The answer is a resounding "no". Homosexuality is not a sin as laid out by the Bible.
Undoubtedly, I'm going to get a lot of heat for this one, but rest assure, if this were just the other day, I would have been the first to draw offense against myself. I'd have been the first to respond to this article, trying to debunk it with various biblical citations and such. However, I'd have been wrong.
In fact, the other day, I did debate the subject with someone and I was hit with some information that sent me on an obsessive, sleepless, and restless research binge, which is ultimately leading to this article.
Naturally, there is always the possibility that I may be wrong, but just like I was willing to accept fact no matter if it meant I was right or wrong on this regard, I will be doubly willing to do so if I'm proven wrong again. However, I am 99% certain of my findings and I hope you continue to read this article without stressing the ideas others have told you.
It should be noted ahead of time that I use the King James Version of the Bible, so the word "homosexual" is used less frequently than in the New International Version. However, I will still cover each verse that I would have used to argue against the point I'm making now. So, in a sense, I'm debating myself here.
I won't cover the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19) for two reasons. The first is that there is absolutely no condemnation of homosexuality to be had throughout the entirety of the story, so there isn't even anything to refute. Unless, of course, you're implying that rape is fine. The second reason is that I may be doing more extensive articles on this particular story in the future.
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 20:13 (KJV)
"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."
Wow. This seems very explicit. In fact, one might look at this, alone, and confirm that homosexuality is a sin in their mind. However, the sham of human interpretation of Christianity is that many people read verses and don't understand the meaning behind them. Or the history.
Put in full context, this will make a lot more sense. Because the mentioning of these condemnations are accompanied by some other condemnations, collectively known as the Holiness Code, including:
• Leviticus 11:6-7 condemning the consumption of pork and rabbit.
• Leviticus 17:15-16 condemning consumption of those who die from natural causes.
• Leviticus 18:19 condemning sexual relations with a woman menstruating.
• Leviticus 19:28 condemning any marks or cuttings into your flesh (including tattoos).
• Leviticus 21:10 condemning an anointed priest uncovering his head.
Of course, these aren't the only things condemned in Leviticus. So, why do we not follow these customs?
Well, in the Messiah's own words, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17) To further elaborate, "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (Hebrews 7:12).
In other words, these practices were the covenant of the Israelites of that time, symbolic of the Messiah's final covenant. Whereas animals were sacrificed by the Levitical laws, Jesus was our sacrifice. Ergo, the "lamb of God". And thus, our new covenant. As we are not bound by the old covenant, its laws are not applicable to us. This is affirmed in Matthew 15:1-28 and, again, in Acts 10:1-29 where the aforementioned consumption laws are admonished.
"Old Testament experts view the regulations of Leviticus as standards of holiness, directives for the formation of community life, aimed at establishing and maintaining a people's identity in relation to God." This is because God was so determined that His people who were being formed into a new nation would not adopt the practices of the Baal worshipers in Canaan, and same-gender sex was part of Baal worship...
Even if we consider that morality was a factor in this rule, it is part of the Code, and when the Code became obsolete, as it is under Christ, that rule, as part of the Code, became obsolete. These verses in Leviticus have nothing to say to us today beyond the eternal principle of the need for purity in the worship of God. If the immorality expressed in them happens to be a principle for all time, then it will be found elsewhere in the Bible." -- Professor Soards of Gay Church.Org.
So, if you're going to use Leviticus as your crutch to admonish homosexuality, you better make sure that you follow all of the customs outlined in Leviticus. But if you hold to the new covenant, they do not apply to you.
But, of course, this article would be useless if I only debunked the admonishment of homosexuality in Leviticus. So, let us continue.
Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."
Admittedly, when I saw this verse, I thought to myself "there's no way that this can be refuted." Then, I looked closer and read the entire chapter instead of just the snippet taken to make a point.
Before anything, read the chapter in full context. If you noticed something odd the first time you read it, then you have a sharper eye than I did the first time I read it. The context of this chapter leads in a direction far different than the verse, by itself. Or, at least, it's easier to identify if you read it in full context.
I'll give you a hint if you haven't seen it: "For this cause, God gave them up unto vile affections" (Romans 1:26) and "Wherefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness" (Romans 1:24). Is that not an odd way of phrasing "among their treachery is cavorting with members of their own sex"?
