Homosexuality

124

Comments

  • In fairness, @1986_overstaged did bring up an interesting topic, even if what s/he said may or may not have been correct. I think it is true that among a subset, certainly not a majority, of younger people who have grown up in very LGBT-accepting environments, it is more common than before for them to question whether or not they may have a non-traditional sexual orientation (including asexual), gender identity (including not feeling particularly gendered at all), or orientation towards a certain outward expression of their gender (or not). This is probably due to increased awareness and acceptance of sexual and gender diversity.

    However, unlike in the past, I think this self-questioning is less of a source of anxiety than it used to be (for many it still is, of course, because LGBT young people still have much higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, etc.) and people who have such questions feel less of a need to have "proof" of their identity - meaning that they can know or not know what their sexual orientation is, for example, whether or not they have ever had any relationship or sexual experience with anyone of any gender, and that's fine.
  • Following on from 1986_overstaged’s thoughts, and Louise’s stats. Anecdote rather than data, for which I apologise.
    I have 2 teenage kids. I find the notion that being nonstraight is somehow a cool thing to show off even if one was straight (somehow talking up the nonstraightness) very much at odds with the fact that we’ve been a place for (counts on fingers....) 3 of their friends to be as fabulously and vocally gay as they like, either because they hadn’t come out to their parents, or because they had, and the parents are non affirming.

    Of these 3 friends, 2 are recently out to their parents, who were accepting and affirming (heh, of course they were, they were always going to be) and the third, well, it’s getting slowly slightly better.

    This isn’t something da yoof do for fun.
  • I identify as Q, and am of a certain (ahem) vintage. A lot of kids have to go through terrible circumstances, and for them I have nothing but sympathy. They suffer rejection and sometimes worse. Others, in my anecdotal experience, use their emerging sexuality to épater la bourgeoisie (to scandalise the bourgeoisie), i.e., piss their parents off. This is a disservice to the parents. I have known parents who struggled with a child's sexuality, and their love conquered their preconceptions, and still the child used their sexuality as a cudgel.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    I identify as Q, and am of a certain (ahem) vintage. A lot of kids have to go through terrible circumstances, and for them I have nothing but sympathy. They suffer rejection and sometimes worse. Others, in my anecdotal experience, use their emerging sexuality to épater la bourgeoisie (to scandalise the bourgeoisie), i.e., piss their parents off. This is a disservice to the parents. I have known parents who struggled with a child's sexuality, and their love conquered their preconceptions, and still the child used their sexuality as a cudgel.

    There are rotten gay kids just as there are rotten straight kids. But the cudgel thing may be a misinterpretation either on your part or the parents'.
  • Pangolin GuerrePangolin Guerre Shipmate
    edited August 4
    I can think of one case in which there could be no misinterpretation. He was out to score points. Every attempt on the part of the parents was met with hostility. "What more can we do?" "I don't know."
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Kids can be dicks! Alert the Media!
    Anything can be used as a "cudgel'. Doesn't change that more LGBT+ youth are cudgeled than do the cudgeling.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Kids can be dicks! Alert the Media!
    Anything can be used as a "cudgel'. Doesn't change that more LGBT+ youth are cudgeled than do the cudgeling.

    I neither said nor implied what you attribute to me. And I speak from experience. Your sarcasm is tiresome, which is unfortunate, because you often make good points.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    The last two posts represent a first test case of temperature raising in an Epiphanies discussion and I'm having a word upstairs about what closer Hosting might mean in circumstances like these. How hot is too hot for Epiphanies?

    Meanwhile, I suggest you consider the implications of Commandment 5.

    This is not a ruling.

    Barnabas62
    Purgatory Host
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited August 6
    We note that Pangolin Guerre is a self declared Q, therefore not a member of a "privileged straight majority", and has probably had some personal experience of being demeaned.

    Commandment 5, relating to the giving and taking of offence, is we think going to be important in Epiphanies. Of course critical observations will be well within bounds, without which serious discussion will not be possible. However, we encourage Shipmates to be careful about the use of dismissive or sarcastic comments within such critical observations.

    Barnabas62
    Epiphanies Host
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Kids can be dicks! Alert the Media!
    Anything can be used as a "cudgel'. Doesn't change that more LGBT+ youth are cudgeled than do the cudgeling.

