The Bible and homosexuality

Homosexuality and religion is a controversial topic, which has divided believers in recent years. As a bisexual believer, I thought I’d give my thoughts.

Short: You CAN follow the Tanakh and practise homosexuality, but it is much harder to reconcile it with the New Testament.

The Tanakh:

Genesis 9

In Genesis 9, Noah’s “nakedness” is uncovered by his son Ham, and for this, his descendents, the Canaanite’s are cursed to an eternity of servitude. It is very likely that this was a sexual act, given that ‘uncovering one’s nakedness’ is clearly a sexual euphemism elsewhere in scripture (See Leviticus 18). However, does this mean that the verse condemn’s homosexuality? (JP Holding, who I otherwise like, supports this interpretation)

No, because, in Leviticus 18:7-8, the nakedness of one’s mother, or of one’s father’s wife, is also said to be the nakedness of one’s father. So it is certainly possible that Ham was having incest with his ‘mother’, not his ‘father’. This interpretation is supported by the fact that Ham’s ‘son’ Canaan is cursed, i.e. because he was the product of the affair.

See this podcast by Dr Michael S. Heiser for more information.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Whilst I do believe that the men of Sodom did indeed intend to have homosexual sex with the Angels (for this they were blinded), whether or not it was for homosexuality, or Angel sex, or rape, is left unclear. It is never stated in the Old Testament that homosexuality was the sin of Sodom, rather Ezekiel 16:49 explicitly states that THE sin of Sodom was arrogance, gluttony, greed and stingyness.

Leviticus

Probably the most explicit condemnations of homosexuality in the Tanakh are found in Leviticus:

“‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. (Lev 18;22)

“‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Lev 20:13)

Whilst a clear condemnation of homosexuality is found here, two things must be considered with regard to Mosaic law:

1) It did not ‘fall from the heavens’, other texts from the ANE have similar laws, laws which in some cases are often almost verbatim.

Code of Hammurabi:

196. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An eye for an eye ]

197. If he break another man’s bone, his bone shall be broken.

198. If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man, he shall pay one gold mina.

199. If he put out the eye of a man’s slave, or break the bone of a man’s slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.

200. If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out. [ A tooth for a tooth ]

201. If he knock out the teeth of a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a gold mina.

Mosaic law:

23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

2) God himself expresses distaste for some of the Mosaic laws:

Contrast Leviticus 1-4 (which commands animal sacrifice), to passages such as Isaiah 66:3:

But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations;

So I don’t think Leviticus gives clear evidence that God sees homosexuality as sin.

I do not however, think that New Testament references can be explained away so easily. That however is a discussion for another day.

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Jordan Peterson is correct, Atheists do deep down believe in the Judeo-Christian God

 

So Jordan Peterson (one of my favourite academics), has been getting a lot of flak ever since his discussion with Matt Dillahunty, see for example this video by David Pakman (where he strawman’s Jordan Peterson as a true believer):

The crazy thing is, that there are actually studies which back this up:

So I think David Pakman is speaking too soon.

Is morality possible without religion?

The purpose of this post is not to say that atheists cannot be good people, most atheists are very good, but to suggest that in an atheistic worldview, there is no firm foundation for morality.

When I was an atheist, I supposed that all atheists needed to do good was to be empathetic. The problem with this is is twofold:

1) Empathy can leave someone useless, or without skills, as Jordan Peterson explains here. A teacher is being empathetic by doing a student’s work for them, but this does not mean the student will be the better for it.

2) Empathy is still only a human, subjective convention.

With regard to the latter, an objective moral foundation is therefore needed. Which atheists such as Sam Harris will agree with me on. Sam Harris argues that this Moral foundation is ‘Human Flourishing’. The problems here are again twofold:

1) What about a world where the wicked people flourish?

2) Human flourishing is again subjective, Hitler believed killing all of Germany’s Jews would bring human flourishing.

So human flourishing cannot be the basis for objective morality. Until we find an alternative, I would have to suggest that religion is the best basis.

But there are more problems, problems which apply to ‘any’ naturalistic system of morality:

1) If objective morality is the natural result of human evolution, what about a world where humans, and therefore morality evolved differently? Then morality is not objective.

