What does Leviticus REALLY say about homosexuality?

Two verses in the Bible's Leviticus, 18:22 and 20:13, have been used time and time again by people insisting that God abhors homosexuality, and either being gay or certain gay sex acts (depending on who you talk to) are expressly forbidden among observant Christians and Jews. But is that really the case, or is that selective interpretation/translation? This article will make the very solid case that these Levitical commandments have nothing to do with homosexuality as we understand it today, but are rather prohibitions against male temple cult prostitution. Read on to see why.

Please note that I am not addressing whether we should be using the Bible as a moral code, whether it is historically accurate, whether its prohibitions are binding on Christians, Jews, or anyone else. I am simply addressing whether Leviticus does, in fact, prohibit gay/lesbian relations. That's it.

Let's start with the text

The King James Version of the Bible, translated in 1611, or more than 2,000 years after Leviticus was penned (the documentary hypothesis guesses at around 500 BCE), is what's usually used by those claiming the Bible condemns homosexuality. Let's look at their translations:

18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

20:13 - If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Things aren't quite so clear when we use the Intralinear Hebrew-English translation. It captures the ambiguities without the biases of the translator:

18:22 - And with male you shall not lie down beds of woman, it (is) abhorrence

20:13 - And man who is lying down with male beds of woman, the two of them they did abhorrence, they shall be put to death, the bloods of them in them

Certainly a bit more ambiguous, but that's to be expected when you're translating from ancient Biblical Hebrew. And, besides, Biblical scholars, both religious and secular, have long acknowledged that many parts of the Bible are ambiguous and where interpretation isn't necessarily clear. This might very well be a good example, but given the emphasis they're given to justify hatred towards gay people, it's worth the effort to analyze them more deeply.

click to see full-sized version
click to see full-sized version

Idolatrous sin vs wicked/unjust sin - different terminology

Both Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20 are concerned with the ritual practices of the neighboring Canaanite people, principally the cult of Molekh and Ashtoreth. The prohibitions against "lying with men in beds-of-woman" is encapsulated in these sections for a reason, which will be clearer soon.

Keep in mind the use of the word toebah is used to describe all of the pagan practices that the Lord was prohibiting; toebah is often translated as abhorrence or abomination in English, for the lack of a better word, but it is more accurately translated as bdelygmia in Greek, in early translations. Both toebah (Hebrew) and bdelygmia (Greek) carry connotations of idolatrous or ritually impure forms of detestable practices. In contrast, zimah (Hebrew) and anomia (Greek) are used to describe something that's wrong in itself, a wicked injustice, like murder and rape (in fact, this term is used for these crimes in the Bible).

Repetition in Deuteronomy - why is it missing?

According to the traditional understanding of the Bible, the third book, the Book of Leviticus, was delivered to Moses at Sinai, and then (primarily) transmitted to the Levites, or priestly class (hence its name). The law is then retransmitted by Moses to the Israelites in the form of speeches before entering the Promised Land in Deuteronomy, the fifth book.

Leviticus 18 describes many forbidden practices; Leviticus 20 repeats them, and details which deserve capital punishment. Deuteronomy repeats most of the laws of Leviticus, repeating that several are severe enough to merit capital punishment. What's interesting is that the prohibition, under penalty of death, for "lying with men in beds-of-women" is not repeated in Deuteronomy. Or is it?

Crimes punishable by death in Lev 20, repeated in Deuteronomy

Leviticus 20
Deuteronomy
Crime
3-5
12:31
Sacrifices to Molekh
6
18:10-11
Familiar spirits, divinations and wizards
9
27:16
Cursing your parents
10
5:18 & 22:22
Adultery
11
27:20
Relations with your father's wife
12
27:23
Relations with your parents in law
13
absent!
"lying with men in beds-of-women"
absent!
23:17
Being a male temple prostitute (kadesh)
14
27:22
Incestuous relations
15-16
27:21
Bestiality

Well, isn't that odd...

Only one capital crime—20:13, supposedly against homosexuality—isn't mentioned at all in Deuteronomy.

But there is a prohibition that is probably related. It's Deuteronomy 23:17. Let's start with the KJV translation:

There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

And then the Interlinear translation from the original Biblical Hebrew:

She shall not become a hallowed prostitute (kedeshah) from daughters of Israel and he shall not become hallowed male prostitute (kadesh) from sons of Israel.

click to see full-sized version
click to see full-sized version

Despite the fact that the Hebrew word makes clear that these are female and male forms of the exact same word, King James chooses "sodomite" for the male version, something modern Christians most often translate to homosexual.

Those who know a little Hebrew will recognize the k-d-sh root to the words kadesh and kedeshah in kadosh, kiddush, and kaddish. The root means "holy" or "sanctified".

So it seems pretty clear that Deuteronomy is, in fact, repeating all of the capital prohibitions in Leviticus 20, but Leviticus 20:13, repeating Leviticus 18:22, is prohibiting male temple prostitution, not any sort of same-sex relations.

Conclusions

If someone is willing to delve into the original language, and understand the pattern of repetition of the Bible, instead of accepting without question the translation of modern English interpreters, you are drawn to a very different conclusions:

  1. Leviticus does not prohibit—or even address—homosexuality.
  2. Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 prohibit male temple prostitution, as is clear from examining the pattern of repetition in Deuteronomy.
  3. The death penalty for Leviticus 20:13 is for a crime of idolatry, not a crime of injustice or wickedness.

Of course, there will be those who will close their eyes, put their fingers in their ears, shake their heads, and insist that Leviticus condemns homosexuality. Send them to this page to learn how wrong they've been.

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Comments 119 comments

chefsref profile image

chefsref 4 years ago from Citra Florida

Hey Livelonger

Excellent hub, you may offend some by trying to take away one of their last approved prejudices. The Bible has been used for millennia as justification for bigotry and brutality


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, chefsref. You're right - which is why most will be true believers, and ignore what's staring them in the face anyway. ;)


Hollie Thomas profile image

Hollie Thomas 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Thank you Livelonger. I think you know my history re:religion, however, I continually find myself defending gay men and women from the so called "religious" Not just in the forums but in everyday life. My knowledge regarding biblical teachings is limited to say the least. But, the next time I here an individual spew hatred and claim it is the work of the almighty (when I know they have limited contact with the church, synagogue or mosque) I will quote my source, it's right here! =)


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Why is it anyone who believes the bible and God says gay is wrong think this is automatic hate for homosexuals? I would certainly not have it on my conscience to tell them it is OK and they will still go to heaven, maybe I love them more than people who go out of their way to change Gods word and send someone to hell. The Holy Spirit tells everyone the truth, He is our word in our hearts. Everyone really knows...and is accountable if practicing any sin keeping you from Gods presence...anytime or always.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

I can just see the cold dead eyes of my poker pals :-)

Not that they'd believe it, but just hearing it would make them furious. Well, not all.. But most.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Hollie: I agree. In my real life, I don't know any religious zealots, although I interact with plenty of them online. There is a satisfaction that even when it comes to Biblical scripture, I've done enough research and study that I'm far more likely to be right than they are. Which brings me to...