    I neither said nor implied what you attribute to me. And I speak from experience. Your sarcasm is tiresome, which is unfortunate, because you often make good points.
    sigh
    The problem I have with your post is that it doesn't help the conversation. One massive underlying point with LGBT+ discussions is that we are all normal people and are subject to the same behaviours. Name a condition, affliction, descriptor and there is someone who has abused it. That is part of humanity.
    Being black does not make one inherently a criminal, but there are black criminals. So what? "I know a back kid who is in a gang and commits crimes" is not a helpful thing to bring into a discussion of how black people are treated as criminals as a group. It gives ammunition to the wrong people and sheds no light on anything to anyone.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Oops, that last bit is wrong. What is should look like is this:
    Plus, why would the human species be the only one among mammals where a huge part of the population is sexually fluid? Since animals don´t have social constraints like we do.
    But many are gender fluid. Birds (especially ducks), bonobos, lions, various monkeys, penguins, dolphins, walrus...

    You cannot successfully use animals as a human analogue re psychological and social aspects of homo sapiens. Some species of ducks and dolphins also appear to coerce other members of their into having sex. Sex is about every 45 minutes during waking hours for bonobos and they use sex with any other bonobo in place of aggression is no analogue nor model for humans either. That animals appear to do things similar to humans, subject to our anthropomorphic interpretation, means nearly nothing at all. It means that various things humans do may be expressed by other animals in ways that are either peculiar to our view, or seem familiar. Gender does not exist in animals they way it is discussed as existing in humans.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The problem I have with your post is that it doesn't help the conversation.

    In your opinion. There could very well be a parent of a gay kid who is experiencing what Pangolin Guerre described and is thinking, "Good to know I'm not the only one whose kid does this!"

    It's not news that teenagers can be jerks, and raising teenagers is not for the faint of heart in any circumstances. But having seen a friend's teenager try to use her non-neurotypical diagnosis as leverage and/or an excuse for not doing anything she doesn't feel like doing, it doesn't seem to me that not discussing such behavior is helpful. It happens, dealing with it is tricky, and there's no reason not to talk about it.

    "I know a back kid who is in a gang and commits crimes" is not a helpful thing to bring into a discussion of how black people are treated as criminals as a group.
    True, and the reason is because black people are as a group treated as criminals. I don't know anyone who thinks gay teenagers are as a group being jerks any more than teenagers in general are jerks. Which you pointed out.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Oops, that last bit is wrong. What is should look like is this:
    Plus, why would the human species be the only one among mammals where a huge part of the population is sexually fluid? Since animals don´t have social constraints like we do.
    But many are gender fluid. Birds (especially ducks), bonobos, lions, various monkeys, penguins, dolphins, walrus...

    You cannot successfully use animals as a human analogue re psychological and social aspects of homo sapiens.
    Good thing that is not what I was doing, then. What animal studies show is that homosexuality is a feature in the animal kingdom and we are animals. Oh, gender is a feature of animals. Some male cuttlefish use female gender displays to get past rival males.


  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The problem I have with your post is that it doesn't help the conversation.

    In your opinion. There could very well be a parent of a gay kid who is experiencing what Pangolin Guerre described and is thinking, "Good to know I'm not the only one whose kid does this!"
    This is not a parental support thread. It is a thread addressing people who cannot process LGBT+ as normal people.
    Therefore it is going to be a bit different to one of those or a broader thread.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    This is a continuation of a thread on a general topic that ran to 94 pages on the old software. It can touch on all sorts of things related to homosexuality, including what gay teenagers may do and say and how to handle those things. It's not a narrow thread, because it's a broad topic.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    edited August 7
    It doesn't alter for me that it's worth contextualising anecdotes which can be used to harm vulnerable groups. Otherwise because this one person knew someone from minority ABC who did XYZ bad thing, harsh policies against vulnerable groups can be legitimised.
    I don't know anyone who thinks gay teenagers are as a group being jerks any more than teenagers in general are jerks. Which you pointed out.

    We've just had someone on this thread trying to argue that LGBT teenagers are just putting it on because it's cool, so I certainly wouldn't say this group can't be harmfully stereotyped. We've just in the UK had a very sad report half of young LGBT people who are left homeless after coming out are from religious backgrounds. If anti-LGBT people got traction for saying 'these kids are just trying to scandalise the bourgeoisie - their poor parents are right to kick them out' it could for example, make it harder to mobilise help for the kids who are ending up homeless.
    (Please note I'm not saying anyone here is doing that - just that it's a way anecdotes like that can be used.)