2) In accordance with natural selection (which I believe in), it may be most reasonable and pragmatic to murder the weak members of society, which will cause human flourishing in the long run. The only thing which I believe can overtake these natural laws is law given from God.

What do you think?

rkb ‘rpt, out!

Guys Have Been Framed: The ‘Modern’ Day Nonsense That Men Are The Unfaithful ones

This is an interesting article from Salon:

https://www.salon.com/2013/06/02/the_truth_about_female_desire_its_base_animalistic_and_ravenous/

Bergner, and the leading sex researchers he interviews, argue that women’s sexuality is not the rational, civilized and balancing force it’s so often made out to be — that it is base, animalistic and ravenous, everything we’ve told ourselves about male sexuality. As one researcher tells Bergner of all the restrictions put on female sexuality: “Those barriers are a testament to the power of the drive itself. It’s a pretty incredible testament. Because the drive must be so strong to override all of that.”

I 100% agree, and I find it truly bizarre that people actually think this, and think that ‘men’ are the promiscuous adulterous ones. Anyone living before the late 19th century would have been baffled by such a statement. It is surely no coincidence that humans went through thousands of years believing women were the lustful, sex crazed ones, who went around committing adultery. Adultery laws throughout the ages have frequently targetted women, whilst ignoring men. See the Bible (Deut 22:22), Islamic texts, and the Code of Hammurabi (Law 129):

If a man’s wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife and the king his slaves.

Law 128 says that a marriage can be annulled if a man does not have sex with his wife.

According to The Decameron:

While farmers generally allow one rooster for ten hens, ten men are scarcely sufficient to service one woman.

In the Greek Story of Teiresias, a man who was turned into a woman for years, and then turned up to settle a dispute between the gods about which gender enjoys sex the most, this is said:

‘If the parts of love-pleasure be counted as ten, Thrice three go to women, one only to men.’

Further evidence that this is ‘clearly’ the primal, natural, original position of humans and all other primates is found later on in the article:

I really do. Deidrah, a rhesus monkey, a member of the species that we sent into space in the ’60s as our doubles, to see how well we would survive, is one of my favorite characters in the book. I went down and spent a while at a primatology center with a scientist who was trying to take the blinders off the way we see the sexuality of our closest ancestors. And what I learned was that for decades, despite evidence to the contrary, scientists had painted primate sex as male dominated. Males are the initiators; females the sort of almost indifferent receivers.

But standing next to this scientist Kim Wallen, it was clear that that was not at all true — almost comically so. We spent a day following Deidrah, a relatively tranquil, low-key female monkey, who was nevertheless relentlessly stalking — sexually stalking — her object of desire. If there’s any objectification going on in the monkey kingdom, it’s the females objectifying the males, chasing them, and sort of all but forcing them. It wasn’t just Deidrah, of course — it was all the female monkeys that we were following, and it was just alarming how we could be so sure of this other reality, and blind to the truth that was just staring us right in the face. So that was one example of our blindness to female sexuality and, ultimately I think, our fear of it

So where did this ridiculous, unnatural conception that men were the adulterous, promiscuous, sex crazed one’s come from? Anyone living before the 19-20th century wouldn’t have bat an eyelid to the opposite notion.

I suspect that with the rise of feminism, lies were concocted in order to attack the male gender, the ‘cheating’ myth being one of them. I also share the Salon writer’s suggestion that scientists have ignored and (I at least suspect) fabricated statistics in order to push , this ridiculous, sexist, Anti-Male narrative. Yes this is a conspiracy theory, deal with it.

rkb ‘rpt, out!

The Real Gay Agenda: The Feminist Destruction of Real Female Sexuality

I am generally Pro-LGB (not T), being bisexual myself. I support gay marriage, gay adoption, IVF for lesbians and gay men donating blood. I (tepidly) don’t think that the Levitical laws regarding homosexuality are applicable to today. (Less so for the New Testament laws, though I am not a Christian. I do find attempts at explaining away NT passages by those such as Matthew Vines to be very unconvincing) I also have no problem with representation in the media.

