen as normal in society … what should we quickly go and ban all of them) … and some things that it says are OK are just plan wrong, stupid and some really evil. The bible needs to be taken in its historical context.
So whenever people talk about taking the bible at face value … and not picking and choosing the bits they like … therefore gay marriage is out of the picture … I think of this stuff.
Things that the bible says are bad but are both legal and people do anyway
Many of these according to the bible you should die for … so I think it is fair to say they take them pretty seriously.
- Divorce and Remarriage
As far as I can work out the Bible has more passages that condemn divorce and remarriage than it has on gay people. Here is a selection
Deuteronomy 24:1-4If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.Matthew 5:31-32 (words of Jesus in Red)“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Mark 10:2-12 (words of Jesus in Red)
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them,”Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Luke 16:18 (words of Jesus in Red)
Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
- Adultery and Fornication– Just remember this means anything outside of marriage. This includes sexual relations between consent adults in a relationship … whether that be straight or not.
Exodus20:14Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Deuteronomy 22:22If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB
If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.
Leviticus 20:10 NLT If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death.
Matthew5:28But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Hebrews13:4Marriage honourable in all, and the bed undefiled. For fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Proverbs 6:32 “The one who commits ADULTERY with a woman is lacking in understanding; he that does it DESTROYS HIS OWN SOUL.”
- Working on the Sabbath
“On six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be sacred to you as the sabbath of complete rest to the LORD. Anyone who does work on that day shall be put to death.”
- Fortune Tellers
Leviticus 20:27 NAB
A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death.
Leviticus 19:31Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
“Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.”
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” 1 Timothy 2:9
“Women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” 1 Peter 3:3
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.” — 1 Corinthians 11:14-15
“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
- Playing Football (… well anything made from pig skin) and eating Bacon
And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.
- Other Food
Deuteronomy 14:10 … so this means Oysters, Prawns, Crabs, and Lobster
And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.
Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.
- Birth Control … in the world before condoms
Genesis 38:9-10:“Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also.”
- Men .. You can’t go to church if your testicles are damaged or your penis has been cut off
Deuteronomy 23:1He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
- Children conceived outside of marriage
Deuteronomy 23:2A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD
Things that the bible says are OK … but are just wrong
The bible is OK with
- Slavery – The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves.
Here are some passages on Salvery
However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)
When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)
- Selling your own daughter as a sex slave (Exodus 21:1-11),
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)
New Testament passages
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)
Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)
- Rape, Pillage and Murder
From Judges 21:10-24 NLT
So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.” Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.
The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel. So the Israelite leaders asked, “How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever. But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God’s curse.”
Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'” So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes.
As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB
When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion.”
Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB
A day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city.
- child abuse and child killing
Leviticus 20:9 NLT
All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.
“At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”“So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory. He thoroughly defeated the Ammonites from Aroer to an area near Minnith – twenty towns – and as far away as Abel-keramim. Thus Israel subdued the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter – his only child – ran out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “My daughter!” he cried out. “My heart is breaking! What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and cannot take it back.” And she said, “Father, you have made a promise to the LORD. You must do to me what you have promised, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.” “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.”Isaiah 13:16 Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)
2 Kings 2:23-24 NAB
“From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. “Go up baldhead,” they shouted, “go up baldhead!” The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces.”
Psalms 137:9 NAB
“Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock.”
- discriminating against the disabled
Leviticus 21:16-23 NLT
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron that in all future generations, his descendants who have physical defects will not qualify to offer food to their God. No one who has a defect may come near to me, whether he is blind or lame, stunted or deformed, or has a broken foot or hand, or has a humped back or is a dwarf, or has a defective eye, or has oozing sores or scabs on his skin, or has damaged testicles. Even though he is a descendant of Aaron, his physical defects disqualify him from presenting offerings to the LORD by fire. Since he has a blemish, he may not offer food to his God. However, he may eat from the food offered to God, including the holy offerings and the most holy offerings. Yet because of his physical defect, he must never go behind the inner curtain or come near the altar, for this would desecrate my holy places. I am the LORD who makes them holy.”
Joshua 11:21-23 NLT
During this period, Joshua destroyed all the descendants of Anak, who lived in the hill country of Hebron, Debir, Anab, and the entire hill country of Judah and Israel. He killed them all and completely destroyed their towns. Not one was left in all the land of Israel, though some still remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. So Joshua took control of the entire land, just as the LORD had instructed Moses. He gave it to the people of Israel as their special possession, dividing the land among the tribes. So the land finally had rest from war.
When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations–the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you– and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.
- If a man died leaving no male heir, his brother was required to marry his widow and produce children
Deuteronomy 25:5-10If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.
Before I conclude I just want to say .. I am not saying that Christian people that disagree with gay marriage need to be involved in one or attend one .. but I am sure there are lots of things that happen legally in society that are legal that they don’t approve of. … However to get to point.