Pollyannalanna: Did you actually read the Hub? No one in the Bible - not Moses, not Jesus, and not Paul - condemned homosexuality. You've been reading mistranslations. Will you be brave enough to study the original Hebrew and Greek and draw the correct conclusion?

Pcunix: It's odd to claim the Bible supports your point of view, but then refuse to rely on anything other than 17th century modern English translations. Reminds me of a quote by Orwell: "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." Should give you an advantage in poker, no? ;)


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Interesting exegesis and interpretation. It seems that prejudices creep in all over the place. That's the problem with interpretations of all kinds. For instance, I've found in Genesis a timeline compatible with those of science. The clues are there. One merely needs to be humble enough to see them.

I suspect, however, that our human attachments to sexuality of any kind are a distraction from the salvation which is a spiritual awakening -- not a physical one.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

That may be true, lone77star, but keep in mind misinterpretation of Leviticus is what many "pharisees" use to bash gay relationships, which are just as much about love, commitment and mutual dependence as straight ones.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Wonder why God didn't just make two men? Or two women? I am sure you have an answer for that, don't you?


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Since you're comfortable speaking on G-d's behalf, why don't you just tell us? I'm only interpreting Scripture; you're pretending to know G-d's motives and plans.

G-d made man and woman, and made the vast majority heterosexual so they could reproduce. He also made a minority of men and women gay & lesbian. Why? So you could feel self-righteous bashing them? Maybe you can read Genesis 1:27, possibly for the first time.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

In 1 Corinthian 6:9 Paul mentions “men who lie with males” (arsenokoitai)—a term formed from the absolute prohibitions of man-male intercourse in Lev 18:22 and 20:13—in a list of offenders that risk not inheriting the kingdom of God. Just as Romans 1:26-27 has Genesis 1:27 in view, so too 1 Corinthians 6:9 has Genesis 2:24 in view (partially cited in 1 Cor 6:16): “For this reason a man . . . shall be joined to his woman (wife) and the two will become one flesh.” Taken in the context of Paul’s remarks in chs. 5 (a case of adult incest) and 7 (male-female marriage), there is little doubt that Paul understood the offense of “men who lie with males” as the substitution of another male for a female in sexual activity; or, put differently, the abandonment of another-sex structural prerequisite for a holistic sexual union.

As with the case of the incestuous man, Paul would have found absurd any argument that suggested marriage as a means to avoiding sexual immorality. Same-sex intercourse, like incest, is a far greater instance of sexual immorality than infidelity. If it were otherwise, the church would be compelled to validate all committed incestuous unions. Same-sex intercourse, like man-mother incest, is not substantially improved by the manifestation of fidelity and longevity. Indeed, making the relationship long-term only regularizes the sin.

http://www.robgagnon.net/homoPresbyTodayArticle.ht...

Homosexuality is no more wrong than incest or fornication or adultery, but may be harder to walk away from although I really could not say, never having had the temptation. We all do have some or many temptations, maybe something in our life is even responsible such as always blaming the mothers for gays and rapists and murders, but the fact is we all have free choice and if anyone is saved they have the Holy Spirit to tell you right from wrong, you don’t need any man to and if you are not saved then it does not matter. I am here about concern for souls, nothing more. I would never approve of anyone coming against gays to harm them.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

OK - you've quoted an evangelical Christian scholar (one that has made a name for himself for attacking gay people instead of addressing what I wrote in my Hub. I'm not surprised. Instead of doing their own research, evangelicals, who have been on the wrong side of history with respect to slavery, interracial relationships, and treatment of gay people, are happy to subsist off the translations that validate their opinions.

Even Rob Gagnon admits on page 130 of his book, The Bible And Homosexual Practice, that:

“homosexual cult prostitution appears to have been the primary form in which homosexual intercourse was practiced in Israel.” So he admits that the Biblical record does not deal with non-cultic gay relations or relationships.

I'm glad you mention that Jesus was very (very) clear that adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of G-d. How many people do you know are divorced and remarried? Jesus was painfully clear that remarried people are living a life of sin, of adultery, and that the only way to repent is to return to their first spouse: Matthew 5: 31-32, Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18.

Are divorced & remarried people unrepentant sinners in your eyes? Can they be pastors in a church? Should they be legally allowed to get married? Do you write Hubs condemning them?


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

@livelonger

I've been thinking about these hate filled religions recently. I don't like interfering with religion, but we'd never put up with a church that taught that negroes are inferior and are doomed to Hell because they are the wrong color. Why do we put up with this disgusting attitude toward homosexuals?

I know - I can't quite bring myself to cross that line, but it's getting really tempting.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

I think there are other people of the same religion that can draw entirely different lessons from the scripture, so I'm not convinced the religions are the problem. I think hateful, ignorant people will find any sort of justification - religion, patriotism, tradition, tribe, etc. - to validate their beliefs. By proving that Leviticus does not condemn gay relationships, I've just taken one of their long-unchallenged cards away from them. When their cards are gone, their tired arguments will go where they belong - to the dustbin of history.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked," Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven't you read," he replied," that at the beginning the Creator' made them male and female,' and said,' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one' flesh' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. "Why then," they asked," did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. "The disciples said to him," If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." - Matthew 19:3-12

If your spouse leaves you and commits the act of adultery against you, then you're free to divorce them (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). In Old Testament law, the offending parties in adultery would both be put to death (Lev. 20:10; Dt. 22:22), leaving the innocent party free to remarry (Rom. 7:2; 1Cor. 7:39). Under the New Covenant, the sin of adultery is not diminished, but the penalties or results are redefined in light of grace and the innocent party has a proper right to end the marriage by divorce and is free to remarry.

Adultery from a mate I liken to the unforgivable sin. If our mates choose someone else over us God allows us to divorce them. If we accept Jesus’ blood for salvation and then turn our back on Him or follow satan; then God says there is no more sacrifice for us. In a sense, He divorces us. So He does understand that offense against those who give their life to a legal promise (covenant) giving us the same right as He takes against those who commit adultery against Him.

“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Heb. 10:29

We can learn much simply studying how God feels about all the things in the bible we are told about.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you, Pollyannalana, and King James also thanks you for keeping his specific interpretation alive 400 years later. (BTW Jesus said fornication - pre-marriage sex - was the only allowance for divorce, not adultery. Not that you care; King James trumps the word of Christ, right?)


Healthy Pursuits profile image

Healthy Pursuits 4 years ago from Oregon

Beautifully done! I find the whole idea of people telling each other what they should feel, who they should love and how they should believe to be the real abomination. We've become too fond, especially lately, of condemning others' beliefs and lifestyles. I also find that most people who quote the Bible, are usually doing so secondhand, after someone else has told them how to think.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

I only say what the word says to me livelonger, I don't know which god is telling you fornication is unforgivable but not adultery but you may want to get his scripture on that. I say what is put on my heart to say, at least I am not lying to you and sneering behind your back because God would not have me be a coward but I won't have anymore to say, there it is, take it or leave it, I won't be back. Love brought me, believe it or not and knowing people should have both sides of a "story".


