Category Archives: Laws and Commandments

Homosexuality and the Bible

homosexuality

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. Circa 1191.

It remains unclear as to why this is such a volatile subject today. Scripture is clearly against homosexuality. It has not changed since its writing a millennium ago, and it will be the same centuries from now. There is no gray area. It is specific and it is clear. It’s discussed in both Old [Leviticus 20:13, Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22], and New Testaments [Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10]. If someone doesn’t believe or follow scriptural teachings, they can simply elect to ignore it [Revelation 22:11].

Yet, this very subject sends many in the Western world into a frenzy of unbridled and unhinged hatred, bordering insanity, and far too many Christians into apology. The only thing Christians should apologize for is allowing the modern world to dictate what their belief should be.

For a movement, such as the pro-gay movement, which is supposed to be all about liberation and empowerment, it is apparently peopled by those so fragile and delicate as to be offended by others simply stating they don’t understand it, or they support “traditional marriage.” It is ridiculous that so much of society is so dependent upon permission from others for their own lifestyles. It is likewise absurd that so many adults are really so easily offended (by anyone perceived as remotely anti-gay), when we sexualize our children as soon as they enter school. The bizarrely disproportioned priorities are just one symptom of a highly secularized society.

It’s apparently permissible for scripture to take a firm stance against heterosexual fornication and adultery [Leviticus 18:20, Deuteronomy 22:22, 1 Corinthians 5:1, Proverbs 6:32, Exodus 20:14, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40], but if you happen to engage in such behavior with someone of the same gender, it’s somehow supposed to be different. Modern society is a fine display of the wavering, the lukewarm, and often the foolish.

Homosexuality during biblical times was not widely practiced, which is why it doesn’t have a great deal of attention. It’s often just included with most other behavior forms considered “sexual deviancy.” While practiced since ancient times, it was always rare until modern times. The Native Americans of the Southeastern United States had no word for or concept of sodomy until Europeans came. Despite laws against homosexuality in America from its early days, no notable events happened until around 1903 when a bathhouse raid was conducted in New York City.

Popular culture wants to mainstream the practice for a number of reasons. The most obvious being that “pro-gay” is a boon for both businesses and politicians. Businesses see a number of financial and PR benefits for making such declarations. A variety of sources has reported on the blatant commercialization of homosexuality for some time. This article from NBC business in 2012, Insight Business, and this doesn’t count the tremendous number of “pro-gay” and “anti-gay” content out there featuring businesses that do or don’t support gay marriage.

It harkens back to the 1960s when so many stores ran “now serving colored,” signs. Companies that come out as “pro-gay” It should be a shame for our society to return to such exploitative tactics. Politicians know voters are divided on the issue and it’s a common ruse to distract from much more pressing matters.

As with many aspects of life, and certainly most of what scripture cautions us against, homosexuality is a high-risk lifestyle [http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/]. Scripture certainly doesn’t stop with homosexuality, it also speaks against incest [Leviticus 20:12, 1 Corinthians 5:1, Deuteronomy 27:20-23 ], polygamy [Leviticus 20:14, Deuteronomy 17:17, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Kings 11:3, Matthew 19:4-6, Leviticus 18:18], prostitution [Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Leviticus 19:29, 1 Corinthians 6:15, Proverbs 23:27-28], and child abuse [Luke 17:2, Mark 9:42, Ephesians 6:4].

Heterosexual failings are no better or worse than homosexual failings, which is often lost today. Adultery and fornication both go against laws God made and both are unnatural institutions. Is homosexuality an abomination according to scripture? Yes, it is.

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” -Leviticus 20:13

It should also be stressed that is not the only abomination in the bible:

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” -Proverbs 6:16-19

 

 

The Devil’s… Music?

music

Christ Cathedral Church in Oxford, England. Circa 1200.

