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Replies to Jerry (1)

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  • nyguy_1225
    Jerry, I ve taken the time to try to answer some of your questions. However, I will ask you to respect that this board was never intended to be utilized as
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2003
      Jerry, I've taken the time to try to answer some of your questions.
      However, I will ask you to respect that this board was never
      intended to be utilized as anyone's research center. There are
      scores of authors, scholars and historians who have addressed these
      topics in very great detail and if you really want detailed answers
      I suggest you begin to pick up some of their books. In the future,
      feel free to ask questions, but please refrain from posts containing
      a barrage of them. By God's grace I have a full life and therefore
      only limited time to devote to this board. I would suggest
      therefore for reasons of mutual respect that in the future you think
      through your questions and ask one or two. Then they might be able
      to be addressed by me and others in greater detail. Ask too many
      questions all at once and you're going to get comparatively very
      short answers. This is not our full-time job for us. It's a
      ministry of love we do to help others, but our time is not
      unlimited. My replies below are preceded by asterisks (***).

      JERRY: Nyguy, I'm sorry - I forgot your first name - anyway, thanks
      for the explanation below. At least I understand your theological
      position a little better than I did. I have a couple questions and
      some comments: I haven't repeated everything in the original post in
      the interest of space.

      NYGUY: Yes Jerry, that is exactly what Dr. Blair is saying. It is
      Dr. Blair's position (as it is the position of others) that there
      are no homosexuals in the Bible. The Bible is an empty closet!
      Homosexuality was not viewed as a sexual orientation until the late
      1800's and, in fact, it was not until 1867 that the term homosexual
      was coined. And it certainly did not exist as a psychosexual
      phenomenon until at least the Middle Ages.

      JERRY'S RESPONSE: (1) Are you saying that since "there are no
      homosexuals in the Bible," that homosexual orientation did not even
      exist at all at the time the Bible was written? Or, are you simply
      saying that the issue of homosexual orientation was not addressed
      anywhere in the Bible?

      *** REPLY: I, Dr. Blair and others are saying both. Homosexual
      orientation is not addressed anywhere in the Bible, and
      homosexuality as a sexual orientation did not exist during Bible
      times.

      JERRY: (2) If homosexuality was not viewed as a sexual orientation
      until the late 1800's, are you saying that something brand new was
      taking place, or Simply that psychology (or whatever) discovered an
      orientation that previously existed?

      *** REPLY: I am saying that homosexuality as a psychosexual
      phenomenon (i.e. as an orientation) did not exist until way long
      after the Bible was written. So as one looks at the Bible verses
      that allegedly speak against all expressions of homosexuality, one
      should do so in the knowledge that homosexuality as we understand it
      today -- as a sexual orientation -- is not addressed anywhere in the
      Bible, did not exist in Bible times, and was beyond the
      understanding of any ancient people. No biblical writer could have
      had it in mind as he wrote anything we find in the Bible that may be
      taken to refer simply to same-sex acts.

      JERRY: (3) If, in fact, homosexual orientation did not exist in
      ancient biblical times (if that is what many scholars believe), then
      at what point in history (and why) did homosexual orientation become
      existent in society?

