Deviant Paradigm: Of The Wolf Within
Random garbage. Remarks about the comic Deviant Paradigm, notes about my life, comments about politics. This is my place to rant and rave. Fear this, World! FEAR IT!

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Nickname: Avvy
Age: 24
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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sinfully Together (part 1)
On my last analytical post on human nature (yeah, I have a pretty dim view of it don't I?), Sapph had a good comment, and one he's made before.
..I have a problem with calling things sins when the lack of the sin in that person's life causes emotional trama[sic]. Concidering[sic] homosexuality to be a sin is to say that all homosexuals are required to live lives of celebicy[sic]. That they must give up happiness of a romantic relationship with a person they love. It seems more than cruel that a good and loving god would require that of people in order to follow him. I mean, you know first hand what it's like to see all of the happy couples in the world and the loneliness that not having someone to hold and chrish causes. Imagine what it would be like if you actually met someone that you could be with, and who wanted to be with you. But you had to give up that relationship, that chance to be like everyone, that chance to be happy, all because you were told that your desires are wrong. That they are sinful. Would you believe them? Why would a god who supposedly loves you and only wants what's best for you tell you that you must remain alone when it does nothing but cause you emotional pain so severe that it physically hurts?...

You'll note that I promised to turn my mind to this question, and so I begin. This is, however, a difficult one, especially for me, so it'll probably take a while for me to put together a full analysis. I'm certainly not very qualified, so I'm going to start by consulting the one guy who would have the knowledge to put this together -- King Solomon. There are, as you might know, three books in the Bible attributed to Solomon, and they are each unique. Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs, is a rather stunning writing of romantic love. Proverbs is a bit of analysis of human behavior, so there might be something I can use there, but the question isn't truly one of behavior. So instead of those, I'm going to spend my free time (what there is of it) in the next week reading through Ecclesiasties, the most jaded and cynical book of the Bible. If Solomon came up for an answer for this, it'll be there, so that's where I'm going to start.

But to begin, let us establish my assumptions and the position I'm working from. As a Christian, I believe that all mankind is destined for Hell due to their sinful natures, unless God, in His grace, saves their souls. There is nothing that a human can do by themselves to secure salvation. I believe that the path to grace is through Jesus Christ. Belief in Jesus is necessary and sufficient to secure a place in Heaven. This is independent of anything else that may affect your life, so what you do or how you have lived have no effect on salvation -- even murderers can be saved if they come to faith. These are some of the essential tenets of Christianity, and form the basis of my arguments. I have outlined before that I find human sexuality to be absolutely unique in the world (see my post on Natures). I believe that we have a loving God who cares for us and wants nothing but the best for us in the end. I believe in a rational God, who did the math and when He laid down the universe, so that He can trust that the planets will keep orbiting without His direct intervention so that He can spend His time, infinite though it may be, with his favored creations, humanity.

I believe that Sapph's point is a good one that needs addressed because I do not believe God made us to be alone. It is well and good to be celibate your whole life like Paul, but unlike him, I do not delight in it, nor do I believe that God truly does either. To support this, I put forward Genesis 2:18-24, which is the creation of Eve. If all that we needed in life was God and God alone, He would not, in His infinite wisdom, tried so hard to find a suitable companion for Adam. And when one could not be found among creation, God made one. (Yes, yes, I'm sure someone will find argument with this; I don't care, my point stands even if you make the entire passage allegorical instead of literal.) So if we are not to be alone, how does it work that God allows there to be relationships that truly leave those involved happy, but in a way that He despises? That, as I understand it, is the gist of Sapph's question. I am hardly qualified to find the answer, but since I have seen so few try even looking, perhaps I will be granted the revelation to share. I promise there will be more to come on this as I seek out an answer.

-- Update 02-12-2007 AM --
Fixed a minor error -- I had the number of books for which Solomon is the accepted author incorrect. I had forgotten about Proverbs.

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10 Comments:

  • At 2:22 AM, February 16, 2007, Blogger Sapph said…

    Well, my gut reaction is he didn't and the taboos on homosexuality and homosexual intercourse are nothing more than remnants of misguided teachings from the middle ages, but I have no proof to back up that claim and my opinion on the matter is more than slightly biased so take it with however many grains of salt as you require.

     
  • At 2:44 AM, February 16, 2007, Blogger Avvy said…

    First Corinthians 6:9-10: "Do you not know that the wicket will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be decieved: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homoesxual offenders nore thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." It gets cheerier from there (or we'd all probably be screwed; I would be at least).

    See also Leviticus 18:22: "Do not like with a man as one lies with a woman; that is destable." This is largely repeated in Leviticus 20:13. Now, I will admit that much of Leviticus was written estabilishing laws to protect the Israelites from disease, and much of it no longer applies.

     
  • At 12:27 PM, February 17, 2007, Blogger Sapph said…

    See, "Homosexual Offenders" Just don't offend any homosexuals and you're good to go. ^_^

    "The first known appearance of the term homosexual in print is found in an anonymous 1869 German pamphlet 143 des Preussischen Strafgesetzbuchs und seine Aufrechterhaltung als 152 des Entwurfs eines Strafgesetzbuchs für den Norddeutschen Bund ("Paragraph 143 of the Prussian Penal Code and Its Maintenance as Paragraph 152 of the Draft of a Penal Code for the North German Confederation") written by Karl-Maria Kertbeny. This pamphlet advocated the repeal of Prussia's sodomy laws (Bullough et al. ed. (1996)). Kertbeny had previously used the word in a private letter written in 1868 to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. Kertbeny used Homosexualität in place of Ulrichs's Urningtum; Homosexualisten instead of Urninge, and Homosexualistinnen instead of Urninden."