    If people do happen to know someone who's a pain in the arse from a group which is more often at risk, then I would think that the context does need to loom large to avoid the risk of the anecdote being used for ill.



  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Re bonobos:

    Sex is their etiquette.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Re bonobos:

    Sex is their etiquette.
    Research indicates some flexibility in sex roles for both chimpanzees and bonobos, especially in regards to grooming.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Louise wrote: »
    It doesn't alter for me that it's worth contextualising anecdotes which can be used to harm vulnerable groups. Otherwise because this one person knew someone from minority ABC who did XYZ bad thing, harsh policies against vulnerable groups can be legitimised.

    ...

    If people do happen to know someone who's a pain in the arse from a group which is more often at risk, then I would think that the context does need to loom large to avoid the risk of the anecdote being used for ill.

    I honestly don't know what you mean by contextualizing such anecdotes. Is someone supposed to tell more about the specific person or situation? Give societal context? What's the context you're looking for?

    I do of course get the point about the anecdote that isn't so much unhelpful as it is a lie; in the US President Reagan's so-called "welfare queen" is still infamous. But I grew up in a conservative and very anti-gay environment, and I still have family members who hold fast to the "gays are sick and/or damned" BS, and I haven't run across anyone claiming that teenagers are pretending to be gay because it's cool. It's simply nowhere near being a thing the way the welfare queen myth is a thing.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Louise wrote: »

    We've just had someone on this thread trying to argue that LGBT teenagers are just putting it on because it's cool,
    To avoid any possible confusion, the Shipmate who argued that was 1986_overstaged (page 3 of this thread). Pangolin Guerre did not argue that.

    On a more general point, since my ruling above is under discussion in the Styx, please try for the time being to avoid discussing issues here which touch on that specific ruling.

    Barnabas62
    Epiphanies Host

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    You cannot successfully use animals as a human analogue re psychological and social aspects of homo sapiens. Some species of ducks and dolphins also appear to coerce other members of their into having sex. Sex is about every 45 minutes during waking hours for bonobos and they use sex with any other bonobo in place of aggression is no analogue nor model for humans either. That animals appear to do things similar to humans, subject to our anthropomorphic interpretation, means nearly nothing at all. It means that various things humans do may be expressed by other animals in ways that are either peculiar to our view, or seem familiar. Gender does not exist in animals they way it is discussed as existing in humans.

    Possibly true. But it is a possible answer to the canard about how homosexuality is unnatural because it only occurs in humans. If somebody is already using animals as a human analogue, they certainly can't complain if the answer to their argument does the same thing.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    You cannot successfully use animals as a human analogue re psychological and social aspects of homo sapiens. Some species of ducks and dolphins also appear to coerce other members of their into having sex. Sex is about every 45 minutes during waking hours for bonobos and they use sex with any other bonobo in place of aggression is no analogue nor model for humans either. That animals appear to do things similar to humans, subject to our anthropomorphic interpretation, means nearly nothing at all. It means that various things humans do may be expressed by other animals in ways that are either peculiar to our view, or seem familiar. Gender does not exist in animals they way it is discussed as existing in humans.

    Possibly true. But it is a possible answer to the canard about how homosexuality is unnatural because it only occurs in humans. If somebody is already using animals as a human analogue, they certainly can't complain if the answer to their argument does the same thing.
    It's the level of inference required. I don't need to make any inference if I observe same-sex sexual behaviour. The behaviour was either observed in non-humans or it wasn't. We can however, observe that some same-sex sexual behaviour does not actually serve a sexual purpose, such as "re-motivated" aggression in canine species, where the dominant dog/wolf etc will mount in dominance other males. (we have to ensure we don't have confounding variables like confinement of animals in zoos etc)

    The words gender and sex get used broadly and tightly, depending on what is under discussion it seems. Sexual behaviour gets used for lots of things which aren't about reproduction both in humans and in non-humans. There are immense social purposes to sexual behaviour. I think the arguments about natural or unnatural re same-sex sexual behaviour have been well answered for both humans and non-humans: happens all the time, which makes it normal in any conventional sense.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    It's almost certainly back in the old thread, but I have a memory of Rowan Williams, writing, before he became ABC, that Romans 1 could only be understood today by recognising that the cultural understanding of the word 'natural' had changed.


