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Denison Journal of Religion

Abstract

This article seeks to articulate a close reading of the treatment of homosexuality in the bible in order to help Christians discern an appropriate reaction to homosexuality and homosexuals on a community level. First delving into the traditional verses used to condemn homosexuality like the story of the Sodomite, the Holiness Code in Leviticus, and Paul's letter to the Romans, the author finds that these passages frequently have competing interpretations. For example, the story of the Sodomites is often told as a condemnation of rape, violence, and inhospitableness, not homosexuality. The Holiness Code could be interpreted not only as a strict law against homosexuality, but disapproval of gender role confusion, or of an act against nature. Of course, the idea of homosexuality stems from the preconception that all people are heterosexual and some choose to engage in homosexual behavior. Modern psychology refutes this claim, and that makes it possible to have a more sympathetic reading of this passage. If it based on a fear of acting against nature, after all, then homosexuals should not be forced to act against their nature and engage in heterosexual activities. Furthermore, Paul's letter to the Romans, many believe, is really warning against idolatry and distraction from God. Scholars say that this could be true of any sexuality. The author concludes with two challenges to the Christian community. First, to look at the bible as a whole when considering the question of homosexuality, not just select passages that can be lifted from the message in its entirety and secondly, to act compassionately with the knowledge that the decision made will affect flesh and blood people, not just ideologies.

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