The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Same-sex relationships


#121

Don’t you think that if God was pleased with homosexuality activity that there would have been at least one(1) positive mention of it in Scripture? Just a one?


#122

not sure if this is true or not, but i did hear that the Roman centurion’s servant…well that may’ve been a slightly different matter, so to speak.

also, Jesus, surrounded by Romans, as He would’ve been, might’ve made mention of the fact, and condemned it, if He was really bothered. now, i know He came first for Israel, but it just seems odd.
Paul’s sporadic mentions of the sin translated as homosexuality are, i think, not enough to pronounce church doctine on, for the simple reason that despite writing to Greeks and Romans, two groups which at the time engaged in ALOT of homosexuality with young, specially trained servants, if i’ve got my facts straight, he really didn’t mention it all that often? makes me wonder if he was talking about something else, and we’ve got the wrong end of the stick.
Leviticus is pretty damning, but then one can think of issues of hygiene, and idolatry. also, in those old days, alot of this stuff was akin to rape, not a loving relationship…
basically, i find arguments against homosexuality slightly disturbing (as i can’t answer 100%), but not that convincing.

i personally find it difficult that God would doom someone to a loveless life because they happened to fancy their own sex.

there is an even more contraversial viewpoint of which i’m aware…that of polyamoury. This is an arguably ethic system in which people, with full openness and honesty, have multiple partners of either gender (as their inclination goes). Now, not everyone could manage such an inherently complex and busy schedule, but i know some people that seem to make it work. they work at the hard parts of their relationships, and they are honest and respectful to each other. they follow rules they’ve essentially come up with themselves.
now many would dismiss this without a thought (as many would dismiss UR without a thought!) but Paul writes about those with “the law” and those without “the law”.
also, there is some tolerance written of for those under different laws to the Jews…ie God would judge them by their own law. i wish i had a reference for you, but alas my memory is rubbish! it could be that my contextual interpretation of that is all wrong, but i don’t think i’m too far off. my point is that these people have an ethich, or law, by which they govern their relationships, and as such, i see love, acceptance, tolerance, respect, honesty…all very good things, which are missing from many “sanctified” heterosexual relationships…that isn’t to say that polyamoury is RIGHT, it’s just to say that it seems to me that people that try to follow rules of some sort and think of others as well as themselves tend to do less damage than those that rely on a basic system (marriage or just being hetero) but run their lives to please themselves in every other way.

it seems to me that if people take some thought for others, and treat them well (ie by the golden rule), then maybe it’s not such a bad thing?

certainly, we’ve made sex out to be this HUGE thing…and maybe we’ve made too much of it from some angles, and too little of it from others.

but of course, i could be wrong…
sorry if this was a bit rambly!


#123

Roofus,

“If God was pleased with those who worked to ban slavery, don’t you think there would be at least 1 mention of it? Just a one?”

Besides abolition, many things that we think God is pleased with are not spelled out in Scripture. It seems to me that the predicament is simply that all of the few references to homosexual actions seem to be negative.


#124

agreed, well put!


#125

I’m not sure that your parallel works, let me ponder that.


#126

“Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.”
Certainly no parallel permission given for homosexual behaviour.

Also, of course-

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Here we see no parallel, as there is no statement in scripture that homosexual (or any extramarital behaviour) is irrelevant to standing in Christ, in fact there seem to be indications in the other direction.


#127

I’m super busy right now with springtime stuff and don’t have time now to write up anything of substance…

But as I’ve been faced with the charge–specifically in regards to this thread–that “the problem with universalism is that it results in a loosey-goosey, everything goes” kind of thing, I’d just like to register here that I have problems with and disagreements with some of the viewpoints expressed.

Not that I agree with the Fundy way of treating homosexuality either–making it the worst of sins. Lying might rightly be considered one of the worst, as Satan himself is the Father of lies.

One thing that comes to mind … whatever Paul may have thought of homosexual behavior, he ranked the heterosexual behavior of the Corinthian man who was sleeping with his stepmother as worse – “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans.” I’m sure there must have been love and maybe even commitment in the relationship, but that’s not what Paul is concerned about.

I don’t see how it can be argued from scripture that homosexuality is a correct and pure expression of human sexuality. God created them male and female, in the image of Himself, and sent them forth to reproduce. Pleasure is the motivator, but it does not determine right and wrong. Each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

And, Allen, sexuality is a physical trait, not a mental one. :stuck_out_tongue: One of the first things my children are doing this year, as our goats are kidding, is checking to see if the new one is male or female. Even my 4 year old. They aren’t at all confused. :sunglasses:

Sorry, I know this response is very simplistic. I wish I had time to say more, but I’ll try to get back to it sometime. I’m sure just this will get some rouse up responses of disagreement, but I’ll probably not take the time to engage any more on this subject for now.