Ascribing music with morality, either good or bad, has followed us from the ancient world. Ever since war drums, pipes, and other instruments were played to signal war, man has struggled with music forms he considered “evil.” To the realist, music is nothing more than notes played in a specific rhythm. To the idealist, music is beauty and grace that envelopes us.

First, what does scripture say about music?

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” -Psalm 95:1

“Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!” -Psalm 98:5

“And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.” -1 Samuel 16:23

“I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” -Psalm 13:6

“They sing to the tambourine and the lyre and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.” -Job 21:12

Nowhere does is say what the music should sound like, but one thing is certain. Music is associated with happiness, jubilation, and even exorcism in 1 Samuel. So, how does music become “evil” in the modern world?

First, it should be reiterated that “evil” music is not a modern invention at all. For centuries, the violin was considered the devil’s instrument. In history, Nero was said to play the fiddle while Rome burned. He didn’t, but the emotion violin music incited was met with fear and terror, much like electric guitars in the Twentieth Century.

Music only becomes dark when humans manipulate it in such a way. Most people who declare a music form “evil” only do so to forms they don’t like anyway. It’s much easier to declare freeform jazz to be evil, when you aren’t a fan. Perhaps the better statement is that what we see as “dark” is only in our mind in the majority of music. Of course, this is not to say there are no Satanic or evil songs, for there are artists today who openly and vocally declare their music is deliberately created to be “evil.” Those are excluded from this conversation.

Someone else may not have that perception of a song at all. What you may see as chaotic and oppressive, another person may see as liberating or empowering. We likewise can’t go by lyrics because the lyrics are virtually inaudible in much of the music out there.

Rock and heavy metal received the brunt of this lambast during the 1980s, to the delight of record companies. They truly went above and beyond to promote and perpetuate the public fear. Many Christians believed they were performing a public service by highlighting the lyrics that glorified drugs and promiscuity. What they didn’t do, since most didn’t listen to rock anyway, is point out the equal (or worse) negative connotations found in the music they actually listened to, easily found in pop or country. Songs here are used for reference, not necessarily to condemn the artists. For example, here’s a look at country music:

“Heaven’s just a sin away oh oh just a sin away. Heaven help me when I say I think I’m giving in.” -Kendalls

“On a mission to make something happen. Feel like Delilah lookin’ for Samson. Do a little mattress dancin’. That’s right I said mattress dancin’.” -Dixie Chicks

“Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other. What did you think those saddles and boots was about? There’s many a cowboy who don’t understand the way that he feels towards his brother. Inside every cowboy there’s a lady who’d love to slip out.” –Willie Nelson

“Give me weed instead of roses. Bring me whiskey instead of wine.” -Ashley Monroe

The lyrics just in the songs referenced above cover everything from sex to drugs. Again, these examples are used, not to condemn the artists, but to point out that no musical genre outside of inspirational can say it does not condone or celebrate what is against scripture.

Even bluegrass, as genteel and harmless as it’s regarded, can’t shrug off moral reproach with songs that glorify a number of evils, from murder to alcohol abuse.

Christians would have been better served to consider the situation, as opposed to shoveling out judgment. While the “Satanic Panic,” was a boon to the recording industry, it did great harm to Christianity as a whole. It is tangible proof that good intentions are meaningless without substance. The practice of Christian websites today of rehashing those old scare tactics are likewise detrimental to the faith.

Conclusion

God does not give us a spirit of fear and we have to question the source of anyone promoting fear. We can’t judge someone’s salvation because he or she is a musician, or any other artist, and it’s not our place to do so. We do not know where God has placed them or for what purpose, and that is none of our business. We don’t have that authority.

We can point out what’s offensive, cite the reasons why, and allow others to come to their own opinion. Above all, we should thoroughly research what we believe to be offensive before taking any action. It’s currently unknown how many people have been eternally lost because a well-meaning Christian rushed to judgment and pushed them farther from Christ. We should sum up the majority of the music controversies by saying, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. If you don’t want your kids to hear it, don’t let them listen.

