Genesis on Homosex: Beyond Sodom
"Upon this first, and in one sense this sole, rule of reason, that in order to learn you must desire to learn, and in so desiring not be satisfied with what you already incline to think, there follows one corollary which itself deserves to be inscribed upon every wall of the city of philosophy: Do not block the way of inquiry."--Charles Sanders Peirce, 1896
By Alice C. Linsley
January 26, 2013
In the contemporary dispute over homosexuality the Bible plays a less significant role than in the past because it is viewed as a book of miracles and supernatural revelation, having nothing to do with science and the modern understanding of sexuality. This is not based on an objective assessment of what the Bible says about homosexuality. It is rooted in the Enlightenment rejection of the Bible, and especially in David Hume's dismissal of miracles. Hume argued that unless universals in religion could be ascertained, no religious truth claims can reasonably be verified. Since Hume's time, anthropologists have identified several significant universals in religion, notably burial in red ochre, serpent veneration, and water shrines.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) also contributed to a dismissal of the Hebrew Scriptures as "a collection of mere statutory laws upon which was established a political organization." In his Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone Kant argued for a "pure moral religion" based on duty as "the euthanasia of Judaism." He maintained that Judaism was later "interfused, by reason of moral doctrines gradually made public within it, with a religious faith - for this otherwise ignorant people had been able to receive much foreign (Greek) wisdom." Kant's distortion of the facts is evident in the influence of ancient Egypt on Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras and Plato.
Although Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was an oddity in his time, he perpetuated the Enlightenment disdain for the Hebrew Scriptures. He incorrectly portrayed the Hebrew Bible as derivative of what he regarded as the more ancient Vedas. His notion was repeated by Friedrich Maximilian Müeller (1823-1900) who wrote, "In the Rig-Veda we shall have before us more real antiquity than in all the inscriptions of Egypt or Ninevah....the Veda is the oldest book in existence...."
Today it is recognized that the oldest layer of the Vedas reflects the Horite religion which took root in Southern India's Harappa culture. Har-appa is a Dravidian word that means "Horus is Father". The words Kusha, Rama, Hori and the description of Krishna (Christ) as the "Ancient Man" are all found in earlier Hebrew texts.
Schopenhauer also said, "Monotheistic religions alone furnish the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, heretical tribunals, that breaking of idols and destruction of images of the gods, that razing of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi, which had looked on the sun 3,000 years: just because a jealous god had said, 'Thou shalt make no graven image.'"
Again Schopenhauer was mistaken. It was the Roman emperor Augustus who desecrated the most revered of all the ancient sacred places. In 14 BC, he had the sacred pillars of Heliopolis (Biblical On) removed to Alexandria to grace the grounds of the Caesareum.
It is also evident that polytheistic Hinduism has contributed its share of religious violence and persecutions.
These writers dismissed the Hebrew Scriptures as irrational superstition and their assessment, though false, has been accepted uncritically by many today. Even to refer to the Bible in reference to homosexuality is to risk attack from gay activists. Some claim such references as "hate speech" and thereby effectively block a way of inquiry that has proven to be empirically valid (See Biblical Anthropology). It is no surprise that the Bible does not factor significantly in the contemporary debate over homosexuality.
Beyond Sodom and Gomorrah
When the Bible is referenced in conversation about homosexuality, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is usually cited. Some argue that the destruction of the cities was an act of divine punishment on those who practiced homosex. Others argue that the sin of Sodom was not homosex, but a lack of hospitality. Both sides miss the point. These Canaanite cities represent a religion quite foreign to that of Abraham's Horite people and it is Abraham's people who tell the story.
Their repudiation of homosex proceeds logically from their doctrine of creation. God created humanity in two sexes that the human race might be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. All non-procreative acts are viewed as immoral in this context. This includes onanism, homosex and refusal to fulfill the levirate marriage law (Deut. 25:5-10). Such acts frustrate God's purpose and go against the divine order in creation.
The levir's duty was to produce an heir for his deceased brother by his brother's widow. This practice insured that none of the priestly divisions would cease to exist. This was important to God's purpose since Jesus would be born of these priestly lines. The Virgin Mary's father was a priest who married a daughter of a priest, following the Horite marriage and ascendancy pattern.
The spilling of semen (onanism) is still regarded as an unrighteous deed among Afro-Arabians and most tribal peoples. The seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. This is the ancient wisdom which observed patterns in nature.
From the earliest days, Christians have upheld the Biblical teaching on non-procreative acts. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 A.D. 191).
The Pew Research Center's 2007 Global Attitudes Survey found that "people in Africa and the Middle East strongly object to societal acceptance of homosexuality." It should not come as a surprise that societies that value the traditions of their ancestors resist acceptance of homosexuality while societies influenced by the Enlightenment, i.e., Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, accept and even advocate for gay rights.
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