      *** REPLY: I'm not a historian on this matter and if you did some
      research on yur own you could get a much more detailed answer to
      this but there were many contributing factors to changing times and
      cultures that led up to it. In ancient times there was no romantic
      dating as we know it today; marriages were arranged by fathers.
      Romance, as we know it, did not come into being until the Middle
      Ages, which is precisely why the period is referred to as
      the "romance period." Our own romantic sexual experience was not
      known in the ancient world of arranged marriages and socially
      constructed inequities between men and women. Ideas and
      understandings of sexuality have changed greatly over the
      centuries. People in biblical times did not share our knowledge or
      customs of sexuality; we do not share their experience. Not only
      was there no romantic dating as we know it. In fact there was
      virtually no time for leisure to speak of at all. Even as early as
      a generation or two ago what did it take to wash clothes before the
      washing machine? An entire day was often devoted to it. Ironing
      often took another day. In addition, one couldn't simply walk into
      a supermarket and purchase a loaf of bread. One had to bake their
      own. This too often required a whole day. And what was required a
      generation or two ago to take a bath? One had to get a big metal
      tub. It had to be filled with water. The water had to be heated,
      etc. Such a major undertaking was "drawing a bath" that if it
      happened once a week it was a lot. And because of the work
      involved, the same bath water would then often be used for the whole
      family. (And deodorant, for that matter, didn't come into being
      until about 50 years ago.) The list goes on and on and this was just
      a generation or two ago let alone centuries ago. Where was the
      time to sit around watching soap operas and fanaticizing about the
      boy next door? It didn't exist. If you intuit some of these
      realities it becomes clearer and easier to understand why
      homosexuality as a sexual orientation (or as a psycho-sexual
      experience) could not have existed in Bible times. Even
      heterosexuality as we know it was very, very different.

      NYGUY: In the Bible same-sex acts, or homosexuality, if you will, is
      presented as a religious practice used by pagans to encourage
      fertility, when read in context.

      JERRY'S RESPONSE: How did the pagans believe that same-sex acts would
      encourage fertility? By frequent orgasms, in which case when they did
      have sex with women, that they would then be more fertile? In your
      studies, does it indicate why the pagans felt that way?

      *** REPLY: According to the Holman Bible Dictionary: "Fertility
      cults attribute the fertility of the cropland and herds to the
      sexual relations of the divine couple [a great mother-goddess as a
      symbol of fertility and a male deity, usually her consort]. Sacral
      sexual intercourse by priests and priestesses or by cult prostitutes
      was an act of worship intended to emulate the gods and share in
      their powers…" The pre-scientific understanding of the time was
      that male semen contained the whole nascent of life. With no
      knowledge of eggs or ovulation, it was assumed the woman only
      provided the incubating space (which is why the spilling of semen
      for any non-procreative purposes such as coitus interruptus [Gen
      38:1-11] or male masturbation was considered tantamount to abortion
      or murder.) Thus, fertility cults believed that it was the male
      semen that enabled them to share in the power of the gods. In other
      words the more semen that was generated in their acts of worship the
      better.

      NYGUY: Moreover, the ancients as MIT's David Halperin
      notes: "conceived of 'sexuality' in non-sexual terms: What was
      fundamental to their experience of sex was not anything we would
      regard as essentially sexual.

      JERRY'S RESPONSE: I read the above statement over and over again and
      I
      found it difficult to figure out what Mr. Halperin is really saying.
      If
      he was saying that the ancients only understood the pleasurable
      aspects
      of having sex and not whether they were orientated toward men or
      women,
      how does that demonstrate whether or not same sex activity is or is
      not
      God's will for us then or now? How does that address what the Bible
      says, in context?

      *** REPKY: What Halperin is saying is that what was fundamental to
      their experience of sex was not anything we would regard as
      essentially sexual. Rather, it was something essentially social --
      namely, the modality of power relations that informed and structured
      the sexual act. He says: In the ancient world, sex was "not
      intrinsically relational or collaborative in character, it is,
      further, a deeply polarizing experience: It serves to divide, to
      classify, and to distribute its participants into distinct and
      radically dissimilar categories. Sex possesses this valence,
      apparently because it is conceived to center essentially on, and to
      define itself around, an asymmetrical gesture, that of the
      penetration of the body of one person by the body, and,
      specifically, by the phallus -- of another. .... The proper targets
      of [a citizen's] sexual desire include, specifically, women, boys,
      foreigners, and slaves -- all of them persons who do not enjoy the
      same legal and political rights and privileges that he does."
      [Halperin] A perfect example of this is that in the Old Testament,
      adultery is a property-related matter and a master was perfectly
      free to make sexual use of his female slaves!!!
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