Showing posts with label coming out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coming out. Show all posts

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sin

Recently, in our largest mud slinging content to date, a flowchart was placed by us on our our REASON Podcast Facebook page regarding homosexuality and sin. The topic of the flowchart was 'So, you think homosexuality is a sin, and therefore gays should not be allowed to get married?'

The ensuing argument took us through the gamut of the Judeo-Christian belief system, with quotes and references stretching from Leviticus to Paul's letters to the Romans and Corinthians. Words like 'abomination' and 'fornicators.'

Without delving into the concept of 'sin' itself, which, of course, is the presupposition in this entire mess, let's take a quick look at the three referenced sources to see what, if anything, the good book declares regarding homosexuality and the nature of sin.

As the wise man once said, you should always start at 'GO,' yet you do not get to collect $200.00. So, let's go: Leviticus:

The most commonly cited passage is 

Leviticus 18:22, which states: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. [King James Version]

 

Leviticus 20:13 adds some fun to the fire by declaring: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."


Now, setting aside for  a second the sheer physical impossibility of a man lying with another man 'as if' with a woman, it is significant to point out that neither one of these passages refer to homosexuality, to intercourse, or anything other than 'cat's sleeping with dogs, chaos chaos chaos.'

The relevant word is 'abomination.' The word abomination's roots lay in the Latin 'abominare,' loosely translated as 'an ill omen.' This, in turn, comes from the Hebrew 'Sheqets,' or 'Shiwquts.' 

In all cases, what we are referring to is an omen, or a portent. 

 And my point? Well, Leviticus is full of laws regarding the behavior of the population of the Isrealites. The community shall not eat shellfish or pork, the community shall not work on the Sabbath. In all cases, the abomination of committing such acts indicates that to do so will bring a curse upon the population. 

To state this another way, the word abomination does not reference 'sin' or any sort of internal crime, but rather is an extrinsic wrong. The damage done by such an act would be towards the community, not towards the individual. (Except, of course, that whole thing where they hit you with rocks until you are dead.)

Leviticus is considered one of the books of the Pentateuch, the teachings of Moses, passed on by God in order to allow the chosen people to propagate and survive as a culture amidst the 'gentiles' who were constantly at war with, and trying to absorb, the Isrealites. (See Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and on and on and on.)

So why state that for a man to lay with another man would be a curse not upon that man, but on society? Numbers. For every man who lays with another man, the chances of offspring able to support the cause is diminished.  It is the same reason why a female rape victim is required to marry her rapist: They needed the numbers.

These are war rules, not peacetime rules, and foot solders are needed.  Pure blood foot solders, of course, as if your wife be not a virgin on her wedding night, she must be stoned to death because the enemies of the Isrealites might be making a play to breed them out, and we can't have that.

And all of this leads to the point, the laws of Leviticus are external in nature, and meant to allow a society to expand as rapidly as possible, regardless of the cost to the individual within that society.

An 'Abomination' is not a sin...it is a curse. Thankfully our society has, (for the most part,) moved past the point where we believe that individuals have the magical ability to curse a person or collection of persons. Every time Leviticus is brought up as justification for the 'evils' of homosexuality, just remember that, ultimately, those who make this argument have about as much of a leg to stand on as those who propagated the Salem Witch Trials.

Because that is all this is: Thou shall not suffer a queer to live.


Still think homosexuality is a 'sin?' Well, let's fast forward a few thousand years, past the point where Judas was burying the supposed dinosaur bones, and take a look at the three references to homosexuality in the New Testament.

First off, there is not one mention of anything relating to homosexuality in the Gospels. All three references come from Paul of Tarsus, in his letters to the Romans, the Corinthians, and last, but not least, to his buddy, Timothy.

Romans 1:26-27 "For this reason [idolatry] God gave them up to passions of dishonor; for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error."

 

This is the most often cited new Testament reference to substantiate that homosexuality is a sin, which is problematic for several reasons: Number one, in no translation does it state that male upon male lust is a sin. It only refers to it as 'shameful.' Furthermore, it establishes that the shame inherent in such lust is the actual punishment for such behavior. To put this another way: If you're gonna be gay, you're gonna be ashamed about it..ha! take that.  

But that is not the greatest problem. Go ahead and read the text above one more time. It clearly states that God's problem was not with homosexuality, but with idolatry. In fact, God punishes the idolators by foisting upon them passions of dishonor. Yes, God made them gay as punishment for worshiping false idols. 

If you are gay, it is because God made you that way...and the punishment for being gay is...ta da...being gay.

Tell me again about sin?

Corinthians 1 6:9-10 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind"


Again, we are absent any reference to either 'sin' or 'homosexuality.' This letter, in greater context (please, go read...really,) is Paul declaring to the Corinthians that they can't just sit around partying and fucking all day, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It is a letter advocating celibacy and prayer. Paul states that 'The Kingdom' will be at hand within all of their lifetimes. He states they should stop all sex, remain celibate forgo children, and prepare for the afterlife that is to surely come...oh, about 9:30 or so.

