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Featured Paul, homosexuality and the church

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Filter, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. Filter

    Filter New Member

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    Aristophanes tale about the creation of desire, as written in Plato's Symposium can be summarized in this way: Initially, three kinds humans were created; man, descended from the sun, woman, descended from the earth and androgynous (man and woman in the same body), descended from the moon. The bodies of the three genders had a double set of arms, heads, legs, reproductive organs etc. During a rebellion against the gods, the gods discovered that humans had become to powerful for them, and as an attempt to stop the rebellion, they cut all humans in half. This caused a big longing in the lives of humans, a constant longing to find the other half which they were separated from. The split androgynous longed for the opposite sex while the men and women which had been split longed for the same sex. If one relate this to the kind of homosexual love Aristophanes is generally encouraging, it's not a mutual relationship between adult men, but between a man and a boy, a teacher and a student or wherever there was an imbalance of power in the relationship. This is called pederasty.

    If this was what Paul had in mind when he thought of homosexuality, his thought would likely be a result of an idolatry myth. Is this the reason why Paul in his letter to the Romans (1:23) writes that people turned to idol worship just ahead of his writings about homosexual relationships? I don't know, but the whole reasoning is built upon a myth of idolatry, and within the context of imbalanced relationships and pederastic homosexuality.

    In the same tale from Plato's symposium, we hear about the couple Pausanias and Agathon. This example is perhaps more relevant to the context the church is facing today, but it's important not to read our own time into the relationship between Pausanias and Agathon. During the classical Greek period (5-400. bc), it was essential to divide the sexual partners in a relationship into a passive and an active part; The one who penetrates and the one who gets penetrated. The men were thus seen as superior to women for this reason. In the relationship between Pausanias and Agathon, Pausanias was politically superior. Agathon was around 15 years old when the middle aged Pausanias took him as his lover. Even in his late 20's, Agathon was described as a young boy, he was known to dress like a woman, and was described as having an attractive feminine appearance.

    Paul wrote that the man shall be the head of the woman as Christ is the head of the church. The church' general attitude today is to interpret Paul in a way that women and men are equated and equitable in relations. If the church is right about this, there should be no difference in status or value between men and women in any relationship, and hence no difference between men. This whole pederastic constellation would then appear as a perversion of the ideal of equality and balance of power in a relationship. If Paul on the other hand meant that women were subordinate, it doesn't get any better. This means that the man who is the passive part will degrade himself to something less than what God had intended, and the active part would oppress another man.

    The way the relationship between Pausanias and Agathon is portrayed, is not coherent with what Paul prescribes as a healthy relationship. Today. healthy, mutual and life long homosexual relationships are not considered oppressing or un-equal. To the church, it's the act itself which is considered a sin, regardless how it's performed. The church now acknowledges that both hetero- and homosexual relationships can be built upon equated and equitable friendships. This is most likely not the kind of relationships Paul had in mind when writing to the Romans.

    There has always been disagreements on whether or not Akilles and Patroklos were lovers or only good friends. Homer never writes that they are lovers. Akilles fell in love with the woman Penthesilea right before she died, which indicates that Akilles was either hetero or bisexual. Patroklos on the other hand wished to marry the woman Briseis, and was ready to persuade Akilles into an agreement which made this possible. This indicates that Patroklos didn't want a monogamous or life long relationship with Akilles.

    I assume that most churches today do not agree that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship, even though the bible states that they kissed, that David stated that his love for Jonathan meant more than womens love, and that their relationship has been interpreted as a pact as strong as a marriage. The story of Akilles and Petroklos is written around the same time as the story about David and Jonathan. Even though there are more textual indicators to assume David and Jonathan being lovers than with Akilles and Petroklos, I still assume that Paul did not regard David and Jonathans relationship any more erotic than the relationship between Akilles and Patroklos. It's also woth noticing that the relationship between Akilles and Patroklos can be interpreted as unequal, and more in line with the tradition of pederasty.

    There are many more examples of such relatioships: Harmodios and Arisogeiton, Plutarks writings in the Erotikos, the story about the sacred band of Thebes, the roman philosopher Seneca etc.

    To conclude this somewhat bumby post with a question: Was Paul familiar with the kind of homosexual relationships which can relate to what we find in the church today, the monogamous, mutual, faithful, equal and publicly accepted marriage between people of the same sex. Or is he simply addressing the unhealthy and unequal pederastic traditions of his time?
     
    #1 Filter, Feb 26, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  2. PruePhillip

    PruePhillip Well-Known Member

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    Paul was speaking of a man lying with a man. The nature of the relationship
    wasn't a consideration.
     
  3. wellwisher

    wellwisher Active Member

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    Paul and people of his time were practical minded, but in a simpler, more natural time.They did not have the modern science and technology of today, but had to deal with the results of behavior, in a more natural way.