So IMHO there are 2 choices for people that say that oppose to gay marriage because of the bible
- They take a literal interpretation of the bible (ignoring historical context) and believe that it is the word of God and therefore think that divorce is bad (and do not accept divorced people) and agree for people that have sex outside of marriage to be stoned to death … and are OK with slavery (including the sex slavery), rape (including its use as a instrument of war), murder, genocide, discriminating and other bad things the bible says … and therefore in this case. I am not sure I would like to even talk to someone like that.
- They say that the pick and chose which bits of the bible that they want to follow (a bit more like me) … and therefore must give another explanation for why they oppose gay marriage.
What do you think?
Photo by Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash
As a man now sans testicles after an accident I think Deuteronomy 23:1 is a bit mean. Good thing I’m an apostate.
I agree and to be honest that was one that I had not known about before I started researching for this post. Being an apostate would make things easier.
I just think that the bible is a historic document and needs to be read in historical context (considering when it was originally written and the various translations). From what I have found there are 3 references to homosexuality in the bible (2 clear ones and 1 suspect). IMHO there are alot more against divorce and just general lust, adultery & fornication … and that is before we get to some of the weird and just plain wrong stuff. I just don’t think stating that the bibles says it is wrong is a clear reason for not allowing legal gay marriage. Thanks for commenting
Great post! Some really valid points that frustrate me so much. Thanks for linking it up! Fi xx
The bible is not just a historical document; the bible is God’s word to His people, and because of that, you need to understand the heart that is behind it. It’s like a comment on Facebook that can be taken out of context, because people don’t know the full story.
Too many times the church and society as a whole has pulled out parts of scripture as a justification for certain behaviour because they haven’t understood the context and the intent behind it. In a way, that’s exactly what your doing here. Saying that we can ignore the passages on homosexuality, because other verses are a bit ambiguous.
Thanks for visiting and commenting. I love a good discussion.
I agree the bible is more than a historical document (but from a historian perspective I would not call it ‘just’. It is pretty amazing historical document). And I also I agree with you that i think that people take the bible and use the bits that are convenient. But I say that many conservative people (and generally I am a conservative) do that to argue against gay marriage. I think if they want to have that argument at least they should also be arguing against legal divorce. But I think this point is something we might have to agree to disagree on.
IMHO there are many things the bible is clear on (especially in the old Testament) that are both legal and condoned socially in a Christian society. Such as adultery, fornication (sex outside of marriage), wearing clothes of 2 different materials and working on the sabbath. I will agree however some of the stuff from the old testament on rape pillage and murder are a bit full on and left field but they are general area in which the thoughts on homosexuality come from too. But in truth I am more of a New Testament girl …
So… in the New Testament I Jesus does not speak clearly about homosexuality but there can be any confusion around divorce and re-marriage. Jesus really didn’t give any wiggle room about his thoughts on divorce and re-marriage. And that is before you get to the question of women holding position of priest etc in the church. As much I I think that St Paul was a misogynist. There can be no wiggle room around what he said on that topic. I am all for women’s empowerment but I do not support women priests etc.(probably going to get hate messages for this one ..)
However I also respect that people of Christian faith … or really any faith should be able to follow the norms of rules of their religion … do we expect the laws of the land to have to reflect that. I think we should allow gay marriage but also allow priests etc and churches to be able to say no to performing it and even giving communion (and this would include for gay people but also the divorced). And also to say no around performing services for people whose lifestyles they don’t approve like adoption. (probably going to get more hate messages for this one ..) I respect that people of faith should be able within the performance of their duties should be able to discriminate against people of lifestyles they don’t approve.
Thanks for continuing the discussion.
Thanks for visting and commenting.
Brilliant! What people also forget is that at the time the bible was compiled it was done with the political leanings and views of the era as well. Not all the books/scrolls were included so in a sense the whole thing is not a true reflection or view of the time.
It’s like people trying to claim Adam and Eve in their genealogy but unless you have Jewish Ancestry you cant! I view the bible as a historical document of the Jewish people because really that is what it is. The Romans used the words of Jesus and his disciples and made it their own and Christianity was born. You could say they stole the ideas and principles and ran with it. One of the biggest contradictions I find in the bible is how God and Jesus were against Idol worship, yet Christianity has been pretty big on icons, which to me shows the Roman influence of idol worship which goes completely against the bible #irony
:: stands and applauds ::
Thank you, THANKYOU for writing this so eloquently.
I also believe the bible is a historical document. Written by MEN who lived over 2000 years ago. Anyone who believes it hasn’t been heavily edited during this time is kidding themselves.
(…and I am a Christian, just not one who swallows everything fed to her by the church.)
I love this post, well done!
So nice to read some sane logic in 2012 🙂