A few days ago I read this post by Christian minister John Pavlovitz. It was a critique of how Christianity treats homosexuals; in particular it offered thoughts on how to reconcile hostile Bible verses with the reality that homosexuals are loving people too. Naturally, some Christians dispute this view, maintaining that homosexuality is merely a sin of choice.
In my previous post, I talked about how the Bible is stretched to be the only reliable source of information to Christians. This debate found on Mr. Pavlovitz’s page and the other post I linked by David Taylor, Jr. both illustrate the need for maintaining Biblical integrity. Both of them argue a position to take on the Bible without even questioning the legitimacy of the text itself.
Admittedly, Mr. Pavlovitz argues for a change in Biblical meaning.
With Leviticus and Romans in play, it’s a tall order to claim ambiguity from the “Good” book. Instead, there is a softer call to determine what is really meant by claiming homosexuality is a sin. Specifically, there is a question asked on whether or not the Bible is referring to people who casually engage in homosexual acts or people who are in a loving relationship. If that is an honest distinction, it means that one can excuse homosexual acts done pursuant to a loving and caring relationship.
The need for this distinction is only necessary to allow people to think that the Bible is okay with same-sex relationships. Otherwise, it’s meaningless. One could argue that the Bible could be ignored on homosexuality, but that would mean ignoring God’s Holy Word. Or one could say that the Bible is wrong…but that would mean saying something in the Bible is untrue. Another argument could be that God is calling people to change their stance on this, but changing meanings leads to the unholiest of unholies: subjective morality!
That’s why Mr. Taylor’s post is so forceful in its defense of classical interpretation.
Not only does Mr. Taylor claim definitive meaning in the Bible, he says that “Homosexuality is wrong.” Arguably this means that engaging in homosexual acts or even lusting after someone of the same sex is morally offensive in the Bible. Such an interpretation flies in the face of Mr. Pavlovitz’s post. Homosexuals are bad people according to the Bible.
This position ignores Mr. Pavlovitz’s statements about homosexual couples in loving relationships. In effect, it calls all of those people liars who say that gay couples can be happy with each other, living in committed harmony. By extension, it puts a negative moral label on all people who are consenting adults that touch their genitals to people of the same sex as they are.
Mr. Taylor’s position requires him to respond to changes in interpretation of scripture. As noted above, changes to the Bible are changes to what God means. A lifetime spent thinking a verse means one thing can be undermined if that verse means something else. The consequences are drastic; the souls of billions of Christians depend upon it.
There is an easier way to go about this.
Simply examine how homosexual relationships function. Mr. Pavlovitz alluded to this, but he couldn’t complete the thought. If the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, why is it that homosexual couples can lead normal, otherwise healthy lives? To claim there’s a secret drawback isn’t enough; one would have seen by now any intrinsic flaw in homosexual relationships.
And all of this doesn’t even begin to reach the sheer ugliness of such a conversation. How would any of us feel when our lifestyles are questioned in such a manner? Why is there such a difficulty in believing that people who love those of the same-sex are human beings? Really, what does it matter what consenting adults do with each other in the privacy of their own homes?
But the Bible. It cannot be ignored. It will not suffer wrong interpretation. Most of this is because of all the ancillary thoughts built around it to prop it up and convince people that it actually provides a clue to life.
Here’s another example.
I also talked previously about believing things that normally would get questioned. Things also can get repeated without question. Christians who agree with Mr. Pavlovitz can site his article as support. Christians who agree with Mr. Taylor can site his article as support. None of it has to be dissected; Christians in both camps can argue ’til they’re blue in the face.
Something similar that gets repeated is the notion that there’s a secular conspiracy to get prayer out of schools. I had Mr. Taylor clarify his remarks about prayer getting taken out of school in the 1960’s, and he said, “Yes there is a concerted attack on Christianity by scientists, atheists, the media, liberals, etc….” Thankfully, I found this post of mine which addresses that statement. What Mr. Taylor isn’t aware of is that Christians were responsible for the landmark cases which got prayer out of public schools, not any secular thinkers. And that process started in the 1940’s (not the 1960’s).
Really, the Bible is concerned with repetition of belief.
While I commend the bravery of Mr. Pavlovitz to openly challenge religious views regarding homosexuality, I as an Apostate Atheist can’t help but notice that the shift in thinking doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. There is literally no need to revamp the Bible’s meaning on homosexuality. It is wrong about homosexual people.
Thankfully I don’t have to try to twist something around in order to reconcile it with an honest assessment of human relationships. There is no need for me to make excuses of Biblical proportions. Such thoughts are a relief to me, especially since I used to struggle with reconciling the Bible’s hatred of certain people for no other reason than they love differently.
(h/t to Figibloom for reblogging Mr. Pavlovitz’s post)