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Healthy Pursuits: I couldn't agree more, but the problem of other people condemning others (while often ignoring their own sins) is an age-old problem. About the secondhand quoting of the Bible...

Pollyannalana: My heart says to not condemn people created in G-d's image. My heart also says not to judge or condemn others. Thank you for your comment.


drsteffan profile image

drsteffan 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

The interlinear translations from the original text are very convincing and reveal the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free from all misunderstanding. Very convincing text and argument revealing the facts. Thank you! Steffan


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

drsteffan: Thank you!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Livelonger -- this is an honest question, as I've read your HUB and am impressed with your research and presentation -- as a Christian and admittedly a poor bible student: It is my understanding that we are living by grace and not by law after the cross -- am I mistaken in my understanding of this? Thank you. Best, Sis


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Angela - I'm not an expert on Christian doctrine (I'm Jewish), but I would say you either live by grace or by law, not by-grace for some things, and by-law for other things. There are way too many Christians who sadly want grace applied to their own sins and those of people they love, but want to bring down the full force of the law for sins they will never commit.

Many of the Christians who hate homosexuality refer to Leviticus (Jewish Biblical law), but happily wave off any other condemnation, even those that Jesus stated himself, saying they are living under grace. It seems that is applying double standards.

Thank you for your comment!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Livelonger, I am still trying to understand what "male temple" is and what "lying with men in beds of women" mean. I am never one to quote scriptures about sex or sexual preferences, so maybe I am just a little dense here...lol


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Cardisa: Kadesh means "holy prostitute" or a man who has sex with other men in the temple as part of a pagan fertility ritual (female prostitutes had sex with men for the same reason; the term is "kedeshah"). The book of Leviticus sets a code of behavior, primarily for the Israelite priests but also other Israelites, to avoid the pagan practices and not have their theology and culture "contaminated."

I refer to the 'golden rule' (propounded by Hillel in Judaism, Christ in Christianity, and many others) as one we can all agree on. :) Thanks for your comment!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

It's a little clearer now. I did see the terms but didn't quite understand that they actually meant a real temple and men. Thanks for clearing that up. Now I understand the point. It wasn't about male on male relationship but rather defiling the temple with paganistic rituals.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Thanks so much for answering my question. Best, Sis


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Cardisa: Yup!

Angela: My pleasure!


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

You are quite the biblical scholar, livelonger-- kudos on this very interesting examination of the pitfalls of translation and the resulting danger of taking the Bible literally. I long ago learned my lesson about discussing religion or politics on Hubpages either in hubs or forums. Takes up a lot of time, feeds the trolls, and does nothing to change anybody's mind. But I do want to comment and say that your interpretation of Leviticus makes a lot of sense and totally puts the whole thing in an excellent historical context.

That said, I personally don't see what the problem is with same sex relationships-- but then I live in a very gay friendly area where the gay community simply adds to a very rich fabric of life.

The bible has been used to justify all sorts of things including slavery-- so lets get a grip. Do we all know that " Why Can't I Own A Canadian" thing that has been circulating online forever? JUst in case-- here's a link http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACa... and of course I am voting this up and awesome.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

I love that Canadian thing. I had seen it before but not in some time :-)


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

robie2: I've been surprised so far; I haven't had to delete one comment yet! I'm hoping that some people are open to reason. You can't do anything about the hypocrites, but you can expose them for not being nearly "to the Word" as they claim to be.

I agree completely. Living a completely Biblical lifestyle means throwing yourself back several thousands of years in terms of human development. I had not read the "Why Can't I Own a Canadian?" thing but I love it. I think it addresses the absurdity of literalism beautifully.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

God Loves us all.. No matter what.. a sin is a sin is a sin. that's why he sent Jesus.. to help us...people love to add and take away from the bible for their own benefit.. Love is the answer.. Jesus says Love your neighbor as your self..


becauseilive profile image

becauseilive 4 years ago from N.J.

Excellent hub! In case anyone's interested, a really great documentary that addresses this same topic is "For the Bible Tells Me So". I came across it on Netflix Watch Instantly and was beyond moved.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 4 years ago from USA

Wow, what a bomb you gave for those religious hypocrites! Good for you! Respect! I think that people bash homosexuality and use Bible as their shield because they mix homosexuality and pedophilia. I should say they have enough of the latter in the churches, hah?

I was reading Hebrew text and though I had difficulty to capture the whole meaning (after all Hebrew is not my native language), but I struggled through the Hebrew phrase and I agree that the King James translation is a manipulation (nothing strange here, as there are so many mistranslations/ manipulations in KJV)

The Leviticus text is obviously directed to heterosexual men. He was warning heterosexuals against sexual intercourse with same sex, because it would be unnatural for them. It would be funny to suppose that homosexuals were warned NOT to lay with man as he would do with a woman? Homosexual man would not lay with a woman on the first place.

Also, at that time many people in Israel continued to worship Moloch and Baal and other gods and goddesses of earlier pagan traditions. Priests of Moloch, who were definitely heterosexuals used to practice rituals were they got dressed as women and had sex with men during those rituals. It was a part of their religious worship, not as an act of natural homosexuality.

Obviously, Leviticus verses were directed not to natural homosexuals, but rather to prohibition of pagan rituals, to male prostitutes in temples, as you correctly put it.

Hebrew word “toebah” does not necessarily mean something radically evil, but rather something which would be considered unclean for Jews. Examples might include eating pork, shellfish, lobster, trimming beards, and also having sex during a women's menstrual period. All these would be considered the same “abomination".

So, though I never gave much thought to “homosexual problem” as it is presented in Bible, I have to agree with you with your research.

As for the fact that God created us male and female, let us remember that at first God created one creature, male and female in one. But after considering something (who knows what He was considering) he separated them into two creations.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

becauseilive: Thank you for your comment. I've seen that show up as a suggestion in Netflix many times. I'll have to watch it, now that I have an actual human endorsement!

ReuVera: Thank you so much, and especially for adding so many important details to this discussion. You're absolutely right that this was a prohibition for heterosexual men, as gay sex is clearly not a natural act for straight men. I had read something by an ancient Hebrew linguist years ago that said that there was something unusual about the phrasing (maybe this is what you're saying) that suggested that it was clearly directed at someone who would normally "lying in a bed-of-woman." And thank you for the added dimension on toebah - it is clear from its use in Torah and beyond that it has to do with ritual matters.

I also agree that just because we can not explain why something is (whether you think that something is done by G-d, or evolutionary processes) does not mean it shouldn't be. The vast majority of bees and ants in a hive/colony are sterile females, for example; this was deemed to be better than having all of them reproduce. The ~5% of humans (and over 1500+ observed species) that are gay are fulfilling some purpose, we just don't know what.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

I remember reading a theory that homosexuality could be a response to over population, but even if there is no reason for it, so what? My brother-in-law was born with two fingers on an arm that ends at his elbow. Albinos are born without pigmentation. Some people have red hair and so on. No "reason" for those things, and whether any of that is "normal" is a matter of interpretation and prejudice. We should just accept people for what they are.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

The only thing I've read is that the more sons a woman has, the more likely her next son will be gay. So there might be something there. The scientists examining the study speculated that gay children could help raise their own nieces and nephews (before the modern era, people died left and right through disease and violence), thereby carrying on the genes.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

Well, I had to help raise my nephews anyway :-)

But yeah, that sounds reasonable. and I do remember reading that.