  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    I have known parents who struggled with a child's sexuality, and their love conquered their preconceptions, and still the child used their sexuality as a cudgel.

    I’m not sure that’s an unreasonable response. How else do you expect someone to react when their parents tell them it was a real struggle to love them? “I used to think you were horrible, but since we’re family I guess I have to love you” is not a particularly endearing message.

    There always seems to be an expectation of cheap grace (for want of a better term) for those who have behaved horribly towards various minorities that doesn’t seem to apply in the other direction. Parents who behave hatefully towards their gay kids are “struggling”, but gay kids who don’t instantly forgive past abuse are “us[ing] their sexuality as a cudgel”.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    It's almost certainly back in the old thread, but I have a memory of Rowan Williams, writing, before he became ABC, that Romans 1 could only be understood today by recognising that the cultural understanding of the word 'natural' had changed.


    Well, to me it means "not manufactured or otherwise created by people". What did it mean to them? What does it mean to most people out there>
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    The Greek that’s commonly translated as “natural” in this passage is phusikos. This is where the word physics derives from. Phusikos is a ridiculously complex and polysemantic word in Ancient Greek. Some of its meanings are just “nature,” but it also can mean origin, the order of the natural world, originating force, as well as other more nuanced things depending on context. In Ancient Greek literature and thought, it’s commonly contrasted with nomos, or laws.

    That being said, I’m not sure how widespread this knowledge would have been. But Paul could also have easily chosen a less rich word to mean natural.
  • And what difference does the richness of the word make to our understanding of the passage? I'm getting lost here.
  • Apologies if this point has already been raised, but Greek/ Hellenistic mores were quite alien to our own. It was, for one, thoroughly misogynistic in a way that would even embarrass many of the modern reactionaries who claim to pine for classic Greco-Roman values. A man who liked ladies too much was considered unmanly and giving too much power to women. Therefore, apart from familial duties, it was often considered better for a man (especially a well-born one) to practice continence or satisfy his urges with other men. This is why I think it's pretty crazy to apply the NT passages to contemporary relationships which are utterly different in context and nature.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Crœsos wrote: »
    There always seems to be an expectation of cheap grace (for want of a better term) for those who have behaved horribly towards various minorities that doesn’t seem to apply in the other direction. Parents who behave hatefully towards their gay kids are “struggling”, but gay kids who don’t instantly forgive past abuse are “us[ing] their sexuality as a cudgel”.

    And if a kid really did weaponize their sexuality in such a way, they're in a pretty bad way, so all the more reason for them to receive real care and compassion.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    I don't think any of us can construe with confidence that 'struggling' always means 'behaving hatefully', but I agree entirely with Ruth about the right response.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Apologies if this point has already been raised, but Greek/ Hellenistic mores were quite alien to our own. It was, for one, thoroughly misogynistic in a way that would even embarrass many of the modern reactionaries who claim to pine for classic Greco-Roman values. A man who liked ladies too much was considered unmanly and giving too much power to women. Therefore, apart from familial duties, it was often considered better for a man (especially a well-born one) to practice continence or satisfy his urges with other men. This is why I think it's pretty crazy to apply the NT passages to contemporary relationships which are utterly different in context and nature.

    I'm naturally suspicious of "in their society..." assertions. May well be true, but can you link to some info on this?
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Karl

    You might find this interesting. The references to Greek (and Roman) culture are not saying exactly the same as SirP. but are in a similar ballpark.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Apologies if this point has already been raised, but Greek/ Hellenistic mores were quite alien to our own. It was, for one, thoroughly misogynistic in a way that would even embarrass many of the modern reactionaries who claim to pine for classic Greco-Roman values. A man who liked ladies too much was considered unmanly and giving too much power to women. Therefore, apart from familial duties, it was often considered better for a man (especially a well-born one) to practice continence or satisfy his urges with other men. This is why I think it's pretty crazy to apply the NT passages to contemporary relationships which are utterly different in context and nature.

    I'm naturally suspicious of "in their society..." assertions. May well be true, but can you link to some info on this?

    See Plato's Symposium, Phaedrus, and Alcibiades for the pederastic element. For the misogyny... well, pretty much everything. And what's the Iliad about? Well, a lot of things, but one is how a pretty boy, when offered world domination, military prowess, conquest, etc., chooses a pretty girl instead, and gets everyone killed because of it.

