By Thomas Krehbiel
· Krehbiel Commentary · Saturday, Jul 22, 2006, 5:46 PM · 503 words · 2 comments ·
A Virginia "Weekend Without Echoes" post by Thomas Krehbiel
Some people opposed to gay-friendly churches cite something in (or not in) the Bible for precedent. This puzzles me. It would surely have gotten me burned at the stake in the first millennium, but to my unscholarly way of thinking, the credibility of the Bible as a source of moral authority suffers a bit from the inherent contradictions within it. For example, how does one reconcile that "love thy neighbor," "kill the homosexuals," and "thou shalt not kill" all come from the same collection of books? That alone seems to indicate some human fallibility within the writings of the Bible.
I don't know how other people do it, but I personally reconcile those differences by looking at the Bible not so much as an instruction manual but as more of a history book. A history book written by many different authors with many different viewpoints in many different times. Imagine the differences that might exist between a history of the Invasion of Iraq as written by a liberal and one written by a conservative. Such "partisanship" surely existed in Biblical times too, so it's not surprising that the authors of some of the books in the Bible would explicitly marginalize homosexuality. (Actually, it looks to me like a lot of things were marginalized, including women and any other form of sexuality.)
When pondering the Bible and how it might be applied to a moral dilemma like homosexuality and Christianity, I personally assign the most importance to the first four books of the New Testament -- that is, to the examples set forth by Jesus himself, and I think it's pretty clear that Jesus went out of his way to be inclusive of those shunned by society. It's easy for me to dismiss the Hebrew laws against homosexuality -- I don't place much stock in the Old Testament. After all, Jesus decided it wasn't sufficient anymore in his time, so why would it be any more valid today? And I know I'm supposed to take the writings of the Apostle Paul as Gospel too, but that's a hard leap of faith for me. There's no independent verification within the Bible that Paul really spoke for Jesus. That's why I have difficulty seeing Paul's views on homosexuality as "the Word of God." I guess you could say I'm suspicious that his writings, just like everyone else's, were colored by his own personal prejudices.
Keep in mind that I'm an Anglican, so I'm pre-wired with that whole three-legged chair of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. I'm particularly fond of that last one. On these controversial matters, one could blindly submit to the traditional interpretations of the church. In this era of couch potato thinking, many, if not most, do. But that would seem to spit in the face of God's gift of reason. If we weren't meant to think -- to challenge, to learn, to change -- why were we given brains?
Tomorrow: My Virginia Representatives In Action
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