Statesboro, GA, USA
Do you know the original words and meanings in the bible that we are translating as referring to "homosexual" in our interpretations basically because they sexually involve people of the same sex?
Yes, I do. Below I will take scriptural references to homosexuality one by one, and we'll look at those words, and why proper exegesis would conclude that these verses refer to homosexuality per se.
but that the bible is referring to homosexuality individually, aside from being in wrongs that sexuality in general is taken to, is questionable.
"Heterosexuals" commit indecencies that are "homosexual" acts as well. Why should people that are "homosexuals" because they are maturally and monogomously in love with one of the same sex be blamed and treated as sinners for such things?
So then, you're saying that only what's wrong in the context of a heterosexual relationship (ie, betrayal, adultery, etc...) is what is also wrong in the context of a homosexual relationship? Then why doesn't the bible just condemn adultery and be done with it? If this is true, the Biblical writers totally failed because they made it look overwhelmingly like they were referring to homosexuality itself. (You'll see in further detail when we begin to look at the scriptures). Abundant condemnation of betral and adultery and sexual unfaithfulness is given elsewhere in scripture. To cloud the issue with homosexuality (which you are saying might be good in and of itself) would make no sense. So here's my point ... Should we derive the meaning from the actual text and what we know of the particular culture surrounding that text, or should we rather derive it from a contemporary theory that they really meant the same sexual sins condemned in adultery passages? What are you basing that upon?
Paul seems to refer to usage not love in his references. There is not a word about monogamy that I recall.
You're right, Paul does not really mention love. But then again the passage is not dealing directly with love ... it is dealing with righteousness and sin, and a right relationship with God. Paul actually wrote the following: "... For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and recieving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." (Romans 1:26-27)
You seem to be taking the word "use" out of context. Paul is contrasting the "natural use" with that which is "against nature". He's not condemning "using" someone, as if he meant the same thing as the word we use with a negative connotation, as in: "You're only using me". That's not the sense at all that Paul is using this word. Do you know the importance of context? Paul goes on to define what he means by "against nature", when he wrote about men with men, having left the natural use of the woman.
So two things are clear from looking at this passage:
1) Paul doesn't use the word "USE" as in the sense of taking advantage of someone. The passage wouldn't make sense if that were so. Just try plugging in "taking advantage of" every place "use" occurs, and see what happens.
2) He makes a distiction between a "natural usage" and one that is "against nature".
But "homosexuality" is our heading, not the bible's. Just like where we translate "world", that you showed certainly has different signifigances and meanings in the bible.
I disagree, it is the bible's heading even if the english word "homosexuality" didn't exist. You're right that the Roman/ pagan world did not make distinction in word. The only words used literally meant "penetrator" and "penetrated". But the Jews DID make distinction, and so did the Christians. There's only one thing better than a word to describe something ... and that's several words strung together. Some of the Biblical passages, though not containing a single "word" for homosexuality, give clear description of homosexual activity (like the Romans passage above).
We translate it as "homosexual" but I don't think "homosexual" was even word back then, and I'm not sure if there was exactly a certainly parallell reference in word or worth in that times and culture.
Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be decieved. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor theives, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."
This is not my favorite English translation (New King James Version), but I use it because of convenience and familiarity ... But I wanted to call attention to the two words I have underlined. I will describe the words in the original Greek:
The first is "malakos" which in a literal sense means "soft raiment". Metaphorically it was used to mean "effeminate, of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness"
The second is "arsenokoites" which is derived from two other greek words meaning literally "a man", and "a bed". And it means "one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite.
The first term really refers to a more passive role in the homosexual relationship, as one who allows himself to be taken advantage of. The second word (arsenokoites) is a more generic word that means exactly what we mean by homosexuality today.
I'm openminded and will consider the possibility that the bible may refer to "a mongomously inclined" homosexuality as well. But that remains conjecture, not scripture.
I'm glad that you are openminded. But you must remember one thing ... If the Bible condemns homosexuality wholesale, there will be no moral distinction between "monogamous homosexuality" and another kind. In that case, the best that can be done is to show you that the bible condemns homosexuality in more universal terms ... in a way that applies to all humanity, and in a way that disregards whether or not there be one or twenty partners involved. And close textual scrutiny can do that, I think, quite easily. But you will find no reference to "monogamous homosexuality" since the Biblical writers made no moral distinction. Just like you will never find any mention of virtuous adultery.
I’m going to (in several posts) list and comment on scriptures that occur chronologically from the Old Testament to the New Testament, which deal with the issue of homosexuality. Some scriptures only condemn homosexuality in a secondary kind of way, as when other sins are being addressed primarily, and homosexuality happens to be addressed alongside them. I will not include such scriptures. I will exclude them not because homosexuality cannot be shown to be sin from these passages ... they’re just not as clear. But other scriptures exist abudantly enough which condemn the practice of homosexuality exclusively. So the apologetic defense of homosexuality as sin, doesn’t have to depend upon some of the more obscure passages. I will define underlined words in the original languages for clarity.
The first mention of homosexuality is in Leviticus 18:22
“You shall not lie with a male as with a women. It is an abomination.”
*English “lie” comes from the Hebrew word “shakab”: To lie down (for rest, sexual connection, decease, or any other purpose.)
*English “abomination” comes from the Hebrew word “Towebah”: something disgusting, an abhorrence, especially idolatry or an idol.
Though “lie” can be a general term that doesn’t necessarily describe sexual activity, the term is given it’s context when the text says “as with a woman”. In that culture, the idiom would have been clear that to “lie as with a woman” means sexual intercourse. Therefore the meaning of the scripture becomes clear. It is referring to men having sexual intercourse with men. The word for “abomination” is a qualitative description of the action. Some do try to say that the verse was referring to only to pagan homosexual temple prostitution, or some merely religious violation, not to the act of homosexuality itself. But there is nothing in the text which would suggest so. Sins being described by words which suggest idolatry are common in the scripture, and do not necessarily refer to the literal religious practices. For example, covetousness in the New Testament is described as “idolatry”, but it would be absurd to suggest that when the Bible condemns covetousness, it was referring to a first century religious “kind” of it. The most natural rendering of this text is that the words “male” and “woman” are universal terms ... They literally mean in the Hebrew “mankind” and “womankind”. Such universal terminology would not be used to describe a regional or cultural practice. And again, the text would be deceptive since it does not indicate religious practice, but rather refers soley to “men having sex with men” as I have already shown. So there is no cogent textal argument which would cast doubt on the fact that Leviticus 18:22 is referring to homosexual intercourse, regardless of circumstance.