  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Question re references to homosexuality in animals:

    Are you talking about actual same-sex sexual behavior? E.g., intercourse, some kind of genital behavior? The reason I ask is that some long-ago science show/article labeled male animals not mating and also helping with childcare as exhibiting homosexual behavior.

    For all I know, that's what it might mean to the animals involved. But ISTM that someone (like a male and/or conservative researcher) might have said to themself, "Doesn't mate; does girl stuff like childcare; must be gay".

    I don't have a problem with homosexuality in animals (or plants, for that matter--lots of unexpected stuff going on there). But blithe "must be"s (about anything) tend to be incorrect, IME.

    Perspectives/thoughts?

    Thx.




  • Well I've personally witnessed behavior between same-sex cats, rats, and dogs that was definitely not childcare. And I think many people who have spent time around pets or livestock can say the same.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    I've known many a tibiasexual dog.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    The Greek that’s commonly translated as “natural” in this passage is phusikos. This is where the word physics derives from. Phusikos is a ridiculously complex and polysemantic word in Ancient Greek. Some of its meanings are just “nature,” but it also can mean origin, the order of the natural world, originating force, as well as other more nuanced things depending on context. In Ancient Greek literature and thought, it’s commonly contrasted with nomos, or laws.

    That being said, I’m not sure how widespread this knowledge would have been. But Paul could also have easily chosen a less rich word to mean natural.

    And of course varying understandings of the word physis caused untold grief for 5th century Christology, which we are still dealing with today.

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Isn't non-physikos (unpack as needed) what Paul calls Gentile Christians? Unnaturally grafted in and all that?
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Isn't non-physikos (unpack as needed) what Paul calls Gentile Christians? Unnaturally grafted in and all that?

    Is that true? I’m not familiar with it. Do you have a passage in mind I could refer to?
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    ECraigR wrote: »
    The Greek that’s commonly translated as “natural” in this passage is phusikos. This is where the word physics derives from. Phusikos is a ridiculously complex and polysemantic word in Ancient Greek. Some of its meanings are just “nature,” but it also can mean origin, the order of the natural world, originating force, as well as other more nuanced things depending on context. In Ancient Greek literature and thought, it’s commonly contrasted with nomos, or laws.

    That being said, I’m not sure how widespread this knowledge would have been. But Paul could also have easily chosen a less rich word to mean natural.

    And of course varying understandings of the word physis caused untold grief for 5th century Christology, which we are still dealing with today.

    Yes, quite. It’s a phenomenally rich word in Ancient Greek thought, and that richness continues in theology. It’s a shame phusis doesn’t get as much attention as some other words in the NT do these days.
  • Okay so it's implied. In Romans 11:21, the Jews are called the "natural" (physin) branches. The obvious implication being that we are unnatural branches.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited August 10
    Ages since I read it, and I'm trying to find an online link, but my memory tells me that Rowan Williams had quite a lot to say about the richness of meaning associated with "phusikos". (It's exactly the sort of thing he would do!)

    In the specific context of this thread, however, I think we should acknowledge that Paul, being both a Jew and a Roman, would be well aware of the licentiousness of Roman culture (particularly in its attitude to slaves) and the stark contrast with Jewish moral standards. As a man of his time, bridging both cultures, he is almost certain to have believed that men and women were perverse if they turned away from "natural" (i.e heterosexual) acts to "unnatural" (i.e homosexual) acts.

    If so (and I am almost certain it is so) I think he was wrong in this. But I can understand why. The evidence that same sex attraction was both a normal and a natural aspect of human behaviour for a minority of human beings lay some way in the future, and its impact on our moral understanding could not I think have been foreseen 2 millennia ago. But of course by saying so, I put myself at loggerheads with traditionalists and fundamentalists. And I feel morally impelled to disagree with them, because my inbuilt sense of what is fair, what is just, what is (agape) loving, drives me on.

    It's often the kernel of the debate, I'm afraid. A number of otherwise kindly and generous people find they cannot join me in seeing the error in Paul's thinking, as I have found from many discussions. They see me overturning a wider principle about the authority of scripture. They see me as sincere, but wrong. It is a step too far for them. An issue I have been wresting with for at least thirty years. I cannot change my mind, and it seems they cannot change their minds.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Ages since I read it, and I'm trying to find an online link, but my memory tells me that Rowan Williams had quite a lot to say about the richness of meaning associated with "phusikos". (It's exactly the sort of thing he would do!)

