Sunday Scripture

Since I started out the day discussing the Day of Silence, I thought we would take a look at Leviticus 18:22.  I imagine most everyone is familiar with this verse by now.  It says: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”  This verse is considered to be the verse that justifies the position that homosexuality is a sin.  It is used to justify the denial of equal rights to gays and lesbians and is used to justify bigotry and hatred.

What is interesting is how Christians have chosen this sin, out of the whole list of sins in the book of Leviticus, for special treatment.  Now I know that most Christians will say that we are no longer under the ceremonial aspects of the law but the moral aspects of the law are still in force.  So how do we determine which is ceremonial and which is moral?  For example, Leviticus 19:9, “Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of you harvest”.  Is this ceremonial or moral?  God is telling people not to do a particular behaviour so it seems moral.  Where is Fred Phelps with his signs saying “God Hates Corner Reapers”?

How about Leviticus 19:19:  “You are to keep My statutes.  You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together”.  And if we are tempted to think this is ceremonial the very next verse goes back to prohibiting certain sexual behaviour with slaves.  So it is lumped in with moral laws.  Again, where is Ginny decrying the farming methods or our day.  Why isn’t she protesting outside Kohl’s demanding that they only carry single material clothing.  Does God hate the clothes but love the clothing store? Does he hate the Angus but love the hamburger lover?

How about Leviticus 20:9, “If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him”.  Do we accept the first half of this verse and ignore the second?  Why aren’t Christians confronting the sin of disrespecting our parents just as vociferously as they are homosexuality?  Why aren’t we putting the violators of this law to death?

Ginny and her ilk are very selective when it comes to reading the Old Testament.  I eventually stopped reading it because it was causing me to doubt my faith.  I hard a time with all the multiple marriages, concubines, rape, pillage, murder and genocide that God either sanctioned or turned his back on.  I was having a hard time seeing the difference between what was going on in Rwanda and the Canaan Conquest.  Why was the genocide of the Canaanites by Joshua okay, while the genocide in our own time was a travesty?  It was all just one more nail in the coffin for my faith.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave on April 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    It would be an interesting book to write, if it does not already exist, in which it is listed all of god’s laws listed in the Bible. My guess is, most people would be shocked at all the things banned or endorsed, and it would expose how incredibly arbitrary the religious right is on what rules they choose to endorse.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Freetoken on April 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    The OT is a collection of bronze-age documents (well, the Hebrews were still in the bronze age even if some of their neighbors were using iron). The Near East at that time was a violent place, and nations conquered other nations with vengeance.

    Whatever your “faith” may become after you process the changes going on in your thinking about these issues, I think it will be of benefit to accept that the OT gives us a window into how ugly humans have been in the past, whether acting as an individual or as part of nations.

    Reply

  3. The problem is that the Hebbrew nation was acting in according with God’s directions in the genocide of the Canaanites. Frequently the Israelites were told by God, not to leave anything alive. Including children. Look at Numbers 31 where God commanded Moses to take “full vengenance on the Midianities” and then in verse 13 Moses becomes angry with his army because they spared the women and the children and he tells them “Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. But all the girls who have not know man intimately, spare for yoursleves”. And this wasn’t even condemned by God. Instead, God doesn’t allow Moses into the promised land because earlier, when the Israelites needed water, Moses struck a rock instead of speaking to it. So much for the sanctity of life.

    If God is the same, yesterday, today and forever, why would murder, genocide and rape be morally acceptable in the Bronze Age but not today. You seem to be espousing cultural relativism. You seem to say that since the culture of the near East during the Bronze Age was so violent that the Israelites were only acting in accord with the cultural norms at the time and therefore their actions are understandable. I can’t and won’t accept that. I was taught that God’s moral laws were absolute. But when you read the OT you have to dismiss a whole lot of horror to the culture of the time. That doesn’t work for me.

    Reply

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