What I do have as a problem however is “over”-representation, particularly that of lesbians and bisexual women. And I think this is a real problem which no one else has talked about.

Ever noticed in the media that every strong female character has to be either lesbian or bisexual some examples being Ellie from The Last of Us, Daenaerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister, or pretty much any DC Super-heroine (I’m more of a Marvel guy, for my own reasons), including Wonder Woman. Like this is really relatable to women.

It gets worse. It seems like every representation of female sexuality, lust, promiscuity (never so for men) ‘needs’ to include lesbianism, and that’s if it doesn’t focus‘ on it.

Of course, I, as a bisexual man want equal representation for my side. Maybe if it was just as much I wouldn’t have ‘as’ much of a problem. (That being said, better less than more, I don’t consider lust or promiscuity to be ethical behaviour)

But alongside that, this way of thinking is highly unnatural, and I shall discuss this is in a future post. Not only are the vast majority of women, who are heterosexual, who want their desires represented, alienated by this. But humans spent thousands of years of our existence believing that heterosexual women were the lustful ones (more so than men). Only after Victorian era prudishness (I don’t personally advocate either lust or prudishness for either gender, but something in between) was this forgotten. Then after the advent of modern feminism (I consider myself a feminist btw, albeit one more concerned about women in Islamic Countries, more on that in a future post), a new lie was concocted to attack heterosexual men, that they were always the horny, adulterous, promiscuous ones, and that those poor oppressed women just wanted commitment.

And that is what has led to the mess that we are in now. As part of their Anti-Man agenda, and the fact that they have been fed by their own lies about the male sex (as have men, unfortunately), numerous “sex-positive” feminists (Jincey Lumpkin, to give a name), and their male useful idiots are very clearly actively trying to promote homosexuality, also present in the ‘outing’ of strong female icons (never male ones), such as Wonder Woman, as opposed to the common liberal myth that no one is out there to do such.

And that’s if they don’t have a much more nefarious, sinister, Anti-Human agenda.

rkb ‘rpt, out

What is Genesis 1? A commentary

This is my account of the creation of heaven and earth in the Bible, and what the writer of Genesis 1 wanted us to infer from the creation narrative.

Genesis 1 concerns a primeval chaotic shapeless mass being separated to become the ordered sky and land as a cosmic temple. I tend to agree with scholar Ellen Van Wolde that the sky and the land (meaning the universe) are ‘separated’, not ‘created’ in Genesis 1:1. Note the heavy use of separation in Genesis 1:3-10. God separates day from night (verse 4), upper waters from the lower waters (verse 6-8) and sea from the land (verse 9-10), it is also likely that the heavenly and earthly realms were separated as well, on day 2, when the expanse of the heavens was spread out like the veil of the tabernacle (Psalm 104:2)

The main purpose of Genesis 1 is not to tell us of how the universe was created, but of it’s function as a temple to god. The number ‘seven’, the number of days (Including the Sabbath) is a number associated with construction of temples (see 1 Kings 6:38), which combined with the fact that divine ‘rest’ is also associated with temples (Isaiah 66:1, Psalm 132:14), the fact that the word for the Image of God (Tselem) is associated with idols and the fact that firmament was stretched out like the veil of the tabernacle shows that there is an abundance of temple imagery in the Biblical creation narrative.

What lessons can we learn from Genesis 1?

  • Humans are the idols of God, no graven images are needed.
  • Humans should be treated with respect, as idols in a temple are.
  • Nature ought to be treated with respect, as the temple of God.
  • God is universal, the whole world is his temple, and he can be worshipped anywhere.
  • God is omnipresent everywhere, the whole earth is his temple.
  • God ‘created’ the great sea monsters (verse 21), we ought not fear chaos.
  • Nature is a means of worshipping God.
  • God loves his creation, it is ‘very good’.

Michael Sherlock is Wrong: 12 Painful facts

This is a response to a piece of Anti-Judaic polemic promoted by atheist pseudohistorian Michael Sherlock.

