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Old 08-15-2001, 02:41 PM   #31
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Dr. Richard B. Hays, Duke U., finally got my letter. He's on research leave and it was just forwarded to him. JRE holds the copyright on his article so I can't post it, but he says a full discussion of the issue and text is in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament on pages 379-406. Sounds like a book worth having just for the topic, so I've ordered it from Amazon. Hays is pretty even-handed and displays academic integrity, not agenda, so you may want to get your own copy for discussions like this.
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Old 08-17-2001, 02:25 AM   #32
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religious has a very in-depth look at homosexuality and the Bible. It talks about what liberals and conservatives think about the various passages.
Anyway, I thought that it was very obvious that the Bible was against homosexuality, but maybe the writer's didn't intend for it to be understood in that way.
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Old 08-17-2001, 09:40 AM   #33
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I have a BA in Biblical Studies (although I changed my major to Philosophy and Religion two weeks before I graduated because the credits worked out) and usually find that liberal stances on the homosexuality issue usually fall week exegetically, as seen here.

Those that wish to take this position are better off using a broad theological brush instead of creative hermeneutics.
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Old 08-17-2001, 11:20 AM   #34
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deKooning is absolutely right. One has to engage in some eye-popping exegetical gyrations to impose an enlightened tolerance of homosexuality on the Bible. This poses no problems for atheists, who generally reject the Bible but tolerate homosexuality. Nor does it pose a problem for fundamentalists, who revere the Bible and decry homosexuality. It only poses a problem for the broad middle of Jewish and Christian believers who believe the Bible is divine but know in their hearts that there is nothing intrinsically morally wrong about homosexuality.

While it is a telling piece of evidence that someone would proffer such convoluted arguments in support of biblical tolerance of homosexuals, I'm favorably inclined toward theists who do so. There are many examples in history where religious authorities reinterpreted archaic, intemperate, and/or impractical statutes. For example, in the Torah it states clearly that children who strike their parents are to be put to death. Yet the rabbis who wrote the Mishnah and Talmuds softened this law by "clarifying" it, effectively restricting its applicability to the point where it was rendered utterly impotent. Similarly, liberal Muslim jurists of the 11th and 12th centuries reinterpreted and softened certain passages in the Qur'an and the early hadiths. The Catholic church in Vatican II removed the antisemitic "His blood be upon us and our children" from their liturgy.

In religions which are rich in authoritative written tradition, such as Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam, such renormalization and reinterpretation is at times possible. (The greatest possibilities exist within the Catholic church, where a single enlightened man at the top, such as a John XXIII, can effect remarkable positive change). For obvious reasons, the situation is more difficult with those who adhere to the philosophy of sola scriptura, such as the low-church Protestants. Chained to the Bible and the Bible alone, they are constrained to condemn homosexuality. It would be nice if they took the rest of the Bible seriously and condemned excessive wealth, etc.
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Old 08-17-2001, 11:41 AM   #35
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I have no problem with the biblical dislike of homosexuals. Christians (and indeed any religionist) may hate them as much as they like. My problem arises when they try to make their viewpoints the law. It seems to me that if homosexuals are born (or naturalized) citizens of this (USA) country, then they deserve ALL rights that are associated with such membership. Any infringement of these rights should be seen as unamerican. Christians must choose to be american citizens first and religious members 2nd. If they cannot abide by this, they should be deported.
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