Sonia


#128

Roofus,

I certainly am aware of the texts you offered. The minor point of my ‘parallel’ was not that (amid calls to enforce slavery) Scriptures also says freedom from slavery is sinful. It was only that seeking to outlaw it is never positively affirmed, which I think illustrates that we don’t typically think that the absence of a positive call means something must necessarily be illicit. But I explicitly agreed that all Scripture writers who touch on homosexuality appear to regard it as an illicit practice. In fact, earlier in this thread I was the one who most tried to defend a case for traditional view. Yet in candor, I don’t understand how that view makes sense to me, in terms of the broader Scripture’s main conclusions about what really matters in relationships.


#129

Homosexuality in a committed relationship is, I think, the most difficult theological issue of today. For all of our “hard-core” scriptural adherence, we recognize that the “law” regarding foods, sabbath day observance, etc are not applicable to us. So I’m loath to condemn committed ssr simply by referring to OT texts. I love lobster, which is an abomination, and I wouldn’t support polygamy (for non-deacons!) by siting OT texts.

Almost every other instance of Sin we see as a triumph of selfishness over fidelity to Gods purpose and humility toward others. Certainly there are acts that don’t seem selfish (I think of premarital sex between a monogamous couple) but afterward, when you are married, you look back with shame and realize God called you to be faithful to the one, even though you didn’t KNOW her yet. As a skier, I say “respect the mountain”, and I think as a society and as Christians we don’t respect the awesomemysticalmagic of the sex mountain - God’s commands are to protect us from making intimate spiritual connections that, when rent apart, will wound us deeply.

But committed longterm SSRs respect that mountain. (“CLTSSRs?”). And I had an epiphany about the nature of Pauls revulsion regarding homosexual activity reading Plato - who is candid about the model for that type of sex - essentially boy/servant/prostitution. When sex breaks a promise, involves lying, or is an exercise of power over another Less powerful (promise/prevarication/power) it is ALWAYS wrong. The justified secular reaction to the priests/altarboy abuse scandal indicates our collective moral response to that type of sexuality hasn’t changed one whit since the first century. Paul was justified in vociferously condemning that type of sex, but I don’t believe he was talking about CLTSSRs.


#130

I haven’t participated in this thread before and don’t have time to read back through it all, but have found recent posts interesting. Just wanted to throw something in the discussion which may be helpful. I have moved over a ten year period from being very conservative on this issue to being open and affirming of gay and lesbian people. The reasons for my change of view have been:-

  1. If this was the big central issue over which it is right to split the church, Jesus would have said somthing about it.
  2. I realised that my Anglican Mainstream party on this issue sounded increasingly harsh, strident and manipulative in its statements, more in fact like the pharisees than like Jesus.
  3. I saw a generation of gifted ethicists, theologians and pastors - conservatives and liberals - wasting their time arguing about this and completely losing focus on God’s mission to a non-christian world which had long since put this issue to bed. :wink:
  4. I actually began to meet gay christians and listen to their point of view. (A radical move! :unamused: )
  5. I saw the Holy Spirit powerfully at work in and through gay christians, some celibate by choice, some in enforced celibacy and some in exemplary, stable partnerships - CLTSSRs to use Nottirbd’s description.

A Bible passage I now consider far more relevant than anything in Leviticus is Acts 10. God told Peter to no longer consider unclean what God had made clean. So when Peter saw the Holy Spirit poured out on “unclean” gentiles, he had a lot of rethinking to do. I think the position of gay and lesbian people in the church today is not dissimilar to that of gentiles in the Church then. James Alison refers to Acts 10 in the introduction to his book “On being liked”. I haven’t read the rest of it yet, but Alison is a brilliant writer. Another short book I recommend is Jeffrey John’s “Permanent, Faithful, Stable”.


#131

I wonder what the viewpoints are here about premarital sex. That issue seems to be ignored in the debate.


#132

I actually addressed this (to a degree) in my essay on the creation narrative (which I linked to earlier). There are several things that are not affirmed in the Bible, including yoga, masturbation, and consumption of coffee and junk food. Are those activities also immoral since they’re not affirmed in the Bible? If not, why not?

