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The Holy Bible - Sadly Misunderstood and Used for Hatred
What the Bible Really Has to Say
In today's society, it appears that there is nothing more dividing than the debate over same sex marriage! People from either side are giving out their opinions, be it loudly on a street corner, or monetarily against or for supporters of same sex marriage. One side of the political debate is all about equal rights, and the other side about protection of marriage. Each feels that they are the one who is right.
Religious objection to same sex marriage, and homosexuality in general, is not new. The Bible is the most quoted book from both sides - for and against. But, what does it really say?
Today's hub is just the beginning. I will discuss the 6 admonishments of homosexuality in the Bible in a hub of their own each. I will then discuss the apparent acceptance of love in all it's forms in the Bible, and then other religions.
Personal note/disclaimer: I do not claim to be a religious scholar, nor a theologian. I am merely interested in what religions have to say on homosexuality, and what can be found out there in the wide world of the internet, and research as to what was actually meant by the Bible.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gommorah (Paraphrased)
Genesis 19 - Angelic visitors visit Lot in Sodom, angering the male locals who wish to know who these visitors are. They demand that Lot show them the visitors so that they may 'know' them. Lot instead offers his virgin daughters to the angry male crowd.
Firstly, this passage uses the term "yada" for "to know". Many translations of these verses takes "to know" as "to know sexually", and it is assumed that the Angelic visitors are male. Yada is not necessarily meant in the way in which is has been translated into English. It is widely accepted by Christians that the sins of Sodom were homosexuality, as the men of Sodom wished to have sex with (and possibly forcefully) Lot's visitors. We have Sodom and this belief to thank for the term "sodomy" describing anal sex - though, usually now used in legal circles to describe non-consental anal sex. However, it wasn't necessarily the sin of Sodom.
Remember that the Bible, whilst considered by Christians to be the word of God, was written by men - on instruction from God. Recall that it has also been translated from Aramaic through Greek, into English. Mistakes will be made, as each is entitled to his or her own interpretation. So, what we may consider to be the word of God may be a coloured slightly by the interpretation of such translators.
What Does Jesus Say?
It is said later on in the Bible, Ezekiel 16:49-50 to be exact, that Sodom's sin is pride, greed, idleness and refusing to help the poor. Homosexuality is not mentioned anywhere.
16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
16:50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good
This is from Jesus himself. The abomination of Sodom was not necessarily homosexuality, but idleness, pride, gluttony, and the kicker - refusing to help the poor. That, from what I can see, would have annoyed Jesus and his Father greatly. So, in order to prevent it happening all the time, the city was destroyed as a warning to others.
Many may argue that the 'abomination' alluded to in verse 16:50 is homosexuality as Leviticus alludes to it as an abomination in its list of sexual laws. However, this relies on two things to be assumed: 1 - that the "yada" of Genesis is correctly translated into "to know sexually" - which given the rest of the biblical use of 'yada' is "to know" could not necessarily be the case, and that the angelic visitors were male.
The abomination may not be the same-sex relations, if the assumptions of Yada and male angels are correct - but the fact that the angry mob wished to force themselves upon the visitors - therefore making it rape - which is always an abomination (at least to the civilized world).
Would offering your virgin daughters to the angry mob for them to do with as they pleased not be an abomination in itself? Offering them to be forcfully sexually assaulted by a mob of men? Much like the concubine was later on in Judges? If sexual assault, and offering one's daughters to be knowingly assaulted with your consent is not an abomination - perhaps the threat was not sexual in nature, and Yada is incorrectly translated?
It is not mentioned by name - which given that 'homosexual' and 'homosexuality' as words did not exist pre-1900s it actually shouldn't be in the bible if translated correctly - nor is it even subtly hinted at through mention of "men lying with men" in Ezekiel being the actual abomination - therefore we cannot be sure of which abomination Jesus is speaking.
Something in the assertion that Sodom and Gomorrah is only about the homosexuality that has been interpreted within Genesis 19 is bothersome. It is completely overlooked by those who use this passage to declare homosexuality an abomination, that Lot is happy for his daughters to be sexually assaulted by the angry mob, if the word "Yada" is really meant as "to know sexually". Homosexuality is a bigger sin than sending your daughters out into an angry sexually charged mob?
By using this verse to condemn homosexuality, one must be careful to realise that they are are then condoning offering the sexual assault of their daughters. It pays to be aware of usage out of context.
Regardless, it is still used to condemn homosexuality. Perhaps the sin of Sodom include the perversions of the angry mob, but is it really an appropriate verse to use to condemn a minority?
It doesn't really make you look any better.