 

 

The Human Animal… Without the Animal

animal

St. Mary’s Abbey, York, England. Circa 1055 AD.

One of the most common realms of misinformation today deals with human relationships. Primarily, society’s willful and hilarious idea that humans are naturally promiscuous. It would be amusing were it centuries ago, but this is something currently in popular culture. What’s even worse, this has even permeated the ranks of our academia. What does it say about our modern, sophisticated society? Not what we would like, and certainly nothing modern or sophisticated.

 

Natural Truths

We know tobacco is hazardous to our health. It has been blamed with respiratory and cardiovascular afflictions for over a century. Even chewing tobacco has been linked with a variety of oral cancers and gum diseases. As a result, we discourage and often prohibit tobacco use.

We are aware that obesity is a direct result of overeating or a poor diet. Obesity leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. We encourage one another to eat wholesome foods and consume fatty or rich foods in moderation. We know exercise is also necessary to maintain health. As a result, we have an entire subculture focused on healthy lifestyles.

We have no problem discussing the health risks associated with alcohol. It impairs judgment and is commonly fatal when combined with driving or heavy machinery. Alcohol usage leads to liver disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Nature has also equipped the human body with immediate, natural deterrents against excess in these areas. Overeating results in lethargy, nausea, or even vomiting. Excessive tobacco use results in persistent coughing and dry throat. Alcohol abuse results in a “hangover” or the feelings of extreme sickness the morning after the indulgence. Our culture has no problem in agreeing with nature on these issues, and scripture does as well.

Our issue is that the society willfully and ignorantly ignores logic and reason when it comes to sex. We want the human body to be promiscuous even when nature repeatedly proves no such capacity exists. We have ignored social data, statistics, crime rates, health rates, and all manner of scientific evidence to the contrary. Of course, popular culture blames “religious constructs” or “social tradition” for what is just natural: monogamy.

 

Truth of Modern Myth

We can’t consume foods like animals without severe illness or death. Dogs can devour decomposing carcasses without harm. Pigs can live in their own fecal material and never become ill, whereas humans can contract a variety of horrific diseases like cholera and typhoid with even microscopic contact. Humans are not able to walk around without some kind of covering, as we don’t have fur, hide, or an exoskeleton. Yet, we are supposed to have sexual relationships like animals, which is completely unsupported outside the human mind.

It should be no more controversial or provocative than the health statements listed above, yet it is. It is uncertain if the ignorance is deliberate or genuine. Nature throws terminal, incurable STDs at us every time we find a cure for the last. For example, syphilis struck fear into the hearts of humanity for centuries, and with good reason. Just a couple of decades after we found a cure for syphilis, humanity suffered with the emergence of HIV/AIDS. Animals do not have that worry.

Humans require eighteen years to raise their offspring. In the animal world, that’s several lifetimes over for the majority of animals. Animal offspring seldom need two parents, yet our science has proven children flourish best with two parents. Likewise, animal offspring aren’t permanently damaged from a traumatic childhood. Millions of adults across the world are currently dealing with damage inflicted upon them in childhood. This doesn’t even take into consideration the psychological damage bad relationships have on fellow adults or the struggle men and women experience in the course of one marriage, involving only two adults.

It begs the question as to why our society is so enslaved to one of the human body’s basic functions. That is the extent of the act. Alone, sex is no more educational or meaningful than any other basic body function. A meaningful experience must involve love, and to be morally acceptable, it must be within the bonds of marriage.

The fact is our society is hypersexed to the point of dysfunction. No amount of flesh is enough. Television and movies need to reveal more and more of the actors’ bodies than plot. We’ve convinced ourselves that humans need to sexually experiment to “grow,” despite overwhelming evidence of how careless sexual activity causes irreparable damage in many ways. We fabricate countless myths, misconceptions, and outright lies to justify the insatiable hunger. Promiscuity is “natural” because some man did it 1,000 years ago, yet we omit the fact that many women of those times were forced via arranged marriages and slavery. Sadly, many adults today look to those purveyors of perversity to support their current lifestyle.