Also, Justin Lee (GCN founder) and Gareth Moore have made excellent broad theological arguments for affirming same-sex relationships. So, again, I recommend Justin’s essay (free online) and Moore’s 2003 book. I have repeatedly cited and recommended them in this thread. (Just a friendly reminder :slight_smile: )

Some have argued that in that era and culture, “eunuchs” as a category included what we would today call “gay men” (men that were sexually attracted to other men, not attracted to women, and could reproduce). This has been argued by Faris Malik (amazon.com/Children-Are-Free … 0971929602), among others. If that’s true, then they would have us wonder why Philip didn’t ask the eunuch about it in Acts 8. And they also wonder whether Jesus was referring to them when he said that “eunuchs from birth” weren’t required to follow the model of one man and one woman. However, those strike me as weak arguments from silence - just as weak as the argument that “scripture never explicitly approves of same-sex relationships”. I used to make those arguments back in 2004-2006, but have since abandoned them. My point is that the argument from silence can go both ways.

Here’s a quotation from Justin Lee’s essay:

That said, I personally believe that sex is not reserved for marriage. And while we’re on that topic, I want to point out the irony of conventional Christians (who condemn non-marital sex) quoting the OT to condemn same-sex relationships, but then overlooking the fact that polygamy and sex with concubines were either condoned or flat-out endorsed. Not that I support either one; I just wanted to note the irony.

Best

  • Pat

#133

Sex is not reserved for marriage? What about other types of sex- bestiality, incest, polygamy- are these fair game as well?


#134

Not in my mind, but many pro-SSR people disagree with me and believe that sex is reserved for marriage (I cited one example in my last post).

For now, let’s stay focused on SS relationships. I would prefer to discuss the other issues in other threads. If you insist, we we can delve more deeply into the question of sex outside of marriage, but let’s not (yet) get into incest and bestiality (totally separate topics). My claim is that there are no good arguments against same-sex relationships - the Biblical, social, and philosophical arguments are all weak IMO. My claim is that same-sex eroticism is permissible at least in a life-long commitment.

  • Pat

P.S. Again, it’s ironic that you mention polygamy, which was affirmed in the OT. But again, for now, please focus on SS relationships unless it is vital to discuss polygamy.


#135

I do believe sex is reserved for marriage, but…

It’s not the topic of this thread! So I’m going to START a premarital sex thread

Roofus, I’ve said my peace - I think the OT is generally a really poor place to try to glean sexual moral guidance(!), and I think Paul was condemning pederasty in Romans and elsewhere, (which I doubt many gays, Christian or otherwise, would condone).

But the “oh yeah, how about sex with an elk…is that fair game?” (puntended!) line is weak. The question is SSR in a committed relationship, and it’s not easily dismissed.

Now off to start my premarital sex thread!

Someone else can start the “Sex with Ann Elk” thread…


#136

In response to:
“But the “oh yeah, how about sex with an elk…is that fair game?” (puntended!) line is weak. The question is SSR in a committed relationship, and it’s not easily dismissed.”

I didn’t mention the OT, did I?
You say that the line is weak, yet…you have no demonstration as to why so? That is called a “bald assertion” and is weak in itself!
The point is that the same justifications that Pat asserted could be asserted for those sexual activities as well. Also, the justification of SSR in “committed relationships” (whatever that means) would have to apply to premarital heterosexual relationships as well.


#137

Fair enough R, though I wasn’t saying you were quoting OT, I was trying to condense my own view of the scriptural prohibitions on ssr in any form. I think the OT is compromised as a “Guide To 21st Century Godly Sexual Behavior”, and I think NT (read Pauline) denunciations were directed at the despicably vile but widespread and condoned pederasty of his time.

Baldly asserted, Strawman arguments ARE weak. In fact to say they are “weak” is to overstate their strength, because they don’t actually argue against something your opponent advocated. I see no-one defending beastiality; if you want to make the case that defending ssr is tantamount to defending Beastiality, fine. But then you have to carefully MAKE that argument. Just saying “well I guess Beastiality is fair game, then” may insinuate that you feel that there is an argument to be made, but it does not actually make that argument.

“Whatever that means” seems dismissive and condescending, but perhaps there is good faith misunderstanding:

Committed: adjective

. 1. Bound or obligated, as under a pledge to a particular cause, action, or attitude. Opposite of uncommitted.
2. Associated in an exclusive sexual relationship; also called attached. Opposite of unattached.


#138

I do believe this is possibly the most tasteful and tactful assessment of same sex marriage that I have ever read.

You sound like a professional diplomat…You might be Tribe of Benjamin.


#139

Interesting discussion. :laughing:


#140

Why is it the sex related threads get so many views, like 100 each day. Other threads just a small fraction of that. Real viewers? Auto-bots?