Romano Arnesto profile image

Romano Arnesto 4 years ago from Philippines

Thanks for this very interpretive discussion regarding homosexuality. Sins of flesh never end.

If someone felt guilty after indulging in homosexual relations, then, his/her conscience will say that it is wrong.

It's hard to admit homosexuality in public, although some nations, including USA (some states), already accepted their existence (amid public rallies and legislation).

The question that's left with us is whether to rely on the ambiguity of Bible words regarding the interpretation of homosexuality.

If we have faith in the Words of God that were written by trusted men (apostles of Jesus), then who are we to doubt it?


Arthur Bundy profile image

Arthur Bundy 4 years ago from Colorado Springs

May this comment find you well and your heart at peace.

I very much like you thought process. It is my belief that that intolerance, on any level, is a fundamental danger to us all. Matthew Chapter 7, the first few verses talks about "Judge not, for as ye judge, ye shall be judged again..." To me, my job is to account for myself first and foremost. I can't think of a better way for people to handle their business. My flaws take up everyday of my life. I don't have time to manage the flaws of others. If more people focused on their own flaws, they might be less critical of the flaws of others.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

"I think hateful, ignorant people will find any sort of justification - religion, patriotism, tradition, tribe, etc. - to validate their beliefs."

Live longer, you are a true warrior for the LGBTQ community and I for one find your Leviticus definition and true translation to be spot-on. My own research on the topic has resulted in a very similar outcome, and one that supports your very clear and easy to follow (if one really reads it with an open mind and heart) understanding of what the verses are meant to teach us. Well done and with class I might add.

HUGE HubHugs and Shalom~

K9


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 4 years ago from among the Ekklesia

livelonger,

The use of to??e?bah in the original language text reveals that it is only used 2 or 3 times elsewhere to refer to such things that are abominable for Israel. To??e?bah is the word most often used for an abomination in reference to a grave moral sin, including those which are unmistakably *universally* sinful. Collectively, it is used *universally* for all the sins referenced in Leviticus 18 and 20 ( Leviticus 18:27, 29).

Idolatry is the begetter of all sins. To??e?bah is usedin Deuteronomy 32:16

(“If someone is willing to delve into the original language, and understand the pattern of repetition of the Bible, instead of accepting without question the translation of modern English interpreters, you are drawn to a very different conclusions:”)

There are inconsistencies with more extensive research into 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10 relating to this theme that portrays evidence that the Levitical injunctions were not just the target of temple sex, but general homosexual relations.

The Bible confirms that only opposite genders are to be joined in a sexual nature.

Anomia is a word that describes a violation of the law. Twenty-four Hebrew words are rendered from this, which describes violations of law in a general sense. In contrast, the Hebrew word ?âvôn is rarely used to specify a particular sin, where to??e?bah is. Furthermore, anomia is used in many verses where to??e?bah later occurs in Hebrew in a moral context, such as having illicit sex.

To sanction homosexuality negates the divine authority of Scripture. Of course, some will use a linguistic argument that certain words cannot be used in which they do indeed declare.

Scripture is the final authority pertaining to matters of same-sex relations. To try to justify otherwise is simply based on one’s own relative opinion or feeling that is in direct rebellion against God.

When it comes to matters of willful sin, a Biblical perspective is to warn those who are dishonouring the God of the Bible, not to affirm them. It is out of love, not hate, to compassionately encourage those to seek repentance through Jesus Christ. We all have the free will to accept or deny Him. Personal feeling or preference will try to denature Scripture for a particular agenda, but the origin comes right back to idolatry (a matter of the heart), which simply gives glory to man over God.

Deceit supposes liberty for sin.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. -- Hebrews 3:13


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Arthur: Thank you for your comment, and I agree with you completely. The more a heterosexual person obsesses about what gays are doing, the more I wonder what they're hiding about themselves.

K9keystrokes: Always a pleasure to get a comment from you! I am deeply honored by it, but I am just sharing what I've researched. Fortunately, more and more true scholars of Torah and scripture are keeping an open mind, not letting contemporary mores color their interpretation, and are drawing a different conclusion. And about time!

Huge HubHugs, Happy Hanukkah (4 Hs in a row!), and Shalom! And thank you for your comment.

PlanksandNails: Unfortunately, you haven't shared much in terms of proof at all that "To sanction homosexuality negates the divine authority of Scripture". Are we to accept that just because you say so? As a Jew, I'm not personally interested in what Christian scripture has to say, but I will say this: Jesus Christ never once mentioned homosexuality, except to say that gay men are not required to get married, and what Paul said about arsenokoitai in Greek could very well be referring to kadesh in Hebrew.


wellness5 profile image

wellness5 4 years ago from Fondi, Italy

Thank you so much for explaining this so clearly. It helps to stem the tide of evangelical homophobia. The second commandment 'Love your neighbour as yourself' has been distorted by all of us to suit our own particular world view and to fit in nicely with our own little clique. We can exclude, gays, blacks, disabled people, mentally ill etc. and even back it up with a quotation from the Bible!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

wellness5: You're right, and these people, who flout the most basic, clear, and often-repeated commandments have the temerity to call themselves fundamentalists! It would be amusing if we didn't consider how much trouble they cause in the world. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.


Arthur Bundy profile image

Arthur Bundy 4 years ago from Colorado Springs

May this comment find you well and your heart at peace.

livelonger: Thank you for your comments. I think the reason people search the Bible for evidence of flaws they can focus on other people's behavior, is to feed the lies they tell themselves about who and what they are. Lying to myself was the primary step in a long series of self-denials that allowed me to trash my life, and hurt all the people close to me. I thought that if I could seek flaws in others, then I could more easily justify to myself my flaws. Religion is for some, a perfect avenue of self-justification. When the real deal is, it's about accounting to self. Focus on an after-life is fine, but it is living this life, that is the real challenge.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Dude. Livelonger. You may have busted one myth used to keep a group of people down only to RUIN THE (until NOW) TOTALLY INNOCENT PRACTICES OF ANOTHER GROUP, namely, poor, single ladies like myself looking for pay perfectly legitimate money for male prostitutes. Way to go. Now I have to feel GUILTY about my extracurricular activities!

Really great Hub though. Just goes to show that it pays to actually READ stuff (which is something the human race is, for the most part, unwilling to do).


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Simone: The rule only applies to Jews, only to those living in the Holy Land (i.e. Vegas...I mean, Israel), and, importantly, only to those participating in a fertility ritual. Women hiring johns just for fun is still totally kosher! ;)


jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 4 years ago from Scotland

Livelonger, what a well thought out and researched article, you have done your homework and came out with interesting results.