    What would happen if culture suddenly stopped dealing with any disease caused by sex. We take away all the modern science and medical things, and setup culture to mimic the time of Paul. They had none of the medical technology for STD's nor did they know what disease was.

    If we did not have condoms and medicines for STD's, the death toll would rise. Babies would increasing have defects. The diseases would especially hit the homosexual community. The diseases would have the least impact on celibacy and monogamous heterosexual relations. Paul was not ignoring the fact that homosexuality existed, but he could see with his own eyes, it was not healthy, since there was no science mop to clean up the mess, and reverse all the disease.

    Back in the 1980's, when homosexuality came out of the closet, in mass, AIDS appeared and decimated the homosexuality population. If science had not been there, to target the behavior and identify the source, the death tolls would have been far worse. Paul's time did not have science and medicine as we know it. These plagues ran their course.

    Paul, through common sense observation, was aware of how various behavior appeared to be a source of physical problems. His time had no science and medicine to counter diseases due to various unsanitary behavior. Wage of sin was death, was not a threat, but an observation between certain behavior and disease and death. He was trying to help compulsive people save themselves from the inevitable, at a time of no social mops.

    The analogy is say we developed a new science and medical technique that can restore highly damaged skin in minutes. We can cut the skin, we can burn it, we can chemically destroy it, etc, and all we need to do, is go to a new skin clinic, and the skin is restored as good as new.

    Because of this advanced tech, the young people start a new fad of mutilating the skin, through various stresses of cutting, piercing, burning and chemical altering. Since we have the tech that restore the skin in minutes, one may argue, why do the old rules of mutilation still apply? Why not embrace this new cutting edge behavior as natural, since there is no ill affects? Tech can create a false sense of natural, since a science mop is able to cover up, all natural consequences.
     
  4. JJ50

    JJ50 Active Member

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    I have often wondered if that highly unpleasant guy, Paul, was a gay in denial.
     
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  5. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Based on what, exactly

    Interesting.
    Your inclusion of "heterosexual" in the above sentence is confusing.
    are you implying that monogamous homosexual relationships are somehow at higher risk than monogamous heterosexual relationships?

    Bold empty claim based upon wishful thinking

    Aids also decimated the heterosexual community.
    A fact that seems to render the above irrelevant to your sermon.

    Define "natural"

    Religion can create a false sense of natural, since a belief mop is able to cover up, all natural consequences.
    Seems to me the foundation of your point applies equally to religion.
     
  6. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Lots of things are different now, from the way things were 2000 years ago.

    Not the least being the exploding human population. In a more "natural" world that wouldn't be happening, largely because people used to die off in droves from things that are now easily preventable. Complications of pregnancy and childhood illnesses and water-born diseases in particular have been slashed in recent years.

    I don't see anything better about a natural world, quite the opposite.
    So I see this issue as just another instance of revealed religion dragging the ugly and primitive ancient ethical codes into the modern world. Much to the detriment of the human situation, and that is how I define immoral behavior.

    This is just one example of why I don't consider Christianity to be a particularly moral worldview. The only reason it's better than Islam is because Christians have a greater tendency to drop Scriptural morals and ethics in favor of secular humanist values.
    Tom
     
  7. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    First, I couldn't care less about what any Greek myth or play says about anything.

    Second, Paul as an Apostle and speaking for God made it unambiguously clear, there can be no revisionist attempts blur the picture.

    Homosexuals are loved by God, and their sin is no worse than any other.

    Yet any sin, cherished and habitually practiced precludes one from membership in the church.

    There are denominations that have decided they have the right to deny Paul, yet be in Harmony with God. That is their right and responsibility, we will all stand in judgement before God.

    So, in spite of Paul, on this issue and others, people want to do just what they want,

    I say go for it, roll the dice, you know there might be a price, according to Paul, there will be.
     
  8. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity I'm n ur cookeez
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    Paul, who is probably multiple people under a single name, emphasizes always working. Sex drive for Paul is a problem to be solved, rather than a permanent thing. Its part of the world that is passing away. He emphasizes that in his troubled times its better not to get married, unless you just are on fire. He compares Christian life to a life of military discipline. In his view we are all as busy as ants, so we just don't have time for playing around. Beyond this most of our actions are idleness. Just about anything you do these days is a sin for Paul besides going to work. Now then Paul does mention unnatural sex as a bad sign, and he considers this to include lesbian and male homosexual acts and just about anything else that doesn't result in a baby or cooling of a man and a woman's powerful sex drive.

    There is a popular idea that sodomy is under a special category, but its not supportable in either Pauline writings or the Jewish Bible either. I'd say its right up there with watching TV or sitting with your legs crossed doing nothing. Sodomy is not blessed but very little is. The Christian world today is a huge compromise. Criticizing one or two sins is escapism. I drink coffee. When I do that I am wasting money that could go to the poor, but you don't see Christians criticizing me about it. The weird thing is that homosexuals get treated specially, and its strange and unfair.
     