When Paul refers to fornicators, he is referring to those who have sex of any sort. The effeminate is a reference to those who are, in his estimation, practicing idolatry by worshiping material possessions. (You know, shiny clothes!) And last, but not least...abusers of themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul says God is a' commin', so you should probably stop jerking off.

To practice these behaviors, according to Paul, would make one 'unrighteous.' According to him, this was bad because God was surely on his way, and when he got here, he was gonna judge your ass.

He was going to judge your ass. So, tell me again how my jerking off is anyone's call but God? Tell me again how the right to judge is anyone's but God? Tell me again where it has an exception for those 'dirty fucking faggots?'
 

Timothy 1 1:9-10 "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine"


Finally! At least the concept of 'sin' appears. Of course, it is in reference to murders, the profane, for liars, for perjured persons, and the wonderful and lovely catch-all "Any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine."

Tell me again where it says in the bible that homosexuality is a sin?

No, seriously...TELL ME IN THE BIBLE WHERE IT SAYS HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN!

So, go ahead and interpret the above passages in any way that you see fit in order to justify your position that homosexuality is wrong. Go ahead and argue that Paul was right when he said that the Kingdom of Heaven will appear within his lifetime, that Moses wasn't trying to build an army, that curses exist, that God didn't punish idolators by inflaming their lust...

Go ahead and give me something, anything, to show that your problem with homosexuality is anything other than...you think it is gross.

Because, if that is all you got...then that's your own fucking problem. Meanwhile, I'll be over here dressed in a sequin jumper, singing show tunes in front of a golden calf.

Until then,
Paul Wittmeyer

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Persecution Complex?

I suffer from a tiny bit of paranoia. I am a little concerned that the masses will find out about me and burn me at the stake. Where does this come from? Why am I more concerned than most? It is a lot of things, from the way I was raised, to the reactions I get from people to a knowledge of history.

My Grandfather was a member of the American Communist Party. Yep, he was a Red. In the fifties. I am not sure how many of you out there know the depth of the Red Scare, but it was a vicious bit of Fascism by our government on it's own citizens. The FBI opened their mail and put it back in the wrong envelopes (Gas bill from aunt Florence or College transcripts from a bulk mailer etc.).

My grandfather, who taught at Cornell, was fired and the Dean gave him a job as a Janitor to keep my Grandfather around for conversations. My grandfather had a farm of 86 acres and built the rear half of the family farmhouse. He was a scholar and a hands on kind of intelligence.

My mother found out, years later, when she ran into an old elementary schoolmate that "government men" came to the school when the Cooks (my maternal family) were out and advised the children not to play with the Cooks because my grandfather would steal them away to Russia. Not only did my Grandfather not want to steal children to Russia but he felt that the Bolsheviks had bastardized the Communist ideals of egalitarianism, and equality.

My mother was involved in the anti war movement and a founding member of the Western New York Peace Center, she protested Nukes, whale killers, racist cops, and the like. Because of that my household had (on and off) been subject to the COINTELPRO program and it's successors of the seventies and eighties, where the government investigated leftist groups illegally(look it up).

This gave me the impression that they could turn on you and it would be all over. Paranoid? Well, a little. Keep in mind I am also a Jew and had great aunts and uncles who were fine upstanding citizens in the most culturally advanced nation on in Europe before the Nazis came to power. Then they were tortured and killed for their race. So, no, I do not think my concern is totally unreasonable.

I have always kept my mouth shut when I meet new people. Since I keep quiet and people like me I get to hear what they think. People always assume that people they like share their beliefs. So I got to hear a lot of insider stuff about "the blacks", "the Jews", liberals and, of course, atheists. A lot of people who wear their beliefs on their sleeve do not get the inside info. I got enough of it to scare the hell out of me. The disdain they have when talking about atheists is shocking and discomforting. Many of the most religious of people seem to get all Old Testament on atheism. It is like something out of that movie Hostel. They want to torture and kill us. Not just anonymously on a message board or a webpage, but in person to each other. I am not saying that all religious people are blood hungry monsters, I know quite a few who are not, perhaps a majority. But they all look the same. Walk into a room and it could be time for some tough questions and debate or fear of violence. Me, I am cautious.

I am not suggesting that we keep our beliefs secret and try to 'pass' but I am offering up some of my history to show people what can, has and may happen.

I have become a lot better at seeing people. I am a better judge of the inner demons people have than I used to be. This explains my recent very flagrant atheism. I have had few weird or unpleasant experiences with the religious in recent years. I do, though, still keep my mouth shut until I get a lay of the land and until I feel people will be more inclined to try and understand how I am misguided rather than suggest that it is the devil speaking through me.

-Josh
Darwinseye