The "Bible" is without doubt open to different interpritation depending on who is reading it at the time and of course their own personal feelings and discriminations are all a part of how they read the words.

I personally feel that if g-d exists he/she would not give a jot about who is in a relationship with who male male, female female, or male female, If G-d is love than how can he/she object to two human beings loving each other.....jimmy


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Jimmy: Thank you, and I agree with you completely. If you believe in G-d and believe that he created us in his own image (and that's fine if you don't!), then it's odd to suggest he created something he detested in his own image only to condemn it. We can't control which skin we're born into, only how decent our behavior is once we're in it. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

Thanks for using original languages and best translations! Now I have the link to the Intralinear Hebrew-English translation, which I had not been able to find - nor to find it in hard copy in my area. Great resources.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you so much, Patty. Here is a link to the Greek-English interlinear NT that Christians might find useful. There are many mistranslations in the KJV that are dispelled here:

http://interlinear.biblos.com/


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hi livelonger,

Wow, this is an awesome, well researched, well written article. I shared it on my Facebook page. Not sure what my "real" comments are at this time. I must read it again. Thank you for the follow, I look forward to reading more of your work.

Sharyn


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Well thanks for the very interesting presentation!

After I read this a few times and think about it some more I might then be able to accept it as totally on the money - but the thing is that I've never accepted that Christianity was incoherent with homosexuality so much as it is with just...gratuitous and...wonton sex.

I do have to admit that I've thought of the Torah in quite a different way - but it's a very deep subject...and I've not yet met a Christian minister who I thought knew much about Torah Judaism.

Over time and a bazillion debates I'd basically decided that Leviticus does condemn homosexuality...but I rationalized that as valid due to the facts of the matter concerning the Hebrew tribes and their situation at that time....in other words, when you're twelve tribes of Hebrews on the run from the Egyptian army and in the hostility of the Sinai desert...it's the survival of the GROUP that is what most matters, and the survival of the GROUP seemed to have been dependent upon newborn children, and you just don't get fresh warm bodies from homosexuality.

That little nugget there gets far deeper when you realize that it basically suggests that Judaic or Christian morality is something that is not finite...but evolves due to times and circumstances.

I ran further with it, of course - and incorporated shellfish.

Is eating shellfish a sin? If so, then why? - I used the same answer - it was a sin because the survival of the GROUP was more important then than was ...eating shellfish that may well kill you from bacteria.


SirDent 4 years ago

Before I make an actual comment on the validity of this hub, I need to ask a question and get it clarified first. You mention the verse about lying with a man as with a woman and gave your interpretation of it according to your studies. What about the very next verse, Does the same apply about lying with beasts?


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

Thanks for the additional link, livelonger - exactly what I needed!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Wesman: Thank you for your perspective. For non-Jews, eating shellfish is not a sin, according to Jewish law. For Jews, it is; shellfish are not 'kosher' so therefore Jews are not allowed to eat it.

SirDent: I'd refer to the Intralinear Hebrew-English Bible link I provided above. As you will see if you take the time to read it, the words used in 18:22 and 18:23, and 20:13 and 20:15-16 are not the same; they are not talking about the same activity. This will require you to put down the King James Version translation into English, and read a word-by-word translation of the original Masoretic Hebrew.

Patty: You're very welcome!


chelseacharleston profile image

chelseacharleston 4 years ago

What a fabulously detailed analysis. I say it says that common sense dictates that people are people, you can't control them, and if you don't like to be judged, you're better off not judging others. It also says leave them alone, mean people lol.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

If only more people had your attitude, chelseacharleston! Thank you for your comment.


rLcasaLme profile image

rLcasaLme 4 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

You've made a good point here liveleonger. I really have to study further what my bible really says. Thank you for providing us the link. It would really be of great help studying the scripture.

Kudos to you brother!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you so much, rLcasaLme!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

This is an excellent, excellent article. There are far too many bigots who use the English translation to support their hateful world view.

Dredging from my memories of psychoneuroendocrinology (say that three times fast), there was an interesting study on hormones in the womb and the expression of gender. For animals that carried litters, there was an effect on gender behavior dependent on the nearest sibling. A female pup surrounded by male pups expressed more masculine traits, etc. While human beings are obviously not born in litters, the study does show the effect of hormonal influence in the womb.

I love the direct translation from the original Hebrew - and the clarification on the history behind the ancient laws against prostitution cults!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Leah: You're right. Their homophobia is a bigotry looking for justification, and they contort the Bible to fit with it.

I agree there is some biological mechanism (even if we haven't determined exactly what that is yet) for homosexuality, but studies are pointing to a hormonal influence, possibly with epigenetic roots. If you are a religious person, I'm not sure how you reconcile views that condemn people who were born that way, especially when it's becoming clear that scripture doesn't support that form of bigotry anyway.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

I agree - I don't understand how anyone can condemn a person for a biological trait. Bigotry and other forms of prejudice are signs of low character, in my opinion. Those who harbor hate in their hearts use religion as a weapon.


TheUsedCarGuy profile image

TheUsedCarGuy 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Wow, pretty powerful and eye opening article. And I agree with a lot of the above comments. You can't judge someone based on a biological occurrence. It's just as bad as racism.


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

I read your article, and was applauding the precise way you explained your point. Period. But then the thread of comment made it really interesting and made me realize why you at all chose this topic. I am not ever faced with this in my own society, because the only reaction to Homosexuality/Lesbianism is a kind of social stigma - nothing to do with ones spiritual or religious believes. Interesting.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you, Sen. It's a social stigma within certain ethnocultural groups here in the US, too; it really has nothing to do with religious beliefs, but they tell themselves that to make themselves feel better about being bigots. The very same group of people were arguing that their religion forbids interracial marriages 50 years ago.


Arthur Bundy profile image

Arthur Bundy 4 years ago from Colorado Springs

May this comment find you well and your heart at peace.

Some of the comments here reminded me of those religious extremists that are out there invading funeral services for service individuals killed in the line of duty. Doing it in the name of God in protest of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I wonder how many of our recent war dead, fought for their country even though they were forced to hide their true sexual nature?

I think the ease with which sensibilities are offended come as the result of worrying more about what others will think of them than in taking the risk to think for one's self. And, the older I get the more prone I am to being real indifferent to what others think of me.

I figure if I account for myself, and expect a certain measure of accountability from others without crossing boundaries or allowing my boundaries to be crossed. The happier I am, and the happier they usually are.

Thank you for these insights.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Arthur: The really scary ones really haven't commented here (yet). There are a few that disagree with me, but, interestingly, they aren't able to do so by referring to scripture. G-d's supposed hatred of homosexuality is something that's so ingrained in their viewpoint, that they're not really willing to have that viewpoint challenged, especially since it applies to people other than themselves. I'm heartened by the fact that the vast majority are older, sclerotic in their thinking, and among a dying breed.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

Livelong, it is a good article!

You write well and if that is all there is to consider then I think you would have a strong case.

