1. By doing social justice project on fighting for the rights of LGTB community, we continue to run into the opposition ( mainly Operation Save America - www.operationsaveamerica.com ). It is important to know from what source gives them the concern they should protest homosexuality as a sin against god and immoral. Does the Bible really have any valid argument for/against homosexuality.
2. Many of us as Unitarian Universalist, have a religious background from mainline Christianity. Many of us have studied the Bible many times over and would welcome a refreshing look back at what we have spent so much time studying for so many years.
I welcome any comments made. Arguments may be par for the course. I understand how sacred the bible is to people as it is to me. As a person understands the tenets of their religion, they are unlikely to give up their viewpoints and will thus argue. However, I suggest if you wish to take part to make sure you edit your comments first before your post. Please, do not revert to name calling or taking comments offline and harrassing people by their email address, icq, instant messaging or their individual livejournal posts. People to revert to such tactics will have their comments deleted and if harassment offline will be reported to livejournal.
I propose the historical-critical interpretation of the bible does not show that homosexuality is a sin. It reveals that the authors of the bible did not view homosexuals as sinners and thus not condemned by God.
To me, truth is sacred. Each bias and viewpoint does have some truth to it. I myself am a straight male who is married and has one child. I do not like to see injustice and prejudice in any form. I would like for those who have lived with such tyranny and condemnation to at least be free from it in their own belief system as long as their actions are not immoral or unethical.
The information that I am presenting here is based on a particular bias. There are 3 current bias on studying the bible that I know of. I would welcome hearing other bias as well. The 3 bias I will speak on are from a fundamentalist Christian interpretation, a moderate figurative Christian interpretation, and a historical context interpretation. Here I will only address 2 -- Literal reading and historical-critical.
The literal reading interpretation "claims to take the text simply for what it says. This is the approach of Fundamentalism. It claims not to be interpreting the text but merely to be reading it as it stands. Clearly, however, even Fundamentalist follows a rule of interpretation, a simple and easy rule. The rule is that a text means whatever it means to somebody reading it today."
The moderate figurative interpretation views that all scripture is written symbolically. As one understands that scripture was God inspired but written by men, one comes to understand what it means from the symbols the bibles represents. Many interpretations can come from the bible. 1000 of meanings can come from 1 verse. It is important to understand what their meanings are to apply the scriptures individually.
The historical-critical interpretation of the Bible interprets the bible from the historical context and the culture from which it was written in. "The rule here is that a text means whatever it meant to the people who wrote it long ago. To say what a bible text teaches us today, you first have to understand the text in its original situation and then apply the meaning to the present situation."
I propose the historical-critical interpretation of the bible does not show that homosexuality is a sin. It reveals that the authors of the bible did not view homosexuals as sinners and thus not condemned by God. It did show that acts of homogentiality were against the social mores of society then. There were not consider unethical or immoral. Just taboo. Much like today where picking ones nose, cussing, farting, belching, rude gestures are against the social mores of today. The actions are not accepted by (picking nose, cussing...) society but are not immoral or unethical. It is just not polite.
Helminiak Ph.D, Daniel A (1995) "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality". Alamo Square Press
(More to come)