    From the Wiki, but I have read the same information else where. It's just harder to track down. I think you can agree with me that the Bible was written before that time. Also, there is not a word in greek that means. The closest they have is male prostitute, which was already mentioned in that passage so... as near as I can tell the "homosexual offenders" line was pretty much added in.

    Also, Leviticus isn't followed by Christians today for more than one reason. For starters they are rather antiquated and second Acts states that gentiles need not adhere to the laws of moses to follow Christ.

     
  • At 12:53 AM, February 18, 2007, Blogger Avvy said…

    I admitted that Leviticus isn't a very strong indicator, though it is still useful, which is why it is Canon.

    Also, just because the term "homosexual" didn't exist, doesn't mean that "one who sleeps with a man as one does a woman" isn't a set of phrases in Greek (or other languages). Otherwise we wouldn't have Oliver Stone making movies about Alexander the Great's gay exploits. Don't confuse origin of the word with origin of the concept.

    I can make a pretty darn good case as to why things wouldn't be added to the Bible (especially during the Middle Ages, when they tried to do such things). For one thing, it was really bloody obvious (Apocrypha, I'm looking at you). For another, they'd quit trying well before 1800's. At that point, everybody but the Catholics had started to read Bibles in their own language, so it would have been pretty difficult to insert a phrase into all the Bibles everywhere shortly before 1900.

    However, since I can't read Greek, we're pretty stuck; and all I can do is try to make a logical argument.

     
  • At 1:46 AM, February 18, 2007, Blogger Steve said…

    Then you get into the issue of it only appearing in some versions of the Bible. Others call it "sexually immoral" or other such similarly vague terms. "homosexual offenders isn't even all that clear. It has the word homosexual in there, but why tack on "offenders"? Given Romans it's pretty clear that Paul doesn't make the distinction between the feeling and the action. So why bother with extra words? What would be the difference between a homosexual and a homosexual offender in Paul's eyes? Hell, if you're looking at it from the angle of homosexuality being perfectly acceptable "homosexual offenders" could be gay bashers. On top of that a word that commonly gets translated to homosexual is a word that Paul made up. It's a combination of the word that meant a soft or weak man and bed.(That could mean a lot of things) I can't help but get the feeling that there is a bit of people projecting their own moralities into things here.

     
  • At 1:58 AM, February 18, 2007, Blogger Avvy said…

    That's why it's translated as "effeminate" in the King James Version (which is fairly riddled with inaccurate translations). Regardless, I can only work with my translations, and trust that they are at least reasonably accurate. These people spend their lives learning these languages and how to interpret them. From my position, I can't challenge them much.

    In honesty, however, I'm not necessarily counting on Paul to be able to contribute a whole lot to the discussion. His whole opinion of the matter of marriage is different than mine. Paul never married and was very happy that way (at one point, he extols the virtues of life-long celibacy). It's from this that Catholics get a good part of the celibate priest thing. Since I'm after the truth of the matter concerning people who love each other in a context other than "brotherly love," Paul's probably not our best example.

     
  • At 2:09 AM, February 18, 2007, Blogger Avvy said…

    Pardon, "male prostitutes" gets translated as "effeminate." "Homosexuals" ends up as "abusers of themselves with mankind." And yes, I've found one translation, The Message, which does not use the word "homosexual" or something like the above KJV stuff. Though the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition uses "liers with mankind" which is a really awkward turn of phrase.

    That's one. Out of fifteen that I just quickly looked at. Obviously, translators appear to be in pretty good agreement on that verse.

    Give me some meat here if you want to argue. <grin> A Greek scholar or something. That would be an interesting read.

     
  • At 2:50 PM, February 18, 2007, Blogger Sapph said…

    Ummm... I don't think I have to. Effeminate doesn't equal homosexual. At best it references the one on bottom which would be where a male prostitute would be in an encounter of that kind. I'm pretty sure that you and I can agree that just because a female is a prostitute it doesn't mean that having sex with women is bad. The same holds true for the flip side. And "Abusers of themselves with mankind"? That could mean just about anything you want it to. (First thing that pops into my mind is drugs for an example.) How can you say that that even remotely references homosexuals when "mankind" includes women?

     
  • At 3:11 PM, February 18, 2007, Blogger Avvy said…

    No offense here, but there's a few reasons why I favor NIV over KJV, and accuracy of translation is one of them. The KJV, which is where we first see "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind" (and from which I would imagine the others that use that get their terminology), is well known for translation mistakes, my favorite being the part where Elisha is taunted by "children," which makes his action of calling a curse on them and getting them mauled by bears sound insane. In more accurate translations, it comes out "youths" the same sort of folk who spend every summer in France burning cars, and means people from about 14 to 24.

    Now, I'm not trying to cherry-pick translations here, but more of them use the language "homosexual" than the more dense variations, and based on the context, you can only read them a certain way. Without someone who can read the Greek and explain it, all we can do is argue over this, and we are not going to get anywhere.

     
  • At 3:34 PM, February 19, 2007, Blogger Sapph said…

    Well, I know of a couple of sources, but I doubt you'll count either as creditable enough for your time. Religioustolerance.org has a long section on greek and mistranlation of certain words. My other source is a person on Gaia who has shown himself to be rather creditable.

     

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