But please consider some things such as Paul's understanding of the word arsenokoites, in 1 Cor 6:9. He gets that word from the Lev 18:22 verses, not from the Hebrew but from the LXX, which was the primary source for Jews at the time. Paul's use of arsenokoites in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 would make it difficult to say it simply refers to cult prostitution.

It is also a stretch to bring Deut. 23:17 along because it is "probably related" when you demonstrated that Lev 18:22 and 20:13 use the same wording and such.

Also, the list you mention, in the table you created, spans 22 chapters. I don't think that is a strong parallel to the list in Lev 20.

Let me know what you think about the arsenokoites thing. You seem bright!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Millercl: I'm Jewish myself, but let's have a look. "Arsenokoitai" is a word that Paul created in Greek, and it literally means "man beds." It's curious that, fluent in Greek, Paul did not use the well-known and often-used Greek word for homosexual man, paideraste, instead. This was a very well-known concept in the ancient Greek world; there would have been absolutely no reason to coin a new word for it.

That points that arsenokoitai is talking about something different from paideraste, specifically "male temple prostitute." That makes more sense given the meaning of the compound-word neologism: temple prostitutes spend most of their time in beds.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

Sorry for the delayed response. I do not always have an internet source readily available! So if there is a lag, that is probably why.

You might be contemporary Jewish, but I don't feel like you can really say it is the same way Paul was Jewish. I mean, I am Oglala Sioux, but being raised by a parent who grew up on an Indian Reservation doesn't give me some innate understanding of tribal things from when Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull were running around.

I believe there is a better word to describe 'prostitutes' and an even better way to create a word to describe a 'male temple prostitute' than arsenokoitai.

I think there can be a consistent case from the Hebrew that it simply refers to 'Man lying with man as a with a woman.'

All I really want to say in my reply is that your interpretation, which is pretty consistent and well made, is not quite the slam-dunk you make it out to be.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

There will always be controversy about this. I think that the important thing to remember is not what some crazy old coot might have said or not said, but rather where the issue comes from. It originates with the fear of being different, fear of being an outcast from the group. Most of the group is heterosexual, so that creates pressure not only to be "not gay" but to actively shun those who are not part of the group.

The same thing happens to people who are not physically attractive, who are overweight, underweight, atheists, Jews, whatever: if you aren't part of the group, you are going to experience some degree of exclusion and some hatred.

Humans trust people who think as they do - or people who pretend to think as they do. What most don't understand is that they have much more to fear from the wolf in sheep's clothing than the off colored sheep. So they ostracize the black sheep, sometimes drive it from the herd and welcome the wolf gladly and later wonder why some sheep keep disappearing overnight :-)

I dislike prejudice and group-think. I dislike seeing religion used as an excuse for hate.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

Well if you want us to get along better, you probably don't want to call someone we hold important as a 'Crazy old coot.'

; )


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Millercl: What would that word be, then? If you want to continue to believe homosexuality is a sin, go ahead and do so. Sometimes we tell ourselves a bit of fiction in order to not stick our neck out.

Pcunix: You hit the nail right on its head.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

@millerci: Yeah, I know - I get attacked regularly for speaking truth.

The fact is that you can admire anyone you want, but if he thought homosexuality is "sinful", he was a crazy old coot or just horribly unintelligent. That's fact and if it offends you, so be it. I might well think he's a bit nuts anyway, but we could probably have reasonable arguments in some of those other areas. Here, there is no room for argument.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

@livestrong:

Like fictional parallels? I think you do what everyone should do by trying to get a consistent grasp on the texts, but I am just wanting to point out it isn't the definite, bold outcome you display it as.

First, if "Temple Prostitute" is what is meant in Lev 18:22 and 20:13, then why describe it as the author did? The act, of a male lying with a male as with a woman is described here, not temple prostitution. Otherwise the word temple prostitution would be used. Or am I crazy?

Every instance of 'prostitute' I have come across in the new testament translates from the word, porne. In the LXX, kadesh is translated porne and porneuo. Even in 1 Cor 6, when Paul warns against joining with a prostitute, the term 'porne' is used, right after the infamous verse 9. (Often used in a wrong context. Should be used in the celebration of conquering sin, but generally used by most to condemn gays. I am not a gay basher!) I feel if temple prostitute were meant in using arsenokoitai, then arsenokoitai would not be used.

If there were a better word, then that would could be a combination of 'naos' and 'porne'. (Temple and prostitute.) But there is no reference to a 'temple prostitute' in the new testament.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

@Pcunix:

I am sorry you have been subject to such an abase and brash understanding of grace. (in reference to Christians who are of the 'fire and brimstone' sort.)

Now would you be willing to admit the bible is accurate in what Paul said and then make such a mean judgment? I also think you would want to refer to Paul as ignorant if anything. To say he wasn't intelligent in light of what this man was able to accomplish as a Pharisee would be silly. He learned several languages and was able to teach pretty well. Not a very stupid thing.

Also, you really don't offend me. You just reveal hypocrisy by condemning ostracizing and then do so yourself.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Well, obviously there's some ambiguity, otherwise everyone would be clear about what it said. I'm saying that Christians have, for a hundreds of years, accepted it unquestioned that the Bible condemns homosexuality, while most have not peered past King James's version to see that there is either a lot of ambiguity, or it points to something else entirely.

In Leviticus, there are positive and negative commandments. It doesn't refer to nouns, but rather verbs. It doesn't say "don't be an adulterer" but rather "don't commit adultery." That's the language Leviticus uses; very verb-oriented. Deuteronomy, penned hundreds of years later, but still, strictly speaking, the words of Moses, uses nouns occasionally. There, there is no reference to "man lying in woman beds" but refers to being a "kadesh" as forbidden. As far as I'm concerned, speculation not grounded in scripture itself is making another argument entirely.

As for Paul and "arsenokoitai": if kadesh is porneuo, and arsenokoitai, a word Greeks never used, means homosexual, then why didn't Paul use the word paiderasste, the commonly understood Greek word in ancient times for homosexual?

That's something for Christians who believe Paul was a vessel for a holy message to grapple with. Christ himself said absolutely nothing about homosexuality, except to say that gays are not required to get married (in Matthew 19:12).


chefsref profile image

chefsref 4 years ago from Citra Florida

Hey Livelonger

This has been a fascinating discussion but I think it avoids an important point. Translation of the Bible is not the problem because the Bible is and always has been the rationalization justifying our bigotries. The Bible has been used to justify slavery, mysogyny, racism, white supremacism and an Aryan super race as well as gay bashing.

Eventually, I think most Christianity will accept homosexuality as natural but the bigots will simply find another excuse to hate them.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

@livelonger: I just noticed I put "Livestrong" as your name earlier. My mistake. I didn't mean anything mean by it.

You know, I agree with you concerning Christians swallowing some interpretations without really studying them. A blind adherence to authority can be both good and bad. The bad stuff seems to really stick out more.