    In the specific context of this thread, however, I think we should acknowledge that Paul, being both a Jew and a Roman, would be well aware of the licentiousness of Roman culture (particularly in its attitude to slaves) and the stark contrast with Jewish moral standards. As a man of his time, bridging both cultures, he is almost certain to have believed that men and women were perverse if they turned away from "natural" (i.e heterosexual) acts to "unnatural" (i.e homosexual) acts.

    If so (and I am almost certain it is so) I think he was wrong in this. But I can understand why. The evidence that same sex attraction was both a normal and a natural aspect of human behaviour for a minority of human beings lay some way in the future, and its impact on our moral understanding could not I think have been foreseen 2 millennia ago. But of course by saying so, I put myself at loggerheads with traditionalists and fundamentalists. And I feel morally impelled to disagree with them, because my inbuilt sense of what is fair, what is just, what is (agape) loving, drives me on.

    It's often the kernel of the debate, I'm afraid. A number of otherwise kindly and generous people find they cannot join me in seeing the error in Paul's thinking, as I have found from many discussions. They see me overturning a wider principle about the authority of scripture. They see me as sincere, but wrong. It is a step too far for them. An issue I have been wresting with for at least thirty years. I cannot change my mind, and it seems they cannot change their minds.
    The hypocritical thing about that is some of what they believe is scriptural "authority"/interpretation overturned itself.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    What is it they believe? And how do you know?
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    If so (and I am almost certain it is so) I think he was wrong in this. But I can understand why. The evidence that same sex attraction was both a normal and a natural aspect of human behaviour for a minority of human beings lay some way in the future, and its impact on our moral understanding could not I think have been foreseen 2 millennia ago. But of course by saying so, I put myself at loggerheads with traditionalists and fundamentalists. And I feel morally impelled to disagree with them, because my inbuilt sense of what is fair, what is just, what is (agape) loving, drives me on.

    It's often the kernel of the debate, I'm afraid. A number of otherwise kindly and generous people find they cannot join me in seeing the error in Paul's thinking, as I have found from many discussions. They see me overturning a wider principle about the authority of scripture. They see me as sincere, but wrong. It is a step too far for them. An issue I have been wresting with for at least thirty years. I cannot change my mind, and it seems they cannot change their minds.

    I agree. The problem is that once we start tossing bits out because of cultural context or the like, we run the risk of quite literally building a god in our own image. Ideally, we wouldn’t do that (although it may be inevitable, and perhaps it’s always been the case.) As a matter of political principle, and being queer, I’m on board. Theologically it gets more complicated because of the tossing things out bit. Of course, there are other ways to get around it.
  • I guess there is a difference between tossing bits out because of cultural context, and doing our best to recognize how that context differs sharply from ours and therefore trying to abstract a general principle applicable to our place and time. The highly misogynistic, pederastic culture Paul was observing doesn’t exist today, except in odd corners like the Pashtun heartlands. The modern same-sex relationships are miles away from what was going on then. That doesn’t mean Paul would approve them either but he would have found many, many things about our culture, including the “conservative” parts, bewildering.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    I agree, but what general principle would we get from Paul’s condoning homosexual relationships? That carnality and lust are to be avoided? We know that already. And, if we’re being frank, in today’s sexual culture that’s hard to avoid. I know I’m guilty.

    I think one of the best parallels is the role of women in the church. There’s an equally clear injunction against women being priests, but some of us have managed to get around that. I’ve been interested for awhile now in reading about the debates surrounding women’s ordination in the Episcopal Church and broader Anglican commune, but haven’t actually sat down to do the research.
  • Well the part at the beginning of Romans is making a point, starting not with homosexuality but idolatry. After the gentiles engage in idolatry, God gives them up to all these other bad passions. Then Paul turns around and says, paraphrasing, “And you were the same, so be humble and thankful that God has pulled you out of all that.” So I would argue that a condemnation of homosexuality or even lust in general was not the chief purpose of that passage.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    But if those passions are bad then aren’t they to be avoided? It seems difficult to go from that to endorsing them.
  • Of course they are to be avoided. The question is whether a contemporary monogamous same-sex relationship between equal adults is the sort of thing he was talking about. Is this relationship an outgrowth of idolatry? Is it “unnatural” for the people involved?
Sign In or Register to comment.