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    an old post

    Friday, October 19, 2007, 10:59 PM [General]

    For the Christians here do you or do you not believe that homosexuality is a sin, and why?


    No, I do not believe homosexuality is a sin.  The short answer to “why” is because of my study of the Bible.  The long answer may be more illuminating.


    Several years ago I had 2 experiences that transformed how I read and study the Bible.  The first occurred when I happened to read Leviticus 21 just after I had read the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  The Leviticus passage concerns how priests are forbidden to have contact with dead bodies.  For the first time I understood what Jesus was condemning.  Those who passed by on the other side were not faulted for being in a hurry, or being uncaring as is often speculated.  No, they were faulted for allowing devotion to the letter of the law to interfere with obeying the greater law to love their neighbor.  It was humbling to realize that the most uneducated person in the crowd that heard the parable would not have needed someone to explain that to them. 


    Not long after that I had occasion to read the book of Ezekiel, and stopped cold when I got to Chapter 16:49.  This states (referring to the city of Sodom) “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”  I was astounded.  I actually searched to see if there was some other story about Sodom in the Bible other than the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18 and 19.  There really isn’t.  I read the Genesis story again and again trying to see what the passage from Ezekiel was talking about.  I couldn’t.  I had to know so I started reading anything I could find about the time, the culture, and various interpretations.  In time I finally knew enough and could understand what Ezekiel was talking about. 


    These two experiences changed how I read and study the Bible.  I am devout.  I hold the Bible as scripture and believe that those ancient stories have eternal truths to teach.  I also knew from my own experience just how far from the intent of the story one could get by just reading the words in a modern context.  In order not to distort the message of the Bible it must be taken on its terms.  Passages must be understood in context of the times and culture in which it was written.  Anything less makes it much more likely that we are simply reading our own preconceived notions into the text.



    When I had occasion to consider what the Bible said about homosexuality I already knew the dangers of reading into the text what I expected to find there.  But to be honest I did start out assuming the Bible condemned it, and it is easy enough to find an English language translation that makes it look like that is the case.  But considering my earlier experiences I dug deeper.  I discovered that the original language texts do not support the “clear condemnation of homosexuality” some preach and some translations make appear to be the case. 


    So, the first reason I do not think homosexuality is a sin is because I take reading the Bible very seriously.  If I believe it to be scripture, and I do, then I am compelled to find the most accurate meaning of its words, and as I learn more I must admit where I have been wrong.  I was wrong when I thought the Bible condemned homosexuality. 


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