Now, if I just take a few steps and remain within the realms of what I presented, I believe there is a consistent way to understand Paul is talking about sexual relations between people of the same sex, not just temple prostitutes and such. Considering Paul clearly penned the word 'arsenokoitai' form Lev 18:22 or 20:13, referencing cult prostitution in a different book doesn't really tie them together. I see your lists and while I admire the effort and organization, the same objections are still valid. I don't feel I am going to change your mind, but I do feel like what you have presented isn't as rock solid as you claimed.

@chefsref: Biblical scripture has been used to justify the things you have mentioned, but I don't think it would be difficult to demonstrate that such justifications are unsustainable with full context of the Bible. People say what you stated all the time, but it simply isn't true.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Millercl: I suppose you're right. Paul could have tacked on a condemnation of homosexuality even though the Hebrew Bible and Jesus Christ did not. It seems to be more than an afterthought, given how much importance Christians place on it (esp compared to all of those other things that Christ was 100% clear on, repeated often, and that are routinely ignored by "believers.") But I suppose it's easy to elevate "the sin of homosexuality" to utmost importance if there's no risk of you ever being guilty of it (note I'm using the grammatical 'impersonal you').

Chefsref: I agree with you. For us Jews, the Bible was just the starting point, and we have a procedure to update Jewish law that goes with the times and continuing revelation (nowadays through science). That's probably why about 78% of American Jews think there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. I agree that Christians will eventually come around, too. They usually do. A pity they tend to lag human progress far more often than they lead it.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

I can give several instances where a Christian ethic or Judeo-Christian world view led to 'human progress.'

William Wilberforce was a Christian who was a prominent leader in UK abolition.

MLK Jr in the civil rights movement.

The driving force behind women's suffrage.

Though more passive, do you think Gandhi could have led a peaceful revolt in against any other nation other than one ideologically dominated by a Judeo-Christian ethic?


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

No, some Christians (and others) were dragging forward most of the other Christians who wanted to keep slavery, women from voting, and the colonial system. I guess they were interpreting scripture differently. Some Christians read scripture as a means to end oppression of women, slaves and the colonized, while others said G-d condoned it. There are a lot of right-wing Christians who are sure that the Bible approves of all sorts of oppression.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago

Hey I totally agree. I just feel like it is unfair to generalize all Christians are oppressors.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

That's completely true; there are good Christians and bad Christians, just like there are good and bad in any grouping.


McQueen3486 profile image

McQueen3486 4 years ago from Washington/District of Columbia

In hoping to not sound like an idiot, I am not entirely familiar with Leviticus.

In regards to Christians, I do think many abuse their stances a bit.


Bill 4 years ago

It's always interesting for interpreters of the bible to use english to prove their case when english didn't exist at the time that the original source language was used in writing it.


McQueen3486 profile image

McQueen3486 4 years ago from Washington/District of Columbia

Very true.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I came back to re read. I'm impressed with LiveLonger's deft ability to refute the obvious biases of the common...what I call "pseudoChristian" notions.

Not claiming to be anything like all wonderful and such all the time myself, just admiring the pawning of the arguments.

I would personally enjoy seeing the author do this type of thing again in other areas. Such hubs might exist, but I'm new to this subdomain so far as being a reader.

Anyway, I've enjoyed it.


Brainy Bunny profile image

Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

I see I'm coming late to the party, but I just wanted to thank you, livelonger, for using the tools of textual criticism and accurate translation in your interpretation. There isn't enough of that in our world!


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 4 years ago from Vancouver BC

Thanks LiveLonger for this extremely well written Hub and for your responses in the lively discussion. I especially enjoyed your clear presentation of the linear analysis of the original Hebrew.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Livelonger, thank you for taking the time and energy to research this and put it into print. Really well written, so it's easy to read, too.

We have seen so much ranting and raving in recent hubs, where the so-called christian right (I would prefer to say christist wrongs!) twist and turn to justify their points of view. It really is like talking to a brick wall - you can't move or change it and it's so rigid and constricting of one's freedom.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

jonny: Thank you. Christianists (as opposed to Christians) are not very nice people, and I agree most of them are committed to defending their bigotries, no matter what type of argument (scriptural, scientific, common decency) you provide against them.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

I have only just come in to read your Hub, so a bit late in the day giving comment. It's great to read through all the comments, and I have not managed to do it completely yet.

Some time back you said this: "You're absolutely right that this was a prohibition for heterosexual men, as gay sex is clearly not a natural act for straight men."

I can add to that: "Straight sex is not a natural act for gay men."

Years ago, I "tried" to be straight. I was messing with another (female) human's life, just trying to justify my own existence and appear "normal." If we had ever got married, it would have ruined her life, her family's, my life, my family's, etc.

I could never bring my self to have sex with her!

Now I am fully comfortable with my orientation. Yet even now, I would not entertain any sexual relationship with a person I did not at least feel a "kinship" with.

For me, the "relationship" of friendship and mutual concern is paramount, before any suggestion of a sexual act. Yet the latter is fine, if it fits with the needs and acceptance of both parties. Isn't this called Love?


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

jonny: You're absolutely right. "Acting straight" is not natural for gay people, and does a disservice to the way they were made. Contrived relationships also harm both parties involved.


EtherealElements profile image

EtherealElements 4 years ago from USA

Thanks. It's nice to read works written from the standpoint of literal translation. It is not often you find someone, particularly in regards to this subject, that doesn't just take one verse and runs with it, but goes in depth to see what was going on, who was being address and what subjects were being talked about before and after the verse was written. Great hub.


Disappearinghead profile image

Disappearinghead 4 years ago from Wales, UK

What an excellent hub livelonger. Thank you for writing it.

My views of homosexuality have changed over the years. I now know gay colleagues in work. Ive come to understand that some people are wired up differently fundamnetally. I've come to understand that Paul's letters are not scripture and as a Pharisee he would consider it tantamount to blasphemy for them to be considered so, and thus we cannot form doctrine from them. But most importantly for me, Yashua spoke extensively on all manner of society's issues, but never once on homosexuality.

I unfriended on old friend from Facebook who through many years ago I becme a Christian, but I just couldn't stay associated with such a self righteous bigot who got all upset because I came out publicly against his petition to the UK Prime Minister to repeal some laws that gave equal rights to homosexual couples.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Disappearinghead: Thank you for your comment. It is a little odd that many evangelicals actually prefer Paul to Jesus, but I suppose that's their theology. Interestingly, Paul didn't necessarily speak about homosexuality, either, but that's the way it was translated into the KJV.


Eric Newland profile image

Eric Newland 4 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

This is a very good hub, by far the most compelling argument I've seen on the subject of these passages. And you're right: Deuteronomy is supposed to be a repeat of Leviticus, and it's more than a little strange that each would contain one commandment that the other doesn't, yet that the mismatched passages would be so strangely related.