  9. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Here's the thing.
    Living in the USA I see this a lot.

    Wealthy married couple, each previously divorced, get out of their late model luxury sedan, wearing wool power suits. They support Trump and his Wall.
    They go into church to worship the Author of:
    "Don't get divorced. Don't store up treasure that rust and moth will devour. Take care of the children and the least. Etc. Etc."

    And they don't grasp the irony of claiming that Christians cannot have gay sex, because of what Moses and Paul said.

    Tom
     
    #9 columbus, Feb 26, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
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  10. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Given that Paul evidently had no desire to have sex with a woman, he likely was a homosexual himself.
     
  11. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    I think Paul simply believed what the Apostles told him. That Jesus would be back any day, and sort everything out.
    In that context, sexual relationships wouldn't make much sense.
    Tom
     
  12. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity I'm n ur cookeez
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    Maybe? As Jewish man he is under some obligations to eventually get married to a girl. As a Christian he's under obligation not to be idle. He has explained his opinions about these things. It explains the church's historical treatment of homosexuality as an unnecessary bobble. In addition Jerome says sex is evil. He lives in 4th century AD and early 5th. That's a very extreme sentiment, but it gains popularity in the church. Later on you have all kinds of weird things such as the Flagellants. They flail themselves as if it is some kind of righteous action! You have to assume by this point that people just have no connection anymore to what comes before. They have no idea why things are good or bad. The very existence of the Flagellants shows you that things go off the rails very quickly. Paul is relatively moderate, though he is quite extreme about staying busy all the time.
     
  13. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Has he?

    Paul has rather the same problem that most prophets do. Nobody knows what he thought about anything, except for what later people recorded and preserved.
    Moses, Jesus, Muhammad,
    Nobody knows what any of those people actually said or believed. All anybody knows about is what their followers passed down. Which is not the same thing at all.
    Tom
     
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  14. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    You don´t get it. Maintaining a set of Divine standards isn´t what other people do, it is about the standard.

    So, apparently, in your mind driving a nice car, or wearing quality clothing is condemned in the Bible. You apparently believe you have intimate knowledge of peoples finances and their charitable contributions and volunteer hours, and thus can point out their hypocrisy, good for you.

    As to divorce, it occurs and is wrong, but then so is cursing, or acting in anger, Christianity is given ways to deal with these shortcomings.

    Now, if one got divorced twice a month for two years, that would be quite different from a one time life shattering event.

    If one was perpetually angry, and swore like a drunken sailor continuously, that would be different from a once in a while swear word, or throwing the wrench across the garage when you changed the spark plugs in your car a year ago.

    ANY sin habitually practiced, cherished, loved, disqualifies a person from membership in the Church.

    Those who have sins like these in their life can shop around and find a congregation that will accept they and their sin, thatś fine, itś a free country.

    I personally don´t care if a person has sex with an ostrich, or steals all the sugar packets in every Dennyś in North America repeatedly

    If they can get away with what they want to do, it isn´t my problem. However, they won´t become a member of a church of my denomination, without changing their ways.

    You may harp and complain about all you choose, it won´t change
     
  15. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    Ignorance on full parade. Paul was likely married, and if he wasn´t, so what ? You know what his sexual desires were ? Amazing intellectual feat there hubert.

    I guess every unmarried or not sexually active man is a homosexual, huh hubert ?
     
  16. PruePhillip

    PruePhillip Well-Known Member

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    Paul wasn't "highly unpleasant" - it was his message
    that people feel is unpleasant.
    If you parse his letters then about half of what he wrote
    is works based.
    Take a "red letter bible" and count the words of Jesus:
    about half of them are about works. And, Jesus was
    more harsh in His judgements.
     
  17. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Well, only the part of the Bible attributed to Jesus. That part is unambiguous, if you believe in Jesus.
    I don't.


    I believe that all of It is the ancient Scripture that worked for the warlord Constantine. Everything else was deemed heresy.

    That's why everyone from the Pope to Trump to you are Christians, but Jesus Christ gets ignored.


    It just goes on and on. Christians telling me stuff I know is not true or moral or even rational. ..

    Tom
     
  18. PruePhillip

    PruePhillip Well-Known Member

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    Constantine was about 250 years after Jesus.
    His contribution was immense, but he didn't alter the bible.
    (some can argue his trinity nonsense, but he at least didn't
    ask that bibles be altered to include it.)
    There's much about the Messiah in the Old Testament.
    Most of the bible was written before the deaths of the Apostles
    ca AD 64 (save for John)
     
  19. sooda

    sooda Well-Known Member

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    Rome was famous for debauchery and fast living.. and there was rampant syphilis and gonorrhea...
     
  20. sooda

    sooda Well-Known Member

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    You might find this interesting.. Probable dates in the margin.

    Early Christian Writings: New Testament, Apocrypha, Gnostics, Church Fathers
     
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