Reverend G. William Ames
A young man writes this month:
In Leviticus, God said that you shouldn't lay down with other men or else your head should be chopped off and your blood spilled on you! This thought scares me so much. I always wonder, what will happen when I die? Will I be at the gate and am told "You have to burn in hell for feelings you cannot control." Why is God against homosexuality?
OK, thats a good one! I'll answer the second part of this comment/ question first. I'll refer to Fr. David Helminiak's book, "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality," and recap what I've stated in earlier articles.
The debate about homosexuality stems from the scholarly interpretation and translation of the Greek New Testament. Helminiak explains that what the scripture is talking about is sexual violence used against a person of the same sex and not homosexuality. In the days when the Bible was written and much earlier still, when a conquering army vanquished its opponent it was customary to slaughter all of your enemy's children, rape their women and humiliate the defeated army by raping the soldiers and treating them like women. Sexism, sexual exploitation and sexual violence has been around a long time.
The Bible also speaks out against prostitution which is basically having sex outside of marriage and outside of a loving relationship. According to Helminiak, the Bible does not come out plainly and condemn homosexuality. In fact, Helminiak points out that the Bible doesn't say much about homosexuality period.
The biggest question for gay, lesbian, straight, transgendered or bisexual Christians and interested others is which interpretation of an ancient language are you going to buy into? The one thing to consider also is not who wrote the Bible but who interpreted the Bible for modern readers. Those folks were theologians and scholars functioning under a strict set of doctrinal rules made up by men of, and anyone can correct me on this, the Roman Catholic Church in Rome which was the Christian religious authority of the era.
As for Leviticus, I looked in the New Jerusalem Bible (1990) and I could not find the specific information where God said He'd cut off any one's head and such. What you are probably referring to is Leviticus 26:14-46. That section is entitled "Curses" and it outlines what God will do if a Jew does not follow the laws set out in Leviticus. God was speaking particularly to the Israelites whom He was trying to keep pure as they were His chosen people and He had some very special plans for them.
One thing Christians have to remember today is that God was tough on the Jews of Israel. Why? Because they're the folks that God Himself chose to get the whole program going. We, gentiles (non-Jews), have got to honor the Jewish people for this reason. Without them to carry the early torch and to be God's instrument on this earth to fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah and His ultimate sacrifice for all people (including gentiles), there would be absolutely no hope or redemption for people today. So don't buy into the fundamentalist scare tactics. Get the Holy Bible off the shelf and crack the spine of it once and a while. You'll be surprised what you'll find in there. The reading is phenomenal!!
Remember too that, and you can differ with this opinion if you wish, the Old Testament isn't called the Old Testament for nothing. Where the book of Leviticus outlines certain laws regarding sanitation, conduct and cleanliness for the Jews, the rest of the Old Testament is the Word of God and operators manual for the Jewish people. It wasn't written for Christians. We weren't Christians then because, obviously, Christ wasn't in this world yet for that purpose.
Christians have the benefit of the wisdom within the pages of the Old Testament and the teachings and history of Christ in the NEW Testament which was given to gentiles who believe in Christ (the word "Christ" means "the Savior"...no its not Jesus last name). The Old Testament lays the historical foundation that Christians need to be aware of to see where they are going and testifies about the sacrifices that the Jewish people made on behalf of Christians. The Old Testament also illustrates for it's readers how God utilized the formal Jewish religious sects of the day to fulfill His promise of redemption through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus.
What I believe God wants us to do is to believe in Him more than anything else and to place our trust in Him that He will show us the way. He has blessed each person in this world with abilities and disabilities, talents and tribulations to teach us to call on Him and to keep our eyes fixed on Him. The only thing that will absolutely positively send a person to hell is the sin of blasphemy which in fact is consciously turning away from God and denying His existence and sovereignty over all. God is a loving God. The best thing one can do in any case is to keep reading the Bible and understand it as the Lord leads you. Don't depend on hearsay or scare tactics. God wants us to be free of that garbage so He can be the One speaking to our hearts and no one else.
Matthew 22:36-40 says this: "Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?" Jesus said to him, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too." Do you get it? God wants you to love Him as much as He loves you! Be at peace! God bless you! Email me, I'd love to hear from you! Until next time...
If you are depressed, despairing and need help, please don't wait to get help. Call a licensed professional such as a doctor, counselor or social worker as soon as possible. Some things in life take a little bit more than we have to give to work the issues out. Look in your local telephone directory for listings of professionals near you or if its an emergency, don't hesitate to call "911" or the telephone operator. You're important and we don't want to lose you!
Questions about AIDS, call the National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342-AIDS. Peace!!
Please note: If anyone would like to supply an essay regarding the book I'm in the process of writing, please email me with a request for more information. Thank you.
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