Saturday, October 4, 2008

Romans 1:26

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.


This passage has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm sure it's not difficult to understand why. I bring it up here because I hope it starts a discussion about whether homosexuality is a sin or not. Now this seems to be very blatant, but I have heard an argument otherwise. It basically states that the wording means that these people went against their own natures. In other words, people who would normally not be attracted to the same sex were suddenly having sex with the same sex. On the flip side, someone who is normally attracted to their same sex would be in sin to have sex with someone of the opposite sex. personally I feel that this argument is on shaky ground and I am hoping that someone can either give me a solid explanation of how this works or has other information on how one can be gay and not be in sin.

10 comments:

didymus said...

There are several things that I think can be said about this passage, but it’s important I think to note first a significant difference between homosexual temptation and sin. No matter what can be said about the specifics of homosexuality as a sin, it’s important to say that the temptation to be homosexual is not itself a sin. In my opinion the temptation determines whether one is homosexual or not. So in other words… let’s look at myself first, I’m a heterosexual, whether I’m married or not, whether I sleep with a woman or not, if I were still a virgin, I’d be a heterosexual, since all I’m tempted, or desire, whatever to do sexually is to be with a woman, not a man. If you are tempted, desire, whatever you want to call it, to be with a man, then, whether you are a virgin or not, I’d say you are a homosexual. And being a homosexual in this sense is in no way a sin. (BTW, I also believe that homosexuality in this sense is “incurable”, at least as “incurable’ as heterosexuality is in me, i.e. you can't repent of temptation.)

Giving in to temptation is a different matter. Again, looking at myself first, if I as a heterosexual were to say just give into lust, and have casual sex with whichever woman I’m currently infatuated with, that would be sinful. And it would also be sinful for you to do the same with a man as a homosexual.

As for the interpretation of the passage you mention in your post I’d say ah… ya, on shaky ground… or maybe more like quick sand. There’s no tradition of interpreting this passage in that way (as far as I know) in all of the church’s history, it has always been seen as addressing homosexuality as "unnatural".

But there is more that I think could be said about this passage, and questions to interrogate it. But I’ll have to get back later on them. Have you forwarded your post around to others for their input?

Michael said...

didymus, I value your comment as it is a very intelligent and thought out answer instead of a cookie cutter answer one might expect from a heretic hunter type of personality. However I would really like to hear from someone on the other side of the argument. I just don't know who to forward this to that could provide that.

daniel said...

My opinion is there is no such thing sin but there is such thing as right and wrong. Where I draw the line is when your action victimizes someone. If your actions are consensual and involve no victims, you are doing no wrong and at worst are doing something morally neutral. At best, you're exploring who you really are and learning about yourself. Who was it that said the only deviant form of sex was 'no sex'? I think it was Freud. I don't agree with that statement entirely, but it's food for thought.

Michael said...

Daniel, thanks for posting. The idea that there is no sin is one that I would readily accept but I just can't. Paul himself stated that we should not go on sinning to increase God's grace. How could he make such a statement if there is no sin? I welcome discussion in this area so please reply to me. Perhaps you are seeing something in the word that I am not.

daniel said...

I am not seeing something in the word you're not. I'm rejecting the word. I rejected it years ago. Obviously if you believe in the bible AND are practicing any form of forbidden sex, you are breaking god's law as you believe it. Looking at evidence in nature of hundreds of species exhibiting homosexual behaviour, if there IS a god, he DID make "Adam and Steve" as well as Adam and Eve. Message me on facebook if you'd like to go hiking some time and discuss it further.

didymus said...

Daniel, I take issue with your claim that, “If your actions are consensual and involve no victims, you are doing no wrong and at worst are doing something morally neutral.”

Sex, like drugs and money, can get you high, feel good, but it will lay waste to you over time, eating you up from the inside out. In sex, if used improperly, either homosexual or heterosexual, even if it is consensual, the victims are yourselves. And I’m not talking about addiction here, or the physically destructive effects of drugs and sex, but rather the spiritually destructive. We corrupt ourselves, it warps our thinking. In my experience commitment, responsibility, discipline and love go out the window, and are replaced by infatuation, lust, and desire. Those are not morally neutral.

Message me on facebook if you'd like to go hiking some time and discuss it further.

Dude, are you hitting on him? It certainly looks like you hitting on him. That’s rude dude. That would be like me writing on a woman’s blog, who asked about a certain nuance of scripture, “ohh, Bible shmizel, let’s just go for a hike out in nature, and get natural, and maybe we’ll just talk about whatever comes up.” Tacky!

Michael said...

Dude, are you hitting on him? It certainly looks like you hitting on him. That’s rude dude. That would be like me writing on a woman’s blog, who asked about a certain nuance of scripture, “ohh, Bible shmizel, let’s just go for a hike out in nature, and get natural, and maybe we’ll just talk about whatever comes up.” Tacky!


Wow Thomas, was that a personal attack?

didymus said...

Wow Thomas, was that a personal attack?

No, not really, maybe more of a humorous aside. But I do think it comes across tacky.

daniel said...

haha, I'm relatively new to facebook and have been looking up all kinds of people I know from the past. Mike and I grew up in the same neighborhood and go back some 16 years. I'm not interested in sexual contact with men; I'm just arguing that the evidence from nature suggests those who have homosexual attractions are not freaky or abnormal in any way shape or form. They deserve equal rights under the law like all other Americans and don't deserve the wrath of bible thumpers.

Brother John said...

Michael,

I know this is an old discussion by now, but I would very much like to meeet you and/or your partner(?), DD. I think I may have some good input for you on your process with engaging your sexuality with your faith.

My journey in a nutshell:

Raised Mormon, had a powerful, personal encounter with God in Jesus at 15, which remains, 40 years later, as foundational to my faith that I am inescapably identified with God in my deepest self. But along the way, I've had a rather circuitous route to integrating this with a later knowledge that my sexual orientation is overwhelmingly homosexual. After leaving Mormonism, I've embraced Agnosticism, Evangelical Christianity, Atheism, New Age Spirituality, Buddhism and then found my way back to historical Christianity, but with a Contemplative, Universalist viewpoint.

And, it has led me to a certainty that my sexuality, with it's root desires, is not, in itself, anything but a gift from God. For me, sin is not in the vehicle of expression (of any act), including sexual expression, but in the intent and quality of the love expressed. To me, this is more consistent with the totality of scripture and the God that it reveals, along with my experience of that same One I meet daily in my life, than are most of the traditional readings of scriptures like Romans 1.

Granted, there are other moral responsibilities to consider, for example, how it affects people outside the relationship, etc. But that is no different than for sexuality of any sort; and just the fact that many may be scandalized may not be enough of a reason for one to withold expressing love on this very human (and potentially divine) way. There were plenty of people scandalized by interracial partnerings at one time and few would now say that those couples should have forgone expressing their mutual desire for physical union and the committment of marriage because of the "pain" others were experiencing.

Ok, this is getting more long-winded than I intended. Feel free to respond. I may also request to befriend you on facebook, as I see you are there.

Take care,
In Christ,

John