When doctors are recommending parents vaccinate their children against an STD (Human papillomavirus), there is something amiss. Promiscuity is linked to a variety of cancers in men and women, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, psychological problems, sexual dysfunction, and non-fatal STDs (although some remain incurable). In extreme situations, people have sexually abused their bodies to the point that they no longer have a normal libido and require external sources just to become excited.

 

In Scripture

So, didn’t the men referenced in the Old Testament have many wives? Yes, they did. This crutch is often utilized by many in an attempt to morally justify their own appetites. We also see the horrible lives and horrific events suffered by those in Old Testament days because of disobedience. This is what scripture states:

“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”-Matthew 19:3–6

It is important to note the numeric terms used: one husband and one wife. Not one husband and four or five wives, or vice versa.

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” -Ephesians 5:33

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” -Deuteronomy 5:21

A man can’t love two women, or a woman two men, without compromising what scripture supports. It does not say four or five shall become one flesh, just two.

Women were property across the globe during Old Testament days. They were things to accumulate, like cars or houses. They were status symbols to validate a man’s wealth. It is astounding that we call ourselves “sophisticated” or even “intelligent” and attempt to promote the same dehumanizing beliefs used millennia ago.

 

Dietary Restrictions in the Bible

dietary

The Archbasilica San Giovanni (St. John of Lateran) in Rome. This church began in 324 AD.

Many people are often surprised to find scripture regarding what to eat in the bible. This has often caused much confusion and question among believers, as well as non-believers. Why did the bible discuss food? Why were there dietary laws?

The reasons are actually very simple. Most of the things discouraged in scripture are done so for valid reasons, as we will discuss on this blog. In scripture, maintaining a healthy diet is a way of caring for the body. The physical body is described as a holy place, a temple [1 Corinthians 6:19, John 2:21].

We must also consider how primitive food hygiene affected people. Eating the wrong meat, or just improperly prepared food, could have fatal consequences. Many pioneers as recent as the American frontier suffered terrible deaths due to dysentery, flux, or bloody flux, which are just terms for food poisoning.

The practice of cautious food consumption is actually found all over the world. Buddhists often have vegetarian or vegan diets. Taoist priests also use a form of “simplified eating” that is akin to vegetarianism. Vegetarianism is also an integral part of Hindu life.

 

The Change in Diet

Dietary requirements and restrictions underwent a great change in the New Testament. It is believed this change came about as humanity developed better methods of preparation and food storage. The main scripture regarding this can be found when Peter was in Joppa [Acts 10:9-15 English Standard Version]:

9. The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.

10. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance

11. and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.

12. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.

13. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14. But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

15. And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

What Does it Mean?

 

Many people today still follow dietary restrictions for their religious convictions. In truth, many are likely far healthier than those who have more mainstream eating habits. Your diet, however, does not have any spiritual significance beyond promoting good physical health.

For Reference

 

This set of scripture details the Old Testament’s dietary laws.

3. You shall not eat any abomination.

4. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,

5. the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep.

6. Every animal that parts the hoof and has the hoof cloven in two and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat.

7. Yet of those that chew the cud or have the hoof cloven you shall not eat these: the camel, the hare, and the rock badger, because they chew the cud but do not part the hoof, are unclean for you.

8. And the pig, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch.

9. Of all that are in the waters you may eat these: whatever has fins and scales you may eat.

10. And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.

11. You may eat all clean birds.

12. But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture,

13. the kite, the falcon of any kind;

14. every raven of any kind;

15. the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind;

16. the little owl and the short-eared owl, the barn owl

17. and the tawny owl, the carrion vulture and the cormorant,

18. the stork, the heron of any kind; the hoopoe and the bat.

19. And all winged insects are unclean for you; they shall not be eaten.

20. All clean winged things you may eat.

Deuteronomy 14:3-20 [English Standard Version]

Further Resources on Food