Let’s begin:

Fact 1: The Torah (“Five Books of Moses”), the very pillar of Judaism, wasn’t written by Moses, but by numerous anonymous authors who contradicted one another with regards to theology and history. [1]

This is not the very pillar of Judaism, one can still be a believing Jew without believing these were written by Moses, those writers could very well still have been under divine inspiration, Mike does nothing to refute this. Mike is relying on Judeo-Christian tradition, not the Bible itself.

Fact 2: The bulk of the Book of Genesis wasn’t written in the second millennium BCE, as both Jewish and Christian traditions assert, but in the Exilicor Post-Exilic Period (6th Century BCE ~ during or after the Jewish exile in Babylon). [2]

‘Jewish and Christian traditions’ (again)  is about right, since the Bible itself never actually says this. According to Pete Enns, who has a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilisations from Harvard has this to say:

I should be quick to point out, however, that Genesis did not simply copy from Enuma Elish, as if the Hebrew author of Genesis had a copy of this Akkadian text in front of him and borrowed from it. Furthermore, at each of the points mentioned above, the Babylonian and biblical creation stories are both similar and dissimilar. Hence, the consensus scholarly position is not to draw a simple direct line of dependence from Genesis to Enuma Elish, and I concur wholeheartedly. When these tablets were discovered, there was a tendency to exaggerate their influence— in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries this was known as the “Bible and Babel” controversy. As time went on, scholars generally began to develop a more sober appreciation for the relevance of the Babylonian material, mainly the recognition of these dissimilarities. (1)

Next:

Fact 4: The Exodus probably didn’t happen, as there is no archaeological evidence for the 1.2 million people who were alleged to have left Egypt and camped at Mt. Sinai – no Egyptian records, nor any form of historical or archaeological evidence where there should be (archaeological argument from silence), given the circumstances and presence of records prior to and during this alleged event. Also, at the time in which the exodus was alleged to have taken place, Egypt’s entire population was around 3 million, so an exodus of 1.2 million of its free labour force would have crushed Egypt economically, but Egypt continued to reign well after this alleged event. [4]

I should direct Mike to the book The Exodus, by Biblical scholar Richard Elliott Friedman, where he argues the Exodus was only by the Levites, not six million Israelites. One of the Earliest texts, the Song of Deborah does not mention the Levites in Israel, and only the Levites have Egyptian names (Like Moses).

Fact 5: The Story of Moses being placed in a basket of reeds covered with bitumen was a direct plagiarism (adoption) of the earlier Mesopotamian ruler’s escape from infanticide narrative, Sargon of Babylonia, who was also said to have been placed in a basket of reeds covered with bitumen, plucked from the water, and whom, Akkadian legend holds, went on to become the great law giver of the more ancient Akkadians. [5]

According to PhD Semitic Language scholar Michael Heiser:

“Note this comment from Pritchard’s Ancient Near Eastern Texts Anthology[12].‘The legend concerning the birth of Sargon of Agade is available in two incomplete Neo-Assyrian copies (A and B) and in a Neo-Babylonian fragment (C).’

The Neo-Assyrian period covers the 8th and part of the 7th centuries BC. The Neo-Babylonian period is later, encompassing the 7th and 6th centuries BC. This would mean that, even by higher critical standards, who would have the Moses birth account as written by J or E (or an amalgam of JE), the biblical story is EARLIER, at least with respect to the literary evidence that actually exists. J and E are dated to the 10th and 9th centuries BC, respectively, by most source critics.” (2)

Next:

Fact 6: The popular Ten Commandments can be accounted for, almost in their entirely, in the earlier Egyptian ‘Negative Confessions’, located in the ancient Egyptian ‘Book of the Dead’, and many other “Jewish” teachings, including the ‘lex talionis’ (Eye for an eye) were also present in the earlier Babylonian Code of Hammurabi. [6]

Really? Where do these texts every say ‘I am YHWH your god’, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’, or ‘No graven images’. NO ONE ELSE in the ANE thought this way, certainly not in Egypt. So no, especially considering how virtually all societies consider murder and theft to be Taboo, there is no reason to shoehorn the Ten Commandments into the Book of the Dead.