I've been meditating on this and will continue to do so. Fact is, there's not going to be much difference in my behavior and attitude toward homosexuals whether I embrace this or continue to sit on the fence as I am now. Love comes first, and freedom is the best way to show love in this age when it's become such a precious commodity.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you, Eric. Sometimes the ambiguity is intentional; it's odd to see people rush to a definite conclusion based on a very specific read, while ignoring other far clearer, more explicit, and repeated commandments in the Bible. I chalk it up to a cheap path towards a sense of piety. :) At any rate, I agree with your final statement.


kreatis20 profile image

kreatis20 4 years ago from Slovenia

The word of God is true! Who lives by It lives a life!


wellness5 profile image

wellness5 4 years ago from Fondi, Italy

For Kreatis20. That's fine about living a life. So long as they do not stop others from living a life (who just might happen to have a different sexual orientation) for example.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

For kreatis20: One-liners are all very well to bolster your own confidence, but they are also like a horse with blinkers - they have very little, or no lateral vision.

I am not going to get embroiled in the old argument found in other Hubs. It's not warranted here. All I ask of you is to read what Livelonger has written above and view it without the usual presumptions which you will have gained through bible studies and what your pastor has told you. View it with a fresh openness. Draw into yourself an open, loving kindness, before making any assessment or judgment. Please.


Aaron 4 years ago

Problem with religion is, there's a lot of faith. No proof. And yet many would blindly follow suit. Why don't we just stop hurting each other? that seems to be the only thing that is consistent in every "widely accepted" religions? They all teach us to love and understand. To learn and evolve. But yet some would molest its true meanings and use it as a form of weapon. True religion is peace in your mind and soul, devoted love to he/she you worship, but doesn't mean having to sacrifice people or animals to prove it. My question to every religion? if God(whatever god) is all powerful, don't you think they'd know the truth if you were bad or good? or at least know what to expect from you? I'm pretty sure a being of that power, would be able to know our thoughts, our feelings, and base it all on our actions. However, if we were "controlled", it'd be no fun to watch, therefore we have choice. If you truly feared whatever God you worshiped, your heart would be enough, and your conscience would follow through to make the right choices.

And for those who love gay bashing, maybe you just need a hug from another guy... that will make ya smile. =]]

here ya go... don't worry I'm straight, your friends wont laugh. =D

"WE ALL BLEED RED". Get over the differences.

Thanks for the post livelonger, love your work =]


Arthur Bundy profile image

Arthur Bundy 4 years ago from Colorado Springs

I haven't commented lately. It fascinates me how many people ignore why and how the Age of Enlightenment came to exist. There was the need of the human spirit to express itself beyond the abuses being perpetrated by the various extremes and excesses of the Church. Respect for for the individual and the capacity of the individual to the think and reason for himself, was what I see as the primary goal of enlightenment.

As long as the religions of today, Christian, Muslim, or otherwise, insist on crossing boundaries to meet their goals, and demand the right to think and legislate for the rest of us, they will always fall short of the the point Jesus was trying to make about judgement in Matthew Chapter 7.


Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 4 years ago from West Coast

Good hub. Actually comprehending what you are reading is key. The times, they are a-changin'. Many have turned their backs on God, thinking that he had turned his on them. Nice work.


ELIORA profile image

ELIORA 3 years ago from LEICESTER ENGLAND

The Hebrew is:

תִשְׁכַּ֖ב to lie down – sexual connotation

זָכָ֔ר – male

תִשְׁכַּ֖ב to lie down – sexual connotation

אִשָּׁ֑ה – female

תֹּועֵבָ֖ה – abomination

The translation does concern homosexuality.

Leviticus 18 starts off with Moses addressing the Israelite people and not just the priesthood. This was for all the people. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them etc. (Leviticus 18/2)


livelonger profile image

livelonger 3 years ago from San Francisco Author

Eliora - Did you read the Hub? I'm guessing from your comment that you haven't.


ELIORA profile image

ELIORA 3 years ago from LEICESTER ENGLAND

Yes I have read it.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

Eliora, I am not a person of Israel, living 3-4000 years ago, being addressed by a historical person, in whatever language, about whatever god, in whatever circumstances you like to imagine.

I am living in this modern age, trying to lead as good a life as I can, trying not to hurt others in the process, without the need to believe in a judgmental "god" when there are enough humans around trying to do the job of such a god.

The laws of my country do not discriminate against me because of my sexual orientation. You are not allowed to either.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

Thank you Arthur Bundy. These two verses struck it with me:

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The "wide" gate is the easy way, broadcasting one's judgment upon others whilst ignoring one's own personal, inner assessment

The "narrow way" leads into Life. It is a deep individual assessment of "my" self; honest; no holds barred. It also needs a lot more courage because there are dark, frightening unexplored areas there which will confront us, rather like the Harry Potter quests. This way is also totally private and totally unsharable. It's something you have to deal with yourself, alone. Hence "...few there be that find it."


livelonger profile image

livelonger 3 years ago from San Francisco Author

Eliora: If you did indeed read the hub, then why would you make the point that "lying with" has a sexual connotation, or that many parts of Leviticus apply to all of Israel, not just the kohenim? I did not dispute either in this hub.

You seem unwilling or unable to deal with the argument of this hub itself: i.e. that Lev 18:22 and 20:13 forbid male temple prostitution, not homosexuality in general.


MasterWooten 3 years ago

Sorry but the author here does NOT conclusively demonstrate that Lev 18:22 and Lev 20:13 are not condemning homosexuality. All it does is attempt to say that the Hebrew translation is unclear. Reading those verses in the direct Hebrew translation as he puts forth one can still see a prohibition against homosexuality. Of course the word appear somewhat different in the direct translation but that is the same between any two languages where the meaning of the phrases are the same.

That the two verses are absent in Deuteronomyis NO EVIDENCE that they are not prsent with that meaning in Leviticus, and if you're going to keep pounding the argument that the bible is flawed and lost in translation then trying to rest a case on perfection at this stage is a nonstarter.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 3 years ago from San Francisco Author

That wasn't what I was arguing at all, but no matter. It seems you really want to continue to believe Leviticus condemns homosexuality; go ahead and do so. If facts and science won't sway the beliefs of "true believers," then my series of arguments surely won't.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

MasterWooten, in this statement of yours, "Of course the word appear somewhat different in the direct translation but that is the same between any two languages where the meaning of the phrases are the same.".....are you trying to say that the word "homosexual" has the same connotation in "any language?" I am not sure I follow you.

The word was not known at all until very recent times. Where it has been used to judge us as a minority, it brings cruelty and tragedy to many people across the world. Do you consider yourself as taking part in that judgment?


Weswiki profile image

Weswiki 3 years ago from USA

Excellent artcile. So few people are aware that the Torah was written in a time when paganism was the norm -- and this included temple prostitution. In fact there was an old saying among ancient greeks wives to not let their husbands travel to Corinth alone (as there was a rather robust cult there dedicated to Aphrodite). Any anthropologist worth his salt will tell you that languages and meanings don't exist in a vacuum, and I think you've contextualized them well.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 3 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you, Weswiki!


Bob 3 years ago

What a thought provoking article. For me personally, I have struggled with how a loving God could condemn people for an aspect of their life that is so inherently entrenched (despite many people's best efforts to change.

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