Sep 15, 10
It is interesting to read the lively discussion on the morality of homosexuality between Rev O Young and Steve Oh. However, I believe addressing the worldview that which shapes the individual would readily address some of the conflicts both of these writers express.
Does the Bible condone homosexuality?
We might had thought that this question is a binary answer: right or wrong. However, some would further discriminate as to what homosexuality entails. Some Christians believe that being attracted to the same sex is fine, but to have sex, would be crossing the line. The former is not well spelt out in the Bible and therefore, I would argue, would be a grey area, for we know that there are different levels of affection, and that would had made things more complicated.
I think O Young takes the position that to engage in homosexual sex (consented) is biblically correct, while Oh says that the Bible does not condone same sex affection, what more homosexual sex. In this case, both have summoned the authority of the Bible to discover the truth, if homosexuality is a subset of righteousness.
O Young in his first letter, made several arguments, taking excerpts of Church history and Bible interpretations. The examples put forth were examples of paradigm conflict, as described by Thomas S Kuhn.
Firstly, he took the example of slaves, where the Bible does mention that the Jewish nation was allowed to practice 'slavery'. Unfortunately, the idea of slavery then was very different from ours, in that our worldview of slaves is aptly expressed in the movie 'Amazing Grace' – 'this mark shows that we don't belong to God, but to men'.
In other words, there was no legislation or human rights accorded to them. Slavery in ancient Israelite civilization was more of a servant-master relation. In fact, whole families became 'slaves' when they could not make a living in their own estates though they would be liberated in the year of Jubilee. But even so, they could choose to remain as 'slaves'.
O Young, therefore, makes a parallel argument that Bible 'scholars' then, erred in their interpretation, seeing that the Bible condoned slavery. And likewise Bible scholars today erred in their interpretation that the Bible does not condone homosexuality. However, he had used the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which had both elements of homosexuality as well as hostile hospitality to support his case. Does he not realize that his conclusion that God punished the two nations because of the latter could be confounded by the former?
He should, indeed, refer to the Scriptures where homosexuality was singled out as not pleasing to God, which many 'conservative' Christians believe is the case. But unfortunately, he believes that judgment is confounded by gay-rape and the temple prostitution culture, which has no mention in the Bible, but only in historical records.
Another extraordinary example used was the case of Galileo. Unfortunately, this example is not parallel to his argument. The Church, in Galileo's time, believed that the Bible was the answer to all questions in life, including scientific ones. They used the Bible to assert that the scientific 'truth' was that the earth was right smack in the center of everything and all revolved around it.
Galileo, however, took observations and realized that it is to the contrary. This example expresses the boundary of the virtue of science and Biblical truth - not whether the Bible was interpreted erroneously.
To set the record straight, I do not see how the Bible condones homosexuality. Rather, it is well spelt out that it is morally wrong, and man should not engage in such acts, on par with such acts as premarital sex, stealing, murder, covetousness. Yes, men engage in these acts and that is why the same book dictates that men are sinners and Christ has accepted them.
For Christians to reject homosexual men, would make a church empty but for Christians to accept homosexual acts would make a church heretic.
After all, if homosexuality is right and natural, then intelligent design proponents will have to retreat as the designer is not that intelligent after all as it does not promote the production of offspring. And no, priesthood is a special position that which God has anointed in the Church, not something trivial that everyone can so choose.