Of course. Because homosexuality is not the sin admonished here (the sin, clearly, being idolatry and worship of deities other than him), but the end result of those among them that gave into idolatry was lustful homosexuality -- a trait associated with Pagans at the time. Much like those professing to be wise became fools. Is being a fool a sin?
This goes to show us that, while homosexuality is not depicted as particularly endearing due to the cultural view of it at the time (consider leprosy for a moment), it doesn't cite it as a sin by any means.
As such, we can ascertain that the reference here is not to condemn homosexuality, but to show how similar they were to the idolatrous Roman Pagans of that time. As Paul's epistles in the New Testament were written in what is known as Greek Koine, also known as "language of the common man", it is unreasonable to presume that it would be phrased this way. This is especially poignant in the case below:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (KJV)
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
This is one of those cases where translation is the operative to decoding the misinterpretations and assumptions. However, before I get into that, I want to note the supplementary verses -- that is, the verses following the above; 1 Corinthians 6:11-12, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."
Of course, that, on its own, would not refute the idea of homosexuality being a sin, but that's what leads me into the bulk of this verse. The qualm with this verse lies in the words "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind" because the Greek translations of these words are not the same as we understand them.
Effeminate, as we understand it today, is a wrist flicking pansy boy or a male with feminine characteristics, yes? Well, the word used here in the original print is "malakoi", which refers closer to the idea of cowardice; its literal translation being "soft". Malakia does not condemn effeminacy or homosexuality, but rather, "spinelessness".
This is further elucidated by the fact that homosexuals at the time were not considered malakos by any stretch of the imagination. The Sacred Band of Thebes was a Theban legion consisting entirely of homosexual male couples (further reading.) How can malakos be associated with homosexuality when there were entire troupes made up of them?
Then we come to "abusers of themselves with man", which is difficult to understand by contemporary standards, but combining eisegesis with archaic English, it's not unreasonable to presume that it means homosexuality, right? If you like looking at things for surface value, yes.
However, "abusers of themselves with man" is not translated from Paiderastte, the Greek Koine for male homosexual at the time or even, literally, "abusers of themselves with man". Instead, we are left with the word "arsenokoitoi", which... doesn't translate to anything. In fact, the only other time it's ever been used in history is in the same methodical manner in another of Paul's epistles.
One could try to decipher the meaning by acknowledging the words "arsen" and "koitoi", which translate to "man" and "beds", respectively. Unfortunately, this would make very little sense because the aforementioned "paiderasste" could substitute it with no confusion. Why, then, would Paul opt to use another word?
The truth is that we don't actually know what arsenokoitoi means. Several theories have been brought forward including that it's referring to pedophiles, hebophiles, man servants, male prostitution, those who engage in specific homosexual acts (particularly, those involving the bowels), homosexual rape, homosexual slave trading, adultery, and in the years during the Protestant Reformation, it was believed that it meant masturbation.
In reality, there's no reason to believe that homosexuality is, indeed, a sin. Those who assume arsenokoitoi means homosexuality do so under their own preconceived idea that it's a sin. In essence, they want it to be a sin, so badly (or they hate the idea of uncertainty so much) that they are willing to forsake the fact that the Bible's citation of sins excludes homosexuality on every regard and the minuscule amount of "clobber" verses in a 1,000+ page book. They're willing to condemn a lifestyle with insufficient facts for the sake of closure.
But as any biblical scholar knows, there is never closure when it comes to scripture. Is it possible that arsenokoitoi is referring to homosexuality? Certainly. Is it probable? No. If it were, Paul would have been more clear in his condemnation of it.
If homosexuality is such a terrible abomination, why is it mentioned so infrequently? Why did the Messiah never mention it, despite being vocal about fornication, adultery, et cetera?
"But, Ripplemagne! God created Adam and Eve! Not Adam and Steve!"
So? How does that make it a sin to be homosexual?
"But if everyone becomes a homosexual, the population will die off!"
While true, that will not happen. And the possibility of it happening does not make it a sin. We are encouraged to marry and be fruitful to continue the human population. Does that mean not marrying is sinful? I guess that means Catholic priests are living in sin, huh?
I've compared the best and worst arguments of both sides of the debate and have come to this conclusion. Feel free to question what I've concluded and to do your own research. Don't assume I'm right because you want me to or because I convey my ideas well. The reason I came to this conclusion is because I searched with an open heart; I didn't go into this endeavor with a preconceived idea of what to expect.
"Question with boldness.
Hold onto the truth.
Speak without fear." -- Glenn Beck.