Secondly, the Levitical/Deuteronomic laws share similarities with all laws in the ANE, including those in Hattusa (regarding Beastiality) and Assyria. So there is no reason to assume plagiarism, but rather common ancestry.

Fact 7: Much the so-called ‘Wisdom Literature’ in the Hebrew Bible (Particularly Proverbs), dishonestly represented as direct revelations of the wisdom of the tribal deity of the Israelites, contains sayings and proverbs that were directly taken (in some cases word for word) from earlier Egyptian and Mesopotamian literature. [7]

I wonder if Michael Sherlock has ever read any of the Wisdom Literature. They do not say they were ‘direct’, rather, Ecclesiastes 12:9 says Solomon searched out and compiled them. Implying he very well could have compiled them from elsewhere.

Fact 8: The birth of the Israel (Joshua’s alleged conquest) has been shown to have been an outright fiction, along with the exaggerated size of the so-called “Kingdom” of David, who may have been, along with Moses and Abraham, a fictional character. [8]

With regard to the Tel Dan Stela, it is hard to say David was completely fictional character.

Fact 9: Both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds (collection of rabbinical discourses that interpret the Torah) are laced with harmful racism, xenophobia, and silly superstitious stories that are almost certainly false. [9]

I have no need, nor desire to defend the Talmud, next:

Fact 10: The religion of Judaism was originally a polytheistic religion and although apologists have tried to argue that the pluralistic epithet ‘Elohim’ (gods) is merely a pluralis Majestatis (majestic we), there are places in the Hebrew Bible that contradict this notion, and this epithet is also applied to the gods of other nations.  Judaism only became monotheistic at a relatively late point in history, and it wasn’t the first monotheistic religion. Long before it developed into a monotheistic religion, the ancient Egyptian religion of ‘Atonism’ (worship of the god Aton) existed as a strict monotheistic religion. [10]

Once again, Michael Sherlock (who has no qualifications in Hebrew) has no idea what he is talking about. In Genesis 1 for example, the Hebrew word Bara (create) which occurs alongside Elohim, is grammatically singular. So no, Elohim does not always mean ‘gods’. There is evidence from the Amarna Correspondences, that other peoples of the ANE also used pluralistic titles to refer to singular gods. As PhD Semiticist Michael S. Heiser explains here.

On a side note, I personally have no issue with believing in monolatry.

Fact 11: The practice of circumcision originated in ancient Egypt.  The ancient historian Herodotus informs us that the people of Israel and Palestine adopted this custom from the ancient Egyptians. Also, the practice of circumcision and particularly, the ultra-orthodox practice of ‘metzitzah b’peh,’ (the sucking off of the baby’s partially severed foreskin by an old rabbi) has been responsible for killing numerous infants in recent years, by infecting the infants with herpes. [11]

Whilst the Metzitzah b’peh is tragic (and nowhere endorsed in the Tanakh, God chose to use circumcision as a means of establishing a covenant, and in my view it does not matter where it came from.

Finally:

Fact 12: The Hebrew Bible promotes slavery, genocide, human sacrifice, infanticide, rape, misogyny, murder, the theft of land and property, among other crimes.  In the words of Robert G. Ingersoll: “If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane.”  In other words, the Hebrew Bible is the ancient moral equivalent of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. [12]

As we have already established, the laws of the ANE have no bearing on the goodness of God, who did not order the laws, only allowed them to persist, then in Isaiah 66, disavowed the laws:

But whoever sacrifices a bull
    is like one who kills a person,
and whoever offers a lamb
    is like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
whoever makes a grain offering
    is like one who presents pig’s blood,
and whoever burns memorial incense
    is like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways,
    and they delight in their abominations;

Also, no, no verse in the Bible ever allows Human sacrifice, in fact, it explicitly forbids it in certain areas. See Deuteronomy 12:31, Deut 18:9-12, 2 Kings 16:3 for example.

That was my rebuttal to Michale Sherlock’s twelve nonsenses.

Footnotes:
1) Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, Peter Enns, Baker Academic, 2005, p40

2) http://drmsh.com/moses-sargon-and-the-exposed-child-motif-in-ancient-literature/